Categories
Church

Improving the gospel?

Why did God send his Son into the world?  This basic question is controversial…again.

There is a movement within broader Conservative Evangelicalism in South Africa to be critical of the gospel “Eternal Salvation” that Conservative Evangelicalism has always cherished. This movement seeks to redefine the gospel to include a physical/political/ temporal liberation of the oppressed.

Conservative Evangelicalism is accused of misunderstanding the Great Commission or being overly committed to the Great Commission to the neglect of the Bible’s other imperatives.  The result being a disproportionate concern with the spiritual dimension of the gospel to the detriment of the real, present concerns of people, especially racism and unjust structures.

Proponents of this “improved” and “contextual” understanding of the gospel accuse Conservative Evangelicalism (and REACH-SA) of having an under-realized eschatology and therefore an insufficient understanding of the nature of the gospel as it relates to the this-worldly expectations of the Kingdom of God.

Proponents of this improved gospel or, at least, improved understanding of the gospel assert that Conservative Evangelicalism’s inadequate or narrow understanding of the Great Commission has led to inadequate social engagement and the inadvertent support of unjust structures, including Apartheid.  

Before we think about social engagement, we must first ask the question: does the gospel include a physical/ political/ temporal liberation for the powerless, the marginalized and the poor? 

Are we not simply seeing the re-packaging of Liberation Theology?

Categories
hell

Jesus said don’t fear ISIS terrorists


ISISOn 16 July 2016 a faction of the army in Turkey tried to take control of the government in a coup. Soldiers, tanks and F16 Jet Fighters invaded Istanbul. 280 people were killed, but ultimately the coup failed.  TIME magazine called it: Turkey’s long night of the soul.

 

The good news was that the night came to an end, warring stopped, day dawned, hostilities ceased, and the fierce anger stopped.

In contrast, the Bible teaches of future time of God’s judgment, wrath and anger on sin that will not cease.  

Categories
Wrath of God

The worst enemy ever

toy-1551382_640A couple of months ago, a man with a severe peanut allergy died after eating a curry from a restaurant whose owner repeatedly ignored warnings that he could be putting customers’ lives at risk.   

Paul Wilson was found dead after buying a takeaway containing peanuts from a Indian restaurant.  The restaurant owner is on trial for manslaughter after he took a “reckless and cavalier attitude to risk” and “put profit before safety”. The owner received repeated and numerous warnings that he was putting his customers’ health, and potentially their lives, at risk by not labelling his meals correctly. 

The prosecuting attorney told the court that tragically for Paul Wilson, the owner took none of those opportunities and ignored all of the warnings he was given.  Now he is facing criminal prosecution.

This brings us to Lamentations chapter 2.

Categories
hell

Hell of a subject

lamentations FBThis past Sunday at our church we started a new sermon series on the book of Lamentations. The title of this series is “Hell of a subject” because Lamentations teaches us about the wrath or “fierce anger” (1:12) of God, of which an eternal hell is the ultimate expression.

We don’t often hear about the wrath or fierce anger of God, let alone about an eternal hell.  Most people would say something like, “My God would never do that!”   Rather than worshipping and serving the God of the Bible, most people worship and serve the God of their own making, who, not-surprisingly, has all the same opinions as themselves.   Lamentations will help us.  Lamentations gives us a small foretaste of the wrath of God. 

Lamentations tells us that the work of evangelism and missions is urgent and crucial, because the fierce anger of God is a reality. There is an eternal hell and the gospel is God’s good news about Jesus and how we can be saved from God’s wrath.

Categories
Wrath of God

Why the world is like it is

warThe age-old question that has for hundreds of years vexed philosophers, theorists, social-scientists, and all thinking people, is this: why is the world like it is?

Think about all the greed, the road rage, the human trafficking, the extra-marital affairs, the exploitation of women in pornography, the bullying in primary schools, the rape and murder of the 15 year old in Masiphumelele this last week, the rich directors of mining houses who exploit their workers, the greedy FIFA executives charged with corruption, and the list never ends.

Why is the world like it is, that is the question that no one can answer.