MUSINGS ON THINGS APOSTOLIC

To speak of things-apostolic has almost become a fad among us, at least some of us.  We insist we once were part of an “apostolic movement,” and we insist that assuming miraculous intervention we shall be again.  I concur and, in fact, believe it our only hope, and our world’s hope, insofar as God has mysteriously and awesomely placed a portion of our world’s well-being in some kind of relation to our obedience! What in the world—or out of the world—do we mean in our use of “apostolic?”  What a great question, answerable in so many different ways.  And, answerable not only by our FM comrades but also by many others.  Let me offer a partial answer. “Apostolic,” of course, …

Critical Questions for “Born-Again Churches”

I am thinking about how our church might be “born-again.”  As strange as it sounds, we surely believe in such a possibility.  We believe the message of John 3 that we all have the privilege of receiving life from above, which Jesus describes as rebirth.  And, we share a key conviction of the Reformed branch of the family—that the church must be ever reforming.  And, we also belong to a tradition that cherishes the great revivals that have blessed our forebears.  And, most of us have longed and prayed for a fresh visitation of the Holy Spirit in our church.  And, and … and … We do believe in rebirth.  So, why not a church “born-again”? As members of the …

FLESHING OUT RESURRECTION POWER

“And if Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile; you are still in your sins” (1 Cor. 15:17).  So Paul claimed in his letter to the Corinthian Church.  That is, the gospel, and all it purports to accomplish for us and the world, hinges on the bodily resurrection of Jesus the Messiah from the grave.  Put another way, that Christ was raised signals the validity of all he said and did, and the victory both now and forever of his way over every other way.  His resurrection confirms his kingship over the Jews but also over the gentiles.  His resurrection sets the world on notice that at “the end of the day,” but also all throughout the day, …

K.I.S.S. FOR JESUS

When it comes to being church for the world, I’m off on a K.I.S.S. for Jesus campaign.  That is, “Keep It Simple Silly (or the harsher version, “Stupid”) for Jesus …. In all of the gospels the gist of things is quite simple, though not necessarily easy and definitely challenging.  In each of the first three gospels we have an episode where Jesus asserts or affirms that LOVE is central to everything (check out Matt. 22:34-40; Mk. 12:28-34; Lk. 10:25-29).  More precisely a two directional or two dimension love stands at the center—love for God with our whole being and love for neighbor as for self.  All of the texts underscore the priority of such love—more important than all the …

RENEWING ASPIRATIONS

As a new year begins here are five aspirations that have the potential to bring renewal to any who holds them. 1.     We respond to God’s passionate love for us, drawing us into the divine intimacy, and making us new people, marked, shaped, aflame with his love. Thus in loving response we would champion our theological heritage—to be a holy people, free from the tyranny and damage of sinful self-addiction and free for loving God with our all and loving neighbor as self. 2.     Our focus is therefore to be on Christ at the center.  Our aim is to draw near, as near as humanly possible, aided by grace.  Our journey is movement toward the center.  Our passion …