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Church Life

Church Life

Fit For Purpose?

One of the questions that has troubled me much in recent years is whether or not the church, as we know it, is, to coin a phrase, “Fit for purpose”. By that I mean – does it genuinely reflect the vision of the One it claims is its founder?

I recently heard a challenge, put to a group of students, that went something like this. Choose a century, any century between, say, AD200 and AD1800. Then study the history of the church during your chosen time frame. After that read again the gospels and, after having done so, ask the question – “Did the church in your chosen period of time reflect the basic tenets of Jesus teaching?” Interesting exercise! Continue Reading

Church Life

False Shepherds

Some years ago now I was out walking with a friend who was a presbyterian minister, author and highly regarded theologian. At that time I was researching the history of the church and was very troubled by the fact that one of his heroes, Luther (1483-1546), consented to and even encouraged the persecution and execution of fellow christians who did not agree with him – primarily Baptists. Continue Reading

Church Life

Kingdom or Empire

I spoke to a lady this week who had been very influential in the business community for a good number of years. She had, within this circle, many whom she counted as friends. Even after giving up her position a few kept in touch. She then related how one person she considered a close friend in the business community, after she was unable to help her in a new business venture, suddenly turned her back on her and has not contacted her since.

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Church Life

Boxed God

I recently read an article by a distinguished evangelical Scottish Presbyterian professor in which he expressed eloquently his fear that his “cessationists” denomination may be become contaminated by those who believe that God has the ability to communicate today.

Put simply the dogma of his denomination regards any communication between God [other than the words written in the Bible] and his people as heretical. In other words the idea that God can speak, direct, motivate, reveal, warn or comfort any person by means of a personal revelation is considered impossible – or if any claim to such is made – possibly demonic. Continue Reading