Some random aphorist thoughts – the product of walking my dogs!
Grace as ‘Great Riches At Christ’s Expense’ is nearer to pietistic wish-wash rather than ‘God’s holy love hating sin and redeeming it in Christ’s cross, and creating in the penitent sinner new life and moral amendment.’ Though as an acronym the latter is rubbish.
Atonement is not only a film starring Kierra Knightly but the great power of God working salvation for the entire cosmic order.
Love is not merely anthropic love for another person (who we’ve already decided we like and therefore ‘will love’).
Salvation is not a meagre ‘tipping in’ to ‘heaven’. The older son had an ‘I’m in’ theology, and look at the state of his heart!
Pastoral Care is not the flip or flop of a liver lilied do-gooder or crowd pleaser (who actually never really does ‘do good’ nor ‘please crowds’).
Sin is not ‘other people or countires’ nor is it a meaningless philosophical abstraction, even if you really do believe the comfy suburban mantra: I’m not that bad thank you very much.
Prophecy is not sloganeering, be it political or religious. Oh, and prophets actually know their Bibles, especially Obadiah chapter 2.
If your sin isn’t that bad, then the Good News is ‘alright news’. This just means your doctrine of sin is under-developed. Develop your doctrine.
‘Personally saved’ does not mean ‘me and my sweet Jesus’ but ‘We and our sweet Jesus.’ Personal salvation is lived out in communal fellowship.
Prayer is not a pseudo-piety nor an abstract conversation with ‘God’. It is not a news program, a shopping list, a moan about the ‘ills of the world’ or a bland monologue of anxious and random thoughts. It is talking with God and listening to God.
The ‘Power of God’ is not only evidenced by fuzzy feelings of a surreal kind (which is often determined by personal circumstances or present mood).
The Bible is not a rule book to be plundered but a redemption-story to be lived.
If we stick with the postmodern mantra ‘Do not judge’ we enforce the very thing we are against. Including telling Jesus he’s wrong (Jn 7:24)!
‘The Trinity’ as those two words literally are, is not the most we can say about God. Hermeneutical foreclosure is the reserve of the ignorant and/or lazy.
If ‘all’ always means ‘all’ then why does ‘all’ sometimes mean ‘some’ and other times ‘most’.
Are Church vision statements inherently meaningless when they all say the same thing but in different ways? Does writing ‘We seek to be a Christ-centred community’ actually mean you will be, or are? Aren’t we that anyway?
Assumption is the cognitive equivalent of grabbing the stick at the wrong end.
Does a ‘Gospel Message’ (?) only validate itself when an ‘altar call’ (Billy Graham style) is offered?
Are the songs we sing week in week out the pale reflection of our eschatological future, or have I missed something?
Is that parking space really a sign of God’s special favour? I can never find one at the hospital when I go to have my disease treated. What does that mean?
Is our physical health an actual biblical barometer of God’s love for us or presence with us? Or do we have to learn something else?
I can’t afford to be a missionary; I can’t be a missionary whilst my kids are young; So, all missionaries are wealthy without kids or they’ve grown up!! Puh-leeease!
Did the Father answer the Son when He prayed, “Father forgive them, they don’t know what they are doing?” Or did He not?
Personal opinion does not validate genuine Bible study, as if Christianity accommodates and tolerates all opinions in a kind of meaningless smorgasbord of religious mumbo-jumbo.
Genuine Bible study should offend everyone, and woo everyone. It should excite in a way a political manifesto cannot.
Undiscipled Christians will not be missional Christians.
Mission without discipleship is like trying to reach into the apple seed to pull out an apple.
Plant the seed. Water the seed. Wait and pray. Be patient. Be faithful.
Discipleship precedes mission.
Mission is a consequence of discipleship, and flows from it naturally.
We must try to avoid putting the missional cart before the discipleship horse!
Show me your faith without mind, and I will show you a faith with the wrong heart. Informing the mind truly does impress the heart.
Faith in Christ is a boat content in the harbour and robust in the storm. Authentic faith is always ready to leave the harbour for the storm.
Sharing Jesus with friends and strangers does not mean you have to breach social etiquette. We speak differently at different times, in different ways, to different people. We can do this with the Gospel too. And we must!
Being persecuted for your faith is not the same as losing cultural privilege in society. When the state doesn’t persecute you, you’re probably doing it wrong.
If we are to give to Caesar what is Caesars, why do so many Churches in the UK rely on claiming ‘tax-back’ on gifts received?
Do not trust a person who claims to have straightened a paperclip. Likewise, do not trust a person who claims that sin is no longer a problem for them.
Being a genuine prophet does not mean your inner thespian becomes a parody of a frustrated actor trying to play a hideous version of an Old or New Testament prophet, but with Victorian angst in manner and language.
When did Christians begin thinking that in supporting the secular state of Israel today in the name of biblical prophesy, that actual biblical prophets have to be ignored or sidelined at best, and the New Testament ignored at worst?
The neo-Atheist movement is not a threat to biblical Christianity.
It is a threat to a contemporary, middle-class, passive, mediocre version of Christianity. And rightly so.
Sentimentality is mental at the core.
Can God save anyone at anytime?
Jesus asked the question, “What do you want me to do for you?”
It’s a magnificent question from the Saviour.
So what do you want Him to do for you?
Answers on a postcard.
The first three photos were taken by me. 1. Walking the dogs in the fog. 2. On the London Underground. 3. A lone anemone in my backyard.
The magnificent picture above was taken by me in a public place Gibraltar. Artist details were not available.
You have surpassed yourself with this. Each one needs careful reflection and teasing out and would be an evening’s discussion. Do you really have so many free evenings? Seriously, it would be good to work through this list with those interested. Whilst solitary reflection is worthy in itself, it’s probably most useful to engage with others.
Really interested in it all but particularly the mission related points currently. Obviously.
I like the idea of stating the obvious “We seek to be a Christ centred community”
There are some Sundays when we all need reminding of this, I feel. Sadly.
(Guy has just said”I think yourself getting a bit obsessed with religion.”)
Thanks Jude. True, theology is always better when done with others. Don’t despair, we always need reminding of the same (basic) things……gladly!!!
Your comment about the parking space at the hospital. Serious question.
What are your thoughts on God’s response to such requests?
He hears surely. Response / co-incidence? A teaching / learning / discipleship response?
I highlight this point because it is particularly pertinent to an event yesterday. (Not a car parking space though!)
My thoughts are what I wrote in the comment itself I guess. Human beings are so self-centered I wonder what God thinks of our charmingly disarming prayers for our personal minor conveniences, so that we can carry on doing whatever it is we do….My will be done….Thanks God!
I suppose though Jude, give thanks for it (as you said about your ‘event’), but in general, cosmic micro-management isn’t really where salvation-history is at!