The Ideal Ministry 4/11

In Memory of the 100th anniversary of the death of P. T. Forsyth this year (2021), I will outline his eleven points in the chapter entitled ‘The Ideal Ministry’ (as printed in The British Congregationalist, 18th October, 1906), in the book Revelation Old and New.

4. The Ideal Ministry: MISSIONARY

“The ideal ministry must be missionary. It must be in the apostolic succession. Here again it is the organ of the Church. The Church is nothing if not apostolic. But apostolic in the true sense of the word – missionary and evangelical. We are gaining clearer views of what the Apostles really were. They were not Bishops. They were missionaries. evangelists on the great scale. They were not organisers, administrators, hierarchs. They were heralds, preachers. They were not there to regulate enthusiasm, but rather to rouse and spread it.

They were firebrands much more than fire brigades. They stirred the spirit, they did not quench it. The ideal ministry must be missionary at home or abroad. It must have the propagandist passion, the contagious secret, the universal dream, the pity, the love, the power of faith, the pity for mankind.

But I will not dwell on that here. We are all convinced, of the missionary nature of the Church and ministry.

The Ideal Ministry 3/11

In Memory of the 100th anniversary of the death of P. T. Forsyth this year (2021), I will outline his eleven points in the chapter entitled ‘The Ideal Ministry’ (as printed in The British Congregationalist, 18th October, 1906), in the book Revelation Old and New.

3. The Ideal Ministry: PRIESTLY

“We must go further and say that the ideal ministry must be a priestly ministry. That would follow from the nature of the Church whose organ the ministry is. One chief function of the Church in the world is the sacerdotal. Conceive it truly and this is as real as the Church’s missionary function. If the Church confesses it, it confesses not its own sin only but the sin of the world. It carries that sin to the presence of God.

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The Ideal Ministry 2/11

In Memory of the 100th anniversary of the death of P. T. Forsyth this year (2021), I will outline his eleven points in the chapter entitled ‘The Ideal Ministry’ (as printed in The British Congregationalist, 18th October, 1906), in the book Revelation Old and New.

2. The Ideal Ministry: MINISTRY

“The ideal ministry must be an office in a Church quite as much as a vocation in an individual. That is to say, if we have a Church. If we have no Church, nothing which essentially distinguishes our Christian gatherings from any religious company, humane fraternity, or social group, the question falls to the ground. But then so will Christianity. The question of ministry is the crucial question of the Church. The greatest division among Churches, between Catholic and non-Catholic, turns on the position of ministry.

Continue reading “The Ideal Ministry 2/11”

The Ideal Ministry 1/11

In Memory of the 100th anniversary of the death of P. T. Forsyth, I will outline his eleven points in the chapter entitled ‘The Ideal Ministry’ (as printed in The British Congregationalist, 18th October, 1906), in the book Revelation Old and New.

  1. The Ideal Ministry: GOSPEL CENTRALITY

“An ideal ministry is one which is ideal to the Gospel not to humanity. The ministry is not the minister of the human ideal, but of the Gospel ideal in the New Testament. The ideal minister is first a servant of the Word, then to people. It is the Gospel revelation that sets up the ideal; it is not the needs, aspirations, or possibilities of human nature.

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Critical Theories Exposed

Normally, I just pop a short review on whatever websites when I’ve read a good book that should be widely read (in my view at least). Sometimes I write something about a book in more detail on this blog – normally theology or some such. ‘Cynical Theories – How Universities Made Everything about Race, Gender, and Identity – and Why This Harms Everybody’ is one of those books that although is not theology, is excellent at charting our cultural waters, and evaluating and assessing various trends over the decades and centuries.

Here’s a taster of what is proving to be a very important book. In articulating the morph from “original postmodern’ thought to the new Theorists, we read,

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Bad ‘Woke Traits’ in the World and in the Church

One of the best cultural critics I know has once again done what great cultural analysis does best: Expose the little man behind the curtain (Wizard of Oz) pulling all the strings and presenting a certain reality (fake news) that many people absorb and assume to be the norm. What follows is a masterclass from my friend, who remains anonymous at this point because the Woke Militia are really a terrible bunch of virtue-signalers and it is my duty and joy to protect him and share it here.

“Part of the woke problem is premature self-ascription of prophetic authority by people who suppress the true prophets. I think we are allowed to point that out.”

Yes we are. And we must. Whether in the Church or in the World, a kind of prophetic mantle is presumed and then acted upon with all sorts of illegitimate authority, by the religious and the non-religious. Woke culture displays classic religious traits of cultic and cultural authoritarianism on a par with Nazism and Communism: Left and Right in an inter-play of 1984 meets the Gulag Archipelago. Any non-echo chamber YouTube search will plentifully prove my point.

“The Social Justice Warrior (SJW) movement known now as ‘Woke’ is a cultural, intellectual and theological dead-end. It is ignorance, projected self-righteousness and illegitimate rage on steroids.”

Richard Matcham

Buckle up: Here are some bad woke traits:

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Shameful Behaviour

Sermon preached on 13th September 2020.

Luke 13:10-17 ‘Shameful Behaviour’

The last time I entered a synagogue was in Cairo, 2007.  It was a beautiful experience and nothing much happened.  In Luke’s gospel, this is the last time Jesus enters a synagogue too.  Unlike my visit, which was quite sedate; With Jesus (as usual), it all kicks off again!

I want you to notice:

  • Last week in Luke 13:11-5 18 we read people were killed by a collapsing tower.  This week in following Luke, a poor woman was bent over for 18 years.  She never asked for anything.  Jesus called out to her.

Notice too:

  • The word Sabbath is mentioned what seems like an excessive 5 times
  • The synagogue ruler tries to publicly shame Jesus by appealing to the crowds.
  • Jesus fights unholy fire with holy fire.
  • The man, behaving like a beast, treats his ox and ass better that a human being.

This story is specially tied to the one before.  This is the example, given by Luke, of a “fig tree” that is not bearing fruit (13:6-9).  It is an example of the “That’s not right!” tragedies in 13:1-5.

Think about Sabbath:  mentioned FIVE times!!    Excessive!  Why?  To get our attention!  To get our imaginative juices flowing.

FIVE.

In Judaism, numbers are extremely significant.

Most have meaning attached that are symbolic and expressive of deeper truth.

5 in Hebrew numerology is attached to:

  • The Torah
  • 2×5 = 10 Commandments

And in this way they become symbols of God’s goodness and grace.

There are 5 Great Mysteries:

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The Gospel Cancels Cancel Culture

The Western world is a secular post-modern culture.  Some people alive today remember when it was different.  A time when our culture was neither secular nor post-modern.  Post-modernity is a massive cultural earthquake is continuing to take place right now!

Those of you who feel out-of-sorts!  Disorientated.  You no longer understand your grand-childrens language!  And don’t even get me started on their music!

We witnessed the decline of the church in the post-modern West!  On average: 1 join, 6 leave.

And so we get anxious; we panic, then pray, then panic again.  Our politics have become polarised.  Our social and political fabric is under enormous strain.  Every 10 years we crash into another 10 years of austerity.  We’re slowly learning that going to war does not fix our domestic problems.

If it’s not wars, it’s the banks; if not banks, it’s Brexit; If not Brexit, it’s Covid.  Then there are the “other” wars:  Race wars; Sexuality Wars; Identity wars; Political wars; Post-truth; Fake News; Authoritarian censorship; Cancel Culture.  This is what we are dealing with, and to a far great degree, our kids & grandkids.  Post-modern culture has gone and is going into warp-drive.  Elvis has left the building.

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