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.Continue reading “The Ideal Ministry 6/11 (pt. 1)”
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.Continue reading “The Ideal Ministry 5/11”
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.
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.Continue reading “The Ideal Ministry 3/11”
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”
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.
- 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.Continue reading “The Ideal Ministry 1/11”
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.
- 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.
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:
Sermon: September 6, 2020 watch here.
“That’s Not Right” Luke 13:1-5 (and 12:54-56; 13:6-9)
My first two years of Secondary School were at a Boys Boarding School. It was also in the days when kids had milk at school. We had those 1/3 pint bottles. But sometimes the bottles arrived early and so were left outside. In the summer, this is not a good thing.
I remember, during a break time, we were rebelling: The milk had turned – lumpy! There was no way I was going to drink it. And as I stood right by the crate, in what we called the ‘Milk Rebellion’ of ‘82 The Headmaster appeared. Proper Old School. Made Genghis Khan look like a fairy! Hard as nails. Dipped in starch. Hair parted like the Red Sea and socks pulled tight up to his knees! We’ll call him Donald.
He heard our squeaking and wailing and said passive-aggressively: “Is there a problem?” He stood there, picked up a bottle, punched the foil away, and gulped down the milk. We all looked on in astonishment. He wiped the lumpy bits from around his mouth and chin. And said, “Delicious, nothing wrong with that!” And walked away, like a victorious king!
My thoughts were not quite suitable for a Sunday morning in church.
But I did think: “That’s not right!”
See the short video (June 2019) on The Fuel Cast, filmed at Torre Abbey ruins, Torquay.
Who was P. T. Forsyth?
Peter Taylor Forsyth was born in Aberdeen, Scotland on this day in 1848 to a working-class family, and was educated there through his university years. Afterwards, he became a Congregationalist minister serving in five successive congregations in England at Shipley, London, Manchester, Leicester and Cambridge.
Below is my review of ‘Be Afraid – How Horror and Faith Can Change the World’ by my friend and fellow Baptist pastor Joe Haward, which was recently published in the Baptist Times. Given a very limited word count, it was not possible to dig deeper into my comments about the theological method which relies heavily on the work of Rene Girard. This brings an interpretive framework that can draw out different conclusions than one might expect, but is a conversation/debate that is well worth having, as it could stretch the reader beyond their theological comfort zone, which is never a bad thing in and of itself but a reference point worth remembering. My commendation for the back cover has been edited, but here is my full version:
“The bold plan in this book is to bring together the horror genre of popular culture and Christian theology, in such a way as to draw out an insightful conversation between the two. We live in a complex, violent and confused world that swings between extremes of multiple and competing ideologies, and thus continues to make the same mistakes. Using a wide range of contemporary film, writers, thinkers and ancient texts, Haward interprets “horror” theologically and shows therefore, how this genre is indeed rich pickings for discovering theological insight to “see beyond” the cultural impasse. The irony is that the “alternative vision” is a very, very old vision located in the peaceable Gospel of Jesus Christ.”
The book is well worth a read, here’s the review:
“Rare is a conversation with horror, which is why I welcome this book. Joe Haward helps Christians to make the links with theology and the horror genre of popular culture. He draws out key characteristics and then makes one direct comparison after another with biblical themes as they relate to zombies (resurrection), vampires that eat flesh and drink blood (Eucharist), violence and sacrifice (atonement), and so on.
It is interesting for a reader like me, because I don’t like the horror genre; but even so, many in our churches do, which means there is a preaching opportunity to be had here.
Haward’s theological method draws on the work of Rene Girard. As such, he regularly alludes to the scapegoating mechanism and mimetic rivalry, and shows how these ideas are put forth in horror and ancient religions. Sometimes this method can be at odds with biblical reception-history, yet the insights offered can prove fruitful. Reading his interpretive conclusions alongside two or three good commentaries on the subject will be a great way to interact with Girardian theory.
Haward is good at interpreting contemporary Western culture, and he is relentless in exposing consumerism, violence, trafficking, the worst excesses of social media and the human obsession with an utterly godless dystopian future. Throughout, he shines the light on the Person and work of Jesus Christ, who He is, what He has done and what it all means. If anything else, this is a master-class in helping anyone interested in the art of interpreting film through a Gospel lens.”