Here are a couple of things that have piqued my interest over the last week:
You know those “outmoded” Christian doctrines? Virgin birth, resurrection and ascension? All that nonsense about the exclusivity of Christ? Thankfully, Hazel Day has written an article in the URC’s monthly magazine Reform showing us how to go about ditching them and creating a “faith we can believe in“.
This article shows what Christians are up against in the URC. Of course, this is nothing new. Arians, Socinians and Unitarians have all made the same fundamental critique and the Church has always prevailed.
My request would be that if these doctrines are so unbelievable then I’m sure the Unitarians would welcome you with open arms.
To counter that here’s an address given at the recent “Together for the Gospel” conference in the States. Bryan Chappell is a minister in the Presbyterian Church in America. He teaches at Covenant Theological Seminary. He’s written a great book on preaching called “Christ-centered Preaching: Redeeming the Expository Sermon” and his seminary lectures can be found here. His message is a great reminder of the pastor’s primary purpose – to preach the Word!
To go along with that, this week’s White Horse Inn radio show had a great programme on Biblical Ignorance. It’s a great reminder that faith is to be passed down from generation to generation and that the primary place for that to happen is the home – with the support of the minister and elders. Ministers: Dust off your copies of the Westminster Shorter Catechism and get teaching those kids.
“And beginning with Moses and all the Prophets, he interpreted to them in all the Scriptures the things concerning himself.” Luke 24:27
April was a fabulous month. It was a real privilege to spend my first Easter as an ordained minister with you. All the services were a real blessing, from the first Sunday of the month when we heard the events surrounding Jesus’ death to Easter Sunday itself when we shared in the joy of the resurrection. There were services on Maundy Thursday and Good Friday which were more reflective in style. It was wonderful to gather with our brothers and sisters from Intake and to place ourselves in the upper room and at the foot of the cross.
I also preached in the Market Place during the Walk of Witness. Despite some difficulties with the sound system it was a good introduction to open air preaching, although I much prefer Hall Gate’s pulpit.
After a week of such activity it may seem that the following weeks are a time of anti-climax. However, one of the great lessons of the Reformation was to remind us that there are 52 Holy Days each year. Every Sunday we gather together to hear about the death and resurrection of our Lord. Every week is a remembrance and celebration of what God has done for us. The week before Easter reminded me of the importance of repeating the facts of Jesus’ life, death and resurrection for the forgiveness of sins and new life in him. This is the ground we stand on.
Having said that, some of you may be wondering why we’re beginning to look at the whole Bible from Genesis 1 through to Revelation. The answer to that lies in the words of Jesus in Luke 24. As he goes along the road to Emmaus he shows the disbelieving disciples how all the Bible – in their case the Old Testament – relates to him. Then, when he appears to the whole company of disciples, he teaches them how “everything written about me in the Law of Moses and the Prophets and the Psalms must be fulfilled” (verse 44).
Our journey through the Bible will take that focus. We will look at the lives of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, and the lives of Moses, Joshua and David, and see how God has dealt with his people throughout history, preparing the way for the final revelation of his grace in Jesus Christ.
This is a story worth telling – come and hear!
I’ve had a response to the question of when the URC website will have content about the Gospel over at the Forum. The Forum Moderator has said:
“We’re still in the process of creating some information on what we believe.”
Are the ecumenical creeds, Basis of Union and The Statement of the Nature, Faith and Order of the URC not adequate?
On Good Friday the churches in the town centre of Doncaster got together for a walk of witness. Moving from the Mansion House (Doncaster’s Town Hall) to the Market Place and then through the main shopping street to Priory Methodist Church we heard Mark’s account of the death of Jesus.
I preached in the Market Place. It was my first experience of outdoor preaching. I had the “help” of a microphone and a small amp. I raised my voice to as high as it could go. The people directly in front of me could hear fine but after the event I found out that those on the edge of the crowd couldn’t hear a thing. Continue reading