Sunday, 30 March 2008

Depth in the church (Depth Steps)

Discussion on depth in the local church, especially depth in relationship and community.
by Mark Dever, 9Marks
1. One church, one assembly
2. Evening service
3. Members only small groups

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Saturday, 29 March 2008

Song - Jesus is Lord by Daniel Chua

Jesus is Lord - Daniel Chua (Professor, Head of Humanities @ HKU, Department of Music)

1. Jesus is Lord! Behold the King of kings,
exalted high, the Name above all names.
I sing His praise, the Lamb upon the throne,
who reigns in glory, pow'r and majesty.

2. This is my God. Behold His hands and side,
the wounds of love that healed my brokenness.
What God is this? What kind of sacrifice
would give so much to gain a loveless soul?

3. For me to live is Christ, to die is gain,
for Christ has died that I might gain His life.
He is my all, my joy, my righteousness,
my hope of glory when He comes to reign.

4. Yes, suddenly my God shall come again,
and ev'ry knee shall bow before His name.
And He shall reign forever on the throne,
and in his glory there shall I proclaim:
'Jesus is Lord, Jesus is Lord,
Jesus is Lord, Jesus is Lord!'

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Wednesday, 26 March 2008

Ex-member apologises, church helps him out of compassion
ST Forum, 26 May 2008

WE REFER to the online letter by Mr Jeffrey Lim Yin Cheong, '14 months to learn church's decision on donation refund' (March 10).

City Harvest Church (CHC) has investigated the grievances of Mr Jeffrey Lim and met him about the issues he raised. At no time did Mr Lim inform CHC that he was suffering from financial difficulties nor did he request financial assistance from us for any medical needs after leaving the Church. It was only days before he wrote to the forum that Mr Lim informed a staff member via e-mail regarding his aunt's financial needs due to unforeseen medical expenses but no formal request was made to the Church. Mr Lim has since apologised for this miscommunication and our church has accepted his apology. CHC has since assisted Mr Lim's aunt out of compassion and not as a matter of obligation to him.

The church has been and is always sympathetic and supportive of members who are experiencing financial difficulties. Our church's policy on donations is that as donations are given on a voluntary basis, they are non-refundable. However, requests for assistance due to financial difficulties will always be considered.

John Lam
CHC Management Board

See also:
14 months to learn church's decision on donation refund (ST Forum, 10 May 2008)

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Sunday, 23 March 2008

Pope baptises former Muslim during Easter vigil

VATICAN CITY - POPE Benedict XVI baptised a former Muslim among seven converts to Roman Catholicism during an Easter vigil mass at St Peter's Basilica.

Mr Magdi Allam, a 55-year-old Italian journalist of Egyptian origin, is an editorial writer and deputy publisher of the Corriere della Sera newspaper.

He was long described as a moderate Muslim before he decided to convert to Catholicism.

'People who are baptised and believers are never strangers to each other,' the pope said in his homily on Saturday. 'Continents, cultures, social structures and historical distances cannot separate us.

'But we meet each other, we know each other by the same Lord, the same faith, the same hope, and the same love that shapes us.'

(read more)

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Saturday, 22 March 2008

Do you have to believe the resurrection is literally true to be a Christian?

This question was posted by editors of Newsweek on the "On Faith" website on 22 Mar 08.
Do you have to believe the resurrection is literally true - that Jesus came back to life in his body - to be a Christian?
See responses from the panel comprising of people like Charles Colson, Albert Mohler, Cal Thomas, Nicolas Wright and even Deepak Chopra.

Mohler's response:
The literal, historical, bodily resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead is the vindication of Christ's saving work on the cross. The issue is simple -- no resurrection, no Christianity. For this reason, belief in the resurrection of Christ is essential in order to be a Christian.

The resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead is the central miracle of the Christian faith. As the New Testament reveals, the resurrection represents the Father's complete satisfaction in the obedience of the Son -- even unto death. Sin and death do not have the final word. Indeed, they are defeated through the saving work of Christ. . . .

(read full article here)

*On Faith is an interactive conversation on religion moderated by Newsweek Editor Jon Meacham and Sally Quinn of The Washington Post. It is produced jointly by Newsweek and, as is PostGlobal, a conversation on international affairs.

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Thursday, 20 March 2008

Bin Laden urges jihad for Palestinians\Top%20Headlines\20080320\Bin_Laden_Message_20080320.xml&cat=topheadlines&subcat=&pageid=1
by Maamoun Youssef and Katarina Kratovac
20 Mar 2008

Osama bin Laden lashed out Thursday at Palestinian peace negotiations with Israel and called for a holy war to liberate the Palestinian lands.

A day after a bin Laden audio on a militant Web site threatened Europeans, Al-Jazeera TV broadcast audio excerpts attributed to the al-Qaida leader that urge Palestinians to ignore political parties "mired in trickery of the blasphemous democracy" and to rely on armed might.

"Palestine cannot be retaken by negotiations and dialogue, but with fire and iron," he said.

It was the first time bin Laden spoke of the Palestinian question at length since the deteriorating situation in the Hamas-controlled Gaza Strip, where the Israeli military has been fighting with militants who fire rockets into southern Israel.

Bin Laden added that Palestinians who are unable to fight in the "land of Al-Quds" -- a Muslim reference to Jerusalem -- should join the al-Qaida fight in Iraq.

(read more)

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Saturday, 15 March 2008

Church Reform when you're not the pastor
Church Reform When You're Not the Pastor: A Series
by Greg Gilbert, 9Marks
9 Jul 2008 (updated 8 Sep 08)

1. Reform is easier in a small church than in a large one.

2. Do what Christians do --- love.

3. Make yourself a help, not a problem, to your church's leaders.

4. Aspire to leadership.

5. Have conversations with people --- lots of them.

6. Train other leaders. Aim for majorities.

7. Show up to the meeting with a completed idea. Then let go of it.

8. Decide what's crucial. Be willing to compromise on the rest.

9. Talk alot with those most opposed. Make a good-faith effort to alleviate their concerns.

10. Don't insist on unanimity.

11. Be very careful with supermajorities. Know what they're for.

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Monday, 10 March 2008

Pastoral Care and the Unity of Theological Education - Thomas Oden
by Thomas C. Oden (Theology Today, Apr 1985, Vol. 42, No. 1)
Thomas C. Oden is the Henry Anson Butz Professor of Theology and Ethics at Drew University Theological School. His writings include Kerygma and Counseling (1 966) and Intensive Group Experience: The New Pietism (1972)
"Admittedly all of the major families of disciplines of theological education have at times attempted to accommodate reductionistic historical, scientific, and empirical methods that have in turn attempted to estrange each discrete discipline from the central, integrating spirit of holistic, orthodox Christian theology. All have borrowed methodologies so extensively from the cultural context that they have lost their centers. But no discipline illustrates this more powerfully, dramatically, tragically, and influentially than does pastoral care. "
How can pastoral care become more fully integrated into the American theological school curriculum? Within brief compass, I will attempt to (1) sharpen the issue, (2) present a preliminary proposal of a means of recovery of an improved integration, and (3) offer an assessment of potential modes of impact of the reclamation of classical pastoral care upon curricular cohesion and upon the major families of theological disciplines.
1. One discipline in particular lacks full and adequate integration and inclusion in the theological curriculum: pastoral care. Admittedly there is a sense in which all theological disciplines-biblical, historical, theological, church and society, and practical-lack a fully adequate integration. Given the sociology of specialization and the momentum of professionalization in university disciplines, all theological disciplines have been, for fifty or more years, tending centrifugally toward disintegration, but none more so than pastoral care. Pastoral care is a special case among the theological disciplines of a discrete discipline that has preferred to cut out its own distinctive pathway quite apart from biblical, historical, and systematic theological studies. It emerged during the period of the hegemony of pragmatic methods and influences in theological education when such independence was thought to be permissible and commendable.

Our tentative hypothesis on the possible resolution of this problem is this: The reintegration of pastoral care into the theological curriculum depends upon the rediscovery of an integrated method of theological study grounded in the classical pastoral writers. This will require the examination of the historical development of the Christian pastoral tradition, its assumptions and reflection on soul care, and its practice of care through extremely varied periods of cultural challenges.
(read more)

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Saturday, 8 March 2008

Evangelical Free Church (EFC)

EFC's Distinctives:

1. Inclusive not exclusive: Believers are united in Christ by faith in Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior; unity on every fine point of doctrine is not required in order to become a member of the denomination
2. Evangelical, but not separatistic: Has a strong commitment to the authority and inerrancy of Scripture, but does not over-emphasize minor issues of doctrine
3. Ecumenical in spirit, but not in structure: The church is united spiritually in Christ, but need not be united structurally
4. Affirms Christian liberty with responsibility and accountability
5. Believes that both sound Christian doctrine and an active relationship with God are essential to the life of the believer
6. Committed to a congregational form of church government
It's Not Broke, So Fix It (Collin Hansen, CT, 14 Jul 2008)
Definition of "Evangelical Free Church of America" - Wikipedia
Evangelical Free Church of America
Trinity Evangelical Divinity School
Covenant Evangelical Free Church - Singapore
Woodlands Evangelical Free Church - Singapore

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Saturday, 1 March 2008

Emerging Church Movement

The Emerging church movement (or the Emergent church movement) is described by its own proponents as "a growing generative friendship among missional Christian leaders seeking to love our world in the Spirit of Jesus Christ." Instead of calling it a movement, those of the Emergent sentiment would rather call it a "conversation." The leading voice for the emerging church movement is the Emergent Village, which began as a group of young Christian leaders gathered under the auspices of Leadership Network in the late 1990s and organized in 2001. In their own words, they began meeting because many were "disillusioned and disenfranchised by the conventional ecclesial institutions of the late 20th century."

According to D.A. Carson, the emerging church movement "arose as a protest against the institutional church, modernism and seeker-sensitive churches... It has encouraged evangelicals to take note of cultural trends and has emphasized authenticity among believers." At its heart "lies the conviction that changes in the culture signal that a new church is emerging. Christian leaders must therefore adapt to this emerging church. Those who fail to do so are blind to the cultural accretions that hide the gospel behind forms of thought and modes of expression that no longer communicate with the new generation, the emerging generation."

Sam Storms notes that it is a protest against the "failure of [evangelicals] to recognize the demise and passing of so-called 'Modernism' and the ascendancy of Postmodernism and the countless ways it affects both the larger culture and how we live as Christians and pursue ministry as the Church... It has an emphasis on narrative rather than propositions ('tell me your story, don't explain principles')." Quoting D.A. Carson, Storms explains that there is an emphasis "on affections and feelings over against rational, linear thought; on experience over truth; on inclusion rather than exclusion; on the corporate over the individualistic, etc. Tolerance is the principal virtue, as nothing is more indicative of the mentality of modernism than telling someone they are wrong (either intellectually, doctrinally, or morally)."

Given the diversity of the movement, "penetrating criticisms that apply to one part of it are sometimes inappropriate to some other part,". In other words, the Emerging Church (EC) is difficult to pin down. Carson, while writing his book, wrote that he had "not found it easy to portray it fairly,". Mark Dever notes that, "By its very nature it doesn't appreciate definition."

(read more)

Emergent versus Traditional Seeker - David Wells, Desiring God 2006 National Conference

Five Streams of the Emerging Church - Scot McKnight, CT (19 Jan 2007)
Emerging Confusion - Charles Colson with Anne Morse, CT (1 Jun 2006)
Article: The Emerging Church - Don Carson (adapted from his Becoming Conversant with the Emerging Church), July/August Vol. 14 No. 4 2005
Interview with Don Carson on the Emerging Church movement - Kim Lawton, Religion & Ethics NewsWeekly (8 Jul 2005)
DA Carson and the Emergent Movement (5 parts) - Scot McKnight, (16 Apr 2005)
Discussion on Reclaiming the Center: Confronting Evangelical Accommodation in Postmodern Times - Justin Taylor, Between Two Worlds (22 Feb 2005)
Definition of "Emerging Church" -

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