What is your take on small groups? Is it a fad? Does it come from mega-church culture? How important is it to be a part of a small group if organic friendships and involvement are already part of one’s church experience? Is it healthy for churches to pressure members into joining a small group?
I have just read your very intelligent contribution to the series of articles at Theopolis on the relation of Israel to the Church. I would describe myself as supersessionist, but in the sense that Israel and the Church are one, because the Church, rather than a newly created covenant people in parallel with ethnic Israel, is the crucified and resurrected people of the covenant established in the calling of Abraham, which has been brought to a greater level of glory and maturity in Christ. In this way of thinking, the only supersession, or replacement, which has taken place, is the substitution of believing Gentiles for unbelieving Jews in the olive tree of Israel.
I nevertheless believe that Romans 8-11 speaks of a national conversion of the Jewish people at the end of this age. It is also quite apparent that in spite of their rejection of Christ, Paul believes that they are loved of God and retain their uniqueness as the appointed messengers of his salvation for the sake of the nations.
But insofar as they have rejected Christ, who is the yes of the Father unto all the promises made unto Israel, how are we to understand Paul’s assertion about the “gifts and callings of God” to them being “irrevocable”? It is difficult, for example, to comprehend how their “callings”, if we are to understand that as a reference to their priestly vocation as a light to the nations, is capable of being realized so long as they reject Christ.
Any light you can shed for me on this mystery would be greatly appreciated.
A brother challenged me after reading my book, where I talk about how sacred space and time are transformed through the Lord Jesus from being temple- and sabbath-oriented, to being person- and whole-life-oriented. He suggested that I am inconsistent to simultaneously hold that attending church is worship per se, and that we enter the heavenly court during this time (a view I briefly argue for here).
He linked me to the work of a brother of yours, Tony Payne of the Sidney Anglicans, who argues for a view in which attending church is not any more worship than any other part of life, but merely an embodiment and acting-out of the communion we have at all times in the Lord Jesus—a view he dubs the “gathered in heaven” model of church.
I’m sympathetic to Tony’s view, but I equally find it hard to abandon the idea that meeting on the Lord’s Day is especially worship in some sense (perhaps something like ritual worship as opposed to mundane worship). Similarly, although I agree that we are, at all times, in the presence of God through his Spirit, there does nonetheless seem something significant about the symbolic representation of drawing near to his throne, which actually does draw heaven and earth together in a way that isn’t true during the ordinary course of life. One possible avenue of relieving this tension that has occurred to me is in the threefold intensification of sacred space in the temple itself; can we perhaps correlate the “mundane” worship of Rom. 12:1 to service in the courtyard, while the “ritual” worship I see hinted at in Acts 13:2; 1 Cor. 14:25 is service in the Holy Place, with Jesus’ everlasting service being in the Holy of Holies?
Jake Meador, the editor-in-chief of Mere Orthodoxy and vice president of the Davenant Institute, joins me to discuss his recently released book, In Search of the Common Good: Christian Fidelity in a Fractured World.
One of my supporters has very kindly transcribed this video, on the Church’s relationship with the natural family. I don’t have time to transcribe my videos myself, so anyone willing to volunteer to transcribe one video every week or fortnight would be greatly appreciated! The transcript is very lightly edited at a few points for the purpose of comprehension.
One of my supporters has very kindly transcribed this video on my understanding of election in Ephesians 1. I don’t have time to transcribe my videos myself, so anyone willing to volunteer to transcribe one video every week or fortnight would be greatly appreciated! The transcript is very lightly edited at a few points for the purpose of comprehension.
Trying to understand Ephesians 1 and was wondering if you could help. Paul seems to be addressing the visible/historical church in Ephesus. If my assumption is right then he is saying that the people in the visible church of Ephesus are predestined to adoption as sons, have redemption through Christ’s blood, have been gifted with every spiritual blessing, etc. My trouble is that as a Calvinist I don’t know how to make sense of the fact that he calls all of that visible church elect? Could you help me work through this important passage?
Given that Paul is the most prominent evangelist / church planter in the Bible, why are exhortations to evangelize seemingly so rare in his work? In many parts of the evangelical church we seem to foreground the need for evangelism and background discussion of ethics, should we reverse this?