Archive for the 'Gospel' Category

07
Apr
17

God, the Church, Refugees and the Gospel

I’ve recently quoted the following a number of times

From one man he made all the nations, that they should inhabit the whole earth; and he marked out their appointed times in history and the boundaries of their lands. God did this so that they would seek him and perhaps reach out for him and find him

Acts 17 26-27

Over a year ago I referred to the above quote when I wrote the following on a Christian forum, in reply to comments about the potential danger of the “flood” of Muslim refugees to the west.

To me it shows that God, not man, is in control of national boundaries. And he will change those boundaries to suit the purposes of His Kingdom and to create conditions conducive to people seeking and potentially finding Him.

That could work in multiple ways including:

1) Moving believers to unbelieving areas to take the gospel where it hasn’t been heard before.

2) Moving unbelievers into an area where they have more chance of hearing the gospel.

3) Moving hostile unbelievers into a lukewarm area where the gospel used to mean something, but doesn’t any more, where what is left of Christian faith will be tested and refined by the influx of those hostile unbelievers.

06
Apr
17

Biblical Response to the Crisis in the Middle East

Biblical Response to the Crisis in the Middle East

What Is a Biblical Response to the Mounting Crisis in the Middle East? // Dalton Thomas from FAI on Vimeo.

 

From one man He made all the nations, that they should inhabit the whole earth; and He marked out their appointed times in history and the boundaries of their lands. God did this so that they would seek Him and perhaps reach out for Him and find Him

 

06
Apr
17

Responding Biblically to the Refugee Crisis

eI consider this video to be one of the most important things I’ve posted on this blog in recent months. It relates to and encapsulates a lot of the concerns I’ve expressed recently about politics and Christian political attitudes; especially regarding the refuge crisis caused by events in the middle east.
Compare the content of this video with today’s all too common rhetoric about refugees.

Responding to the Mounting Refugee Crisis (BONUS FEATURES) from FAI on Vimeo.

From one man He made all the nations, that they should inhabit the whole earth; and He marked out their appointed times in history and the boundaries of their lands. God did this so that they would seek Him and perhaps reach out for Him and find Him

05
Apr
17

Empathy and Evangelism in Days of Crisis, by Dalton Thomas

Empathy and Evangelism in Days of Crisis // Dalton Thomas from FAI on Vimeo.

 

Instead of allowing refugees to be portrayed as a threat to national security – a VERY secular, nationalistic approach; look from the vantage point of the Kingdom of God and the opportunities that are being created:

From one man He made all the nations, that they should inhabit the whole earth; and He marked out their appointed times in history and the boundaries of their lands. God did this so that they would seek Him and perhaps reach out for Him and find Him

 

04
Apr
17

Underground Iranian Church

I came across this video after following links recommended by Jeanne T given in the comments section of a recent thread.


 

At the beginning of February I finished reading a book about the growth of Christianity in Iran. Too Many to Jail, by Mark Bradley. I thought I’d written a “review” of it here and wanted to link to the review after the above video. However, I couldn’t find it and suspect my memory was of an email I sent to a friend at the time.

 

The book tells of growth in the underground church in Iran, and suggests that Iran’s history and culture has prepared the country for the gospel.

In recent decades, the Islamic government of Ayatollah Khomeini , followed later by the Khomeini inspired Mahmoud Ahmadinejad presidency, caused a lot of disillusionment among Iranian Muslims who couldn’t reconcile the words and actions of “Allah’s representatives” with their own idea of what God was like.

Bradley also writes of other aspects of Iranian society that helped make Iranians look favourably upon Jesus and how some had been primed to respond to the gospel through dreams, visions and miracles before being led to someone who could share the truth with them.

 

After around 100 years of mission work leading up to Khomeini coming to power, traditional churches in Iran could only count around 500 believers – now motivated by home-grown house churches, the number of believers is thought to be in the 100s of thousands.

 

 

05
Mar
17

Out of every tribe and tongue and people and nation?

Christianity has been made into a very western-centric religion and yet how does that perception reflect statements like the following?

“For You were slain, And have redeemed us to God by Your blood Out of every tribe and tongue and people and nation”.

What does something like that actually look like from a non-colonialist viewpoint, where those from other tribes, tongues and nations don’t have to become like us (in the west) to fit into God’s Kingdom?
Especially when many of those “other tribes and nations” seem to reflect lifestyles more closely in line with biblical standards than our westernised lifestyles.

And then should we consider some of those highly questionable things with which “Christians” in the west have become identified? How many of those things that we think of as normal or acceptable in Christian life are in reality a result of following western cultural norms?

01
Mar
17

Luck. Blessing. Desire for truth

In a discussion with a friend about the state of the world, he said how lucky we were to have Jesus in our lives. I agree totally, also realising how difficult it can be to express that sentiment without using problematic terms like “luck”.

It could be avoided by replacing it with “blessed”, but I’ve also come to see that word overused and misapplied, to the extent that it dilutes understanding of what GENUINE blessings are.

Previously I’ve commented on the way that in affluent societies, so many of the things we designate as “blessings” may very well be thorns and weeds that choke the fruitfulness of God’s word out of our lives (see Mark 4) Our idea of blessing may differ significantly from God’s.

The idea of “luck” suggests chance or even worse, chance combined with “predestination” – as if we were fortunate to have our names pulled out of God’s salvation lottery hat, a very simplistic view that far too many people (like Calvinists) believe (though they probably wouldn’t like the way I described that belief).

It seems clear that there ARE so many seemingly “lucky”, random aspects to salvation and our response to it, including:

1) The religious culture of where we are born and raised.

2) Our parents’ attitudes to that religious culture.

3) The non-parental influences we face as we grow up

4) Personal experience and how we respond to it.

5) The availability of the gospel.

6) Our “mood” if and when we hear the gospel.

7) The quality of teaching and encouragement we receive after responding to the gospel.

It seems like some people can be more advantaged than others, to the extent that it doesn’t seem fair for those who don’t have the advantage of free access to the gospel.

In the past I’ve come across people who ask about the fate of those in other countries where Christianity is suppressed or absent in some other way; where conditions like those mentioned above are rarely favourable. That scenario is raised in a way that questions the validity of the gospel, because surely there’s no justice in someone’s eternal fate being dependant on their response to a message they never hear.

Some time ago I came to the conclusion that the key is a person’s desire for truth and that God WILL get the gospel to ANYONE who has a genuine desire for truth wherever they are, no matter what obstacles there seems to be.

And maybe there’s another perspective to consider. Should we recognise the “disadvantage” of having too much access to the gospel where the gospel seems to be freely available to all?
In that latter scenario it can be too easy for compromised messages and diluted gospels that aren’t really THE gospel to be adopted.

But again I see it is all dependent on a person’s genuine desire for the truth. It is that desire, and the integrity of an individual’s search for truth that makes the difference and ultimately protects him/her from the risk of false religions of all kinds, including secular/political alternatives such as nationalism.




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