Category: Evangelism and Pluralism

BGWG 9: Mission

Ebony and Steve discuss the topic of mission, and how that important calling often has been tied up and confused with Eurocentric/US-centric colonialism. Topics include:

Ebony’s recommendation: the Kinky Curly Theological Collective (1:20)
Steve’s recommendation: The Body Keeps the Score by Bessel van der Kolk M.D. (4:58)
Steve and Ebony’s history with missions (11:42)
The connection between mission and colonialism (15:47)
Examples of American syncretism into Christianity (19:20)
The need for humility in cultures where you don’t know as well as they do, but they still look to you as the American expert (22:44)

Questions or comments for Ebony and Steve? Email bgwg@mennonerds.com.

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7 Shocking Things Atheists Have Denied

Morality. Logic. Themselves. It seems like when some atheists try to deny the existence of God, they also need to deny the existence of some very fundamental things. In this video, I talk about the seven strangest denials I have heard from various atheists.

 

Filed under: Evangelism & Missions
Syndicated from Holy Spirit Activism

How Ken Ham’s Religion Pushes Our Children Towards Atheism

Ken Ham and his followers may think they’re defending Christianity and ensuring that our faith will be passed along to future generations, but the reality is they’re putting our children and grandchildren at risk of rejecting the faith entirely. I think what’s particularly tragic is that it doesn’t have to be this way; what Ken […]
Syndicated from The Official Blog of Benjamin L. Corey

The Prosperity Gospel vs. Jesus: Why These Two Things Are Not The Same

I believe that Christianity is a religion founded upon the life, teachings, and example of Jesus of Nazareth. Any version of Christianity that is built on a different foundation– whether it’s founded upon “following the Bible” or some foundation other than “be like Jesus,” isn’t really Christianity at all, even if it tries to go by […]
Syndicated from The Official Blog of Benjamin L. Corey

Pope Francis Is NOT A Champion Of The Marginalized

Pope Francis has, by and large, been lauded by many progressive Christians since the earliest days of his papacy– I have been one of them. In fact, in 2015 I was interviewed by CNN as one of a variety of non-Catholic faith leaders who liked and respected him, even going so far as to say […]
Syndicated from The Official Blog of Benjamin L. Corey

Season after Pentecost (Proper 6 [11]) : The Gospel Passage – Spreading the Word

“Then Jesus went about all the cities and villages, teaching in their synagogues, and proclaiming the good news of the kingdom, and curing every disease and every sickness.” (Matthew 9:35)

According to the gospel of Matthew, Jesus had just completed a series of healings, and was setting out to see and spread his ministry to the people of that area – the writer of Matthew has does not name specific places.

“When he saw the crowds, he had compassion for them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd.” (Verse 36)

Not having studied animal husbandry, I am forced to assume that sheep do not do well without someone to make sure they have access to good food and clean water.

“Then he said to his disciples, “The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few; therefore ask the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into his harvest.” (Verse 38)

Now this is interesting. From the way this verse/sentence is constructed you would almost think that “laborers” are going to come out from buildings, or something, and go out to do the harvesting that is the Lord’s. But these “laborers” do not come from an outside source, but are the disciples that are supposedly traveling with Jesus. And it strikes me this is an unusual way to maneuver someone or a group into doing something. Yet, it is also familiar – this leading with already set intention. Like a subliminal motivation instead of an overt instruction.

“Then Jesus summoned his twelve disciples and gave them authority over unclean spirits, to cast them out, and to cure every disease and every sickness. These are the names of the twelve apostles: first, Simon, also known as Peter, and his brother Andrew; James son of Zebedee, and his brother John; Philip and Bartholomew; Thomas and Matthew the tax collector; James son of Alphaeus, and Thaddaeus; Simon the Cananaean, and Judas Iscariot, the one who betrayed him.” (Chap 10: 1 – 4)

And I have to conclude, since it is obvious that this was written after Jesus’ ministry was over, that there was some purpose in phrasing the suggestion for laborers to go out. It reminds me somewhat of the theological perspective that we, as God’s called and chosen people, are the ones who bear the responsibility for spreading the word and message of God. In fact, the end of the book of Matthew ends with such a directed purpose.

“These twelve Jesus sent out with the following instructions: “Go nowhere among the Gentiles, and enter no town of the Samaritans, but go rather to the lost sheep of the house of Israel. As you go, proclaim the good news, ‘The kingdom of heaven has come near.’ Cure the sick, raise the dead, cleanse the lepers, cast out demons. You received without payment; give without payment.” (Verses 5 – 8)

You can be sure, beloved reader, when I post this I will most certainly put it under the tags of “Mission” , “Missiology”, and “Missional”. And I want to remind you that mission can be done close at hand. Jesus, in essence, told his disciples not wander far but to stay close to home and close by in the land of Israel.

The lectionary, while noting the verses that follow verse eight, do not include verses nine to twenty-three.

“Take no gold, or silver, or copper in your belts, no bag for your journey, or two tunics, or sandals, or a staff; for laborers deserve their food. Whatever town or village you enter, find out who in it is worthy, and stay there until you leave. As you enter the house, greet it. If the house is worthy, let your peace come upon it; but if it is not worthy, let your peace return to you. If anyone will not welcome you or listen to your words, shake off the dust from your feet as you leave that house or town. Truly I tell you, it will be more tolerable for the land of Sodom and Gomorrah on the day of judgment than for that town. “See, I am sending you out like sheep into the midst of wolves; so be wise as serpents and innocent as doves. Beware of them, for they will hand you over to councils and flog you in their synagogues; and you will be dragged before governors and kings because of me, as a testimony to them and the Gentiles. When they hand you over, do not worry about how you are to speak or what you are to say; for what you are to say will be given to you at that time; for it is not you who speak, but the Spirit of your Father speaking through you. Brother will betray brother to death, and a father his child, and children will rise against parents and have them put to death; and you will be hated by all because of my name. But the one who endures to the end will be saved. When they persecute you in one town, flee to the next; for truly I tell you, you will not have gone through all the towns of Israel before the Son of Man comes.” (Verses 9 – 23)

I am not too surprised at this, for two reasons. Number one, the verses are pretty prophetic and predictive about what happens after Jesus’ death. We can see that in the last section of verse 23 that seems more “end of the world-ish” than one would expect. Number two, the theme this year is new believers coming to faith. Stopping at verse eight leaves the emphasis on ministering and converting new believers. The verses that follow have less to do with new believers and more to do with those believers who are heading out to do missional work.

Do not think it too unusual, beloved reader, that the RCL crafts what verses and passages are presented and when. Just as Jesus (according to the writer of the gospel of Matthew) arranged for this disciples to be laborers in the Lord’s harvest, so does the RCL seek to present scripture in such a way that it supports a theme and a purpose. In the same way, do not doubt that I have a theme and purpose in what I write and I. But rest assured, my purposes are good and to aid you on your Christian journey. Selah!

Filed under: Revised Common Lectionary Year A 2017 Tagged: Character of Jesus Christ, Evangelism, Missiology, Mission, Missional, Nature of Jesus Christ, Revised Common Lectionary, Season After Pentecost
Syndicated from a simple desire

Amazing Miracle Reports from Christ for all Nations

Daniel Kolenda, President of Christ for all Nations (CfaN), has released a series of new videos featuring powerful and faith-inspiring testimonies of some of the miracles he has witnessed on his campaign meetings in Africa.

This video features Nigerian woman Placita Outa, who severely damaged her spinal cord in an accident. Doctors performed many surgeries to repair it, but the final surgery left her paralyzed. She had to rely on crutches and the help of others to move around. Jesus totally healed her on a CfaN campaign.

As Daniel Kolenda and some of the team were getting into the car after a meeting at a Gospel Campaign in Sapele, Nigeria, a woman stopped him. She wanted him to pray for her three-year-old son, who lay dead in her arms. Daniel took the child, held his body for a moment, prayed a simple prayer of faith and then left.

The following night the woman returned to tell the rest of the story. As Daniel drove away, the boy came back to life! He is now perfectly well. When the crowd of 200,000 heard this, they broke into wild cheering, and the whole city of Sapele was rejoicing.

This woman was totally blind in both eyes. She attended one of the meetings in Abidjan, and the Lord healed her left eye. So the next night she came to give glory to God.

While interviewing her on the platform for a testimony, Daniel learned that her right eye was still blind. He told her to cover that eye with her hand, and he prayed for
her. But nothing happened. So he covered her eye with his hand and prayed again, commanding the eye to open. “Mama, look at me. What do you see?”

She looked at him intently for a few moments, and then suddenly started shouting, “Oui, oui, oui, oui, oui!” (Which is French for, “Yes, yes…!”).

And this is one of my favourites. In 2010, Mohammed began to lose his hearing, eventually becoming deaf. Without any money, he could not visit a doctor to diagnose or treat the problem. He simply had to live in silence.

While returning home from visiting his stepbrother, Mohammed missed his train. Unusual circumstances thwarted him, forcing him to stay another night in Accra. He decided to spend the night at the local plaza – where Christ for all Nations happened to be holding an evangelistic Campaign. Because Mohammed could not hear, he did not know what the event was about. So he simply lay down on a bench at the Campaign grounds and fell asleep.

But he woke up suddenly to the feeling of liquid in his ears – even though it was not raining. As he removed the liquid with his fingers, his ears popped open. His hearing had returned! And the first sound he experienced after two years of silence was the voice of a preacher praying for the sick. Mohammed could hardly believe what was happening. But this he knew: Jesus Christ had just healed him.

Mohammed wanted to get the message to his wife. So he announced the name of his city and said, “If anybody knows me … tell my wife, ‘Jesus is the Son of God!’” The crowd erupted in praise. No football team had ever recåeived such an ovation. The people were jumping and dancing and shouting for joy.

Filed under: Signs & Wonders
Syndicated from Holy Spirit Activism

5 Things I Wish Conservative Christians Understood About Muslims

Conservative Christians seem to have a lot of opinions about Islam and our Muslim neighbors. Those opinions are often grossly misinformed at best. I’ve met very few conservative Christians who have spent any considerable amount of time in friendships with Muslims; it’s also true that I’ve rarely met an overly anti-Islamic conservative Christian who has studied [Read More...]
Syndicated from The Official Blog of Benjamin L. Corey

Seventh Sunday of Easter: The Gospel Passage – Jesus prays, and we are drawn in

“After Jesus had spoken these words, he looked up to heaven and said, “Father, the hour has come; glorify your Son so that the Son may glorify you, since you have given him authority over all people, to give eternal life to all whom you have given him. And this is eternal life, that they may know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom you have sent. I glorified you on earth by finishing the work that you gave me to do. So now, Father, glorify me in your own presence with the glory that I had in your presence before the world existed.” (John 17:1-5)

The New Revised Standard Version tells me, through section headings, that Jesus is praying this for himself in verses one to five. The next section of verses, six to eleven is part of the larger section where Jesus prays for his disciples. According to the writer of the gospel of John, Jesus prayed this at the conclusion of the Passover Supper/Last Supper. Since the gospel of John does not have the ascension of the Lord, it is as close to a sending off of the disciples as we get in this gospel.

This first section is interesting, in that it reveals what position vis a vis Jesus felt he had with God. Jesus identifies (again) that he came from God and had authority to do all the things he did – preaching/teaching and miracles. But it also identifies that Jesus had the same glory that God has, and will have the glory again. Which is probably why it is used for the Sunday closest to the Day of Ascension of the Lord. It also brings sharply into focus the aim of the writer of the gospel of John, establishing Jesus’ Divinity. You may wonder, beloved reader, why I sometimes use the noun “Divine” at times when referring to the Lord God. At the times when I used that term, I am trying to sum up all that the triune aspects (and other aspects) of the Lord God are. And to incorporate more than just a strictly narrowly-defined Christian view of the Lord God.

Jesus was not a Christian – he was Christ. Strictly speaking, the Jews who believed in him and came to believe in him during the time of the early Christian church were not Christians either. It was the people who came from other faiths that embraced belief in Christ who could be termed Christians. Christianity, and by implication Christendom, was established by subsequent generations. And those believers can be and are included in the prayer that the NRSV says were prayed for Jesus’ disciples.

“I have made your name known to those whom you gave me from the world. They were yours, and you gave them to me, and they have kept your word. Now they know that everything you have given me is from you; for the words that you gave to me I have given to them, and they have received them and know in truth that I came from you; and they have believed that you sent me. I am asking on their behalf; I am not asking on behalf of the world, but on behalf of those whom you gave me, because they are yours.” (Verses 6 – 9)

The world, as it would have been understood then (and remember that this prayer comes to us by way of a person writing within the context of those times) would be “pagans” who it was assumed would never give up their “pagan” beliefs nor hear about Jesus the Messiah because they were at too much of a distance. The assumption was, those who were “given to” Jesus were very close at hand and with the conceptual distance that the disciples had.

“All mine are yours, and yours are mine; and I have been glorified in them. And now I am no longer in the world, but they are in the world, and I am coming to you. Holy Father, protect them in your name that you have given me, so that they may be one, as we are one.” (Verses 10 – 11)

This passage of prayers goes on for eight more verses, as Jesus asks the Lord for blessing and protection on the disciples. A final passage, verses twenty to twenty-six ask a blessing on all believers – specifically those who will come to faith because of the disciple’s ministry efforts. But remember, the writer of the gospel of John could not foresee the length of time and the impact that Jesus’ life would have.

I could go on, beloved reader, describing the expanding circle of those who came to believe, and how. In part, that is what the book of Acts and the Epistle passages of the New Testament are. Tracing the progression, the impact, and the teachings of the apostles. Remember too, that there is much evidence that the early church thought not more than one or two generations would pass before Jesus would return. But here we are, 21st Century Christians who have kept (more or less) a Christian faith based on what was set down by Christ. The disciples/apostles could not envision that. But Jesus Christ could and did. So, when Jesus prayed for his “apostles” – that could be us. And when Jesus prayed for all other believers, that is us too.

I am reminded that the theme of the lectionary this year is believers coming to new/renewed faith. According to the celebration days of the church, Jesus has ascended. And the Lord God and Jesus Christ continue to welcome believers and minister to them. Selah!

Filed under: Revised Common Lectionary Year A 2017 Tagged: Character of Jesus Christ, Evangelism, Fellowship, God's Nature, Gospel Passage, Missiology, Mission, Missional, New Faith, Revised Common Lectionary, Seventh Sunday of Easter
Syndicated from a simple desire

Franklin Graham: Forcing People To Get Married Is A Great Idea

Forced Marriages: What Franklin Graham Is Wrong About Today   I thought I had seen it all, and then today came. The Fundamentalist Pope, Franklin Graham, is praising Burundi’s President Pierre Nkurunziza for FORCING people to get married. Yes, that’s right– forced marriage. President Nkurunziza is a professing Christian who is serving a questionable third term [Read More...]
Syndicated from The Official Blog of Benjamin L. Corey

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