Sunday, December 31, 2006

Jesus the Jew and Christian Practice

"(. . .) What all of this gets at (...) is how difficult it is for Christians to simply take the "Jesus of history" (itself a problematic notion) as normative for their faith and practice in any straightforward way.

First, as Derek also points out, the church has never confined Jesus' influence to the example set by a historical figure 2,000 years ago, much less to the latest scholarly reconstruction.

For Christian faith Jesus is first and foremost the living Lord whose Spirit continues to guide the church. Of course, that faith would be a mirage if the Jesus of history didn't do and say the kinds of things recorded in the gospel accounts.

But Christians aren't committed to slavishly imitating all the details of Jesus' life, even the religious details. That much was made clear at the Council of Jerusalem. (. . .)"

Read more of this quality posting at verbum ipsum .

The truth of the final paragraph above can also be seen in the Risen Lord Jesus's message to the Seven Churches of Asia Minor (all located within the borders of modern Turkey). More particularly see 2:9, 2:14, 2:20, and 3:9 .

Sunday, December 24, 2006

Rick Warren on Meet the Press (Psalm 72)

The TV was on this morning while we were waiting to go to church. So while flicking the channels I came upon a programme called "Meet the Press". It's one of those political interview programmes they have on Sunday mornings, a bit like the one David Frost used to have (and maybe he still does?).

I decided to stop there in my channel surfing mainly because I was intrigued that Rick Warren (Pastor of a mega-church and author of a mega best seller called "The Purpose Driven Life") was the guest.

The programme became even more intriguing when, in the context of explaining what he called the stewardship of influence, he referred to Psalm 72 . It was a mini sermon. And as you rarely get that on such Sunday morning political programmes I was listening even more intently.

He pointed out that in Psalm 72 Solomon prayed that God would magnify his influence throughout the world so that he might help the helpless. His point was that he was taking this as his model for social action.

It was time to go to church. When we got there can you guess which passage the preacher introduced as his text ? Yep, that's right : Psalm 72.

So now was my chance to get a fuller exposition.

We learn that this is a messianic psalm so that the person who will have the expansive influence and do all the great things is in fact the Messiah Himself. Solomon in this Psalm functions as the type of the Messiah.

I'm not saying that Warren was wrong in making a personal application of Scripture for his own situation but of course the primary focus of the passage is not Warren or even Solomon but the Messiah.

Christian Anarchism

". . . Instead, Clark adopts what he calls "anarcho-conservatism," an anti-revolutionary commitment to expanding the organization of the civil or economic means of social cooperation, side-by-side with, and gradually replacing coercive means. He concedes that such a conservative stance risks being insufficiently sensitive to present injustice, but argues that change which grows organically out of a people's past is preferable to the kind of sharp break with it that revolution often brings. Nevertheless, he admits that the anarcho-conservative requires a certain kind of patience:

and that may be easiest for those who can trust in God. If the God of justice will bring the Empire down, and we, God's people, will be there to see it fall (even if I, in this mortal body, never do), we can afford to wait, and not attempt to rule the world by force. (p. 90)

This last quote reminds me of John Howard Yoder's argument that Christians aren't called to make sure that history comes out right. That's God's business. The job of Christians is to be faithful to a certain way of life in the midst of the dawning of the new creation and the death-throes of the old. And certainly non-coercion looms large in Yoder's vision of what the Christian life is about. "

(Read More)

FAQ - Sunnis & Shiites

H/T Hugh Hewitt

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Why Keep a Diary ?

I couldn't have put it better myself.

Click HERE

Thanks to Paul for linking to this gem from Bill.

Sunday, December 17, 2006

A Christmas message from Celal

Happy Christmas to you all from America where Celal is at a family reunion.

America is seeming more like a foreign country to me now.

I have been identifying myself as Turkish- American and now this identity might be starting to disolve irretrievably from my psyche as a result of this visit.

Hey, maybe the good news is that my identity in Jesus will now outshine them all.

Was just watching CNN where the editors of TIME magazine have declared YOU and ME -- user generated media moguls as we are with our fine blogs as "Persons of the Year" .

On other news Celal is no longer working at Oak Hill College having (finally) been made redundant from a job that was going nowhere. Hope that will not prove to be the case with this fine biblical training institution.

And God has been good to Celal and his family having him back in the saddle with another permanent full time position in less time than it took for his redundancy cheque to clear the bank !!! Halelluia and Amen !!!!

Do me a favour and enjoy some fine mulled wine during my absence from the country.

Love and Blessings to all men and women of good will : the Saviour has come.


Saturday, December 09, 2006

Turkey : Papal Visits Boosts Beleaguered Catholics

Celebration Outside Holy Spirit Cathedral

“I was very worried by all the negative news,”
said Antuan Ilgit, a Turkish Jesuit seminarian studying in Rome who traveled to Turkey for the pontiff’s visit.

“Nobody wanted me to participate in the papal mass, because they thought there would be a bomb,” Turkish Catholic Teresa Tuzun told Compass in the courtyard outside the Holy Spirit Cathedral in Istanbul.

Joining a spontaneous Turkish folk dance in celebration of the pope’s coming, Tuzun said she had thrown caution to the wind. “I told them, ‘If you hear a bomb, know that I exploded with the pope.’”

Recurring anti-Christian media coverage and social discrimination against converts to Christianity from Islam had compounded fears among Turkey’s Catholics that the pope’s trip could end poorly.

“Unfortunately, people aren’t able to accept the fact that we are both Turkish and Catholic,” said one convert from Islam who requested anonymity for fear of losing his job. “They treat us as if we are traitors to our country. But we are Turks and we will stand by our state and our people until the end.”

Full Report

Sunday, December 03, 2006

Islam Bashers And The Judgement of Matthew 7:21-23

Islam bashing sites tend to fall into the following categories:

  • Base hatred and racism

  • Jewish sites uncovering the hypocrisies and lies of their Islamic enemies

  • Sites defending ‘western civilisation’ against Islam

In this context I’m thinking more of the third category of which THIS BLOG is a particularly good example.

So what might the people behind such sites have to do with Matthew 7:21-23 ?

In the passage, the people who are standing before the terrible judgement of Jesus Christ appear to have been performing the most visible, the most high profile and even the most spectacular acts of ministry.


Perhaps it was for personal gain. But I think it is important to note that the Lord is not accusing them for any pecuniary motive in particular.

I think this gives us room, therefore, to think they may have been performing these spectacular acts of ministry in order to convince others of the truth of Christianity.

It’s a bit like the third category of blogs above which actually also use Christian apologetic material against Islam but the person using it has not himself bowed the knee to the Lord Jesus in this life .

It is conceivable to me that such a person might stand before the Lord Jesus and make a similar defense.

It is possible we will see the numbers of such people continue to grow in the current climate of ‘Clash of Civilisations’. Sadly such people will have turned to out have deluded themselves.

Negatively, we have to beware of acting like mercenaries of the Kingdom of God without first having become its’ citizens of good standing.

And more positively this underscores the fact that Christianity is not an ideology or a religion but an individual and personal relationship with the Risen Lord Jesus Christ Himself.

Anything less is subject to terrible judgement.

Friday, December 01, 2006

Quote of the Day

"I know the best deadly sin.
And what do you think that is?
Sloth, because that means lazyness.
And if you're not doing anything, you won't commit any of the other deadly sins."
Frank McCourt