Sunday, September 27, 2009

internet church

There is much talk about multisite ministry where video feed from one teacher/preacher is sent to other sites where groups meet. I think the idea is helpful at points as one can then access outstanding preaching in multiple locations. It has some issues too, but that is not what this post is about.

The multisite model has also now spawned the internet church. Here you can meet in forums (cell groups) and listen to live audio or video of the preaching. Whilst this does allow many more people to access the teaching in an informal and even anonymous environment, it has some major problems that many others are pointing to.

We at our congregation have been focusing on fellowship and community. Our love for God HAS to find meaning in our love for others. And this is, in my mind, where the internet church primarily falls short. Whilst one can open up on a forum and seek counsel via email, we've missed something in the personal interaction face to face. To confess sin online to a bunch of fairly anonymous folk is one thing, to bare ones soul to a brother or sister is a lot more real and life changing.

The second issue that I believe is a downfall of the internet church is that it is a consuming model in line with our consumer culture. There is little or no real opportunity to give back, and there is little opportunity to really identify with the community. It is very self serving in many ways and also it's tough to serve with ones spiritual gifts from behind the keyboard. How do I show hospitality, tongues/interpretation whilst we are separated?

I think internet church is helpful to a point...but because it lacks the personal connection and the opportunity to serve it is and never will be church.

Friday, September 11, 2009

Episcopalian church is apostate

The episcoplaian church has been getting more and more liberal as time has gone on. Acceptance of homosexuality, proponents of same-sex marriage and even ordaining practicing homosexuals. But they have now become apostate and are no longer fit to be called a church. According to VirtueOnline a webiste for Anglican orthodoxy at the 75th convention the house overwhelmingly voted to NOT state that Jesus is the only way to be saved. In case your scripture knowledge is a bit rusty:

"And there is salvation in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved" Acts 4:12

Here are some excerpts:


The House of Deputies of the 75th General Convention of the Episcopal Church today overwhelmingly refused to even consider a resolution that affirmed Jesus Christ as the "only name by which any person may be saved."

"This type of language was used in 1920s and 1930s to alienate the type of people who were executed. It was called the Holocaust. I understand the intent, but I ask you to allow the discharge to stay," said the Rev. Eugene C. McDowell, a graduate of Yale Divinity School and Canon Theologian for the Diocese of North Carolina.
" The resolution further affirmed "the substitutionary essence of the Cross and the manifestation of God's unlimited and unending love for all persons," while calling on the Episcopal Church to renew its Scripture-based witness to "all persons."

The Rev. McDowell said "In the Episcopal Church we don't do up and down votes on Jesus Christ as Lord, and to do so is potentially a mean-spirited approach, to ask questions that aren't meant to be questions."

McDowell explained that how one lives his life is the more important issue than whether one affirms Jesus as Lord. To place a statement of belief over actions is the essence of "self-righteousness," he said. "Actions speak louder than proclamations...What Jesus calls us to do is to live our lives."

McDowell outlined his basic theology of grace: "Salvation by grace is remembering that we are the children of a living God. Grace is already there. And salvation is realizing we now live into that salvation. And sanctification is the transforming of my life from one that's me-centered to one that's God-centered."

The final tally on the electronic vote was 70.5 percent for discharge (675 votes) and just 29.5 (242 votes) to consider the resolution affirming Jesus Christ as Lord.



So grace and Jesus are separable? It seems pretty clear from the Bible that the grace of God can only be accessed via Jesus - to accept that there are other ways or other saviours is to deny the supremacy and exclusivity of Christ. Please do pray for the episcopalian church - they are in dire need of salvation, as are many others.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

As we forgive

I have just finished a truly profound book called As we forgive. It is about seven people's stories who survived the Rwandan genocide - a trully horrific event. The book is very moving and ones heart breaks at peoples violent anger and inhumanity to each other.

Where I found myself really stretched was in restorative justice vs retributive justice. Perhaps the toughest part was when a violent offender repents and asks for forgiveness, how do we deal with that when the crime has been so bloody, so inhumane? Should there still be retribution and punishment even if they have truly repented of their actions? The real challenge is that by seeking retribution the victim gains nothing. Their loved ones are still dead, innocence is still lost and any satisfaction is only hollow...

I found myself deeply challenged by God's grace through these survivors stories as well as my own sentiments around justice and punishment against the compassion they showed...really worth a read!