Practicing Christianity

So what is essential to Christianity? I would say this:

My understanding of this is flavoured by a respect for diversity, vulnerability, beauty and mystery. Following is some of the stuff I’ve written which draws out some of implications.

THE RESURRECTION OF JESUS

Central to my understanding of Christianity is the story of the life, death and resurrection of Christ. How we understand this good news shapes how we understand everything else that flows from it.

What is the gospel? “To believe the gospel is to put one’s trust and confidence in the person and work of Jesus Christ as Saviour and Lord.”

The gospel begins with the resurrection. “The good news in its most raw and original form was that proclaimed by Mary Magdalene, ‘I have seen the Lord!'”

Justified without knowing it. “Because what matters is believing in Jesus, detailed agreement on justification, properly conceived, isn’t the thing which should determine eucharistic fellowship.”

Pagan Christ’s. “Now as myth transcends thought, incarnation transcends myth. The heart of Christianity is a myth which is also a fact.”

The Politics of Resurrection. “I think its worth spending some more time contrasting the politics of pragmatism with the politics of resurrection”

The Image of God. “We cannot deduce anything about Jesus from what we think we know about God; we must deduce everything about God from what we do know about Jesus.”

Further Reading:

The Challenge of Jesus by N. T. Wright

The Resurrection of the Son of God by N. T. Wright

The Missing Gospels by Darrell L. Bock

What’s So Amazing About Grace by Philip Yancy

Proclaiming the Scandal of the Cross by Mark D. Baker

THE TEACHING OF THE APOSTLES

What were the apostles and prophets really trying to say when they wrote the New and Old Testaments under God’s inspiriation? What does it mean to read the texts in context?

Apostolic Authority and Christian Diversity “The differences between Orthodox, Catholic and Protestant Christianity are, more than anything else, grounded in our different ways of understanding apostolic authority.”

The Limits of Theology

Teaching without words

Towards a theology of other religions

What are you favourite bible verses? “It is hard for me to pin down a single, all time favourite. But here are a number of Bible verses that have inspired me over the years, which I keep coming back to.”

Is the God of the Old Testament Christian? “Jesus transforms our understanding of God, and hence, our understanding of the Old Testament and how we read it.”

Further Reading:

How to read the Bible for all its worth by Gordon D. Fee and Douglas Stewart

How can the Bible be authoritative? by N T Wright

Inspiration and Incarnation by Peter Enns

THE PRACTICE OF FAITH, HOPE, LOVE

Christianity is more than a teaching, it’s a way of life. So what does it mean to follow Jesus? What does discipleship look like?

The Anabaptist Tradition and the Politics of Jesus “In the process I also came to understand the political implications of the crucifixion and resurrection of Jesus, and indeed, his call to the crucified life.”

Faith and Doubt “Faith does not grow through the suppression of doubt. Faith grows through the transformation of doubt.”

Tollerence and Forgiveness “Tollerance is different from forgiveness, for tollerance says, there is nothing to forgive.”

Theology, Worship and Aesthetics “Aesthetic forms of worship allow worshippers to represent and re-present God’s glory and sublime nature, the mystery of divine activity, and the wonders of salvation.”

How to survive church “Remember that Jesus calls us to love our enemies – even when they’re family.”

Can you be too incarnational? “My answer is no, you can never be too incarnational, for properly understood that’s akin to asking whether you can be too Christlike.”

Abortion, politics and Christianity “Please, explain to me how you justify your stance in a way which does not marginalize the significance of the life, death and resurrection of Jesus.

Christian Meditation “The love of God, the sole object of Christian contemplation, is a reality which cannot be “mastered” by any method or technique.”

Loving Wiccans, Pagans and Goddess Worshippers

Further Reading:

The Politics of Jesus by John H Yoder

Evangelism After Christendom by Bryan Stone

Humble Apologetics by John G. Stackhouse, jr.

The Measure of a Church by Gene A. Getz

THE EXPERIENCE OF LIFE TRANSFORMATION

How does Christianity make a difference? Not just in the future but here and now? Not just personally but collectively?

Christian transformation has multiple dimensions “When we talk about life transformation or salvation, what do we mean? What does it encompass?”

Life Decisions “Becoming a Christian [for me] was no minor course correction, it was a radical life change.”

Converting Leadership “Conversion, not information, is the cause of transformation. In the use of conversion here, I am not talking about the naïve miraculous one-time conversion experience.”

The Boy with no name “I would like to share a story with you that brings me to tears.”

Entranced Prayer “I simply find that meditative trances are a powerful aid to opening my awareness to God’s presence.”

Healing “A guy I know, who I’ve been trying to help through some tough times, has been healed. Not in a little way. In a big way.”

Faithful Mysticism “But this transformation comes from God’s initiative. We are sanctified as we are justified – through faith.”

Further Reading:

Dissident Discipleship by David Augsburger