Tag Archives: Church

Discipleship and Huddles

These were some of the gems I gleaned from the Mission and Discipleship training day that was run by Central Baptist.  There were many gems here.

First was the tension between covenant and kingdom, and how we love dualisms which separate these, rather than living in the tension between them.

Talked about the different triads that live within Covenant (Father, Identity, Obedience) and Kingdom (King, Actions, Power).


A lovely little aside that the move from Abram to Abraham and Sari to Sarah means that each one of them of is given part of YHWH’s name. Continue reading

Bonhoeffer Perceives The Reich

A series of speeches where Bonhoeffer seemed to understand what was happening in Germany before all around him:

“If I had been a Jew and had seen such dolts and blockheads govern and teach the Christian faith, I would sooner have become a hog than a Christian” (page 88) (Martin Luther)

“In New York they preach about virtually everything, only one thing is not addressed, or is addressed so rarely that I have as yet been unable to hear it, namely the gospel of Jesus Christ, the cross, sin, and forgiveness, death and lift.” (page 99)

Continue reading

The Theology – Andy McGowan



3. The Reformed Doctrine of the Church


John Calvin in his commentary Psalm 15. Against the idea of forming purer Churches. Against Anabaptists. Wheat and tares until judgement.


Not the taste model but the geographical model.


4. The sovereignty of God


Serving on Commission. Told that we have no option but to leave. They will come back again and again until they win the day. This is a denial of the sovereignty of God.


They seem to believe that God cannot redeem the Church. He can turn things around in an instant. The whole of the soviet empire fell in 12 months. The Church of Scotland is not such a big task.


5. The providence of God


Now we have grown. Eric Alexander used to comment that the evangelicals in the Church of Scotland could have met in a telephone box.   The Crieff Fellowship used to meet in the front rrom of a Manse.  We are moving towards a majority. We can recover the Church of Scotland. It takes longer for every one who leaves.


Why did God allow HTC to train candidates?  When this happened, quite frankly we couldn’t believe it. The first time in 400 years that a new institution was allowed to train candidates.


Work being blessed by God in parishes. He has not finished with the Church of Scotland yet. Why should we?


6. The sin of schism


We are not at the place of apostasy yet. We must be careful of the language that we use. Calvin still said the Catholic Church had the rudiments of the true Church. We do not re baptise those from the Catholic Church


The church has certainly moved done distance from the confession. The purist churches under heaven are subject to mixture and error.


Schism is a very serious matter


7. Learning from history


Secessions and splits rarely last more than a generations. The legacy is all to see. Is it scandalous that there is such a duplication in our Highland villages.


The Church has gone through good times and bad times. He has regularly blessed and brought glorious days of revival.


We must remain the true remnant.


In any case I love this Church. You don’t leave the family when the family gets into trouble.


Remaining with integrity.

1. We do not remain unconditionally


We leave when the Church has demonstrably departed from the faith and that it is demonstrably irrecoverable


This matter of sexual immorality is not reason enough. If the Church bowed to pluralism it would cease to be a Christian Church.



2. We do not remain to be a party in a broad Church


We are not a broad Church, we are a confessing Church.


I am arguing that we stay in to return the church to where it was at the time of formation. We are a confessional Church by its constitution. It is only broad by default and lack of discipline.


3. We must consider structures of unity and separation.


We need firewalls. Separation is not from the Church but the prevailing attitude that we have to be separated from. 1 Cor 5 and 2 Corinthians.


More thought might need to be given to synod.


We must give serious consideration to the manner in which we remain.

In the congregation

“In the congregation… everything was going on at once, random, unscheduled, accompanied too much of the time by undisciplined and trivializing small talk. Babies born squalling, people dying neglected, an in between the parenthesis of birth and death, lifetimes of ambiguity: adolescents making an unholy mess of growing up and their parents muddling through as guilty bystanders. Also , of course, heroic holiness, stunningly beautiful prayers , sacrificial love surfacing from the tangled emotions in a difficult family, a song in the night, glimpses of glory, the sullen betrayal of a bored spouse quietly redeemed from years of self –imprisoned self worship by forgiveness and grace. Father, Son and Holy Ghost. And all of this mixed together. In this world, sin was not a word defined in a lexicon. Salvation was not a reference traced down in a concordance .Every act of sin and every event of salvation involved a personal name in a grammar of imperatives and promises in a messy community of friends and neighbours ,parents and grandparents, none of whom fit a stereotype”


From Eugene Peterson, The Pastor

The Church Gives Meaning To History

From John Howard Yoder (June 13th in Common Prayer)

The work of God is the calling of a people, whether in the Old Covenant or the New.  The church is then not simply the bearer of the message of reconciliation, in the way a newspaper or a telephone company can bear any message with which it is entrusted.  Nor is the church simply the result of a message, as an alumni association is the product of a school or the crowds in a theatre are the product of the reputation of the film.  That men and women are called together to a new social wholeness is itself the work of God, which gives meaning to history.”

Jumble Sale


“Be the change you want to see in the world” from Gandhi, our invitation is “to be the change” we want to see in the Church.  There are things worth protesting, but we also have to be people who “pro-testify”, proclaiming the kingdom that we’re for, not just the evils we’re against.

As some Church historians have pointed, every few hundred years the church gets infected by and infected with the materialism and militarism of the world around it.  We begin to forget who we are.  One bishop said “And so every five hundred years or so the church needs a rummage sale, ” to get rid of the clutter and to remember the true treasures of our faith.

We shouldn’t be too surprised that the Church is a mess.  After all, it’s made up of people.  Augustine said “The church is a whore, but she’s our mother.”  The early Christians said that if we do not accept the church as our mother, we cannot calle God our father.  We are not to leave her, but we are to work for her healing, as we would with a dysfunctional parent.  Our work is not “para-church” but “pro-church”.  The church needs our discontent, and we need the rest of the body of Christ.  One past said it like this “The church is sort of llike Noah’s ark.  It’s a stinky mess inside, but if you get out, you’ll drown.”

A Bet Was Made

A Bet Was Made

Page 147

A bet was made with posterity that, by keeping the Church from directing the state, or the state from compromising theology, religion might actually flourish rather than wither, since it could depend only on its own intrinsic persuasiveness.

Much of American history has been the vindication of that original gamble.  The implications of the First Amendment have been inadvertently or not backed America into the great question on which the peace of the whole world, not just the United States, will turn.  And it is a question that secular Europe with is donnish bafflement that any properly , rationally wired human being could ever believe this guff, disqualifies itself from addressing if it invariably talks of the religious as though they were all visitors from Planet Loopy.  A double standard not infrequently operates here, partly generated by British Romanticism about Islam.  American evangelicals who – so far – are obstructed from imposing law, are mad men, but the ayatollahs who are not are merely misunderstood traditionalist.  Sometimes liberal secularism does itself a disservice by deferring to intolerance, rather than debating how those claiming a monopoly of wisdom can be prevented from imposing it on others.

The Role Of The Church

A number of reflections in these pages about the role of Church, from the Church Without Walls Report.

The Churches calling is
– personal
– local
– relational
– sacrificial
– radical
– global
– eschatalogical
– doxological

quotes include

A prominent Hindu once said that he would believe in the Christian Saviour if Christians looked more saved

Segundo “It is the situation of Christendom that represents a distortion, or at least an abnormal condition, in the understanding of the Church’s role in history.  The normal condition and the one that is coming back into focus today is that of a creative minority dedicated to the service of the vast majority

Eugene Peterson
“The most important single thing about the people of God is that they are there, They exist.  They are, not because of favourable conditions, not because of certain perceived needs for which the church can provide a markey but because God called them out of nothing and made them his people

Steve Bruce
“The only area of life where the Church can compete with any secular institution or social practice and win is the the glorification of God

1994 Scottish Census of Church Attendance reveale that only 14% of the population were in church on that Sunday and only 5% of the adult population were in any Church of Scotland

Steve Bruce
The core issue is the erosion of belief, the lack of plausability of faith for many people

Church trustees estimate that the Church of Scotland needs only 1700 of its current 2500 buildings

A Vision For Church

Where people’s interests are worldwide without being worldly; and personal without being petty

I have a vision of a church which shares an invincible passion for learning and giving, whose life is energised by a glad acceptances of the Cross as a way of life.  Whose self-critical humour puts people at ease, and whose self-denials disturb and brace them.

Whose sympathy is so warm and imaginative that no one has the nerve to indulge in self-pity and whose ideals are so high that slightly soiled notions are shamed into silence

Whose convictions are firm without being rigid, whose tolerance extends even to the intolerant, whose life is admonition, whose love leanrs even from its opponents and whose faith is infectious.

I have a vision of a church that is life because from time to time it hears its Redeemers voice speak with such authority that nothing will do but obedience
nothing matters but God’s love
and others coming in can only wonder and wish and ask …

John R Peck BD ALCB
March 1979
Earl Soham, Suffolk, England

Does The Future Have A Church

Building operation of Jesus

1 Know your Foundation is Good

Rock is the apostles – Ephesians 2. 

Never before have we had so many translations and such poor knowledge of the scriptures.

6th article of the Church of England – the scriptures contain all things necessary for salvation.

2. Trust Your Founder

Talks about the 3 kw heater in his daughter’s bed room and the contrasts with the 1200 tonnes of its own mass burned every second by the sun, and this is only the tip of the power of God.

We run around saying “We’re all doomed” and this is the founder.

3. Check the Framework

“My” Church – note the possessive

Definitely doesn’t say “I will build your Church”

You can see it’s in trouble when people say “it’s their Church.”

Jesus isn’t going to build your Church – it’s his Church

Problem comes when the possessive moves.

The sweetest music on the violin is made when the bow is held lightly.  Know who has the crown rights in the Church.

He is building out of “living stones” – know the difference between a brick and a stone – stones are all unique..

The famous illustration of Michaelangelo with the block of marble saying “I know that there is an angel waiting to get out.”  God’s doing this deal with you.  This is salvation.

How do you get a horse out of stone – you chop away every part that isn’t a horse.

Tells the story of Douglas Knapp, the man known as having the strongest forearms in the Southern Convention.  He was ambushed by tribes in Africa and told to pray for their chief.  If he lives then you live, if he dies, then you die.  He prayed and prayed and eventually 1,000s turned to Christ and he baptised 24,000 people.  The forearms is a reference to the effort it takes to hold a man submerged in water during baptism.

“I know guys who died when they were 35 and didn’t get buried until they were 82”

Sandhill Crane which swaps who leads out front, and when the leader is flying, taking all the turbulence they honk encouragement.

4. Engage In Fight

There are no demilitarised zones in the Church.

Talks about the rising forces of Islam and Secularism, although also mocks the Atheist bus – that Dawkins put forward £5,000 and managed to raise £135,000.  Brady wants to ask “Are they all tight-fisted peasants Richard?”

We are in a battle for souls.

5. Confident About The Future(38 mins)

At the A1 near Tempstowe there is a place which will never be found in the heart of God “Church End”.  The Church will last longer than this nation.  We know the result.  There is a glorious future.