The Religious State of the World

mission worldI am currently taking a class at Fuller Seminary entitled Church & Mission in a Global Context. I greatly appreciate church, church history and mission, and this class is scratching each of those itches.

Early on in the class, we viewed a short, 9-minute video from the Lausanne Global Leadership Forum in 2013. There is a large amount of statistics to process within this brief presentation. Nonetheless, it provides some interesting insights into the religious, and Christian, make-up of our world.

Check out the video below. Continue reading

Kingdom Conspiracy

kingdom_conspiracyA month or so ago, I received a review copy of Scot McKnight’s newest release through Brazos Press. It’s entitled Kingdom Conspiracy: Returning to the Radical Mission of the Local Church. McKnight is one of the leading New Testament scholars alive today and I have personally appreciated his writings, especially his 2 books The Blue Parakeet and The King Jesus Gospel. You can also check out his blog, Jesus Creed.

His new release is almost like a “part 2″ of The King Jesus Gospel, taking us a bit further in not just understanding the gospel, but the kingdom of God and the church. Continue reading

When Fear Motivates (or Manipulates)

Fear-spelled-outOver the last 2 Friday’s, I participated in what I believed to be an amazing opportunity.

Let me set the scene:

I teach a class entitled Missiology. We discuss the concept of the mission of God in our world – what that entails and many related topics. Such topics are covered as the church, the kingdom of God, the gospel, the mission that began in Gen 1 (not the NT), the work of the Holy Spirit, the gifts of the Spirit, modern mission movements, and a few other areas.

But one other topic addressed for merely 2 class sessions is that of Mission & Other Religions. Continue reading

A Follow-up to the Church Beginning Before the New Testament

AbrahamI recently posted an article in which I suggested that the “church” existed well before the New Testament (before the Gospels or Acts). The thoughts rose out of some teaching sessions I gave in a Missiology course, one where our driving focus in discussing “church” (or any topic) is that of mission.

And I believe that mission is best understood when we see the mission of God being made known from the beginning – starting in Genesis 1. And, I believe the same attention needs to be given when we discuss this community of God’s people we call “church.”

I centered a lot of the discussion around linguistics. The word we use, “church,” comes from the Greek ekklesia. Most are aware of this.

However, this word ekklesia - generally meaning assembly, gathering, or congregation – was also used in the Old Testament to describe God’s old covenant people of Israel. It’s just that the Hebrew word is qahal.

But both – ekklesia and qahal – mean and are translated in English as assembly, gathering, or congregation. Continue reading

Church Started Well Before the New Testament

churchWhen people talk about church, or study about it in Scripture, where do they first turn? Normally the New Testament, most likely starting in Acts. But I’m convinced that’s not where we need to begin.

Interestingly enough, the word church shows up before Acts, in 2 places in the gospels: Matt 16:13-20 and Matt 18:15-20. Those passages have been highly debated, especially amongst Roman Catholics and Protestants. I actually side with the Roman Catholics on a point – mainly that Peter is the rock in Matt 16, not “Peter’s confession.” Protestants work too hard to connect “rock” with that statement in Matt 16:16, or work too hard to disconnect it from the person, Peter. Continue reading