I 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
When 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
Derbyshire, over at the CharisMissional blog, shared an interesting post a few weeks back. He takes time to list posts about mission for all 26 letters of the alphabet – A to Z.
So check it out here.
Recently, Dr Martin Robinson, Principal of Springdale College, gave a lecture amongst the leaders of Global Horizons on the spiritual-religious landscape of Europe. It’s an interesting survey of what is currently taking place in Europe, which is quite different from occurrences in the rest of the world.
See the video below. Continue reading
As I shared a couple of weeks back, we recently had a team visit us from Trinity School of Theology, a ministry training college based out of Rugby, England, and part of the network of churches we work with in Global Horizons. They came as part of their training, but also to serve alongside us at Cornerstone in reaching out into our Belgian context.
The first day, Monday, we were involved in some work within the city of Brussels: 1) cleaning a local park and 2) spending time with our international refugee friends. With the guy refugees, we played football (soccer) in the park that we cleaned a few hours earlier. The ladies headed up a beauty day treatment for the females. The second day, we planned craft and fun activities for the refugees. While none of this seems revolutionary by human standards, it is quite amazing the doors that are opened through conversations and relationships with people living in a very foreign land as refugees. Salt was sprinkled, light was shone, and conversations of Christ were right in our midst.
The next two days, we spent time out in our local Flemish-speaking community. From picking up litter along the main street, to passing out leaflets for an Explore Faith course starting in later May, to serving in a local social services centre, all of this gave us an opportunity within our community. Again, to my knowledge, no one asked how they might be ‘saved’. But we were able to develop relationships that I believe are the beginnings of God working amongst a people that need to know the love of Christ.
My deep desire and prayer is that God continue to open doors into the lives of people in the Brussels, Belgium area, especially in our local Flemish-speaking area just south of Brussels. God has created these people and He deeply loves them. Now to see us engage in hearing God and living out His heart in this community.