A sermon

A sermon preached on 2 Corinthians 11, at St Andrews Baptist Church. There’s an easy sermon in these verses. Not a good sermon, but an easy sermon. The Corinthians had had their heads turned by false teaching about Jesus; this was bad; we should hold to true teaching. Now let’s have some coffee. But the Corinthian church were not stock cartoon baddies, to be used only as examples of how not to live; they were real people, trying their best to hold to Jesus. Think about how they felt… It wasn’t our fault – I want you to know that. We can’t be blamed. What we did – what we thought – the things we decided – they were natural, normal. You’d have done the same. You would, I tell you – in our place,...

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John Stackhouse on worship music

[ht Andy and Ben] John Stackhouse (who was once kind enough to buy me breakfast) has posted a farily blunt condemnation of certain trends in contemporary worship music, focusing on Chris Tomlin. He makes, as far as I can see, two separable complaints: on the one hand, contemporary worship music (as exemplified by Tomlin) is lyrically poor – an aesthetic judgement; on the other, that it is doctrinally light or erroneous – a theological judgement. I have posted before on the error of assuming that the great songs that have come down to us from earlier ages were in any way normal in those ages. Wesley, Watts and Newton were the pinnacles of what was happening in their day, not average examples. And each of them wrote his fair share of weaker lyrics...

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What is evangelism?

Someone told me yesterday about a book – it doesn’t matter which – on personal witness, that included chapters such as ‘preparing to evangelise’ and ‘what to do after you’ve evangelised’. The language grated, and I’ve been trying to analyse why. The implicit assumption in the language (and, it seemed clear from the description, in the book) is that ‘evangelism’ is a discrete, verbal activity that consists essentially of stating a small number of particular theological propositions (concerning universal sinfulness; atonement in Christ’s death; and the need for personal appropriation of that atonement) in the hearing of someone who is not yet a Christian believer. Now, I am not, of course,...

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