The Church as Community in Mission
- Written by: Paul Arnott
Bishop Michael Nazir Ali asserts that churches are called to engage in mission from everywhere to everywhere. By that I take him to mean that mission is to be at the heart of church life, that all Christians are called to be witnesses to Jesus in the words we speak and the lives we live wherever we live. But more than that, churches are called to have an involvement in both local mission and global mission.
In my experience if churches engage in mission at all they are locally focused and tend to leave the global to the enthusiastic few. However, as congregations recognise the primacy of their global nature and calling they will be far more effective in their local mission and outreach. As Bishop Lesslie Newbigin wrote in his 1994 book The Open Secret, “Mission is the proclaiming of God's kingship over all human history and over the whole cosmos. Mission is concerned with nothing less than all that God has begun to do in the creation of the world and of humankind. Its concern is not sectional but total and universal.'
A Life-Long Vocation to be a Pastor and Teacher
- Written by: Bishop John Wilson
With EFAC Victoria calling together a conference on Gospel, Mission and Church in March 2010, I thought it might be helpful if I put pen to paper on my experiences of a life-time of Christian mission and ministry in an Australia that is very different from what it was like when I began.
From the beginning I have always been part of the evangelical side of the church. The great strength of evangelical ministry is its emphasis on evangelism. Evangelicals have a Gospel to proclaim. They are people who know that God has a message which is solidly based on what God has already done for us in the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. They know that God uses this message in the power of the Holy Spirit to change lives. They know that there are millions who live their lives 'having no hope and without God in the world' (Ephesians 2:12). God desires that these people repent of their sin, and turn to him in faith, and enjoy his salvation. Evangelicals are not afraid to share this Gospel message and see people changed by God. And because this gospel is proclaimed in all sorts of ways, people are being converted and changed, and churches are growing, sometimes slowly and sometimes dramatically. So the Gospel is at the heart of evangelical ministry and is its great strength.
But what is to happen next? Let me reflect on this through my personal experiences. I grew up in the northern beachside Sydney suburb of Manly. My parents were not church goers at all. Both had lost their mothers when they were young. My mother came out of that strange religious amalgam of theosophy; my father out of a strict Presbyterianism, which he had rejected as harsh but without rejecting a belief in God. He had been a commercial traveller for my grandfather's stationery business in New Zealand but for most of his life he was, incredible as it may sound, an SP bookmaker running a betting business on horse racing out of our home. He got into this when coming to Australia in the depression and not being able to find work. My mother followed him here. They married in Christ Church, St Kilda and then moved to Sydney where my mother found work as a hairdresser. My father then began his SP bookmaking business. This provided a modest but comfortable income for our family although only in 1960 were we able to move out of a rented flat into my parents' own home.
Finding the central ministry purpose of a book Part Two
- Written by: Peter Adam
Finding the central ministry purpose of a book of the Bible
Part Two – 2 Corinthians
In Part One, I tried to show the general principles and practice of finding the central ministry purpose of a book of the Bible. In Part Two, I will show how this applies to a difficult example, that of 2 Corinthians.
There are two preliminary questions that need to be answered when tackling 2 Corinthians.
a. Are 1 and 2 Corinthians one unit of meaning, and so mutually explanatory?
Traditionally these two letters have been regarded as one unit, in that it has been assumed that they both tackle the same issues, that they refer to each other, and that 2 Corinthians flows on naturally from 1 Corinthians.
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