Friday, November 30, 2007
  A thinking theologian: reformation now!
Chris-Wright---blueChris Wright, the International Ministries Director of the (John Stott's) Langham Partnership and author of a number of popular and scholarly books on the Old Testament has issued a stirling call for reformation, among Evangelical Christians. The whole article is well, very well, worth reading (and it is short) despite its dull as ditchwater title: Theology Working Group Focuses on Lausanne Core Slogan.

The core of his case is succinctly put:
My big concern is not just that the world church should become more evangelical, but that world evangelicals should become more biblical.
Then since he takes biblical prophecy seriously, he socks it to us:

For there are scandals and abuses in the world-wide evangelical community that are reminiscent of the worst features of the pre-reformation medieval church in Europe.
  • There are some mega leaders, like ancient prelates, wielding vast wealth, power and control – unaccountable, unattractive and unChristlike
  • There are multitudes of ordinary Christians going to so-called evangelical churches, where they never hear the Bible preached or taught. They live in scandalous biblical ignorance.
  • Instead they are offered, in the ‘prosperity gospel’ a form of 21st century indulgences, except that you pay your money not for release from pains after death, but for receipt of material ‘blessings’ here and now.
  • And there are evangelicals parading ungodly alliances with secular power – political, economic and military – identifying themselves (and the gospel they claim to preach) with agendas and ideologies that reflect human empire not the kingdom of God in Christ.
Will we have the courage to identify and renounce such scandals and to seek a reformation of heart, mind and practice?
Read it the full short article!

Discuss it! Send the link to friends, blog it (so Google picks it up) this needs to be heard.

He concludes:

The 16th Century Reformation was criticized because it lacked missionary awareness and energy until much later. They were so obsessed with tackling abuses in the church that they
neglected world mission. How ironic and tragic will it be if 21st Century evangelicals are so obsessed with world mission that we neglect abuses in the church, and remain wilfully blind to our own idolatries and syncretism?
  • If reformation without mission was defective,
  • then mission without reformation will be deluded, self-defeating and even dangerous.
The Lausanne Covenant, like the Bible itself, commits us to the integration of both.

May God grant us the will and humility to respond with equal commitment.

PS I forgot to mention that it was our principal, Paul, who pointed me to this item, he has not blogged (Paul's blog) it himself yet, but I'll be interested to read what he writes as it is likely to be more thoughtful than this knee-jerk jump for joy!

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Friday, August 17, 2007
  Online meetings, PDA evangelism and more...
I spent an interesting evening yesterday with Chris (who is helping this year with PodBible - he'll be running a PodBible free lunch on Sunday, so if you are interested in seeing how the brainstorming of Think|Pray|Do ideas works email me and I'll send you details) and a friend of his who does web programming.

He is the guy behind the highly featured rich learning environment Collaboroom, which he briefly demonstrated... I can see so many ways to use such a tool, with shared whiteboard, the ability to present PPT live with audio or video of the presenter, file sharing, chat etc.

He also did the programming for an evangelism tool for PDAs
ProclaimIT "ProclaimIT is a multimedia presentation of the Gospel of Jesus Christ." His problem with both products is similar (and familiar) no one wants to pay for things online, yet he has spent time (for ProclaimIT I guess months, for Collaboroom years) work and needs the income...

We need a different economy unless the cult of the free one day dies online, but after all these years I see no sign of that... but how does one connect the dots?

Dot One: producing software and content takes time - people need to eat, etc...
Dot Two: the culture of the free - we have to somehow operate a gift economy...
Judging by the increasingly hard sales pitches from long term shareware sellers like WinZip shareware does not work. Advertising may, but do we want to live in a 100% commercialised world, were even the gospel comes with advertising!? Maybe the answer is a return to patronage, but wouldn't it be nice if this could somehow be patronage of the masses rather than of the already rich and powerful!

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