Thought Leaders Series: 2017

Did Jesus die to appease an Angry God, or did he die to demonstrate self-emptying (kenosis)?

By way of background, the sacrificial lamb idea was used in the early or primitive church as a metaphor for Jewish audiences who were already familiar with Temple worship and practices, to highlight Jesus’ death and resurrection. It was also used in shaping the minds of gentile converts who were already familiar with similar Temple rituals within their cultural contexts.

Unlike other deities, God neither seeks human or animal sacrifice for communion with humanity. In the early days of Nation forming, the Jews replicated the idea of known institutions from other civilisations, but they incorporated their own spiritual philosophy within such context – hence the first and subsequent Temples. We also see this in their government – from rule by the prophets, to rule through a royal dynasty, and an organised army like the nations around them.

In fact Prophets like Amos will challenge Temple worship much later in their trajectory, drawing them back to a time when all they had was the Tabernacle, while addressing issues around social justice or morality as means of ‘atonement’.

For the Atonement through death formula to stand, there has to be the doctrine of ‘Original Sin’ and an ‘Angry God’, however, Jesus never presented either of these positions to us. Instead, he continually showed us a loving Father who seeks relationship with his children – even before his death on the cross.

Jesus came to show us the Father. He demonstrated and modelled this in many instances, particularly in the Parable of the Prodigal Son.

A God that seeks human sacrifice (let alone the innocent death of his son) is not different from the pagan gods, even if we take the view that God died for us through Jesus.

This teaching is erroneous, and leads to grave consequences in our understanding of Jesus’ ministry, and our view or perception of God.

Dear Friends, Jesus’ selfless living, ministry, non-violence stance against opposition, and death in innocence; enlightens our understanding of God. By this he bridges the gap, bringing us at One with God (Atonement). He came to show the Father!

May the words of our mouth, and the meditation of our hearts be acceptable in your sight lord. Amen.

Reachout | Revive | Recover

http://www.healingsprings.org.uk

Today @ Healingsprings fellowship

Parables were not unique to Jesus. They are part of an oral tradition for teaching universal truths in the ancient Middle East. In fact some of the parables in the gospels were known parables that were expanded by Jesus, providing radically new meaning. Hence Jesus’ audience note that he spoke like, ‘one with authority’ (Matthew 7:29), emphasising that he was breaking known conventions.

Contrary to the notion that Jesus used parables because they were easy for his mostly uneducated audience to understand, we now know that Ezra et al’s reform meant that all Jews had a basic education through the instruments of the local Rabbis and synagogues from the age of 5. We also know that their curriculum covered what we now refer to as the Old Testament, as well as other classical texts and Jewish commentaries.

In using parables Jesus was keeping with Rabbinic tradition. Interestingly Matthew saw Jesus’ use of Parables as further evidence of his messianic credentials (Matthew 13:35), with reference to Ps 78:2.

Parables form about 30% of Jesus’ recorded teaching, as such they are crucial in understanding the ‘mind of Christ’ – 1 Cor. 2:16. And in deciding Jesus position on matters that are not explicitly covered in the Texts, especially modern challenges.

Join us this Sunday as we explore Jesus’ Parables within the series: God was in Christ.

3pm – 4:30pm

The Parish Hall

St John’s Sidcup,

Church Road,

Sidcup,

Kent DA14 6BX

Reachout | Revive | Recover

http://www.healingsprings.org.uk

Today @ Healingsprings fellowship

In terms of influence the Jews were only a footnote in history compared to other civilisations like Egypt, Greece, Ethiopia, Hittite, Assyria, Babylon, and Persia.

In fact Jewish racial laws and customs would not have even allowed them to trade, or exert much cultural or political influence over their neighbours, let alone the known World. Neither were they ever known for their conquest or military might.

Furthermore, theologians and historians argue that Jesus’ ministry spanned only between two to three years. Even his cousin, (John the Baptist) was more widely known and respected than Jesus.

So, how did Jesus a little known carpenter, who started his ministry around the age of thirty, who was largely seen as an agitator, who was so unpopular so much so that the people opted for the release of Barrabas when they had the choice. How did Jesus go on to leave such a legacy?

Dear friends, the lazy answer will be through God’s providence, however, the same could be said for the success of the French Revolution or even the Arab Spring.

Join us this Sunday as we explore some of the core Teachings of Jesus within my series: God was in Christ.

3pm – 4:30pm

The Parish Hall

St John’s Sidcup,

Church Road,

Sidcup,

Kent DA14 6BX

Reachout | Revive | Recover

http://www.healingsprings.org.uk

This Sunday @ Healingsprings fellowship

Like other nations of that era the Exile from The Promised Land, the destruction of The Temple; the captivity of the people was meant to be the end of the Jewish people. However it turned out to be their defining moment owing to the efforts of visionary leaders like Ezra, Nehemiah, and the company of faithfuls that bought into their vision, making that hard long journey from Babylon to Jerusalem. 

In similar vein, the movie Hidden Figures demonstrates the influence of leaders within Black Churches in that era. Their vision and hope for Social Justice will inspire women to work for NASA and IBM, and to be the best in their fields. In-spite of segregation, and other racial challenges these women excelled and made their mark in history.
This Sunday as part of my series God Was In Christ, I will be showing Hidden Figures with a view to demonstrate the church’s vital work of Reconciliation
Our role as Salt and Light. Our role in harmonising planet earth to God through our hunger and thirst for Social Justice.
Join us @ 3pm, light refreshments afterwards
The Parish Hall 

St John’s Sidcup,

Church Road, 

Sidcup, 

Kent DA14 6BX
Reachout | Revive | Recover

http://www.healingsprings.org.uk

Sin?

Some of the ideas we hold as ‘truths’ in judaeo-Christian traditions were very radical ideas when they were advanced.  
For instance when Amos took up the plight of the poor and disenfranchised (who at the time were seen as cursed by Yahweh), he was very unpopular with the ecclesiastical authorities and the people of him time. 
In fact, Jesus’ continuous mingling with ‘sinners’ was the chief reason why he was unpopular with groups like the Pharisees, eventually, leading to his death. In a strange way affirming that he died for ‘the sins of the world’.
I say this to note that what we term as ‘sin’ today have not always been absolutes. A case in point, the writer of Ruth vindicated Boaz for accepting Ruth (a Moabite) in marriage, in what can also be best described as a polygamous relationship. In similar vein Jesus challenged ‘sacred’ concepts like: fasting, giving, sabbath, and even Temple worship. 
Friends, we miss the mark if we don’t realise that Christianity and her older cousin Judaism has always been about people – especially those at the fringes of society. It’s about the bringing together of ALL, even the lost. It’s about creating ‘One New Man’.

Therefore, if people are hurting, we ought to be listening. If they are left behind, we should be reaching out. If they are tired, we should be reviving.
It’s also noteworthy to stress that most of what we refer to as the Old Testament was written retrospectively as part of nation building after The Exile.

As such, the Hebrew cannon (the Old Testament) consists of oral, administrative and historical documents that were edited and crystallised with a political vision of keeping the people and their culture together. A project which I believe Africa can learn from.

Perhaps, also important is the fact that the Christian notion of sin emerged from these Old Testament texts, and the prevailing view of the time. Hence we should be very wary when the shadows of these texts are cast on us today.
We need to build on the foundations laid by Christ: love towards God, through our love towards humanity, especially the ostracised. Even at the cost of our very lives. 

Healingsprings fellowship: JuneSeries2017

JuneSeries 2017: Reconciliation (2 Cor. 5:19)
We stand in solidarity to Reconcile our brothers and sisters in the Congo with social and economic justice.
This Sunday we will be showing the Award Winning documentary: When Elephants Fight.
Following the doc we will take questions from panel members with a view to stir up a call to action! 
Refreshment will be provided, and we have opportunities for networking and collaboration. 
Join us as at 3pm as we continue the work of Reconciliation entrusted to us by Jesus.

Which Way Africa?

Ideas, doctrines and dogmas of Christianity that had been proved to be erroneous through the Reformation, the French Revolution, The Enlightenment, Post Enlightenment etc., were dumped on Africa by Christian missionaries. 

For the Church, America and Africa were fertile soil for the expansion of the gospel, after loosing influence in Europe.
Most of these missionaries did not even understand or appreciate the culture, philosophy and traditions of Africans. Rather, they saw their race, faith and culture as superior, hence any social, technological, spiritual or economic progress Africans had made was dismissed, and discouraged. They did not even consider the fact that Africa received the Gospel centuries before Europe. 
From the Ethiopian Eunuch, to countries like Libya, and Egypt. For Egypt as far back as AD33.
The Bible was interpreted through faulty lenses by these missionaries, hence Christians were able to justify errors like ‘Ham Theology’ as the basis for slavery, segregation, apartheid and racism. 
Sadly, even till now some African Christians still manage to convince themselves that they are under a curse from God. As such these ideas justify the current state of affairs individually and collectively.
We arrive at the 21st Century and Africans are crippled with under development, mediocrity and poverty. Our churches are packed, yet we hardly see the fruits of the Gospel permeate our communities, or nations.
For example, instead of fixing roads where fatal accidents consistently occur through the use of technology, we would rather hold prayer meetings to bind the ‘demon’ causing accidents. Suffice to say that the head of the prayer group is in fact a Civil Engineer, his deputy a graduate of Computer Science, and their pastor, a graduate of Urban Regeneration. 
We have pastors behind pulpits with no formal theological training, because we are meant to be ‘led’ by the ‘spirit’. So we open the Bible, teach and preach from our narrow lenses. No understanding of the history, context, genre, culture, worldview or authorial intent of the writers. 
Who gave us minds? Why do we have minds? Why have we been tasked with the stewardship of the Earth? 
We fail to understand that the Jewish faith from which Christianity blossomed is a highly intellectual faith. In fact academics argue that our current system of compulsory education was adapted from the Jewish culture. John the Baptist attended theological school, Jesus attended theological school, Paul and the disciples did; because it was a compulsory element of their upbringing. Once they completed their studies, they learnt a vocation and got married afterwards. 
Perhaps most disturbing is the fact that those of us in the diaspora have also refused to be enlightened. Instead of challenging backwardness and mediocrity, we form the core. We have no understanding why we are in the West, neither do we understand our role in the progress and development of the Continent, and our World. 
But, we are quick to copy doctrines and teachings that are neither Christian nor ethical from the continent. Instead of reading Scriptures retroactively through the image of the invisible God – Jesus.
Father, open the eyes of our understanding, so that we may know the hope of our calling, in Jesus’ name, amen.