Today at healingsprings fellowship

Broadly speaking, in Judaism Yahweh is perceived as Constant while all else is Variable. This philosophical tradition is responsible for the various theological explanations of their socioeconomic conditions through Jewish history.

Cleaving on to stories of supernatural interventions their ancestors passed on through their rich oral tradition, they waited in hope for Divine intervention whenever they encountered challenges.

Interestingly, apart from a small numbers of miracles recorded in their Cannon, and the fact that most times Yahweh never showed – up as they were told he did in the era of Moses and Joshua, their prophets and priests still urged them to remain faithful to their tradition and religious systems.

Even though in the recorded text we see Yahweh showing up amidst the sin, rebellion, and irreverence of the people as they journeyed from Egypt to The Promised Land; whenever they encountered disaster they will blame it on sin (missing the mark or standard).

This includes actions and omissions, or a lack of adherence to the written or revealed word, or even Yahweh choosing to defer justice to the Afterlife. So much so that the leaders even added more layers and safeguards to prevent the people from ‘sinning’; all in the hope that Yahweh will show up and deliver them from their enemies. Overtime these rules became a burden on the people. Hence Jesus’ call to them:

“Come to me, all you that are weary and are carrying heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me; for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.” – (Matthew 11:28-30)

Yahweh did not show up after Josiah’s reform, Uzziah’s reform, The Exile, Ezra’s reform, and the reforms which led to the Great Revolt against the Romans, and subsequent destruction of Judea, and the dispersion by the Romans. But yet they were still urged towards faithfulness, and to ‘wait’ on Yahweh.

I think there is a lesson for Christians, especially in the 21st Century. We cannot judge God based on his ‘performance’, rather, we are called into faithfulness. We are called to be lights and salt. A city set upon a hill, which cannot be hidden. We are called to infect this world with love and kindness.

To this end, we are not hooked on doctrines like the virgin birth, miracles, or even resurrection. Rather, we are focussed on his teaching and moral examples as we remain faithful to the Call to co-create a better World.

Join us for Resurrection and Ascension as part of our series, God Was in Christ.

3:00-4:30pm, coffee and light refreshments afterwards.

St John’s Hall

Church Rd,

Sidcup DA14 6BX

Reachout | Revive | Recover

http://www.healingsprings.org.uk

Today at healingsprings fellowship

Immortality has always been something humankind yearned for.

It is captured in poetry, story telling and folk traditions of most known civilisations. In an era when people died from natural disasters, accidents, child birth, wars, famine, and diseases; superstition was rife. The idea of an ‘angry God’ punishing humankind with plagues and natural disasters made sense.

Socioeconomically, in the absence of justice for the poor and marginalised in the present world, the idea of an afterworld, resurrection, judgement, heaven and hell; gained traction in the central doctrine of most known faiths.

In the Jewish context, the Sadducees were opposed to these ideas, while the Pharisees, and later Christians held on to these view.

Consequently, what happened on the third day after the death and burial of Christ became the first recorded evidence of this once mythical idea. For Christians, the risen lord was also coming back in judgement against those who do not believe in his lordship.

In an era of great pain and injustice, the resurrection, afterlife, judgement and punishment was a very strong deterrent from evil, and a compelling message for the followers of Christ.

To this end Paul argued that:

If there is no resurrection of the dead, then not even Christ has been raised. And if Christ has not been raised, our preaching is useless and so is your faith.” – (1 Cor. 15:13–14)

Join us on this snowy winter day for Resurrection and Ascension as part of our series, God Was in Christ.

3:00-4:30pm, coffee and light refreshments afterwards.

St John’s Hall

Church Rd,

Sidcup DA14 6BX

Reachout | Revive | Recover

http://www.healingsprings.org.uk

Today @ Healingsprings fellowship

The Hebrew notion of truth has its root in the word: ‘Demet’, which simply means reliability. It is the unshakable dependability of a thing, a word, or, the faithfulness of a person.

Unlike the Greek idea of truth, it is not timeless, binding or rigid, rather, it is fluid. In other words Demet has to occur repeatedly in history. For example:

“I am the God of your father, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob.” – Ex. 3:6

Therefore, in the Hebrew sense of truth all of reality is regarded historically. We see this in their understanding of the Exile, as they looked back in history in interpreting the event.

We also see this on the ‘Road to Emmaus’ as the disciples were taken on a historical journey by Jesus in interpreting an event – on this occasion his death (Luke 24:13-25).

To this end Pannenberg argues that, “Truth is that which will show itself in the future.” The future gives meaning to the past and present. Hence the philosophical idea of, “all things working together for good” (Rom. 8:28)

Therefore, we read the scriptures retroactively for now through the life and ministry of Jesus, until ‘Truth’ is finally revealed in Jesus’ Second Coming. So we live in ‘anticipation’, as we continue the work of co-creation, reconciling the world to God.

Join us for God Was In Christ when I’ll be doing a recap of our journey so far as we prepare our hearts and minds for the Jesus’ Resurrection next week!

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

Renown Poet and Aphorist, Stanislaw Lec once posed the question:

Is it progress if a cannibal uses a fork?

This question sets the scene for my teaching on Atonement which I presented last week with the central question:

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

I noted that sacrificial lamb idea was used by 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. Neither is God Angry and Unforgiving.

In the early days of Nation forming, the Jews replicated the idea of known institutions from other civilisations, but they incorporated their spiritual philosophy within such context – hence the first and subsequent Temples. We also see this pattern in their government – from rule by the prophets, to rule through a royal dynasty, and an organised army like the nations around them.

I argued further that Prophets like Amos challenged 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 and morality as means of ‘atonement’.

Furthermore, 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.

Therefore, I concluded that 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.

If ever there was an Atonement, 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!

Join us for the series: God was in Christ, as I delve further into the Doctrine of Atonement.

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

A continuum is defined as something that changes in character gradually or in very slight stages without any clear dividing points.

This word best describes the trajectory of the church. Hence the feeling of unease whenever I hear people making reference to a ‘golden era of Christianity’. As such Christians pray earnestly for a ‘revival’, romanticising over how the church use to be.

However, this view only highlights minor aspects of Christian history. In fact once the faith became institutionalised through pressure from the Roman authorities it took a completely different trajectory. By and large church history in Europe and the New World was plagued by wars, oppression, racism, patriarchy, greed, exploitation, dictatorship, control, corruption, nepotism, imperialism, elitism and manipulation. All the stuff Jesus stood firmly against.

Although church attendance was very high, Christians were deeply involved in slavery and much later colonialism and its derivatives.

To this end I will be treating the doctrine of Atonement. During the course of my talk I will examine the mainstream idea, ‘the Wrath of God’, which leads to the need for a sacrifice to appease God, against the Moral Theory which highlights that Jesus’ life, ministry and self-emptying even unto death reveals God to us, thereby, Atoning for the gulf of understanding between God and humanity.

In other words, did Jesus die to appease an angry God, or did he die as a moral example of selfless love, and through that revealing the Father?

Join us for 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

For the Jewish authorities, the embarrassment, excruciating pain, and suffering that hallmark’s crucifixion was meant to bring the activities of a fringe group, following a little known Rabbi called Jesus to an end.

For the followers of Jesus, his arrest and subsequent death would have meant that their messianic hopes had been dashed. God had not shown up to vindicate their leader, and only hope against the scourge of the Roman authorities, and the oppression of their corrupt and short sighted religious leaders.

Jesus had died only because he was “a friend of sinners”. For the Jewish leaders, he was messing up their religious and philosophical foundations. Sinners should be Exiled from the community, in other instances, killed.

But who were these sinners? Those within their community that didn’t measure up to their incredibly high standards. The lepers, widows, orphans, poor, Samaritans, divorced, and those in debt. Even amongst these people, not all believed in Jesus. A lot had given up all hopes, hence the reason why they chose Barabbas instead of Jesus. The wealthy and those from nobility were righteous. To a very large extent this is still the case. The time and setting might have changed, but the mind set is still the same.

His followers were lost completely unsure of their future until his appearance at various locations, following his resurrection.

To this end, I will be exploring Jesus’ Crucifixion with a view to recapture it’s essence, and strengthen us as we anticipate his Second Coming.

Join us for 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