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

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

Today @ Healingsprings fellowship

There is no dispute that Jesus was a figure in history. In fact, apart from the New Testament accounts, we also have sources from non-Christians like Pliny and Josephus.

Within Christianity some have challenged his divinity. But even if we do not agree on the Trinity, the traditional formula for Salvation (The Fall, Incarnation, Atonement and Redemption); and we fail to agree on the virgin birth, miracles, death, and resurrection; I believe that the teachings of Jesus still attests to his uniqueness.

Interestingly, while people might have issues with the church or Christianity as a religion, most people still have varying degrees of reverence for Jesus. They see him as a social reformer, political activist, kind man, community organiser, humanist, philosopher, thinker, or teacher. His life has inspired many to greater works.

For me Jesus is all of these and even more. His non-violent position against the oppression from the Roman authorities and Jewish rulers of his era, his position as the spokesperson for sinners, his outreach to the ostracised and those at the fringes of society, his vision for equality and World Unity, and his selfless nature; are things to be greatly admired.

I say this to illustrate that we do not need the formula for salvation, understanding of the Trinity and even the resurrection to believe in his saving power. His ideas and philosophy are divine enough to bring about lasting peace, harmony and prosperity for humanity.

Dear friends, even that is sufficient reason for me to believe in him, and attest him as The Son of God.

Join us as we continue with: God was in Christ. Today, we focus on Jesus' ministry.

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

The question: why is there evil in the World is one that has been with us for a very long time. Different cultures and traditions have their explanation, in fact some do not even see these problems as ‘evil’, but as part of a complex system of self-regulation of the Universe. 

For some of the Jewish prophets recorded in the Old Testament the Messiah will bring about God’s judgement on his enemies, and a just rule here on earth through Israel. For others, there will be new heavens and earth. 
In Judeo-Christian tradition everything hinges on the Genesis story, especially chapter 3. Paul’s formula for human salvation is centred around Christ. For Paul, Jesus is the Second Adam that brings the whole of humanity back to God. And his resurrection is the seal of our promise of eternal salvation (1 Cor. 15:12-19). Hence he argues that,

“in Christ God was reconciling the world to himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and entrusting the message of reconciliation to us.” – (2 Cor. 5:19)

In light of this I will be crystallising my subtopic: Incarnation, Nativity and Second Adam.

Join us on as we continue with: God was in Christ.

3pm 

The Parish Hall 

St John’s Sidcup,

Church Road, 

Sidcup, 

Kent DA14 6BX
Reachout | Revive | Recover

http://www.healingsprings.org.uk

Thought Leaders Series: 2017

The World of Work

When Jesus asserted that we cannot serve God and money (Luke 16), he was advancing an argument against the world of commerce. His ideas were centred around the early forms of capitalism.

By way of context, with centralised governments the burden of taxation had increased significantly. For instance, colonial masters charged their subjects for central and local administration, and a percentage of this revenue is returned to the State’s treasury. The impact of this policy is a massive economic gulf between the rich and poor. Most of the elites will offer their services to their colonial masters in one capacity or another. They serve as tax collectors, magistrates, administrators etc. The funds they made might be used to acquire lands, which the poor cultivated.
There was always competition among these poor farmers as a result of pressure from landowners for yield, thereby creating a toxic environment within their social class. Community spirit is broken, cooperation eroded, and social capital diminishes. People are left behind. The sick, disabled, and vulnerable ones are seen as liabilities.

We fast forward to the 21st century, and Jesus’ indictment still holds. We have a broken system. The world of work is competitive, aggressive, selfish and very tribal. Marx argues that the reason we are largely unhappy with work is because we no longer do what we enjoy, but rather, we are producing things which gives us little or no benefit directly. As such work becomes a burden.

So, many argue that our world of work is responsible for much of our social ills today. Workers are stressed, people are fearful about going to work, people are living on pain killers and stimulants. Relationships suffer and our communities collapse. Even worse, as we are slowly loosing what is left of work to machines, the rate of suicide is rising fast.
Added to this is the fact that without being involved in these dehumanising activities one can hardly survive in this world. Our basic needs like food, shelter, clothing; depends on this system. But in every sector: government, charities (sadly even churches), social enterprise, private; the world of work offers little or no value to our general well being. It is either heavily bureaucratic, dangerous, or serving the interest of a few.
Therefore, it is not the configuration, but the overarching idea. What Marx calls the Superstructure. This system enslaves humanity, and it stops us from harnessing our true potentials. Jesus saw it, hence he called for reordering. In similar vein David Platt argues:

“A materialistic world will not be won to Christ by a materialistic church.”

Reachout | Revive | Recover

http://www.healingsprings.org.uk

Easter Sunday @ Healingsprings fellowship! 

Church Reloaded: Grace or Merit?

The saying by Jesus as recorded by Matthew: ‘Many are called, but a few are chosen’; has always been a source of much controversy within and outside the church.

Within the church it has been used to promote some sort of elitism, strengthen the concept of predestination, or as an excuse for mediocrity. 

The unchurched sometimes use it as an reason for disengagement with Christianity, hence statements like: ‘You are chosen, I am not blessed with the gift of faith’.

To this end, this Easter Sunday our focal point is on Matt. 22:1-24, under the title: Grace or Merit?

Drawing from other biblical texts and contemporary thoughts, this lecture will examine the following key themes:

  • the context that gave birth to this statement;
  • what the writer was trying to convey to his audience at the time it was written; and 
  • what we can glean from it in our era

I’m so excited about what God is doing through our Church Reloaded series, so I extend an invite to you!

(6:00-7:30)pm

Art Centre, Drama Room, Bexleyheath Academy, Woolwich Rd, Bexleyheath, Kent DA6 7DA 

(Free parking in front of the school and adjacent streets)

Today’s lecture | Church reloaded: gratitude 

I had a very interesting conversation with a cab driver recently who was a Muslim. 

Unlike most ‘Christians’, this man had taken his time to research all major faiths in the world. 

So with all this knowledge at his disposal he asked me a salient question. He said: “If Jesus’ death meant that we are delivered from all: past, present and future sins; does that mean we just do whatever we please?”

Dear friends this question is the inspiration behind tonight’s lecture under our Church Reloaded series, entitled: gratitude.

With this in mind, what did Paul mean when he wrote asking his friends in Rome to “offer themselves as a living sacrifice”?

He even went further to explain that it was “our reasonable service after all that Christ had done for us” (Rom. 12:1-2).

Since we are not expected to payback anything for salvation – as it’s a free will gift, and even if we were it is impossible to pay back… What do we do?

Join us if you can as we explore these and other questions: (6:00-7:30)pm.

Art Centre, Drama Room, Bexleyheath Academy, Woolwich Rd, Bexleyheath, Kent DA6 7DA 

(Free parking in front of the school and adjacent streets)