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

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