Thought Leaders Series: 2017

To transcend simply means to go beyond a subject matter. This is exemplified in Jesus’ statement:

“Do not think that I have come to abolish the law or the prophets; I have come not to abolish but to fulfill.” – (Matthew 5:17)

Through Jesus’ life, ministry, and death he reveals and models God’s economy. Thereby transcending all Jewish oral and written record hitherto about God.

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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

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

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

Today @ Healingsprings fellowship

Miracles were not unique to Jesus. In fact, there were mystics before his time, in his time, after his time, drawn from other cultures, and faith.

However, a number of lessons stand out with Jesus. For instance, miracles were acts of love and compassion. He freely offered them. He was not after gains or fame. In the synoptic gospel, he refused to demonstrate any ‘signs’ when his opponents made demands. By the way, their position was based on the signs Moses performed before the elders of Israel and Pharaoh to vindicate his Calling by Yahweh to lead his people out of Egypt.

He also warned his disciples to follow his model on many occasions, for example: ‘freely receive, freely give’. Not to ask for money or favour, but as an extension of The Father’s love and compassion, knowing that “God is not unjust to forget our labour of love”.

To this end, I will be exploring the subject of Miracles from the accounts of the Evangelists (the gospel writers), with a view to recapture it’s essence.

Join us this for Jesus’ Miracles 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

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