March 18, 2023

Inclusion is a high bar, asking each of us to accept a degree of discomfort when welcoming an inconvenient person. It’s a hard and sacrificial choice that is very rarely the modus operandi among social groups, which tend to form around commonality and avoid difference. Jesus addressed the issue in Luke 6:32-33   If you love those who love you, what credit is that to you? Even sinners love those who love them. And if you do good to those... Read more

March 12, 2023

It’s all too easy to confuse covenants, mixing Law with grace – so much so that Paul dedicated a considerable proportion of his writings to the topic, trying to clarify the crucial distinctions between the Old and New Covenants.   In his second letter to Timothy, Paul uses a helpful phrase to describe the theological process of sound Bible teachers. 2 Tim 2:15   Be diligent to present yourself approved to God, a worker who does not need to be... Read more

March 8, 2023

In early 1997 I was staying in Cebu City, Philippines, serving as a missionary. Cebu is the second largest metropolis in the country, and a place of extreme poverty. Toddlers played naked in the sewage, which ran freely down the streets near the port. A stinking, sluggish river snaked through the slum, and all around it were makeshift tin and tree fibre shelters, stacked perilously atop each other on the steep, muddy banks.   Some friends and I went to... Read more

February 28, 2023

Last time, I looked at what the Bible says it means to be in Christ – the great exchange of his righteousness for ours, and all the blessings that become our birth right when we receive Christ, including peace and joy, freedom from habits that harm ourselves and others, the gift of the Holy Spirit, adoption into God’s family, the guarantee of the glories of Heaven, and access to the unlimited love and power of Christ, who dwells in us.... Read more

February 26, 2023

Being ‘in Christ’ is one of those doctrines denominational groups interpret in different ways. It wasn’t a core teaching of the church of my youth, which focussed more on being a sinner than a life of spiritual empowerment, but it is an absolute tenet of other movements I’ve been a part of. In some it was taken too far, in my view, but more of that later.   How we interpret being in Christ depends on our view of what... Read more

February 20, 2023

God is good, all the time, but human beings have an unerring tendency to mess things up. The purpose of this post is to warn against politicising the current renewal – the most likely way for the Asbury Revival to get side-tracked.   The internet can be a depressing place sometimes. Instead of celebrating the blessing of God, an increasing number of voices are starting to make the most predictable claims. In this case, Right and Left along with Evangelicals... Read more

February 18, 2023

It is tempting to reframe the Asbury Revival in ways that are palatable to one’s existing viewpoint on the things of the Spirit, worship, and everything connected. The purpose of this article is to call for humility and integrity in response. Recent events might not fit comfortably in your box, but then maybe your box is too small.   Personally, I am overjoyed by what is happening in Lexington – I’ve been prophesying, writing about, and praying for this for... Read more

February 13, 2023

Worship is both a private and communal practice. We are all led individually when communing with the Lord in private, but when we’re together, there is a much enhanced blessing to enter as a group, as the Holy Spirit leads us.   During the ongoing debate around contemporary worship, it has often been suggested that such worship is manipulative, manufacturing emotion rather than authentically praising God. There have been confessional articles written by ex-worship leaders, admitting they were forcing and... Read more

February 7, 2023

Putting aside the back and forth of the contemporary worship discussion for a moment, I want to shine a light on what might be a hidden force behind the many criticisms of emotionally rich, contemporary worship. The voices I’ve been countering are first and foremost desperate to take the emotion out of worship, as if human feeling were somehow unholy, and we, God’s people, are unable to resist being manipulated by music that stirs the heart. The assumption seems to... Read more

January 29, 2023

In my last blog, titled The Importance of Emotion In Worship, I challenged the slew of current articles here on Patheos criticising contemporary worship, which judge such worship as manipulative, led by celebrities, and carnal. Interestingly, some of those pieces have been written by ex-worship leaders who after years of pretending, admit they were forcing themselves to perform while feeling little or no connection with God – I don’t say this to point the finger at any individual; if a... Read more

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