A website with theological resources

Here is a resourceful website Theology on the Web maintained by Rob Bradshaw. I came across it (HT: Jeff), surfed around and found a host of many other biblical and theological resources that has links to articles by many theologians (e.g., Tillich, Schaeffer, Rahner, Bonhoeffer, Bultmann, etc. ).  Some link only to books on Amazon but some link to numerous PDF articles like F.F. Bruce. Check it out.

Why the emerging church movement died

Is the emerging church movement dead?

When the emerging church (EC) movement first caught my attention during seminary, I was impressed with a certain open-mindedness about it. As I learned more about it and about some of the people in this movement, I learned that were not as open-minded as I had initially thought.  Some sectors of the EC had moved away from the core doctrines of the faith that I held as being essential to the faith; otherwise, Christianity would no longer be Christianity.  The EC projected itself as a movement that was in constant rebellion against traditional Christianity. Almost everything the EC movement said was against the status quo and it identified itself as a new brand of Christianity that was “not like the others”. Although I do not consider myself traditional, I do not dislike tradition because it offers countless benefits for all Christians. My view of the EC movement eventually turned from positive to negative in a short period of time. Since then, I have never paid much further attention to the emerging church movement.

However, to the emerging church movement, I give credit for two main things I admired about it:

  1. For seeing traditional Christianity from a critical perspective.  Much of traditional Christianity fails to see itself from an outsider’s point-of-view.
  2. For being open to making some positive changes to traditional Christianity.

HT: Out of Ur blog has a positive eulogy on the dead emerging church movement.

Time for equipping at a ministry conference

I have been looking forward to going the BreakForth (which is known for being the largest equipping and renewal conference in North America). This will be my first time going to BreakForth so I am really excited to learn new things while being blessed by the line-up of excellent speakers. It’s finally a time for a break from the hectic pace of congregational ministry. Due to a recent snow storm here in western Canada, the two congregations in which I serve ended up cancelling this Sunday service due to the snowstorm. Hopefully we won’t have snow while driving to Edmonton January 28 – February 1.

Number of books to read for 2010

I was just doing a little inventory of how many books I managed to read since completing seminary in November 2008. From then until the end of 2009, my count of theological books read is 25. This was more than I had thought so I have to be happy with that.

My goal for this year of 2010 is to aim for 20 books. If I can manage 20, I’ll be happy, considering family and work is keeping me quite busy. How many books to you get to read in a year? What is your goal for 2010?

Let us pray for the people of Haiti: for a transformation of an entire nation

We’ve been hearing and watching so much about the tragic circumstances caused by an earthquake in Haiti.  As Christians, we continue to pray for the people of Haiti, whom God’s loves so much:

Heavenly Father, we pray that survivors may receive the immediate necessities of water, food, medical aid and shelter. We pray that they may be able to receive the necessary practical and financial aid that people from other countries are bringing into this island nation. We pray that You may hear and answer our prayers for the people of Haiti.
Lord, in your mercy. Hear our prayer.

From our call to mission and evangelism, we also pray that through the good news of Jesus Christ, God would also do a good work in this nation.  The gospel has the power to bring spiritual transformation to an entire nation.  It is not the institutional church that is to bring change, rather, it is the good news of Christ that brings change into the hearts and lives of individuals and entire peoples.  The Roman Catholic Church has been the official religion of Haiti but it has not been an agent of change.  Haiti needs to receive the Christ’s gospel in a dynamic and powerful way, such that, it brings a personal-inner transformation to effect how they live and carry out their lives.  We can pray that dysfunctional state institutions that have perpetuated poverty in Haiti be ended (see LWF-DWS statement).  Spiritual darkness has a way of perpetuating dysfunction in the minds and hearts of people–it’s what we call the sin of a “generational curse”–which may be what televangelist Pat Robertson was trying to get at in his recent comment on CBN`s 700 Club.

The media has been playing a clip of his comment where he claims that historically, the Haitian people had made a pact with the devil in order to banish the French occupiers from Haiti (see Hatian history of Voodoo). From what out media portrays, Robertson may seem to have a foot-in-mouth disease but he is no dummy. He has read history books and understands the culture and history of peoples and nations.  As people, especially with the media’s help, we can be quick to judge his comments–especially when we take just a bits and pieces from sound bites.  But there may be some truth to what he is saying.   I wanted to find research the history of Haiti and found that there is some truth to this.  It makes me wonder if former dictator, François “Papa Doc” Duvalier, was involved in voodoo.  Below is a brief excerpt from a recent article on Haiti’s dark history from the U.K. newspaper, Telegraph:

However, Haitians are just as likely to show extraordinary resilience and selflessness as they rally together and find consolation in Voodou. Haitians are 80 per cent Catholic and – so they say – 100 per cent Vodouist. Vodou (from the Dahomean vodu, “spirit” or “deity”) is a peaceable New World religion that marries elements of Catholicism with the rites and rituals of ancestral Africa.

For most Haitians, Vodou is the only way to rise above the misery of poverty and the devastation wreaked by hurricanes, mud slides, storms and now this humanitarian catastrophe. When a Haitian is possessed by a loa (spirit) he is taken out of himself and transformed. At night, Port-au-Prince is now said to flicker with candles, as swaying, homeless Haitians offer prayers to the loas in hope of deliverance….

Vodou also reflects the rage and ecstasy that threw off the shackles of slavery. On the night of August 15, 1791, a ceremony was held in the north of Haiti that marked the beginning of the revolt. A rain of burning cane straw, sweet-smelling, drifted over the plantations as the slaves set them ablaze. Toussaint L’Ouverture was said to have taken part in this Vodou-inspired uprising – proof that religion is not always an opium of the people, but a prelude to action. Read on…

South Korea, which was once extremely poor, was also known for its Shamanism, which is a demonically influenced form of spirituality.  After the gospel of Jesus Christ was introduced to the South Koreans, through a period of decades, the nation went through a major spiritual revival.  This spiritual revival transformed the minds of the people, which led to a complete transformation: politically, socially, culturally, and economically.  God had blessed the Korean people with law and gospel, which brought honesty and accountability into government, and also brought economic and social freedoms.  These things, along with a host of other factors, has led to its current economic prosperity.  God has done this for the western world of Europe, North America and other liberal democracies around the world.  I believe God can also do this for many countries currently wrought with poverty—including Haiti.

New commentary on Romans by Prof. Craig Keener

It’s been a while but I need to get back to blogging. I’ve been busy since Christmas and finally have  some time to breath now.

Nijay Gupta posted his interview with Dr. Craig Keener, Professor of N.T. Theology at Palmer Theological Seminary (Pt.1 here and Pt.2 here) [Hat tip: Brian].   Prof. Craig Keener has a new commentary on Romans that I am considering adding to my list of future books to get.  Romans is my favorite book for study.  I currently have commentaries by Fitzmyer, and Schreiner and Dunn in electronic format.  I thought about getting the new one by Jewett but that’s on the pricy side.  However, I may consider getting Keener’s commentary because it’s concise.  These days, time is more valuable and getting the important points quickly is more important to me these days.