‘When it came to being our high priest, Jesus wasn’t born ready. He was born as a helpless infant who needed to grow in wisdom and stature. True, the incarnation was absolutely necessary for us to be saved, since our high priest needed to be human to represent us. But sinners like us don’t just need saving; we also need sympathy. And sympathy requires experience that Baby Jesus (or Teenage Jesus, for that matter) didn’t yet have.’
‘“The only thing we use the word covenant for is Jihad. That’s it.” I shook my head, feeling simultaneously the joy of deeper insight into the local culture and not a little corresponding trepidation. We are trying to church plant in a culture whose only understanding for covenant looks like Al Qaeda.’
‘Central to my living healthily and happily with my same-sex attractions have been conversations and prayers with Christian pastors and friends. None have ever sought to coerce me into behaving in a certain way – or change my sexuality. Indeed the only contexts in which I have felt unwelcome pressure to change my beliefs and behaviour have been from gay Christians who have rejected orthodox church teaching – and the wider culture that thinks I am crazy to embrace it. They are, ironically, the ones that are seeking to convert me – and others in my position.’
‘If the church in the UK is to have a significant future, it will be as a multi-cultural, multi-ethnic body. We can either get on board with that, or we can be consigned to a slow and ignominious slide into irrelevancy.’
I too was schooled in this mode of evangelism and have come to recognise the less than excellent theology that lies behind it. Church and community matter.
I think most of this is right and there is a lot of wisdom in it. But I strongly disagree with point 4. I think that one is unbiblical and the author as much as admits that it doesn’t have the same biblical warrant as his other points. It is also superfluous, whilst arguing too much, given his argument in point 9 that elders can legitimately delegate authority in certain matters either to a particular elder or another team, without divesting themselves of their own responsibility to the church. So, I am mainly with this one – 9 out of 10 – but I find the fourth point questionable.
‘In the Old Covenant, the faith belief was that God would send a promised seed through this physical people. As such, the covenant sign marked a physical reality; namely, through Israel the promised seed would come. In the New Covenant, the faith belief is that God has sent a messiah for this people. As such, the covenant sign marks a spiritual reality; namely, for this people – drawn from every tribe, tongue and nation – the promised seed has come. The Old Covenant, then, represented a physical reality because it applied to a physical people as a sure sign that through them the messiah would come. The New Covenant represents a spiritual reality because it applies to a spiritual people as a sure sign that the messiah has come for them. Both mark a sure a certain promise, expressed by faith, to the people who receive the sign.’