The surprise of finding the Bible isn’t exactly what we thought it was

Mime

Most christians in the west come to belief in their teens or early 20s. From there, some stay constant in all their beliefs, some give up belief, and some start on a journey of change and growth.

This post is about people who change (including me).

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The new Reformation

Martin Luther with iPhone

Martin Luther is examined for heresy.

I remember about 40 years ago coming to the conclusion that the church in the western world was, in the next few decades, going to go through changes as significant as the Reformation. I felt we had got away from the truth in several important areas – introspective & hierarchical churches, dead orthodoxy in many christians’ lives (including me), and failing to heed Jesus’ teachings on non-violence, acceptance and the perils of wealth – and God surely wouldn’t allow this to continue unchecked.

I think we are now in the middle of a new reformation, and here are some of the signs I see.

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Book review: The King Jesus Gospel

Book cover

Last week (Close to understanding Jesus?) I outlined how I came to see that much of the evangelical teaching I had received about Jesus didn’t really explain Jesus and his ministry in accurate terms historically.

It seems that many people are coming to similar conclusions, for example New Testament scholar NT Wright and the philosopher, the late Dallas Willard.

New Testament scholar and theologian, Scot McKnight’s 2011 book, The King Jesus Gospel, takes up the same theme, but from a theological rather than historical perspective. So I guess it is hardly surprising that Wright and Willard both contributed Forewords.

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Close to understanding Jesus?

Feet with sandals

One day, when I was a young christian, I had a surprising thought. As soon as I thought it, I knew it couldn’t be true.

But this untrue thought set me on a path of discovery that I am still on today. This path has enriched my understanding of Jesus and changed the way I live and some substantial things about what I believe.

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What Americans think of church

Country church

The Barna Group has recently released results of research into church attendance in USA, including information on “millennials” (under-30s). While this will have little relevance to other countries, there may be some similarities and thus things we may all learn

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How the four gospels came to be written?

Last Supper

You can read the New Testament without knowing anything about the authors or the background to their writing. If that’s you, you probably won’t be interested in this post. But I have long been interested in these background matters, and lately I’ve be coming to a few conclusions.

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Book review: Evangelical Faith and the Challenge of Historical Criticism

Book cover

I’ve been reading a few books on the Old Testament lately. Paradoxically, this is probably the one I most disagreed with, yet also the one I gained the most from.

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Justice and the gospel in the local church

Micah 6:8

Last post (Justice and the gospel), we looked at how the ministry of Jesus included both evangelism and meeting physical needs. But in many western evangelical churches, the “gospel” has been narrowed down to mean little more than personal salvation.

If you are in a church like that, and you believe that justice and care for the poor and marginalised is part of the gospel, what can you do?

Let’s look at a few ideas and a little personal experience, and then (hopefully) others will share what they are doing.

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