There are a number of critical texts in which disciples of Jesus in our time would do well to inhabit. Like Matthew 5-7 where we hear Jesus preach His now famous, but not yet fully understood, Sermon on the Mount, developing what entering into and living the Kingdom of God looks like is this world. And like John 13-17, where Jesus prepares His disciples to go on living in the absence of His physical presence, doing so through the person and ministry of His Spirit. And like Romans 5-8 where the apostle of Paul, who clearly has the mind of Christ, opens up for us, and takes us into the heart of Christian living and discipleship, calling us to die to the flesh and live to and in the Spirit. Continue reading The Most Critical Text for Today’s Disciples→
In the Name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. Amen. Whereas, the Church of _____, is no longer to be used for acts of worship, And whereas the Church building and the land upon which it is erected is about to be/being sold; now, therefore, we, by Divine Permission . . . do declare that the Church of ____ , once duly dedicated and consecrated to the Divine worship of Almighty God, has by virtue of this our sentence, lost said dedication and consecration. (U. S. Anglican rite) Continue reading When can a Rite be Wrong?→
Thank you to Terry Smith for his reporting on this year’s EMC Ministerial Day [July]. I am, however, concerned about the content presented on this day. I am concerned about the gender stereotypes apparently presented as fact, and how these stereotypes limit both men and women. I am also concerned that a supposed “feminization” of the church is blamed for declining attendance for men. Most churches have a group of women who have faithfully served God for many years, often in roles behind the scenes. Some women have felt called to leadership positions but were limited in their service due to their gender. It is not helpful to blame women currently in the church for the men who do not attend, or to measure “success” by male/female ratios. Churches should be places where all people feel welcome and can hear the good news of Jesus, and where they can serve God with the gifts He has given them.
As we plant new churches, naming them, as always, is best done carefully.
For various reasons, the EMC has periodically favoured words such as Gemeinde, EMC, Fellowship, Chapel, and Community. What might we keep in mind as we name congregations today? Continue reading On Naming Churches Today→
Thank you, Layton Friesen, for your May 2019 article “Without the Church, You’re on Your Own.” Many years ago I asked myself, “What is the church?” and the nagging question was, “Who is the church?” What is the church generally refers to a building, denomination or organization. Are we as individuals not the church, if we believe Jesus is the Son of God, died for us, forgiving our sins and rose back to life?
During this Advent season filled with wars, famines, floods, earthquakes, tornadoes, and other unnatural and natural disasters, we can be grateful for the presence and efforts of the worldwide Christian Church in word and deed—the light of Christ (Matt. 5:12-17).
We can give thanks for Presbyterians in Syria, Copts in Egypt, Lutherans in Finland, Methodists in England, Anglicans in South Africa, Roman Catholics in the U.S., Eastern Orthodox in Russia, Baptists in the Czech Republic, Anabaptists in the Netherlands, Pentecostals in Canada—and the list goes on. The Christian Church ultimately forms a single presence in many countries of the world. We can thank the Lord that his ministries are multiplied.
Yes, each part of the Church is more conscious of what it is doing and less aware of the work done by other parts of the Church. However, the Church worldwide has evangelism, relief, development, and justice activities in needy places by word and deed. For the wider Church and its work, we can give thanks.
Consider, for instance, Pastor Ibrahim Nseir and the Presbyterian congregation he serves in war-torn Aleppo, Syria; they provide hope amid the rubble, as Emily Loewen of MCC at times reminds us.
The light of Christ shines in many places and the darkness will not overcome it (Matt. 5:14-16; John 1:5; 1 John 1:8).
A publication of the Evangelical Mennonite Conference