The Meta-Narrative AD

14 05 2012
The Word Became Flesh
  • 4 BC John the Baptiser (The Greatest of all the Prophets)

Magi from the East...

  • Incarnation: Birth of Jesus of Nazareth, Life, Ministry
  • 30 AD Death of Jesus
  • 30 AD Resurrection of Jesus
  • 30 AD Ascension of Jesus and Current Reign
  • Pentecostal Spirit
  • Acts of the Apostles: Peter, James, John, Paul, Others
  • ‘The Spreading Flame’: Christian Faith and Community
  • Growing Opposition: Nero, Rome
Turning Points: “2000 Years of Christ’s Power”  (M. Noll, N. Needham)
  • 70 AD   The Destruction of Temple (Jerusalem)
  • 100, 200, 300: Expansion, Persecution, Emperors, Theologians
  • 325    Nicene Creed
  • 481    Chalcedon and Heresies
  • 530    Benedict and Monasteries

Luther, the Augustinian Monk - History Maker

  • 600    Gospel in China (Nestorians and Others)
  • 630    Muhammad Conquers Mecca with (sword not Word)
  • 800   Charlemagne Crowned on Christmas Day, …“by the Pope”
  • 1054  East and West Divide
  • 1095 The Crusades begin
  • 1382 John Wycliffe’s English Bible completed
  • 1521  Reformation: Luther (& later …Calvin)
  • 1534  England – Henry VIII
  • 1540 Counter-Reform, Loyola
  • 1738 Revivals: Wesley, Whitfield, Edwards
  • 1789 French Revolution
  • 1793 William Carey to India
  • 1807 Robert Morrison to China
  • 1854 David Livingstone to Africa
  • 1904 Revival in Wales
  • 1906 Azusa Street, LA, Pentecostals
  • 1907 Pyongyang, (North) Korea, Revival began
  • 1910 Edinburgh Missionary Conference
  • 1914-18 World War One  (P.T. Forsyth – “think in centuries”)
  • 1922 Karl Barth on Romans; and 1934 Barmen Declaration
  • 1929 Totoyohiko Kagawa, Indigenous Missionary in Japan
  • 1939 World War Two: Suffering and Nations
  • 1945 New Beginning, Service in Love (G. C. Bingham)
  • 1962 Second Vatican Council
  • 1966 Pray for China (cf. Mao’s Cultural Revolution
  • 1979 Aboriginal Australia Revival From Elcho Island
  • 1989 Fall of Berlin Wall: ‘The Twilight of Atheism’ (A. McGrath)
  • 2001 New York Twin Towers: Faith, NOT Religion
  • 2004 Tsunami Indian Ocean and Theodicy
  • 2012 Attempt to redefine Marriage (US Obama)
  • … New things
  • … More new things
  • … The Eschaton
  • Date Not Known: ‘Behold I make all things new’ [the ‘old things’ transformed into the ‘new’]
  • The Age to Come – Eternity – Glorification of All Things




Karl Barth – Yes and No (JA and NEIN)

21 03 2012

Karl Barth – Yes and No (JA and NEIN)

“Yes”!!! –  some say: “Barth’s theology presents within itself a structure of radical openness toward the world” (Paul S. Chung).

To which others who emphasis Barth’s Christocentric view say: “No”.

Q. Now do you understand?   Y and N!





Singers and Dancers

20 08 2011

Singers and dancers alike say, “All my springs are in you.” (Psalm 87:7).

What amazing talents human beings have been given. Singing is something that most people can do—at least, to some extent. Little children, often love to sing away when they are happy.  Even so, a grand, regal, resonating singing voice is surely an extraordinary gift.   Likewise with dancing. To draw upon the presence of God in the exercise of our gifts, is surely something that we can do, consciously and unconsciously, or not. (Some even deny God’s existence, while exercising the gifts he gave). However, when looking to God, and asking him to bless the work of his hands – us – we may well be praying a good prayer, so that, we may be a blessing to others. To cause others enjoyment and encouragement and even a crisis leading to faith—with the gifts he has given us, namely, us the person he has made, has got to be a good thing, I reckon.

Proverbs 4:23 cautions one to, “Keep your heart with all diligence, for out of it spring the issues of life”.  Natural water springs are quite a beautiful feature of some of the farming land on the Fleurieu Peninsula in South Australia. When springs are flowing well, life surges and grows.

The theologian and teacher, Baxter Kruger, said something like this: “I knew as a child that something vast, deep, ancient and beautiful, was running through all of life—an invisible river of glory is running through our lives”.

When our springs are in the invisible river of glory, and when we are drawing upon those subterranean resources, the exercise of our gifts, and talents, flow in a river of life, and blessing into the life of others, and so into the world around us.

Jesus once cried out: “Let anyone who is thirsty come to me, and let the one who believes in me drink. As the scripture has said, ‘Out of the believer’s heart shall flow rivers of living water.’”  Now he said this about the Spirit, which believers in him were to receive; for as yet there was no Spirit, because Jesus was not yet glorified (John 7:37-39).

Jesus was indicating that he himself, was the source of a river of glory, springs of life, to flow out to others.

Interestingly, this ‘river flow’ had an important background in the rock, that supplied water for Israel in the wilderness – as this whole blog title says: ‘And That Rock Was Christ’.

Interestingly, Moses had to smite, or strike the rock for the water to flow. Jesus was struck, or smitten upon the cross, as he was glorified, before the river of the Spirit began to fully flow. This was the place where the guilt of humanity was entered into and borne by Christ. Guilt is like a great blockage in the flow of human life, and love. Guilt is that which must be taken, to allow a true human flow of life into the world, into the future.

A river flows out from Eden, and flows into the world, and onward unto the future Eden of God, where there is a River of Life waters the Tree of Life, and the trees with fruit bring healing to the nations (Revelation 22:2).

The Word of Life, that the Ascended Jesus speaks, is the action of the outpouring of the Spirit of God—the River of Life—into the parched and dry weary world of suffering, lonely, lost, guilty and therefore uncertain humanity.  This river flushes out the old debris and brings with it new life—welling up to eternity.

To be part of the significant flow of God’s word in  Christ is to be in the flow of our true humanity, and it brings blessing and life. It is what we are created for.

How is it going with you? In the flow? Flowing? Or damn dammed up? May the Spirit flow anew, evoking life, evoking fresh participation in the invisible river of glory, the Word of the Gospel to the nations of the world: look up, receive, believe, Christ is triumphant over death; the Father is the God of ALL grace; he raised Christ and gave him into death for us all-to deal with us, fully in judgment; humanity has a new hope. Let’s begin to live that way!





Aboriginal Communities… and Christ

7 10 2009

Many Aboriginal Australian people are Christians.  Many Aboriginal people are eager that more of their own people might become believers in Jesus, the Son of God, too. They know that the life of a Jewish man, who lived to be 33 years of age, some 1974 years ago, has much to do with their past, their present and their future. The God of creation, is the One who, through the Word – Christ the eternal Son, made this land of Australia, and placed his people – made in his image and likeness – within it.

The good news of Jesus of Nazareth, risen for all nations, came to this land, through the exploration, movement and settlement of mainly European people.  This news made a huge impact upon many Aboriginal People.

Sadly, the disrespect, the attitudes, the cruelty and cultural snobbery and insensitivity that came on the same ships, with it, was often far from honorable; it was in many instances brutal, violent and harsh. Churches were often wrong in their judgments. Decisions were often unwise, and tragic in their consequences. The stolen generation is a case in point.

Nevertheless, the gospel came. It came, and in time, it was received with great gladness. It still is, in parts and in communities, as redeeming grace stuns people afresh.

Briefly: A very significant awakening to the person of Jesus, and to his Father—the Father, the Creator of the Universe—took place on Elcho Island in 1979.

Australia is a land known to many as ‘The Great South Land of the Holy Spirit’.

On Sunday nights I attend the ‘Adelaide Berean Church’ in Queenstown – almost into Port Adelaide. Amidst the weekly local news, other news comes from across the State and across the Australian continent.

It is again, news among several Aboriginal communities, that they are seeing a fresh move of the Spirit, and an awakening to the Lord’s love and presence.  It is early days, but it is good to pray for these things, and to share in this way, in what the Lord is doing.





Three things come not back

3 06 2009

Three things come not back – the spoken word, the spent arrow, the missed opportunity. 

Sometimes pithy little sayings stay with you. Like this one.

They have their place. Yes, they can be trite cliche’s. And, yes they can be annoying. And yes, they can keep one in baby land – in a way… by avoiding tackling a longer piece of thoughtful work. They can be an illusion, thinking we now have something deep, when we don’t. But they can act as a valuable prod, to be about what counts. And to go about things in a gracious manner. 30 years later, or so, one can still recall that spoken word, which went out – and it jarred, grated or offended.  It is out there now! 

And missed opportunities? Enough said.

The spent arrow!

I guess… it may have cost many an Indian warrior, his life. Or his lunch.





Listening to MP3’s for THE WORD

14 12 2008

We have:

(1) the Incarnate Word (John 1:14), Jesus

(2) the Inscripturated Word, the OT and NT,

(3) the Preached Word, (Romans 10:17) [JESUS preaching thru’ us] and

(4) the Implanted Word (James 1:21)

Listening to MP3’s is a new, popular way to receive the Word:

For those who prefer to listen to some MP3’s rather than read, there are some posted on the Topic of “Theodicy”, and a couple of other topics too – please try Sermon Audio link below. You can read the PDF file of he message, while listening:

SermonAudio.com – Sermons by Trevor Faggotter .

Cheers!





Pateriology: Study 4

11 11 2008

Doxology and Pateriology

All true theology is doxology. By faith, we can study Pateriology only as we worship the Father, through the Son, in the power of the Holy Spirit.

We are created for fellowship with the Father (1John 1:3; Genesis 3:8). 

Culture, Sin, Satan Bad Experiences Conspire

All nations are strongly influenced however, by their prevailing cultures.

The deep effects of sin and guilt, the activity and agenda of Satan and evil powers, unhappy experiences in family life and a culture’s suppression of truth, conspire to darken any true view of the Father.

However Christ is Victor, the Spirit is persistent, and the Father is pouring out his grace, heaped upon grace, – through the testimony of Scripture, and the power of the gospel – that we might, in Jesus the Beloved Son, truly know and worship the Father in Spirit and in truth.

The Christlike Father

It was to Phillip that Jesus said: “Have I been with you all this time, Philip, and you still do not know me? Whoever has seen me has seen the Father. How can you say, ‘Show us the Father’? (John 14:9).

Bishop Michael Ramsay once remarked: ‘God is Christlike and in him is no un-Christlikeness at all’. We could take that further and say, the Father is Son-like, and in him is no un-Son-likeness at all (ha… except of course that he is the Father!)

Martin Luther claimed that the only God he knew was the one who suckled on Mary’s breast.  He wrote: ‘… Mary suckled God, rocked God to sleep, prepared broth and soup for God, etc. For God and man are one person, one Christ, one Son, one Jesus (On the Councils and the Church, 1539). Luther does not to confuse the person of God the Son, with God the Father, but stresses the full deity of Christ Jesus.

The key to studying Pateriology is to always see the Father’s life and work, through the lens of Jesus, the Son of God (All that the Father has is mine; the Spirit will declare it to you – seeJohn 16:14-15). In other words, a good Christology, and Pneumatology, opens to us the love of the Father, and his works – Pateriology.

Teaching concerning the Father

1. Jesus mentions the Father 17 times in the Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 5:1-7:28); many people miss this fact. The Kingdom of God is mentioned 8 times (cf. 17). We have spoken briefly of our inbuilt guilt-bias against the Father.

2. The ‘Father’ is spoken of over 120 times in John’s Gospel. So much material here warrants more thorough study, in relation to Pateriology.  Such study ultimately relates to all of Scripture.

The Father in all settings of life:

God did not become Father; he is the Eternal Covenant-Father; Psalm 103:13, says: ‘Like as a father pitieth his children, so the Lord pitieth them that fear him’.  P.T. Forsyth describes this as:

“…one of those gleams of vision in which…Israel transcended its own genius [and] …uttered an intuition whose source was inspiration, and which in the fulness of time rose into revelation of God’s first and last relation to the world.

The Father of Holy Joy

Jesus knew the holy joy set before him (Hebrews 12:2), glory and love in the Fathers presence (John 17) and cross-necessity.

‘He is father of pity to human weakness, still more father of grace to human sin, but chiefly father of holy joy to our Lord Jesus Christ’

In the cross of Christ, Jesus loved the Father. It is this mystery, we can benefit greatly by studying the Father’s works, and thereby gaining bold access to him, by faith (Ephesians 3:12; Hebrews 4:16):

‘We cannot put too much into that word Father. It is the sum and marrow of all Christian divinity. It is more than natural paternity spiritualised. It is a supernatural word altogether when the cross becomes the key. But we may easily put into it too little.’

Some of the Father’s Works

1.     All things are from the Father (1Corinthians 8:6; Gen. 1:1)

2.     He is the One for whom we exist (1Corinthhians 8:6)

3.     He plans an eternal family (Ephesians 3;15; Rev. 21:3)

4.     He plans the mystery of the cross (Ephesians 1:3ff; 3:10)

5.     He initiates the Cross (John 3:16ff; 2Cor. 5:19)

6.     He participates in the cross (Isaiah 53:6b; Matthew 27:46)

7.     He sends Jesus (Gk. Pempo = sends) mentioned at least 30 times in John’s gospel (John 6:57; John 20:21).

8.     He places all things in the Son’s hands (John 3:35)

9.     He works (John 5:17) and initiates for Jesus (John 5:30)

10.  He seeks worshippers (John 3:23)

11.  Together with him, he does what the Son does, (John 5:19)

12.  He has life in himself (John 5:26)

13.  He draws people to Jesus (John 6:44)

14.  He testifies on Jesus behalf (John 8:18, John 5:37): the Son

15.  He instructs Jesus (John 8:28).

16.  He commands the disciples to listen to Jesus (Mark 9:7)

17.  He speaks at Jesus baptism (Matthew 3:17) and transfiguration (Matthew 17:5), and cross (John 12:28-30)

18.  He glorifies his own name (John 12:28)

19.  He sanctifies (John 10:36)

20.  He knows Jesus and is known by him (John 10:15)

21.  He has a ‘house’ with many dwelling places (John 14:2)

22.  He loves (John 14:21; John 16:27)

23.  He gives commandments (John 15:10)

24.  He gives what is asked of him (John 16:23) in prayer

25.  He glorifies Jesus (John 17:5)

26.  He indwells Jesus (John 1:18; John 10:38).

27.  He is with Jesus (and indwells all who believe (John 17:21)

28.  He bears hatred (John 15:23), and atones in His son, for us.

29.  He confers on Jesus a kingdom (Luke 22:29; Psalm 2:7-8)

30.  He raises Jesus from the dead (John 5:21, Ephesians 1:20.

31.  He will raise those who have faith in him, to life (2Corinthians 4:14; 1Corinthians 6:14))

32.  He gives all judgment to the Son (John 5:22)

33.  He makes promises (Luke 24:49)

34.  He gives the Promise of the Spirit (Acts 2:33)

35.  He protects his people (John 17:11)

THE PERSON: Who is the Father?

A. He is Creator-Father (Isaiah 64:8; Genesis 1:1)

B. He is Covenant Father (Malachi 2:10)

C. He is the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ (Eph. 1:3)

D. He is Holy Father (John 17:11)

E. He is Righteous Father (John 17:25)

F. He is Our Father (Matthew 6:9); he disciplines (Heb. 12:7)

G. He is rich in mercy (Ephesians 3:4) and the God of all grace.

H. He is Greater than the Son (John 14:28)

I. He is One with the Son (John 10:30)

J. He indwells Jesus, and indwells believers (1 John 2:24)

K. He alone knows the Day (Mark 13:32)

L. He will be all in all (1Corinthians 15:28), Our Father.

Fatherhood Universal, But Not Universalistic

All sons and daughters are tested, so as to begin to exercise true family dignity. We are called from servanthood, into sonship; we are called from drifting, and ill-defined spirituality, into a dynamic relationship such as Jesus shared with the Father. This will involve embracing the mandate of the first Adam to be fruitful and to subdue the disparate elements of creation, living now in the new power of the Second and Last Adam – Christ – who calls us to overcome (Rev. 21:7). We must not abdicate the high calling of Sonship.

‘While God is the Father of all people, all people are not the children of God

People of faith are joint heirs with the Son. ‘The true nature of sin …is anything which is unfilial’. No Father, no true family.

Cf. Islam: ‘The Difference is the Son’ (Daniel Shayesteh). Written by a former Iranian, Islamic fundamentalist, and politician. This book is very helpful in its title and its contents. for it helps us to see the vital importance of knowing God, the Father, through the Son. It also highlights the many deficiencies of Islam.

Discuss Implications in family and society


P. T. Forsyth, God the Holy Father, (NCPI 1897, 1987) p. 3

Ibid.

Ibid. p. 5

G.C. Bingham, I love the Father, (NCPI 1974, 1990), p. 142-143

A.H. Strong, Systematic Theology, p. 143  * I changed ‘men’ to ‘people’.





Praying Hyde and the Father

1 11 2008

Praying Hyde and the Father (an extract, by G. C. Bingham)

“Early in the twentieth century the famous missionary John Hyde, later known as ‘Praying Hyde’, was one of the founders of the Sialkot Convention—then in North India, now in Pakistan. This Convention is still held annually, and I myself have preached in it many times, often to audiences of 6,000.

Praying Hyde was a man who knew what it was to be quiet and with God. Often he would separate himself from work, from others, and remain for days in prayer. At one of the first Conventions he was in his prayer tent, and it came time for him to speak at a session. Someone approached the tent to call him to speak, but silence met him. When he entered the tent it seemed that Hyde was in a trance. Certainly nothing could bring him to a conscious state. Time and again he was approached, but without success. Finally someone managed to impress him that he must come to the Convention Tent.

He arrived, on its edge. All eyes were fixed on him. He seemed not to see the crowd. He appeared still to be in his trance. Then he lifted eyes upward and said three times in English, and three times in Urdu, ‘Oh Father!’ There was a great hush over the congregation, but the effect of the prayer was electric. Some began to weep, some went into serene silence. Others, we are told, fell to the ground in deep emotion. Others began prayer as though it were a new and wonderful exercise.

So much for the experience. What was the outcome? The answer is, ‘Revival!’ From that moment a wave of reality swept across the crowd at the Convention. It spread into the district. The days that followed saw a rich and useful revival. Some claim that after eighty years the waves are still flowing. This may well be true. In three utterances Hyde had preached a magnificent sermon. He had unconsciously revealed the Father in all His glory, His compassion, His beauty and His saving grace. Hyde himself was a magnificent evangelist. He must have constantly communicated the filial nature of Christ, and the paternal nature of the God of the Scriptures.”

This story is in the book: ‘I love the Father’ (downloadable free on charge), on the New Creation Teaching Ministries web site: http://www.newcreation.org.au/books/covers/242.html





Music and the Gospel

14 10 2008

MUSIC AND THE GOSPEL

The following quote is from P. T. Forsyth [numbers added]: 

(1) There is at once a compelling grasp and a pervasive idea in great music, which lifts us, if we seek something more than mere amusement, into the vision which sees all things as working together for glory, good, and God

(2) Music is a universal speech, not only in the sense of coming home to almost all hearts. In that sense it is true only of simple and homely music. But great music is universal in a deeper sense than the simple, as Christianity itself is. Its nature and destiny is universal. It sweeps over us with a wave of emotion, which is humane, universal, and submersive of our own petty egoism. 

(3) It exists to purify and organise the selfish emotions, not simply to soothe them, excite them, or indulge them. It lifts us into a world of things which includes our little aches and joys, laps them in a diviner air, and resolves them into the tides and pulses of an eternal life. 

(4) It raises us to our place, if but for an hour, in the universal order of things, and makes our years seem but moments in the eternal process. It is not then our personal welfare we think of, or our private enjoyment. 

(5) Music, like Scripture and Nature, is of no private interpretation. We feel then that our passions and affections, however real, are but rills and streams in an infinite world of love, sympathy, and consummation. (Forsyth, Christ On Parnassus, p. 209-210). 

(6) ‘…we have in a piece of great music the world’s order in miniature.’

(P. T. Forsyth, Christ on Parnassus, p. 212)

Ah, music, blessed, wonderful music.
It was Jonathan Edwards, who said, ultimately, ‘everything will be music‘, rightly understood.
What a symphony the creation is, when tuned by the Risen Lord, to participate in his redemptive love, through the ages.

Thanks to the Lord, for saxophones, piano’s, drum kits, guitars, flutes, violins, trumpets, clarinets, and ’76 trombones’, and the sheer joy of it all.

I might just go, and put some music on.





Glossary of Difficult Words used by P.T. Forsyth

14 10 2008

 See my Glossary, for THE JUSTIFICATION OF GOD, on the HOME PAGE





The Living Word

12 06 2007

You have been born anew, not of perishable but of imperishable seed, through the living and enduring word of God.
(1Peter 1:23)

Yes, the living word of God; the enduring word of God.

The other day, our cat walked past a stuffed toy, which was sitting upright on the bedroom floor – in a new place. The cat was mildly startled, just for a moment: a new living creature in my home? But not so; it was after all, completely unanimated; (although I could have sworn I saw an eye move).

Some people choose to believe that God is just an idea, invented by superstitious people, to explain the inexplicable. Others believe God is passive, never does anything, about anything. But, we believe differently, we relate to the Living Word:

The eternal Son of God is ‘upholding the universe by his powerful word’ (Hebrews 1:3).

The LORD upholds all who are falling, and raises up all who are bowed down (Psalm 145:14)

The living word of God is not static or dead. Scripture is the written Word of God. Jesus is the living Word of God. He is active, speaking to our lives; present to us; upholding and sustaining all things, according to his will and plan. We worship the Living God – a consuming fire. When Peter suddenly saw who Jesus really was, he blurted out these famous words: “You are the Messiah, the Son of the living God.” (Matthew 16:16)

Living Lord Jesus, in your grace you consume our evil upon the cross; you enliven us again with forgiveness, removing our guilt, by the power of the Holy Spirit. No longer zombies, we truly live in you. O Thank you!





The Written Word

12 06 2007

All scripture is inspired by God and is useful for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness (2Tim. 3:16).

I have noticed that many of our people, have good reference books, and quality reading material in their personal libraries. Not everyone does. According to Klaus Bockmuehl, books are “God’s tools in the history of salvation”. In a preface to Bockmuehl’s book by this title, Jim Wilson, tells of 2 things that have greatly ‘impressed’ him:
1) The life changing power of the Gospel in print.
2) Relatively few Christians will give a book to an unbeliever, even though they received Christ reading that particular book.

At bible study Wednesday night, Jim Callinan told us that the bible was: ‘the mind of God, on paper”. Not a bad definition. And most amazing, if the claim is true – which I think it is.

Imploring a “bible-believing” congregation, such as our own, to recognise, and have confidence in the power of the written word, may seem to be like trying to sell coal to Newcastle. But it is not. Sometimes, things we’ve known, can become just too familiar. We need to rediscover our own gospel, and the power of the spoken word, and the power of the written word.

Sharing the gospel, can take some time. That is why books and tracts, and pamphlets and signs, and invitations, can all help in leading others to know Christ. Why not pass on a book, to someone else. May the Spirit, open hearts anew, in this way.

Living Christ, Word of the Father, lead us to share the rich resources which you have given to us. Amen.








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