What is to stop me from being baptized?

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We did Acts 8 in house church Bible study a couple of weeks back:

So Philip started speaking, and beginning with this scripture proclaimed the good news about Jesus to him. Now as they were going along the road, they came to some water, and the eunuch said, “Look, there is water! What is to stop me from being baptized?”

Some as pastors and teachers

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Bible reading in church today included Ephesians 4:11:

It was he who gave some as apostles, some as prophets, some as evangelists, and some as pastors and teachers.

I’ve been involved in quite a few pastorless churches recently and I know how much they have cried out for a pastor to come (and save them?). People find it really hard to be in a church without a pastor.

Reading today’s passage, I can’t help wondering what would happen if we found it just as hard to be in a church without apostles, prophets, or evangelists. Read more about Some as pastors and teachers

To the women first

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When Jesus rose from the dead and appeared first to the women, he must have known that, in those days, the testimony of a woman would be considered half as valuable as that of a man. He must have known that the disciples would not believe them.

In fact, if he knew those things and he knew what he was doing, then he must have appeared first to the women because he knew that the disciples would not believe them. Read more about To the women first

Theologically acceptable translation

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As a student of linguistics*, a lover of the Bible, a missiologist interested in contextualization, and a frequent transgressor of the Eleventh Commandment, (“Thou shalt not hold strong views on controversial issues”) it’s no real surprise that I have a thing or two to say about the Son of God translation fracas. It seems very reminiscent of the equally silly debate about whether or not Bible translators should use the word Allah for God in Arabic translations of the Bible. Read more about Theologically acceptable translation

Is the church a "power spot"?

On Saturdays we try to have a family day off together, so often on Friday nights I spend a lot of time looking through tourist information and what’s-on web sites trying to think of something interesting to do. If you look at the official Kyoto city tourist information web site, you will find that the number one most accessed page was (until the new aquarium opened) Kyo Power Spots. So what’s a “power spot”? From the same page: Read more about Is the church a "power spot"?

Ten reasons for missionaries not to evangelise

  1. You make yourself unavailable to the pastoral needs of your church members.
  2. You lose the opportunity for fellowship with other missionaries and church leaders.
  3. You can’t evangelise yet; you need to put more time into building the relationship.
  4. Sermons don’t write themselves, Bible studies don’t prepare themselves.
  5. It’s more important to train other people to do the work instead of doing it yourself.
  6. There’s an important meeting about proposed changes to the denominational organisational structure that you should be at instead.

God's ethical landmines

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So yesterday a friend posted on Facebook a quote from Miroslav Volf about the book of Job, which said: “We either love God ‘for nothing,’ or we don’t love God at all.”

The Bible has many of examples of God appearing capricious, uncaring or downright murderous. Job is one of them; the genocide in Joshua another. I’ve noticed four usual reactions to this: Read more about God's ethical landmines

Counter-contextualization: Keeping our saltiness

The other day I wrote a long blog post in Japanese. I haven’t posted it yet; I have a feeling it might offend people. That isn’t why I haven’t posted it, though—I want to make sure I offend the right people to just the right degree: not too much, of course, but not too little either. Here I want to work through the philosophical underpinnings of that post—why I wrote it and what I’m thinking about it, and why I think it’s worth offending people over. Read more about Counter-contextualization: Keeping our saltiness