Category Archives: Ministry and Mission

What Hope is there for Mission?

It was a privilege to recently give the Whitley College 2010 Annual Missiology Lecture. Whitley College, part of the University of Melbourne,  is the  Baptist training college in Melbourne. The lecture was subsequently published in the Australian Journal of Mission Studies. Vol. 4, No.2 (Dec 2010) 55-61.  The lecture begins with the material below, but the full text can also be downloaded here.

 

The humour of this kind of “end of the world” cartoon reminds us that there is a certain disdain for crazy preachers who proclaim the end of all things, but we ought to remember that Jesus came into Galilee as an end-time preacher, saying, “The time has come, the kingdom of God is near. Repent and believe the good news!” (Mark 1:14-15). It might be good if the church was more willing to sound equally crazy in saying that the kingdom of God is a lot closer than many realize, and that we are nearly there at every moment of time!  The Celtic Christian tradition has a saying that heaven and earth are only three feet apart, and that in the “thin” places the distance is even less. This is a way of saying that there are times and places when it seems that the veil between heaven and earth is lifted and we are able to get a glimpse, a sense of the holy. Read More »

Also posted in Purpose and Destiny | Comments closed

Faith-sharing in professional practice

By Brian Edgar

How should Christians who are professionals – specifically, in this case, health professionals share their faith? Of course, being a pastor or theologian is a very different experience, so my words have to be assessed in that light although I did become personally familiar with these issues over some years in the so-called ‘secular’ workforce. Read More »

Also posted in Everyday Theology | Comments closed

Christians and homosexuality

By Brian Edgar

While evangelicals have a good reputation for holding to biblical truth – including the biblically expressed conviction that homosexual activity is sinful – they have not always had a good reputation for acting with grace towards those who differ.  Although the real situation Read More »

Also posted in Sexuality, Theology of the Person | Comments closed

Biblical justice

By Brian Edgar

‘My daughter has a keen sense of justice’ she said, as we watched the child and her friends dividing cake and lollies at a party. My unspoken response was that the girl was pretty much like every other child (and adult, for that matter) in that she showed a strong instinct for self-interest in making sure that she got her fair share! Self-interest is natural and not necessarily wrong but it is certainly not the same thing as biblical justice. Even secular notions of justice which go beyond the childish attitude that ‘justice’ is ‘just me’ and  define it in terms of fairness, equality and honesty still fall short of ‘biblical justice’. Read More »

Also posted in Social Responsibility | Comments closed

What makes a good preacher?

By Brian Edgar

What makes a good preacher? One answer is that words make a good preacher, words that communicate the Word of God. The Word. They can illuminate, transform, challenge encourage and uplift. On the other hand, one can argue that it is good listening which makes a good preacher. People make the preacher. Their expectation, their hopes and their prayers are a critical part of good preaching.  If the preaching is poor, it may not be so much because of the preacher’s poor words but because of the people’s poor listening! Read More »

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Christ and multiculturalism

By Brian Edgar

There is one simple thing to say about multiculturalism: it is an essential part of the gospel.

It is important to note that Christians do not support multiculturalism for just the same reasons as others.  Some people support multiculturalism for pragmatic reasons, because it produces benefits for Australia and is a great source of social wealth and dynamism.  Others support multiculturalism in Australia on the basis of history, because over the past 200 years Australia has continually added to the indigenous community successive waves of migrants from many ethnic, cultural and racial backgrounds.  Some support multiculturalism for philosophical reasons arguing for the principle of tolerance as an essential dimension of community life.[1] But ultimately the real reason for supporting multiculturalism is simply because it is right and Christians ought to continue to support multiculturalism despite all pragmatic difficulties and circumstances that would lead to other outcomes even when they appear to be simpler or more attractive. Read More »

Also posted in Social Responsibility | Comments closed

On being friends with Muslims

By Brian Edgar

Muslims in Australia frequently find relationships with the rest of society to be strained. Consequently, Christians have a responsibility to work to ensure that social relationships are positive and healthy and, consequently, whatever else is needed Christians need to follow God’s example and do as Jesus said and love Muslims just as they love Christians (‘love your neighbour as yourself’). Read More »

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Sent to heal – Taylor

By Brian Edgar

There was a time, not so long ago, when many churches held healing services in addition to, or as part of, regular Sunday services.  Now it seems that over the past decade or so this ministry of the church has virtually disappeared. Or at the very least it has become the preserve of some Pentecostal churches with their particular understanding of what it involves.

The loss of the healing ministry from other traditions  means not only the loss of an important, corporate activity of God’s people in offering prayer for physical, emotional and spiritual healing but also the loss of a constant, public reminder to Christians and the wider community of the fact that there are dimensions of life which lie outside human control. Read More »

Also posted in Formation and Discipleship | Comments closed

Re-Imagining God and Mission

By Brian Edgar

If you intend to write or produce a book, the best thing you can do yourself and your readers is to get a good topic. This book, Reimagining God and Mission in Australia deals with a good and vitally important topic: it is looking at what God, through the church is doing, and could be doing in Australia. Read More »

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