Friday, September 23, 2016

A More Christlike God - Brad Jersak & Roger Mitchell (Sparks 2016 Workshop)

"A More Christ-like God" - Brad Jersak's Workshop at SPARKS

Brad Jersak is an author and teacher based in Abbotsford, BC. He is on faculty at Westminster Theological Centre (Cheltenham, UK), and is also the editor in chief of CWR (Christianity Without the Religion) Magazine.

Brad’s most recent book, "A More Christlike God: A More Beautiful Gospel," seeks to detoxify our images of God to present the Incarnation of Christ as our clearest vision of the nature of God as love.
“SPARKS” 2016 was a weekend of conversation and discovery at Ashburnham Place to explore the following theme: “How to remain present, faith-filled, and resilient in the challenge and change of today”.

This video was produced by Michael Lafleur and The INFUSION NETWORK on behalf of SPARKS and it’s organizers © 2016.

Monday, September 19, 2016

Five Stages of Religious Violence - Greg Albrecht

"It all begins with the religious delusion to which humans so easily fall for: the glorification of human performance."

Stage One — Acceptance:

Acceptance of the belief that keeping rules, regulations and rituals determines our standing before God is the first stage that actually lays the groundwork for religious violence. Within Christendom, Christ-less religion is the belief that our performance of prescribed rules and rituals is the only way to please or appease God, and that our standing with God is dependent upon the quality of our performance. The idea that what we do enhances or improves our standing with God, so that he will love us more because of our performance (more than he would have had we not put forth the effort) is the un-grace of religion. This “philosophy” by definition involves no grace, no relationship, and therefore no Jesus. This “philosophy” is religion—rules and performance. Performance-based religion itself is the foundation that can lead to violence and bloodshed.

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Grace Alone - Greg Albrecht

But now a righteousness from God, apart from law, has been made known, to which the Law and the Prophets testify. This righteousness from God comes through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe. There is no difference, for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus. God presented him as a sacrifice of atonement, through faith in his blood. He did this to demonstrate his justice, because in his forbearance he had left the sins committed beforehand unpunished—he did it to demonstrate his justice at the present time, so as to be just and the one who justifies those who have faith in Jesus.—Romans 3:21-26
In a previous article titled In Need of Grace, we discussed our need of God's amazing grace. We started by discussing this passage:
I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God for the salvation of everyone who believes: first for the Jew, then for the Gentile. For in the gospel a righteousness from God is revealed, a righteousness that is by faith from first to last, just as it is written, "The righteous will live by faith."—Romans 1:16-17
Along with a longer initial passage in Romans (2:1-3:20) we then discussed Paul's careful development of his argument that any and all of our human efforts are insufficient to bring us into relationship with God.

Friday, September 2, 2016

Enter to win: "The Remnant" - a Novel by Monte Wolverton

Enter to win a free copy of The Remnant, by award-winning author, Monte Wolverton

(giveaway only available in the US and Canada)

The Remnant
In the year 2069 the Apocalypse came and went, but Jesus didn't show up, as some expected. Instead, a cataclysmic war, natural disasters and pandemics eradicated 90 percent of earth's population. Now, in 2131, a totalitarian government rules the world from the majestic, opulent capitol of Carthage, Tunisia.

Blamed for igniting the war, religion and religious books are banned. Citizens who will not renounce their religion are sent to work camps. 

Grant Cochrin, imprisoned in a bleak petroleum camp in what was once North Dakota, leads his family and friends to escape and embark on a long, dangerous quest for a Christian community.

Their resource in this journey? A cherished page torn from the now banished Bible—a remnant of Jesus' Sermon on the Mount handed down from Grant's grandparents.

Thursday, August 25, 2016

Under Reconstruction: Crazy Characters, Unreliable Narrators and the Divine Architect - Brad Jersak

After Deconstruction
The last years have seen a grand deconstruction of Scripture reading and interpretation—some would say of Scripture itself. Of course, this has been an ongoing centuries-long project, but two unique elements dominate the past decade: first, the ‘New Atheists’ are actually reading the Bible—carefully and, unlike liberal scholars, they have read it literally with a view to destroying faith. “The Bible says it; I reject it; and that settles it.” And second, their dance partners in this deconstruction have been evangelicals who are finally questioning the modernist lingo of inerrancy and it’s narrow literalist interpretations. They’re ready to either toss Scripture (many have) or to reconstruct their reading on sturdier foundations.
For my part, the deconstruction has run along very specific lines. I have come to believe that Jesus Christ revealed the fullness of God in the Incarnation and thus, he—not the Bible—is the only divine Word and our final authority for theology, faith and Christian practice. His primacy as the revelation of God challenges doctrines like inerrancy when they elevate ‘every word of Scripture’ as the ‘infallible word of God.’ That latter phrase was reserved by the Church fathers for God the Son alone. And so while I do believe in the inspiration and authority of Scripture, I’m among a burgeoning crowd of quite conservative theologians who reject evangelical bibliolatry in favor of the Christ to whom Scripture faithfully points.
For those who’ve made that trek, the niggling question remains, ‘What now?’ How do we read the Bible, if at all, after the deconstruction? The answer to that will require many authors to contribute umpteen volumes, a task well on its way. What I’ll offer here is just one gesture toward reconstructed Bible-reading. Ironically, my suggestions were elementary standards in the early church, but were often marginalized by Protestant assumptions and the co-opting of Evangelicalism by modernity … and now by the fashionable cynicism of post-moderns. But anyway … you’ll see how a counter-intuitive reconstruction may be helpful.