Why Aren’t the Younger Generation Coming To Worship?

https://alightbreaksthrough.org/why-arent-young-peopling-to-worship/

Does the New Testament Really Have a Unifying Centre? Maybe, Maybe Not!

One of the problems with coming up with a New Testament Theology is the many diversities within the New Testament, this poses a genuine problem for interpreters who are trying to identify a theological core in the New Testament, but the problem is not insurmountable.

To restate the problem, the differences across the New Testament collection are well rehearsed: Paul versus the Jerusalem church, the Synoptics versus John, the Lucan Paul and versus the Paul of the epistles, John the Elder vs the docetists and secessionists, and then in the second century the proto-orthodox church versus the Valentinians, Marcionites, and Ebionites. Concrete examples of this diversity and divergence in the New Testament are not hard to find. Although I am convinced that one can easily reconcile James’ and Paul’s account of “faith” and “works,”[1] nonetheless, one will have to admit that they differ markedly over the application of Gen 15:6 to Christ-believers. Whereas James incorporates a standard Jewish interpretive strategy of reading Gen 15:6 in light of Gen 22:9-18 (see 1 Macc 2:52), this is an approach that Paul explicitly rejects in Romans 4 and Galatians 3 whereby Paul disallows any attempt to read Abraham’s subsequent act of obedience back into Gen 15:6 or otherwise it would make salvation based on works and not grace. Similar disparities emerge if we look at different views on food sacrificed to idols in the New Testament. The Jerusalem council (Acts 15:28-29) and words of the risen Jesus according to John the Seer (Rev 2:14, 20) expressly forbid eating food sacrificed to idols, whereas Paul treats it purely as a matter of personal conscience (1 Cor 8:1-13; 10:25-33; Rom 14:15-23). This arguably signifies different strategies for negotiating the contamination of idolatry even if everyone agreed that idolatry should be avoided. It is diversities such as these – as well as genre, perspective, situation, intertextuality, and rhetoric – that also pose a serious challenge to identifying a theology nucleus or a type of theological centre to the New Testament. How does one find a theological centre in diverse and sometimes disparate materials? Afterall, what is prominent in Paul might be peripheral to Peter. What is affirmed in Paul and Luke-Acts (Christians can live peaceably under the aegis of the Roman empire) might be repudiated in the Apocalypse of John (Christians long for the empire to be burned to the ground). What is judged to be the central message of the New Testament might not even appear in the theology of the epistle of Jude. For many scholars, a New Testament theology is merely the chronicle of a cacophony of irreconcilable conflicting interpretations and plays for power.[2] To be honest, I think it is clear that trying to curate the New Testament into a tidy and timeless theology with a homogenous core is deeply problematic because of the New Testament’s inherent diversities, the on-going and often unresolved debates taking place, and even the developments of views held by New Testament authors.

Continue: https://www.patheos.com/blogs/euangelion/2019/11/does-the-new-testament-really-have-a-unifying-centre-maybe-maybe-not/

12 Vital Reasons Each Of Us Should Be Part Of A Church

Do you really need to be involved in a church for God’s word?

Can’t believers just worship Jesus on their own? Why do we need to be involved in “organized religion?” It seems like a growing trend that many Christians don’t believe they need to be part of a church.

Yes, we can and should worship and love Jesus individually. But we should also worship, pursue God’s word and love him with others. In fact, it is essential and vital to our spiritual lives and health as believers.

More: https://churchleaders.com/smallgroups/small-group-articles/366660-12-vital-reasons-each-of-us-should-be-part-of-a-church.htm

Make Sunday Mornings Uncomfortable

by Rebecca McLaughlin

Guest Contributor

“Sorry to cut you off!” I’d just started connecting with a close friend at church. I was eager to catch up. But as she talked, I noticed a woman sitting alone, thumbing through her service sheet.

Honestly, I wished I hadn’t seen her. Interrupting my friend would be rude. It’s good for me to invest in friends! Someone else will likely spot that woman. These were some of the excuses that ran through my head. But the woman was clearly new, and for all I knew, not a believer. So, reluctantly, I interrupted my friend.

As soon as I sat down with the newcomer, I thanked God I had. Raised Catholic, she hadn’t been to church in over a decade. Her fiancé had just broken up with her right before their wedding, and she needed something else in life. I took a risk and asked if she’d like to come to our community group. She said yes. She’s been coming to church and Bible study ever since.

This was one of many opportunities my husband Bryan and I have had to connect with not-yet-Christians inside our church building. We have very little else in common. I’m an extrovert; he’s an introvert. I’m from England; he’s from Oklahoma. I’m into literature; he’s an engineer. But God drew us together around a shared sense of mission, and Bryan recently expressed that mission in three rules of engagement at church. These rules make our Sundays less comfortable, but more rewarding. If you’re tired of comfortable, you might want to give them a try!

You want to read the rest: https://www.desiringgod.org/articles/make-sunday-mornings-uncomfortable

Worship music should focus less on emotion, more on community

NASHVILLE — Singer/songwriter Sandra McCracken is highlighting the importance of sound doctrine in worship music and urging the Church to focus less on emotionalism and more on community in today’s individualistic, scripturally illiterate society.

“One of the challenges in general culturally is the connection between entertainment and church music,” McCracken told The Christian Post during a sit-down interview in Tennessee last month. “When you come to church, there’s a sense that you are there to be entertained. The music is so professional: A big, tall stage, separated from everyone else and very disconnected. I think that can be detrimental to the experience of formation in the church.

“The human experience of living life together and being across the table and having conversations — that is the place where we can really ground and connect most profoundly,” she continued. “I think people are pretty lonely and pretty isolated and music is a way of bringing us together. Being in a room with people singing one song together is a powerful experience. It’s counter-cultural in a way; other than a rock concert, where else do we do that?”

Continue reading: https://www.christianpost.com/news/hymn-writer-sandra-mccracken-worship-music-should-focus-less-on-emotion-more-on-community.html

We meet with God when we meet with one another

https://www.kevinhalloran.net/we-meet-with-god-when-we-meet-with-one-another/

Word of the Week: Exhort

https://thepreachersword.com/2019/07/01/word-of-the-week-exhort/