Archive for 'The Church'
Posted on 16. May, 2012 by Tim Stoner.
Eric Metaxa’s brilliant autobiography of Dietrich Bonhoeffer was easily my favorite book of 2011. It introduced me to a teacher, preacher with the unnering and unnerving prophet’s eye. Abraham Heschel describes a prophet as ones who, “said no to to his society, condemning its habits, and assumptions, its complacency, waywardness, and syncretism.” Such a man was Bonhoeffer and for it he paid with his life. This book made me wonder whether I was reading more of a prophesy than a biography. The choice for him was between the German Church and the Confessing Church (which he helped found). Today it might very well be the Accomodated Church one the one side and the Faithful Church on the other. But, what is clear, we desperately need more prophetic preachers like him inside as well as outside the church.
Posted on 22. Jan, 2011 by Tim Stoner.
In Generous Justice Timothy Keller does something almost impossible: he wrestles a golden calf off its marble pedestal while keeping the conservative reader from pushing the eject button. The argument he makes is that caring for the widow, orphans, immigrants and the poor is not an option, it is a duty—it is a necessary act of love. Starkly: choosing not to sacrifically serve those in need is not stinginess but “an offense against God”. And most starkly of all: refusing to “do justice” means we have not been truly saved. He does this gently, but for those with ears to hear Dr. Keller has issued a prophetic pronouncement that will rock the boat and hopefully the world.
Posted on 03. Jan, 2011 by Tim Stoner.
Leaders in the church are “entrusted” with something infinitely valuable: the Gospel which is to be guarded and applied to men’s consciences. Standing by as this deposit of truth is pillaged by false teachers (be they ever so winsome and cultured and kind), is to be guilty of criminal negligence. Failing to issue clear warnings and distinguish the holy and the profane is an actionable breach of trust. The consequences, at best, are being fired (as in “being saved as though by fire”), and at worse, becoming complicit in profaning God–if Ezekiel and St. Paul are to be believed.
Posted on 28. Oct, 2010 by Tim Stoner.
Phyllis Tickle is a formidable woman. She is leading the charge for the next great revolution in Christianity called the Great Emergence. She is an expert on religion who is to be taken seriously. She spoke at Mars Hill in Grand Rapids on “The Feminine Atributes of the Holy Spirit.” In it she makes a case for the Feminine Divine and in it we see where Emergent/Emerging Christianity may be heading. To hear her talk, what is on the horizon might better be called the “Great Convergence”–where Christianity and Paganism meld into one.
Posted on 18. May, 2010 by Tim Stoner.
Desiring the Kingdom was authored by James K. A. Smith, a philosopny professor at Calvin College and is one of the 10 most influential books I have read. It shines unrelenting light upon the deficits of the traditional perspective on Christian formation-discipleship. Its thesis can be summarized simply: Christians have been wrong for over 400 years in defining humans by placing the focus on the mind–we are thinking beings that are containers for ideas. He argues that being a disciple of Jesus is not primarily a matter of getting the right ideas and doctrines and beliefs into your head; rather, it is a matter of being the kind of person who loves rightly. We are first of all lovers not thinkers. And then he gets dangerous.
Posted on 10. May, 2010 by Tim Stoner.
Inclusivism posits that at the core of Jesus’ life and teachings is a simple, non-negotiable message of absolute love, tolerance, and acceptance. Any belief or practice that jeopardizes this message is to be rejected, even if it is stated clearly in the Bible, was practiced by the early church, and was taught and believed by nearly all Christians for 2,000 years–for example the church’s historic restriction of the priesthood to males. Egalitarianism, which is what this novel teaching is called, contends that Jesus dismantled all sexually-based role distinctions. It is premised on the desire to promote equality among all members of the body of Christ. It affirms the Western commitment to individual rights while dismissing the gloriously scandalous vocation that the Virgen Mary exemplified. It also unintentionally denigrates the humble beauty of submission and surrender that I saw incarnated in my own home by a supremely gifted wife and mother.
Posted on 17. Apr, 2010 by Tim Stoner.
With the barest flick of the wrist the gauzy veil covering Setara’s black hair slips back as she sings in front of the panel of judges and millions of Muslim viewers. It was a defiant assertion of independence from binding, dogmatic constraints. While the rebel, Son of Liberty in me raucously celebrated, that loyalist Tory in me was dismayed and repelled. I was conflicted. As if I were in a rocking boat careening on the foaming waves of personal liberty only to slide down into the quiet troughs of dutiful submission. And, oddly enough, I thought of Virgin Mary who had to navigate a storm of her own to become the mother of God.