Random Links 75

PERDANA GLOBAL PEACE FORUM 2005
I heard our Bishop was invited for this … our former prime minister TUN DR MAHATHIR MOHAMMAD is the chairman!

Churches Closed on Christmas? & Church Closings on Christmas— Final Report
Prof. Ben stirred quite a bit of a storm with the first post and brings some closure in his final report. Here’s what stood out for me:

“Our culture does not need any encouragement to be more self-centered and narcissistic or to stay at home on Sunday. It is already that way. Christmas above all else should be a day when we come together as the body of Christ to worship and adore the Lord Jesus.”

“What kind of message does it send to our culture when churches close on one of its highest holy days? That it is o.k. to stay home and do one’s own thing even on Jesus’ birthday?”

“The “judge not” statement of Jesus should not be used as some sort of security blanket to make one immune from any sort of constructive critique. This is just being defensive and not really entertaining that one may have done something inappropriate.”

“Congregations, whether mega or otherwise, are accountable not only to the Lord but to their fellow Christians and should be held accountable where they live. Each congregation is but a part of the larger body of Christians. Churches should check with one another locally and ask probing questions if there is an important issue, like church closing on a Sunday, that might affect the larger witness of the Christian Church in that locale.”

“… one should not assume that simply because one’s church is large this is a sign of infallibility or that all one’s decisions have been pre-blessed by God. One should not even assume that it is necessarily the case that the size of one’s church is a clear sign of blessing from God. This is not necessarily so. Sometimes its just a sign that your church mirrors the larger values of the culture, and so many people naturally feel comfortable there because they don’t have to change much to be a part of such a fellowship.”

“Attributing the critique of church closings on Christmas to ‘Satan’, besides being enormously defensive, makes no theological sense at all.”

“Perhaps, just perhaps, after Christmas when the dust has really settled, maybe we could all have a major talk about being more conscious of the fact that the world is indeed watching, especially on our holidays, and so we bear extra responsibility for what kind of witness we are presenting to the world on such occasions.”

When Christmas falls on Sunday
here’s some interesting thoughts from Prof. Scot on the matter above:

“… No one, to my knowledge, can argue or is arguing that the mega-churches are violating a biblical Christmas sacrilege. No one should can stake a biblical claim for Christmas being the most significant day of the year I’m not sure what one can say about such a topic from the Bible.”

“… let me poke some in the eye here: what I’m reading is that there is too much identification of “worship” with Sunday morning and too much identification of “being the church” with “attending a Sunday morning service.” I find this pretty surprising in that so many are making the case, pretty solidly I think, that “church” is not something done on Sunday mornings but something we “are” and “are all through the week” climaxing at the Lord’s table and in Sunday worship.”

“… let’s be a little more charitable in light of what the NT does and does not say. Let’s permit our brothers and sisters, once every seven years, to make decisions that we might not approve of but know that they answer to God, that we answer to God, that it is about worship of God and incarnating the gospel in our world for the good of others and the world.”

christmas not for church
fantastic opening line here –> “Christmas doesn’t belong in church. It didn’t start in a religious building. Its message was for all of humanity, not just Christians.”

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