Random Links 126

Are Numbers Evil?
Is there a right use of numbers? “For McGavran, numbers meant accuracy, truth, the removal of spiritual language about sociological phenomena. McGavran would hear stories where ‘thousands were reached with the gospel.” McGavran would respond, “how many were now engaged in church life?” “

What Really Unites Pentecostals?
As one who spent some years in a Pentecostal church, this subtitle raised my eye brows : “It’s not speaking in tongues. It may be the prosperity gospel.”. However, I will never deny the genuine openness to the Spirit I learnt from the Pentecostal tradition. It’s this drive towards “prosperity” Gospel in whatever form or mutation (even in Malaysia) that’s driving me nuts. Lord have mercy. Frankly, I confess I no longer will pick up and buy a book by Benny Hinn , I don’t know where have I put all my “faith movement” books nor will I get excited by another “wave” or “trend”, and yet I’ve been enjoying some interesting Pentecostal scholars like Amos Yong & Simon Chan (whom both may not have infiltrated into the grassroots yet). In short, while I no longer speak in tongues (like I used to), I have not abandoned the Spirit (or the Spirit has not abandoned me!)

Liturgical Theology 1 | Function or ontology?
Liturgical Theology 2 | What’s in your pneumatology?
I haven’t finished the previous Simon Chan book, but his new one has already caught my attention. And thanks to Benjamin Sternke I can eavesdrop on his interaction with it. This spoke loud to me this morning (from Simon Chan):

” Herein lies the main weakness in Protestant and evangelical theology: it terminates the gospel story at the resurrection and ascension, so that the church is seen solely as the agent to retell or restate a story that ended with Christ’s resurrection. Protestantism has no sense of the continuation of the gospel into ecclesiology and pneumatology. When it comes to understanding the church, sociology takes over.

Against such a view, we need to see ecclesiology as an intrinsic part of the doctrine of the gospel of Jesus Christ, not an administrative arrangement for the sake of securing some practical results.”

And the last line in the post jolted me a little … “Maybe Augustine said it best: “The church is a whore, but she is my mother.””. Now that’s more than food for thought!

AEF Conference: Panel Discussion #6 (final)
Desert Pastor Chris Monroe has been doing some excellent summaries here on the Call to an Ancient Evangelical Future Conference. Track back and look at the previous posts too. Perhaps they might make the Mp3s available for the rest of us.

The Skinny on New Atheism
I saw the Dawkin’s book very much “glaring” at a mega bookstore here in Kuala Lumpur. I’m not too attracted to waste too much energy on what I perceive as a form of “secular fundamentalism” which markets itself as science but feels like another form of narrow mindedness. There are other more meaty challenges.

Apocalypto, Mel Gibson, and the Christian Practice of Saying yes and saying no
what does our baptism have to do with our entertainment decisions?

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