April Update - 2019
Welcome to my Romans 15:8 monthly blog for April 2019.
If you are reading this and have not yet signed up to the network, please do so. Equally if you have joined could you please encourage one or two other colleagues to do so over the next few months? It is very simple to sign up on line. As our monthly memory verse for this month reminds us it is very important to stand together and to develop publicly accountable networks. Hopefully the Romans 15:8 network is growing into one of these important networks for Church leaders.
Teaching reflection of the month
(In a few weeks time my next Olive Press Research Paper will be published. It is focusing upon Biblical Hermeneutics and I would especially welcome feedback and reflections from members of the Romans 15:8 network, especially from those who regularly have the responsibility of preaching and teaching from the Bible. Outline below is a brief segment from the paper which sets the scene for the hermeneutical principles and insights which follow).
….As a believer in Jesus I understand that the Bible is the ultimate authority for what I believe and for how I try and live. This understanding is upheld in the Statements of Faith of the Christian Church. For example, the statement concerning the Nature, Faith and Order of the United Reformed Church states; “The highest authority for what we believe and do is God’s word in the Bible, alive for his people today through the help of the Spirit.”
At this point for the sake of avoiding misunderstanding it must be stated that Christians do not worship the Bible and no one is saved by gaining Biblical knowledge or undertaking Bible study. Christians do not place their trust in the Bible itself, but in what or in whom the Bible is a witness to – namely the actions and character of God. For it is God alone who can save and it is God alone who is worthy of worship.
The inspiration and authority of the Bible flows from God; I think it is helpful to think of this in two ways: Firstly the inspiration of the Bible is due to God Himself. Scripture is not just “inspired” but it is given by God’s Spirit. In 2 Timothy 3:16 we are told that all Scripture is God-breathed. The Greek word here is “theopneustos” and this expresses an essential truth about the nature of revelation which is echoed in 2 Peter 1:20-21.
It is also helpful to link the authority of the Bible to the out-working of God’s sovereignty. God is sovereign not just in His engagement with creation, but also in His revelation of Himself to people. Christianity is a revealed religion, in which God acts and speaks and we respond (Hebrews 1:1-4). God’s actions and words are not elusive or ambiguous: the word is living and active (Hebrews 4:12) and the living word of God became flesh in a specific person, at a specific time and in a specific place (John 1:14). The Bible is a component part of the redeeming work of God, as the Bible accurately makes known God’s ways and actions. In addition, the Bible teaches people how they should respond to God’s ways and actions.
Ministry news update
The past few weeks have been very full in ministry terms. Often this is the case for me at this time of the year as I and other colleagues are involved in leading Passover events during Holy Week. This year was no exception as I led events in my home Church in Linton and on Maundy Thursday at All Saints Church, Lindfield.
In addition to this I led with David Pileggi (Rector of Christ Church Jerusalem) a teaching week at Lee Abbey, Devon. I spoke on ‘Jesus the Jew’ and ‘Theological models within Christian Jewish Relations’ while David spoke in depth on the Shema. As always the Lee Abbey community made us very welcome and our teaching sessions were well attended. It was especially good as this was not a CMJ organised event, but was hosted and promoted by Lee Abbey. Therefore many attending knew very little about CMJ, so hopefully new contacts were made and new supporters established.
Later on I preached and led prayers at the ordination of Daryoosh Zareian in St Stephens Church Selly Oak. Daryoosh is of Iranian decent and a convert from Islam. Over many years as a Christian he has sensed a strong call to minister to Jewish People. He is the first person to be ordained by the Iranian (Farsi speaking) Church network in the UK. He will be supported to develop ministry initially based in Haifa. For me this is indeed a ‘good news story of compelling significance’- namely an Iranian ministering in Israel and a former Muslim reaching out to Jewish People! Yes indeed the Gospel has the power to transform, renew and empower!
I have been away for a few days holiday to Northern Ireland and enjoyed reading the book - Alone in Berlin by Hans Fallada (Published by Penguin modern classics). This is a compelling world war two novel with a strong redemptive element. This novel is considered by many as a modern classic.
Also my latest Bible study book - 100 Days with Acts which was published a few weeks ago has been well received and initial sales are encouraging.
Monthly Memory Verse
“One who isolates oneself seeks his own desire; he defies all sound judgment.”
(John 10:3 – Messianic Jewish Family Bible).
Posted on 17 May 2019.