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Issues Facing Missions Today: 42. Biblical Bases for Christian Toleration

Issues Facing Missions Today: 42. Biblical Bases for Christian Toleration
Introduction
Toleration has become a cardinal virtue in the West and countries influenced by the West.  Like equality, it is understood as a virtue related to freedom or liberty.  In democratic societies, toleration is a necessary virtue to restrain the tyranny of the majority.  Peculiarly, toleration of preferred minorities over against others has become the mark of twenty-first century, Western democracies.  
This is because certain minority communities actually support majority perspectives at a higher level of abstraction, such as when the 2% homosexual population is given affirmation as a minority expression because it supports the more abstract or general affirmation of sexual freedom.  Caricature and persecution of those holding to tradition views of sexuality and marriage are, suddenly, legitimate objects of derision and persecution.
Over against Western culture’s experiment with these virtues lie many Islam…

The Church: 7b The Essence of Biblical Worship--Part Two

The Church: 7b The Essence of Biblical Worship--Part Two


Introduction Worship entails being aware of and responding to God’s glorious and holy presence.  Various narratives from Israel’s history emphasise this point.  The holy of holies, with the real presence of God in the midst of His people, symbolises this aspect of worship for those who now worship God in Spirit and in truth.  What Christians, aware of their own sinfulness, add to this worship is their entering God’s glorious and holy presence through the Lord Jesus Christ, the mediator and intercessor of our faith. A Sinful People and a Holy God God’s purpose for Israel in the Old Testament narrative is to make of her a holy people for himself.  Moses was to tell the Israelites, Exodus 6:6-8   'I am the LORD, and I will free you from the burdens of the Egyptians and deliver you from slavery to them. I will redeem you with an outstretched arm and with mighty acts of judgment.  7 I will take you as my people, and I will be your …

Issues Facing Missions Today: 41. Is it ‘Islam’ or ‘Radical Islam’?

Issues Facing Missions Today: 41. Is it ‘Islam’ or ‘Radical Islam’?
Western liberals wish to avoid the politically incorrect issue of whether terrorists from Middle Eastern and North African countries do what they do because of their Islamic faith or not.  Is this a religious matter, or is it terrorism without any religious motivation?  Even when the terrorists claim that they murder because of their faith, liberal Westerners embarrassingly try to insist that this is not the case.  They try to criticize the terrorists for misunderstanding their own faith, as though they are somehow more able to explain Islam than Muslims.  Some will say that the agents of death are not true Muslims but ‘radicalised Muslims,’ but others will avoid the term ‘Muslim’ altogether.
Why would someone attempt this rather peculiar ‘doublespeak’ (a term coined by George Orwell in his work on politically correct totalitarianism—Nineteen Eighty-Four)?  One reason, apparently, is that liberals in the West have for…

Issues Facing Missions Today: 39.16 Mission as Renewal Ministry

Issues Facing Missions Today: 39.16Mission as Renewal Ministry
Introduction
Our sixteenth point to evaluate in the proposed Missions 101 course is
Point 16: ‘Foreign missions is really something of the past: Asia is now sending missionaries, North and South America and Australasia are Christian, the Church is growing fastest in Africa, there is no open door in the Middle East, and Europe is where the Church started.’
An obvious focus in our course in response to this dubitable perspective is to discuss the unfinished task in evangelistic mission.  For that I might suggest engaging the project of mapping the unfinished task in missions undertaken by Mission Frontiers.[1]  What I would like to consider, however, is another matter that arises: the proposition that not all mission work is pioneering, evangelistic work.  My interest is not here about holistic missions, whereby the task of mission is expanded such that it can never be a finished task (‘you always have the poor with you,’ Mark…