by Rachel Stella. Originally published in Mennonite World Review, republished with permission.
When we talk about living in peace with Muslims, some Christians become uneasy. They reason that because Islam and Christianity have such differences, true peace isn’t possible.
Yet a call to live in peace is not the same as a call to harmonize the two faiths. Indeed, it would be impossible to harmonize them without fundamentally changing one or both. Although they share a few beliefs in common, Islam and Christianity have major theological differences that are irreconcilable.
It is still entirely possible to live well with Muslim neighbors in our communities. Sure, you and your Muslim friend might enjoy a theological debate once in a while. (Depending on one’s personality, such an activity might or might not seem like a good time.) But it doesn’t have to keep us from getting along with each other as neighbors. Continue reading Our Muslim Neighbors
As Jesus was preparing to leave the earth and ascend to heaven, He gave his disciples a few instructions called the Great Commission. Jesus directed his remaining followers to go and make disciples of all nations, teaching and baptizing them in the way of the Lord. For the last 2000 years or so, that is just what the church has done (albeit imperfectly and not always contextually). Since Pentecost, ministers of the gospel have gone out to other places in the world to preach and teach the Word of God, and have led billions upon billions to faith in Jesus Christ. Amazing, right!
Over the last few hundred years, however, this cross-cultural ministry has primarily been led by American and European missionaries. Out of a desire to win the lost in exotic, third world nations (and sometimes out of a desire to colonize those nations, let’s just be honest) they have crossed land and sea, spending their entire lifetime discipling people in the way of the Lord. Yet, as a result of immigration and other global trends/ situations, something quite fascinating has taken place.
Now people of other nations and ethnicities are coming to America, looking for opportunities to start over, raise their family, receive education or just live to see another day. This has wonderful implications on the gospel and missions efforts, because now the very people that we’ve been trying to reach are our neighbors. But instead of reaching out to them, inviting them into our churches, our homes, our lives, many Christians and churches are pushing them away. Continue reading “Make Disciples of All Nations” – and Then the Nations Came to Us!
by Hye Sung Francis Gehring.
When I was a freshman in college, my friends and I were discovering charismatic spirituality together. We often had long prayer sessions, and we always expected to experience and hear God. It was messy, naive, often fueled by fear, but God was somehow in it as we experimented with this bizarre mysticism that was so confident in Christ’s Spirit being within us. Some of us walked through our campus often, quietly praying in tongues, rebuking the spirits among us causing fear, spiritual drought, depression, etc., and declaring a better way for the Church and for the school. We called this spiritual warfare.
I still believe in the power of spiritual warfare, even if much of our demon-hunting was a bit silly. I’d like to think that Holy Spirit interpreted our prayers the way they needed to be interpreted, and maybe we did push the devil out of our campus a bit. Hopefully. But still, before Friends of Jesus retreats, I often try to spend time in intercession, praying for the outpouring of the Spirit and protection from the enemy, who loves to stir up quarreling among believers and quench the Holy Ghost. I’m still a firm believer that Christ handed an authority to the Church to be declare, prophesy, and shake things on this earth, and in the spirit realm, to realize the reign of God among and within us. Continue reading Political Protest is Spiritual Warfare
by Mark Gent
Yesterday there was shockwaves that spread through the City of London as 5 People were killed and 40 Injured through a suspected terror attack! An attacker mowed down people on the pavement of Westminster Bridge and Crashed into the railings outside the Houses of Parliament. Where the attacker then fled his vehicle and ran towards the Parliament armed with a knife.
An off duty Policeman Officer was Stabbed to death. Police Commissioner Palmer had just called of duty and was unarmed at the time of the attack. The 48-year-old was Stabbed to death in front of onlookers.
The attacker has not been named by police, although they think it was related to Islamic terrorism.
As we know, London is the Heart of the UK. We have an enemy who is seeking to attack every heart. Satan is his name and he works through the vulnerable, the weak, the ones who have no hope and ones who have been brought up in broken homes, the fatherless, the rejected. Continue reading Let Jesus’ Light Shine in London’s Darkness
by Stuart Murray
Originally Published in Anabaptism Today, Issue 8, February 1995, and on the Anabaptist Network website.
What would sixteenth-century Anabaptists have made of the “Toronto Blessing” that has impacted many churches in Great Britain in recent months? How did the Radical Reformers respond to such spiritual phenomena’? The charismatic aspect of Anabaptism has not received much attention from historians, but evidence of spiritual phenomena in early Anabaptist groups is substantial. Some welcomed manifestations of the Holy Spirit, while others were wary and attempted to regulate or discourage such expressions. Basic to the Anabaptist view of charismatic gifts, however, was a belief that a transformed life was the true measure and sign of Holy Spirit presence.
A charismatic view of discipleship
A sixteenth-century Anabaptist named Leonhard Schiemer wrote that believers receive “a power about which they have to say that things that were once impossible are now possible”. Christians lacking such a change, he argued, “are not yet horn again of water and spirit, even the Holy Spirit”.1 Schiemer’s quote indicates two distinctive emphases in Radical Reformation theology: a preference for the term “horn again” rather than “justification by faith”, and a focus on the experience of new life. In contrast to other Reformers, Anabaptists spoke of power to live differently rather than mere freedom from guilt and assurance of forgiveness.
Anabaptists accepted the notion of “justification by faith”, but did not find this term adequate to describe their experience of Christ and his Spirit. Through the death of Christ their sinful past had been forgiven, and now they wanted to live a Christ-centred life in the power of the Spirit. Common Anabaptist terms for salvation were related to the work of the Spirit and the expectation of a changed life. Words that frequently occur are: new birth, conversion, illumination, enlightenment, the new creature, and regeneration2 Continue reading Anabaptism as a Charismatic Movement
Photo from the Donald J. Trump state park, by Emily Guendelsberger.
An adaption of 1 Kings 22, by Ramone Romero.
The president of America brought together the prophets from the eighty percent of the house of the Lord who had supported him. He sought their blessing, their prayers, and their further support as he moved ahead with his plans to expel foreigners, tax the poor, favor the rich, exploit the environment, prepare for war, and more.
“Go forward,” the charismatic prophets answered, “for the Lord has given you victory.”
But someone asked, “Is there no longer a prophet of the Lord here whom we can inquire of?”
The president answered, “There are still some, but I hate them because they never prophesy anything good about me, but always bad—fake news.”
So the president called one of his officials and said, “Bring me one of these. Bring me a Micaiah.” Continue reading The Micaiah of America
For who knows a person’s thoughts except their own spirit within them? In the same way no one knows the thoughts of God except the Spirit of God. – 1 Cor 2:11
Hi. I’m (almost) 28 years old, I grew up in a Christian family, up until this day I have been part of six (!) different Pentecostal and Baptist churches, visited a lot more. A few years ago I took a one-and-a-half-year break from church life to retreat, refocus, re-scrutinize my life of faith. Oh, the questions from my brothers and sisters I had to answer during that time. I didn’t necessarily intend to go back to church life the way I was used to it (I did, but that is a different story). So, I really had a time off.
It felt like quitting an unwanted job, finishing school or ending a friendship that was no good to you. Suddenly there was a relief, like an invisible burden had been taken off of me. Which made me wonder what kind of burden I have dealt with. Such a big one, I know now.
Growing up in a Christian environment, I considered myself a spiritual person that is used to take part in church life. I attended Sunday service, ministered in worship, prayer, preaching, painting, cooking, cleaning, smiling, shaking hands… countless sermons I’ve heard, courses, classes, groups, I’ve attended. Nice things, you know. They helped me a lot along the way. Continue reading Hearing God’s Truth in Silence