Obedience Based Discipleship, Part 2

Mentoring_MenIn the previous article, I argued that our evangelism has gone seriously wrong. We proclaim Jesus as Lord, yet don’t spend much time talking about what he taught. In particular, we typically ignore the centrality of the message of the Kingdom of God and the need for repentance and obedience, which is the hallmark of discipleship according to Jesus.

An Artist's Vision for Culture Care

14-09-08_Fujimura_-On_Becoming_GenerativeMakoto Fujimura is a man with a vision and a mission. His vision is for cultural renewal marked by life-affirming creativity and beauty. His mission is to be a catalyst for such renewal in several ways. As an artist, Fujimura employs a painting technique rooted in ancient Japanese tradition (Nihonga), which he adapts to his contemporary mileau to produce works of great beauty. As the founder of the International Arts Movement (IAM), he encourages other artists to share this vision and to work together toward its greater realization. And as a writer, he propagates his vision through the printed word. His recent booklet, On Becoming Generative: An Introduction to Culture Care, is a winsome challenge to join him on a quest for cultural renewal.

Jesus, Mission, and Glory - The True Lord’s Prayer, John 17: Part 2

In the true Lord’s Prayer of John 17, the Lord begins by praying for Himself (John 17:1-5), but only in the sense of His now pending completion of His early mission and the commissioning of His disciples to carry on after His death. This mission involves, at its heart, the glory of God. The words “glory,” “glorified” and “glorify” appear 5 times in this prayer (twice in 17:1, once in 17:4, and twice in 17:5). This prayer, as mentioned, is mission-centered.

The True Lord’s Prayer, John 17: Part 1

It’s not what you thought it was!
The true Lord’s Prayer is given in John 17. Most people commonly call the prayer in Matthew 6:7-14 “The Lord’s Prayer,” but that prayer is one our Lord could never pray for Himself. One of its petitions asks the Father to “...forgive us our debts, as we have forgiven our debtors” (Matthew 6:11), or, as Luke’s version puts it, “...forgive us our sins, for we ourselves forgive everyone who is indebted to us” (Luke 11:4). Jesus could never pray this prayer because we know from Hebrews 4:15 that our Lord was without sin.

The prayer in Matthew is thus for us to pray, not for Him. Jesus gave us this prayer when one of the disciples asked Him to teach them (and us) how to pray (Luke 11:1).

Christians Who Changed Their World: James Emman Kwegyir Aggrey

Wherever the Gospel goes, schools and hospitals follow. The reason is simple: far from being an other-worldly religion, Christianity has historically valued life in this world, and Christians have cared about our minds and bodies. In particular, many of the most important leaders in education in the developing world were Christians and became involved in education because of their Christian commitments. One example is James Emman Kwegyir Aggrey.

Christians Who Changed Their World: Solomon Tshekisho Plaatje

Despite stereotypes to the contrary, Christians have long been at the forefront of the push for racial equality. This work comes from the Bible’s teaching that the image of God which we all share is the foundation for human dignity, and from the New Testament’s insistence on the spiritual and moral equality of all people.

In American history, we see the importance of Christianity in the Civil Rights movement in the work of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., and of organizations such as the Southern Christian Leadership Conference. Less well known is the work of African Christians in promoting racial equality in the face of European colonization of Africa. One of these native Africans was Solomon Plaatje.

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