All Ministry begins with…what?

A Blog taken from various other sites to stimulate thought and biblical accuracy

Women Bishops: It’s about the Bible, not fake ideas of progress by Tom Wright

Exhorting CoE to ‘get with the programme’ dilutes the argument for women bishops

“But that would be putting the clock back,” gasps a feckless official in one of C. S. Lewis’s stories. “Have you no idea of progress, of development?”

“I have seen them both in an egg,” replies the young hero. “We call it Going bad in Narnia.”

Lewis nails a lie at the heart of our culture.       As long as we repeat it, we shall never understand our world, let alone the Church’s calling.      And until proponents of women bishops stop using it, the biblical arguments for women’s ordination will never appear in full strength.

“Now that we live in the 21st century,” begins the interviewer, invoking the calendar to justify a proposed innovation.        “In this day and age,” we say, assuming that we all believe the 18th-century doctrine of “progress”, which, allied to a Whig view of history, dictates that policies and practices somehow ought to become more “liberal”, whatever that means. Russia and China were on the “wrong side of history”, Hillary Clinton warned recently.      But how does she know what “history” will do? And what makes her think that “history” never makes mistakes?

We, of all people, ought to know better. “Progress” gave us modern medicine, liberal democracy, the internet.       It also gave us the guillotine, the Gulag and the gas chambers. Western intelligentsia assumed in the 1920s that “history” was moving away from the muddle and mess of democracy towards the brave new world of Russian communism.      Many in 1930s Germany regarded Dietrich Bonhoeffer and his friends as on the wrong side of history.      The strong point of postmodernity is that the big stories have let us down. And the biggest of all was the modernist myth of “progress”.

“We call it Going bad in Narnia.” Quite.

It won’t do to say, then, as David Cameron did, that the Church of England should “get with the programme” over women bishops.     And Parliament must not try to force the Church’s hand, on this or anything else.      That threat of political interference, of naked Erastianism in which the State rules supreme in Church matters, would be angrily resisted if it attempted to block reform; it is shameful for “liberals” in the Church to invite it in their own cause.     The Church that forgets to say “we must obey God rather than human authorities” has forgotten what it means to be the Church. The spirit of the age is in any case notoriously fickle.     You might as well, walking in the mist, take a compass bearing on a mountain goat.

What is more, the Church’s foundation documents (to say nothing of its Founder himself) were notoriously on the wrong side of history.       The Gospel was foolishness to the Greeks, said St Paul, and a scandal to Jews.       The early Christians got a reputation for believing in all sorts of ridiculous things such as humility, chastity and resurrection, standing up for the poor and giving slaves equal status with the free. And for valuing women more highly than anyone else had ever done.     People thought them crazy, but they stuck to their counter-cultural Gospel. If the Church had allowed prime ministers to tell them what the “programme” was it would have sunk without trace in fifty years.     If Jesus had allowed Caiaphas or Pontius Pilate to dictate their “programme” to him there wouldn’t have been a Church in the first place.

So what is the real argument?     The other lie to nail is that people who “believe in the Bible” or who “take it literally” will oppose women’s ordination. Rubbish.      Yes, I Timothy ii is usually taken as refusing to allow women to teach men.       But serious scholars disagree on the actual meaning, as the key Greek words occur nowhere else.         That, in any case, is not where to start.

All Christian ministry begins with the announcement that Jesus has been raised from the dead.       And Jesus entrusted that task, first of all, not to Peter, James, or John, but to Mary Magdalene.       Part of the point of the new creation launched at Easter was the transformation of roles and vocations: from Jews-only to worldwide, from monoglot to multilingual (think of Pentecost), and from male-only leadership to male and female together.

Within a few decades, Paul was sending greetings to friends including an “apostle” called Junia (Romans xvi, 7).      He entrusted that letter to a “deacon” called Phoebe whose work was taking her to Rome. The letter-bearer would normally be the one to read it out to the recipients and explain its contents.       The first expositor of Paul’s greatest letter was an ordained travelling businesswoman.

The resurrection of Jesus is the only Christian guide to the question of where history is going.       Unlike the ambiguous “progress” of the Enlightenment, it is full of promise — especially the promise of transformed gender roles.

The promise of new creation, symbolised by the role of Mary Magdalene in the Easter stories, is the reality. Modern ideas of “progress” are simply a parody. Next time this one comes round, it would be good to forget “progress” — and ministerial “programmes” — and stick with the promise.

Tom Wright, a former Bishop of Durham, is research professor of New Testament and early Christianity at the University of St Andrews

You are in God

Outside of God, man is locked up, trapped, a prisoner of emptiness: in his frustrations.  Ever reaching, but finding nothing within his grasp.    Mankind lives with forever promises being made & forever failure of  deliver.   “But God” is the old turning point of all human lives, the “but” that breaks through and takes the imprisoned soul, the barren and empty life transforming them:

Noah who one day found his sweating brow cooled by a soft breeze became unwound.

Adam & Eve who left the paradise of God without holding hands.

Abraham who saw what to others was not visible. Who lived by faith in the unseen God. Who pilgrimaged in faith for an unseen city.

Sarah who trusted

Moses who brought people out, Moses who climbed where  no man had.

Joshua who rose up & moved the people of God forward.

Daniel whose covenant kept him.

Elijah whose prophetic character watched his prophetic word.


“But God” brings us to a realisation that:

God: spirit: word: all else has it’s Genesis here.

God: dwelling in the fullness of solitude.

God: enjoying fellowship in the fullness of fellowship with the society of the Godhead.


Determining the expression of Gods pleasure, the demonstration of Gods power, fulfilling Gods desires.

God Surrounding with majestic splendor befitting all creation and nature, extending God by “Let there be” and God surround with colour, form and creations.   With the turn of  fingers another galaxy spun into space.  The considered mind of the council of God in the precision of divine purpose hung every star in it’s place.      Everything is held together by the power of Gods words that now filled the space between all that had come into existence.

God poured & called into being other beings to show Father Spirit and Sons delights & continued creating as those sons of God, the moving stars leapt for joy & brought forth in praise day & night, morning & evening, day running into night as onward he went like some exuberant reveller.     Wild with delight –  your all was to plan.     Nothing too soon.      Nothing too late.      Rivers & mountains & streams & valleys, deserts & waters. Animals, fish, birds until the whole earth teamed with life.

Exuberantly called out praise to the creator by the created who in heart desire to express Gods pleasure. Then a paused and a command issued God said let us make man and to the breathless wonder of all the rest of the created order, he added ‘in our own image & likeness’

Scooping up a handful of earth, red clay a restored dignity came to the planet, by shaping the soil to express  likeness and image, with breathed is own breath of life into the crown of creation.     heaven council watched as man bearing image stood up, eyes open, ears attuned to all else around and saw that which was created with mankind in view, universe, stars, sun, moon world, water, mountains.     Yet it was good, that is it functions as it was created for, then it becomes “it’s not good”, following 5 statements of “its is good”, more accurately stated it is functional, then we have it is not good, what is not  good ?    The Image and likeness was not fulfilled.    As God is never alone, God is nerve singular so mankind had to be more than one, putting him to sleep the God of perfection completed the detail of necessary companionship, friendship, fellowship and love, making covenant seen, setting an order to destiny a corporate people is the image and likeness.    Together Adam & Eve hand in hand worked through the garden of pleasure surrounded by fullness of provision and  everything worshipped the invisible God whose image was now visible in mankind in man and women of heavens council in making.   From council “let us” rather than “let be” did Gods council create mankind to be from council and to continue in council  for this is destiny not aloneness of self-made but a corporate son and multitude of people, man and women image capturing and bearing.

Everything stood quietly, treading softy, as day after day in the cool of the evening God & mankind walked together in the sweet fellowship of oneness, & perfect compatibility.

This is the Restoration and the centre of our salvation to walk again in the garden which is God to walk in God and through God.


Refreshing to Restore

The Bible speaks of ‘seasons of refreshing’ and a ‘time of restoration’ two focuses, events that our world and society will be impacted by, these times are spoken of  in Acts 3:19 – 21

Repent, then, and turn to God, so that your sins may be wiped out, that times of refreshing may come from the Lord,     

20 and that he may send the Messiah, who has been appointed for you—even Jesus.     

21 Heaven must receive him until the time comes for God to restore everything, as he promised long ago through his holy prophets.”     

Within a season of Restoration is everything the prophets addressed which  included the reformation of society seen in picture forms in their writing –‘ swords into plough shares ‘.    It’s the fulfilment of promise spoken and written of throughout the scriptures.   We live in a time when the “season of Restoration”  is breaking in upon us, how exciting it is to live in this challenging world that Gods finger prints are all over it, bring a season of restoration.     Be careful in order we don’t get lost in times of refreshing only by camping around them and creating monuments while God has a greater purpose for us.   Enjoy the refreshing and be enlarged, instructed and empowered but our goal is to bring around and advance the season of Restoration being a people of Restoration.

The Message translation pens it thus “Now it’s time to change your ways! Turn to face God so he can wipe away your sins, pour out showers of blessing to refresh you, and send you the Messiah he prepared for you, namely, Jesus. For the time being he must remain out of sight in heaven until everything is restored to order again just the way God, through the preaching of his holy prophets of old, said it would be”.

Until order has come to our world, this is the task for which we were brought into the Kingdom of God, to restore order, Gods order.    We are those working for the restoration of the ‘image and likeness’ of the Father, to see restored back to our created world the image of God for this is the Kingdom of God established fully.    That Christ will fill everything, inside and outside.

O God Restore come and be established, times of refreshing we recognise that these times are in your process, they are necessary, this process means times of refreshing that will come and go, they will grow to a crescendo and pass away, they are supposed to.     “Times” plural that mean one comes and one goes and there will be more than one.   Yet there is a “time” to arrive a “season” to come that is sustaining and remaining that will herald and welcome that will come and not pass away a Time of Restoration, will be that which release the culmination of Gods plan and ultimate intention.   We have been invited to partner with the Father to be fully involved to be part of this heralding work.   Let us all get on Gods time seeing transformation and order coming to pass around us, in our individual lives that will then seen in community life.

Whats in arrears

I read this  it made me chuckle, “a lady in front of me in the queue at the bank had a rolled up fiver (£5) in one ear and a tenner (£10) in the other. When she got to the booth they told her she’s £15 in arrears (behind in payment)”, I hope the play on words is seen by those like me who have English as their second language.

In the light of the word play I wonder what is in your arrears or ears, as it’s should say?    What is in my ear, such a stupid sounding questions but profound in its application, in other words what is getting the most, or who is getting the most listening time from you and I.     What are we investing our listening towards there is so many noises and sounds everywhere which we work though in every day, there is so much accessibility to sound today.   I think we live in an era when silence is fought against.    One thing out of many Sandra and I love in Africa is the deafening, still silence, so still that it ministers to you, yes you did hear right, deafening silence, to stand where there is no sound pollution to rob, distract and overwhelm.

Our world seems to be filled with people who have become adverse to silence  with music in lifts, songs in bathrooms, ear buds full of music in people’s ears.    Sounds and noise every where we go, musac, however you say it, lift music, in-store music, music every where.    Even people who have the TV on in the background for noise with no one listening to it, no attention being paid to whats on, TV being for security and comfort that there is some one there rather than have a still silent house, as I said adverse to silence.

Are we polluted by sound or is there a sound producing in us, is this not the difference, when we are polluted we become unable to conduct life normally or distracted for any actions our thoughts filled with cluttered thoughts, distracted from every angle.    However there is a true pure sound, a sound that will produce an inner person, that brings about a purpose.   A sound of the creator that resonates inside us, calling us, making a clear sound in the midst of so much sound pollution, can we hear it?    Here is a different take on a well-known text on Jesus life, while Jesus challenge in the garden of Gethsemane, a fight of what sound would Jesus listen to, the inner thoughts of his own will against the pure sound of the Father, in the struggle of his mind the human sounds, the voice that said “No”,there has to be a different way”, the voice in your head that says this is life threatening, too hard, go another way.   But a pure sound resonated inside Jesus he cleared the sound pollution become clear purposed “not my will but yours”.    That settled it the noise, the sounds became silent, its done now.      I know submitting to the will of God was and today is the challenge for us daily, however I know that when the purpose and will of God is before me noise, sound pollution of my mind speaks to prevent applying the will of the Father and I have to do a clean out of “whats in my eras“.

Where shall I turn to, whom shall I listen to?    So much information is available to make us all experts, I hear the challenges of some teachers and preachers today, discovering that as they teach, the people listening are more expert than they are, as they have the ability to research what is being said on iPad, iPhones and the like, right in front of the lectern, they can discover even more about the subject than the teacher/preacher does.   I even heard of one setting that invited twitter responses with questions as they taught, so they could deal with the questions in real-time, how exciting a use of modern technology, so to speak, it has become a realisation that people know more due to the accessibility of information.   Who will you listen to?

There was a day when we gathered to hear the superior knowledge, when the teacher at school or at the front, knew more than even mum and dad, when the child said “teacher said”, I recall saying it and hearing it from my own children.   Now with so much sound available, through podcasts, multiple teaching CD’s, books and the number of ‘Christian TV ‘ channels, who do you listen to?

In our world we live in if you do not define or outline the words you use, what you mean by every concept or biblical term, we all hear through gained filters of other people’s definitions and communication.   Try its use a term in a room covenant, authority, Kingdom of God, anointing.   To introduce simple words in conversion or teaching only to discover that even in a room with a few say a dozen people 12 different definitions and view of the same word or term are present.   The self-confessed expert has dominated our ears and we struggle to hear anything different.

More than ever it is necessary for us to help each other hear the sound of God, the voice of the Father, to enable us to say “what is in my ear”, so “What is in your ear?

It’s an time in the midst of so much sound, noise pollution, so much being said, so much teaching available that even contradicts.   How can be sure of whats truth any longer?    Neither cannot return to a day when one teacher had the monopoly of our ears, there is so much available today for us all, TV, podcast, books etc., etc.     Which can be and is a good thing as long as we instruct, teach more perfectly how each one of us can hear vice of God, helping us all to distinguish through our sentiments, emotions, insecurities, whats in vogue, whats the now word, even teaching us not to be subjective but how to know a God Sound.     The scriptures say “my sheep hear my voice” so you can hear God is dealing with the polluted sounds to get the pure sound.    Also realizing that revelation is not an individual event when it breaks in on our world but it is meant to be a corporate experience and corporate forming, so God Sounds are to be openly shared to become more perfect through each diverse life filter.    Find people who you know hear the Father and watch while listening so that they can help you here God Sounds.

So finally “Whats in your ears?”


You are the Ecclesia, what’s that?

University Challenge is a competitive quiz on British TV, it sets University against University in question after question to filter though academic grasp.   The quiz master announces at the beginning of every question set, the competitions format is a question is asked which when answered correctly opens up another 3 or 4 questions for the winning team, and only they that win the first question have the right to gain these points.   This first question therefore serves as a gateway question to the further set of questions.     The first question, the gate way question is always preceded with “This is your starter for 10 (points)”, just in the same way here is your ‘here is a starter for …” well the ecclesia, the church this is just a starter, how could we answer “what is it” as the ecclesia is such a major expression, how can you determine what is meant to be fluid and full of growing life?     We could really fully explain in a few short words, but here is a starter in terms of eternity’s view.

The ecclesia is it?

  • A building on a corner and a reclusive grouping, huddled together in fear of the reality of living?
  • A gathering of the emotionally crippled, the mentally scarred, seeking to find a God that will give them something to live for?
  • Or a congregation of bruised & broken, poor & powerless, banded together in common pain, motivated to share their self-pitying lot in life?
  • Or is it again the air-conditioned luxury pad of the affluent, middle class meeting to thank the God that grants them wealth & power & disturbs them not?
  • Or is a group gathered in a home pad hoping to make friends?
  • Or a group of people from every culture enjoying each other and God in a large congregation or house setting?

The ECCLESIA, a people called out according to purpose, the church is the congregation of God on the earth.    It is the manifestation of God on the earth.      His body through which his life & power expresses itself.    A community where the Kingdom of God is manifest in full measure.    A people Declaring, Living, Loving, being the nature and demonstration of the Father to the world.      Jesus respond to the enquiry of “…show us the Father…”, from his disciples those whom he had called to be with him he said to them “…who ever has seen me has seen the Father…” and later in John 1:18 (NASB) we are told that Jesus “…came to explain the Father…”, so too this church, the ecclesia does exactly that, see the community, the church and see the Father, the church is an explanation of God expressed through a family!

Yes it has gathered into itself the flotsam & jetsam of life or perhaps better put the fringes of life have been transformed, conformed and formed into the body of Christ.    The maimed & bruised, the weak & the poor, the lost of all lands forged together to be the people of God expressing the triumph of Christ, becoming the life of God while being attractive to our world (Isa 2).

Yes it has also gathered together the rich & the powerful, who found themselves empty with all but want of Him.

In Christ’s church all are leveled by grace & faith.

We must be elevated to a new place to understand the church, in and thru, which God is not only bring creation to liberty and freedom (Romans 8) but also instructing angels, the supernatural in the love and working of the Father (Eph 3:1-11).

The one thing I CAN SAY is this, THE ECCLESIA IS A FAMILY AND NOT AN ORGANIZATION OR STRUCTURE OR MEETING OR WHAT WE DO, IT IS WHO WE ARE, THE FAMILY OF GOD.    In the Day we live in its more than ever a time we became a family, the family of God taking on all its familial language and proclamation it.    Being those that bring the implication of being a family to bear on the church, being relational, belonging to each, realizing the order is in terms of fathers, sisters, mothers and brothers who have the function of ministries.    Never becoming a structured organization only governed by laws, do’s and do not’s but an organic living church, living by grace, acknowledging that the ecclesia does need some structure it is that which serves the life, enables the living, flowing, organic order to flow and let the family ways, Gods family ways direct the functioning and being of the church!

Re discovering and capturing back to creation the image and likeness of the Father in the Son.