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...the knowledge of God which we are invited to cultivate is not that which, resting satisfied with empty speculation, only flutters in the brain, but a knowledge which will prove substantial and fruitful wherever it is duly perceived and rooted in the heart.
John Calvin, The Institutes, bk 1, ch 5
A man's true glory consists in gentleness, humility, and unfeigned charity.
John Chrysostom, from Golden Mouth, p.97
“The verbal explanation, as it takes us from one verbal expression to another, in a sense gets us no further.”
Ludwig Wittgenstein, The Blue Book, p1
Motivation to learn a language is an act of the will. Some language learners make the mistake of equating motivation with enthusiasm...But enthusiasm is an emotion. It ebbs and flows..In reality motivation is not an emotion...Motivation is a determination which results in a decision of the will-I will learn.
Thomas and Elizabeth Brewster, Language Acquisition Made Practical, p.2
There is nothing like suspense and anxiety for barracading a human's mind against the Enemy. He wants men to be concerned with what they do; our business is to keep them thinking about what will happen to them.
C.S. Lewis, Screwtape Letters, p.28
A man's true glory consists in gentleness, humility, and unfeigned charity.
John Chrysostom, from Golden Mouth, p.97
They sit before you as my people, and they hear what you say but they will not do it; for with their lips they show much love, but their heart is set on their gain.
Ezekiel 33:31
Other evils there are that may come; for Sauron is himself but a servant or emissary. Yet it is not our part to master all the tides of the world, but to do what is in us for the succour of those years where we are set, uprooting the evil in the fields that we know, so that those who live after may have clean earth to till. What weather they shall have is not ours to rule.
Gandalf, J.R.R. Tolkien, The Return of the King
It is a law of the spiritual life that every act of trust makes the next act less difficult, until at length, if these acts are persisted in, trusting becomes, like breathing, the natural unconscious action of the redeemed soul.
Hannah Whitall Smith, The Christian's Secret of a Happy Life, p. 55
Francis Xavier was the Jesuit director of missions in India, China and Japan in the sixteenth century. He once said that he longed to be back in Paris 'to go shouting up and down the streets to tell the students to give up their small ambitions and come eastward to preach the gospel of Christ.'
Michael C. Griffiths, Give Up Your Small Ambitions, p.6
...in thinking, we are not reading rationality into an irrational universe, but responding to a rationality with which the universe has always been saturated.
CS Lewis, Christian Reflections, p. 89
They sit before you as my people, and they hear what you say but they will not do it; for with their lips they show much love, but their heart is set on their gain.
Ezekiel 33:31
…theology..has no reason to exist other than to critically accompany the missio Dei.
David Bosch
Desire in itself is movement
Not in itself desireable;
Love is itself unmoving,
Only the cause and the end of movement,
Timeless and undesiring
Except in the aspect of time
Caught in the form of limitation
Between unbeing and being.
TS Eliot, Burnt Norton, in Four Quartets
When men and women identify what are in fact their partial and particular causes too easily and too completely with the cause of some universal principle, they usually behave worse than they would otherwise do.
Alisdair MacIntyre, After Virture, p. 221

Statement of Faith

22nd April 2009

the-kingdom-coming1.

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.I believe in the kingdom of God;

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breaking in through the work of Christ according to the will of the Father,

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working through the church by the power of the Holy Spirit,

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coming through the return of Christ to the glory of the Godhead.

....

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Christ came preaching the good news that the kingdom of God was near.  He lived as a citizen of this realm by doing the will of God, even unto death.  His death and resurrection broke the power of individual and structural sin which characterizes fallen creation and enabled the coming of the Holy Spirit which empowers us to live as he lived.  His victory was complete.  The kingdom is now present as a ferment in the world.

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Christ came preaching the good news that the kingdom of God was near.  He lived as a citizen of this realm by doing the will of God, even unto death. His death and resurrection broke the power of individual and structural sin which characterizes fallen creation and enabled the coming of the Holy Spirit which empowers us to live as he lived.  His victory was complete.  The kingdom is now present as a ferment in the world.

 

Christ also proclaimed the need for repentance and trust in the good news.  God created the world according to sovereign love and created us in His image.  Thus what God created was good.  But humanity chose to follow its own way.  We recreated our own world according to our futile striving and recreated ourselves without God.  Our world calls us to trust in ourselves and our technology and to live our days believing that life consists in progress and the accumulation of wealth.  Thus we have committed idolatry and set ourselves in opposition to God.

 

We must turn from these ways and trust in the hope of the kingdom, doing the will of God in all aspects of our lives including the social and cultural, the economic and the political, the scientific and the technological, the individual and the corporate.  We must confront those who worship freedom to the loss of responsibility, tolerance to the loss of truth, and individual human rights to the loss of genuine community.  We must challenge those who worship the remembered past to the loss of a new and more just future, social stability to the loss of creative and courageous change, and material security to the loss of millions of lives due to a lack of the most basic needs.  In the midst of these divisive and short-sighted agendas, God calls us to a new agenda in which freedom leads to responsibility, unity is found in diversity, and individual human rights are secured within community.  God’s agenda calls for a past which informs but does not rule our future, a social stability which comes from social righteousness, and a prosperity which comes as the result of lives spent in the service of others. 

 

We believe in the church’s active participation in the kingdom.  Through the practices of sacrificial service to others, the teaching of the Word of God imbued by the Spirit, the shared sacraments of baptism and the Lord’s Supper, and the truth spoken in love, God the Holy Spirit molds, shapes and empowers the body of Christ to be a witness in word and deed according to the needs of the time. It is by the Holy Spirit’s power that our lives are renewed and we are strengthened to challenge the world, to unmask its idolatries and to live in the hope of the kingdom coming.

 

Finally, we actively await the coming of the kingdom in the return and judgment of Jesus Christ.  Our partial achievements do not themselves lead directly to the kingdom.  The direction of history is not under our control. Rather, our actions are acted prayers for the coming of the kingdom and as such, signs of its reality which allows others to act in hope.  When Christ returns we will experience the full realization of the kingdom’s victory over darkness to the glory of the Triune God.

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