Faith and relevance in the 21st century

Category: Theology (Page 2 of 5)

Why you won’t be spending eternity in heaven

In case you haven’t seen it yet, my latest article on Christian Today has gone nuts. It’s obviously touched a nerve in one way or another with many people.

This article is probably my strongest one yet for Christian Today. I try to pull no punches in busting the myth that most Christians believe – that we will be spending eternity “up in heaven” with God when we die. Nothing could be further from the truth – literally.

Hope you get a lot out of it…

Why you won’t be spending eternity in heaven

When I was a young Christian, about 30 years ago, I was taught that the kingdom of God meant one thing and one thing only. It was the place those of us in Christ go to spend eternity with him when we die.

A few articles of mine published this week…

A few articles of mine have been published on the web this week. Here they are:

Here is my latest article, published on the Godspace website. In it I try to explain that salvation is not the end of the Gospel. God has saved us for a purpose, and it is not to go to heaven when you die.

Salvation is Not Enough

By Nils Von Kalm In Christian circles, we generally place primary emphasis on believing in Jesus. After all, Acts 16:31 tells us that whoever believes in the Lord Jesus will be saved. But what are we saved for? And what if God believes in us as well as us believing in God?

The next article is one I posted on Soul Thoughts a few months back. It’s called Cry for Home and was published over at Sight Magazine.

Finally, this article is my first one to be published on Christian Today. It’s another one that has been previously posted on Soul Thoughts. This one is about how to recover from FOMO.

Hope you enjoy them!

Confronting the lie: God won’t give you more than you can handle

This is the second article I’ve seen about this and I’m glad it’s being said more.

When you’re going through a crisis, the last thing you want to hear is someone saying that God will give you nothing more than you can handle. It’s insensitive and suggests that you’re not right with God or else God wouldn’t allow you this suffering.

When people go through unspeakable suffering, the best we can do is sit with them and let them know we are there for them. Don’t tell them you understand when you don’t. Saying things like that, while well-meaning, won’t be heard by the person suffering.

What does need to be clarified though is that we get through crises with God. I know that’s easy to say, and only those who have been through intense suffering can relate to it.

As St Paul says, “when I am weak, then I am strong.” And as the author says, it’s when we have nothing left that “the strength of the God of resurrection will be seen. Until we get to that point, we rely on ourselves thinking we can handle it and take care of the problem.”

Why I’ve had enough of being spiritual

Firefighters rescue stranded motoristsFirst glance at a heading like this might cause some confusion. “But isn’t God spirit? Jesus himself says so, so what’s the problem with any attempt at being spiritual?”

Jesus did indeed say that God is spirit, in his incredible conversation with the woman at the well in John 4. And because Jesus said it, we can regard it as true. But do we find it kind of ironic as well that it is Jesus – God with skin on – who says that God is spirit?

If we want to know what God is like, as Richard Rohr says, we can just look at Jesus. If Jesus is our image of God, then Jesus is what God looks like. And Jesus was a fully embodied human being, just like the rest of us.

Most of our spiritualising of our Christian faith actually harks back to Greek thinking rather than what the biblical story is actually bringing across. And what Jesus meant when he said that God is spirit was not what we think it means. He was speaking into a specific situation and context with the woman at the well.

Most of you will have probably heard the story of the man who drowned in a flood and went to heaven. The story goes like this: Continue reading

Instead of mega-church, micro-church!

What a wonderful example of what biblical church is all about!

My debut on Red Letter Christians

If the poor are always with us, why bother trying to alleviate poverty?

Sight Magazine just posted my recent piece on Jesus’ oft misunderstood words when the woman anointed him with perfume.

A Christmas compendium of reading

Source: http://dispatchesfromreality.com/2010/12/24/the-real-war-on-christmas-american-consumerism/Here is a list of wonderful articles/devotions mostly related to Christmas. Some very interesting reading over this season:

Richard Rohr – We Prepare for the Messiah

I receive Richard Rohr’s daily emails and they are generally brilliant. The quote that really hit me from this one is “We are all crowded on one limited planet and must somehow learn to live together while also maintaining the common earth beneath our six billion pairs of feet.” Makes me realise again how learning to live in peace is just plain sense.

George Monbiot – The Gift of Death

Another typically confronting, in-your-face piece from this environmental journalist/campaigner. In this article he shows how disastrous is our absolute obsession with stuff. The article’s tagline is “Pathological consumption has become so normalised that we scarcely notice it.” Says it all (but still read the article. You will be challenged).

Christianity Today – Misreading the Magnificat

This relates to my Christmas reflection I posted earlier today in which I bemoaned the fact that a wonderful Christmas show I attended at a major church in Melbourne last week didn’t even mention Mary’s song. This article is a good reminder of how we either over-spiritualise the Bible or selectively omit pieces that don’t fit with our way of thinking.

The Age – The Christmas Commandments

A wonderful take on what God might think of how far we have drifted from what Christmas is really about. Complete with King James language and all.

The Age – Choosing Church at Christmas

An insightful piece on the importance of Christmas for our society, no matter what your spirituality or lack of.

The Age – An Abundant Life

Barney Zwartz writes on what an abundant life actually is. Jesus’ statement in John 10:10 has been used and misused over many years to mean a number of things. Zwartz writes in his typically accessible way to show us what all the research and experiences of people’s lives tell us about abundance.

Reasons for God – How Jesus Responds to Tragedy

A fantastic piece from the equally fantastic Reasons for God site. This one is not so much about Christmas, but it definitely relates to it. It looks at the way Jesus responds to tragedy in the light of the Newtown shootings. God came to earth to save us from this.

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