Effective Mission Strategies

From Changing Attitude.

Changing Attitude is also a missionary society. Last Saturday we marched with our banner through central London at the heart of Gay Pride with other Christian groups to communicate the message that God loves ALL and welcomes ALL without judgement.

Changing Attitude is dedicated to Christian witness in accord with the Gospel of Jesus Christ. We are dedicated to living from and pouring out in our lives the love which dwells in our hearts.

Gosh, that must have been a powerful personal witness to the power of the Cross to heal and cleanse and forgive sins, a call to repentance from the path that leads to hell and transformation as adopted children of God, filled with the Spirit and called to a life of holiness. How many gave their lives to the Lord on that day? Anybody? Anybody?

As we all know, Christ died so that we may have Civil Partnerships in Church. That was his mission.

On a more serious note (since this is so laughable on the “mission” front), is there anybody who still thinks that walking down a road (like some of us do on Good Friday) is anything to do with evangelism?

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36 Comments on “Effective Mission Strategies

  1. Doesn't mission work in stages? I'm sure that some at the parade would have been genuinely surprised and pleased at discovering that Christianity need not be homophobic or heterosexist, which is certainly an improvement on people with particular desires regarding (as Peter Tatchell does) that Christianity is to gays what Nazism is to Jews.

    The first episode of evangelically-loved Alpha is (or was) called 'Christianity – Boring, Untrue and Irrelevant', accepting that conversion takes time and has steps, so I'm not sure that the above is much of a stick to beat Changing Attitude with. The post you quote admittedly describes the organisation as "missional" but the event itself is more humbly described as "witness".

    Nothing wrong with mincing about on Good Friday, although some who do so are also (here in Glasgow at least) the same types who demonise Orange Walks and the Orange Order so, which is worryingly hypocritical.

  2. I am really pleased to know that having failed to repent of being gay I am walking '…the path that leads to hell and transformation…'. Thanks Peter, see you there.

    • Where did I say that simply being gay sends one to hell? How long have you been reading me for to get that idea?

      Let's be very clear – Scripture is absolutely clear that unrepentant sinners go to hell. That has nothing to do with being gay and everything to do with what each of us choose to do with our bodies and how that choice signifies something worshipful or idolatrous about Jesus.

      • >>>>>>>>>Let’s be very clear – Scripture is absolutely clear that unrepentant sinners go to hell. That has nothing to do with being gay and everything to do with what each of us choose to do with our bodies and how that choice signifies something worshipful or idolatrous about Jesus.

        Hell doesn't exist, and, at the very least, current Catholic teaching and e.g. the C of E's "Mystery of Salvation" doc are closer to annihalationism than they are to what has traditionally been meant by Hell (i.e. eternal, conscious, punishment)

        And wouldn't you concede, Peter, that your metaphor-based sex series was in a sense necessary because most anti-gay (or whatever term you'd prefer as a fair summary of the ideological posiiton)rhetoric very much does not condemn gay relationships on the grounds that their intrinsic animating metaphors tell us 'wrong things about Jesus'?

        • I think you will find (will in the future sense) whether you end there or not that hell, whether literal eternal torment or annihilation, does exist. And frankly, even if it just annihilation it is best avoided don't you think?

          And I think you know me well enough now to realise that I'm very much interested in the reasons why God doesn't intend us to do certain things. That however doesn't mean that someone who ex eta you not to do something that Scripture tells you not to do is incorrect, it's just that I'm trying to understand why something is wrong.

      • Oh Peter

        It must be wonderful to be so certain.

        'Scripture is absolutely clear that unrepentant sinners go to hell'. I do lots of things that scripture doesn't approve of. I had a prawn stir-fry yesterday. I am unrepentant. Therefore I am going to hell.

        I am a gay man and I do NOT repent of my past sexual activitiy since I do not regard it as a sin. Please don't beat about the bush. Surely that means I am destined for hell. I am subject to God's displeasure and that is where I am going (and perhaps since you say that you are a Calvinist, that is where I am predestined for anyway). I don't want anything to mitigate that judgement, no excuses, no explanations. You believe that because of what I am, because of what I do and because I don't think it is a sin, have no guilt and won't 'repent' I am going to hell. I know what the Bible (maybe) says, I know what (some bits of the) Church teaches. I choose to defy both.

        You said – 'As we all know, Christ died so that we may have Civil Partnerships in Church. That was his mission'

        Anglican Mainstream describes civil partnerships'…as a parody of the marriage relationship which is God's provision for human flourishing'.

        I just love it when Christians are so unloving towards those who happen to disagree with them. There have been 50,000 civil partnershps. None of whom have been able to receive God's blessing on their relationship. What an opportunity for mission denied by those who are so eager for Godly and Biblical purity.

        You going to ban me from your blog again?

        • I had a prawn stir-fry yesterday

          You've obviously read the New Testament then.

          I know what the Bible (maybe) says, I know what (some bits of the) Church teaches. I choose to defy both.

          Entirely your choice.

          Anglican Mainstream describes civil partnerships’…as a parody of the marriage relationship which is God’s provision for human flourishing’.

          I suggest you take that up with Anglican Mainstream. I am not Anglican Mainstream.

          I just love it when Christians are so unloving towards those who happen to disagree with them.

          If I see you about to do something that will harm you and I implore you not to do it, is that unloving? We're not talking about disagreements, we're talking about eternal destinies.

          • Ah, we are going to pick and choose which bit of the Bible we want to use are we? We can all do that Christ (or was it Paul, I am sure that you know) said that the law brings death while the spirit brings life.

            Why don't you just say that in your biblically based opinion I am going to hell. You seem to have a strange reluctance to do so.

            • Quite simply, because I don’t know if you are going to hell. You may yet repent. You may yet show yourself to be one of the Elect. What I do know is that I and others have implored you to reject sin, repent of it and be reconciled to Christ before it is too late. What I do know is that you *cannot* stand in front of God on the final day and say “I didn’t know, no-one told me”, because we have done, right here, right now. You are no longer ignorant. You are the one who will choose whether or not you go to hell.

              • Yes indeed I shall be proud to stand before God and say 'This is who I am, this is what I did and I don't ask for mercy'. This isn't bravery or foolhardiness, it's honesty. God may do his worst but if he means anything at all he means truth and honesty, particularly with oneself.

                Of course, if I am one of the elect it doesn't matter what I do anyway if my salvation is predetermined before time itself.

                It's strange, Peter, you seem to be so sure that certain behaviour will lead to hell but you give yourself lots of get-outs. You can't condemn me because you don't know, yet you are so certain that my behaviour will lead to hell. I can't honestly see the difference since I have no intention of either changing my behaviour or repenting of it. And why is it so importnat to you? As you say, I have made my choice, you think that will result in my going to hell, I don't worry about things like that, it's un-important to me and unknowable anyway. Quite frankly, your concern for my imortal soul is an impertinence. 'Physician heal thyself' I think applies.

                Are you one of the 'elect'. How do you know that your 'repentance' is adequate or indeed needed to avoid hell? How do you know that your 'repentance' was acceptable or that your current lifestyle is in accordance with God's will for you? You can't possibly know.

                • I know that my repentance is adequate because I have the witness of both Scripture (which tells me that those who repent and accept Christ as Saviour find their names written in the Lamb's book of life) and the witness of the Holy Spirit in my life acting as an effective "down payment" on my future glorification.

                  How about you?

                  It strikes me that if you have, as you say, made your choice but it is unimportant to you what your ultimate destination is, why are you so perturbed when I tell you that your final destination might not actually be a pleasant one?

                  My concern for you is out of love. I do not want you to go to hell. Hell is not good. You can still repent of your independence and your sin and your rejection of Christ. Your life can still change.

                  • 'I know that my repentance is adequate because I have the witness of both Scripture (which tells me that those who repent and accept Christ as Saviour find their names written in the Lamb’s book of life) and the witness of the Holy Spirit in my life acting as an effective “down payment” on my future glorification'

                    That's amazing. I know that I am saved because the Bible tells me that I am. And the Holy Spirit has demonstrated that too. Game set and match! Can you predict the end of the world from the Bible too?

                    I am very happy for you in your certainty but I do wonder whether you might get a bit of a surprise! (like the charlatan in the USA who recently did the same). I am not concerned at what you believe is my final destination. What I object to is that you use your certainties to tell others what their certainties ought to be too. You cannot accept that others do not need your certainties and indeed reject your religion of certainties as excluding, hateful and un-Christian. And for those who reject what you say is true, you promise hell (because that's what the Bible says.)

                    Now don't say you don't because it is quite clear that you do. This is not a question of 'my' choice it is a question of your belief.

                    As for your concern for me being out of 'Love'. Thank you very much but I can do without that. You don't want me to go to hell, but I reject the basis of your 'want' . Why can't you love people without conditions and without wanting them to change to conform with your ideas?

          • Re: Prawns. Not to speak for Richard, but let me stress that non-evangelicals generally UNDERSTAND the notion that Leviticus was handily divided into just dietary/ceremonial/binding laws and that pork is therefore good whereas gay relationships are bad but they reject such formulations. With good cause, because such divisions are very much not innate in the Leviticus text (and no, handy sub-headings added by overeager redacters do not count as the 'inate' text). On top of which the implicit misogyny of Levitical female uncleanliness is to all extents and purposes rejected by contemporary evangelicalism ( offering NT passages as elaborations of a justifiable moral principle of female uncleanliness is not the same thing as regarded such laws as intrinsically misogynistic if understood literally. Contemporary distate for misogyny drives the 'hermeuneutical' reading strategy, not the other way around. In fact the Christ-analogy bingo approach makes the implicit misogyny worse, as , claiming that Judaism has no concept of grace(!), these laws become arbitary, yet value-laden tasks dreamed up as a form of spiritual boot-camp that are simultaneously supposedly directly mapping onto permanent and self-evidently moral aspects of the Eternal God )

              • Didn't the tripatriate division kick in with Aquinas? And there are as many, if not more, passages where Paul talks of 'the law' generally as good and Holy, which does not most naturally support the handy division into 3 categories (and passages referring specifically to dietary law, such as Peter's divisions, still do not specifically divvy up all of our Leviticus for our conveniance). And that's aside from the fact, that ,irrespective of how 'objectively' (!) or devotedly you read the NT, the the Christ analogy bingo OT reading strategy is fundmaentally ahistorical and reductionist.

                You might respond by noting that, if I was theologically educated like you, then I'd agree with your opinion, even though I gather that theological departments in UK universities tend to be relatively 'liberal' these days whereas, in Glasgow at least, evangelicals have to go to Mickey Mouse bible colleges like I.C.C. to find a brand of theology that floats their boats. But that's again a move away from pure Sola Scriptura (would you agree that conservatives preferring references to Romans over Leviticus when condemning homosexuality is very much a – relatively- recent phenomena?). And of course it kinda doesn't matter whether a particular belief about e.g. Judaism is 100 or 500 or a thousand years old, or held by luminaries like Aquinas http://www.newadvent.org/summa/2100.htm if it is demonstrably wrong.

                • I think I'd respond by saying that unless you take a tripatriate division of the Law, the New Testament doesn't make sense, since in it both Grace and moral conduct are upheld.

                  • Perhaps (although I'm curious what you mean by 'make sense') but that supports my point on the plethora of Pauline references that refer to a unified law that's intrinsically holy, negating rather the emphasise on dividing up Leviticus into either 3 overt categories or, at best, presumably 'especially moral' or 'especially symbolic and ceremonial' ranks. Kosher is about morality and indicative of a living relationship with God or G-d that necessarily involves grace. And treating the OT as simply a series of Christ-analogies diminishes, rather than increases, its meaning.

                    • The problem is that you view the Mosaic Covenant as a salvific indicator. It isn't – the covenant of grace of salvation is established with Abraham (as Paul clearly argues in Galatians). The Mosaic Covenant does not save but rather helps the Israelites see their need for a Saviour. Once that Saviour has been incarnated the aspects of the Mosaic Law which are designed to help indicate seperatedness as the people of God simply fall away – they are unnecessary. At the same time, those parts of the Mosaic code which are simply repetitions of the eternal moral conduct of the redeemed are re-emphasised in the New Testament.

                    • I don't think it's accurate to say, when referring to the entire span of history, that the Mosaic covenant doesn't 'save', if only because, before the Incarnation, those who worshipped the One True God were not 'not saved'. And even if one agrees with your second point there is still legitimate spectrum opinion on what was just 'designed to help indicate seperatedness as the people of God' . And I'd reiterate that it's simply untrue to say that's the sole or even principle point (in Judaism) of Kosher et all. And contemporary Christians deciding (as the most pertinent proof-texts refer 'just' to diet and circumsicion) that of course homosexuality belongs in the permanently immoral category whilst of course the rules against menstruating women in holy places belongs in the ceremonial one, and then divvying up Leviticus *from that basis*, are, to use evangelical buzzwords, doing 'eisegis' not 'exegis' (in fact, and not to be vulgar, doesn't your own Sex series, albeit implicitly, reemphasise the symbolic AND moral AND ceremonial importance of certain bodily secretions?) .

                      Abhorrence at blood is a key part of the

                      Kosher (for it is the life thereof); Communion is the summit and source of the Christian life. Yet people still pretend that there is an easy and self-evident unity between Jewish and Christian frameworks. It's surely enough to say that Jesus Christ is the promised Messiah without stacking the deck through reductionist distortions of the Jewish faith and scriptures.

            • Err, it's not just Peter or a few post-Refornmation protestants that you are contradicting on the shrimp issue… Jesus himself differentiated between sexual morality laws, which He strengthened and and dietary laws, which He nullified!

              HENCE:

              Matt 5:27-30 – on sexual morality

              27 “You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall not commit adultery.’ 28 But I tell you that anyone who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart. 29 If your right eye causes you to stumble, gouge it out and throw it away. It is better for you to lose one part of your body than for your whole body to be thrown into hell. 30 And if your right hand causes you to stumble, cut it off and throw it away. It is better for you to lose one part of your body than for your whole body to go into hell.

              Matt 15:11-19 – on unclean foods

              11 "What goes into someone’s mouth does not defile them, but what comes out of their mouth, that is what defiles them."

              12 Then the disciples came to him and asked, “Do you know that the Pharisees were offended when they heard this?”

              17 “Don’t you see that whatever enters the mouth goes into the stomach and then out of the body? 18 But the things that come out of a person’s mouth come from the heart, and these defile them. 19 For out of the heart come evil thoughts—murder, adultery, sexual immorality, theft, false testimony, slander. 20 These are what defile a person; but eating with unwashed hands does not defile them."

              Kosher – NoSir!

              • You might also note that Jesus warned people about the hellish consequences of unrepentent sin too – not just a preoccupation of modern conservatives, you know!

                • And, despite the charming exclamation marks that suggest at least some of your posts are meant to be *deliberately* amusing, you might want to offer something other than sub-Alpha banalities if you're going to accuse people of not knowing what Jesus did or did not say just because they disagree with your moronic interpretations of the same (!)

              • >>>>Jesus himself differentiated between sexual morality laws, which He strengthened and and dietary laws, which He nullified!>>>

                Which, self-evidently, is not the same thing as divvying up leviticus into ceremonial et all categories is it? And where do 'ceremonial laws' fit into your own proffered dichotomy? And I do hope you know that actual historical, y'know, evidence negates rather the inanely proof-texted and implicitly antisemitic view of the 'pharisees' (!) Also, I fail to see Our Lord strengthening all the sexual morality laws in the verse you cite; isn't he rather replacing 'laws' with a Higher and more challenging Standard? Do the rules against menstruating women in Holy places still apply since you claim the only thing that got overturned was dietary laws? If not why not? All I am contradicting is statements about Judaism which are flat out untrue, irrespective of whether you, Peter, Calvin, some Popes, Mark Driscoll etc happen to believe them.

                And of course the passages you cite suggest a commonsensical focus on more serious transgressions than dietary ones (you consume an elephant and excrete a gnat, afterall); which is (on the evidence of YOUR cherry-picked proof-texts) not the same thing as nullifying them. Loving one's neighbour is indeed more important than avoiding shrimp.Funny how St.Peter continued to keep Kosher after these verses, no?

    • Well Our Lord certainly referred to a place of *destruction* (Matthew 10:28) i.e. annihalation, hence annihalationism. And doesn't the most popular Sola Scripture-conducive translation of Scripture use 'Hell' for 'Sheol' despite the fact that the latter concept has absolutely nothing to do with 'eternal conscious punishment'?

      Not that most evangelical christians are strictly sola scriptura of course. If you believe, as most do, that passages relating to women not speaking in church shouldn't be taken literally because Received Opinion says that archaeologists and/or historians have established that Paul was just referring to a lot of things then you are, demonstrably and indisputably, bringing in external texts to justify or explain away deviations from the necessarily One True Simple Meaning of the alleged 'Sola' text.

      • And doesn’t the most popular Sola Scripture-conducive translation of Scripture use ‘Hell’ for ‘Sheol’ despite the fact that the latter concept has absolutely nothing to do with ‘eternal conscious punishment’?

        Does it? Really? URL?

      • If you believe, as most do, that passages relating to women not speaking in church shouldn’t be taken literally because Received Opinion says that archaeologists and/or historians have established that Paul was just referring to a lot of things then you are, demonstrably and indisputably, bringing in external texts to justify or explain away deviations from the necessarily One True Simple Meaning of the alleged ‘Sola’ text.

        This is called hermeneutics. Trying to determine what the Biblical authors actually meant when they wrote what they wrote and seeing if that sheds any light on the eternal implications of the inspired text. Do they not teach you this at St Silas' or is it easier to parody the Evangelical position then to engage with it?

        • >>>>>>>>>>>> Trying to determine what the Biblical authors actually meant when they wrote what they wrote and seeing if that sheds any light on the eternal implications >>>>>>>

          And ‘authorial mindreading as means to truth’ is a ludicrously reductionist approach to take to , say, a half-decent twentieth century novelist, let alone Holy Scripture.

          • So what makes YOU a Christian – if you don't base it on anything passed down in writing or via the Catholic traditions?

            • I don't? News to me. If you're question is enquiring about psychological motives then may I respond by asking what makes YOU ask such inane loaded question?

              Again: disagreeing with you or anyone else's OPINION ON a text is IN NO WAY a "rejection" or devaluation of the text itself. Quite the opposite.

        • St.Silas did indeed offer a number of useless flat assertions, and traffic in Middle-Class hubris that assumes anyone who disagrees with its ideology must have failed to understand it, but that's not a point in its favour ;-).

          I understand evangelical hermeuntics and the presuppositions behind it just as I understand Papal Infallibility. Challenging said presuppositions is not a failure of comprehension (quite the opposite; the fact that Luther and Calvin would be appalled by the current role of women in evangelical churches should give any genuinely objective party pause. The historical record manifestly does not support the contention that there is one simple objective biblical meaning available – assuming one learns the ol' hermeneutical ropes – to all. And, given that hermeuntics generally is in the field of literature and interpretation thereof, its worth noting that anyone whose done the most cursory literary theory at the most Micky Mouse of universities would still, rightly, giggle at the most common exegis/eisegis based expressions, let alone the Christ-analogy bingo reduction of the Old Testament. On top of which we have the tactically handy link-up with Charismatic etc, meaning that any disagreement or even just identification of presuppositions behind can be dismissed as 'just semantics'.If I had a pound for every time I've heard 'deconstruct' used (innacurately) in the pejorative sense by an evangelical I would be a very rich man indeed)

          None of which alters my central point. Electing (implicitly or otherwise) a group of suitably educated Hermeuneutics buffs to school the laity is manifestly not Sola Scriptura in the purest sense. To paraphrase GK Chesterton: the problem with people who stop believing in Papal Infallibility is that they start believing in bible-school 'experts'. ;-)

          And the version of the Bible I was referring to was the KJV. And it was phrased as a question. If I'm wrong then I'll happily offer a correction but if I'm not wrong, and you know I'm not wrong, then please don't ask me to go on needless URL hunts.

  3. St Peter is showing a party of new arrivals around heaven. As he passes one room he says 'You must go very quietly past here. Those inside think they are the only ones here'.

    In my house there are many mansions…

    • How certain are you that that is true, that the "insight" this joke attempts to share has any correlation with reality? Why are you trying to impose your certainties on other readers of this blog? How insensitive and arrogant of you.

      • I have no more certainty than you can have that what the Bible tells you to do, or its assurances that you are 'saved', is true. However I think that the joke expresses some truths which some people find uncomfortable and that is to the good.

        And just for the record, I am not imposing my 'certainties' on other readers. We are all I believe adults and have the responsibility as adults to make up our own minds. What I am doing is tryig to make sure that your blog does not go unchallenged. If you don't want it to be challenged then you should either not expose yourself here and close it down or bar me from participating, as you did before.

        Insensitive and arrogant? – I have got under your skin.

        • Not at all. I'm simply pointing out that the moment you challenge someone else for being too certain about things, you implicitly undermine anything you have to say.

          Of that I'm very certain.

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