A leader of the evangelical renewal movement within the Hungarian Reformed church, but having an influence far beyond its limits, was born 100 years ago on July 1, 1918. He was a leader in a spiritual sense, never in a formal-institutional way. Undoubtedly, his worldwide influence came not from any power-dominant background, but only by his preaching of the Word of God, the good news of redemption and freedom, “in season and out of season” (2 Timothy 4:2). His knowledge was coupled with modesty and humour, and his preaching proved to be a lively testimony of a man called by the Spirit, who captured and launched countless listeners on the way to recognising the Saviour and themselves.
Remembering him, we evoke the blessings of the life of a community man. Ferenc Visky was condemned 60 years ago in Romania as the main defendant in the “Bethanyist trial” and was imprisoned along with other pastors, elders, and ordinary church members, including two women. Their renewal-resistance movement, considered dangerous by the communist dictatorship of the time, encompassed practically the whole of Transylvania and, even in the darkest times, announced the real power of the unquenchable freedom which can be found in Christ. Continue reading “2018 – Ferenc Visky Memorial Year”
Autorul, care ]n prezent este doctorand in domeniul filosofiei religiei la Frankfurt, a studiat, intre altele, filosofie si teologie, avind preocupari constante in domeniul filosofiei stiintei si al teologiei fundamentale.
Iata o succinta prezentare a cartii, asa cum apare ea pe situl editurii.
Există Dumnezeu? De ce credem în El? Dacă într-adevăr este înscrisă în om o tendință naturală de a crede în Dumnezeu, cum putem distinge care dintre numeroasele abordări religioase este cea corectă? Iată cîteva întrebări esențiale la care studiul de față oferă un răspuns pertinent, pornind de la argumentele unuia dintre cei mai proeminenţi filosofi contemporani ai religiei.
Felicitari domnului Vaentin Teodorescu. Si la cit mai multe carti bune.
The Gospel Coalition is an association of pastors and theologians around fidelity to the gospel and a commitment to make that gospel known and to support pastors and churches in gospel-shaped ministries. So, when the two major architects of TGC edit a book (The Gospel as Center) that expounds its principal statements on principal ideas, the one on gospel is to be seen as a center piece of the whole.
In general, TGC is known for its “confessional” (though not in the sense of the Reformed confessions specifically, or the Lutheran confessions specifically) and “evangelical” approach and therefore its gospel is nothing other than a robust commitment to a reformed soteriology. The “confession” is then the alliance of these Christian leaders around TGC’s “confession,” and this book contains chapter length discussions of TGC’s principal statements. (After the jump I have clipped their “Gospel” statement.)
If the movement is about the gospel, then “What is the gospel?” statement by Bryan Chapell expresses the heart of TGC. This chp weaves into it a marvelous story of the gospeling of his brother, David, and how that gospel restored the marriage of his parents.
First, Chapell defines gospel somewhat as follows (and I have added the numbers): “the message that God has (1) fulfilled his promise (2) to send a Savior (3) to rescue broken people, (4) restore creation’s glory, and (5) rule over all with compassion and justice. So he argues “Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners” (1 Tim 1:15) is a good summary of the gospel. Continue reading “Scot McKnight – The Gospel of the Gospel Coalition”
A very good interview. Here is a small quote on evangelicalism:
‘If when people hear “evangelical” they think of something political first, then the serious meaning of the word is gone. ‘
And another one, on the Reformation:
‘I myself, I don’t think it’s appropriate either to be completely celebratory about the Reformation or completely negative about the breakup of western Christianity. But there were critical issues having to do with religious authority, location of the nature of divine revelation, the means by which God reconciles people to himself, critical issues having to do with the nature of religion in society, the authority of temporal rulers over spiritual rulers. All of those really important matters were adjusted, shaken up, reformed and revised in about a forty year period. So whether people realize it or not, certainly the Christian churches in the West — and to some extent where the churches have spread in the world — were the heirs of what happened then.
We are pleased to announce the launch of Jubilee Centre’s campaign to crowdsource a set of new theses marking the 500th anniversary of the Reformation, called ’95 ways to change the world’.
The initiative at www.Reformation2017.org is aimed especially at Christians aged 33 or under (Martin Luther’s age in 1517), although anyone may suggest a new thesis. A £500 prize will be awarded for the best new thesis, and training will be offered to those who want to turn their vision for change into an actual project.
Note: I have received this birthday meditation from my friend Levente Horvath, addressed, again, to ‘a son of Advent’, and I have decided to share it with you.
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As a Christian I shouldn’t try to think my way into a different way of living, but to live my way into a different way of thinking (paraphrasing Rohr). And of what does this different/new way of thinking consist? It is not just thinking that I am sharing the same confession of faith with the brethren, not that we agree with each other in our brains, but something far more beyond that. It is receiving others as I was received by Christ. As Jean-Louis Chrétien put it, “The first hospitality is nothing other than listening.” By listening, I pave the way toward living a “receiving-others-into-my-life, into-my-own personality”- lifestyle instead of living a life of pure thinking. In the New Testament Greek the word person (PERSONA in Latin) comes from PROSOPON, meaning “face-to-face.” This word in modernism was substituted with the word individual, INDIVIDUUM, the unit which cannot be further divided. But persona means turning to the other person, being open to listen to, receive, and let the person become part of me. This lets me be(come) a GENUINE PERSON. That is the secret of a Christian fellowship, of Christian living in, and as a member of, His Body. Rational abstraction is misleading, an illusion of living. Continue reading “Levente Horvath – The Promise of Living, not Just of Thinking to Be A Christian”
In the light of our common mission and context (chapter 1), our agreement in faith (chapter 2) and our significant opportunities for growing in partnership in mission (chapter 3), we recommend that our churches make the following Declaration.
Do you know what I mean? Conservative Christians in general, and evangelicals in particular have an obsession with creating parallel versions of everything: Christian art (whatever that is), Christian movies (spare me, please), Christian music (even worse) etc., etc. If pressed hard, they might be able to create ‘Christian mathematics’ or ‘Christian physics’; and we already have Christian ‘scientific’ creationism (an oxymoron, of course, but who cares – it is all for a good cause, supposedly).
What is the root of all this? I suggest this comes, essentially, from a defective doctrine of creation, and its subsequent defective doctrine of sin. Biblically, unless one buys into the hyper-Calvinist doctrine of ‘total depravity, the world as we have now is a combination of sublime dimensions – speaking about the beauty of the initial creation, and of abject realities – which are the result of the Fall. Fundamentalists tend to forget the first, while liberals deny the latter. The truth, as always, is much more complex that any ideology claims it to be.
And, what is the consequence of this obsession for creating parallel universes? Obviously, it makes Christian witness distant and dis-incarnated, if not virtually impossible. Which, in fact, defeats the whole purpose of the presence of Christians in the world and of God bringing about here his kingdom.
I have just found today on Facebook the link to this article and I want to also share with you these amazing Bonhoeffer quotes selected by Dargan Thompson. I have underlined in bold my favourite ones, with a special attention to those relevant for Christian apologetics, spirituality, and social justice.
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“Silence in the face of evil is itself evil: God will not hold us guiltless. Not to speak is to speak. Not to act is to act.”
On Judging Others
“Judging others makes us blind, whereas love is illuminating. By judging others we blind ourselves to our own evil and to the grace which others are just as entitled to as we are.”
― The Cost of Discipleship
“In normal life we hardly realize how much more we receive than we give, and life cannot be rich without such gratitude. It is so easy to overestimate the importance of our own achievements compared with what we owe to the help of others.”
―Letters and Papers from Prison
This post is inspired by a series of recent posts by Scot McKnight on the nature of Anglicanism.
If we are to believe Michael P Jensen, the rector of St Mark’s Anglican Church in Sydney, Australia, and a member of the (very) reformed Gospel Coalition, but I hope we do not have to, Anglicanism is just a peculiar variation of Calvinism. No surprise there, for one of the promoters of the Sydney kind of fundamentalist/(ultra)conservative Anglicanism.
Here is another comment on Mohler’s pathetic discussion about the two Baptists who ‘left the fold’ to be one a Catholic priest and the other an Anglican bishop.
This time the comment comes from Carl Trueman, from Westminster Theological Seminary, a Reformed school.
Trueman argues that Mohler’s position on the Bible, which is implicit in his comments is unfaithful to Reformation teaching. he writes:
‘A Protestantism which fails to acknowledge those historical roots and indeed to teach them to its young people leaves itself vulnerable to Canterbury and Rome. There is an historical dimension to Christianity which is important and which needs to be an integral part of pedagogy and discipleship. McKnight is correct to point to the weakness of strands of evangelical Protestantism in this area and we do well to take his criticism to heart.’
An interview / sermon with Rev. Daniel Manastireanu – minister at Glasgow St Paul’s Church – and his father Dr. Danut Manastireanu – an Anglican Evangelical theologian, working as Director for Faith & Development for the Middle East & Eastern Europe Region of World Vision International. The passage is Matthew 5:1-20. The date is 25th January 2015 – the Third Sunday of Epiphany.
Pastorul Ferenc Visky este una dintre cele mai grăitoare dovezi ale martiriului creștin din închisorile comuniste româneşti. V-aş ruga, în măsura în care este posibil, să faceţi o prezentare mai largă cu privire la personalitatea sa, tocmai ca urmare a faptului că, asemenea lui Richard Wurmbrand sau a pastorului penticostal Constantin Caraman, este un punct de reper al martiriului creştin în general din România comunistă care necesită o atenţie aparte.
Nu știu dacă neapărat putem utiliza conceptul de „martiriu” pentru suferințele îndurate de Pr Visky în pușcăriile comuniste. Cred că este mai corect să rezervăm acest termen pentru cei care au plătit cu viața pentru credința lor, ceea ce, din fericire, n-a fost cazul cu pastorul Visky. În același timp, termenul grecesc martyria poate fi tradus atât prin „martiriu”, cât și prin „mărturie”. De aceea, suferința pentru Cristos a celor care n-au fost uciși pentru credința lor este numită uneori „martiriu alb”. Pentru acuratețe, cred că este important să operăm cu aceste distincții. Continue reading “Dialog despre Pr. Ferenc Visky – 2”
Nota: Cu ceva timp in urma, am primit de la domnul Tudor Petcu provocarea de a-i raspunde la citeva intrevari legate de relatia mea cu preotul reformat Ferenc Visky. Redau aici, in doua episoade, raspunsurile mele la cele cinci intrebari primite.
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Spuneți-mi, pentru început, vă rog, în ce împrejurări l-ați cunoscut pe pastorul Ferenc Visky și cum v-au marcat acesta din urmă preocupările și personalitatea.
L-am cunoscut pe Pr Visky, Feri bacsi (unchiul Feri), cum îi spuneau cei apropiați, la mijlocul anilor 70. Cele doua fete ale lui, Lidia și Hugi, au venit sa studieze la universitate la Iași, și au început să frecventeze biserica baptistă (în Iași nu exista o biserică reformată) și de asemenea orele de tineret pe care le conduceam acolo. Astfel, după ce ne-am împrietenit, am aflat încetul cu încetul povestea extraordinară a acestei familii. Am fost extrem de intrigat de această poveste și am dorit să-i cunosc. Așa că m-am autoinvitat în vizită. În prima vacanță de Crăciun am mers în vizită în satul Paleu, de lângă Oradea, unde Pr. Visky era paroh. Aveau o casă parohială destul de mare, care era mereu plină de musafiri, maghiari din Transilvania și Ungaria, români, germani, olandezi, americani și de multe alte naționalități. Erau nu doar reformați, ci si catolici, luterani, membri în Oastea Domnului, baptiști, penticostali, creștini după evanghelie. Pentru mine era prima dată când am avut experiența unei asemenea ecumenicități spirituale, pe care din acel moment mi-am însușit-o ca pe un mod de viață pe care îl respect cu rigoare până astăzi. Continue reading “Dialog despre Pr. Ferenc Visky – 1”
În acest punct este legitim să ne întrebăm cum anume ne poate ajuta această fugară privire asupra mentalității calviniste olandeze din secolul al 17-lea să înțelegem mai bine opera lui Rembrandt.
Rembrandt a fost, fără îndoială, un artist de succes. Cu alte cuvinte, a fost, în termeni reformați, un om binecuvântat de Dumnezeu. El a fost, de asemenea, așa cum conclud cei care i-au studiat opera, un bun cunoscător al textului biblic, realitate vădită de bogăția de sensuri prezentă în ilustrațiile sale biblice. Interesul lui special pentru Sfânta Scriptură este dovedit, o dată în plus, de ponderea importantă pe care o ocupă tematică biblică în opera sa. Continue reading “Contextul teologico-filosofic al operei lui Rembrandt – 3”
Kenneth Clark, autorul cărții citate mai sus, afirmă în serialul BBC care a fost realizat pornind de la cartea sa, că ceea ce a caracterizat opera artistică a lui Rembrandt a fost „nevoia de adevăr”, așa cum a fost ea formulată de gândirea Reformei protestante.
Olanda, în timpul lui Rembrandt, stătea sub semnul teologiei calviniste. Aceasta își trage numele de la opera teologului francez Jean Calvin (1509-1564), care a activat cea mai mare parte a vieții lui la Geneva, și a fost, alături de Martin Luther (1483-1546) și de Huldrych Zwingli (1484-1531), părintele protestantismului.
Calvinismul, care se naște în secolul al 17-lea, este însă mult mai mult decât o expresie a teologiei lui Calvin transpusă în condițiile secolului care i-a urmat acestuia. El reprezintă, pe de o parte, o dezvoltare a acestuia în parametrii și cu metodele scolasticii medievale, și, pe de alta, o reacție la Contrareformă (sau, mai precis, la reforma catolică, după Conciliul de la Trento, 1545-1563), dar și la ruptura dintre arminieni (reformați care credeau în liberul arbitru) și calviniști (reformați care credeau în predestinare), la începutul acelui secol, ceea ce a dus la rigidizarea dogmatică a unor puncte din teologia lui Calvin, mult dincolo de parametrii acesteia. Este vorba mai ales de cele legate de alegerea suverană a lui Dumnezeu pentru mântuire (așa-numita „predestinare”). Continue reading “Contextul teologico-filosofic al operei lui Rembrandt – 2”
But to your name be the glory,
Because of your love and faithfulness
Psalm 115:1 (NIV)
When we became engaged to marry, the psalms showed up in an interesting way. The once-engaged person is sitting here with me now. Fifty-six years ago we were looking for the confirmation that we belonged together and that we had tasks to do together. We remembered words from Psalm 115. At that time we had decided to turn toward Romania, and we knew that our field of service would not be in Hungary but in Romania where my father used to be a pastor. It was very good to be in harmony in this and to know that the true meaning of our service would happen under this quote, “Not for us O Lord, but for your name. Soli Deo Gloria. And we wished and we do wish that this will stay with us always. Continue reading “Ferenc Visky – Reflections on Psalms 115 and Psalm 90”
In 1980 we were free from prison but had another house search one day when we were having breakfast. Five people entered, secret police from Bucharest. One was an important officer; it was a very distinguished group. After they entered, they showed us their permit to search. I said, OK, and we continued having breakfast. We asked them to have a seat in another room because there was no place for them to sit in our breakfast room. They declined and instead chose to stand in the room with us.
So, we continued with our breakfast. I could see that they were uncomfortable with the situation, standing and watching us calmly eating. We should have been the uncomfortable and anxious ones, but they were. This was good. Then we started to talk and I told them that I had known that they were coming that morning because I had read Psalm 23 in my Bible that said, “The Lord is my shepherd, I shall lack nothing. Even if I am in the valley of the shadow of death etc. etc. etc. I told them that this was a treasured psalm for me. Continue reading “Ferenc Visky – God Is My Waiter”
After a long correspondence, Mark Driscoll, John Piper, Doug Phillips, and John Eldredge decide to meet at a bar to discuss whose view about Biblical Manhood is most biblical.
At Driscoll’s urging, they gather at the Red Herring Pub in Seattle to knock back a few adult beverages. Fog settles outside. The four men sit at a booth near the entrance, Piper and Phillips on the right, Driscoll and Eldredge to the left.
The bartender comes over.
“I’ll take a Rum and Coke,” says Piper, remembering his days as an Army Ranger.
“Hot buttered rum for me,” says Phillips. It seems a manly Colonial drink.
“Give me a Margarita,” Eldredge says, kicking off his sandals. He wears a loud Hawaiian shirt, untucked.