Celtic birthday cake (via Cami Di)
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. Read More »
The ministry blocks dissenters and ignores journalists who might ask difficult questions. This is not engaging culture, but evading culture.
Source: The Gospel Coalition and how (not) to engage culture | Religion News Service
Jonathan Merritt on the pathologies of tehe Gosle Coaliton. Here is a good quote:
‘You can’t transform a culture while you’re browbeating, rebuking, name-calling and gagging. That’s not a recipe for cultural engagement, but rather cultural enragement.’
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.
We, the Church of Scotland and the Church of England, make the following acknowledgements and commitments, which are interrelated.Read More »
Here are 10 things you need to know about Karl Barth’s theology:
1. Jesus Christ is the Word of God in the Bible. He is the gospel, God’s good news to us. Therefore, he is the measuring stick that must be used to judge all theological ideas.
2. The life of Jesus Christ reveals who God really is and who we really are.
3. The union between God and humanity in Jesus Christ reveals God’s purpose to live in fellowship with us.Read More »
Sermon preached by Rev. Daniel Manastireanu on 13th December 2015 – in Glasgow St Paul’s Church in Provanmill. Bible passage: Ezra 1:1-4; 3:1-4,10-13.
Finding My Place in The Gospel Coalition | Her.meneutics | Christianitytoday.com.
Jen Pollock Michel discusses in this article about the (unconfortable) place of women in the neo-reformed Gospel Coalition.
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.
A recent excellent article in Sojourners, the journal of Evangelicals for Social Action, deals with this controversial tendency, wich has also made many victims in my own country, Romania. That is why I have decided to share it with you here.Read More »
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
Read More »
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 are the 9 points in Jensen’s article, as sumarised by Scot McKnight:
1. Since the arrival of Christianity in Britain in the 3rd century, British Christianity has had a distinct flavor and independence of spirit, and was frequently in tension with Roman Catholicism.
2. The break with Rome in the 16th century had political causes, but also saw the emergence of an evangelical theology.
3. Anglicanism is Reformed.
4. Scripture is the supreme authority in Anglicanism.
5. Justification by faith alone is at the heart of Anglican soteriology.
6. In Anglican thought, the sacraments are “effectual signs” received by faith.
7. The Anglican liturgy—best encapsulated in the 1662 Book of Common Prayer—is designed to soak the congregation in the Scriptures, and to remind them of the priority of grace in the Christian life.
8. Anglicanism is a missionary faith, and has sponsored global missions since the 18th century.
9. Global Anglicanism is more African and Asian than it is English and American.
Read More »
History, Evangelicals, and Protestantism | Carl R. Trueman | First Things.
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.
Feri baci in vizita la Richard Wurmbrand
- 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.Read More »
Ferenc & Julia Visky in gradina lor din Paleu
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.Read More »
Rembrandt și calvinismul
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.Read More »
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”).Read More »
Rev. Ferenc Visky
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.Read More »
Rev. Ferenc Visky
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.Read More »
What to Call the So-Called New Calvinists?.
An important discussion for those interested in the s0-called (not so) ‘young and restless’ of the Piper and the Driscoll kind.
Sermon preached in Bishopton Parish Church, a Church of Scotland congregation in Renfrewshire on 5th January 2014, Second Sunday of Christmas. Bible passage: John 1:10-18.
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.
Driscoll looks askance at Eldredge. “Just give me a Bud,” he says. Then he thinks better of it. “Actually, give me two.”Read More »
Since yesterday I have posted Carson’s text on his post-evangelical stance, I add now a continuation of that, his view of the Protestant principle of ‘Sola Scriptura’. To this view, which leaves no place for the concept of Tradition, Carson opposes the ‘Prima Scriptura’ position, a view which I also share, as it comes quite clear in the way I tend to handle Scripture on my blog.
Here is what Carson Clark says:
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The historic Reformation principle of Sola Scriptura often gets a bad wrap because people fail to distinguish it from Bible-onlyism, which is its unfortunate, dumbed down contemporary heir. The former was critically nuanced and discerning. The latter is overly simplistic and ignorant. So when I say I don’t affirm Sola Scriptura, let’s all be clear about a couple things. It’s not for a lack of respect for the Reformers nor am I castigating a strawman position. Here I’m making a concerted effort not to contribute to the entrenched, heated idiocy surrounding this issue.
Within the context of the 16th century, I understand how and why Sola Scriptura came to be. The late Medieval Roman Catholic Church was heavy-handed and hegemonic. Its abuses, corruptions, excesses, and hypocrisies were obvious. This coincided with Renaissance humanism’s call of “Ad fontes!” or “Back to the sources!” Long story short, Martin Luther and Co. were trying to pull a Marty McFly by going back to the future. I get all of that. Lord knows had I been alive at their time I almost certainly would’ve been sympathetic to the Protestant cause.Read More »
The Church of Scotland celebrates the life and work of former Moderator, the Very Reverend Professor Thomas Forsyth Torrance
Ahead of the 100 year anniversary of his birth the Church celebrates the life and work of T. F. Torrance, who has been acknowledged as one of the most significant theologians of the 20th century.
The Very Reverend Professor Thomas Forsyth Torrance was born as the second of six children to missionary parents in Chengdu, West China, on August 30th 1913. He died 2 December, 2007.
He spent his first 14 years in China and left with an abiding love of the Chinese people and a commitment to preaching the gospel of Jesus Christ.Read More »
2013 marks the centenary of the birth of one of the greatest theologians of the twentieth century, Thomas F. Torrance, an orthodox, ecumenical, and pastoral theologian. Although he held many academic and ecclesial credentials—including a doctor of theology degree under Karl Barth, several honorary doctorates, co-editor with Geoffrey Bromiley of Barth’s Church Dogmatics, author of dozens of books, Chair of Ecclesiastical History and then of Christian Dogmatics in New College at the University of Edinburgh, co-founder of the Scottish Journal of Theology, and Moderator of the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland—he considered his primary calling to be a minister of the Gospel and an evangelist to theologians. Modern western theology, he believed, has been trapped in an obsolete, dualist mindset that detaches Jesus Christ from God, worship and mission from Christ, and biblical and theological study from fellowship and communion with the living God.Read More »
It would as easy to exaggerate his influence as it is for some to ignore his influence, but at least a major voice behind all of evangelical political action — from Francis Schaeffer and the Moral Majority to Charles Colson, Nancy Pearcey, Wayne Grudem and then on to even someone like Tim Keller and JD Hunter or Andy Crouch and in other ways in people like Jim Wallis and evangelical progressives — is the Dutch theologian, journalist, pastor, and politician Abraham Kuyper. Many of us know him from his century-long reprints of Lectures on Calvinism, in which Calvinism does not mean TULIP but a comprehensive world view, but now James D. Bratt has written the Life of Lives when it comes Kuyper: Abraham Kuyper: Modern Calvinist, Christian Democrat. All those who care about Kuyper or who want to comprehend his influence on political and cultural thinking will have to absorb the fullness of this complete biography by Bratt.
How to summarize such a full and fast-paced life? Bratt’s words will have to do: “The Calvinist champion was a man of self-will; the man of faith, obsessed with working; the one humbled before God, yearning to be lifted high among men, and succeeding” (375). I suspect many great Christian leaders, Calvinist or not, has similar paradoxes at work in life, but I see the man less as paradoxical and more shaped by a relentless Calvinist ambition to get the world and church in order. He was a man with disciples but no real colleagues when he was at work.
Kuyper was a Titan. “Thus, in terms of the great quarrel in nineteenth-century American Calvinism, Kuyper combined the organization skill of Lyman Beecher, the platform presence of Charles Finney, and the public activism of both with the theological convictions — and no less the theological acumen — of Charles Hodge” (xx). That is the man we encounter in Bratt’s massive and splendidly written, if often assuming too much knowledge of the history of ideas, European history and Dutch politics than most will bring to the book, biography. Now some summary points.
Read HERE the rest of this text.
So What’s an Anabaptist?.
Scot McKnight about Anabaptism.
John Piper and the Pope: Some Observations.
If you are interested in understanding how the neo-reformed react, from their own narrowly defined bubble, to the way Catholics frame their understanding of redemption, you should read this post by Scot McKnight.
Interviu cu Rev. Ferenc Visky
Pentruca postarea preluata de la Teo Stanciu nu include automat si clipul video, iata-l aici intr-o postare separata, pentru facilitate.
Pentru cei interesati, redau mai jos lista cartilor de si despre Pr. Ferenc Visky.Read More »
Rev. Attila Szasz, pastorul Bisericii Reformate Prezbiteriene din Cluj Napoca ne prezinta un scurt istoric al Reformei in Transilvania intre populatia de limba maghiara si limba romana.
Inregistrarea video e mai sus apare pe situl web al Bisericii Evanghelice Reformate din Bucuresti. Fiind prima data cind intilnesc aceasta titulatura, am facut ceva cercetari si iata rezultatele:Read More »
Ferenc Visky & Richard Wurmbrand
Memorialul durerii pe TVR 2 | Comunitatea Bisericilor Creştine Baptiste Timişoara.
ASTAZI, simbata 19 ianuarie, 2013, ora 16.00
Nu pierdeti cu nici un chip acest episod despre un om cu adevarat exceptional.
Teztul acestei postari este o recenzie a celor doua carti ale Iuliei Visky reunite intr-un singur volum sub titlul Trei cruci. Tu vii in ajutor orfanului.
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Júlia Visky, Trei cruci. Tu vii în ajutorul orfanilor, Ed. Koinónia, Cluj-Napoca, 2007
Conceput ca o serie de epistole catre o prietena de departe, volumul strânge laolalta doua carti.
Prima carte este rememorarea vietii în Ungaria, de pâna la casatoria cu Ferenc Visky, asezata sub semnul celor trei cruci, mentionate în titlu. Crucea de lemn, cea mai „usoara“ dintre ele, este a primei apropieri de un baiat. Crucea de aur, primita tot ca dar al apropierii inimilor, dar neîmpartasita de logodnic întru iubirea pentru Domnul: „Era a doua cruce a vietii mele. Parca cineva voia sa-mi lege viata de o cruce“. Cea de a treia: Crucea. Adevarata cruce, a credintei, pe care a trebuit sa o ridice, cu umilinta, în momentul în care a fost repudiata de propria-i familie. Refugiul în credinta si refuzul de a se casatori cu un barbat apreciat de familie au îndrumat-o pe tânara de conditie modesta, dar cu solida educatie (asa cum se primea în scolile-internat pentru fete, nu doar în Ungaria interbelica, dar si în România), catre o viata în care a purtat crucea credintei. Aruncata la propriu de parinti si surori în strada, pentru încapatânarea de a fi iesit din rândul celor lumesti, propovaduite de cultul romano-catolic, Júlia a gasit adapost la Comunitatea Crestina Bethania. În aceasta perioada de mare zbucium al sufletului si constiintei, pe fondul razboiului, l-a cunoscut pe sotul sau. Perioada cuprinsa între Dictatul de la Viena (30 august 1940) si reintrarea nord-vestului Transilvaniei sub administratie româneasca (martie 1945), prelungita mai apoi prin schimbarea decisiva a macazului politico-ideologic, atât în România, cât si în Ungaria, ca în toate tarile intrate în spatiul de influenta sovietica, a marcat profund vietile oamenilor, aflati de o parte si de alta a Tisei.Read More »