Sunday, 29 January 2012

Who's church for?

Many people I know have some idea that church isn't for them - or at least, that church-going folk would think that church isn't for them. And in a document of the 16th century, I came across a helpful summary of who the Lord's Supper (and therefore church) is really for - and who would be best staying away! Which are you? 
Who are to come to the Lord's table [in church]?
Those who are displeased with themselves because of their sins, but who nevertheless trust that their sins are pardoned and that their continuing weakness is covered by the suffering and death of Christ, and who also desire more and more to strengthen their faith and to lead a better life. Hypocrites and those who are unrepentant, however, eat and drink judgement on themselves. [Heidelberg Catechism Q&A 81]
So, sinners welcome; hypocrites keep away. Will you come? 

As Christ said, 'Come to me, all who labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.'

Thursday, 26 January 2012

Power, cool and decline

A Brit in America reflects on what the church can learn from The Iron Lady - resisting the temptation to stir in the polarised American political scene, Trueman highlights the portrayal of the loss of glory in old age.

I was slightly surprised to hear from African brothers and sisters at Cape Town 2010, that they often felt ignored in the church while still 'young', pre-Forty-and-married, say. In the UK, probably some churches have that dynamic. But we are more in danger of despising age than despising youth. 

'Ageing brings whispers of mortality, of weakness, of limitations; and such whispers bring an ever-increasing sympathy with others. Only the one who has felt the slow creep of weakness can truly sympathise with the weak. ... The church does not need leaders who feel strong; she needs leaders who know weakness.'