Breeze

 

Creation and the origin of being

Paul Gauguin has painted a famous painting entitled, “What are we? Where do we come from? Where are we going?” The artist’s question relates to the origin as well as to the finality of human destiny and existence. The materialistic and humanistic worldview of many of our contemporaries leads them to postulate that ultimate reality is infinite and impersonal and is essentially defined in terms of matter and energy. But how can such a perspective account for the complexity and the intelligent design of the universe as well as for the unique character of humans qualitatively distinct from the other living creatures?
  Pierre Berthoud   13-Oct-2017   0 Comments


The Power of the Psalms

Two weeks ago, I listened to 77 psalms in one day. I had this wonderful experience in Utrecht, the Netherlands, where these psalms were performed as part of the annual Festival of Early Music. The remaining 73 psalms had already been sung the day before. Four choirs from Norway, the UK, the USA and the Netherlands performed compositions based on texts from the psalms written by 150 different composers, from the eleventh until the twenty-first century.
  Gert Kwakkel   15-Sep-2017   0 Comments


Christ has risen – hope for the world

Seventy years ago, in April 1947 the Swiss Reformed theologian Karl Barth, gave an Easter sermon in which he expressed his shame about the fact that even we as theologians have great difficulties to grasp the message of Easter, to grasp its relevance and the radical change what it entails.
  Dr Klaus Bensel   15-May-2017   0 Comments


Deadly Verbosity?

Wandering the streets of Lutherstadt Wittenberg at the FEET Conference last year, I was struck by the many plaques that celebrated famous Protestants who had, at some time or another, lived in the city. I remember the memorial to Paul Gerhardt and another to Count Nicolaus Zinzendorf....
  Dr Stephen P. Dray   18-Apr-2017   0 Comments


Towards a culture sensitive and contextualized mission paradigm

The missiologist and theologian Jonathan J. Bonk wrote, 'Theology can be liberated from cultural bounds only through mission.' This understanding is hardly new. We can verify its validity on the pages of Scripture itself, depicted in the development of the early church. The archetypical bearer of the missionary task is the apostle Paul, who in preaching the Gospel connects Jewish and Greek thought. His theology is shaped by his mission, which entails a spiritual struggle to contextualise the Gospel in a foreign cultural environment.
  Dr Pavel Cerny   20-Mar-2017   0 Comments


How are we to evaluate the heritage called Christendom?

The Western world has moved from, or is currently in transition from, an era of Christendom to an era of post-Christendom. Many theologians have presented substantial theological considerations for how we are to evaluate the historical and cultural heritage called Christendom and how we are to understand the role of the church in a post-Christendom society. One of them is the English theologian Lesslie Newbigin.
  Jeppe Bach Nikolajsen   19-Dec-2016   0 Comments


The people versus the elite

The electoral victory of Donald Trump, which many experts had not foreseen, testifies to a crisis in the democratic system of western countries. Trump won, although the leaders of the Republican Party did not want him as their candidate. Hillary Clinton was the favourite of the party leadership of the Democrats, but the people did not like her. A similar discrepancy occurred in the Brexit referendum in the United Kingdom and in the referendum about the EU treaty with Ukraine in The Netherlands. In all these cases the preference of the majority of the people conflicted with the view advocated by most political leaders.
  Gert Kwakkel   15-Nov-2016   0 Comments


« You must be born again »

I recently heard a sermon that helped me understand why some of the so-called historical Protestant Churches are caught up in doctrinal and ethical relativism and confusion. The pastor had chosen the story of Nicodemus who came to Jesus at night (Jn 3:1-15) so as to discuss the question of conversion: « You must be born again »!
  Pierre Berthoud   14-Oct-2016   0 Comments


Celebrating the Reformation?

The year 2017 will mark the 500th anniversary of the beginning of the Protestant Reformation. In some ecumenical circles the chosen word is not 'celebration' but 'commemoration'. Official Roman Catholicism, for example, even the post-Vatican II and ecumenically-minded version of it, can only commemorate it.
  Leonardo De Chirico   12-Sep-2016   0 Comments


Remain or leave?

By the time this blog is read the United Kingdom will have decided whether it remains within the European Union, the blood-letting within the British Conservative Party will have commenced and both the British Parliament and the European Union will be ‘picking up the pieces’ and making the best of it. In the United Kingdom and the rest of Europe the result of in-fighting and personal ambition within The British 'Right' will have spread its influence over the entire continent; for better or for worse.
  Dr Stephen P. Dray   15-Jun-2016   0 Comments


The Cape Town Commitment and its radical ethical call

The Czech Fellowship of Evangelical Theologians has continued the direction laid forth in the FEET 2014 Conference in Paris. Dr. Chris Wright and his explanation of Ethics, Mission and Evangelism in the Cape Town Commitment (CTC) greatly inspired our delegates in Paris, and in March 2016 we held an ecumenical forum in Prague on the subject of Christian Ethics in Our Society.
  Pavel Cerny   17-May-2016   0 Comments


Being there

In my experience, churches are often closed communities which do not easily reach outsiders with the good message about Jesus. Some recent examples: 1) After much discussion a church opened its doors to visitors. A big step to take! Yet on the day the volunteers in the church were so busy preparing food and chatting to each other, that no-one was open to the few visitors who came into the church. The Gospel was not shared and the visitors did not feel welcome.
  Pieter Lalleman   19-Apr-2016   1 Comments


Re-reading Rom 12:1-3

I have for years had the privilege of serving in Africa. Reading the Scriptures in other languages always brings out something new and exciting. Recently some of us studied Romans 12, and let me share with you what we saw.
  Erling Lundeby   18-Feb-2016   0 Comments


Persecution

According to the World-watch-list published by Open Doors, oppression of Christians increased in many countries in 2015. This is true especially for Muslim countries, due to the activities of organisations such as Boko Haram in Nigeria and ISIS in Iraq and Syria. In addition, fanatic Hindus make life difficult for Christians in India, and so do some Buddhists in Burma.
  Gert Kwakkel   18-Jan-2016   0 Comments


Post-What?

'We live in a post-Christian age.' This is the refrain that is often heard when discussing the present-day conditions of the Christian Church in the West. Post-Christian culture, post-Christian society, post-Christian ethics, post-Christian values … are all rubrics under which more or less worried discussions take place in Christian circles which try to analyse the contemporary scenario.
  Leonardo De Chirico   24-Nov-2015   0 Comments


Businessman among the theologians

For years it has been a privilege for me to be a member of FEET, the Fellowship of European Evangelical Theologians, and it still is. Although not a theologian, I have always felt welcome in this fellowship of Christians whose aim is to promote a theology based on the Bible. As a businessman I have been in charge of FEET’s finances for almost 20 years and I am so proud to be part of this network.
  Gert Hain   06-Nov-2015   0 Comments


Martin Luther’s “On the Freedom of a Christian” and its modern challenges

In May 2015 the first edition of Martin Luther’s treatise "De libertate christiana” from November 1520, with original handwritten notes by the Reformer himself, was discovered in a library in Selestat in Alsace. This almost 500-year old document belonged to the collection of the humanist Beatus Rhenanus (1485-1547), a friend of Erasmus of Rotterdam.
  Dr Klaus Bensel   16-Sep-2015   0 Comments


Bearing the scars

I recently had the opportunity to attend a reunion of some of my former students from the period of ten to fifteen years ago. This gathering was also accompanied by a plethora of news from those who were unable to come. Generally speaking, all this was very encouraging. Though there had predictably been some casualties along the way, the vast majority were either still in Christian ministry of some sort (and working worldwide) or were actively living out their faith in a secular context.
  Dr Stephen P. Dray   11-Aug-2015   0 Comments


Jan Hus as a figure of pan-European significance and the Czech metanoia regarding his legacy

July 2015 has brought the 600th anniversary of Jan Hus`s martyrdom at the Church Council in Konstanz (1415). His cruel death at the stake was the beginning of prolonged wars between the Roman Catholic papacy and the emperor on one side and the Czech Reformation movement on the other. After 150 years the Reformation movement was defeated, the Counter Reformation introduced, Protestant churches destroyed, and the Czech nation was forced to become Catholic.
  Pavel Cerny   10-Jul-2015   0 Comments


God the only One

At a FEET conference, more than 20 years ago, I was struck by a paper to which I still refer from time to time. Professor Oskar Skarsaune from Oslo showed us convincingly how the first Christians lived in a multi-religious, pluralistic society and how in that context their confession ‘Jesus is the only Lord, kurios’ was deeply challenging.
  Dr. Hetty Lalleman   22-May-2015   0 Comments


The church in Kenya – focus as the marathoners!

This author is presently based in Norway, but has served for many years in East Africa since late 1970’s. Just before Easter I returned home from Kenya after teaching and guiding a group of college students taking a course in World Religions and Missions. What did we see? The history of Christian faith in Kenya is mixed. Evangelical churches and missions from Europe and America have played a key role in this history. Some stories are very encouraging and deserve to be told again and again in order to inspire and provide role models in e.g. mission, bold evangelism, courageous leadership under pressure, endurance in suffering, long-term positive engagement in community development, and a heart for the lost and needy in society.
  Erling Lundeby   16-Apr-2015   0 Comments


‘Just as Moses lifted up the snake in the desert, so the Son of Man must be lifted up, that everyone who believes in him may have eternal life.’ (John 3:14-15, NIV)

In his discussion with Nicodemus, Jesus says that he himself must be lifted up, just as Moses lifted up the snake. Obviously, Jesus refers to his future crucifixion, as part of his returning to his heavenly father (cf. John 12:32-33). Just as the Israelites were saved by gazing at the bronze snake made by Moses, we can only receive eternal life by looking at the crucified Christ. In both cases salvation is linked to an act of faith. Gazing at a snake does not seem to be very promising, neither does fixing your eyes on somebody who is about to die on a cross. (Note that only criminals were executed by crucifixion.) Yet this is the only way to life.
  Gert Kwakkel   18-Mar-2015   0 Comments


Are there any limits to freedom of speech and caricature?

After the tragic events in Paris on the 7th of January, the director of a major weekly magazine declared that democracy gives the right to blasphemy. Such a radical statement of freedom of speech may seem shocking, but is a long-standing practice within the French culture going back to the Enlightenment, Voltaire being the emblematic figure. Tolerated under the Ancien Regime, it was adopted as a principle in the Declaration of human rights and became effective with the abolition of the blasphemy law in 1830; it was confirmed in 1905 in the legislation on the separation of Church and State.
  Pierre Berthoud   13-Feb-2015   2 Comments