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Showing posts from June, 2016

Is NewFrontiers A Cult?

Hey Joshua, My sister finally decided to start going to church! I’m really happy about that, but it’s a NewFrontiers church. Before she gets too settled there, I wanted to know what you thought of them. I heard someone say NF was a cult – is that true?

Big question! The short answer is a qualified ‘no’.
Now here's the long answer…
NF is a diverse movement - churches are self-governed. Just because one finds a good or bad church someplace, doesn’t mean they’re all that way. So not everything mentioned here may apply to your sister’s congregation. For readers outside the UK, though NF is largely a British movement, chances are you have a church or network similar in your nation. So there are things here you may find relevant.
Let’s Start Positive
What’s good about NF? To begin, they generally have a strong commitment to mission. They want to plant churches/ campuses and reach the lost.
Secondly, they have a strong commitment to Bible teaching - at least in theory. That doesn’t mean all NF…

Is Masturbation a Sin?

Hey Joshua, So, we had a big debate in the halls last night about masturbation. What’s your take on it?  -N (A University student)
Well done for asking an awkward question that a lot of Christians are too nervous to ask and even fewer pastors want to answer. I guess the question is a bit a handful. Attempting to answer this publicly does seem to rub some the wrong way.

I’ll answer first as a Bible teacher, then as a pastor. 
With my teacher hat on, I have to tell you that Scripture is silent on the issue. Some church leaders through the centuries have taught that it is a sin (with one insisting that it's worse than rape!) but, in spite of some hotly worded sermons, there's not one passage of Scripture which actually says so.

And that’s not because the Bible doesn’t talk about sex or sexual sin. Scripture describes sex as a good gift. Sin perverts sex and is therefore evil. The Bible cites fornication, adultery, bestiality, rape, pornography, homosexual acts, polygamy, polyamory and …

5 Reasons Remain Voters shouldn't Slit their Wrists

So, you’ve campaigned hard. You’ve put memes on Facebook that have caused some to unfriend you. You’ve tried to persuade others about the dangers of a Brexit – but you woke up this morning to see you lost. Here are five reasons not to end it all:
England has always had an anti-European streak. Be this decision smart or stupid – we’re being true to our historic selves.We’ve seen the exciting movies about a Zombie Apocalypse. Now we get to see the real thing, free of charge.Today the Hollywood film ‘Independence Day 2’ is out. Now you have an even greater excuse to nip to the cinemas. Donald Trump thinks we’ve done the right thing. What more could we want than to go up in his books?If you’re a Christian, neither England nor Europe are your home. You’re living for an everlasting Kingdom. The EU, the UK and other nations would fail one day. In the scale of eternity, this will mater less than we assume it will
______________________________ For more, check out our book Forbidden Friendshipsav…

A Reckless Response to Islamisation

Tomorrow Britain goes to the polls to vote on whether they will remain in the European Union. There are many political and social issues turning up the temperature in this high stakes experiment in democracy. One of those issues is immigration – and particularly the immigration of those coming from an Islamic culture. Those who generally oppose further immigration of migrants are often accused – rightly or wrongly – of xenophobia. The ones who oppose Islamic immigration in particular are oft accused of ‘Islamophobia’.
CS. Lewis once talked about how a word dies. ‘Verbicide’ is the term he used for the murder of a word through excessive and misuse. ‘Islamaphobia’ has become one of those words and trying to have a discussion on it in modern culture has all the loaded tension of telling ‘yo mama’ jokes in old western saloon. The problem is that in using the word we rarely make the clear distinction on whether we are talking about Islamic ideology or Muslim individuals. We live in a cultur…

Should Christians Obey Pastors?

The Shepherding Movement of the 1970s screwed a lot people up. It was a movement that introduced an intense form of accountability and submission to leadership and it primarily affected newer British and American charismatic churches. The leaders of that movement have since all repented of this teaching - that should have been a clear sign to avoid practices associated with the movement. But no – sadly we are more foolish than we like to think. These bad practices floated like pollen through the evangelical air and have settled in all sorts of places. So from time to time I find people in the church who have been wounded by the spiritual leadership that should have been causing them to flourish.
I want to comment here on just one Bible verse in this post because it is more misused than any other by leaders who want to exercise control over others in the local church. It’s this…
‘Obey your leaders and submit to them, for they are keeping watch over your souls, as those who will have to g…

The ISIS Christian Union & a Blind Britain

So… we heard at the begining of the week that a Christian Union (for Yankee readers that’s a Christian student club) was disbanded at an unnamed British college under the government’s new anti-extremism laws. Yesterday, David Cameron said that such an act was ‘ludicrous’ and that people needed common sense in applying these new laws meant to battle intolerance, hate speech, extremism, etc.
The trouble for Cameron – and for most of the secular, philosophically anchorless West – is that there is no longer any consistent measuring stick that we can use to measure what extreme is. When we throw out what is absolute, we have all the strength of a dried leaf to face the destructive. In place of Christianity, we try to teach ‘British Values’ in our schools. But what worthwhile ‘values’ does Britain have that didn’t grow out of its once held Christian world-view? Before the gospel came to this country we were running around naked, worshipping frogs and eating each other. #BritishValues 

On the Brexit Baloney

Hey Joshua,
As we get ready for the big referendum, how do you think Jesus would vote on Brexit. -M

Hey dude,
Good question.
When Jesus walked the earth, he was surrounded by a political brouhaha even more charged than our own. There was tension between those who wanted a ‘Israel for the Israelis’ (the Zealots and Pharisees) and those who preferred strong ties to the Roman Empire (the Herodians and Sadducees). Throughout his ministry Jesus was often asked political questions so that people could pin him on a particular ‘side’ in order to discredit him.
But Jesus don’t play that.
He never fell into their trap and was resolute that he was building his own kingdom – one that was ‘not of this world’ (John 18.36). Even in the OT when Joshua – the commander of the Israeli army – asked the pre-incarnate Jesus if he was on their side or the side of their enemies he responded, ‘No; but I am the commander of the army of the Lord. Now I have come.’ (Joshua 5.14).
‘So Jesus, should we stay in the EU or …

A Fat, Christian Dating Quagmire

Hey Joshua,
I pastor a church with a large group of young adult singles and have been so concerned with the way they go from 0-60 in their relationships. One week they aren't dating anyone and the next week they seem to be about to get engaged. Good kids, just no margin. But how to explain the potential dangers and damage without just saying quit it because I'm older and know better? -R
Hey Pastor R,
This is a big problem in Christian dating circles in both the UK and the USA. I don’t know of many resources to point you towards (though if someone reading does, please paste a link below) that deals well with the problem of getting too exclusive too fast. But I’m happy to share some thoughts that I’ll post on my blog for others who may be interested.
In God’s eyes, if we are not married - or committed in formal engagement - then we are unbound (or ‘single’ in today’s speak). Thus dating has no moral authority. If one has a boyfriend or girlfriend, they are free to leave that person f…