Categories
Theology

The Gospel in a Nutshell

Steve Timmis is the co-founder of The Crowded House, an international group of church planting networks, and the co-director of the Porterbrook Network, an initiative that trains church planters. I just finished listening to his Total Church training audio, and in session one, he defines the gospel. Obviously the gospel is so large and so infinite that it cannot be put into one sentence. Nevertheless, the more ways we can say it biblically and faithfully, the more we will be helpful to people. Timmis says that the gospel is that

Jesus, God’s promised rescuer and ruler, lived our life and died our death and rose again in triumphant vindication as the firstfruits of the new creation to bring forgiven sinners together under his gracious rule.

Timmis admits that this is not meant to summarize the gospel in all its glory. After all, he says, God took the whole Bible–all 66 books–to summarize the gospel. This definition, he argues, simply gets to the heart of what the gospel is, and he spends the first session of his training (in the “audio” link above) unpacking this definition. I encourage you to listen to it.

If you had to give the gospel in a nutshell, what would you say?

Categories
Life

You Can’t Make Science to Mean Something it Doesn’t Mean

I’m not a scientist.  My science classes in college were geology, meteorology, and food science.  The best I did in high school was a B in honors physics at a public school.  And even that grade should be investigated.

So allow my non-scientific mind to think through something with you.

Often in debates about evolution and creation, I hear people argue for evolution (that is, the origin of the universe via big-bang) by saying, “Science proves it.  Science is not faith, it’s fact.”   They do this by talking about carbon dating, fossils, and the fact that Noah couldn’t really have had all those animals in the ark.

Well, science is “fact” if you are talking about how a tree grows, how a car moves, or how my heart works.  You can prove those things.  But science cannot prove the origin of the universe.  “Yes it can!” people tell me.

No.  It can’t.

Why?  When we refer to science, we usually mean “systematic knowledge of the physical or material world gained through observation and experimentation.”  We come to this knowledge of the physical world by using the scientific method, which Merriam-Webster defines as “principles and procedures for the systematic pursuit of knowledge involving the recognition and formulation of a problem, the collection of data through observation and experiment, and the formulation and testing of hypotheses.”

You cannot re-create a universe as vast, complex, organized, and beautiful as ours in a test tube in order to collect data about how it began.  It just can’t happen.

So if you hold that the origin of the universe is due to a randomized explosion of atomic particles, that’s fine by me.  Just don’t call it science.  Call it what it is: faith, belief, and religion.

Categories
Life

I Speak American, Not English

Oxford has produced a dictionary of North American English, and its second edition has over 250,000 entries.  It’s called the “New Oxford American Dictionary.”  It’s a dictionary that has definitions for American words.

Here’s my point in that: I attended a rugby game here tonight in Pretoria, South Africa.  I was with Rylan, my fellow American teammate, as well as an Afrikaans friend.  As we talked about each of our country’s beloved sports, I couldn’t help but notice the difference in our vocabulary.  It took a sentence or two to describe what we meant; then we were square on our understanding of terms.

The problem was that he was speaking English.  I was speaking American.

If you are from America, you don’t speak English.  Let’s call it what it is.