Worshipping At Home

As I said yesterday, I determined that since I would be housebound today I would find other resources for worship. I’ve never been happy with Songs Of Praise because a series of hymns does not of themselves make an act of worship. Likewise, the Sunday service on Radio 4 has never connected much with me. It always contained more elements of worship, but has always felt liked a précis to me.

I thought this would be a good discipline for myself to find some worship. I also thought it would be good, given the number of elderly church members who end up being temporarily or permanently housebound and reliant on whatever the airwaves bring.

Having said that, given that I was eschewing Songs Of Praise and the Sunday Service, I was looking at other delivery methods: digital TV and Internet streaming. 

This morning, I opted for TV, knowing that most of the streamed Internet sources I’d found were from North America, and time zones meant they woulnd’t be viewable until tea-time. So, going through the ‘religion’ section on the Sky TV electronic programme guide, I avoided the obvious prosperity filth from Kenneth Copeland. Likewise, I steered clear of glossy Hillsong pep talks from Brian and Bobbie Houston, and I didn’t go near Ed Young, the man who infamously put out a video complaining about sheep-stealing pastors when he sets up new churches in an area without checking with the existing ministers.

But there was something British on UCB TV, and I opted for that. AT 10 am they were showing ‘Days Of Wonder’ from New Life Church, Hull, with Jarrod Cooper. Cooper wrote the popular worship song ‘King of kings, majesty‘, which I have found a helpful, humble and orthodox piece for services.

The opening credits showed Cooper walking (around Hull?), whilst linking the programme to the church, giving a subliminal hint that New Life Church equals Jarrod Cooper. He is the senior pastor, but I’d hope he wouldn’t want to give out a message like that. There may have been an intention to communicate something else, but I have to say that is a ‘viewer response’ reading.

Then Cooper introduced the show briefly, and I thought he said we were then going over live to worship at the church. However, that clearly wasn’t the case. We went straight into his message, which was video edited for the length of the programme.

The skeleton of his talk was fine and worthy, but I was concerned by some applications. It was a sermon about the supremacy of Christ, and although he referred to biblical passages as he went along, I didn’t hear an opening passage he was expounding. Colossians 1 would have fitted nicely. He preached about the supremacy of Christ in four areas: over the church, over creation, over wisdom, and I’m afraid I’ve forgotten the fourth point.

In supremacy over the church, he was uncontroversial but what he said needs hearing. Christ is head of the church, not the Pope, not the pastor and not the trustees.

As to supremacy over creation, this is where it all started going hyper-charismatic. He only – as I recall – illustrated this from the miraculous: the feeding of the five thousand, the translation of Philip in Acts 8 etc. He spoke of a five hour car journey taking two hours. Now I don’t have any theological problem with the miraculous, but I have a pastoral concern here about balance. I am all for expanding people’s faith – often the problem I encounter in myself and others is an insufficient level of expectation about what God can do. However, if you only accent the miraculous in talking about the supremacy of Christ over creation, you are setting up other believers for a fall, when not everything works out in the Christian paperback blockbuster way they’d hoped. Furthermore, Christ’s supremacy over creation is about ongoing issues like the upholding ogf the universe by the word of his power. I have to admit, something could have been edited out, but I was left with this concern about balance from what was shown.

When he got onto the supremacy of Christ over wisdom, I got more than concerned. Don’t misunderstand me: the basic point is both sound and important. As someone who enjoys the intellectual side of faith (but sees that as an opportunity for worship), I wholeheartedly agree that all our thinking must be submitted to Christ. Yet what we got in this section of the sermon was just some bashing of left wing stereotypes. “The feminists [they're all the same, aren't they?] have a problem with Ephesians,” he announced. Onto the usual stuff about headship and submission and that the male/Christ headship is based on sacrificial love. Well, yes, but what is headship? Didn’t Paul say that the great mystery he was speaking about here was about Christ and the Church, in which case he’s using an illustration from the marriage patterns of his day rather than making male headship normative? Has Cooper ever read any egalitarians? Yet he sees fit to bash them.

A little while later, he announced that “Global warming is the latest religion of the Left”. Well, apart from the sloppy language – the point is, nobody adores global warming, they are devoted to reversing climate change – I thought, oh no, he sounds like the American Christians who deny the overwhelming scientific evidence. But we shouldn’t be bothered, he said, because one day God is going to roll up this planet like a blanket. If I’d had my copy of Tom Wright‘s ‘Surprised By Hope‘ to hand, I swear I would have thrown it at the TV screen. I had hoped that British evangelical-charismatics were better informed on this one, thanks to the efforts of TEAR Fund and others, but the message isn’t getting through to some of the troops.

The service ended by cutting to brief footage of prayer ministry time at the end of the service. Cooper was praying with a man who was deaf in one ear. After prayer, the man said he could hear now in that ear. I do hope and pray that is still the case. I remain convinced that it is important we ‘show ourselves to the priests’ and offer evidence to society of healings. I do believe God heals today, but we have to think about how we present those claims.

Finally, the broadcast concluded with “Buy my CD, please!” A long commercial for Cooper’s current CD. It was no different from the adverts at the end of the Brian and Bobbie Houston or Ed Young shows, it just came with an English accent, not an Australian or American one. 

What about tonight? I watched a whole Sunday service online from Saddleback in California. I was much more favourably disposed towards this, although it wasn’t without its problems. The major issue I had with it is that – like Songs Of Praise – it really didn’t contain several critical elements of worship. The order of service went as follows:

Opening worship song
Notices – these included plugs for a church classic car event and the Saddleback Comedy Connection. Huh?
Two more worship songs 
Rick Warren‘s sermon
Post-sermon prayer
Mention of where resources were available to help with follow-up to sermon
Closing song, which didn’t seem to be for congregational participation.

What’s missing? Plenty. Let’s start with prayer. No adoration – well, you could say that was included in the songs. But no confession and assurance of forgiveness – I think that’s pastorally essential. How many people are coming to worship with burdens and need that assurance? Also, no intercession, so the church didn’t function in her priestly rôle. Finally, no Bible reading before the sermon. There were plenty of individual verses in the sermon. It was a topical sermon, rather than an expository one.

The worship songs were mainstream typical ones from the likes of Tim Hughes and Joel Houston. It was a bit liked watching a truncated version of Spring Harvest big top worship. Charismatic songs without the display of charismatic gifts. 

What about the sermon? I was much more comfortable here, even if I disagreed with the occasional comment and it was too long, around seventy-plus minutes. Worshippers get a sermon outline and it was available on the website, so that helped in following what Warren had to say. He is an engaging, warm speaker with a genuine pastoral heart. The issue was less with the seventy minutes than the seven (or eight, if you count the conclusion) points he made. There was too much to take in. Yes, again you could take it away with you, but it was a lot to work on. It was the third in a series called ‘The Jesus Model’ (what kind of model, I don’t know). This one focussed on Jesus as a model for stress management, making for a timely and relevant subject. Some will talk about ‘the curse of relevance’, but I think Warren wanted the people to apply their faith to life for it to make a difference. I took some notes ready for this blog post (and for my own personal benefit, I’d like to think), and so what follows is a summary of the thoughts that struck me from the sermon.

Warren began by referring to the new film ‘Terminator Salvation‘. The synopsis says that the grown-up John Connor. in fighting the machines as part of the resistance, has a ‘purpose-driven life’ (yes, really!) and has the weight of the world on his shoulders. However, said Warren, only one person has ever truly had the weight of the entire world on his shoulders, and that was Jesus on the cross. (Brilliant illustration! If only my people knew what Terminator was!) Because of that, he above all knows how to help us with stress.

1. Identification – know who you are. If you don’t know who you are, then society will try to label you. Don’t take your identity from brand names. (Warren meets Naomi Klein?) Don’t fall into the twin traps of either copying or comparing. He could have said a little more about our identity being in Christ as beloved children, I guess, but great start. 

2. Motivation – know who you are living for. You’ll always disappoint someone. Whoever you’re dependent upon for your happiness is your god. ‘Nobody can pressure me without my permission,’ he said – not quite sure that’s right, although I can see what he’s getting at. 

3. Vocation – know your calling. He used the familiar Saddleback SHAPE analysis to emphasise that everyone has a calling to ministry of one form or another. If you don’t clarify your calling, you’ll fall victim to the tyranny of the urgent, rather than getting on with the important. 

4. Concentration – focus on what matters most. If Satan can’t make you bad, he’ll make you busy. ‘You can fill your life with good things, or you can waste your life on good things.’ ‘This one thing I do, or these forty things I dabble in?’ ‘Is what I’m doing right now fulfilling my calling?’

5. Meditation – listen to God. A quiet time, yes, but more. Warren stresed the importance of extended silence. We have to strip away to give God a chance to speak to us. He talked about meditation as being like a worrying away at a biblical text. 

6. Collaboration – join a small group.  You were never intended to handle stress by yourself. To say you don’t need a small group is either arrogance or fear. Jesus needed a small group, and he was perfect! 

7. Recreation – take time to recharge. Sabbath-keeping is in the Ten Commandments for a reason, and remember Jesus said the Sabbath was made for humans, not the other way around. When Psalm 23 says ‘He makes me lie down in green pastures’, remember that if you don’t take sabbaths, God may well make you lie down for your own good, but it mgiht take something serious like an illness to slow you down to do it. 

His conclusion was about salvation in terms of Jesus’ invitation to take hiseasy  yoke upon us and discover that his burden is light.

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About Dave Faulkner

I'm a British Methodist minister, married with two children. I blog from a moderate evangelical-missional-charismatic perspective, with an interest in the 'missional' approach. My interests include Web 2.0, digital photography, contemporary music and watching football (Tottenham Hotspur) and cricket.

Posted on May 24, 2009, in Film, ministry, Sermons, Television, Web/Tech, worship and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 26 Comments.

  1. Thank you very much for researching the very important subject of ‘Worship at Home’ because, as you observed, there are many elderly housebound for whom this is a priority issue. I don’t think my hospital appointment in a couple of weeks will result in my becoming housebound – and I certainly hope it doesn’t! – but at my age that may well happen in the years ahead. But, since I don’t have Skye and don’t anticipate having it, I would have to rely on the DVDs of the services held at my own church I am, however,glad that you found something worthwhile.

    • Dave Faulkner

      Your church has DVDs of its services? Tell us more!

      One thing I didn’t explore in the post was the dimension of worshipping at home that meant I was worshipping alone, not as physically present with God’s people. That needs careful consideration.

      And doing so over a computer, especially. If I did lose interest for a moment or two, I would check Seesmic Desktop to see what had come in on my Twitter account or my Facebook account. Obviously, we have other strategies when we are bored but present with others in a church building, such as the friend of mine who would count the number of window panes, but checking Internet messages is a little more stimulating than that.

  2. I have to say that when I find myself in this situation, I watch EWTN’s daily Mass.

    Given that EWTN is supposed to be the Catholic equivalent of ‘Reform’ or ‘Anglican Mainstream’ in the Church of England, I’ve only once ever heard an anti-Protestant comment made and it was more of an aside (the priest said we don’t believe something I most certainly believe, but I forgot what it was!). For the most part, the sermons are orthodox, technically good and – for me – inspiring. Of course, there is the Latin Mass to deal with, apart from that, but that doesn’t particularly bother me. I often have a sense that I’m participating in communion with the congregation; something rather bizarre because I couldn’t do that if I were present with them, but I can ‘join in’ on an equal basis with all the other television viewers!

    I’m not sure that there are any good Protestant equivalents on television. Your experience sounds disappointing but the Rick Warren alternative possibly the best. I guess one has to substitute sermons for worship and it’s not really the same thing.

    • Dave Faulkner

      Interesting you mention EWTN, I caught a little bit of that this morning having left the Sky box on a religious channel yesterday and found it much more irenic than a lot of the other stuff.

      • I have a theory and I don’t mean to diss Protestant evangelicalism but….

        …EWTN’s raison d’etre is to bring back the Latin Mass and devotion to God (I realise that they see the two as an entwined package and I don’t agree with that). I suspect that the reason the sermon appears irenic is that it’s central focus is ‘devotion to God’ rather than on ‘making new believers’. In good, old-fashioned Catholic tradition, I don’t think EWTN cares much about making converts from Protestantism or other religions. It wants to call forth religious (Catholic) fervour in nominal cradle Catholics.

        What bothers me about a lot of evangelicalism is that I think that the central focus of its worship and preaching is often ‘making new converts’. And what’s even worse is that there often seems to be no self-awareness about this. It’s not a case of ‘Yeah, we’re trying to make new converts, so what?’ It’s more like ‘Making new believers is the same thing as devotion to God’. And then we let our emotions wax and wane and elevate and decline according to how many bums we have on the pews and we measure our success as disciples according to how many people we attract. And we never understand that all we’re doing is exhibiting unhealthy control issues.

        So people like Warren – who I expect is actually sincere – have this hidden agenda that they probably don’t even recognise or acknowledge. And that comes out in the sermons and makes you want to cringe and wiggle, but you don’t know why. And then you get the other sort of televangelist who knows exactly what he or she is doing and is just using this whole culture to exploit people; they’re actually more comfortable for those who have a good nose for a con-artist.

        • Dave Faulkner

          I can’t speak for EWTN – this morning was my first encounter – but I have long had a frustration with the tendency you describe within evangelicalism. I hadn’t thought about it in terms of control issues before, but you are right, absolutely the ‘making converts’ issue is the be-all and end-all of some evangelicalism. I have a hunch that some of it may trace back to the split with Rauschenbusch and others over the ‘social gospel’ a hundred years ago. In reaction against that, conversion was all that mattered.

          I also think it’s one of the things that has contributed to a certain immaturity in evangelicalism. It can keep everything at ‘new convert’ level, the spiritual baby stuff, and fails to grow up. Then disciples are ill-equipped to face hard questions and disappointments in life. For all my personal disagreement with liberal theology, I value the fact that it tends to take such matters seriously. Some years ago, a smug evangelical asked a liberal bishop where they were going to get ‘their’ next bishop. “From the ranks of the evangelicals, ” he replied.

          Some of this feeds into why I get passionate about academic theology! And it’s why I value the networks of evangelical theologians, who are curiously admired at a distance in populist evangelicalism. They are held up as examples of how evangelical faith is rational and intelligent, but often if people were actually to read the books, they would be highly surprised at some of the thinking.

          As for the con-artists, I recall thirty years ago the evangelical psychiatrist John White writing a chapter in one of his books (possibly ‘The Golden Cow’) where he listed all the psychologically manipulative tactics a preacher could use, and basically accused some of setting out to do exactly that. What he’d make of the TV evangelists like Hinn, I dread to think.

          With Warren, yes I would sympathise with your assessment. I have no doubt about his sincerity, but the Southern Baptist thing comes into play. Even the conclusion of his sermon yesterday was about ‘salvation’, although the theme up until then had been essentially pastoral. It is as if he saw what Christ can do for us in the face of stress as an evangelistic advertisement. In a sense, he’s right: when Christ is at work in our lives, that is a sign to the world. Whether it needs to be hammered is another question entirely.

          OK, rant over – thanks for stimulating me!

        • Dave, interesting comments about ‘countering the social gospel’. I think you are absolutely correct in this. We’re not so aware of it in Methodism but the hyper-conservative Anglican church which I used to attend is still fighting the battle against 19th century liberalism even though I suspect that not to many people who call themselves ‘Christian’ in Britain would identify with it any more. (I know that some still do but I think genuine liberalism is dying out.)

          I think the battle between 19th century liberalism and conservatism is still being fought a bit more in the US, if US participants on Ship of Fools are anything to go by. So it’s hardly surprising that people are still fighting this battle.

          The funny thing about growing up conservative Lutheran was that academic theological study was prized in that environment. You couldn’t step outside very strict thought-paradigms, but within the paradigms, study was always encouraged, especially of pastors and teachers.

          My frustration in the British Methodist church is that there seems to be not a lot of room for what I think I’m good at: taking academic theology and making it accessible to the people in the pews. My churches do appreciate it, and they say they do, but beyond communicating new ideas to 100 people, there isn’t much else I can do with it. The handful of people who actually do academic theology won’t give someone like me the time of day. And other people are suspicious of it. So, I share your frustration, I think. Although I have no ambition to be an academic theologian!

          • Dave Faulkner

            There are still areas in the UK where the liberal/conservative battle is being fought in the old way. I know certain evangelical circles where everything that doesn’t fit the standard categories is automatically liberal. Only yesterday I found this review of Lily Allen’s latest CD. There is a critical comment in it pertaining to another review in ‘a liberal Christian magazine’. Out of curiosity, I Googled the words from that review to find out which magazine. It turned out to be Third Way, a journal founded on the basis of the (evangelical!) Lausanne Covenant! Granted, it shows some post-evangelical tendencies these days, but that isn’t the same as liberal.

            I’m glad to find someone else who cares about translating academic theology to congregations. I’ve thought for many years that if ever I were to find myself as a lecturer, I would far rather do that in a context that forced me to make those connections, rather than a rarefied atmosphere.

            • Dave, yes, I agree with you that in the UK conservatives are fighting liberals. I’m just not certain why. In the US you have congregations in Christian denominations that have taken on a fully politically liberal and theologically liberal agenda. There *are* congregations in all mainstream Christian denominations devoted to the social gospel and where I think the social gospel is the most important thing and whether or not God even exists is a side issue. (Maybe Will can chime in here if he’s reading and tell me if I’m too out of date.)

              My experience in an Anglican church in the ‘Oak Hill orbit’ was that they were constantly talking about these liberals who don’t believe in God and how they have taken over Anglicanism. One of these so-called ‘liberals’ for example, is Rowan Williams. I’d escaped to Methodism by the time Williams was made Archbishop but people in my former church were praying that God would overrule and not make him ABP since he ‘is not a Christian’ and they were praying for his conversion.

              • Dave Faulkner

                Here’s a thought: the history of the evangelical-liberal clashes in the States and the UK were very different. Events in the US such as the ejection of the conservative scholar J Gresham Machen from the Presbyterians led to a division between liberal and conservative denominations. Evangelicals left the ‘mainline’ denominations as part of this.

                Nothing quite like that ever happened here. While there were existing denominations of an evangelical persuasion, there was nothing like the exodus, nor the level of expulsion. From an evangelical perspective, although liberals generally held power for decades, they used it differently: largely to prevent evangelical preferment. Thus we ended up with more theologically mixed denominations, and while there was the occasional call for evangelicals to come out from them and join ‘pure’ denominations, such as by Martyn Lloyd-Jones in 1966, many heeded the response of John Stott to stay and contend for what they believed in.

                The question then was how to contend? The Oak Hill view has been more aggressive, others have been more irenic. I’m not surprised what you say about the attitude to Rowan Williams (and sadly he wasn’t helped by the reported remarks of Dame Butler-Sloss who headed up the committee that recommended his name, with disparaging remarks about evangelicals). However, to assume that someone is not a Christian because you do not agree with all their theological viewpoints seems to me to be a defective view of justification by grace through faith. Is that how we are justified, or are we justified by holding correct doctrine? For example, Paul may have got mad with some of the churches to which he wrote on serious theological grounds, but he didn’t unchurch them. They were his sisters and brothers in Christ, but he believed them to be in error.

                Those are just my initial thoughts, but then of course certain ‘Oak Hill’ types wouldn’t recognise me as an evangelical, since I’m not a Calvinist. I do wear black shoes, though! :)

              • (Once we get so far down the thread, the software doesn’t like us anymore!) :-)

                The vast majority of my life experience in denominations has been conservative, and I don’t think it’s inaccurate to say that ‘salvation by doctrine’ was actually totally central. By that I mean that people ACTED that way even if they would never have taught that way. I left that Anglican church precisely because much of the dynamic of those who were committed to theology and prayer was ‘We have to be right our doctrine and we have to be right on every point’.

                What has always attracted me to Methodism was that, as a denomination, there seem to be a lot more people who think that God’s grace and love are the things that are front and centre. And I think that’s something to be proud of.

                Thank you for your historical analysis, which I found most helpful. I’m getting rid of my copy of Bebbington, would you like it? ;-) (Cheeky comment but serious offer.)

                • Dave Faulkner

                  I think doctrine is important, because at its best it is about knowing and worshipping God more truly – the doxa bit. But detached from grace and love, well … Having said that, I’d also like it if the Methodists who rightly stress grace and love would from that basis develop an interest in doctrine! (Can you guess what area my MPhil was in?)

                  Thanks for the Bebbington offer, but if you mean his history of evangelicalism in modern Britain from the 1730s to the 1980s, I bought that the moment it was published twenty years ago. My church history tutor was a friend of his and had been one of the scholars to read the manuscript before publication. I have a well-worn copy!

  3. Sorry to give you such a fright, Dave! Our church hasn’t yet got to producing DVDs of our services, even though we have an excellent AV team. Whenever I was ill it used to be tapes of the services I was brought but, not having been off sick for some time, I haven’t experienced the new service, which I understand now comes as a CD. So it was just a typo – or a senior moment! But I can dream ………

  4. Having lived in the USA for 3 years I am afraid that I tend to stay away from religious/ Christian broadcasting on the whole. It is an area that needs a lot of improvement, and good thinking put into it. If I worship at home it is a do it yourself thing,I may use teaching tapes or read sermoons ( not out loud that would be too freaky!). There is a place though for a well presented televised service on a Sunday morning, shame the airwaves are filled with chat shows!

  5. Too many good points that I want to discuss (both in the blog and the comments), but time restrictions means I will limit to one brief point.

    You mentioned the deaf guy saying he could hear, and about the need for medical collaboration.

    I have a love hate relationship with the miraculous, but mainly with the hyped presentation that often surrounds such a ministry! But a few recent experiences have opened my eyes to God at work in a non-hyped surrounding. I’ll mention just one…

    Last week I was at a Church service in Stevenage and saw with my own eyes (at close range) a lady’s leg grow to match the other (I would guess it was about 15-20mm extension over the course of 30 secs or so, and the lady was as shocked as I was, and could feel it happening from the inside, before we saw it move)!

    It was very very understated, completely non-hyped, but very focussed on what God was doing. She had one shoe with a raised sole, and so had a definitely medically certified condition! And the reassuring bit… She was told to get it checked out with her specialist!

    Overall it was about as low-key, and far from Ultra-Hyped TV evangelist style “showmanship” as it is as possible to be…. and I was very grateful for that. I think sometimes the “packaging” is what puts people off. If God is doing something miraculous, He doesn’t need a big Audio Visual presentation and a “charismatic loud mouth” (as in personality, not churchmanship) to “enthuse” about it. Instead we need to see more “enthusiastic” people in its literal form (en Theos – In God!), rather than the frothy substitute that words has come to mean!

    It does raise many questions though, for example why was she not healed the many other times the church had prayed for her, but she was that morning when a visitor prayed for her? And there are no “easy” answers….

    However, I’m glad God can still surprise & shock me though…. as it means my God is bigger than the box I try to squeeze Him into.

    Mike

    • Dave Faulkner

      I’m with you Mike on your story, that sounds like a responsible way to treat the situation. Since you’re in the Vineyard these days, I’ll add this: someone with a Vineyard background whom I know of through blogging observed that what he appreciated most about the late John Wimber was that in ‘ministry times’ he wanted to dial things down. When he saw charismatic Christians doing the opposite, he was very uncomfortable.

      And in the case I mentioned, I’m certainly not denying the guy was healed. I’m saying we need to know more and it can’t be presented in such a truncated way publicly.

  6. Awesome to be maligned alongside such men and Woman of God as Kenneth Copeland and the Houstons. Fun!

    • Dave Faulkner

      Jarrod,

      This was no attempt to malign, and this is not one of the ‘discernment’ blogs. I chose to watch your TV show that morning, because I have loved your song ‘King of kings, majesty’ for years. I didn’t set out to criticise, but I was worried by some of the things I saw and heard. I might have hoped you would have responded to what I said.

  7. Dave,

    Now, I’m going to have to try to go back to earlier blogs of yours…this one is awesome!!

    I’ll be re-reading this one for quite a while, there’s a lot here I want to absorb and think about. But I did have one thought…

    What our church does (for their shut-ins, mainly), is they attached a tape recorder to the pulpit microphone system, and make cassette copies of every service. These are delivered to those who request a copy because they often can’t make it to church . They can then listen to the service at home, hear every part of it beginning to end.

    Of course, now that I read the comments above, I realize that’s already been mentioned….

    Also wanted to comment a little on this bit that you mentioned above….

    “I think doctrine is important, because at its best it is about knowing and worshipping God more truly – the doxa bit. But detached from grace and love, well … Having said that, I’d also like it if the Methodists who rightly stress grace and love would from that basis develop an interest in doctrine”

    I’ve read several books of C.S. Lewis, but I can’t remember which book this analogy came from, and I can’t quote it exactly……but he made a distinction (link?) between doctrine/theology and “feeling God” (grace and love). He likened the theology bit to having a map of the ocean, and the grace/love/feeling part to actually being there. His point was involving a marriage of the two -you wouldn’t want to be on the ocean without the map, nor would you want to be standing on the land with just the map, never having actually been there.

    I may have oversimplified your point somewhat, my apologies if this is so. Your comment about doctrine being detached from grace and love just really reminded me of this.

  8. get a life Dave….Do something to glorify God, or build the Church or save souls. You come off as someone nit picking those with greater ministries than yours from a sideline. God’s got better for you and the people(including non-Christians)who read this. Turn your laser wit and insight on yourself and your fellow Methodists for some richer targets!

  9. Dave

    It’s been interesting to read your blog and to see how our programme comes across to others.

    I would only say this: Don’t judge a man or a ministry by a TV show. It’s a bit like judging someone by a single blog. You say you’re not a “discernment site”, and yet that’s what this article comes across as, calling other ministries “filth”. But I don’t think that’s who you are. The real man behind the blog.

    The Copelands are some of the kindest people you will meet. The Houstons are genuine, sweet people, doing their best for God and have played a part in that nations rise to 5% church attendance in recent years. Songs of Praise is produced by a friend of mine and seeks to bring somethingof the Gospel to it’s millions of viewers.

    The thing with blogs (and emails!) is, you say things about or to a dear brother in Christ that you’d never say to their face. And so I have to ask, would Jesus keep a blog? And if so, would he criticize others trying to work in his name? Now if I’m a false teacher or the anti-christ, go for it. But if I’m not, then let’s not behave like the heathen, like fleet street, like the News of the World and spend our lives thinking our opinion about another mans ministry is really all that important. There is no such ministry gift in the body of Christ as “critic”.

    I love you and if you’d like a free album, I’ll send you one. Just leave your address. We’ve just come out with a sequal to King of kings, Majesty. I’m not a great musician, but it’s ok!

    Live long, and prosper.

    • Jarrod,

      Thanks for your gracious reply. Please excuse just a brief acknowledgment at this stage – lots of personal stuff that I can’t mention publicly at present. God bless you.

  10. David

    Your last message, if I’m reading it right, hinted at some kind of crisis? If I’m wrong, forgive me, but if not, feel free to call should you need any support, prayers?

    I really feel ministers are under attack right now. Just in my city we have one leader who has fallen morally, one in hospital paralysed from the neck down, another in a church split, still another just recovering from depression! I have also had my own hard time earlier this year.

    So just to say I’m here for you if something major is going on. My email is vicky@newlifehull.org office tel: 01482 610705 if you want to talk privately.

    Jarrod

    • Dave Faulkner

      Note to anyone else reading this thread: I’ve replied privately to Jarrod following his kind message above.

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