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Theology Matters Jan/Feb-Nov/Dec 2006

The Crucifixion of Ministry by Andrew Purves, p. 1 --
Purves challenges readers saying, "The first and central question in thinking about ministry is this: What is Jesus up to? That leads to the second question: How do we get 'in' on Jesus' ministry, on what he's up to?  The issue is not: How does Jesus get 'in' on our ministries?" 

Suffering, Courage and Theological Conflict: Learning from the Cappadocians by Gerald McDermott
Struggles within the church are not new to the church--every age has faced conflict and struggle.  McDermott looks at the fierce opposition to Nicene orthodoxy that faced the Cappadocian Fathers (Basil the Great, his brother Gregory of Nyssa, and Basil's friend and disciple Gregory of Nazianzus).  McDermott reminds readers, "Because of the triumphs of heresy and its advocates' ruthless methods, the orthodox were reluctant to join the battle."

Heresy, History and Hope by Eric Laverentz
Laverentz looks at historic church struggles like Aranism, Pelagianism, Donatism that plagued the church for centuries and some would say continue today. He observes, "heresy often serves to reform the Church by forcing it to clarify its theology and ethics."

The Renewal That Is Changing the PCUSA: Part II
Various authors give brief descriptions of renewal work being done in their presbyteries.  Others may glean ideas on how they can work for reform in their presbytery.


How Can Our Denomination Become What It Ought to Be by James R. Edwards
This talk was given at the Coalition dinner during the 2006 General Assembly. Edwards challenged GA commissioners and all who face votes on whether the church should ordain practicing homosexuals that this the ordination of homosexuals is not parallel to the ordination of women.  Those who say it is "Pharisaical to judge others fail to understand that what Jesus opposed was that the Pharisees failed to hold themselves to the judgments they made. Finally, our church is so divided over this issue because many people no longer believe that doctrine matters. "If doctrine does not matter then the gospel does not matter."   Finally he encourages those who are weary to remember the protracted historic struggles and "to be steadfast, immovable, abounding in the world of the Lord...." 1 Cor 15:58

The Renewal That Is Changing the PCUSA
Various authors describe the renewal work in their presbyteries.  Others may glean ideas on how they can work for renewal in their own presbytery.

A Postcard from German Confessing Church pastor, Martin Niemoller from prison

The Church Militant, by Susan Cyre
Many in the church and society long for peace and therefore seek to harmonize dualisms.  But biblical faith draws boundaries that cannot be compromised. Those boundaries cause a spiritual battle that is the church's calling. Knowing this, there practical steps we should take like telling the flock the whole gospel including that  discipleship involves a cross; praying and meeting with other clergy and elders, etc.


Exchanging God for "No Gods": A Discussion of Female Language for God by Elizabeth Achtemeier
Achetemier explains that God has revealed himself using masculine language.  When people use female names for God, it  leads to pantheism in which creation is divine; it leads to a rejection of the triune God; and it de-personalizes God.

The God Who Likes HIs Name: Holy Trinity, Feminism, and the Language of Faith, by ALvin F. Kimel, Jr.
Kimel explains the grammer of the Tirune Name--God has revealed his name to us and he has a history.


A Name is Not a Metaphor: A Response to "The Trinity: God's Love Overflowing" by Andrew Purves and Charles Partee
Purves and Partee critique the paper on the Trinity being submitted to the 2006 General Assembly for action that suggested calling God, among other names, the "ark, rainbow and dove".  While the article is referencing the paper, the errors in the paper are common errors in the Church today.  The critique applies to more than just this one paper. Does God's name flow from our experience or does he reveal his name and therefore his nature.

Missing the Depths: A Critique of "The Trinity: God's Love Overflowing" by Gerrit Dawson
Dawson also critiques the paper on the Trinity being submitted to the 2006 GA.  The critique of the Trinity paper exposes common errors in theology that those who advocate female language for God make. Do we name God based on our experience of God or does he reveal his name and nature to us? 

"The Trinity: God's Love Overflowing" A Critique by Viola Larson
Larson too critiques the Trinity paper going to the 2006 GA.  Do we name God based on our experience of God or does he reveal his name and nature to us? 


The State of the Church: A Pentitential Self-Examination by Jerry Andrews
This address was given by Andrews at the Oct, 2005 Presbyterian Coalition Gathering in Orlando, FL.  He calls the church to repent of neglecting repentance;  to repent of neglecting the Word; and to repent of neglecting to lvoe one another. 

Lessons from United Methodist Renewal by James V. Heidinger II
This address was also given at the Presbyterian Coalition Gathering in Oct. 2005. Drawing comparisons to renewal in the United Methodist Church, Heidinger calls Presbyterians to ground their renewal work in theology; to unite and encourage the eveanglicals in the churches; to contend for the truth; to develop a stragy for renewal in the seminaries; and to have the courage to stand for the truth.

A Word of Christ to the Church: A Bible Study on Revelation 2:1-6 by James R. Edwards
This study was given at the Presbyterian Coalition Gathering in Oct, 1005.  Edwards interprets for the church today, God's word to the church at Ephesus who had lost its first love by compromising Christ with culture. 

Never Easy, Ever Hopeful by Mary Holder Naegeli
This sermon was delivered at the Presbyterian Coalition Gathering in Oct. 2005. Naegeli preaches from 2 Cor. 4:1-18.   Naegeli challenges us that ministry hardships reminds us this is not heaven; our hardships engender hope in a glorious future.  And our hardships test our commitment to the Lord "when there are no feel-good props."