Institutional Church = Pagan Christianity?


Ben Witherington shared Howard Snyder’s review on Pagan Christianity?: Exploring the Roots of Our Church Practices by Frank Viola here. I find Snyder’s review helpful . He pointed out that there are three approaches to church history: 1. the “traditional orthodox” approach, 2.the “secret history of the faithful remnant” theory and 3. the “renewal movement view.” Snyder mentioned John Wesley’s renewal attempt within the Anglican church as an example of the ‘renewal movement’, which he sees as the preferred solution compared to the ‘secret history of the faithful remnant’, which Viola prefers, where the institutional church is often regarded as corrupted and … Continue reading Institutional Church = Pagan Christianity?

Made to Stick


From my previous blog: One of many books that I value highly is ‘Made to Stick’ by Chip and Dan Heath. You can find its excerpts here. They were also interviewed in the 2009 Global Leadership Summit organized by Willow Creek Community Church. Their idea matches the format of the Revivalists in the nineteenth century America, where concreteness, emotion, stories and to a certain extent, unexpectedness played a part in shaping the ‘new measures’ of revivalism. A particular case would be Lorenzo ‘Crazy’ Dow who delights in unexpectedness. Applied to preaching, this can be used to distinguish a revivalist from … Continue reading Made to Stick

Goodbye Symbols?


When Stearns wrote about waiving goodbye to Christian America and saying hello to true Christianity I cannot help but to reflect on whether we can separate symbols and belief. Stearns’ arguments have their merits. Surely, nominal Christianity has always been the opposite of authentic Christianity, and as America now actually moves out of it one may naturally think that the time has come for people to finally consider the Christian faith without needing to be conversant to its symbols. However, things may not be as straight-forward as it seems. Firstly, as Christian America converts into Secular America, new symbols will … Continue reading Goodbye Symbols?

Interesting Reads on China for Westerners


I have enjoyed reading Martin Jacques’ opinions published in the BBC website and I though it would be good to share them here: Is China more legitimate than the West? How China sees a multicultural world Making sense of China As a Chinese whom speaks, writes and breath Chinese I am please to see that someone in the West has finally cracked it! Jacques understands China. He is also able to put in words the very differences which distinguish Chinese worldview and that of the West. Among the interesting points he made is the fact that Chinese has a deep sense … Continue reading Interesting Reads on China for Westerners

Cultural Gap between Theologian and the Institution


In an article titled, ‘Crisis of Faith Statement‘ from Christianity Today, the issue of a certain tension between theologians or biblical scholars and the theological institution or bible colleges was highlighted. Apparently some professors or lecturers of certain theological colleges were having some tough times manoeuvring between freedom of academic expression and adhering to the faith statement of the institution they serve. One example is Michael Pahl, whose new book had caused him his job. After reading Pahl’s basic perspectives on the Genesis Creation account, one could not help but to be more certain that his dismissal is not merely due a … Continue reading Cultural Gap between Theologian and the Institution