Pray for Dave and Ethiopia Team

Off to the races early tomorrow morning. I’m flying space available to save money, and the flights from Dulles to Frankfurt are all overbooked. Prayers appreciated!

I mean that. We would love to have your prayer support while we’re gone. Not only for the team members but also for the families we leave behind. B and I could not do this unless Nate and Jess were here to take care of the farm and the herds. They are as much of the “team” as we are. Here’s the July 2010 Prayer Itinerary. Feel free to copy and distribute it as the Lord Jesus leads. If God is willing, I will be able to post an update or two here during the trip. If not, we’ll publish full reports of the trip when we return.


Dave and Becky (for the entire Ethiopia 2010 team)

(From Dave Black Online, used by permission.)

Violating Turf

Think about this. When Jesus went to the Samaritans (John 4) He had no business being there. Becky and I likewise violate turf rules by going to the Gujis. Guji territory is outside the Burji box. But just as Jesus wandered into enemy-controlled territory, so the Christian has the privilege of invading territory controlled by a rival religion. Interestingly, Jesus deliberately defiles Himself by asking for water from a vessel that an unclean woman has touched. I have to smile when I think that Jesus’ ministry to the Samaritans began with a drink. That’s exactly how my ministry among the Gujis began. This picture is no joke — I choked when I “drank” this coffee. (It was full of roasted coffee beans that one was expected to eat. It is a Guji tradition.)

Continue reading Violating Turf

On Philippians 2:16

From Dave Black Online:

Question for you. In Phil. 2:16 did Paul say we are to “hold fast to” or “hold forth” the Word of life? My personal preference is the latter interpretation because I think it better fits the context (“shining as lights in the world”). Plainly, however, Paul could have intended both meanings (thus making the expression a case of intentional ambiguity). His point, then, would be that while it is important, vital even, to hold fast to the Gospel (i.e., preserve and protect it from error), that is never enough. We must protect and proclaim the life-giving Word. This notion is consistent with everything we read in the Pauline epistles. Paul was no mean theologian, but he was every bit as much a great evangelist, perhaps more so. And, since he invites his readers to share his attitude in these matters, he implies that doctrine is never sufficient in itself, unless that doctrine is applied in practical ways. This dual emphasis upon the sanctity of the Gospel and our responsibility to share it with others is present again and again in Paul. To put it another way, a church should never be centered on itself. Every true Bible church is also a missional church.

(Dr. David Alan Black is author of Energion titles The Jesus Paradigm and Christian Archy as well as co-editor of the Areopagus Critical Christian Issues series.  His material is used by permission.)

On Learning from the Anabaptists

From Dave Black Online:

Arthur Sido makes this astute observation about the Anabaptists:

The original Anabaptists and their modern progeny have much to praise but likewise they have much to be cautious about. I try to remember when praising the Anabaptists that they have their flaws and that we should not seek to “become Anabaptists”. Anabaptism is not the answer, but Anabaptism does help point us to the answer.

Point well-taken. I put it this way in The Jesus Paradigm:

I hope no reader will suppose that Anabaptism is being put forward as an alternative to the Word of God, as if any man-made movement is preferable to the testimony of inspired Scripture. The record of Anabaptism is by no means a spotless one. Like every movement of the Holy Spirit it is the story of a weak, stammering church that moved over a field of ecclesiastical rubble. I’m not condoning everything in the movement or offering pious panaceas. If I have left an overly positive impression, it is because I believe that an appreciation of Anabaptism can prove fruitful in many areas of Christian life and witness. The important point is this: Anabaptism was a valid, if incomplete, representation of Christ’s Body – nothing more, nothing less. I also hope that this chapter might have a mollifying effect on those modern-day traditionalists who view dissent as inherently misguided and dissenters as mere fanatics or Schwärmer. (The parallel with Luther and Zwingli will not escape the reader.)

Learn from them; but don’t worship them.

(Dave Black is author of Energion Publications titles The Jesus Paradigm and Christian Archy as well as co-editor of the Areopagus Critical Christian Issues series.  Material from his blog is used by permission.)