Baptist Churches of New Zealand
Grace celebrated God made me lime green!
Does God care about my social life?
Living in the God zone
TE AROHA NOA O TE ATUA â€ WAKING UP TO GRACE
| F e b r u a r y / M a r c h 2 0 1 7 | v. 1 3 3 n o . 1 |
F O R B Y grace Y O U
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“Grace” unmerited favour
CONTENT 04 09 12
A word from the editor Welcome to the first issue of the Baptist for 2017! I am so excited to begin this year by looking at the theme of grace. The Baptist Hui in November last year looked at five principles all based around grace, to help churches share the message of Christ. We’ll be bringing you some of those reflections over the next year, but for now we start with an overview and some amazing perspectives on this theme. During 2017, we’ll be reflecting on some of the attributes of God. I’m looking forward to exploring this, and I hope we can be inspired together to know God more deeply this year. You may have already noticed a few changes to the design of the magazine. During the latter half of 2016, we worked on some adjustments and we are so pleased to share these with you. We would love to hear from you if you have content to share. We are seeking articles for our website, which you can check out at baptistmag.org.nz. We are looking for reflections about some of the attributes of God, and our response to that. Plus, we would love to share stories of those we can be celebrating in our churches. If your church would like to celebrate someone in your congregation, please get in contact. I hope 2017 is a year where you know more of our amazing God.
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REFLECTIONS FROM CRAIG VERNALL
Waking up to grace
YOUTH & FAMILY
Does God care about my social life?
Te aroha noa o te Atua
God made me lime green! The women who worked with Paul
Including a poem: Our words
Living in the God zone Stories Small bits Opportunities to serve
Baptist / F E A T U R E
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Will you join us?
KUA PUTA MAI HOKI TE AROHA NOA O TE ATUA E ORA AI NGĀ TĀNGATA KATOA (TAITUHA 2: 11) FOR THE GRACE OF GOD HAS APPEARED, BRINGING SALVATION TO ALL (TITUS 2: 11)
ome years ago, my wife Jo and I [George] were sent by the British Baptist Missionary Society to partner with the Baptist churches of Brazil. I was fresh out of Spurgeon’s College in London, and we were to help with the planting of churches in the pioneer state of Rondônia in the Amazonian region. It was during this time that this verse, Titus 2: 11, gained deeper significance for me. I’d known about grace as that which deals with the past and wipes the slate clean. I’d considered grace as that which guarantees the future: a home with God, undeserved but given by the generosity of God. But what about the present? This verse in Titus goes on to explain that grace trains us, so that in this present age we might live differently. What I came to see is that it is transformed lives that carry forward the gospel and mission of Jesus Christ. So this is what we want to look at – the grace of God in this present age and what it does, what it achieves, and what it effects in our lives, our churches, and the world. This coming year is a particularly significant time to consider the theme of grace, because 2017 marks 500 years since Luther wrote his famous “95 Theses.” His theses sparked a crucial debate in the church, and paved the way for the Reformation. Luther sought to renew the church through grace, and to ensure that the life of the church was oriented to grace. Reflecting on John 4: 13-14, Luther wrote: “Christ, our Lord, to whom we must flee and of whom we must ask all, is an interminable well... of all grace... Even if the whole world were to draw from this fountain enough grace and truth to transform all people into angels, still it would not lose as much as a drop.”1 The grace of God excited Luther. But it was not a generic understanding of grace: it was grace embodied in Jesus Christ, because Jesus Christ is grace. So for us to begin to reflect on grace, we must begin with Christ.
Grace Embodied We only have to look at the opening of John’s Gospel to see that when Christians speak of grace embodied, we must speak of Jesus Christ. John tells us that God’s eternal Word, through whom all things were created, has come and dwelt among us (or tabernacled among us). John uses overtones from the Exodus to show us that God has taken up our cause in Jesus Christ, and his glory - the same glory that Moses saw at Sinai - is displayed in Jesus Christ who is full of grace and truth. In the incarnation, God goes on a journey into the far country, into the world that is stubbornly opposed to his love, for us. In the far country, God takes responsibility for our predicament, and gives himself to us.2 God reveals himself to be the God who is for us, no matter what the cost. While God gives himself to us, he does not give himself away. Jesus Christ remains the Lord, and he is not reconciled to our alienation from God. Our alienation from God is reconciled through him by grace. So when we read in Titus 2: 11 that “grace... has appeared,” what we are really saying is that Jesus Christ has appeared. Grace was always there: it’s essential to who God is. But in the incarnation of Jesus Christ, grace took on flesh and walked human streets; grace lived a human life and encountered other human people in their cultural specificity, in their life situations, and in their contexts. Grace Discerned Acts 11 tells us about the church in Antioch. This was a phenomenal church. It was the most effective mission sending church in the New Testament. Do you know who started it? We don’t know their names! All we know is that there were people who were scattered by persecution and some of them
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In the incarnation of Jesus Christ, grace took on flesh and walked human streets; grace lived a human life and encountered other human people in their cultural specificit y, in their life situations, and in their contexts. got as far as Antioch. What are people scattered by persecution called? Refugees. It was refugees who took this bold move in mission. Some of those people spoke only to Jews, but some spoke also to Greeks. Here, the Word crossed a cultural boundary of hostility and suspicion. Perhaps this was because those refugees knew what it was to cross boundaries and to be the outsider, and so they too crossed a boundary to receive outsiders into their community. Here, something new started. Jews and Gentiles together, sharing life in a new community of faith. But they couldn’t have shared together without eating together – and there’s the problem! Jews have food rules; Gentiles have other practices. How can they join together? Only if God makes it happen! The Jerusalem church heard about this new thing. They were the original church, the mother church, and they had developed their ways of doing things. So what were they to make of this new, very different type of church in Antioch? They sent Barnabas to check it out. Would Barnabas have gone to assess the degree of conformity to the behaviours and attitudes
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that characterized the Jerusalem church? What we read, instead, is that Barnabas, who was a man full of the Holy Spirit and of faith, saw the grace of God and was glad (Acts 11: 23). Barnabas had a disposition that celebrated God’s grace. Isn’t that what we need in a world where so many things change and where God is doing unusual, unexpected, and unprecedented things? We don’t need people to go into new places with a checklist to make sure that everything is being done ‘properly.’ We need people who can go and discern the grace of God, however surprising it is, however strange it is, however different it is. We need people who, instead of being suspicious and grumpy about difference, will rejoice and encourage the ‘keeping on’ in the faith.
Grace Unleashed I [Andrew] have recently re-engaged with indoor cricket. The indoor centre is just around the corner from the new Crave Café in Auckland, and it’s become normal for the team to go and have a coffee, or meal, and chat at Crave. The Crave ethos is all about making the neighbourhood a better place to live, connecting with neighbours, as well as addressing social poverty. My team mates are fairly suspicious about church, and many have been disturbed by some things that they have experienced, observed, or heard about the church. They are not especially warm to talking about Christian faith. What is interesting is the way that Crave creates an intriguing space that causes my team mates to ask positive questions. I know many of the people working at Crave, and my team mates are intrigued by the stories, conversations, and the creative forms of social enterprise. Crave is a question-causing community, and I have begun to think that many of these creative forms of Christian life and faith facilitate conversations that I wouldn’t otherwise have. Crave is an expression of our Christian faith that differs from many of our churches. There are times when we are suspicious of new
expressions. Sometimes we don’t allow these green shoots to grow. At times, we have trampled on them. Or, we plant them overnight and then quickly dig them up the next morning to see if they have grown. We need to be patient with new expressions of church and faith, and give them time to grow on their own terms. We need to champion new expressions, and allow the grace of God to be expressed through them. So what’s the role of the church? Is it mostly just a hindrance that people have to get over if they want to get near Jesus?! Paul’s letter to the Ephesians explains God’s great plan: to bring all things into unity under Christ who is our head. Paul goes on to explain how this great plan is displayed on earth. Surprisingly, it’s actually through the church. Despite its flaws and fallenness, God uses the church to display his great plan to unite all things under Christ. It is displayed especially in the church’s rich diversity of age, ethnicity, sex, and class. The church is not called to uniformity where minorities learn to tow the line, but unity in rich variety. Christ has not destroyed our differences; he has destroyed the hostilities that divide us. The radical unity of the church is a sign to the world of God’s redemptive plan: the church doesn’t just do mission – the church is mission. The church, in all aspects of its life, is to display what it looks like when Jesus is Lord, when God has his rule and reign over a community of people. That’s a scary thought. It’s as if the church is to be the visual aid that God uses and says, “Look at my church and you’ll see what I’m about in the world!” The church is the trailer to God’s great redemptive movie! That’s challenging. Would people pay money to see the movie?!
Grace Shared Displaying the grace of God to the world is not left in the hands of professional Christians; it is a calling to all Christians, because it is God’s grace that is shared and is to be shared across the whole earth. Philippians 1: 7 reads, “…for all of
A STORY OF GRACE you share in God’s grace with me, both in my imprisonment and in the defense and confirmation of the gospel.” Paul tells the church in Philippi that sharing in the grace of God is what constitutes the church in mission. He doesn’t say, “Church, send money because I have a whole heap of God’s grace that I need to be busy spreading around the world.” No, he says, “People, you share in God’s grace with me and whatever we are doing in terms of the gospel, you are sharing in this grace.” It is important to understand who Paul is writing to. Paul is a Jew, and he is writing to Gentiles. He is writing to people like Lydia, an Asian businesswoman who became the first believer when Paul reached Philippi. She opened her home, which became the hub of the new Christian community at Philippi. He is writing to the jailer who wanted to kill himself when he thought his prisoners had escaped, and who was saved (along with his household) by believing in Christ. And he was probably writing to the demon-possessed slave girl who had been used as a fortuneteller, and from who Paul cast out the demon. It is to these people that Paul says, “You all share in God’s grace with me. You are part of the cascading of God’s grace in Christ, which works through all sorts of people, and all sorts of cultures, and all sorts of positions in life. We share in this together.” God is reaching out to this world through his diverse beautiful people, and we share in that together. We need to ask what that looks like, and we need to allow for God’s grace to work in its rich diversity. For many who are used to structures and systems that suit them in the church, it may mean going on a journey where we begin to recognize ways that we have participated in forms of church and life that have frustrated God’s ways. This takes us back to the text we began with in Titus. Paul is writing to Titus, who was a missionary on the island of Crete. This place had a pretty bad reputation in the Roman
Empire – it was known as a place of violence, deceit, and social structures that oppressed women, abused slaves, and took boys out of their homes to train them to be warriors. Yet, this is where the mission of God arrived. In writing to those on Crete, Paul points to the grace of God. He doesn’t say, “Finally, we’ve found the perfect social structure, so let’s cement that by putting it in the Bible.” No, he says, “You are living in pretty difficult social structures. But grace has appeared, and it trains us to live differently. The grace of God makes a difference here – to the ways the slaves live, the ways the women live, the ways the men live.” Grace cascaded out within those social structures as it transformed the recipients of grace in the households, men’s clubs, and slave quarters on the island of Crete.
Parihaka 1881 Parihaka is a community in the Taranaki area, which was established as a peaceful Māori settlement in 1866. In November 1881, leaders Te Whiti o Rongomai and Tohu Kākahi, along with their community, had to make a big decision. The government militia was assembled ready to march on them, to enforce the end of their settlement of peace, and to take the land. What would they do? Learning from Jesus Christ, they chose the way of grace. They chose not to respond to the troops with violence, but to receive them in peace. When the militia came, they were received with hospitality. Children went out to meet them singing, bringing morning tea, while the community sat peacefully. From the perspective of the powers of this world, what happened next looked like a defeat for this act of grace. The leaders and many of the men in the community were arrested; some were transported as far as Dunedin where they were put to heavy labour in harsh conditions. A number of them died. The community was largely dismantled, although some remain until today, and still carry a deep grief over the suffering and loss of life that occurred through this
How do we experience grace from another? There is one story that comes quickly to mind. Perhaps it is because I was at a real low, and so grace was particularly amplified. I’m not sure. But I know that the very idea of receiving any favour was the polar opposite to what I felt I deserved. I was working in London and living a lifestyle that I couldn’t afford, trying to keep up with my peers. Although I had a decent job, I had expensive rent and an expensive commute, so each month was tight. I was also surrounded by friends with expendable incomes, so I overspent to maintain my social life. Obviously, this wasn’t sustainable. Not only did it come with a high level of stress, but I ended up in financial difficulties. Eventually, I had to contact my parents and ask for a loan as I couldn’t make rent that month. I felt utterly ashamed to have to ask for this help – I was an adult who should have known better. I expected a rebuke, maybe anger, disappointment, annoyance, or frustration. But I got something quite different, and it was overwhelming. What they said was, “How can we help? We just love you.” They were gentle and generous, forgiving and kind. Don’t get me wrong, we did some practical planning too! But this came from a place of love and care, regardless of where the fault lay. Part of grace is to do with focusing on support with compassion that goes over and above mistakes that may have been made. To show grace means that while you don’t ignore the mistake, you care more about the person who needs grace, and you extend another chance. After all, we all need a lot of chances. When you get those moments of grace, you are reminded how loved you are, and it’s a joyous thing. In this instance, I saw something of God’s heart for us.
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event and its aftermath. Ngā mihi nui ki rātou. But that was not the end of the story. News of the Parihaka resistance spread across the world. In South Africa, it fired the imagination of a young Indian lawyer, one Mohandas Karamchand Ghandi. One of Ghandi’s closest friends there was Joseph Doke, a former minister of Oxford Terrace Baptist Church, in Christchurch. Did they speak of Parihaka and its implications for Ghandi’s developing views on passive resistance and civil disobedience? It seems highly likely. Decades later, another Baptist minister, Dr Martin Luther King Jr., inspired in turn by Ghandi, encouraged his people not to respond with violence to prejudice and aggression. His peaceful protest catalyzed change that continues to this day – the cascading of grace across generations. Grace confronts, defies, and subverts the paradigms of power, force, and evil in our world. It may seem that it is defeated, as indeed it seemed that the Lord Jesus himself was defeated. But grace cannot be killed. Grace continues, and grace in one cascades to another. The impact of that cannot be measured. But that is not only what we are called to, it is surely what we are empowered for.
Grace Nurtured 1 Peter 4: 10 reads, “Like good stewards of the manifold grace of God, serve one another with whatever gift each
of you has received.” When the Bible speaks about grace operating in us through giftedness, the word for grace is charis. You may have heard the word charisma - like a charismatic gift: the word charisma is simply charis that becomes something specific, such as serving, or giving, or being hospitable. It is not only the charisma of leadership, or preaching, or worship leading, or organising a PowerPoint, or things to do with a Sunday occasion. It is the way that grace becomes real in human relationships, in households, in places of work and leisure, and there is no end to it. It is the infinite and uncontainable concretization of grace.
Closing Thoughts Grace is why any of us are here. Grace is why there’s any reason for our world still to exist. Because the grace of God that brings salvation for all people has appeared in Christ, and is unleashed in the world. Revelation 22: 21 reads, “The grace of the Lord Jesus be with all the saints. Amen.” The last word of the whole biblical revelation is the word of grace. The last word of that great panoramic depiction and revelation of mysteries and things to come in human history, is grace. So if it’s the last word in the Bible and the last word in history, maybe it should be the last word in our life together. And if it’s to be the last word in our life together, then perhaps it needs
to be the last word in our churches and societies, in our discussions, in the things that we find difficult to understand and sort out, and in the things that we disagree over. Could we also let it be the last word in all of our pain and disappointments, in the things that keep us up at night, in our thinking, our meditating, and our resolving. Can we let grace be the last word?
Story: George Wieland and Andrew Picard George and Andrew both work at Te Kāreti Iriiri o Carey (Carey Baptist College), where George is the Director of Mission Research and Training, and Andrew lectures in Baptist Theology, Christian Doctrine, and Applied Theology. This article is adapted from a talk given by Andrew and George at the Baptist Hui 2016. You can view a video of the whole talk at lifelonglearning.nz/grace.
1. Martin Luther, Sermons on the Gospel of St. John: Chapters 1-4, Luther’s Works vol. 22 (St Louis, MO: Concordia, 1968) 2. Karl Barth, Church Dogmatics IV/1 (eds. G. W. Bromiley and T. F. Torrance; trans. G. W. Bromily et al. Edinburgh: T&T Clark, 1957), 179-180.
Take outs... 1. In what ways do you think your faith community embodies the grace of God? 2. How would your wider community observe this embodiment? 3. Talk with others about your local community. In what places might God be working that is outside the local church? Is this surprising?
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4. How might you practically join him in his work, and what things might you have to do differently to make this happen? 5. Spend some time thinking about your faith community. Who are the people, different from you, who have been given gifts from God?
6. How could you partner with them in sharing the gospel within your community? What might the impact be? 7. In what way might your faith community be burying a talent that has been given to you as a church? 8. How can this wonderful gift of grace be nurtured?
R E F L E C T I O N S
F R O M
C R A I G
V E R N A L L
WAKING UP to grace
Receiving the gift that has been given
DO YOU REMEMBER WHEN YOU FIRST UNDERSTOOD SOMETHING OF GRACE? WE EACH HAVE A JOURNEY WITH GRACE, AND GRACE WILL TEACH US, IF WE LET IT. CRAIG VERNALL SHARES SOME OF HIS STORY HERE.
here have been two grace awakenings in my life, which have both been as powerful and as significant as each other. The first helped me to understand the Christian message, and allowed me to become a Christian. The second helps me to live and thrive as a Christian. Waking up to grace was, for me, a two-part process that first built repentance into my life, and then sustainability and understanding about the depth of the gospel I had received.
Opening my eyes Not belonging to a church community until the age of twenty-three, I was introduced to the claims of Jesus by friends and family. I was frankly quite shocked to realize that my limited childlike knowledge of the Christian story was not enough to call myself a Christian. I had been one who had measured my own righteousness against ‘the true sinners’ - anyone who I considered ‘bad enough’ to be beyond the reach of God’s love. Therefore, in my mind, I was acceptable to God because I wasn’t ‘one of them.’ It may sound confusing, but it was simple to me: I wasn’t as bad as others, so I was OK. It was through the classic four-step bridge process that I came to put my faith in Christ. The understanding that I had sinned and fallen short of God’s righteous standard (Romans 3: 23) was quite a revelation to me. With this came the conviction that I, being separated from God, could do nothing to win God’s favour. But thank God for Jesus who provided a way to God for me through his own death and resurrection. By faith I received Christ’s forgiveness. It was an v.133 no.1 † iwa 09
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SO NOW GRACE WAS MORE THAN A WORD. IT WAS A TRANSFORMATIONAL POWER THAT HAD OVERWHELMED ME. absolutely transformational experience in my life and I felt quite literally that I had been born again. I rediscovered the world in a whole new light: the world made sense, I looked at people differently, and I had compassion and understanding. For me, it was even as if the grass was greener and the sky was bluer. I was deeply enamoured with the person of Jesus and the present reality of his Holy Spirit. The Scriptures came to life and I couldn’t consume them quickly enough. I felt like I was the first person to ever read and understand all that God was saying through the Bible. Every word was life to me. Yes, I was converted and excited, and probably upset many people with my new-found revelations, which of course needed sharing. So now grace was more than a word. It was a transformational power that had overwhelmed me. It was a doctrine of undeniable magnitude that had ushered a radical change into my life. It was the kerygma of life change that brought living water to a parched soul. This is my own story and you will have your own. But such experiences are recorded for us many times in the Bible, and have been repeated millions of times throughout Christian history. It’s a common thread that links Christians all around the world. I found in my early Christian experience that this saving grace was spoken about everywhere. John Newton’s own story of slave ship captain turned Christian was immortalized in the song “Amazing Grace.” Every time we took Communion, it was a revisiting
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of the cross of Christ that helped me again recognize my need for the Saviour’s ongoing grace in my life. Grace gave me something to repent from, and something to live up to. But ironically, this is also where my trouble with grace started to emerge. Having been born again into this new Christian family, I was now challenged by what standard of righteousness I should be aspiring to. Repentance was a lifestyle. I was changing. But changing into what? My Christian friends were asking the same questions, and collectively we started to create an increasingly high level of righteousness with which we measured ourselves and others. By challenging each other’s thinking, we felt we were doing right by God and the Bible. As well as championing a righteous lifestyle, we could see ourselves being positioned to challenge the status quo around us with our high levels of zeal… and increasing judgement. In effect, we were raising a standard of legalistic personal righteousness that became a way of pridefully competing with and judging others, as well as creating what would ultimately become a stumbling stone for ourselves. I’d unwittingly become a bona fide Pharisee of the worst kind. All in the name of zeal for God, I had determined a righteousness of my own, with my own set of laws and values that I thought had God’s smile upon. But he didn’t smile, because I was seeking my own righteousness to make the cross of Christ complete. The gospel I preached needed my
righteousness – which is so tempting as it subtly appeals to the legalisms that desire measure and performance standards based upon human tradition – but this is no gospel at all. This does not make you a fun Christian to be with, but rather someone who is always judging themselves and others. The joy of the Lord was hardly my strength. My strength was my legalistic knowledge.
Seeing anew It’s hard to know when change occurred. But by now, living my life in a pharisaical way, I needed to be born again… again. I needed to be introduced to the gospel that Peter and Paul experienced and preached: a righteousness apart from the law that Jews came to accept. As I looked afresh at Scripture, I realized that I had been in good company. Well, it was biblical company even if it was heretical. In Galatians 1: 6-8, Paul confronts those who have turned from a gospel of grace to a gospel measured by legalism and performance. The book of Galatians, and its big brother Romans, became new life to me. By God’s grace, I was awakened to the gospel that confronted the nation of Israel: a gospel apart from the law that could embrace all people - Greeks, Jews, slave, free, male, and female. Grace had brokered a deal through Christ that could not be broken, and it spoke about the love of God made complete and perfect upon the cross. Something shifted in my heart. Where I had seen the gospel as being about performance, I came to understand it to be more about celebrating Christ who lived within me. I’ve already been made perfect in Christ; I cannot attain a perfection that has already been given to me. Instead, I am called to live up to that gift. The weight that lifted from my shoulders created a true liberty.
I came to understand Matthew 11: 30 more clearly, where Jesus says, “For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.” Romans 7 began to make more sense as I realized that I cannot do everything in my own strength. James’ call to balance faith and deeds (James 2: 18-20) made my worship life a sweet balance, rather than a rod that beat me. At its limits, ““All things are lawful,” but not all things are beneficial.” (1 Corinthians 10: 23). I no longer needed to measure my own goodness against others. Furthermore, I had a greater ability to trust the God who lives within other people, and could offer others the same grace in allowing them to worship and live with liberty, rather than project my own preferences upon them. For if what is being done in the name of Christ is from God, then it cannot be stopped (Acts 5: 34-39). I discovered that believing with others, and being supportive of them, will lead
us on an adventure of faith in God, to hear his voice and live his dream.
Closing thoughts I could go on. In fact, given opportunity, I do. The first revelation of the cross of Jesus brought me into the kingdom by way of repentance. The second revelation saved me, and others, from myself. Living with and up to what Christ has done for us is a full-time challenge. But it is now a challenge that doesn’t see me clambering for affirmation from God or from others. For I have already received the greatest of gifts: grace.
Story: Craig Vernall Craig is the National Leader of the Baptist Churches of New Zealand
Take outs... 1. What does grace mean to you? 2. When was the last time you had a fresh understanding of grace? 3. Where do you need to experience this anew. Pray about this.
Still uncertain what God has in store for you in 2017? Immerse yourself in theology and know God in a deeper and more personal way. Don’t delay. Enrolments close 10th February. E-mail email@example.com
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A FEW YEARS AGO, OUR CHURCH FAMILY (HOWICK BAPTIST CHURCH) EMBARKED ON A PROJECT OF MEMORIZING TEN HYMNS. WHY ON EARTH WOULD A TWENTY-FIRST CENTURY CHURCH BOTHER TO COMMIT OBSCURE WORDS LIKE, “BULWARK,” “EBENEZER,” AND “QUICKENING RAY” TO MEMORY? WELL FOR A START, IN A WORLD WHERE NEW IS BETTER (AND EVEN WHAT’S NEW BECOMES OBSOLETE PRETTY QUICKLY), THESE HYMNS REMIND US THAT THE CHRISTIAN FAITH WASN’T INVENTED YESTERDAY AND THAT THERE IS MUCH TO LEARN FROM THOSE WHO HAVE GONE BEFORE US. HERE’S A FEEBLE ATTEMPT AT DRAWING OUT, AS ONE PASTOR PUT IT, THE “STUBBORN AND ILLOGICAL LOVE OF JESUS” 1 WHICH INSPIRED MEN AND WOMEN TO WRITE THESE HYMNS AND KEEPS US SINGING THEM TODAY.
e’ve all heard the famous line, “Amazing grace, how sweet the sound…” It’s been sung at weddings, funerals, sporting events, ANZAC Day dawn ceremonies, and memorial services. Young and old, spiritual and agnostic alike are deeply moved by this classic hymn. Numerous books use the familiar title Amazing Grace, as well as the powerful movie about William Wilberforce, a politician who loved Jesus and ardently fought to abolish the slave trade in the British Empire. So it may surprise you to know that the author, John Newton, originally titled the hymn “Faith’s Review and Expectation.” Also, he never sang it to the tune we’re most familiar with today (the tune “New Britain” was introduced in a hymnal about 100 years later). And to bust another popular myth, John Newton didn’t come up with this song while caught in a storm on a slave ship. Rather, he wrote this hymn to go alongside a New Year’s Day sermon that he preached at his English country church in 1773, a sermon based on the text of 1 Chronicles 17: 16-17. John Newton’s sermon notes that morning included these words: “Blinded by the god of this world. We had not so much a desire of deliverance. Instead of desiring the Lord’s help, we breathed a spirit of defiance against him. His mercy came to us not only undeserved but undesired. Yea [a] few [of] us but resisted his calls, and when he knocked at the door of our hearts endeavoured to shut him out till he overcame us by the power of his grace.”2
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Josh Elliott Photography/lightstock.com
The depth of a hymn
The solution to our anxiety is not growing in s e l f- c o n f i d e n c e , but growing i n C h r i s tconfidence.
Let’s take a closer look at this hymn. Amazing grace! How sweet the sound That saved a wretch like me! I once was lost, but now am found; Was blind, but now I see. ’Twas grace that taught my heart to fear, And grace my fears relieved; How precious did that grace appear The hour I first believed. Through many dangers, toils and snares, I have already come; ’Tis grace hath brought me safe thus far, And grace will lead me home. When we’ve been there ten thousand years, Bright shining as the sun, We’ve no less days to sing God’s praise Than when we’d first begun. The first two verses invite us to reflect on the hope that Christ brings: on the cross, Jesus Christ was made a wretch to save those who were lost in sin - like John Newton, like you and me. Newton words it beautifully: “I once was lost, but now am found; was blind, but now I see.” We get so tangled up in today’s worries, that we often forget to take a step back and remember God’s grace to us in Jesus. The day you first believe in this amazing grace is precious – don’t forget it! The rest of the verses bring to
mind future hope from a Christian perspective. Every follower of Christ can trust him to protect and provide for us, and to carry us through difficult times. But how do we believe this when we’re filled with doubts and uncertainties? These verses remind us that the solution to our anxiety is not growing in self-confidence, but growing in Christ-confidence. We have a secure hope in God’s good and gracious character, revealed to us in his Word. So be encouraged! The same grace that’s brought us safely to where we are now is the same grace that will continue until we are safely home in an eternity with Christ, where faith becomes sight and all our tears are wiped away by him. Here are some ideas to help you reflect further, either personally or with your church family: • Read the Apostle Paul’s own review of God’s grace in Ephesians 2: 1-10, then respond with this hymn. • Do what John Newton did and sing this song on New Year’s Day. Reflect as King David did in 1 Chronicles 17: 16: “Who am I, O Lord God, and what is my house, that you have brought me thus far?” • Sing Chris Tomlin’s arrangement “Amazing Grace (My Chains are Gone).” It suits contemporary bands, and the additional chorus makes the gospel more explicit. • Sing “Amazing Grace” immediately following a newer song celebrating God’s grace (You could try “Grace Alone” by Dustin Kensrue, or “Scandal of Grace” by Hillsong United). The switch between ancient and modern helps to cast God’s grace in a fresh light. • Pair some of the words to the tune of Matt Redman’s “10,000 Reasons.” Sometimes mixing up the familiar helps us to take note of what we are singing about! I also love Redman’s emphasis on the fact that one day we won’t get tired of praising God for his amazing grace!
Hopefully the next time you sing this hymn, these words will resonate even more strongly with you.
Story: William Chong William is a member of Howick Baptist Church, currently studying an MDiv at Sydney Missionary Bible College. 1. Dale Campbell, “Good old church songs iii,” Assorted Music, 2012, dalecampbell.bandcamp.com/ album/good-old-church-songs-iii 2. John Newton, “Amazing Grace: The Sermon Notes,” The John Newton Project, 2000, johnnewton.org/ Groups/32665/The_John_Newton/ archive/Amazing_Grace/The_sermon_ notes/The_sermon_notes.aspx
Take outs... 1. How does your church balance learning from those who have gone before us, and those bringing new understanding? 2. Take a fresh look at the words of this hymn. What might God being saying to you through them? 3. Which of the ideas given here might you use next time you sing this hymn? 4. We’ll be bringing you some more insights from hymns like this one in 2017. Keep an eye on the discipleship section of baptistmag.org.nz.
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Baptist / Y O U T H & F A M I L Y
Does God care about my social life? Holistic faith as a young person
WHAT WOULD YOU SAY IF I TOLD YOU THAT BEING A CHRISTIAN ISN’T JUST ABOUT YOUR SPIRITUAL LIFE? WHAT IF GOING DEEPER IN YOUR FAITH COULD MEAN SO MUCH MORE IF YOU CONSIDERED THAT GOD WANTS YOU TO TAKE CARE OF YOURSELF? HOW WOULD YOU RESPOND IF I SAID THAT IN TAKING A LOOK AT THIS, YOU COULD HONOUR GOD WITH ALL AREAS OF YOUR LIFE?
et me begin where I should, with the Word of God and two of my favourite verses. In John 10: 10 Jesus says, “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly.” I sincerely believe that God wants you to have abundant life, or whole life. But I believe that to understand what abundant life looks like, you need to be holistic. What does this mean? According to the Oxford Dictionary, holistic understanding is “characterized by the belief that the parts of something are explicable only by reference to the whole.” Let me explain. You are a spiritual being. But you also have a physical body, mental processing, emotional responses, and social connections. You are not solely a spiritual being. When you
consider going deeper in your faith, you actually need to consider all aspects of your life and not just the spiritual part. Mark 12: 30 reads, “you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind, and with all your strength.” I believe that when you look at addressing issues in all areas of your life, you can actually live a fuller life with, and for, God. I’m not sure about you, but somewhere back as a teenager, I got this belief stuck in my head that faith was only about being spiritual. I thought that if I worshipped, prayed, and ticked off the spiritual boxes then my life would be great. But there was a nasty tension, because I knew that my mind, my emotions, my body, and my social environment affected how I saw God, how I knew God, and how I saw life. When I was in high school, I liked to compartmentalize my life: it was easier that way. Church was for Sunday, youth group was for Thursday night, and the rest of the week was school, sports, parties, friends, and my family. I knew that obviously my mental state affected how I saw God. I knew that I was supposed to honour my body, and only put good and healthy stuff in it. I knew that I wasn’t supposed to be an emotional wreck all the time. But life as a teenager just felt hard and challenging, and I had no real practical ways or tools to sort myself out. In 2011, I spent three months working for an organization called Life in Abundance, in Kenya. It was here that I encountered the idea that faith isn’t just about spiritual elements; it is also about mental and emotional factors, as well as physical and social aspects. Faith – and life – needs to be holistic. I have a nursing degree, so this holistic understanding was not unfamiliar. Within the big world of health, holistic understanding encompasses big level stuff (macro level) – things like culture, economics, and the public sphere. I am not going to focus on that level here – it’s too much information for a wee short article. But please recognize that these factors can affect you. I am instead going to talk specifically about your mental and emotional wellbeing, your physical health, and your social interactions. I’m not going to really touch on the spiritual side, because I am confident that you often hear about it at church and youth group. Just understand and remember that everything is connected. Different elements of each area will turn up in the others.
Mental and emotional wellbeing What do you think of when you hear the word mental? Automatically, I think of mental illness. But that’s not really what I want to talk about here. I want to talk about a few things relating to how your brain works and develops as a teenager, and why this is important. I also want to give you some ideas about how to keep an eye on your mental state.
How much do you know about how your brain functions? Well, it is fascinating! Your brain is full of nerves and their connections. Big groups of these nerves make up certain areas that are dedicated to certain functions. One area is the cortex. Among many other functions, it is where reason, logic, and rational thinking are formed. Another area is the limbic system. This is your emotional core. As a young person, your cortex is still developing and your brain relies heavily on your limbic system to make decisions. Have you ever been told that you are an emotional and angsty teenager? Well, that’s maybe because your brain functions are fighting among themselves trying to figure out if you should listen to your emotions or use good judgement! Having said that, you have the opportunity to decide between positive and negative risks. Positive risks might include the decision to go on a camp, speak publically, learn something new, or volunteer. Negative risks might include choosing to drive badly, choosing to mess with drugs and alcohol, or choosing risky sexual behaviours. Even though some of these things are thought acceptable in our culture, they are not good or wise choices. So, as you wrestle with your emotions you might need some help as you learn how to make wise choices which will increase your ability to cope with adult life. You need to learn to decide in every situation if you are an asset or a liability, and accept responsibility for your attitude. Your limbic system also has incredible power (not just in young people) to hold you back from developing good habits, or breaking the bad ones in your life. The process is called limbic lag, and it is the gap between what your emotions tell you, and what you know would be good for you. It takes three weeks on average for your limbic system to catch up with your decisionmaker. So, when you want to make a habit that is good for you, push through the negative feelings you might associate with the new habit, and try sticking with it for a minimum of three weeks straight.1,2 You might have heard the phrase, “If you don’t use it, you’ll lose it.” This is all about how the brain prunes the nerve connections that you don’t use. But the brain also undergoes a process called myelination. This is something that started before you were born and continues into adulthood, and it helps your brain send messages quicker. You might have noticed that it is easier for children to learn new languages and music, for example, but harder as people get older. Well, that’s because as you grow up the brain busily prunes the things you don’t use, and establishes strong connections for the things that you do often. So, you have a great opportunity while you are still young to learn and train your brain in certain ways! Something that I have found really valuable, for my mental and
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emotional health, is monitoring my self-talk through a process called cognitive restructuring. The more we tell ourselves negative things, the easier it is to believe them. When we reconstruct those negative things into positive thoughts and the truth, we challenge our thinking and can cause it to become happier and healthier. How can you identify positive truths? You can ask questions like, “Is what you are saying to yourself actually true?” or, “What is God’s perspective?” or, “Is what I am telling myself adding value to my life?”
Physical health Ignoring your physical health can have detrimental effects. The best practice I know when it comes to addressing your physical health is to aim for balance: look at your exercise, sleep, and nutrition. An often quoted rule for exercise is to aim for thirty minutes a day. But why bother? Exercise is important because it releases endorphins. Endorphins make you feel good, and you are likely to experience more peace and be happier. When you exercise, you reinforce good physical practice, and can receive a sense of accomplishment. You also lower the risk of several diseases for your future, and it can help with your sleep. Sleep as a young person is so important, but often so neglected. Teenagers need around nine hours of sleep a night. We all know that late nights are part of adolescence, but those late nights should be the exception and not the norm. Better sleep can give you more energy to do what you love, and can make you better at doing those things. It can cause your brain to remember more, reduce your stress levels, improve your mood, and allow better control over your emotions. It can strengthen your immunity and physical health, impact your physical appearance, and affect
H AV E Y O U EVER BEEN T O L D T H AT YOU ARE AN EMOTIONAL AND ANGSTY TEENAGER? how well you eat and drink! Eating well is becoming a popular topic. But there is good reason for it. The way that your body responds to junk food, take-aways, sugary drinks (including lots of fruit juice), and lollies has more negative impact than we ever realized. These foods need to be the exceptions, and not the normal everyday foods. Having a healthy diet - with enough fruits and veggies - will impact on all areas of your life, and improve your wellbeing. Not only does your physical health (including your skin and weight) benefit from eating healthily, but your energy levels will be steadier, and your brain functions better. If you don’t like veggies…you need to learn to get over it! Your body will thank you, and your taste buds will learn to like healthy delicious food.
Social life Welcome to the world of trust. You need to learn how to use wise vulnerability. This is the art of trusting the right people, and not allowing the wrong people to speak into your life. My advice, when it comes to who your friends are, is to test first and proceed with caution. Develop an inner circle of people you know are trustworthy. Here are a few tips for how you relate to others: • Be intentional about who you allow to invest in your life.
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• Make friends with people who draw you closer to who you want to be, and closer to God. • Build bridges. Don’t burn them unless it’s completely necessary. • Learn how to listen. It will blow your mind how much easier life becomes. • Recognize the attention seekers and problem makers. Love them, but don’t seek advice from them. • If it’s always everyone else’s fault, it’s probably your problem. On a final note, let me tell you about being assertive. I did a course with Soul Tour a few years back, and they had some great things to add to my understanding. I like Wikipedia’s definition of assertiveness: “the quality of being self-assured and confident without being aggressive.” You should learn the art of being assertive with friends, family, those in church, and teachers because it allows you to bring yourself to a relationship, and not be compromised by other people. Let’s say that there is a situation where you feel squashed or intimidated by someone else. Here are some keys to being assertive: • Plan what to say in advance. • Pick your timing. For example, try not to choose a time when either of you are especially tired or under stress, and give yourself enough time to talk. • Use “I” statements. This is all about how you phrase something. For example, your conversation is likely to go better if you say something like, “I feel like I’m not getting a say in what we do,” rather than saying, “You always have to have your own way.” • Acknowledge your own faults. • Let them know what you want.
• Don’t interrupt if they disagree with you. Don’t attack them for what they say. Stay respectful.
• Leave their response to them. • If it’s going nowhere, then get some outside help.
Closing thoughts Here is my disclaimer: I am writing from my experience, opinion, and education. I am no expert, and still have much to learn when it comes to working with young people. But hopefully this article has given you some things to think about. God wants you to live a full and exciting life. The mental, emotional, physical, social, and spiritual aspects of your life are all interconnected. Allow yourself to open your eyes to see God in all the different aspects of your life... Who knows where you will go!
Story: Kate Sawyer Kate is the Youth Pastor at Palmerston North Central Baptist Church. 1. Mariam Arain, Maliha Haque, Lina Johal, Puja Mathur, et al., “Maturation of the adolescent brain,” Neuropsychiatric Disease and Treatment 9 (2013): 449461, doi: 10.2147/NDT.S39776. 2. Sarah-Jayne Blakemore, “The mysterious workings of the adolescent brain”, TED, ted.com/talks/sarah_jayne_ blakemore_the_mysterious_workings_of_ the_adolescent_brain/transcript.
Come and celebrate with us! graduation
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1. Do you agree that life as a Christian is about more than just your spiritual life? 2. How much do you understand about how your brain works and develops? What could you do to understand yourself and others better? 3. How good is your physical health? Are there some simple aims that you could set yourself for the coming year? 4. Do you have any difficult relationships in your life at the moment? How could the advice here help you?
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Baptist / C U L T U R E
Te Noa TeAroha Aroha Noa Te Atua ooTe Atua The grace of God
ON MY FATHER’S SIDE I AM SCOTTISH, FROM THE ISLE OF BARRA IN THE HEBRIDES. ON MY MOTHER’S SIDE I AM MĀORI, FROM THE SMALL SETTLEMENT OF
would immediately understand the concept of te aroha noa as love without limitation or conditions. Te Aroha Noa o te Atua means The Unbounded Love (Grace) of God. My mother’s sister is my Aunty Grace.
WAITANGI JUST SOUTH OF TE PUKE. THIS
The church that formed
STORY CONCERNS MY MOTHER’S FAMILY.
Around twenty years ago, I was with my Aunty Grace discussing whānau matters as we often did. We were sat at the memorial stone of another kuia, whose whānau had gifted the land that lay behind us for a church after a thriving congregation had grown out of my kuia and koro’s decision. The photo above is from 1949, and shows a predominantly Māori congregation. Yet, nearly fifty years after this picture was taken, and as I sat with my aunt, the little church had long been abandoned and returned to the whānau who gifted it. Many of the families in the photo have dispersed to other towns for work. For most of them, it has been pretty much impossible to be authentically Māori in denominational churches. When they go looking for the fellowship of Christ in today’s church, they don’t find a place that is comfortable for them as Māori. Some have joined churches, but they put the Māoritanga aside. Some sit on the fringe, knowing their need for communion,
is common in Māori whānau to commemorate significant events by carrying the memory in the name of a child. My mother’s parents (my kuia and koro) were introduced to Christ, and the experience of being born again, by a young Brethren missionary in 1934. My kuia and koro, their entire household, and many of their wider whānau made the decision together to accept a place in the waka of Christ. My own mother was eight at the time, and the next child born was named Te Aroha Noa o te Atua. Aroha is a noun meaning “affection, sympathy, charity, compassion, love, empathy.”1 Noa “denotes an absence of limitations or conditions.”2 So, Māori
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W hen you are the dominant culture in a group, then all the unsaid and unscripted parts are very familiar to you... you feel at ease. but not really feeling a part of the church. Others have decided that it’s just too hard, and take the tidbits of a spiritual walk that are offered in the frequent tangihanga on the marae - or if very fortunate have experienced Te Haerenga,* a marae-based journey for finding Christ in a Māori setting.
The way we do things So, what has changed? I think critical mass has something to do with it. When you are the dominant culture in a group, then all the unsaid and unscripted parts are very familiar to you: you feel at ease. My kuia and koro were at ease because the church was predominantly Māori, and so the way things were done was familiar. Also, the church of my kuia and koro were their whānau. Every one of the Māori at that church was related to each other. I stood next to my kuia one day when watching the children leaving school (Te Matai Native School), which was next to the church. She told me how I was related to every one of those children. Given that my first two years of school were at the much larger Malfroy Primary in Rotorua, where I wasn’t related to anyone other than my immediate brothers and sisters... it frankly was mind-boggling. Such belonging! Congregations today that are heavily Māori are very relational. People are made to feel at home, and quickly realize that it is a place that can be their home before there are any other demands on them concerning faith or behaviour.
Our churches today don’t really reflect that. In general, we either don’t want to, or don’t know how to, tweak our greetings, prayers, songs, and praise to be inclusive of the ways of others. In some ways, we have almost become clubs looking after the members first and foremost. And if we’re reaching out, then it’s in a manner that dispenses kindness and mercy that we control, and it’s almost condescending. That deep sense of being whānau together is not there for Māori. So, if you are Māori and want a church that recognizes or welcomes you in all your God-given Māori-ness, then where do you go? Nearly all my Māori whānau and friends who have experienced the Spirit of Christ have done so outside of a formal church meeting. But does it have to be like that?
Where to from here? The wider Baptist whānau is endeavouring to be inclusive and authentic in their relationship with tangata whenua: the past three Hui have been evidence of this. My call to our Baptist congregations is to become more connected to the local Māori communities. Perhaps begin by finding out about the history of the land and people. If the local hapū have settled, read their treaty settlement legislation. You could start by looking at govt.nz/treaty-settlement-documents. I do think it is possible to be authentically Māori and authentically Christ-anointed. There is a long history of Māori, like my kuia and koro, experiencing te aroha noa o te Atua. It’s been a journey for me to reconcile being fully Māori and fully of Christ, and the challenge for our churches is to create communities that encourage just that. The bonus is that if we can become more authentic (loving and grace-filled) in the way we engage with Māori, we will become more authentic in the way we engage with all peoples, whatever their cultural background. Kia tau te rangimarie - let peace reign.
Story: Doug McNeil Doug attends South West Baptist Church in Christchurch, and is a member of Te Manatū Iriiri Māori (Baptist Māori Ministries). He gets to share life with friends and whānau, which includes seven tamariki and sixteen mokopuna.
1. John C. Moorfield, “Aroha,” Te Aka Online Māori Dictionary, maoridictionary.co.nz/word/414. 2. Ibid, “Noa,” maoridictionary. co.nz/word/4228.
Take outs... 1. What is the dominant culture in your church? Does your time together reflect this culture, or does it reflect all the cultures represented? 2. As a church family, have you spent time together considering the unsaid and unscripted parts of your life together? Do these things make you a welcoming and inclusive place? Who could advise you about how to become more inclusive without being condescending? 3. How could you become more connected to the Maori communities where you live?
* Te Haerenga is supported by Ray Totorewa, David Moko, Sam Chapman, Sean Delany & others.
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Baptist / L E A D E R S H I P
God made me lime green What does the Bible tell us about the women who worked with Paul?
IN THE LAST ISSUE OF THE BAPTIST MAGAZINE, WE REFLECTED ON THE WOMEN WHO TRAVELLED WITH JESUS. WE NOTED THAT BOTH WOMEN AND MEN WERE DISCIPLES, WHILE THE TWELVE APOSTLES WHO WILL JUDGE THE TWELVE TRIBES WERE ONLY MEN. IN THIS ARTICLE, WE CONSIDER HOW THE APOSTLE PAUL VIEWED WOMEN. or many women today, Paul appears a threatening figure who seemed to have an aversion to oestrogen! In my early years, I was uneasy with the Apostle Paul. I desperately wanted to be faithful to Scripture, but Paul’s words did not make sense to me. There didn’t seem to be room for me to be me. God wired me as a teacher and leader, and gave me a fierce love of Scripture: I am useless with flowers, I get bored discussing ‘women’s things,’ and I am not a big fan of things pink! As speaker and author Jackie Roese says, “God made me lime green!”1 My love of Scripture made me dive deeply into the Bible, as I sought to find out what Paul really said, and what God wanted from me as a woman made by him and for him. I started to read Paul’s writings more closely…and I began to notice detail that I had previously overlooked in the passages. I saw that God has plans for women inside and outside the home and church, and I realised that many others had noticed this too! What was going on? Until more recently, scholars and pastors were men who interpreted the Bible in ways that made sense to them. Western society has historically divided ‘roles’ at home, work, and church along gender lines, and so Bible passages about women in the home, and at times subordinate to men, seemed to make sense; at the very least, they were not questioned. But in the last twenty or thirty years, these passages have been faithfully re-examined with greater attention to their historical context, and a wider appreciation for the ‘gospel women’ we find in the Bible. Therefore, the position I will briefly outline here is that of mutuality - where women and men work together for the sake of the gospel of Jesus Christ. I do not seek a feminist voice which places women at the centre of the equation: I hold a theocentric view, where women and men work together, and God alone is at the centre of all things. This view is well accepted by most leading evangelical biblical scholars, and explains that God always intended to gift women in and for the church, home, and work. What follows are the key ideas.
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Paul was clear to show that women carried out key gospel roles, with some playing central roles in the church. Spiritual gifts The charismatic gifts which Paul discusses are not assigned by gender. Therefore, when we read of prophets, apostles, and teachers (etc.) Paul does not even hint that God gave some gifts only to men, and others to women. All of the gifts are for God’s people as he chooses (Ephesians 4: 11-13; Romans 12: 4-8; 1 Corinthians 12, 14). God made some women and some men to be teachers and pastors, prophets and apostles, administrators and healers. The Holy Spirit was poured out on all at Pentecost, and this empowerment was for the sake of mission. For some, this will involve being at home and thriving in traditionally understood ways, while others will be found flourishing in more formal roles. Paul worked alongside women Paul had female co–workers; he did not have a male-only leadership team. Paul worked extensively with Priscilla and Aquila (Acts 18: 2; Romans 16: 3; 1 Corinthians 16: 19; 2 Timothy 4: 19). They are described as the most significant couple in the early church, and worked in the leading centres of Ephesus, Corinth, and Rome. That Priscilla is mentioned first may signal her as the more prominent person in ministry, or that her social status is greater. However, with Paul strongly opposing any appeal to social status, the former is more likely.2 In Ephesus, Priscilla and Aquila explain
– they teach – the way of God more accurately to Apollos, a well–known church leader (Acts 18: 26). Euodia and Syntyche from Philippi are also described as Paul’s gospel co–workers (Philippians 4: 3). They will almost certainly have proclaimed the gospel, because this is what Jesus commanded the disciples to do (Luke 24: 47). Phoebe was a deacon in the church at Cenchreae (Romans 16: 1-2). Paul trusted her as letter carrier for the letter to the Romans. This involved her reading the letter to the church, and being the interpreter of the letter.3 She was not silent in the church! She was upfront discussing theology and practice. Junia was prominent among the apostles (Romans 16: 7).4 The twelve apostles were central, but they were not the only apostles of Jesus Christ; others also carried out this function. Mary “worked very hard” among the Roman Christians (16: 6). The language of working hard (kopiaō) is synonymous with co–worker language, and can be translated as toil or struggle. It alludes to significant work. Tryphaena, Tryphosa, and Persis also “worked hard in the Lord” (16: 12). Paul’s greetings in Romans 16 mentions nine women - this showed extraordinary precedent in the ancient world! Paul was clear to show that women carried out key gospel roles, with some playing central roles in the church. So, how do we make sense of passages that seem to subordinate women, or even silence them?
Men, women, and ‘heads’ When we approach texts such as 1 Corinthians 11: 2-16, which discuss ‘heads,’ we find there is a language problem. The Greek word is kephalē: this can mean a literal head, or a source (of something), and it can represent “a being of high status” (BDAG), while the word is also used metaphorically. There is a further
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problem as the English concept of head generally has the connotation of authority, while this was often not the case in Greek writing. Reading a passage such as 1 Corinthians 11, then, is complex, and we should take both care and advisement. This is how I understand what Paul says in 1 Corinthians 11: 3: Christ is the source of every man, for they were created by him; and the man is the source of the woman, for Eve was taken from Adam’s rib. Paul is saying that the woman is of the same humanity as the man, quite unlike the animals created before them. Paul goes on to say that God is the source of Christ for, as the creeds say, he proceeds from God. Jesus is God, he is not a lesser being. None of this is about hierarchy; it retells the creation account to aid the Corinthian’s understanding. For Paul, men and women are equal in Christ (1 Corinthians 7: 3-4; 11: 11–12; Ephesians 5: 21).
The ‘difficult passages’ There are two key passages which have kept women out of leadership and teaching in the church. These are 1 Corinthians 14: 34–35 and 1 Timothy 2: 11–12, with their surrounding passages. For the sake of time, I will address the more ‘difficult’ text: 1 Timothy 2: 8–15. This passage deals with the behaviour of men and women in the Ephesian church. At this time, there was a problem with false teachers in Ephesus which Paul addresses directly (1 Timothy 1: 3–4; 4: 4, 7;
GOD WANTS WOMEN TO LEARN THEOLOGY!
2 Timothy 4: 4). These teachers were encouraging asceticism, endless genealogies, myths, and false ideas about creation. Of marked concern was that they were particularly influencing women (2 Timothy 3: 1–9). Paul brought some limitations into this situation, beginning with a command (an imperative): “Let the women learn in quietness with full submission” (2: 11 my translation). Women had little access to education in the first century, and were married at age twelve to fourteen. It is no wonder they had been influenced by the false teachers; they did not have the same opportunities as men to study. Paul’s solution was to “let [them] learn.” Far from being a difficult text for women, this is empowering. God wants women to learn theology! Paul then goes on to make a limitation on teaching because it is linked to learning. He says, “I am not permitting women to teach and have authority over a man, she is to remain quiet” (2: 12 my translation). This was a restriction for the women in Ephesus, but it is not a ‘forever’ or normative limitation. Paul does not say this as an imperative, but as an indicative and present tense verb. To confer that Paul is saying here, “At this time, I am not permitting…” is a clear and faithful translation. The women had been influenced by this heresy (probably by their limited access to education), and so it was not suitable for them to teach in the church. But it is incorrect to suggest that this is an all-time ban for women. If it was, how
do we make sense of all the female teachers and leaders in the New Testament? Why would Paul have sent Phoebe to Rome with his important theological letter? Why would he have called women his co–workers? We should assume that after these women had learned, some might have gone on to teach like Phoebe or Priscilla. Paul’s example of Eve being deceived in vv.13–14 is a vivid description of another woman who was duped: this picture helps with his argument. If Eve is paradigmatic of women in the church as quintessential transgressors, then the cross would be rendered as limited or invalid for women - that is not so! Paul explains in v.15 that women “will be saved through childbearing.” This is a reference to something we already know - that women (as well as men) are saved through Jesus Christ. There is not a two–gendered paradigm for righteousness. Women are not saved through having children; many women cannot even have children and some do not get married, so what would happen to them?! Instead “Paul urges women to embrace their identity precisely as Christian women instead of finding liberty in the heresy.”5
Closing thoughts I am greatly encouraged by the faithful Christian women I continue to meet and whose gospel–shaped lives bring glory to God. May women continue to be lifted up by God alongside men to run the race together. Together is better!
Story: Dr Sarah Harris Sarah is a New Testament lecturer at Te Kāreti Iriiri o Carey (Carey Baptist College). Suffice to say, this quick survey is inadequate as an exegetical study, but the key ideas are given from the various arguments. To learn more, you might consider enrolling in a Carey course (‘The Introduction to the New Testament’ could be a good place to start), or reading one of the books listed in the footnotes. Philip Payne’s Man and Woman, One in Christ is extremely comprehensive. He also provides a much fuller discussion about kephalé. 1. Jackie Roese, Lime Green: Reshaping Our View of Women in the Church (Dallas: HIS Publishing, 2015). 2. Philip B. Payne, Man and Woman, One in Christ: An Exegetical and Theological Study of Paul’s Letters (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 2009), 64. 3. Michael F. Bird, Bourgeois Babes, Bossy Wives, and Bobby Haircuts: A Case for Gender Equality in Ministry (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 2012), 20-22. 4. Ben Witherington III, Women in the Earliest Churches (Cambridge: CUP, 1988), 115. 5. Bird, Bourgeois Babes, 48. Italics added.
Take outs... 1. How have you read Paul’s view on women? Does this article challenge you? Discuss this with others in your church. 2. How has God wired you? What gifts has he given you? Take time to reflect on this with God and others. 3. Where might your gifts need to be developed? How could you do this? 4. Where might you be called to “work hard?” How could you pursue this?
v.133 no.1 † rua tekau mā toru 23
Family News Ahakoa iti, he pounamu sometimes small things can be very valuable
This proverb was the experience of Māngere Baptist Church (MBC), who embarked on a carpool carol singing journey just before Christmas. The route included the nearby Kaitiaki Village by the Otuataua Stonefields. This is a small protest community camping out in defiance of a proposed special housing development that will be built next door to lands they consider extremely sacred and beautiful. More than that, the group have strong reason to believe that the land proposed for the build hosts bones of their tipuna (ancestors). It’s like building a housing estate on a graveyard. People will have their views on the subject, but MBC arrived simply to entertain, to acknowledge, and to let those camping out know that they matter. Part of it was about sending the message that there are Pākehā who care about upholding mana Māori, and that there are Christians who want to bring to fulfilment the words of the national anthem – “in the bonds of love we meet” – between Māori and Pākehā. It was also about representing the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who cares about love, justice, equality, forgiveness, and reconciliation. The group arrived and sang, with MBC on one side of the road and Te Wai-o-Hua (the local hapū) on the other. Suddenly, and almost intuitively, there was a realisation that this was like the two parties on the marae ātea, sharing in the pōwhiri and building the bonds of love. After singing, MBC stepped forward to mihi Te Wai-o-Hua with a speech. Te Wai-o-Hua responded, and the words that came out were something like this: “Today our spirits were low. Today the contract for the housing programme was signed. We have lost the battle. But here you are, and you have lifted our spirits.” What timing. Maybe God’s timing. And then, without a hint of staging, a hongi was shared. Although small, this is greenstone. It is small acts of love and friendship like this that heal the wounds of our country.
24 rua tekau mā whā † v.133 no.1 baptistmag.org.nz
Baptist / F A M I L Y N E W S
is the 2017 President of the Baptist Churches of New Zealand & NZBMS
At the Hui 2016, Ben Wakefield passed the mantle of presidency onto Jim Patrick. Jim and Lois are planning to travel the country to provide support and encouragement to the Baptist churches in New Zealand. Jim writes:
We thank Ben for his leadership as president over the last year. In spending time with some of our churches, he provided some significant insights at the Hui in November. He writes:
Last year, my wife Lois tore out a page from a daily devotional booklet. She clipped it onto the fridge door in our home in Wanaka, where we were working with a fledgling church fellowship. It was based on Psalm 134, and included this verse: “Come, bless the Lord, all you servants of the Lord, who stand by night in the house of the Lord!” In the daytime, crowds gathered at the temple to worship. It was where the priests paraded in their gowns and tassels. It was the place of obvious blessing. However, there was also another ministry taking place… at night. It was dark and lonely, and no-one expected anything of consequence to happen. In Psalm 134, the psalmist encourages the priests on the night watch to praise God because, despite all appearances, God was at work. Within our family of New Zealand Baptist churches, there are many of us who can identify with the priests who ministered in the night. We minister to small congregations, or to groups that are off the radar. At times it can be discouraging, and it can feel like nothing of consequence is happening. But God IS at work. We need to place our confidence in him, and believe that amid the most unlikely places and with the most unlikely people, he can do amazing things! This year, Lois and I plan to visit many of you who are ministering “by night.” We are starting in Invercargill, and will work our way north, aiming to cross the Cook Strait sometime in May. We will be travelling in our self-contained caravan, and parking somewhere near you. If you would like a visit, please let us know. We may not be able to give you a definite date immediately, but it will help us plan which direction we take! To contact us, or to follow our progress, go to nzwanderer.com. We look forward to learning about what is happening among our churches, and also to provide some encouragement where we can.
“Sisters, not twins” is a phrase that has been frequently used in reference to manicuring eyebrows. But it is also a phrase that I believe is pertinent to us as Baptist churches in New Zealand. Visiting other churches and people around the country last year, I saw that though we may look similar in some areas, our churches are not twins. Though there are family resemblances within the Baptist whānau, we are not necessarily going to look the same. We saw at the Hui in Dunedin that there are many differences between us as churches. But in our differences, we can live out the kingdom of Jesus. Our churches might do things differently from each other. This means that as we join together as churches, our communication needs to be better than good. There are three key areas that I believe we could work on when it comes to our communication. It seems that we find it easy to talk, but hard to listen. I think that we find it easy to be understood, but hard to understand. I believe that we find it easy to ignore, but hard to be present. Henri Nouwen writes that “Listening is one of the highest forms of hospitality,”1 and he notes, “Hospitality is not to change people, but to offer them space where change can take place.”2 This is a challenge, yet if we are serious about seeing God work then we will listen to each other in all our differences to hear how God is working. During my travels, I noted three groups that I believe we need to listen to at this time: our literal sisters - the females in our churches, our Māori brothers and sisters, and our communities. There are females, Māori, and people outside of our churches who have voices that will help us grasp a fuller imagination of what the kingdom of God looks like. So will we listen, understand, and be present as we engage with each other to hear where God is leading? Will we listen to each other, in order that we might hear God and be changed together by the Spirit of God working within us? Mauri ora - blessings to you.
1. Henri Nouwen, Reaching Out: The Three Movements
of the Spiritual Life (New York: Doubleday, 1975), 79 2. Ibid, 55
Baptist / F A M I L Y N E W S
Justice Initiative group set up
Avondale Baptist Church celebrates ninetieth birthday What happens when someone turns ninety-years-old? There’s usually a celebration, lots of cake, plenty of family and friends, and lots and lots of candles to blow out! People share funny and exciting stories of a life well-lived. But what happens when the birthday party is for a church? Surprisingly, something very similar. Avondale Baptist Church (ABC) recently celebrated ninety years since the opening of its doors in 1926. So much has happened, not only to the church, but also to the world surrounding it. One thing remains, however: the heartfelt love for the one true God. So, what did New Zealand look like in 1926? World War One still cast a long shadow over most New Zealanders. Almost everyone had lost a relative, friend, workmate, or neighbour and more than 500 war memorials were built in the 1920’s (almost all by donations), to remember the 18,000 New Zealanders who never returned home. This said, the 1920s was a period of growth with increased exports of meat, dairy, and wool to Britain. The sleek flapper look was in for the ladies, movies (silent and then talking) were taking the country by storm, and New Zealand’s first radio station was on air in 1922. American culture was coming, and would stabilize the 1950s and 1960s… but New Zealand would first suffer the effects of the Great Depression and another world war. Many people have come and gone over the decades since the doors of ABC opened, but God’s work is still being done in Avondale. A huge thank you needs to be said to past ABC members. Their stewardship and wise decision-making over the past decades have left the church today in a strong financial position. ABC is more than able to carry on the work of reaching its community. What is thrilling is that over recent years ABC has become a multicultural vibrant community of Spirit-filled believers, which corresponds to the community that it finds itself in. What does the future hold for ABC? Something extraordinary? Yes! There are prayer meetings being organized and plans being laid to seek God’s will for some exciting expansions. Some life-altering ministries for the future may be funded in a different and entirely unique way. As 2017 begins, we look forward to the challenges and adventures God sends us. Avondale Baptist Church seeks to serve Jesus Christ and its wonderful community for the next ninety years!
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Community Ministries changes its name to Neighbourhood and Justice Initiatives
It could be fair to say that, as Baptists, we like to think that we treat all people fairly and equally. Moral and ethical standards may make us sound judgemental to outsiders, but our heart’s desire is to be just. We are practical people. If there’s something that can be done to help, we pitch in and do stuff. But we do get confused. There’s a lot going on out there in the big wide world, and the media brings it to our doorstep and into our living rooms everyday: pictures of children starving, wars blowing communities apart, and stories of horrific abuse in the homes of our own neighbours. It’s deeply disturbing stuff. So, what’s going on behind all this? Sinful and lost people are part of it for sure, but there are also forces, both political and philosophical, that drive people. When we try to understand it all, we can get a bit overwhelmed. Many other denominations have a group that brings, to their own people and to the wider world, assistance in understanding these things. For example, the Salvation Army has a research and policy unit, which is held in high esteem by government and social agencies. As Baptists, we haven’t had anyone helping us with all this complexity, and sometimes we are asked as a movement to voice an opinion or make a response to something that comes to national attention. For example, when the refugee crisis
was highlighted last year, we scrambled to find some kind of response. With the housing crisis, churches have asked what the real situation is and what we could be doing. Community ministries is involved in fielding the questions, but one or two people can’t have a comprehensive view. This year we launch a group that will be known as the Justice Initiative. This is a collection of people from different regions, ethnicities, and backgrounds who will seek to provide resources around various issues, and be able to assist with some insights when the Baptist leadership is asked for a response. This is not a group who will speak for the movement or seek to push a particular response, but instead will hopefully be a resource to serve and inspire. Those serving on this group are: • Ruby Duncan –
• Peter Mihaere – CEO,
Team Leader, Baptist Community Ministries
Stand Against Slavery
• Justin Latif – Editor,
• Andrew Picard – Lecturer,
Carey Baptist College
• Josie Te Kahu –
• Sarah Rice – Co-Pastor,
Palmerston North Baptist Church, and Manatū Iriiri Māori Strategic Team
Papanui Baptist Church
• Rachel Tallon – Researcher, Victoria University (and others)
Any questions, please contact Ruby Duncan via email@example.com.
PERHAPS IT’S A BIT OF A MOUTHFUL, BUT SOMETIMES IT’S GOOD TO THINK AGAIN ABOUT WHAT WE ARE TRYING TO ACHIEVE, AND MAKE THAT CLEARER TO OTHERS. As one of the several departments of the Baptist Union Resource Centre, Community Ministries has always been focused on supporting churches in their response to the local environment (with good works and good news!), while also providing some resourcing around our advocacy on issues of justice, both nationally and internationally. While the word community has come to mean a wide variety of things, neighbourhood clearly speaks to us of a geographical location. For some churches, this neighbourhood is easily defined as the area within which the church is located. For other churches, that gather people from a wider area, there is a challenge to look at how their people can be involved in all of the neighbourhoods in which they live. But that’s a discussion for another article! Either way, in looking more closely at our neighbourhoods, we uncover the real faces of injustice and discover those who are vulnerable and voiceless. We see in Jesus one who spoke out to those in power, and highlighted by radical actions the way things needed to change. This is also our mandate, and we seek to support local churches in how they might be involved in this advocacy. So why the word intiatives? We want to encourage a spirit of experimentation and risk-taking! Let’s just try some things. Let’s keep doing what’s working (if it is!), but let’s also be open to new ways of thinking and acting. An initiative is an attempt at something with no fixed idea of the outcome. Let’s be clear about what we want to see happen, but open to how we will get there! All questions, please contact Ruby Duncan via firstname.lastname@example.org.
v.133 no.1 † rua tekau mā whitu 27
Baptist / F A M I L Y N E W S
Big changes for Christian Savings Christian Savings has been on a massive journey of change since 2014. Back in the day, Baptist Savings borrowed money from Baptist churches and people, and lent to other Baptist churches. It was like a small mutual society, which the great and the good in the financial world were not remotely interested in. Then came the global financial crisis of 2008, and everything changed. A wealth of new legislation came from Wellington. The regulators of the financial world are now very interested in Christian Savings, and require an annual credit rating, monthly reports to a corporate trustee (their brief is to protect the depositors), and a product disclosure statement (like a prospectus). Also, there must be verification that depositors are who they say they are, and are not using money illegally! Needless to say, these changes have not come cheap, and about $1.5 million has been spent on legal fees. The annual legal budget used to be $5,000… phew! However, Christian Savings is still here and now almost three times as big as a decade ago. Growth was necessary, in order to afford to continue. Christian Savings is the last remaining lender who
specialises in lending to the Christian community. The name change from Baptist Savings to Christian Savings reflects the growing and widening portfolio. Increasingly, other denominations and independent churches see the value in what is provided, as shown by their willingness to invest. Perhaps it is because Christian Savings doesn’t run hot and cold on the church sector, like some of the major banks have done, and any surpluses serve to expand the ability to lend and support churches in the future. Christian Savings understands the challenges that churches and Christian organisations face, and also understands their strengths in a way that the banks don’t. Banks think that churches are high risk; Christian Savings knows that they are not, and hence have only ever foreclosed on a defaulting borrower three times in over sixty years of trading. God has been gracious on this wild ride, and so have Assembly Council who have seen more of Christian Savings in the last two years than in the previous twenty. Christian Savings values the trust extended from Assembly Council, and the ongoing faith that Baptist depositors and borrowers show in them. Despite everything, Christian Savings is here to stay.
*Westgate Baptist Church
Residential interest rates for church lending.
Call us today to ﬁnd out more.
Term Deposit interest rates benchmarked to bank rates.
Baptist Union Car Fund
0508 (SAVINGS) 728 464 oﬃce@christiansavings.co.nz
In Partnership with The Baptist Union of New Zealand
Don Dickson: A blessed life 10TH AUGUST 1934 – 6TH DECEMBER 2016
Don Dickson’s life was much blessed, and in turn he was a channel of great blessing to many others. Don was born to Bill and Mary, older brother to Stuart, John, and Christine. One rainy day, while a student at New Plymouth Boys High School, Don picked up a damp piece of paper from a wet gutter. It was a Bible tract. The only legible words were from Romans 10: 9: “…if you confess with your lips that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.” Don’s conviction was that foraging in a Taranaki gutter was the beginning
Baptist Women New Zealand baptist
of divine prompting that would lead to many years as a Baptist pastor. At seventeen, Don headed off to teacher’s training in Auckland. In his second year, Don served as president of the Evangelical Union, as well as winning a scholarship for a third year of study. This he did at Canterbury University where he completed his degree. He taught in Wellington and the Wairarapa, and was one of the youngest deputy-principals at Featherston District High School. In 1962, he applied to the Baptist College to train for ministry. Two years into his studies he met Olwyn, and a long-distance courtship ensued, courtesy of New Zealand Post. They married in 1966 and moved to Petone, where Don became pastor of Petone Baptist Church. On his first Sunday, Don saw a solitary young Samoan in the congregation. He visited him and his family in the following week, and invited them to dinner. So began a ministry-long pattern of warm hospitality. Before long, PBC had a significant Samoan population and a wonderful Samoan choir. Songs were sung in Samoan and English, and the Bible was read in both languages. Don’s next church was Manurewa Baptist Church, which had pastoral responsibility for the Manurewa Children’s Home. Unusually for the day, it had a policy of keeping siblings together. Don’s ambition was to integrate these children fully into the life of the church: the first step was to invite them home for dinner, family by family. At the same time, he organised a Saturday afternoon outreach programme to local Māori youth. Don moved on to Tokoroa Baptist Church. Many of Tokoroa’s workers were shift workers. This challenge to nurturing a unified church community was one that was successfully met. The Tokoroa Mill strike occurred during this time, which left many families without a weekly wage and facing huge hardship. Under Don’s leadership, the church established a food bank to which local farmers and others contributed food. The church became a centre for practical blessing. Don spent several years as senior minister at Auckland Tabernacle, before moving to Thames Baptist Church (TBC). Hospitality and care for the needy was front and centre, as was creative and sensitive evangelism. Don advocated that reading the Bible must be through the eyes of the poor. Under Don’s leadership, TBC also connected to local Māori communities, where he became greatly respected. The church grew, with many seeking baptism. After ‘officially retiring,’ Don and Olwyn returned to Auckland and immersed themselves in Remuera Baptist Church. Don was committed to the Chinese congregation, and was privileged to fellowship with them and provide support to their leaders. Don’s gratitude to the Lord and Saviour he so willingly and ably served was palpable. He enjoyed a beautiful and remarkable partnership of nearly fifty-one years with Olwyn, and lived a life of generous and loving service leading to many experiencing the love and blessing of a merciful God.
The Baptist Women’s League operated first in Auckland from 1947, and then nationally after the 1952 Assembly. The vision was “to coordinate the witness and activities of women’s ministries in the churches,” and to enable women to “speak and act unitedly in religious, moral, social and educational activities for the kingdom.” The name was changed to Baptist Women’s Ministries in 1988 in response to the Baptist Union restructuring into a number of interest groups. Now, nearly twenty years on and after discussion with various focus groups, the board found that today women identified more easily with a new title: “Baptist Women New Zealand.” The vision remains the same, and the history and international links are acknowledged. It is a joy to welcome two new board members, Andrea Page and Chris Beales-White, who joined at the Hui 2016. v.133 no.1 † rua tekau mā iwa 29
Baptist / F A M I L Y N E W S
What’s on your mind? A Poem
Our Words How deep are my words When I share them around? Are they blown by the breeze Like a whispery sound? Do they rest on the surface Or get under the skin? Do they stop at the flesh And then dwell there like sin? Are they just superficial Here today, gone tomorrow? Are they able to heal And not add to your sorrow? Are they sharp like a knife That cuts deep to the bone? Can my words show my love When they’re text on a phone?
Are my words full of love? Do they come from the heart? When I mix with the world Can they tell me apart? Does the fruit of the Spirit Shine out in my speech? Are they words that encourage? Are they words that can teach? Do my words reveal God? Are they patient and kind? Do they stir up your conscience And then play on your mind? Do they speak of God’s grace? Do they tell of his Son? Of his life and his death And the victory he won. So what of your words, Do they strike the right chord? Do you speak for yourself Or do you speak of the Lord?
Are they weak like a candle Or hot like a coal? Can they get through the flesh And then warm up your soul? Story: Steve Shaw Steve has lived in West Auckland for fifty years. He is married to Donna and has two teenage sons. He attends Titirangi Baptist Church.
30 toru tekau † v.133 no.1 baptistmag.org.nz
100 Years Ago
Passing Notes - A Campaign for a Spiritual Awakening We notice with joy that our Victorian Union is taking steps to rouse the church membership to spiritual vigour in the midst of the decadence and indifference and terror of to-day. Our English Union took earlier steps. We want to see New Zealand bestirring herself, and an urgent appeal should be presented in the opening months of the year to every enrolled member to consecrate himself for prayer and service. Let the Union bestir herself. Let the leaders take the lead in Israel. The people wait for the fiery torch. The Victorian movement takes the form of a League. We copy its terms from the “Australian Baptist.” We think that something like this should be set afoot amongst us here: THE LEAGUE OF IMPORTUNATE PRAYER I believe in the sovereignty of God. I believe in the power of importunate prayer in the name of Jesus Christ. I believe the only answer to the needs of to-day is a mighty awakening of the life of God’s Spirit in humanity, in the Church, in ME. I am willing that God shall begin that spiritual awakening in ME, NOW. I am willing to pay the price. THEREFORE I join in a League of Importunate Prayer With any and all who believe thus And promise to pray DAILY, DEFINITELY AND UNCEASINGLY For this spiritual awakening and fruitfulness for God’s glory. AND, as I pray, I yield myself to Him to do His will as He answers my prayer.
Pioneers New Zealand is a growing mobilising agency, working in global cross-cultural Christian ministry. We are seeking someone to manage and lead our mobilisation work in New Zealand and contribute to the operation and growth of Pioneers International. We are consolidating a collective leadership model and are seeking someone with proven skills in collaborative and effective team leadership. Are you called by God and of proven character as a transformational leader? The appointment could be full or part-time. The team approach provides flexibility to tailor responsibilities to fully use your gifts, skills, and experience. We are based in Auckland, but it may be possible for you to reside elsewhere. Some remuneration is available. Pioneers New Zealand revenue comes mainly from worker contributions and is limited. Staff are expected to raise some personal financial support.
CONTACT email@example.com Baptist Magazine, February 1917
v.133 no.1 † toru tekau mā tahi 31
Directory SENIOR PASTOR
RANUI BAPTIST CHURCH WHERE PEOPLE MATTER
Want to share your faith across cultures? How can we respond to thousands of new migrants settling in NZ?
We are an outward-looking, mission-focused church with a diverse, multicultural membership and growing children’s & youth ministries.
What do other religion’s holy books say about Jesus? What’s a biblical response? Explore how love, friendship, hospitality, and servant leadership can connect. The next Xcultural workshop is at 7pm 22nd - 24th March 2017 at Village Baptist Church, 147 Te Aute Road, Havelock North Phone: 06 877 4606
We’re looking for a Senior Pastor with a passion to lead us and continue what God is doing through his people in this West Auckland community. If God has quickened your spirit as you read these words, then this position might be the one for you.
VISIT OUR WEBSITE FOR THE WORKSHOP IN YOUR LOCALITY IN 2017 xculturalworkshop.org.nz HOSTED BY THE ASIA PACIFIC DISCIPLESHIP TRUST apdiscipleshiptrust.org.nz
PLEASE SEND YOUR EXPRESSION OF INTEREST ALONG WITH YOUR CV TO JOHN BLIGHT (CALL COMMITTEE TEAM) VIA jo h n m a r i a n 6 9 6 @g m a i l .c o m
ASSOCIATE PASTOR - YOUTH, CHILDREN & FAMILIES
We are a dynamic and growing church on Auckland’s North Shore with three congregations (two English speaking and one Mandarin speaking) and a broad range of ages. We’re looking for a Senior Pastor to join us. You will: • Have a passion for bicultural and multicultural ministry • Be ready to lead a team of volunteer and paid ministry leaders and staff • Be led by the Holy Spirit and prepared to lead the church in developing spiritual maturity. Accommodation provided.
IF YOU ARE INTERESTED, PLEASE CONTACT US AT firstname.lastname@example.org
GAY & CHRISTIAN?
We are a growing, relational church in a developing area of Auckland looking for an Associate Pastor to have broad leadership of youth, children & families ministries. You’ll need solid theological grounding, leadership skills, and must be a team player. 0.8 - 1.0 FTE role. FOR MORE INFORMATION, PLEASE CONTACT SAM AT KUMEU BAPTIST CHURCH VIA 021 795 708 OR email@example.com
32 toru tekau mā rua † v.133 no.1 baptistmag.org.nz
Gay & Christian support & discussion group monthly meetings 027 279 4461 firstname.lastname@example.org ponsonbybaptist.org.nz/gayand-christian-information
Glo bal Mis si on Te I w i K a i k a w e R o n g o p a i o Ngā Hahi Iriiri o Aoteroa
Photo of the month From heavy industry to handcrafts and clothing; New Zealand Baptists have a part in several businesses throughout Asia. These businesses provide training and income to people otherwise trapped in poverty – but it’s not always easy. This month you can read about some of the challenges Gary and Heather are facing as they attempt to transform lives through business.
TOG ETHER W E CA N RE A C H T H E W O RL D
v.133 no.1 † toru tekau mā toru 33
Baptist / G L O B A L M I S S I O N
A TE REO NAME FOR NZBMS
SENDING TREASURE OVERSEAS In the first few months of 2017, two couples and their children who were commissioned at the Hui in 2015, will leave New Zealand to represent our Baptist churches in service overseas. Both these families need our prayers and some financial support. If you would like to know more, or to receive their regular newsletters, please contact Tranzsend at email@example.com or 09 526 8440.
ROGER AND CAROLYN, LETITIA AND JETHRO It has taken a while but Roger and Carolyn, and their children Letitia and Jethro, finally have East Asia in their sights – commissioned by Thames Baptist Church on 22 January 2017, they left New Zealand soon after. In East Asia, Roger and Carolyn’s first priority will be settling the family. They will then launch into part-time language study, building on the language work done here in New Zealand, and part-time work in our education businesses which include a kindergarten and a language training centre. We are excited to send this family to join the work that God is doing in this place. As Roger and Carolyn say, “We are not individuals; this is a partnership between the Baptist Churches of New Zealand, us, and the local church. Nāku te rourou, nāu te rourou, ka ora ai te iwi: With your basket and my basket the people will flourish.”
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The New Zealand Baptist Missionary Society has, for some time, wanted a Te Reo name to sit alongside its English name. With input from a number of fluent Te Reo speakers we have chosen: Te Iwi Kaikawe Rongopai o Ngā Hahi Iriiri o Aotearoa. In choosing a name it was important that the words chosen encompassed a comprehensive understanding of the activities of the organisation, both here in Aotearoa New Zealand and in each of our fields. This intent needed to carry through to Te Reo hearers and speakers. The phrase Kaikawe Rongopai means the ‘carrier of the Good News’ so reflects the word ‘missionary’ in the English title. Ngā Hahi Iriiri o Aotearoa means ‘The Baptist Churches of New Zealand’. Combining these, offers an image that the people belonging to our iwi (our denomination) are the vessels of the gospel, and the method employed to carry the Good News to others is in both word and deed. This phrase will appear alongside the English name on future publicity and communication materials.
JOSH AND ROBYN, LUKE, ALEX AND KATE In mid-2015, when Josh and Robyn, with their children Luke, Alex and Kate, were accepted to serve with Tranzsend in South East Asia, they never expected 2017 to roll around with them still in New Zealand – but their day has come. On 12 February 2017, they will be commissioned by Wilson Street Baptist Church. Josh and Robyn will spend a year in language study before joining the Tranzsend team. The wait has been long but now is the time, and we are excited to send this family to join the work that God is doing in this place.
N Z B M S
R E A C H I N G
T H E
W O R L D
OPPORTUNITIES TO SERVE NZBMS, through Mission World, present the following opportunities to join with God’s mission in our world by joining with Tranzsend or one of our other strategic mission partners: • Volunteers for a Children’s Programme (Thailand) with OMF. For 19-31 July 2017. • Teachers, qualified & unqualified (South Asia) with Tranzsend. At an English medium school for local children. From a month to long term. • Graphic Designer (South Asia) with Tranzsend. Create materials to communicate the purpose & products of this freedom business. 1 year minimum. • Quality & Safety Manager (Mareeba, Australia) with MAF. Responsible for maintaining & ensuring the effective running of QMS. • Women’s Discipleship (Bolivia) with SIM. Focused on women who lead and serve in a range of contexts.
• Linguists & Translation Personnel (various locations) with Wycliffe Bible Translators. To work with native speakers to produce a practical alphabet so it can be written. Long term service necessary. • Barista (Central Asia) with Interserve. For an educational & social services organisation that includes an ESL school & a busy café. • Graphic Designer/Webmaster (Mexico) with WEC. Responsibility for print & electronic publicity materials, & developing & maintaining website. Based at a multiministry centre that encourages local churches. • Sport intern (Malawi) with SIM. Strategic sports ministry. Up to 2 years.
For more information and to express an interest email firstname.lastname@example.org or phone 09 526 8446.
taonga tuku iho
(n.) heirloom, something handed down, cultural property, heritage.
Prayer & Self Denial 2017 Register online.
NZBMS are coming to a region near you in 2017! Meet the team. Hear stories. Be informed. Ask questions. Be inspired.
Check out nzbms.org.nz to see when the NZBMS crew will be in your area.
2017 NZBMS ROADSHOW
As a Baptist family, we want to work closely with the Holy Spirit as he draws people to Jesus. In February 2016, the Baptist leadership teams gathered to consider how we approach the priority of mission within New Zealand. Our agreement flowed out of our sense of tradition and fresh vision for this nation. We know that together we can serve the Lord by serving each other through
prayer, encouragement, and the sharing of resources. We believe that the following five priorities will allow our churches to face the future with confidence. My prayer is that our New Zealand Baptist family will take these priorities to heart so they become the priorities of your local church.
Craig Vernall | National Leader of the Baptist Churches of New Zealand
February / March 2017