Recently there has been some debate in church here about
what lessons, if any, can be learnt from 'fresh expressions'. But first we need to grapple with some prior questions: how we read the
Bible, how we understand culture, what the essence of church is and what it
means to faithfully follow Jesus.
Hermeneutics: To what degree do we expect Acts, 1
Corinthians or any other part of Scripture to be normative for church life
today? At the very least we need to take account of the way that 1 Corinthians
is written as a corrective and Acts as confessional propaganda. We need a more
nuanced reading than many of the charismatic or evangelical approaches of
recent years because how we read the Bible affects all subsequent conversation.
are living in a time of rapid cultural change which is challenging us to
rethink how we reach out to people but also to re-evaluate the
to which our current church ethos and practice reflect older culture norms
rather than the gospel. Whilst this excites many it makes others very anxious.
Gathered church: What do we understand from the gospel
promise that whenever 2 or 3 meet in the name of Jesus that he is with them? What
does it mean for us to be a church gathered to Christ? I still believe Calvin’s
marks of a true church (preaching and sacraments) are right and the essence of
people gathering to share in apostolic teaching, breaking bread and prayer.
What this then looks like in a specific local context is up for grabs.
Resident aliens: Recent years has seen a focus on relating
faith to daily living but living out the gospel is not simply helping us to
live in the contemporary world but transforming us so that we walk to the beat
of a different drum. Relevance needs to be balanced with continuity, enabling