Friday, April 03, 2009

The Affections and a Doctrinal Basis of Fellowship: "teach them to long for the endless immensity of the sea"

Adrian Reynolds notes that the why of partnership is affections "a lot of Christian "partnership" is based on toleration. "I can just about put up with you." Or "I know we are different, but I can live with our differences."

Reflecting on what's happening three hundred miles away from here at Pwllheli at the second New Word Alive conference (#nwa9) [and delighting to hear from #nfellingham that Jerry Bridges and Wayne Grudem are appearently going to be there next year] I love that Christians can stand together. Not because we're lily-livered people who will overlook differences to be together and put up with one another, but big as our differences are we're people who want it all, we want to big-up our joy in the gospel and foster affection for those who share our love for the gospel.

Initiatives like New Word Alive offer surely opportunity for robust unity grounded in relationships - witness the affection developed from the first conference that led to Hugh Palmer preaching recently at Tope Koleso's Newfrontiers church, not from obligation but out of warmth of relationship. Sometimes you have to travel five hours cross-country to make it twelve miles up the road.

Not everyone is going to join the celebration, but some surely will, not just at a conference but on the ground discovering that we can be together in the gospel. Steven Camp makes a humble confession of how this has been happening for him towards Mark Driscoll of whom he has been a vocal critic.

The gospel is the blazing centre of unity, and gathered around the gospel it's all about relationships. Stephen Murray, links from Justin Buzzard to quote Antoine de Saint-Exupery: “If you want to build a ship, don’t drum up people to collect wood and don’t assign them tasks and work, but rather teach them to long for the endless immensity of the sea.” 

How good and how pleasant it is when brothers dwell in unity...  And for what its worth, its this kind of gospel-affection that makes me link often to Marcus Honeysett and Adrian Reynolds often. I know them, know their love for the gospel, and deeply appreciate that.


Driscoll - on not shooting other Christians:

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