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January 2012

Missional Family Church Planting Blog

If you don't already know, Osheta and I are planting a church in Boston this year. The first 9 months we will be gathering interested, missional people to be part of our launch team while I serve on staff as a "Church Planting Resident" at Highrock Arlington and CCFC. After that we will be organizing launch team gatherings. Our goal is to have 30 committed adults by this Fall.

We've also launched a Missional Family Blog called Moore of Life so that supporters can follow us as we plant, pray for us, and give to the mission.

Read more about our Vision on the blog, and Sign-up for eNewsletter updates!

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Guess Who's Coming to Dinner: The Gospel, Keeping Torah, Power and Table Fellowship (A Tribute to Dr. King)

On this day of national remembrance for a minister of the Gospel, I thought it appropriate to write a piece that both honors Dr. King's memory while also issuing a fresh challenge for today to the church in the US. I'd like to briefly reflect on the Gospel in the New Testament with an eye toward how it might have implications for race, power, and table fellowship in US churches.

Peter's Prejudice

After Jesus' ascension, and after the church was endued with the power of the Holy Spirit, God used Peter to share the Gospel with the Gentile centurion named Cornelius. Peter initially objected to this mission (Acts 10.9-23). He was a 'good Jew.' He obeyed the Torah, including the call to be undefiled, separate from "the nations." Father Abraham was promised that his offspring would be a blessing, would reveal the Most High God, to the whole world—including the Gentiles. But by Jesus' time, those who called themselves Abraham's children saw the nations as enemies to be despised and avoided (Luke 10:25-37). Those who taught the Torah sought to justify themselves with the Scriptures (v. 29). But Jesus taught that even the despised Samaritans are 'neighbors' whom God's people are to show mercy (v. 36-37).

Peter was slow to catch on to Jesus' program, but eventually he got it. When he saw that the Spirit had led him to Cornelius, he said,

"I now realize how true it is that God does not show favoritism but accepts from every nation the one who fears him and does what is right." (Acts 10.34-35)

And after he witnessed the Holy Spirit being given to Cornelius' household, just as He had been given to Jesus' Jewish disciples, he said,

"Surely no one can stand in the way of their being baptized with water. They have received the Holy Spirit just as we have." (v. 47)

Peter's declaration that these Gentiles should not be prevented from receiving water baptism is highly significant. Water baptism is initiation into the one Church of Jesus Christ. Peter was so thoroughly convinced that Cornelius and his family were true disciples of Jesus, that he was willing to welcome them into the church and join them around the Lord's Table in fellowship.  

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Good Stuff Around the Web (January 2012)

  1. Zach Hoag, pastor of Dwell Church in Vermont (and a neo-Anabaptist, New Perspective scholar) offers a straightforward assessment of three positives that can be attributed to the otherwise awful Neo-Reformed movement in the US. His insights are particularly relevant as one who was formerly among them.

  2. Over at Jesus Creed (Scot McKnight's blog), guest author "T" discusses nonviolence and the authority of the State, raising some critically important questions. He compares the evil-restraining authority of the State to the concession of divorce God permitted in the Mosaic law:

    "I would like to offer an analogy for additional consideration and discussion. Divorce is permitted and even ‘ordained’ in God’s law. But Christ makes it clear that divorce was ordained only as a concession to our hard-hearted wickedness. It is not God’s preference or ultimate intention by any stretch of the imagination, even though it can bring a measure of “peace” to a warring couple. God hates divorce, even though he has it as an option in is law, and even Jesus permits it, in limited cases.

    How much is violence, even violence by a human government, the same as divorce in God’s eyes? Consider how much God was willing to take upon himself in order to have real reconciliation, not just between sinful man and himself, but also among “warring” men?"

  3. Derek Ouellette, of Covenant of Love fame, has written a review of a book on humility. From his review it sounds like a book we can all recommend to our arrogant friends.

    Please direct copies for me to my P.O. box :)

  4. Carson T. Clark, the evangelical Anglican blogger extraordinaire, is asking whether Calvin would be a Calvinist by today's standards, but more specifically if Beza (a student who followed Calvin) is more responsible for "Calvinism" than Calvin.

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The Seduction of US Politics and the Freedom of Christian Discipleship

Whenever election time comes around in the US, the air is filled once again with polarizing partisan rhetoric. It is the candidate's job to paint his or her opponent's views, policies, administration in the starkest of terms when contrasted with his or her own. It's the candidate's goal to convince you and I that he or she will "do a better job," understands the "founding principles of America" better, or isn't an "Washington insider," etc. etc. Furthermore, candidates tell the story of the American dream again, selling us on hope that this is the "land of opportunity," that we can "make it, if we work hard." Each candidate wants us to believe that their election will ensure this outcome, remake the world.

I have a confession: I've bought into this sort of thinking more times than I'd like to admit. I confess that I have too often believed that the election of a particular candidate is the determing factor in my well-being or the well-being of those for whom I care. I've believed that if "those guys" are in office, the world will go to hell in a hand-basket. But if "my candidate" is elected, there will be justice, peace, [add your utopian ideal here]. I confess that I've fallen prey to the seductiveness of political coercion.

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Welcome to

Theological Graffiti is a blog written by T. C. Moore @tc_moore ...a Jesus-disciple, husband, father, Associate Pastor @NewCityChurch of Los Angeles, sometimes web designer, writer, and theology geek. For more about me, visit my Personal Website or my Online Profile. Otherwise, enjoy the graffiti.

T. C.

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