Being a Berean (9) Tragedy and Transforming Truth

  Rick Warren’s book ‚The Purpose-Driven Life‘, John MacArthur’s book ‚Slave‘ – and what it really means to be a Berean

by Jeremiah Johnson

Ten years ago the names and faces of Brian Nichols and Ashley Smith dominated the news cycle. At the time, the events surrounding their encounter gripped the city of Atlanta in fear.

In 2005, Nichols was facing trial for rape. On the morning of Friday, March 11, he attacked his guard and several others before murdering the judge and the court reporter presiding over his trial. He shot and killed another guard as he escaped the Fulton County courthouse, and led police on a lengthy manhunt. Over the course of several tense hours, he stole a string of vehicles and murdered a federal agent.

Eventually, Nichols forced his way into Smith’s apartment, and held her at gunpoint for several hours. During their time together, Smith famously read him passages from Rick Warren’s book, The Purpose-Driven Life. She also let him snort some of her methamphetamine. Smith was an addict at the time, but today she traces her sobriety and spiritual awakening back to that night in her apartment as Nichols’s hostage. In the morning, he released her. She alerted the authorities to his location, and after they surrounded the apartment, Nichols surrendered.

Weiterlesen

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Kenne deine Bibel! — Know your Bible!

„Lasst das Wort des Christus reichlich in euch wohnen in aller Weisheit.“ (Kol. 3:16)

…der seine Lust hat am Gesetz des HERRN und über sein Gesetz sinnt Tag und Nacht! (Ps 1:2)

Bob Jennings*

Wir werden wir angehalten, reich zu sein im Wort Gottes; die Bibel zu unserem innigen Freund zu machen, und sie so wie unseren Handrücken zu kennen. Es ist aber traurig zu sagen, dass so viele nicht reich, sondern vielmehr armselig im Wort sind. Sie sagen, dass sie zwar schon seit geraumer Zeit Christen sind, aber sie haben die Bibel hier nicht ein einziges mal durchgelesen.

Es erinnert mich an einen Ehemann, der für eine Weile fort war, und er kommt zurück und findet heraus, dass seine Frau es nicht geschafft hat, seinen ganzen Brief durchzulesen.

Nun, wie soll sich da der Herr fühlen? Sicherlich ist es eine Kränkung und Beleidigung für Ihn… dass Er sein schönes Wort her-und zusammengestellt hat, und wir lesen dann nicht darin?

Bei einigen liegt es einfach daran, dass sie nie wiedergeboren wurden, richtig? Weiterlesen

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Timothy Kellers Thologie und das postmoderne Christentum

Helmut Mehringer

11-17-Keller„Warum wir keine Bücher von Timothy Keller führen“ — unter diesem Titel erschien unlängst  eine informative Stellungnahme auf der Blogseite des BETANIEN Verlagsbuchshops, die wir – wie schon zuvor Georg Walters DISTOMOS Blog nachfolgend unseren Lesern zur Kenntnis geben wollen. Es handelt sich bei den Kritikpunkten zumeist um wesentliche Aspekte des christlichen Glaubens, Lebens, des Gemeinde- und des Missionsverständnisses  und fordert so zu einer Selbstprüfung der eigenen Grundlagen heraus:

„Der einflussreiche Autor Timothy Keller ist Pastor einer florierenden Gemeinde in New York City, wo seine Redeemer Presbyterian Church vor allem Besserverdiener erreicht. Daher hat Keller auch Bekanntheit in der säkularen Presse erlangt.  Keller und seine Gemeinde stehen einem Netzwerk verschiedener Gemeindegründungsprojekte vor; laut Wikipedia wurden von ihnen 250 Gemeinden in 48 Städten gegründet. Sie vertreten eine sogenannte „missionale“ Sichtweise des Christentums. „Missional“ ist der moderne Begriff für ein Christentum, das sich in der umgebenden Kultur integriert und dort „gesellschaftsrelevant“ und „ganzheitlich“ (also auch sozial und kulturell) zu wirken bestrebt ist. Weiterlesen

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Bitte aus der Türkei um Gebet für Christen

Während Mord an Christen ist für manche Staatsanwälte in einem gewissen Land nichts mit Terrorismus zu tun habe und Mörder von christlichen Mitarbeitern daher begnadigt werden, wird dort christliche Evangeliumsverkündigung als noch schlimmer als Terrorismus angesehen.

Aufgrund der aktuellen Situation riefen türkische Pastoren und Leiter die Christen in aller Welt dazu auf, verstärkt für ihre Glaubensgeschwister in der Türkei zu beten.

Nachfolgend werden zwei unlängst auf http://theoblog.de veröffentlichte Nachrichten wiedergegeben. Sie sollen uns zum Gebet für unsere wegen unseres Glaubens bedrängten Geschwister – nicht nur – in der Türkei oder in von der IS kontrollierten Gebieten ermuntern  (© theoblog.de)

1. Christliche Mission ist schlimmer als Terrorismus“

© THEOBLOG schreibt am 12.04.2016 (http://theoblog.de/27529-2/27529/):

Laut hurriyetdailynews.com sagte „Niyazi Güney 2007 als Abteilungsleiter des türkischen Justizministeriums zur Ermordung von drei Christen im Zirve-Verlag (Malatya, siehe dazu hier):

Missionsarbeit ist sogar noch gefährlicher als Terrorismus und gilt leider nicht als ein Verbrechen in der Türkei.“

„Missionary work is even more dangerous than terrorism and unfortunately is not considered a crime in Turkey.“

Quelle: www.hurriyetdailynews.com.“ Weiterlesen

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Being a Berean (8) Guarding the Pulpit

 By Cameron Buettel

The number of unguarded pulpits we see today in solid Bible-believing churches is quite shocking. Not unguarded in a physical sense but a spiritual one. Unguarded against those who pretend to deliver God’s Word but instead deliver error.

Even in my own experiences with itinerant preaching, I’ve been surprised at the lack of careful scrutiny. As an unknown seminary student, I am exactly the kind of guy a senior pastor should thoroughly vet before I step into the pulpit. And even when the end result is sound exposition, it doesn’t excuse negligence at the point of entry.

I’ve also lost count of times I have heard guest preachers deliver sermons that violated the doctrinal statements of the churches they were preaching in. It is painful to watch a senior pastor have to do damage control because he made the simple yet glaring error of not reviewing the sermon subject matter, or getting a character reference from the guest speaker’s home church.

It is obvious that important questions need to be asked when choosing a doctor, lawyer, teacher, or accountant. We don’t roll the dice when we need someone to perform surgery or defend us in court. Yet too many senior pastors happily take their chances with an itinerant. Moreover, many in the congregation blindly swallow whatever’s served to them from the pulpit.

There is nothing new with this phenomenon—it played a major role in the decline of Puritanism more than 350 years ago.

Charles Spurgeon was deeply troubled by the theological trajectory of English Baptist churches in the nineteenth century. In March 1887, he enlisted his close friend, Robert Schindler, to help him research evangelical history from the early stages of Puritanism’s decline (1662) into their day.

Much of what Spurgeon discovered was hardly surprising. The Protestant drift towards liberalism, the rise of rationalistic skepticism, academic snobbery, and the popular shift away from Calvinism (specifically God’s sovereignty in salvation) towards Arminianism (human will as the decisive factor in salvation) all contributed to the decline. The surprising discovery of Shindler’s research was the discrete entry point that heresy had gained into solid churches pastored by godly, Bible-believing shepherds. As John MacArthur explains in his book Ashamed of the Gospel,

Many of those who remained true to the faith were nevertheless reluctant to fight for what they believed in. Evangelical preaching was often cold and lifeless, and even those who held to sound doctrine were careless about where they drew the line in their associations with others: “Those who were really orthodox in their sentiments were too often lax and unfaithful as to the introduction of heretical ministers into their pulpits, either as assistants or occasional preachers. In this way the Arian and Socinian heresies were introduced into the Presbyterian congregations in the city of Exeter.”

Thus within only a few decades, the Puritan fervor that had so captured the soul of England gave way to dry, listless, apostate teaching. Churches became lax in granting membership privileges to the unregenerate. People who were, in Shindler’s words, “strangers to the work of renewing grace” nevertheless claimed to be Christians and were admitted to membership—even leadership—in the churches.[1]

If history reveals a common chink in the armor of godly men, it would have to be their vulnerability to corruption through bad company. During the time of Israel’s division into two kingdoms (Judah and Israel), the godly king Jehoshaphat brought disaster on Judah because of his foolish marriage alliance with the evil king Ahab of Israel (2 Chronicles 18:1–3; 19:2). By allowing his eldest son, Jehoram, to marry Ahab’s daughter, Jehoshaphat failed to guard his family and monarchy from Ahab’s evil influence (2 Chronicles 21:6). In showing charity towards Ahab, Jehoshaphat reaped catastrophe upon Judah. By the time Jehoram ascended the throne in succession to his father, he instigated the mass murder of all his siblings (2 Chronicles 21:4) and triggered Judah’s long slide into apostasy.

Spurgeon and Shindler’s research was like a re-telling of that biblical account, as once-sound Baptist churches carelessly slid into the abyss of apostasy. Many of them were shepherded by pastors who fed the sheep well but were naïve concerning prowling wolves. They lived godly lives, proclaimed a godly message, but instigated disaster through foolish alliances with ungodly men. In April 1887, Schindler published more of his research. MacArthur recounts his findings:

He laid the blame for the downhill slide at the feet of the church leaders. Even those who were orthodox in their teaching were not earnestly contending (Jude 3), but were weak in defending the faith, Shindler said. As one example, he cited Philip Doddridge (1702–1751), best known today as the hymn writer who penned “O Happy Day” and “Grace, ’Tis a Charming Sound.” Doddridge, according to Shindler, “was as sound as he was amiable; but perhaps he was not always judicious; or more probably still, he was too judicious, and not sufficiently bold and decided.”

Doddridge had been principal of the academy where most non-conformist ministers went for training in the mid-1700s. Shindler’s judgment was that “[Doddridge’s] amiable disposition permitted him to do what men made of sterner stuff would not have done. He sometimes mingled in a fraternal manner, even exchanging pulpits, with men whose orthodoxy was called in question. It had its effect on many of the younger men, and served to lessen in the estimate of the people generally the growing divergence of sentiment.”

In other words, Shindler felt that Doddridge’s tolerance of unorthodox teachers obscured from his ministerial students the awful reality that these men were guilty of serious error, and left the students exposed to the deadly effects of their heresy. But, Shindler hastened to add, no one could “insinuate even the suspicion of heresy” against Doddridge himself.

Because of the attitude of tolerance implanted by Doddridge, the academy at last succumbed to Socinianism, then was dissolved in the generation after Doddridge’s passing.

Shindler paraphrased Hosea 4:9: “Like priest, like people,” and wrote, “Little good can be expected of such ministers, and little hoped for of the hearers who approve their sentiments.” He warned against such tolerance, suggesting it is better to err on the side of caution:

“In too many cases sceptical daring seems to have taken the place of evangelical zeal, and the husks of theological speculations are preferred to the wholesome bread of gospel truth. With some the endeavour seems to be not how steadily and faithfully they can walk in the truth, but how far they can get from it. To them divine truth is like a lion or a tiger, and they give it ‘a wide berth.’ Our counsel is—Do not go too near the precipice; you may slip or fall over. Keep where the ground is firm; do not venture on the rotten ice.”[2]

Thankfully, Spurgeon and Shindler were also able to identify some rare exceptions to what they called “The Down-grade”: “Those churches willing to fight for the faith and uphold the doctrines of grace and God’s sovereignty had managed to avoid the fate of those on the down-grade.”[3]

If our zeal to “contend earnestly for the faith which was once for all handed down to the saints” (Jude 3) does not extend to securing the perimeter of our pulpits, then we become as vulnerable to apostasy as the many shipwrecks that have gone before us.

The same principle also applies to us as individual laymen if we are going to avoid the poisonous words of infiltrators—false teachers who gain deceitful access into the hearts and minds of an otherwise healthy church congregation. Churchgoers who have been hung out to dry under lax pastoral leadership may not have the means to secure the borders around the pulpit in their church.

But you can and must secure the borders around your own heart. Each of us is responsible to carefuly evaluate the speakers, writers, and teachers we follow, and not be “tossed here and there by waves and carried about by every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men, by craftiness in deceitful scheming” (Ephesians 4:14, emphasis added). We are never absolved of the responsibility to emulate the noble Bereans who “received the word with great eagerness, examining the Scriptures daily to see whether these things were so” (Acts 17:11).

How foolish would it be for us to ignore the discoveries of Spurgeon and Shindler’s research? Their work furnishes a powerful lesson for modern churches still towing the biblical line. Furthermore, it reminds the members of those churches that a pastor who preaches with a high view of Scripture (2 Timothy 2:15) also needs to have a hardened resolve in deciding who can—and cannot—stand in his absence.

–>Part 1                                                                                                      –>Part 9

——-o——-

© http://www.gty.org – reblogged from the original article here!

 

 

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Being a Berean (7) Every Believer’s Responsibility

John MacArthur

If you’re like most Christians, you probably have a consistent Sunday morning routine. Maybe you rush to church in time to greet your friends, grab some coffee, make your way to your regular seat, and settle in just in time for worship. Your pattern may look different, but it’s fairly certain you have one you stick to.

But when it comes to the routine of corporate worship in your local church, do you think much about your responsibility in your Sunday services? I’m not talking about stacking chairs and handing out bulletins—it’s a responsibility that every believer shares. And sadly, today, very few fulfill.

What is this responsibility? We’ll let John MacArthur explain. (Watch the brief two-minute video message above!)

For the last  weeks, we’ve been looking at a biblical plan to develop that Berean mindset. Next time, we’ll consider how to put it to work in protecting God’s sheep from the wolves.

–>Part 1                                                                                                      –>Part 8

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© http://www.gty.org – reblogged from the original article here!

 

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Being a Berean (6) Your Berean Battle Plan: Rescue

By Cameron Buettel

Deception from heretical infiltrators has been an ever-present threat throughout 2,000 years of church history. Fighting that deception is a war for the truth that all Christians have been called to wage (Jude 3). But in the heat of battle we must never neglect our primary calling as missionaries (Matthew 28:19­–20).

That is why Jude, in his call for Christians to “contend earnestly for the faith which was once for all handed down to the saints” (Jude 3), also exhorted us to evangelistically exercise that faith. We are to reach out to the casualties of the truth war: “And have mercy on some, who are doubting; save others, snatching them out of the fire; and on some have mercy with fear, hating even the garment polluted by the flesh” (Jude 22-23). Weiterlesen

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Missiologie: Warum kontextuale C4-Mission unbiblisch ist!

Roger Dixon*

Vorbemerkung: Das C1 – C6 Spektrum der Kontextualisierung für die Mission Arabisch sprechender Länder wurde von „John Travis“ (Pseudonym) in der Zeitschrift Evangelical Missions Quarterly (EMQ) im Jahre 1998 vorgestellt und wird sowohl vom Weltkirchenrat als auch von vielen Evangelikalen (mit einer leicht veränderten Akzentuierung) akzeptiert. Die Vorstellung der Kontextualisierung geht auf die 1970er Jahre zurück und vertritt den Grundgedanken, dass jede Volksgruppe ihr eigenes kontextualisiertes (an ihre Kultur und Religion angepasstes) Verständnis des Evangeliums hat oder haben sollte. (hier)

___________________________________

„Kontextualisierte Christus-zentrierte Gemeinschaften, die die Insider-Sprache verwenden sowie biblisch zulässige kulturelle und islamische Muster. Gleicht C-3, jedoch biblisch zulässige Praktiken des Islam werden ebenfalls genutzt (z. B. Beten mit erhobenen Händen, Beachtung der Fastentage, Meiden von Schweinefleisch, Alkohol und Hunden als Haustiere, Verwendung islamischer Begriffe und islamischer Kleidungsstil). C1 und C2 Muster werden gemieden. Versammlungen werden nicht in Kirchen abgehalten. C4-Gemeinschaften bestehen fast vollständig aus Gläubigen mit moslemischem Hintergrund. C4-Gläubige, obgleich sehr stark kontextualisiert, werden in der Regel von Moslems nicht als Muslime betrachtet. C4-Gläubige identifizieren sich als ‚Nachfolger von Isa, dem Messias‘ (oder ähnlichem).“1 Weiterlesen

Veröffentlicht unter Das Evangelium Jesu Christi, Das normale Christenleben, Die Gemeinde Jesu, Die Verkündigung (Predigt) & Der Verkündiger, Gesellschaft, Normen, Postmoderne, Mission & Evangelisation, Mission & Gemeinde, Postmodern-Kontextual-Emergent, Wahrheit & Weisheit | Verschlagwortet mit , , , , , , , , , ,

Being a Berean (5) Your Berean Battle Plan: Reach

By Cameron Buettel

Prior to the advent of the Internet and social media, the life of a religious charlatan was easy. Ministries built on preposterous prophecies, outlandish miracle claims, and bizarre Scripture twisting could continue unabated without the fear of any serious scrutiny.

And while heresy is still lucrative, the modern heretic has to be shrewd about disguising his schemes and covering his tracks. They could once trade on spiritual gullibility, short-term memories, and isolated audiences. Now, the Internet—and social media in particular—offers a global and perpetual platform to expose false teachers and warn against their teaching. Today, the long-term survival of false teachers hinges on their ability to cloak their error in enough truth to avoid zealous bloggers and to clear customs at the church gate. Weiterlesen

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The Gospel Is a Person – Jesus

“It all comes down to one thing: our message is a person. We proclaim a person, not a dogma, a rule, or even a religion. Our message is a conversation that has an individual at its core. We are talking about Jesus. We are praising Jesus. We are exalting Jesus.

“In Colossians 1:28 Paul summarized the purpose of his ministry in this simple statement: ‘Him we preach.’ Emphatically, he moved the personal pronoun to the very front of his profession stressing the importance of Jesus in his evangelistic message. If you are not proclaiming the beauty of Christ in your gospel presentation you are missing the point of the gospel. The gospel is about a person and a relationship with that person. And rejecting the gospel is rejecting a person (Matt. 7:21-23). Weiterlesen

Veröffentlicht unter Das Evangelium Jesu Christi, Das normale Christenleben, Die Gesunde Gemeinde, Die Verkündigung (Predigt) & Der Verkündiger, Gott - Jesus - Hl.Geist | Verschlagwortet mit , , , , , | 1 Kommentar

„Allen alles werden“ — Inkulturation und Kontextualisation

Georg Walter*

broad-and-narrow-path-ypsEmergente Kontextualisierer fordern, die Kultur nahezu vorbehaltlos in den Gottesdienst, die Nachfolge unddie Mission zu integrieren – auch als „Inkulturation“ bezeichnet. Die Bibel indes sagt: „Passt euch nicht dieser Welt an“ (Rö 12,1-2). Christen sollen die Welt, und was in ihr ist, nicht lieben. Gewiss ist hier das rechte Maß gefragt zwischen Weltflucht und Weltsucht. Beides – weltflüchtig oder weltsüchtig zu sein – widerstrebt dem vollkommenen Willen Gottes. Kontextualisierer hingegen lassen allzu viele Schranken fallen und plädieren für die Akzeptanz der modernen Kultur in ihren vielfältigen Aspekten. Wundert es einen noch, dass sie in Fragen der Sexualität, Familie, Ehe, Musik u. a. dem Zeitgeist dieser Welt folgen.

Selbst die konservativsten unter den Vertretern der progressiven Theologie der Kontextualisation streben nach unvereinbaren Zielen. Sie wollen kulturell liberal sein – was heißt, sie wollen alles tun und lassen, was diese Welt tut -, aber gleichzeitig wollen sie theologisch konservativ bleiben – was heißt, sie wollen an Gottes Wort mit allen seinen Segnungen und Verheißungen, aber auch mit allen seinen Geboten festhalten. Wie kann eine Seele so gespalten sein, dass sie theologisch liberal und konservativ zugleich sein will, dass sie zwischen Leben als Christ und Leben in dieser Welt eine künstliche Trennung aufrichtet. Weiterlesen

Veröffentlicht unter Das Evangelium Jesu Christi, Das normale Christenleben, Die Gemeinde Jesu, Die Verkündigung (Predigt) & Der Verkündiger, Gesellschaft, Normen, Postmoderne, Mission & Evangelisation, Mission & Gemeinde, Postmodern-Kontextual-Emergent, Wahrheit & Weisheit | Verschlagwortet mit , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Being a Berean (4) Your Berean Battle Plan: Remain

© http://www.gty.org

By Cameron Buettel

If your Christian life is devoid of persecution, hardship, and fighting against false teaching, then you probably need to re-evaluate your faith (John 15:20; 2 Corinthians 13:5; 2 Timothy 2:3; Jude 3-4). The race we are called to in Hebrews 12:1–2 is not run on the path of least resistance. Yet that’s where many believers live today—blown around by the winds of church trends and without testing them against Scripture.

That’s not to say modern Christians are passive in every regard. We’re happy to contend in our careers and among our peers. We’ll work hard for a promotion, we’ll argue our political point of view, and we’ll defend our honor and credibility. But we don’t always expend the same kind of energy to defend God’s Word or His people. In a tidal wave of trendy theology and novel doctrines, many believers simply lack the resolve to stand firm in wisdom, discernment, and theological conviction. “Examining the Scriptures daily,” like a Berean (Acts 17:11) seems like too much hard work when we’re offered our best life now.

Weiterlesen

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Being a Berean (2) Meet the Bereans

By Cameron Buettel

I am convinced that the most dangerous lie is the one that is almost true. The regenerate believer can usually see through most pseudo-Christian scams, whether they be online, on TV, or in the pulpit. But Satan doesn’t always deploy his deceptions through shallow charlatans—he also carefully cloaks them in the garb of orthodox Christianity.

More and more false teachers conceal their heresies in the Trojan horse of sound doctrine. And like termites ravaging a house, the signs of trouble are evident only after the damage is done.

We need razor-sharp biblical discernment as our frontline defense against the stealth invasions of theological error. Paul and Silas encountered that type of discernment on their missionary travels when they ministered to the Jews in Berea. Luke reported on their ministry there and described the Berean Jews as: “More noble-minded than those in Thessalonica, for they received the word with great eagerness, examining the Scriptures daily to see whether these things were so. Therefore many of them believed” Weiterlesen

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Aufruf an junge Christen, ihr Leben lohnend zu investieren

Mission — Predige das Evangelium!

von

Predigttext als PDF in Deutsch: HIER!

Ich bin wahrlich nicht einer von dieser „Blogger-Internet“ Generation; ich bin da eher altmodisch. Ich nehme zwar an, dass all dieses Zeug irgendeinen Nutzen hat, aber wie ich kürzlich schrieb, macht es mich wirklich sehr traurig, wie all diese jungen Menschen „bloggen“ und über theologische Feinheiten diskutieren… Viele von ihnen haben nicht einmal lange genug gelebt, um genug Wissen oder Erfahrung in den Dingen zu haben, worüber sie sprechen. Und wir sitzen da und füllen das Internet mit all diesem Zeug, während es da draußen Milliarden von Menschen gibt, die noch nie das Evangelium gehört haben. Ich meine, ist das nicht verrückt?

Den vollständigen Predigttext lesen (PDF in Deutsch): HIER!

——-o——-

Weiterführende Artikel:

  1. Christliche Mission und Evangelisation – Was ist das?
  2. Was ist das Hauptziel von Mission? Welche Missionsgesellschaften haben längst ein anderes Hauptziel?
  3. Was ist das Hauptziel von Mission?
  4. Mission, Evangelisation & Gemeinde
  5. Evangelium & Evangelisation
  6. Missions Trips
  7. Artikelreihe: “Das Evangelium des Herrn Jesus Christus” HIER!
  8. Ein anderes Evangelium – Kurze Geschichte der Irrlehren und Sekten
  9. Tübinger Aufruf 2013 – Weltevangelisation oder Weltverbesserung?
  10. Das Evangelium – Herausfordernde Kurzpredigten (Videos)
  11. Konzeptionen und Trends in Mission und Gemeindewachstumsbestrebung
  12. War Paulus ein Pragmatiker? Hat er jedes Mittel angewandt, um seine Evangeliumsbotschaft schmackhaft zu machen?
  13. Kontextualisierung – Die Anpassung des Evangeliums an den Islam und warum dieser Irrweg so gefährlich ist
  14. How to become a missionary (english)
  15. A Missionary Letter (english)
  16. Neue Wertigkeiten – statt den Samen der eigenen Bedeutungslosigkeit pflegen

 

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