Adventist Identity: A Never-ending Quest - Dr Daniel Duda
Churchless Spirituality: Recovering the Essence of Community
by Tihomir Lazic
Is the church essential or non-essential for Christian identity? This workshop wrestles with some of the biggest challenges that accompany the growing trend of ‘churchless spirituality’. This individualistic trend — which is rapidly gaining momentum and popularity across different Christian denominations — took all traditional churches by surprise and found them ill-equipped to deal with it. It involves does who left communities of faith and yet remained believers. For them, belonging to the organised and institutionalized church is something that is optional or non-essential for Christian identity. In this workshop, Dr Tihomir Lazic follows four questions of Osmer’s method to address the burning issues and to propose fresh ways in which Christians can engage this phenomenon and use it as an opportunity to deepen, strengthen and achieve a more authentic expression of church’s relational nature (koinonia).
Lives are disrupted, damaged, or lost. Economies devastated; plans destroyed. The CoVid-19 pandemic of 2020 will never be forgotten. But, what if, in the midst of fear and anxiety, we, as Newbold church, decided to use this opportunity to just stop for a moment and face ourselves?! What if we decide to put aside the scaffolding and dare to wrestle with some of the most challenging and complex questions concerning our shared identity and purpose in the world: Who are we and what is our unique role in the new normal? Is the church essential or non-essential part of Christian identity?
What should be its role in assisting the followers of Christ in discovering their God-given calling and purpose in this broken and socially-distanced world?
A Church in Waiting – a brief study of Acts and Epistles
by Danilo Puskas
1. Historical Narrative
2. Acts 1 - Christ's Legacy
3. Church in Jerusalem 1
4. Church in the Pagan World
5. Jewish and Gentile Christianity
6. Paul on Being a Christian
Playing the Bible
presented by Dr Jean-Claude Verrecchia and Dr Tihomir Lazic
How to read the Bible?
Dr Tihomir Lazic
The Bible was written a long time ago in a very different culture to ours. This means that we need to mind the gap between our world and the world in which this text was written. Making sense of the ancient text of the Bible requires us to build a bridge between these two radically different worlds. Simply put, we have to ask (at least) three basic questions — What does the text say? What did it mean (then)? And what does it mean (today)? Answering these three questions might appear to be an easy task, but it is not.
Building a bridge to the text requires the complete involvement of all the mental, emotional and spiritual capacities that we humans possess. Fortunately, we are not left on our own to deal with this complexity. As a community of believers travelling together, we can help each other out. God gave us more than fellow believers. We also have his Spirit to guide us towards a fuller understanding of God’s revelation. This makes sense. This is, after all, the same Spirit that was involved in inspiring the human authors. It was this Spirit that ensured that the authors communicated God’s revelation in a reliable and trustworthy way.
Let’s look at the above questions one by one. To understand what the text says, you can begin by reading the text closely and attentively. A good start might be to compare different translations and to study keywords and sentences. Even better is consulting the original biblical languages, if you are able. Whatever the language, bear in mind that the meaning of the words, concepts and thought patterns change over time. They are, what we call, historically and culturally conditioned. So, the most obvious meaning that comes to your mind might not be the one that was intended by the author. At this stage, it is always useful to also pay attention to the literary form, the genre and the variety of literary devices that are used. This explains why we don’t read Proverbs in the same way as we read Paul.
This leads us to the second question: what the text meant. To answer this we need to ask a series of different contextual questions. They help us really understand what is going on in the text. Outside the text, we ask questions like: Who was the audience of the text? What are the historical circumstances and issues that the author is responding to? About the text, we wonder: How does the author portray people and events? What activities are they involved in and why? We also think about the bigger picture: How is this section connected to what comes before and what comes after? How does it relate to other similar texts? How does this episode fit into the larger story of the Bible? These and similar questions help us understand what the Word meant in when it was originally spoken and written. We learn about the text’s literary and historical setting. This type of question opens a window and lets us look into the mind of the author. They help us learn more about his particular way of thinking about God and the world. They show us what he, millennia ago, meant to say to his original audience.
Finally, we are ready to think about the ways in which this text is relevant to our own present-day needs, questions and concerns. This is a difficult step. It involves the willingness to look in the mirror and be honest about ourselves. We have to accept the Word in faith, and we need to live in accordance with God’s will. Only then will we be able to experience the riches of God’s revelation in Scripture today. Only then will we be drawn deeper into a true connection with the Bible’s divine Author.