Archives For July 2010

The economy is having a hard time rebooting itself. . .
Everyone is struggling more than ever. . .
Does the church have any responsibility to address these economic issues?
It’s one thing to promote better financial planning but what about when the church starts to hand out cold hard cash each week, right?

Check out this story where one pastor has decided to reverse the offering plate in order to bring more people into the sanctuary:

Now, while this church is relying on this tactic as a fundamental church marketing tactic, some other churches do one-time giveaways while trying to tie it into a Biblical message.

But what if the size of the church giveaway becomes outrageous? Does this make a difference?

QUESTION: WHAT MAKES GIVING AWAY FREE STUFF AT A WORSHIP SERVICE OK OR NOT?

It’s summertime, and for some that means a breath of fresh air and a chance to pick-up a book or two.  I recently asked a colleague of mine, Benjamin White who is a part of Circle of Hope to share one of his recent reading list selections with us.  His take on Karl Barth’s sermon collection, Deliverance To Captives,  gives it respect, but doesn’t default to just sycophantic praise.  While so many pastors and seminary students are drawn to Church Dogmatics and other Barth works, sometimes the best way to get to know someone is through the experience of sermonic listening (or reading!).  Enjoy Ben’s book review. . .


Barth writes just seven sentences in the “remarks” he says suffice as an introduction to this collection of sermons.  The sermons were preached primarily in the Prison of Basel in Switzerland to what Martin Schwarz, the chaplain of the prison, in his addition to Barth’s introduction called a “critical, presumably even not very ‘Christian” audience.  Barth served as occasional guest preacher between 1954 and 1959.

deliverance-to-the-captives-karl-barthThe title, Deliverance of the Captives, obviously speaks to the state of the audience.  They are literally captives, but Barth recognizes and preaches that we are all captives to our sin and broken humanity.  The nature of his audience at the Prison of Basel serves as a parable for all of us and warrants publication.  The gospel message of deliverance from captivity is just as needed within the prison walls as without.  Barth’s preaching to these men in this particular circumstance serves as a sign to all.  We are called to preach deliverance to the captives so Barth went to the captives and proclaimed a message that goes beyond the realm of physical captivity.  If these men may be freed, so may we all in Christ Jesus our Lord. . . Continue Reading…