Just because a word is in the dictionary doesn’t mean it’s safe to use it ...
 
Buzz words, the fashionable vocabulary of current affairs and celebrity gossip – for all their temporary value – often deserve more than a casual glance, if only because they signal the mood of the crowd. Such a word is ‘unforgiveable’ .
 
Those of us who follow the media trail in an effort to keep up with ‘everything about everything’ will be overly familiar with the word ‘unforgiveable’ . These days it enjoys a universal media presence and is routinely applied by journalists and politicians to the ‘villains’ of their peace from North Korea’s Kim Jong-Un to Theresa May and Jeremy Corbyn – whether their crimes be mass murder or mass disappointment…
Many other labels might fit just as well: ‘inexcusable’ , ‘monstrous’ , ‘barbaric’ , ‘criminal’ or, for lesser offences ... ‘ill-considered’ , ‘illadvised’ and ‘opportunist’; but ‘unforgiveable’ – really? Strange how a world that fears terrorists and weapons of mass destruction has never learned to respect the most dangerous word in any language... 

Alfred Edersheim's "Did the Lord Institute his Supper on the Paschal Night" is taken from the appendix of his "Life and Times of Jesus the Messiah".

When it comes to polemical discussions about Jesus’ messiahship, Messianic Jews are often accused of taking verses from the Hebrew Bible out of context, and deliberately christianising them, so that they appear to refer to the man from Nazareth.

Ironically however, many Christians are going in the other direction, and rejecting the relevance of Hebrew Bible prophecies to Jesus’ life!

Look at this quote from Christianity’s most popular academic theologian, N.T. Wright, from God and the Authority of Scripture Today [emphasis mine]:

Many Christians know their Bible back to front – when they should know it the right way round! David Andrew offers an appreciation of a recent two-part teaching from Chuck and Karen Cohen… 

There’s a consistent note of sober purpose here, so don’t expect a snappy title. As it is, the title gets right to the point – and describes exactly what’s in the tin: “Breaking Down the Middle Wall of Partition: Confronting the Man-Made division between the Old and New Testament.”

Now some will be thinking: “This is clearly off-beam right from the title. Surely Jesus has already broken down the wall between Jew and Gentile? Surely Paul used a past tense?” No arguments there – but just because God has done something has never stopped us mortals from disagreeing with Him or revising the ‘truth’ to make it suit our prejudices. The clue to the title is in the ‘man-made division’ . As early as the early church, even Peter needed correction as he unwittingly started to rebuild the wall that Jesus had demolished (Galatians 2:11-21). Our authors are not in denial of Ephesians 2:14. Their argument – entirely dependent on Scriptural support – is that, historically, the Church in general has done a thorough job of rebuilding the wall by creating a false (distorting) division between the doctrine of the apostles and the ‘Old Testament’ writings they used to support their writings! The effect of this is two-fold: 

It’s both a continent and an idea, with an alternately heroic and ignominious past and, until recently, an enviable present. Can the heart of the West survive the 21st century?

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Throughout Europe the media has been dominated by discussion of the huge influx of migrants, some refugees fleeing war and persecution in places such as Syria and Iraq, many from elsewhere, but predominantly from Muslim majority countries. They range at one end of the spectrum from Christians fleeing persecution, to at the other end jihadists such as Ahmed Almuhamed, who blew himself up at the Stade de France during a football game between France and Germany in November, or as we report in this week’s Operation Nehemiah, even IS members directly responsible for persecuting Christians in Syria.

How well does the average American understand basic Christian doctrine? For that matter, how about the average evangelical? Perhaps not all that differently. And perhaps it matters how the questions are asked. Reprising their ground-breaking study from two years ago, LifeWay Research and Ligonier Ministries released an update today on the state of American theology in 2016. Researchers surveyed 3,000 adults to measure their agreement with a set of 47 statements about Christian theology—everything from the divinity of Christ to the nature of salvation to the importance of regular church attendance.

In this short video, Dr Joe Boot calls Christians to practise evangelisation. He says that some evangelism has taken a "truncated" view of the gospel, speaking of personal salvation but lacking an emphasis on "Christ as Lord, as King, as Sovereign." Jesus has come to redeem every aspect of our lives "from the pollution of sin", Joe says, and we ought not only to speak, but also to "live out" the gospel as part of our Christian witness.

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