01/08/2022 EChurch@Wartburg Featuring a Talk on Tov by Scot McKnight

A Morning Prayer: Syrian Clementine Liturgy. Ist century.

O God, Who art the unsearchable abyss of peace, the ineffable sea of love, the fountain of blessings, and the bestower of affection,
Who sendest peace to those that receive it; open to us this day the sea of Thy love,
and water us with the plenteous streams from the riches of Thy grace. Make us children of quietness, and heirs of peace.
Enkindle in us the fire of Thy love; sow in us Thy fear; strengthen our weakness by Thy power;
bind us closely to Thee and to each other in one firm bond of unity; for the sake of Jesus Christ.

A Prayer of Forgiveness: Liturgy of St James, 2nd century

O God, who hast taught us Thy divine and saving oracles,
enlighten the souls of us sinners for the comprehension of the things which have been before spoken,
so that we may not only be seen to be hearers of spiritual things, but also doers of good deeds,
striving after guileless faith, blameless life, and pure conversation.

Release, pardon, and forgive, O God, all our voluntary and involuntary sins,
such as we have committed in action and in word, knowingly and ignorantly,
by night and by day, in mind and thought, forgive us all in goodness and love.

Sanctify, O Lord, our souls, bodies and spirits; examine our minds and search our consciences;
take from us all evil imaginations, all impurity of thought, all inclinations to lust, all depravity of conception,
all envy, pride and hypocrisy, all falsehood, deceit and irregular living, all covetousness, vain glory and sloth;
all malice, anger and wrath, all remembrance of injuries, all blasphemy and every motion of flesh and spirit that is contrary to the purity of Thy Will.

The Apostles’ Creed

I believe in God, the Father almighty,
creator of heaven and earth.

I believe in Jesus Christ, his only Son, our Lord,
who was conceived by the Holy Spirit,
born of the Virgin Mary,
suffered under Pontius Pilate,
was crucified, died, and was buried;
he descended to the dead.
On the third day he rose again;
he ascended into heaven,
he is seated at the right hand of the Father,
and he will come to judge the living and the dead.

I believe in the Holy Spirit,
the holy catholic Church,
the communion of saints,
the forgiveness of sins,
the resurrection of the body,
and the life everlasting.

The following a talk given by Scot McKnight to the Apprentice Institute at Friends University link.
This gathering is described as “A 3-day conference for Christians desiring a deeper relationship with God
through learning and engaging in the teachings of Jesus.”

I’m experimenting with this format and will be featuring different speakers.
I hope you find this thought-provoking and spiritually transformative.


Benediction: (Source unknown – early Scottish) link

Deep peace of the running wave to you,
Deep peace of the flowing air to you,
Deep peace of the quiet earth to you,
Deep peace of the shining stars to you,
Deep peace of the Son of Peace to you, forever.


01/08/2022 EChurch@Wartburg Featuring a Talk on Tov by Scot McKnight — 20 Comments

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    Thanks, Dee. There’s been a lot of ferment in New Testament scholarship in recent decades and my tasting of a little of this (McKnight and Wright, mostly; funny that those rhyme) has given me some encouragement that the evangelical churches may find a way out of the fix they have got themselves into. Being stretched beyond standard 20th century paradigms (which go back to 16th century paradigms) has been really helpful to me. I look forward to the speakers you ‘curate’ for us.

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    Thx, Dee. Nice. Music, prayers, talk, all good.

    McKnight speaking… from the Bible… the Church is marked by empathy, IOW, they (we) feel pain, each other’s pain.

    True. Good point.

    This week a 17-yr-old athlete required a lung transplant. God help this young man.

    A pediatric surgeon said he is doing procedures he never dreamed he’d been doing. God bless him. It’s real.

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    I am aprreciating the feedback I’m receiving.

    Samuel Conner,

    Sam, Wright is on my agenda in the coming weeks.

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    good to hear a talk on ‘transformation’ involving service to someone in Christ’s Name

    I remember seeing a video of the faces of prisoners when Pope Francis was washing their feet,
    and I was thinking that the example being shown was that there is a real power in humility before the Lord and before one another . . .

    what I saw in those faces was a recognition that they were being cared for in a kindly humble manner that was personal and gentle . . . a service done in imitation of Christ’s own example long ago

    humility is not much recognized as having ‘power’ to draw people to Christ,
    but it is said that a humble pastor can draw thousands to Christ through his humble service, as ‘grace’ from God passes to the humble and this ‘grace from God’ has healing in its hands

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    The closing benediction is in fact an 1895 poem by Fiona Macleod, who was in fact William Sharp, editor of Sir Walter Scott’s poems and other works by Swinburne. He was born in Paisley,
    Deep peace I breathe into you,
    O weariness, here:
    O ache, here!
    Deep peace, a soft white dove to You;
    Deep peace, a quiet rain to you;
    Deep peace, an ebbing wave to you!
    Deep peace, red wind of the east from you;
    Deep peace, grey wind of the west to You;
    Deep peace, dark wind of the north from you;
    Deep peace, blue wind of the south to you!
    Deep peace, pure red of the flame to you;
    Deep peace, pure white of the moon to you;
    Deep peace, pure green of the grass to you;
    Deep peace, pure brown of the earth to you;
    Deep peace, pure grey of the dew to you,
    Deep peace, pure blue of the sky to you!
    Deep peace of the running wave to you,
    Deep peace of the flowing air to you,
    Deep peace of the quiet earth to you,
    Deep peace of the sleeping stones to you!
    Deep peace of the Yellow Shepherd to you,
    Deep peace of the Wandering Shepherdess to you,
    Deep peace of the Flock of Stars to you,
    Deep peace from the Son of Peace to you,
    Deep peace from the heart of Mary to you,
    And from Briget of the Mantle
    Deep peace, deep peace!
    And with the kindness too of the Haughty Father
    In the name of the Three who are One,
    And by the will of the King of the Elements,
    Peace! Peace!

    From “the Dominion of Dreams Under a Dark Star by Fiona Macleod (1895)

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    Just a slug like one of us;

    had to get off the bus

    which was headed to Ephesus,

    not Philadelphia

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    The thought occurs that Prof. McKnight’s editors breathed a sigh of relief that the proposed title was not “A Church Called Eu“.


    On a more serious note: thanks, Dee, for this talk. It’s interesting to me that concerns that one can see recurring in TWW posts and commentary — things like the kind of example that the leaders are to the flock — are highlighted in the talk. My familiarity with Prof McKnight’s work is limited — Reading Romans Backwards: A Gospel of Peace in the Midst of Empire (which was an eye-opener for me, and answered a for me decades-old question: ‘why did Paul write the letter?’). It’s good to know that recent evangelical scholarship is making some inroads into ‘practical ecclesiology’. I hope that ‘A Church Called Tov” is not less influential than ‘9 Marks of a Healthy Church’.

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    Thank you for including the informative talk by Scot McKnight…

    You wrote: I’m experimenting with this format and will be featuring different speakers.
    I hope you find this thought-provoking and spiritually transformative.

    ….and my apologies for not being able to provide more or better feedback.

    I appreciate all the time and effort you put into the Sunday TWW EChurch. I’m not suggesting any kind of TWW EChurch format change when I write that I don’t listen to or watch much in the way of things online, as I much prefer reading. I sometimes read through parts of the Sunday TWW EChurch post….I sometimes listen to some of the music….I sometimes read through some of the comments. But in terms of actually “doing” (for a lack of a better word) all of TWW EChurch, mostly I don’t. Maybe I’m in some kind of wilderness (which feels like it’s being going on forever)….

    I just wanted to let you know that (in my own miniscule way) I appreciate your TWW EChurch….

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    Ava Aaronson: 2022: Living on Prayer


    Thank you for the article link, Ava….

    From the linked article (and slightly modified by me): relationship with God, and on understanding that this relationship, wildly uneven and intricate and mysterious as it is….comprise[s] hesitations and revelations, long bouts of doubt followed by short bursts of [non-doubt thoughts and / or emotions], and, above all, questions, reams of questions [some of which] we can never answer and….never…[want]…to stop asking.


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    Ken F (aka Tweed): A good bet that something is valuable and worth reading is when TGC writes a scathing review about it:


    You have more stamina then I, Ken F (aka Tweed)….I didn’t even take the time to finish reading the article….and thank you for article link…even though I didn’t read all of the article.

    And even though I didn’t read all of the article, it’s evident the article’s author is highly likely a) to have (or be a member of) a toxic “church”, and b) is highly unlikely to give up the usual “church” membership agreements, covenants, etc.

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    Ken F (aka Tweed),

    Maybe I have a thick skin, but I was not that offended by the article; the author conceded many of the objections that motivate the Tov critique, while vigorously disagreeing with the recommended solutions to the problems.

    I kind of occupy a middle position.

    IMO part of the problem with the legal apparatus that surrounds modern day churches is that the churches (at least the ones that tend to attract our attention) have become wealthy corporations. Corporations need the legal apparatus to function. But the corporation isn’t the church, it’s an extrabiblical edifice within which the congregation legally resides, a kind of legal ‘clothing.’

    One of Prof M’s critiques was of preaching by speakers who don’t know the names of the people at whom they are speaking. That’s inescapable in a large congregation and is an argument for smaller churches. Smaller churches would require less of the legal apparatus that is required to protect the wealth of large entities.

    To the extent that there is a hierarchy, it can be ‘flatter’ and still be functional in smaller groups. Sufficiently small groups may be able to function well with no hierarchy at all.


    The only New Testament precedent that we have for assemblies as large as present-day megachurches is the Jerusalem church, and that was not allowed to persist very long. It was broken up and scattered into smaller groups. Paul’s congregations were generally small enough to meet in people’s homes.

    To some extent, I suspect that the ‘9 Marks’ model is really about ‘how to maintain control of an evangelical megachurch’. Smaller groups may be manageable with much less constraint.

    I much prefer the Tov approach, but I suspect that it may not be easily realized in groups above a certain size.

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    Samuel Conner,

    I think the present day mania with the top few men in each church not stating who they have got relationships with or what they think about the things those people are involved in, is harmful, even in churches of under 100 people. How can we tell our betters’ attitude?

    This isn’t gossip, they can say “what I wish when those situations develop is . . .” or testify what they have done in frankly criticising or appealing to those public figures; then those handful of top men in your little congregation stop being cardboard cutout cookie cutter copycats and start being flesh and blood that you would be glad to have around, or else breathe freely about (relatively) distancing yourself.

    So many little churches affiliate with the big bad umbrella organisations where there is just as much control exercised than inside a single church of whatever size, one can’t escape their reach, they all plug the same books, one is on tenterhooks about whether it is going to cause the sermons to warp, whether it is going to cause relationships and decision taking to warp, whether it is going to cause prayers to warp. A church that somehow doesn’t seem to pray much, a church that somehow doesn’t talk about Another Comforter much, that somehow don’t explain to newcomers how to count the good cost: are they just people who are headed in 40 years where the rest went in the last 40 or are they up to something – like – already?

    Why do pastors / elders explicitly and actively forbid the pews to relate to each other for 5 months in summer and 6 weeks in winter? Yes, explicitly. No such thing as finding out who’s not on grandparent duty.

    Almost all churches of every “denominational tradition” or churchmanship hold to ESS implicitly and not advertised by name. (I see Gavin Ashenden rebadged it as “kenosis” in a sense Roger Mitchell wouldn’t agree with.)

    Parallel and unofficial channels are far more crucial in churches than the “normal” ones whether the latter work well OR not and whether actual pastors / elders are at fault (much) OR not.

    Certainly an argument that we pray singly & individually. Small singles and couples should be “hands on deck” of the barque in prayers for direction, protection, providence . . .

    “Corporate” prayer should be like the Office, plus what is done during services, then there should be personal prayer, but we also need a third kind, joint and common among pew members to include singles, which the leaders shouldn’t much if at all control.

    It was held firmly that prayer that is printed or has been repeated is evil, everyone denies having lived through that but I think you all did.

    I mutter Our Fathers & Glory Be’s a lot, also Please God turn back the plague and Please God give us just quality of government in the UK, the way for prayer to get re-un-discredited is for little folks like you & me to rebel against “corporate EIC culture”.

    The charismatic is just prayer, Bible reading and sitting thinking. Very occasionally, write down a dream that meshes (like one with four fires that I just had, about my own story but simultaneously lots of other things: assume one person is legitimately off duty and put two in their place, protect the protectors, that sort of thing). And discuss Bible meanings: maybe that brave looking fellow congregant doesn’t get to hear sensible conversation / read sensible correspondence.

    Samuel Conner: A Church Called Eu

    Nice one 😉

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    I like that quote, too. Prayer… talking with God, lots of feelings, too.

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    Wow! That is beautiful. Thank you.

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    Thank you.

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    Samuel Conner,

    EU! 🙂

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    1st & 2nd Century citations –
    You’re reaching WAY back to the Beginnings.