iCampus – Why start an internet campus?

This is a series of responses to questions about an internet campus from a previous series of posts. Do you have any other questions? Feel free to leave them in the comments and I will try to respond to each one. Thanks!

Why start an internet campus?

This is a great question and a fundamental question for any organization considering a new venture. As a ministry of The United Methodist Church of the Resurrection the answer is easy. It aligns with our purpose to build a Christian community where non-religious and nominally religious people are becoming deeply committed Christians. My hope is that an internet campus might be a way for those who have never heard the good news of Jesus Christ to become connected to a community of faith in which they might experience God’s love, receive forgiveness and be on the journey of knowing, loving and serving God toward becoming a deeply committed Christian.

If an internet campus does not connect with non-religious and nominally religious people, I do not think that it could be determined to be a success. To quote Craig Groeschel,

To reach people that no one else is reaching, you have to do things that no one else is doing.

To my knowledge there is no other church with an internet campus in the Kansas City area and I believe that it might be a way to connect with people that are not otherwise being reached with the good news of Jesus Christ.

Other responses to the question include, but are not limited to:

  • Renewing the mainline church
  • Providing a model for other United Methodist Churches
  • Share resources from Resurrection.

What do you think about my responses? How would you answer this question?

What is the time table between Jesus passion predictions in Mark?

I have had the opportunity to lead the Builders Sunday Morning Small Group for three weeks studying the gospel according to Mark. This question was from a breakout group studying Mark 8:31-9:1, 9:30-32 and 10:32.34.

It is hard to determine the exact time table between each of these episodes. There are six days that are specifically mentioned in Mark 9:2. Other than that there is some indeterminate travel time. I suppose that it could be determined from the length of time it would take to walk from one area to another as various geographical references are given. That is the best that I have…

Any other thoughts?

You can find previous responses to questions coming from this class here:

Did Peter know what he meant by saying, “You are the Christ?”

I have had the opportunity to lead the Builders Sunday Morning Small Group for three weeks studying the gospel according to Mark. This question was from a breakout group studying Mark 8:27-30.

Peter’s confession is the first human confession that is recorded in Mark. To this point in the narrative the naming of Jesus identity had come from demons that had been cast out by Jesus.

I think that Peter knew what he was saying. He would have likely had some understanding of the expectation for a messiah and what that might look like. However, I do not think that Peter understood the depths of the truth that he was saying and the nuances of how this would actually take place.

There are two places where I think Peter may not have fully understood what he was saying. Jesus is savior not just for the Jewish people, but for all of creation. Also, suffering was a key part of Jesus journey to resurrection.

You can find previous responses to questions coming from this class here:

Can one be saved by faith in God alone, without faith in Christ?

As I was picking up my things after teaching the Builders Class, I was asked this question by a member of the small group (Bible 101)that was coming into the same room at 10:45.

This question touches on the issue of Christianity and other religions and my first response would be to be in reference to some of my previous thoughts on the subject and the great comments added. You can find those posts here –

I do not have anything additional to add to those thoughts other than these references from Our Doctrinal Standards and General Rules as a United Methodist congregation:

The Articles of Religion of the Methodist Church: Article IX—Of the Justification of Man

We are accounted righteous before God only for the merit of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, by faith, and not for our own works or deservings. Wherefore, that we are justified by faith, only, is a most wholesome doctrine, and very full of comfort.

The Confession of Faith of The Evangelical United Brethren Church: Article VIII—Reconciliation Through Christ

We believe God was in Christ reconciling the world to himself. The offering Christ freely made on the cross is the perfect and sufficient sacrifice for the sins of the whole world, redeeming man from all sin, so that no other satisfaction is required.

The Confession of Faith of The Evangelical United Brethren Church: Article IX—Justification and Regeneration

We believe we are never accounted righteous before God through our works or merit, but that penitent sinners are justified or accounted righteous before God only by faith in our Lord Jesus Christ.

We believe regeneration is the renewal of man in righteousness through Jesus Christ, by the power of the Holy Spirit, whereby we are made partakers of the divine nature and experience newness of life. By this new birth the believer becomes reconciled to God and is enabled to serve him with the will and the affections.

We believe, although we have experienced regeneration, it is possible to depart from grace and fall into sin; and we may even then, by the grace of God, be renewed in righteousness.

How would you interpret these articles? How would you respond to this question?

Scripture: Flexible and Resilient

Back in December, I started thinking about what would be the opposite of the scriptures being fragile. (See the comment conversation at – Were there really wise men?) I believe that the word of God as contained in the Old and New Testaments is both resilient and flexible.

Let me be clear that I do not advocate for using scripture to prove whatever point one may be interested in making, i.e. prooftexting. However, I do think that the story of God’s work in the world and the narrative of God’s people is not a fragile one that can be broken down by pointing to small inconsistencies. I believe that in scripture we see the best portrait of Jesus, who in turn is perhaps the clearest picture that we have of God.

What do you think?

God’s Work through Sinful People

I received this question from Craig via email. This question is in reference to this past weekend’s sermon which you can watch here.

This weekend Adam mentioned that “give us this day our daily bread” was in part an invitation to place our trust in God. He made reference to one of the scriptures that discusses the birds and how they are taken care of and they don’t worry, etc. He then gave his response to a question he frequently gets about how can he put his trust in God when so many people die of hunger every day. His response was that God works through people and that it is a distribution problem, not a supply problem. I agree with this, but what that means then is that you not only have to put your faith in God to provide, you also have to put some faith in fellow man. Given the brokenness of mankind, this is not very comforting. I know that if I personally was in need of say food, I would be worrying because I have to rely most likely on others, not God per say directly (since he works though others), for assistance. So I guess my question is, how do you reconcile putting your trust in God with the fact that he works through others who have a bad history of not doing the right thing, sometimes resulting in the actual death of people?

Craig, I think that you raise an excellent critique. It can be a bit scary sometimes to trust God’s work to sinful people. There have certainly been many examples throughout history of God’s people doing more harm than good – moving further away from God’s kingdom coming on earth rather than closer to that reality.

That being said, I believe and trust that God is at work through people throughout the world. I think an amazing witness to the power of the gospel is that the church has endured despite our worst and best efforts. My hope is that God is at work through even people like me. I believe that each person has the opportunity for redemption and a new life in Jesus Christ. We may not be able to live in a right way, but through God’s power we are able to move toward life as a deeply committed Christian.

What do you think?

Good News for All

Last week I posted on Christianity and Other Religions and included my thoughts about how to best respond to someone of another faith. I want to follow up on some of the conversation that I have had via the comments and emails on my assertion that it is more important to share the good news of Christ with non and nominally religious persons rather than persons of other religions.

I have received some excellent critiques that it is the responsibility of all Christians to share the good news with others – regardless of whether they adhere to a particular faith tradition. I agree. I do think that it is important to tell the story of Jesus to all persons in a way that tells of life transformation and gives the opportunity and calls for a response.

I did not intend to assert that Christians should not share their faith with those of other religions. I do believe that this is important. In regard to a relationship with Christ I do not make a distinction between someone who is non-religious and someone with who is faithful to another religion. In the collective, it is important to share the good news with all.

I would like to stay with my original assertion that given the choice of sharing the gospel of Jesus Christ with an individual of faith and with someone without any faith I believe that I would pursue the relationship with the person without faith. However, I recognize the validity of the counterpoint that someone with some sort of faith structure may have a familiarity with shaping her or his life around a life of faith and thus may be more willing to shift

As you can likely tell, I am still working this out and have appreciated the comments which help sharpen my thoughts. So here is a question about which I am not clear – Which of the following do you think would be someone that would be more willing to respond to the good news of Jesus Christ?

  • A person who faithfully practices a faith tradition other than Christianity?
  • Or

  • A person who does not practice any religion?

I am clear that it is important for Christians to share their faith with each of these groups. What do you think?