The Prosperity Gospel Meets Real Christianity

From Syria even unto Rome I fight with beasts, both by land and sea, both by night and day, being bound to ten leopards, I mean a band of soldiers, who, even when they receive benefits, show themselves all the worse. But I am the more instructed by their injuries [to act as a disciple of Christ]; “yet am I not thereby justified.” May I enjoy the wild beasts that are prepared for me; and I pray that they may be found eager to rush upon me, which also I will entice to devour me speedily, and not deal with me as with some, whom, out of fear, they have not touched. But if they be unwilling to assail me, I will compel them to do so. Pardon me [in this] I know what is for my benefit. Now I begin to be a disciple, and have no desire after anything visible or invisible, that I may attain to Jesus Christ. Let fire and the cross; let the crowds of wild beasts; let breakings, tearings, and separations of bones; let cutting off of members; let bruising to pieces of the whole body; and let the very torment of the devil come upon me: only let me attain to Jesus Christ.
All the ends of the world, and all the kingdoms of this earth, shall profit me nothing. It is better for me to die for the sake of Jesus Christ, than to reign over all the ends of the earth. “For what is a man profited, if he gain the whole world, but lose his own soul? “I long after the Lord, the Son of the true God and Father, even Jesus Christ. Him I seek, who died for us and rose again. Pardon me, brethren: do not hinder me in attaining to life; for Jesus is the life of believers. Do not wish to keep me in a state of death, for life without Christ is death. While I desire to belong to God, do not ye give me over to the world. Suffer me to obtain pure light: when I have gone thither, I shall indeed be a man of God. Permit me to be an imitator of the passion of Christ, my God. If any one has Him within himself, let him consider what I desire, and let him have sympathy with me, as knowing how I am straitened.
– St. Ignatius of Antioch
Letter to the Romans, Chapters 5 & 6

20 Questions to Ask Before Preaching Your Christmas Sermon

Propreacher has them.

Dear Pastor,

Your Christmas sermon is a big deal!

The eternal destination of many who will sit in your Christmas service hang in the balance.

Are you ready?

Here are 20 questions that you should ask yourself before you preach this Christmas:

1. Have I prayed over my message, completely given it to God, and asked for the Holy Spirit’s guidance?

2. Have I faithfully interpreted God’s Word without addition or subtraction?

3. Is there a clear, direct presentation of the Gospel?

4. Do I need to explain or simplify any terminology?

5. Is this a message written for believers or non-believers?

6. Can I summarize the purpose of the message in a sentence?

7. Is the message focused on the purpose or are there unnecessary tangents?

8. What do I want people to do as a result of hearing this message?

9. How do I want people to feel as a result of hearing this message?

10. Is it too long?

11. Have I included anything that will make people laugh?

12. Have I included any engaging stories or illustrations?

13. Is there anyone I could (or should) ask for feedback on this before I preach?

14. What have I done to equip my people to invite people to hear the message?

15. Who have I personally invited to come hear this message?

16. Have I asked my church to be praying for the salvation of others, and have I personally done the same?

17. What is my strategy for getting people to come back to hear the next message?

18. Is there any sin in my life that I need to repent of before I call others to repent?

19. Have I fully prepared and practiced?

20. Is this the absolute best I can do?




Don’t Fear Preaching as Jesus Preached

Msgr Charles Pope writes:

Some years ago I was stationed with a priest who, while he often liked my homilies, would often critique my use of what he called “fear based preaching.” Perhaps I had warned the congregation of punishment for sin, or even let slip that certain things were mortal sins that would exclude one from heaven and land them in hell. I would often playfully remind the congregation that missing Sunday Mass was a mortal sin by saying, “Go to Mass or go to hell.” I would also warn that fornicators would not inherit the Kingdom nor idolaters nor adulterers nor those who practice homosexuality, nor thieves nor the greedy nor drunkards nor slanderers nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God (cf 1 Cor 6:9).

Of course I was quoting Scripture and preaching out of a voluminous biblical tradition of warning texts. Nevertheless, the older priest would often wag his finger and say, “Ah that’s fear-based preaching…fear based!”

Perhaps it was, but so what?

Rest here.



The Ordinariate Has Finally Arrived

So opts Damien Thompson, who blogs:

There’s plenty of scepticism about the Ordinariate – especially since the careful circulation of a quote attributed to former Cardinal Bergoglio saying he didn’t see the need for it. Well, we shall see. Pope Francis – who would never have encountered Anglicans in the Catholic tradition in Latin America – now finds himself head of the Ordinariate in three continents; his spokesman has said that this will be a permanent structure of the Catholic Church…


One of the treasures of Anglicanism that the Ordinariate can bring to Rome has nothing to do with vestments or prayer books – it’s the tradition of the Anglo-Catholic “slum priests” who carried the Gospel to the darkest alleyways of Jack the Ripper’s London…

The whole piece is here.