Tuesday, April 08, 2008

One Hope

I've just been hearing about this year's Spring Harvest gathering in the UK. Spring Harvest is the largest Christian conference in Europe, attended by about 45,000 people, and subscribes to The Evangelical Alliance Basis of Faith.

This year the theme is One Hope - focussing on what it means to have a hope that is 'steadfast and certain' in a society where change is the only certainty. Here is what their website says about this years theme:
As we unpack the Big Story of God, we'll discover how HOPE is central to the Christian faith. We'll also discover what Jesus being the hope of the world really means. And how embracing Jesus - and the hope he offers - changes how we live and brings new vitality to our faith. Hope is God's big idea.

It seems to me that we spend our lives getting more and more scared of stuff. We get scared of the way the world's going, scared of stuff going on in our local community, even scared about some of the things happening in our local church.

The bible says we shouldn't be the scared people of God, we should be the hopeful people of God.

In fact, we should be the most hopeful people on God's good earth, because we've seen what happens and the end of the world, we've seen what happens at the end of history, and we know the ending of God's story is both happy and hopeful.'

The amazing thing about this years teaching, from the reports I've been hearing, is that the emphasis has been on physical resurrection and the coming kingdom of God.

Some of the teachers are saying that there is no immortal soul, no heaven when we die and no torments in hell. This is absolutely amazing! It's quite likely that Bishop N.T. (Tom) Wright has been very influential in encouraging this shift in thinking.

This is a very encouraging development and one we should get excited about!

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