QROH: Session 1: Gospel
The long awaited conference, Friends in Conversation: A Quiet Revolution in Hope started today at Christian Life Gospel Centre, Petaling Jaya. The first session is on the Gospel (9.15am-12 noon).
Brian McLaren started the plenary session by sharing his thoughts about the different versions of the gospel. One version is "You can get saved and go to heaven and to hell with the rest." Another version is about the Kingdom of God coming to earth. He used his circle illustrations. One is of three separate circles; one for self, one for the world and one for church. That he says is one of the ways some people perceive doing church. The next illustration shows one large circle: the world, and two small circles inside the large circle: self and church. Brian has used these illustrations in the chapter on "Why I am Missional" in Generous Orthodoxy.
Brian then went on to explain the kingdom of God, based mainly on the gospel. In this talk, he drew on what he has written in his book, The Secret Message of Jesus. He concludes by illustrating that the way they proclaim Jesus as King is in the same format that the Romans proclaim Augustus Caesar as god.
After his presentation, the conversation partners, Sherman Kuek, Dr. Ng Kam Weng, and Elder Tan Kong Beng were invited to give their responses and views. Alwyn is a good faciliatator who kept the conversation going. Actually with Kam Weng and Kong Beng ( who is in his lecturer mode), he did not have any problem getting the conversation going! The emphasis is on the definition of the gospel and the kingdom of God. Kong Beng made a good point about compassion in sharing the gospel. Sherman raised a few eyebrows with his Eastern Orthodox view about theosis and continuing salvation.
The questions from the floor are good questions too. One person raised the statement that if the church is growing at 30% annually, why should they bother about anything else? This led to some responses about spiritual growth, gospel and more about kingdom of God.
This promises to be a good start for the conference. This posting is mainly about my immediate impressions. I shall post my reflections on this conference later. BTW they are videotaping the sessions who emergent Malaysia shall be selling for RM 20.00. Check their website for more information.