Thursday, October 12, 2006

questions questions

Just a few questions from the last 24 hours of conversation

1. is reincarnation compatible with Christian faith? (someone else's question, not mine!)

2. does 'new forms of church' work any better than old forms at reaching the unchurched, given that people with no church background are becoming Christians through 'normal' churches?

3. does the fact that there are fewer lists in the New Testament than the Old (2 genealogies in Matthew and Luke compared to Chronicles, Numbers etc.) mean that lists still have a small place in God's plan of salvation, or are we supposed to fulfil the hope of the Bible by not having them at all?

4. do we need formal structures in order to work together as churches, or do we, in having formal structures, spend so much time getting the structures right (e.g. ecumenical covenants) that we'd be better off not bothering with them and just getting on with mission and ministry together on an informal and relational basis? Or is that a false opposition and can you have the best of both?


  1. Dear David,

    I do believe now that reincarnation is compatible with Christianity. I love the poem The Creed by John Masefield:-

    I hold that when a person dies
    His soul returns again to earth,
    Arrayed in some new flesh-disguise,
    Another mother gives him birth
    With sturdier limbs and brighter brain
    The old soul takes the road again.

    I like the "brighter brain" - it reminds me of Jung's collective unconscious and Teilhard de Chardin's noosphere.

    God bless,


  2. Bono has a lot to say about the opposition between Grace and Karma: either I get what's coming to me, every time (bad news), or there is forgiveness, grace and the possibility of a new start (good news), which is what Jesus offers. Reincarnation feeds off Karma, whilst resurrection breaks the cycle: what happens to Jesus following his death is the world preview of what happens to anyone who trusts and follows Jesus.

    I'm all for sturdier limbs and brighter brain, but then I can't see a lot of evidence of brighter brains on the planet at the moment. We might be advancing technologically, but whether we're advancing morally and spiritually is a very open question. Again, resurrection is good news: we get sturdier limbs and brighter brains, but in a place (the new creation) where we can actually make the most of them, rather than the lottery of being reborn as one of 6 billion souls, most of whom are worse off than we are.

  3. jge

    I would rather believe in the doctrine of Karma than that of heaven and hell.