Steve Chalke, the Baptist minister and founder of the Oasis Trust who sent shockwaves through the evangelical community when he declared his support for same-sex relationships, has criticised the traditional Christian understanding of 'Original Sin'. In a new series of online study resources developed for the Open Church Network, Chalke argues that a historic misreading of Genesis 3 has led to centuries of guilt and needless religiously induced shame. He says the doctrine mistakes the biblical view of God's relationship with humanity and has resulted in untold misery for generations of churchgoers. Chalke says Western readings of the story of Adam and Eve have been coloured by St Augustine's interpretation, which is different from understandings present in the Eastern Orthodox tradition. 'We make some assumptions that aren't there,' he says 'The story of Adam and Eve and the eating of the fruit that's been forbidden from them doesn't mention Original Sin. It doesn't even tell us that the serpent is really Satan.'
FOUNDATIONS 8 ANNUAL WEEKDAY CONFERENCE
... but it really was a special conference. The Hebraic Church day was amazing. I think the Lord was showing His approval and blessing by making an open heaven. Nancy
Firstly thank you foundations and well done ... I so appreciated the depth of fellowship with so many wise old heads ... Ginnie
The more I reflect on the past week the more convinced I am becoming that something vital is being birthed... Chris
:-) :-) :-) Jo
It is really hard to know where to start. Could it be that night in a Premier Inn over a year ago when the words Hebraic Church came to me as part of a divine download? Or the time since then, wrestling with this concept despite the opposition and misunderstandings, trying to figure out what these words meant? Or was it when 100+ folk experienced them in action in a tiny corner of England last week?
My greatest fear in the weeks before was the weather, we really needed the Wednesday, Hebraic Church day, to be rain free, as most activities were to be outside. God truly blessed us with beautiful weather with wonderful sunshine throughout Wednesday, in fact an open heaven in all senses of the words.
They came from far and wide, from Dublin to Aberdeen, South Devon to the Kent coast. A (mostly) grey army of intrepid souls, particularly the 40% who, being Foundations newbies, weren’t quite sure what they were letting themselves in for. To be honest, none of us were really sure ...
As it's still fresh in my mind, here are some thoughts before they drift away. Foundations 8 was, by unanimous consensus, our best yet. Here are four reasons why I believe this was so.
Firstly the environment provided by Abbot Hall hotel was just right for us. The hotel may have been on the small side, but it provided the intimacy that was a major factor to the fantastic atmosphere of unity and co-operation that prevailed. The staff were incredible and so helpful, going far beyond the nominal service we have received at some other places we have been at. Secondly the structure of the conference worked really well, particularly the elements that provided for personal expression. The high points were the yeshivas that involved up to a half of delegates and last for up to 90 minutes - challenging times for our teachers, but an invaluable experience for all. Also the 'show & tell' hour each day was enormously successful, where seventeen people were able to share what was on their heart, from leeks to hobbies, reminiscenses to hints for godly living. The image of the 'Von Stevenson' family singing together will live long in the memory. Finally, the craft tables provided a valuable oasis for some, a trigger for great conversations and a wonderful outlet for creative impulses!
Thirdly, God had brought together a fantastic group of people. The teaching, spearheaded by our 'Bible men' David Andrew and Chris Hill, was not just excellent but, as the theme of the conference demanded, was a spur to action and will ensure that what happened at Abbot Hall will not stay at Abbot Hall! My team stretched to 30 people, each playing their part in the jigsaw but it was fair to say that everyone there contributed in one way or another. There are just too many examples to mention here. If you were there please send us your testimonies!
Finally we thank God for tying it all together and ministering to everyone who was there perhaps in ways that will only become apparent over the coming days. A lot of work went into this conference, it was all so worth it!
One of the F8 'Freedom in the Spirit' tracks was a Prayer Board for issues affecting our Nation, and the church in the Nation. A few intrepid folks gathered on several occasions and penned the following topics on the board, which were duly prayed for. In the light of current events (early June 2017 - terrorist attacks, surprise general election, Brexit negotiations starting in earnest a few days later), prayer about these topics is still vitally important, so we are sharing them here for the Saltshakers community to engage with!
>>>>> Freedom in mind and spirit <<<<<
Building on the success of last year’s ground-breaking conference, the accent of Foundations 8 is … more of the same! Our aim is to see families and friends, young and old, experience the freedom that comes through worshipping Jesus Hebraically and for everyone to meet with their God in a way that is just right for them.
This will be held at Abbot Hall Hotel, Kents Bank, Grange-Over-Sands LA11 7BG from Monday April 3rd to Friday April 7th 2017.
What is it? A weekday residential conference held at Quinta Christian Centre, Weston Rhyn, Oswestry SY10 7LR from Monday April 18th to Friday April 22nd 2016. Is the Church today really the best it can be, in the sense of empowering Christians to reach their potential and providing a God-centred, valid and uncompromising expression of the faith we have inherited from past generations? Can we dare to do things a little differently?
FOUNDATIONS NORTH WEST WEEKEND CONFERENCE
FEBRUARY 24th - 26th, Abbot Hall hotel, Grange over Sands
£185 (ensuite) / £165 (standard)
£20 off if you also book another Foundations conference in 2017
This conference is a must if you really want to understand how the CHURCH needs to think about ISRAEL and the JEWISH PEOPLE. Have your questions answered and your views heard. Just for starters, the following will be discussed:
- Does the Church understand the Gospel, never mind Israel?!
- Why most evangelical believers understanding of the Gospel is anti-semitic (even those who understand God’s purposes for Israel)
- The Gospel is more than saved sinners getting to heaven, more even than saved sinners being made like Jesus. Discuss
- How do the Covenants of the Old Testament relate to the New Covenant?
- The New Covenant was made with the Houses of Israel and Judah, already! What place in, or claim on, that, do Goyim have?
Agree? Disagree? Come to Abbot Hall and have your say!
“Bridget and I wish to place on record our sincere thanks to Steve, Monica and yourselves for what was another touch of Heaven as we worshipped together at Bungay. And of course to Yeshua Himself who made it all possible. As seasoned conference samplers, we rejoice in new pathways, new experiences, new insights and a new depth of relationship with Him and His Saints“ John & Bridget Birch
There are your usual conferences, with conveyor-belt teaching and predictable programmes … then there are Foundations conferences! This is not an idle boast, simply a declaration that there can be new ways of doing things that can benefit people in ways that they never even imagined. When you pull away the structures that have been there for centuries, you may be left with chaos and anarchy, or perhaps something else … ?
The signals were there for those among the 58 intrepid souls who met at the end of September at Belsey Bridge conference centre and were having their first encounter with a Jo Jones worship session. Having rearranged the seating into a random configuration she initiated an evening of congregation-led singing, readings, proclamations, prophecies etc. At one point a choir of angels could be heard by some.
The teaching, by Peter Sammons, on his 20:20 vision for the Church was well received. Yet we only gave him four short slots, connected by sessions that we call Freedom in the Spirit. The idea was to give freedom for folk to digest and consider his teaching, whether through small yeshiva study sessions, quiet times of prayer and repentance, testimony and proclamation, prayer walks, dance and worship, bible reading or crafts ‘n’ chat. In the evening Jo switched things around by allowing various members of the congregation to take turns leading, having being pre-prompted. Meanwhile Jean Fletcher had started the conference timeline on a wallpaper roll, giving the story of the weekend and stretching halfway round the room by the end of the conference! And Michael Oakley continued to amaze us with his talents, taking on the job of 3 or 4 people in running the sound desk, doing announcements etc.
In the final morning we had a Rosh Hashanah presentation by a dance team trained by Ginnie and Rosie, followed by a choir tutored by Jo, followed by messianic worship led by Dave and Keila, dragging most to their feet. We shared cholla bread and the traditional apples and honey. This was followed by testimonies, prayer and healings (at least three recorded).
No recordings or words can describe the indescribable, the love and fellowship between those 58 people, many experiencing freedoms in worship (not just music!) they have never encountered before in church. It was truly a touch of heaven that weekend … but you really had to be there! A few have already declared their intention to book for our next regional, in Devon in December, despite the long travelling distances. How about you?