Prophetic Observation: The Old becomes New

I read this post by Matheus Lapa recently and asked if I could re-post here. Matheus is not even close to being half my age(!!) but I have a great zoom connection with him on a regular basis. Brazilian, living in Canada, married to Eduarda with soon to be two children. He is certainly one of a new generation ready to rise from Brazil with perspectives that will take the body of Christ out of the ghetto. Enough from me!!

“In this way, if anyone is united with the Messiah, they are a New Creation – the old has passed away; behold: what exists now is different and new!” (2 Corinthians 5:17).


Okay… Paul, a widely loved and studied figure in our days, right?! I suspect, however, that during his time it was not the case – for many, if we truly understood Paul, he wouldn’t be accepted by the overwhelming number of people who advocate for a “Pauline theology” today.

Paul was a sign of contradiction to his fellow countrymen and Jewish brothers due to Jesus’ call, the Messiah, on the road to Damascus, and he certainly represented a contradiction to Jesus’ disciples and the churches of his time: not only because he claimed that the apostles, who were considered something, had nothing to add to him (Galatians 2:6), but also by the way he lived his own life.

One of the situations that occurred was in Corinth, a city where Paul worked and nurtured a community. A group of super-apostles sought to undermine his apostolic authority, claiming to possess greater wisdom and authority, highlighting their eloquent preaching.

The marks of Paul’s apostolic authority should be seen in what these super-apostles rejected: his simplicity and humility, weakness, and his sufferings for the sake of the Body of Christ.

The emergence of new apostolic individuals will be characterized by a disregard for conforming to what is already established; they will envision a new path to be taken, which will require new expressions to fulfill what lies ahead. The structure of these apostolic individuals will not be about glamour and fame, eloquence and wisdom as the established order dictates. These men and women will be a contradiction: radically humble, intentionally servants, persevering patiently through the persecutions and resistances that will come their way.


Who will be able to perceive this new apostolic expression? Just like Paul as a new apostolic expression was not recognized and received by everyone as an apostle of Christ, even by those he had worked with for a long time. Only those who have a new perspective, new eyes, will recognize the new authority.

Paul addresses this issue in 2 Corinthians when he declares that he would not assume a posture expected by the super-apostles. The apostle states that “we should not judge anyone by worldly standards” (5:17). What does it mean to judge by worldly standards? It means to rely on human standards, to decide based on what is seen or heard. We judge by worldly standards whenever we fail to see others through Christ.

How can we know people in a different way? This question can be answered when we look to Jesus. As we understand how Jesus saw people, we will understand what our attitude should be toward the world. According to the Scriptures, the Messiah would “not judge by what he sees with his eyes, or decide by what he hears with his ears” (Isaiah 11:3).

To be inspired by the fear of the Lord is to have our inner being ordered toward the contemplation of God, relating to all things as God ordained. In practical terms, people who do not “judge by worldly standards” will never judge something about someone based on what they see or decide based on what they hear because they know that there is much more than what our eyes can see. God establishes this standard of relationship for the new creation as a break with this age.

Only those who have their perspectives renewed, ordered by the fear of the Lord, will recognize new apostolic expressions and will be developed, participating in the new horizons established by God.


The language of Scripture regarding the New Creation is marked by an imagery of continuity and discontinuity. For example, the vision of the New Creation as the final fulfillment of all things, where there is no more death and suffering, goes beyond the vision presented in the Old Testament. Isaiah’s vision of New Heavens and New Earth, a language used to describe the restoration of Israel, where the sins of the nation would be completely forgiven (Isaiah 65:17), the prophet sees the prosperity of the righteous but does not see the abolition of death: “For the young man shall die a hundred years old” (Isaiah 65:20). Thus, the New Creation (in Isaiah) is not something entirely different. It incorporates an ideal that is recognized by the Jewish mindset that was shaping a new understanding for the people of God – so it can say something about their identity, purpose, and hope for this present world.

Similarly, while this ultimate eschatological horizon, seen by the prophet John in the book of Revelation, has not yet arrived, we also need to articulate a language that is not only able to announce the reality of the New Creation but also generate an imagery that guides and orders life. This was the apostolic challenge of Paul, and I believe it will be ours as well: “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come” (2 Corinthians 5:17); “For neither circumcision counts for anything, nor uncircumcision, but a new creation” (Galatians 6:15). What does it mean to be a New Creation? How is the New Creation shaping today for the future? What are the signs we see today?

The challenge of this journey toward the ultimate eschatological horizon is what Isaiah would face if he had access to what John wrote about the reality of the New Creation: to have a framework capable of embracing both continuity and discontinuity, submitting to the process of being formed into a new form at each stage.


Paul’s apostolic activity is not related to what is now known as ‘church’. Paul was a builder – he was interested in forming New Communities for the New World of God. Thus, his instructions were not limited to ecclesiastical organization, but a social ordering of nations toward the one God and Lord.

The emergence of new apostolic expressions will also mark the formation of new communities that will be much broader in their scope, diverse in their expressions, and above all, marked by love. The context in which we are living as humanity is, in many ways, similar to what the early Christians experienced: they lived in a pre-Christian era, and today we live in a post-Christian era. This means that today we are in the exact context for the emergence of new community expressions.

Of course, this emergence will not be ‘easy’, the gaze of suspicion and distrust will remain, but it will be inevitable – they are already a reality, even if they cannot be seen now. In the coming years, new apostolic voices will present new expressions.

Kenarchy Volume 5

Volume 5 (‘Sovereignty Upended’) of the Kenarchy Journal is out.

A new aspect will be Zoom webinars with some of the authors. September 20th 2023 at 19.30hrs there will be the opportunity to meet with Anna Mercedes around her article “Kenosis in Catastrophe” that was published in Volume 4:1, and on September 21st at 19.30hrs the opportunity to discuss with Roger the relationship between kenarchy and sovereignty. (Times listed are UK time zone.) I will post details when nearer to the date, but best also to enlist via the contact form:

Post Pentecost

Always love the festivals and what took place in them, and thinking as to how faithful we are to what was initiated in them. Pentecost has just taken place and this year I have focused on the post-Pentecost comments:

Fellow Israelites, listen to what I have to say: Jesus of Nazareth, a man attested to you by God with deeds of power, wonders, and signs that God did through him among you, as you yourselves know—this man, handed over to you according to the definite plan and foreknowledge of God, you crucified and killed by the hands of those outside the law. But God raised him up… (Acts 2:22-24).

This Jesus God raised up (Acts 2:32).

Peter said, “I have no silver or gold, but what I have I give you; in the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, stand up and walk.” (Acts 3:36).

The little words such as ‘this’ Jesus has impacted me. What ‘Jesuses’ were not raised up? Quite pertinent as we all have a Jesus in part of our own making. The religious Jesus, the angry Jesus, the Jesus who looks like me…Those ones were not raised up!! Only Jesus of Nazareth, ‘this’ Jesus.

There has been a debate as to the difference of the Jesus of history and the Christ of faith, and the debate has been at an academic level… but in reality it should be at our level. I believe in Jesus (the Jesus the Christ of my faith… the Jesus of my making) but is the Jesus that I believe in the Jesus that was raised, the one that is identified as ‘this’ Jesus?

The other side of Pentecost there are some that we name Jesus that will increasingly be found to be in the grave. Time to go seek and find the Jesus that God raised… the one who does not look like Martin, and if I can truly leave all the others behind in the grave and can find the Jesus that God raised then I will find that Martin (unbelievably) begins to look a little like him. I will find him through being offended, in measure shocked… but oh what a release.

Latest ‘extended article’

Come on you just love to read what I write, so I have uploaded a new ‘extended article’ just for you!!!

They can all be found at this page:

This one is ‘Volume 3’. They are very much in line with the ‘Explorations’ series of books. This one is on Scripture where I advocate that we need a two-fold but intrinsically related approach of a historical and narratival perspective and understanding. I am not suggesting that this is at any level original to myself – others have pioneered such and similar approaches.

I do not go down a line of ‘inerrancy’ but am more than happy with the term ‘truth’ or ‘trustworthiness’. Exile – very much within Scripture and the Jewish Wars of 66-70 (beyond Scripture but signalled as forthcoming) are two major events.

Either go the page I outline above or click on the link below to open (and then you can download) the pdf version (there is also an epub version at the above page).

The Wonder Habit

I don’t often promote other sites here, but this one… oh yes!

Gayle and I met Michele Perry 2012 just as we moved to Cádiz, and have kept in touch with her over the years. A remarkable resilient and creative person. Check out this photo:

(Don’t try this at home!!!)

Michele has a new venture: The Wonder Habit… Check it out to see what she means when she describes it as a framework for cultivating simple everyday practices that deepen creativity, build resilience, and strengthen wholehearted connection to ourselves, one another, and the world around us.

In our language

Not too long to Pentecost, so full of significance that indicated a new era was underway. There is within it a reversal of Babel / Babylon with the miracle of languages. I am not very good with languages, and had to take the report on the chin that told me that my level of English was such that if ever I lived in an English speaking country I should look for a job that involved simple instructions but not extended conversation (a test on English as a second language). However…

Twice to my knowledge I have spoken in a language that I did not know, and was unaware that I was speaking a known language. First time was pretty conventional. For some reason I prayed for someone and after a few opening words in English I thought ‘just pray over them in tongues’. I did so, thought nothing more of it. They went back to their seat and asked those that they came with ‘where did he learn my language?’ Did I speak Albanian, or did he hear Albanian? Who knows – the important thing is that ‘he heard it in his language.’

The second time was less conventional. I was (and from the context one can see that both examples are from a couple of decades ago) in a setting that I considered overtly religious, the ‘apostles’ of the city were gathered sitting in the front row. I could tell that they were not really open to my message which amongst other elements would have contained ‘they are not your people and it is not your money’… I got so far and I thought I know what to do. I need to shout out as loud as I can some gibberish. Let’s see how that is responded to. So I waited till the translator had finished my last sentence and I gave it a good blast. The interpreter had tears rolling down his cheeks, the moment having connected to his humour. People fell to the floor laughing; the front row was sitting more upright than before. I had no idea what had happened until it was explained to me that I had repeated an insult a 5 year old might give to an adult and then run off before they can be chastised… I had repeated it perfectly… in a language I had no knowledge of. A miracle.

Oh and what did I say that was so anointed? Well this is how it was translated back to me:

Your face looks like your arse.

Twice. The first time in his language – wow that is so kind.

The second time – in the language of the people and the apostles. Wow – quite a wake up call; stop hiding behind position, status and religion.

Back to the end

I’m planning on revising, re-jigging, re-doing… whatever the right word is – I am planning on looking again at eschatology. Not sure how different it will be from the series I recorded some 14 years ago (; probably slightly nuanced and perhaps from occasional different angles but I would expect pretty much along the same lines.

Like most subjects how one reads the Scriptures will determine what one draws out of it, so that is probably where I will start. If the texts (and by that I mean OT texts in the main) are predictions then we will be looking for fulfilments that are literal; if the texts are not predictions by definition they will not have been fulfilled (literally) but if we continue to read them as predictions, guess what, we will be looking for the fulfilment any day soon! Newspaper in one hand, imagination on speed and hey-ho conspiracy theories will prosper!

Here are a few of my foundational approaches:

Prophecy is not history written in advance. The history book can tell me what took place in the (say) 14th Century, but prophecy is not the unfolding of what is about to take place in the 21st Century in the sense of a set of events. Scripture was not written to us, but it is written for us. We are not Jews with prophets giving us a hope for the end of the Babylonic exile; and prophets writing about that hope are not writing to us, but the words remain with power for us.

Prophecy is not always fulfilled. This is a big one to grasp. If within Scripture (and within the same books at times) there is prophecy that reads as a prediction and then it is also recorded that it did not take place this must make us cautious about insisting on a literal fulfilment. Jesus is the centre, not the periphery of prophecy. Even when there is a fulfilment (the young woman will be with child in Isaiah’s day) the fulfilment is through a young submissive woman in the opening pages of the Gospels.

Prophecy releases hope (it is promise not prediction) and the hope is often expressed in the current context: the worship of Yahweh in Egypt and Syria is a case in point (Ezek.19). What a hope! The two powerful nations that sandwiched Israel in the ‘fertile crescent’ taking not only the worship of Israel’s God but being given titles that were given to Israel by God was a hope that would have expanded all vision… Literal fulfilment? Or to be fulfilled when all nations acknowledge the God of Israel? By all means use the Scripture to pray for Egypt and Syria; by all means prophesy a great visitation in those lands… but to hold it as ‘therefore this will take place’. Promise, promise, promise. Promise goes far beyond a literal fulfilment (hence again the point that all the promises of God are in Jesus). As I comment in my article on Galatians ( the coming of Jesus changes everything – so radically that to re-establish what once defined transgression would be to become a transgressor!

And I think we have to connect the end (eschatology) to the beginning (protology). The project that was inaugurated with the words ‘In the beginning God…’ will be completed by God. Burning up, throwing on the scrap heap is not an option. Israel called under her oppression to God; Pharaoh that oppressor. Now the whole of creation calls out under her oppression; humanity the oppressor. But God hears, not in order to destroy but to liberate.

And maybe I have to give some consideration that we have so many words before us in the 66 books that I work with as canon but maybe… If with a whole story line of hope there were many in Jesus’ day who studied the Scriptures but missed the day of visitation, perhaps not just those dispensationalists who work hard (if there was a Greek word behind that term I would translate it as ‘manipulate’), but perhaps the level headed people such as the current writer might also miss what is going on; maybe there will be some twists and it is not as we think. There remains some common hopes – resurrection of the dead; renewed creation; God changing address – but as for the process: ah well I will write and record but in it all hope that is firm and cautious with any series of events.

Coronation… interesting word

Putting a crown on someone… No I have not watched the events today in the UK, but it has been on in the background. A big event – but what kind of event? Head of the church of England (the monarch), and the archbishop anoints the king… wow – mutual submission or confusion?

Before quoting a little Scripture (little???) a disclaimer: I am not from the elite (now who was invited to the coronation?), nor am I from the church as organisation background (I like to claim an anaBaptist streak), nor am I a royalist (does not mean I am anti-royalist) so would not be able to swear allegiance – of course I claim that my Teacher seemed clear on that – not to swear. So a little Scripture:

Then all the elders of Israel gathered together and came to Samuel at Ramah and said to him, “You are old, and your sons do not follow in your ways; appoint for us, then, a king to govern us, like other nations.” [T]he Lord said to Samuel, “Listen to the voice of the people in all that they say to you, for they have not rejected you, but they have rejected me from being king over them… But the people refused to listen to the voice of Samuel; they said, “No! We are determined to have a king over us, so that we also may be like other nations and that our king may govern us and go out before us and fight our battles.” 

Not very encouraging! Ah well there is one to follow Saul who is one chosen as he will be ‘after God’s own heart’ – but what could that mean? Could be he liked the harp and sang some great songs – that will take him a long way… but maybe ‘ok we got royalty in place, now empty it of power, and make it redundant’. I kind of think the latter, particularly as ‘king of the Jews’ title was nailed to the cross.

I don’t go for the ‘Christian nation’ label as it seems to mix two words that are oxymoronic, but if a nation is a ‘Christian nation’ surely the inauguration of a ‘king / queen’ is a testimony to a nation not being Christian and simply as one of the [other] nations?

Monarchy – yes or no – not an issue for me, but to raise it up as being a sign of a particular nation being elevated in status just does not cut it for me. ‘Defender of faith’… not really the role of anyone for everyone; maybe ‘defender of faiths’ could be more Christian as the cross opens the way to the Father (faith) and leaves open the door for anyone to pursue whatever faith they desire to profess (faiths and non-faith).

Another little (repeated) Scripture:

In those days everyone did what was right in their own eyes as there was no king in the land.

A royalist vision… but maybe ironically a vision worth pulling for. Everyone doing what they saw as right – was that not the prophetic vision? Where no one needed someone else to teach them the right way? The solution in the above Scripture – get us a king… But I think the real solution – heal my eye-sight.

Of course what I have written above has very little bearing on today’s ceremony. But maybe where we place our allegiance is to be questioned. Meanwhile life carries on – sight of Jesus seems to be relevant, deeply personal and applicable to one and all – royalists included.

Influence, convert or no hope?

Larry Fink, the ‘most powerful person in Wall Street’ was recently in Spain and here are a few excerpts from the interview… But first, who is Larry Fink, I hear. He is the CEO of BlackRock, the largest money management firm in the world. If BlackRock were a country it would be the third largest economy on the planet – behind USA and China. Here then are a few quotes from the interview:

With respect to investments:

It’s a zero sum game. For some to win, others must lose (emphasis added).

I believe everything BlackRock does is sell hope.

Hope for who? Hope for what?

In the recent collapse of FTX (crypto exchange) BlackRock lost $18million. How did Fink respond to that?

We lost $18 million, which in the context of $9 trillion assets under management, was nothing.

It was nothing! And underlying the reply of course is that the only measurement worth using is that of money.

The value system is out there. Money, so-called wealth, over people. The flow has to be one way, some will lose (‘others’ – the majority?). Meanwhile, the Galilean peasant from the first Century hands the money to the thief; talks of a new era of hope for the poor. The flow for BlackRock mirrors what John saw on the isle of Patmos as he watched the boats head for Rome with their 28 cargoes inside, those cargoes including ‘human souls’. And then in a subversive way John drops into the narrative that the Lamb (appearing 7 times) is given for the four-fold description for humanity (7×4).

A big question – hence the title. Can BlackRock (and all like it) be influenced to move toward something more redemptive – by which I do not mean something perfect; can those such as Larry Fink be ‘converted’ in the sense of toward kingdom values; or is the whole system beyond hope – and if so when does the call to ‘come out of her my people’ need to be shouted?

No answers here from this person… the questions remain.

God, humans… but Jesus

Karl Barth once wittily remarked,

One can not speak of God simply by speaking of man in a loud voice.

God wholly different, set apart; cannot project from here to there and think that in the ‘there’ that we have pointed to that we have discovered God. Well said Mr. B!

BUT, let’s put another ‘quote’ following KB’s:

One cannot speak of God by saying ‘humanity’ in a loud voice…
but even with the softest voice, and even if we tentatively say ‘Jesus’ we have truly spoken of God.

God is wholly different (the meaning of holiness) AND has become one of us, and I think given the resurrection, we can add ‘for ever’. (And just to push that one step further, hence in parenthesis, so no need to read if it is a step too far for the reader… after all, we do not want to offend do we? For ever, human, but not now male… nor female.)

The radical nature of the Christian faith is that the Christian God reveals Godself in human form. God is beyond human, but not so wholly different. We cannot shout ‘Martin’ and immediately God is manifest, but we can whisper ‘Jesus’ and God is present. (Yet as I whisper Jesus, increasingly as someone else raises the volume of their voice and says ‘Martin’ a little bit of God becomes present… ‘follow me as I follow Christ’ being the paradigm.)

We should always realise that even when we talk of the best that is within humanity we have not fully talked of God for ‘fallenness’ runs throughout humanity; but when we talk of Jesus (for there is no other God than the one revealed by Jesus – revelation being personal not propositional) we really are talking of God. Not only is the Christology of the New Testament a high one (Jesus is God) but it is high in the sense of raising the bar as to what it means to be human.

I pursue some of this in the book ‘Humanising the Divine’… where I use the paradigm of Jesus being fully God (we are not); fully human (this we share) and also uniquely truly human (we are being redeemed into this image). Sin therefore is not about a set of laws, but about falling short of the glory of God, of failing to be truly human.

BTW… from time to time I hold Zoom sessions on the book(s) – if interested you can send me an email here:

Here is a link to a little more on the book series:

And to purchase ‘Humanising the Divine’: