Thursday, 25 December 2014

GOD'S INVASION FORCE

As usual, Doug Wilson says it best...

"This dark planet had been captured by the evil one, and all its walls and turrets were bristling with all the armaments that the principalities and powers could muster. In the center of that city, in the midst of that camp, in the heart of that militant darkness, God sent His champion. He sent a baby."

Merry Christmas!

Saturday, 20 December 2014

HEADING BACK TO GENESIS?




 The old year wanes and the start of a new year beckons (yes I know there is still a little something to come first) and for some of you that means that you will shortly be completing your sojourn through the entire sixty-six books of the Bible.

 Perhaps at this very moment you are being mystified by the Book of Revelation for the 24th straight year in a row and are preparing thereafter to begin your odyssey anew back in Genesis.

All sixty-six books in twelve months.

Perhaps you’ve done this every year since you got saved. Perhaps this was what some well-meaning soul told you twenty years ago and so you have stuck with it ever since.

Saturday, 6 December 2014

ON WHITE, BLACK, AND A RED MIST



 Media traffic across the pond continues to be dominated by the Grand Jury verdict in the tragic death of Eric Garner (video here but be advised it contains distressing scenes).  

 Following hard on the heels of the decision not to arraign in the Michael Brown shooting in Ferguson, it has served to ramp up the heat under America’s always-simmering race cauldron.

 Standing at a distance I am always struck by how much of a trauma race seems to represent to the American psyche compared to here in the UK.

Friday, 28 November 2014

THE SHADOW OF THE PAST

Their faces peer at us from the shelf of every Christian bookshop. The names differ, but the photograph is always the same.

The close-up image clearly reveals every scar and pockmark of the skin. A shock of almost skinhead hair frames steely eyes that glare at us with more than a suggestion of malice, the lips almost but not quite forming into a snarl.

It is the image of the hard man. It communicates to us a sense of menace and it is intended to.

Monday, 24 November 2014

MAYBE...



Apparently the folks at Biologos, those redoubtable proponents of Theistic Evolution, are about to spend spend $3.6 million dollars convincing the rest of us of their beliefs

But what beliefs?

Go and read the whole article at The Aquila Report. Some of the quotes are priceless…
 

“The BioLogos website gives three options regarding the existence of Adam and Eve: “One option is to view Adam and Eve as a historical pair living among many 10,000 years ago, chosen to represent the rest of humanity before God.  Another option is to view Genesis 2-4 as an allegory in which Adam and Eve symbolize the large group of ancestors who lived 150,000 years ago. Yet another option is to view Genesis 2-4 as an ‘everyman’ story, a parable of each person’s individual rejection of God.”

 “Wheaton College Old Testament professor John Walton…sees Adam as a real person but one whom God did not literally make from the dust of the ground.”


"Eastern University biology professor David Wilcox is using a BioLogos grant to write a book about human origins models. He’s still weighing the options, but leans toward a model where Adam is the “chieftain” of a small, ancient tribe.”


"Oliver Crisp, a professor at Fuller Theological Seminary, says of Adam and Eve, “Maybe God implants in this pair a moral awareness and a likeness to God…”

 “Deb Haarsma says BioLogos does not have a set position on whether Adam and Eve were historical individuals or symbolic…these are questions that we’re researching and discussing.”

 
Do you think that maybe these people aren’t actually sure what they believe themselves?

Perhaps one option would be that they should spend a little more time getting their own (evolved) ducks in a row before spending all that money telling the rest of Christendom what to think.     

Maybe?

Saturday, 22 November 2014

ON MARRIAGE. THE CHURCH & THE STATE

My self-imposed blogging purdah has not prevented my taking note of the fact that over in the US, Russell Moore, the president of the Southern Baptist's Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission (ERLC) has been taking a degree of flak from certain quarters over his decision to attend the Vatican's "Colloquium on Marriage and the Family" earlier this month.

His own defence of his position is here

For myself, I have no problem with what Moore did in attending the Vatican. Marriage is a creation ordinance, and one of the bulwarks of every society on earth. It is necessary as Moore says, "for human flourishing and social good."

Saturday, 8 November 2014

GETTING JOHN 3:16 RIGHT

Blogging light to non-existent at present as I am busy with other things.

However I had to post this excellent article I came across on how we often mis-use John 3:16. It may be just about the only verse some Christians know but how often we get it wrong!


Saturday, 1 November 2014

MARS HILL: THE LESSONS WE MUST LEARN



Having followed the saga for this long I guess I had better say a few words about the final demise of Mars Hill that was announced yesterday.

Some may wonder why I have concerned myself with this particular scandal when there is so much in what purports to be evangelicalism that is manifestly so much worse.

Well, in a way that’s the point.

Friday, 31 October 2014

VAIN PURSUITS


 Albert Mohler provides us here an excellent article on the origins of Halloween. 

When I was a lad (which I hasten to add was not as long ago as all that!) this night's importance in popular culture was easily eclipsed by that of the upcoming 5th November celebrations commemorating the demise of the Roman Catholic plot to blow up our Protestant parliament.

 Nowadays though Guy Fawkes has almost completely surrendered to the ghostly battalion of ghosts, ghouls and goblins.

 This might be due to the increasing occultic influence in society or (as I suspect) it is likely more attributable to the relentless Americanisation of our culture, since "trick or treat" is an imported term altogether unknown to my childhood.

HAPPY REFORMATION DAY!




Thursday, 30 October 2014

LIGONIER SURVEY

This survey commissioned by Ligonier Ministries of the theological beliefs of Americans seems to have created something of a stir (though I suspect that it was intended to).

The stated aim was "to measure the theological awareness of adult Americans."

They say,

"Anecdotal evidence has shown an increasing lack of theological understanding in America, both outside and inside the church. Ligonier Ministries wanted to understand with accuracy the extent of the need to improve that understanding."


Well, Ligonier certainly got their answer.

Friday, 24 October 2014

CUT & PASTE FORGIVENESS



                         let no one deceive you with empty words” (Eph 5:6)


The fall out from Mark Driscoll’s resignation at Mars Hill continues.

 There is much that could be said about this saga but most of it has been said already by those far more capable than I am to address it.

 However there is one aspect of the drama that has especially struck me, and that I have never seen highlighted elsewhere, and is an issue that actually goes far beyond the problems at Mars Hill.  

Saturday, 18 October 2014

HILLSONG: CAN TWO WALK TOGETHER?

This has been simmering for a long while and must soon come to the boil

That Hillsong should run into trouble on the issue of homosexuality was as predictable as the ol' currant bun peeping its head over the horizon this morning.

The Hillsong brand is, and always has been, predicated upon the notion that Church services can be so dumbed down and made attractive to unsaved people that it is possible to assemble each Sunday morning a sizeable gathering of the unregenerate, whilst also also retaining just enough evangelical flavour to avoid losing all but a few of the genuine "little flock" of Christ to the Baptists' down the road.

Thursday, 16 October 2014

CLEAR FENCES BUT LOW




“Denominations are good, not bad, because they allow each church to follow Jesus according to conscience, and they keep strife between Christians of different convictions at bay… Keep clear fences but keep them low, and shake hands over them often.”
                                                                                                             Mark Dever

Wednesday, 15 October 2014

CHRISTIAN MISSION TO ISLAM (2)

In Part I we looked at the challenge faced by the Church due to the growing influence of Islam in the UK.

In Part II we consider the opportunities that are presented to us for the propagation of the Gospel.



Dawah & the Opportunity for Engagement
As we have said, Islam is a missionary religion. The Qur’an exhorts Muslims to call people to God “with wisdom and good exhortation” (Surah 16:125).  This call to Islam, termed dawah, is a mixture of what we would call witnessing and apologetics and every Muslim is commanded to perform it.[i]  Because of the Quranic injunction we will discover that most Muslims are open to religious discussion and will engage very respectfully with Christian beliefs. 

Tuesday, 14 October 2014

STATEHOOD NOW!

The vote in the House of Commons yesterday has once again turned our attention to the Middle East & to the gross abuse of human rights that we witness there every day.

While the world watches and does nothing, a stateless, oppressed people continues its long struggle for freedom and self-determination.

Effectively prisoners in their own land - a land in which they have dwelt in continuously since biblical times- they remain subject to a brutal occupation and an increasingly punishing siege of their territory.  

  Long-denied the basic human rights that the rest of us take for granted - secure borders, free elections, even access to basic food and medical supplies - they continue their pitiful struggle against oppression.  

 Outgunned and outnumbered by their foe they still struggle on, all the time seeking only a just peace and the right to live free of persecution and the grinding poverty which blights their daily existence.

But sadly British MPs, like trendy Church of England clerics, the BBC, and indeed much of the rest of the world, appear completely uninterested in the plight of the KURDS.



Sunday, 12 October 2014

ONE MIND, ONE PURPOSE



"The organic unity of the Scriptures proves them to be the product of one mind. They were not only so united that we cannot believe one part without believing the whole; we cannot believe the New Testament without believing the Old; we cannot believe the Prophets without believing the Law; we cannot believe Christ without believing his Apostles; but besides all this they present the regular development, carried on through centuries and millenniums, of the great original promise, “The seed of the woman shall bruise the serpent’s head.”

                                                                                                        Charles Hodge

Friday, 10 October 2014

WHAT GOD SAYS AGAIN...AND AGAIN




“In this connection I journeyed to Damascus with the authority and commission of the chief priests. At midday, O king, I saw on the way a light from heaven, brighter than the sun, that shone around me and those who journeyed with me. And when we had all fallen to the ground, I heard a voice saying to me in the Hebrew language,’ Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting me? It is hard for you to kick against the goads.’ And I said, ‘Who are you, Lord?’ And the Lord said, ‘I am Jesus whom you are persecuting.  But rise and stand upon your feet, for I have appeared to you for this purpose, to appoint you as a servant and witness to the things in which you have seen me and to those in which I will appear to you,  delivering you from your people and from the Gentiles—to whom I am sending you  to open their eyes, so that they may turn from darkness to light and from the power of Satan to God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins and a place among those who are sanctified by faith in me.’

                                                                                                (Acts 26:12-18 ESV)

          Why three accounts of the Damascus Road conversion?


Our Wednesday night bible studies continue in the Book of Acts.

This week saw us dealing with Paul's account of his conversion on the road to Damascus (Acts 26: 12-18). Luke has already furnished us with versions of this same event in chapters nine and twenty-two, making this one of those relatively rare events which the Holy Spirit has provided to us on no less than three occasions.

  A notable Old Testament example of the same is the siege of Jerusalem under Sennacherib (2 Kin 18:13-37; 2 Chr 32:1-22; Isa 36:1-37:38), and of course it is seen most obviously in the Synoptic Gospels where diligent study of the parallel accounts found there always yields great rewards.

 We may often wonder why such repetition should occur in the Bible at all, and I am sure we are sometimes tempted to move on quickly past a story that we think we are already familiar with. But that would certainly be a mistake in this present instance, since there is information found here that is not divulged in either of those two earlier accounts.

Thursday, 9 October 2014

I AM WHAT IT SAYS I AM


                 "This is my Bible,
                       I am what it says I am,
                        I have what it says I have,
                          I can do what it says I can do"

"For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy,  without natural affection, trucebreakers, false accusers, incontinent, fierce, despisers of those that are good, traitors, heady, highminded, lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God; having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof" (2 Tim 3:2-5)

"For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears;  And they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables." (2 Tim 4: 3-4)

"...walking according to their own lusts, and they mouth great swelling words, flattering people to gain advantage" (Jude 16)





Wednesday, 8 October 2014

CHRISTIAN MISSION TO ISLAM (1)

                       The Challenge & the Opportunity in the UK today

                      Material originally presented as a position paper in 2013

The Demographic Challenge
When the Apostolic Church UK was founded Islam was a religion of people who lived on the other side of the world. Today it is the religion of people who live on the other side of the street.


The demographic sea-change in recent decades was evidenced in the Census statistics for 2011 which showed a rise in the number of Muslims in England & Wales, with the proportion of the population standing at 4.8%, that is 2.7 million, up from 1.65 million in 2001.i This expansion is mirrored in most other Western countries and has led many Muslims to claim their religion to be the fastest-growing on the planet. 

Monday, 6 October 2014

THE REAL UNITARIANS




“…but out of the desert, from the dry places and the dreadful suns, come the cruel children of the lonely God; the real Unitarians who with scimitar in hand have laid waste the world. For it is not well for God to be alone.”

                                                       G K Chesterton The Romance of Orthodoxy

Saturday, 4 October 2014

DIVIDING WORD FROM FLESH

A superb 22 point demolition here at the 9Marks blog of the Multi-site Church model which seems so popular in the US.

These two especially hit it out of the park for me.


7. Multi-site churches which use video preaching unwittingly communicate that singing is more significant for Christian growth and closer to the heart of worship than hearing God’s preached Word. After all, how many multi-site churches stream their music over video from a central location? A church wouldn’t dare import the music, it’s thought. People need to engage with a live band. People need their music authentic, personal, enfleshed. But preaching? Apparently, it can be imported from afar.


20. In an age which wants authenticity and reality, multi-site is ironically anti-incarnational: it divides Word from flesh.



Friday, 3 October 2014

BEST LEFT BEHIND

(sigh) Here we go again.

Just when you think that a particularly pernicious little doctrine may finally have breathed its last, somebody comes along and tries to give it the kiss of life via the blockbuster movie treatment.

It is worse still when it is a movie that has a (former?) Hollywood A-lister in the lead role and so is likely to attract more than the usual amount of interest from the wider cinema-going public.

I suggest it might be former A-lister because the cynic in me wonders if Nicholas Cage would be seen dead in a Christian movie unless his career was on its uppers. But I digress.

The movie, of course, is Left Behind which is released in the UK tomorrow.

Wednesday, 1 October 2014

GROOVES IN THE SAND

Writing the previous post reminded me about this...




Original image at @Fred_Butler on Twitter


HOW MANY "FEAR NOTS"?

      
    "There are 365 "fear nots" in the Bible- that's one for every day of the year."


I'm sure that we' ve all heard it said a hundred times before, but I have to admit that right from the first time I heard the statement I have been more than a tad sceptical about it.

The Bible is a big book but that 365 figure always seemed to me to be a bit on the high side.

 After all it works out at an average of 5.53 occurences per book and, having checked, I know for a fact that some books (like Obadiah) don't contain any "fear nots" at all!

Monday, 29 September 2014

THE POTENCY OF PRAYER


"The potency of prayer hath subdued the strength of fire; it had bridled the rage of lions, hushed anarchy to rest, extinguished wars, appeased the elements, expelled demons, burst the chains of death, expanded the gates of heaven, assuaged diseases, repelled frauds, rescued cities from destruction, stayed the sun in its course, and arrested the progress of the thunderbolt. Prayer is an all-efficient panoply, a treasure undiminished, a mine which is never exhausted, a sky unobscured by clouds, a heaven unruffled by the storm. It is the root, the fountain, the mother of a thousand blessings
                                                                                                                     Chrysostom                                                                                          

Thursday, 25 September 2014

WHEN SILENCE PROVES NOTHING

Well, the old "Jesus never said anything about it" chestnut has surfaced once more.

It seems that no matter how many times this lame excuse for an apologetic is hit out of the park someone will always just keep on retrieving the ball and having another go.

This time however it comes with a twist.

FISHER OF MEN



I think it right, as long as I am in this body, to stir you up by way of reminder, since I know that the putting off of my body will be soon, as our Lord Jesus Christ made clear to me.  And I will make every effort so that after my departure you may be able at any time to recall these things.”     
                                                                                            (Read 2 Pet 1:13-15)

It is the end of the month and traditionally that is testimony night in Oxbridge.

 Tonight’s sharer can’t be here in person but he has provided for us his written testimony and I so I will read it out for us all tonight... 


“My name is Peter. The name means “rock” but in truth I haven’t always lived up to that name.   

Wednesday, 24 September 2014

THE GOOD-O-METER



I know that this has been doing the rounds of YouTube for a while but it bears repetition

I just love the nice twist near the end where he says to the man, "Not you...Him!"

Sunday, 21 September 2014

NOT A NURSERY

"This is not a praying age.

It is an age of great activity, of great movements, but one in which the tendency is very strong to stress the seen and the material and to neglect and discount the unseen and the spiritual..

...The prayer closet is not an asylum for the lazy and worthless Christian. It is not a nursery where none but babes belong. It is the battlefield of the Church, its citadel. It's the scene of heroic and unearthly conflicts.

The closet is the base of supplies for the Christian and the Church. Cut off from it there is nothing left but retreat and disaster."

            E.M. Bounds The Classic Collection on Prayer Bridge Logos p513-516

Tuesday, 16 September 2014

ISLAM & THE NEW TESTAMENT




Seemingly every day brings to us more depressing news from the Middle East.

 The depraved murders of Westerners which have dominated our TV screens over the last few weeks are only the most prominent examples of the sickening violence being perpetrated by the fanatical hordes of ISIS.

  Whilst the stiffened resistance of both the Kurds and the Shia Iraqis combined with the threat of new US airstrikes seems for the moment to be stemming the advance of ISIS,  as Christians we must understand that this is a spiritual battle and so isn’t going to be won by carnal weapons alone.

 For us prayer must be the weapon of choice and it will be fervent prayer that proves far more effectual than any guns or missiles!    

Wednesday, 10 September 2014

ON ROYAL BABIES, RACING DRIVERS, & THE RIGHT TO LIFE



As this blog’s diehard readership will be aware, I like nothing better than to scan the day’s headlines with a view to exploring the theological angle that is present in the events currently making the news.

This isn’t - or at least ought not to be- an especially difficult task since there is a theological angle to absolutely everything.  If in Christ all things hold together (Col 1:17), how could it be otherwise?    

The trick is being able to see what the angle might be, and also to see the connections between seemingly disparate events which upon examination can often turn out to be linked theologically.

Sunday, 7 September 2014

OBEDIENCE




“Do not be deceived, Wormwood. Our cause is never more in danger than when a human, no longer desiring, but still intending, to do our Enemy's will, looks round upon a universe from which every trace of Him seems to have vanished, and asks why he has been forsaken, and still obeys.”

                                                              C S Lewis The Screwtape Letters

Saturday, 6 September 2014

ONLY A PRAYER MEETING!




With the summer feeling as though it is well and truly over, we now resume our normal weekly schedule in Oxbridge including the indispensable midweek prayer meeting.

A good time to dust off a little classic on this most vital of subjects:

 “But now that we have come together, how shall we pray? Let us not degenerate into formality, or we shall be dead while we think we live. Let us not waver through unbelief, or we shall pray in vain. The Lord saith to his Church, “Open thy mouth wide, and I will fill it.” Oh, for great faith with which to offer great prayers!

  We have been mingling praise and prayer together as a delicious compound of spices, fit to be presented upon the altar of incense through Christ our Lord; may we not, at this time, offer some special far-reaching petition?

It is suggested to me that we pray for a true and  genuine revival of religion throughout the world.”

  
               Only a Prayer Meeting! C H Spurgeon Christian Heritage Puiblishers p9

 Amen to that!

Wednesday, 3 September 2014

NEVER MIND THE NEPHILIM



 It occurs to me that if there were one surefire way for an impoverished pastor to boost his monthly income it would be by exacting a charge from every person who ever asked him the question, “Who were the Nephilim in Genesis 6?”

 Forget the Prosperity Gospel or the Church Growth Movement. This is undoubtedly the strategy for getting the pastoral cash tills ringing.  

Not that I can ever provide the questioner with any kind of a definitive answer, you understand

In fact, it always appears to me that the person who raises the query is already quite familiar with this rather strange and exotic area of bible knowledge, and probably knows rather more about than I do.

Sunday, 31 August 2014

THE CREATOR EXPLAINS




John C Lennox commenting on John 11:9-10


“It was his divine mind that had conceived of the idea of a vast nuclear furnace rolling through trackless space, warping space-time around it and thus holding earth captive in its orbit and bathed in its light and heat. It was his idea to put the source of light outside the world on which he would later place his supreme creation, men and women made in his image. And here he was, the Creator, standing on his specifically designed planet Earth, deigning to explain to a group of his human creatures why he had organised the solar system that way. I think we ought to listen, don’t you?"


          Cited from Seven Days That Divide The World John C Lennox Zondervan p106

Saturday, 30 August 2014

TYRANNIE SANS FRONTIERES



With a few weeks to go before the referendum on Scotland’s independence from the UK, opinion polls continue to show a significant lead for the “No” camp.

 This is not surprising since it is well-known that the status quo position always has a good chance to win out in these situations: as human beings we have a natural inclination towards the familiar, and a corresponding distaste and even outright fear of the unknown.  

 England and Scotland, enemies for long centuries, first forged a joint monarchy with the accession of Scotland’s James VI to the English throne in 1603.

Saturday, 23 August 2014

NICAEA MYTHS

Short vid from Dr James White once again debunking the notion that the Council of Nicaea debated the canon, specifically here the four gospels.

The Council did no such thing yet so many folks out there, not just Muslims, still repeat the nonsense.

The internet myth that just refuses to die!

Thursday, 21 August 2014

"CIVIS AMERICANUS SUM"



 In 1847 a Gibralterian Jewish merchant and British subject named Don Pacifico, having suffered an anti-semitic attack upon his property in Greece, found himself unable to obtain redress from the Greek government.

  It was the start of the so-called Don Pacifico Incident which I recall reading about in my A Level History studies

 Lord Palmerston eventually despatched the Royal Navy to Piraeus the main port of Athens in defence of the cause of this single British subject. The port was blockaded for two months until Don Pacifico was eventually awarded £500 compensation. 

“Civis Romanus sum” thundered the Prime Minister in Parliament, in justification of his actions.

"As the Roman, in days of old, held himself free from indignity, when he could say, Civis Roman Sum, so also a British subject, in whatever land he may be, shall feel confident that the watchful eye and the strong arm of England will protect him from injustice and wrong."

 It was a prime example of what became known as Palmerston’s “Gunboat Diplomacy,” an especially vigorous defence of Britain’s interests on the world stage.  

In the light of the brutal murder of American journalist James Foley by ISIS, opinions vary as to what response needs to be made. Some might tell us that as Christians we should turn the other cheek and forgive our enemies in this instance.

 But that would be a gross misreading of scripture in my view.

 The Sermon on the Mount was written as the morality code for individual Christian believers, not nation-states. The nation-state finds itself instead in Romans 13 territory, charged by God with the upholding of order, and therefore without the luxury of turning the other cheek.

                              he does not bear the sword in vain” (Rom 13:4)

 It is the US which currently bears the primary responsibility for the outworking of Romans 13 in the international arena. 

The sword may have given way to the gunboat, which in turn has given way to the F15 fighter jet but the principle remains the same.    

When God blesses a nation with the strategic upper hand on the world stage, that is a power which comes with great responsibility.

 In his day, Palmerston knew that Britain was the world’s policeman and that policemen must be seen to act.

Just as when three Israeli youths were kidnapped and murdered in June, Israel knew that the hammer hard to fall, and fall hard. Otherwise an enemy that understands no other kind of language but force, would be emboldened by an opponent's hesitancy.   

Sometimes it does not really matter whether what you do is especially effective or conducive to your wider objectives. Sometimes it is simply necessary to be seen to have done something.

All the more so when the cause is far greater than a dispute over compensation!

 To do nothing only convinces your enemy that you have grown too weak or too timid to respond and encourages him to still-greater crimes  

We do not expect that Mr Obama will cry, “Civis Americanus Sum”: that is clearly not his style.

However he does have to do something.  

A NON-RELIGION?



Some words of wisdom from Archbishop Cranmer

“The Muslims of the Islamic State may not speak for all Muslims, but they plainly call themselves Muslims and profess to speak for Islam. They may not be President Obama's type of Muslim or practise Tony Blair's preferred brand of Islam. But to reduce their religious beliefs to the status of a non-religion is to subjugate their devout worldview to the very notions of Western-Christian arrogance and imperialism they wage Jihad to defeat. And in such political ignorance and religious denial lie the seeds of our own decline, defeat and destruction.”       

Tuesday, 19 August 2014

MADE FOR ANOTHER WORLD



"The Christian says, "Creatures are not born with desires unless satisfaction for those desires exist. A baby feels hunger: well, there is such a thing as food. A duckling wants to swim: well, there is such a thing as water. Men feel sexual desire: well, there is such a thing as sex. If I find in myself a desire which no experience in this world can satisfy, the most likely explanation is that I was made for another world."

                                                                                              C S Lewis


                                                                                                                       

Monday, 18 August 2014

"APPOINT ACCOUNTABILITY BOARDS IN EVERY CITY"



Those who live by the media will die by the media

 Certainly it is starting to look that way with regards to the crumbling empire of Mark Driscoll over in the US.

 Ever since the Mars Hill Church leadman was directly accused (9:50) on the Janet Mefferd show of plagiarising material in his books, the skids have been under the charismatic Seattle pastor.   

Those unfamiliar with the most recent developments can catch up here, but suffice to say we do appear to be entering the “Berlin bunker”* stage of the Mark Driscoll phenomenon

Thursday, 7 August 2014

THE SEARCH FOR SABBATH REST



So God blessed the seventh day and made it holy, because on it God rested from all his work that he had done in creation.” (Gen 2: 3)


It is sad that the Genesis creation narrative has become such a battleground in our day,  both inside and outside of the Church.  

 But no one can deny that it is so.

Are these to be understood as six literal days? Are we “old-earth” or “young-earth”?
Do we hold to catastrophism or uniformitarianism?

I fear that in all of this talk we may be in desperate danger of missing the main point.

Saturday, 2 August 2014

THE JESUS OF THE BIBLE



Words penned a hundred years ago that could have been written just this morning:

 “The hardest thing to believe about the Bible, to our thinking, is that it can be a different kind of a book from what Jesus and His Apostles declare it to be. And the most difficult task we can conceive any one setting himself is that of holding to the Jesus of the Bible and at the same time not holding to the Bible of Jesus. It is a task we may feel sure has never been accomplished. He who no longer holds to the Bible of Jesus – the word of which cannot be broken – will be found on examination no longer to hold to the Jesus of the Bible.”


B B Warfield quoted from The Theology of B B Warfield Fred G Zaspel IVP p165

Friday, 1 August 2014

NO ARMOUR, NO AMMUNITION




“There will be no smiting of the forces of evil which now hold the world in thraldom, no lifting of the degraded hordes of paganism to light and eternal life, by any but praying men. All others are merely playing at religion; make believe soldiers, with no armour and no ammunition, who are absolutely helpless in the face of a wicked and false world."
                                                                                                    E.M. Bounds

Wednesday, 30 July 2014

KNOW YOUR ENEMY



“President Obama was reportedly furious over (insert latest international outrage).

           He continued to be furious for the full 18 holes.”


 So goes the joke in the US where many citizens are becoming worried that their President has got less than his full attention on the world situation.

The Daily Telegraph has noticed it over here too, reporting recently on how Obama seems to be just “phoning it in” for his second term.   

Friday, 25 July 2014

THOSE EXPERTS AGAIN...



Never question the science: it can get you fired

 “The discovery stunned members of the scientific community because it indicates that dinosaurs roamed the earth only thousands of years in the past rather than going extinct 60 million years ago.”

(h/t @Voddie Baucham on Twitter)

Wednesday, 23 July 2014

PILLAR & GROUND OF THE TRUTH



“…because the Church is the pillar and ground of the truth (1 Tim 3:15)  by which the world is to be saved, the Lord has not left its advising to us but has given us instruction as to how it ought to be behaved in the Church of the Living God…I cannot help believing that there is no line so wise or well or so loyal as simply to let God order His own house in His own way and gladly range ourselves by His side. Let us beware lest, in arranging things for oneself and so as to fit our personal prejudices, we build up a kingdom indeed, but not to God or one which He will neither own nor bless.”


    B B Warfield quoted from The Theology of B B Warfield Fred G Zaspel IVP p393

Saturday, 19 July 2014

I AM THE VINE







 
"The branch of the vine does not worry, and toil, and rush here to seek for sunshine, and there to find rain. No; it rests in union and communion with the vine; and at the right time, and in the right way, is the right fruit found on it. Let us so abide in the Lord Jesus."  

                                  Hudson Taylor
                                                                                                 

Thursday, 17 July 2014

GAZA



 I do not normally blog about these matters (it being done far more ably here and here for one thing) but such is the lack of impartiality being shown by most western media in relation to Israel’s Gaza operation that I feel it is incumbent upon all others to do what we can to provide necessary context.   

 A few under-reported facts …

 The Gazan fatality figures given are assumed to be entirely the result of Israel’s assault but in fact a significant number are caused by malfunctioning Hamas missiles which explode on their own side. Hamas is entirely responsible for those deaths and can end this particular toll any time it chooses. Most media sources are simply not reporting this.

 Moreover the death toll needs to be understood in context: Israel has launched many hundreds of airstrikes into a densely populated urban area. Imagine what the death toll would have been like if this assault really were as indiscriminate as those certain media sources would have us believe. 

 By now they could have flattened Gaza and decimated its entire population.  But even NATO during its various “smart bomb” campaigns has never had anywhere near as low a ratio of civilian deaths as the IDF consistently manages.

 The hugely disproportionate number of Gazan victims versus Israeli (the first death has recently been reported) is no reflection on the relative morality of each side’s activity. The fact is that these figures reflect the reality that one side is protecting its citizens, whilst the other is deliberately putting them in harm’s way.  In the words of Benjamin Netanyahu, “Israel is using its missiles to protect its citizens; Hamas is using its citizens to protect its missiles.”

 Finally in reply to the accusation from a Guardian correspondent recently that Israel’s action in Gaza was like watching Mike Tyson punch a toddler who had spat at him.  
  
 I would suggest that a far better analogy would be Mike Tyson being set upon by a gang of thugs in an alley. He is doing rather well & the thugs are perhaps wishing they hadn’t bothered. Nevertheless he was attacked & is entitled to defend himself.

The media in this analogy is the neighbour looking out of a nearby window choosing to see only a bully and ignoring all context.







Tuesday, 15 July 2014

KESWICK

It's Keswick time again!

...which means fantastic scenery...



...terrific bible teaching...




...and picking up awesome books!


 "Fred G Zaspel has spent many years studying Warfield's published and unpublished writings, and presents them here in summary as a concise and coherent systematic theology."

I usually find that having time for summer reading is just something that happens to other people, but I will definitely be making space for this one.

"BB" and I would never have seen eye-to-eye on spiritual gifts - he being the father of modern Reformed cessationism- but I am sure that we will still find much to agree on.

 :)   

Saturday, 12 July 2014

ANOTHER ONE DOWN?



 As I have opined recently, the accelerating spiral into moral insanity will be all the more painful for believers because it will involve the departure from our ranks of many we once considered sound.

Cue Lord Carey’s sad announcement that he has changed his mind about euthanasia.

 I must confess that I was not a huge admirer of Carey during his tenure as Archbishop of Canterbury. He arrived in the post with the reputation of an evangelical but it seemed to me that he did his level-best to hide the fact throughout his time in office.     

Thursday, 10 July 2014

OPEN TO QUESTION



Dr James White of Alpha & Omega Ministries debated Open Theism proponent Bob Enyart the other night in Denver.

 Here is the rather interesting cross examination, during which we learn that Judas did not have to betray Jesus, that Jesus could have hated the Father, and that at the Incarnation there was a possibility that the Godhead could have ceased to exist.

Well, if you say so, Bob.

Tuesday, 8 July 2014

"THE PROTEST IS OVER"



So declares (19:30 onwards) Kenneth Copeland ending any doubt over where he now stands with regards to Rome (h/t Phil Johnson on Twitter).

Now the only question is how many of his theologically illiterate band of disciples will follow. Judging by the applause it could be quite a few.