Sunday, 30 March 2014

NOAH? AH...NO

For any Christian out there even remotely tempted to go and see the Noah Movie when it comes out next week, I would strongly recommend you to read this review first.

I'd warn that it contains spoilers except that it sounds like the director has managed to do all the spoiling himself on this one.     

In addition to all the rock monsters we are apparently also to be treated to a stowaway- yes, that's a stowaway aboard the ark.

My guess is that it will turn out to be Leonardo DiCaprio and that he will end up falling madly in love with Kate Winslet.

Definitely staying in and washing my hair that night.

Thursday, 27 March 2014

ON THE SHOULDERS OF GIANTS




Have you ever seen those commentaries that proudly declare on the front cover,
           
                       "The only book that you will ever need besides the Bible"?

Now is that not an idea to make one weep? 

 As someone who seeks during his brief time on earth to build as large and as useful a personal library as he can possibly muster, I could never conceive of going through life with only my Bible and a solitary commentary. 

Wednesday, 26 March 2014

IN RANGE




“The problem with the closeness of covenant communion is that it means that all of us have moved closer together—which means that everyone is now in range.”

                                                                                                               Doug Wilson   

Tuesday, 25 March 2014

PAGAN GOSPEL?



The 1st Century Greco-Roman culture into which the Christian Gospel moved was a world of both established and emerging Hellenistic pagan cults. These so-called “mystery religions” (so named because of the secret ceremonies involved in their practice) had origins in Greece, Asia Minor and even further afield in Persia.

 It has sometimes been contended that Christian beliefs, especially those surrounding the redemptive work of Christ on the Cross, were simply borrowed from these pagan mythologies where, it is alleged, we frequently encounter stories reminiscent of virgin birth, vicarious death, and triumphant rebirth.

The Gospel, it has been claimed, was simply a rework of these existing mythologies.  

 The accusation reaches as far back as the 19th Century but seems to have enjoyed something of a rebirth itself in recent years (most notably a while back at the hands of “celebrity pastor” Rob Bell).

Sunday, 23 March 2014

A CRIME


"The existence of the Bible, as a book for the people, is the greatest benefit which the human race has ever experienced. Every attempt to belittle it is a crime against humanity." 

                                                                                                                Immanuel Kant

Saturday, 22 March 2014

WHAT WOULD JESUS DO?



This always seems to us like a very good question & in many respects it is.

Except that is when we get so fixated upon the example of Jesus in the Gospels that we lose the wider perspective of the New Testament’s teaching on the Christian life.

Here a somewhat heated online debate is taking place (200 comments and counting when I chipped in) prompted by an exchange of posts discussing the contention that believers ought to feel free to attend morally dubious social events in order that we might have the opportunity to witness to the unsaved whilst there.

This is a debate that comes up in church quite a bit these days I should think. 

One side argues that we ought to mix freely with the unrepentant in such circumstances in order to prove ourselves a “friend of sinners” like Jesus. 

Friday, 21 March 2014

NOTHING TO SAY?





“The church has lost her testimony. She has no longer anything to say to the world. Her once robust shout of assurance has faded away to an apologetic whisper. She who one time went out to declare now goes out to inquire. Her dogmatic declaration has become a respectful suggestion, a word of religious advice, given with the understanding that it is after all only an opinion and not meant to sound bigoted”

                                                                                                                  A W Tozer

Thursday, 20 March 2014

CHALKE & RED LETTERS



I’ve been away for a couple of days at our Staff Conference.

In my room was a copy of Christianity magazine containing the now-infamous article by Steve Chalke on inerrancy. I had glanced at this online when it first came out but have never had time to properly digest it until now.

 There’s a myriad of challengeable assertions in the article and I intend to touch on only a few here. The now de rigueur attack on the Bible’s attitude to slavery I have dealt with elsewhere. In fact everything Chalke says (most notably his historically dubious approach to the recognition of the canon) has already been hit out of the park a hundred times over.

 In this article we find a man who whilst once having been highly respected amongst bible-believing Christians is now slipping further and further away from evangelical orthodoxy. Without question he is someone for whom we ought to be praying.

Saturday, 15 March 2014

POSSIBILITIES



Infinity Bridge Stockton-on-Tees

                        “If you ask anything in My name, I will do it   (Jn 14:14)

Let us not forget that we are noting the possibilities of the true praying ones. “Anything” is the word of area and circumference. How far it reaches we may not know. How wide it spreads, our minds fail to discover. What is there that is not within its reach? Why does Jesus repeat and exhaust these words, all-inclusive and boundless words, if He does not desire to emphasize the unbounded magnificence and unlimited benefits of prayer?

                                                        E M Bounds The Classic Collection on Prayer p210

Thursday, 13 March 2014

ACTS: THE GOSPEL ON TRIAL



For some time now we have in our Oxbridge Bible Study nights been working our way through the Book of Acts.

 As we have done so I have been repeatedly struck by the varying themes offered up to us by the writer Luke. Themes which run like scarlet threads through the book.

This work of sacred history is no mere catalogue of historical events recorded without any thought for the unity of the whole. Instead there is a deep consistency to be found in the material presented.    

One important theme throughout the book is that of the Gospel on trial.             

We see it from Jerusalem to Rome, from Philippi to Corinth, Athens to Caesarea.

 From the Jewish Sanhedrin to mighty Caesar in the capital of the Empire itself, the Gospel’s messengers are displayed to us successively arraigned before a diverse array of human authorities in order that they might be judged.  

 All of this is in fulfillment of what Jesus Himself said would happen in chapter one

MISUNDERSTOOD, AGAIN

"This is the most theologically rich moment in history. It should have overwhelmed those familiar with the Hebrew Scriptures. It should have made things click. Everything should have made sense. But actually, few, if anyone, heard Jesus right".

Wednesday, 12 March 2014

NO GOD




“A young man who wishes to remain a sound atheist cannot be too careful of his reading.”
                                                                                                                  C S Lewis

Tuesday, 11 March 2014

CROSSING THE TIBER

Swedish Word-Faither Ulf Ekman is retiring...and heading for Rome!

Looking at the video those candles at the back were probably a clue for anybody who was paying attention. 

Monday, 10 March 2014

A KING SHALL REIGN



On my travels again yesterday, this time to our Bradford church where I spoke on the 2nd Coming and the Millennial reign.

 In days when we (again!) see Russian tanks on the move, and continued sectarian strife and persecution of believers in the Middle East, how we as Christians must long for the day when, 

“…a King shall reign and prosper, and execute judgment and righteousness in the earth” (Jer 23:5).
 
 The Old Testament prophets foresaw a universal reign of peace, justice and righteousness, centred in Jerusalem from where Christ would reign over the nations as King of Kings and Lord of Lords. 

Saturday, 8 March 2014

AGAINST HERESIES (3)



So what is a heretic?

 First of all, it is worthwhile to remember that “heretic” is a technical term, the use of which ought not to communicate the notion that a person is a horrible, nasty human being. I am sure heretics are as nice to their children as anybody else! 

 Pelagius, for instance, seems to have had a reputation in the Church as quite an upright sort of fellow prior to his taking on of Augustine over the doctrine of OrigInal Sin.

 Poor old Origen managed to go an entire lifetime maintaining a worthy reputation as an eminent theologian & apologist before later in Church history it was decided that the scoundrel had been a heretic all along!

AGE MATTERS


A good post over at Blog & Mablog on the age of the earth & related matters.

Lying around somewhere I have a half-completed article on this subject which I will one day get around to finishing and putting on the site.

Doug is irenic as always but I still think that Gen 3 and Romans 5 can only be used to categorically prove human death originated with the Fall for that is the context of those passages. 

That for me is the theological non-negotiable.

Romans 8:22 remains a good one for the contrary position but after that it seems to me to be largely a scientific issue where most of us are simply not qualified to comment.

Not that this ever stops us!   

Thursday, 6 March 2014

NOT IN LOVE

You are not in love with Jesus

OF PERSONS, MODES & "THINGS."



As an interesting accompaniment to the postings on heresy that we are in the midst of  I came across this yesterday. 

Across the pond, Ex Latter Day Saint and supposed evangelist to Mormonism Shawn McCraney, has created something of a stir with his recent broadcasts panning…the Trinity!

Listening to Shawn both in the video embedded in the link* and elsewhere it is clear that he has fallen for the old chestnut of the Trinity having being imposed upon the Church by the emperor Constantine at Nicaea, after having stolen the concept from paganism (yawn).

The trouble is that when you investigate all of these alleged examples of Trinitarian thought in paganism they invariably turn out to look nothing at all like the Trinity.But never mind; let’s not allow the facts to get in the way of a good story right?

Wednesday, 5 March 2014

EMPTIED & ANNIHILATED




“Once as I rode out in the woods for my health, having alighted from my horse in a retired place, as my manner has been to walk for divine contemplation and prayer, I had a view, that for me was extraordinary, of the glory of the Son of God as Mediator between God and man, and of His wonderful, great, full, pure, and sweet grace and love, and His meek and gentle condescension. This grace that seemed so calm and sweet, appeared also great above the heavens. The person of Christ appeared ineffably excellent with an excellence great enough to swallow up all thought and conception, which continued, as near as I can judge, about an hour. It kept me the greater part of the time in a flood of tears and weeping aloud, I felt an ardency of soul to be, I know not otherwise how to express, emptied and annihilated, to lie in the dust; to be full of Christ alone, to love Him with all my heart.”

                                                                                                            Jonathan Edwards

CRASH LANDING



“When a culture spirals out of control, at some point it will begin to dawn on the remaining faithful Levites (who are waiting for Moses to come down off the mountain) that the point of no return has been passed by those caught up in the moment. These things can be stopped, but only in the same way that a free fall is stopped by something called “the rocky crags below.”

                                                                                                                     Doug Wilson

Monday, 3 March 2014

AGAINST HERESIES (2)



In his influential book, Lost Christianities sceptical scholar Bart Ehrman advances what has become known as the Bauer-Ehrman Thesis.

 This asserts that history reveals there to have been no single orthodox Christian faith in the early centuries but rather early Christian history- even as early as the apostolic age- was just a mess of competing theologies. According to Ehrman these rival theologies jostled together for position until one side eventually was able to win a complete victory in the 4th Century and then pronounce its view to be the orthodox, and all the others to be heretical.

 In answering this we might first consider how the view that there was no single orthodox faith in the 1st Century Church might be reconclied with the words of the apostle who from the beginning declared there to be “one Lord, one faith, one baptism”( Eph 4:5) and who roasted the Galatians for their flirtations with a gospel which was really no gospel (Gal 1:6-7). Certainly Paul would have required some persuading that there was no such thing as a single orthodox Gospel in his day!

Sunday, 2 March 2014

NOT TOO RICH BUT TOO OLD



Let the children come to me; do not hinder them, for to such belongs the Kingdom of God                                                                                                         (Mk 10:14)

“…he went away sorrowful for he had great possessions” (Mk 10:22)  

 Back with the Darlington folks this morning and preaching on the fascinating juxtaposition of events which is seen above. 

 The rich young ruler would be every pastor’s dream convert: young, respectable, seemingly spiritually sensitive…rich! Yet Jesus was able to see past the superficial attractions deep into a heart that was not willing to yield to God.  

Saturday, 1 March 2014

AGAINST HERESIES

Egglestone Abbey


For there must be also heresies among you that they which are approved may be made manifest among you.” (1 Cor 11:19) 

I was at our Darlington church this morning for our monthly men’s meeting aimed at those wishing to go deeper into the theology of the bible (it is not a meeting for faint hearts).

This month we were talking heresy.

Well OK, hopefully we were just talking about heresy.


 In the verse quoted above aἵρεσις  (heresies) signifies divisions or factions. Paul seems to be reminding the Corinthians again of the factionalism that he had rebuked already in the first chapter (1:11-13).