Thursday, 29 May 2014

NOT HEMMED IN



"This is what Ascension Day means. It means that we are not trapped under the rule of scoundrels. We are not hemmed in by petty tyrants. It means that there is a court of appeal that transcends all thrones of iniquity and all courtrooms of deceit. It means that we may appeal to the God of all that is right"                           
                                                                                                       Doug Wilson

Sunday, 25 May 2014

GROUPTHINK

Some typically clear-headed stuff from Christopher Booker at the Telegraph  (via EURef)



“Yale professor of psychology, Irving Janis, analysed what, with a conscious nod to George Orwell, he called "groupthink". It is a term we all casually use (which even he derived from another writer), but he identified eight symptoms of groupthink.

One is the urge of its victims to insist that their view is held as a "consensus" by all morally right-thinking people. Another is their ruthless desire to suppress any evidence that might lead someone to question it. A third is their urge to stereotype and denigrate anyone who dares hold a dissenting view.”


 



Saturday, 24 May 2014

CSI JEZREEL



 Now Naboth the Jezreelite had a vineyard in Jezreel, beside the palace of Ahab king of Samaria.  And after this Ahab said to Naboth, “Give me your vineyard, that I may have it for a vegetable garden, because it is near my house, and I will give you a better vineyard for it; or, if it seems good to you, I will give you its value in money.”  But Naboth said to Ahab, “The Lord forbid that I should give you the inheritance of my fathers.” And Ahab went into his house vexed and sullen because of what Naboth the Jezreelite had said to him, for he had said, “I will not give you the inheritance of my fathers.” And he lay down on his bed and turned away his face and would eat no food.
 But Jezebel his wife came to him and said to him, “Why is your spirit so vexed that you eat no food?”  And he said to her, “Because I spoke to Naboth the Jezreelite and said to him, ‘Give me your vineyard for money, or else, if it please you, I will give you another vineyard for it.’ And he answered, ‘I will not give you my vineyard.’”  And Jezebel his wife said to him, “Do you now govern Israel? Arise and eat bread and let your heart be cheerful; I will give you the vineyard of Naboth the Jezreelite.”

                                                                            (1 Kings 21:1-7)                          

A crime scene

Film & TV producers manipulate our emotions for their own ends.

 I recall how in the long-running CSI series franchise each episode would begin in essentially the same way.

A grisly crime scene. A mutilated body. A horrible death.

 We are shocked & disturbed. Something within us is stirring. It is a righteous anger over what we have just witnessed, a clamour for justice. We say to ourselves, "This is not acceptable, something must be done!"

Thursday, 22 May 2014

NOT DEAD




“We are in real need of a reformation that will lead to revival among the churches, but the Church is not dead, neither is it dying. The Church cannot die.”

                                                                                                       A W Tozer

THE OLIVET DISCOURSE (2)








The second part of a look at the Olivet Discourse (Mt 23:37-25:46).

Part 1 is here


“Then they will deliver you up to tribulation” (Mt 24:9)

Christ warns us in the Olivet that persecution and tribulation are to be considered the norm for the believer in this age, and that true Christians ought always to live with the possibility of being delivered up to tribulation and even death (24:9) during this time on earth.

 We have known in the western world such an unprecedented period of peace and security for Christian believers now spanning centuries that many have come to dismiss the possibility that we might one day be called upon to suffer on our spiritual journey.  How ironic that we should have become this way when the very liberty we enjoy was bought for us by the blood of previous generations of believers!

Sunday, 18 May 2014

FIGHT FOR WORDS



"Part of a pastor or teacher’s job is to fight for words, because in that fight, we contend for the truths of God lest they disappear with a gradually devolving and diminishing cultural vocabulary".

                                                                                                                           J D Hall

Saturday, 17 May 2014

IN AWE



York Minster


         "The complaint that church is boring is never made by people in awe."
   
                                                                                                      R C Sproul

Friday, 16 May 2014

ON STAR TREK, MORMONS & PROGRESS



                               “I have faith to believe... I can do anything”


No, it isnt Joel Osteen (though he may well have said it too).

Rather it is this.

 The opening credits of Enterprise: the final offering of the absurdly successful Star Trek franchise which began way back in the mid 60s.

The scenes are powerful.   

Wednesday, 14 May 2014

BEING RELEVANT



"The challenge before the Church is to convince ourselves, as much as anyone that believing the Bible does not make us bigots, just as reflecting the times does not make us relevant."

                                                                                                             Al Mohler

Sunday, 11 May 2014

THE OLIVET DISCOURSE (1)




The first part of an exposition of the Olivet Discourse in Matthew's Gospel 
(Mt 23:37-25:46)

An eschatological calendar
 The Last Days teaching of Christ in the 24th & 25th chapters of Matthew’s Gospel (called the Olivet Discourse) is the Bible’s most important teaching on the end-times.

 It is of such great value because the discourse sets out in chronological order the sequence of major occurrences as they unfold at the time of the Lord’s return. I contend that there is no other substantive end time teaching that does this.*

 Christ’s purpose in giving the teaching was to provide each generation of believers with an approximate end-time calendar so that they could have the assurance of knowing at any given time in history whether His return was “not yet” (Mt 24:6); or whether it was “near, even at the doors”(24:33). 

Friday, 9 May 2014

DIGGING DOWN



 “Dig through the first layer of judges to find out what’s acceptable this year, or what’s obnoxious this week, and you’ll find that it’s just judges all the way down. There’s no bottom, just the modish opinion of today, which may not be the opinion of tomorrow. What’s ‘immoral or socially obnoxious’ in 2013 may be ‘legally and socially acceptable’ in 2043. Who would have believed, in 1983, that we’d be where we are now?
 
Three decades on, ‘Equality and Diversity’ will have gone, much, much further. Just as we no longer have money, just a pocketful of promises, we no longer have laws, just the current opinions of a self-satisfied, not very thoughtful elite.”  
                                                                                                      
                                                                                                         Peter Hitchens

Wednesday, 7 May 2014

IN THE WAY












"A church in the land without the Spirit is rather a curse than a blessing. If you have not the Spirit of God, Christian worker, remember that you stand in somebody else's way; you are a fruitless tree standing where a fruitful tree might grow."
    
                            Charles Spurgeon
                                                                                              
 

Monday, 5 May 2014

WHAT IS AN EVANGELICAL?




 

Handling the fallout from the  latest Steve Chalke story, Adrian Warnock over at Patheos is making a valiant but probably forlorn attempt to reclaim the word evangelical for meaningful use.

 Actually I don't think it is really as difficult as all that to define what an evangelical is. The real trick is getting people who are not evangelicals to stop stealing the clothes from off of our washing line.

But then Jesus always made it clear that folks would be known by their fruit and not by their designer gear.  Witness how some of the comments in his thread are simply an exercise in remaking God in your own image. 

 Like Wallace Gromitt who seems to think that you can love Jesus whilst seemingly hating the Bride that He died for. Or that you can "know" Him without any reference to the biblical belief system put in place by Christians of a far more thoughtful age to explain who He actually is.

I suppose we could try and come up with a new name for what we believe but would there be any point since somebody would have been back over the garden fence before the week was out?

Sunday, 4 May 2014

SEMPER REFORMANDA



St Mary's Wycliffe-on-Tees

“The Church is always to be under the Word; she must be; we must keep her there. You must not assume that because the Church started correctly, she will continue so. She did not do so in the New Testament times; she has not done so since. Without being constantly reformed by the Word the Church becomes something very different. We must always keep the Church under the Word.”
    
                                                                                                          Martyn Lloyd-Jones
                                                                                                    

Saturday, 3 May 2014

CHALKE DUST

The Evangelical Alliance has parted company with Steve Chalke's crowd. Sad but inevitable.

For background information see here.

THE "WEST WING" QUESTION



Very popular in its day, the US TV series “The West Wing” dealt with the political life of a fictional US presidential administration.

In one especially famous episode, the (decidedly liberal) President Bartlet is seen to humiliate a Bible-believing Christian by interrogating her on the applicability of certain requirements of the Law of Moses to her faith.   

 This incident has been picked over by many Bible critics over the years & the issues raised continue to circulate in varying forms. As a Christian you ought therefore to expect at some point to be challenged by a sceptic armed with a variant of this “West Wing Question.”

The central point raised by the Question is this: why do Christians insist upon observance of some aspects of the Law of Moses -such as in areas of sexual morality- but ignore huge tracts of Mosaic legislation where it addresses subjects such as touching the skin of a dead animal (Lev 11:24-25) or planting different crops side-by-side (Lev 19:19)? Are we not being inconsistent and hypocritical by doing so?

 The show has long since ended but wherever the subject of mixed fibres and dead animal skins is raised you can know that the spirit of President Bartlet lives!