Saturday, 2 July 2016

SORRY?

Some good thoughts from Kevin de Young on the fashionable notion of corporate apologies.

Worth a read, and he links to a perhaps even better treatment of the subject by Theodore Dalrymple.

"The habit of public apology for things for which one bears no personal responsibility changes the whole concept of a virtuous person, from one who exercises the discipline of virtue to one who expresses correct sentiment. The most virtuous person of all is he who expresses it loudest and to most people. This is a debasement of morality, not a refinement of it. The end result is likely to be self-satisfaction and ruthlessness accompanied by unctuous moralizing, rather than a determination to behave well."

Dalrymple is describing precisely the kind of self-righteous agonisings displayed by the Pharisees in the Gospels & fiercely denounced by Jesus.

Unfotunately it is also seen today in abundance both in politics & on social media where moral hand-wringing & "virtue-signalling" are done for all the world to see. 

Christian, take note: Jesus was not impressed. 

"WE ARE HERE..."


On the streets of London, Glasgow, Manchester, and so many other places across the UK they suddenly appeared

They moved amidst the shoppers who continued bustling in & out of the air-conditioned shops with their ubiquitous smart-phones pinned to their ear.

They marched beside the rushing traffic or else just stood around, seemingly oblivious to all of the frantic busyness of the 21st Century High Street around them. 

Saturday, 25 June 2016

BREATHE THE FREE AIR AGAIN!

Strangely a few lines from one of my favourite books keep coming to mind this weekend

It is not so dark here,’ said Théoden.
‘No,’ said Gandalf. ‘Nor does age lie so heavily on your shoulders as some would have you think. Cast aside your prop!’
From the king’s hand the black staff fell clattering on the stones. He drew himself up, slowly, as a man that is stiff from long bending over some dull toil. Now tall and straight he stood, and his eyes were blue as he looked into the opening sky.
‘Dark have been my dreams of late,’ he said, ‘but I feel as one new-awakened."

                                                                                            The Two Towers J.R.R Tolkien

Monday, 20 June 2016

AN OPEN DOOR?



                                           
 
I’ve been struck recently by the number of Christians stating that they are either undecided about the coming EU Referendum or else are opting for Remain.

 Not that the numbers of such I am encountering is large but it is still surprising that there are any at all since I have always taken it as a given that Evangelicals in this country were opposed to the EU on many grounds.

One thing that is strikingly absent from the argumentation I hear from these Christian “inners” is any reference to biblical or spiritual matters, as though this were just another socio-economic issue like any other. Do we think that there are no spiritual issues involved here?

Wednesday, 1 June 2016

JESUS WOULD HAVE SHOT THE GORILLA


OK so probably not.

More likely He would just have performed a miracle that would have saved them both, but at least it got your attention.

 Many folks are getting themselves into a lather over the fate of Harambe the gorilla who was shot dead at Cincinnati Zoo earlier this week in order to save the life of a four-year-old boy who had somehow found his way into the animal's enclosure. 

Friday, 6 May 2016

SMALL ACTS OF COWARDICE

I think that this is one of the most important things that I have ever read concerning the state of our society.



Wednesday, 4 May 2016

NO HEADLINES



“While millions were watching with thumping hearts, American scientists hurled a man into space in May of this year. The same day thousands of souls were launched into a Christless eternity and are in orbit forever in the regions of the damned. Few hearts thumped over their eternal misery; no banner headlines of the press screamed of the eternal woe of those who can never again pass this way.”

                                                                      Leonard Ravenhill Why Revival Tarries 

SOME GREAT & GLORIOUS DAY



As democracy is perfected, the office represents, more and more closely, the inner soul of the people. We move toward a lofty ideal. On some great and glorious day the plain folks of the land will reach their heart’s desire at last, and the White House will be adorned by a downright moron"                                                                                                    (H.L. Mencken).

Wednesday, 27 April 2016

LETHAL NARRATIVES



The inquest into the Hillsborough Tragedy reported yesterday.

To say that it has been long-awaited would be an understatement: 27 years have elapsed since the deaths of 96 people, crushed to death at the 1989 FA Cup semi-final at Sheffield Wednesday’s Hillsborough stadium.  

Friday, 15 April 2016

THE PROCESS IS THE PUNISHMENT



Typically robust stuff from Mark Steyn on Angela Merkel’s sanctioning of Turkey’s legal action against a satirist for criticising that country’s President Erdogan

“The process is the punishment” was the line that caught my eye. How true this is in Britain and across the West on a whole range of issues today.

We think of the idiot the other week who tweeted of how he had challenged a Muslim woman in Croydon & asked her what she was doing about massacres in Belgium. Unsurprisingly it turned out that she was doing nothing about them. Well why would she be?

Thursday, 14 April 2016

WHEN PAUL MET JESUS

I haven't read this book so I'm not plugging it.

However the basic thesis that Saul of Tarsus would have met Jesus during His earthly ministry has always seemed to me not only plausible but likely and it is good that a new scholarly work is advancing the idea.

Jesus & Saul were contemporaries (Saul was probably converted within a year of the crucifixion) and as adult Jewish males they would both have been regular attenders at the feasts in Jerusalem.

 When we consider that Jesus during His ministry always attracted large crowds to hear His teachings and that Saul as an earnest young rabbi would surely have been intensely curious about Him, we can say with near-certainty that the youthful Pharisee would at some point have been present in the crowd when Jesus spoke. Perhaps he often was.

Nor is this merely a matter of historical curiosity since it helps relieve us of the tired old canard that Paul was unacquainted with the "historical Jesus" and just made up a new religion all of his own.

All the evidence says not.
         

Friday, 8 April 2016

MARK DRISCOLL & THE I TIM 3 CHALLENGE



“above reproach”                                                         FAIL                                                                                             
 “the husband of one wife”                                           PASS

“sober-minded”                                                            FAIL

“self-controlled”                                                            FAIL

“respectable”                                                                FAIL

“hospitable”                                                                  FAIL

“able to teach”                                                              PASS

“not a drunkard”                                                            N/K

“not violent but gentle”                                                  FAIL                       

“not quarrelsome”                                                         FAIL

“not a lover of money”                                                   FAIL

“must manage his own household well”                       N/K

“not a recent convert”                                                    PASS

“well thought of by outsiders”                                         FAIL


Thursday, 7 April 2016

ANTI-ZIONISM = ANTI-SEMITISM


The UK's former chief rabbi Jonathan Sacks writes in Newsweek:

 "Anti-semitism is a virus that survives by mutating. In the Middle Ages, Jews were hated because of their religion. In the 19th and 20th centuries they were hated because of their race. Today they are hated because of their nation state, Israel. Anti-Zionism is the new anti-Semitism."

 History, he says will judge us by how we deal with the renewed rise of anti-Semitism in our midst.

Tuesday, 5 April 2016

KAISER KYRIOS?

Now here is a good old-fashioned piece of persecution from down-under. And you thought that denying Christians the right to say "Jesus is Lord" went out with Diocletian.

But as I have observed before these episodes show that the real battle line is not freedom of worship but freedom of association.

      

Sunday, 3 April 2016

THE SUNDAY PEOPLE


                               "And after eight days...Jesus came" (Jn 20:26)

Why do Christians meet on Sundays?

Well, that's an obvious one, John: we meet on the first day of the week because that is the day when Jesus rose from the dead, and so we meet to mark it, right?. Well, yes...and no.

 That is, I think that there is slightly more to it than that. After all, Jesus certainly had to rise from the dead on some day of the week but it does not automatically follow that He wished them to subsequently mark this day as a new day of worship never previously held by God's people.

Thursday, 31 March 2016

THE BRIEFING



A superb edition of Dr Mohler’s The Briefing, a programme which forms an important ingredient in my daily dose of sanity from across the pond.

 The items dealt with today are some of the most important issues that bible-believing Christians will come across today and are well worth 22 minutes of your time.

 He begins with the growing pressures being exerted by big corporate giants like Coca-Cola against those holding to biblical values (is it my imagination or is the US losing its religious liberties even faster than the UK these days?).

Tuesday, 29 March 2016

SEVEN LETTERS FOR SEVEN CHURCHES

Smyrna (modern Izmir)

The Book of Revelation (Part 2) : Seven Letters for Seven Churches 

The series is adapted from ten hour-long teachings given in the Oxbridge Church a few years ago 


Revelation Chapters 2 & 3




The Book of Revelation is a letter with seven other letters built into it. These seven are addressed to churches in Ephesus, Smyrna, Pergamum, Thyatira, Sardis, Philadelphia, and Laodicea.


  We ought not to think that these were sent as separate epistles to each church however, rather the whole of the book of Revelation would have been sent to each church. Nor is it likely that John would have produced seven different copies: probably he just sent the original to the first church with instruction for them to copy it and pass it on. This is a practice that Paul would also have followed (Col 4:16).   

Sunday, 27 March 2016

FROM THE BEGINNING

An interesting post on Patheos about the supposed pagan roots of Easter.

"We know that Christians were celebrating the Resurrection of Christ definitely by the 2nd century, probably by the 1st century."

Actually we know from the Book of Acts that they were celebrating it every Lord's Day from the very beginning!






HE IS NOT HERE...


Friday, 25 March 2016

THE D.R.WHAT?



If I asked you to name the deadliest conflict since the Second World War, what would you opt for?

The Korean War or Vietnam?   Maybe the Balkan conflicts of the 90s or the current carnage in Syria?  

What if I told you that it is none of these but the only recently abated violence in the Democratic Republic of Congo?

GOD HANGING FROM A CROSS


“Many indeed are the wondrous happenings of that time: God hanging from a cross, the sun made dark and again flaming out; for it was fitting that creation should mourn with its creator. The temple veil rent, blood and water flowing from his side: the one as from a man, the other as from what was above man; the earth shaken, the rocks shattered because of the rock; the dead risen to bear witness to the final and universal resurrection of the dead. The happenings at the sepulcher and after the sepulcher, who can fittingly recount them? Yet no one of them can be compared to the miracle of my salvation."

                                                                                                   (Gregory of Nazianzus)

Monday, 21 March 2016

THE BOOK OF REVELATION (1)




The following is adapted from a series of ten hour-long teachings given in the Oxbridge Church a few years ago 

                                  Part One: An Overview (Revelation 1:1-20)

 “There was a man called John who knew all about this book and concealed it. Every commentator since has revealed the book whilst knowing nothing at all about it”  

                                                                                                       (Ramsey Michaels)

“…he has but the slightest foothold in the time-and-space world with which he is familiar. He is carried, not into some never-never land of fancy, but into the Ever-ever land of God’s eternal values & judgements ”                                                                                  
                                                                                                        (J B Phillips)

 Two of the myriad of views that have been expressed concerning this most baffling of books. Another commentator aptly calls it “John’s revenge” upon the learned scribes who had once called him “untaught” (Acts 4:13). Indeed, what better vengeance upon such academic snobbery than to produce a document that has baffled every scholar for 2,000 years! 

Thursday, 17 March 2016

KNOW THEM BY THEIR COMEBACK PLANS



  I have a theory about how we can know whether a fallen celebrity pastor has truly repented: if you never hear from him again then it was the real deal. 

 A man who is painfully aware of the damage he has done to the cause of Christ will be content to find an anonymous church someplace & disappear into the congregation...for keeps.

  As for the rest, as Jesus said, you shall know them by their six-month comeback plans

#Driscoll #Tchividjian

THE ROCK OF ESCAPE



 Our Wednesday night bible studies through the enthralling book of 1 Samuel continue. My own understanding of the psalms has really deepened through these studies as all those references to the pursuit of David’s enemies have come alive!

I especially enjoyed dealing with Chapter 23 last night so I have transposed my notes below. 

Tuesday, 15 March 2016

ICHABOD TV

Anyone who has to ask what is wrong with this probably wouldn't understand the answer...

Friday, 11 March 2016

THE HOUSE SWEPT CLEAN



The views of the always provocative Peter Hitchens (surely one of the last prophetic warning voices left in the UK) on the demise of a once great nation.

His insights into a society now to be ruled by “threat & reward” and with an increasingly heavy-handed state having to compensate for our lack of self-government are alarming and yet apt.       

 Ultimately he says it will be “a shortage of believing Christians [that] will lead to society’s decay” with the incalculable loss of the “millions of small and tedious good deeds that are required for a society to function with charity, honesty and kindness”

Thursday, 10 March 2016

WHY I DON'T WANT TO BAN THE BURQA



Judging by my Facebook feed this post risks generating some unpopularity but since it is something that needs to be said here goes…

 I cannot help but notice the persistent thread running through social media content here in the UK constantly seeking to garner support for a ban on the burqa, the full-length garment worn by many Islamic women.

 In some countries, like France, such a ban already exists (strictly speaking the prohibition there is on face coverings such as the niqab veil & it also restricts balaclavas and hoods).

Wednesday, 2 March 2016

"THE CROOK & THE FASCIST"



Well, the blog has a heartbeat once more, at least for the moment. And no issue was more likely to drive me out of cyber-retirement than current events across the pond; events which I can only view with real sorrow & concern.

Unless something remarkable happens (and it will need to happen very, very soon) then it appears inevitable that Americans will soon be going into a general election faced with a ballot paper bearing the names of Hillary Clinton & Donald Trump.

Could any nation be deserving of such a fate?