Monthly Archives: April 2013

The Entire Story of Civilization … Trying to Get Back to Eden

But not only that, there is the very struggle for existence—the toil of earning one’s livelihood, getting one’s daily bread, the hardness, the thorns and the thistles, the competition and the troubles. Why is it that thorns and thistles grow so abundantly? Why is it so difficult to get a crop of wheat or corn out of the ground? Why this endless fighting, with everything against us? All we get we have to work for with the very sweat of our brow. Again, this is just part of God’s judgment on sin. And men and women have been trying to deal with it and to cope with it ever since, but they cannot. They would like to get back to that paradise, but they have been driven out. God drove Adam and Eve out, and he put at the entrance the cherubim and the flaming sword turning in every direction. And though man in civilization has been rushing against that gate and trying to burst through, the flaming sword keeps him back. The whole story of civilization, in a sense, is a story of futility, a history of failure.

Quoted from Lloyd-Jones, D. M. (2009). The Gospel in Genesis: from fig leaves to faith . Wheaton, Ill.: Crossway Books, p. 75.


Your View of God Determines Your Behavior

How are we in the body of Christ to love, accept, and forgive one another? Just as God in Christ has loved, accepted, and forgiven us! … Whether we realize it or not, we will treat other people with the same measure of love, acceptance and forgiveness that we (rightly or wrongly) think we are receiving from God. We will never love one another with a higher degree of love than we think we are receiving from God. In other words, if I think that God likes me when I’m good but is hammering me when I’m bad, how do you think I’ll treat you?

Exactly the same way!

Quoted in George, B. (1989). Classic Christianity. Eugene, Or: Harvest House, p. 160.


The Lure of Eastern Orthodoxy

Been enjoying  Office Hours Podcast – Westminster Seminary California.

Very interesting is The Lure of Eastern Orthodoxy with Michael Horton.


How “Same-Sex Marriage” Harms All People

Dr Patricia Morgan told the House of Commons that same-sex marriage reinforced the idea that marriage is irrelevant to parenthood.

This was the principle factor, she said, that has caused the collapse in marriage rates between heterosexuals in countries where gay marriage had been introduced – as well as a sharp rise in cohabitation and the numbers of children born out of wedlock.

“We can be certain that same sex marriage will do no such thing as encourage stable marriage whether for heterosexuals and/or homosexuals. Marriage in Scandinavia, Spain, Netherlands and elsewhere is in deep decline.”

She continued: “Same sex marriage is both an effect and a cause of the evisceration of marriage – especially the separation between this and parenthood.”

Dr Morgan explained that gay marriage became conceivable only in those countries where marriage was already in crisis because of soaring “out-of-wedlock births and cohabitation rates” and invariably made such problems worse.

“If marriage is only about couple relationships, and is not intrinsically connected to parenthood, why not give the leavings to homosexuals?,” she asked.

“As marriage is redefined to accommodate same-sex couples, this reinforces the irrelevance of marriage to parenthood,” she said.

“Elsewhere, same sex marriage is an instigator for the casualisation of heterosexual unions and separation of marriage and parenthood.”

She added: “Same sex marriage is more a terminus for marriage or ultimate act of dissolution, rather than a force for revival.”

Spain in particular, she said, saw a “precipitous” downward acceleration in the numbers of all marriages by a 15,000 a year in first three years that followed the legalisation of same-sex marriage by the Socialist government in 2005.

The rate of decline later more than doubled to 34,000 fewer marriages a year in between 2008 and 2010.

Dr Morgan also produced evidence to show that heterosexual marriages were less stable in those countries where same-sex marriage had been introduced because they were expected to conform to the values of gay couples whose unions were often open, rather than exclusive, and far more likely to break down.

Cohabiting gay couples were 12 times more likely to separate that married heterosexual couples, she said.

Dr Morgan also predicted the widespread victimisation of individuals and institutions who dared to resist the redefinition of marriage.

“Some clearly hope that compulsion to perform same sex weddings will sever Church and state and further push Christianity out of the public arena and, therefore, consciousness,” she said.

“Undermined and stigmatised for their unreasonableness and prejudice, the moral authority of religious institutions will further retreat in favour of a narrow secular ideology, particularly as sexual behaviour at odds with traditional norms is further encouraged and advanced.”

 

Quoted and Adapted from Gay marriage will destabilise family life, sociologist warns, March 4, 2013.


The Methodology of the Cross

It is vital that we see the cross as central and integral to every aspect of holistic, biblical mission, that is, of all we do in the name of the crucified and risen Jesus. It is a mistake, in my view, to think that while our evangelism must be centered on the cross (as of course it has to be), our social engagement and other forms of practical mission work have some other theological foundation or justification.

Why is the cross just as important across the whole field of mission? Because in all forms of Christian mission in the name of Christ we are confronting the powers of evil and the kingdom of Satan—with all their dismal effects on human life and the wider creation. If we are to proclaim and demonstrate the reality of the reign of God in Christ—that is, if we are to proclaim that Jesus is king, in a world that still likes to chant “we have no king but Caesar” and his many successors, including mammon—then we will be in direct conflict with the usurped reign of the evil one, in all its legion manifestations. The deadly reality of this battle against the powers of evil is the unanimous testimony of those who struggle for justice, for the needs of the poor and oppressed, the sick and the ignorant, and even those who seek to care for and protect God’s creation against exploiters and polluters, just as much as it is the experience of those (frequently the same people) who struggle evangelistically to bring people to faith in Christ as Savior and Lord and plant churches. In all such work we confront the reality of sin and Satan. In all such work we are challenging the darkness of the world with the light and good news of Jesus Christ and the reign of God through him.

By what authority can we do so? With what power are we competent to engage the powers of evil? On what basis dare we challenge the chains of Satan, in word and deed, in people’s spiritual, moral, physical and social lives? Only though the cross.

• Only in the cross is there forgiveness, justification and cleansing for guilty sinners.

• Only in the cross stands the defeat of evil powers.

• Only in the cross is there release from the fear of death and its ultimate destruction altogether.

• Only in the cross are even the most intractable of enemies reconciled.

• Only in the cross will we finally witness the healing of all creation.

 

Quoted from Wright, C. J. H. (2006). The mission of God: Unlocking the Bible’s grand narrative. Downers Grove, Ill: IVP Academic, pp. 314-315.


Man Needs a god as Much as Food

In America, as elsewhere, there exists what Vaclav Havel calls “a crisis in narrative.” Old gods have fallen, either wounded or dead. New ones have been aborted. “We are looking,” he said, “for new scientific recipes, new ideologies, new control systems, new institutions. …“ In other words, we seek new gods who can provide us with “an elementary sense of justice, the ability to see things as others do, a sense of transcendental responsibility, archetypal wisdom, good taste, courage, compassion, and faith.”

Havel does not underestimate the difficulties in this. He knows that skepticism, disillusionment, alienation—and all the other words we use to describe a loss of meaning—have come to characterize our age, affecting every social institution, not least the schools. Having once been president of Czechoslovakia, and having lost the Slovaks to their own gods, Havel knows, better than anyone, that the almost worldwide return to “tribalism” signifies a search to recover a source of transcendent identity and values. He also knows, as many others do, how dangerous such searches can be, which is why no one need be surprised by the rise in the West of skinheads, who have revived the symbols and programs of Nazism, or, as I write [in 1996], the emerging popularity in Russia of Vladimir Zhirinovsky, the “Russian Hitler,” who promises the masses a future more fully articulated than a conversion to a market economy. Zhirinovsky takes his story from hell, but we must grant him this: He knows as well as Havel that people need gods as much as food.

 

Quoted from Postman, N. (1996). The end of education: Redefining the value of school. New York: Vintage Books, pp. 23-25.

 


God is Not on a Rescue Mission

The rationale for this worldwide promotion of God’s glory and salvation is clearly stated in [Ps. 96:4]: “For great is the LORD and most worthy of praise; he is to be Feared above all gods-” The fundamental reason for spreading the news of God is that he is only one worthy of praise, the only God deserving of allegiance among all people.

We promote God’s glory to the ends of the earth not principally because of any human need hut fundamentally because of God’s/Christ’s unique worthiness as the Lord of heaven and earth. Promoting the gospel to the world is more than a rescue mission (though it is certainly that as well); it is a reality mission. It is our plea to all to acknowledge that they belong to one Lord.

Quoted from Dickson, J. (2010). The best kept secret of Christian mission: Promoting the gospel with more than our lips. Grand Rapids, Mich: Zondervan, pp. 33, 35.