Sunday, 10 May 2015

An Author, An Idea, A Story

Having attended the 2015 Alpha Global Week and Leadership Conference in London, Eva and I were able, through a combination of Air Miles and hotel and car rental points, able to add a short holiday to our time in the UK. Our first stop was Oxford, a fascinating city, with some buildings close to a thousand years old, and the many Colleges of Oxford University.

One story I found fascinating was this:

One winter evening, when a rare snowfall fell gently and covered the ground, a gentleman, an Oxford scholar, walked out of this, the side door of St Mary's Church;

which led him into this narrow laneway;
 
where he saw this door on the opposite side of the lane;

with a lion's head crest on it. Turning to his right, a few feet away he saw;

this solitary lamppost, glowing in the darkened, snow-covered laneway. The seed of a story was planted.

The story was, The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe." The gentleman was C. S. Lewis.

Take Care




Wednesday, 29 April 2015

Another Jehovah's Witness Question

A passage from the Jehovah's Witnesses own New World Translation of the Bible:
But Peter said: “An·a·ni′as, why has Satan emboldened you to lie to the holy spirit and secretly hold back some of the price of the field?   As long as it remained with you, did it not remain yours? And after it was sold, was it not in your control? Why have you thought up such a deed as this in your heart? You have lied, not to men, but to God. (Acts 5: 3-4, NWT)
This is just another bit of evidence for the Trinity, at least for the personhood and Divinity of the Holy Spirit.

In Watchtower theology, the holy spirit is not a person, but an impersonal force. So, I would ask, how does one lie to an impersonal force. And Peter makes it clear that when Ananias lied to the Holy Spirit he lied to God.

Just another question to ask.

Take Care

Monday, 30 March 2015

We Will Never Have To

I heard Ravi Zacharias say something that I thought was quite profound:
"My God, my God, why have you forsaken me." Jesus spoke these words so that we would never have to.
 This Passion week, ponder what Christ has done for us and be grateful.

Take Care

Saturday, 28 March 2015

It Was Nice While It Lasted

I'm reading a rather fascinating book, "Biohistory, Decline and Fall of the West," a book sent me by its publisher for review. I'm nowhere near finished it, but already the author is developing some very interesting theories, backed by genetic evidence. Two of the factors contributing to the decline of a society are decreased sexual restraint and increased permissiveness with children, two of the very factors we are seeing today.

It all has to do, in part, with the overall general level of the hormone testosterone in a society's citizenry. High levels, as I understand it, lead to more aggressive, self centred people. Slightly lower levels are associated with people with more patience, more willing to work toward a yet-unrealized goal, more willing to focus on the common good. Therefore, successful long-term civilizations tend to be made up, counter intuitively perhaps, of those with generally lower testosterone levels. Not radically lower, but only slightly, as a societal whole. Factors in slightly lower levels are delayed sexual activity and increased self discipline. Most world religions have similar views on sexuality, tending toward restraint, so religion has a role to play in building a successful society, and falling away from, or rejecting religion, as we see happening now, tends to lead toward that society's decline. What I believe is the increasing self-centeredness, selfishness, lack of moral restraint and power given to the young we see today are also factors in our slow but eventual decline.

Will we be able to reverse these two factors? I'm not betting on it, but I suppose anything can happen.

I may report further on this book as I progress through it.

Take care

Friday, 27 March 2015

My New Book



This is a video based on my recently published first book, The Story of Zacchaeus. It is one of the raps I did for kids at church. They loved it and I hope you will enjoy it too.

I think every Christian parent, grandparent and every Sunday School should have a copy. You can buy it here. Help a poor starving blogger.

Take Care,

John

Thursday, 12 March 2015

Question For Jehovah's Witnesses

I'm sitting in a Tim Horton's in Ponoka Alberta. I called on 4 churches this morning and hope to see three more this afternoon. But right now it's lunchtime - time for my usual $5.95 lunch; chilli and a bun with coffee.

I'm not sure how this thought came to me, but here it is: from time to time I have JW's come to my door. I think they keep coming back because I take their literature.

One thing I have wondered is how they reconcile Isaiah 9:6
For to us a child is born, to us a son is given,...   ...and he will be called Wonderful Counsellor, Mighty God, Everlasting (Eternal, in the NWT) Father, Prince of Peace.
 I should have thought that verse would have given them enough trouble, considering their non-belief in the divinity of Christ, so I asked the gentleman at the door how, when this verse was generally accepted as referring to the birth of Jesus, what they think of the Bible referring to him (even in their own New World Translation) as, "Father."

"No problem," he answered, "Jesus is the everlasting father."

Well, I shook my head over that one because I still don't see how that fits with their theology. But sitting here at Tim's, another verse came to my mind; Matthew 23:9
"...do not call anyone on earth 'father,' for you have one father and he is in heaven."
So - another verse for them to reconcile. How can they, indeed, how can Isaiah, refer to Jesus as father unless Jesus is indeed God. If he is not, then they, and their own Bible, are disobedient to him.

I have not thought this entirely through, so I am open to receiving instruction or clarification on this, but I thought it made interesting food for thought.

Take Care
 

Thursday, 26 February 2015

Salvation and the Mentally Handicapped

I was checking out the numbers on some of my posts. The one with the greatest number of page views by far is this one, on a Biblical age of accountability. I suspect it reflects the heartache and worry one feels when one loses a young child and wonders about its eternal destiny.

One of the comments on the original post was from a woman concerned with her mentally handicapped brother, and how God treats those without the mental capacity to actively and consciously understand the Gospel and accept Christ as Saviour and Lord.

I heard a verse mentioned on a Christian radio program the other day. I'm afraid I don't remember which one, or I would give them credit. It was John 9: 41,
Jesus said, “If you were blind, you would not be guilty of sin; but now that you claim you can see, your guilt remains.
It got me thinking. This verse had always seemed rather confusing to me. What did Jesus mean? Does it mean we shouldn't evangelize? If people aren't aware of Jesus, would they then not be guilty of sin? No, I don't think so. Read the first couple of chapters of Romans. Read John 3:19,
This is the verdict: Light has come into the world, but people loved darkness instead of light because their deeds were evil.
No. People, I'm convinced, are quite aware of sin. There is a standard of morality that runs across all cultures, peoples and generations. All fall short of the glory of God (Romans 3:23) and I believe all realize it, in some way.

As Hank Hanegraaff, possibly among others, has said, "It is not the ignorance of truth but the despising of truth that keeps people from God." I refer again to John 3:19, above.

Over and over again we see God and Jesus extending generous invitations to come to them. In the parable of the great banquet, where we see that God wants His house to be full; in passages such as  Matthew 11: 28-30, 1 Timothy 2: 3-4, 2 Peter 3:9.

So it occurred to me that perhaps John 9:41 (above) might just apply to those who have not the mental capacity to consciously reject Christ as Saviour. Now, don't take the equating of mental illness to blindness to be insulting. This was not wilful blindness. The man in the story in John 9 was born that way as are those who are mentally handicapped. Neither are in a position to heal themselves, by themselves. Some of those to whom we might refer as handicapped may indeed be perfectly able to make a decision for Christ, but some may not, and it is those who cannot to whom God, I believe, may extend His grace and apply to their account the shed blood of Christ.

As I argued in my original post, the Bible does indicate that there is an age before which young people know right from wrong. What significance that has in terms of eternal salvation, I'm prepared not to be dogmatic. But I am quite prepared to accept that God's grace and generosity extend to those who are incapable, because of immaturity or handicap, of understanding sin or making the intellectual decision to accept or reject Him.

In the end, I fall back on Genesis 18:25c,
Will not the judge of all the earth do right?
Take Care

Monday, 16 February 2015

Consistency?

Someone messaged me tonight about my, "What I Believe" column to the left. It is based, as you will probably know, on the Apostles' Creed. But she wondered if the holy catholic church should have been, "holy Catholic Church."

I replied, explaining the difference; that small 'c' catholic means, "universal," and that every born again believer is a member. But it reminded me of something from the past.

A church I once attended, a very good church; one that held to the inerrancy of the Bible and the importance of proper and accurate translations if same, used  The Hymnal, by Word Publishing. In that hymnal, in the Apostles' Creed, they use the phrase, "holy Christian church," a total and flagrant mistranslation. I mentioned this to the powers that be, and, although they admitted the mistranslation, did not change it or explain the inaccuracy to the congregation. Apparently, some members of the conservative Protestant denominations that use this hymn book are so anti Catholic that they didn't even want to use the word.

Not a big deal I suppose, but I just found it interesting that those who insisted on total accuracy in some areas were so willing to ignore, even deliberately employ, inaccuracy in another.

Take Care