Tuesday, 30 October 2007

Reformation Day, October 31

But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions—it is by grace you have been saved. (Eph 2:4,5 NIV)

This is a slight rethinking of some thoughts I guest-posted last year over at New Lumps. This year I am reclaiming and reposting them here and linking to Tim Challies' Reformation Day Symposium. .

It seems to me that in these days when certain denominations seem to be going sideways, in need of a new Reformation for all intents and purposes, we might gain encouragement from God’s promise that He will not allow His true Church to die. Out of present ruins I believe He will raise it anew. He has reserved a remnant who have not bowed the knee to Baal. Indeed, one of the things the Reformation did was to confirm His faithfulness in this area.

In my opinion, one of the most meaningful aspects of the Reformation is that it peeled away layers of obscurity from God’s plan of salvation – a plan that could have been written by no human hand or imagined by no human intellect. These layers had been built up over the centuries for political or selfish reasons, the encroachment of human “wisdom” or just plain error.

How wonderful is the truth of His plan, even if it may seem from time to time to have been forgotten; buried in the mists of time, or tradition, or fashion, or ignored in favour of some formula of human invention that transfers sovereignty from God to man. But the truth has always been there, even when it has been forgotten or ignored or even deliberately pushed aside for some human agenda.

It is the truth even if we are unaware of it, or indeed whether or not anybody is aware of it. And in fact it was there, wasn’t it, for each of us, even before we were conscious of it.
“…While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” (Rom 5:8b)
But at the time of the Reformation, the truth of salvation by grace alone through faith alone, completely aside from works, had been largely forgotten or obscured, even denied by the official church. The Reformers rediscovered and reminded us again of the sufficiency of Christ and his atoning sacrifice on the cross for our salvation. The Reformation did not bring a new thing – it remembered an old thing; an ancient thing; a thing that had been there all along, as truth always is.

How marvellous to know this truth. How wonderful the assurance of it!
What a blessing to one who first discovers it, or to a Church that re-discovers it.

G. K. Chesterton wrote of the deaths of the church and its recurring resurrection, although as a Catholic, I’m sure he didn’t write it in approval of the Reformation. But I think the image fits. Just as out of the seemingly complete destruction of a forest fire springs regrowth and new life, so out of the ashes of a dead and corrupt church came the rediscovery of these earliest truths, and the Church was reborn. Christ promised that his Church would not die and the Reformation was his way of ensuring it at a certain time and place in history. We do indeed serve a God who knows His way out of the grave.

How marvellous to realize we are saved by God’s grace alone, not by works that would be so pitifully inadequate to earn us the right to stand in His presence. How wonderful to be assured that no further suffering beyond that of Christ on the cross was necessary for our salvation and that the fictional netherworld of “purgatory” is a mere fabrication of man. “Jesus paid it all!” How marvellous to know that the hand of God Himself wrote the formula for our rescue from sin. How wonderful to realize that Jesus, by his death and resurrection, has accomplished it. How beautiful that God has told us of it in His Holy word. How loving and comforting of Him to give us His Holy Spirit that we might be assured and confident in Him.

Indeed, how great is our God!

Take Care

An Unfinished Symphony (IX) )(more of a grandfather's thoughts on SIDS

It hurts so badly when your own child is hurting, but this is worse. Your own baby is in pain because she, herself, lost her own child. The pain is doubled.

It’s not supposed to be like this. It’s tough when it’s not supposed to happen. I have lost both my parents, but that was different. They were supposed to die, eventually. Yes, there was sadness, but not the overwhelming grief there is now. When one loses parents, one has many memories to look back on. Those memories are something that cannot be taken away. With a tiny baby, just beginning life, the memories are still in the future. They haven’t happened yet. They have been stolen even before they occur.

Take Care

Saturday, 27 October 2007

James 3:1 and Elizabeth May

This is a few days old, but it seems to be the speed at which I'm operating lately. It took that long to see the link between a verse we studied last Wednesday night and this story.

According to this post I found on Magic Statistics, Green Party of Canada leader, Elizabeth May, is studying to be an Anglican priest, something she "settled on" in part, appartently, because it is "...something that (i)s appropriate for an aging single woman."

As the StatGuy asks rhetorically, "Does that sound like a call from God to serve his people in the ordained ministry?"
Not many of you should presume to be teachers, my brothers, because you know that we who teach will be judged more strictly. (James 3:1)

I can only hold my nose and hope she gets elected to Parliament in order to avoid what may be an even more disastrous career decision.

Take Care

Wilson on Rowling on Dumbledore

Doug Wilson over at Blog and Mablog gives this insight into JK Rowling's revelation that she always thought of Dumbledore as gay, even though she never even hinted at it in any of the Harry Potter books. It almost seems to me like it was a spur-of-the-moment disclosure; an impulsive slip of the tongue. For all we know, when she was by herself sometime later she might have said, "Oops!" But I guess she can't take it back now.

Anyway, here is Wilson's quote, which made me smile:
It happens that Rowling is a Church of England Christian, and once we discount the small roster of stalwart holdouts fighting the good fight there, she belongs to a communion that is foremost among the tolerance-mongers. And so that is what we get -- a plea for tolerance. This is the kind of denomination that, once you take the Calvinism out, goes straight to gay.

It turns out, as was pointed out by a commenter, that Rowling is actually Church of Scotland, which is Presbyterian, but I think the quote can apply to any Protestant denomination. It certainly happened in the church in which I grew up, the United Church of Canada.

Take Care

An Unfinished Symphony (VIII)

I wander from the kitchen back to Kadence's bedroom. There is some question whether someone should clear out the baby's room before Jon and Jen return to the apartment. They think it may be too painful for them to see her things. Having walked into her room, I don’t think so. Even with the initial lump in my throat, I found it somehow comforting to be among her things. To see her change table, her crib, her dresser with the coloured knobs; to smell the scent of her outfits in the drawers, gave, somehow, a sense of peace. To strip the room bare as if there were some terrible secret, something to hide, I think would not be the right thing to do. It would be like the closed off wing of a Victorian mansion where the insane relative was kept.

It will be good, I think, for Jen to see Kadence’s things once again, and to tidy them up herself, in her own time.

Life will go on, but it will never be the same.

Take Care

Wednesday, 24 October 2007

Recipe For Success (Romans 12:3)

For by the grace given me I say to every one of you: Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought, but rather think of yourself with sober judgment, in accordance with the measure of faith God has given you.

Here is something interesting. Apparently there is a direct correlation between between being willing to say you're sorry and higher personal income. (I suppose that means the old line from the movie, "Love Story," "...love means never having to say you're sorry," should be interpreted as, "...love means never making much money.") The article doesn't explain exactly why. There may be several factors, but there is definitely a parallel.

I remember hearing another trait of successful people years ago and it reminds me of Philippians 2:3:
Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves.

A definite key to success is to have a desire to serve others. People who are out only for themselves will tend to take whatever others will give them. But that's all they will ever have: only what others will give them. And people will give a selfish person as little as possible.

But people willing to serve, thinking of others before themselves, will often be rewarded for what they provide, and willingly so, be it services or products. In other words, a person who goes into business thinking, "How can I best serve my customers?" will go much farther than one whose attitude is, "How much can I get from them?"

Sometimes I just feel like Joel Osteen.;-)

Take Care

(From Magic Statistics)

Tuesday, 23 October 2007

An Unfinished Symphony (VII)

I am thinking of the bedtime episode with the 23rd Psalm. Kadence never met my own mother, her great grandmother. I am confident they have met now. I can picture them sitting together in heaven and Kadence telling her, “Hey, Great Grandma, you know what? Grandpa said the 23rd Psalm to me just like you said to when he was little – and guess what! It worked!” It reminds me of the importance of passing our faith from generation to generation. In the Anglican church we closed every service with this: “Glory to God, whose power working in us can do infinitely more than we can ask or imagine. Glory to God from generation to generation, in the Church and in Christ Jesus, forever and ever. Amen.” It is from Ephesians 3:20,21. From generation to generation. As has been said, Christianity is always one generation away from extinction. Keep the faith... pass it on.

We went in to the apartment to get a few things in preparation for the memorial service. Jon and Jen had not been back since the night at the hospital, so everything was just as it had been left the night of that panic trip to emergency. The high chair was in the kitchen. There were three different Bibles, each open to the same passage. There was a Strong’s Concordance open on the table, and a couple of textbooks. Jon had been doing his Bible school homework at the kitchen table; an essay on Ruth, the story of the bond of love between two generations of women.

From generation to generation.

Take Care

Friday, 19 October 2007

Is A "Freethinker" Free To Believe In God?

It is popular for certain atheists to refer to themselves as "freethinkers," as if to assume that to not believe in God somehow gives one more freedom in one's thought life. I disagree. Belief in God actually adds to one's available spectrum of thought. I, for instance, have been on both sides of the theistic fence, so to speak, and recently enough (up until age 45) to remember both sides. Am I more free or less now than I was before? Definitely more!

To give what may be an overly simple analogy, imagine that the entire field of thought consists of two areas, athiestic and theistic. Let's say, for the sake of this argument, that they are of equal "proportions," in other words, sort of 50/50. The atheist, then, has access to only 50% of all thought available to him. The theist has all of it. He has been through the atheistic terrain, seen it for it's emptiness, and now realizes the real truth of the other.

Here is a quote from G.K. Chesterton:
"Somehow or other an extraordinary idea has arisen that the disbelievers in miracles consider them coldly and fairly, while believers in miracles accept them only in connection with some dogma. The fact is quite the other way. The believers in miracles accept them (rightly or wrongly) because they have evidence for them. The disbelievers in miracles deny them (rightly or wrongly) because they have a doctrine against them." (Orthodoxy Chapter 9)

Substitute "God" for "miracles" and the argument still stands.

Take Care

Wednesday, 17 October 2007

An Unfinished Symphony (VI)

It is the night before the memorial service. I am sitting in my study staring out the window. People are passing by, walking, jogging or walking their dogs. They don’t seem to care. Don’t they know what has happened? Don’t they know there is grief here? Life has no business going on as normal. I am thinking about what I have written; about tucking her in that last night with her arms over top of the covers when suddenly I can visualize the scene so clearly. I can see here little face and shoulders above the blankets and her little pink sleepers. It’s as if I’m right there. And it hits me, “God! Kadence isn’t here. She won’t be with us anymore.” I curse myself for all my intellectualizing. For all these words I’ve written. What business have I, feeling pain. It is Kadence who is gone. She won’t be with us any more, ever. O God!

C.S. Lewis, in “A Grief Observed:”
“There is a sort of invisible blanket between the world and me. I find it hard to take in what anyone says. Or perhaps, hard to want to take it in... Yet I want the others to be about me. I dread the moments when the house is empty. If only they would talk to one another and not to me.”

We were extremely thankful for people’s presence and calls. Even if it felt awkward and people didn’t know what to say, it was nice having them there. There were times when we merely sat in a circle on chairs in the living room, no one speaking for minutes on end, but I am still thankful for their being there. It would have been unbearable to be alone. People sent notes with names mis-spelled. People stammered, not knowing what to say or how to react or how we would react. It didn’t matter. The mistakes were somehow most precious of all because it showed people willing and wanting to help regardless of appearances. The faux pas made it seem almost more genuine. I will try to remember that if I ever have the opportunity to comfort someone in a similar position. One might think, “I should leave so they can be alone,” or, “I won’t call because I don’t know what to say,” or, “They’ve probably had too many calls already,” but that is not the case. A grieving person needs the company, and to know that others are caring, even if they can’t say so.

Monday, 15 October 2007

It Strikes Me As Odd

That the motion passed in Ottawa this past weekend to allow clergy “whose conscience permits, to bless duly solemnized and registered civil marriages between same-sex couples, where at least one party is baptized...” contained the condition, "...where at least one party is baptized."

Well, I must ask, what abut the rights of the unbaptized?" Isn't this discriminatory? Does this not fly in the face of inclusivity? Is it not hurtful to those who have not been doused, sprinkled or dunked? If those in favour of the motion see it as "...bringing gays and lesbians fully into the full life of the church," why do they not desire also to bring unbaptized people into the full life of the church. It's just another silly rule.

"Well...," the liberal might say, "...if a person wants to have their gay union blessed, all one of them has to do is to be baptized."

"But...," might come the reply, "...then you are forcing me to do something I don't want to do. Those who were against this whole same-sex blessing thing insisted that a gay or lesbian Christian should remain celebate, and you took our side then. You said it was unfair for them to insist that we abide by their rules. Now you are insisting we abide by yours. I should be free to continue in my unbaptized lifestyle. Besides, I was born this way -- unbaptized."

Surely this is some kind of phobia! If those who see marrriage as only for heterosexuals are called homophobes, there must be a term for those who discriminate against the unbaptized. Unfortunately the term has yet to be coined. I look forward to its invention.

In any cse, I expect that now this inequity has been pointed out, the liberals of the Diocese of Ottawa will be falling all over themselves to right this egregious wrong and remove this unreasonable restriction from their requirements for their yet-to-be-implemented-but-coming-soon-to-a-church-near-you ceremony.

Take Care

An Unfinished Symphony (V)

Christians say, “I will pray for you.” Non-believers say, “I will keep you in my thoughts.” What an incredible difference there is between the two! How sad not to know the power of prayer. Even though the heart is in the right place, and those thoughts are much appreciated, that is all they are -- thoughts. They are so ineffectual, compared to the mighty power of a believer’s prayer.

Who will ever know the effect in all of this of the prayers of our brothers and sisters in the faith? As excruciating as the pain was, what would it have been like if not for those prayers; some of them from people we did not even know. People came up to my wife in the mall, saying, “We’re praying for you.”

Psalm 124 begins: “If the LORD had not been on our side...” I wonder… what would it have been like if He weren’t.

I think of it often.

Take Care

A Discouraging Church Meeting

No it was not at my Baptist church. I ducked out early this morning to attend a meeting at the Anglican church on behalf of my wife, who was out of town. They are considering building a much needed addition and Eva asked me to go and cast a vote on her behalf to proceed. All was fine, for a time. The drawings of the new addition were shown and the plans for the expansion and its advantages were discussed with great optimism. Then came the financial proposals.

The entire congregation, including Eva, have been working hard to raise funds, and have seen the fund-raising thermometer in the foyer grow steadily. The meeting was positive and upbeat. But then the person giving the financial report dropped what was to me, and apparently to me alone, a bombshell. They are going to apply for lottery grants!

Asked if there any questions, I raised my hand. I apologized to anyone who may have thought of me as an outsider (even though I did once attend there), but I said I was there representing Eva. I said that it might be none of my business, but that I had to express my opinion that I would be very uncomfortable with the church accepting lottery funds for any church project.

The pastor turned to me and said that he understood my position and once felt as I do, but that he had reconciled himself to feel that it was alright to accept such funds because lotteries were no different than investing in the stock market or in RESP’s. They are all a form of gambling. There was no indication that all the others did not agree with him.

But that was not my point. I was not able to express myself fully (I don’t think that quickly on my feet) but what I did say was this, “This money is not coming from people who can afford to play the stock market. It is coming from people who can’t afford to buy lottery tickets.”

You see, it’s not a matter of the gambling. I’m not that much of a prude. But lotteries are basically a tax on the poor, because the poor make up so large a portion of lottery ticket buyers. I have worked with many of these people as a result of my time in jail and street ministries, and winning the lottery, to them, is a constant dream. But it is a false and destructive one, and I don’t think it appropriate or honouring to God for His church to be taking money in this manner from those who cannot afford to give it. I'm afraid I cannot help but see the acceptance of these funds as anything but a serious compromise for the sake of expediency. Several years ago, St Paul’s Anglican, where we attended at the time in Edmonton, specifically refused to apply for a lottery grant for their own expansion, even though it was available to them. I was proud of them for that.

*************************************************************

The other night at Bible study I asked for prayer from the group about decisions I feel I must make about my future. I am approaching retirement age and sometimes my current job weighs heavy on me. But that is not really the point. My real concern, and I do pray that I am being honest with myself and before God in this, is that I want God to lead me to where I can best serve Him. My heart has been telling me that that may be back in Edmonton. But my heart is not enough. I want it to be God telling me. I am convinced that He led me to Edson for His own good reasons several years back, but now I have a growing sense that my purposes for being here, whatever they may have been, may now no longer apply. I have been praying, and asking others to pray, for guidance.

One of the things that may have kept me here involves the current crisis in the Anglican Church of Canada over same-sex blessings. It is inevitable that there will be a split, and that congregations faithful to Scripture and to the gospel of Christ will have to leave the national church. I was prepared to wait and see what this local church would do in the event of such a split. I was thinking (I hope not arrogantly, thinking more highly of myself than I ought) that if they did hold true to the faith, and separate themselves from those who rejected it, that I might be called to rejoin them and serve in whatever way I could.

But today I feel that door may have closed. The local Anglican church was given the opportunity to do the right thing in one instance and in my opinion, failed. I’m afraid my hope is less than it was that they will do it in the next.

These are but my own personal thoughts. May I be forgiven if I have given any inappropriate offense.

Take Care

Sunday, 14 October 2007

Lydia

I heard the news today.

It was announced at church that Rick and Heidi lost their little baby yesterday. I wept. Little Lydia was born prematurely. I shall not try to give or even remember every date, fact or figure here, but so prematurely that she never was given much of a chance. But all who knew her characterized her as a fighter. Many people were praying for her. We saw a video of her the other week. She was so tiny, yet still so fully a real person. The video showed her gripping her mother's finger and we all smiled at that.

But for whatever reason, God decided to take her to Himself. She is with the Him now, I believe that for a fact. Others may hope, but I am confident to the point that I can say I know it to be so. I hope Heidi and Rick know it too.

Rick and Heidi, I write this, not to say that I know how you feel, but to say that having been there I know that I can't. You may never read this, but my heart aches and my tears flow for you.

May the God of peace be with you.

Take Care

Friday, 12 October 2007

Somebody's Setting Somebody Up

I meant to do this post yesterday, predicting that the Anglican Diocese of Ottawa would approve a motion requesting its bishop to allow clergy “whose conscience permits, to bless duly solemnized and registered civil marriages between same-sex couples, where at least one party is baptized” and to authorize rites for such blessings. It is now a fait accompli. The motion passed today, 177 - 97.

As the synod approached, Bishop John Chapman urged Anglicans in the diocese to, "embrac(e)... differences rather than fretting over them.” The reader will note that Bishop Chapman voted at last summer's national synod of the ACoC in favour of allowing individual dioceses to allow same sex blessings, even though that motion did not pass.

His statement, then, translates, in my humble understanding to mean,
"We have hijacked the church, we are going to ignore the tradition of the Anglican Church, we are going to ignore the authority of Scripture, the decision of the national synod and we are going to allow the blessing of same-sex unions, but we hope that those who disagree with us will compromise everything they believe and stay because they are probably the only tithers and we need the money. Besides, we will then have accomplished our objective. We will be in charge and we don't want our numbers to dwindle, so just be a good, tolerant little minority and get along with us."

Bishop Chapman's statement was replete with stock cliches such as, "...I do not take this task lightly," and " I will utilize (this information) in a prayerful manner."

This translates, in my humble yet prescient opinion, to say,
"I have already decided what I am going to do, but I will wait what I feel is an appropriate time to give the impression that I giving it serious thought when in fact what I am really considering "prayerfully" is just how long I should wait to release my decision."

Now, if he decides not to allow the blessing of same-sex unions in his diocese, I will have to eat crow and I will apologize. I expect he would like to proceed with his agenda, but what may hold him back is his wish to give the illusion of respecting the decision of the national church at its synod, and the reaction of the worldwide Anglican communion if he were to allow such blessings. If I am wrong I will certainly apologize to my reader(s?).

But I will be surprised. Let's just wait and see, shall we?

Take Care

Wednesday, 10 October 2007

An Unfinished Symphony (IV)(more of a grandfather's thoughts on sudden infant death (SIDS)

We were blessed to have Kadence for the weekend before her death, Friday and Saturday nights. Memories of her were more recent, real and pleasant. Sunday we took her to church, and it was the best I had ever seen her. She was so bright and alert, babbling away during the hymns and choruses, looking all around and smiling at everyone she saw. Everyone could not help but smile back at her. She had a nap during the sermon, but as one friend said, tongue in cheek, “She may not have been the only one.”

Friday night she had slept in another room. Saturday night my wife said she would feel more comfortable if we moved her playpen into our own bedroom, so we did. Kadence was a little restless during the night and I found I heard every little fuss and whimper. At about two o’clock I could not sleep so I got up and went into the spare bedroom. Still, I could hear intermittent cries coming from our room, even through two closed doors. I lay awake until probably about four o’clock, feeling guilty for leaving Kadence in Eva’s care, so I got up and went in. Eva had Kadence in bed with her, but the baby was still fussing and not sleeping. We tried offering her a bottle, but she did not take it. I thought the husbandly thing to do was to let my wife get some sleep so I took Kadence into the spare room with me. I tucked her in, lying on her back beside me in the double bed, with the covers under her arms (she always liked her arms free, so it was no good to try to cover them, she would just throw off the covers).

When I was a little boy, I remember my mother telling me that if I couldn’t sleep, to recite the twenty-third Psalm from memory. She always said that I would be asleep before I got through it twice. Funny, as much as I like the more modern translations of the Bible, the twenty-third Psalm just sounds better in King James English. I lay down beside Kadence in the dark, gave her her soother, gently placed my hand upon her tummy, and began to recite softly;
The LORD is my shepherd; I shall not want.
He maketh me to lie down in green pastures: He leadeth me beside the still waters.
He restoreth my soul: He leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for His name’s sake.
Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for Thou art with me; Thy rod and thy staff they comfort me.
Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies: Thou anointest my head with oil; my cup runneth over.
Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life: and I will dwell in the house of the LORD forever.

By the time I was finished, she was asleep. I didn’t even have to say it the second time. I suppose that because she was so tiny, she didn’t need the full dose.

Take Care

Tuesday, 9 October 2007

LDS President says Mormon Faith is Unique (But Still Christian)

From the Magic Statistics site:
Hinckley said men have struggled for generations to understand the nature of God. He added that he can't understand the creeds used by most Christian churches.

To Which the StatGuy responds:
If he doesn't understand Christian creeds, how does he know his religion is Christian?

Take Care

Mark Larratt-Smith (Part III)

Many of the issues affecting the Anglican Church divide along lines between the British and North American (Canadian and American) churches and the "third world" (the Global South). In my opinion it is hard to avoid the reality of the accusation of racism or at the very least, an attitude of cultural superiority on the part of the western Anglican Churches. Liberals in these organizations quite obviously see themselves as more enlightened, superior and advanced than the "savages" of Africa. This is the same attitude that led to the "white man's burden" of years past, that of our felt obligation to enforce western ideals on those perceived as less advanced than we are.

Now the reader may raise the point that this "white man's burden" in the past involved the sending of Christian missionaries to convert the "pagans" of foreign lands. That is true, but the mere proclamation of a message is one thing, the forced imposition of a culture or a lifestyle is quite another. Faith or belief, almost by definition, cannot be imposed. True Christian faith is not imposed by man, it is given by God. But to be believed it must be heard, and the missionaries of the past were obeying Jesus' Great Commission of Matthew 28.

Now I realize that I may be accused of contradictory reasoning here, but I believe the message of Jesus Christ is one that everyone does indeed need and is entitled to hear. But that is where it should (or should have) stopped. Unfortunately, it was too often accompanied by a colonialist mindset or motivation and not by a true concern that all men hear the saving message of Christ. Too often, we (the western caucasion) tried to turn African, South American and North American Natives into little Europeans, depriving them of their culture and language and manipulating, even forcing them, according to our own cultural or economic agenda. This was not only not necessary from a Great Commission point of view, it was downright disastrous. Many of my experiences in my jail ministry attest to the disaster that this attitude has caused in my own country of Canada.

And so it is with the current differences between the western church and the Global South. In so many cases, the western church as abanoned the message of truth it once preached and has become cultural. Indeed, it is now the former students who have become the teachers, and the former teachers who need to be reminded of the truth they once taught. They learned the truth from us; now they are just trying to get us to return to what we once preached.

Here is a quote from Larratt-Smith's post:
The truth is that Westerners are perceived by non-Westerners (if we can make such a huge generalization about a truly global phenomenon) as rich, technologically sophisticated, economically and politically dominant, morally contemptible barbarians…Why barbarians? For despising tradition, the ancestors and the dead. For despising religion, or at least for treating it lightly. For the shallowness and triviality of their culture. For their sexual shamelessness. For their loose adherence to family and sometimes, also to tribe. For their absence of any sense of honour. (Meic Pearse, Why the Rest Hates the West, InterVarsity Press, 2004)


Take Care

Wednesday, 3 October 2007

Mark Larratt-Smith (Part II)

A while ago I posted the first of three articles by Mark Larratt-Smith on the blessing of same-sex unions. Click on the heading above for the second. Here are a few quotes:

"There is a superficial view of Christianity that regards any mention of sin as negative, person-destructive, “hell-fire-and-damnation” preaching. I often wonder whether such extreme sensitivity is not a cover for an unwillingness to acknowledge sin and accept forgiveness. Because that is what the gospel is: good news that our sins, though they overwhelm us, are forgiven by Jesus’ death on the cross."

"It now appears that proponents of change have found a better way of dealing with sin than the agony of our Saviour on the cross..."

"...This momentous discovery not only redefines God and His place in the human pantheon, it makes the sacrificial death of Jesus Christ entirely unnecessary. Why bother with a doctrine of sacrificial atonement that is difficult to understand and involves a lot of pain and suffering, if Church authorities can simply redefine sin so that it is no longer sin? An added benefit is that there is no need for guilt or repentance. There certainly is no need for - and no possibility of - anything like forgiveness."


One can only wish that more in the ACC would share Mr Larratt-Smith's point of view, and that the Lord will give courage and perseverance to those who do.

Take Care

Tuesday, 2 October 2007

They Did It To Diana...


Now they seem intent on doing it to Britney. As I watched the scene and furor surrounding Britney Spears last night on Larry King, the number of frantic paparazzi crowding around her and her children reminded me almost exactly of the scene of Princess Diana as she stepped into her Mercedes for her final drive into that fateful Parisian tunnel.

Obviously, Britney is in the midst of a "crash and burn." The easy thing to think is that it is all her own fault, that she is a spoiled brat, and that she deserves it. And I'm not trying to defend her, her lifestyle, any of her actions or any of her decisions.

But in the end, she is a person made in the image of God and her life is out of control. She seems to be like a leaf on the ocean, tossed about on the waves of circumstance and incapable of thinking or behaving in anything close to a rational manner. Is there no one there to help? Or is she surrounded only by sycophants on the one hand and piranha on the other. Another situation I think of is that of Anna Nicole Smith, about whom I shared some thoughts Here. Yet another, from my own experience, I have written about Here

The most important thing anyone could that could happen for Britney right now is for to come to a life changing relationship with God through Jesus Christ. The best thing anyone could do right now is to share the gospel with her. Pray that someone who cares, does.

Take Care