Thursday, December 24, 2009

SATAN'S LITTLE HELPERS

Santa lives at the North Pole. He has little elves help him make toys for little kids. He flies through the air when it is dark, roaming the earth once a year spreading good cheer. Santa and his elfish helpers don’t exist.

Satan lives on the planet earth. He has little demons do his bidding (Matt. 9:44; 12:24; Luke 11:15). He is “the prince of the power of the air” (Eph. 2:2), loves darkness (John 3:20), and he roams “to and fro on the earth” (Job 1:7), “like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour” (1 Pet. 5:8). Satan and his demons exist: so you’d better watch out!

In Star Trek the Klingons own a cloaking device that renders their space ship invisible to their enemies. In The Hobbit and Lord of the Rings, when Bilbo Baggins or Frodo put on the ring they became invisible. Governments spend Billions of dollars developing “Stealth Bombers” and "Stealth Fighters” etc. Invisibility has its benefits! The enemy is blind to you.

Satan and his little helpers are invisible. The trouble is that they don’t just appear and chuck broken toys down chimneys at Christmas. They are around all year round seeking to keep broken human beings broken and in the state of sin and misery!

Demons are good angels gone bad. As He did humans, God created all angels good. However, unlike humanity – which fell when Adam, humanity’s original representative before God, rebelled, - only perhaps a third of the angels fell (Rev. 12:4). “So the great dragon was cast out, that serpent of old, called the devil and Satan, who deceives the whole world; he was cast to earth, and his angels were cast out with him” Revelation 12:9.

So here we have a spirit-being with a multitude of spirit-beings under his charge, deceiving a whole world full of spirit-beings, a.k.a., human beings like you and me – only doing it all invisibly!

Man is a soul-spirit with a body. Satan and his little helpers are invisible to us because we are spiritually dead on account of being fallen in Adam (Rom. 5:12f.). We all are “Naturalists” at heart: “But the natural man does not receive the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him; nor can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned” 1 Corinthians 2:14.

Spiritual things are spiritually discerned. Therefore, Satan, his little helpers, good angels, and even Almighty God Himself, all remain invisible to mankind – which had its spiritual eyes poked out when Adam joined Satan in rebellion against God way back at the beginning.

By stealth Satan and his little helpers like to keep you in darkness where they feed you darkness because you, even though you won’t admit it, love darkness. You won’t come out of Satan’s kingdom of darkness and into the Son of God’s glorious kingdom of light unless and until you receive God’s Christmas gift. You will continue to deny that you, like a demon, are Satan’s little helper, until God opens up your eyes, i.e., your spiritually blind eyes.

This Christmas "put away childish things" (1 Cor. 13:11). Do as you did with Santa and his little helpers.

Rather, seek God in Jesus Christ for His gift of everlasting life. Ask Him to give you eyes that you may see the reality of evil in this world, and the reality of your own heart that breaks His Commandments by lying, lusting, coveting etc. These things are a serpent, a boa-constrictor, that has squeezed the life out of you. But there is Good News!

“For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life. For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved. He who believes in Him is not condemned; but he who does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God. And this is the condemnation, that the light has come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil. For everyone practicing evil hates the light, and does not come to the light, lest his deeds should be exposed. But he who does the truth comes to the light, that his deeds may be clearly seen, that they have been done in God” John 3:16-21.

Don’t be a dyslexic, mixing the existent Satan up with a non-existent Santa - and then thinking that neither exist! This Christmas come to the Light and see things as they really are. Come to the Light of the World! Jesus Christ, the Son of God, has crushed that serpent Satan’s head and now has authority over his demonic helpers.

“For this purpose the Son of God was manifested, that He might destroy the works of the devil” 1 John 3:8.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

THE CHRISTMAS INDENTURE

I’ve no idea where we got the words, but when we were kids we used to sing: All I want for Christmas is my two front teeth! Now that I’m older a new set of dentures would be nice! But what do you want for Christmas? Two front teeth? A new set of dentures? What is Christmas to you?

Maybe I’m strange, but Christmas reminds me of marriage as instituted in the beginning of creation by the Triune God. After He had created Adam from the dust of the earth He said: “It is not good that man should be alone; I will make him a helper comparable to him” Genesis 2:18. So God made Eve and joined the two together in the covenant of marriage. Thus the two became one flesh (Matt. 19:5&6; Eph. 5:31). Husband and wife are bound by “indenture”. The husband is the indentor, the wife the indented. Some couples remind themselves of their covenant by wearing one half of a medallion each. The two halves fit together perfectly like husband and wife, like a new set of well-made dentures!

Now, back to Christmas. What’s it all about? Well, Christmas has become many things to many people. However, the very first "Christmas" was the time when “the Word became flesh and dwelt among us” John 1:14. The middle Person of the Trinity clothed Himself in our flesh: Immanuel, which is ‘God with us.’ Thus the Son of God became also the Son of Man forever. Christmas, then, is about marriage, i.e., God’s marriage to man. When Jesus was conceived in the womb and born of the virgin, God the Son became one flesh with us (Eph. 5:30 KJV).

The first Christmas came about because God is true to His Word. Again, “It is not good that man should be alone; I will make him a helper comparable to him.” Man, fallen man needs another helper. Jesus Christ is the missing piece of the covenant we broke when Adam sinned against God in the Garden.

When Adam broke the Covenant of Works/Life - when he broke that creational covenant - he separated himself and all his posterity with him from God. And unless God intervened man would spend the rest of eternity “alone,” i.e., without the comfort of God’s presence in Hell.

This, being alone, is “not good.” Some have joked that all their friends will be in Hell. However, Hell is not the place of friendship but rather of broken friendship. It is to be forever divorced from God. Hell is the place of conscious everlasting torment (Mark 9:43-48). But the good news is that God has provided us a Helper comparable to us. “But when the fullness of the time had come, God sent forth His Son, born of a woman…” Galatians 4:4. Mary, when a virgin, became the mother of Christ’s human nature. God is His Father. Two whole, perfect, and distinct natures, the Godhead and the manhood, were inseparably joined together in one person, without conversion, composition, or confusion. The two pieces of the broken first covenant are brought together in The Divine Person Jesus Christ. He is our renewed covenant (Isa. 42:6); our Christmas indenture.

Jesus loves His bride (i.e., His believing Church) and has laid down His life for her. On the cross He satisfied God’s justice by receiving the punishment due all covenant breakers. He perfectly kept the Covenant of Works on behalf of those who love and obey Him as a wife her loving husband. Jesus was raised from the dead as proof that God’s justice is satisfied with His good works.

Christmas, therefore, is about God and man being reconciled and reunited in Jesus Christ. Hence no one’s life is complete until they know Jesus Christ. He is our “better” half. He is the healer of the broken and yearning heart. He makes us whole again. He is the Husband. All who hope in Him are the bride.

What do you want this Christmas? Surely your need is God in Jesus Christ.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

CHRISTMAS WRAPPING

The conception and birth of Jesus is a miraculous matter! His conception and birth was forecast by God through Isaiah some seven hundred years before the actual event: “Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a Son, and shall call His name Immanuel” Isaiah 7:14. Seven hundred years later when the angel told Mary that she was the virgin spoken of by Isaiah she said to the angel, “‘How can this be, since I don’t know a man?’ And the angel answered and said to her, ‘The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Highest will overshadow you; therefore, also, that Holy One who is to be born will be called the Son of God’” Luke 1:34&35.

Who is this Man whom all the angels of God worship? (Heb. 1:6). He is God the Son, the Word become flesh. (John 1:14). He is the Seed of the Woman, the virgin. (Gen. 3:15; Matt. 1:23, Gal. 3:16). He is the One who holds all creation together. (Col. 1:17). He is God’s gift to the world. (John 3:16; Rom. 6:23). And He is the One who will in the process of time present the saved world as a gift to God the Father. (1 Cor. 15:24).

Jesus’ conception and birth was God the Son wrapping Himself in the dust of this earth. (Heb. 2:14). And the Day of Pentecost was when God began wrapping His creation in His Holy Spirit. (Psalm 139:7-10; Acts 1:8; 2:1f.) However, this is not to suggest the Creator/creature distinction is being removed. But it does mean that God’s creation has been saved and will therefore continue to be held together by Jesus Christ forever. To be sure, creation will be renewed. But just as Jesus after His crucifixion burst forth from the tomb with the same body He had before His death, so will this same creation be resurrected on the Last Day. (Psalm 102:25&26; Luke 24:39-43; Rev. 21:1f.).

The birth of Christ is testimony that God’s creation will not be annihilated (Gen. 8:21; John 3:17). This promise was ratified by His death and resurrection, and, is presently being consummated by the Holy Spirit. Jesus Christ is God and Man in one divine Person forever. His divinity will never absorb His humanity, nor will His humanity take on attributes of divinity. His two natures will remain distinct for evermore. The mixing of these distinctions results in their mutual annihilation. For it would mean that God would become the creation and the creation would become God. But God says in the 1st Commandment: “You shall have no other gods before Me” Exodus 20:3. Thus God must forever remain distinct from His creation.

Theologians speak of the ‘pre-incarnate Christ’, i.e., temporary appearances of Christ before His permanent incarnation. Indeed Christ is the Older Testament’s ‘Angel of the LORD’. We believe it was He who walked in the Garden with Adam. He was the Angel in the burning bush who spoke to Moses. He was the Angel who spoke to Abraham. He was the Man Jacob wrestled with. He was the Angel who spoke to Manoah, Samson’s father. He was the Angel in the furnace with Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-Nego. The LORD through His prophet Malachi some four hundred years before the event promised: “‘And the Lord, whom you seek, will suddenly come to His temple, even the Messenger of the covenant, in whom you delight. Behold, He is coming,’ says the LORD of hosts” Malachi 3:1.

All creation ought to thank God for sending the gift of His Son the Lord Jesus Christ. For, He has redeemed the dust of creation.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

CHRISTMAS LIGHTS

Growing up in 1960s Scotland before it went smoke free had certain advantages. It meant that children could send their want-lists to Santa Claus simply by writing them on a piece of paper and sending them up the lum! House-chimney fires used to be a common feature in Scotland especially on Christmas Eve! But it stood to reason, if Santa came down the chimney to deliver his presents, then he could read the children’s requests on the messages sent up the chimney (in flames!) But who isn’t touched to hear of a little child, instead of asking for toys, asking Santa to return their daddy or granny, or some other loved one, who has died. The tragedy is that the child is confusing Santa with the true and living God. Only God is able to bring the dead back to life. And that is why He sent His only begotten Son into the world. That is why Jesus Christ was born in the first place.
As a child I used to join the other children and line the streets for the switching on of the Christmas lights in our hometown. The atmosphere was electric! There’d be a parade. The man in the red suit would be there, laughing all the way! As a child Christmas was a time of hope – hope of receiving gifts! But nowadays Christmas is going up the chimney! But, is it all bad?

I must admit as a non-Christian child growing up in Scotland I knew more about Father Christmas than God the Father Almighty, Maker of heaven and earth. The Santa we were taught about was omnipresent and omniscient, for in the song ‘Santa Claus is Coming to Town’ we sang, ‘He sees when you are sleeping/He knows when you're awake/He knows if you've been bad or good/So be good for goodness sake!’ But isn’t God the only all-seeing and all-knowing One? Is it any wonder that people grow up confused about God, equating belief in Him with belief in Santa, only to reject both?

The ‘Politically Correct’ movement is intolerant of Christ and Christians, otherwise they wouldn’t be seeking to have Christ removed from Christmas! But, should Christians seek to have Christ remain in Christmas? Some Christians see no Biblical warrant for celebrating Christmas and are happy to hand the whole thing over to Santa Claus as a gift! But regardless of what you think should be done about Christmas, it cannot be denied that ‘God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved. He who believes in Him is not condemned; but he who does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.’ John 3:16-18.

The birth of Jesus, then, was about God the Father giving the gift of His Son to save the world from condemnation. Jesus is the Saviour. Therefore to believe in Him is to trust Him to save you from God’s condemnation on Judgment Day. Therefore Jesus Christ is the Good News of God to fallen mankind. But, as there is today, so there was a time in the past when people were intolerant of Christ and Christians. The baby Jesus grew up and was nailed to a tree. He received the condemnation of men for claiming to be the Son of God! Christians were persecuted for believing the same thing. But God gives good gifts, for, ‘Every good gift and perfect gift is from above, and comes down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shadow of turning.’ James 1:17. Therefore, when God gives a gift that gift stays given! Thus God raised the murdered Jesus Christ back to life. And we discover that His death was to pay the penalty owed for our shunning and removing every last vestige of God and Christ from our lives – as, eg, the PCs are trying to do to Christmas!

Dear reader, whatever you think of Christmas please at least acknowledge that God alone is Almighty, all-knowing, and all-present. He sees you when you’re sleeping or awake and knows you’ve been bad. His Son really was born in Bethlehem, really died at Jerusalem, and really was physically raised back to life. And He is able to raise you back to life. Therefore Jesus Christ really is the Saviour of the world. Ask God for His gift of salvation. Do not be unbelieving but believe in the Lord Jesus Christ to receive the good and the perfect gift from the Father of lights. May God be pleased to switch on your ‘Christmas lights’ today!

Thursday, December 10, 2009

THE BREATH OF GOD

Remembering that we are dust, when the fullness of the time had come, God sent forth His Son (Gen. 2:7; 3:19; Psa. 103:14; Gal. 4:4). Thus eternity entered the hourglass to be united with the dust of time. Then the Living Stone, the foundation and cornerstone of the new and everlasting world order, was laid on earth: Jesus was born (Pas. 118:22; Isa. 28:16; 1 Pet. 2:6-8). The hands of time clapped with grateful applause as the earth welcomed its Maker while heaven’s heart beat in time to the angel song, ‘Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, goodwill toward men!’ (Luke 2:14). Pre-briefed by the angel Gabriel, the virgin was subsequently overcome by the Holy Spirit, and overshadowed by the power of the Highest. Thus the Son of Man was conceived in her womb (Luke 1:35).

As oil floats on water, so the Son of God as God remains above and distinct from His humanity. Yet humanity and deity are one in Christ, the Holy One. Divine. All creation marches to the beat of His drum, the sound of which keeps on echoing out into infinity! Tick-tock, rat-a-tat, time goes marching on till He orders it to pause for the grand transformation of the heavens and the earth.

‘Made of a woman, made under the Law;’ from the day He opened the womb, from the first moment the Royal lungs sucked in air, He breathed the same air His mother breathed – as you and I breathe. Eve, at the birth of her first son, said, ‘I have acquired a man from the LORD.’ Genesis 4:1. Her son turned out to be a destroyer of men. Mary’s Son is completely different. He is our Saviour.
Knowing the promises of the older covenant, before His birth Mary said, ‘My soul magnifies the Lord, and my spirit has rejoiced in God my Saviour’ Luke 1:46-47. Mary’s cousin Elizabeth said upon Mary’s visit, ‘Why is this granted to me, that the mother of my Lord should come to me? Luke 1:43. Mary is the mother of the Lord! God is His Father. There is only one Lord, the Godman, the Divine Jesus Christ.

The eternal Father breathed out at the beginning and creation came into being by the power of the eternal Holy Spirit with the eternal Word (Psa. 33:6). Creation is held together by and in and for the eternal Word (Col. 1:16-17). The eternal Word breathed in when He entered creation as a human being by the power of the eternal Holy Spirit (Luke 1:35; John 1:1-3,14). Thus the Father and the Son share the same breath; that breath is the Holy Spirit – who eternally spirates from both the Father and the Son. Since the beginning of time the Holy Spirit has been creation’s ‘iron lung,’ as it were working the bellows: inhalation, exhalation, inspiration, expiration. Without the Spirit’s regeneration there is only expiration.

Like one struggling to recover from a punch to the solar plexus, mankind has been unable to catch its collective breath. We became spiritually dead when our covenant or federal head, Adam, struck our first blow against God in whose image we are made. Ricochet. In the Garden and in the sweat of his face Adam beat his ploughshare into a sword and his pruning hook into a spear. We physically perspire and subsequently expire because, like our father Adam, we are sinners. We are conceived and born into the rebellious mass of humanity. We are dead in our trespasses and sins (Eph. 2:1). Thus we will remain in the torments of corruption and subsequent everlasting death – if we are not regenerated by the Holy Spirit before we die physically.

The Lord drew His first breath as a human being (probably) in a stable. He grew in wisdom and stature. As an adult He marched up Calvary’s hill. Nailed to a tree He breathed His last – until He rose again on the third day. After He was raised from the dead He breathed on His disciples, saying, ‘Receive the Holy Spirit.’ John 20:22. “When the Day of Pentecost had fully come, they were all with one accord in one place. And suddenly there came a sound from heaven, as of a rushing mighty wind, and it filled the whole house where they were sitting’ Acts 2:1-2.

The Lord holds our breath in His hand, and, as the Psalmist says of God regarding animals, ‘What You give them they gather in; You open Your hand, they are filled with good. You hide Your face, they are troubled; You take away their breath, they die and return to their dust. You send forth Your Spirit, they are created; and You renew the face of the earth.’ Psalm 104:28-30. As Elihu says of God, ‘If He should gather to Himself His Spirit and His breath, all flesh would perish together, and man would return to the dust.’ Job 34:14-15. As the Psalmist says to God, ‘Do not take Your Spirit from me.’ Psalm 51:11b.

You may hold your breath until you are blue in the face, but dear reader, you and I are dust falling through the hourglass. Breathe in the breath of God while there is still time. Repent and believe in the Gospel.

Saturday, December 5, 2009

CLIMATEGATE & THE THEORY OF CLIMATE CHANGE

(The photos are of a summer hailstorm in my backyard in Brisbane, Australia)

I must admit that I was warming ever so slightly to the possibility of "Global Warming" when my wife asked me if I had noticed that "they" no longer seemed to be calling it "Global Warming" but were now calling it "Climate Change".

I guess the term "Climate Change" is a lot more encompassing than "Global Warming". For example, if the January temperature at the corner of Portage & Main in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada drops anywhere below the usual minus 40-degrees then it safely can be attributed to "Climate Change". Brilliant!

Mind you, now that I'm on to "their" scheming (as alluded to in "their" spin-doctoring use of terminolgy) I'm cooling off somewhat in regard to "their" notion of "Global Warming". And then came "Climategate"...

No doubt the Climate Status Quo deniers and sceptics will see the East Anglia University e-mails as inadmissable evidence in this whole "scientific" debacle regarding the earth's climate. But regardles of how the irrefutable evidence was obtained, it is the smoking gun!

"Climate Change" scientists using data to make it say whatever they want it to say? This is right up there with that other great "scientific" slight of hand, ie, the molecules to man Theory of Evolution! The latter was and still is the slippery slope to the former.

Okay, so you may disagree with the connection I'm drawing between the "sciences" of Evolutionary Theory and that of the Climate Changers, but both are desperate to make their "evidence" fit their pet theories. That's unscientific in my book! (- in anyone's book!)

Britain's Prime Minister, Gordon Brown is calling those scientists who have not jumped on the "Global Warming" bandwagon, "Flat Earthers". This also is unscientific. One should not mix leftist politics with science!
It seems to me that two things were going on:
1) It was being touted as a fact that the global temperature was increasing.
2) It was being touted as a fact that the (supposed) global warming is man made.

It's unscientific to call theories facts. It's also unscientific to ban peer reviews of those who disagree with the theory (as is the case in regard to the molecules to man Theory of Evolution and now with the Theory of Climate Change).

Oh well, I was nearly warming to the idea of "Global Warming" (but still had a long way to go to embrace the idea that it was man made). But that's all fallen by the way now. I'm now back at square one: Climate Status Quo.

Monday, November 30, 2009

SHORT STORIES

The westerly breeze seemed to bring wave after wave of darkness over a land wearied with the day. With relentless onslaught the shadows beat back the forces of light till every knoll and hollow was engulfed with the murky ignorance of darkness.

The moon was new. She had yet to realize her full potential as queen of the night sky. However, the stars beckoned each to his neighbour like angels.

Rising from the earth, like a citadel sacked by infidel was a fortress of stone. This bastion once commanded the respect of the village below. Tonight it seemed prostrate before the enemy of day as it poured through its arched window.

Resembling a network of sinews and veins there wandered sap-sucking ivy over the walls of this remnant of an age of fast horses and fair maidens. The roof of the structure had since caved in. However, its foundations had been set deep. Beneath ground level, though dank and musty, was a functional dungeon that had shackled and contained the spirit of youthful immortality. Children from the village believed the “Grim Reaper” has set up his office within these walls.

Perhaps it was the reflection of street lamps from the village below, but there seemed to emanate from the grey brick an ethereal glow. Viewed from the village the castle poked its head and shoulders heavenward through ever-encroaching trees and undergrowth. This produced a picture of surrealism.

By this time the stars in the heavens above were busy shining down through the interior of this roofless building, blinking furiously as if trying to attract the attention of the two sets of eyes staring their way. A pair of darkly clad figures sat with their backs against the cold castle wall gazing beyond the stars... (Excerpted from Castle Cranium.)

If you would like to read the rest of this short story of mine or read some of my other short stories, such as: The Day We Went To Rothesay, O - The Fall of Tullichewan Castle - 'Up the Hill' at Tullichewan - The Love Tree - Postman's Knock - The Ghost Writer, then go to Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/THISTLES-GUM-TREES-ebook/dp/B0078H2GG4/ref=la_B006NTVAWY_1_12?ie=UTF8&qid=1349040917&sr=1-12

Some are true and some are fiction, and some are a mixture of both. Most are set in Scotland, but Postman's Knock and The Ghost Writer are set in Australia.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

DOES GOD HAVE BUTTER FINGERS?

Christians believe that the God who made us is the God who also saves us.

Others say that:

a) We don't need to be saved (and they place posters on the sides of buses telling you not to worry about it!)

b) We save ourselves (by doing whatever they themselves deem to be good things).

c) We cooperate with God (which is to say that God does His bit and we need to do ours).

John Bevere in his book Driven by Eternity teaches that saved people are able to un-save themselves! I wrote a response to Bevere's allegation that God has butter-fingers!

The following are my concluding remarks:

Conclusion
There are many gold nuggets in Driven by Eternity, but it is such a pity that the reader has to crawl around in the decayed and dangerous mineshafts of Dispensationalism and Arminianism to find them! Bevere’s challenge for Christians to live godly lives by keeping God’s Commandments is heartening. His exhortation to do so in order to secure a good seat in eternity is not – although we thank him for the timely reminder that as Christians we ought to be thinking in terms of eternity. However, as Christians we ought to serve the Lord out of love and gratitude for the salvation He has purchased for us on Calvary’s cross. We ought never to presume upon His grace as we strive to love Him with all our heart, all our soul, all our strength, and all our mind, and love our neighbour as ourself.

It was a delight to read in Driven by Eternity of a Heaven that is a real and solid place for real and solid (saved) human beings. And it was good to read about the real and solid New Earth to which the real and solid New Jerusalem descends. Yes, there are some aspects even of these things where we’d beg to differ with Bevere on the basis of Scripture. For example, Bevere speaks of a resurrected Christ who walks through solid walls. However, this is nowhere taught in Scripture. Indeed great care needs to be taken here not to confuse the two natures of Christ and have the divine nature absorb the human nature of Christ even for a moment.

Bevere then ascribes the same divine attributes to resurrected Christians in order for them to do likewise regarding solid objects and also to traverse vast distances at the speed of light by their own power. This is to distort the true nature of man even in his glorified state. To be sure, the resurrected saint will have immortal and incorruptible qualities, but as God always remains God so man will always remain man.

Chapters 17 and 18 of the Westminster Confession of Faith (1647), to which the aforementioned Jonathan Edwards, John Bunyan, and John Newton were able to subscribe, distils what the Scriptures have to say about the perseverance of the saints and their assurance of grace and salvation. It would be a fitting conclusion to this book review, and is worthwhile reading in order to reassure and strengthen the true Christian:
Chapter XVII: Of the Perseverance of the Saints
I. They, whom God has accepted in His Beloved, effectually called, and sanctified by His Spirit, can neither totally nor finally fall away from the state of grace, but shall certainly persevere therein to the end, and be eternally saved.
II. This perseverance of the saints depends not upon their own free will, but upon the immutability of the decree of election, flowing from the free and unchangeable love of God the Father; upon the efficacy of the merit and intercession of Jesus Christ, the abiding of the Spirit, and of the seed of God within them, and the nature of the covenant of grace: from all which arises also the certainty and infallibility thereof.
III. Nevertheless, they may, through the temptations of Satan and of the world, the prevalency of corruption remaining in them, and the neglect of the means of their preservation, fall into grievous sins; and, for a time, continue therein: whereby they incur God’s displeasure, and grieve His Holy Spirit, come to be deprived of some measure of their graces and comforts, have their hearts hardened, and their consciences wounded; hurt and scandalize others, and bring temporal judgments upon themselves.

Chapter XVIII: Of Assurance of Grace and Salvation
I. Although hypocrites and other unregenerate men may vainly deceive themselves with false hopes and carnal presumptions of being in the favour of God, and estate of salvation; which hope of theirs shall perish; yet such as truly believe in the Lord Jesus, and love Him in sincerity, endeavouring to walk in all good conscience before Him, may, in this life, be certainly assured that they are in the state of grace, and may rejoice in the hope of the glory of God; which hope shall never make them ashamed.
II. This certainty is not a bare conjectural and probable persuasion grounded upon a fallible hope; but an infallible assurance of faith founded upon the divine truth of the promises of salvation, the inward evidence of those graces unto which these promises are made, the testimony of the Spirit of adoption witnessing with our spirits that we are the children of God: which Spirit is the earnest of our inheritance, whereby we are sealed to the day of redemption.
III. This infallible assurance does not so belong to the essence of faith, but that a true believer may wait long, and conflict with many difficulties, before he be partaker of it: yet, being enabled by the Spirit to know the things which are freely given him of God, he may, without extraordinary revelation in the right use of ordinary means, attain thereunto. And therefore it is the duty of every one to give all diligence to make his calling and election sure; that thereby his heart may be enlarged in peace and joy in the Holy Ghost, in love and thankfulness to God, and in strength and cheerfulness in the duties of obedience, the proper fruits of this assurance: so far is it from inclining men to looseness.
IV. True believers may have the assurance of their salvation divers ways shaken, diminished, and intermitted; as, by negligence in preserving of it, by falling into some special sin which wounds the conscience and grieves the Spirit; by some sudden or vehement temptation, by God's withdrawing the light of His countenance, and suffering even such as fear Him to walk in darkness and to have no light: yet are they never utterly destitute of that seed of God, and life of faith, that love of Christ and the brethren, that sincerity of heart, and conscience of duty, out of which, by the operation of the Spirit, this assurance may, in due time, be revived; and by the which, in the mean time, they are supported from utter despair.

Friday, November 20, 2009

ARE ALL WHO DIE IN INFANCY SAVED?

(Photo by Fearghas MacFhionnlaigh: http://homepage.mac.com/macfhionn/

This subject is one that needs further development.

I have made a stab at developing the Doctrine of Infant Salvation. My e-book on the subject can be found at:

http://web.me.com/macfhionn/Infancy/CONTENTS.html

The following is the Introduction to my "Are All Who Die In Infancy Saved?

The issue of what happens to those who die in infancy can be emotional. Dealing with infants can be like dealing with fire or sticks of dynamite; all ought to be handled with tenderness and the utmost of care. A verse of the Scottish poet, and anti-Calvinist, Robert Burns’ satirical poem about a so-called Calvinist he calls Holy Willie quickly springs to mind and strikes a piercing but painful note in the ears and hearts of those born of the Spirit. The poem is called Holy Willie’s Prayer:

When frae my mither’s womb I fell,
Thou might hae plungèd me in hell,
To gnash my gums, to weep and wail,
In burnin’ lakes,
Where damnèd devils roar and yell,
Chain’d to their stakes…

Do Calvinists really believe that any dying infants go to Hell? Surely all Christians who have suffered the loss of an infant or a little child believe that the Bible gives ample comfort that they will see them again in glory. The 1619 Canons of Dort in Article 1:17 sums up what Calvinists believe regarding their own children who die infancy:

Since we are to judge the will of God from His Word, which testifies that the children of believers are holy, not by nature, but in virtue of the covenant of grace, in which they together with the parents are comprehended, godly parents have no reason to doubt of the election and salvation of their children whom it pleaseth God to call out of this life in their infancy.

Holy Willie is William Fisher (1737-1809). He was an elder in the Mauchline Kirk Session. His body lies buried in Ochiltree cemetery. Therefore he was not just some windmill in Burn’s mind that he tilted at because of what he perceived to be Fisher’s hypocrisy. It would seem (at least according to the words Burns put in his mouth) that Fisher disagreed with Article 1:17 quoted above.

Fisher is not alone, for some still hold that there have been infants who have died and gone to Hell. Not only that, they add contempt to their objection to the Calvinist view, by alleging that it promotes infanticide! Their reasoning is that it promotes the idea that parents can ensure their children’s election and salvation simply by murdering them or having someone else do it! But, if Article 1:17 of the Canons of Dort is a true statement of Scriptural doctrine, then those who object to it stand in danger of accusing God of promoting the murder of infants, including abortion!

The onus of proof on those who believe that there have been any who have died in infancy and gone to Hell, is to demonstrate their doctrine from Scripture. But know that no Reformed Confession states this contrary position. Even though it is the sovereign Almighty God who holds our breath in His hand, even though it is He who gives us length of days, all murderers, including all abortionists, are held accountable to God for their actions. Hell is a real place awaiting such unrepentant sinners.

We believe therefore that Christians whose children die in infancy have no reason to doubt that their children are with the Lord awaiting them. But does the Bible provide any hope for infants dying outside of the covenant community of God? We believe that the Bible gives probable hope that all who die in infancy are saved, and if so, are saved by the grace of God alone.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

TAKE ME BACK (TO THE VALE OF LEVEN)

(Words & Music & Performed by Neil Cullan McKinlay - Filmed by Nina)
Take me back to the Vale of Leven
I've seen the world, I've had my fill.
Take me back to the Vale of Leven,
That lays beneath that slumbering hill.
Blackbird's on the telegraph pole,
He's singing songs of love,
Songs that elevate the soul.
Tunes from up above.
My mother's in the kitchen cooking,
She's singing harmony.
The music drifts across the miles to me.

Take me back, to the Vale of Leven
I've seen the world, I've had my fill.
Take me back to the Vale of Leven,
And lay me 'neath that slumbering hill.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

ISLAM OR CHRISTIANITY?

I'd like to mention in brief some of the main differences between Islam and Christianity:

1. The God of Islam is Allah. Allah is monotheistic. The God of Christianity is also monotheistic, but unlike the God of Islam, the God of Christianity is the Triune Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. God therefore is three Persons yet one God.

2. The prophet of Islam is Mohammed. The Prophet of Christianity is Jesus Christ. Jesus is also Christianity's Priest and King.

3. According to Islam Jesus is a prophet. According to Christianity Jesus is God. He is the Middle Person in the Triune Godhead. Jesus is the Word who became flesh, who is like us in every way apart from sin.

4. According to Islam a person pleases Allah by doing his will, by keeping Shariah law. According to Christianty a person gets right with God through Jesus Christ's perfect keeping of God's Law, which righteousness is imputed to believers. Which is to say that we are condemned because we break God's Ten Commandments, but "God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life."

See the following links for more information about Islam:

http://nordskogpublishing.com/publisherscorner/2009/11/islams-world-peace-now-or-later.html

See the following for more information on "Fort Hood & the Separation of Mosque & State:

http://nordskogpublishing.com/publisherscorner/2009/11/fort-hood-separation-of-mosque-and.html

Sunday, November 15, 2009

POLITICAL CORRECTNESS

It would seem that the Secular Humanistic (read anti-Christian) Political Correctness Movement’s fifteen minutes of fame is just about over. And we all sigh, “And not a moment too soon!”

Personally I have yet to meet anyone who was happy with the PC drivel we’ve had rammed down our throats for who knows how long now – and believe it or not, I mingle among some non- Christian people!

PC kills free speech. This really became clearly apparent when a Muslim Terrorist shot over forty people at an American Army Base in Texas. The ultra-liberal mass media in America couldn’t bring itself to report 1) That the man was Muslim. 2) That the Muslim Terrorist allegedly yelled “Allahu Akhbar” as he shot innocent people killing fourteen (one of the women was pregnant).

It was left to the more conservative aspect the American news media to deal honestly with this whole issue. Our sympathies lie with the injured and those who lost loved ones.

“Allahu Akbar” does not mean “God is the greatest”, rather it means “Allah is the greatest.” Please don’t ever confuse Allah with the Triune God of Christianity. I’m sure all of Islam including non-terrorist, ie, peace-loving Muslims, will attest to this truth!

As much as Nativity scenes in schools and public places over Christmas-time seem like so much “trinkets and baubles” to me, I say bring it all back! Let the parents and kids rejoice in the birth of Christ again in public expression – FREE expression! FREE SPEECH!

For a humorous but serious song about the meaning of Christmas in a world imprisoned by Political Correctness see:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IAckfn8yiAQ

Thursday, November 12, 2009

LITTLE GREEN MEN

I see that the Vatican's Pontifical Academy of Sciences is holding a conference on alien life - astrobiology.

I ask: Would the discovery of biological life somewhere "out there" sound the death-knell for Christianity? Or, to put it another way, would biological life on other planets be evidence, nay, let's put more strongly, would it prove biological evolution?

Romanism wavers (havers?), equivocating somewhat on biological evolution:

"Concerning biological evolution, the [Roman] Church does not have an official position on whether various life forms developed over the course of time. However, it says that, if they did develop, then they did so under the impetus and guidance of God, and their ultimate creation must be ascribed to him." http://www.catholic.com/library/Adam_Eve_and_Evolution.asp

Two bob each way!

For argument's sake, let's say some strange critters were discovered slithering, or swimming, or hopping, or climbing, (or whatever alien critters do), around somewhere in a galaxy far, far away, then what would this be evidence of? Does it prove anything?

Presupposition: Biological life on earth evolved out of slime... Hold it! What's the presupposition? It's that IF biological life evolved out of slime on earth, THEN it could happen elswhere in the universe. You see, as part of this worldview all that is needed for this to happen are the right conditions.

Think about the above paragraph. There's a whole lot of presupposing going on, is there not?

Please notice that biological life on earth does not prove anything. And neither would the discovery of biological life outside the planet earth prove a thing! All that would happen is that the ears of your presuppositions would be tickled. In other words, it's all in the mind!

Did God create other planets, perhaps similar to this one? Did God create biological life on other planets? Well, why don't we keep on firing our wee probes and rockets into space and keep on looking. But don't tell me that anything we find "out there" is going to prove that biological life grew out of pond scum, or that man evolved from molecules...

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

REMEMBRANCE DAY

Today alone at 11oo I gave thanks to God for those who laid down their lives in the defence of the freedoms we enjoy in the Western nations.

Wherever evil raises its vile and ugly head, those who truly love peace are compelled by God to seek to cut it off, as it was in the Great War, as it was in WWII, as it is in all the wars against freedom and justice, ie, against the Judeo-Christian Ethic, including that waged in Afghanistan today by the Taliban.

Thank you to all who serve in the defence of Western freedom, especially the Australian Defence Force, the Canadian Defence Force, the British Army, and the American Armed Forces.

May the Prince of Peace soon fully bring to pass His promise:

"Now it shall come to pass in the latter days that the mountain of the LORD's house shall be established on the top of the mountains, and shall be exalted above the hills; and all nations shall flow to it.
Many people shall come and say, 'Come, and let us go up to the mountain of the LORD, to the house of the God of Jacob; He will teach us His ways, and we shall walk in His paths.'
For out of Zion shall go forth the law, and the word of the LORD from Jerusalem.
He shall judge between the nations, and rebuke many people;
they shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruning hooks; nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war anymore." Isiah 2:2-4.

Saturday, November 7, 2009

I MISS YOU LOCH LOMOND

(Words, Music, & Performed by Neil Cullan McKinlay - Filmed by Nina)


It's been a while, but I still mind

Fond memories bring me joy!

For on your banks I was inclined

To wander as a boy

Skiffing stones the whole day through

Or just gazing at your islands

Panoramic is the view

The gateway to the Highlands.

(Chorus)

Your clear sparkling water

Fills my heart with pride

While the braes of Ben Lomond

Stand guard by your side

I always will love you

Though I'm far from your shore

I miss you Loch Lomond

I'll see you once more

(2nd Verse)

Fish without fins, waves without winds

There's a floating island too

Bracken brown, ferny green

Purple heather hue

Do greylag geese still make their home

Round by Drumkinnon Bay?

Wild Capercaillie's echo fades

As I grow old and grey

(Chorus)

THE SCAPEGOAT

If you had a scapegoat to call on every time you were accused of some wrongdoing, you would have a blame-free life, a quiet conscience, and peace of mind. For the scapegoat would bear your blame for you.

We see a scapegoat in action regarding the people of God in Old Testament times. The LORD gave Moses’ brother Aaron, who was a priest, a very important job to perform once a year. “Aaron shall lay both his hands on the head of the live goat, confess over it all the iniquities of the children of Israel, and all their transgressions, concerning all their sins, putting them on the head of the goat, and shall send it away into the wilderness by the hand of a suitable man. The goat shall bear on itself all their iniquities to an uninhabited land; and he shall release the goat in the wilderness.” Leviticus 16:21&22.

The scapegoat was one of two goats for which lots were cast. The other was to be sacrificed to the LORD as a sin-offering for the people. The two goats were intended to clearly picture the promised Saviour. Thus both goats symbolize Jesus Christ and the work He was to do. The usual practice is to focus on the sacrificed goat as it clearly speaks of Christ’s substitutionary sacrificial death on the cross. But what about the scapegoat?

John the Baptiser was baptising in the wilderness. “Then all the land of Judea, and those from Jerusalem, went out to him and were all baptised by him in the Jordan River, confessing their sins.” Mark 1:5. When Jesus arrived John said, “Behold! The Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!” John 1:29b. Thus the people were confessing their sins when Jesus arrived to take away the sin of the world.

Water Baptism pictures our being cleansed of our sins from heaven above by the poured out Spirit who applies to us the poured out blood of Christ. (Titus 3:5b&6; Heb. 10:22; 1 John 1:7; Rev. 1:5) The sin-muddied waters of those who had confessed their sins were applied by the hands of John the Baptiser to the head of the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world. For, “When all the people were baptised, it came to pass that Jesus also was baptised, and the Holy Spirit descended in bodily form like a dove upon Him, and a voice came from heaven which said, ‘You are My beloved Son; in You I am well pleased.’” Luke 3:21&22. “For He made Him who knew no sin to be [a sin-offering] for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.” 2 Cor. 5:21. “Then Jesus was led by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil.” Matthew 4:1. Thus Christ fulfils the Old Testament role of scapegoat.

In the wilderness the ‘tempter’ wanted the Scapegoat to bypass His other role as the sacrificial Lamb. He tried to tempt Jesus by reminding Him that Jesus could even change stones into bread if He wanted, and that the angels were under Christ’s command. Therefore why go to through the agony of the cross? Satan even offered Jesus all the kingdoms of the world and their glory, should He fall down and worship the devil rather than go to the cross for them. But, unlike the first Adam who sided with the devil, the replacement Adam, the last Adam resisted the devil to the praise of His glory.

Satan accuses, but the Holy Spirit convicts. Dear reader, if you feel convicted of your sins, call on Christ the Scapegoat today. For, “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” 1 John 1:9.

Excerpted from my ebook
: Disembark the Ark & Other Contemplations - http://www.amazon.com/DISEMBARK-OTHER-CONTEMPLATIONS-Cullan-McKinlay-ebook/dp/B006WTDLRC/ref=la_B006NTVAWY_1_2?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1391328036&sr=1-2

Thursday, November 5, 2009

The Second Use of the Law


I just finished reading Ray Comfort's book The Way of the Master. I recommend this particular book of Comfort! See also: http://www.wayofthemaster.com/index.shtml

Ray Comfort, with helpful comments by Kirk Cameron, takes head on the "Easy Believism" movement that has been distorting the Gospel. (See my own book review of John Bevere's Driven By Eternity for related subject matter): http://web.mac.com/macfhionn/More_Snow_on_the_Ben/Driven_by_Eternity.html

Comfort and Cameron want Christians to use God's Law - properly. No more of the "Jesus loves you and has a wonderful plan for your life..." stuff. No! Though they don't state it as such, it's back to the Biblically Reformed "use of the Ten Commandments to convict the sinner of his sins before you show him the grace of God!"
The Way of the Master is very helpful in showing the reader how easy it is to use the Law in this convicting endeavour. "Have you ever told a lie? Have you ever looked lustfully at a woman? Have you ever stole?" etc. etc. The person you are talking to will inevitably admit to these sins. Then comes the mention of Hell as God's just punishment. Only after this comes Substitutionary Atonement whereby Christ pays what you owe God.

Of course if you read the book you'll see that Comfort and Cameron do a far better job than I'm doing here to help get the Church back on track with the Gospel.

Indirectly, one is reminded of Reformed Christianity's threefold use of the Law as stated by Louis Berkhof 1873-1957. (In their book Comfort and Cameron are concerned only with the 2nd use of Law stated in the following):

"1. A usus politicus or civilus. The Law serves the purpose of restraining sin and promoting righteousness. Considered from this point of view, the Law presupposes sin and is necessary on account of sin. It serves the purpose of God's common grace in the world at large. This means that from this point of view it cannot be regarded as a means of grace in the techinical sense of the word.

2. A usus elenchticus or pedagogicus. In this capacity the Law serves the purpose of bringing the man under conviction of sin, and of making him conscious of his inability to met the demands of the Law. In that way the Law becomes his tutor to lead him unto Christ, and thus becomes subservient to God's gracious purpose of redemption.

3. A usus didacticus or normativus. This is the so-called tertius usus legis, the third use of the law. The Law is a rule of life for believers, reminding them of their duties and leading them in the way of life and salvation. This third use of the Law is denied by Antinomians."

It's my prayer that in all the good work that Comfort and Cameron are doing they won't forget to also tell people the 1st and 3rd uses of God's Law! Well done guys!

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

DAYLIGHT ROBBERY REVISITED

(Photos by Neil Cullan McKinlay)
A while back I blogged about a major telephone company in Australia wanting to charge its customers $2.50 just for paying their bill! Well, I'm pleased to announce that Telstra (Australia) has scrapped that as a bad idea.

Has this company of robbers seen the light? Has it had a road to Damascus conversion? Has it clothed itself in sackloth, dust and ashes? Has it repented of its breaking of the 8th Commandment (the one about not stealing)? Well, er, no! From what I can determine it has no moral conscience whatsoever. It was merely charging its customers $2.50 in order to try to dissuade them paying their debts in cold, hard, jingling cash. See, Telstra simply wants its customers to go electronic!

Poor old granny and grandad!

"Granny, Telstra wants ye tae pay yer bills oan-line?"

"Eh? Whit's a' this aboot bills oan the washin' line?"

Saturday, October 31, 2009

Happy Reformation Day!

(Photo by Neil Cullan McKinlay)

I just noticed the date today - it's Reformation Day. The following is a snippet from my The Nexus - a book I'm still working on:

Reformational Teaching
The Reformation of the Church (and therefore of society in general) began with Martin Luther nailing his Ninety-five Theses to a church door in Wittenberg on October 31, 1517. At this point in the deformation and life of the ‘Deformed’ Church the Scriptures had been relegated to a position far beneath the agenda-driven opinions of fallen men. The wheels of the Church’s wagon of redemption had become mired in the manure that had issued from the mouths of the horses that were supposed to be leading it! But after Luther put his shoulder to the wheel and John Calvin had supplied a fresh team, the ‘Good News wagon’ of God began once again to roll forward, spreading the written revelation of God and redemption throughout the nations along with its proclamation.

By 1647 there had been many good theologically ‘Reformed’ documents drawn up by gatherings of Godly men for the purpose of clearly encapsulating what the newly ‘Reformed’ Church believed the Scriptures to be teaching. To be sure these tended to be written in order to counter false theological teachings that had entered the Church through men imbibing false or clearly unscriptural musings of fallen men. Thus, from the Reformation period onward, men had in their hands once again that which the ‘Deformed’ Church had forbidden them. They had the very touchstone of reality in their hands, the written revelation of God – in their own language!

Not only did the Reformation put the Scriptures into the hands of the common people, but it also brought with it the Scripture’s own method of interpretation. No longer was a corrupt church full of corrupt leaders the authority for interpreting Scripture, but rather the Scriptures themselves became that authority: Scripture was to be used to interpret Scripture.

John Knox (1505-1572), a student of John Calvin, can be seen promoting the Reformational hermeneutic in an encounter with the Roman Catholic Mary Queen of Scots,

"‘You interpret the Scriptures in one way,’ said the queen evasively, ‘and they in another: whom shall I believe, and who shall be judge?’ ‘You shall believe God, who plainly speaketh in His Word,’ replied the Reformer, ‘and farther than the Word teacheth you, you shall believe neither the one nor the other. The Word of God is plain in itself; if there is any obscurity in one place, the Holy Ghost, who is never contrary to Himself, explains it more clearly in other places, so that there can remain no doubt, but as to such as are obstinately ignorant.’"[1]

The Reformation restored the authority of Scripture and, with the previous invention of the printing press, it put the written Word of God into the hands of the ordinary people in their own language. The significance for the Biblical rule of Biblical interpretation should not be missed. It is summed up in the following:

"The infallible rule of interpretation of Scripture is the Scripture itself; and therefore, when there is a question about the true and full sense of any Scripture, (which is not manifold, but one,) it must be searched and known by other places that speak more clearly.
The supreme Judge, by which all controversies of religion are to be determined, and all decrees of councils, opinions of ancient writers, doctrines of men, and private spirits, are to be examined, and in whose sentence we are to rest, can be no other but the Holy Spirit speaking in the Scripture."[2]

No longer was the pope or the papacy the interpreter of Scripture – for that is to set the authority of men above the authority of God speaking in Scripture – but Scripture was to be its own interpreter. It stands to reason, therefore, that in order for the reader to allow Scripture to interpret Scripture the reader must believe that the whole of Scripture is the very Word of God written. Though the house was swept clean at the time of the Reformation all too soon the demons of error began to return in the form of Higher Criticism or Religious Liberalism.

"If there was a buzzword in nineteenth-century theoretical thought, it was the word evolution. The idea of evolution was applied not simply to biology, but also to other fields of inquiry. Political theory saw the application of Herbert Spencer’s ‘social Darwinianism,’ for example. It is important to realize that evolution encompasses chiefly a theory of history whereby not only biological entities undergo a progressive development from the simple to the complex, but also other entities undergo a similar sort of progressive change.
"Married to evolutionary philosophy, the Religious Historical School of the nineteenth century considered it axiomatic that all religions go through evolutionary stages of development. They move from the simple to the complex. In this scheme all religions begin with primitive forms of animism and move to a more complex level of sophisticated monotheism."[3]

Regarding the history of man, one can easily see the conflict between Reformational teaching and that of Social Darwinianism: the former is founded upon the written revelation of God while the latter is a product of Darwin’s theory. It is imperative that we are aware of our own presuppositions when considering the Bible and its contents. The treasure chest of Scripture remains securely locked to all who use a ‘Darwinian’ hermeneutic to attempt to interpret Scripture. The Reformation provided the key that unlocks the written revelation of God to man: Scripture interpreting Scripture.

[1] Thomas McRie, The Life of John Knox. Thomas Nelson & Sons, 1889. p. 175.
[2] Westminster Confession of Faith (1647) Chapter 2, paragraphs 9 & 10.
[3] RC Sproul, The Last Days According to Jesus, Baker Books, 1998. pp. 17-18.

For more articles regarding Reformation Day see: http://nordskogpublishing.com/publisherscorner/2009/10/31-october-is-reformation-day.html

http://nordskogpublishing.com/publisherscorner/2009/10/october-31st-reformation-day-or.html

Books, Books, & More Books!

Apologies, I was away on the Darling Downs for a few days!

I mentioned in my previous blog that I was reading Ray Comfort's The Way of the Master. The edition I'm reading goes for about 343 pages. So far, so good. I was going great guns with it (I'm now at page 233) until I picked up Dan Brown's The Lost Symbol. Man, what a page-turning, ripping yarn that one is! How does he know all that technical stuff about modern scientific technology? Gadgets and gizmos! Masons and mysteries! Murder and mayhem! Decoys and distractions! I'm up to page 199 of the 509 paged hard cover edition.

I wish I could read faster. I wish I could remember a lot more of what I read! While reading these two books I am trying to write a piece expounding The Apostles' Creed.

All was going well (sort of - and of course, I was ripping through the Book of Psalms at the same time as all of this!)) until I got home late Friday afternoon and found that a copy of Alexander Tait's The Cup had arrived on my doostep all the way from bonnie Scotland. Ray and Dan are going to have to wait until I've read The Cup.

You see, Alexander Tait is a friend of mine (okay, call me a name-dropper). Anyway, some of you who bother to read my blogs will also know Alexander Tait as Billy Scobie fae the Vale. I immensely enjoyed his previous book Whisky in the Jar - about agoraphobia, illicit whisky distilling on Loch Lomondside, among other things - a great read!

Anyway, maybe sometime in the future I'll blog about each of the books I've mentioned thus far (if I ever finish my present reading regime!)

O, and check out The Apostles' Creed. Then maybe you'll be interested in reading my exposition of it (if I ever get around to finishing it - what, with all these books I have to read!)

Ah, it's great to be back in my comfy blog chair - warp factor four, Scotty!

Friday, October 23, 2009

The Bananaman Gets My Vote!

A friend lent me a book by Ray Comfort called The Way of the Master. I'm only up to page 57, so I won't yet comment on the book. Perhaps when I'm finished reading it... Mind you, I quite liked his Intelligent Design Vs. Evolution book. I also like the fact that Ray Comfort gives away free DVD's and CD's with his books!

Anyway, why am I'm blogging about Ray Comfort? Well, I was "Googling" Ray Comfort to try to find out what he's all about when I noticed that he wants to debate Richard Dawkins (who allegedly refers to Ray Comfort as "an ignorant fool.")

Ray has apparently offered Dawkins $10,000 for the pleasure of his company in a debate. I think that amount has been upped to $20,000. But alas! Mr Dawkins keeps on declining! (Big fearty!)

I just think it would be a real treat to see two people with no (formal) theological training debate theology! (Theo(s) = God, logy = subject of study or interest). Mind you, clearly Ray has studied and is interested in God a lot more than Richard has and is!

Therefore, should this debate ever come about, my money (not that I'm a gambling man!) is on Ray any day! The "Bananaman" has my vote!

Find out more about "The Banana Man" and what he is all about by clicking the following:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XHaSZtf5I1k

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

LOVE NEEDS A MIRROR

(Photos by Neil Cullan McKinlay)

Blue seas appear when the clouds disappear and the sky gives a parting kiss before vanishing over the horizon. Then moonlight strikes the ocean, turning it into molten lead, which, at the appointed time, is transmuted into gold by the rising sun. Yes, the night stays dark till the Creator gently retrieves the gold fob watch from His waistcoat-pocket come morning. The echo of the words, ‘Let there be light’ will not fade away for as long as day follows night. As the sea reflects the sky, so time reflects eternity, so earth reflects heaven, and so man reflects his Maker. Love is like a mirror.
But as choppy seas distort the image of the sky on the face of the waters, so the fountains of evil broke open to issue forth from the wellspring of man. Sin distorts man the image of God. But God is love, and on the Day of Pentecost God the Father and God the Son from heaven poured the good oil of God the Spirit on the troubled waters of mankind. The desert blooms into life when it receives the showers of God’s blessing. And nations cease to rage as the Son of Righteousness rises with healing in His wings. As the sea begins to reflect the glassy sea in heaven above, the peoples, along with cherubim and seraphim, fall down before the Lamb, for the good Shepherd leads us beside still waters and we lie down in green pastures. His will shall be done on earth as it is in heaven when man truly reflects His Maker once more, for a soul restored is an image renewed.

Cultural activities on earth reflect heavenly activities. Man is to eat, drink, and do all things to the glory of God. Which is to say that man is to love the LORD our God with all of our heart, soul, strength, and mind, and love our neighbour as ourself. In all our works, and in all our interactions with God and with our neighbour we are to mirror love, even the Father’s love for His Son. Thus the kingdom of the Son of His love manifests itself only to the eyes of man renewed by the Spirit, for spiritual things are spiritually discerned.

Under inspiration of the Holy Spirit the Apostle Paul – writing of Christians – says, ‘Now the Lord is the Spirit; and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty. But we all, with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as by the Spirit of the Lord.’ 2 Corinthians 3:17-18.

Jesus rebuked the storm, stilling the wind and calming the sea. When we are rebuked by the message of His cross our spirits are stilled and our souls are calmed. Thus we stop our rage against the LORD and against His Anointed. Indeed, ‘Why do the nations rage, and the people plot a vain thing?’ Psalm 2:1. Why are people like ‘raging waves of the sea, foaming up their own shame?’ Jude 1:13. It’s because we are cracked mirrors of God the lot of us, and cracked mirrors distort the image of true love. Our love at best is second best because we don’t love – as we ought – God who is love.

Because God loves His only begotten Son, so our first love ought to be Jesus Christ who is the express image of God. For He images the Father perfectly, while the rest of us fall short of His glory. This is because the heart of fallen man is a black hole full only of darkness when it comes to God and the things of God. ‘The heart is an idol factory,’ says Calvin. With it we form gods in our own distorted image, even gods we can ignore. But then there’s our conscience, of which the 17th century Puritan Richard Sibbes said, ‘is the soul reflecting upon itself.’ And then the 18th century poet Robert Burns said, ‘O wad some Pow’r the giftie gie us, to see oursels as others see us!’

As fallen men our image of ourself is as every bit as distorted as our image of the God who made us, and whose image we are and whose image we are to reflect in our everyday activities. But love looks beyond itself, for the Father loves the Son and the Spirit who both love the Father and each other.

By faith the Christian looks to the One who says, ‘He who has seen Me has seen the Father.’ John 14:9. – To the One who says, ‘If you love Me, keep My commandments.’ John 14:15. Then out of love and gratitude to God for saving him, the Christian – in the power supplied by the Holy Spirit who has regenerated and sustains him – seeks to reflect God through obedience. Love needs a mirror because love’s object is others. Only in the Jesus revealed in Scripture do we see the clear and undistorted image of God.

Monday, October 19, 2009

GOSPEL FREEDOMS

Arguably the Westernized nations are testimony to the success of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. To cut the long story short, the freedoms we enjoy in the West came about after the Christianization of these nations. (An oversimplification, yes, but nevertheless true!) To be sure, some Western nations were/ still are more Christianized than others, but clearly the leaven of Christianity, ie, Biblical teaching, has permeated the West.

This is to say that God’s Ten Commandments along with the right spirit for keeping them are the foundations upon which Western societies are built. Loving God and others as yourself, doing unto others as you would have them do unto you, is the application of God’s Law in the West.

However, God’s Ten Commandments for a lawful society are now being shunned by some in favour of a plethora of rules and regulations belonging to Secular Humanism – a movement which is trying very hard to assert itself in the West. Eg. in America they’ve been dragging out all reference to God’s Ten Commandments from Law Courts etc. In place of God’s Law, as a cat drags a dead animal into the house, so the Trojan Horse of Secular Humanism has been dragged into many American Institutions. Multitudes of blood-sucking, life draining maggots of death are pouring forth!

In the West we are losing our Gospel Freedoms to big government red tape. The West has now entangled itself in the sticky web of Political Correctness. The spider of thought-control is injecting its venom into and numbing the minds of the many peoples. Marxism is the new opiate of the masses!

Now people cannot be trusted to do the right thing, ie, no Gospel Freedoms. Now, we are being treated like little kids again: No Running, No Smoking, No Swearing, No Foods, No Drinks, No Tee-shirts, No This, No That, No the Next Thing! No, No, No. No… Rules, rules, and yet more rules! Oh, the burden is too great to bear! Bring back the TEN (10) Commandments and please get rid of all your millions of rules!

Neo-Darwinists, such as Richard Dawkins have the freedom to say what they like about Christians and the Triune God. Muslims also get to blaspheme Christ and the Triune God also with impunity. Yet, as soon as Christians say anything about neo-Darwinism we are ridiculed, expelled from science class, and made to sit in detention with the loony fringe! Any Muslim who hears the Good News of Jesus Christ, repents and believes it, becomes the target of death threats, if not death itself at the hands of a group of people who allege that Islam is a religion of peace!

Bring back the Gospel Freedoms that we in the West used to enjoy before those people started using their freedoms as licence to de-Christianize the West.

Islam sees the promotion of the homosexual lifestyle, pornography, prostitution, etc. as Christianity’s failure in the West. However, in many ways, when you really think about it, these things, although debauched in themselves, are evidence of the Gospel’s success! The West simply has to learn that with Gospel Freedom there also comes Gospel Responsibility. Just because we have the freedom to do a thing doesn’t make that thing the right and good thing to do!

God’s Ten Commandments and all their applications in Family, Church, and State keep us on the right track. So let’s get back to the Gospel Freedoms we once had. Otherwise Shariah Law (ie, Islamic law) will be the order of the day for the West (ie, for those who haven’t lost their heads!)


Click the following to find out about Francis Nigel Lee's excellent book "God's Ten Commandments": http://nordskogpublishing.com/

Saturday, October 17, 2009

THE DAWKINS DELUSION

I've just finshed re-reading Alister McGrath's The Dawkins Delusion. Alister McGrath is an ex-atheist and is presently Professor of Historical Theology at Oxford University. Having studied in chemistry and researched in the field of biophysics he knows his way round the science lab.

His book The Dawkins Delusion is, of course, a response and rebuttal to and of the rant of Richard Dawkins in his book The God Delusion.

Maybe sometime in the future (if God spares him) Dawkins can have a go at dismantling the Triune God rather than raving on about whacko religious people who believe and do crazy stuff - as he does in The God Delusion! Tackle God next time Richard, I dare you!

Also, perhaps Dawkins would like to show us where, eg, Adolf Hitler went wrong in his application of The Theory of Evolution. Yes, perhaps Dawkins could do one of those How To books. "You all know the theory, now let's all put it into practice!" "But isn't that what that maniacal nut-case Adolf Hitler tried to do?" "Er..."

Frankly, I much prefer tried and true Reformed Christianity!

Anyway, back to The Dawkins Delusion. I like the way McGrath conludes his book with the following:

"Dawkins seems to think that saying something more loudly and confidently, while ignoring or trivializing counter-evidence, will persuade the open-minded that religious belief is a type of delusion. Sadly, sociological studies of charismatic leaders - religious and secular - indicate that Dawkins may be right to place some hope in this strategy. For the gullible and credulous, it is the confidence with which something is said that persuades, rather than the evidence offered in its support. Yet the fact that Dawkins relies so excessively on rhetoric, rather than the evidence that would otherwise be his natural stock in trade, clearly indicates that something is wrong with his case. Ironically, the ultimate achievment of The God Delusion for modern atheism may be to suggest that this emperor has no clothes to wear. Might atheism be a delusion about God?"

Saturday, October 10, 2009

ALL IN THE MIND

(Photos by Neil Cullan McKinlay - except platypus)

In a clash of confluence, the battle-cries of the Picton River were drowned out by the greater roar of the Huon River in spate. My friend and I could hear the watery commotion in the background as we walked through the peaceful rain-soaked undergrowth of the Tasmanian wilderness. It was as we forded a swollen Huon tributary that my eye initially saw it: ‘A beaver in Tasmania? Surely not!’ The curiosity slowly swam down the surface of the creek toward us: a duckbilled platypus!

Platypuses have webbed-feet with claws; the female lays eggs; the male has a poisonous spur on his hind legs; and they both have an electronic-receptor in their bills. When a (dead) specimen was taken to England in 1799 it was thought by some to be a hoax!

Dear reader, where does the platypus fit into your worldview? Do you hear the great commotion in the world today as Darwinism and Creationism clash? To suggest that these two opposing worldviews can be reconciled is like saying a duck can marry a beaver and produce a platypus!
Theories come and theories go, but the Word of our God stands forever. On the sixth day of creation God created man in His own image. ‘Out of the ground the LORD God formed every beast of the field and every bird of the air, and brought them to Adam to see what he would call them. And whatever Adam called each living creature, that was its name. So Adam gave names to all the cattle, to the birds of the air, and to every beast of the field. But for Adam there was not found a helper comparable to him.’ Genesis 2:20. Adam studied and catalogued the animals.

We chuckle when we consider the platypus because it reminds us of a duck. We chuckle at gorillas and chimpanzees because they remind us of ourselves. My wife and I chuckle when we hear the word ‘primate’ used to refer to a Roman Catholic or an Anglican bishop (it brings a strange picture to our mind!) However none of this affects our worldview which has been build upon the infallible Word of God.

God made each creature according to its kind (Genesis 1:25). That’s why not even an ape is comparable to man. A dog might very well be man’s best friend, a budgie might be good for company, but only a woman is comparable to a man. In marriage a man and a woman complement each other. Marriage doesn’t produce apes, dogs, budgies, or duck-billed platypuses for offspring Why? because God created each creature according to its kind.

When the fountains of the great deep were broken up and the windows of heaven opened up and the waters above collided with the waters beneath, Noah and his family, with all the air-breathing animals God had put on the ark, could hear the watery commotion in the background. They were on God’s life-raft, safe in the ark from the global flood of God’s judgment upon people who hated Him. There is evidence of the great Flood in many of the fossils and bones that keep being dug up. The Church on earth was caught napping when Evolutionists started dragging in bones of dead animals, such as their alleged ‘Dawn Horse’ (eohippus). But as with the platypus, one’s understanding of it is determined beforehand by one’s worldview: human speculation or Divine revelation? Did rock ‘rabbits’ breed horses into existence? And is a lizard able to sprout wings full of feathers and take to the sky? Can unthinking matter become thinking matter? Your answer to these questions will be influenced by your personal worldview. It’s all in the mind!

In some ways Darwin did Christians a favour. The Darwinist’s war-cries are being used by God to awaken us. And now their battle-cries are being drowned out by the greater roar of the outpoured Spirit speaking in the Scriptures! Do you hear the commotion in the background as you walk through life? Have you given any thought to what you believe? Have you considered the claims of Jesus Christ?

Christ believes in the fixity of kinds. He also believes He is God, the Middle Person in the Trinity, who is the Word become also flesh. Stand on Christ our ‘Rock,’ our firm foundation. Develop a worldview based on His Word. ‘And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind.’ Romans 12:2a.
(Click the following for an interesting but brief article on the latest buzz among Evolutionsits):

Friday, October 9, 2009

CIVIL AUTHORITIES

“Let every soul be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and the authorities that exist are appointed by God.” Romans 13:1.

All authority comes from God, even if the one who holds that authority is non-Christian. Therefore all who hold authority are directly answerable to God for how they exercise that God-given authority; “…their conscience also bearing witness, and between themselves their thoughts accusing or else excusing them…” Romans 2:15b. Therefore, as we look at Romans 13:1f., keep in mind what the Apostle Paul has already earlier stated, viz., that even non-Christians have the work of God’s Moral Law written in their hearts (Romans 2:14&15).

The Apostle, in Romans 13:2 writes: “Therefore whoever resists the authority resists the ordinance of God, and those who resist will bring judgment on themselves.” Notice that those who rebel against governing authorities are rebelling against God. Thus God uses means, including non-Christian means, to bring about His desired purpose.

God’s purpose, as it stands at the moment, is to bring all things under subjection to the One who has been given all authority in heaven and on earth, i.e., the Lord Jesus Christ. Hence the outpoured Holy Spirit has come upon all flesh, even all the nations.

Next, notice how the governing authorities or rulers are to govern or rule. Romans 13:3f. “For rulers are not a terror to good works, but to evil. Do you want to be unafraid of the authority? Do what is good, and you will have praise from the same. For he is God’s minister to you for good. But if you do evil, be afraid; for he does not bear the sword in vain; for he is God’s minister, an avenger to execute wrath on him who practices evil. Therefore you must be subject, not only because of wrath but also for conscience’ sake.”

Governing authorities are to encourage their subjects to do good and are to avenge evil done by their subjects. Is, e.g., adultery, good or evil? Would a non-Christian ruler be able to answer this question correctly? And if so, how so? Surely it is because he has the work of God’s law written in his heart. Therefore, even his own conscience tells him that adultery is evil, as is the transgressing of all the rest of the Ten Commandments.

God’s Moral Law is God’s standard for all morals, even in non-Christian governors. “He is God’s minister, an avenger to execute wrath on him who practices evil.” What should Christians do if the governing authorities themselves are corrupt and promote things contrary to God’s Moral Law? “We ought to obey God rather than men.” Acts 5:29. Hence Christians are to pray for “…all who are in authority, that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and reverence” Paul to Timothy in 1 Timothy 2:2.

Edmund P Clowney says:

"Nor are Christians necessarily called to suffer state persecution in silence. Jesus called Herod ‘that fox’ (Luke 13:32); John the Baptist rebuked the same notorious king for his incestuous marriage (Mk. 6:18); Paul remonstrated against illegal procedures in his hearing before the Sanhedrin – although apologized for calling the high priest a ‘whited wall’, because of the respect due to his office (Acts 23:3). The Christian may criticise, but stands before the magistrate in meekness and respect, to give the reason for the hope that is in him or her (1 Pet. 3:15)." Edmund P Clowney, The Church, IVP 1995, p. 190.

Notice (in the Clowney quote) that governing authorities are to be rebuked by Christians for any evil they do, i.e., things contrary to God’s Law. They are to be God’s ministers for good, not evil. A Christian’s conscience would bother him if he remained silent about continued evil actions of any governing authorities.

Thus by rebuking any un-Biblical practices of the governing authorities the Christian is showing respect for the office of the governing authority. Indeed he is demonstrating obedience to the authority of God from whom all authority comes. Thus the church witnesses to the nations by testifying to the truth of God’s Moral Law before the nations’ governing authorities.

The church is to proclaim outwardly what individual consciences (and the collective national conscience) testify inwardly, for this is how the Holy Spirit uses His Word to convict the nations of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment (John 16:8-11).

In the Proverbs we are taught: “The king’s heart is in the hand of the LORD, like rivers of water; He turns it wherever He wishes.” Proverbs 21:1. Therefore the Creator, Redeemer, and Consummator, who works all things according to His eternal purpose, has absolute sovereign control over even the most despotic of rulers.

Robert Haldane commenting on Romans thirteen puts it this way:

"Civil rulers… are the ministers of God; if so, they must be of God’s own appointment. The worst government in the country is of God, and is calculated to effect His purposes and promote His glory. Wicked rulers are necessary in God’s plans to punish wicked nations. It is not merely the form of civil government that is from God, but the governors."

Thursday, October 8, 2009

CHRISTIAN JUSTICE

Does something need to be done with a legal system that doesn’t believe in justice?

It was reported in Australia: “A British judge is at the centre of an investigation after he freed a child rapist who then kidnapped and raped another youngster [a five year old] just eight days later.”

There also are judges in America who don’t believe in justice either, releasing rapists back into the community without them having spent any time in prison.

In Australia there is an unrepentant repeat paedophile being shunted from one location to another because of public outcry, many gathering outside his various homes in protest of him roaming free in their community.

Apparently the parents of the first victim in the British rape case (see above) “who are devout Christians” forgave the serial rapist. (However, we need to know that God only forgives those who repent of their sins!)

Yes! It is great not to harbour a spirit of hatred that seeks revenge. But what does this have to do with justice? Since when did Christians, even “devout Christians”, stop believing in justice? A child, two children, were raped by this young rapist.

According to a newspaper article “The latest victim’s father said: ‘Our son was abused not only by this lad, but also in effect by the British [English?] legal system that was supposed to protect him.’”

As a Christian I heartily agree with this statement. The legal system is for the protection of the innocent.

For the record, here’s a little of what Christians actually believe regarding justice:

"Let every soul be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and the authorities that exist are appointed by God. Therefore whoever resists the authority resists the ordinance of God, and those who resist will bring judgment upon themselves. For rulers are not a terror to good works, but to evil. Do you want to be unafraid of the authority? Do what is good and you will have the praise from the same. For he is God’s minister to you for good. But if you do evil, be afraid; for he does not bear the sword in vain; for he is God’s minister, an avenger to execute wrath on him who practices evil.” Romans 13:1-4.

“Therefore submit yourself to every ordinance of man for the Lord’s sake, whether to the king as supreme, or to governors, as to those who are sent by him for the punishment of evildoers and for the praise of those who do good. 1 Peter 2:13-14.

If God did not believe in justice then He would never have sent His only begotten Son to the cross to pay for all of our sins.

May the rapists and the judges who release them see the horror of what they are doing. And may justice, Christian justice, soon be restored in the land.