Thursday, 28 February 2013

Binding of the Blade book 1, free

I love reading to my children; especially adventure stories.

And of all the books I've read to them, my favourite (and our eldest's favourite) has been the Binding of the Blade series by L B Graham. Magnificent; brilliant; a work of genius. It's a story of how a world fell and was renewed; very familiar, and yet very imaginative.

I've just noticed that book 1 is available as an e-book for free. What are you waiting for?

Wednesday, 27 February 2013

Creation and marriage

Dan Phillips makes the point that views of marriage are necessarily down-stream from views of creation, in a very effective way:

I heard this point made recently in a sermon. Those politicians who know that "gay marriage" is an immoral and oxymoronic concept have largely talked in terms of tradition, culture and pragmatic concerns. Those have their place. But ultimately you are not coherent until you address the question "under whose authority is marriage anyway?" And that's a (shock! horror!) religious question. Until Christians are convinced in their own minds that "you're not allowed to mention religion in public discourse!" is simply a dishonest way for secularists to tilt the playing field in favour of their religion, we're going to keep missing this crucial point.

Life is not a lottery

Good explanation here of why evolutionary just-so stories about the chances of the existence of complex life do not work.

Saturday, 23 February 2013

War is peace

I'm a bit late, but I began reading George Orwell's 1984. Newspeak... doublethink.... some of this does seem awfully familiar. In Orwell's distopian nightmare, the Party's slogan is "War is peace. Freedom is slavery. Ignorance is strength".

Ha ha, you say. How could anyone make the people believe that war was peace, freedom was slavery, and ignorance was strength? Preposterous!

But had you noticed that often in modern Western societies...
  • Diversity is uniformity (secularism rules OK!)
  • Austerity is spending more than before
  • Rebellion is conformity (whoever would have thought that 'rebellion' could be a lifestyle choice marketed and sold to you by multinationals?)
  • Love is lust
  • Freedom is slavery (and again)
  • Equality is inequality
  • Fairness is greed
  • Tolerance is intolerance
  • Personal rights are state mandates
  • Bigotry is truth
Orwell appreciated that the person who controls language, controls the rules of the debate. And if you write the rulebook, then you determine the outcome of the game. By evaporating the meaning of words - or rather, progressively redefining them to mean their opposites - the Party in Orwell's vision did not so much prevent non-conformity, as render it a practical impossibility. There would be no words left with which rebellious thoughts could be either expressed or thought.

As Christians, we need to be aware of this trend, and consciously reject the rules of the debate which the would-be exponents of newspeak try to impose upon us. No doubt in the above there are some points that people would want to debate. But the overall point remains: often, the true debate is not the one that we are led to believe (e.g. how to get "fairness", or "should two men be able to marry?"), but about the meanings of the terms themselves (what really is "fairness", and what is "marriage"?). If you don't ask the earlier question, then often you'll find you're involved in a stitch-up. The playing field has been tilted to make sure you lose; the outcome is pre-determined.

Having committed thoughtcrime, I must now prepare for vaporisation. End of post.

Monday, 18 February 2013

The incoherence of atheism

Richard Dawkins recently made a rather crude comment concerning the Roman Pope's resignation.

I'm no fan of the Roman Catholic church, so we'll let the direct comment itself pass. But in making any such comments - and materialistic atheists like Dawkins do this all the time - Dawkins was again putting his own incoherence on display for all to see.

Materialistic atheists are always telling us about what ought to be. This should happen, that should happen. (e.g. Scientific enquiry ought to be like this, rational discussion should be like that).

But materialistic atheism has no basis to say anything after the words "ought" or "should". Because "ought" and "should" are to do with ideals. They involve the non-physical. They describe mental constructs, and realities which do not necessarily exist. The proponents of scientism have no basis on which to make such declarations, because under their view of reality, only the physical exists or can be rationally discussed.

I can say that Richard Dawkins ought to live differently - because I believe in an ideal model of life, given to us in the gospel. Dawkins, however, has no intellectual basis for saying that the Pope, Bob the Builder or anyone else ought to live differently, without speaking in irrational contradiction of his own professed belief system.

Homosexual super-rights, again

Here's what happens in a society where homosexual activists get the upper-hand:

The talk of "tolerance" was a tactic that was useful for said activists for a time. Once its outlived its usefulness in any particular jurisdiction, they throw off their colours and tell you what they really meant.

Saturday, 16 February 2013

Jesus wants you to love and obey him

Too much of a good thing may be unhelpful.

I wonder sometimes if I am the only one who feels somewhat downcast if he reads too many Christian blogs.

There's so much wise advice. So many accounts of life-changing insights. Wonderful affections towards Jesus. Flashes of penetrating insight. Explanations of how we're getting it wrong on this issue, that, and the other, by not bringing in the gospel into the right place or often enough. All good in their place. But is this a generally accurate view of the Christian life, as a whole?

At such times I am grateful that the Bible does not make these things the essence of the Christian life. Jesus wants you to have a heart for him and to listen to and obey his commandments. That may involve a continual stream of life-changing moments. On the other hand, it may involve an overwhelming amount of faithful plodding.

It's not the fault of any one blogger or movement. We all post about different things, because we have different concerns and audiences. But the total message in serious evangelical Christian blog-dom as a whole, to my minds seems to be drastically deficient in the simple teaching that Christians follow Jesus' commandments. The total message, when I try to step back and evaluate the whole, is of paying close attention to certain doctrines (which is understandable, as in every day and age there will be important boundary markers for any group that need to be re-inforced), of praising certain very gifted men (and would that more listened to their teaching where it is good, though it is helpful to nobody to cross over the line into promoting the culture of Christian celebrity) and of blogging about those wonderful life-changing moments (which can surely help someone in the same situation). But the Christian life, taken as a whole, is not like that.

It would be a mistake to expect the blogdom to reflect Christian life as a whole; but I'm sure we can do better. We certainly should, because it's easy to slip into evaluating your Christian life via the lens of what you read from others. The Bible's major accent is on follow Jesus whole-heartedly, whose ultimate expression is in being faithful in our particular calling. That calling may be prominent or obscure. It may be exciting every moment, or repetitive and uneventful. But that is not important. What is important is that you do what Jesus has given you with repentance, prayer and consistency, according to his revealed laws. Don't be distracted by the twin sirens of seeking emotional excitement for its own sake, or a dull and dry formality. Obey Jesus, from the heart, repent of where you fall short, pray for the Spirit to do better - but do make sure you get on with doing it.

Jesus is watching; not for drama, but for faithfulness to his commands.

Friday, 15 February 2013


I recently read a semi-anonymous article by one Christian criticising several others, which reminded me of the need to be accountable.

Every "public" Christian - which includes anyone who makes comments of whatever kind on the Internet, which is a public forum - should publish their name and the contact details of the church to which they are accountable. There should be no effectively unaccountable, pseudo-anonymous Christians - at least, in countries where it is not illegal to be a Christian.

According to The Wayback Machine, I have done that since the first time I published my homepage, in February 2007. Nothing bad has happened through those details being available. If you believe that if people can locate you then you are in danger, then don't participate in public forums. Participate and be accountable for what you say; or avoid being accountable for anything via not participating. But don't participate without being accountable. That's not godly.

I was challenged about this, about a decade ago when I made a snippy comment about a theologian I didn't like on a third-party blog. Instead of addressing the comment, the blog owner asked why I needed to make the comment anonymously instead of in my own name. Good question. I had no good answers. So I repented. Nothing bad has happened to me since; and even if it had, it would still have been the right thing to do and I can trust the rest to Jesus. And I'm sure some good things have happened, because every time I comment I am reminded that everybody can know who I am as I do so. I'm a Christians; and the name of Jesus Christ is involved. So best to be careful before I click. And if I'm going astray, it's best if there's an opportunity for me to be put right again, rather than me pre-empting the proper mechanisms for that to happen through. That means, the church which you answer to and which has the power to disfellowship you from its meetings and celebrations of the Lord's Supper (regardless of what particular membership system they operate).

If you, as a Christian, living in a country where you are free to profess Christianity, fear to be accountable - then what do you think you will do when tougher times come? There are two options - be accountable, or be quiet. There is no need for a third option.

Saturday, 9 February 2013

What's your evolutionary quotient?

God's day - the best day

Tomorrow is Sunday; the Lord's Day; the day of holy rest; the day when Christ arose and made all things new.

What is the week without Sunday? It's an endless churning; a restless toil; effort without space to step back and enjoy or reflect.

There is no rest for the wicked; and since most of our world is wicked, they reject God's rest and receive back the "reward" of unending toil. Those who teach that there is no God-appointed day of rest for believers now are, whether advertantly or inadvertently, encouraging us to join the wicked in their dreary restlessness. No thanks.

But godly toil that is punctuated by godly rest is enjoyable toil, punctuated by enjoyable rest. It's not wrong to enjoy either toil or rest. It's not worldly to enjoy God's world, because that's the same world which Jesus now rules, and not another.

Jesus made all things new, and so his day comes first, not like the Old Testament Sabbath. Man's rest is not on the basis of his completed toil, which can never come up to the mark, but of Christ's completed and perfect toil, which is then the basis and motivation for us to rise up afterwards to follow after him. He has subdued the devil through his work on the cross; we celebrate and rest in that fact, and then go out to complete the mopping-up operation.

Thursday, 7 February 2013

The UK government says that its own schools will shock you

" Parents would be really shocked to know this is happening in pretty much every school in the country." -

Those are the words of Claire Perry MP, special advisor to the British Prime Minister.

Tuesday, 5 February 2013

What short-term visitors to Africa don't realise

In which we indulge in some advanced bigotry

Change is difficult, saith the politician; and us who don't agree with it may need some assistance and gentle leading.

Dear politician: I'm afraid, it's not just us. Unfortunately, the order of creation itself seems to need some change.

Yer see, men and women are sexually complementary. Men and men are sexually the same, hence incapable of being complementary.

Does the politician have plans to lead the order of nature itself through this process of painful change? Or ought there to be a point at which even politicians have to admit that their legislative powers do not exist?

When King Canute ordered the sea to stop, he did so in full knowledge that he had no such powers - and he wanted his subordinates to realise the same truth.

In our day, sadly, the boot is on the other foot. It appears that the populace largely realise that nature can't be re-written at our whim. It's our politicians who feel otherwise. Or is it now advanced bigotry to point out the facts of how human beings are actually constituted?

From what I see in the news, the next stop is that our brave, mostly male, leaders will be courageously attempting to defend us in future conflicts by sending out our daughters to fight on the front line. Totally outrageous. This is the sexual revolution's bitter, bitter fruit.

Saturday, 2 February 2013

What next for the secularists?

A newsletter touching upon the suffering of Christians in North Africa reminded me that in the last week, the UK's prime minister was saying that Islamic militancy poses an "existential threat".

That raises the question - granting that reality, what answers do secularists actually have? I don't mean "we'll send the boys over to keep them at bay for now". I mean, what do we have to offer by way of world-view, of better and higher things to bring long-term solutions? What forces and powers can we unleash to solve the problem in the ultimate analysis?

According to the secularist/humanist narrative, the spread of democracy is one of the major carriers of peace and prosperity to the nations. When the people can choose their leaders freely, all shall progressively be well.

The problem is, that it seems that the growing Islamisation of much of that part of the world is actually a result of increased democracy. The people (the demos) have been voting for it. The chaos is partly the result of the increased freedom for the people to choose.

That was rather predictable; since modern democracy basically boils down to rule by whoever can organise the most persuasive electoral coalition every few years. The belief that the demos will always choose what is ultimately wisest or in their best long-term interests is an obvious fallacy.

So, what does secularism have to say now? Their belief is falsified by reality. So, where's the solution? If democracy can bring less peace, then where should we pin our ultimate hopes instead? Secularism has no real answers, because it simply doesn't reckon with the facts about corrupt human nature. The demos, when lifted up to fulfil this kind of role, being prospectively all-wise and all-benevolent, are ultimately another false God. As such, they will and must let us down.

What's the answer? Jesus Christ alone can change the corrupt human heart - because that's where the root of the problem really lies.

Friday, 1 February 2013

Why it is not unscientific to say "Darwinism is impossible"

As eloquently explained here, lots of scientific and mathematical puzzlers actually have no solution. One such puzzle is how to explain how disorder ordered itself into life as we know it today. There is no solution, because it didn't happen.