Saturday, 20 May 2017

Wedding days - woman, the glory of man

If you have even passing familiarity with UK "famous person" news,
you'll know that today is the wedding day of Pippa Middleton, the sister
of the Duchess of Cambridge.

All the coverage and the photos testify that we all still, underneath
the pretence, acknowledge the Bible truth: "woman is the glory of man"
(1 Cor 11.7). It's there throughout the news stories, the pictures, the
ceremonies that will take place.

Have you not seen it? The men will be dressed in functional suits,
because they are men, and that won't be much discussed. Their glory is
not one displayed outwardly on occasions like this. But... on the day...
what are the ladies wearing? Their hats, their dresses, their styles -
what will they be? The bridesmaids... and at the centre, the beautiful
bride. All eyes are upon her!

I had a minor epiphany some years ago when I realised that whilst men
were fascinated by female beauty.... this was not a precisely
symmetrical thing. So were women. Men desire female beauty; and females
desire to be beautiful. To be sure, male beauty exists and attention is
paid to it - but when put on the scales, the other sides sinks
immediately. There is a directionality. It's so pervasive that it will
take you years of brainwashing before you can make yourself believe that
this is a tragic artefact of our invisible lizard overlords. Sorry, I
mean the evil patriarchy; I'm getting my conspiracies mixed up. If
you've not had that nonsensical indoctrination, then on the contrary,
you'll see that it's so pervasive that it can only be seen as a simple
fact of creation. It is what the Bible says it is - part of nature. No
matter what people claim to believe, they act otherwise, because they
know otherwise. By "part of nature" I don't mean it's some weird Mother
Earth thing. I mean it's how God intentionally designed the world. It's
an echo of the Great Story - the hero comes from heaven to claim and
enjoy his glorious bride, the church. His glory is not in his preening
himself. His glory is in that he gives his blood to win his beautiful
bride - his glory is messy, dirty, sweaty. Her glory does not shine like
that. Her glory shines out visibly in her desirability to him - in the
Great Story, this is by his powerful grace, as the beauty of a
submissive and pure church which willingly gives itself to him.

Don't agree? Go again and look at all the coverage. Everybody knows it
really, at the tacit/intuitive level. Woman is the glory of man. His
glory will be to sweat and bleed for her from this day forth. Her glory
will be that she is glorious, and becomes more and more glorious under
his loving care. That's part of why it's his responsibility to honour
her, to protect her and in marriage to use his God-given authority to
lead her so that on the last day, the great Wedding Feast of the Lamb,
they might both shine together as part of the bride of Christ.

Friday, 12 May 2017

Pastoral Care or Psychotherapy?

The author of this excellent article holds a masters degree in secular
pyschotheraphy, and a post-graduate diploma in social pyschology, which
makes the conclusion even more striking:
http://www.affinity.org.uk/downloads/foundations/Foundations%20Archive/29_12.pdf

I was Dr. Crossley's apprentice for 3 years; he is a man whose life's
passion is to lift up Jesus Christ.

Wednesday, 3 May 2017

The value of the Bible's genealogies and historical lists

Here are some "big picture" reasons as to why the Bible is so interested in recording and preserving genealogical data. There may be many others:


  • History : God rules over history. He cares about history. In the records carefully kept by the Bible, we see his concern for the world’s history.
  • Real-world history : by carefully recording historical records like these, the Bible shows us what kind of book it is. It is not a book of abstract “religious ideas” that have no connection to the world we live in. It destroys the myth that we can keep the Bible’s religious teachings or meanings, but do away with its historical details. They are a package, and stand or fall together.
  • Practical encouragement : since the Bible is concerned to record, in (relevant) detail, real-world history, believers are helped to understand that the Bible is intended to direct their every-day lives. It is for the lives that we have today in this world.
  • Salvation history : God made promises about a seed of the woman. The genealogies show and document that these promises have been faithfully kept. Time does not diminish God’s faithfulness or purpose.
  • The justification of God : His exhauistive documentation of the genealogical line of the Messiah (and many associated lines) leaves unbelief without any excuse. No sound demonstration that there is any error in genealogy of Jesus Christ has ever been made.
  • Grace : When we see figures like the Gentile prostitute Rahab in the ancestry of Jesus Christ, we are reminded that inclusion among God’s people has always been by grace. When we see Ruth, we are reminded of his purpose to save the nations. Similarly, Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, we are reminded that salvation has always been by God’s gracious determination to save whom he will, and not by human choice.
  • Power : The sheer length of time covered by the genealogies that run from the beginning of creation until the coming of Christ reminds us of God’s power : the passage of time, and the concomitant rising and falling of nations and empires does not impede any of his plans; rather, they were always part of it.
  • Patience : Similarly, this sheer length of time reminds us of God’s great patience with rebellious humanity. The judgment has been tarrying for long, whilst people are given opportunity to repent.
  • Judgment : Historical records and surveys of peoples who lived and died millennia ago remind us that all is seen, and that all is recorded. There will be a day of judgment, when all is brought to account. When we read the names of people and have no idea who they were, we remember that this applies to every life, whether great or small.
  • God at the centre : The names of obscure people remind us that it’s whom God sees us as that counts, not whom the world sees us as. There are godly people named and recorded in the Bible, whilst rulers of empires and dynasties have been overlooked and forgotten. The final evaluation of all things will be given by God, not man.