Friday, 22 July 2011

Selective moral outrage

One of the side-effects of failing to be morally outraged when you should, is over-compensation at other times.

That is, if you fail to apply God's law fully here, then it's likely you'll go overboard on it there.

Right now, the UK press and politicians are going completely beserk over phone hacking. Phone hacking is bad, of course, but ...

... did anyone notice the newspaper group in question had been selling pornography by the million-copy on the High Street for decades?

Or that another large newspaper group is owned by a man whose fortune was made in pornography?

Seems not... because peddling pornography is no longer a cause of moral outrage in the modern UK. But don't fear; society's leaders are making up for it by being outraged almost to death by phone hacking. And let's not mention the mass-slaughter of the unborn that goes on day after day with hardly a comment...

What's wrong with this picture?

Wednesday, 20 July 2011

The prisoner of Jesus Christ

Commenting on Ephesians 3:1, "For this cause I, Paul, the prisoner of Jesus Christ...", Calvin writes:
"In the presence of the world and of wicked men, this might have appeared to be foolish boasting; but, in addressing godly persons, it was a dignified and faithful manner. The glory of Christ not only overcomes the ignominy of the chains, but converts what was in itself a reproach into the highest honor. If he had merely said, “I am a prisoner,” this would not have conveyed the idea of his being an ambassador. Imprisonment alone has no claim to this honour, being usually the mark of wickedness and crime. But the crowns and sceptres of kings, to say nothing of the imposing splendor of an ambassador, are less honorable than the chains of a prisoner of Jesus Christ."
Amen! A couple more pithy quotes from the same chapter, one on the nature of faith:
"In a word, faith is not a distant view, but a warm embrace, of Christ, by which he dwells in us, and we are filled with the Divine Spirit."
And a comment reflecting the importance of accurately interpreting the Scriptures:
Augustine is quite delighted with his own acuteness, which throws no light on the subject. Endeavouring to discover some kind of mysterious allusion to the figure of the cross, he makes the breadth to be love, — the height, hope, — the length, patience, and the depth, humility. This is very ingenious and entertaining: but what has it to do with Paul’s meaning?

Tuesday, 19 July 2011

Why hold the Lord's Supper every week?

I wrote a leaflet for the people coming to our church, to answer the question in the title: "Why do we hold the Lord's Supper every week?"

Uh-oh. The over-population fanatics are on the march.

Caroline Lucas, Green MP for Brighton, says: "In 1930, just one or two generations ago, the world's population stood at around two billion. Today it is around seven billion, and by 2050 it is projected to rise by a third to 9 billion."

What neither the article, nor Lucas, commented on was - would they rather live in 1930, or today?

Today? Thought so. Why is that? Because human ingenuity has come up with so many ways of making life better with 7 billion people than it was with 2 billion. Just like the Bible would lead us to expect - because the world's not an out-of-control juggernaut, but full of God-implanted potential that God-given human ingenuity can develop.

Sadly most Green Party-types are also atheists, so for them, their basic solution to the problem isn't more honesty and hard work with faith in God, but suggestions of eugenics, and demonising the Beckhams who have (perish the thought!) four children. Hmmm.

Research generally shows that the average UK shopper throws away around a third of all the food he buys. And he doesn't need to eat quite as much as he does eat to be healthy. So, on the food front, with no changes in the UK whatsoever except only buying what we need to eat, we could support around 100 million people as opposed to the 60 million people presently living there. i.e. With more people, we could simply put the food in their mouths instead of in the bin. It's a similar story across developed countries. (And in developing countries, the story is to do with corruption, and the gospel producing the "Protestant work ethic" which got the developed countries to where they are now). The solutions are mostly at hand; demonising the Beckhams for having all of four kids is not necessary.

Monday, 18 July 2011

A response to a critic

Over a, I found that the proprietors of the website had published a response to a critic's interaction with my recent article. Basically, they said all I'd have wanted to say and more. Their response includes a very useful clarification on the matter of Scripture's perspicuity. The critic's question basically boiled down to: "since our interpretations of the Bible are fallible, just like the contemporary scientific consensus over Darwinism can be fallible, does that make the interpretation of the Bible's account as serious history any more reliable an opinion that that of theistic evolutionists who prefer to prioritise Darwinian science?" The response is here.

Saturday, 9 July 2011

Speaking the truth about missionary mythology: read, learn, inwardly digest

Here are two posts to read, read and read again. (I found them via the narcissistic activity of self-Googling. Someone added a link to my blog, as someone sympathetic to the ideas expressed in this post. 15 months ago!).

Were I more of an emotionally expressive fellow, I could have wept in reading these. I don't know whether I feel more pain at witnessing so much of the perpetuation of what this blogger calls "the mythology of North American fundamentalism and Western Evangelicalism", or of the relief of finding a person who's willing to speak the truth so bluntly. Many of the writer's examples are American and I'm not American - he's also in the Orthodox Church which I have very significant theological differences with - but give or take those things, there's a lot to learn here. Opening paragraph:
"In the mythology of North American fundamentalism and Western Evangelicalism, we missionaries are the heroes. We've given up our comfortable lives and left family and friends and offered ourselves to bring the light of the gospel to benighted peoples across the globe. We of the missionary slide show/now powerpoint presentation, we of the missionary letters telling stories of our triumphs and sorrows, we of the frenetic furlough spent going from church to church giving our spiel and hoping that congregations and individuals will sign up and be on our financial support team. We have our special anecdotes that always produce the appropriate laugh or outburst of disgust. We always seem to be teetering on the brink of some ministry-threatening catastrophe, skillfully presented to elicit yet more prayer support. People regularly marvel at how we could have taken our children from here (land of milk and honey) and raised them there (the dangerous howling wilderness) and are astonished when they discover that our teenagers can carry on a meaningful conversation with adults." - read the full thing at:
And here's a Kenyan Christian's view of an (unnamed!) missionary couple, having reviewed their blog posts written from within the above mythological ilk:
I am praying i never have to work with them because i would be hard pressed to be patient let alone gracious. I know the reason they say they are coming and I believe them but I have a question. Why are they coming? - full post at:
A quick poke around gives some more beneficial stuff:
In one place the first blogger writes: "I would love to have some thoughtful discussion on all this. But I fear that this is one of those untouchable topics in Evangelical circles because, truth be told, too many of us seem to have too much to lose." I've had experiences in that ball-park; sitting down with a Westerner who's an enthusiastic supporter of "mission" with a deep interest in "the mission field", moving towards a discussion of how it really is in this part of the world, and watching the defences go up: they didn't want to know how it is; they like the mythology better. And who wouldn't?

Friday, 8 July 2011

True and false religion

Interesting quote here:
"An important Islamic political party has called for Pakistan’s Supreme Court to ban the Bible. A leader of Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam, Maulana Abdul Rauf Farooqi, made the appeal at a press conference at a mosque in Lahore on 30 May. Farooqi described the Bible as “pornographic”. He claimed that “blasphemous” portions had been added, which charged some prophets with “a variety of moral crimes, which undermine the sanctity of the holy figures”. Farooqi said such “insertions” strongly offended Muslims, who hold all prophets and holy books in high esteem."

There's the difference between true and false religion. False religion covers over real men's sins and holds out the illusory hope of perfection in this life, in ourselves. The truth says that all men, no matter how far they have gone, are sinners, fallen in Adam and needing redemption in the one-and-only perfect man, the Son of God, Jesus Christ.

Wednesday, 6 July 2011


I've put a page for evangelistic tracts on my website, here. You might find something you can re-use.

Like other parts of the website, I have plans to fill it with lots more content when either a) the mythical 30-hour day arrives, or b) I learn to use the existing 24-hour one better. :-)

My Lord

Elisabeth said to Mary, "And why is this granted to me that the mother of my Lord should come to me?" (Luke 1:43)

Here's a paragraph I found in some old sermon notes, on Elisabeth's remarkable proclamation:

"It is one thing to call a man “Lord” when he is on a throne, with all the majesty of the court around him. It is something else when all of that is hidden and veiled. It is one thing to call oneself a Christian and profess that you follow Jesus Christ as your master when you are in the company of other Christians. It is another thing to call oneself a Christian and testify that you follow Jesus Christ as your master when you are in the company of people who don't believe, and even scoff at the faith. It will be one thing for a person to bow to Jesus Christ, and call him “Lord”, when they see him upon his judgment throne, ready to bless or damn the living and the dead. But to call him Lord, whilst that remains hidden, is something else."

The proclamation, "my Lord", is all the more remarkable when you realise that Jesus in his human nature was only embryonic at that moment.

"If you and I were let into heaven, and could now see the glory of Christ, we would not be able to do anything except fall down, and worship. But look at the thing Elizabeth does. Who does she call “Lord”? An unborn baby, in the womb."

Roger Scruton on homosexual "marriage"

Incisive quote, here.

Friday, 1 July 2011