Wednesday, 30 November 2011

Not surprising, but wonderful

Apparently, ravens gesture to each other with their beaks:

The commentary in the above article says "Surprisingly, observations of comparable gestures in our closest living relatives, the great apes, are relatively rare."

Where does the "surprise" come from? Why does surprise often feature in such articles? It comes because the author is working within an evolutionary paradigm; he believes that all living creatures evolved out of one-celled organisms, and that human beings developed from ape-like ancestors. Thus the writer expects only to find signs like this one amongst the alleged near relatives of humans. The frequent surprise you encounter with that paradigm should bring you to question the paradigm itself.

Within a theistic and creationist framework, there is no surprise if the Creator chooses to endow any one of his creatures with these kinds of abilities. The Bible tells us that he reveals his glory in Creation, and part of that is through the wonderful variety and complexity of what he has made. So, not surprising - but wonderful, and a cause for praise.

Monday, 28 November 2011

The masters of the universe!

Man in sin tries to be God. He waves his hands; he speaks; new realities
leap into being!

The secular West has been trying this in the last generation. Political
Messiahs have been offered to us as never before. Our new economic
masters wave their hands; prosperity results! They give speeches - a
just and equal society springs into being! They parade their faces on TV
and billboards - and a new glory arises!

What seems to be dawning more upon thinking people in 2011 with all of
its difficult realities is just how hollow this all has turned out to
be. The new masters of the economic universe have waved their hands
and... economies collapse. The lords of politics give speeches and...
people merrily riot quite oblivious to anything they said. The providers
of a fair education for all send forth new politices and... standards
continue to plummet as if they'd done nothing.

The promise of a being led to a new utopia without submission to Jesus
Christ, being led there science, technology, democracy, the UN/EU, human
rights, etcetera, etcetera, turns out to be a hollow one. Secularism is
proving itself to be bankrupt. It's quite remarkable how short a time
the present crises have taken to fall down upon us, if you take a longer
view of history. We now have in the UK a political class who have spun
their images as the bestowers of unimaginable and unending benefits for
all almost to perfection; but how impotent they have revealed themselves
to be. Their policies defied basic laws of creation - of righteousness,
truth and mathematics; and now they are beginning to reap the whirlwind.

That's not a reason for Christians to be depressed. It's one for us to
knuckle down and get on with the way that will actually work - not
spinning ourselves out to be "Masters of the Universe!", but faithfully
serving the one who is, and who will in due time reveal who truly is
Lord of Lords and King of Kings. The false mirages of secular utopia
will fade away; but the kingdom of God will grow forever and ever; the
stone cut out without hands will continue to expand until the mountain
covers the earth.

Saturday, 19 November 2011

The "prosperity theology" versus the apostle Paul

A friend's ring-tone sounded... it went like this: "You are blessed in your family... blessed in your body... blessed in your finances... blessed in your business... no weapon forged against you can prosper... this is yours in the mighty name of Jesus!"

That's a typical traditional African religion, with the imported name of Jesus playing the role of the powerful incantation that brings you the blessings and wards off the curses.

Me: "I wonder what the apostle Paul would have made of that. How about this one: 'You are ship-wrecked on your journeys... your body beaten with the 39 lashes 5 times... you will face death daily and be naked, hungry, full of pain... in danger always from false brethren... this is yours in the mighty name of Jesus!"

Wednesday, 16 November 2011


Revealing quote from the governor of the bank of England:
11.25 King: "Central banks don't have real resources, they create money. People who put pressure on the ECB misunderstand the problem, this is an issue for governments."

Note what he's saying there - when the Bank of England prints money, it's not backed by real resources.

Rather, money-printing is a way of devaluing the real savings which people out in the country at large own. It's a way of appropriating savers' savings. It doesn't create - it simply appropriates.

We seem to have a paucity of Christian thinkers who are applying Biblical teaching to many areas of life at the moment, and the principles of an economy is one of them. It seems to be an area that's just been wholesale handed-over to the secularists to say and do whatever they please. Is that right, when the earth is the Lord's and everything in it?

What are the ethics of the Bank of England deciding to appropriate peoples' savings in this fashion? At what point does "thou shalt not steal" apply to such activities? Is it right for the Bank of England to issue banknotes but effectively have a "carte blanche" to reduce their value as and when it pleases, after the fact? The evangelical church in the West seems sadly mute in untangling such questions today - where have the theologians gone?

Tuesday, 15 November 2011

What population/food crisis are you referring to?

Facts are stubborn things. Therefore they are often ignored.

One contemporary meme circulating the Western world is that the world cannot produce enough food to support its growing population.

The facts are that the UK throws out uneaten food in the year to the value of approximately double the entire government expenditure of the government of Kenya; or two-thirds of the entire Kenyan economy. On a ball-park estimation of how much money the average Kenyan spends on food, the money spent on thrown-away food in the UK in one year would feed the entire Kenyan population for nearly two. Note that I'm not proposing that the money is simply over to the African. Money without work except where work is impossible (e.g. elderly widows, the disabled, orphans) robs men of their dignity and responsibility, and sows the seed of long-term weakness - that's a lesson you can learn from many giving situations in Kenya too. I'm using the figures by way of comparison, not to promote a policy. But back to the West.

Those figures are just from the UK; population about 60 million. What about the USA, population about 250 million, where (as I understand) they eat and throw away far more? And what about the food that people don't throw away, but eat simply in making themselves fat and unhealthy and for no good reason?

The real facts of the matter are that it's not lack of land or excess of reproduction that's the problem. It's a deficit of the fear of God and of our accountability to him for what we do with our lives and resources. When the West solves that root problem, the others and the quality of the fruit will begin to take care of themselves.

Saturday, 12 November 2011

Preaching to "normal people"

Here is a three-part series (one, two, three) on "How Seminarians Can Learn to Preach to Normal People".

The questions arise...

... why in the West does the default method for training preachers require additional layers of instruction from bloggers in ... (drum-roll) ... how to preach?

And... what side of "normal" are seminarians? Why does the default mode of theological training for future pastors apparently lead them into becoming "non-normal", such that they require special instruction in how to deal with the ranks of the "normal"?

Good questions, are they not?

As well as learning from the helpful advice in that series, we should also take a step back and ask - why is this advice necessary at all? What are we doing wrong that has led us into this position? And, what do we intend to do about it?

Tuesday, 8 November 2011

The church is defined by the gospel

In this series of posts, James White interacts with a group of evangelical infant baptists who apparently believe that unless you believe in infant baptism, you should not be fellowshiped with, and your church should not be recognised as a legitimate church. White graciously and clearly makes the unanswerable point that it is a serious mistake to define the church in terms of anything except the gospel. Part one, two, three.

Friday, 4 November 2011

Explain this if you can....

After his team, Queens Park Rangers, drew 2-2 with Cardiff City on 23rd April, manager Neil Warnock said this:
"We defended like fairies in the first half but the first two goals could have come straight out of the Premier League."
Are you shocked? According to our politically correct overlords, you should have been.

Apparently this comment is "homophobic", i.e. encourages you to hate men with perverse sexual tendencies.

Thus, the BBC, via its "editorial complaints unit", has come up with this:
The remark was unacceptable, and it was a matter of regret that it had gone unnoticed by the programme-makers, and therefore without comment or apology, at the time.
I am quite content to remain completely in the dark as to how describing defenders as having played like fairies encourages you to hate the sexually-perverse. Or as to what the sexual practices of fairies are. Or how that affects their defence when playing football. Etcetera.

Meanwhile, the front page of the BBC news website carries this headline: "Sir Alex Ferguson reflects on 'fairytale' Manchester United reign"

When morality becomes an arbitrary matter dictated by the whims of our secularist overlords, it's hard to be consistent.

Let's hope that the BBC will apologise to all concerned for this latest outrage. But not for "Jerry Springer the Opera", of course, as that was a tasteful and thought-provoking investigation into serious cultural issues, which nobody should be offended by. Ha!