What can I say about the imminent deaths of two former drug smugglers who have cleary turned their lives around since they were sentenced years ago?
Pastor Andrew Chan is one of two Australians whose execution in Indonesia is imminent. About 10 years ago Chan was found guilty of helping organise the export of heroin from Indonesia to Australia. He was found to be the leader of a group afterwards known as the Bali 9, who were picked up at the airport as they were about to board a plane to Australia, They all had significant amounts of heroin bound to their bodies.
Chan and a co-organiser Myuran Sukamaran were given the death penalty while the others had lengthy prison sentences.
Since that time Chan became a follower of Jesus and trained to be a Pastor to fellow inmates within the jail. Sukamaran turned to art and has been studying for a fine arts degree through an Australian university. Within the jail he has run art classes for current and former inmates.
There is absolutely no doubt that both men have turned their lives around and have become valuable assets to the jail that has been their home for a decade, helping to change the lives of other inmates just as they turned their own lives around.
But recently Indonesia changed its President and he’s been trying to show his authority by coming down hard on those found guilty of drug crimes – irrespective of any demonstrated rehabilitation.
Now after ten years, the new President has demanded that the 10 year old death sentences be carried out. It seems that will happen some time this week.
For more details of the current situation see the following:
After sharing my comments about the Stephen Fry quote yesterday, I realised that the kind of God that he rails against is very much like the image of God presented by Calvinst theology.
He rails against a God he sees as controlling every aspect of creation and is therefore a God responsible for the state of the world: who has ordained it to be that way.
If I had that image of God, I’d very likely find atheism an attractive option.
But that is NOT the God revealed through scripture and it is not the God revealed through Jesus Christ.
…as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of Man be lifted up, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life. 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
Don’t blame God for what man’s sin has done to the world. Be grateful for the gift of His Son. Believe in Him and the light and life He brings.
The quote to the left (attributed to Stephen Fry) is a clipping from yesterday’s newspaper. After reading it part of the book of Revelation came to mind where it is said that man responded to trouble and tragedy not by repenting (ie recognising and turning from his own sin) but by cursing and blaspheming God.
In other words, man blames God for what man has done.
Contrary to Fry’s accusation against God, everything God created was GOOD, even mankind. But God gave mankind freedom of choice: 1) to have an ongoing life of ease, untroubled by death where evil wasn’t even a concept to grasp: or 2) to gain an experiential knowledge of good and evil through disobedience to God. The consequence of that disobedience was the cause of all of the misery that Fry attributes to God and contrary to his accusation the misery he mentions IS our fault because of the sin that man freely chose and has continued to choose through history.
In his statement Fry demonstrates wilful ignorance, as well as an incredible degree of pride and arrogance that leads him to believe he has the right or would even have the guts to address the Holy and Righteous Creator in such a manner.
Would Fry prefer it if God had created mankind as a race of pre-programmed puppets with no freedom at all? I suspect what the answer would be to that question, when so many recently have come out in support of freedom of expression after the Charlie Hebdo massacre. People like Fry want the freedom to deny God or to mock and berate Him, yet still want to blame Him for what results from the exercise of that freedom.
I agree with Fry that the world is full of injustice, pain and misery but reject his accusation that God is to blame for that state.
God is not capricious, mean-minded or stupid. While Fry blames Him for evil in the world, in reality God has created a way to end the effects of the evil that is given a place in God’s creation by man. But that way requires man to freely trust God to turn TO Him and to turn FROM sin.
Sadly, it is a choice that most (including Fry) refuse to make.
The epistle to the Romans is often said to be the perfect rendering of the gospel, because the epistle wasn’t written to correct a specific heresy as many of the others were. I have always believed this to be true and have stated it many times, but now I have been shown that I was wrong on that point.
Romans is indeed the best and most complete rendering of the workings of the gospel that I know of in scripture. But the epistle was written to address an error that had crept into the church in Rome, and which would eventually make its way into almost all of the churches.
That error is called “Replacement Theology”, the false teaching that the church of Jesus Christ is the new Israel of God, and that other than coming into the church as individuals, God has no ultimate plan for the physical children of Israel.