Believing God?

I suspect the Lord tailors his teaching to our different capabilities of learning. But while the way we learn may be unique to each individual, the overall intent of the lesson will always be the same: an understanding that conforms to God’s nature and purposes that can be confirmed through a proper addressing of scripture.
But the intended outcome is never knowledge for the sake of knowledge, but deeper relationship with Him and others.

Throughout my Christian life I’ve learned a lot through experience, making a lot of mistakes and taking many wrong paths before stepping back to consider why things went so unexpectedly wrong.
Perhaps out of that, the most important thing the Lord has opened up to me is the need to test everything. What Paul wrote with regard to prophecy can be applied to all areas of revelation and learning: “Test all things; hold fast what is good. Abstain from every form of evil”.
It’s very easy to be attracted by something “good” and then fall for something “evil” – IF we bypass the testing.

I think back around 30 years ago when I was hooked by word of faith teaching. The thing that caught my attention and drew me in was a LEGITIMATE understanding of faith.
A group of friends were bombarding me with arguments recommending the Copelands’ WOF teachings, and in the process (despite their arguments rather than because of them – and I wish I’d realised that at the time) I finally understood something about faith that took it out of the realm of wishful thinking and to a place of greater certainty.

I suddenly saw that Christian faith was simply believing God and His word even when sensory and intellectual evidence seemed to be “proving” something else.

That was the good and if I’d stopped there and studied the Word for myself I might have avoided the bad: a lot of false teaching that took me in a wrong direction. But instead of searching the scriptures for myself to develop my understanding, I searched the Copeland’s teachings and relied on the particular spin THEY placed on the “faith message”.

What I find disappointing now is that I could see that a large portion of their teaching was (at best) questionable, but I pushed my reservations aside.

I can now recognise that by taking that path I wasn’t really believing God and His word, (as per that revealed understanding of faith) I was “believing” what Copeland told me ABOUT God’s word, without actually checking it out for myself to see if he was addressing it correctly, according to its intended context.

I said above that Christian faith is simply believing God and His word. Yes it IS as simple as that. But what is not necessarily so simple is being sure that it is REALLY God and His Word that we are believing. It is extremely easy to pick up wrong ideas that create a distorted understanding of God, and that is where so much of WOF teaching is in error. Its view of God and his purposes are created out of selected parts of scripture, usually applied with no consideration for the intended context of those scripture portions.

It is essential that we develop an overview – an understanding of the broad scope of scripture, and not be satisfied with bits and pieces that seem to support what we want to believe.

What if…

“…behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream, saying, “Arise, take the young Child and His mother, flee to Australia, and stay there until I bring you word; for Herod will seek the young Child to destroy Him.”

When he arose, he took the young Child and His mother by night and departed for Australia, and was detained there indefinitely to deter others who might be desperate enough to seek asylum in that country.”

family

Drawing by child refugee imprisoned in Australian detention centre.

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(drawing from https://www.humanrights.gov.au/our-work/asylum-seekers-and-refugees/national-inquiry-children-immigration-detention-2014 )

detention-centre

(drawing from http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2711408/Drawings-asylum-seeker-refugee-children-held-Australian-detention-centres.html )

Do not forget to show hospitality to strangers, for by so doing some people have shown hospitality to angels without knowing it. Continue to remember those in prison as if you were together with them in prison, and those who are ill-treated as if you yourselves were suffering.

Ben Quilty and Syrian Refugee Crisis

Quilty Confronts Syrian refugee crisis

 
Earlier this year the celebrated Australian artist Ben Quilty and the equally lauded author, Richard Flanagan, travelled to Europe and the Middle East to witness the refugee crisis in those regions.

They’ve since returned home and Ben Quilty’s new exhibition opening this week at the Art Gallery of South Australia is his interpretation of that experience.

Barbara Miller visited the artist in his studio.

See video here:

 http://www.abc.net.au/news/2016-11-07/quilty-confronts-syrian-refugee-crisis/8003348

Also: Confronting mortality.

Artist Ben Quilty and author Richard Flanagan make a harrowing trip to Europe and the Middle East to witness first-hand the refugee crisis.

http://www.abc.net.au/news/2016-11-07/confronting-mortality:-ben-quilty-confronts-the-syrian-exodus/7995244

 

Janine di Giovanni: What I saw in the war

Also


from: http://www.abc.net.au/radionational/programs/breakfast/’this-could-have-been-prevented’:-di-giovanni-on-aleppo/8118508

On my “holiday” reading  list:
morning

 

Speaking to those directly involved in the war, di Giovanni relays the personal stories of rebel fighters thrown in jail at the least provocation; of children and families forced to watch loved ones taken and killed by regime forces with dubious justifications; and the stories of the elite, holding pool parties in Damascus hotels, trying to deny the human consequences of the nearby shelling. Delivered with passion, fearlessness and sensitivity, The Morning They Came for Us is an unflinching account of a nation on the brink of disintegration, charting an apocalyptic but at times tender story of life in a jihadist war – and an unforgettable testament to human resilience in the face of devastating, unimaginable horrors.

4 Week Break

I’m taking a four week break and won’t be able to moderate any comments made until I return around mid January.

It’s possible that I’ll schedule some pre-written articles to be posted during my time away, so the appearance of new posts during that period doesn’t mean I’ve returned earlier than intended.

“literalist” Christianity growing in Canada

…Why is literalist Christianity growing in North America? (Canada!)

http://www.abc.net.au/radionational/programs/religionandethicsreport/why-is-literalist-christianity-growing-in-n/8099310

In Canada, a new study shows that the churches that are growing across North America are, indeed, conservative.

If you attended one of these churches, you wouldn’t necessarily hear a fire-and-brimstone sermon. Nor would you be swept up in a gale of rock music and waving arms and preachers speaking in tongues.

But you would notice a literal reading of the Bible on one key point – the bodily resurrection of Christ. According to the authors of the study, it’s the reason for the success of these churches.

An interesting point: Conservative in theology, not necessarily politically.

I also find it “strange” but not unexpected that believing in the “bodily resurrection of Christ” seems to be considered as being unusual in some way. But without the “bodily resurrection of Christ” there can be no genuine Christianity – any expression of faith in Christ would be worthless.

…if Christ is not risen, then our preaching is empty and your faith is also empty. (1 Cor 15)

 

Are You In The Market For Deception?

There are a lot of warnings in scripture about false teachers, false prophets and false Christ’s that would all be totally redundant if there wasn’t a need to alert people to the possibility of being turned from the truth to accept something contrary to the truth.

But not only are there warnings about deceivers, there are warnings about people who follow them. In Jeremiah a commentary on false prophets also turns an accusing finger upon those who welcome their messages: “My people love to have it so”; and Paul writes about people who collect teachers to appeal to their itching ears.

Without a “market” for deception, no deceiver would survive.

It seems today there is little difference between attitudes to theological ideas and the consumption of news. Does it really matter if the source is reliable as long as its message supports a desired stance?

Often it takes only a very cursory (honest) look into a teaching or news source to assess its truthfulness, but unless there is a genuine desire FOR the truth, it is easy to dismiss clear evidence if it contradicts what we WANT to believe.

Likewise it’s easy to ignore serious flaws in a teaching or news source if it’s PROMOTING what we want to believe.

It’s sad fact that many (even professing Christians) really have no love of the truth, preferring to mould a more appealing (to them) version of “reality” to live by.