Author Archive for

18
Oct
17

Giving Heed to Fables or to Sound Doctrine?

The time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine, but according to their own desires, because they have itching ears, they will heap up for themselves teachers; and they will turn their ears away from the truth, and be turned aside to fables.

 

How naïve the Pentecostal church was back in the late 70s when, as a new Christian, I was getting my first taste of end time teachings. We were all convinced that things were so bad in the world that The Lord could possibly return to snatch us away during the next few minutes, (in a pre-trib rapture), or if not, then at least before the end of the week.

 

40 years later and He still hasn’t returned, and those days seem so tame compared to the present day.
Clearly we’ve never really understood the potential depth of mankind’s depravity.
I wonder how much worse things are likely to become in the world before the Lord does come back.

 

One thing that has clearly changed is the increasing fulfilment of Jesus’s prophecies about false Christs and false prophets; and how they have increasingly become part of the mainstream.

 

In a comment on after earlier post, my friend Roger recommended an article here:
http://herescope.blogspot.co.nz/2017/10/selling-out-blessed-hope.html

Towards the end of the article examples are given of several books related to “biblical prophecy”. I found one of them stood out when I read the description. That particular book:

asks whether God raised up President Trump as a fearless leader to guide America and the free world through a series of major crises as the biblical end-time narrative unfolds, as many people with prophetic gifts are predicting, and shows why everyday Americans and evangelicals have rallied around Trump as their last hope of saving America and averting the horrors of the Apocalypse

 

I feel I should be able to ask “need I say more”?  – Surely that brief description is sufficient to expose that book’s premise as being deeply (and demonically) flawed; lauding Trump as a God endorsed saviour, who will basically nullify God-given biblical prophecy about end time events. But I suspect many “evangelicals” will eagerly lap up its claims.

 

I’m not sure that, back in the 70s, any Bible believing Christian could have believed that such attitudes would be ever held by anyone within “the church”, particularly the “evangelical church”. Could we have ever believed that things within the church would become so off-kilter?

 

Of course, there were books and teachings of the time that I can now see (with hindsight and significantly more awareness of what the Bible actually says) were highly flawed.  But those that I came across at least made a token effort to present a Biblical viewpoint, and kept the gospel in mind, even if they added far too much personal interpretation and speculation to their Biblical content. Today, books like the one mentioned above, seem more intent on pushing a different agenda, far removed from the genuine Gospel of the Kingdom.

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12
Oct
17

Are You Sure?

Are you sure that the Bible says what you think it says?

Are you sure it means what you think it means?

Are you sure you’re not adding something that’s not actually there?

Are you sure you’re not relying on someone’s interpretation of scripture instead of what scripture actually says?

Are you sure that your beliefs are actually consistent with scripture?

Are you sure your desire for truth is strong enough to make certain that you can answer YES to all of the above?

10
Oct
17

Travelling the Right Path (and remaining on it).

It is better to trust in the Lord
Than to put confidence in man.
It is better to trust in the Lord
Than to put confidence in princes.*

The most visited article on this blog is this one: Is David Pawson a False Teacher?  In that article I express concern that so many people are clearly looking for someone else to answer that question for them instead of following the example of the Bereans, searching the scriptures to find out whether the teacher and his teachings are true. (My own experience with Pawson has led me to believe he’s more trustworthy than most – but others need to test what he says for themselves)

Over the years I’ve seen more and more examples of how unwise it is to put our confidence in man. While there is a clear legitimacy in receiving teaching and instruction from others, we have an equally clear personal accountability. No teaching or instruction should be accepted without adequate, persistent, ongoing scrutiny.

It is far too easy for personal admiration and even friendship to lead to short cuts; bypassing necessary checks and balances, and as a result start to accept things that ought to be pushed aside. And it’s also very easy to allow our personal desires to lead to similar short cuts: we want something to be true so we find ways of supporting what we want to believe, often through finding isolated, seemingly favourable bible verses (regardless of their intended context).

I’ve previously given examples of my own experience related to “Word of Faith” teaching, and how I ignored my own reservations about aspects of the teaching, a choice that made it easier for me to swallow falsehoods that I may have otherwise have recognised for what they really were.
Apart form personal experiences like that, I’ve also seen far too many friends taking dangerous paths.

I’ve seen some lose their faith altogether.
I’ve seen some heading more and more into mysticism.
I’ve seen others getting caught up in partisan politics, confusing their nation’s agenda with that of God’s Kingdom.

Several of those people were “leaders” of a kind, maintaining or moderating popular, well-visited Christian forums. They had an influence over people and their beliefs.

My brethren, let not many of you become teachers, knowing that we shall receive a stricter judgment. For we all stumble in many things.**

Whether we are teachers or not.
Whether we are in a position to influence others or not.
We need to be sure, for our own sake if not the sake of others, that we remain sound and that the path we’re on is leading in the right direction, that we’re not straying from the truth.

As a simple guide I’ve come to recognise the following;

The gospel is simple, not convoluted needing great intellect or learning to understand.
The gospel is practical, not airy fairy and esoteric.
The gospel is about God and His Kingdom, not about man and mankind’s political kingdoms.
The gospel puts God and His agenda first, not man and mankind’s desires and ambitions.

 

 

_____________________

* Psalm 118
** James 3

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10
Oct
17

God’s Glorious Gospel

Last week, Jeff Weddle posted a blog article that included a question posed by Larry King.
https://antiitchmeditation.wordpress.com/2017/10/05/the-problem-of-evil-god-and-larry-king/

 

If God is omnipotent why do tragedies like earthquakes and hurricanes happen?

 

The clear problem with Larry King’s question is it’s based on a totally false assumption.

He assumes that the primary concern of an omnipotent God would be to have a world totally free from any kind of catastrophe (either natural or manmade).
Clearly, IF an omnipotent God wanted a catastrophe-free world, there would be nothing stopping Him from maintaining such a world.
However, a REAL omnipotent God (as compared to the God of Larry King’s wish list) might just have a much larger agenda of more eternal consequence, and this short term planet may have a greater purpose than being a comfortable, trouble free home where we can live out our three score years and ten.

Four years ago I wrote the following article where I looked at God’s plan for mankind and the rest of His creation.

Onesimus Files

Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and there was no longer any sea. I saw the Holy City, the new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride beautifully dressed for her husband. And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Now the dwelling of God is with men, and he will live with them. They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God. He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.”
He who was seated on the throne said, “I am making everything new!” Then he said, “Write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true.”
He said to…

View original post 939 more words

04
Oct
17

America’s Most Dangerous Enemy.

From Sydney Morning Herald 3 October 2017

This is the number of people killed by Stephen Paddock in Las Vegas in the deadliest mass shooting in modern US history.

It was more than the total number of gun-related deaths in Australia in all of 2016, excluding self harm.

Here’s how many gun-related deaths there have been in the US so far in 2017, also excluding self harm.

 

The scale of the image depicting 11,681 victims (up to the date of the article) had to be portrayed on a much smaller scale to fit the page.

source article:

http://www.smh.com.au/world/heres-why-australia-will-never-understand-the-us-obsession-with-guns-20171003-gyt7ys.html

11
Sep
17

From Baghdad Burning blog, Sunday, September 11, 2005

From Baghdad Burning blog, Sunday, September 11, 2005

It has been four years today. How does it feel four years later?

For the 3,000 victims in America, more than 100,000 have died in Iraq. Tens of thousands of others are being detained for interrogation and torture. Our homes have been raided, our cities are constantly being bombed and Iraq has fallen back decades, and for several years to come we will suffer under the influence of the extremism we didn’t know prior to the war.

As I write this, Tel Afar, a small place north of Mosul, is being bombed. Dozens of people are going to be buried under their homes in the dead of the night. Their water and electricity have been cut off for days. It doesn’t seem to matter much though because they don’t live in a wonderful skyscraper in a glamorous city. They are, quite simply, farmers and herders not worth a second thought.

Four years later and the War on Terror (or is it the War of Terror?) has been won:

Score:
Al-Qaeda – 3,000
America – 100,000+

Congratulations.

https://riverbendblog.blogspot.com.au/2005_09_01_archive.html#112647459352403679#112647459352403679

(After clicking on the link, scroll down to post from 11 Sept)

08
Sep
17

Rainbow Connection: SSM and Religious Freedom

During Australia’s same sex marriage debate, one group (on the “NO” side) continues to claim that religious freedom will be put at risk should SSM be legalised. The other group (on the “YES” side) continue to insist such concerns are unfounded and are mere red herrings – that the only issue at stake is the happiness of people who want to marry their same sex partner.

But what is the reality?

 

I heard an interview* on ABC radio this morning that made it clear that any protection of religious freedom will ONLY be applied to religious institutions and not to Christian individuals.
Bringing out the now clichéd example of a cake maker refusing to supply a cake for a same sex wedding, it was made clear that they will be guilty of breaking anti-discrimination laws and will be subject to prosecution.

 

My own view of that is that it is the EVENT being “discriminated” against – not the people involved. I’m sure the cake maker would be willing to bake cakes for anyone as an individual – just not willing to bake a cake for an event that compromises their religious beliefs.
To take a step to the side – should a cake maker (religious or otherwise) be legally required to supply a cake promoting (legal) extreme right wing groups or other political views that challenge their conscience, or would their refusal be deemed prosecutable discrimination?

 

Apart from that hypothetical and now clichéd example, we have current cases to look at (not exclusively religious), such as the one described in this story:

A petition with more than 2000 signatures has likened doctors who oppose marriage equality to racists and accused them of contributing to “increased depression.”

The open letter accompanying the petition was written by Perth medical student Carolyn O’Neil and accused more than 400 doctors of adding to “increased depression, anxiety, self‐harm, and suicidal behaviours.”

https://au.news.yahoo.com/a/37005078/doctors-opposing-marriage-equality-slam-petition-against-them/

 

This follows a situation that I mentioned in an earlier post, where a doctor was being subjected to a petition calling for her to be struck off the medical register.

A woman that appeared in the advertisement for the ‘no’ camp in the same-sex marriage debate is now at the centre of an online campaign to have her medical licence stripped.

The online petition has just over 6,000 signatures and calls for a “review of the registration of Dr Pansy Lai”.

Dr Lai, a GP in northern Sydney, appeared as one of three mothers in the Marriage Coalition advertisement that first aired at the end of last month.

She told The Australian she has been inundated with phone and social media threats since the ad was released and said she had reported one threat to police that she would be shot “this week”.

https://au.news.yahoo.com/a/36946222/online-petition-wants-dr-pansy-lai-from-sydney-deregistered/

 

In recent weeks I’ve kept an eye on several discussions in the media around the topic of same sex marriage and have found very strong anti-Christian attitudes being shown that don’t line up with the assurances that religious freedom won’t be reduced.
The problem with those assurances is what “religious freedom” actually means to those making them. The nature of that “freedom” is being defined by those who won’t be needing it – by the irreligious, the non-believer, and at times those who are actually hostile to all kinds of religious belief.

Those people have NO qualification for understanding the reasons why Christians (or adherents of other religious beliefs) might not agree with same sex marriage. To have that understanding they would need to recognise what it means to believe in a God who has revealed what HE requires of His creation – that it is GOD’s standards that count – not man’s ever changing whims.

Genuine Christians believe in a very REAL God and desire to commit their lives to Him and His ways – to them “religion” is not a mere interest, a hobby – an alternative to sport or any other past time. Their relationship to God is the most important part of their life: in fact it IS their life.

_______________________

* http://www.abc.net.au/radionational/programs/breakfast/same-sex-marriage-hate-speech-santow/8884594




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