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
I love this artist’s work: an abstract and symbolic expression of her Christian faith in paint and collage.
This is the latest post from her blog about some of her recent paintings.
Last year, guest curator Eric Drummond Smith invited me to be part of the “historical” show Cherry Bounce/ The American Elections at the William King Museum in Abingdon, VA. It was historical in subject matter–its theme the history of the American elections from George Washington to Barack Obama, the 44th President. His well-chosen title Cherry Bounce, an Appalachian liquor, alluded to either hope or despair as we anticipated the yet undecided outcome of the November 2016 election. It was historical because I was assigned the Nixon/McGovern race of 1972 (the Nixon poster called for “a sense of history, not histrionics”), and historical also because my own Christian faith believes all of history is a story with a divine plot and the post-Fall battle for power.
I am a painter who is conscious of this “grand narrative” called history. My statement reads, “Bomer is concerned with the human condition surprised by…
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Double standards are clearly being displayed as society’s acceptance of homosexuality becomes more widespread. Anyone speaking out against its acceptability is immediately labelled homophobic and their views are portrayed as aberrant. Those whose views are shaped by God’s standards, revealed in scripture, are increasingly becoming society’s outcasts.
A Canberra couple that vowed to get divorced if same sex marriage was legalised, are facing intense public backlash and have had their controversial views condemned by family and friends.
In a piece written for Canberra City News last week, Nick Jensen wrote that he and his wife Sarah would not wish to be associated with any new definition of marriage.
“My wife and I, as a matter of conscience, refuse to recognise the government’s regulation of marriage if its definition includes the solemnisation of same sex couples,” Mr Jensen wrote.
The Jensens, who are devout, practising Christians, have faced public ridicule since the controversial piece made headlines across the country.
This week I’ve noticed a window display in my town centre, in which the local High School professes support for the “LGBT community” – although they’ve added several more letters (that I don’t remember) to include other variations of the same theme, the last being Q for “queer”. The window is decorated with rainbows – a symbol used by God as a reminder of His covenant with all of mankind, now appropriated by mankind to symbolise rebellion against Him.
While the Australian government has lagged behind most of the world in its acceptance of same sex marriage, I’m sure it’s only a matter of time before it joins the pied piper procession and God’s people will be increasingly marginalised.
As we move further down that road we should take the opportunity to think more about our citizenship, and whether our interests and allegiance lie within worldly nations, or TRULY within God’s Kingdom. To which kingdom do we belong?
Regarding the political issue of same sex marriage, I recognise that marriage isn’t the real issue. Trying to prevent it is like the old saying about closing the stable door after the horse has bolted. The issue was sealed when homosexuality became acceptable to the wider society. In a secular society where homosexuality is seen as acceptable, there is no valid reason for that secular society to deny marriage to homosexuals. It is merely more evidence of the path society has chosen to follow instead of following God.
While many Christians see homosexuality as something that will bring God’s judgement upon a nation, the biblical reality is different. Paul reveals that increasing acceptance of homosexuality is itself God’s judgement. As mankind increasingly abandons God, He will give them over to the things they choose above Him.
For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who suppress the truth in unrighteousness, 1because what may be known of God is manifest in them, for God has shown it to them. For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even His eternal power and Godhead, so that they are without excuse, because, although they knew God, they did not glorify Him as God, nor were thankful, but became futile in their thoughts, and their foolish hearts were darkened. Professing to be wise, they became fools, and changed the glory of the incorruptible God into an image made like corruptible man—and birds and four-footed animals and creeping things.
Therefore God also gave them up to uncleanness, in the lusts of their hearts, to dishonor their bodies among themselves, who exchanged the truth of God for the lie, and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever. Amen.
For this reason God gave them up to vile passions. For even their women exchanged the natural use for what is against nature. Likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust for one another, men with men committing what is shameful, and receiving in themselves the penalty of their error which was due.
And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a debased mind, to do those things which are not fitting; being filled with all unrighteousness, sexual immorality,[c] wickedness, covetousness, maliciousness; full of envy, murder, strife, deceit, evil-mindedness; they are whisperers, backbiters, haters of God, violent, proud, boasters, inventors of evil things, disobedient to parents, undiscerning, untrustworthy, unloving, unforgiving,[d] unmerciful; who, knowing the righteous judgment of God, that those who practice such things are deserving of death, not only do the same but also approve of those who practice them. (Romans 1)