Thursday, August 31, 2006

Shoes Off at the Door, Please: This Week's NATIONAL ETIQUETTE AWARD

Shoes Off at the Door, Please: This Week's NATIONAL ETIQUETTE AWARD

Our award to countries where it is customary to remove shoes when entering homes.


I placed an order for some books from Chapter Two, an excellent Brethren bookseller.

I actually have lots of books already, but as I spend all these hours taking phone orders for muffins, cookies and Hershey bars, I thought it might be nice to telephone somebody and order something myself.

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

I cannot bear this. It really is Awful

In my church, we keep singing hymns that have had the words thou, thy and thee removed. Occasionally the lyrics have to be altered to make this tampering scan.

It really is awful. I refuse to sing the words in this altered fashion and persist in using more reverent pronouns when singing them. Last Sunday, I practically shouted thou when the powerpoint screen showed you.

My parents asked me the other day, whether I would pray using thou if I was ever invited to preach at their hypermodern Charismatic church. I said I probably would.

I appreciate that some people think praying with thou is weird, but changing hymns that are known and loved is really rotten.

Sunday, August 27, 2006

Would you use this Phrase in Evangelism?

When sharing the Gospel with unbelievers, would you say this?

"I have met Jesus."

Saturday, August 26, 2006

Street Preaching Today

I had not been out street preaching for quite a few weeks. I was a bit apprehensive, but I could not stay away any longer.

Andrew had told me that he was now preaching earlier in the day, having found this to be more fruitful. Hence, I left earlier than I used to and arrived at 1:00. Andrew was not there, which was not a surprise, as he is required to preach in other parts of the country quite a lot in the summer.

As I was on my own, I just preached once. I preached on John chapter one. There was a young man standing and listening to me the whole time. I always get nervous when somebody is listening to me because I expect them to argue with me when I have finished. However, he turned out to be an Evangelical Christian from Portugal who was very encouraging. I was glad to meet him.

Friday, August 25, 2006

Don't be silly, Ruth Kelly. Its up to them what they do.

Ruth Kelly, the education secretary made a speech yesterday in which she expressed concerns about multiculturalism. She was really bothered by the fact that some ethnic minorities keep to their own communities and avoid the rest of us.

It is certainly true that a lot of Pakistanis and Bangladeshis are not very friendly. They have their own communities and do not seem all that interested in the rest of us (that said, Worcester had a Pakistani mayor a couple of years ago, a very decent fellow. A lot of Pakistanis in Worcester are involved in the Conservative party).

But that is their choice. If Pakistanis and Bangladeshis want to live separate lives and keep out of our way, that is their business. Why should a Pakistani talk to the likes of me just because Ruth Kelly and the rest of the Labour government think he should?

The government have better things to do than telling honest folk how to live their lives.

Bulgarians, Romanians and other East Europeans, this Blog Invites you to the United Kingdom

This blog is pro-immigration.

This week there has been a huge amount of talk about immigration. It was found that the government had greatly underestimated the number of Poles who would enter the UK to find work. There seems to be a growing concensus that there should be limits on the numbers of Bulgarians and Romanians who enter the UK when those countries join the EU.

There is much fear about the immmigrants taking British jobs. But this ignores an obvious truth. These immigrants are coming here because there are jobs in the UK and not in their own countries. If unemployment comes anywhere near the levels in Poland, the immigrants will go somewhere else.

Those who fear jobs being snatched just do not understand basic economics. When labour markets are flexible, companies can prosper and grow. Economic growth means more jobs. An inflexible labour market will slow growth and allow increasing unemployment.

The economic benefits of the immigrants from Poland and other new EU members have been enormous. Immigrants are filling skills gaps or else doing the unskilled jobs that British people do not want to do. We are far better off with more East Europeans in this country.

The East Europeans are mostly decent, hardworking folk. Having grown up under Communism they know all too well the benefits of capitalism and the free market.

I have a suspicion that if this immigration boom were coming from Africa or Asia, there would not be so much fuss about it. Because these immigrants are white it is acceptable for the intelligentsia to worry about them without being accused of racism.

It is also important to note that the East European migrants will put an end to worries that Western Europe will be swamped by Islam. The Muslims may have a high birthrate, but the East Europeans are having babies too. And there are more of them coming. My mother is a nurse who visits the mothers of new born babies. She is currently visiting quite a few Polish families.

The other great thing about East Europeans is that they generally remove their shoes at the door. May the teach this to the British.

Pearl's Dutch Apple Cake

I tried the Pearl's Dutch Apple Cake this morning, the one I bought in Bristol. It was quite lovely. It is a smaller version of the Pearl's Dutch Apple Cake that my company sells.

For a cake aimed at the convenience store market, it is very good quality. There English Bakewell Tart is also very good.

It is very unfortunate that few shops sell Pearl's cakes. I do hate the way that Mr Kipling's domminates the cake market. Mr. Kipling's cakes are boring and not that good. Yet they are found in all the supermarkets, and sadly in many convenience stores too.

Thursday, August 24, 2006

David Cameron indulges in Mandela Worship

David Cameron, leader of the Conservative party met Nelson Mandela.

It is sad that our party has moved from a resilience and unsentimentality of Thatcher. It is sad that Dave has to pander to fashionable causes and accept the usual liberal norms, such as talking about global warming a lot and heaping adoration upon Nelson Mandela.

Gone are the days when Thatcher saw Mandela for what he was, a Left-wing terrorist, little better than those insurgents operating in Iraq.

Apartheid was a bad idea, but the aggression and pig-headedness of the ANC is only too likely to take South Africa in the direction of Mugabe's Zimbabwe.

But if Dave can get the Conservative party elected into government again, I can forgive him. Nasty Conservatives like me would never get anywhere near government.

Mulligatawny Soup

My father is bringing back some Fish and Chips, but that will not be until late. I thought it would be a good opportunity to have a tin of soup.

Mulligatawny is one of my favorite kinds of soup, usually described as a 'Beef Curry' soup. This particular can was from the Tescos own brand.

The great thing about a soup in a can is that it has a distinct metallic taste that just seems so nostalgic. It would not be the same without it.

I had a Mulligatawny soup in an Indian restuaurant once. It does not usually feature on Indian menus. That one tasted really weird; it was nothing like the Mulligatawny in cans.

I had not noticed

There is a petrol station that I regular visit that buys stock from my company.

I found out today, while at work, that they buy the fantastic pork rinds that we sell.

I had noticed that this petrol station sold those pork rinds.

I was so pleased that I called in to buy some petrol and two bags of the pork rinds.

This job really is bad for my diet, giving me constant cravings for various kinds of snack food. It is very good that I am not overweight.

The other day, I ended up drooling looking at the cans of soup in our brochure. I ended up having to go to the supermarket to buy a load of cans of soup, which I do not normally buy.

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Are You a Zane Fan?

I was kindly sent a couple more of Zane Hodges' books by a fellow Free Gracer, for which I am very grateful. It is regrettable that they are a little hard to come by here in the dark land of the Puritans and Wesley.

'The Gospel Under Siege' deals with difficult texts in the New Testament and shows that the NT is consistent that the gift of eternal life is 100% free with no condition other than the faith which receives it. Zane Hodges' commentary on the epistles of John dispels the common misconception that these epistles offer tests of assurance.

I would highly recommend Zane Hodges' books to all as they demonstrate the free and unmerited gift of eternal life won through Jesus Christ in His death and resurrection.

Sunday, August 20, 2006

Preaching in a Church!

I preached in a church near Birmingham this evening.

I was a bit worried about it, but it went very well. It was a small chapel of very conservative theology. The elders were Calvinists.

Most of the people felt their church was struggling, having lost a lot of young people. However, there are chapels in worse shape than this one. There were quite a few children and young people there. They were clearly very active in evangelizing their area.

I went with my parents. This was helpful because my father had worked in that area in a previous job. I would not have liked to have driven there myself. I also hoped that they might give me some constructive criticism. However, they were delighted by my preaching and it took them a while to think of any complaints.

I preached a Gospel address on Job 38:1-4. The people at the church seemed pretty pleased with it.

I closed the service with a hymn that fitted my theme, 'God Moves in a Mysterious Way.' Evidently they did not sing this often; the pianist reached for an ancient music book and blew the dust off before openning it.

I noticed a lady whispering to her husband about me. It turned out she was delighted to see somebody with a Scofield Bible. One of the elders seemed pleased that I used the KJV.

I was given some money by the elders afterwards which was novel. I have never been paid for preaching before.

I wrote out the full text of my sermon before hand. I have included it below:

Job 38
1 Then the LORD answered Job out of the whirlwind, and said,

2 Who is this that darkeneth counsel
by words without knowledge?

3 Gird up now thy loins like a man;
for I will demand of thee, and answer thou me.

4 Where wast thou when I laid the foundations of the earth?
Declare, if thou hast understanding.

"Job is famous for his suffering. And he is famous for good reason. At the beginning of the book he loses his children to natural disaster and violence. His farm is ruined. He is afflicted with illness.

The reader of course, knows that Satan is behind this, even acting with God’s permission. Even with this knowledge, there is still an element of mystery to his suffering, even for the informed reader. Job, however, knows even less.

To make Job’s situation worse, he has been troubled by a group of friends who think they know the answer to his situation. Job’s so-called ‘comforters’ think that Job is suffering because he has committed some sin and they are determined to prove it to him. They behave very insensitively and add to Job’s distress.

Now I want to say that often Christians who are very sincere and well-intentioned can often be insensitive and can be very hurtful. If you have ever been caused distress by Christians, I am very sorry for you, because it does happen. Please understand that we are all sinners who need God’s forgiveness.

Now it is true that sometimes suffering is the result of some particular sin. Sometimes God allows painful things to happen to us to get our attention and to bring us to repentance. Sometimes a Christian may fall into such sin that God may end that believers life to stop them sinning. However, not all suffering, death and illness is directly the result of sin. Sometimes there are no obvious answers as to why people suffer. It is true that all evil in this world began with Adam and Eve falling into sin. However, that does not explain why some people suffer more than others.

Many of you may sometimes wonder why God allows so much suffering in this world. I have done so myself at times. There is nothing wrong with wanting to know the answer. If you feel like that, the book of Job is very relevant to you.

Job is in that position throughout the book up to this point. He seems desperate for God to come and explain why he is going through this pain and grief. He is ready to accuse God of injustice. He wants God to answer.

Job has not lost his faith in God, he simply wants God to confess that Job is suffering an injustice.

When I was reading Job a few weeks ago I really wanted God to speak. I felt like could not wait for the part when God addresses Job. I wanted God to come and comfort Job to accept him and restore him.

And God speaks.

The almighty creator of the universe addresses himself to Job. Interestingly, it says the Lord spoke or in Hebrew, Jehovah or Yahweh. This is the personal name of God, as opposed to Elohim or God. The name Elohim or God has been used throughout the book, but now it switches to God’s personal name. God is a personal God who desires a relationship with us, just as He had a relationship with Job.

Now Christians believe in a God who speaks. A lot of people will tell you that they believe in God. However, they do not believe in a God who speaks. They think that God has just created the universe and let it get on. They have no idea that God has anything to say to them. However, Christians believe in a God who has spoken to man. If God is real then you need to be ready to hear what He says.

Some theologians and even the ministers of some churches have some odd ideas about God speaking. They believe that God speaks, but they do not think He has spoken clearly. They teach that God speaks through all religions. If that is the case, how can anyone possibly know what God has said? If God says one thing in one religion and another thing in a different religion, how can one possibly understand Him? No, God has spoken authoritatively. And He has spoken to us through the Bible which is His inspired Word. When we read the Bible, we can know that we are reading the words of God that are addressed to man’s concerns.

God speaks to Job out of a whirlwind. It was a whirlwind that destroyed his house and killed some of his servants, so it is appropriate that God should speak out of a whirlwind. This manner of appearing demonstrates God’s power and His authority over life and death.

It is important to see that God speaks towards the end of the book. Job had been desperate to see God and plead his case throughout the book. It is only after Job has had to go through several chapters of distressing disputes with the comforters that he gets to hear God. Notice also, that before God speaks, Job hears from Elihu who though young, is far wiser than the comforters and who gives Job some sound, if not perfect advice. We need to realise that sometimes God may speak to us through Christian believers who offer wise counsel when we need it most. While Christians can often be insensitive like the comforters, often they can do much to bring God’s word to people.

That God delays His appearance in the book demonstrates that He is not on tap. He cannot just be called up. God speaks when it pleases Him to speak. A lot of people want God to reveal Himself today and give them answers to their questions. However, God is God. You cannot just demand that He makes an appearance for your convenience. God has spoken to us through His Word, the Bible. Why should He be expected to make a special appearance when He has already given His word in the Scriptures?

God delays speaking to Job, however he does not neglect to address him.

When God does speak to Job, He seems rather harsh.

God asks ‘who is this that darkeneth counsel with words without knowledge.

Job was speaking out of ignorance. Unlike us, he did not have the Scriptures and so was ignorant of work of Satan and the depth of the problem of evil. However, even with his limited knowledge, he was wrong to accuse God of injustice.

And God goes on into great lengths to show Job’s ignorance, pointing out the wonders of creation, demonstrating that He alone is God.

One is reminded of what he says in Romans chapter 9 verse 20- ‘Nay, but who art thou that repliest to God, o man?’ Who is Job to criticise what God is doing?

In another sense, the Bible turns back the question of evil onto the enquirer. A lot of people ask why God does not stop evil. And yet if God were to stop evil he would have to stop all of us. As it says in James 4:

1 From whence come wars and fightings among you? come they not hence, even of your lusts that war in your members?

2 Ye lust, and have not: ye kill, and desire to have, and cannot obtain: ye fight and war, yet ye have not, because ye ask not.

Do you ever watch prime minister’s question time? The leader of the Conservatives questions the prime minister about some problem and the prime minister replies by asking how it was when the Conservatives were in government.

The Word of God brings the problem of evil home. It identifies the wickedness and evil of all of us. We are all implicated in the problem of evil.

God says that He will demand an answer from Job.

Of course, the questions that God asks Job are rhetorical. The correct answer is that he cannot answer them. God wants Job to admit that he does not have God’s wisdom, knowledge and power, therefore he is not in any position to accuse God of injustice.

Job’s answer is to respond in faith. Job does this. Though God does not explain Himself to Job, Job responds in faith, accepting the justice of God and repenting of his wrong attitude. When this happens God is able to bless him and restore him.

Likewise, God demands an answer of us.

We may well ask why there is so much evil and suffering in the world. There is nothing wrong with being puzzled about it. However, if you ask the question, you need to be willing to accept God’s answer.

We cannot reply to God, but we must accept Him on His own terms. We need to recognise that He is good and just in all His ways and in the end, He will conquer and remove sin and death from this world.

God has spoken. The question is shall we hear Him?

He has spoken to us through a Son, that is Jesus Christ, the Saviour of the World, as it says in Hebrews 1:

1 God, who at sundry times and in divers manners spake in time past unto the fathers by the prophets,

2 hath in these last days spoken unto us by his Son, whom he hath appointed heir of all things, by whom also he made the worlds;

Jesus Christ is the Word of God who reveals God to the world and who reconciles the world to God. He can give you eternal life if you will only believe in Him for that gift. Jesus suffered more pain and grief than Job. He died to pay for our evil deeds and He was raised from the dead defeating death. Trust in Him and He can give you life.

If you have never trusted in this Saviour Jesus Christ please talk to me afterwards. Likewise, if you have any questions about evil and death suffering please feel free to share your thoughts with me or somebody else here."

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

My Meeting with a Mission Agency

I travelled to Bristol yesterday to meet with the regional directors of a mission agency. My legs are still aching from all the walking I did.

I travelled on the train. I got the train to the main station in Bristol, then took a train to the part of Bristol where the agency had its office.

I had a wander round Bristol while I was there. I found a Costcutter which sold some cakes from a brand that my company sells. It is amazing that I go to a city which is full of tourist attractions, I am most interested in a couple of downmarket cakes.

I had brunch at a cafe bar. The service was not impressive. I ordered a breakfast roll. The barmaid listed the options. I asked for a bacon and sausage sandwich, but was told that this was not on the list of options. I thought to myself "I am the customer, if I want bacon and sausage, I should get it.". However, I held my peace and accepted sausage and tomato.

Bristol has a severe shortage of public toilets. Hence, it was necessary for me to call in a bar to use the facilities. Fortunatley, it was a non-smoking bar, so I did not end up smelling of cigarettes (not good before an interview, even an informal one). I got to try Mango-flavoured Finlandia Vodka. This was rather nice.

I was interviewed by the lady director. The position of regional director was shared by a husband and wife. She was very nice.

She explained a lot about their process of recruitment. The process is very lengthy and is excellent at filtering out unsuitable folks. Their training is also lengthy, involving two years intensive language study.

One thing that impressed me was that the agency liked to carry out formal interviews with the applicants pastor present. That way, they can work more closely with the sending church.

I asked the rather cheeky question of whether mission agencies prefer married people. She explained that this was not the case. They had many single females as missionaries, but very few single males. She always had to explain to single female applicants that they were likely to remain single for a long time, but this was not so likely to be the case with male applicants.

The director did not want me to begin the application process until I had been to Japan on a short-term trip. Her P.A. was to look for opportunities for me to go. It would be possible for me to go for just three weeks to see some of the work in Japan. However, I would not be able to do much. It may be possible for me to find the time to do a couple of months. It is very exciting.

Appropriately, at the train station I called in at a Sushi cafe. While I do like Sushi, I could not get past my Ango-Saxon love of meat and ordered a Chicken Teriyaki salad. Fish is good, but flesh is better.

Funnily enougth, when I later got home, I had a call from another mission agency. However, I am not so impressed by this agency. The response has not been as warm and constructive as the one I visited yesterday.

Saturday, August 12, 2006

Free Grace Theology: Free Grace Theology and Repentance -- A Reply To Matthew Waymeyer Part 1

Free Grace Theology: Free Grace Theology and Repentance -- A Reply To Matthew Waymeyer Part 1

Tuna Steak in Olive Oil

The other day I bought lots of tins of Tuna steak in Olive oil. I do like Tuna steak in sunflower oil, but that is just not sophisticated enougth.

Why the Islamists wil never win

Why the Islamists wil never win

Times Article by Rosemary Righter

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

Can we have GM Herrings?

We had Herrings for dinner tonight. They were very nice. However, the trouble with Herrings is those tiny little bones. Fortunately, I did not get any bones stuck in my gums. That would have been very painful.

Can they not genetically modify Herrings so that they do not have as many little bones?

Monday, August 07, 2006

My Position on the Nation of Israel

I generally consider myself to be Pro-Israel politically. I am possibly less Pro-Israel than some of my readers.

I believe my own Non-Zionist Dispensationalism is more in keeping with the original spirit of Dispensationalism than the Christian Zionism that is popular among Dispensationalists and also Charismatic Evangelicals.

I hold that:

1. The land of Canaan was unconditionally promised to the physical descendants of Abraham.

2. The people of Israel may temporarily lose posession of the land of Canaan.

3. We are currently living in the Times of the Gentiles, during which Jerusalem will be trampled by the Gentiles. This period will only end at the close of Daniel's Seventieth Week.

4. During Daniel's Seventieth Week, Israel will come under the rule of the Antichrist, who is the wilful king of Daniel 11. He will be a Jew and will lead other Israelites into apostasy.

5. The current Republic of Israel may be the poltical entity that will come under Antichrist's rule. The fact that the Israeli flag contains the Star of Moloch, which will probably be the Mark of the Beast, strongly suggests this.

6. However, it is not certain that the current political entity of the Republic of Israel has any part to play in end-time prophecy. The timing of end-time events depends on the timing of the coming of Christ, which no man knows.

7. Currently Israel has no theological title to posess the land of Canaan as promised to Abraham.

8. Israel's posession of the whole land of Canaan depends upon the coming of the Messiah.

9. At the coming of Christ, a remannt of Israel will be converted and will posess the whole land of Canaan. They will posess it in the Millennium, as will their descendants in the eternal state.

10. Zionism is a Humanist political movement and antichrist. It should not receive any endorsement from Christians.

11. Christians should not support any attempts by the Republic of Israel to posess any territory beyond its present borders, even where such territory forms part of the land of promise. However, Israel may be justified in temporarily occupying territories outside its borders in the interest of maintaining its security.

12. Israel as a nation has a sovereign right to exist and defend its present borders.

13. Israel is justified in taking action against terrorism, both within its borders and in neighboring territories.

14. Israel is justified in refusing to negotiate with parties that refuse to accept her right to exist within her 1967 borders.

15. Israel has the right to attempt to settle questions of territory unilaterally in the absence of an end to terrorism.

16. Long term peace in the Middle East, in the absence of the near return of Christ, will probably depend upon the creation of a Palestinian state which is willing to accept Israel's right to exist in security. However, Israel is justified in delaying this outcome until her security is established.

17. The governments of other nations should seek to aid negotiations that will ensure long-term peace in the Middle East, while respecting Israel's right to exist in security.

18. Christians who are involved in the process of diplomacy in the Middle East should support this process.

19. Christian involvement in the poltical process of Middle East poltics should not be influenced by analysis of end-times prophecy until it is certain that prophectic events are being fulfilled.

20. Christians should not use the Abrahamic Covenant to influence any territorial negotiations that involve Israel.

21. Christians should pray for the coming of Christ to restore the kingdom to Israel. However, they should also pray for the short-term resolution of conflicts between Israel and other nations.

22. Christians should be committed to the evangelisation of both Israelis and Palestinians and be ready to give whatever support is needed to Christian believers among both communities.

23. Christians may be justified in helping diaspora Jews to emigrate to Israel.

Saturday, August 05, 2006

Curried Hearts

I was cooking for myself tonight so I decided to do something a bit different. I had wanted to try hearts for a long time, so I bought some lamb's hearts from the supermarket.

Lacking imagination, I fried them and made a curry sauce for them. I also added a red pepper and fresh Coriander.

I was quite pleased with lamb's heart; it is even nicer than lamb's liver.

My Complaint About Paradise on Earth

I do enjoy the artwork in Jehovah's Witnesses' publications and I agree with them that one day there will be a Paradise on Earth distinct from heaven.

However, one thing certainly does bother me about the earthly paradise portrayed in their pictures- the way the men dress.

Paradise on Earth appears to have a very warm, Mediterranean climate or possibly even sub-tropical. However, all of the men in this new world wear long trousers, long-sleeved shirts and even woolly jumpers. They even dress this way when performing manual labour. They must get so hot!

Are the men in Paradise on Earth not allowed to wear t-shirts and shorts?

Cake Hunt

I had a craving for cakes today. So I made a trip out to the nearest grocer. I bought a Lemon Crumble Tart, some Viennese fruit pies and a strawberry jam-filled flapjack.

The grocer near me sells some of the products that my company sells, but not many. They sell a lot of cakes from rival suppliers. As we are now doing more business with that particular chain of stores, that could change one day.

Friday, August 04, 2006

Shoes Off at the Door, Please: This Week's NATIONAL ETIQUETTE AWARD

Shoes Off at the Door, Please: This Week's NATIONAL ETIQUETTE AWARD

J.N. Darby on the Difference Between the Levitical Priesthood and the Ministry of the Gospel

John Nelson Darby wrote:

"The existence of ministry is consequent on the nature of the present dispensation; and, in saying this, we ascend very high to discover its source; for the nature of this dispensation is nothing less than the sovereign grace of God, the activity of His love.

The position and the character which distinguish the servants of God, are always, and necessarily, in unison with the priciples of the relation which exists between God and men. When God only recognised certain families, the head of the family was its priest and prophet. We find examples of this in Abraham, Noah, and the other patriarchs. But this principle acquires a more general and important application, when a whole dispensation is in question; as in the case of Judaism and Christianity. The ways of God, and the principlers of His dealings with sinners, are here unfolded with many more details for the conscience, and more distinctness and splendour as to the accomplishment and the revelation of grace.

Observe, accordingly, the marked distinction between these two dispensations. In Judaism, under mount Sinai, where the law was given and those ordinances established which regulated the intercourse between the people and God, we have a people already formed and recognised as such before God; a people whom God had already brought to Himself (Exod.19); whose existence and whose rights depended on their being the children of Abraham, of Isaac, of Jacob, and who, with few exceptions, were perpetuated by natural descent. In a word, they already existed as a people, when God entered into the covenant relationship with them; for it pleased God to try if man, so privileged and put in posession of every possible advantage for the maintenance of his position, could stand before Him.

The work and principle of Christianity are altogether different. Christianity supposes that the trial, to which God has subjected him by means of the law, has only served to prove more plainly how impossible it is for man, whatever his advantages and privileges to stand before Him. But this having been proved, Christianity presents to us God in His grace, visiting this ruined race. He beholds the Gentiles sunk in ignorance and idolatry, and degraded by the most revolting crimes; He finds the Jews still more culpable, having been unfaithful to higher privileges; and He exhibits both Jew and Gentile as the terrible proof that human nature is fallen and corrupt, and that in the flesh good does not dwell. In Christianity God sees man wicked, miserable, rebellious, lost; but He sees him according to His infinite compassions; He only notices the wretchedness of man to bear witness to him of His own pity. He beholds and comes to call men by Jesus; that they may enjoy in Him, and through Him, deliverance and salvation, with His favour and His blessing!

The consequence of the Jewish nation was very simple: a law, to direct the conduct of a people already existing as such before God; and a priesthood, to maintain the relations which existed between the people and their God- relations which were not of a character to enable them to draw nigh to Him without meditation. The question was not, how to seek and call those without; but to order the intercorse with God of a people already recognised as such.

As we have already seen, Christianity has an entirely different character. It considers mankind as universally lost, proves them in reality to be so, and seeks, through the power of a new life, worshippers in spirit and in truth. In like manner does it introduce the worshippers themselves into the presence of God, who there reveals Himself as their Father- a Father who has sought and saved them. And this is done, not by means of an intermediate priestly class who represent the worshippers because of the inability of the latter to approach a terrible and imperfectly known God; but it introduces them in full ocnfidence to a God known and loved, because He loved them, sought, and washed them from all their sins, that they might be before Him without fear.

The consequence of this marked difference between the relations in which Jews and Christians stand as towards God is, that the Jews had a priesthood (and not a ministry) which acted outwards, that is, outside the people; while Christianity has a ministry which finds its exercise in the active revelation of what God is- whether within the church or without- there being no intermediate priesthood between God and His people, save the Great High Priest Himself. The Christian priesthood is composed of all true Christians, who equally enjoy the right of entering into the holy places by the new and living way which has been consecrated for them- a priesthood, moreover, whose relations are essentially heavenly. Ministry, then, is essential to Christianity; which is the activity of the love of God in delivering souls from ruin and from sin, and in drawing them to Himself.

On earth, then, as regards the relations between God and man, a priesthood was the distinguishing characteristic of the Jewish dispensation; ministry of the Christian: because priesthood maintained the Jews in their relations with God; and because by ministry Christianity seeks in this world worshippers of the Father. I say on earth, for, in truth, when we consider the portion of the Christian in its highest point if view, namely in that which has relation to heaven, Christianity has its 'kings and priests'- that is to say, all saints. The worship of God is not ministry; it is the expression of the heart of the children before their Father in heaven, and of priests before their God; in the intimacy of the presence of Him who in His own love, has rent the veil, which His justice had opposed to the sinner; and has rent it by a stroke which has disarmed justice, and left her nothing but the happy task of clothing with the best robe those to whom before all entrance had been denied.

To suppose, then, the necessity of a priestly order is to deny the efficacy of the work of Christ, which has procured for us the privilege of our presenting ourselves before God; it is in fact, though not in words, to deny Christianity, in its application to the conscience, and to the justication of the sinner; it is to overthrow all those relations which God has established that He might glorify Himself and place man in peace and blessedness. On the other hand, God acting in Christianity according to the active energy of His love towards sinners, Christian ministry becomes the expression of this activity. It has its source in the power of this love; whether it be in calling souls, or in nourishing those who are called and whom Jesus loves.

It is thus presented to us by Paul, as one of those things which characterise the gospel of the grace of God."

Taken from On Ministry in Collected Writings, vol.1, p.206-209

Be Kind

Ephesians 4
32: And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ's sake hath forgiven you.

Is this not such a wonderfully simple message? Be ye kind one to another. Be kind to each other. How much explanation does this need? Not very much. I am filled with awe at the beauty of that simple commandement to 'be ye kind'.

This is a simple commandment and yet it is such an easy one to forget. It is so easy to be caught up with the need to correct error, to contend for the truth that we forget to be kind. So many of us are full of zeal to confront and ready to get into theological fisticuffs. We need to be kind.

We need to see Christians who are committed to the truth and who are ready to defend it. But they need to be tenderhearted and ready to forgive. They need to be kind to their brethren in Christ.

Let us seek to be kind to each other.

Tim Warner on John 6

Tim Warner on John 6

I have posted this link before, but it is a good article, despite his denial of Eternal Security. While I agree with Warner's rejection of Calvinism and his approach to John 6:37-44, I believe the denial of Once, Saved, Always Saved to be a denial of the Gospel itself.

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

I Do Not Normally Do This

I got tagged by Jonathan Hunt.

1. One book that changed your life:
Zane Hodges 'Grace in Eclipse: A Study in Eternal Rewards.'

2. One book that you’ve read more than once:
Alexander Hislop 'The Two Babylons'

3. One book you’d want on a desert island:
Can I have all 34 volumes of J.N. Darby's Collected Writings?

4. One book that made you laugh:
C.H. Spurgeon 'Lectures to my Students'

5. One book that made you cry [or feel really sad]:
Emily Bronte 'Wuthering Heights'

6. One book that you wish had been written:
A book arguing in favour of people removing their shoes at the door.

7. One book that you wish had never been written:
C.S. Lewis 'Screwtape Letters'

8. One book you’re currently reading:
Eric Sauer 'The Dawn of World Redemption'

9. One book you’ve been meaning to read:
L.S. Chafer 'Systematic Theology'

10. Now tag five people:
Five? That is a lot.

Rose and John Cole, Paul Whiting, Earl, Palm Boy