Friday, 27 March 2015

My New Book



This is a video based on my recently published first book, The Story of Zacchaeus. It is one of the raps I did for kids at church. They loved it and I hope you will enjoy it too.

I think every Christian parent, grandparent and every Sunday School should have a copy. You can buy it here. Help a poor starving blogger.

Take Care,

John

Thursday, 12 March 2015

Question For Jehovah's Witnesses

I'm sitting in a Tim Horton's in Ponoka Alberta. I called on 4 churches this morning and hope to see three more this afternoon. But right now it's lunchtime - time for my usual $5.95 lunch; chilli and a bun with coffee.

I'm not sure how this thought came to me, but here it is: from time to time I have JW's come to my door. I think they keep coming back because I take their literature.

One thing I have wondered is how they reconcile Isaiah 9:6
For to us a child is born, to us a son is given,...   ...and he will be called Wonderful Counsellor, Mighty God, Everlasting (Eternal, in the NWT) Father, Prince of Peace.
 I should have thought that verse would have given them enough trouble, considering their non-belief in the divinity of Christ, so I asked the gentleman at the door how, when this verse was generally accepted as referring to the birth of Jesus, what they think of the Bible referring to him (even in their own New World Translation) as, "Father."

"No problem," he answered, "Jesus is the everlasting father."

Well, I shook my head over that one because I still don't see how that fits with their theology. But sitting here at Tim's, another verse came to my mind; Matthew 23:9
"...do not call anyone on earth 'father,' for you have one father and he is in heaven."
So - another verse for them to reconcile. How can they, indeed, how can Isaiah, refer to Jesus as father unless Jesus is indeed God. If he is not, then they, and their own Bible, are disobedient to him.

I have not thought this entirely through, so I am open to receiving instruction or clarification on this, but I thought it made interesting food for thought.

Take Care
 

Thursday, 26 February 2015

Salvation and the Mentally Handicapped

I was checking out the numbers on some of my posts. The one with the greatest number of page views by far is this one, on a Biblical age of accountability. I suspect it reflects the heartache and worry one feels when one loses a young child and wonders about its eternal destiny.

One of the comments on the original post was from a woman concerned with her mentally handicapped brother, and how God treats those without the mental capacity to actively and consciously understand the Gospel and accept Christ as Saviour and Lord.

I heard a verse mentioned on a Christian radio program the other day. I'm afraid I don't remember which one, or I would give them credit. It was John 9: 41,
Jesus said, “If you were blind, you would not be guilty of sin; but now that you claim you can see, your guilt remains.
It got me thinking. This verse had always seemed rather confusing to me. What did Jesus mean? Does it mean we shouldn't evangelize? If people aren't aware of Jesus, would they then not be guilty of sin? No, I don't think so. Read the first couple of chapters of Romans. Read John 3:19,
This is the verdict: Light has come into the world, but people loved darkness instead of light because their deeds were evil.
No. People, I'm convinced, are quite aware of sin. There is a standard of morality that runs across all cultures, peoples and generations. All fall short of the glory of God (Romans 3:23) and I believe all realize it, in some way.

As Hank Hanegraaff, possibly among others, has said, "It is not the ignorance of truth but the despising of truth that keeps people from God." I refer again to John 3:19, above.

Over and over again we see God and Jesus extending generous invitations to come to them. In the parable of the great banquet, where we see that God wants His house to be full; in passages such as  Matthew 11: 28-30, 1 Timothy 2: 3-4, 2 Peter 3:9.

So it occurred to me that perhaps John 9:41 (above) might just apply to those who have not the mental capacity to consciously reject Christ as Saviour. Now, don't take the equating of mental illness to blindness to be insulting. This was not wilful blindness. The man in the story in John 9 was born that way as are those who are mentally handicapped. Neither are in a position to heal themselves, by themselves. Some of those to whom we might refer as handicapped may indeed be perfectly able to make a decision for Christ, but some may not, and it is those who cannot to whom God, I believe, may extend His grace and apply to their account the shed blood of Christ.

As I argued in my original post, the Bible does indicate that there is an age before which young people know right from wrong. What significance that has in terms of eternal salvation, I'm prepared not to be dogmatic. But I am quite prepared to accept that God's grace and generosity extend to those who are incapable, because of immaturity or handicap, of understanding sin or making the intellectual decision to accept or reject Him.

In the end, I fall back on Genesis 18:25c,
Will not the judge of all the earth do right?
Take Care

Monday, 16 February 2015

Consistency?

Someone messaged me tonight about my, "What I Believe" column to the left. It is based, as you will probably know, on the Apostles' Creed. But she wondered if the holy catholic church should have been, "holy Catholic Church."

I replied, explaining the difference; that small 'c' catholic means, "universal," and that every born again believer is a member. But it reminded me of something from the past.

A church I once attended, a very good church; one that held to the inerrancy of the Bible and the importance of proper and accurate translations if same, used  The Hymnal, by Word Publishing. In that hymnal, in the Apostles' Creed, they use the phrase, "holy Christian church," a total and flagrant mistranslation. I mentioned this to the powers that be, and, although they admitted the mistranslation, did not change it or explain the inaccuracy to the congregation. Apparently, some members of the conservative Protestant denominations that use this hymn book are so anti Catholic that they didn't even want to use the word.

Not a big deal I suppose, but I just found it interesting that those who insisted on total accuracy in some areas were so willing to ignore, even deliberately employ, inaccuracy in another.

Take Care

21 Christians Murdered For Their Faith; Remember Them

The great dragon was hurled down—that ancient serpent called the devil, or Satan, who leads the whole world astray. He was hurled to the earth, and his angels with him. Then I heard a loud voice in heaven say: “Now have come the salvation and the power and the kingdom of our God, and the authority of his Messiah. For the accuser of our brothers and sisters, who accuses them before our God day and night, has been hurled down.
They triumphed over him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony;
they did not love their lives so much as to shrink from death.
Therefore rejoice, you heavens and you who dwell in them! But woe to the earth and the sea, because the devil has gone down to you! He is filled with fury, because he knows that his time is short.” (Revelation 12:9-12)
 And I saw the souls of those who had been beheaded because of their testimony about Jesus and because of the word of God. They had not worshiped the beast or its image and had not received its mark on their foreheads or their hands. They came to life and reigned with Christ a thousand years. (Revelation 20: 4b)
 Amen. Come, Lord Jesus. (Revelation 22: 20b)
Read this for a perspective.

Take Care

Saturday, 14 February 2015

Friday, 13 February 2015

High Horses (Obama's Prayer Breakfast Speech)



Frankly I did not find this speech as offensive as some apparently did. It seems to have brought apoplectic rage in some circles, but I think Mr Obama was rather balanced in what he said. However, I do have a few thoughts.

For some reason he seems to indicate that we, today, shouldn't be critical of other people's past actions because we, somehow, share the same history. That, to me, is a non sequitur.

Does the fact that injustices were committed in the distant past preclude us from condemning atrocities now being committed? Should we not be on our "high horses" condemning slavery, for instance, even though our own ancestors may have owned slaves? Does the fact that our forefathers may have owned slaves now eliminate from us the right to criticize slavery? Why should we who are alive today carry the guilt for things done hundreds of years ago over which we now living had no control and nothing to do with.

(I'm afraid I see a connection with Canada's treatment of our First Nations People, wringing our hands in guilt over actions of past generations instead of actually considering what can actually be effectively done to make things better now. In fact, this sense of guilt over our forefathers' past sins is probably preventing us from solving, or even addressing, the current situation.)

Lastly, Mr Obama seems quite at ease linking former crimes to Christianity, but somehow can't seem to connect current ones to Islam. I believe he specifically avoids referring to , "Islamic terrorists," even though that is what Islamic terrorists truly are.

Islam seems to be the religion whose name cannot be spoken negatively.

Anyway, just my thoughts.

Take Care

Saturday, 7 February 2015

The Right to Have Life, Liberty and Security of the Person (And the Right Not To)

The unanimous decision by Canada's Supreme Court to rescind the law against doctor assisted suicide is an interesting one. And I find it interesting on a number of levels. First of all, to be completely technical, "doctor assisted suicide" is not really what it is anyway. What it is, is getting and allowing a doctor to kill you. Whatever the mechanism, a doctor who participates in the procedure is really complicit in your death. Now, whether you think that right or wrong is not my point here. But that's just what it is.

It's also interesting that they referenced our constitutional right to life, liberty and security of the person, when their decision allows for the exact opposite - the actual removal of life, liberty and security. Somehow, Alice and the rabbit hole come to mind here.

The decision was unanimous; 9 to 0. I haven't researched, but I wonder if any of the judges of this court were involved in the exact opposite decision when they last ruled on it. If so, do they think that they, or the judges on that court, were in error then. or just that times have changed. If the latter, it raises an interesting point about the definition of right and wrong; are they absolute or do they depend on societal standards or prevailing public opinion. What if slavery become a popular concept again?

And if the latter, what happens when public opinion comes to the point where euthanasia, of the elderly, disabled or handicapped children ever become acceptable or felt necessary in the eyes of the majority. Already, in European countries where assisted suicide has been legal for some time, it has come to the point where a sizeable percentage of deaths in this connection have occurred without the express permission of the patient.

I must admit, frankly, that I am rather neutral in this whole matter. I'm not going to try to judge another person who is in such agony that they want to end their life. And we don't live in a theocracy, where the values of Christianity or any other religion can (or should) be imposed, if the majority don't want them. Mind you, this decision was, "imposed," if you like, by nine unelected judges, but I suspect that a majority of Canadians actually might agree with them, in the narrow sense of "assisted suicide," perhaps not considering the, "slippery slope" scenario which, I predict right now, will almost certainly occur over time. The one thing I hope will be included in any eventual law is an effective, "conscience" provision for doctors who, on personal moral grounds, don't wish to be a part of taking a life.

No, we live in a democracy, where laws are generally made by those who represent the majority, and whether we agree with them or not, we often must abide by them, or at least accept them. Mind you, if anyone feels strongly enough about the wrongness of a particular law, he is free to fight and argue against it, but generally speaking, gay marriage, for instance, whether we agree with it or not, is law, and we must accept it. (Having said that, gay marriage is another issue where I am fairly neutral, as far as the world, as opposed to the Church, is concerned,)

I often think of Revelation 22:11 in these matters.
 Let the one who does wrong continue to do wrong; let the vile person continue to be vile; let the one who does right continue to do right; and let the holy person continue to be holy. (Rev 22:11)
This world will continue until Christ returns. We will not always agree with every opinion this world holds. There will be injustice, even if it looks to be acceptable in the majority of the world's eyes. In the meantime, Christians are called to be salt and light, each in his particular corner of the world or sphere of influence. We cannot change the world - we can only assist in the work of God and His Holy Spirit in changing individual hearts. Then, enough of those individual hearts can change the world.

Take Care