Saturday, 20 May 2017

Wedding days - woman, the glory of man

If you have even passing familiarity with UK "famous person" news,
you'll know that today is the wedding day of Pippa Middleton, the sister
of the Duchess of Cambridge.

All the coverage and the photos testify that we all still, underneath
the pretence, acknowledge the Bible truth: "woman is the glory of man"
(1 Cor 11.7). It's there throughout the news stories, the pictures, the
ceremonies that will take place.

Have you not seen it? The men will be dressed in functional suits,
because they are men, and that won't be much discussed. Their glory is
not one displayed outwardly on occasions like this. But... on the day...
what are the ladies wearing? Their hats, their dresses, their styles -
what will they be? The bridesmaids... and at the centre, the beautiful
bride. All eyes are upon her!

I had a minor epiphany some years ago when I realised that whilst men
were fascinated by female beauty.... this was not a precisely
symmetrical thing. So were women. Men desire female beauty; and females
desire to be beautiful. To be sure, male beauty exists and attention is
paid to it - but when put on the scales, the other sides sinks
immediately. There is a directionality. It's so pervasive that it will
take you years of brainwashing before you can make yourself believe that
this is a tragic artefact of our invisible lizard overlords. Sorry, I
mean the evil patriarchy; I'm getting my conspiracies mixed up. If
you've not had that nonsensical indoctrination, then on the contrary,
you'll see that it's so pervasive that it can only be seen as a simple
fact of creation. It is what the Bible says it is - part of nature. No
matter what people claim to believe, they act otherwise, because they
know otherwise. By "part of nature" I don't mean it's some weird Mother
Earth thing. I mean it's how God intentionally designed the world. It's
an echo of the Great Story - the hero comes from heaven to claim and
enjoy his glorious bride, the church. His glory is not in his preening
himself. His glory is in that he gives his blood to win his beautiful
bride - his glory is messy, dirty, sweaty. Her glory does not shine like
that. Her glory shines out visibly in her desirability to him - in the
Great Story, this is by his powerful grace, as the beauty of a
submissive and pure church which willingly gives itself to him.

Don't agree? Go again and look at all the coverage. Everybody knows it
really, at the tacit/intuitive level. Woman is the glory of man. His
glory will be to sweat and bleed for her from this day forth. Her glory
will be that she is glorious, and becomes more and more glorious under
his loving care. That's part of why it's his responsibility to honour
her, to protect her and in marriage to use his God-given authority to
lead her so that on the last day, the great Wedding Feast of the Lamb,
they might both shine together as part of the bride of Christ.

Friday, 12 May 2017

Pastoral Care or Psychotherapy?

The author of this excellent article holds a masters degree in secular
pyschotheraphy, and a post-graduate diploma in social pyschology, which
makes the conclusion even more striking:

I was Dr. Crossley's apprentice for 3 years; he is a man whose life's
passion is to lift up Jesus Christ.

Wednesday, 3 May 2017

The value of the Bible's genealogies and historical lists

Here are some "big picture" reasons as to why the Bible is so interested in recording and preserving genealogical data. There may be many others:

  • History : God rules over history. He cares about history. In the records carefully kept by the Bible, we see his concern for the world’s history.
  • Real-world history : by carefully recording historical records like these, the Bible shows us what kind of book it is. It is not a book of abstract “religious ideas” that have no connection to the world we live in. It destroys the myth that we can keep the Bible’s religious teachings or meanings, but do away with its historical details. They are a package, and stand or fall together.
  • Practical encouragement : since the Bible is concerned to record, in (relevant) detail, real-world history, believers are helped to understand that the Bible is intended to direct their every-day lives. It is for the lives that we have today in this world.
  • Salvation history : God made promises about a seed of the woman. The genealogies show and document that these promises have been faithfully kept. Time does not diminish God’s faithfulness or purpose.
  • The justification of God : His exhauistive documentation of the genealogical line of the Messiah (and many associated lines) leaves unbelief without any excuse. No sound demonstration that there is any error in genealogy of Jesus Christ has ever been made.
  • Grace : When we see figures like the Gentile prostitute Rahab in the ancestry of Jesus Christ, we are reminded that inclusion among God’s people has always been by grace. When we see Ruth, we are reminded of his purpose to save the nations. Similarly, Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, we are reminded that salvation has always been by God’s gracious determination to save whom he will, and not by human choice.
  • Power : The sheer length of time covered by the genealogies that run from the beginning of creation until the coming of Christ reminds us of God’s power : the passage of time, and the concomitant rising and falling of nations and empires does not impede any of his plans; rather, they were always part of it.
  • Patience : Similarly, this sheer length of time reminds us of God’s great patience with rebellious humanity. The judgment has been tarrying for long, whilst people are given opportunity to repent.
  • Judgment : Historical records and surveys of peoples who lived and died millennia ago remind us that all is seen, and that all is recorded. There will be a day of judgment, when all is brought to account. When we read the names of people and have no idea who they were, we remember that this applies to every life, whether great or small.
  • God at the centre : The names of obscure people remind us that it’s whom God sees us as that counts, not whom the world sees us as. There are godly people named and recorded in the Bible, whilst rulers of empires and dynasties have been overlooked and forgotten. The final evaluation of all things will be given by God, not man.

Friday, 28 April 2017

Liberty of speech in the UK in 2017 - and what are we going to do about it?


Tim Farron caved on a key issue in which the world and the followers of
Christ are opposed. A front-line issue. He now finds himself in the
unhappy position of all of those who do so. He's now not at home on
either side. The people of the world who wanted to see him cave won't
believe him, because they know that he caved under duress, rather than
freely speaking his mind. They suspect, very strongly, that he doesn't
really believe what he said when he caved - because if he did believe
it, why would he not have said it earlier? Why the coyness, when he was
just being asked to agree with the majority around him in the circles
that he's in? What was the problem with going with the flow and saying
that you hold the fashionable view?

Whereas, on the other side, he's just sold the cause of Christ down the
river because his professed adherence to Christ's teachings was
politically inconvenient. He's publicly legitimised those who say that
the commandments of Christ have no place in the public sphere, and that
anyone who wants to be more than a private individual must call good
evil, and call evil good to get along. For Tim Farron, to call
wickedness wickedness would have been bad for his current ambitions in
the things of this life. He's denied the teaching of Christ on one of
today's key issues, publicly denying the authority of God to determine
human sexual ethics. What God calls vile rebellion against his created
order, Tim Farron says is not a sin at all. This denial should
immediately trigger a church disciplinary process within his fellowship.
He ought to be required by his church to choose one side or the other,
for the love of his own soul and the protection of the flock.

But notice this from the article too: in 2017, 32% of Britons believe
that there should be no freedom for public figures to express a view on
sexual ethics that deviates from the new orthodoxy. They don't just
disagree with Christian sexual ethics - they think that public figures
should be forbidden to do otherwise than disagree with it. Speaking out
against the sexual revolution is apparently not just a mistaken idea
that people can debate. The very act of wanting to debate it is wrong.
Anyone wanting to do so should be banished from public life, apparently.

I don't think it takes any great stretch of the imagination to believe
that the figure of 32% is higher among our social "elite", who have been
far "ahead" of the public at large on such issues. i.e. Among the
law-makers - the people with the power to put the thought that "people
who disagree with me should have no right to speak" into practice. This
is the UK in 2017. We are increasingly proving false the idea that
freedom and Christianity can be maintained separately. i.e. That if we
banish Christianity from public life as the source of moral instruction,
then we can still hold on to the ideas that it brought with it. Or put
another way, we can chop the roots off, and still have some good,
healthy fruit. The fact is, that it has historically been Protestant
Christianity - with its doctrines of a future day of judgment, and
sphere sovereignty - that has provided the basis for freedom to disagree
within reasonable bounds during the present time. Once you do away with
that, you just have the state and "might is right". Public oaths of
conformity for all public persons to rigid anti-Christian state dogma.
The thought police. This isn't a distopian future. This is what a very
considerable people in high places in the UK today actually want, and
are no longer afraid to say so. What's your church's strategy for
dealing with that reality?

Thursday, 6 April 2017

Who is the parent?

Do parents have any rights which are not subject to the arbitrary whims
of the state? Or are children ultimately wards of the state, which
benevolently grants their parents certain privileges when it sees fit?
According to the UK's "supreme court," it's the latter:

This is one of those petty tyrannies (a fine of £60) based on completely
non-petty theories about the relationship between state and parents
(that the state has arbitrary authority to specify the tiniest details
of the timetable of how you should educate your children). The only
sensible response to petty tyrannies, once they become widespread and
systematic, is mass disobedience. i.e. They should be made unworkable by
parents in a school co-ordinating to agree to withdraw their children
en-masse on a specified day, and daring the authorities to take every
single last one of them to court. Petty tyrannies only work because of
the salami-slicing effect - people say "this isn't my battle". But, a
thousand petty tyrannies down the line, you find that after opting out
of every battle, you lost the entire war by default. Legally, your
children have become wards of the state, and faceless bureaucrats tell
you what their will is for your children, and fine you if you differ on
any of the details. The same arguments which justify this particular
petty tyranny can justify just about anything the state pleases. And
they will.

Christian parents in the UK need to be joining the dots if they haven't
already done so. For example, with compulsory immoral, secularised sex
education on the way, combined with a court favouring the Department of
Education's viewpoint that removing your child from a state school for
even half a day is an offence, what's your plan? This isn't a situation
that just arrived last week. It's the outworking of the last few
decades, in which we've inevitably progressed from A, to B, to C, to D.
There's nothing alarmist about pointing out that the next step is
certainly going to be E. What's our plan to ensure that our children are
raised in the nurture and admonition of the Lord, as Scripture requires
of us?

Sunday, 12 March 2017

Women ejected from women's shelter in order to house man

The future has arrived... law-makers giving way to extreme transgender
ideology now results in vulnerable women being kicked out of women's
shelters, so that men can stay there:

Monday, 6 March 2017

The Shack

This document summarises the theological teaching of, and then contrasts with the teaching of the Bible, the mass-selling story "The Shack":

HT: Triablogue