Thursday, July 31, 2008

A scientist I can respect

Thank you, Karl Giberson, for being a true scientist:

"As a fellow scientist (I have a Ph.D. in physics), I share Myers' enthusiasm for fresh eyes, questioning minds and the power of science. And I worry about dogmatism and the kind of zealotry that motivates the faithful to blow themselves up, shoot abortion doctors and persecute homosexuals. But I also worry about narrow exclusiveness that champions the scientific way of knowing to the exclusion of all else. I don't like to see science turned into a club to bash religious believers." [Karl Giberson: "What's wrong with science as religion"]


Here is a man who is prepared to objectively step back and take a look. I don't know his position on creation / evolution, although I suspect he is an evolutionist.

(pssst: creationism requires faith, even if there is evidence).

God bless y'all!

Friday, July 25, 2008

Sinners in their own god's hands

I have friends who are not Christians. I feel I need to write down the two things that they say that disturb me the most, because I tend to remember better when things are written down.

1. "I believe in a merciful God."
This one is nice. I also believe in a merciful God. The only problem is, my friends claim to be 'good enough' for heaven. So my first problem is that: why does a person who is good enough require a god to be merciful to them? Your conscience gives you away!

Secondly: Does your God ever require you to change? Does their god agree with their moral standard? Does their god ever condemn any action that they do? Probably not, since they made this god up. That is idolatry and a breach of the second commandment. There has to be an absolute standard of right and wrong. Just because you don't commit murder doesn't make you a good person. That makes you acceptable to society. Is society God? Who art thou, oh man?!?

2. "All (or many) religions have the ten commandments."
I always got tripped up on that one (to spite it's horrible incorrectness-ness). It takes a really sober (my friends? I love them, but lets be serious) person to listen to the one argument against that: Christianity is the only religion that uses the ten commandments to condemn, rather than to save. It takes the righteousness of Christ, not the works of the law, to save someone from sin. The law only reveals sin.

But if someone says this to you, I recommend pumping the law even more. The bible says:

"The law of the LORD is perfect, reviving[literally 'converting' or 'turning back'] the soul" [Pslam 19:7(a)]


So what do we do when someone says that? We say, very well, then, may we see if you are a good person according to that standard then? If so many religions have it, they must be on to something. We have to speak with authority, firstly, because Jesus commanded us to do so with His authority. Secondly, because when they fear God's wrath enough because of the weight of their sin, a humble soul will seek God's grace and mercy, of which we are able to tell. The issue of many religions having the ten commandments (at this point of evangelism) only solidfies their validity. Christianity is the only one that solves the dire position of man in the hands of a holy God.

Let me say this: No matter who you are, where you are, give them law law law. If they are professed atheists, liberal 'Christians' (willing to speak to you) - anyone you don't know well enough. The law of the Lord will reveal the content of their heart. Basic gospel. I love it. God's yoke is LIGHT!

Movies: Again

A few weeks ago, I told you about Ray Comfort's 'Hollywood and God' website. Well, I have taken to the challenge of telling people how I feel about their movies. Here are the two e-mails I have sent to Warner Brothers:
About "Get Smart:"

Dear Mr Ewing,

It is with sadness that I inform you that I keep an eye open for your movies, in order that I may avoid them. It is not the quality of the movie or the standard of comedy with which I have an issue but rather the blatant blasphemy of my God that I protest to. I cannot and would not ask you to stop, but I would urge you to consider whose name is taken in vain. If the God you insult is infinite and holy, which He is, then there will be serious ramifications for those who execute such unrighteous behaviour. I will pray for you, but I will not watch your movies while they contain such behaviour.

God bless you,
Quintin [Date: 26 June 2008]



About "Batman: The Dark Knight:"

To whom it may concern,

I really wanted to go see the new movie entitled "Batman: The Dark Knight." I really love comic book movies, but when they openly mock my God (Jesus), my love for Him takes precedence over watching a film. I am not telling you to stop making such films, I am asking you to consider your soul, and the souls that watch your movie. If you are going to blaspheme anyone, why can't it be someone worth blaspheming, like Hitler?

I will pray for your industry,
Quintin [Date: 25 July 2008]


I have yet to receive a response, but I hope that other Christians will stand up and use this as an opportunity to do something in the right way. I'm not picketing, finger pointing or screaming. I am simply telling them they will fail as long as I am informed about what is in these movies.

I actually made plans with a friend to see the new batman movie, and he is a non-Christian (my friend, not batman - but I doubt batman's salvation). But thankfully I caught him before he had booked the tickets and we will not be seeing it. God is good!

Eschatology, Evangelism and Heretics

What do you believe about the end times? I think it's really important to know what and why you believe something. I am still struggling with my eschatology, I certainly cannot subscribe myself to a pre-millennial rapture deal at the moment. But I continue to study and think - and at least I will be responsible for my end-times view.

My church is partial preterist. They believe that most of revelation has occured, up to Chapter 20, and the rest is still to happen. One thing I have to say about their view, it has some nice side-effects. Evangelism is one of those side effects. They believe the gospel will conquer.

I was talking to someone the other day and I was asked "Wait, they believe that things are getting better, how is that so?" And well, that was a very near sighted question. Firstly, consider perhaps that modern Christianity's light is so dim, that God has purposely made it dark so that at least some light will shine. Secondly, it's quite a man-centered perspective. Just because it's not where man wants to be doesn't mean it's not where God wants us to be.

At least I'm not sitting on my butt waiting for a rapture I can't time anyway. At least there are some people (pre-mills and prets alike) who are willing to go out and shine some light. If there is one thing I can't stand lately, it's a Christian that does not tell of the hope that is in them. I'm not saying anything about the person who spoke to me, I don't know everything they do. This is an issue for the heart of a Christian, I am just trying to draw it out. If you really believe people are going to hell,

HOW DARE YOU JUST SIT THERE?

Monday, July 21, 2008

The love of God

A personal favourite hymn of mine is "The love of God:"

"Could we with ink the ocean fill,
And were the skies of parchment made,
Were every stalk on earth a quill,
And every man a scribe by trade,
To write the love of God above,
Would drain the ocean dry.
Nor could the scroll contain the whole,
Though stretched from sky to sky." [Read the rest]

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Ray Comfort said it right

"All forms of the evolution are a non issue when compared to your eternal salvation. So set it aside for a moment and think about where you will spend eternity. Think about this precious gift of life. Think about your mortality. Think about your sins, and then think about what God did on the cross to save you from their eternal consequences." [Ray Comfort]

Monday, July 14, 2008

Go to hell? Over my dead body!

Should I feel guilty for not evangelizing?

Absolutely! How dare we, as people, call ourselves Christians and not evangelists. How dare we, say that we believe people will go to hell, yet do nothing about it.

"Have you no wish for others to be saved? Then you are not saved yourself. Be sure of that." [Charles Spurgeon]



James has this to say about faith and works:

"14What good is it, my brothers, if someone says he has faith but does not have works? Can that faith save him? 15If a brother or sister is poorly clothed and lacking in daily food, 16 and one of you says to them, 'Go in peace, be warmed and filled,' without giving them the things needed for the body, what good is that? 17 So also faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead." [James 2:14-17]



If you believe something, you have to act on it. There is no other way. If sinners are to go to hell, I cannot imagine just sitting there not warning them. Why does God not magically suck us into heaven upon salvation? Because we are left as His ambassedors:

"...19that is, in Christ God was reconciling the world to himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and entrusting to us the message of reconciliation. 20 Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ, God making his appeal through us. We implore you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God. 21 For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God."[2 Corinthians 5:19-21]


We are not primarily here to have families and good jobs. We are here as representatives of Christ. We are not loving God by refusing to evangelise! If we love Him, we would obey! Those who do not evangelize are not Christian. Obedience is so vital to Christendom, it is how we worship God.

But how do we evangelize? You begin by throwing the world away. Stop reading rubbish books, wasting your time watching television, and put all your heart and soul into the gospel. What is the gospel: Sinners need a saviour. Now there is nothing wrong with reading some fiction, having a family, or watching some television. The issue is if it is getting in the way of ministry. We must entertain ourselves with things that are beneficial.

Now let me get to those who say "I evangelise through my actions." Firstly, you are a hypocrite! You are not perfect, and to say that all you need is action, is false. How dare you assume people will grab hold of Christ by watching you! If people saw me, they might say: "He's a nice guy," but without using WORDS I am denying them the very thing that God has gifted to me!

Your actions are in no way a substitute for the gospel. Your actions will never be good enough, to think so is wrongful pride. Plus the biggest argument against Christianity is the actions of Christians. The bible does not agree with St. Francis, and Francis himself will not intercede for you on the day of Judgement. We need to give people the law! Why?

"The law of the LORD is perfect, reviving the soul" [Pslam 19:7(a)]



Not your actions! To think that your actions could convert someone is blasphemy of the highest order! How dare you!

"Some of my brethren do not care to preach eternal wrath and its terrors. This is a cruel mercy, for they ruin souls by hiding from them their ruin. If they must needs try to sew without a needle, I cannot help it; but I do not mean to be so foolish myself; my needle may be old-fashioned, but it is sharp, and when it carries with it the silken thread of the gospel, I am sure good work is done by it." [Charles Spurgeon]


If you wish to disagree with Spurgeon, go ahead. But to think that just by 'acting' Christian is a witness, think on this:

"For by works of the law no human being will be justified in his sight, since through the law comes knowledge of sin." [Romans 3:20]


Not you, nor those who see. You acting right alone is not evangelical service. God commands people to repent, not to watch.

"...by the fear of the LORD one turns away from evil." [Proverbs 16:6(b)]



How are people to realize their sin apart from the law? How are they to know if they have not heard? How are they to hear if people are not sent? I am alluding to Romans, but read this:

" Yet if it had not been for the law, I would not have known sin." [Romans 7:7]


If you don't know sin, you do not know salvation! How can you know the saviour if you are not saved?

Now, I realise I have Arminian friends who read this blog, and please note that although I believe God is sovereign in salvation (that salvation is His work alone), but also that God uses means to save. He uses the words and actions of those who love and trust Him truly. He will use a very bent stick to strike a very straight blow. I sleep better knowing that even though I may say something incorrect, God is big enough to use my mistake, and I will be corrected, since I am a Christian, I like correction. I evangelise with the faith that God could use a sinner like me.

" 13For "everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved." 14 How then will they call on him in whom they have not believed? And how are they to believe in him of whom they have never heard? And how are they to hear without someone preaching? 15 And how are they to preach unless they are sent? As it is written, "How beautiful are the feet of those who preach the good news!" 16 But they have not all obeyed the gospel. For Isaiah says, "Lord, who has believed what he has heard from us?" 17 So faith comes from hearing, and hearing through the word of Christ."[Romans 10:13-17]



HEARING!!! Any man who claims that it is God's job to inform or warn others is seriously in error. There is nothing but banishment for those who won't work for their King:

"14 "For it will be like a man going on a journey, who called his servants and entrusted to them his property. 15 To one he gave five talents, to another two, to another one, to each according to his ability. Then he went away. 16 He who had received the five talents went at once and traded with them, and he made five talents more. 17 So also he who had the two talents made two talents more. 18 But he who had received the one talent went and dug in the ground and hid his master’s money. 19 Now after a long time the master of those servants came and settled accounts with them. 20 And he who had received the five talents came forward, bringing five talents more, saying, 'Master, you delivered to me five talents; here I have made five talents more.' 21 His master said to him, 'Well done, good and faithful servant. You have been faithful over a little; I will set you over much. Enter into the joy of your master.' 22 And he also who had the two talents came forward, saying, 'Master, you delivered to me two talents; here I have made two talents more.' 23 His master said to him, 'Well done, good and faithful servant. You have been faithful over a little; I will set you over much. Enter into the joy of your master.' 24 He also who had received the one talent came forward, saying, 'Master, I knew you to be a hard man, reaping where you did not sow, and gathering where you scattered no seed, 25 so I was afraid, and I went and hid your talent in the ground. Here you have what is yours.' 26 But his master answered him, 'You wicked and slothful servant! You knew that I reap where I have not sown and gather where I scattered no seed? 27 Then you ought to have invested my money with the bankers, and at my coming I should have received what was my own with interest. 28 So take the talent from him and give it to him who has the ten talents. 29 For to everyone who has will more be given, and he will have an abundance. But from the one who has not, even what he has will be taken away. 30 And cast the worthless servant into the outer darkness. In that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.'" [Matthew 25:14-30]



Calvinist, Arminian, put away your swords for a minute! While some internal battles must be fought, we have lost sight of the goal. We are cursed in our blessings because we have 'free time' to argue amongst ourselves. Turn your swords on the enemy! I have an Arminian friend whom I see every day and is nothing but a blessing to speak to. While we have our differences, he is a great example of patience to me because I understand that I can be quite tiresome sometimes. God uses our different interpretations to test each other and so we grow in to understanding with each other, rather than dividing. I would say that Duncan and I share the same view of the sovereignty of God. Does that make me Arminian or him Calvinist? No! Labels can be useful, but taken too far, we lose our purpose.

If you are a Christian and you think I am being harsh, you are absolutely right. Only Pharisees would not tell of how glorious God is! Only they for whom the deepest corners of hell are reserved would not reveal the light passed down! Jesus was hard on those that thought themselves religious, and I feel that He was quite right. You sit in Church for yourself, and because you refuse to tell others - you are self-righteous, and there is no mercy for you. How dare we not obey the command of the great 'I am.' How dare we not trust Him to use us for His glory!

The greatest shame, Christian, is to have an evangelist come to you and try give you the gospel. Make sure that you are never in a place or doing something where someone would actually mistake you for an unbeliever. Consider this in all your dealings and outings. In everything you say and do. Always be looking over your shoulder, because I will be coming around.

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

A strange passage

This passage has always confused me:

31 "When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, then he will sit on his glorious throne. 32Before him will be gathered all the nations, and he will separate people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. 33And he will place the sheep on his right, but the goats on the left. 34Then the King will say to those on his right, 'Come, you who are blessed by my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world. 35For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, 36 I was naked and you clothed me, I was sick and you visited me, I was in prison and you came to me.' 37Then the righteous will answer him, saying, 'Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you drink? 38And when did we see you a stranger and welcome you, or naked and clothe you? 39And when did we see you sick or in prison and visit you?' 40And the King will answer them, 'Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brothers, you did it to me.'

41"Then he will say to those on his left, 'Depart from me, you cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels. 42For I was hungry and you gave me no food, I was thirsty and you gave me no drink, 43I was a stranger and you did not welcome me, naked and you did not clothe me, sick and in prison and you did not visit me.' 44Then they also will answer, saying, 'Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or naked or sick or in prison, and did not minister to you?' 45Then he will answer them, saying, 'Truly, I say to you, as you did not do it to one of the least of these, you did not do it to me.' [Matthew 25:31-45]



The verse is discussing the final judgement, where each one will give an account of his actions. It is so amazing that God is so concerned with the works of an individual. For even though we are not saved by our works, our works are a mandatory fruit of our salvation by grace through faith.

People always use the chair example of faith: Faith is the belief that a chair will hold you. But if you read James, you will realize that faith that does not actually sit on the chair is not saving faith. It is an amazing correlation between faith and works.

And James ties into the above verses very well. Why would God tell us that true believers wouldn't even realize they are doing good? How confusing! True believers' are not even aware of their kind actions towards one another! They must be driven by some other drive than the work itself! They do not work for the reward, otherwise they would say 'I must do my good deed for the day!'

But what benefit are these verses? They are not instructive, since we can only know what side of the fence we fall after the judgement. Rather, these verses form a rather dark mirror: they can only make us shake at the presence of the Lord. They are to get us to fear Him who can cast your soul into hell (Jesus' words, not mine). The reason is that only the true convert does not count his good deeds. Only the real Christian does good things without seeking reward (in heaven or earth), but simply because it is his nature.

That is a scary thought. I fail all the time in this area. I pray for mercy, and I pray that my left hand does not know what the right is doing, and that it is good.

Saturday, July 5, 2008

To my shame

If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given him. [James 1:5]


Do we really believe that? I thought I did. I really thought that when push came to shove I could rely on God for anything. But the problem was not that I did not recieve, but that my faith was so small it did not allow me to expect God to come through for me.

What happened was, I was struglling with a robotics problem. This problem prevented me from even starting my masters programming. Without a solution, I was becoming desperate. Eventually on Thursday night I dropped to my knees and cried out, telling God that I can't do it on my own, that I needed help.

This was a good thing. It was the right first half to application of James 1:5. But I had too soon forgotten the prayer by the time I went in to university the next day. You'll never guess what happened.

I got through the problem!! Not only did I solve it, I smashed it! I got it so right and so simply that I am sure it will help others. It is the kind of thing that needs to be explained before it can be understood.

My joy was made great by realizing how kind God is to answer prayer to those who lack in faith. I asked, but the question is: Did I believe? I feel I should have put my actions where my prayer was. I prayed for change, but did nothing about it. Sometimes we can get so lost in God's sovereignty that we forget that God has also made us responsible.

If you want you can read my solution [HERE]. While there were people that responded to the problem, they did not give me the neat solution that so seemingly just came to me. I cannot help but praise God and feel ashamed, but I suppose that His strength is made perfect in our weakness! Praise Him, for He is worthy!

Friday, July 4, 2008

Hancock

"What could have been a perfectly enjoyable blend of comedy and action blows up in our faces trying to be a heavier, larger-than-life romance with historical, spiritual and sci-fi implications.

Basic logic is jettisoned as well. As a superhero, Hancock has bullets bounce off him. But at key points, they pierce him. Then they bounce off him again. Sure, it's a fantasy, but the internal logic should have some consistency if we're going to get caught up in what happens." [USA Today]


I am very dissappointed to hear about Will Smith's latest movie: Hancock. It is about a superhero lost in despair, a tragic story with a definite air to it that reminds us of Spider-Man. Now Will Smith is a professed Christian, which is amazing considering it never dawned on me to think so. The question that one really should ask: "If I can't tell you're a Christian, have you done your job as a servant to God?"

Now, how did I find out he was a Christian? A friend played me a song called "Miss Holy Roller." The song is disappointing considering that Christians ought to correct each other out of love and compassion rather than a Pharisee-type finger pointing.1

But look at these lyrics in the light of his new movie:

"Come on, if I die right this second, I reckon that God would simply check
into my life & times, dissecting my rhymes, he'll see how I've been leading his troops
You can't do dirt your whole life then say "oops'!" [Will Smith]


Will is right - God is going to check your life and times. But included in that is Hancock, which, speaks for itself:

"Unfortunately, there is also a lot of negative content in this film, the strongest being the language, which mostly comes from Hancock. He calls everyone extremely crude names, insults and mocks people, makes a sexual advance on a married woman (he is strongly rebuffed), and often reacts violently when he is called a specific word (...), one that is thrown around by nearly everyone, including small children. He also uses the f-word once, and the s-word and God's name numerous times."


Now, swearing is something I stay away from, I believe there is enough biblical evidence to suggest that if you can't shout it in Church then you shouldn't say it. But blasphemy? Why Will, why? I can understand that acting a part requires a certain level of commitment, but at the cost of sin? Sin which caused Christ to die? Have you no shame? Not to mention that this movie now encourages others to follow suite? Is there a part in this movie where Hancock repents of his sin towards the Holy God from whom he claims salvation? Is is right or fair that Will can judge Michelle (Miss Holy Roller) so harshly and then blatantly commit sin on the silver screen. Is there an excuse for that?

"I always strive to be righteous, my version of God
The reason why I never write verses with curses inside
The reason I never purposely hurt persons,
I've applied many teaching of God,
Searching the reaches of God" [Will Smith]


What happened Will? Where did these principles go? People in the limelight need to be specifically careful of the behaviour that is idolised in the movies. I am no saint by far. I have committed sin for which I cannot expect salvation, but God is kind to forgive. Will, if you ever read this humble blog, please know that it is not a judgement I give, but rather a correction. We must strive for God's glory. But you make yourself a 'Holy Roller' by making such songs and movies. Sin is never a joke or something that should be downplayed.

In this regard I feel a comment needs to be made: Iron Man, I feel is a 'good' movie? It has blasphemy, although I missed it when I watched it, but let's look at this critically:
  1. I can't expect non-Christians to act in a Christian like manner. (In the same vein non-Christians can't expect me to pay for a movie when they insult my God2)
  2. Notice that Tony Stark is a fornicator in the beginning, taking advantage whenever he can. After his experience he is at least morally improved. This creates a suggestion that good men do not behave in this manner. GREAT! He even stops lying! He still has some pride issues, but to be frank no one is perfect.


1 Is this post in line with Pharisee-style finger pointing? Leave a comment if you think so! I am interested in the reasons behind it. The first one I would point to is Matthew 18 - biblical correction. Well, I tried to find an e-mail address for Mr Smith and you can imagine that it is quite difficult. Also, I am not condemning Mr Smith, I am reviewing his actions in accordance with his words. I am using him as an example, much in the same manner I treated Ken Miller in previous posts. It is not my intent to do damage to these people, but to look at their actions, since they are performed publicly, in a public forum.

2 I did pay to see Iron Man