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Showing posts from 2017

An Alien Christmas on a Theologian's Toilet

In the Spring of 1517, a theological professor went to the crappers. While doing his business, he had an explosive breakthrough.
Possibly more than one.
He was teaching through the book of Romans at the local University and he was puzzled over an issue. Though possessing a sharp mind, a degree in Law, and a doctorate in Theology, he was still struggling to make sense of what St. Paul meant when he wrote about ‘the righteousness of God’.
This was more than a moot point for the North German theologian. He had trembled his whole adult life with the question of how a disgustingly sinful man―such as himself―could ever be good enough to stand in the presence of a thrice-holy God and not be killed. It was while on the john that he had a revelation that caused his heart soar in pure spiritual ecstasy and liberation―and which takes us to the heart of Christmas. What was that revelation?
Or, to be more precise, ‘the alien righteousness of Jesus’. Martin Luther had been exceedingly scrupu…

Of Gilead and Gulag: 'Handmaids Tale' and 'Gulag Archipelago', a Comparative Review

Earlier this month I read both ‘The Gulag Archipelago’ and ‘The Handmaid’s Tale’. As they both centre on the themes of freedom and oppression―much talked about issues in our day―I thought it was worth doing a comparative review. I’ll briefly describe each book first.
Gulag Archipelago Gulag was written by the Russian author Alexander Solzhenitsyn (1918-2008). As its title suggests, it focuses on the numerous prison and work camps into which the Soviets threw millions of its own people who were suspected of political dissent. Solzhenitsyn himself spent nearly ten years there, so it contains biographical as well as historical elements. In addition to simply recounting history, there is considerable space given to literary and spiritual reflection as it describes his journey from atheism to Christianity while in the gulags.
I read the author-approved abridged version which is 500 pages (the original is 2,000). Gulag is credited as being one of the great books that helped to bring down the …

Book of the Month: Dare to Ask

I have read some good books this month, but I’d like to highlight Dare to Ask by Israeli author and worship leader, Simcha Natan. She lives near Mt. Carmel where she helps to lead programs centred around intercession and worship.
It had been a while since I’d read a book of this sort. It is a reflective in tone and personal in application. It’s the type of book you’d want to take with you on a quiet prayer retreat – or the type to read at the end of the year to take stock of your spiritual health. It deals with personal dreams, gifting’s, serving others and personal sanctification. I often caught myself thinking of the Biblical story of Joseph and how God shaped his character and then resurrected his dreams.
I have well highlighted Natan’s book, but a few of favourite lines would be:
‘There is a tension we must learn to live with well: to be at peace that our dreams may never happen, while trusting that God placed them in our hearts for a reason.’
‘It is necessary to hold onto the Maker o…

Prayer the Raises the Dead

[Extract from the bookElijah Men Eat Meat]

‘And he stretched himself upon the child three times, and cried unto the Lord… and the LORD heard the voice of Elijah.’ -1Kg 17

Elijah is dealt an unexpected blow. The young mother that he had blessed is now facing an unspeakable curse: the death of her little boy.
Now Elijah knows a God who can redeem from the very worst of circumstances. But this redemption is not going to be brought down from heaven on the careless wings of half-hearted praying. Elijah doesn’t merely look at the boy, shrug his shoulders and mutter ‘Well if it’s your will God…’. No, none of that impotent praying will do the trick.
Rather, he takes the dead boy and brings him into his own bed. He makes this personal. He stretches himself out upon the boy. He identifies with him. He takes this boy’s death as if it were his very own. He does it three times. He persists. His faith will not be turned away by a lack of answer the first two times. Three times he stretches himself out…

Why We Hate Missionaries

[Extract from the bookElijah Men Eat Meat]
Elijah’s mission to the foreign town of Zarephath is not a secondary episode. Rather, it gives essential perspective. Jesus cited this episode as having a parallel to his own, so we must get this. It is a key event that all potential reformers and revivalists must keep in mind or else they lose ultimate focus.
It is not enough to merely heal a wounded soldier. We must get him back onto the battlefield in fighting condition. It is not enough just to get the water out of the ship. We must get the ship back in the water and set it on its mission. Likewise, it is not enough merely to rid the church of fake teachers and immorality. We must keep our ultimate mission in view. So let’s talk mission. Let’s assume that we accomplish our goal of Bible-slapping the Jezebellic zeitgeist out of the church. Great. Then what? What would we then do with ourselves? What is our mission?
The church’s mission focus has been largely hijacked by the new regressives. …

How to Deal with Fake Elijah

The second beast was like a lamb―it had two horns. But it spoke like a dragon!’ -Rev 13
Will the real Elijah please stand up? Apparently, this question is―and will be―a thing. The book of Revelation is a poet’s paradise with dramatic dichotomies around every canonical corner. There is a Christ on a white charger, and an anti-Christ who is a dragon. There is a joyful bride, and a drunken whore. There is a city that pollutes the Earth with sin, and a holy city coming down from God out of heaven.
There is also Elijah and fake Elijah. In chapter 11 we see Elijah with Moses. Then in chapter 13 we see the dragon’s two champions. One is a beast out of the water and the other a beast out of the earth. The first beast can be seen as an anti-Moses. Just as Moses’ name means ‘drawn out of the waters’, so this beast emerges out of the waters. Just as God revealed his name ‘Yahweh’ to Moses to give to Israel, so this beast will be covered in blasphemous names to proclaim to the earth.
The second be…

Theological Feminism & Gay Activism in the Church

I do not permit a woman to teach and have authority over a man.’ -1Tim 2 ‘Wives, submit to your husbands. Husbands, love your wives.’ -Col 3 Feminism and LGBTism in the Church If you didn’t burn the book after the last reading, well done. Perhaps you are a Feminist who has dared to go outside your echo chamber by reading this―that’s exceptional. At least you are open-minded enough to explore relevant questions and objections to your beliefs. Well done. Here is another question: Why are the denominations that embraced Feminism a generation or two ago now being invaded by LGBT activism but not the ones that didn’t? Earlier this year, it was the URC who marked their 100th anniversary of ordaining women with a call to all churches to start ‘marrying’ gay couples. There is great pressure within Methodism and CoE to do the same.
If you identify as an ‘Egalitarian’ who also embraces the historic, Christian understanding of marriage between one man and one woman, ask yourself why Complementarian…

Boys, Girls, and Theological Feminism

[Extract from the bookElijah Men Eat Meat]

I do not permit a woman to teach and have authority over a man.’ -1Tim 2 ‘Wives, submit to your husbands. Husbands, love your wives.’ -Col 3

On the 20th March, 2014 Labour MP Ben Bradshaw of Exeter stood in Parliament and gave a speech commemorating the 20th anniversary of the ordination of women in the Church of England. Reflecting on the issue as a Catholic, he proclaimed,
I confidently expect the Roman Catholic Church to embrace the ministry of women, in exactly the same way as the Church of England has done. It is a theological inevitability. It may not happen in my lifetime, but the fact that we have done it, blazed a trail and shown how positive, successful, valuable, wonderful and holy it is will help progressive Catholics on the same road.[1]
Two elements of this speech are noteworthy. The first is the confident assertion that this change was a ‘successful’ one. The second is the view that all of Christianity will fall into line with this…