Saturday, 27 August 2011

Thanks for the Greek but Where is God's Presence?

Not every Theological or Biblical Studies student will admit that! But the truth remains that Christians have much for which to be thankful in the Greek people and their language. The NT was written in Greek, and the OT was translated into Greek by the 72 scholars who did this work. It became known as the Septuagint, or LXX for short.

The NT Greek language is well worth labouring at in order to get at the original meaning of the NT text. Linguistics is an important discipline, because we can only get at the text of the Bible when this work has been done. Thankfully, the hard graft has been removed for us, and the plethora of English Bibles is testimony to this.

Let us study the Greek language and glean from it what God is saying to us. If we believe the Bible to be the Word of God, then we must labour at understanding it in its original languages, so that the Gospel we preach is rooted and grounded in accurate scholarship.

But with all that said, even this labour will profit nothing if we do not know the power of God's Spirit on our preaching. If in our preaching we cannot bring God into the meeting, then it is all a waste of time and energy. Dr Martyn Lloyd-Jones once famously said that he can forgive a preacher, and even a poor preacher, anything, so long as he can give him "a sense of God." Even all our linguistic competencies cannot compensate for the lack of God being present with His people. How many times do we go to church and we might as well be in the local opera house - there is no difference, so divine presence, so sense of God. But the church service should be categorical different. Sadly, how often it isn't!

Let us labour at the Greek, but do not depend on even that. Let our dependence be in the living God Who "has visited and redeemed His people," as Luke puts it in Lk.1. Let us seek Him as never before. We can do no less; we are under divine obligation to seek Him "while He may be found." Will you join me in doing that?

Self-styled Free Thinkers are not FREE!

The really great thing about the Christian faith is that it not only seeks to convict sinners of their need of Christ, but it also promises the power to overcome whatever it is that is holding them as saves. Are you enslaved by drink, drugs, sex, pornography, mental lust, jealousy, vindictiveness, whatever it is. The Gospel is "the power of God unto salvation for everyone who believes," Rom.1:16. The power of the Gospel can break the powerful hold of anything on your life. Do you want to be free, really free? Then, believe the Gospel of Christ.

The really strange thing is that those who are not Christians actually believe that they are free! they imagine that they are free thinkers! But what they do not realise is that their thinking is largely determined by what other people think and say - by prejudice, vindictiveness, jealousy, by the advertisers, etc. But what they are not is FREE. They are as enslaved as anyone else, but they don't see it. How sad! How pathetic that such clever and smart people cannot see the truth about themselves. they are in bondage, but they don't see it.

That explains why they do not believe the Gospel; they reject the only message that can really free them. They see no beauty or attractiveness in the message or in Christ (Isa.53). They reject the only message that can set the free forever.

Monday, 22 August 2011

Mark Driscoll - Be Warned!

I have just been alerted to the 'ministry' of Mark Driscoll, and I wish to pass on an urgent warning to avoid this man like the plague. There is something that just does not ring true about these 'visions' he see, this television screen that he claims is in front of him. That makes me very concerned.

On top of all that, his use of highly sexualised language and illustrations are deeply concerning. While this issue must be addressed sensitively and biblically by Christians pastors and preachers, his is more an exercise in voyeurism - and that's not nice. His addresses seem to be conditioning particularly young Christians for sexual exploitation, exploration and experimentation that may not be good.

What is most concerning of all is that the Christian churches, particularly in Northern Ireland, encourage their male members to attend Mandate when this man was speaking recently, and if that is the best these evangelical churches can do for their men-folk, then dear help us all, and may God have mercy on us.

One is left wondering what the outcome of listening to this man has been for the thousands of Christian men who attended his speaking! What has now been going on 'in the secret places' as a direct result?

It is easy to see how this kind of thing, this highly sexualised approach, is attractive to men, and how they would have been fantasising as they listened and absorbed his teaching. Is this truly edifying? Hardly. And is this not yet another evidence of the encroachment of the world into evangelicalism! The kind of 'hard rock' music that is widely accepted in many evangelical churches is linked with all kinds of sexual promiscuity, and now that Mark Driscoll has been so widely accepted by the evangelical churches and community, one is not surprised.

Is there an antidote to this kind of thing? yes. But the evangelical churches do not want it. They prefer to engage in the maximum of worldliness and try to pass it over as 'contemporary worship,' when it is nothing but unadulterated worldliness.

But what of the antidote? It is to get back to a traditional and reformed understanding of the Chroisyianlife and Christian worship. This was best exponded by the reformers, and by that I mean the true disciples of Joh Calvin, not the later generation of 'Calvinists' who distorted his teaching; we need urgently to return to biblical basics. The ecclesiastical juggernaut is travelling downhill as fast as its wheels can take it, and no one can see the crash that is coming. Someone must pull on the brakes NOW! How can God bless such wilful rebellion? How can He be pleased with what is going on and being done 'in His Name'?

Get back to the Bible before it is too late. Return to the living and true God, and leave aside your invented idols that masquerade as the gods of contemporary evangelicalism. Please do not give your allegiance to those evangelicals that are leading this departure from God. The Driscoll syndrome is just another manifestation of the departure from the living God by the churches, and further evidence that she has now started following, and continues to follow, foreign gods. They offer 'strange fire' to God as worship, but we all know what happened in the OT when this was done! Oh, the urgency of it! How fearful it is to fall into the hands of the living God, for He is "a consuming fire." TURN. TURN. TURN. TURN before it is too late. REPENT of your sins. REPENT. REPENT. REPENT.