Tuesday, 27 August 2013

A Case Against Systematic Theology?

"The natural man does not accept the things of the Spirit of God, for they are folly to him, and he is not able to understand them because they are spiritually discerned."
(1 Corinthians 2:14; ESV)

In reading Watchman Nee this morning, I came across this little nugget that caused me to stop and think for a while. Here it is:

"It pleased God to say many things which leave room for misunderstanding, and not to explain them. Often in the Bible there seem to be conflicting statements, or statements that seem to violate the known facts of life, and it has please Him to leave them there. There are many scriptures we cannot clearly explain. Had we been writing we would have put things far more plainly, so that men should have before them all the doctrine in foolproof systematic order. But would they have had the life? 
"The mighty eternal truths of God are half obscured in Scripture so that the natural man may not lay hold of them. God has hidden them from the wise to reveal them to babes, for they are spiritually discerned. His Word is not a study book. It is intended to meet us in the course of our day-to-day walk in the Spirit and to speak to us there. It is designed to give us knowledge that is experimental because related to life. If we are trying through systematic theology to know God, we are absolutely on the wrong road."


Source: A Table in the Wilderness

Wednesday, 21 August 2013

Speak the WORD!

I was scrolling through my Facebook newsfeed the other day when I came across a beautiful gem shared by a friend. I contacted the author in order to request permission to repost his copyright work here, and he graciously granted me the privilege of doing so.

So without further ado, here is Bert Thompson's "Speak the WORD!" just as it appeared on Facebook that day. Enjoy and may it be a blessing.

"Once man had a dream, a dream that flowed direct from the heart of God. That dream had been born in the heart of God in the inner chambers of his love nature, in the very essence of who He was. That dream was relished the day God breathed life into man and when man awoke the first thing he saw was the face of God, that was the day expressive, language was born, as Adam tried to expresses his delight and ecstasy at what he saw. Adam had to create words to express what he felt about his God, his creator, his life, it was a language rich with sweet meaning and feeling, and it dripped with adoration and Joy, it was a language of calibration NOT celebration of anything done, but a language that celebrated God and mans relationship with him, it was a joyous time for man, for in man's life, for in man's life he had no greater joy no greater passion than his love for God. Truly, for Adam there was 'fulness of Joy' in HIS presence, in the garden of God's delight! It was here in the garden, walking arm in arm with God in the cool of the day the expression 'Love has no forms only the spontaneity of rapture' was born.

"BUT soon after the fall man began to forget the language of love, the words came harder and sometimes not at all, for in the mist of time men began to forget. But some had dreams, in those dreams they remembered the words, the words of making, the words of Glory, the words of adoration, but it seemed like there was a gulf between man and his ability 'to speak the words' the words God so longed to hear once again. So God sent his son 'the Word' to teach men once again to 'speak the words'. But men over the ages had created their own words and hated the words that the WORD Himself brought to men, they said only their words came from the Speaker and this language was not of Him. They plotted to 'silence' the Word to shut Him out, to put Him away once and for all, but they failed because the Word came to live in men's hearts and would speak to them Himself.

"Now the Word could not be shut up it could not be silenced, for every man heard the words of the speaker themselves. Now, men heard for themselves, there was no gulf between them and the speaker & when the speaker spoke, it was like sweet honey dripping on the tongues of men, sweet, refreshing, cleansing words that renewed the heart, filling the soul with Rapturous Joy. The words, of the speaker on the souls of men was not like men's words, bitter, but were pleasing to the heart for they were like the very candy of heaven itself, a delight to the taste.

"Now men began to remember the word and began to speak them back to the Speaker. They used words like ecstasy, rapturous delight, JOY, overwhelmed, amazing love, my Jesus my lover, my obsession, my passion, and once again the Speaker smiled for He heard the language of love spoken to Him once again, in the garden of men's hearts. And once again the language of Expression was being spoken again."

Story Source: Bert Thompson
Photo Source: Unknown (via Facebook; www.craigtracy.com)

Sunday, 11 August 2013

Euthanizing Jesus?

they are crucifying the Son of God all over again (Hebrews 6:6)

No, Ethel, “euthanasia” does not refer to a young people’s mission group in China. (OK, that's a bad joke)

But seriously, it is a troubling topic for me. I hear so many folks speaking about “quality of life,” as if they know what constitutes a quality life in another and what does not. I wonder if, heaven forbid and the shoe were suddenly on the other foot, if they would still think the same way. Would they really be OK with some stranger deciding that their particular incapacitated form of life suddenly was not worth living? Where would we really draw the line, and what would permit that line to be revisited and redrawn in order to expand it further?

In the Reader’s Forum of our local Lethbridge Herald (print edition; Sunday August 4, 2013), the following letter to the editor appeared that rekindled this pain in my gut called “euthanasia.” It was entitled, “Danger of assisted suicide ‘slippery slope’ is real.” Here’s the letter:

Maureen __________ 's letter in the Herald dated July 21 [I didn’t see that original letter] implies that assisted suicide and euthanasia is a showdown between those who believe in God and those who don’t. However, many of us simply believe that legalizing euthanasia and assisted suicide would eventually lead to involuntary deaths for anyone deemed worthless or undesirable. 
In a world where mercy killings and assisted suicide are socially acceptable, who will speak up for the expensive elderly, the incompetent or for those who merely suffer from life itself? Once we decide that only a certain quality of life is worth protecting, where will it end? Maureen’s reference to Belgium’s organ donation euthanasia that has dying patients anesthetized and organs removed while they’re still alive should raise red flags. The ‘slippery slope’ argument is very real.  
In the Netherlands where physician-assisted suicide and euthanasia are permitted, so-called protective safeguards are often ignored, leading to all sorts of involuntary euthanasia. Over the years the Dutch have expanded this practice to include infants, non-terminally ill patients and even to those with mental disorders. To say that it’s OK for people because there are laws to protect the vulnerable is problematic; there are laws against robbing banks; however, people still rob banks. Perhaps we need to step back and trust that the science that keeps us living longer today will ultimately find better ways to kill pain, not people.”

I don’t know if the author’s facts are all correct or not, but I thought that letter was logically presented, well done, and desperately needed to be written. From a Christian perspective, I am tempted to take this argument one step further yet. Matthew 25:40, in the NIV, records Jesus as having said,

The King will reply, ‘I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me.’ 

Now some might think my interpretation here a bit of a stretch, but the more I think about it, the more I think it’s right on the mark. “Whatever you did.” If we euthanized “the least” in our society, regardless how we define that, could it be said that then we’ve also essentially euthanized Jesus too? Hmm, something to think about.

Yes, there will always be arguments for and against everything. Hot potato topics like this have had, and will always continue to have, their share in the milieu of people’s emotions; it certainly does in mine. However, at the end of the day, I prefer to believe that only God can give life and only God has the right to take it away. At the end of the day, I prefer not to be guilty of euthanizing Jesus (or anyone else for that matter).

Anyway, that’s the way I see it. Peace.

Photo Source: Unknown (via Facebook)

Sunday, 4 August 2013

Pedophiles Forced to Leave the Vatican?

According to CNN, the new pope has now made it illegal to sexually or physically abuse children in the Vatican.

Am I missing something here?

Forgive me for being a little facetious, but does that mean that child abuse was legal there before? Does this new law mean that the pedophile priests (and others) now have to leave the Vatican in order to continue their sick perversions against children? Is he saying that child abuse in its various forms is legal everywhere except on Vatican grounds? Obviously that's not what the pope meant (I hope), but it is interesting that that's the first thing that came to my mind when I read it. You know what they say about "first impressions."

Yes, supposedly he has ordered that this pedophile problem in the church be dealt with, but why single out the Vatican for these reforms? Why make such a distinction at all? Why not pass the same laws for the rest of the Roman Catholic world? In all fairness, maybe he has. But I'm sorry, this all sounds like more of the same old rhetoric that we've heard time and again from his predecessors.

Until we see some real convictions of these perpetrator-priests in the secular courts, and not just the usual cover-ups by the church that we've all come to know and dislike, I will continue to be just another "Doubting Thomas."

That's the way I see it. Peace.