Friday, December 23, 2011

The "Diabolical" Gospel I believe...

This will be the last post I make to this blog for 2011. I’ll be away over the Christmas/New Year break. Unfortunately it ends on a sad note. Yesterday a comment was left on my blog that I found quite disturbing – making me wonder what some people actually think the gospel is about.

The anonymous commenter quoted something I’d said earlier:
Many make the error of thinking that all sin, past present and future is already dealt with, that it no longer matters.
Through the new birth we are given new, clean start in life, however we are not given immunity from the effects and penalty of future sin.
We are given a new clean start, and then by His Spirit we are given the means by which we are able to continue living a clean life as long as we walk according to His Spirit
And praise God He did not stop there - He made provision for additional cleansing (through confession) if we fall back into sin.

The commenter considers this to be a “diabolical appraisal of what ... constitutes salvation ”.


Is it diabolical to consider that sin still matters to God?

Is it diabolical to see that God gives us a new and clean start to life through the new birth?

Is it diabolical to recognise that we are not immune to sin and its effects and that if we continue in sin there is a penalty to pay?

Is it diabolical to see that God has given His Holy Spirit to equip us to live a clean life as long as we walk in the Spirit?

Is it diabolical to see that God continues to forgive and cleanse us from sin and its effects when we confess our sin?

Again I really wonder what “gospel” some people are following.

Thank God for HIS truth and thank God for the gift of His Son and the salvation available only through Him.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

What will you make of Christmas?

This is what we can MAKE Christmas be about despite all of the negative things associated with its pagan origins.

Friday, December 16, 2011

False Christ

Jesus answered: "Watch out that no one deceives you. For many will come in my name, claiming, 'I am the Christ,' and will deceive many.

At that time if anyone says to you, 'Look, here is the Christ!' or, 'There he is!' do not believe it. For false Christs and false prophets will appear ...
Matthew 24

Thursday, December 15, 2011

SOS: Security Of Salvation

A topic that often leads to arguments is the idea of OSAS (once saved always saved). It’s an idea that many passionately defend while others are equally passionate to refute.

Unfortunately many are introduced to Jesus through a “gospel” of easy believism and when we add OSAS to that mix a foundation of false security can be created.

While many adherents to the OSAS are NOT victims of easy believism, I think it is wise to recognise that easy believism more often than not promotes OSAS as part of its salvation package.

Could it be time become clearer on this issue to help break the false security that comes with a diluted gospel?
I propose a new outlook: IHAS or "In Him Assuredly Saved". While not quite as catchy as OSAS, I think it better portrays the reality.

We should be clear that we don't obtain guaranteed eternal salvation by saying a "sinner's prayer", or by inviting Jesus into our heart - and then going back to old ways and never giving Jesus another thought.

The security of salvation is found in Him and only in Him.
As we remain in Him our salvation is assured.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Can Good Fruit Come From Bad Seed?

Just a little (very quick) research I did as part of a discussion on a Christian forum. Chiropractic seems to have become one of those widely accepted therapeutic practices that even Christians have no problem with.
But should we so easily accept its legitimacy and submit ourselves to it? I first had concerns about this in the mid-80s when I become interested in the widening influence of new age thought within the church.

In general reading about alternative therapies compatible with the “new age movement” I came across information about the origins of chiropractic.
I no longer have that 25 year old reference material, but in response to the forum discussion I took a look at Wikipedia and found the following information.

Daniel David Palmer or D.D. Palmer (March 7, 1845 – October 20, 1913) was the founder of chiropractic. Palmer was born in Pickering, near Toronto, Canada. While working as a magnetic healer in Davenport, Iowa, United States he encountered a janitor, Harvey Lillard, whose hearing was impaired. It was reported Palmer successfully restored the man's hearing.

Palmer founded a school based on his work that would become the Palmer School of Chiropractic in 1897. He regarded chiropractic as partly religious in nature.

D.D. Palmer was a man with subjective and personal religious beliefs. As an active spiritist, he said he "received chiropractic from the other world" from a deceased medical physician named Dr. Jim Atkinson.

D.D. Palmer founded chiropractic in the 1890s, and his son B.J. Palmer helped to expand it in the early 20th century. It has two main groups: "straights", now the minority, emphasize vitalism, innate intelligence and spinal adjustments, and consider vertebral subluxations to be the cause of all disease; "mixers", the majority, are more open to mainstream views and conventional medical techniques, such as exercise, massage, and ice therapy.

Vitalism has a long history in medical philosophies: most traditional healing practices posited that disease results from some imbalance in the vital energies that distinguish living from non-living matter. In the Western tradition founded by Hippocrates, these vital forces were associated with the four temperaments and humours; Eastern traditions posited similar forces such as qi and prana.

Many involved with present day chiropractic try to distance themselves from the origins of their practice. But can anything good emerge from such a false foundation?  Can good fruit be produced by bad seed?

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

The divine "Mr Potato Head"?

I often wonder whether people are really interested in the truth about God. It seems we would rather create our own God with a form and nature that WE find suitable.

It makes me think about Mr Potato Head, a plastic toy with interchangeable parts that can be used to create a “person” with facial characteristics of our own choosing.

Instead of selecting from a choice of different facial features, we can choose from a selection of scripture verses to build our own preferred image of God. But just like the toys, we don’t need to stick with the basic package of original parts. We are also offered supplementary features through countless extra-biblical texts and teachings. There are accessories we can add to “improve” our chosen Divine image – until all authenticity has been either replaced or obscured.

Maybe we would benefit significantly from time spent reassessing our motives and desires. Do we genuinely want GOD’s Truth; do we want GOD as HE really is? – Or do we want to follow a "plastic" God we have created for ourselves?

Thursday, November 03, 2011

It’s (Past) Time for a Charismatic Reformation, by Lee Grady.

There are some good points made in this article:

Regarding recent events I’d like to highlight part of Grady's 14th point:

“Hold the prophets accountable. Those who refuse to take responsibility for inaccurate statements should not be given platforms.”

So many times people accept no accountability when words of "prophecy" fail. They do their best to sweep the failure under the carpet and hope it goes away without being noticed so they can move onto the next "prophetic" claim.

If it doesn't go away, all kinds of excuses will be made - or clarifications given - to explain why the word actually did come true (even if evidence shows otherwise) or why the outcome of the word was averted through intercession - and we could probably add a variety of other ways the prophet tries to cover their tracks.

How many prophecies of significant events have been made that have been proven to be false when the event did not happen? Have those "prophets" shown contrition and demonstrated repentance?

Or have they tried some way of justifying themselves and their predictions?


Friday, October 14, 2011

Thoughts on How God's Judgement is Working Today.

Does God judge nations and cities through sending disaster as was recently [falsely] predicted for Christchurch?

In scripture he tended to leave nations alone UNLESS they mistreated Israel*. I see the same thing indicated in end time prophecy. It is mistreatment of His people (church and Israel) that brings about His end time outpouring of wrath.

Romans 1 and 2 give a graphic view of how God judges sin in the present day. He gives people over to their sin so they "stor[e] up wrath ...for the day of God's wrath, when his righteous judgement will be revealed."

That is a very sobering passage of scripture as well as enlightening regarding the nature of God's judgement today (more subtle than blasting cities).

Those He loves He chastens - how tragic for those He ceases chastening and hands over to the "sinful desires of their heart". THAT is the most terrible judgement we could receive prior to that day of His wrath.


* Israel has a unique position, being the only nation with whom God made a covenant with promises of blessing for obedience and curses for disobedience.
Blessing and cursing of other nations was stated as being conditional upon their treatment of the nation God promised from among Abraham's descendants. (Gen 12)

Friday, October 07, 2011

Prophetic or Pathetic Ministry?

An article by Fred London:

So many of our prophetic words, dreams and visions are delivered with impunity, sort of "hit and run" tactics, with no sense of responsibility to the word or the people to which it is directed.. This lack of personal accountability to these “words” gives rise to ministerial malpractice. This ever- growing phenomenon must be called to account and be addressed for the sake of discernment and accurately knowing the Mind of Christ. With the myriads of prophetic words, dreams and visions posted on various websites, it is high time to examine these so-called “prophetic words” which are quickly compiling a track record of being scripturally unsound, or a “one size fits all” form of soothsaying, rarely coming to pass. “For God is not a God of confusion,” offering scores of contradictory “words,” heavy on power and blessing, and lacking in “Christ and Him crucified.”

Employing the Old Testament criteria for judging true prophets and their words would result in greatly reducing all of this free-wheeling prophetic hype we are currently being inundated with. In truth, it would almost be comical if it weren't so tragic. Not everyone who calls themselves a prophet, is a prophet. Based upon Scripture, it is therefore incumbent upon us to hold these messengers accountable and examine their words carefully, now more than ever. A line by line exhortation of Jeremiah 23 might work wonders in helping to eradicate the artificial and misappropriated prophetic words so commonplace in our day. It has become arguably a scourge of epidemic proportions, of the “prophetic word” made cheap. These things ought not to be.

Can the explanation for this ongoing “Mars Hill” prophetic circus, which continues to grow in popularity, be attributable to a true lack of the fear of God, an over active sense of self-importance or need to garner attention, and a lack of discernment by many who receive these words? Is it worth the risk of being found naked before God and men? You be the judge! Sooner or later, someone in the crowd will speak up and declare what should have been obvious to the multitude. “The king isn’t wearing any clothes!” Going along with the crowd in order to gain tacit approval or knuckling under to peer pressure simply will not fly. There is no escaping personal responsibility as it always comes down to, “Who do YOU say that I am?”

Here is an analogy. Terrorists are cowards at heart; bomb throwers, who use hit and run tactics, who avoid facing their targets directly, do not discriminate between combatants and innocents, and don't consider themselves accountable for their actions. This is what much of the so-called “prophetic ministry” has become, in word and practice. But, it is even more than that. It is a character issue. It is an integrity issue. It is a heart issue. It is time to come to grips with this matter. It is time to clean house. It is time to repent. It is time to treat this ministry as holy before the Lord.

Are we jealous enough to desire to see the reality and purity of the Lord’s testimony? It would serve us well to be restored to a healthy fear lest we “speak that which the Lord has not spoken.” What would be the result? It is quite likely that today’s glut of “prophetic words” would be significantly reduced and its scarcity would once again cause it be restored to its rightful preciousness. What should it be worth to us? No less than everything!

Fred London

Wednesday, October 05, 2011

Time to STOP!!!

It is time to stop playing “prophetic” pass-the parcel and exchanging “prophecies” like trading cards and to start giving the prophetic word the seriousness it requires.

We can't continue to take such a casual attitude to prophecy, indiscriminately promoting and passing on everything we come across that is claimed to be a word from the Lord.

As scripture says don’t despise prophecy but test all things. Unfortunately the lack of testing has led to TRUE prophecy being despised.

Reliable Prophecy

I will show wonders in the heaven above
and signs on the earth below,
blood and fire and billows of smoke.
The sun will be turned to darkness
and the moon to blood
before the coming of the great and glorious day of the Lord.
And everyone who calls
on the name of the Lord will be saved.

Friday, September 30, 2011

Christchurch "Prophecy" the aftermath.

The deadline for the predicted Christchurch disaster has passed without the promised destruction.

Reports from Christchurch reveal that many stayed away from work and left the city for the day. Many school students didn’t attend class. Many were in fear of what could happen on the day.
Remember, this is a city that suffered terrible destruction and loss of life at the beginning of the year; where constant aftershocks are a reminder of what happened. Most citizens suffered personal loss or at least know someone close who did.

What has happened since the failure of the “prophesied” destruction on the 28th?

1) Some have taken the predicted route and claim credit for their intercession averting the disaster.
2) Others continue as if the failure presents no real problem and they stick with their view that Christchurch is due for another disastrous “shaking”, that only the timing was wrong
3) Some (praise God) have confessed to their error and are seeking God, genuinely repentant for their involvement.

One factor that clearly helped the Christchurch prediction to be circulated as “prophecy” was the preconceived idea that God intended to judge Christchurch, or at least the “disobedient church” in Christchurch.
Were these expectations being voiced PRIOR to the two major quakes, the second of which led to massive loss of life? Or were these “prophetic” voices informed BY the two quakes – Prophetic “insight” AFTER the fact? Is this why so many latched onto the false 28 September prediction? They saw it as a validation of their own alleged prophetic insight?

I know of some who publicised the 28th prediction but expressed doubts about the dating; accepting the rest of the "word" because of a conviction that God WILL “shake Christchurch” again – not as a judgement on the city but as a judgement on the church!

Is that the way God acts? To cause death and massive destruction among unbelievers to punish disobedient believers?

Do we kick the dog to punish the cat that has torn the curtains? Maybe we do – but would a God of justice do that?

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Sept 28 Christchurch Prophecy

One of the most maligned spiritual gifts is prophecy. It is either dismissed as being obsolete or it is approached so casually that it is not surprising many people have convinced themselves that it is obsolete.

An example of how little REAL respect is given to prophecy is being demonstrated as I write. A prediction has been made of yet another catastrophe in Christchurch New Zealand. That city seems to draw attention from a sector of the “church” which delights in the idea of God pouring out His wrath on other people. Christchurch seems to be a favourite target for a few reasons. It has already been the victim of disaster and its name makes it a handy metaphor for those critical of the state of the church. Put the two together and we have God showing His displeasure with Christ’s church.

The current prediction has been very specific – giving today as the day when terrible things will happen again to the city. It has had a polarising effect within the Christian community. Some reject it out of hand because they reject the validity of all present day prophecy. Others have embraced it without question, appearing to take delight in the idea of God’s judgement being demonstrated against others.

I take a different view. I am totally accepting of the validity of prophecy today but I strongly reject this particular prediction. I find nothing in it to indicate it is a true prophetic word.

Yesterday, 27th September, I resigned from my role as the moderator of a Christian forum because of the way this prediction was being addressed. As a result I have been asked not to contribute to that forum for three months.

It is clear that the forum owner accepts the validity of the prophecy in part. The only aspect that troubles him is the dating of the predicted disaster. A few other members have been more supportive, accepting all of it as a true message from God. They expect disaster to strike Christchurch today. Maybe even more disturbing than this expectation is the impression that they won’t even have their certainty shaken when the predicted event fails to happen. They will merely latch onto the next “word of prophecy” and run with that one until it also fails.

These people are more than willing to see Christchurch take the brunt of God’s wrath because of the state of the church (as they see it) and yet they are blind to the fact that THEY are no less disobedient, wilful and misled. They are no less guilty of error and stubbornness –all demonstrated by their refusal to test the “prophecy” according to God given, scriptural principals.

Prophecy is something that we can not afford to take lightly. We can not be casual with it. In the Old Testament false prophets were given no leeway. According to God’s instructions, they got it right – or they lost their lives.

Today false prophets are not faced with stoning. Some may see this as God’s mercy at work. I see it slightly differently. Maybe the Old Testament way was more merciful – it made people more aware of the seriousness of saying “God said” when God had said nothing of the kind. Maybe the freedom for “prophets” to speak without immediate consequences is itself a judgement on the church, separating the wheat from the chaff, separating those with a love and desire for the the truth from those who prefer baseless sensation.

There are still several more hours of the 28th (NZ time) to go. As yet I’ve heard no news of destruction in Christchurch. I’ll stick my neck out a little right now and say the rest of the day will pass with a similar absence of news, and then tomorrow the excuses, self-justification and back tracking will begin: anything to avoid accountability for the lies that have been promoted and supported.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Could You Become False Prophet or Teacher?

False teachers/prophets start somewhere.
I’m not sure that total non-believers decide that preaching is the best way to fame and fortune and start up their own ministry.

Their journey starts with them being led into error. They start off deceived and later become a deceiver through the encouragement they receive, firstly from those they respect and admire and later from the followers they accumulate. They become motivated and led by the praise of man instead of testing their way by the word of God.

One of the clearest indications that someone has become a false prophet/teacher is their refusal to face their mistakes and failed predictions with REPENTANCE. Instead they will either make excuses or they will ignore and refuse to acknowledge their error.

All of us at one time or another can make mistakes – the thing that separates the mistake from the false is the action taken when the error is made evident.

Repentance or cover-up?

If we take the “cover-up” or denial path we are taking our first steps along a very dangerous route where we will not only be held accountable for ourselves, but also for the damage done to others.

Monday, September 12, 2011

Day 3 part 2

"Cross words"

Paintings by Gloria, the words of Jesus on the cross:


Those who are exceptionally observant may notice differences between the red Eloi painting here and the one illustrated on an earlier post. Gloria painted a new version of this painting to complete this series and sent the original to a highly valued friend.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Monday, August 08, 2011

Tuesday, August 02, 2011

Monday, August 01, 2011

IONA - no longer recommended.

Impulsive and disappointed – two words accurately describing a recent CD purchase. Impulsive because I quickly included a link on my blog to recommend the music of a group called Iona: a recommendation based on past experience. I had three of their older CDs and had never been able to find any more. Last week I found their website and saw they had many more albums available for purchase through the site.

I quickly ordered their newest album. It arrived last Friday.

A very brief look at the accompanying booklet started alarm bells ringing – and listening to the first CD (the album is a double) my mood sank further. Their songs have been influenced by the extreme charismanic-“prophetic” teachings of people like Rick Joyner (quoted as an influence of at least one of their songs) and the Bethel Church of Bill Johnson (both strong supporters of disgraced Lakeland “Revival” figurehead Todd Bentley).
Their lyrics include references to “portals” – an idea that in certain places on earth the fabric separating heaven and earth is thinner than in other locations and therefore encounters with God are more likely in those locations. It is an idea from occultism that has been appropriated by a certain section of the “christian” community, an idea that has absolutely no biblical foundation.

Previously Iona had been a group I enjoyed a lot. Their use of traditional Irish instruments and other traditional music influences made them stand apart among Christian groups. I love traditional music and instruments and so few Christian musicians use them. However, their demonstrated sympathy for false doctrines with occult origins means their songs, influenced by those doctrines, are severely tainted.

I have now deleted the link from my blog.

Monday, July 25, 2011

From the Cross

In earlier posts I've shared some scripture related artworks, some done by myself and others done by my friend Chris.

Now my wife has put paint to canvas. This is the first she did. She is now painting a series based on Jesus' words from the cross.

And a work in progress (to be replaced by completed painting when ready)

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Friday, July 15, 2011

Christian Witness from a Masterchef.

Sorry Tim Costello and Bill Crews (Baptist “ministers”) if the report at the following link is correct you have exposed yourselves as counterfeits.

Unlike Masterchef contestant Kate Bracks who stood her ground and refused to acknowledge the Dalai Llama as “Your Holiness”.

Kate has been a family favourite on the show since we found she was almost a local (from Orange NSW) – this revelation of her Christian faith makes her doubly a favourite.

We'll be praying for you Kate, and if you win Masterchef we'll definitely be buying your cookbook.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Sound Doctrine: A Biblical Imperative

Sound Doctrine: A Biblical Imperative
by Fred London

We have all heard at one time or another the declaration from a fellow believer, “I don’t get into doctrine!” This is usually taken to mean that doctrine is relatively unimportant when compared to the pursuit of unity within the Body of Christ. On the surface this has the appearance of legitimate spirituality, a God-given mandate beyond dispute. But, are we commanded to have unity at all costs, even at the expense of sound doctrine? Is the depreciation of sound doctrine acceptable in the light of God’s word?

Let us be clear at the outset that we are not speaking of relatively minor doctrinal points; issues over which true men of God have disagreed for centuries, and to our shame have provided the basis for the various denominations which now exist. Nor are we speaking of such issues on a par with hair length which Paul addressed in I Corinthians, Chapter 11, and yet after making his case was unwilling to split a church over it. It is not the minor points that concern us here. It is not legalism that we are embracing. It is the apprehension of the Mind of Christ, a fuller and more accurate expression of His thoughts and His ways in accordance with His purposes.

Likewise, there is the concern that an excessive desire for unity in the Church has taken on subtle forms characteristic of ecumenicalism, while others have elevated spiritual experience over Scriptural basis. Therefore, it is worth taking a closer look at God’s thought on this matter because the Scriptural fact is, doctrine does matter, and first and foremost, it matters to God.

As one man has argued, “It is better to be divided by truth than united in error.” Paul had this to say to the Corinthians, “For there must also be factions among you, in order that those who are approved may have become evident among you” (I Cor. 11:19). Yes, contrary to popular belief, there actually can be divisions according to the will of God. We are continually reminded of Jesus’ words, “that they may be one, just as we are one” (John 17:22b).

However, what is generally overlooked is the critical phrase, “just as We are one.” Our oneness is predicated upon the same characteristics of oneness as the Father and the Son. In fact, the entire passage which envelopes the preceding phrase speaks of a relationship based upon truth and love, for both ingredients are inseparable. That is why Paul wrote, we are to “speak the truth in love.” And that is why Jesus prayed to the Father to “Sanctify them in the truth; Thy word is truth; And for their sakes I sanctify Myself, that they themselves also may be sanctified in truth.”

The familiar saying, “You are what you eat,” is consistent with Scripture. Since, “as a man thinks in his heart, so is he,” and, “out of the abundance of the heart, the mouth speaks,” then what we consume doctrinally will have a direct impact upon who and what we are and in how we express what we believe.

What is meant by sound doctrine? We know that doctrine refers to teaching. It is the term, “sound,” that is so critical to our understanding. In this context, “sound,” means to be healthy, free from defect, damage, or decay, safe, stable. This definition is also indicative of the fruits of sound doctrine. Peter expressed it in this way; “like newborn babes, long for the pure (unadulterated) milk of the word, that by it you may grow in respect to salvation” (I Pet. 2:2). The writer to the Hebrews exhorted them to “not be carried away by varied and strange teachings; for it is good for the heart to be strengthened by grace...” (Heb. 13:9a).

Paul admonished us that we “should no longer be children, tossed here and there by waves, and carried about by every wind of doctrine... but speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in all aspects into Him, who is the head, even Christ” (Eph. 4:14a, 15). Paul went so far as to say to the Galatians, “... if any man should preach to you a gospel contrary to that which you received, let him be accursed” (Gal. 1:9). Try telling Paul that doctrine doesn’t matter.

What is the hallmark of sound doctrine? Paul wrote to the Corinthians that the essence and sum total of his teaching all boiled down to this; “Jesus Christ and Him crucified.” Is this overly simplistic? No, it is the beginning and the end of all doctrinal truth, for “He is the Way, the Truth, and the Life,” and, “from Him and through Him and to Him are all things.” That is why what is commonly referred to as The Book of Revelation should more accurately be referred to as The Revelation of Jesus Christ. It is more than just a prophetically oriented book of futuristic events, but rather a book which for many of us redefines what prophecy in reality should be.

In fact, God has revealed in this very book His definition of prophecy where he says, “for the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy.” (Rev. 19:10c). God furthermore reveals to us that His Son’s name is called “The Word of God” (Rev. 19:13b). And if this be so, it is incumbent upon us, and in particular teachers of the word, to “handle accurately the word of truth” (II Tim. 2:15b). We therefore need to be very clear on this point, that an accurate representation of Christ cannot be apprehended apart from the promulgation of sound doctrine.

Make no mistake, God expresses grief and anger when we misrepresent His Son and His purposes as is so often cited in His word. This is not in reference to the innocent trespass of a lack of understanding due to the reality of “looking through a glass darkly,” but rather due to impure motives of the heart. The Old Testament not only speaks of severe judgment upon false prophets, but also placed equal culpability upon those who would hearken to them. The New Testament also warns of false prophets and teachers. Even genuine believers are told, “Let not many of you become teachers..., knowing that as such we will incur a stricter judgment” (Jas. 3:1). Why this sober warning? Because doctrine does matter.

However, in the New Testament the majority of warnings are to the hearer as opposed to those of the perpetrator, for since we have access to the Spirit of truth, we are ultimately without excuse. Paul forewarns, “for the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but wanting to have their ears tickled, they will accumulate to themselves teachers in accordance to their own desires; and will turn away their ears from the truth, and will turn aside to myths” (II Tim. 4:3-4).
And again, Timothy is exhorted to “Retain the standard of sound words which you have heard from me...” (II Tim. 1:13a). “But the spirit explicitly says that in the later times some will fall away from the faith, paying attention to deceitful spirits and doctrines of demons,... In pointing out these things to the brethren, you will be a good servant of Christ Jesus, constantly nourished on the words of faith and of the sound doctrine which you have been following "(I Tim. 4:1, 6).

Furthermore, one of the chief qualifications for leadership in the Church is that of a man, “holding fast the faithful word which is in accordance with the teaching, that he may be able both to exhort in sound doctrine and to refute those who contradict” (Titus 1:9). One of the strongest forewarnings is given by Peter when he declares, “but false prophets also arose among the people, just as there will also be false teachers among you, who will secretly introduce destructive heresies..., And many will follow their sensuality, and because of them the way of the truth will be maligned; and in their greed they will exploit you with false words” (II Pet. 2:1-3a).

Do you see the common thread of culpability among the hearers? Phrases as, “but wanting to have their ears tickled, teachers in accordance to their own desires,” and, “will follow their sensuality". Deception begins with an act of the will, and as such, it is we who allow ourselves to be enticed by teachers and teachings who appeal to our flesh and soul, and not to our spirit.

What is deceptive is the subtleties by which we are ensnared. There does seem to be common ingredients contained within much of our popular, but spiritually tainted teaching of our day. If we look very closely, we would be able to detect one or all of these characteristics spelled out by John in his first letter, “For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh and the lust of the eyes and the boastful pride of life, is not from the Father, but is from the world” (I John 2:16).

If we were to apply this litmus test to what we hear, we would soon come to discover what large amounts of doctrinal leaven are hidden within so much of our present-day teachings. Paul expressed the same concern in the strongest of terms and defined false teaching in similar fashion when he wrote, “for many walk, of whom I often told you, and now tell you even weeping, that they are enemies of the Cross of Christ, whose end is destruction, whose God is their appetite, and whose glory is in their shame, who set their minds on earthly things” (Phil. 3:18-19).

There is no clearer evidence as to Christ’s own zeal for sound doctrine as is revealed in this strong admonition to the Church in Pergamum; “but I have a few things against you, because you have their some who hold to the teaching of Balaam, who kept teaching Balak to put a stumbling block before the sons of Israel, to eat things sacrificed to idols, and to commit acts of immorality. Thus you also have some who in the same way hold to the teaching of the Nicolatians. Repent therefore; or else I am coming to you quickly, and will make war against them with the sword of My mouth” (Rev. 2:14-16).

Christ is quite jealous in regard to His testimony, and especially towards those who presume to speak on His behalf. Sound doctrine is imperative because it is the primary vehicle through which Christ is revealed to us and how He is represented to the world. God longs for us to see His Son as he truly is, and that we might manifest the true Christ, and not another, that we might preach the true Christ, and not another.

Jesus asked Peter this question, “Who do men say that the Son of Man is?” It is as apparent now as it was then that men perceive and represent Him as being many things. The real question for us is the follow-up question asked of Peter, “But who do you say that I am?” The correct response compelled Jesus to reply, “Blessed are you...
Fred London

Monday, July 11, 2011

Important Lessons Learned

Some very important things I have learned:

Don't to rely too much on man's teachings and don't put too much trust in man's testimony.

No matter how "right" man's words may seem, no matter how appealing they may be, no matter how much they make sense, no matter how well they may "work":

Test all things.

Search the scriptures.

Trust God and His word not man and his word.

Thursday, June 30, 2011

Art Evangelism

My friend Chris paints scripture. He is the one who encouraged me to start doing do the same.

He believes that scripture in art can access places and reach people where scripture would not normally be read. His paintings are displayed in doctors’ surgeries, hospitals, shops and in private homes.

He is the one who introduced me to the art of Colin McCahon .

These are examples of Chris’s work.

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

In the Beginning

The earth was without form, and void; and darkness was upon the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters.

And God said...

Friday, June 24, 2011

Broken Body Shed Blood

The photo above was taken with a flash. The following was taken in natural light.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Déjà vu all over again!

One thing that is continually being made clear is how often people will take a brief excerpt of scripture, interpret it, and base their theological understanding on their interpretation of that brief excerpt.

Will some people ever recognise that scripture is not a collection of isolated sound-bites of truth that can be applied according to whim?
Will they ever recognise that we need all of scripture and we need to look at the overall picture instead of trying to know God through isolated verses?

Yes, this is another rant about context.

Blindness to context is one of the major factors contributing to false doctrine and false teaching in the church today.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011


Yesterday I saw the most powerful artwork I’ve ever seen: Colin McCahon’s “Victory Over Death 2”.

I was at the National Gallery of Australia in Canberra and I lost interest in everything else I saw after it. It left me trembling and too emotional to speak.

It was painted on a huge loose canvas. The words “I AM” dominated the work, and portions of bible verses are scrawled on various panels of the canvas.

When I got home I had a quick look at some articles about McCahon that I downloaded from the internet. I read that the painting had been given to Australia by the New Zealand government and that the Australian press had treated the gift with derision and mockery.
An article included a copy of a cartoon mocking the painting’s “I AM” statement.

I confess that after seeing that cartoon I felt like a third Boanerges, wanting to call down fire from heaven in judgement.


Information about the painting can be found here:

An image of the painting can be found here:

Wednesday, June 08, 2011

Refined not Redefined

Two of the proof texts favoured by the promoters of replacement theology are:

Rom 2: 28-29 A person is not a Jew who is one only outwardly, nor is circumcision merely outward and physical. No, a person is a Jew who is one inwardly; and circumcision is circumcision of the heart, by the Spirit

Rom 9: 6-8 For not all who are descended from Israel are Israel. Nor because they are his descendants are they all Abraham's children. On the contrary, "It is through Isaac that your offspring will be reckoned." In other words, it is not the natural children who are God's children, but it is the children of the promise who are regarded as Abraham's offspring.

But to use those texts as support for their theology, the replacement promoters need to totally ignore the clear context of their proof texts.

Regarding Romans 2:28.

Go back several verses and you will read in verse 17:
“ Now you, if you call yourself a Jew; if you rely on the law and boast in God…”

It is specifically addressed to Jews who were trusting in their blood heritage and their relationship to the law. Paul was saying their heritage was not enough. It was not addressing gentiles and saying they have been made Jews through "circumcision of the heart". It was addressing Jews, saying that MORE than heredity and law observance were needed to be part of God’s people. An inward change worked by the Spirit is necessary.

Regarding Romans 9.

When Paul writes “not all who are descended from Israel are Israel.” He is referring to a faithful remnant of the descendants of Abraham Isaac and Jacob.

The statement is excluding SOME of those descended from Israel - it is NOT a statement intended to include others who are not descended from Israel.

It is not a statement that redefines what Israel means. It is a statement that refines what Israel means.

It does not shift the identity of Israel from one group to another - it narrows down the identity of Israel from a wider inclusive ethnic group to a smaller specific section of that wider group.

It pinpoints the faithful remnant AMONG the descendants of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. It is not transferring attention outside of those descendants.

It's like saying that not all born into a Christian family are Christian - only those who have their own faith in Jesus.

Monday, June 06, 2011

Israel the nation wiped off the map: what would it mean?

On a forum I frequent someone asked:

“Lets say hypothetically Israel the nation was wiped of the map. What would that mean to everyone?”

This is my answer to that question:

It should mean nothing to those who look to the truth of God's word instead of to the world's political map.

Israel as nation WAS wiped off the map for almost 2000 years - and was restored in 1948.

Their long absence from the map is one of the reasons for the creation of replacement theology. With Israel gone, the church needed to give meaning to the many scriptural promises made to Israel, so they assumed that the church had replaced Israel in God's plans.

They overlooked the clearest meaning that Israel's existence did not depend on man's political "realities", but on God's promise. And HIS promises are kept and fulfilled according to HIS timing.

So even if the present day political nation of Israel is wiped off the map again, it would merely mean that Israel will be restored to the land again at some future point in accordance with the prophetic promises given by God.

We should not confuse today's political nation of Israel with the Israel of God. God's Israel takes into account people descended from Abraham, Isaac and Jacob no matter where they live. Despite the creation of the nation state, the majority of Israel remains in exile. One day that exile will end and God's Israel will be totally returned to the land He promised them and they AS A COMPLETE NATION will recognise their Messiah, Jesus and will enter the new covenant through faith in Him.

Thursday, June 02, 2011

A Radical Step to Church Transformation.

Five Steps to Transform Your Church in Seven Months, Guaranteed

Interesting suggestions from Dan at Cerulean Sanctum.

Article here:

Five Steps to Transform Your Church


Thursday, May 26, 2011

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Recent David Pawson Sermons

Some more David Pawson sermons can be found here:

The Uniqueness of Christ

See also:

Israel and the Church

They were recorded at IHOP over the last few days (with some still to come). The links may contain sermons by other preachers who I do not know and therefore cannot recommend.
But I have confidence in David Pawson's teaching.

Posts regarding David Pawson are the most viewed on this blog. Next are some about the Arminianism/Calvinism debate. Those with an interest in the latter may find the two part sermon entitled "Grace: Saving, Sovereign, or Free?" interesting. It can be found through the "Uniqueness of Christ" link.

Thanks to Kevin Jackson for telling me about these.

Friday, May 06, 2011

The LORD is One !

In the quote below, Jesus prays for unity in the church – just as there is unity between Him and the Father.

John 17:10-12 (English Standard Version)

10 All mine are yours, and yours are mine, and I am glorified in them. 11 And I am no longer in the world, but they are in the world, and I am coming to you. Holy Father, keep them in your name, which you have given me, that they may be one, even as we are one. 12 While I was with them, I kept them in your name, which you have given me. I have guarded them, and not one of them has been lost except the son of destruction, that the Scripture might be fulfilled.

Is Jesus praying to Himself asking for His followers to lose their individual identity and existence – to become one being with many names?

Certainly not!

This prayer reveals God in unity, not God in singularity.

It reveals a God in relationship (here between Father and Son), not a God in isolation, not a single God with multiple identities.

Tuesday, May 03, 2011

Obama and Osama: Conspiracy or the Gospel?

The last few days have really got the conspiracy-mongers buzzing.

A Royal wedding (did you know William is the antichrist?)

The release of Obama’s birth certificate which proves he’s a natural born Kenyan (despite revealing he was born in Hawaii).

And the death of Bin Laden (who was killed years ago but the US Govt had reasons to keep that quiet until now).
Of course the Sept 11 attacks that Bin Laden was accused of masterminding were really an inside job authorised by George W Bush so he could erode American freedoms.

The disturbing thing is not that these claims are being made – there will always be weird people with even weirder agenda’s to push – the disturbing thing is that these wild conspiracies are being picked up and distributed by “Christians” on Christian websites and forums.

Standing apart from all of this ridiculous distraction; addressing what is REALLY important in relation to Bin Laden’s death, is an article at this link:

Muslims Still Need Jesus

Friday, April 29, 2011

Thursday, April 28, 2011

David Wilkerson May 19, 1931 – April 27, 2011

The Cross and the Switchblade was one of the first Christian books I read as a teenager. It gave me a view of Christian life and ministry far different to anything I’d known before.

As a result of that book and the story it told, David Wilkerson became a genuine Christian celebrity – but he didn’t seem to be seduced by the trappings of celebrity and unlike so many of today’s preachers he didn’t water down his message.

Sadly he has been killed in a car accident in Texas.

More details can be found here:

A memorial service will be streamed live by the Times Square Church he established. Details will be posted on the Time Square Church website.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

"Jesus Christians"

There has been an interesting development. The people I have mentioned in my previous two posts have been exposed as being part of the same religious group.

Previously any suggestion that they were in any way connected had been deflected with mocking references to “conspiracies”.

They are a group who live in community. New members are required to sell their possessions and hand the proceeds over to the community. (Hence their means of support without paid work).

They promote the belief that Jesus alone is “the Word of God” and that while scripture is inspired it can be fallible. Therefore they can promote their interpretation of Jesus teaching without reference to anything else in scripture.


Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Words of Jesus vs. The New Testament

A situation mentioned in my previous post continues. Several extreme doctrines are being promoted by a few newcomers on a forum I frequent. They dismiss scriptural evidence against their ideas because they have a very selective approach to scripture. They see “the words of Jesus” as having more authority than the rest of scripture.

The thing that is being missed is that we don’t have “the words of Jesus”. We have the scriptures which contain reports of a small sample of what Jesus taught. The people giving those reports were either witnesses themselves or they compiled reports from others who were witnesses.

If we take the parts of Jesus’ teaching that are reported as part of scripture and remove them from the context of the rest of scripture we are highly prone to misinterpreting and misapplying those teachings.

If "Jesus words" were more important than the rest of scripture then God could very easily have given us books of His sayings and teachings alone, instead of giving us four gospels, an account of the early church, several letters and a book of prophecy.
But He chose to reveal Himself and His purposes through latter.

Friday, March 25, 2011

Work and Words.

One of the interesting things about Christian forums is that they can give exposure to all kinds of weird and not so wonderful beliefs that are being paraded in the name of Christ. They give a picture of what is happening outside of our familiar Christian environment.

It’s not surprising that Jesus warned that many deceivers would come in His name.

The latest thing to hit a forum that I frequent is the claim that working for money (that is, working to earn a living), is evil.
Paul’s insistence that he who doesn’t work should not eat is seen to be contrary to Jesus’ alleged teaching on the matter. Also the fact that Paul worked as a tentmaker is seen as weakness displayed by Paul.

These people* support their view by saying that Jesus’ words should take priority over any of Paul’s words. That is: the parts of scripture that record Jesus sayings are more reliable than the parts of scripture expressing Paul’s teaching.

Further to this it seems that some of these people are promoting the idea that the “mark of the beast” from Revelation relates to money – that those who work for money are in more danger of taking the mark of the beast.

I’m not sure how these people are supported, where their food and clothing comes from. They won’t say. They merely say “the Lord provides”.

It seems to me that scripture isn’t so reticent to say how God provided. Scripture tells of manna and quails in the wilderness, ravens feeding a prophet. It tells of a never ending supply of oil feeding a prophet and a widow. And there is Jesus feeding 5000 and 4000 people with a few loaves and fish.

The most dangerous thing being promoted by these people is the idea that we can pick and choose which bits of scripture are more truthful. They say they choose Jesus’ words over Paul’s words – but they ignore the fact that Jesus’ words have been presevered and given to us by the very same group of writers they deem to be unreliable.

Jesus Himself didn’t write down His teaching. Jesus Himself didn’t record His acts in writing. He entrusted this to men. If we can’t trust the teaching of these men. If we can’t accept ALL their writings as Spirit inspired and authoritative – then why should be accept anything they have written – even their accounts of Jesus’ words?

And on this point their arguments and their doctrine collapses.

*it’s interesting how these controversial things always seem to be promoted by groups people who arrive on a forum at the same time out of nowhere

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

One of the Many?

Read the scripture quote given in the previous post (Matt 24: 3-14), take special note of the word "many" and see what the word is being applied to.

In summary it refers to many deceivers (of various types) and many who will be deceived and fall away.

Can we grasp what that means?

What greater encouragement do we need to make sure that we keep our eyes on Jesus and that we keep faithful to His word - to ensure that we are NOT one of the many.

"Enter by the narrow gate. For the gate is wide and the way is easy that leads to destruction, and those who enter by it are many. For the gate is narrow and the way is hard that leads to life, and those who find it are few." (Matt 7:13-4)

Monday, March 14, 2011

Signs and Warnings in Today's World

So soon after the earthquake in Christchurch, New Zealand comes even more devastation with the earth quake, tsunami and the potential nuclear disaster in Japan. At time like this many Christians call to mind Jesus’ words in Matthew 24:

3 As Jesus was sitting on the Mount of Olives, the disciples came to him privately. “Tell us,” they said, “when will this happen, and what will be the sign of your coming and of the end of the age?” 4 Jesus answered: “Watch out that no one deceives you. 5 For many will come in my name, claiming, ‘I am the Messiah,’ and will deceive many. 6 You will hear of wars and rumors of wars, but see to it that you are not alarmed. Such things must happen, but the end is still to come. 7 Nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. There will be famines and earthquakes in various places. 8 All these are the beginning of birth pains.

9 “Then you will be handed over to be persecuted and put to death, and you will be hated by all nations because of me. 10 At that time many will turn away from the faith and will betray and hate each other, 11 and many false prophets will appear and deceive many people. 12 Because of the increase of wickedness, the love of most will grow cold, 13 but the one who stands firm to the end will be saved. 14 And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in the whole world as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come.

While wars, famines and earthquakes have been happening to varying degrees throughout history, they seem to be increasing in intensity in our own time. And usually these are the things that bring the believer’s attention to Jesus’ words quoted above.

But overall, there is not much the Christian can do about these things. We can pray and we can contribute to aid appeals, if we have the skills and the opportunity we can personally assist those who are suffering. If we are in an affected area we can trust God for the safety of ourselves and our family.

And of course we can note them as the signs they are.

However some of Jesus’ predictions don’t attract so much attention, maybe because they are not always so obvious, and they don’t get the same kind of media coverage given to political and natural disasters. While it is understandable that the world pays no attention to these things, for the church to ignore them is foolishness. In fact Jesus has more detailed things to say about these than He does about the wars, earthquakes and famines. These are things that believers can do something about, things that we can avoid falling victim to.

Jesus starts his discourse with this warning:

“Watch out that no one deceives you”.

But why is it necessary for Him to say this?

Because many deceivers will come in the name of Jesus and they will go unnoticed if there is not due diligence; they may not be as obvious as we expect and clearly we need to “watch out” for a reason: so “no one deceives” us.

Jesus says they will come proclaiming Jesus as Messiah or maybe they will be promoting themselves as being messiah, “the anointed one” coming in His name (or likely both). They will convey an image of Christian legitimacy.

Jesus also warned there will be persecution against the saints leading to martyrdom – not only in localised areas but ALL NATIONS will be involved. That many will turn away from their faith and betray others and false prophets will arise deceiving even more people.
Wickedness will increase and the love of MOST will grow cold. But whose love will grown cold? Is this a broad sweeping statement about mankind in general or is it referring to those who had been believers?

Look at the context in verses 10-13, the statement is sandwiched between “many will turn away from the faith and will betray and hate each other and many false prophets will appear and deceive many people” and “but the one who stands firm to the end will be saved.” Surely there is at least a strong hint contained there?Also a person needs to have love in the first place in order to have it grow cold. And the word used for love here is agapē, which seems to imply that it refers more to the believer than a non-believer.

While the wars, earthquakes and famines get so much attention – how many are paying attention to the other things, the subtle deceptive things that Jesus warned about that could have very personal consequences for the believer’s relationship with the Lord?

All of these latter signs are portrayed as being interrelated: deception, falling away, persecution. Many who are deceived and fall away will be the ones who persecute and even kill those who stand firm in the faith. This may be hard for the Christian to comprehend or even accept as truth, but this is what Jesus reveals as some of the signs preceding His return.

If this section of scripture went no further than the “signs” mentioned above it would seem very discouraging, but praise God it doesn’t end with doom and gloom. It ends with important promises.” The one who stands firm to the end will be saved”, and “this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in the whole world as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come”. Along with the increasing problems and apostasy - the gospel of the Kingdom WILL be preached in the whole world prior to the end. The true church WILL be effective, and the bad times WILL be brought to an end by the return of Jesus.

We have been given signs that point to the coming of Jesus and the end of the age. But while these signs increase in the world today, they are only SIGNS of something bigger and much more important. They are not intended to draw attention to themselves but they do help to point us to the right direction. If we heed the directions Jesus gave we will remain secure on His path (on the Way) and that path will take us to the correct destination.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Time is a mist.

I am only a few months away from my 53rd birthday and I’ve been thinking about the years behind and the years ahead. Clearly, after passing the half century mark it is most likely that I have fewer years in front of me than I have behind.

I recall hearing (and saying) that time seems to go faster as we get older. Those school years seemed like they would never end – but as an adult time seems to slip away far too quickly (although the hours at work still seem much slower than hours at home).

I’m beginning to see the reality of growing older and how short our time on earth is.

“What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes.”

I’m not sure which experience gives the greater understanding of the passing of time and the aging process. Is it my own physical body, its greying/receding hair; the increase in aches and pains; the recognition that I’m not as agile or fast on my feet? Is it the realisation that the daughter I saw being born into this world is now 26 and married? Or maybe it’s seeing my parents fading away with old age and ill health, my dad barely holding on to prove a doctor’s predicted 9 month lifespan has been wrong by at least three years…

Should I still be around twenty years in the future I would have exceeded my “three score years and ten”. I look back twenty years and it seems so close, almost yesterday. At that time I was at University as a “mature age” student, hoping for a new start in life. Putting 13 years of mundane work behind me to increase the chances of getting a job I enjoyed.

While those hoped for changes were never realised and I didn’t seem to gain anything from my studies, I did eventually regain a faith that had slipped away years earlier. No, not merely a regained faith – a renewed faith! In earlier days I had been tossed to and fro from one appealing teaching to another, always searching for something real to give substance to what I knew I needed to believe. I relied on others to show me the way, but each time found my guide was just as desperate and blind as I was.

This renewed faith is more focused. It centres on God and His word rather than the latest “spiritual” fad to hit the church. It centres on God and His word instead of theologies that have been handed down through church systems. It centres on God and His word instead of popular religious opinion.

The Bible describes this as a narrow way accessible through a narrow gate. It is the only way according to Jesus. The way He established. The way centred on Him. He is the Way.

And it is that Way; it is Jesus and Him alone who makes the reality of aging, the reality of the shortness of life, a non-issue.
While this life may be brief – it’s not the be all and end all. There is something far more glorious to come.

“Jesus said … ‘I am the resurrection and the life. The one who believes in me will live, even though they die; and whoever lives by believing in me will never die.’”

Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and there was no longer any sea. I saw the Holy City, the new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride beautifully dressed for her husband. And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, "Now the dwelling of God is with men, and he will live with them. They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God. He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011


Andrew Strom wrote the following article about yesterday's earthquake in Christchurch New Zealand.

In the continuing news coverage I have seen a few severely damaged church buildings. I think what Andrew says might shed some light on a reason for this.


It was with terrible sadness that I learned yesterday of another huge earthquake hitting the New Zealand city of Christchurch. It has only been 2 months since we left that city and we have many dear friends there. The first earthquake last year had no fatalities but this one looks to have many dead and injured.

I want to share a few things about our time in Christchurch that left me quite disturbed and concerned when we left. But I want to be sensitive because of the terrible sadness associated with this new quake.

As some of you know, one of the main things that I hoped to do in Christchurch after the first quake was to organize a large open worship event in the city – to praise and glorify God that nobody had been killed even in a huge 7.1 earthquake. I found that no such event was being planned, but there were thousands of evangelical Christians in Christchurch, and I felt very strongly that it was important for us to publicly glorify God for the miracle of surviving such a disaster with no-one killed. The place was traumatized and it was obvious that a sensitive Worship event would do much good – and even many non-Christians would likely attend. But sadly it was not to be. And this is the disturbing part.

I have organized large events before, so the Christian Radio network knows me – and quickly agreed to promote the event for free. The PA sound people also agreed to supply excellent sound for a very low cost. And the Christchurch City Council couldn’t have been more helpful. Everything was looking good. But then we ran up
against the Christian leaders.

One of the main “networking” Pentecostal leaders in the city told me that we could count him OUT of any support for the event. Then I spoke personally with the Dean of Christchurch Cathedral who told me that we could NOT use the main Square in Christchurch for a worship event for the whole Body. (Today this man’s Cathedral
lies in ruins. It had survived the first quake, but it did not survive
this new one).

I called a number of prominent pastors and worship bands around Christchurch. I said we had the support of Radio, the Council, the sound and everything. No response. Worship bands not interested. Pastors not returning calls. (You might think they were busy after the quake – but remember no-one died and Christchurch was up and running pretty fully after only a couple of weeks). I simply couldn’t understand it. The evangelicals of Christchurch had made no public acknowledgement of God at all – no public worship for this miraculous escape – no public glorifying of Jesus. Even the secular News and the politicians were calling it a “miracle”. People were traumatized everywhere. Wasn’t it a “no-brainer” that we should be doing such a thing? Doesn’t God deserve public praise after protecting so many people from harm?
In fact, it was such a no-brainer that the secular people themselves decided to do something. A number of the top bands and musicians from New Zealand came down and gave a free concert in the park for the traumatized city. It was heavily advertised on Radio – and 20,000 people showed up. Of course it was a secular event – not
Christian. The Pentecostals, Charismatics and Evangelicals of Christchurch had made virtually no public sound at all.

I felt strongly that I could not push things any further without some basic support from the church. We managed to hold a couple of outdoor concerts for the homeless, and got involved with distributing “care packages” and things, but I was so disappointed. In fact I was more than disappointed – I was alarmed and deeply disturbed. I even told some friends that it was “dangerous” to offer no public praise
after God has just so obviously saved your city. I felt so strongly about it – and deeply saddened for the state of the Body of Christ.
But I could do nothing more.

On December 17, 2010, my family departed from Christchurch. OnDecember 28th we boarded a plane for Australia. I believe it may be some time before we ever return.

My heart truly goes out to the people of Christchurch – and to all the world so poorly served by the church of our day. This was truly one of the worst “lost opportunities” that I have ever witnessed in all my years with the church. And Christchurch was truly one of the most beautiful cites I have ever seen. The people are so dear to us. Our thoughts and prayers are with you, my friends. May God bless and protect you all in these dark times.

Yours with great sadness,

Andrew Strom.

Illustrating photos from gallery here:

See also:

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Jesus gives empty warnings!

Jesus wastes His breath through making empty statements:

Matt 24: 4 Jesus answered: "Watch out that no one deceives you. 5 For many will come in my name, claiming, 'I am the Christ,' and will deceive many. 6 You will hear of wars and rumors of wars, but see to it that you are not alarmed. Such things must happen, but the end is still to come. 7 Nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. There will be famines and earthquakes in various places. 8 All these are the beginning of birth pains.

9 "Then you will be handed over to be persecuted and put to death, and you will be hated by all nations because of me. 10 At that time many will turn away from the faith and will betray and hate each other, 11 and many false prophets will appear and deceive many people. 12 Because of the increase of wickedness, the love of most will grow cold, 13but he who stands firm to the end will be saved. 14 And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in the whole world as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come.

15 "So when you see standing in the holy place 'the abomination that causes desolation,' spoken of through the prophet Daniel—let the reader understand— 16 then let those who are in Judea flee to the mountains. 17 Let no one on the roof of his house go down to take anything out of the house. 18 Let no one in the field go back to get his cloak. 19 How dreadful it will be in those days for pregnant women and nursing mothers! 20 Pray that your flight will not take place in winter or on the Sabbath. 21 For then there will be great distress, unequaled from the beginning of the world until now—and never to be equaled again. 22 If those days had not been cut short, no one would survive, but for the sake of the elect those days will be shortened. 23 At that time if anyone says to you, 'Look, here is the Christ!' or, 'There he is!' do not believe it. 24 For false Christs and false prophets will appear and perform great signs and miracles to deceive even the elect—if that were possible. 25 See, I have told you ahead of time.

Of course my introductory statement is a total lie. Jesus’ warnings are not empty. They are serious and need to be heeded, yet so many who profess belief in Jesus do NOT believe they need to heed His warnings. They consider themselves immune from deception. They believe they will be kept from deception.

Perhaps their main assurance is the single phrase “if that were possible” that Jesus adds when He mentions“the elect” . However I think that assurance is based on presumption: people PRESUMING they are part of this deception-proof elect – and yet they assume they don’t have to heed Jesus’ words of warning.

Can anyone really be part of “the elect” if they don’t consider that ALL of Jesus’ words need to be personally heeded?

Within the context of these warnings we are told that “he who stands firm to the end will be saved". Jesus did not say those who are saved will stand firm to the end.

I see the matter of the elect and deception in this way. It will not be possible for “the elect” to be deceived because “the elect” are those who DO take Jesus seriously enough to avoid falling for the various false ministers He warned about.

We should not see the single phrase “if that were possible” as assurance of safety, but we should take the rest of Jesus prophecy as an indication of the strength and danger of the deceptive forces – that extreme diligence is required to ensure we stand firm to the end and are counted among “the elect”.

Friday, February 11, 2011

Lady Jane Grey

On February 12th 1554, Lady Jane Grey was executed at the age of sixteen. Part of her story is told in Foxe’s Book of Martyrs and she is deemed by some as being the first protestant martyr of Queen Mary’s reign.

Jane was designated by Edward VI to be his successor to the throne of England, overruling the succession decreed by his father Henry VIII. According to Henry’s instructions, the successor to a childless Edward would be Edward’s half sister Mary.

However, during Edward’s short reign the religious climate changed drastically.

While Henry is usually credited with taking England away from Catholicism and into Protestantism, the real changes began under Edward.

Henry attempted to break away from the Pope’s political influence while retaining most of the Roman Catholic Church’s beliefs, but Edward moved to establishing religion more in line with the teachings of the reformers. As illness made Edward’s premature death a foregone conclusion he was advised to pass the throne to his cousin Jane to avert the certainty of a return to Rome should his sister Mary be crowned Queen.

Under Henry’s decreed order of succession, Jane would have been next in line after Mary and Elizabeth, but since Henry had previously had these two daughters declared illegitimate their position in the line of succession was legally questionable. Therefore to a degree, Jane had a legitimate right to the throne.

Upon Edward’s death, moves were quickly made to establish Jane as Queen and to take both Mary and Elizabeth prisoner to remove any threat of them raising opposition. However the plan went terribly wrong when Mary avoided capture and was able to draw strong support.

Jane’s reign lasted less than two weeks. She was imprisoned by Mary who was accepted by the people as the rightful Queen. Initially, despite constant pressure from advisers, Mary resisted suggestions to execute Jane, recognising that Jane had been reluctant to take the crown.

But political complications interfered. Firstly Jane’s father helped lead a revolt against Mary, making Jane seem to be a threat as a potential figurehead for future hostilities against Mary. Also, Mary was keen to marry Phillip of Spain and the possibility of this marriage was made doubtful while Jane lived. The Spanish requiring the threat of protestant Jane to be dealt with before the marriage could go ahead.

Mary tried to give Jane a lifeline by sending a trusted Catholic priest to persuade her to turn away from her protestant beliefs. Her execution may have been averted had she converted to Mary’s religion. However Jane stood firm and her execution became unavoidable.

Can Jane be rightly as a martyr of Mary’s reign, one of the first of many?

I think both yes and no, and in explanation I’ll deal with the “no” first.

Her execution was not primarily a religious act it was political. Had it not been for her father’s involvement in the revolt against Mary, Jane may well have been spared from the executioner and may have eventually been given her freedom. Her religious convictions were not the condemning factor.

However, she would not have been in her position had she not had strong protestant beliefs. She allowed herself to be made Queen, with strong misgivings, because she had been made to see that the security of Protestantism in England was on her shoulders. Then later, when given the opportunity to deny her faith and to convert to Catholicism to possibly save her life, she saw death as the preferable option.

As a young teenager, Jane demonstrated strong faith in her God. Her convictions were strong and well considered. And when it really counted she knew what was most important.

Our understanding of history is always shaped by our sources of information. I’ve read several accounts of Jane’s life and from those sources I have drawn my own understanding of her life and the reasons for her death.

See for reviews of my sources.

Wednesday, February 02, 2011

Not Another Rant About Context???

Here I am AGAIN repeating what I have said before – but the problem will not go away.

The most frustrating Christian practices I continually see is the use of bible quotes out of context to support a favoured doctrine. Most times this is done the context CLEARLY gives no validity for using the quote in that particular way.

We’ve all done it.

And we are all prone to doing it – often with memory verses that come to mind when we want to support what we are saying.

Maybe its time for honest, for integrity. At least it is if we genuinely want to know and promote the truth.

Before applying a “text” for a chosen purpose make sure that it is REALLY supporting the point without the need to stretch or force meaning into the “text” that was never intended.

illustration credit "Open Bible by Petr Kratochvil

Tuesday, February 01, 2011

Conspiracy and Ideological Sleight of Hand.

Last night I listened to an audio recording that claimed information had been gained from some high level government sources warning of the downfall of the American dollar. (I think March this year was mentioned as the time of trouble).

The dollar's downfall is supposed to be a major step towards a one world currency. While I was thinking about this I realised that a one world currency is NOT on the way. If we are waiting for one to come we are probably waiting in vain, we are too late.

We ALREADY have a one world currency - but we don't realise it because our different nations still use different notes and coins on a daily basis. But the thing behind those notes and coins is the REAL currency, the electronic data that makes up the world's financial system.

I have suspicions about the "high level sources" that have leaked this information about the dollar's downfall. In the last week I have also heard reports of other "reliable government sources" leaking information about other things - such as ufos, alien technology and treaties with alien beings... I have also heard (again with reference to a government source) that the extreme weather around the world is caused by a "weather weapon".

Rather than these sources leaking reliable, truthful data to prepare the world for great changes ahead, there is perhaps something else going on - our gullibility is being put to the test and our attention is being distracted. The question is - what are the distractions designed to stop us from seeing?

illustration from here: dollars

Monday, January 24, 2011

Desire to Believe

The Desire to Believe and the Way it Shapes Perception.
(Christians Don't Lie part 3)

In my article about Ghosts, I started with some personal experiences. Here I continue my thoughts on the topic, but will widen the perspective to include some related issues.

I had an interest in strange phenomena from my childhood. I think it started with UFOs. I grew up during the “space race” and like many young boys at the time I became fascinated with the space programme. Around the same time UFOs were getting a lot of publicity with many parts of England experiencing a “UFO flap”.

Somewhere along the way my interest broadened to include other unexplained things. It was an interest I kept well into adulthood and I read a great deal over the years about UFOs, the Bermuda Triangle, ghosts, and anything else that defied rational explanation. I strongly believed there was something beyond our everyday world and I was so willing to believe that I never considered that any of the things I read might be less than truthful. Why would anyone make these things up? I was beyond trusting, I was totally gullible. I believed some of the wildest claims.

Even after becoming a Christian in my teens I managed to keep one foot in each camp – without seeing any contradiction between the two. Somehow I kept things separated in my mind. My main concession was to attribute experiences of ghosts, aliens and other aspects of “the unexplained” to demonic activity. That conclusion was even supported by some UFO writers who didn’t have a Christian bias. Jacques Vallee, John Keel and Whitley Streiber all made comparisons between UFO activity and folkloric accounts of demons – suggesting that UFOs were a modern day way of interpreting what previous generations had seen as spiritual entities: fairies demons, angels etc.

Those non-religious writers confirmed my own conclusions. But they were conclusions based on the assumption that the reports of experiences were trustworthy. Here I would like to stress an important point. Note the change in emphasis at the beginning of this paragraph, from “experiences” to “reports of experiences”.

My own understanding began to change slowly. Perhaps this started with my personal UFO encounter.
One morning I was driving to work. The road followed the shores of a lake so there was a clear view across the water with an open unobstructed sky. I saw something above me, coming across from the lake. I glanced up and saw it was a very strange, clearly mechanical object. It had a narrow, elongated hourglass-like shape. After my brief sight of the object I turned my attention back to the road and then looked up again for a second look. This time everything became clear. The object turned and revealed itself to be a common light plane. My initial view of it had been from an unusual angle and my mind hadn’t correctly processed what I saw.

This experience reminded me of a UFO report I’d read a few years earlier. I think it came from a book called The Flying Saucerers by Arthur Shuttlewood. Shuttlewood was a prominent figure in the 1960s UFO “flap” that helped spark my childhood interest. In that book he wrote of an experience where a UFO approached him, changed into a plane when it was overhead, and then after passing turned back into a UFO. I think the similarity to my experience is easy to see – the big difference being the degree to which each observer (myself/Shuttlewood) was willing to continue believing an extraordinary conclusion even when faced with clear evidence for a very ordinary explanation.
I can only wonder what the results of my own experience may have been if I hadn’t taken that second look to see that the object was only a plane, if that first glimpse had remained as the only “fact” to build my conclusions upon.

Around the same time as my “UFO” experience, I was introduced to a new concept related to UFOs, one that I didn’t come to understand until many years later. I had written to a well known British UFO expert and had mentioned a series of iconic UFO sightings. In her reply she referred to those sightings as mostly “media hype”, it was a concept that I later realised could be extended to other reported experiences of anomalous phenomena. And I had to consider the extent of which our knowledge and understanding of those phenomena is totally dependant on the quality and veracity of the information we receive.

Another eye-opening encounter I had was with the writings of Jim Schnabel. His book Round in Circles rescued me from any remaining gullibility. The book was about crop circles, but instead of merely investigating the circles himself, he also spent time with the major players in crop circle research – the ones who provide US with the reports about all of the various formations found (mainly) around southern England. He clearly showed how public understanding of the crop circles was formed by the information being fed to them by investigators who were often far from objective in their reporting. Schnabel gave the example of a crude circle he had personally created being announced as “genuine” – even though his own muddy footprints were clearly evident across the circle
Not surprisingly Schnabel was accused of being an agent of CIA disinformation by those who refused to be swayed from their belief.

Basically, people believe what they want to believe. They are not swayed by evidence. They do not even consider evidence. They will merely collect and refer to stories that seemingly support what they believe, no matter how dubious those accounts may be. And Christians aren’t immune to this. We are often too quick to swallow the same kind of stories, but instead of seeing spirits of the dead, or alien spacecraft we interpret these things as demonic manifestations. Effectively we give “credit” to demons when in most cases credit is definitely not due.
Before we think of attributing a reported experience to demonic manifestation, we should be certain that the experience was a reality and not a misperception, a misunderstanding or even a lie. Through being too credulous in accepting everything as valid, we can effectively undermine the evidence and acceptance of those experiences that ARE genuine.