Ad Gloriam Dei

"Therefore, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God." - 1 Corintians 10:31

"Let us pursue the things which make for peace and those by which one may edify another"- Romans 14:19

"As iron sharpens iron, so a man sharpens the countenance of his friend." - Proverbs 27:17

Thursday, November 16, 2006

The High Priest of Monetarism Dies

No, it's not a cult! The great exponent of the free market, Milton Friedman, has died. See the BBC article here.

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Sunday, November 12, 2006

Elton John wants Organised Religion Banned

Elton John has said he would like to see all organised religion banned. This comes after Richard Dawkins' book 'The God Delusion', the various overt attacks on Christianity on the TV (e.g. Dawkins attacking religion again), the assault against faith schools and the Gay Police Association's advert against Christianity. It is beginning to feel like the Roman Empire prior to the great persecutions! When the libertines and atheists are given freedom, this is how they use it.

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Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Infrequency of Miraculous Gifts and their Purpose

God can always act supernaturally in answer to prayer, but He has only worked miracles through certain individuals at certain points in redemptive history.

God did miracles through Moses, who brought the Law. The next major activity of miracles was around Elijah and Elisha's ministry, who began the phase of prophecy that was to be inscripturated as the prophets. The next phase was through Christ and His Apostles, who brought us the New Testament. There is only evidence to suggest that the NT miracles were performed either by Christ and His Apostles, or those who God bestowed miracles upon through them. These were the signs of the Apostles (2 Cor. 12:12). As the Early Church leaders state in their writings, the miracles ceased after the Apostles left the earth.

The ability of certain men and women to perform miracles (rather than just God's answer to prayer) was intimately linked with the giving of the major portions of Scripture. This is one reason that we should not expect believers to be bestowed with such charismata.

The NT introduced two new gifts: speaking in other languages and the interpretation of them. Why was this? The Gospel was going out to all nations, so the Apostles were enabled to speak in other languages at Pentecost (Acts 2). To many this seemed like drunkenness, ('Therefore, if I do not know the meaning of the language, I shall be a foreigner to him who speaks, and he who speaks will be a foreigner to me.' 1 Cor. 14:11) but to those who spoke the relevant languages, it was evidently miraculous, just like all true miracles are clearly from God. Gobbledegook (a.k.a. modern pseudo-tongues) are not evidently miraculous.

Paul states the following in 1 Cor. 14:21,22:
In the law it is written: “With men of other tongues and other lips I will speak to this people; and yet, for all that, they will not hear Me,” says the Lord. Therefore tongues are for a sign, not to those who believe but to unbelievers; but prophesying is not for unbelievers but for those who believe.
He quotes Isaiah 28:11, 12, where Israel would hear God's judgement through the lips of foreigners. Even so, tongues were primarily a sign for unbelieving Israel, even though they contained content that could edify all believers.

The Gospel going out to all nations was partly a judgement upon Israel (Rom. 11:11) and tongues were a sign of this. The purpose for this gift was unique and has passed away. If anything, the only gift of tongues that one might see is Gentiles speaking in Hebrew as a sign of Israel's return to God (Rom. 11:25-29).


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Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Allah vs. the Sovereign and Gracious God

Any strongly held monotheism that has no Savior-God, no wise, loving, holy Father, quickly becomes a hard fatalism, as in the whole Muslim world.
Culver, p. 132
Paul, in addressing the pagans at Lystra says, “We... preach to you that you should turn from these useless things to the living God, who... did not leave Himself without witness, in that He did good, gave us rain from heaven and fruitful seasons, filling our hearts with food and gladness.” (Acts 14:15-17) In preaching to a people who worshipped capricious, immoral, selfish and immoral 'gods', Paul, apart from emphasising the witness of general, or natural, revelation, also seems to have emphasised the goodness of the living and true God.

Culver brings out the difference between the true God and the false Allah of Islam, and so in the light of Paul's preaching, we also should mark out the contrast in our evangelism of Muslims (and indeed generic unbelievers who think that Christianity and Islam are basically the same thing).

Ron Rhodes in his excellent, but imperfect (esp. in the area of God's sovereignty), book, 'Reasoning from the Scriptures with Muslims', quotes a story about Islam's fatalism:
“[C]hildren in apartment buildings in Tehran... would fall over low balcony railings to their deaths, [but] because of the belief that this must have been the will of Allah, nothing was done to heighten the railings to prevent such tragedies in the future.”
What a contrast with the health and safety law provided by our loving God in Deut. 22:8: “When you build a new house, then you shall make a parapet for your roof, that you may not bring guilt of bloodshed on your household if anyone falls from it.”

People are very much like their gods. The people of Islam reflect the nature of their 'god'. I don't know about you, but my dealings with Muslims have been universally of people who are satisfied to perform the Five Pillars of Islam, but don't care about holiness, just as their 'god' doesn't care about holiness. One Muslim even said to me, “You Christians are always concerned about holiness. God isn't holy. He's above all that. This is an invention of your minds.”

How we need to show them the true God, who is sovereign and terrible in judgement, but who is also gracious, loving and does good. A God who is righteous and holy, and abhors even the taint of sin, who will not be appeased with Five Pillars of religious deeds, but who could only be appeased with the precious blood of His only Son, the Second Person of the Godhead, who alone could provide propitiation for the many who believe. The God who comports with reality and whose holiness, righteous and goodness is higher than our own.


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