Friday, 19 August 2011

Lashing with the law or applying the balm of Christ?

Something a dear friend of mine wrote when talking about how he's beginning to be led out of 'spiritual depression':

"I heard an encouraging sermon at church from a visiting missionary from Pakistan. It occurred to me that people who minister with Muslims have a greater emphasis on grace than people who minister with your average Westerners. People who spend all their days with (apparently) complacent Christians seem to fall into the trap of thinking that it will help to bash them over the head a bit. But people who minister with those who are already being bashed over the head by a false religion seem to understand that grace is the answer."

Tuesday, 16 August 2011

Going Home to Jesus

A sermon on 2 Cor 5 - continuing from the last one on 2 Cor 4:

Paul... if you read this.. i hope you don't mind me referring a bit to Project Abraham

Oh and is it ok to quote Bryan Adams in a sermon?

Baby when you're gone, I realize I'm in love days go on and on, and the nights just seem so long Even food don't taste that good, drink ain't doing what it should things just feel so wrong, baby when you're gone

Thursday, 11 August 2011

Bodily Control

From Augustine's City of God:

"Then (had there been no sin)....

... people can move their ears, either at one time or both together...

...a number of people produce at will such musical sounds from their behind (without any stink) that they seem to be singing from that region...

... I  know a man who used to sweat whenever he chose...

.. We observe then that the body, even under present conditions, is an obedient servant to some people in a remarkable fashion...if this is so, is there any reason why we should not believe that before the sin of disobedience... the members of a man's body could have been the servant's of a man's will."

Book XIV, Chapter 24

Monday, 8 August 2011

Jars of Clay

My sermon on 2 Cor 4:

a short quote:

At the cross, Christ was given over to the cruel world by God. Darkness was never as black as it was that day – so dark was it that even the noonday sun could not shine. It as though the heavens over His head became as bronze and the earth under Him was as iron - as if Christ was refused by both as all our sins lay upon Him. Darkness closed in, thinking it had won the victory, one final death blow, and it would all be over – God would come to nothing. Yet it is when the darkness was so great, when selfish humanity killed its Master, was when the light shone most brightly out of the darkness - into the whole universe – just like Day 1 in Genesis – when creation began in earnest, now new creation flowed out of the shattering of Christ.  The Clay Jar, was utterly shattered (action) and the love of God, shone so brightly so that we, like the Roman Centurion, could finally see the heart of God and believe. Behold Him, This is your God. That is what we are about to remind ourselves today as we take communion, the body of Christ was torn, that we may see our God and believe– come and see how much He loves you, let Him take the scales away from our veiled eyes.

Tuesday, 2 August 2011


From Leithart:

In the modern view, miracles, if believed at all, are the paradigmatic “supernatural” events.  Verhey suggests that we should think of miracles “not as violations of nature but as the eschatological fulfillment, completion, and perfection of nature.  In these works of power the creation itself is being made new, not violated.  In these works of power the Word that was present at the creation summons nature to its own perfection.”   When Jesus exorcises a demon, he does not violate nature but liberates it and brings it to fulfillment.  When he calms the storm, He is bringing the sea to eschatological peace.  And by healing He brings damaged human beings to their restoration: “The healing miracles of Jesus demonstrate that God’s cause is life, not death, that God’s cause is human flourishing, including the human flourishing we call health, not disease. . . . And the nature miracles make it plain that God’s cause is the blessing upon nature that calms the waters of chaos and restores nature itself to what God intends.”
God is not identified with natural processes, nor with supernatural miraculous processes.  In miracles, we have warrant for altering nature, but altering it in the direction of God’s kingdom, to serve His purposes.  Altering nature to heal, Verhey says, is consistent with Jesus’ purposes, as is altering nature to bring freedom and blessing to the poor.  These works are “supernatural” not in the modern sense, but in the sense that by God’s work in His people, He is bringing creation to its telos.

Moses (i.e. the gospel of Jesus Christ) preached in every city from the earliest times? (Acts 15:21)

The gospel was preached universally even earlier than Moses! Here's a bit of a gem in Wiliam Haslam's (the guy who was converted as he was preaching!) autobiography:

My attention was directed to Cornish crosses; about which I also sent a paper, with illustrations, as a good secretary and correspondent to the same Journal. My researches on this subject took me back to a very remote time. I found crosses among Roman remains, with inscriptions, something like those in the Catacombs near Rome--these were evidently Christian; but I found crosses also among Druidic antiquities. I could not help inquiring, "Where did the Druids get this sign?" From the Phoenicians. "Where did they get it?" From the Egyptians. "Where did they get it?" Then I discovered that the cross had come to Egypt with traditions about a garden, a woman, a child, and a serpent, and that the cross was always represented in the hand of the second person of their trinity of gods. This personage had a human mother, and slew the serpent which had persecuted her.( These traditions came to the Egyptians from an ancestor who had come over the flood with seven others.)

Here was a wonderful discovery! The mythology of Egypt was based on original tradition, handed down from Antediluvian times! From further investigation, it was evident that the substance of Hindoo mythology came from the same source; as also that of the Greeks, Chinese, Mexicans, and Scandinavians. This is how the Druids got the cross also: it was in the hand of their demi-god Thor, the second person of their triad, who slew the great serpent with his famous hammer, which he bequeathed to his followers.

I was beside myself with excitement, and walked bout the room in a most agitated state. I then made a table or harmony of these various mythologies, and when placed side by side, it was quite clear that they were just one and the same story, though dressed up in a variety of mythological forms, and that the story was none other than that of the Bible.

In my architectural journeys I used to entertain, people with these wondrous subjects; and one evening I had the honour of agitating even the Bishop of Exeter himself, who, in his enthusiasm, bade me write a book, and dedicate it to him. I did so. "The Cross and the Serpent" is the title of it, and it was duly inscribed to his lordship. []

It excites me even now to think about it, though it is thirty-five years since I made these discoveries. The old librarian at Oxford declared that I was mad, and yet he could not keep away from the subject, and he was never weary of hearing something more about it. This reverend Doctor said, "If you are right, then all the great antiquaries are wrong." I suggested that they had not had the advantage I possessed of placing their various theories side by side, or of making their observations from my point of view.