Andrew gives his take on the news of the week that the church should be taking note of, including, Scotland becoming the first UK country to ban smacking, and Employment Tribunal rules against Christian doctor and says that the Bible is “incompatible with human dignity and conflict with the fundamental rights of others” Mattel launches gender-inclusive barbie doll, and Ex-trans people tell US Supreme Court: ‘Affirming gender confusion is abuse.’
No doubt many people are in a state of shock over the actions of Brenton Tarrant – who shot and killed a number of Muslim worshippers last week, in New Zealand. Indeed, the sense of outrage that many feel over this may even prompt them to say that if there is a God, then He will never forgive Mr Tarrant; and, furthermore, if there is a Heaven then the likes of this person will never go there.
However, such reasoning ignores the clear teaching of the New Testament. While one doesn’t condone what happened, and we are all naturally displeased by Mr Tarrant’s actions, to say that he will never go to Heaven is to undermine one fundamental principle – the Glorious Grace of God as shown in Christ.
Scripture clearly teaches that we are all sinners and none of us deserves Heaven. God is so Holy that He cannot allow any trace of sin into His presence. Moreover, because of our sins, we are all cut off from God, and we all deserve His judgement for eternity. No doubt when people read this they will say “ok I accept that I’ve done a few bad things but I’ve never murdered anyone” – my answer is simple, “yes you have, if you’ve hated someone you have committed murder”. (see Matthew 5 v 21-22). Moreover, there is a sense in which we have all killed Jesus Christ, the Son of God, by our sins; but we’ll look at that in a moment.
No, Mr Tarrant doesn’t deserve God’s forgiveness and a home in Heaven when he dies but, then again, none of us do. As the Bible says – “all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God” Romans 3 v 23.
Is there hope then for Brent Tarrant? Yes, a thousand times, yes! It is most fortunate that he was captured alive because it means that, while in prison he can hear, or read, the Gospel. If he is given a New Testament he can read that God so loved him, He sent Jesus to die for his sins and rise again to be his Saviour. If Mr Tarrant truly repents of his sins and accepts Christ as his personal Saviour then the slate is wiped clean and he is forgiven by God. Of course, he will have to stay in prison but at least his soul will be saved.
This brings me back to the statement I made earlier about how we all killed Christ (in bold type above). I remember as a young man being on a beach mission when I was “press-ganged” into the singing group (they must have been desperate!). One of the songs had the words “I’m the one who shouted crucify, I’m the one who led Him up to die”. Because the sacrifice of Jesus is sufficient for the sins of all mankind there is a sense in which we all participated in putting Christ on the cross. Therefore, we all had a hand in the greatest crime in history.
Before condemning Brent Tarrant, let us all examine our own hearts and ask if we have been cleansed of our sins, or do we still have the stain of murder on our hearts., and in our souls.
One of The Sun newspapers headlines yesterday was, “EASTER WHITEWASH Cadbury’s and Nestle slammed by shoppers for removing word Easter from their chocolate eggs!”
TheSun.co.uk,10th April 2017
[Just for now, let’s leave aside the fact that, Easter, eggs, bunnies etc. are all to do with pagan fertility beliefs and nothing to do with The death or resurrection of Jesus Christ.]
Where is the shock in this? Pagan or atheist run businesses have little or no loyalty to the Christian foundations of the holidays that they seek to make money from. Do we not see this throughout history from, the moneychangers in the temple, up to modern-day Greedmass, that the shops celebrate from around October to December every year.
BBC Resurrection Story Survey.
ComRes, (Communicate Research Ltd), surveyed 2,010 British adults by telephone, between 2 and 12 February 2017. The research was commissioned by BBC local radio for Palm Sunday.
The survey suggested:
Of all people surveyed:
50% did not believe in the resurrection at all.
46% believe in some form of life after death
46% do not believe in life after death
17% of all people believe the Bible version or the resurrection of Jesus, word-for-word.
Of those who are non-religious:
20% believe in some form of life after death.
9% believe in the Resurrection of Jesus.
1% of whom say they believe the resurrection of Jesus literally.
Of the Christians:
31% believe word-for-word the Bible version of the resurrection of Jesus.
57% among “active” Christians (those who go to a religious service at least once a month), believe word-for-word the Bible version of the resurrection of Jesus.
25% do not believe in the resurrection of Jesus
31% said they did not believe in life after death.
The non-believers… what more could you have expected.
But the church has a big problem. We have so poorly misrepresented what a Christian is that only one-third of the people who think they are Christians believe the Bible. That is, believe that it is the inerrant word of God, otherwise, they would believe the resurrection account word-for-word.
Two-thirds of the population that think they are Christians do not believe in life after death. So what are they hoping for?
If in this life only we have hope in Christ, we are of all men most miserable. (1 Corinthians 15:19)
They would be better living by “… Let us eat and drink; for tomorrow we shall die.” (Isaiah 22:13), if they truly believe that there is not life hereafter.
How did Britain get this way?
I can not answer this with any degree of certainty, but there is probably a combination of factors.
It appears that a GREAT section of the church in England, if not the majority of the church, have lost direction. (And that is about as polite as I can put it.)
Much of the church is taken up with; being relevant, not being judgmental, seeking the best in everyone, etc. We are no longer, or rather some of the church is no longer salt and light, no longer prepared to proclaim the whole Bible truth, the nice and the hard to hear, but rather they are blind guides.
“Let them alone: they be blind leaders of the blind. And if the blind lead the blind, both shall fall into the ditch.” (Matthew 15:14)
If you add to this the liberal media’s portrayal of Christianity and the removal of any form of real Christian teaching from school… leave to brew for around 50 years and you have a nation that has no understanding of what a true Christians is or what the Bible actually teaches.
The men were found guilty under Section 31 of the Crime and Disorder Act 1998, for using “threatening or abusive words or behaviour or disorderly behaviour within the hearing or sight of a person likely to be caused harassment, alarm or distress, thereby, and that the offence was religiously aggravated.”
During the four-day trial, prosecutor Ian Jackson, claimed: “To say to someone that Jesus is the only God is not a matter of truth. To the extent that they are saying that the only way to God is through Jesus, that cannot be a truth.”
Mr Stockwell had quoted a Bible verse in which Jesus said “I am the way, the truth and the life” and that he is the only way to heaven. Mr Stockwell said: “Men should be able to proclaim the truth and have diverse differences in the public forum, agreeing to disagree without harm or repercussions. Truth today is the new hate.”
He continued: “I am an American and there is no free speech in England. You criticise Islam; and a group of individuals don’t like what you say and threaten violence to silence speech they disapprove of. The Police and Court shut down the ‘free speech’ to avoid public disorder. It is a green light to the Islamists and any other radical groups to silence speech. The Police should be protecting us.”
Mr Overd said: “You can’t have the threat of violence and public disorder to stop us criticising Islam and other lifestyles. Where is our freedom? If you don’t like what I said, just move on and let others hear the message, but they want to end the free speech.”
The court has awarded legal costs of £2016 against both Mr Overd and Mr Stockwell. A Criminal Behaviour Order is being pursued against Mr Overd, with the hearing delayed until May 2017.
Andrea Williams, chief executive of the Christian Legal Centre, which is supporting the preachers says that, “People will be shocked that a court now considers the Bible itself to be a form of hate speech.”
Today someone tried to persuade me that the bible was not true.
He posted this on my facebook page.
“The Bible is lies you can tell from page 1, it says God made earth and then God made people, saying absolutely zero about dinosaurs”
I thought I might share my answer here.
“It is strange, Genesis one does not specifically mention flamingos either, but I have never considered it a clinching proof of the non-existence of God.
However, I find the fact that the very first verse of the very first chapter of the Bible does mention Time, Space and Matter, not to mention force and energy, and that by verse three we have the electromagnetic spectrum pretty amazing. Especially considering that many people try to convince me that it was written by, ignorant, bronze age superstitious people.
“IN the beginning [time] God [force] created [energy] the heaven [space] and the earth [matter]. And 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, Let there be light, [electromagnetic spectrum], and there was light.’ (Genesis 1:1–3).
Not bad for the first three verses.. ok it takes until v20, 24 to get to dinosaurs, but hay… God had put a whole chapter down to record the creation. As for dinosaurs in the Bible… the are all over the place but for now try the Behemoth Job 40:15-19. Tail like a cedar, bones like brass or iron… not an elephant. Hmmm sounds a bit like a dinosaur. The name dinosaur is not used, partly because it is written in Hebrew not English, but also because the word dinosaur was not used before 1842 when it was used by Richard Owen.
Nice try… but I will stick with the bible for now.