Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Newbigin: "The secular society is a myth..."

Hear the words of this great prophet!

The secular society is a myth, and it has the power of a myth to blind people to realities. A powerful myth, such as this, has in it the power about which I was speaking in the chapter on “principalities and powers.” Christian affirmation in this context requires the unmasking of the powers. It calls for a new kind of enlightenment, namely the opening up of the underlying assumptions of a secular society, the asking of the unasked questions, the probing of unrecognized presuppositions.

Newbigin, Lesslie (1989-10-30). The Gospel in a Pluralist Society (p. 220). Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co.. Kindle Edition.

Newbigin on the myth of secular modernity

I read this book many years ago when I was new to Christian mission. I am rereading it and it is as refreshing and powerful as it was all those years ago.

Here is a great quote:

I am suggesting both that the belief in a secular society is an unproven belief accepted uncritically to justify a social institution, and also that the belief is mistaken. Put very briefly, the belief is that modern society is on a steady and irreversible course toward increasing secularization, and that this is to be welcomed since it enables us to put the wars of religion behind us and to create a society in which the conflicting truth-claims of the religions do not tear society to pieces.

Newbigin, Lesslie (1989). The Gospel in a Pluralist Society (p. 211). Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co.. Kindle Edition.

Monday, May 25, 2015

Great Quotes from Francis Schaeffer

Schaefer really influenced me a great deal as a young Christian in college. I read all of his collected works (five volumes!)

Here are some great quotes of his:

Christianity, the Church and Responsibility

Christianity is the greatest intellectual system the mind of man has ever touched.
Tell me what the world is saying today, and I’ll tell you what the church will be saying in seven years.
Christianity provides a unified answer for the whole of life.
Each generation of the church in each setting has the responsibility of communicating the gospel in understandable terms, considering the language and thought-forms of that setting.


Culture & History

When all is done, when all the alternatives have been explored, ‘not many men are in the room’ – that is although world views have many variations, there are not many basic world-views or basic presuppositions.
Art is a reflection of God’s creativity, an evidence that we are made in the image of God.
Rome did not fall because of external forces such as the invasion by the barbarians. Rome had no sufficient inward base, the barbarians only completed the breakdown – and Rome gradually became a ruin.
There is a flow to history and culture. This flow is rooted and has its wellspring in the thoughts of people … The results of their thought world flow through their fingers of from their tongues into the external world.


Life and Abortion

Certainly every Christian ought to be praying and working to nullify the abominable abortion law. But as we work and pray, we should have in mind not only this important issue as though it stood alone. Rather, we should be struggling and praying that this whole other total entity “(this godless) worldview” can be rolled back with all its results across all of life.
Christianity provides a unified answer for the whole of life.
But the dignity of human life is unbreakably linked to the existence of the personal-infinite God. It is because there is a personal-infinite God who has made men and women in His own image that they have a unique dignity of life as human beings. Human life then is filled with dignity, and the state and humanistically oriented law have no right and no authority to take human life arbitrarily in the way it is being taken.

Truth and Sin

The beginning of men’s rebellion against God was, and is, the lack of a thankful heart.
I have come to the conclusion that none of us in our generation feels as guilty about sin as we should or as our forefathers did.
In passing, we should note this curious mark of our own age: the only absolute allowed is the absolute insistence that there is no absolute.
The inward area is the first place of loss of true Christian life, of true spirituality, and the outward sinful act is the result.
Truth always carries with it confrontation. Truth demands confrontation; loving confrontation nevertheless. If our reflex action is always accommodation regardless of the centrality of the truth involved, there is something wrong.


Read more: http://www.whatchristianswanttoknow.com/18-powerful-francis-a-schaeffer-quotes/#ixzz3b8PVoDqb

Read more: http://www.whatchristianswanttoknow.com/18-powerful-francis-a-schaeffer-quotes/#ixzz3b8POeLuv

Thursday, May 07, 2015

Pray for Yemen

People who have been reading this blog for a while will know that I have a great interest in seeing the Gospel reach the people of Yemen. This is a country that has no indigenous Christian population, outside of a couple hundred converts from Islam. And their safety is often precarious of course.

And now, Yemen is undergoing a civil war, there are attacks from Saudi Arabia (and I'm not saying those are either good or bad, just tragic), and the country is cut off from the rest of the world. A small snippet of good news is that a five day halt to violence from KSA was announced so humanitarian aid can enter the country.

Pray for:

Yemenis to hear and believe in the Gospel
Indigenous churches to grow in each city and village
For the safety and boldness of indigenous Christians
For the civil war to end
For a lasting peace that comes from God, and not from killing

Sunday, April 26, 2015

The Triune Human Soul

I very much liked this quote:
The human mind is triune in its being ordered to the transcendental splendor of the good, the true and the beautiful which resides in the Mind of God. Since the metaphysical is best expressed in terms of metaphor, we can say that the head can be seen as the seat of the True (reason), the heart can be seen as the seat of the Good (love or virtue) and the loins can be seen as the seat of the Beautiful (creation, pro-creation and sub-creation). The head, as the seat of the true, is the home of consciousness which seeks clarity; the heart, as the seat of the good, is the home of conscience, which seeks charity; and the loins, as the seat of beauty, is the home of creativity, which seeks chastity.
From HERE.

Friday, April 17, 2015

Pray for Ali Khamenei: Terminally Ill with Cancer

This just in from Iran 30:

Iran’s Supreme Leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, is suffering from prostate cancer, which has reportedly spread to the rest of his body. Khamenei underwent surgery for his condition last September, and doctors estimate that the 75 year old has perhaps two years left to live.

And then the prayer points, which are very important:

Pray for
  • Khamenei’s salvation
  • His family
  • A successor that rules with justice and righteousness
Lord God Almighty, you know and love Ali Khamenei, and you have a wonderful and marvelous plan to glorify yourself and bring life to many through him, if only he will not harden himself to your love and grace. Even now, send your Holy Spirit to move in his heart, draw him to you, to your love and mercy, and above all to your Son our Lord, Jesus Christ. Amen.



Thursday, March 19, 2015

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

The Archbishop of Canterbury on Youth joining the Islamic State

Kudos to Archbishop of Century Justin Welby for grasping an important point and having the balls to say it out loud.

Going off to join the Islamic State (aka ISIS, aka ISIL) makes sense. I mean, it makes sense from the point of view that Christianity in Europe is pretty tame and lame and really offers no adventure for young men. And secularism? Ditto. You can play games, keep around, get stoned or loaded, you might even be able to be successful and make money (not likely these days).

But what if you are a young man who wants an adventure? Who wants respect and adventure and a great challenge in life?

As a Christian I would say become a missionary. God knows this has been a challenging and adventurous vocation for the last decade or so.

But the Churches in the UK don't do that sort of thing. Here are some key morsels from the article:
Young people are turning to Jihad because mainstream religion is not "exciting" enough, according to the Archbishop of Canterbury. 
The Most Rev Justin Welby told faith leaders that Britain's religious communities must do more to provide an alternative to extremism which gives young people a "purpose in life". 
He also warned against being too quick to brand people and groups with strong views on religious matters as extremists. 
Nothing will ever be achieved if the only conversations which take place involve "nice people talking to nice people about being nice", he said.
And:
But he added: "I would want to turn the question back to us as religious leaders and say to the faith communities: what are we doing that provides a narrative about purpose in life and commitment to society and benefits of a purposeful, flourishing life that is so exciting that the evil temptations offered by extremist groups of all cultures and types anywhere in the world including this country are simply paled into insignificance?

Read it all at VirtueOnline.

Friday, February 20, 2015

Mark Steyn on the reprimitivization of the post WWII world

Mark Steyn is a provocative author and there is a great deal of panache in his style.

He recently wrote a post titled Living History which argues that the world after World War II is becoming more primitive and savage, not more enlightened and free. I find this thesis compelling.

Throughout the article he is debunking (and ridiculing) this Tweet from one Max Fisher:
People who think Christian sectarian militias are the solution to Iraq's problems could stand to read a history of the Lebanese civil war.
Here are a few sections that caught my interest:

A lot of things have gotten worse. If Beirut is no longer the Paris of the east, Paris is looking a lot like the Beirut of the west - with regular, violent, murderous sectarian attacks accepted as a feature of daily life. In such a world, we could all "stand to read" a little more history. But in Nigeria, when you're in the middle of history class, Boko Haram kick the door down, seize you and your fellow schoolgirls and sell you into sex slavery. Boko Haram "could stand to read" a little history, but their very name comes from a corruption of the word "book" - as in "books are forbidden", reading is forbidden, learning is forbidden, history is forbidden. 
Well, Nigeria... Wild and crazy country, right? Oh, I don't know. A half-century ago, it lived under English Common Law, more or less. In 1960 Chief Nnamdi Azikiwe, second Governor-General of an independent Nigeria, was the first Nigerian to be appointed to the Queen's Privy Council. It wasn't Surrey, but it wasn't savagery. 
Like Lebanon, Nigeria got worse, and it's getting worser. That's true of a lot of places. In the Middle East, once functioning states - whether dictatorial or reasonably benign - are imploding. In Yemen, the US has just abandoned its third embassy in the region. According to the President of Tunisia, one third of the population of Libya has fled to Tunisia. That's two million people. According to the UN, just shy of four million Syrians have fled to Turkey, Jordan, Lebanon and beyond. In Iraq, Christians and other minorities are forming militias because they don't have anywhere to flee (Syria? Saudia Arabia?) and their menfolk are facing extermination and their women gang-rapes and slavery.
And he has more to add to that. Check out the whole article HERE.

Thursday, February 19, 2015

Son of Hamas: "ISIS is Islam"

With the Islamic State and others in the news so much, there has been a lot of thinking and talking and reflecting about to what extent the IS actually is (or is not).

President Obama recently came out with his standard, "Every religion has extremists" and "IS are not Muslims, they are terrorists" and so on.

I want to be clear that I am not saying that I necessarily agree with the following statement. It is provocative. I do think it is worth discussing though, because so many of the Christian converts from Islam that I know believe that this is accurate, and also, no one in the lame-stream media will even discuss this position.

So here is what the Son of Hamas has just posted:

When you recognize that ISIS is Islam, you free yourself from the naiveté of world leaders who tell you that ISIS is an anomaly of Islam, leaders that, I am sorry to say, include US President Barack Obama, who told CNN’s Fareed Zakaria recently that, “There is an element growing out of Muslim communities in certain parts of the world that have perverted the religion, have embraced a nihilistic, violent, almost medieval interpretation of Islam.”
What do you think? If you believe it wrong, then please explain why. Likewise, if you think it is correct, then why is it that most Muslims don't acknowledge the caliphate of Abu Bakr?