Wednesday, September 30, 2009

THE GOSPEL: WHAT IS IT?

The photos were taken by me in Tasmania.
The Gospel: What is it?

Gospel means “good news” which is as simple as it is profound. Is the Gospel of Jesus Christ the good news that belongs to Jesus Christ or is it that which is about Jesus Christ? The Gospel of Jesus Christ is both these things and is as simple as it is profound.

The bullseye of the Gospel is Jesus Christ and Him crucified. But this hub or central theme of Christian teaching is connected by many supporting spokes to a huge outer wheel. The Triune God, i.e., the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, is the eternal power that turns the Good News wheel in time.

The doing and dying of Jesus Christ was planned in the counsel of the Godhead in eternity past. The Gospel is the revelation of this eternal plan to fallen man. The good news of the grace of God in Jesus Christ is at the heart and soul of creation.
The Gospel is simply God’s covenant of redemption and grace by another name. The everlasting covenant of grace is the outward application of the eternal covenant of redemption. This covenant of grace was progressively revealed by God to men through His prophets until its revelation ended with the completion of the last book of the Bible.

The Bible reveals the holy nature and righteous character of God who, in the beginning, created man in His own image, with true knowledge, holiness, and righteousness. God entered into a covenant with man upon his creation. This pre-Fall covenant (the covenant of life/works) was the outward expression in time of the Triune God’s eternal covenant.

Man lost the attributes of true knowledge, righteousness, and holiness, when Adam, our Covenant Representative or Federal Head, sinned against God, by eating the forbidden fruit. The Gospel or covenant of grace that began to be revealed immediately after the Fall, is God’s “insurance clause” for salvation. By God’s grace alone those whom God converts are renewed in true knowledge, holiness, and righteousness.

Jesus Christ is the Second Person in the Trinity. He is the Word become also a man. He is God and Man united in one Divine Person forever. Thus He is the perfect picture and the perfect reality of God and man reconciled.

The Gospel is the revelation to fallen men that the whole of creation is in the process of being subdued by God for the sake of the Man Christ Jesus in His capacity as Mediator. Thus the Gospel is all about Christ. God saves sinners for the sake of His Son. And He restores His sin-tainted creation for the sake of His Son. And this redeemed and subsequently renewed creation is the place in which redeemed and renewed sinners will (after the resurrection of the dead) dwell forever with the Man Christ Jesus.

The Gospel teaches that the Triune God saves sinners by His grace alone, through faith alone, for His own glory.

Perhaps the simplicity of the Gospel is summed up in these verses: “If you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. For with the heart one believes unto righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation … For ‘whoever calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved.’” Romans 10:9&13.

Also, “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved.” John 3:16&17.

To be saved is to not perish. To perish is to die and experience forever the tormets of hell-fire. Thus, the Gospel really is good news indeed! It truly is the grace of God.

And, perhaps the Gospel’s profundity might be summed up in the following verses: “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things were made through Him, and without Him nothing was made that was made … And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of Grace and truth.” John 1:1-3, 14.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

LOSING MY RELIGION

In a weekend edition of Brisbane’s Courier Mail newspaper there is a section dealing with Entertainment, Travel, and Culture, ETC for short. I like to look at the brief book reviews therein.

I noticed that one Paul Williams has written a brief review of LOSING MY RELIGION – Unbelief in Australia by Tom Frame, (in the Sept. 26-27 edition of the Courier Mail’s ETC).

Your guess is as good as mine as to why he does so, but Williams alludes to Chris Hitchens’s God is not Great and Richard Dawkins’s The God Delusion. After this brief digression Williams has the following to say regarding Frame’s book:

“Frame begins with the deeply flawed contention that if he were provided with undeniable proof that God did not exist, he would give up his faith. But that reverses a basic scientific premise of the onus of proof. Empiricists tell us that it is not up to atheists to disprove God’s existence, but rather the religious to supply the proof of existence as it is they who invoke faith.” Thus Williams.

To cut right to the chase: Whereas Frame believes that [the Triune] God is, the atheist believes that [the Triune] God is not. Bottom line: Both Frame and the atheist believe that the evidence supports their contrary positions. Both use the same evidence to prove their contrary positions.

Thus Frame wishes to prove a positive, i.e., that God is. And the atheist wants to prove a negative, ie, that God is not. Where then is the empirical evidence that God is not? How does the atheist make the Triune God vanish? He can huff and puff all he wants, he can hold his breath all he wants, but the same evidence he thinks disproves God’s existence is what actually proves it!

Bottom line: It’s not about evidence. It’s about presuppositions, i.e., worldviews. Whereas Frame presupposes that God is, the atheist presupposes that God is not. Frame can point to creation (space, time, matter) and everything in it, stars, moon, birds, trees, insects, fish, birds, animals, DNA etc, etc, as evidence of his presupposition that God is. He can bring in the human conscience, morals, ethics, laws etc. etc. as evidence that God is. He can bring in the sixty-six books of the Bible.

All the atheist can do is attack all this evidence and claim on Materialistic grounds that this evidence is not permissible. Not permissible to whom? To Materialists such as contemporary atheists! Bottom line: Frame is not a Materialist!

So, Frame is correct where he contends: “that if he were provided with undeniable proof that God did not exist, he would give up his faith.”

Materialism by definition is anti-God who is Spirit. But as Williams says, “The basic scientific premise is the onus of proof.” So, go ahead, prove empirically that God does not exist where all the evidence according to Frame’s worldview says that He does! Therefore the Materialist will have to extend his borders beyond the philosophy of Materialism (i.e., the philosophy in which the presuppostion is that Matter is all that is) to convince Frame!

Saturday, September 26, 2009

SUPER BOWL - THEN THERE'S THE DUST BOWL

"Has anyone seen the Sydney Harbour Bridge?" The eastern seaboard of Australia was hit by a dust-storm that was enough to out-do David Copperfield. Yes, he might be able to make a jumbo-jet disappear, but the Sydney-siders had their old "Coathanger" removed! As the French Canadians say, "They turned around, and there it was, gone!"

Brisbane is 1,000 kilometres north of Sydney. Our city too turned sepia! Same with Cairns which is 1700 kilometres north of Brisbane!

There I was (in Brisbane) hanging out a load of washing (domesticated bloke that I am!) As I was pegging away I was thinking that I was in for some good drying - what, with the wind that was starting to whip up. Next thing the daylight turned a pale shade of eerie! Our wee white Westie came in from the outside looking more like a Cairn Terrier as to colouration!

"They" are telling us not to be too quick to wash our cars as "they" are expecting another dust storm (Brisbane water restrictions are being relaxed for a few days so that we can wash the place!) "The Grapes of Wrath" - "Of Mice and Men" or what!

If I remember correctly this used to happen to Winnipeg every year as the winds trasported the farmers topsoil into the city for free back in the 80's when we lived there.

As usual the alarmist media has to inject the ominous into the already ionized Aussie atmosphere. Would you know it, a lot of the red dust-blanket came from a(n) uranium mine! This must be the reason why our wee dust-covered Westie started to glow when it got dark!

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

SNOW ON THE BEN

I gave my Blog page the title "Snow off the Ben" after my (now defunct) Website "Snow on the Ben"

The title "Snow On the Ben" comes from a piece I wrote when I had just moved to Tasmania. It was Christmas eve of 2001 and I was at home all alone feeling a wee bit sad! Dorothy was still living up in Brisbane, having to tie up some loose end before coming to join me in Tasmania.

SNOW ON THE BEN
My heart is in pain. It longs to see my ben, the ben again. It aches to see Ben Lomond with snow on his head in winter, to feel, to smell his cold fresh breath once more. It yearns to sit on one of his shoulders in summer, to hear the little bird that whispers sweet nothings in his ear. O little skylark, your song is music to my ben’s ears. It also soothes my breaking heart.

The pain is chronic; it grumbles on, it rumbles like thunder over the loch, my loch, Loch Lomond. Fish without fins, waves without winds. You are my ben’s mirror. He beholds his face in you. As a child, in summer, I threw stones, ‘skiffers’, at my ben’s looking glass, but the mirror never broke the way my heart is broken. In winter I tried to etch my name with a pair of skates on my ben’s mirror, but it was ben that wrote his name on me. Thank you ben for watching over me in my childhood, my youth, in my Balloch.

The whole Vale looked up to you. You were the toast of the town. Even Munro lifted his glass to you. The sheep kissed your feet. O ben, Ben Lomond, will I ever see you again?

Here I am in the uttermost part of the world. I’ve been placed here to proclaim the Lord’s Gospel. The Lord Himself says: “How beautiful are the feet of those who preach the gospel of peace, who bring glad tidings of good things!” Lord, could you not have sent me on home leave to announce the good news? Why did I say to You that I’d go wherever You sent me?

Mind you, the people here are of a noble character, they are fair-minded. They are receiving Your Word with all readiness. Like the Bereans of old, they are searching the Scriptures daily to find out if the things I say about You are so. Some of them lie awake in bed all night, like the red deer ruminating on the slopes of the ben, pondering the things they are hearing. Maybe I do like it here after all!
You have given me a house Lord, a home for my family. You have granted me a view of some of Your handiwork from my window. I see the waters of the Derwent flood Ralph’s Bay. And my eye is drawn to Mount Wellington, ‘Ben’ Wellington, with his ‘pipe-organ’, for he is the centre of the window painting you presented me, Lord. Ah, but alas, my Saviour, you painted in the ben, my ben, didn’t You? He’s there on the right of Your beautiful masterpiece. I look at him and my heart cries for home. Tears run from my eyes like cataracts on my ben. My heart is in the heilins, my heart is not here, my heart is in the heilins, a chasing the deer… Lord, will You put snow on my substitute ben come winter?

I walk through the wood, the ‘bush’ with my other best friend, wee Jamie (Seamus beag). I pretend he’s my faithful deerhound instead of the Sydney Silky terrier that he is. We see rabbits, but they are not Scottish rabbits. Ah, but perhaps their ancestors are! I pretend they are highland rabbits just the same. I make believe the bounding kangaroos are deer. The big ones are red deer, the wallabies are roe. Lord, I suppose I can learn to love them too!

I catch a glimpse of a startled turkey-looking bird, wings on full gallop, trying to outfly a false alarm of danger. It’s only me! Lord, I declare him to be capercailzie! And what is that twittering sound hanging in the air? Lord, have you sent the skylark to play upon my heartstrings? He sounds like he is plucking all the high notes on the harp, the ‘tree of music’. However, Lord, the grass is not green like Scottish grass; it has withered for want of refreshment. Yet there I see a beauty, Your beauty, as it gives me a friendly wave. Will You be pleased to send seasons of refreshing to this land?

But Lord, I have been absent from my beloved over long. And there is a hoary frost forming on my head. But Lord, will I see snow on the ben, my new ben, this coming winter? Will he frost my windows with his breath? Breathe on me, breath of God; fill me with life anew… Will he whistle for me to bundle up and come out to play? Will he really be as good a friend to me as my old ben? Awake, O north wind, and come, O south! Blow upon my garden, that its spices may flow out. And will my new ben watch over me like my old ben? For I to the hills will lift mine eyes, from whence doth come mine aid. My safety cometh from the Lord, who heav’n and earth hath made.

O Lord, tell me why You have brought me to Tasmania. What is Your answer? All flesh is grass, and all its loveliness is like the flower of the field. The grass withers, the flower fades, because the breath of the Lord is upon it; surely the people are grass. The grass withers, the flower fades, but the word of the Lord stands forever. O Zion, you who bring good tidings, get up into the high mountain; O Jerusalem, you who bring good tidings, lift up your voice with strength, lift it up, be not afraid; say to the cities of Judah, ‘Behold your God’.

Thank You Lord. May my love for You and my neighbour be as deep as the snow on the ben!

("SNOW ON THE BEN" is included in my paperback book "The Song of Creation & Other Contemplations")

E-book version at Aamazon: http://www.amazon.com/SONG-CREATION-OTHER-CONTEMPLATIONS-ebook/dp/B006WRZDES/ref=la_B006NTVAWY_1_16?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1354496095&sr=1-16

SNEACHD AIR A’ BHEINN

One for the Gaelic speakers out there!

The following is a Gaelic translation of my "Snow on the Ben", translated by Fearghas MacFhionnlaigh: FREUMH A TALAMH TIORAM @

SNEACHD AIR A' BHEINN
Tha mo chridhe fo cràdh. Tha fadachd air ach am faic e mo bheinn, a’ bheinn a-rìst. Tha pian ann a dh’fhaicinn Beinn Laomainn le sneachd air a ceann sa gheamhradh, a dh’fhaireachdainn, a dh’fheuchainn a h-analach fuair fionnair as ùr. Tha e miannach air suidhe a dhèanamh air tè dhe na guailnean aice as t-samhradh, a chluinntinn an eòin bhig ud a bhios a’ cagarsaich neonithean milis na chluais. O uiseig bhig, is binn t’òran ann an cluasan mo bheinne. Agus tha e toirt faochaidh mar an ceudna dham chridhe a tha briseadh.

Chan eil deireadh air a’ chràdh; tha e a’ dèanamh cànrain gun abhsadh, mar an tàirneanach os-cionn na locha, mo locha-sa, Loch Laomainn. Iasg gun itean, tuinn gun ghaothan. Is tusa sgàthan mo bheinne. Bidh i sealltainn a gnùise annad. Nuair a bha mi nam phàiste, as t-samhradh, thilg mi clachan, “leum-liuchdadairean”, air sgàthan mo bheinne, ach cha do bhris an sgàthan ud mar a tha mo chridhe briste. Anns a’ gheamhradh dh’fheuch mi rim ainm eitseadh le paidhir bhròg-spèilidh air sgàthan mo bheinne, ach is e a’ bheinn a sgrìobh a h-ainm ormsa. Mo thaing dhut, a bhanacharaid, a bheinn-charaid, airson faire a chumail orm nam leanabachd, nam òige, nam Bhealach.

Bha am Magh Leamhna air fad a’ coimhead suas riut. Dh’òladh am baile gu lèir deoch-slàinte riut. Thog an Rothach fhèin a ghlainne dhut. Phòg na caoraich do chasan. O bheinn, a bheinn Laomainn, am faic mi a-rìst thu a-chaoidh?

Seo agad mise air taobh thall buileach an t-saoghail. Chaidh mo chur an seo a shearmonachadh Soisgeul an Tighearna. Tha an Tighearna E Fhèin ag ràdh:“Cia sgiamhach casan na muinntir sin a tha a’ searmonachadh soisgeul na sìthe, a tha a’ toirt sgeòil aoibhnich air nithean matha!” A Thighearna, nach b’urrainn Dhut mise chur air fòrladh dhachaigh gu bhith cur an cèill an deagh sgèil? Carson an duirt mi Riut gun rachainn taobh sam bith a chuir Thu mi?

Gun teagamh tha a’ mhuinntir an seo àrd-bheusach, tha iad còir is cothromach. Tha iad a’ gabhail T’ Fhacal dan ionnsaigh leis an uile thogradh. Coltach ris na Berèanaich o shean, tha iad a’ rannsachadh nan Sgriobtar gach aon là, a dh’fheuchainn a bheil na nithean sin a chanas mise mud dhèidhinn mar sin. Bidh cuid dhiubh a’ laighe nan dùisg nan leapannan fad na h-oidhche, coltach ris na fèidh ruadha a’ cnuasachadh air leòidean na beinne, a’ beachd-smaoineachadh air na nithean a tha iad a’ cluinntinn. Is dòcha gu bheil an t-àite seo a’ còrdadh rium as dèidh a h-uile càil!

Tha thu air taigh a thoirt dhomh, a Thighearna, dachaigh dham theaghlach. Tha Thu air sealladh a bhuileachadh orm dhe chuid dhen obair-làimhe Agad bhom uinneig. Chì mi uisgichean an Deruent a’ lìonadh Camas Railf. Agus tha mo shùil air a tarraing gu Beinn Bail’ Uelinn le a ‘h-òrgan-pìoba’, oir is ise teis-meadhan an deilbh-uinneige a thug thu dhomh, a Thighearna. Ach, mo thruaighe, a Shlànaighir, pheant Thu a-steach a’ bheinn, mo bheinn-sa, nach do pheant? Tha i an siud air taobh dheis T’annas-làimhe àlainn. Bheir mi sùil oirre agus gabhaidh mi cianalas airson mo dhachaigh. Bidh deòir a’ ruith bhom shùilean mar easan air mo bheinn. Tha mo chridh’ air na slèibhtean, chan eil mo chridhe an seo, tha mo chridh’ air na slèibhtean, an tòir air na fèidh... A Thighearna, an cuir Thu sneachd air mo bheinn ùr nuair a thig an geamhradh?

Bidh mi coiseachd tron choille, (tron ‘bhuis’, mar a chanas iad an seo) còmhla rim shàr-charaid eile, Seumas beag (‘wee Jamie’). Leigidh mi orm gur e cù-seilge dìleas nam fiadh agam a th’ann, an àite an abhaig Sìoda Shidni a th’ann dha rìribh. Chì sinn coineanaich, ach chan iad coineanaich na h-Alba. Ged is mathaid gur ann à Alba a bha an sinnsirean! Co-dhiù no co-dheth, leigidh mi orm gur e rabaidean Gàidhealach a th’annta. Gabhaidh mi orm gur e fèidh a th’anns na cangaruthan sìnteagach. Is e fiadh ruadha a th’anns an fheadhainn mhòir, agus ruadhagan a th’anns na ualabaidhean. A Thighearna, saoilidh mi gum b’urrainn dhomh fàs bàidheil riusan cuideachd! Gheibh mi aiteil de eun coltach ri circ Fhrangaich is clisgeadh air, na sgiathan nan làn othail, ‘s e air tì teicheadh air iteig bho chunnart nach eil ann. Chan eil ann ach mise! A Thighearna, is e capall coille a bhaisteas mi air. Agus gu dè am fuaim ceilearach ud crochte san adhar? A Thighearna, an do chuir Thu uiseag far a bheil mi a chluich air teudan mo chridhe? Bho choltas a fuaime tha i a’ cluich àrd-phongan uile na clarsaich, “craobh a’ chiùil”. Gidheadh, a Thighearna, chan eil am feur glas mar fheur na h-Alba; shearg e bho chion dibhe ùrachail. Ach an siod is lèir dhomh bòidhchead, Do bhòidhchead-sa, ‘s e a’ smeideadh rium gu càirdeil. Am bi Thu deònach ràithean ùrachaidh a chur ris an tìr a tha seo?

Ach a Thighearna, is ann tuilleadh is fada a tha mi air a bhith air falbh bhom eudail. Agus tha liath-reothadh a’ nochdadh air mo cheann. Ach, a Thighearna, am faic mi sneachd air a’ bheinn, air mo bheinn ùir, an geamhradh seo ri tighinn? An reòth i m’uinneagan le a h-anail? Sèid ormsa, anail Dhè; lìon mi le beatha as ùr... An leig i fead rium ach an sgeadaich mi mi fhìn gu blàth ‘s gun tig mi a-mach a chluich? Am bi i da-rìribh na caraid dhomh a-cheart cho math rim sheann bheinn? Èirich, a ghaoth tuath, agus thig a ghaoth a deas, sèid air feadh mo liosa, rachadh fàile a spìosraidh a-mach. Agus an cùm mo bheinn ùr faire orm mar a rinn mo sheann bheinn? Oir mo shùilean togam suas a-chum nam beann, on tig mo neart. On Dia rinn talamh agus nèamh, tha m’fhurtachd uile teachd.

O Thighearna, innis dhomh carson a thug Thu mi dhan Tasmain. Dè Do fhreagairt? Is feur gach uile fheòil, agus tha a h-òirdhearcas uile mar bhlàth na machrach; Tha am feur a’ seargadh, am blàth a’ crìonadh, nuair a shèideas gaoth an Tighearna air; gu cinnteach is feur an sluagh. Tha am feur a’ seargadh, am blàth a’ crìonadh; ach seasaidh facal ar Dè-ne gu sìorraidh. O thusa a tha a’ tabhairt deagh sgeòil do Shion, gabh suas gu sliabh àrd; O thusa a tha a’ tabhairt deagh sgeòil do Ierusalem, tog do ghuth le neart; tog e, na biodh eagal ort; abair ri bailtean Iùdah, Feuch, ur Dia!

Tapadh Leat, a Thighearna. Gum biodh mo ghràdh Dhutsa agus dham nàbaidh cho domhainn ris an t-sneachd air a’ bheinn!

Monday, September 21, 2009

Confused Evolutionists

Why do Alchemists (such as Richard Dawkins - of The God Delusion infamy) try to confuse people by mixing Christianity in with Islam, Judaism, Buddhism, Hinduism etc.?

Do these Astrologers do it so that they can discredit Christianity by giving it a bad name by associating it with religious extremism and extremists?

When was the last time you saw a Southern Baptist strap dynamite to himself and blow up himself and a bunch innocent people?

That Evolutionist Adolf Hitler has no Christian to compare himself to! The Christian is taught to "esteem others better than himself." (Phil. 2:3b)

Why don't people like Dawkins stop trying to make gold out of lead, a silk purse out of a sow's ear, and money out of bagging Christianity?

Yes, we've all got the picture, Dicky! Your god is creation! (Rom. 1:25). The Christian God is the Creator of creation. (As they do with Christianity and other religions, Dawkins and his ilk like to confuse one with the other).

As Atronomers don't like being referred to as Astrologers, neither do Christians like being confused with non-Christians! However, and more importantly, God does not like being confused with non-gods! "You shall have no other gods before Me" Exodus 20:3.

A JOKE!

I heard a great joke the other day:

A man wandered into a Pentecostal Church. It was all arms waving in the air and yelling and cheering (like when Scotland scores a goal at Hampden - for those who don't know!)

At a certain point in the service the bloke at the front invited people to come up so that he could pray for them.

A man came up, having a real worried look on his face. "What's your problem?" inquired the preacher. "My hearing," replied the awfully worried looking man.

So off the preacher man went dancing around waving his arms in the air and working himself into a right lather while repeating "Yabba, dabba, doo!" (or whatever it is they say in these places when they're supposed to be praying!)

After all the theatrics (and the laying on of hands all over the worried man), the preacher finally pauses for breath and looks the worried man in the eye and puffing away he says, "What about that hearing?"

"Yes," replies the worried man, "It's on Wednesday!"

Thursday, September 17, 2009

FAITH & REASON (REVISITED)

(Photos by Neil Cullan McKinlay)

I was reading in a newspaper about a film that failed (as of Sept. 14, 2009) to find a distributor in the United States. It is a film about Charles Darwin. It is called Creation.

According to a Gallup poll taken in February, 2009 39% of Americans believe in the Theory of Evolution. I suppose this is an amazingly low number seeing that we've had the Theory of Evolution sermon preached to us in school, museums, books, magazines, documentaries, movies, - at every turn since Darwin had his The Origin of Species published 150 years ago!

According to the newspaper article the Creation movie details Darwin's "struggle between faith and reason."

The following is (another) excerpt from my book The Nexus: The True Nature of Nature:

We have seen [ie, in a previous chapter] what Theology and Philosophy have to do with each other. They are distinct but interconnected – i.e., two railway carriages that have access to each other. But what do Theology and Philosophy have to do with Faith and Reason? It is commonly thought that Faith and Theology are on one hand, and Reason and Philosophy are on another hand, but that these two hands can never shake. This is to say that Faith, as viewed by some, involves itself only in the supernatural, whilst Reason encounters only the natural. And, it is not an overstatement to note that Faith and Theology are, derogatorily, seen by some as dealing in fiction, whilst Philosophy and Reason deal only with fact.

Science today has come to mean that which deals only with the natural, that which deals only in fact. Therefore modern ‘science’ is thought of as that which deals only with physical things. Thus modern ‘science’ is equated with Reason, and religion, regardless of whether it is Christian religion or not, is equated in the modern mind with Faith – i.e., faith like the little train called ‘The Power of Positive Thinking,’ that against all the ‘evidence’ to the contrary, still says, as it faces the steep incline, ‘I think I can. I think I can.’

It is widely believed that Faith and Reason are incompatible in that they are thought to deal with different things. However, we have already taken note that both Theology and Philosophy are dealing with revelation of God – whether that revelation comes written in a Book or through the things God has made. Faith and Reason deal with the same revelation of God.

Here is the rub: All men reason according to presupposition. Which is to say that even those who engage themselves in scientific study base their results on assumptions. Their conceptions are based upon their preconceptions. Assumption is simply Faith by another name. Thus all men conduct their scientific study according to Faith.

Greg Bahnsen was a disciple of Cornelius Van Til, the father of what has come to be known as Presuppositional Apologetics. Dr Bahnsen says,

"For Van Til, like Augustine, reason is not the platform (precondition) for faith, but vice versa."[1]

Van Til, therefore, like Augustine before him, pulls the rug of Reason from beneath the feet of those who believe in neutrality in scientific study.

If Faith were built upon Reason, and not the other way round, then man would be autonomous and Reason would be the measure of all things. This is, of course, the prevalent Philosophy in today’s West. Reason has become estranged from Faith and has filed for divorce. If this divorce is permitted to come through man will effectively set up himself as his own god.

It should be clear by now that unbelievers’ Philosophy, (i.e., their life and worldview) is built upon their Faith and not upon their Reason. Thus ‘Reason’ is simply the foxhole from which fallen man attacks the revelation of God, which constantly bombards him on all fronts.

[1] Greg L Bahnsen, Van Til’s Apologetic, p. 54

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

DAYLIGHT ROBBERY!

In Australia one of the big phone companies (Telstra) is wanting to charge their customers $2.50 just to pay their bill!

Could you imagine walking into a (Scottish) fish and chip shop and being handed your Haggis Supper, Deep Fried Mars Bar, and bottle of Irn-Bru to wash it all down with, after you handed over the cash, the lassie behind the counter said, "That'll be anither ane pound and twinty-five P." You would reply something like, 'Whit's the extra ane pound twinty five fur?" And they would reply, "It's fur paying yer bill."

Has the whole world gone mad? Is it a bunch of wee boys still at primary school who are running the show nowadays? They need their bums skelped! Have they no respect for common decency? Have they no common sense? Are they completely devoid of any morals?

The 8th Commandment: "You shall not steal." Exodus 20:15.

PS - It's great having a Blog page - it lets me get things off my chest! Now what about them pesky Evolutionist-fanatics, Anti-Trinitarian Unitarians, etc., etc., etc.

Monday, September 14, 2009

GOOD SHEPHERD


Filmed by Nina - Words & Music by Neil Cullan McKinlay
GOOD SHEPHERD
There came a Shepherd long ago,
Searching for His sheep.
He will not rest till all His flock
Is safely in His keep.
With open arms He calls to them
His voice is soft yet clear.
And they come home to Him again.
The Shepherd loves them dear.
Good Shepherd I will heed Your call,
For this I must confess:
I cannot find my own way out
Of this darkened wilderness.
And all along the narrow path
in through the narrow gate
came dirty fleeces, all His flock
in such a sorry state
for all had wandered to the place
He'd told them not to go
the Shepherd took them one by one
and made them as white as snow.
Good Shepherd will You cleanse me too?
for this I must confess
those scarlet sins that stain my soul
have left my life a mess.
And with the storm there came the wolf
to maim, destroy and steal
the little flock just stood its ground
at the Shepherd's heel.
as a mother hen protects her young
beneath a wing so warm
the Shepherd's voice, His loving care
are shelter from the storm.
Good Shepherd I will cling to You
for this I must confess
without the refuge of Your love
I know no happiness!

Thursday, September 10, 2009

The Authority of Jesus in the Case of the Woman Caught in Adultery

The following is from (another) unpublished work of mine called: Demystifying the Gospel. Apologies for its length! Please feel free to comment.

Did Jesus authoritatively proscribe the prescribed punishment for adultery in the Woman Caught in Adultery passage and thus effectively declare adultery to be no longer a sin and crime? Let us consider the passage that we may properly evaluate if this is indeed the case.

At the time of Jesus Israel was under Roman rule. Rome permitted Israel much freedom to practice her religion. However, there was a great deal of corruption among the different religious factions such as the Pharisees and the Sadducees. Both these two factions, with the help of the Herodians, were out to destroy Jesus. Their method was to try to destroy Jesus by getting Him offside either with the Romans or the Israelites, or preferably both! One such incident where they tried to trick Jesus is usually referred to as The Woman Caught in Adultery.

If one keeps in mind what Jesus has already said to the people in His Sermon of the Mount, one will have a great deal of insight into what these men were up to. Jesus has already stated in His Sermon on the Mount: “Do not think that I came to destroy the Law or the Prophets. I did not come to destroy but to fulfil. For assuredly, I say to you, till heaven and earth pass away, one jot or one tittle will by no means pass from the law till all is fulfilled. Whoever therefore breaks one of the least of these commandments, and teaches men so, shall be called least in the kingdom of heaven; but whoever does and teaches them, he shall be called great in the kingdom. For I say to you, that unless your righteousness exceeds the righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees, you will by no means enter the kingdom of heaven.” Matthew 5:17-20.

John 8:2f. records the following about the woman caught in adultery: “Now early in the morning He came to the temple, and all the people came to Him; and He sat down and taught them. Then the scribes and the Pharisees brought to Him a woman caught in adultery.”
The question was this: What would Jesus teach them about adultery? Would He teach in accordance with God’s own Law-Word and get the Romans offside (perhaps by becoming an opposing authority to Caesar)? Or would He teach against His own Law-Word and thus contradict His Sermon on the Mount teaching about not coming to destroy the Law and the Prophets (i.e., Old Testament teaching)? His enemies thought that one way or the other He was sure to get either the Romans or the people, or both offside!

The scribes and Pharisees said to Him: “‘Teacher, this woman was caught in adultery, in the very act. Now Moses, in the law, commanded us that such should be stoned. But what do You say?’ This they said, testing Him, that they might have something of which to accuse Him. But Jesus stooped down and wrote on the ground with His finger, as though He did not hear.” John 8:4-6. Here John Calvin comments thus: “For Christ rather intended, by doing nothing, to show how unworthy they were of being heard.”

Now, much has been suggested as to what Jesus wrote on the ground, but we do not know because we are not told. However, one does not need to speculate. It is a fact that the One writing on the ground is the same One who delivered His Law-Word on Mount Sinai some 1500 years earlier: “And when He had made an end of speaking with him on Mount Sinai, He gave Moses two tablets of the Testimony, tablets of stone, written with the finger of God.” The allusion of Jehovah-Jesus writing on the ground must not be overlooked. (Remember that Jesus cast out demons with the finger of God, (Luke 10:11).

The 7th Commandment is: “You shall not commit adultery.” Exodus 20:14. Leviticus deals also with sins related to this commandment. It should be noted that sexual sins are there referred to as sins of “uncovering”. E.g., “Also you shall not approach a woman to uncover her nakedness as long as she is in her customary impurity. Moreover you shall not lie carnally with your neighbour’s wife, to defile yourself with her.” Leviticus 18:19&20. Adultery is a sin against God’s institution of marriage and therefore destroys the fundamental order of society. Therefore, adultery is a criminal act. It is a sin that is also a crime.

In Old Testament times the wife was “covered” by her husband’s covenantal circumcision. She was in covenant with God through her husband. Hence adulterers, and adulteresses, because of the nature of the act, were left in no doubt whatsoever that they were breaking God’s covenantal Law. Therefore there is a sense in which adultery is an “uncovering” of the grace of God’s covenant, and needs to be properly repented of.

The death penalty for adultery is specified in Leviticus 20:10: “The man who commits adultery with another man’s wife, he who commits adultery with his neighbour’s wife, the adulterer and the adulteress, shall surely be put to death.” The penalty of stoning to death for sexual sins such as adultery is found in Deuteronomy 22:13ff. The death penalty was not to be inflicted if there was only one witness (Numbers 35:30; Deuteronomy 17:6). “The hands of the witnesses [plural] shall be the first against him to put him to death, and afterward the hand of all the people. So you shall put away the evil from among you.” Deuteronomy 17:7.

Why did the scribes and the Pharisees bring only the woman to Jesus and not the man too? For Deuteronomy 22:22 says, “If a man is found lying with a woman married to a husband, then both of them shall die – the man that lay with the woman, and the woman; so shall you put away the evil from Israel.” Clearly the Pharisees were guilty of breaking their own law on this point. Thus they were not fit or competent witnesses. Jesus had them on this – they did not have Jesus!

“So they continued asking Him, He raised Himself up and said to them, ‘He who is without sin among you, let him throw a stone at her first.’ And again He stooped down and wrote on the ground.” John 8:7&8. Jesus refused to involve Himself in their evil.
Notice what happened next, keeping in mind what the Holy Spirit would soon thereafter be coming to do in the world, i.e., He was coming to convict the world of “sin,” “righteousness,” and “judgment” John 16:8-11. “Then those who heard it, being convicted in their conscience, went out one by one, beginning with the oldest even to the last. And Jesus was left alone, and the woman standing in the midst.” John 8:9. Christ had summoned these accusers to the judgment-seat of God, just as His Spirit, even the Holy Spirit was coming to do in the world at large.

Remember what has been said about the scribes and the Pharisees in verse six: “This they said, testing Him, that they might have something of which to accuse Him.” To them, the woman caught in adultery was only the means towards an end. It was Jesus they wanted put to death, not the woman! Hypocrites! Indeed at the end of this same chapter it says, “Then they took up stones to throw at Him; but Jesus hid Himself and went out of the Temple, going through the midst of them.” John 8:59.

On John 8:9f, Calvin comments:

"Christ only reproves hypocrites... Those who deduce... that adultery should not be punished by death, must on the same reasoning admit that inheritances should not be divided – since Christ refused to arbitrate between two brothers. (Luke 12:13) Indeed, every crime would be exempt from the penalties of the Law if the punishment of adultery is remitted – for the door will then be thrown open to any kind of treachery and to... murder and robbery... Moreover, when an adulteress brings an illegitimate child into a family she not only steals the family name but robs the legitimate issue of the right of inheritance and transfers it to strangers.... Yet the popish theology is that in this passage Christ has brought in the law of grace by which adulterers may be freed from punishment.... This is the result of that diabolical celibacy, so that those [priests] who are not allowed to have a lawful wife may fornicate indiscriminately. But let us hold that, although Christ remits men’s sins, He does not subvert the social order or abolish legal sentences and punishments!"

At the conclusion of the Woman Caught in Adultery incident Jesus said to the woman, “‘Woman, where are those accusers of yours? Has no one condemned you?’ She said, ‘No one, Lord.’ And Jesus said to her, ‘Neither do I condemn you; go and sin no more.’” John 8:10b&11. Not even one accuser remained. Yes, we see grace here. Of course we do! But there already was grace even in the Old Testament when David was not stoned for his adulterous affair with Bathsheba. Therefore, keep in mind that, though the death penalty is the maximum penalty on the books, there may at times be mitigating circumstances as to why the full penalty of the law ought not be administered. Again, keep in mind that the death penalty was not to be inflicted if there was only one witness (Numbers 35:30; Deuteronomy 17:6).

What can we learn from the Woman Caught in Adultery passage?

1. That Jesus in this passage did not change one jot or tittle of the Law and the Prophets (Matthew 5:17&18). There was no charge made against the adulterous woman in Civil or Judicial Law for which she need defend herself. There was no one accusing her of any crime (i.e., criminal act). Therefore she was free from any civil judgment or condemnation. Neither did Jesus condemn her: “For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved.” John 3:17.
2. That Jesus left open the door for God’s forgiveness upon condition of the woman’s repentance when He said to her, “…go and sin no more.” Therefore even those deserving of the death penalty (such as murderers and adulterers) shall receive forgiveness upon repentance from their sins. King David committed adultery with Bathsheba and murdered her husband by a fiendish plan, but truly repented.
3. That by His Spirit God judges the heart. “Marriage is honourable among all, and the bed undefiled; but fornicators and adulterers God will judge.” Hebrews 14:4. The consciences of the accusers of the woman caught in adultery were convicted. Therefore whether written on tablets of stone or written on a man’s heart, God’s Moral Law is the rule and therefore the authority to judge.
4. That the Judicial or Civil Law of God actually saved this woman’s life! Jesus exposed the sin of the woman’s accusers by reminding them of the proper procedure for prosecution. “He who is without sin among you, let him throw a stone at her first.” John 8:11b.
5. That there could be no Judicial Law if everyone had to be sinless by nature. Therefore, criminal accusers must not be guilty of the same crime as the accused or guilty of falsifying or giving misleading evidence anywhere along the judicial process. (Guilty thieves are not permitted to accuse thieves, or liars liars etc.)
6. That accusers are to be involved in the accused’s execution (“…let him throw a stone at her first.”) Therefore accusers themselves must not be guilty of murdering the innocent through false and/or malevolent accusation, lest they themselves face the death-penalty.
7. That ulterior motives (i.e., sins of the heart) are judged by God.

It cannot be demonstrated from The Woman Caught in Adultery passage that Jesus forbids the death-penalty for those lawfully convicted of adultery. However it does demonstrate that due process and natural justice must prevail.

It is interesting to note what the Westminster Confession of Faith chapter 24:5 says on Marriage and Divorce, though not directly stating it, it does leave the death-penalty for adultery intact:

Adultery and fornication committed after a contract, being detected before marriage, giveth just occasion to the innocent party to sue out a divorce, and, after the divorce, to marry another, as if the offending party were dead.

Sunday, September 6, 2009

INTRODUCTION TO THE NEXUS

The following is an introduction to my unpublished book The Nexus: The True Nature of Nature:

This is a book about two conflicting worldviews. In particular it is about how differently Calvinists and Darwinists view the world. If you are under-whelmed with excitement at the mere thought of attempting to read a whole book dealing with this topic, then let me reassure you with an old North American Indian adage: ‘Walk a mile in another man’s moccasins before you criticize him’! This is very much the path we have taken throughout this book. As we travel together we will examine the nature of things – as seen through the eyes of both John Calvin (1509-64) and Charles Darwin (1809-82). As you already can see, the year 2009 is the five-hundredth and two-hundredth anniversary of the birth of each of these men respectively.

Why write a book about the thoughts of two men from so long ago? Well, Calvin with his ‘Institutes of Christian Religion’ and Darwin with his ‘The Origin of Species’ have very much influenced Western thinking. For example, arguably many of the democratic freedoms we in the West today enjoy owe a great debt to the busy pen of John Calvin – including the freedom of speech that allowed Charles Darwin to pen his ‘The Origin of Species.’

Mind you, was it not for Evolutionary Thought we would not be entertained by the likes of Star Trek and Star Wars movies. For, the premise for all the alien life-forms in these and other movies of their ilk is due to the Theory of Evolution. Think about it: If it is believed that life has somehow evolved on earth then it is likely to have somehow evolved elsewhere in the universe. Such-like views are extrapolated from Darwin’s Theory of Evolution so called. The millions of dollars spent funding SETI (Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence) projects are also based on the Theory of Evolution.

However, as much as watching movies with aliens in them, and as much as serious alien searches in outer space also can be fun and exciting, there is a downside to the Theory of Evolution that also needs to be noted. For, it is from the views espoused in Darwin’s The Origin of Species that much of the Militant Atheism in our own day has arisen! Make no mistake, Calvinism and Neo-Darwinism are two very much opposed worldviews. They are locked in mortal combat. So serious is this matter that, if it hasn’t already, Western democracy will become detached from its Judea-Christian moorings to be set adrift in the uncharted seas of relativity – i.e., if Neo-Darwinism is permitted to cut the West’s Biblical moorings.

By first looking at ‘The Question that Divides’ and then considering ‘The Tie that Binds’ The Nexus book is a call for the return to the way of thinking that made the Western nations great in the first place; i.e., to thinking Biblically. Calvin shows us how to do this: We use the Scriptures as our ‘spectacles.’

Yes, there will be much sabre-rattling heard from the Atheist Fundamentalists’ camp at the mere thought of a book of this sort, but all I ask is that the reader ‘Walk a mile in another man’s moccasins before you criticize him.’ However, if you would walk a mile with me please also keep in mind what Jesus says in Scripture, ‘Whoever compels you to go one mile, go with him two.’ In other words, really hear me out before you agree/disagree with me!

Friday, September 4, 2009

FAITH & REASON

The following is one of the monthly articles I write for the FreeXpresSion monthly writer's magazine, based in Sydney, Australia:

FREEXPRESSION.NET

(Photos by Neil Cullan McKinlay)

Faith & Reason

Are faith and reason mutually exclusive? Is faith “Samson with his eyes put out” and reason “Darwin with a magnifying glass”? Surely Faith and Reason are the two pillars of all enduring establishment. For how could Samson understand what he was doing without reason? And how could Darwin believe what his eyes were seeing without faith? Thus both these men leaned on these two pillars of human society, for without faith there can be no reason.

But will Samson and Darwin ever truly see eye to eye? Did they have the same species of faith and reason? Did Samson because of his super-human strength reason he must be evolving into some new creature in the same way Darwin had faith that the adaptive finches on the Galapagos would naturally ‘evolve’ into different creatures? Surely Samson, after studying the fact of his great strength, concluded no such thing. And how did Darwin arrive at his conclusion? The answer is that both had a different basis and method of reasoning. Samson begins with God. Darwin begins with himself – man.

Even when blinded, Samson interpreted the facts in terms of the true and living triune God who created them. But Darwin the naturalist could only interpret the facts in terms of the god of the Deists. His god only started nature, but left it to its own devices. Thus both Samson and Darwin reasoned and exercised faith, but only according to their presuppositions about God and creation. Darwin’s conclusions were different to Samson’s because Darwin’s god had handed creation over to time and chance.

Therefore the two main supports in the temple of Darwin’s “absent landlord” are a failing faith and a rickety reason; (not to be confused with the faith and reason of Biblical Christianity). Therefore it stands to reason Darwinism will fall at the hands of a strengthened Christianity. Yes, many “Christians” have been taken captive and have been blinded by Darwinism’s highly speculative regime. But remember how Samson brought down the establishment that had taken him captive and had blinded him: “‘O LORD God… strengthen me, I pray…’ And Samson took hold of the two middle pillars which supported the temple… And he pushed with all his might, and the temple fell on all the lords and all the people who were in it.” Judges 16:28-30.

Yes, Samson died along with the rest. But, that was not the end of it. For, Jesus spoke of the future “resurrection of life, and… of condemnation” (John 5:29). Samson belongs to the former. The testimony to this future physical raising of all who have died is the physical resurrection of Jesus Christ some 2,000 years ago.

Dear reader, faith and reason live forever in perfect harmony in Jesus Christ who is God and man in one divine Person. Those who repent of their sins and believe in His Gospel are members of the new humanity, not through “blind evolutionary process,” but by the same Spirit who gave Samson his great strength. “Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature…” 2 Corinthians 5:17a.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Richard Dawkins: A Man Used Mightily By God.

Everyone, I've just noticed that a man used mightily by God has written yet another book. His name is Richard Dawkins and his new book is called The Greatest Show on Earth: The Evidence For Evolution.

Dawkins is being used mightily by God to help us Christians get our act together in our own generation about what we believe God is really saying in His Word regarding Creation and everything in it, its upkeep, and its final destination. Dawkins can follow whoever and whatever he likes, but "As for me and my house, we will serve the LORD." Joshua 24:15b.

I made a short critique of Dawkins' last book The God Delusion - see: Richard Dawkins: ‘The God Delusion’

I look forward to reading his latest dummy-spit against the God who made him! Acts 26:14.

BONNIE SCOTLAND: HERE TO STAY


Words & Music by Neil Cullan McKinlay (Filming by Nina)

YouTube: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uZJCprTkhlQ

Bonnie Scotland, Here To Stay

Hey, mister blacksmith I’ll make you a deal,
Forge me a sword from yon fine Scottish steel,
I promise I’ll use it to fight for our cause,
Maintain our kingdom and all our Scottish laws.
I’ll scour this land in search of truth and freedom just the same,
I’ll chase all those who dare oppose our country’s precious name:

From the tip of the windswept Shetlands,
To the braes of Galloway,
Coast to coast and every island,
O Bonnie Scotland, here to stay.

Highland folk being driven from their hills that run so steep,
O, tell me this, what’s more important, a culture or some sheep?
Lallan folk exchanging ploughs for a London paved with gold,
Join with me, and let’s not be a nation bought and sold:

From the tip of the windswept Shetlands,
To the braes of Galloway,
Coast to coast and every island,
O Bonnie Scotland, here to stay.

Ben Nevis rises majestically, a monument to all
Our men who fell on the battlefields when duty paid its call,
Climb atop that lofty cairn, my ashes in your hand,
Sprinkle me into the breeze to drift throughout the land:

From the tip of the windswept Shetlands,
To the braes of Galloway,
Coast to coast and every island,
O Bonnie Scotland, here to stay.