Thursday, December 16, 2021

Why can't I go to heaven too?

Another useful Frank Turek video wherein a young woman seems offended that she would end up in Hell.

Again, Frank is OK as far as he goes, but he doesn't go far enough!

Heaven is not a holiday destination where you get free pinacoladas. It is the place that represents everything you hate: communion with and enjoyment of being in God the creator's presence for ever.

Do you really want that, but behave and speak now as though you don't. Why do you want to go to heaven? The pleasures of heaven are the pleasures of God's presence. Not pinacoladas.


Another silly atheist claim

Atheists, dutifully following Feuerbach sometimes claim that God the creator is merely (always the diminutive) a reflection of man. That is, we make god in our own image.

But no.

Let's look at what happens when men do make their gods (in this case) in their own image.

The ancients. Greek or Roman, it largely doesn't matter. Although while the Romans did useful things with the roads and so on (concrete, sewers, heated floors), the Greeks paid Plato to invent his mad philosophy of 'forms'.

So what are the ancient pagan gods like. Like men. They fight, squabble, deceive each other, are envious, grasping vindictive thugs. Exactly like men, but with the volume turned up.

This religion produced a bunch of philosophies that while scoring points for effort, did little to advance knowledge and produced a science that was still born. More of a curiosity than an endeavour. It supported paederasty, the degradation of women, the keeping of slaves.

We had to await the development of a mindset that sprang from the revelation of the creator God of the Christian scriptures for the universe to be admired, not as a mute given, but as a thing to be understood and 'governed'. Thus did modern science flower.

Sunday, December 5, 2021

Christmas slogans

Churches usually have soporific slogans on their notice board and Christmas letterbox flyers.

As an attempt to lift the game, here are a few more useful slogans:

Christmas! Time to stop worshiping yourself

That time of year when your worldview walks the plank

God's gift: life in him. Better than your crummy gifts.

Christ came bringing light. Your choice if you want to stay in the dark.

Christmas: time for your annual gift to charity to feel good about yourself...again.

Advent 2: the sermon

Yet another in a decades long history of great, compelling and godly sermons from Rob Jones.

More spiritually fruitful words in 20 minutes than I've heard in hour long giggling, meandering unfocused sermons from younger people.

My old church once more doing a very engaging and thoughtful Advent morning prayer.

Saturday, December 4, 2021

Worried about the climate?

Be comforted: the word of God on which I've heard no sermon, nor public statement by any conspicuous Christian, nor a mention by any believer who tracks the world rather than the scripture:

Genesis 8:22

Woman bad man good?

The old 1 Timothy 2:12 debate has rocketed into the light on the Julie Roys website.

There are some interesting articles on this:

The meaning of authentien

Men and Women in the Church

Greek verb authentein

and my comment:

The 'blunt' reflexive translation of authenteow as 'exercise authority' fails to properly deal with the issues. 'Usurp' wouldn't help, because in today's climate that would be taken as usurping the man's 'power'. Not what we want, or what I think Paul was writing into.

It is hard to put one's mind in the ancient world, particularly ancient paganism's androgyny (Peter Jones has a great paper on this in JETS). Peter doesn't explore the feminisation of the earth, but it is there as a theme too. So with that in mind, I would suggest that Paul is countering a pagan intrusion where some women are deprecating men because of their sex verses the male sex. Completely unbiblical given Galatians 3:28; the scene setting passage concerning status in the church.

This might be their asserting a superior femininity: we are seeing this today in the modern reassertion of pagan ideas.

So, a rough translation might be that Paul is not permitting a woman to vociferously deprecate a man, not to shout him down, but to be in quietness [in the gatherings]. Quietness? Polite, listening and contributing in an orderly way which Paul enjoins elsewhere.

It needs work, of course, but this is the sense I get with the pagan context the Galatians passage and Paul's expecting that woman would participate in gatherings in other letters.

This also makes sense of Paul's reference to the creation account. Man is male and female, together to order and care for the creation, and to look after the fish!. It is together, not in some hierarchy that people imply from Eve as the one who gives succor to Adam: helper in his limitation of loneliness.

Pagans would have femaleness as the primary progenitor with maleness being deprecated: thus androgynous male pagan priests and shamans: denying their maleness in preference to (and indeed, seeking to adopt and at the same time to usurp) femaleness. That word: usurp, again!

And on 'women pastors'?

I refer you to Darryl Erkel's work.

What the lexicons say:

Friberg's Analytical Greek Lexicon: of one who acts on his own authority, hence, have control over, lord it over.

Louw-Nida Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament: to control in a domineering manner.

BDAG: to assume a stance of independent authority, give orders to, dictate to.

Now, to say that Paul is teaching women to be quiet in terms of such inclinations, is not to permit the same of men. For both sexes this mitigates against the mutuality of the marriage relationship as upholding the image of God.

Thursday, November 18, 2021

Here's me!

Churches these days like to post a little 'about me' for the 'staff'', as the paid Christians are amusingly termed.

This is a typical bit of solipsistic blather (details changed to obscure the foolish):

Jake's married to Francine.  They both love Jesus, because He first loved them.  They both love their church family, …but know Jesus loves the church even more.  They also both love good smooth coffee.  Neither of them likes cooking or camping, although they love food and travelling, especially when it takes them to their family in Athens, country Indiana.

 Here's what might be an improvement.

My previous ministries were at Kew, Oxford and Islamabad. I seek to serve a team that in its various ways equips the church for its mission of making disciples.

I have studied at Capernwray, Hartford Seminary and Someotherplace.

My particular interests are in encouraging members to read, study and understand the Bible, to be able to both communicate and live out their faith. In so doing, to follow Paul the Apostle's instruction to be 'transformed in mind'. (His letter to the Christians in Rome, chapter 12, the first two verses).

We recognise the diversity in the forms of our gatherings and have traditional, contemporary and innovative gatherings.

I enjoy running short courses for the community in spirituality, prayer, the Bible as adventure story.

My wife is Francine and we have 8 children.

Note. No one cares if you like cooking or not. No one is surprised that you are the same as almost everyone else and enjoy 'food and travelling' and breathing oxygen.

And who gives a toss about your coffee indulgences! It doesn't make you sound 'acceptable' it makes you sound like a superficial, self-indulgent narcissist.

Sunday, November 14, 2021

Peter Hughes - rector, St. James, Sydney

Wonderful memory of my time at St. James.

Peter was rector while I was there from 1984 for a few years. 

This is the blog that I've linked to, dated Thursday, March 8, 2012

Without him knowing it, Peter was very important in the development, sustaining and deepening of my faith.