The Gender Conversation

Bathroom-gender-sign

The discussion concerning gender continues to be a current and controversial topic in our society. Whether it is in the context of school curriculum, social media, film, or self-identity, it is getting people’s attention. The classic images that would be seen on a bathroom door have been used to distinguish between a male and female are being challenged. This challenge is gaining widespread attention. Continue reading The Gender Conversation

Recommended Reading (10 August 2015)

Recommended Reading

WHERE ARE THE MEN? By Conrad Mbewe

This is a must read for all men. Conrad points out the areas where men a refusing to stand up and be men. In this post he says, “I am asking where the men are in the families, in the churches, and in the nation. To be sure, I can see many of the male species in all these spheres but what irks me is that so few of them seem to be rising to the calling that God has given to them as men in society.” Continue reading Recommended Reading (10 August 2015)

Marriage Under Attack

Bride and Groom

Marriage is under attack. Of course this is not hot off the press news. Since God first instituted marriage back in , the institution of marriage has been criticised and contorted by many. There are those who verbally mock the institution, others will sabotage it and some have tried to redefine it. Continue reading Marriage Under Attack

2:1 Thus the heavens and the earth were finished, and all the host of them. And on the seventh day God finished his work that he had done, and he rested on the seventh day from all his work that he had done. So God blessed the seventh day and made it holy, because on it God rested from all his work that he had done in creation.

These are the generations
of the heavens and the earth when they were created,
in the day that the Lord God made the earth and the heavens.

When no bush of the field was yet in the land and no small plant of the field had yet sprung up—for the Lord God had not caused it to rain on the land, and there was no man to work the ground, and a mist was going up from the land and was watering the whole face of the ground— then the Lord God formed the man of dust from the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living creature. And the Lord God planted a garden in Eden, in the east, and there he put the man whom he had formed. And out of the ground the Lord God made to spring up every tree that is pleasant to the sight and good for food. The tree of life was in the midst of the garden, and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.

10 A river flowed out of Eden to water the garden, and there it divided and became four rivers. 11 The name of the first is the Pishon. It is the one that flowed around the whole land of Havilah, where there is gold. 12 And the gold of that land is good; bdellium and onyx stone are there. 13 The name of the second river is the Gihon. It is the one that flowed around the whole land of Cush. 14 And the name of the third river is the Tigris, which flows east of Assyria. And the fourth river is the Euphrates.

15 The Lord God took the man and put him in the garden of Eden to work it and keep it. 16 And the Lord God commanded the man, saying, “You may surely eat of every tree of the garden, 17 but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat of it you shall surely die.”

18 Then the Lord God said, “It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him a helper fit for him.” 19 Now out of the ground the Lord God had formed every beast of the field and every bird of the heavens and brought them to the man to see what he would call them. And whatever the man called every living creature, that was its name. 20 The man gave names to all livestock and to the birds of the heavens and to every beast of the field. But for Adam there was not found a helper fit for him. 21 So the Lord God caused a deep sleep to fall upon the man, and while he slept took one of his ribs and closed up its place with flesh. 22 And the rib that the Lord God had taken from the man he made into a woman and brought her to the man. 23 Then the man said,

“This at last is bone of my bones
and flesh of my flesh;
she shall be called Woman,
because she was taken out of Man.”

24 Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and they shall become one flesh. 25 And the man and his wife were both naked and were not ashamed.

Sinful Culture vs. Holy Bible

© wjarek – Fotolia.com

or Why the crafty serpent is winning the argument again

Two of the most hotly contested topics in the church today are homosexuality, and the role of men and women in the church. The two issues have two things in common. Firstly, they arguably cause more disagreement and controversy than any other topic within Evangelical and wider Protestant circles. Secondly, on both of these issues, pastors, lay people and theologians are essentially reinterpreting what scripture says. It’s the second of these two that I will focus on here.

My focus is how Christians are reinterpreting scripture, though homosexuality and gender roles will be used as illustrations of how it is occurring. Readers may disagree with me on those issues, but that merely serves as an illustration of the controversy surrounding them. In attempting to make sense of the biblical texts which speak of these issues, you hear people say things like, “Oh, but that text is for that particular church at that particular time.” Scholars are translating the original Greek in entirely new ways, showing that Paul didn’t really mean that homosexual practice is sinful when he wrote Romans (see , for example). Paul also couldn’t have meant that women are not to teach the bible when he wrote to Timothy (see ). Even if he did, they might say, it doesn’t apply to us today. In other words, people are starting to say that Paul didn’t really mean what we’ve always thought. Continue reading Sinful Culture vs. Holy Bible

26 For this reason God gave them up to dishonorable passions. For their women exchanged natural relations for those that are contrary to nature; 27 and the men likewise gave up natural relations with women and were consumed with passion for one another, men committing shameless acts with men and receiving in themselves the due penalty for their error.

28 And since they did not see fit to acknowledge God, God gave them up to a debased mind to do what ought not to be done. 29 They were filled with all manner of unrighteousness, evil, covetousness, malice. They are full of envy, murder, strife, deceit, maliciousness. They are gossips,

who gave himself as a ransom for all, which is the testimony given at the proper time. For this I was appointed a preacher and an apostle (I am telling the truth, I am not lying), a teacher of the Gentiles in faith and truth.

I desire then that in every place the men should pray, lifting holy hands without anger or quarreling; likewise also that women should adorn themselves in respectable apparel, with modesty and self-control, not with braided hair and gold or pearls or costly attire, 10 but with what is proper for women who profess godliness—with good works. 11 Let a woman learn quietly with all submissiveness. 12 I do not permit a woman to teach or to exercise authority over a man; rather, she is to remain quiet. 13 For Adam was formed first, then Eve; 14 and Adam was not deceived, but the woman was deceived and became a transgressor.

Worldly Vision

Broken Vision

UPDATE: Just two days after the announcement, World Vision (US) have reversed their decision to hire same-sex couples. Praise be to our Lord. Important lessons can be learnt from this and the importance of maintaining strong Biblical convictions so that we are not moved by our culture.

Earlier this week, World Vision had announced that its American branch will allow same-sex couples who are legally married to be employed. World Vision has provided relief to countless people in need and is unparalleled in its size and practical aid. This organisation has been providing help to those in true need and for this we ought to be grateful.

Then why make this an issue? After all, Richard Stearns, the President of World Vision (US) states that this is a “very narrow policy change”. Stearns adds that “This is not compromising. It is us deferring to the authority of local churches and denominations on theological issues. We’re an operational arm of the global church, we’re not a theological arm of the church.” Interestingly, Stearns says that World Vision (US) “will continue to expect abstinence before marriage and fidelity within marriage for all staff.” Regardless of what he says, the moment you depart from the clear teaching of God’s Word you have become worldly. This organisation claims to be motived by their faith in Jesus Christ, so they must be accountable to the Word of Christ in what they say.

This sad announcement provides some important lessons for God’s people.

Firstly, regardless of what is going on around us, God’s Word must be our final authority. If the Word says it we believe it! People may say they are not capitulating, but when the world is contrary to Scripture and you go with the world, you have capitulated. The Word of God is our authority. It is our duty to live by it and declare it.

Secondly, Christians are to be a faithful witnesses of the gospel in the world. Yes, let us have world vision but not worldly vision. When it comes to the world, those who profess faith in Christ can fall into one of two extremes. There are those who become worldly and there are those who become isolated. Both are wrong. As Christians, it is our duty to be salt and light in this corrupt and dark world (). I agree with Russell Moore when he said, “World Vision is a good thing to have, unless the world is all you can see”.

Thirdly, let us not lose sight of the priority and power of the gospel. To go against what Scripture teaches on a kingdom and moral issue (cf. ) is to show a lack of true love towards those we minister to. John Piper insightfully states, “When World Vision embraces as an acceptable alternative behavior what God says will lead to eternal suffering (), it sets a trajectory of lovelessness.” Sadly, many have responded with hate speech and a harsh condemnation to homosexuals and others in sin. The believer in the Lord Jesus Christ ought to recognise that homosexuality is indeed sexual sin worthy of eternal punishment, but they must show the power of the gospel in providing hope for the homosexual and all sinners. Let us not lose sight of the priority and power of the gospel “for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes” ().

Recommended Reading:

Pointing to Disaster – The Flawed Moral Vision of World Vision 
by Albert Mohler

World Vision: Adultery No, Homosexual Practice Yes
by John Piper

The Worldliness in World Vision’s New Hiring Policy
by Kevin DeYoung

On World Vision and the Gospel
by Russell Moore

 

13 “You are the salt of the earth, but if salt has lost its taste, how shall its saltiness be restored? It is no longer good for anything except to be thrown out and trampled under people’s feet.

14 “You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden. 15 Nor do people light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a stand, and it gives light to all in the house. 16 In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven.

Or do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: neither the sexually immoral, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor men who practice homosexuality,

Or do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: neither the sexually immoral, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor men who practice homosexuality, 10 nor thieves, nor the greedy, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God.

16 For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek.

Preach the Gospel – not Values

Creative Commons: Christian Values Candle Set

Many churches (and individuals) are teaching and preaching Christian values to a lost world. This message is calling for people to respect and embrace the standards of behaviour taught in the Scriptures. It must be noted that outward conformity to Christian values will extend certain benefits to an individual’s personal life and to those around them – however, this in and of itself it detrimental and damning to the hearer. Dr. R. Albert Mohler insightfully notes in a recent blog post,

“Hell will be filled with people who were avidly committed to Christian values. Christian values cannot save anyone and never will. The gospel of Jesus Christ is not a Christian value, and a comfortability with Christian values can blind sinners to their need for the gospel.”

Here Mohler makes the important point that what is essential in our message to the unbelieving world is the gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ. It is the unmistakable teaching of Scripture that the practice of Christian values comes as the result of one hearing and heeding the gospel of Christ (see ). This is necessary because the gospel – not Christian values – contains “the power of God for salvation” (). This does not mean that the Christian isn’t concerned regarding societies abandonment of Christian values and nor should they be silent on such matters. As Mohler also says,

“We should not pray for Christian morality to disappear or for Christian values to evaporate. We should not pray to live in Sodom or in Vanity Fair. But a culture marked even by Christian values is in desperate need of evangelism, and that evangelism requires the knowledge that Christian values and the gospel of Jesus Christ are not the same thing.”

The point is, we as God’s people are to make the gospel known because only the gospel’s power can bring true and eternal change to a sinner’s plight. We are to preach the gospel!

We always thank God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, when we pray for you, since we heard of your faith in Christ Jesus and of the love that you have for all the saints, because of the hope laid up for you in heaven. Of this you have heard before in the word of the truth, the gospel, which has come to you, as indeed in the whole world it is bearing fruit and growing—as it also does among you, since the day you heard it and understood the grace of God in truth,

16 For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek.

Why should we pray against gay marriage?

At one of our church’s recent corporate prayer meeting, we prayed for our nation. We prayed that the government would not legalise gay marriage, that the horrific practise of abortion would cease. More broadly, we prayed that our nation’s slide toward paganism would be slowed. Why do we pray for these things? Why do we need to contend for social, moral, and political issues? I was reminded of one of my favourite quotes from the great J. Gresham Machen. He explains an important reason why Christians must contend for these sorts of issues:

“We are all agreed that at least one great function of the Church is the conversion of individual men. The missionary movement is the great religious movement of our day. Now it is perfectly true that men must Continue reading Why should we pray against gay marriage?