Sunday, 26 January 2014

Want a blossoming democracy today?

The solution is simple—if you have a time machine: Send a 19th-century missionary.
That from a great piece at CT charting the innumerable (and often assumed) blessings of Christianity on our world.

Here is another taster:
Areas where Protestant missionaries had a significant presence in the past are on average more economically developed today, with comparatively better health, lower infant mortality, lower corruption, greater literacy, higher educational attainment (especially for women), and more robust membership in nongovernmental associations.
Read the full thing here

Thursday, 23 January 2014

Irony alert: Putin's Russia now the defender of the Faith

Over at the BBC, there is an interview of Valdimir Putin where he specifies what his opposition homosexuality is primarily about:
“We don’t have a ban on non-traditional sexual relations,” he said. “We have a ban on promoting homosexuality and paedophilia among minors.”
How ironic that Russia which for so long was an avidly atheist state, should now become a defender of Christian values, and invoke the ire of the leaders of the USA and the UK, both with a strong historical Christian heritage.

Long live Mother Russia!

Monday, 20 January 2014

Debunking the overpopulation myth in 3 easy steps

An interesting read from the Population Research Institute with some illuminating graphics (see left) and fun statistics e.g:
- Demographers estimate that at least 20 billion people lived on earth between the years 8000 B.C. and 0 A.D. (That’s right, the idea that half of all people who have ever lived are alive currently is a myth!)
-  Plankton make up 3 times more biomass than all 7 billion humans combined.
- Every man, woman, and child on earth could each have 5 acres of land.
- Every man, woman, and child on earth could each have a half acre of arable land.
- If we wanted to squeeze close, everyone in the world could stand shoulder-to-shoulder on the island of Zanzibar.
Check out the full article here

Friday, 17 January 2014

Tremendous growth while drinking beer with friends

Was Luther's experience:
In short, I will preach it [the Word], teach it, write it, but I will constrain no man by force, for faith I must come freely without compulsion. Take myself as an example. I opposed indulgences and all the papists, but never with force. I simply taught, preached, and wrote God's Word; otherwise I did nothing. And while I slept, or drank Wittenberg beer with my friends Philip and Amsdorf, the Word so greatly weakened the papacy that no prince or emperor ever inflicted such losses upon it. I did nothing; the Word did everything.

Friday, 10 January 2014

Heaven or Hell - you decide

Wilt thou leave thy sins and go to heaven, or have thy sins and go to hell?

— John Bunyan.

Saturday, 4 January 2014

Coldplay channelling Resurrection

I listened properly to Coldplay's Lost last night after hearing it played as part of the soundtrack to this good film. I'm not sure if I'd heard it before but it's nigh impossible not to recognise Chris Martin's inimitable voice. Once the film was over I googled it and have been playing it, on repeat ever since (bar 8 hours of sleep ;) The comments on the song's youtube page show me I'm not alone. From the little research I've done (on the *reliable* Wikipedia) it appears the song was written to express a sense of band's bereftness at the end of a big tour. That said, the opening lines are surely a haunting and profound way for the Christian to express our wonderful hope in the Resurrection:
Just because I'm losing
doesn't mean I'm lost
I can picture this being said by the various people I've visited who were on the final leg of this earthly race, peering into the face of eternity but, with one slight modification:
Just because I'm losing
doesn't mean I'm Lost.
No believer is ever capital L Lost. We may suffer and cry and hurt and ultimately die but in the end we will have the final laugh on death! That is part of the wonder of what we've just celebrated at Christmas. That because God sent His Son into the world, we can, through Him - Jesus Christ - be called children of God. And some day (thousands of years from now!) He will come again to judge the living and the dead and then welcome all who are His to a life where there will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain (Revelation 21:1-8). The future as they say is bright (for the Christian). It may be dark and painful now but then, when Christ returns, it will be feasting, fellowship and endless fun (Isaiah 25:6-8). St Paul puts it movingly in his magisterial passage on the Resurrection:
Where, O death, is your victory?
   Where, O death is your sting? 
The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law. But thanks be to God! He gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.
Amen and Amen.

Thursday, 2 January 2014

7 ways to be a greater lover

Doug Wilson on fine fine form with his first post of the year, detailing how we to are love the LORD better. He sets the scene with this verse:

The fear of the Lord is hatred of evil.
Pride and arrogance and the way of evil
    and perverted speech I hate (Proverbs 8:13)

Then makes this striking observation:
We should be able to immediately see that there is no virtue or vice to be found in a transitive verb. By themselves as verbs, love is not good and hatred is not bad. Everything rides on the the direct object. If you love your mom, that is great, but if you love child porn - same verb and everything - you are being wicked. In order to honor God, the right verb has to be lined up with the right direct object. Genuine love lines up with certain things so does true-hearted hate.
So what are the 7 things to be a greater lover/better hater. In summary, they are:

1)  Learn to love properly e.g. delighting in God's word, actively loving our spouse, children, grandchildren etc.

2)  Learn to hate hypocrisy i.e. don't hate other people's sins more than your own

3)  Learn to hate jargon, buzzwords, cant and Kant. No solid examples given here but I guess he has in sights things like 'edgy', 'missional', 'gospel-centred' etc.

4)  Learn to hate every form of egalitarianism, feminism, metrosexuality [...] and androgyny. In other words, ever since our division as a race into male and female, the true believers have responded with a hearty vive la diffĂ©rence.

5) Learn to hate every attempt to turn the Scripture on itself. That is, we are to remember that the Scriptures are coherent. One good step towards this is to say No! No! No! to red letter bibles.

6) Learn to hate every form of coercion that is not mandated by God Himself. Cameron, Barak Obama, The EU beware!

7) Learn to hate the suggestion made by some Christians (some evangelicals even!) that we are to take no prisoners. But what of Matthew 28:19-20?

Read the full thing here - it will stir you soul and set you up to be a better lover in 2014.