In the Image of God

We had an excellent sermon this morning from Pastor Paul Watts on the text:

Then God said, “Let us make man in our image, after our likeness. And let them have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over the livestock and over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.” Genesis 1:26

As Paul pointed out, being made in the image of God is a vital Biblical Doctrine and has massive implications for the Church and for society.

I recommend listening to this. For young preachers, here is a good example of preaching. Download / link of the sermon HERE.

Theological Testing of Worship Songs

Came across this interesting piece at Premier Christianity Magazine ‘Theology test your worship songs‘. That is good advice and we ought to that with any song including hymns. I haven’t read it all yet, but others might be interested in checking it out. I particularly like the graphic to show the Industrial Complex that Christian music has become.

I won’t comment on it here now, but I have saved it for future reference.

Victory for Christian registrar dismissed for refusing to conduct same-sex ‘marriages’ | Christian Concern

Victory for Christian registrar dismissed for refusing to conduct same-sex ‘marriages’ | Christian Concern.

Cranmer: Canon Andrew White: “You have got to be prepared to die for your faith”

Cranmer: Canon Andrew White: “You have got to be prepared to die for your faith”.

Saw this on BBC ‘Newsnight’ last evening.  Andrew White tells it like it is – Dreadful. Very sobering reading from Cranmer. He is right, Christians do seem to be sidelined.

100 Years ago – Remembering WW1

Lights out for WW1

Lights out for WW1 (Photo credit: mastamark2050)

Yesterday there were many acts of Remembrance all over Europe to commemorate the start of WW1. Westminster Abbey held a ‘full on’ act of Remembrance with readings from The Bible, prayers, letters from soldiers and other (now) historic documents. (They sang a great hymn as well but I can’t recall it – I’ll post it here if I remember.)

It was broadcast live on the BBC so I was able to watch most of it. There was a suitable air of seriousness and solemnity. And we should mark and remember these historic moments. I have to say (US friends would I think agree) No country does pomp & ceremony like we do.

I don’t want to be a killjoy, but it being a Religious act of remembrance is hugely problematic – to me anyway. Most likely not to anyone else. The whole service was a journey into the darkness of war. Candles were extinguished, and as they were, a section of the church was simultaneously plunged into darkness. Very visual. It worked I thought. With this idea of darkness – and even without it – the readings were like an incredible Beam of Light shining into the darkness of a sinful world (apostate church).

At the start of the service these words were read by Reverend John Hall the Dean of Westminster:

 “As we reflect on the failure of the human spirit that led to an inexorable slide into war, let us spend a moment in silent repentance,”

That failure of the human spirit is called sin. And when I heard the ‘call’ to ‘silent repentance’ I wondered what it was we were called to repent of. There is no doubt war is terrible thing, the cost is horrific. Later in the service readings from the Bible put some flesh on it as we were called through the Word of God to ‘return to the Lord’. As much as I appreciated the readings from scripture there needed to be preaching pointedly to the congregation and the Nation as a whole to repent and believe the Gospel. The work of the minister or Pastor is to ‘Herald’ the good news of the Gospel. But it can’t be good news without explaining that ‘we all like sheep have forsaken God, and turned to our own ways’. And that The ‘Lord has laid on Him the iniquity of us all’. We need a Saviour, a Mighty Rescuer to redeem us from the righteous and just Wrath of God.The readings will, I suspect, just be seen as part of the remembrance ceremony and to be discarded on leaving the building.

Imagine the furore the next day in the news – or even during the service – if the Gospel was powerfully proclaimed. If all were named as sinners in need of a Saviour.

This morning I read about Josiah and his reforms in 2 Kings 22 & 23 and 2 Chronicles 34 & 35. The stand out verse, and relevant to our discussion, is found in 2 Kings 22:8 ‘I have found the Book of the Law in the house of the Lord’. Also in 2 Chronicles 34:15. What an irony! The Bible is found in a Church. Upon hearing it read, Josiah tore his clothes as he realised the wrath of God is upon them (2 Kings 22: 13 & 2 Chronicles 34:21). Josiah then sets about reforming the worship and is the only King to put it all right since Solomon introduced false worship hundreds of years earlier.

The dignitaries are gathered, there is much pomp and ceremony. The Word of God is read. But no repentance toward God. ‘O that Thou wouldest rend the heavens and come down’ (Isaiah 64:1). O Lord have mercy on us and our land, grant repentance and faith in The Lord Jesus. Save the people Lord, Save the people and bring Glory to your Son Jesus Christ.

 

Isaiah Speaks – A Word for Today?

Read from Isaiah 59 this morning. Truth & Justice is truly fallen in the streets. I’m thinking of the West now – Such is the consequence of Nations that abandon The Lord & His Christ. The principle is vindicated by what we see happening. God is speaking. Praise God, He still saves all that will call upon Him.

“Ho! Everyone who thirsts,
Come to the waters;
And you who have no money,
Come, buy and eat.
Yes, come, buy wine and milk
Without money and without price.
(Isaiah 55:1)

Isaiah 59:1-8

Separated from God

1 Behold, the Lord’s hand is not shortened,
That it cannot save;
Nor His ear heavy,
That it cannot hear.

2 But your iniquities have separated you from your God;
And your sins have hidden His face from you,
So that He will not hear.

3 For your hands are defiled with blood,
And your fingers with iniquity;
Your lips have spoken lies,
Your tongue has muttered perversity.

4 No one calls for justice,
Nor does any plead for truth.
They trust in empty words and speak lies;
They conceive evil and bring forth iniquity.

5 They hatch vipers’ eggs and weave the spider’s web;
He who eats of their eggs dies,
And from that which is crushed a viper breaks out.

6 Their webs will not become garments,
Nor will they cover themselves with their works;
Their works are works of iniquity,
And the act of violence is in their hands.

7 Their feet run to evil,
And they make haste to shed innocent blood;
Their thoughts are thoughts of iniquity;
Wasting and destruction are in their paths.

8 The way of peace they have not known,
And there is no justice in their ways;
They have made themselves crooked paths;
Whoever takes that way shall not know peace.

Potatoes, Potatoes, Potatoes

Field of Potatoes

Field of Potatoes

On my way to work I stopped to take this picture of a field of potatoes. It made me think of an Autobiography I read years ago by William Jay of Bath. There are only three things I can remember about the book.

1. He ministered in Bath (an old Roman town)

2. It was an unusually long ministry of 60 + years.

And finally, and this is the point of the field of potatoes. William Jay said this,

‘people that put their trust in relatives are like potatoes – the best part is underground’.

What he meant was that when people say ‘my Father or Grandfather was a Christian, or my Mother or Grandmother was a Christian and so on,  they see no need to personally have faith in Christ by repenting and believing the Gospel.

WilliamJ

The Autobiography of William Jay, Banner of Truth

 

‘Get with the Program’ — The Church of England Votes to Ordain Women Bishops – AlbertMohler.com

Al Mohler gives an insightful overview of the recent CofE Synod vote to allow women Bishops.

‘Get with the Program’ — The Church of England Votes to Ordain Women Bishops – AlbertMohler.com.

I fully realise that Conservative Evangelical CofE congregations are able to use the CofE mechanism to further their own evangelistic efforts. But having said that, surely the time is now for those Conservative Ministers & leaders to take their congregation (and  their cash) out of the CofE and to form something else (I have no idea what – but it could be done) that will have doctrinal (Biblical) and historical integrity.

Perhaps Conservative congregations that are ‘bolted’ on to a failing structure also ‘need to get with the program’ and get out. Such a move would I believe be applauded by the general public for taking a stand even if they didn’t fully realise why.

I know, I know, we are all institutionalised to some extent and this makes it very hard to sever the ties. Nevertheless I’m wondering just how far the CofE will need go before conservative Evangelicals will say enough. Personally from where I’m sitting (I’m not an Anglican) it will never happen because in the end the structure no matter how rickety it is will always be more important. I confess to not understanding that.

History Lectures for 2015

We have three excellent lectures lined up for 2015. To whet your appetites here are the details.

16th February 2015
Geoff Thomas
‘The Legacy of Dr Martyn Lloyd-Jones’

23rd March 2015
Andrew Davies
‘George Whitfield and the Evangelical Revival’

20th April 2015
Austin Walker
‘How Pure is the Church? – Augustine and the Donatists’

Geoff Thomas is Pastor of Alfred Place Baptist Church in Aberystwyth.

Andrew Davies is a retired Pastor  with an itinerant ministry and was also a Lecturer in Church History at London Theological Seminary.

Austin Walker is Pastor of Maidenbower Baptist Church in Crawley, Sussex.

All lectures are on a Monday evening at Bulkington Congregational Church and start at 7.30.

Lecture on Arthur Hildersham

I’ve been a bit remiss and neglected to post a link to the last lecture of 2014. Austin Walker was unable to give his lecture (see next post) but Dr Lesley Rowe ably stepped into the breach with her excellent lecture on Arthur Hildersham & the Plague Summer of 1625.

The parallels between then and our own day shouldn’t be lost on the hearer. Here’s the link – enjoy!

Dr Lesley Rowe – Arthur Hildersham