12 Rules for Life – An Antidote to Chaos by Jordan B. Peterson (Review Article by Dr John Ling)

Dr John Ling has written a ‘review’ article of ’12 Rules for life’ by Jordan Peterson (Follow this link and go to Articles). So this a few comments on John’s ‘review’. However, a review is understating it! John writes:

This article was not what I originally had in mind – I thought it would be a simple, snappy review.  Instead, it rather ran away with me to the tune of 19,000 words!  Also it has turned out to be a rather unconventional review-cum-synopsis-cum-précis with a multitude of quotations.

Whatever we call it, his review is worth reading. Why? Jordan Peterson is everywhere, mostly on YouTube ‘destroying’ someone. So we (Christians) ought to know something about his book. John’s review is so comprehensive I’m not sure I need to read the real thing now. Especially as it’s gone up to £11.99 I might have to wait for it to appear in The Works for a Fiver!

I should restate, that as far as we know, Dr Peterson is not a Christian – not yet anyway. Please pray for him. Please read the ‘review’. It’s a valuable contribution to The Peterson phenomenon.

One more quote from John:

It is reminiscent of the Enlightenment’s doomed attempt at Christian virtue without embracing Christian truth – a wanting the fruits without the roots.’  At base level, Peterson’s stance is one of moral rearmament – turn over a new leaf, pull yourself up by your bootstraps.  Maybe, just maybe, Peterson will come into a full-orbed understanding of true Christianity.  Wouldn’t that be wonderful?

For all that, given Common Grace, Peterson is saying many things we Christians can support (read the review). I certainly don’t reject him at all. If I do read the book – and I think I ought to – my ‘insights’ will probably be far less insightful but definitely briefer.

Thank you, John, for the article.

 

 

 

Can the Ungodly or Atheist be ‘Nice’?

On a BBC Radio 5 Live broadcast yesterday, the discussion (phone in) was to do with the dismissal of Sarah Kuteh by the NHS for offering to pray for a patient. Let me set that aside for a moment. But a rather strident Atheist called in and said he would be apoplectic if someone offered to pray for him or his loved one when they were at their lowest. I have some sympathy with that. But what struck me was his claim that believers, Christians in this case, didn’t think Atheists are capable of doing ‘good’. I was glad that another caller attempted to correct him, but the guy was so wound up it probably fell on ears that were at that time unable to hear it. I have heard this claim before. It certainly isn’t something I believe and I’m not aware of ever being taught it either. Let me say now: If Christians say Atheists are incapable of doing good or being nice, those Christians are quite frankly, wrong.

This morning I read the following in Acts. Before I briefly comment on it here’s the passage;

Act 28:1-10
(1) After we were brought safely through, we then learned that the island was called Malta.
(2) The native people showed us unusual kindness, for they kindled a fire and welcomed us all, because it had begun to rain and was cold.
(3) When Paul had gathered a bundle of sticks and put them on the fire, a viper came out because of the heat and fastened on his hand.
(4) When the native people saw the creature hanging from his hand, they said to one another, “No doubt this man is a murderer. Though he has escaped from the sea, Justice has not allowed him to live.”
(5) He, however, shook off the creature into the fire and suffered no harm.
(6) They were waiting for him to swell up or suddenly fall down dead. But when they had waited a long time and saw no misfortune come to him, they changed their minds and said that he was a god.
(7) Now in the neighborhood of that place were lands belonging to the chief man of the island, named Publius, who received us and entertained us hospitably for three days.
(8) It happened that the father of Publius lay sick with fever and dysentery. And Paul visited him and prayed, and putting his hands on him healed him.
(9) And when this had taken place, the rest of the people on the island who had diseases also came and were cured.
(10) They also honored us greatly, and when we were about to sail, they put on board whatever we needed.

Notice in verse 2 that Paul records how ‘the native people showed us unusual kindness’. The people of Malta welcomed them all. The people on Malta did not believe in the God of Paul, that is, the ONLY True God, the Christian God. Either way you look at it, from the perspective of Paul these people were at best pagans. And yet he describes them as having shown unusual kindness. Also, notice in verse 7 how ‘Publius… received us and entertained us hospitably for three days’. It seems the people of Malta were kind and hospitable. And Paul records the fact of it. So, I have no idea where people like the ‘phone-in’ Atheist get the idea from that Atheists cannot perform acts of kindness, but it isn’t from the Bible. The fact is, God in His kindness has poured Common Grace into our world and into the lives of the people who live in the world. So much so that I can recognise that there are many many kind people out there that aren’t Christians and can even be full-blown antagonistic Atheists that are hospitable, kind and welcoming. I have experienced kindness from many an Atheist and I’m thankful for it and for them.

What the Atheist cannot do is explain their acts of kindness. Where does this kindness come from? As a Christian, I can explain it. I see works of art, I hear incredible music, read amazing stories, see films that are masterpieces of art and I can explain where it all comes from. And many of these things come from the creative genius of Atheists. Where from? Who decides good and bad in an impersonal uncaring universe? Vlad the impaler? Hitler? Stalin? Polpot? No. There’s a standard. And my dear Atheist friends cannot live in an impersonal uncaring world, and truth be told they wouldn’t want to either. And because of the Common Grace of God; most of the time we don’t live in an uncaring world. And we should all be thankful for that.

I do take the point that dealing with people at their lowest requires great sensitivity. And we can all fail at that. But as for the apoplexy of our Atheist friend at the offer of prayer. What would he rather have? I suppose silence and a gentle squeeze of the arm can do a lot of good. Nothing can stop us praying for people. We don’t always have to tell them we are praying for them as if God needs some psychology to help. But in an Atheist world, the approaching death of a loved one, or a serious illness can honestly be met with a, so what. But who would want that? No one. Only the cruelest of people would say that. And yet, we hear that very thing argued by Atheists. They might argue it, but they can’t live it.

Contrary to what I said above, I do have an idea where the notion comes from. That Atheists can do no good. What has happened is a category error (If I have that right). When it comes to Salvation and doing good to impress God enough to let us into heaven; there isn’t one of that can do that. And I mean No One. The fact that none of us can perform anything, including acts of kindness, meant God Himself had to intervene. We daily see and experience acts of kindness. Atheists can be kind just like anyone else. But their kindness will not get them into heaven. And neither will mine. There’s the category error right there.

So just how did God intervene? Well, this is what Christmas is all about. It’s about God sending a Saviour. I’m sure many an Atheist will be singing about it over Christmas. And some will be glad to sing of God being made incomprehensibly man. Of Jesus being born that man no more may die, of the Incarnate Deity. God entered into history. These things were not done in a corner. They didn’t happen secretly. The Gospels in the New Testament record these events. It’s astonishing, but all we are required to do is place our trust in what God has done – especially in the Cross. Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and you will be saved. This Christmas, may you believe and be saved. AMEN.

Series on Ecclesiastes – A Reccomendation

IMG_2896This series on the Book of Ecclesiastes is by Pr Jeremy Rhode. Pr Rhode is a Lutheran minister of Faith Lutheran Church, Capistrano Beach, California. I am not a Lutheran but am finding this series to not only be extremely helpful and challenging but actually quite enthralling. He’s a good speaker. The series are made up of teaching sessions to his church. He says this book is about Solomon – via the Holy Spirit – gripping us by the neck and forcing us to look into the Abyss. You may remember the famous courtroom scene in ‘A Few Good Men’ where Tom Cruise asks for the truth and Jack Nicholson shouts back at him – ‘You can’t handle The Truth’. Well, can you? Christian, you would benefit from hearing this. And if you aren’t a Christian you really really need to hear this!

If there was ever a book needed for our time – the Book of Ecclesiastes is it. It is hard-hitting and does not shy away from telling us how it really is. Ultimately life without Christ is meaningless. Disagree? You need to hear him out.

Some listeners may balk at some of his doctrinal emphases. And you may wish he phrased things a little differently or in the way he makes some of his points. But that aside, I commend this series to anyone that has the courage to face up to reality. There’s a challenge for you! At the time of writing, I am at Lesson 9 of 24.

Follow This Link and see the feeds at the top of the page or download individual lectures.

HT. I came across this series via a recommendation from Chris Roseborough of Fighting for the Faith. Check his stuff out as well. Chris is also a Lutheran minister.

What Is Reformation Day? | 5 Minutes in Church History

What is Reformation Day? In this episode of 5 Minutes in Church History, Dr. Stephen Nichols explains the significance of October 31, 1517 and why Christians

Source: What Is Reformation Day? | 5 Minutes in Church History

A great thing about Reformation Day is that it is NOT an alternative to Halloween. An excellent 5 minutes of your time.

 

An Important Lesson from a Christian Academic

Vern Poythress
Vern Poythress (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I was (awe) struck by the list of qualifications that belong to Dr Vern Poythress.

B.S. in Mathematics – California Institute of Technology
Ph.D. in Mathematics – Harvard University
M.Div. Westminster Theological Seminary
Th.M. in Apologetics – Westminster Theological Seminary
M.Litt. in New Testament – University of Cambridge
Th.D. in New Testament – University of Stellenbosch, Stellenbosch, South Africa

I hope Dr Poythress will forgive me but as impressive as that list is (and it is), there is ONE vitally important thing this teaches us. And I hope Christian academics will be in agreement.

The ONE main lesson it teaches is that rejecting the truth claims of the Christian faith has absolutely NOTHING to do with learning or intelligence – despite what Richard Dawkins (and others) may say. Not a single person rejects Christ because they have a superior intellect but because they are just like everyone else, sinners, rebelling against their Creator and God. They are just the same as those that rejected Christ when He was on earth ‘We will not have this man rule over us’ (Luke 19:14). But praise God, this man (Jesus) receives sinners (Luke 15:2)! The question is, who is this man? (Heb 1:3)

Let me put it another way. If you are rejecting Christ because you believe you have a superior intellect; seriously, you must be living in Trumpton.

Contrasting Wealthy Evangelists (so-called) with how we know it ought to be

I have just finished reading ‘Cold Case Christianity’ by J Warner Wallace and I hope to post a review here soon. For now I’d like to comment on a passage I recently read in the book.

The passage below so stood out that it deserves a post on its own. Wallace is showing how the motive of the Apostles was not financial. Crime has at least one of three motivations says Wallace. They are Money, Relational / Sexual and Power. If the Apostolic writing was false it would reveal itself through a motivation to fabricate the truth by any or all of the above. Wallace clearly showed there was no hint of financial motive (or the other two). This is in stark contrast to popular so-called Christian ministries that we see today. The whole motivation is clearly financial. If these ‘Jet-Setting’ ‘Evangelists’ were the writers of the New Testament the charge of a financial motive would be easy to make. Thank God the New Testament writers were men motivated by a love for Jesus Christ and the Truth of the Gospel instead of money.

There’s much more, but here’s a lengthy paragraph from Cold Case Christianity exonerating the Apostles, but at the same time condemning much of what passes for Christian ministry today.

There are many ancient accounts describing the lives of the apostles following the period of time recorded in the book of Acts. Local believers in a variety of ancient communities wrote about the activities of the individual disciples as they preached the gospel across the region. None of these texts describe any of the disciples as men who possessed material wealth. The disciples repeatedly appear as men who were chased from location to location, continually abandoning whatever property they owned and vacating whatever homes they were borrowing. The disciples were accustomed to living in this manner; they decided to leave their homes and families when they first began to follow Jesus. Peter acknowledged as much when he told Jesus, “Behold, we have left our own homes and followed You” (Luke 18:28). The disciples rejected all material wealth, believing that the truth of the gospel provided eternal life, something that was vastly more valuable. Paul described their impoverished financial condition many times, reminding his listeners that the apostles were “both hungry and thirsty, and [were] poorly clothed, and [were] roughly treated, and [were] homeless” (1 Cor. 4:11). The apostles lived “as unknown yet well-known, as dying yet behold, we live; as punished yet not put to death, as sorrowful yet always rejoicing, as poor yet making many rich, as having nothing yet possessing all things” (2 Cor. 6:9–10). If the disciples and apostles were lying for financial gain, their lies didn’t seem to be working. Those who watched Paul closely knew that he was dedicated to spiritual life rather than material gain; he “coveted no one’s silver or gold or clothes” (Acts 20:33). Cold Case Christianity p. 241. (Kindle).

It’s a common accusation that Ministers of the Gospel are in it for the money. This is partly why many congregations have stopped having an offering that passes round the ‘money-bag’ – and rightly so in my opinion (But, we ought o incorporate thanks to God). We do not want the un-believer or visitor to think we want their money. I believe we ought to be careful not to give the wrong impression. I definitely do not believe the Ministers or Pastors of our churches should be on the edge of poverty to have any credibility, but neither should they be living in the lap of luxury. I remember some years ago our Pastor (not my current Pastor) went to Australia to minister and the people I worked with saw this as proof that he was in it for the money. It took some doing to persuade them otherwise – but it can be a hard case to make. Ministers or Pastors if at all possible should not be overtaken with cares for the phone bill or the electric bill or car repairs or other bills in order to concentrate on ministering the Word of God to the local Church. Dealing with people on a regular basis and expounding the scripture is care and responsibility enough, without having to be forever worrying about the next bill to drop through the letter box. We should care for our Pastors.

It is challenging. But in the circles I move in, I can’t think of a single Gospel Minister that I personally know who is in it for the money, but are zealous for the Gospel, have a heart for the lost, care for the people of God and are workmen that need not be ashamed (2 Tim 2:15), are worthy of their hire (1 Tim 5:18) and are not lovers of money (1 Tim 3:3).

What the contrast shows is that the wealth & health prosperity preachers and their acolytes at best have completely misunderstood the Gospel, or at worst are charlatans, pretenders, distorters and blasphemers: and may not even be Christians at all! Didn’t Jesus say ‘Depart from me, I never knew you’ (Matthew 7:21-23) to those that claimed to be doing wonders for God. Terrible words. Be sure it isn’t said of any of us. All of us need to hold onto what the Lord have given us with a loose hand – and by His Grace we will.

The Gay Revolution: Discussion with Jeff Durbin, Dr James White & Dr Michael Brown

Well worth your time watching this. Share it.

Also watch via Dr White’s Website HERE.

 

Ideology Defined

When I first read this it seemed like an excellent definition of Ideology. It still is, here it is below for your consideration. The quote is from: Above All Earthly Powers: Christ in a Postmodern World by David F. Wells. page 25.


‘What the Enlightenment ideology did was to provide an interpretive grid, an all-encompassing understanding, that was laid over the whole of life. This understanding was not much a worldview as an ideology. Ideologies, we might say, are worldviews with an attitude. The intent of every ideology is to control. With the passage of time and the desire to be triumphant, ideologies tend to become simplistic. They find acceptance because they tap into our need, the Canadian writer John Saul says, “to believe in single-stroke, cure all solutions” often presenting us with stark alternatives: “Accept the ideology or perish. Pay the debt or go bankrupt. Nationalize or starve. Privatize or go moribund. Kill inflation or lose all your money.”

Because they leave only one way out, they become coercive. At the same time, ideologies create a sense of inevitability about themselves. They produce passivity in people because what is inevitable cannot be resisted. And they breed intolerance of those who might be opposed to their understanding of life or might raise questions about it. It is these characteristics which help explain why it is so difficult to challenge an ideology once it has been socially ensconced. And yet this is exactly what has been happening with the Enlightenment ideology since the 1960’s.’


 

A Bad Day for Free Speech

My off the cuff comments:

It’s funny thing to carry on as if nothing is happening, or has happened. Most will though, and simply carry on as if nothing has happened. But while we all (rightly) go about our daily business Free Speech & The Freedom of Religion has taken another battering. The ruling over Asher’s Bakery means the end of conscience. It’s clear from todays ruling that conscience, that most precious gift from God, must be aligned with another’s subjective view of how conscience is to be informed. As Christians we believe our conscience is to be informed primarily by a right application of the Word of God – The Bible. There can only be one, ultimately, objective source of ‘right & wrong’ of morality. In our day we are seeing the last vestiges of a ‘right’ means to inform the conscience being dismantled. While the Word of God and the Christian faith continues to be sidelined we ask what is the standard to be applied. It does appear to be the case, that where a conflict occurs between ‘rights’ it will in most cases automatically defer to the Anti-Christian position. But the reality is this; without an objective view of morality supplied by the Word of God the West collectively will slowly but surely itself be sidelined in favour of other civilisations. There is no ‘God-given’ ‘right’ to the West. It will eventually implode on itself. That doesn’t mean the West will disappear, or cease to be a strong economy or the place where many people will seek to find refuge. But it does mean morality will be defined ‘on the hoof’. The situation, or money, or power, or personality, or sexual orientation will decide on all moral cases. This is what must happen when the Bible is abandoned.

The Terrifying Theresa Targets (In)Tolerance

This mornings interview (BBC ‘Today’ programme) with Theresa May was truly terrifying. Amazingly John Humphreys actually asked her if someone were to have a different view about Same-Sex Marriage or Homosexuality: would they fall under the cudgel of her totalitarian proposal. She manged to side-step the great JH but he asked her again, and again but eventually gave up as Ms May gave him the old one two and slipped past him until the topic changed to a more convenient one.

I have no idea what she means by ‘British Values’ or just ‘Values’ but she just kept repeating it like a mantra instead of telling us what it is. ‘British Values’ is one of the clubs Ms May will be beating us with. I suppose we are all supposed to just roll over and go back to sleep and let the Government machine bump its way over our freedoms. Freedoms, I might add, that were fought for by our Fathers. They NEVER fought for this. The other two words used were ‘Extremism’ and ‘Tolerance’. No explanation was forthcoming.

“When I use a word,’ Humpty Dumpty said in rather a scornful tone, ‘it means just what I choose it to mean — neither more nor less.”
“The question is,” said Alice, “whether you can make words mean so many different things.”
“The question is,” said Humpty Dumpty, “which is to be master— that’s all.”

Best get Humpty Dumpty to define them for all the good it will do to get a definition out of Ms May. We’ll find out what they mean soon enough when more Christians (and probably others, including Atheists) are hauled before the courts for daring to buck the secularist / ‘tolerant’ ideology.

The following excerpts are from a BBC News article: New laws to target radicalisation

David Cameron is to set out a string of new powers to tackle radicalisation, saying the UK has been a “passively tolerant society” for too long.
The PM will tell the National Security Council a counter-extremism bill will be in the Queen’s Speech on 27 May.
The bill will include new immigration rules, powers to close down premises used by extremists and “extremism disruption orders”.
Mr Cameron will say a “poisonous” extremist ideology must be confronted.

And of great concern is this little gem:

She said: “What we are proposing is a bill which will have certain measures within it, measures such as introducing banning orders for groups and disruption orders for individuals, for those who are out there actively trying to promote this hatred and intolerance which can lead to division in our society and undermines our British values.
“But it will be part of a bigger picture , a strategy which will also have as a key part of it actually promoting our British values, our values of democracy, rule of law, tolerance and acceptance of different faiths.”
The measures, she added, will focus on “extremism of all sorts… that is seeking to promote hatred, that is seeking to divide our society, that is seeking to undermine the very values that make us a great country to live in”.

Nowhere are any terms defined. But don’t worry, I’m sure Humpty Dumpty will be on hand to provide one as required. It’s completely bonkers and terrifying. Ironically The Queen is ‘Defender of the Faith’ but will be approving measures designed to destroy it on 27th May.

Some trust in chariots and some in horses, but we trust in the name of the LORD our God.
They collapse and fall, but we rise and stand upright.
O LORD, save the king! May he answer us when we call.
Psalm 20: 7-9