Volume. XXX, No. 32
Sunday, 31 January 2016


From the Pastors Heart: The Gospel, the Hope of Mankind (2)


My previous article finished with a statement, “These signs [sinful and negative signs of the society and lifestyles] are not the signs of the final day of Christian churches but of the world.”  Lessening Christian influences in the world is not a sign of dying Christianity and Christian messages, but of the world.  If all civilizations are destined to perish, then we must understand that the weakening culture of the West (seemingly influenced by some aspects of Christian religion) should not be considered as the weakening of its messages.  Christianity is not the same as the contemporary culture, though the latter does have some (only som­e, not all) reflections of Christian spirit and biblical truths. 

If we look into the present day culture or cultural views of so-called post-Christian scholars, it seems that there is in fact no clear culture, except being liberal in the world, by which really nothing matters.  All religions are the same, they say, either good or bad.  All teachings are equally good and bad, and everything is up to how individuals consider them.  Truth should not be talked of in terms of its absoluteness but only of its fluidity.  Progress so-called academics propose is rather irresponsible and even anarchistic.  In most cases, they think that Christianity is an oppressive force and any signs of Christian ideals are equally oppressive.  Thus, removing them is a progress, they argue.  Traditionally, Christian ideals like human dignity, freedom, and personal responsibility have been losing ground.  Since some years ago, there has been a movement in the UK that Muslims must have their own sharia court to deal with legal issues.  I am not an expert on this particular religion or its sharia law.  However, there were a few interesting articles about the issue amongst Muslims themselves, carried by major newspapers in the country.  I remember one particular article written by a Muslim woman for her fellow Muslim women, in which she argued that the allowance of such a practice in the UK would bring Muslim women back to the oppressed status as in many countries.  She said that she wanted liberty and freedom.  Some people’s subjective views of religious freedom will cause Muslim women in the UK to live as second class citizens under the supervision of male counterparts. 

The Telegraph reported on Feb. 8, 2008 that “Dr [Rowan] Williams [then Archbishop of Canterbury] said the argument that ‘there's one law for everybody’ was ‘a bit of a danger’ and called for ‘a constructive accommodation’ with aspects of Muslim law.”  “Dr Williams appeared to suggest that sharia law should be recognised as an officially sanctioned alternative to British law in areas such as marriage, divorce and inheritance.”  Even church leaders like him think that only such broad and liberal views could make progress.  The same news article said, “Sharia is the body of Islamic law implemented in some Muslim countries, including Saudi Arabia, Libya and Sudan. In some, it is associated with draconian punishments for crimes such as theft, adultery or blasphemy, such as amputation of limbs, death by stoning or use of the lash.  In Afghanistan, a student who downloaded a report on women's rights from the internet is facing the death penalty.  Women's rights are curtailed in many countries. Some interpretations of the law mean women have to cover themselves from head to toe in burkas when they go out.”  It seems that both human dignity and freedom are in danger.  Maybe a recent incident known as the “Affluenza” case in the US is a good example of how much erosion has been already made against the ideas of human responsibility and accountability in our society.  A wealthy family spoilt their son even to the extent of his not recognizing what is wrong and what is right (this is his lawyers’ argument on his behalf).   Thus, even after killing four people and wounding a few others by his drink-driving, he did not have to be jailed but received 10 years' probation.  He could not possibly know that it was wrong for him to drive while under the influence of alcohol and kill someone.  Though there were casualties, there was no way that he could be punished for a crime he could neither recognize nor understand.  His lawyers coined the term, affluenza, and the judge bought the idea. 

I personally think that such ridiculous developments in modern society is a direct result of wrong ideas of progress.  People mostly understand progress in terms of technological developments and improvements, while suppressing Christian ideals.  Borrowing biblical terminology, I may say, “the ungodly and the unrighteous ‘hold the truth in unrighteousness.’”  Science becomes divine, and Christian and biblical ideals are despised.  It is quite striking to know that the logic used behind the legalization of abortion and homosexuality can be used in favor of polyamory, polygamy, pedophilia and incest (Os Guinness, Renaissance, Kindle loc. 215).  The world claims it to be progress, while I would say it is regression.  If the world keeps up this pace, it is not too hard to see what kind of future society and family we will have.  If the world wishes to continue such moral and ethical downturns (that is, if the world really believes that it knows what it is to be moral and ethical), then it will get what it aspires to have.  It is not because God is ignorant or powerless but because God deals with it according to His own wisdom.  Thus, He will “give them up unto uncleanness” (Romans 1:24a) and “give them up unto vile affections” (1:26a).  We must notice two important lessons about modern man and culture: (1) Man makes his own choices.  If a modern man wishes to see lightening hit him as a sign of the existence of God, when he blasphemes the Almighty, he will be disappointed by two things: (a) he may not get knocked down by lightening (who knows, he may get hit though), and (b) he will get something like that some day in the future.  At any rate, the ungodly and unrighteous man should know that he makes choices concerning what he wants.  His ability to make choices is not a sign of his omnipotence.  He is given over to such a state in which he makes bad choices.  God permits him to do so: (2) Man will face the consequences of his choices.  He will not be 'let off the hook.'  Therefore, we ought not to be discouraged when we see a more and more secularized and sinful world, as if it is a sign of eternal defeats of the Church of Christ.  Rather, the sinful world will become even more sinful, which is under the watchful eyes of the perfect wisdom and knowledge of God.

Such an understanding of the world, culture, and dwindling Christian ideals in society must both surprise and challenge the liberal camps under the banner of Christianity.  They think that the old-time biblical faith is not sustainable.  They think that “thus saith the Lord” is not a confessional formula to modern society any more.  Thus, they have devised many ways to accommodate the mind of the world.  They want to change the message of the Church of Christ.  The cross is too bloody, and guilt and sin are too gloomy.  They redefine Christian messages that will not offend modern man.  However, the very nature of the message of Christ is either a stumbling block or foolishness to the unbelieving world.  The message of Christ is only a sign of weakness and foolishness to those who claim to be wise in the world.  If we remove these characteristics from the messages of Christ and the Christian faith, we do not have any more messages to preach!  The liberals have changed the messages with a firm conviction that these changes are good for Christian churches.  Alas, there is no goodness in them at all.  The liberals argue that changing the messages is a way to make their churches live, but they have effectively killed them!  They think that the churches’ acceptance of this present culture is a way to live, but they are slowly dying.  They have changed their preaching, worship styles, music, and so on.  They are mistaken.  They are misled.  They have changed their churches, not the world!  I’ll continue . . . .

Lovingly,
Your Pastor


More Lively Hope

 

Announcements

*Baptism, Re-Affirmation & Membership Transfer will be held on 28 Feb. Candidates to submit testimonies to Pastor Ki no later than 14 Feb & attend a meeting with Session on 21 Feb.
*Easter Family Bible Camp - Volunteers required for the Camp Committee. Please contact Dn Colin Gan if you can help. First meeting next week. 
*Information (e.g. procedures, etc.) regarding property in Magill will be updated by Session.

Praise & Thanksgiving

  1. Journey mercies: all arriving safely at their destinations.
  2. Visitors & new worshippers.
  3. God’s daily mercy, guidance & blessings.
  4. Safe labour & delivery.

Prayer Items

  1. Health & God’s healing - Pastor Ki; Dr Gary Cohen (USA), Dr SH Tow (S’pore); Rev Patrick Tan (S’pore) & George van Buuren; Rev Edward & Sis Lehia Paauwe; & others in affliction.
  2. iSketch & Tell Ministry: Pr Hai Seng Lim’s ministry in Melbourne.
  3. Cambodia Missions - Bro Sopheak & Ministry (Kampot); Bro Srum Chivan & Ministry (Sihanoukville).
  4. New Life BPC (London) - Dr Carl Martin; God’s guidance & encouragement for congregation.
  5. Providence B-P Church, Mawson Lakes - Ps David & Sis Susan Weng, & congregation.
  6. Youth & Assistant Pastor for Hope B-P Church.
  7. Journey mercies: all those who are travelling during the summer vacation.
  8. Postnatal healing.
  9. Interpreters of sermon into Mandarin.
  10. Jobs: Those seeking for jobs in Adelaide.
  11. Persecuted believers in Islamic countries & Communist countries (N Korea, China & Vietnam).
  12. God’s guidance & provision of new church property for worship, office & fellowship activities.
  13. Australia: Wisdom and guidance for our political leaders.
  14. Hopefuls working away.

 

 

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PO Box 398, Fullarton, Adelaide, South Australia 5063