Volume. XXX, No. 38
Sunday, 13 March 2016


From The Pastors Heart: The Gospel, the Hope of Mankind (3)


The leading thinkers of the world despise and deride the Christian faith and religion.  They have found some allies from liberal theologians, which is a clever strategy.  They recognize the need to discredit Christianity by using professing Christians and their studies to promote their views.  They have been successful.  For example, the gay liberation movement and the transgender movement looked to liberal theologians who helped further their cause.  “One of the most oft-cited theological authorities in the transgender movement is Virginia Ramey Mollenkott, who, at one point in her life, identified herself as an evangelical and pioneered the Evangelical Women’s Caucus (The Evangelical Women’s Caucus was established to advocate feminist concerns within the evangelical movement. It divided after years of acrimony over the question of lesbianism.)”  See S. Sue Horner, “Trying to Be God in the World: The Story of the Evangelical Women’s Caucus and the Crisis over Homosexuality,” in Gender, Ethnicity, and Religion: Views from the Other Side, ed. Rosemary Radford Ruether, Minneapolis: Fortress Press, 2002, 99–124).  Now, Mollenkott advocates the concept of “omnigender,” which promises to overcome the gender conflict by denying the objective reality of gender altogether (Omnigender: A Trans-Religious Approach, Cleveland: Pilgrim Press, 2007, 8).  The following is what she said in the page quoted above: “People who dislike my proposal of an omnigender social construct will no doubt do so out of loyalty to the idea that there really is an essential feminine and masculine binary that is either God’s will or nature’s perpetual norm or both.  Ironically, they will cling to this essentialist gender construct by denying that gender is socially constructed in any way.”  I cannot but agree with Paul, as he says in Romans 1:22, “Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools.”  Søren Kierkegaard said, “The thought of Christianity was to want to change everything. . . . Twelve men united on being Christians have recreated the face of the world” (quoted in the supplement to the translator’s introduction in Attack upon “Christendom,” trans. Walter Lowrie, Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 1968, p. xxxiii).  Instead, liberal theologians and church goers have surrendered their thoughts to the thoughts of the ungodly.  The world has changed them.  What they have done is exactly the opposite of what the Bible teaches us to do in 2 Corinthians 10:5, “Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ.”  Giving approval to homosexuality is recognized as something that all intellectuals should do, and showing disapproval is considered the same as medieval bigotry in darkness.  The Gospel has changed the world and has the power to do so.  However, the transforming power of the Gospel has been hidden, twisted, and distorted in their minds and thoughts.  They may think that they are doing God a favor, but it is a great mistake to think that God has to be rescued from His supposedly wrong teachings in the Bible.  They have attempted to do God’s work in their ways.  As a result, even the worthiness of God has disappeared from their minds.  

The liberal wings under the umbrella of Christendom have tried to convince both Bible-believing and sincere believers of Christ and the world that the life of Christianity has almost come to the end and the changing thoughts of God and the Bible are intellectual honesty and cool trends.   They want to be willfully ignorant of the growth of Christianity by putting the secularized West upfront.  Os Guinness referring to Philip Jenkins’s The Next Christendom and Mark Noll’s The New Shape of World Christianity, writes “Most of the focus in these accounts has been on Christian expansion in sub-Saharan Africa and in Asia, especially China.  For example, the growth of the churches radiating out from Henan Province in north central China is said to be the fastest growth of the Christian church in two thousand years, and it is now widely reported that there are more Christians in China than there are members of the Communist Party itself” (Renaissance, Kindle 434).  Evangelical churches are growing in South America.  These reports are contrasted with the sorry state of the churches in the west.  Having mentioned the brighter and more positive side of Christian churches globally, I need to bring my attention to more somber thoughts to prepare for the future of Christian churches.  Or, rather I would like to think of the ways to prevent growing churches from experiencing the same sorry state of the western churches.

First, the Gospel message must be clearly preached and believed.  1 Corinthians 15:1-4 is the text we must uphold again and again, “Moreover, brethren, I declare unto you the gospel which I preached unto you, which also ye have received, and wherein ye stand; 2 By which also ye are saved, if ye keep in memory what I preached unto you, unless ye have believed in vain. 3 For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures; 4 And that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures.”  Over the years, too many additional messages have been added to it, which have either distorted the Gospel or overshadowed it.  I firmly believe that the vilest distortion has been made to the gospel in health and wealth messages.  Especially, it is the danger posing the believers in countries where Christianity experiences its growth at the moment.  We must return to the message of the Gospel, which is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth.  We ought to be reminded that Christ, the Crucified, is in the center of the Gospel message.  Unfortunately, so many other issues have buried the main message.  Thus, Christ has moved either to the shadow or is in the spotlight only as a means for ends including healing, wealth, prosperity, experiences of signs and wonders, or mystical events.  1 Peter 1:25, “But the word of the Lord endureth for ever. And this is the word which by the gospel is preached unto you.”    

Second, teaching and meditating God’s Word must be practiced.  It has been a well-known saying that the growth of Christian faith is “a mile wide and an inch deep.”  Churches have all kinds of programs to bring people in.  Various evangelism programs have been developed and implemented.  However, they cannot deny that they have not had proper follow-ups with proper teaching.  People have not been taught about how to study the Bible for themselves.  They do not know how to meditateon  God’s Word and apply it to their everyday experiences.  Os Guinness quotes some of the church leaders’ own words as following: “when my people hit a problem, they revert to their pre-Christian practices. A husband finds his wife cannot bear children, so he resorts to the witch doctor, or takes a second or third wife.”  “Many of my people are only one unanswered prayer away from leaving the church and resorting to Buddhism or animism to solve their problems.”  People may withstand fiery trials and persecutions from tyrants.  However, they do not know how to live in the world of modernity and materialism.  They begin to fall away from their faith and beliefs.  Generally I would say that there are four types of in terms of their knowledge of the Bible: (1) Ignorant, (2) Partially knowledgeable, (3) Dogmatic knowledge, and (4) Well versed.  The first two types of Christians must make efforts to learn the Bible more.  Otherwise, they will not be able to escape from the shallow and shaky ground of their faith.  They can be easily tossed to and fro.  I would say that the third type could be problematic.  This type of Christians does know and understand the Bible with firm convictions on various issues.  They tend to use the Bible to justify their dogmatic convictions.  At the same time, they can be in danger of unbalanced knowledge of the Bible.  In other words, they are interested in certain topics without knowing the rest of the Bible.  Thus, their interpretations of the scriptures are very much biased.  What they need to achieve is a balance between faith and knowledge, without which their faith may become fragmented.  Thus, their knowledge of faith, Bible, and Christianity becomes preferential based on their preferences.  I’ll continue . . . .

Lovingly,
Your Pastor

More Lively Hope

 

Announcements

Kitchen Roster - Helpers today: Bros Eric Lai & Houston Li; Sis Grace Gan. Next Lord’s Day: Bro Kevin Low; Sisters Jen Xin Li & Jun Lin.
*30th Anniversary Concert rehearsals commenced yesterday. All Hopefuls encouraged to participate. Please see Sis Sally Teng if interested.
*Camp Registration & special diet forms available on sideboard outside Sanctuary.All Hopefuls encouraged to attend this spiritual retreat & fun long weekend.
*Welcome to the new Lively Hope Committee members: Sisters Nicole Chia & Chrisanthi Selvanayagam. Anyone wishing to join this committee, please see Sis Marion Chan.  

Praise & Thanksgiving
Journey mercies: Pastor Okman & Sis Myung Ki (S’pore); Bro Jason & Sis Tabitha Tan & Joel (Adl); Sis Monica Tan & family (Adl); Bros William Song (Phnom Penh) & Jason Teng (Tanzania); Sis Kimberley Gan (Adl); & others arriving safely at their destinations.
Visitors & new worshippers.
God’s daily mercy, guidance & blessings.
Church activities in past week.
Safe procedure: Sis Christabelle Selvanayagam.
God’s provision of job to Hopefuls.
Thanksgiving: Brisbane BPC’s 9th Anniversary.

Prayer Items
Health & God’s healing - Pastor Ki; Dr Gary Cohen (USA), Dr SH Tow (S’pore); Rev Patrick Tan (S’pore) & Rev George van Buuren; Rev Edward & Sis Lehia Paauwe; Grandpa Ki (S’pore); Bro Colin & Sis Kathleen Creaser; Bro Tony & Sis May Zhang; Preacher Zhang (Sihanoukville); Bros Herbert (Dilly) Anderson (Kenya), Raymond Ang’s father (S’pore), Surish Dharmalingam (Laos), Peter Lkayo (Kenya), Elton Law, Tony Law, Tien Lee’s father (Penang), Grant Munchenberg, & Paul Sokha’s daughter– Jemima; Sisters Nita Chong, Margaret Hooper, Myung Ki, Wol Hee Kim & family (S Korea), Grace Gan’s father (healing), Queenie Lau (Canberra), Choon Fong Lee (KL), Margaret Pearson, Yashu Qin’s father (China), Corinne Teng, Susan Weng, Mavis Wong’s mother (salvation); Mr Mang Soo Ong; Bro Peng Cheong Wong; Mr Lucas Lee; Mrs Eva Allocod (stroke-Cebu), Mrs Maggie D’Mello (Mumbai), Mrs Janet Jara (Chile), Mrs Poh Lin Lim (Melb), Mrs Pat Johnson (W Virginia); & others in affliction.
Special Prayer: Sisters Thoko Ngoma (fracture),  Christabelle Selvanayagam (post-procedure) & Linda Tan (S’pore); Mrs Siew Fong Cho (M’sia).
iSketch & Tell Ministry: Pr Hai Seng Lim’s ministry in Melbourne.
Cambodia Missions: Rev David Koo & Ministry; Life University (Sihanoukville); Khmer pastors & families.  
Batam Missions: Sis Ang Liang Phoa & Ministry; Filadefia BPC; orphanage, kindergarten & school.
New Life BPC (London) - Dr Carl Martin; God’s guidance & encouragement for congregation.
Bro Kevin Low & family as he prepares for ministry at Hope BPC.
Providence B-P Church, Mawson Lakes - Ps David & Sis Susan Weng, & congregation.
Youth & Assistant Pastor for Hope B-P Church.
Journey mercies: Pastor Okman & Sis Myung Ki (Adl); Deaconess Joyce Gong (Brisbane); Bro William Song (Adl); Sis Peng Ha Yeo (Melb); & all those who are travelling.
Interpreters of sermon into Mandarin.
Jobs: Those seeking for jobs in Adelaide.
God’s guidance & provision of new church property for worship, office & fellowship activities.
Easter Family Bible Camp: Australian Embassy in US to approve visas for speakers (Dr Johnson & Sis Susan George); & camp preparations.

 

 

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PO Box 398, Fullarton, Adelaide, South Australia 5063