Religion Exposed!

The Tibetan Buddhists’ life consists of constant religious observances to obtain a better reincarnation. The believer is constantly spinning prayers wheels, going on pilgrimages, meditating, prostrating, using prayer beads and going on monastic isolations.  All this to build up merit to improve their karma to gain a better reincarnation, and – if possible – nirvana.

This kind of devotion is not uncommon.

The religious systems of our world are all schemes to obtain merit with God.

Whether you’re Muslim, Buddhist, Hindu, a spiritualist, or whatever, you seek – by your own works – to get God to credit your salvation account.

Religion is spelt D.O. You DO things to get God’s approval.

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The faithlessness of the Word of Faith movement

I’m sure you’ve had contact with the “Word of Faith” movement.  They’re the well-meaning folk who say things like, “You just have to have enough faith”, or “If you speak life into it, it will come true”.

According to Wikipedia,

“The Word of Faith (WoF) movement has many distinctive teachings including physical, emotional, financial, relational, and spiritual healing or prosperity for any who has the right, belief-filled confession. The movement emphasizes choosing to speak the promises and provisions that the speaker wants, that agree with the Bible, as an act of faith and agreement with God’s plans and purposes. They believe this is what Jesus meant in Mark 11:22–23, when he said believers shall have whatsoever they say and pray with faith.”

The WoF people are the “Name it and Claim it” – by faith – people.  They believe that the Bible promises health, wealth and prosperity to all Christians – if they have enough faith.

The small problem with that the WoF movement is that God has not promised to give Christians health, wealth and prosperity.  Jesus was homeless and died young.  The Apostle Paul was constantly in prison and bad things happened to him.  The Apostle John was exiled. Stephen was martyred. Epaphroditus nearly died of illness. Timothy had constant stomach ailments.  Health, wealth and prosperity were not on the radar of the early Christians.

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The calling and confidence of church

Most Monday mornings I feel like resigning.  Did I explain God’s Word well enough?  Was my sermon understandable? Was I faithful to the biblical text?  Should I have used more illustrations?  Would another minister do a better job?  Is it all worth it?

Monday morning blues can be quite typical for those in the ministry of the Word.   I constantly need to remind myself that the success of the church is definitely not up to me (thank goodness!). I need to remind myself of the calling and confidence of the church.

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Why I am not a Roman Catholic #REACH500

This year, 2017, marks the 500th anniversary of the Protestant Reformation that started in Germany in 1517.

There are a couple of things we take for granted in our church services:

  • It is in an understandable language
  • We have Bibles
  • The Bible is read and explained
  • We pray together, sing together and take part in some way
  • The gospel is explained

If we were attending a church 500 years ago in Europe, none of these would have happened.  Europe in Medieval times was a spiritually dark, superstitious place. The Roman Catholic Church (RCC) ruled supreme.  All roads led to Rome where the Pope ruled over all things religious.  The Pope was (and still is) believed to be the spiritual successor to the Apostle Peter and the Vicar of Christ i.e. Christ’s representative on earth.  Without Father Pope there could be no church, without Mother Church there could be no salvation.

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What I learnt at the Generate Conference

The big question the REACH SA Generate Conference sought to answer was,  “How should the church (and how we do church) respond to a changing culture?”

The answer was that we must “make sure we know why we exist and remain faithful to that; and feel free to change the rest.”  

We exist to reach non-Christians and grow Christians with the gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ. That truth is fundamental and unchangeable.  How we manage the programmes and processes that go towards that great goal are flexible and changeable.

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Why did Jesus die?

Jesus’ death was not a tragic accident.  Jesus’ death was not like the suicide bomber whose vest accidentally explodes.  It was not the case, as many think, “If only Jesus had lived longer, imagine how much more good he could have done.” It was not the case that Jesus found himself caught up in circumstances beyond his control that unfortunately lead to his premature death.

No.

The New Testament says that Jesus died at exactly the right time (Galatians 4:4) according to the definite plan of God (Acts 2:23).

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The Bible and Transgender

The cover of the March 2017 edition of TIME magazine reads, “Beyond he or she – How a new generation is redefining the meaning of gender.” 

The TIME article says,

“A growing number of young people are moving beyond the idea that we live in a world where sexuality and gender come in only two forms.” 

With Bruce Jenner famously having surgery to become Caitlyn Jenner, the notion and novelty of transgender or gender fluidity has gained much more traction.

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