1 Samuel Ch. 13 is a fascinating account of blame-shifting.
Saul is king and has 3000 fighting men, according to v2.
In v3, Jonathan, Saul’s son – the crown prince – defeats a Philistine garrison and the Philistines gather to march on Israel.
The Philistines, however, have 30 000 chariots (the equivalent of having tanks in World War I), 6000 horsemen and infantry that number like the sand on the seashore.
Not only that, things are worse than they seem.
According to v19-21, the Philistines have been so powerful that they have not allowed any blacksmiths in Israel. Israel has no swords or spears. If an Israelite wanted their farming implements sharpened they had to pay the a Philistine to do it.
Saul is at the town of Gilgal, vastly outnumbered and facing massive odds.
However, if you read your Bible, you will know that’s not a massive problem.
Perhaps Helen Zille and Julius Malema (very different South African politicians) meeting for a cup of tea and a cucumber sandwich? A Sumo wrestler partnering with petite, ballet dancer on Strictly Come Dancing? A Stormers rugby fan going out with a Sharks supporter?!
Alternatively, one could think of ridiculous partnerships: playing tennis with your dog, taking your cat to the movies, or playing chess with a newborn baby.
It just wouldn’t be good or helpful. It would be mismatched, even inappropriate.
In the church in Corinth there were unhelpful, mismatched partnerships.
Some in the church were partnering with the new preachers that breezed into town.
Corinth was a powerful City where people were impressed with power. Paul’s gospel about a crucified king sounded very weak and his life of hardship and struggle seemed very unimpressive.
The new preachers looked and sounded much more powerful.
Some church members were impressed by the appearances and rhetorical skill of these new ministers.
As church members yoked themselves to the new preachers and their false gospel, it lead them back to their previous sins and old, unhelpful habits.
False gospels always lead to incorrect thinking and wrong living.
“You are a King’s Kid as a Christian, you are royalty!You shouldn’t settle for second best!”
“God favour should overflow into your life as you walk in God’s anointing and enjoy health and financial prosperity!”
“God hates poverty and illness, you should claim your victory!”
“If you’re not walking in full victory of sin, illness and financial difficulty, you either lack faith or have unconfessed sin. Jesus came to give us abundant life!”
This is the Prosperity Gospel.
The Prosperity Gospel (PG) is called so because it teaches that God desires all his people to be prosperous.Physically prosperous.Healthy and wealthy.
To put it simply, the PG is the belief that God grants health and wealth to those with the right kind of faith.
The PG movement (according to Kate Bowler1, an assistant professor of the history of Christianity in North America at Duke University) has its roots in the late 1800’s in American tradition of New Thought.That is, that positive thoughts yield positive circumstances; and negative thoughts, negative circumstances.
The American New Thought movement took a Christian slant with a Pastor named EW Kenyon, who ministered in the US in the early 1900’s.
Matthew 16:15-18 is a very misunderstood passage in the Bible.
The Roman Catholic Church believes that the Rock on which Jesus builds his church was the Apostle Peter, who allegedly was the first Pope or Bishop of Rome. Subsequently, all the Popes have been the spiritual descendants of Peter.
The true church is, therefore, all those who acknowledge the headship of the Pope and belong to the Roman Catholic structure.
In Roman Catholic doctrine, God’s grace flows from God through the Pope, through the Cardinals, through the Bishops, through the Priests, and then to the congregation via the sacraments.
To be excommunicated from the Roman Catholic Church is to endanger your immortal soul.
You may remember the WWJD (“What Would Jesus Do”) bracelet phase. The bracelets were a very well-intentioned movement to get Christians to think about their actions and responses. How would Jesus react in any given situation?
Would Jesus get angry? Would Jesus be generous? Would Jesus pray for the sick?
Great questions to ask.
However, I think those bracelets got it a little wrong.
I was greatly challenged at our Gospel DNA National Ministry Conference with Richard Coekin.
Richard emphasised many things, but mostly the need for church planting and church rejuvenation.
Richard compared the lack of church planting to the tragedy surrounding the Titanic’s sinking.
The luxury steamship RMS Titanic sank in the early hours of April 15, 1912, off the coast of Newfoundland in the North Atlantic after sideswiping an iceberg during its maiden voyage. Of the 2,240 passengers and crew on board, more than 1,500 lost their lives in the disaster.
Several factors made the tragedy so much worse than it could have been.