Did you realise that, without committing any actual sins, you were condemned before God and accountable to the judgment of God? Romans 5:12-21 and other places in the Bible teach the doctrine of original sin. Article 9 of the 39 Articles explains this doctrine:
Original sin does not consist in imitating the sin of Adam, (as the Pelagians wrongly teach), but is the fault and corruption of the nature with which all descendants of Adam are born. It is due to original sin that we have departed very far from the original righteousness in which we were created, and are naturally inclined to evil, with the result that there is a constant war between flesh and the spirit. Accordingly, in every person born into this world, original sin is deserving of God’s wrath and condemnation.
Romans 5:12 describes the order of world history and how this doctrine came to be.
Therefore, just as sin came into the world through one man, and death through sin, and so death spread to all men because all sinned… (Romans 5:12)
What do Kurt Darren, the Soweto Gospel Choir and Mango Groove have in common? They all performed at the second inauguration of Jacob Zuma! On 24 May 2014 thousands of people braved the chilly weather and made their way to the Union Buildings in Pretoria to witness Jacob Zuma’s inauguration. “JZ” was installed, inducted and confirmed as the President of the Republic of South Africa.
The doctrine of the ascension of Christ teaches that Jesus ascended into heaven in bodily form and in heaven he was installed, inducted and confirmed as having the position of all supremacy. Jesus was inaugurated as President of the Universe and given ultimate and all authority and power. The ascension demonstrates that Jesus is the name above every name.
Sometimes we are surprised when we find sin in the church. We are shocked and disappointed. I am often comforted by what Bishop Frank Retief once told me, “Where there are sinners, there you will find sin.” These are wise words! Some Christians are forever searching for the “perfect”, sinless, pure church and end up wandering from church to church in their never-ending quest.
Paul’s greeting to the Corinthian church may be very encouraging to us. The Corinthian church was a community of Christians where there was sin; there were factions and disagreements; some were taking each other to court; and some where living in sexual immorality. Yet Paul addressed them as “the church of God in Corinth” (1 Corinthians 1:2). Despite all their failures and wrinkles they were still the church of God. We see in 1 Corinthians 1:9 that it’s because of God’s faithfulness, not theirs.
There seems to be a renewed interest in the more “supernatural” spiritual gifts among evangelicals. Mark Driscoll, who calls himself a “charismatic with a seat-belt”, is no doubt a contributing factor. I have recently posted about healing, miraculous gifts and speaking in tongues. What remains is prophecy1.
Prophecy in the Old Testament
Deuteronomy 18:18 describes the role of a prophet like this,
“I will raise up for them a prophet like you from among their brothers. And I will put my words in his mouth, and he shall speak to them all that I command him.”
This gives us a clear definition of prophetic ministry. God put His own words in the prophet’s mouth. The prophet was moved by God and spoke the very words of God to the people of God. From Moses to Malachi, God spoke to his people through the prophets by their spoken and written word, publicly and privately.
In a little village in Germany in 1483 Martin Luther was born. Martin Luther was, under God, the instigator and one of the biggest drivers of the protestant reformation in Europe – with its subsequent break from the Roman Catholic Church. By the 15th Century Roman Catholicism was dominant religion in Europe. After school Luther went on to university and studied law. He decided to become a monk in one of the strictest orders in the Catholic Church. Priests taught Luther and the general public that one could save yourself by prayer, fasting and penance. The result being that Luther’s teachers were wearied by constant prayers, fasting and penance! Luther later wrote: “If ever a monk got to heaven by his monkery, it was I”. Yet he faced a long spiritual crisis, anxiously anguishing over how sinful man can come to a holy God. Luther finally experienced great joy and his eyes were opened to understand a radical, biblical truth. He wrote later, “I felt myself to be reborn, and to have gone through open doors to paradise.” What happened? What truth did he grasp?
Over the last few weeks Sphelo (our church’s ministry apprentice) and myself have been targeted (yes, I think we have been targeted) by a group of enthusiastic and persistent Jehovah’s Witnesses. They probably believe that converting a pastor will earn them extra brownie points. Continue reading Why I am not a Jehovah’s Witness