A question….

This is a genuine question. How do you see The Bible? I’ve seen it described as a 66 book drama of redemption, a romance, the list goes on.

It changes. For me it can be the above but then it is also a book of the Law, a story of the war between good and evil, a book of revelation and explanation. 

The point is that it changes because unlike any other book it is a living, breathing text, it is alive because it is the Word of God. 

No other book exists like it and that is why when we talk about the primacy of Scripture we are talking about so much more than words on a page or reading a book. We are talking about our connection with our living, breathing Lord. Sadly, the Church seems to have forgotten that….

Failing God 

Interesting piece on Virtue Online. Right from the get-go it is made clear that Google users are guilty of a typical egocentricity – they always ask why the Church has failed them or their tribe but seem not to have a care whether it is failing God let alone making it to the second-base question, why is it failing God.

It should not be surprising that people view the Church as an external other. This is exactly the kind of attitude that it has spent 2,000 years cultivating in order to butress itself as the ruling spiritual, and often political, power in people’s lives. The Scriptural truth that we, the faithful, are the Church and that furthermore we each receive the Holy Spirit not as something that is poured out on us but is within us, with us contestantly, and therefore we are autonomous temples of the Holy Spirit (1 Corinthians 6:19) would obviously vastly diminish the power of the ecclesiastical establishment and of the Church and that couldn’t be allowed – oh no. 

The author seeks to absolve the Church saying the fault is within the individual believer and that we are spectators dismisses the proponderence of false doctrine and the heresy and treason of the Church’s Leaders. Furthermore, the Church maybe happy to encourage the congregation to do their fair share of menial tasks but in terms of encouraging the flock to develop independently spiritually, well, again that is simply something the ecclesiastical establishment neither desires nor encourages. In fact, modern Churches bear more than a passing resemblance to the corrupt and wayward institutions our Lord Jesus Christ faced down and was ultimately crucified by. Incidentally, it is a telling aside that the author clearly means “God given gifts” to only refer to natural gifts not the gift and fruits of the Spirit.

Certainly it is true that the modern Church is a “dwelling place of demons”. The gates of hell have not prevailed against it and never will but that is only because the real Church is in the hearts of faithful across every denomination and even with those who have none, those lost sons and daughters of the Lord that wander alone, grasping in the dark. We need to find them and gather them close and give them shelter as the darkness closes in around and there we will have our true Church, one that is finally worthy of our Lord Jesus and one that never fails God nor His people. 

The End of the West 

And the stars of heaven fell unto the earth even as a fig tree casteh her untimely figs, when she is shaken by a mighty wind

Revelations 6:13

Great cosmic disturbance is always a prophetic sign in Scripture. Again in Mark

And the stars will fall from the sky and the powers that are in the heavens will be shaken

Mark 13:25

It is in this context that this should be seen. A lot of debate exists about whether we are in the ‘end times’ – we are but there is a qualification. A distinction exists between the end times, the time of Gods Judgement and wrath being poured out on the earth and between the tribulation and the return of Our Lord Jesus. The end times last an indeterminate amount of time where as the tribulation is the end of the end times, so to speak. It is the culmination of God’s judgment and the arrival of the final judgement.

Once we enter the tribulation no reversal will be possible and the window of repentance will be closed. In Revelations 16:11 and 9:20 it is clear that during the tribulation, the hearts of the wicked will be hardened against God just as Pharoahs heart was hardened in Genesis. The path will be chosen and the die cast. However, currently the window remains open to repent though many will not for they have been given over to the wickedness of their own hearts (see Romans 1).

So, we are in the end times, as we have previously seen the Lords judgement is upon the wickedness of the earthly Church and it is also upon the Godless, wicked, West and that is the significance of the cosmic events we are seeing – it is the announcement of the Lords intent to judge the West, to judge the Church and the West will fall. The parallels with Rome are obvious – to save itself Rome sought to cloathe itself in the fakery of its state speaking sponsored Church. It is not long before the West will reach out to Islam, the religion of the beast, in a vein attempt to spiritually protect itself from God’s wrath. It will fail and only increase His anger.

The West will fall as Rome did. It’s coming and if the Church watched the heavens instead of the earth it would see this but it does not and it is therefore doomed to be judged alongside the crumbling civilisation it has allowed itself to become part of. 

To watch or not to watch?

I have seen a couple of posts asking whether Christians should watch Game of Thrones or not. I will start off by confessing a vested interest, I am currently watching the series and am on episode 3.5.

It is absolutely true that the show is dripping in sex and violence. It is also true that there are clear dangers to watching such a show for Christians and indeed non-believers, they can and indeed do operate as gateways into our lives for deeply unsavoury and occasionally overtly demonic influences. You can see the manifestation of this in the obsessional relationship that some watchers develop with the show – a clear case of worship being drawn from the Lord.

However, it is also not as clear cut as that – demonic access is granted by a clear breach of Scriptural law and I would argue that there is not a clear breach involved here so therefore the right of demonic access isn’t clear cut, this is why people watching are seduced into an obsessional relationship with the show.

There is an emptiness at the core of the show and there are also clear theological discourses – something that is not that uncommon in popular tv series. The remastered Battelstar Galactica featured a strong theological discourse and drew on biblical themes and stories, perhaps more overtly Supernatural has often done the same. It is always hidden below the surface but it is definitely there just as it is Game of Thrones. 

Here we uncover a potentially powerful message. It is surely no accident that these shows are phenomenally popular? They are popular because they do speak to a yearning that is deeply seated within us all for a relationship with God. Indeed, the drama on the surface is designed to cover this constant dull ache that all humans feel.

I do feel the debate over whether to watch it or not is in danger of missing that point. In engaging in it, we are allowing ourselves to become just as fixated as what is on the surface as those who are sucked into this vortex. In that sense, I cant help but feel this debate misses the point and plays into the enemies hands. The sex and violence is exactly what we are supposed to be focusing on and we are actually encouraging that fixation by framing the debate in those terms because we are saying that is all there is too it when that simply is not the case – it does have more depth and its popular appeal is based on that depth, the fact it can speak to that yearning in so many people which they keep buried and are encouraged to think of as something else entirely. We are therefore missing a golden opportunity to talk about what is going on under the surface and talk to people about why they relate to this program in the way they do and that could easily be a conversation that could lead in a Christian direction.

At a Crossroads

Whenever the Church hits a point of crisis, we should really be asking ourselves only one thing, that is, is this the Church that Jesus intended for us to have, is this the Church that Paul laid the foundations of? My answer would be no and no.

It has replaced God’s Law with it’s own and his Kingship with its own arrogance, pride and conceit. It’s eyes are not fixed on heaven but on the world around it. As stewards of God’s house, it’s clergy are a collective failure, that cling to ritual and observance of rite over faith and what is right every bit as dearly and hypocritically as the priests in the old Synagogues did. The Church is their God and when it fails they merely build another one….which once again fails.

Faith was meant to replace ritual and rite as the road to our salvation. Ritual and rite that does not nourish faith is pointless and self serving.

We have to start again, right from the beginning, not assume that repeating the same behavior that has led us down this road previously will yield different results this time. What has changed from the time of Paul? The conflict is still the same one he fought, against false teaching, against heresy, and the only defense is still the same, the Word of God is still the only weapon that can win this war;

For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart.

Hebrews 4:12

 

 

We, the Church.

“For where two or three have gathered together in My name, I am there in their midst.”

Matthew 18:20 

We, the faithful, are the Church. This is the crucial thing that we must never forget. Are we buildings, titles and robes? No, we are our faith in our Lord Jesus. The terms of the covenant are clear:

This is the covenant I will establish with the people of Israel after that time, declares the Lord. I will put my laws in their minds and write them on their hearts. I will be their God, and they will be my people.

Hebrews 8:10

This is not a covenant established through a Bishop, an Archbishop, through the stone of a Church building, but one established with God through His Son, nor through a Pope, a divine monarch of any kind. It is a covenant between God and His people individually. The Church is there to oversee, to protect His people and worship the Lord but more than that it is there to minister to the Body of Christ.

Its consistent failure in this regard robs it of its right to call itself a Church in the eyes of God. It is He, not Archbishops we are accountable too and Him that they will ultimately answer too. Through this we have to remember that we, the faithful, are His Church and no Archbishop can take that away from us.