A great message from John Piper: "The Pain of the World and the Purposes of God."
Great 3.40 min video called "The Passions That Prevent Adultery" by John Piper
"...what I was delighted to find when I read Scripture is that God has an incredible heart for the orphan and that he’s very concerned with the plight of children. And that lines up very much with where we need to go in this discussion, which is focusing on the rights of children primarily as opposed to emphasizing the desires of adults, which tend to take centre stage when we’re talking about this issue."
...as a society, we shouldn’t normalize a family structure that requires children to lose one or both parents to be in that household."
"And adults – the onus needs to be on adults to conform to the rights of children rather than children fitting into an adult’s lifestyle."
ABC Lateline 12th August 2015
"People do not seek God. They seek after the benefits that only God can give them. The sin of fallen man is this: Man seeks the benefits of God while at the same time fleeing from God himself. We are, by nature, fugitives." R.C. Sproul from Chosen by God.
Thankfully, God always gets His man, woman or child. Thankfully, it is not up to us. Better to give in than to flee though, as things are much better once God has caught up with you and reconciled you to Himself and set you completely free.
August 4, 2015 The Prophetic Voice of Chuck Colson
By Eric Metaxas
If you’ve ever wondered what Chuck Colson would say about the way things are going these days, wonder no longer.
A new book, which is landing in bookstores today, warns that we are headed for a new Dark Ages. “Persecution [is] coming to the church soon,” the author warns. “It’s going to happen as a result of conflicts over sex.”
The book is titled “My Final Word: Holding Tight to the Issues that Matter Most.” It’s a collection of never-before published memos that Chuck sent to his writing staff, reporters, even presidential candidates who wanted his advice. And as the examples I just cited illustrates, Chuck’s writings are incredibly prophetic.
If you look for truth, you may find comfort in the end; if you look for comfort you will not get either comfort or truth only soft soap and wishful thinking to begin, and in the end, despair. C. S. Lewis
By Chuck Colson in 2010:
For some time now, I’ve been warning you about the various threats to religious freedom. We’ve talked about the gay rights movement, which insidiously insists that religious believers and organizations bow before the altar of sexual freedom. We’ve talked about the so-called health care reform bill, which does not protect freedom of conscience of medical practitioners.
But now I’m seeing the threat to religious freedom in its most pernicious and dangerous form ever.
In a nutshell, here’s what happened. In a speech at Georgetown University, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton delivered a speech on human rights. Not only did she talk about the right “to love in any way you choose,” (an obvious attempt at making protecting gay rights a top priority for the U.S. government), she also talked about “freedom of worship.”
But she never mentioned freedom of religion. Only freedom of worship--a big change.
In the First Amendment, the founders (whose work we celebrate this weekend) wisely ensured that government could not prohibit the “free exercise” of religion. And that means so much more than freedom of worship. It guarantees that we're not restricted to living out our faith in the privacy of our homes or church sanctuaries. It means we're free to exercise our religion—and contend for faith—in every area of life.
Just this clever dissembling of words is an apparent attempt to restrict freedom of religion to freedom of worship only. Do you see the implications? Sure, I'm free to attend church, sing hymns, pray over meals, offer thanks to God for my children and grandchildren. That’s my own private affair.
But should the government succeed in redefining freedom of religion, how much longer can I practice my faith in public?
If you read history, you'll see that the first act of a tyrant is to suppress religion, which means, of course, religious practice. Our Founders knew this. They knew the first English settlers came to these shores precisely so they could practice their faith.
And if you read history, you’ll know that the one true threat to a tyrant’s rule is always a believer’s loyalty to a God Who is above the god of the state.
This is why Christians were thrown to the lions in ancient Rome. The earliest baptismal confession of the young Christian Church was “Jesus is Lord.” And that meant Caesar was not. This is why Hitler and Stalin first went after the church. The star of David and the cross were symbols of an authority higher than their own.
We all know about the battles over the Pledge of Allegiance and the phrase “under God,” the battles over manger scenes on public property. These are important, but they are skirmishes, mere skirmishes. The real battle is about whether God is Lord, or whether government is Lord. And make no mistake, if government can redefine or restrict our freedom of religion, our first freedom will be gone.
And, as our Founders understood, when that freedom is gone, we will, in short order, lose all of our other freedoms as well.
The above article was written by Chuck Colson in 2010. www.BreakPoint.org
To pre-order your copy of Chuck's new book "My Final Word," come to our online bookstore at BreakPoint.org. The book will be released officially August 4.
Of religion and Australia: we must not succumb to historical amnesia.
OpinionThe Drum By Simon Smart Updated Fri 31 Jul 2015, 10:36am
Any great nation has to know its history and author Roy Williams fears that Australians are losing a sense of theirs. (ABC News)
If Christianity indeed fades into a distant misty past for most Australians, there is a real fear there will be nothing with which to replace it. Our historical ties to religion are too strong to simply dismiss, writes Simon Smart.
Kazuo Ishiguro's latest novel The Buried Giant is set in post Roman Britain. A fragile peace exists between the Britons and the Saxons, in part due to a mist that has descended over the land, rendering its inhabitants strangely forgetful. They have a vague awareness of episodes that have taken place in their past but are unable to access those memories.
"For in this community the past ... had somehow faded into a mist that was as dense as that which hung over the marshes. It simply did not occur to these villages to think about the past - even the recent one," offers the narrator.
Ishiguro's mist serves as a motif that ultimately highlights the consequences of a people succumbing to historical amnesia. It's an idea to which author Roy Williams could surely relate. Williams says he wrote his latest book - Post-God Nation? How Religion Fell Off the Radar in Australia; and What Might Be Done to Get it Back On - because he was tired of being told that Christianity's impact on Australia was either negative or of little consequence. Any great nation has to know its history and Williams fears that Australians are losing a sense of theirs, especially when it comes to religion.
Perhaps that ought not be surprising. As Williams points out, whatever loyalty and commitment to Christianity that we once had is rapidly fading. In the first national census in 1911, 96 per cent of the population identified as Christian but by 2011 this had dropped to 61 per cent. Williams thinks probably only about one third of that 61 per cent have anything more than a vague cultural attachment to the faith, so the social significance of the church is a long way from what it once was. Williams writes:
Christianity seems to be perceived by more Australians than ever as implausible, undesirable or irrelevant.
Williams has become adept at talking about this implausible, undesirable or irrelevant religion in public and getting away with it. His first book - a response to New Atheism entitled God, Actually (2008) - along with his assessment of the religious sensibilities of Australia's prime ministers, In God They Trust? (2013), were both well received in the media and bookstores around the country.
Williams was a one-time agnostic who leant towards atheism and became a somewhat reluctant convert at age 35. He is therefore aware of and sensitive to the objections to belief that some of his readers will harbour, and is able to write with an air of relaxed conviction that enables him to sound reasonable even to sceptics. Post-God Nation? is not a work of bald apologetics. Williams is fully aware of the failings of the churches and individual believers and is not at all uncomfortable acknowledging these. But, he argues, there's a bigger story to tell.
Williams is a former litigation lawyer used to marshalling detailed arguments, and he presents a spirited case that not only is our culture profoundly formed by the Christian story, but that the impact has been in the most part positive and is ongoing.
Williams not only competently relates Christianity's profound impact on the West but on Australia in particular, and this is the major contribution of the book. He is at pains to explain how the Jesus story is "ploughed" into our history, that "contemporary ways of thinking and patterns of behaviour are in vital respects anchored in the biblical understanding of the world".
Our much loved sense of egalitarianism and equal rights with no one intrinsically of more value than anyone else, begins, writes Williams, not with universal suffrage in the 20th century, nor with the Enlightenment of the 18th century, or even the Magna Carta of the 13th century (as important as those milestones were) but with the Judaeo Christian concept that every person is made in the image of God.
He lists other major influences: the achievement of Federation, the growth of religious and cultural pluralism, the establishing (via Britain) of our legal system, our education system, our interest in relieving poverty, multiculturalism - nothing less than our national character, claims Williams, was forged out of a Judeao-Christian heritage.
This lack of a religious sensibility matters because all people need to be equipped to handle the deepest questions of human life and existence, writes Williams.
The book also offers an extraordinary list of highly influential figures in Australian history and points out the way many, from explorers and scientists to novelists and prime ministers, were motivated by faith. Williams adopts a broad and generous definition of who he considers "Christian" and some will feel he is too quick to attribute motives to a religious bent, but his broad point is well made. None of this is intended to prove the truth of Christian belief, but merely to paint a historically accurate picture, with a posture that merely suggests that "maybe there's more to this story than simply fools believing in sky fairies".
More seriously, Williams believes Australians are tone deaf to religious questions today. We struggle to make sense of things beyond the materialities of life and we flounder in constructing a language of grief, loss and disappointment. We distract ourselves from any serious contemplation of our mortality. This lack of a religious sensibility matters because all people need to be equipped to handle the deepest questions of human life and existence, writes Williams.
Is Christianity the answer? Not everyone will think so, but as theologian David Bentley Hart has argued, the great atheist Friedrich Nietzsche at least had the good manners to take the time to understand Christianity before despising it. Modern critics, frequently do not.
If Christianity indeed fades into a distant misty past for most Australians, Williams fears there will be nothing with which to replace it. Hence his motivation in writing and his attempt in the latter part of the book to map out a plan for getting religion back on the radar in Australia. He may be overly optimistic that readers will think that's a good idea. But he does do a good job of illustrating why a society heavily influenced by Christian virtues would not, as popular wisdom would have it, be a dour, repressive and joyless existence, but in fact a place of human flourishing for people at every strata of society.
It's a utopian vision and Williams knows it. But he offers a challenge to pause before junking the religious enterprise altogether; to pay attention to our past in order to navigate our way through the fog of human struggle; to assess where we've come from as well as ask deep and penetrating questions about where we might be heading as individuals and as a nation.
Simon Smart is the director of the Centre for Public Christianity. He is the co-author with Jane Caro, Antony Loewenstein, and Rachel Woodlock of "For God's Sake - an atheist, a Jew, a Christian and a Muslim Debate Religion".
Just another Blog by a boring blogger yet a blog sometimes dealing with interesting and helpful topics and a blog inviting and encouraging honest enquiry, thought and investigation into some of life's big issues, including theology, philosophy, culture, politics.