What are the decrees of God?

Tomorrow night we’re continuing with our study of the Westminster Shorter Catechism. We’ve reached question 7.

What are the decrees of God?

The decrees of God are His eternal plan based on the purpose of His will, by which, for His own glory, He has foreordained everything that happens.

History has purpose, meaning, direction and hope because God has planned and deteremined everything before he ever created anything in order that all things might work to bring glory and praise to His name.

How great is God!

Compare that with the meandering futility and uncertainty of the theory of evolution as C. S. Lewis sarcastically highlights in his Evolutionary Hymn.

Lead us, Evolution, lead us
Up the future’s endless stair;
Chop us, change us, prod us, weed us.
For stagnation is despair:
Groping, guessing, yet progressing,
Lead us nobody knows where.

Wrong or justice, joy or sorrow,
In the present what are they
While there’s always jam-tomorrow,
While we tread the onward way?
Never knowing where we’re going,
We can never go astray.

To whatever variation
Our posterity may turn
Hairy, squashy, or crustacean,
Bulbous-eyed or square of stern,
Tusked or toothless, mild or ruthless,
Towards that unknown god we yearn.

Ask not if it’s god or devil,
Brethren, lest your words imply
Static norms of good and evil
(As in Plato) throned on high;
Such scholastic, inelastic,
Abstract yardsticks we deny.

Far too long have sages vainly
Glossed great Nature’s simple text;
He who runs can read it plainly,
‘Goodness = what comes next.’
By evolving, Life is solving
All the questions we perplexed.

Oh then! Value means survival-
Value. If our progeny
Spreads and spawns and licks each rival,
That will prove its deity
(Far from pleasant, by our present,
Standards, though it may well be).

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Who’s getting the first round in?

Here’s a familiar face spouting a lot of wise words and I would recommend you read every one of them.

Dan has some really helpful things to say and I know I for one need to hear them.  The reality is that evangelism and interaction with non-Christians is often one of the first casualties amongst the busyness of full time ministry.  What does that do for the effectiveness of our ministry:

we know how those whom we disciple look up to and copy their leaders. Pastors who only talk a lot about engaging, befriending, and evangelizing non-Christians will be productive in producing Christians who only talk a lot about befriending and evangelizing non-Christians. 

So how to address the problem when you’re already struggling to find time and energy?

Yes, schedule in regular time where you’ll come into contact with non-Christians, but don’t do it on your own.

Discipleship and training can happen in the context of getting involved in the lives of non-Christians.

For example we can minister to a mature Christian (through modelling) and a  non-Christian (through conversational engagement) at the same time in a pub.

Take one pastor who needs to get out more, add a Christian who would thrive on interacting with non-Christians, and sprinkle generously with a hearty dose of apologetic conversation with unbelievers.

So the only remaining question is, who’s getting the first round in?

The inescapable logic of abortion – infanticide

Many Christians have been saying for a long time that there is no ethical difference between the killing of a child prior to or after birth and that both should be considered for what they in fact are, a violation against the 6th commandment – “You shall not murder.” (Exodus 20:13)

Now a paper published by two ethicisits in the British Medical Journal and highlighted online here and here, entitled “After-birth abortion: why should the baby live?” has called for the killing of newly born children to be made legal, on the basis that there is no ethical difference between this and abortion.  The abstract states,

 “After-birth abortion (killing a newborn) should be permissible in all cases where abortion is, including cases where the newborn is not disabled.”

The proposal is hideous, but the logic is inescapable. 

Heard the one about Jesus, Mohammed and the BBC?

You can read about Mark Thompson’s recent interview on the BBC and religious bias here, or if you want to see the whole interview yourself then head on over here.

If I’m hearing him right there’s a complete lack of logical consistency in Mr Thompson’s  explanation as to why it can be permissible to offend Christians but not Muslims in the UK

During his defence of why he thought it acceptable to show Jerry Springer: The Opera on the BBC he effectively makes the two following statements:

  • because Islam is a minority held view in the UK we need to take extra care we do not cause offence
  • because Evangelical Christianity as expressed by the group ‘Christian Voice’ is a minority held view in the UK we need not pay too much attention if offence is caused

Go figure!  Romans 1:21-22

God’s authority over life

“Every last material creature on this globe will come to an end.  If God has the authority to invent sperm, to invent eggs, to invent DNA; if He has the authority to choose me out of a near infinite numher of possible human combinations and call me into existence out of nothing; if He has the authority to choose my parents, my race, my birthplace, my height, my intelligence, the size of my tonsils; if He has the authority to design my teeth from scratch, then He has the authority to choose my end.”

(N. D. Wilson, Notes from the Tilt-A-Whirl, p. 112)