ANOTHER C.S.LEWIS FAN – DR ALISTER McGRATH

Dr. Alister McGrath is the Andreas Idreos Professor of Science and Religion at Oxford University. He holds three Oxford doctorates: a doctoral degree in molecular biophysics, a Doctor of Divinity degree in theology, and a Doctor of Letters degree in intellectual history. McGrath is a prolific author on many topics including science, faith, apologetics, C.S.Lewis, doctrine, and church history.

When asked, “Was there something in particular about C.S.Lewis that drew you to his writing”? his response will hopefully encourage you to start or read more of C.S.Lewis.

“You mustn’t laugh, but I had just become a Christian and was asking my Christian friends all these difficult questions. They got fed up and one of them, exasperated, said: “Why don’t you read C S Lewis?” I knew he had written a book about lions and wardrobes or something, so I bought one of his books and started to read. And it was as if someone turned the light on as if something clicked. I suddenly realised this makes sense. Nearly 50 years later I’m still reading, I’m still getting more out of C S Lewis because there’s so much there to discover.

If you have not read any of C S Lewis books then can I suggest you start with Mere Christianity. Perhaps Screwtape Letters. You decide once you have heard Dr Alister McGrath.

THE LOGIC OF CHRISTIANITY

Another brilliant expose on Christianity by Prof. John Lennox titled The Logic of Christianity. He explains Christ’s birth and life as one of historical truth. Prof. John Lennox is a Professor of Mathematics at Oxford University and an internationally renowned speaker and author of numerous books on the interface of science, philosophy, and religion.

A must watch for Christians and non-Christians alike. Both will be enlightened and hopefully as a result will be better people with hope for the future.

DANGERS CONFRONTING THE WORLD

The chief dangers that confront the world today are politics without God, Christianity without Christ, forgiveness without repentance, salvation without the justifying work of the Holy Spirit.

The World Economic Forum (WEF) has revealed its Davos 2021 Agenda, confirming the annual gathering of political and business elites next month will be a digital event heralding the public unveiling of its Great Reset Initiative (essentially a one-world government). “This global pandemic has demonstrated again how interconnected we are. We have to restore a functioning system of smart global cooperation structured to address the challenges of the next 50 years. The Great Reset will require us to integrate all stakeholders of global society into a community of common interest, purpose, and action,” said Klaus Schwab, Founder and Executive Chairman of the World Economic Forum.

What the world really needs is a “church reset”. Churches back to their New Testament roots as described in the Book of Acts. This includes upholding the inerrancy of God’s Word and its account of the history of the Cosmos including the miraculous. The miraculous events of creation, Noah’s worldwide flood, the confusion of languages at the Tower of Babel which created the nations, Jesus incarnation, and resurrection.

God does intervene in history to alter reality. He has done it in the past and will continue to do so in the future. His Word tells us that the catastrophic world events unfolding right now signal Jesus’ return to this earth is not too far distant.

It seems that for many liberal theologians those “mighty, saving acts of God and of judgement” are symbolic, images, rather than extra-mental realities. As a result, theology takes on a whole new nonsensical meaning. It no longer explains anything but only expresses the effects symbols might and perhaps should have in the spiritual lives of individuals and groups. Moreover, they are oblivious to the promise of Jesus second coming as are the scoffers described by Peter “knowing this first of all, that scoffers will come in the last days with scoffing, following their own sinful desires. They will say, “Where is the promise of his coming? For ever since the fathers fell asleep, all things are continuing as they were from the beginning of creation.2 Peter 3:3-4

Churches must undergo a reset that begins with getting back to the authority and truth of God’s Word and then obeying His commandment to complete the Great Commission to share the Gospel with others, to make disciples who will, in turn, make disciples. The church described in the Book of Acts and by Jesus in Matthew.

I will build my church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it. I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven, and whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.Matthew 16:16

The “keys” signify the authority given to Christ’s church to stand against the powers of “Hades,” or Hell. The church needs to start walking in this authority

OUR RESPONSIBILITY AS CHRISTIANS FOR OUR CITIES AND NATIONS

Christians are under attack as never before. Now, those who believe in the biblical definition of marriage and just two genders created by God are being labelled as bigots and treated as such by governments, employers, and, schools.

Intercessors can change the atmosphere in their cities through prayer, worship, and a corporate spiritual authority far greater than any demonic threat or attack.  The posture of our hearts and the words from our mouths determine the atmosphere in a place.  The power of our praises and our prayers can shift atmospheres in a room, a building, a neighbourhood, and even an entire city.

We are still to see what God’s response will be to the prayers of the thousands of saints that gathered to pray in Washington just prior to the election.

Thousands pray in Washington September 25th and 26th 2020

 In the early Church, unity was so strong that Scriptures speak of a “great grace” that was released in the city.  This grace opened the door to miracles, signs, and wonders, and salvations on a daily basis (see Acts 4:32-34).  Earlier in this same chapter, it speaks of their daily fellowship and breaking of bread.  Because of these things, God’s grace empowered them to do far beyond what they could have done in the natural.

This should be our desire as we come together as watchmen in prayer over our cities and nation.  We can pray in such agreement with heaven that the atmosphere over the city begins to be permeated with the grace and favour of the Lord.  Our spiritual adversary will continually find ways to spread fear, chaos, turmoil, and hopelessness over the land.  It is our responsibility to displace those demonic spirits by keeping our corporate prayer altars ablaze. 

We must use our authority in Christ to displace rulers in high places and declare the work of the cross and the power of Christ’s resurrection.  Let’s agree together to speak life instead of death, order instead of chaos, and faith instead of fear.

YOUR ETERNAL DESTINY IS AT STAKE

Are our worldviews merely philosophical speculations with no right or wrong answer and therefore with no consequences. No! One of them begins with the basic premise that God does not exist, the other with the premise that He does. They are therefore mutually exclusive therefore one is true and the other is not.

It is essential you know whether or not God exists as there is no third option. How we relate to God is the foundation for our thinking because it determines the way we view our world.

You need to make the right choice, as I pointed out in a recent post there are only two outcomes: eternal life offered as a free gift by your Creator or face the judgement of God and then the second death in the Lake of Fire.

Your choice of worldviews will shape how you live your life on earth. If you believe God exists then you will want to live your life according to His statutes but if not, then their are no restraints on how you live your life, only those imposed on you by society. You are the product of blind chance random mutations. There is no basis for good or evil, right or wrong. There is no hope of life after death. This is all there is so make the best of it. There are no answers to the big questions of life – why am I here , what is the meaning to life, what is my purpose, what is my ultimate destiny?2

Oxford Professor of Mathematics John Lennox says it well: “What divides us is not science… but our worldviews. No one wants to base their life on a delusion but which is the delusion? Christianity or atheism?”

Sadly, I think most people are afraid to look reality in the eye because it may take them in a direction they do not want to go. It is probably one of the great flaws in human character. We stubbornly hold on to our beliefs because it is how we want life to be rather than how life should be as established by our Creator.

Dr. Francis Collins was Director of the Human Genome Project (ENCODE). Dr. Collins directed over 2000 scientists work on ENCODE. It was the most complex biological research project of all time. He has a powerful testimony on coming to faith in God.

The Encyclopedia of DNA Elements (ENCODE) Consortium is an ongoing international collaboration of research groups funded by the National Human Genome Research Institute

“As a graduate student in physical chemistry in the 1970s, I was an atheist, finding no reason to postulate the existence of any truths outside of mathematics, physics, and chemistry. But then I went to medical school, and encountered life and death issues at the bedsides of my patients. Challenged by one of those patients, who asked “What do you believe, doctor?”, I began searching for answers.

I had to admit that the science I loved so much was powerless to answer questions such as “What is the meaning of life?” “Why am I here?” “Why does mathematics work, anyway?” “If the universe had a beginning, who created it?” “Why are the physical constants in the universe so finely tuned to allow the possibility of complex life forms?” “Why do humans have a moral sense?” “What happens after we die?”

I had always assumed that faith was based on purely emotional and irrational arguments, and was astounded to discover, initially in the writings of the Oxford scholar C.S. Lewis and subsequently from many other sources, that one could build a very strong case for the plausibility of the existence of God on purely rational grounds. My earlier atheist’s assertion that “I know there is no God” emerged as the least defensible. As the British writer G.K. Chesterton famously remarked, “Atheism is the most daring of all dogmas, for it is the assertion of a universal negative.”

But reason alone cannot prove the existence of God. Faith is reason plus revelation, and the revelation part requires one to think with the spirit as well as with the mind. You have to hear the music, not just read the notes on the page. Ultimately, a leap of faith is required.

For me, that leap came in my 27th year, after a search to learn more about God’s character led me to the person of Jesus Christ. Here was a person with remarkably strong historical evidence of his life, who made astounding statements about loving your neighbor, and whose claims about being God’s son seemed to demand a decision about whether he was deluded or the real thing. After resisting for nearly two years, I found it impossible to go on living in such a state of uncertainty, and I became a follower of Jesus.

What about your journey? What worldview do you live out? Does it answer all of the difficult questions of life? When you become a follower of Jesus, God the Father sends the Holy Spirit to be your counsellor, comforter and teacher. You will then know God exists and you are one of His children.

DECEPTION IN THE LAST DAYS

Jen Hatmaker, Christian pastor, speaker and author faced backlash in 2016 when she departed from traditional Christian teachings and declared same-sex marriage to be “holy”.

One of her daughters, Sydney recently revealed she is gay. At the introduction of the lengthy conversation between Hatmaker and her daughter Sydney, the “For the Love” podcast host said the episode was not “an announcement,” because her family has known for quite some time that Sydney is homosexual. It was, though, the first time she’d shared the revelation with her listeners and readers.

Sydney Hatmaker , with the agreement of her mother, said it’s “not enough” for pastors and Christians to just love LGBT people; they need to also fully embrace their lifestyles.

Hatmaker explained that it is “maybe even more cruel” to love LGBT people while also believing homosexuality to be contrary to biblical teaching.

“It is not enough, Christians, to say, ‘Well, we love you, anyway,’” she said. “I don’t want to be ‘loved anyway.’”

All of this comes on the heels of the release of Hatmaker’s newest book, “Fierce, Free, and Full of Fire: The Guide to Being Glorious You.” She wrote in the book that she has largely exchanged evangelical theology for “the wild terrain of the wilderness.”

GOD MAKES IT CLEAR HE LOVES SINNERS BUT HATES SIN. JESUS IS THE ANSWER TO THE SIN PROBLEM. HOMOSEXUALITY IS A SIN PROBLEM ALONG WITH ALL THE OTHERS.

Sydney explained a particular moment, which Hatmaker described as “a terrible day,” when she picked up a book by an unnamed pastor who “didn’t know where he landed [on homosexuality] but knew that he loved the gay people in his life, systematically going through the Bible and, verse by verse, coming to the conclusion that gayness is sin.”

“That was just — destroyed me,” she told her mom, recalling having a “full meltdown” that day. “[I] read the whole thing in one day, just fully feeling in that moment like God didn’t love me.”

Hatmaker argued many pastors preach as if only heterosexual people are in their congregations, when, in reality, “every single church is just filled with gay kids and gay moms and dads.”

“It’s just so irresponsible to break their hearts,” she added.

ATHEIST IN PRAISE OF CHRISTIANITY

A great article from Jonathon Van Maren. He is a public speaker, writer, and pro-life activist. He is the author of The Culture War and Seeing Is Believing: Why Our Culture Must Face the Victims of Abortion. The article demonstrates that even atheists recognise that as the world throws off the restraints of Christian morality, it is descending into chaos.

Historian Tom Holland is known primarily as a storyteller of the ancient world. Thus, his newest book Dominion: How the Christian Revolution Remade the World, came as something of a surprise for several reasons. First, Tom Holland is not a Christian. Second, Holland’s book is one of the most ambitious historical defences of Christianity in a very long time.

While studying the ancient world, Holland writes, he realized something. Simply, the ancients were cruel, and their values utterly foreign to him. The Spartans routinely murdered “imperfect” children. The bodies of slaves were treated like outlets for the physical pleasure of those with power. Infanticide was common. The poor and the weak had no rights.

From There to Here …

How did we get from there to here? It was Christianity, Holland writes. Christianity revolutionised sex and marriage, demanding that men control themselves and prohibiting all forms of rape. Christianity confined sexuality within monogamy. (It is ironic, Holland notes, that these are now the very standards for which Christianity is derided.) Christianity elevated women. In short, Christianity utterly transformed the world.

Holland’s passionate defense of Christianity is fascinating because it appears to be part of a trend. As the West becomes definitively post-Christian, many secularists are suddenly realizing that Christianity may have been more valuable than they thought. While many — including Holland — cannot quite bring themselves to believe Christianity is true, they are starting to believe that Christianity might be necessary.

Douglas Murray, the conservative author and columnist, is also an atheist. In recent years, however, he has started to warn that the decline of Christianity is a dangerous thing. Society now faces three options. First, Murray says, is to reject the idea that all human life is precious. “Another is to work furiously to nail down an atheist version of the sanctity of the individual.” And if that doesn’t work? “Then there is only one other place to go. Which is back to faith, whether we like it or not.”

Murray now occasionally refers to himself as a “Christian atheist.” Speaking with Esther O’Reilly on the Unbelievable podcast, Murray lauded the “revolutionary moral insights” of Christianity. He told her that while visiting the Sea of Galilee, he couldn’t shake the feeling that “something happened here.” And he admitted that as atheists consider morality, “the more we may have to accept that … the sanctity of human life is a Judeo-Christian notion which might very easily not survive [the disappearance of] Judeo-Christian civilization.”

Speaking on The Darren Grimes Show last month, he was even blunter. “There seems to be little point to me in a life spent talking about Labour Party politics rather than God.”

Listen to the Warnings of the Atheists — Christianity is Necessary

These strange struggles also deliver a warning to the West. Without Christianity, we are heading into a thick and impenetrable darkness. Christianity gave us human rights. It gave us protection for the weak. Compassion rooted in commands to love. Forgiveness for enemies. It revolutionized the world. We are now in the process of undoing that revolution. In fact, we are replacing it with the Sexual Revolution.

We should look at what we are destroying before we carry on. We should ask why fences were built before tearing them down. We should listen to the atheists nervously telling us that Christianity is necessary. And we should fight to ensure that our post-Christian culture is again a pre-Christian one.

God’s word tells us this won’t happen, the truth is, the only hope Christians have is that Jesus will return in the not too distant future to rule and reign on earth with a “rod of iron”. God has given us a detailed picture in His word of the last seven years on this planet before He returns. Berean Christians won’t be taken by surprise when the tribulation and even great tribulation that is prophesied happens.

DO YOU REALLY KNOW FULLY, WHO YOU ARE IN CHRIST?

 “But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for His possession, so that you may proclaim the excellencies of the One having called you out of darkness into His marvellous light.1 Peter 2:9 

“You are the light of the world. A city that is set on a hill cannot be hidden. Nor do they light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a lampstand, and it gives light to all who are in the house. Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven.” Matthew 5:14-16 

Once you enter in the Light of Christ, where everything has meaning, everything is important, everyone has purpose, then, and only then, can you truly love others and live a life that is pleasing to God.  We become keenly aware of the importance of obedience to God and how we perceive and care for others.  This is not simply a gospel of “being nice” but a deep knowledge that the devil is “playing for keeps.”  We must view people as souls either on the path to destruction or walking the straight and narrow.  We are not permitted to “cross the road” or “look away” when we see someone taking a beating by Satan.  Like the Good Samaritan, we are to GET INVOLVED.

Remember, when Jesus sent out the 70 disciples “to heal the sick, and say to them, ‘The kingdom of God has come near to you.” they returned saying, “Lord, even the demons are subject to us in Your name.” Luke 10:9,17

Jesus told them not to rejoice in this fact but rejoice instead that their names are written in the Book of Life (Luke 10:20), He nevertheless acknowledged the fact that devils MUST obey them. This is TRUTH! When passionate Christians wake up in the morning, Satan should literally SHAKE IN FEAR. We should be a daily reminder to him that his days are numbered. Sadly, how many of us believe and act out this TRUTH!

Prayer:  Heavenly Father, It is time for your army of spiritual warriors to be released.  Let us not be bound up with things of this earth but let us set our sights on Your Heavenly Kingdom. Let us never forget the One who died for us so that we may win the spiritual battle with the enemy of our souls.  Already, we are seeing more of our brothers and sisters in Christ being martyred for their faith and we know from end times prophecies, that in the last days before Jesus returns that will only increase. Help us to be fully cognisant of the sacrifices that will need to be made. Please send the power of Your Holy Spirit afresh this Pentecost to equip us so that we may be courageous warriors in Your service. 

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TRIALS COME WITH THE CHRISTIAN LIFE

Another great message from Francis Chan on living the Christian life. It’s a continual battle, spiritual warfare. It’s so easy to sew to the flesh, to give in to earthly desires,, but remember the following verse of Scripture – we can fool family and friends but not God when we do so. God is not mocked.

“Do not be deceived, God is not mocked; for whatever a man sows, that he will also reap. For he who sows to his flesh will of the flesh reap corruption, but he who sows to the Spirit will of the Spirit reap everlasting life. And let us not grow weary while doing good, for in due season we shall reap if we do not lose heart. Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all, especially to those who are of the household of faith.Galatians 6:7-10

We all sin, even Francis and certainly me, but as Francis Chan points out God is merciful and when we sincerely repent and turn back to Him He forgives and forgets. Giving up is not an option, it is the overcomers that inherit the Kingdom of God.

Nothing you do in this life matters apart from what you do for God.

Review of Outgrowing God by Richard Dawkins Random House, New York, NY, 2019

Atheist evangelist Richard Dawkins is on the crusade again with his latest book Outgrowing God1 to win more converts to his religion of atheism. His book was released in September, published by Random House Books.

CMI has produced an excellent review of this book. I suggest you go to their website http://www.creation.com to see it, in its entirety. The following is an abbreviated version.

As a teenager, Dawkins de-converted from (nominal) Christianity to atheism since he was unsure as to which god was the right god out of hundreds or even thousands of candidates.

book-cover

Dawkins does not understand that to know God one has to be born again and receive the Holy Spirit. Only the Holy Spirit can lead you into all truth. He is our counsellor, teacher and comforter. It is the Holy Spirit that produces the fruit of the Spirit in a believers life: love, joy, peace, patience, faithfulness goodness, gentleness, kindness and self control. He is also the one that gives the gifts of the spirit for ministry.

In the first half of his book Dawkins raises eternal questions about good and evil. Is God really good? Is the Bible really true? Do we need the Bible and God to be good?

Dawkins obviously, like much of the world, does not like what God defines as sin and would much prefer to make up his own rules. Moreover, would like to change those rules as he sees fit.

Sin involves nothing less than flagrant rebellion against the will of Almighty God. Sin cuts us off from the living God entirely. This is no trifling matter. God, as our Creator, would be perfectly righteous in sending every one of us to death for our sins. It is only by God’s grace that He doesn’t do so. In fact, the problem of our eternal, sinful separation was so bad, that God sent His Son Jesus to die for our sins on the cross (see also Dawkins’ dilemma: how God forgives sin).

A key element in Dawkins’ de-conversion experience is his belief in evolution, which convinced him that seemingly designed elements really evolved over long periods of time.

The second half of Dawkins’ book deals with his attempt to undermine the concept of intelligent design, using natural selection and evolution as an alternative explanation. Not wanting to sound trite but as a scientist he should be aware of the Ockham’s Razor approach to science. For even Dawkins himself has previously stated “Biology is the study of complicated things that give the appearance of having been designed for a purpose”.14 So, even as an evolutionist, Dawkins is forced to acknowledge how certain structures in the animal kingdom appear to be designed. His examples include the color pigments of the octopus, the tongue of the chameleon, and the legs of the cheetah, or the feathers of birds (p. 36).

Dawkins does not explain how legs can turn into wings or leaves into thorns. Neither does he name a single gene which would be responsible for such mutations as a practical example. In short, Dawkins misrepresents the way natural selection happens in nature. Natural selection is efficient in explaining how anatomically different structures in organisms lead to differential survival. But it does not explain how the structures themselves arise. People readily recognise cases of intelligent design in automobiles, buildings, books, statues, or hieroglyphs. Therefore, DNA serves as a plan for the whole entire body of an organism. DNA is the information that controls all the machinery of the cells to function successfully, to reproduce and adapt to their environment. Information comes only from intelligence and in the case of the information to control living cells, a level of intelligence beyond our understanding..

Dawkins understands that the Earth is fine-tuned for life to exist on its surface. If the Earth were just a little too close to the Sun, then it would be too hot for life to exist. On the other hand, if it was just a little too far, then it would be too cold for life. Furthermore, if the gravitational constant, G were even just a little different, then life could not exist on Earth. This is something called the anthropic principle, namely that Earth, and even the universe seems to have been designed especially for human life.

In response, Dawkins posits the multiverse concept. This concept states there are millions or even billions of universes, parallel with our own, each defined by its own laws and physical constants. Therefore, according to the law of big numbers, even though the great majority of these universes may all be devoid of life, a very small percent of them may still be finely tuned to allow life to appear.

What physical evidence is there for billions of other universes? Is it even possible for us to know of other universes? As such, this is not a scientific concept. Even if there happened to be other universes out there, how do we know that there are billions of them? Also, how do we know that they come into being independently from one another to have differing parameters and physical laws? Nonsense.

Lastly, Dawkins and other evolutionists attack design as unscientific. However, we see intuitively, that design is scientific. For example, if engineers designed sonar systems from bats, what kind of supernatural intelligence created bats? Design can easily be inferred from simple observation of nature. Dawkins needs to use extra, convoluted arguments to explain that biological structures evolved as opposed to being simply designed. By applying the principle of Ockham’s Razor, we can reject Dawkins’ evolutionary arguments and accept the principle of design. Dawkins should not reject intelligent design but acknowledge it as a viable scientific argument for the origin of life.