Tuesday, May 21, 2013

"Heaven is where God is, and God is everywhere" ?!!

Which religion would you associate the following statement with?

'Heaven is where God is, and God is everywhere'

To me it sounds like a typical brain-fart from a crystal waving New Ager. But would it surprise you that it was on a billboard in front of an Anglican church? This certainly shocked me. It seemed like quite a feeble and nonsensical, but more importantly non-Christian, statement to me.

So after ruminating on all the illogical paths that such a statement could lead, I decided to send the church an email. You just can't say such innane statements in public like that without having to explain yourself!
So below is the email that I sent to the church.

"I just thought I’d send a short email in regards to the content of the church’s display sign out the front of the building. It read; ‘Heaven is where God is, and God is everywhere’, as I remember it.

I don’t frequently travel past your church nor am I familiar with Anglican doctrine, so I’m not sure what context to read this message.


"To be honest my initial reaction was dismay, not just because of the unorthodox nature of such a statement from a Christian source, but also because of the ostensibly illogical nature of it. Does it mean that heaven is also in Hell, because if God is omnipresent then He must be in Hell too? Maybe it’s implying that there is actually no hell or heaven as the Scriptures teach, and they are only a state of mind? Or maybe even that God doesn’t literally exist, but He is merely the mind’s personification of the heavenly state of being?

The statement is so open-ended that there is no limit to the logical ends that it would lead to.


"So rather than endlessly speculate, I was hoping to get the author’s opinion on exactly what it means."


My feeling is that this message is just another example of the sycophantic nature of modern liberal Christianity, which is so scared of offending people in our plural society, that the Truth of God’s Word is purposely sacrificed in favour of pursuing the ecumenical policies of some denominations.

I’ll see what their response is!

Thursday, May 9, 2013

Bearing Good Fruit

Over the past year or so my mind has been periodically harassed by a nagging guilt of not producing enough 'good works'.

The New Testament undoubtedly puts a lot of emphasis on not neglecting our duty of good works:
"And already the ax is lying at the root of the trees; every tree therefore that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire." Matt 3:10
"'I was afraid and went out and hid your gold in the ground. See, here is what belongs to you.’ His master replied, ‘You wicked, lazy servant!'.....'So take the bag of gold from him and give it to the one who has ten bags....And throw that worthless servant outside, into the darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.’" Matt 25:24-30

I know quite well that salvation is not a remuneration for good works, but still, such verses do give the grim impression that the slothful servant is in danger of being tossed into the fiery pit of perdition.

But much to my joy, God, according to His relentless benevolence, pacified my conscience with this realisation:
It's that producing 'good fruit' isn't strictly just performing outward work like philanthropy; but rather it also includes the inner 'work' of behaving in a virtuous manner.
For example, behaving in accordance with the fruits of the Spirit (Gal 5:22-23) is certainly also what God considers to be in the sphere of what is defined as producing 'good fruit'. It also seems that this inner work is probably an even more important part of producing good fruit than purely just outward philanthropic work.

I think it would be safe to deduce, without diminishing the importance of our philanthropic duty, that living our lives in accordance with these spiritual fruits for the non-believing world to observe, is also a significant part of the Christian's evangelistic duty. In fact I'm sure that if we were to adhere to only one of these two duties, that God would much prefer us to have the spiritual fruits than the philanthropic fruits. I could scarcely imagine that the later would be at all effective without the former anyway.

So whenever that nagging guilt rears its ugly head again, I've got to be sure to remind myself of all this!

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Worshipping Angels?

The following passage in Revelation has always puzzled me a little:

"And I John saw these things, and heard them. And when I had heard and seen, I fell down to worship before the feet of the angel which shewed me these things.
Then saith he unto me, See thou do it not: for I am thy fellowservant, and of thy brethren the prophets"
Revelation 22:8-9

The traditional interpretation of these verses never made too much sense to me; that St John made the foolish mistake of worshipping an angel. Surely a man of such high standing with God and so learnered would never make such a schoolboy error. Maybe a neophyte in the faith may make such a mistake, but one of the Apostles?!!
Then I read somewhere a much more cogent explanation (I think it was in David Chilton's 'Day's of Vengeance'): It's that back in those days angels were considered to be superior beings to us wretched humans, and it was customary that we were to automatically bow (the bible sometimes translates this as 'worship'. The Greek word translated as worship in this verse specifically means to fawn or crouch, or to literally prostrate oneself in homage) to any superior person as a sign of submission (Gen 18:2).

But what it seems that John was getting at in this verse is that Christians have been washed clean of their sins and are perfect in the sight of God, so are no longer are lesser beings than angels. We are equals, or as the angel said "for I am thy fellowservant", thus bowing in their presence is no longer required!

I was reminded of all this this morning when meditating on Psalm 8, where verse 5 says that humans are lower than angels; "For thou hast made him [mankind] a little lower than the angels"
But no more! We have been fully restored by Christ!