Article Find – To judge or not to judge

In Is it Ever Right to Judge? posted on Christianity.ca Stan Fowler, professor of Theology at Heritage Theological Seminary talks about an argument sometimes used against Christians who speak against homosexuality and presents a rebuttal to that argument. The argument is drawn from Matthew 7:1,

Do not judge, or you too will be judged.

and assumes that those who speak negatively of the actions of Homosexuals are contradicting the teachings of Christ. Without re-stating what Stan already pointed out I merely want to draw attention to his conclusion – which I think is right on. He says,

Wherever the Church of Jesus Christ exists in the world, it faces unique pressures from the surrounding culture. In contemporary Canada, one of our greatest challenges is the assumption by much of our society that tolerance is the greatest virtue. But to adopt this common definition of tolerance would be to fail to follow Christ in His commitment to truth and goodness. If we are going to express negative judgments, we must first judge ourselves, and if we judge others it must be with kindness and respect. Nevertheless, we must not bow to the argument that Jesus taught His followers that they should never judge others. He said no such thing.

Article Review – The Blessing of Pain

I must admit I never quite looked at pain the way that Paul Brand and Philip Yancey record in the article Putting Pain to Work which is posted on BuildingChurchLeaders.com. Illustrating from his experience working with people suffering from leprosy, Paul highlights the importance of pain in healthy bodies. This correlates directly with the healthiness of the body of Christ as well. He says,

As I turn from the network of pain in biology to its analogy in the Body of Christ, comprising all believers, again I am struck by the importance of such a communicative system. Pain serves as vital a role in protecting and uniting that corporate membership as it does in guarding the cells of my own body.

He goes on to relate that these connections within the body of Christ should unite us with the plight of fellow Christian brothers and sisters all over the globe – both locally at home and abroad oversea. His appeal to the church is whether we feel the suffering in the world as God does – does that pain move us to action?

Today our world has shrunk, and as a Body we live in awareness of all cells: persecuted Russian believers, starving Africans, oppressed South Africans and Indochinese and Central Americans ? the litany fills our newspapers. Do we fully attend? Do we hear their cries as unmistakably as our brains hear the complaints of a strained back or broken arm? Or do we instead turn down the volume, filtering out annoying sounds of distress?

And closer, within the confines of our own local membership of Christ’s Body-how do we respond? Tragically, the divorced, the alcoholics, the introverted, the rebellious, the unemployed often report that the church is the last body to show them compassion. Like a person who takes aspirin at the first sign of headache, we want to silence them, to “cure” them without addressing the underlying causes.

Then Paul goes on to say this,

In the human body, when an area loses sensory contact with the rest of the body, even when its nourishment system remains intact, that part begins to wither and atrophy. In the vast majority of cases?95 of 100 insensitive hands I have examined?severe injury or deformation results. The body poorly protects what it does not feel. In the spiritual Body, also, loss of feeling inevitably leads to atrophy and inner deterioration. So much of the sorrow in the world is due to the selfishness of one living organism that simply does not care when another suffers. In Christ’s Body we suffer because we do not suffer enough.

What a potent observation! And humbling as well. A church that has lost it’s feeling for the suffering in the world is a church that has lost it’s impact as well. It’s a truth – the more the church feels the more it will serve. After all we read in scripture that Christ acted as He was moved to compassion by the suffering of those he saw (Mt 9:36, Mt 14:14, Mt.20:34..and many other examples).

Finally, Brand finishes with the story of a man named Pedro who because of an anamoly in the artery structure of his hand there was one spot where the leprosy bacilli didn’t take over his nerves because of the warm temperature in that spot. It became a sensitive spot which helped Pedro to guard his hand against injury. Paul makes this beautiful observation,

 

That single warm spot, the size of a nickel, which Pedro had previously viewed as a defect, had become a wonderful advantage to him when he contracted leprosy. That one remaining patch of sensitivity protected his entire hand.

In a church that has grown large and institutional, I pray for similar small patches of sensitivity. We must look to prophets, whether in speech, sermon, or art form, who will call attention to the needy by eloquently voicing their pain.

I agree wholeheartedly with Paul Brand’s observation and echo with him that we need to put pain to work in the body of Christ! Needless to say this article was a great read!

 

Article Find – Revenge of the Plants

Fly hazardYou know I never thought of the creation/evolution debate from this angle before, but Dr. Richard Yen (a cell biologist, founder of a biotech company, and advisor to the West-Coast Chinese Christian Conference) certainly has a valid point in highlighting how plants defy the evolutionary model. Certainly when you read this article you can’t help but see why evolutionists might want to avoid talking about plants…

Article Find – “Israel, the Canary in the Coal Mines”

In this article, Harry Antonides writes about the flaws that exist in the news reporting that takes place in the Middle East. His premise is that predisposed bias of western news agencies of secularism (there is no God), moral relativism (there is no truth), and tolerance (multi-cuturalism) has a profound affect on the prevailing opinion of the state of Israel in the hostile Arab/Muslim world of the Mid-East. He highlights that for the most part, western media covering the events taking place are overly pliant and willing to do “soft” reporting of the happenings which often means a failure to correctly report the facts and truth of terrorist vs. Israel military actions.

When reading an article like Harry’s one can’t help but see the focused efforts of militant terrorists to use the west’s own media as a form of propaganda machine to soften resistance to their violent and intolerant actions. What baffles me is that so many people are so quick to “buy into” what the media reports as “truth” without questioning the legitimacy of the reports.

Five non-religious arguments for marriage over living together

I’ve always been against the practice of living together before marriage and for the wonderful commitment between a couple in getting married. However, even though I disagree with a guy and gal living together before marriage I still understand why some people think it’s okay. There are many reasons why I disagree and of course among them is the Biblical teaching on the sanctity of marriage. However, I must admit (to my chagrin) that the Bible just doesn’t carry the initial influence that it once had in society (gasp!) and frankly a “religious” argument just doesn’t have any impact on “reasoning” with people that it once had. That doesn’t make the Biblical teaching invalid or worthless – it just means that I can’t make the assumption that quoting scripture is going to convince people that living together is not a good idea or is even living in… (whispers conspiratorily) sin!

Another problem with talking about living together before marriage is that (for the most part) we preachers (and many others who disagree with it!) approach the whole subject from a negative direction rather than positive. In other words, we spend more time talking about why living together before marriage is bad instead of emphasizing why getting married first is good. Anyway, I said all that to introduce this article I came across in my reading that is a good approach on the subject. In it Dennis Prager briefly outlines five good non-religious arguments for why marriage is better than living together. Some very wise words are written in this article and I’ll definitely add this to my file of articles I’ll give couples that I counsel in the future!