Category Archives: bible

Can you be a Christian in the Church of England and not believe anything?

In the Church Times today , a certain G.B. asked a question, which I snapshot below.

churchtimes

(To those who don’t know the Church Times is the leading Church of England weekly, described once as a sub-Christian horror comic!)

I bet this person is echoing the views on many members of all churches of all denominations and not only the Church of England.

I am sure if I grilled every church member in any church a high proportion would say they agree with G.B. I suggest some would be church wardens, on the PCC, Choirmembers, organists etc – and even Sunday school teachers or equivalent.

I n response I’d say these view are widely accepted within our churches. However G.B. is not so much heretical as essentially someone who does not believe in Jesus Christ.

I can now hear the gasps of horror! But Fred has been a loyal Church warden for ten years. May has taught in Sunday School for 20 years – that’s service.

 

So what of his four points?

Original Sin. There is a bit of confusion here. Original Sin was put forward in about 400 AD, but the Orthodox and Coptic churches do not accept it. Neither do I. However all humans are sinful and marred by sin and thus need to be redeemed/saved by Jesus Christ

Jesus died to atone for sins. This is one of central planks of the Christian Faith along with the Resurrection. Remove it and there is no Christianity. Simples. I could either spend pages explaining or briefly say it is the heart of our faith. Once we realise what we are like – i.e sinful to use church lingo – then something needs to be done about it. This is the heart of the Christmas story which comes to fruition on Good Friday.

It is through Christ’s death on the cross that we are forgiven. The accounts of Jesus’ death in the four gospels should move us and it’s the substance of many hymns – old and new. It is something we never fully understand.

His bodily resurrection. Why is Easter the most important day for Christians? Not because of bunnies and chocolate eggs!! It is all about the fact – and fact it is – that the very dead executed Jesus rose from the dead, in a transformed body to show he’d conquered death and started a new life for all

The two – Jesus’ death and his resurrection – are the two sides of the same Christian coin and are the most fundamental beliefs. They are not negotiable. Without both Christianity is just another vague moral way of life – which would have gone extinct in 30 AD.

Right from the first Easter day the essential message of Christianity was that Jesus died and rose for us. This is put in many different ways in the New Testament and in the 2000 years since, but always focuses on Jesus died for us and rose again.

There is no other way.

Lastly The Virgin Birth. This is clear in the birth narratives of Luke and Matthew, but a good number of Christians in the last two hundred years have rejected it – wrongly in my view. However it is not as important as the death and resurrection of Jesus.

To conclude;

We need to accept that to say all people are sinful sums up the human condition as we are bloody-minded and unreasonable creatures who need sorting out. Fortunately God chose Jesus and not a whip. And the leads to the heart of Christianity

Christ has died

Christ is Risen

Christ will come again.

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Book Review – Two young-Earth creationist books about Yellowstone expose why YECs cannot explain Yellowstone geology

An excellent review of Creationist attempts to explain the geology of Yellowstone NP. As usual they take an iconic area and twist the geology to suit their peculiar ideas.

Creatively stupid

Photos from our 2012 holiday

The blog follows my photos

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GeoChristian

Your Guide to Yellowstone and Grand Teton National Parks: A Different Perspective, by John Hergenrather, Tom Vail, Mike Oard, and Dennis Bokovoy

The Geology of Yellowstone: A Biblical Guide, by Patrick Nurre

Young-Earth creationists (YECs) believe that the Bible requires that almost all features of Earth’s crust are the result of Noah’s Flood about 4300 years ago. These books are, in the words of Nurre, “an attempt to present the geology of Yellowstone from a Biblical perspective,”, as opposed to the standard geological timeframe in which the history of Yellowstone goes back a few billion years to the Archean Eon. This “biblical geology” effort is misguided, however, as the Bible does not say anything about processes such as igneous intrusion, volcanism, erosion, sedimentation, metamorphism, and glaciation. This results in a serious over-reading of the biblical text, leading to erroneous conclusions about the origin of geological features in places…

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Was Jesus latte?

Here is an alternative picture of Jesus

Image result for black jesus

Compare it to the classic of Holman Hunt which is too white

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Now many will say that it is well-known that Jesus was not white as he came from the Middle East. Yes, I know, but too many still reckon Jesus was white as this incident fro the other local church shows.

Please consider two discussions with youngsters. The first was with our Year Sixes. One thought Jesus’ birthday was 25th December. We pointed out we didn’t know and that was his official birthday. Jesus was born around 6BC. It was light-hearted!

The second in another church a lad of eleven said that Jesus was dark-skinned and not white. He was corrected and put in his place. Our Year Six agreed with him when I told them about it. It is appalling that today some still insist that Jesus was white. And even more appalling that a child should get put down for saying Jesus was not white. One year Six said his skin was latte !! Now this is not trivial, especially a lad being put down. In the 1930s Nazi Christians were insistent Jesus was Aryan and thus white.

When in apartheid South Africa I often stressed that Jesus was coloured! Somehow it did not always go down with white Christians.


As Jesus was from Judean stock born in Israel 2000 years ago he would not be white and had the darker skin of that area. When we grasp that, we cannot be racist. It is almost that Jesus has the average skin colour of all people, and thus relates to all of us whatever “race” we are.

Image result for coloured jesus

And that leads us to consider why we celebrate the birth of a non-white baby 2000 years ago. As I explained to year 6, it was so unknown that no one recorded it, unlike the birth of the other Sons of God – Julius Caesar and successors.  Probably the best is to say it was about 6BC, though Sir Colin Humphreys of Cambridge has tried to narrow it down to a week or so. It seems most odd to make so much of this unknown wandering preacher who was executed by the Romans in their nastiest fashion.


Many want to choose what they believe about Jesus rather than accepting the whole Jesus package. This particularly applies to those who see Jesus as a great moral teacher and leave out the religious bits. Many, great and small, have done this as did Mahatma Gandhi. It’s also provided the moral basis for much of Europe, but that is now being eroded.


However that ignores so much of the gospels on Jesus. To some it just leaves out the mumbo-jumbo, as the religious bits are sometimes called, especially that about his Incarnation, being Son of God, the atonement and the resurrection – not to mention the Holy Spirit. If it had not been for them, Jesus would have soon been forgotten, as he would have been just another wandering eccentric Jewish teacher. The message of those early Jesus followers was not an appeal to morals but trust in a person who is our saviour in contrast either to the teachings of Judaism or the customs of the Roman Empire.


The message was that humans are in a mess and need saving and this happens because this Jesus died on the cross and rose again and thus we should follow his moral teaching. Thus Jesus was seen as the Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, saviour and King. Now today that is a standard formula about Jesus but in the first century it was radical as it cast a snook at the Roman Empire where the emperor was known as son of god, lord, king and saviour. That is often lost on us today, but in the roman Empire it resulted in the deaths of those Christians who would not recognise the emperor as God and offer him a sacrifice. Today Jesus is so tame and domesticated that we miss his radical challenge.
So back to Christmas, beyond all the tinsels and donkeys, we need to see that we celebrate the obscure birth of someone who transformed the world and billions of people.


Hopefully he has transformed each one of us.
So this Christmas period let’s ask how Jesus needs to change us.

But how?

 

Bumping off Christians in 115 AD, the classic imperial letter

 

 

Worship Caesar or face torture: Pliny reminds us why Christian martyrdom matters – Premier Christianity

Pliny the Younger was a lawyer and magistrate of Ancient Rome, born around AD 61. He wrote to the Roman emperor Trajan (ruled 98–117) on a number of occasions.

Source: Worship Caesar or face torture: Pliny reminds us why Christian martyrdom matters – Premier Christianity

10 questions to ask Christians who believe in evolution – Premier Christianity

Premier Christian Radio b have published two blogs on creation/evolution. Mine and one by John Mackay, which I reblog here.

 

The international director of Creation Research John Mackay, is convinced that the Genesis accounts of creation are literally true. He shares ten questions he’d like to ask Christians who accept evolution

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An amazing fellar who exorcises cats and dogs !!!! I will leave readers to decide the inteellectual quality of his arguments.

A book for sale at the Ark Encounter gift shop. You can see on the cover that the felines all came from a single common ancestor cat on the Ark.

I “debated” him in 2003. It was a weird experience

https://michaelroberts4004.wordpress.com/2017/10/16/creation-john-mackay-comes-to-blight-blighty/

Please read his arguments and answer them!!

Source: 10 questions to ask Christians who believe in evolution – Premier Christianity

 

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10 questions to ask a young earth creationist – Premier Christianity

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Simply questions to answer

 

Geologist and priest Michael Roberts is convinced the earth is 4.6 billion years old. He shares ten questions he’d like to ask Christians who believe the earth is only 6,000-10,000 years old

Source: 10 questions to ask a young earth creationist – Premier Christianity