Teaching

TRUTH OR DARE?

(July 25, 2021) Dr Jim McClure, straight shooting theologian, dares every Christian to be a Daniel today…

Have you ever played the party game Truth or Dare

It can be very funny or very embarrassing!  Some ‘Truth’ questions could be, ‘What is the most embarrassing thing you have ever done?’ or, ‘When did you last tell a lie?’  If you do not like those questions, you may choose ‘Dare’ instead of ‘Truth’ and may, for example, be dared to ‘Eat a really hot chilli’ or ‘Try to touch your nose with your tongue.’ Consequently you can be confronted by all kinds of humiliating and challenging tests.

I have chosen that title for this article because I want to draw attention to something which is vitally relevant and challenging to Christians today. We are, I believe, at a time in history which is quite unlike any other. And I’m not referring to the Coronavirus but to something that is significantly more serious and invasive and dangerous – especially for Christians.

In so many ways we are at a crossroads today religiously, socially and morally.

In the early days of Christianity many attempts were made to crush the advance of Christian influence and to silence the sharing of the good news about Jesus Christ. Today that spirit of hostility has returned with a vengeance.  Make no mistake about it – these are exceptional days of challenge and suppression when Christian values are being discarded and the Christian faith is being derided and attacked as being bigoted and out of date.  

How do we respond to that? Do we just try to ignore the opposition and hope it will go away or should we, perhaps, become more flexible and change our values and beliefs and try to bring them more into line with contemporary social ideas and opinions?

That is what I want us to consider…
1. Truth
The prophet Jeremiah described the moral and spiritual situation in Judah his day in a way that reflects much of what is happening in our society. Jeremiah wrote: ‘But they did not listen or pay attention; instead, they followed the stubborn inclinations of their evil hearts. They went backward and not forward. …  Therefore say to them, “This is the nation that has not obeyed the Lord its God or responded to correction. Truth has perished; it has vanished from their lips”’ (Jeremiah 7:24, 28). 

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BLUE AND BLACK OR GOLD AND WHITE?

(June 19, 2021) Dr Jim McClure, straight shooting theologian, brings a timely challenge…

About seven years ago someone posted on the internet a photo of a dress that caused quite a debate among people regarding its colours. Some people adamantly declared that the colours were obviously blue and black while others just as dogmatically stated that they were gold and white.

What do you think? What were the actual colours of that dress?  (Answer at the bottom of the article!)

There is a correct answer to the question and there are also perceived answers… and there are many reasons why the perceived answer appears to be the ‘obvious’ answer!

So what point am I trying to make?
Simply this. Christians often disagree over things that are mentioned in the Bible and often that disagreement leads to disagreeable conflict, arrogance and legalism.

After many decades of academic study and personal reflection of the content of the Bible I must confess that I do not have all the answers!  Indeed regarding some of the things I once was convinced were undisputable, I now have to admit that conceivably I may have been incorrect in my strongly held perceptions.

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WARNING: ‘A TEXT OUT OF CONTEXT IS A PRETEXT!’

(June 16, 2021) Robert McQuillan reflects on the above…

Personally, I will never forget these words of wisdom above, made decades ago by an outstanding pioneer of Pentecostal truths. There’s always something that sticks in one’s mind when a great preacher declares something profound, and this certainly did… has, and always will!

Now, it’s a warning that has been highlighted in different ways by others over the years, but at the time it linked perfectly with scriptures the Holy Spirit had burned into my heart three years previous when out-of-the-blue he had spoken to my spirit.

I well recall that wintery night when he stunned me by saying clearly that he would use me to teach God’s word simply but in-depth, challenging Christians and leaders to understand what scripture is really saying, not what they think or suppose, or declaring as being ‘the latest thing in God.’

Dangerous spiritual junk food
The Holy Spirit strongly impressed on me to deeply study the Timothy epistles, to wholeheartedly devour Paul’s warnings about end time lack of hunger for truth in some Christians.

Influencing me about a coming lack of desire for God’s word, a careless Christianity,he burned 1 Timothy 4.7Message into my heart: ‘Stay clear of silly stories that get dressed up as religion.’

Then, especially 2 Timothy 4:3-4, ‘You’re going to find that there will be times when people will have no stomach for solid teaching but will fill up on spiritual junk food – catchy opinions that tickle their fancy. They’ll turn their backs on truth and chase mirages.’

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SILENCE IN THE CHURCH?

(May 17, 2021) Dr Jim McClure, straight shooting theologian, brings a timely challenge…

Silence is not always golden – sometimes it is dross – rubbish!  Solomon succinctly stated in Ecclesiastes 3:7, ‘(There is) … a time to be silent and a time to speak.’

I would maintain that the ‘time to speak’ is now!  There is a rampant decadence and ungodliness today that is saturating and destroying our culture, unsettling our society and silencing our Christian witness.

That witness has been severely undermined in recent years.  While the Christian faith was once seen as a pillar of society and generally enjoyed a degree of esteem and its message was respected and valued (even by many of those who did not embrace it), today the church and its message is largely scorned and dismissed in many Western countries. There are various reasons that could be quoted but I highlight two that I sense are very pertinent.

1. The scourge of ‘political correctness’
The so-called ‘good old days’ were not as good as some may want to claim, however once there were values that now have not only been discarded in society but also scorned.

(i) The reversal of values
There was a time when…

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ENDURING CHURCH PRINCIPLES – PART 2

(April14, 2021) Dr Jim McClure, straight shooting theologian, continues his teaching on this important aspect of genuine church life…

As I mentioned last month, this past year has been a challenging time for churches throughout the world as each local church has attempted to redefine how to perform and how to survive as a church.

I’d written about two of five principles to which those first Christians – the early church – were committed… Engaging in Evangelism and Church Growth and Commitment to God’s Word and Prayer.

Here I continue with the other three…

3. Develop Authentic Relationships
Act 2:42 recalls that the early church, those first Christians ‘… devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer.’

There are a further two things this verse teaches us.

(i) Fellowship
This is a word that is widely used in church circles today, but the way fellowship is expressed often falls far short of what the New Testament means by the word. Christianity is a relational thing!

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RESURRECTION REFLECTIONS

(April 01, 2021) Dr Jim McClure, straight shooting theologian writes…

Some years later at a meeting of ministers, a retired minister posed the question, ‘Does it really matter whether or not the body of Jesus physically came alive again? Perhaps his physical body did not rise from the tomb, but he rose as a spirit being and that is what the idea of the resurrection is really about.’

Throughout history people have responded in different ways to that amazing historical event of Christ’s resurrection that occurred 2000 years ago.

1. It has been challenged
From the first Easter day the fact of Jesus’ resurrection has been challenged!  Even his disciples didn’t accept it when they were first told about it… and Thomas categorically stated, ‘Unless I see the nail marks in his hands and put my finger where the nails were, and put my hand into his side, I will not believe it’ (John 20:25). 

And just over 20 years after the resurrection Paul wrote to the Corinthians, ‘… some of you say that there is no resurrection of the dead?’ (1 Corinthians 15:12).

Clearly there were some people in that church who did not accept the fact that Jesus rose from the tomb.  And there continues to be those who identify with the church but challenge the truth of the bodily resurrection of Jesus.

It has been considered as:

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ENDURING CHURCH PRINCIPLES – PART 1

(March 22, 2021) Dr Jim McClure, straight shooting theologian, shares important church growth principles…

 This past year has been a challenging time for churches throughout the world as each local church has attempted to redefine how to perform and survive as a church.

The Covid-19 experience has been challenging and at times oppressive, and, because of the present state of the world, we who belong to the church could so easily sink into despair. But for one fact – God is still in control!

I believe that the challenges of these days may prove to be a positive thing for Christians and churches as it may challenge us to look more seriously at what we honestly believe, to whom we are unmistakably committed, the significance and relevance of how we live as Christians and how we operate as the body that we call the ‘Church.’

There are many Christians today who somehow have embraced the idea that the church as we find it in the New Testament provides a perfect picture of what the church of today should be like. But… the letters of Paul, Peter and John illustrate that the churches to which they wrote were clearly not perfect principally because they were composed of imperfect people – like every church today!

Some time ago I read an article that was titled, Getting Back to the New Testament Pattern. It was based on Acts 2:40-47 and listed 13 items which the writer claimed represented the biblical pattern of Christian worship and behaviour for all ages. In fact several the items listed in the article were never part of the church beyond the first months of its existence after the Day of Pentecost. (more…)

KJV OR NIV?

(February 02, 2021) Dr Jim McClure, straight shooting theologian, shares…

Recently I was asked to give an evaluation of the KJV and NIV Bibles.

1. Reality
Firstly, we do not have a handwritten original portion of any part of the Bible.

At best we have handwritten copies of copies of copies (and so on) of the texts that have been handed down to us. Thus, neither the KJV nor the NIV nor any other translation is perfect as the underlying texts are not perfect for a variety of reasons.  The best translation is, at best, only a translation!

Nevertheless KJV-only proponents strongly argue that the only reliable translation of the Bible is the KJV and that all modern ones set out to deceive. However, there is no conspiracy among authentic Bible translators to delete words and phrases or to modify the test with the intention to dishonour God and corrupt his words or mislead Christians.

The translators of the NIV, for example, have attempted to express the original Hebrew and Greek of the Bible into contemporary English that accurately reflects the meaning of the original languages.

Furthermore, it must be recognised that the manuscripts used by the translators of the KJV were based on very late manuscripts.  For example, the KJV translators did not have the benefit of ancient copies of many Old Testament books.

Indeed, the earliest version of many of the Hebrew texts before the discovery of the Dead Sea Scrolls were found in 1947, (which were written around the 2nd century BC), was the Masoretic Aleppo Codex dated A.D. 935 AD. Likewise the earliest Greek texts used to translate the New Testament were largely based on 12th century AD (and later) manuscripts.

  • Since the translation of the KJV took place in 1611, many thousands (and significantly older) manuscripts have been found which modern translators rightly have considered.
  • Also, since the first version of the KJV was published in 1611 it has been revised several times (eg 1629, 1638, 1657, 1762, 1769) and over 100,000 changes have been made to the 1611 version! So, one must question which KJV version  is considered the truly inspired version!

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PROPHETIC INTEGRITY

(January 23, 2021) Dr Jim McClure, straight shooting theologian, highlights ‘prophetic words’ false and genuine…

Well, it happened.  Donald Trump  failed in his bid to be re-elected as President of the United States.

While many media outlets have almost ecstatically delighted in reporting this fact, many people in America (and in other countries) are profoundly concerned about the policies that a Biden administration will pursue.

I mention this not to give a personal evaluation of recent political events in America but to draw attention to a related issue that needs to be considered by Christians – ‘prophetic words.’

Forthright prophesying
Let me make clear this fact – I believe in prophecy!

I believe that the prophetic gift was expressed by the prophets of the Old Testament at two levels: (more…)

GOD’S GREAT RESET

(December 19, 2020) Dr Jim McClure, straight shooting theologian, reflects on attempts to remove Almighty God from society…

This has been a difficult year and a phrase that we are beginning to hear more frequently in the media is ‘The Great Reset.’ This refers to the goal of a worldwide coalition of big business and big tech working in association with the unelected members of the World Economic Forum whose goal is – to use their own words – ‘improving the state of the world’ and ‘to shape global, regional, and industry agendas.’ In their attempts to ‘improve the state of the world’ we have already experienced the loss of many of the freedoms we once enjoyed and took for granted.

1984 totalitarian society
Today we are seeing so many parallels with George Orwell’s novel 1984 which was written almost 70 years ago. It is an almost prophetic book that gives a vision of a totalitarian society where individuality is stifled, and basic freedoms are forbidden, and dissent is prosecuted.

On top of this we have experienced the promotion of corrupt and distorted morals in which what –

  • has been acknowledged for centuries to be wrong, has now become right,
  • was once recognised as corrupt, is now considered acceptable,
  • was denounced as immoral is now accepted as normal,
  • was once regarded a thing of shame, is now a cause for celebration.

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