Teaching

SUBMISSION TO THE AUTHORITIES?

(September 28, 2020) Dr Jim McClure, straight shooting theologian, brings a timely challenge…

I’m sure that we are all weary of the unavoidable and unrelenting news about Corona-19 and the responses to it by various political leaders in Australia. So many questions have been raised concerning the limits of political authority and police functions and personal rights.

Inconsistent political positions and, at times, authoritarian and uncompassionate directives, have not only created confusion but have also stirred the deep concerns of many loyal citizens – including many committed Christians.

This has raised questions such as:

  • ‘What principles should guide Christians when we see political leaders lying or abusing their position of trust or promoting values that stand opposed to biblical values or pursuing policies that suggest self-aggrandisement rather than the benefit of the people they lead?’
  • ‘Should they be challenged and their policies be opposed or should we meekly, quietly, uncomplainingly submit to and support their dictates?’

Recently I’ve read a number of articles by Christians who have expressed profound concern and have challenged many of the political decisions that some of our leaders have been making.  And I have also read many responses from other Christians who rebuke those who express their concern and dare to criticise those leaders whose government policies and pronouncements with which they disagree. Often they quote Romans 13:1-7 (particularly the first two verses) in support of their rebuke.

So what should be the Christian position in regard to political leaders when their guidelines, strategies and directives run contrary to democratic values, and more especially to biblical values?  Obviously both sides cannot be right!  Does Roman 13 endorse a position of acquiescence and impassivity when confronted by overreaching and, at times, tyrannical government officials and policies? (more…)

LEST WE FORGET

(August 21, 2020) Dr Jim McClure, straight shooting theologian, challenges us not to forget…

Last Saturday in various countries throughout the world commemoration services were held reflecting the surrender of Japan on August 15, 1945 which signified the end of World War 2.

World War 2
Below is a photo taken shortly after that day back then in which a celebration party was arranged for the children in the street where I lived in Belfast.

I just about remember that day… the street lined with tables filled with ‘goodies’ 
that, because of food shortages had been in limited availability during the war years, yet the mums somehow managed to turn the meagre supplies into a celebratory meal! I do remember the sense of joy in all the mums who, after six years of suffering, were so elated to celebrate this wonderful news with their children.

And what a time of suffering those six years were. My father worked at night in an engineering factory in Belfast and most nights German planes tried to bomb it. When my dad went out to work neither he nor my mum knew if he would be returning home the following morning.  Just before I was born, German fighter planes would try to shoot civilians; my parents described their fear as they covered my brother and the unborn ‘me’ with their bodies as they watched the bullets rip along the ground close to where they were under cover.

World War 2 was the most lethal military conflict in history. Around 75 million people died (that is about 3.3% of the world population in those days) and that included around 20 million of those who served in the military and 40 million civilians, many of whom died because of deliberate slaughter, mass-bombings, disease, starvation and limited medical services.

We must not forget the horror and the social consequences of those years and the years that followed nor must we forget the sacrifices that brave men and women made to rescue us from ruthless domination.  It is right that we from time to time reflect on those events – lest we forget!

The Covid-19 War (more…)

LOCKDOWN – OPPORTUNITY FOR BIBLE READING

(July 31, 2020) Dr Jim McClure, highly respected theologian, responds to an often asked question…

My state of Victoria is in lockdown again – but even if it wasn’t, with the pandemic that we’re all facing there are those who are taking opportunity to get back to fundamental Christian basics, such as Bible reading and scripture meditation.

A question that I often hear about Bible reading and study is this: ‘Which is the best English translation of the Holy Bible?  Someone insisted that the best is the King James Version.’ And this is often followed with this comment, ‘But I find the KJV difficult to read’ and a further question, ‘Which is a good modern version?’

When asked my opinion, I respond by firstly state all the earliest manuscripts we have today are copies of the originals – we do not have one original handwritten copy – or even a small portion – of any of the books of the Old or New Testaments.

Copied handwritten copies
What we do have, though, is a number of excellent copies that were faithfully hand-written over many centuries. Admittedly there are some minor variations in many of those copies, but none that in any way changes the Bible’s message. (more…)

RED AND YELLOW, BLACK AND WHITE

(June 21, 2020) Dr Jim McClure, straight shooting theologian, challenges recent fallacies …

Many years ago in Sunday school in Ireland I – and many others – used to sing the following song:

‘Jesus loves the little children,
All the children of the world.
Red and yellow, black and white,
All are precious in His sight,
Jesus loves the little children of the world.’

In recent days this song has been in my mind one again, especially the lines – ‘Red and yellow, black and white, All are precious in His sight.’

Everyone matters!
The graphic video of the killing of George Floyd by a police officer in Minneapolis was alarming to watch and no one can condone that vicious act of brutality. (more…)

GOD’S INDISPENSABLE GIFT TO HIS CHURCH

(May 20, 2020) Dr Jim McClure, straight shooting theologian, shares some great Pentecostal insights …

Let me share with you a few recent experiences.

Something missing…

  1. As I was typing this article on my computer today, it suddenly shut down in mid-sentence. That was a little frustrating but after I plugged in the charger, the computer reopened and enabled me to complete the article.
  2. A friend’s mobile phone, which she had had for a number of years, decided that it had worked long enough. It was out of energy! I helped her to buy a new phone and restored the information from her old one. Now she can confidently phone her friends – and play ‘Words with Friends’ – without the fear of a black screen suddenly appearing.
  3. A few weeks ago I got into my car, turned the ignition key – and nothing happened! No noise from the starter motor. No ignition lights on the dashboard. Nothing but silence! I had accidentally left my car door open a little for a couple of days and the battery had drained.  Fortunately a friend came to my rescue with a battery charger and soon the car was on the road again.

Dynamite power source!
The similar factor in the above accounts is obvious – that my computer, my friend’s mobile phone and my car failed to work because their power source was missing! (more…)

CORONAVIRUS AND FALSE TEACHERS

(April 26, 2020) Dr Jim McClure, straight shooting theologian, shares a warning…

I have been reflecting in recent days on the worldwide distress being caused by the Coronavirus (Covid-19), I’ve read so many articles and watched so many YouTube videos in which some preachers have strongly stated that God has clearly promised protection for his people in the midst of plagues and diseases.

Dissonance…
Christians should not be concerned or stressed by current events because we live in the assurances  of God’s promises found in various verses in the Bible – particularly Psalm 91 which is frequently mishandled – but it is crucially important to understand what those verses are actually promising!  (See my March article Link: Is Divine Protection Guaranteed?)

I have watched well-known preachers on video as, with great passion and animation, they loudly remind the virus that it has no claim over Christians. And yet a large number of Christians worldwide have been victims of the pandemic and many have died – including many who had boldly declared that such a thing could not happen to God’s people!

There is a dissonance between the declaration that God will save his people from plaques and illnesses and the reality of what is actually happening in the world.

This links with two important questions – Can we trust the Bible?  Can we truly believe the promises God makes in his word?

So what are we to believe?
My answer is that… (more…)

LOCKDOWN!

(April 6, 2020) Dr Jim McClure, straight shooting theologian, reminds us of Jesus’ victory over his ‘lockdown’…

In recent weeks nation after nation have been imposing lockdown measures on their citizens to help prevent the spread of the deadly Coronavirus.

Some of those measures have frustrated and, in some cases, angered a lot of people worldwide.  Yet most have responded stoically and have accepted that while, frustrating and depressing, lockdown is necessary for the life and health of millions of people worldwide.

‘Lockdown’ isn’t some new method!
‘Lockdown’ is also a method of control that throughout history national regimes and political ideologies (for example, communism and extreme racist or authoritarian systems such as Nazism) have imposed as a technique of political control.

What a relief and what joy when the lockdown is over! This is what the world is hoping for: Christians are praying for!

This week I have been reflecting on another ‘lockdown’ that happened 2000 years ago and how great has been the joy ever since when it was over.

When Jesus died on the cross on the first ‘Good Friday’ and was placed in the tomb, his followers were greatly distressed and grief stricken and some were even bitterly disillusioned as they were convinced that he was the promised Messiah – but his death appeared to put an end to that hope. (more…)

IS DIVINE PROTECTION GUARANTEED?

(March 25, 2020) Dr Jim McClure, straight shooting theologian, challenges misquoting of scriptures in these troubling times…

Unquestionably these are exceptional times of national and international stress. Sadly the response of so many people to that stress has been significantly less than commendable!  Selfishness and hostility – especially on the ‘battlefield’ aisles of supermarkets – has been on shameful display.

Without doubt this has been a distressing and troubling time and Christians are inevitably asking such questions as:

  • Why has God permitted this epidemic?
  • Why doesn’t he stop it?
  • Is he using it to accomplish some greater purpose?
  • Is this evidence that we are living in the End Times? and then of course…
  • Can Christians avoid contracting the virus? (the BIG question so many Christians are asking).

Hyper-faith distortion
Let me first state that I firmly believe that God miraculously heals many people today. I have both personally experienced and witnessed it. It is appropriate to ask God for healing.

But I do not believe that it should be a Christian’s unalienable right to be protected from illness or tragedy as neither the biblical testimony nor that of Christian history substantiates that position.

In the last few weeks many Christians have been placing posts on social media asserting the ‘correct’ position a Christian should take regarding the Coronavirus (or any) worldwide viral infection.

From a hyper-faith position there are those who are telling us that the Bible affirms that God has given solid assurance that his children will be protected from such epidemics and that we need to embrace those promises, fully place our trust in God and the authority of his word and claim deliverance from those diseases that threaten us.  I have read such affirmations eg ‘I believe the Lord will protect you and that none of your family will die before their time and that you and your family will live to be a blessing to many, many people!’ (more…)

THE END OF HUMAN CIVILISATION?

(March 8, 2020) Dr Jim McClure, straight shooting theologian, sounds a battle cry…

In keeping with its objective of vigorously propagating ‘politically correct’ ideas and globalist theories, on March 3 the ABC published an article titled ‘The human race is not special. So why do we think we’re immune to mass extinction?’ (Link: Global-warming-mass-extinction-psychological-impact).

The article was written by Geoff Dawson who is described as ‘a psychologist and Zen Buddhist teacher.’ On the bases of these incontestable (?) credentials he writes, ‘A report written by Paul Gilding, a fellow at the University of Cambridge Institute for Sustainability Leadership, and commissioned by the Breakthrough National Centre for Climate Restoration, put forward the view that there is a “high likelihood of human civilisation coming to an end in 2050” if action is not taken to curb climate change.’

Then, after stirring up the panic warning of mass extinction in 30 years’ time and standing on what he clearly considers to be the triple high grounds of intellectual enlightenment, godless Zen Buddhism and the pretence of profound compassion (particularly for panicked children), he continues… (more…)

THE CHURCH AT WAR Part 2 – Today!

(February 12, 2020) Dr Jim McClure, straight shooting theologian, shares more on this timely subject…

Last month (link: The Early Days) I referred to the great price Christians in the early church had to pay for being followers of Jesus Christ. For 2000 years Christians have been opposed, intimidated, abused and slaughtered because of their commitment to Jesus Christ.

The reason has been an age-old conflict in which Satan continually attempts to destroy us and the work of God in and through us.

History is repeating itself
While many of the accounts of past persecution of Christians are horrendous, we actually see much the same kind of thing repeating itself today. Christians are in the ‘firing line’ (metaphorically and literally) throughout the world today.

The number of Christians in Sri Lanka who were killed when worshipping on Easter Day last year was sufficiently large that the world media had really no alternative but to mention it – but literally hundreds of other acts of persecution and killing of Christians throughout the world today are wholly ignored by most of the world media. There are more Christians being killed today than ever before in history!

Surprisingly The Guardian newspaper included an April 22, 2019 article titled, ‘As the Sri Lanka attacks show, Christians worldwide face serious persecution.’ The writer wrote: ‘We are living though one of the most serious phases of Christian persecution in history, and most people refuse to acknowledge it.

‘During the past century, Christianity has been all but driven out of the Middle East, the place of its birth. … From 1894 to 1924, the Turkish authorities systematically murdered some 2.5 million Christians. Throughout the 20th century and into the 21st, Christians have been driven from the Middle East with bombs and bullets, and with hardly a bat squeak of protest from the secular west.  … Christianity remains the world’s most persecuted religion. … all around the world Christians are subject to real and sustained violence for the profession of their faith …’ (more…)