Teaching

‘GOD COULDN’T POSSIBLY FORGIVE ME…’

(September 10, 2018) Dr Jim McClure, straightshooting theologian, shares…

Every now and then I hear these condemning words from a sad, heavy-hearted Christian, ‘I’ve heard that there’s a sin that God can’t forgive… “the unpardonable sin.” I feel, I think I’ve committed it! God couldn’t possibly forgive me…’

What such a tormented person is really thinking in his (or her) troubled mind is this – ‘Is it possible that I committed such a big sin, or so many sins, that I’ve gone beyond the point where I can’t be forgiven, can’t be saved?’

The good news of the gospel
I feel for such people (incidentally some non-Christians also often believe their sins are too great to be forgiven!). And if they’d share with me I hasten to point out that the gospel – the good news – of Christ is that our sin, whatever they are or how big or many, cannot exceed the love, grace and mercy of God. (more…)

THE KING IS COMING, BUT…

(August 29, 2018) Dr Jim McClure, straight shooting theologian, shares…

‘Whenever I ask anyone about Jesus’ second coming, I seem to be given an answer that differs from other answers I’ve received from others.’

So wrote a concerned reader, adding, ‘Can you please give me an easy answer to my question: What can we know for sure about the return of Jesus?’

Easy answers can be suspect!
I wish I could give an easy answer to your question… but, like many things theological, an easy answer is often suspect!

The problem is that in the Bible God reveals to us many things that are not easy to grasp but he nevertheless wants us to be aware of them.  To help us he uses what theologians call ‘language of accommodation‘ – that is – terminology with which we are familiar to give us some insight into things that are unfamiliar.

The matter raised by this perturbed reader is in the area of eschatology, or concerning the doctrine of ‘last things.’ With reference to the return of Jesus Christ…

  • We know generally what is going to happen but –
  • We do not know precisely how it is going to happen.

(more…)

‘AND THINGS THAT GO BUMP IN THE NIGHT …’?

(July 24, 2018) Dr Jim McClure, straight shooting theologian, brings another wake-up call…

Recently I watched Britain’s Got Talent.  The act that won was of a ‘comedian’ whose whole routine was about his homosexuality. The judges thought it was hilarious! The audience stood and applauded! And the voting public declared him the winner! (In another performance a man demonstrated his ‘skill’ by removing his clothes in a provocative way.) The show was concluded by a female guest singer who sang about wanting to kiss girls.

Another popular singer, Ariana Grande, has a new sexually explicit song on the market called God is a Woman. Some of the lyrics are a mockery of Christianity, such as, ‘Baby, lay me down and let’s pray’, ‘So, baby, take my hand, save your soul’ and ‘And boy, if you confess, you might get blessed.’ In her music video of the song Ezekiel 25:17 is misquoted. And Grande is portrayed in a flesh-coloured body suit with multiple breasts at which men suckle.

Disrespect for spiritual beliefs and standards
Sadly in recent years we have seen a disintegration of social principles and disrespect for spiritual beliefs and standards that have established a sound foundation for many nations for hundreds of years (more…)

‘LAUREL OR YANNI’ – A THEOLOGICAL CHALLENGE?

(June 10, 2018) Dr Jim McClure, straight shooting theologian, brings a topical wake-up challenge…

Imagine that you are returning home late one night. As you pass your neighbour’s house, you see that it is on fire. You are really very fond of those neighbours whom you consider as very close friends. They have two bright, friendly little children who are like family to you. Obviously those neighbours are fast asleep in their comfortable beds and are unaware that they are in such danger.

You are confronted with a problem – what do you do? You have two choices. Should you let them sleep and not disturb their comfort, or should you race towards the house yelling to awaken them and warning them of their danger even though their comfort will be disturbed?

What is the loving thing to do? What is the right thing to do?

Laurel v Yanni
Over the past few weeks there has been an audio clip on the internet that we could describe as the ‘Laurel v Yanni’ argument. Apparently while listening to this audio clip some people clearly hear the word ‘Laurel’ while others clearly hear the word ‘Yanni.’ (more…)

GOD WANTS YOU TO BE RICH – REALLY?

(May 8, 2018) Dr Jim McClure, straight shooting theologian, openly shares from his heart…

Recently I received a blog from an Indian friend who is pastoring in India: a young man whom I taught for a short time in a Bible college in Tamil Nadu. He was very committed in his Christian faith and very passionate in sharing the gospel.

However, his most recent blog troubled me. It was titled, ‘God wants you to be rich!

The following is part of what he wrote:
Yes, God wants us to be rich. We all know and believe that Jesus Christ, our Lord and Saviour, died on the cross to buy our salvation, healing, blessings and deliverance; but I want you to know on the same cross Jesus also died to make us rich.

‘You know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, though he was rich, yet for your sakes he became poor, that you through his poverty might become rich’ (2 Corinthians 8:9 NKJV). (more…)

IF OR BUT – CONSEQUENCES AND CONTRASTS

(April 17, 2018) Dr Jim McClure, straight shooting theologian, reflects…

In English there are some words that sound very impressive, such as iridescent, ethereal, serendipity, ineffable, and so on. On the other hand there are some words that sound pathetically unimpressive.

However some of those unimpressively sounding words are supercharged with significance… such as if or but. It’s hard to imagine anything less impressive than those two common little words.

Nevertheless they lie at the heart of the most marvellous of all Christian truths – the resurrection of Jesus that millions of people around the world joyfully celebrated earlier this month.

But did the resurrection of Christ really happen?
Is the recently celebrated Easter story just a fascinating tale? Can we really believe that a brutally executed man came alive again three days later?

It does seem to stretch the bounds of credibility and, as atheism is embraced by more and more people today, many dismiss the reality of that event and believe that it should be classified as a fairy tale.

Recently I read these words by a Californian college professor of sociology and secular: ‘The world is better off when supernatural tales lacking evidence fade, especially when these tales teach that all humans are evil and rotten and in desperate need of salvation which can only come about through the brutal torture, murder, and resurrection of the son of a magical deity. As for the death and resurrection of Jesus, well, fewer and fewer people are buying that old tale. Increasing numbers of men and women in formerly Christian societies are losing their faith.’

This professor is right in one sense – individuals and Christian societies are losing faith in that story. And many just cannot give any credibility to the fact of a man coming alive again three days after he had died. (more…)

TOP SECRET

(March 18, 2018) Dr Jim McClure, straight shooting theologian, shares a concern…

Deuteronomy 29:29 clearly declares: ‘The secret things belong to the Lord our God, but the things revealed belong to us and to our children forever, that we may follow all the words of this law.’

Relevant concerns today
Matthew Henry
, the 17th century Bible scholar, made this comment: ‘He has kept back nothing that is profitable for us, but only that of which it is good for us to be ignorant. The end of all divine revelation is, not to furnish curious subjects of speculation and discourse, but that we may do all the words of this law, and be blessed in our deed.’

Although these words were written over 300 years ago, they are still especially relevant today.

I am very concerned about:

  • The plethora of books that have been written in recent years ‘explaining’ the mysteries of God and using the Bible like an Old Moore’s Almanac or the writings of Nostradamus.
  • The increase of those who write articles and books based on what they claim to be personal divine revelation which, of course, is untestable!
  • The corresponding hunger among many Christians for those who feed their imagination with ‘interpretations’ and ‘explanations’ of cryptic and hidden ‘truths’ supposedly found in the biblical text, and for those who publish their own speculation dressed as revelation from God.

(more…)

GUILTY BY ACCUSATION

(February 17, 2018) Dr Jim McClure, straight shooting theologian, shares a concern…

Joseph had not seen it coming!

His jealous brothers sold him to traders who took him to Egypt where was bought as a slave by Potiphar, the captain of Pharaoh’s palace guard. It was an inauspicious start for the 17-year -old. The future did not look bright – he was a slave in a foreign country.

But Joseph showed a quality of character that Potiphar recognised and eventually he became the captain’s household supervisor.

‘Potiphar was pleased with him and made him his personal servant; so he put him in charge of his house and everything he owned’ (Genesis 39:4 GNB).

The curveball experience!
But no one anticipated the ‘curveball’ that came his way –

‘Joseph was well-built and good-looking, and after a while his master’s wife began to desire Joseph and asked him to go to bed with her.  He refused … Although she asked Joseph day after day, he would not go to bed with her.  But one day when Joseph went into the house to do his work, none of the house servants was there. She caught him by his robe and said, “Come to bed with me.” But he escaped and ran outside, leaving his robe in her hand. (more…)

LEAD US NOT INTO TEMPTATION

(January 22, 2018) Dr Jim McClure, straight shooting theologian, shares on understanding an important scripture…

Recently Pope Francis suggested that in the English version of The Lord’s Prayer  the phrase, which is usually translated as ‘lead us not into temptation,’ should be revised to ‘do not let us fall into temptation.’

He maintains that the phrase ‘lead us not into temptation’ implies that God tempts humans.  One can understand such reasoning in view of what is found in James 1:13-14 which states ‘When tempted, no one should say, “God is tempting me.” For God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does he tempt anyone; but each one is tempted when, by his own evil desire, he is dragged away and enticed.’

So it states that God does not tempt. Consequently it would seem that the Pope’s suggestion (‘do not let us fall into temptation’) is a good one since it suggests that God will help us when we are tempted… and this seems to be in line with what Paul wrote in 1 Corinthians 10:13, ‘When you are tempted, he (God) will also provide a way out so that you can stand up under it.’

While that seems to settle the matter in favour of the Pope’s suggestion, let’s look more closely at the actual text of The Lord’s Prayer which is found in Matthew 6:9-13 and a shorter account in Luke 11:2-4.

Matthew 6:9-13 (NIV)
‘This, then, is how you should pray: “Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name,
10 your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.
11 Give us today our daily bread.
12 And forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors.
13 And lead us not into temptation,  but deliver us from the evil one”.’

The following line is often omitted (See *Footnote):  ‘For yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever. Amen.’  (more…)

THE DAWNING OF THE LIGHT

(December 19, 2017) Dr Jim McClure respected theologian, shares a Christ-centred Christmas word…

Today millions of Jews around the world are almost at the conclusion of the celebration of Hanukkah – which relates to something that occurred 2156 years ago.

It celebrates the recapture of Jerusalem and the rededication of the temple after the Syrian ruler, Antiochus, killed thousands of Jews, banned Jewish worship, prohibited the reading of the scriptures, sacrificed pigs on the altar and refused the Jews to practise the ceremonial laws of their religion.

A group of Jews, under the leadership of Judas Maccabeus, formed a band of guerrillas to fight against the much stronger and larger army of Antiochus – and they won! Jerusalem was liberated, the temple was cleansed, a new altar was built and the temple was rededicated in 139 BC. A new lampstand had to be made as the beautiful golden lampstand had been stolen from the temple by the Syrians.

Only pure fresh olive oil was ever used to provide the light on the temple’s lampstand… this is where the story gets really interesting. Only a small jar of pure olive oil could be found, sufficient for keeping the lamp lit for only one day. But apparently, miraculously, it burned for eight days until new oil was again available. That event is still celebrated over an eight day period today and it is also called The Festival of Lights. That eight day period this year is celebrated between the 12th and 20th of December.

I mention this because of the proximity of the Festival of Lights celebration to the Christian celebration of Christmas, and also because, while Hanukkah celebrates the miraculous gift of oil that provided light in the temple for eight days, at Christmas we celebrate the inexpressible gift of Jesus Christ, who is the light of the world. (more…)