Teaching

A TALE OF TWO KINGDOMS

(August 3, 2017) Dr Jim McClure, renowned theologian, challenges churches to their responsibility to alert people to the demonic activity around them that is cloaked in what appears to be ‘nice.’

In 1859 Charles Dickens wrote a book that he called, A Tale of Two Cities.  It is set in the conditions that led to the French Revolution and the Reign of Terror and the two cities are London and Paris. It begins with the famous sentence: ‘It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of Light, it was the season of Darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair, we had everything before us, we had nothing before us, we were all going direct to Heaven, we were all going direct the other way – in short, the period was so far like the present period, that some of its noisiest authorities insisted on its being received, for good or for evil, in the superlative degree of comparison only.’ (more…)

WORDS OF LIFE (#G4) KINGDOM – BASILEIA

(July 23, 2017) Dr Jim McClure, noted theologian, continues his series on selected Greek words…

The first mention of ‘kingdom’ in the Bible is Genesis 10:10 where it states, in reference to Nimrod, ‘The first centres of his kingdom were Babylon.’ In biblical thinking Babylon often represented that power that was constantly opposed to God.

While many nations were ruled over by kings, for many years after the Israelites had settled in Canaan they had refused to appoint a king of their own because they accepted a theocratic system of leadership in which Yahweh was recognised as its king.

In this lay the secret of Israel’s uniqueness and its strength as a nation. From time to time other leaders were appointed on a temporary basis – we read about many of them in the book of Judges – however those leaders were never recognised as kings nor was their leadership hereditary. At other times a high priest or a prophet appears to have had a leadership role – such as Eli and Samuel – but God was still regarded as the ruler of his people. (more…)

A DEBORAH IN OUR MIDST?

(July 11, 2017) Dr Jim McClure, renowned theologian, challenges a current argument about moral values…

Currently the ethical values of the Western world are being turned upside down as moral relativism (that is, that there are no universal moral therefore all views are equal, that there are no values that are categorically right or wrong and that the views and behaviour of others should be respected even if we totally disagree with them).

There are a number of problems that flow from this argument. For example:

  • If there were no agreed values, society would disintegrate into anarchy and chaos, and
  • If all views are of equal value, why do those who push the philosophy of political correctness, so vehemently disagree with, abuse, attack and demonise those who maintain a different point of view? Isn’t there a glaring inconsistency here?

Apart from anything else, common sense tells us that two opposite values or views cannot equally be right! And that is confirmed even by the moral-relativists/politically-correct brigade whose views are foisted upon others by any possible means and who brook not dissent or disagreement. (more…)

WORDS OF LIFE (#G3) FELLOWSHIP – KOINONIA

(June 5, 2017) Dr Jim McClure, noted theologian, continues his series on selected Greek words…

 One of the words that often finds its way into Christian vocabulary is ‘fellowship.’ It is one of the great New Testament words but is has been used so often to describe such a variety of Christian groups that it has become devalued!

What is ‘fellowship’?
Is it just a term given to differentiate Christian groups from non-Christian groups, such as, Men’s Fellowship, Women’s Fellowship, Youth Fellowship and so on?  Or does the New Testament use the word in a different way? That is what we are going to explore.

In the KJV the Greek noun koinonia has been translated by the words…

  • fellowship (12 times)
  • communion (4 times)
  • communication (once)
  • contribution (once)
  • distribution (once).

The verb koinoneo has been translated partake of, communicate and distribute. It is clear that it is a much more significant word than is suggested by the way we frequently use it. (more…)

THE FEAST THAT NEVER ENDED

(June 1, 2017) Missionary statesman George Forbes shares on Pentecost …

The Feast of Pentecost (also known as the Feast of Harvest or the Feast of Weeks) was observed by Israel over many centuries. It was an important time each year to celebrate the beginning of the early weeks of harvest with thanksgiving to God. Also a time to celebrate God’s deliverance of his people from Egypt.

After his resurrection from the grave, Jesus had given his followers a command to not depart from Jerusalem but to wait for the promise of the Father. He told them: ‘John truly baptised with water; but you shall be baptised with the Holy Spirit not many days from now’ (Acts 1:4-5).

Luke, writing the Acts of the Apostles, begins the second chapter with the words, ‘And when the day of Pentecost was fully come, they were all with one accord in one place.’

Then, verse 2ff, the Holy Spirit fell!

The focus of the feast
The Day of Pentecost was a prominent feast in the calendar of ancient Israel. Devout Jews were used to celebrating the feast of Pentecost – but on the Acts 2 Day of Pentecost, the focus of the feast was changed for the followers of Jesus Christ! (more…)

WORDS OF LIFE (#G2) LOVE WITHOUT LIMITS – AGAPE

(May 11, 2017) Dr Jim McClure, noted theologian, continues his series on selected Greek words…

The word ‘love’ is a very busy one in the English language and is used to cover many things. We can say that we love our car, dog, fish and chips, our parents, children, wife or girlfriend/boyfriend.  We describe that warm fuzzy feeling for people we like as ‘love.’ Or we may use the word to describe a raging emotional or sexual passion.

Clearly ‘love’ is used to describe a wide range of experiences. But the Greeks used at least four words to describe some of the things we call ‘love.’

(i) They used the word philia, which is a word that expresses friendship (The verb is phileo). God did not make us to be socially self-existent – we need to have friends. But there is also a selfish element in philia – it is largely based on the premise that if you like me, I will like you! This mutually positive attitude is the basis of friendship. That is not to deny its value as friendship is an essential ingredient to enrich our lives and without it we are impoverished. Therefore philia is a love that we all need for friendship and is vitally important. (more…)

WORDS OF LIFE (#G1) THE WORD – LOGOS

(April 26, 2017) Dr Jim McClure, noted theologian, begins a series on selected Greek words…

Many of the words we use end in ‘ology,’ for example, theology, psychology, geology, etc. That suffix comes from the Greek word logos which means ‘word’ and it is one of the most theologically significant words in the Bible. To our way of thinking a ‘word’ is merely a building block which, when combined with others, becomes a means of communication.  However in biblical understanding a word is so much more than that.

The noun logos is related to the verb laleo which means ‘to speak.’  It is significant that in the New Testament logos is used over 300 times: the KJV normally translates it as ‘word’ although it also uses other expressions such as ‘account’ and ‘speech.’  (Another Greek word that is translated ‘word’ is rhema but we shall not examine that here).   (more…)

HE’S ALIVE!

(April 16, 2017) Dr Jim McClure, renowned theologian, reminds us of the power of Resurrection Sunday …

He’s alive!  He’s alive! He’s alive!  This lay at the centre of the message of the early church. This was the passion burning in the hearts of the first Christians. When they met each other in the street, they didn’t say, ‘G’day’ or ‘Hello’ or ‘How are you?’ They said, ‘He is risen!’ To which was given the reply, ‘Indeed he is risen!’

Eight times in the book of Acts we read that God raised Jesus from the dead. And it was a central theme in Paul’s teaching. In fact he wrote in 1 Corinthians 15:14, ‘If Christ has not been raised, our preaching is useless and so is your faith.’ And then in verse 20 he wrote, ‘But Christ has indeed been raised from the dead.’

I don’t think that today’s Christians have the same passion as those early Christians when we think of the resurrection of Jesus Christ. It has become a doctrinal statement rather than a passionate, motivating conviction. But not so in the early centuries.

Oh, we still mention it and claim how wonderful it is, but often it just seems like an echo of the past. Do you remember the last time you were in an area, perhaps surrounded by mountains, and you decided to call out to hear the echo reverberating around you? The first echo that returns is quite loud, but succeeding ones get weaker and weaker. (Hello, Hello, Hello, Hello.) (more…)

DO JEWS, CHRISTIANS AND MUSLIMS WORSHIP THE SAME GOD?

(March 24, 2017) Dr Jim McClure, highly esteemed theologian, expounds an important matter

I am hearing more frequently today that Jews, Christians and Muslims worship the same God. It is often stated that there is a strong similarity between the Judaism, Christianity and Islam and that the all three religions, which are monotheistic, share the same religious and spiritual tradition and therefore have so much in common with each other. Some Jewish and Christian leaders are making the same claim.  This syncretistic understanding of those three religions may resonate with the politically correct philosophy of today but is  it true?

The argument is made that, if we were to accept each other’s religion as differing expressions of the same spiritual truths, much of the current hostility – some of which has been manifested in horrific violence – would be defused. Consequently, in the name of tolerance we are told that we should major on the things that the three religions have in common.

1. Are there things that those religions have in common?
At first glance one may conclude that there are significant similarities between the three religions but those similarities are more superficial than substantial. Let’s consider some of their commonality.

(i) Judaism, Christianity and Islam are Abrahamic religions
It is claimed that there is an intrinsic relationship between the three religions, especially as they all worship the god of Abraham. But do they? The validity of that assertion is highly questionable and the supposed relationship between the three religions is very superficial. (more…)

WORDS OF LIFE (#8) The AMEN God – ’amen (and related words ’emunah, ’aman, ’emeth)

(March 16, 2017) Dr Jim McClure, noted theologian, concludes his series on selected Hebrew words…

Camping on sand is not a good idea!  Even though a tent may be sound and the ropes strong, unless the pegs are hammered in securely, the tent will collapse and may even be blow away. You need, therefore, a sound piece of ground into which the pegs can be driven.

This is the thought behind Isaiah 22:23, ‘I will drive him like a peg into a firm place; he will be a seat of honour for the house of his father’ (NIV). Unless a nail or peg is driven into something solid and dependable, it is of little value. The Hebrew word that is translated in this verse as ‘firm’ is ’aman which means ‘to be firm’ or ‘permanent’ – we are more familiar with this word as ‘Amen.’ It is found over 100 times in the Old Testament.

The first time the word is used in the Old Testament is Genesis 15:6 which states, ‘Abram believed the Lord, and he credited it to him as righteousness.’  ‘Believed’ is the word ’aman and it not only tells us simply that Abram believed God but also tells us something about the nature of Abram’s faith in God in that it was firm and secure. The statement means so much more than the fact that Abram believed God’s promise. (more…)