Teaching

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…)

IT’S A MAD, MAD, MAD, MAD WORLD

(December 4, 2017) Dr Jim McClure, straight shooting theologian, pinpoints some clarity to the whats and whys of what is happening in the world today…

It’s a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World was the title of a 1963 comedy film.

Sadly, while the title can so accurately describe to world today, there is little that is humorous in it.

(more…)

WORDS OF LIFE (#G7) TRUTH AND REALITY – ALETHEIA

(November 20, 2017) Dr Jim McClure respected theologian, continues his series on selected Greek words…

Today we hear a lot about ‘fake news’ – that is, the printing and spreading of false news. Newspapers and broadcasting media are the main culprits in propagating it often under the pretext as unbiased reporting.

‘Fake news’ is lies! Unfortunately many people accept without question what the media report states and then pass it on as fact!

Truth appears to be at a premium today. Politicians seem barefaced in making election promises that they have no intention to keep.  American comedian Bill Murray has commented, ‘If we lie to the government, it’s a felony. But if they lie to us, it’s politics.’

In the same-sex marriage and gender arguments lies are trotted out with such strongly apparent conviction that they are widely accepted as truth, while truth is characterised as intolerance!

Reality is often distorted by using words and phrases that are deliberately designed to accomplish a desired emotional reaction

One of the most profound questions ever asked was by Pilate when he enquired, ‘What is truth?’ at Jesus’ trial (John 18:38). The irony is that he asked the question of the one who claimed to be the truth (John 14:6)!  (more…)

WORDS OF LIFE (#G6) AMAZING GRACE – CHARIS (Part 2)

(October 15, 2017) Dr Jim McClure respected theologian, continues his series on selected Greek words…

In Part 1 of this study we questioned the definition of ‘grace’ as ‘the unmerited favour of God’ as the phrase inadequately expresses the depth of meaning and significance of charis.

Some other inadequate definitions of ‘grace’ are as follows:

  • Grace is the empowering presence of God enabling me to be what God created me to be and to do what God has called me to do.’

There is much that is true in this definition but it is limited in its reach.

  • ‘Grace is the unlimited life, power, gifts, abilities, and nature of God imparted to us by the power of the Holy Spirit, through the complete righteousness and the finished sacrificial work of Jesus Christ on our behalf, because of his love for us and his mercy toward us, to enable us to do all the will of God on earth here and now, with a victorious spirit of excellence, praise, worship, and thanksgiving unto God, thereby overcoming all things in order to go and make disciples of all nations.

This definition is essentially a more elaborate description of the previous one.

  • God’s Riches At Christ’s Expense.’ Despite its appeal as an acronym, it fails as a definition.

(more…)

THE CAMEL IN THE TENT

(October 8, 2017) Dr Jim McClure, straight speaking theologian, challenges churches and Christians re lost credibility…

It was a cold night and the sheik was looking forward to closing his tent and climbing between the blankets. Just before he fell asleep, his camel put his nose in the tent and said to his master, ‘It is so cold out here that my nose is freezing! May I put my nose in the tent?’

‘Certainly,’ said the sheik, made himself comfortable and fell asleep.

Soon he was awakened again by the camel which had put his forelegs into the tent. The camel said, ‘Master, please let me put my forelegs in the tent; I won’t take up too much room.’ The sheik agreed to the request and moved over to make a little more room.

He was awakened again by the camel which said, ‘If I come wholly into the tent, the flap may be tied to keep out the cold. ‘Very well,’ said the sheik, and went back to sleep.

When he next awakened, he was lying outside in the cold. The camel had taken over his tent and there was no longer any room for him.

Today we see are witnessing a public enactment of this fable throughout the world, particularly in regard to the consequences of legalising what is mistakenly called ‘same-sex marriage.’ (more…)