(August 13, 2022) Mark Ellis shares the remarkable story of a martyred converted Jewish philosopher…
The German Jewish philosopherEdith Stein was born into an observant Jewish family on Yom Kippur, the holiest day on the Hebrew calendar, also known as the Day of Atonement.
Despite her family’s strong faith, she became an agnostic in her teens and pursued an academic career, earning a doctorate in philosophy, summa cum laude, with her brilliant dissertation about empathy.
She joined the faculty of the University of Freiburg, where she became an assistant to Edmund Husserl, who had established the school of phenomenology.
‘This is the truth’ In the summer of 1921, Edith spent several weeks at the country estate of a pupil of Husserl’s who had converted to Christianity. One evening she picked up The Autobiography of St. Teresa of Avila. Captivated, she read the book throughout the night.
(January 14, 2022) Robert and Maureen McQuillan challenge…
Many times Jesus spoke about truth: the classic scripture is that precious one of John 8:32, ‘Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free’ – relating to the gospel message.
And when He was before Pilate, His inquisitor asked Him emphatically, ‘What is truth?’ (John 18:38). Well, the Greek word here is aletheia – and as Dr Jim McClure pointed out in his November 2017 Words of Life (#G7), ‘can be translated as either “truth” or “reality.”’ (Link: Truth and Reality-Aletheia)
Ah… reality. A dictionary meaning of this word is ‘the state of things as they actually exist, as opposed to an idealistic or notional idea of them.’
There’s been times when I (Robert) have been able to work in two particular incidents to sermons to get a reality, not a notional point across. One is kind of humorous yet serious, the other clearly serious. In fact, they’re both quite serious! I’ll share the humorous one first…
A guy is running very late for church… let’s call him Kristian Kristianson. As he reaches the door, he stops abruptly because he finds the devil standing outside crying his eyes out. Astounded, but with concern, he thoughtfully asks, ‘Why, what’s wrong, Mr Satan?’
Between tears, the devil sobs, ‘Why it’s those Christians in there! They blame me for everything!’
(November 30, 2021) Dr Jim McClure, noted theologian, shares a warning …
Can you imagine what your attitude would be if you went on a short holiday and returned to find that your next-door neighbour had expanded his block of land by moving the fence separating his property from yours?
You would not be at all pleased! Your relationship with your neighbour would become hostile and significant personal and legal argument would begin!
Fences are ‘landmarks’ that determine limitations and if they are ignored the consequences can be quite severe at many levels.
When the Israelites entered the Promised Land following their wandering in the wilderness, God assigned particular areas to each tribe and an allocation of land was made to each family. The boundaries of the land were marked by stones that were required to be recognised and respected. To move or remove those stones was a major offence.
In the Old Testament we are told that such boundaries established by God were definitely not to be violated. This was such a serious injunction and it is mentioned in a number of passages in the Old Testament (for example, Deuteronomy 19:14, Deuteronomy 27:17, Proverbs 23:10, Hosea 5:10).
(April 01, 2021) Honouring the memory of the late missionary statesmanDr George Forbes, we run one of his Easter blogs, a reminder that the real message of Easter is a precious goldmine treasure:
Easter is an annual holiday celebrated by many millions around the world.
For devout followers of Christ it is a highlight of the year; a time to give thanks to God for his great gift of the Saviour.
For many others it may be the one-day they attend or think about attending a church, because it seems the right thing to do. They hope it might help when the day of accounting comes.
For a vast number of people it has no meaning… so they simply treat this time as a holiday break from normal routines.
Easter’s great truth Millions of Christians commemorate the crucifixion and the resurrection of Jesus, especially at Easter, though most also celebrate the great victory of Calvary every time they take communion. Many Christians say that they regard Easter as the most important celebration of the year.
(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…)
(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…)
Some of us may remember the classic 1973 film set in 1930s Chicago and starring the strong acting trio of Paul Newman, Robert Redford and Robert Shaw. It tells the story of an elaborate con of a much feared criminal banker in retribution for a murdered friend.
The phrase – The Sting – refers to the moment a ‘play’ is completed, taking a target’s money. If successful, the ‘victim’ of the con does not realise what has happened and who has cheated him, until all are long gone.
Paul wrote about a particular ‘sting’ in 1 Corinthians 6:9-11, ‘Do you not know that the wicked will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: Neither the sexually immoral nor idolaters nor adulterers nor male prostitutes nor homosexual offenders nor thieves nor the greedy nor drunkards nor slanderers nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God. And that is what some of you were. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God.’
Ground of our deception! ‘Do not be deceived’ – If ever a warning text for our day, this is it! Among others, there is a two-fold implication to this command of counsel:
(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…)
(November 15, 2016) Robert and Maureen McQuillan share some things that some concerned Christians are sharing with other concerned Christians…
‘Where do they get such non-biblical rubbish from?’ asked one concerned young lady.
‘What “rubbish”?’ we asked. ’Do tell.’
‘Well, for example, I’m concerned that certain Christians are always claiming they see Jesus. Seems like someone is always “seeing” Jesus but it’s like who can tell the biggest whopper!’
Another instance of wackiness we hear is someone claimed that Jesus has told them they must hold their hands together and stick their arms straight up in the air to pray and a greater anointing would drop! So other silly Christians, not knowing God’s word nor the Spirit intimately, nodded and agreed, ‘That sounds good’ and the group followed in blind obedience!
Someone else shared that they attended a home group that is into chanting, trying to call down the Holy Spirit. ‘But it sounded more like murmuring,’ they said. (more…)
(September 14, 2016) Mark Ellis shares yet another good news report …
Jesus demonstrated he is the Son of God (and he is God) by performing powerful miracles throughout his ministry. I don’t know of any other religious figure that could walk on water, command the wind and the waves, heal people born blind, feed 5,000 with a few loaves and fishes, and raise the dead.
The miracles testified to Jesus’ authority, that he was the promised Messiah. The miracles fulfilled the prophecies about him in the Old Testament. He also healed because of his compassion and he healed in response to faith. (more…)