Monthly Archives: April 2015

30 Life Principles

Charles F. Stanley has written a series of blogs on what he considers to be 30 Life Principles, based on the Charles F. Stanley Life Principle Bible (2009). They are listed here (each linking to a fuller description) for your consideration.

  • Are these the 30 life principles you would identify? What would you add or remove? (Remember, they are life principles, not theological principles. What are the key principles for living the Christian life?)
  • Might a similar list provide a curriculum for discipling a believer?
  • Is there a preaching series here?
  1. Our intimacy with God
  2. A life of obedience
  3. Not yet located
  4. Energised by His presence
  5. The unreasonable will of God
  6. The principle of sowing and reaping
  7. The dark moments in our life
  8. Fight your battles on your knees
  9. The thrill of trusting God
  10. God will show you His will
  11. His promise to provide
  12. The key to continued peace
  13. Listening to God – Walking with God
  14. God acts on our behalf
  15. God’s pathway of brokenness
  16. When plans turn to ashes
  17. Standing tall and strong through prayer
  18. Victim or victor?
  19. Holding too tightly
  20. Overcoming discouragement
  21. Obedience always brings blessings
  22. Walking in the Holy Spirit
  23. You can never outgive God
  24. The key to the Christian life (Allowing Jesus to live in and through you)
  25. Passing on God’s blessing
  26. Burden or bridge (Adversity)
  27. Prayer: Our time-saver
  28. Together in the Christian life
  29. The valley experiences in our life
  30. Anticipating the Lord’s return

Peter Cheyne

Should Christians Change Their Ethics?

Unfortunately, the homosexuality issue is proving increasingly divisive. In that context, it is not uncommon to hear people say that the church must update its ideas if it is to remain relevant. Some fear that the church will have no mission as long as it adheres to its belief that homosexual acts are sinful.

On April 3, 2015 (Good Friday) the New York Times published an opinion piece by Frank Bruni entitled “Bigotry, The Bible and the Lessons of Indiana” in which he approvingly quoted someone else as saying that “church leaders must be made “to take homosexuality off the sin list.”” Of course, people have taken exception to that suggestion that Christians must be forced to abandon a biblical teaching, and many have pointed out the weaknesses of his argument.

Nevertheless, it is a recent example of the idea that the church must change.

Trevin Wax has written “Must Christianity Change Its Sexual Ethics? History may Hold The Key.” He reflects on the suggestion 100 years ago that the church must let go of its belief in miracles. That type of belief was seen as embarrassing in an age of scientific knowledge.

One hundred years later, the church is once again being rocked. This time, many Christians are calling for us to rethink the “embarrassing” parts of Christianity — specifically, our distinctive sexual ethic. After all, many of the moral guidelines we read in the New Testament were written from another cultural vantage point and are no longer authoritative or relevant today. If Christianity is to survive and thrive in the next century, many of our ancient prohibitions (sex outside of marriage, homosexual practice, the significance of gender, etc.) must be set aside.

Wax points out that it is somewhat arrogant for the declining western churches to lecture the rest of the world, which largely remains faithful to the scriptures and is seeing explosive growth in many places, on why the west alone truly understands the biblical teaching.

But history, he says, also suggests that those who do not capitulate survive and grow. The denominations that most readily agreed to abandon belief in miracles have seen rapid decline.

He asks what we are likely to see in another 100 years time and suggests:

And the lesson we learn from a century ago will probably still be true: The churches that thrived were those that offered their world something more than the echo of the times.

In other words, churches do best, not when they simply become like the world, but when they remain true to what is distinctively Christian, even when that is not popular. It shouldn’t really be any surprise that God blesses those who remain true to His word.

Peter Cheyne

 

That Talpiot Tomb

It has become traditional, at Easter, for the media to run stories questioning some key aspect of Christianity. In our own country, for years on end, there wereEaster pronouncement from Lloyd Geering (or someone similar) denying some aspect of Christianity and declaring that the church would be extinct within a few years.

This Easter, one of the breaking news stories concerned the Talpiot Tomb in which, it is claimed, the ossuaries of Jesus’ family have been found – including the bones of Jesus Himself and evidence that He was married and had a son. It has been presented as scientific and with statistical analysis that “proves” the extreme likelihood of its truth.

The “scholars” involved are Simcha Jacobovici and James Cameron. Oh no, sorry! They are both filmmakers.

If it were true, Christianity would be completely undermined. The resurrection is central. Paul has said that if Jesus didn’t rise and there is no resurrection, we are to be pitied more than anyone. Christians being told, on very good authority (supposedly), that a central tenet of their faith had been disproved, might well be unsettled.

But how much of the story is good science and how much is hype?

CNN has run a story by Joel Baden and Candida Moss entitled Jesus’ Tomb Story: Does The Evidence Add Up? It describes the claims and then examines the evidence. The article also includes a video about the claims and links to other articles refuting those claims.

The conclusions are very different from the claims made.

Peter Cheyne