It is the golden rule of blogging that Spurgeon has been there before and said it better than you. So as I start a blog on prayer let me quote him: "Prayer girds human weakness with divine strength, turns human folly into heavenly wisdom, and gives to troubled mortals the peace of God. We know not what prayer can do."
In a recent editorial for the Reformed Presbyterian newsletter then Mr Quigley discusses bloggers who are adapt at pointing out flaws in the church but don't give the advice they should: "but there seems to be a glaring oversight when it comes to exhorting God’s people to cry out to the Lord for the salvation of the lost." (Source) All I can do is hold up my hands and admit that I am such a blogger.
This then, is an effort to correct that glaring oversight with an encouragement and an extortion to pray more. It ties in well with the series of sermons my minster is going through on the work of the Holy Spirit, as for the last few weeks he has dealt with the Holy Spirit helping us to pray - his extraordinary way when we have no words but groan in agony of soul and in his ordinary way, when he helps us struggle and wrestle with God in prayer.
In many ways I would love to be able to support theistic evolution for it would allow me to say that God is creator and yet still maintain my intellectual credibility in the eyes of the world. It would sidestep a debate that often gets bogged down in insults, anger and misunderstandings and it would avoid arguments that can often detract from talking about other issues of greater importance. If there is one view that I hold that will regularly result in insults (from both non-Christians and, tragically, Christians) then its being a six day creation literalist.
But my own 'intellectual credibility' forbids me from taking that path. It boils down to a simple question of ultimate authority: is it man's reason, as found in 'science'; or is it God, as found in his Word? Given that, as I will explain, theistic evolution is not supported by the Bible, how then can I accept the ideas of men above God? That is why my argument against theistic evolution is theological not scientific - the Bible is our ultimate authority on this matter.
At its essence I see the creation/evolution debate as no more than a choice between God's description of events or man's description. It would be foolish to accept man's opinion of creation above the Creator's opinion on creation!
This is hardly an unusual position to be in. Academic thought and biblical thinking have often battled with each other in various fields. After all, the resurrection is a subject where we happily reject the notion that it is a scientific impossibility and accept the truth of the Bible on the subject. The point is, being scorned for truth is not surprising, the world scorns us for the truth that homosexuality is a sin, abortion is murder and Sunday is the Lord's day. Why should we be concerned when a similar thing happens with creation?
As we venture into this debate let us bear in minds the words of Jesus: "Blessed are you when they revile and persecute you, and say all kinds of evil against you falsely for My sake. Rejoice and be exceedingly glad, for great is your reward in heaven, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you." (Matthew 5 v 11 - 12)
Given that the internet sensation ‘Gangnam style’ has had over a billion hits on Youtube and spawned more parodies than I would care to mention then it got me thinking: what would a version of the song about Christianity look like? Regrettably, I am no lyricist so my answer will have to be given with ponderous words; lacking, to the relief of us all, any form of dance moves.
By Christian Style I mean a certain way of doing Christianity, a way that has no substance, its light and frothy, comfortable in the wrong sense, a way characterised by show, a pretence at the real thing. It’s when we say we’re Christian but we do not act like Christians, it’s the easy path not the hard path of obedience, and it is often our default setting for the Christian walk.
The following list is by no means exhaustive but I hope it is challenging, I’ve found it hard to write. As we begin this, at every point then I encourage you to ask yourself: do you have Christian style?