Friday, 22 February 2013

Man's purpose in life

The question has often been asked, what is the meaning of life? It is similarly phrased in the first question of the Westminster Short Catechism with 'What is man's chief end?' The answer given is that 'Man's chief end is to glorify God and to enjoy him forever'. This matter is well considered by Thomas Vincent in his book 'The Shorter Catechism Explained from Scripture' where he ask the following questions, all of which with their answers, are well worth us taking our time to consider:

Q. 1. What is meant by the chief end of man?
A. The chief end of man, is that which man ought chiefly to aim at or design, to desire, seek after, and endeavour to obtain, as his chief good and happiness; unto which his life and his actions should be referred and directed; which is the glorifying of God, and the enjoying of God for ever.

Tuesday, 12 February 2013

Your local church: Sponsored by the National Lottery?

When the National Lottery was launched in 1994 it was met with opposition by many Christians. They viewed it as being detrimental to the lives of many people, knowing the sorrow caused to families because of the curse of gambling. The few who would become rich pales in comparison with those who find themselves caught up in the web of addiction. The catch line of 'It could be you' was meant as an enticement, giving people that hope of a win of millions and their life changed forever. It could however be more appropriately be applied to the prospect of losing all to a gambling addiction, for that could most certainly be you. The opposition of Christian churches to such a venture was justified because of the sorrow that is brought about by gambling. Surely then no church would consider using National Lottery funding as a means of supporting the Lord's work. Sadly that is not the case, for last year a number of churches in Northern Ireland chose to turn their backs on the Word of God and seek funding from the National Lottery, largely to carry out renovations and improvements to their buildings.

Monday, 4 February 2013

Martin Luther's idea of recanting

When Pope Leo X issued his Papal Bull against Martin Luther on 15th June 1520 he left him no room for manoeuvre. There was no offer of a discussion on the issues of difference, Luther was not given the opportunity of explaining from scripture why he held the views that he did, but was given the ultimatum of recant or be excommunicated. Luther response was to publicly burn the Bull at Wittenburg and respond to it in a tract entitled 'Assertation of all the Articles Wrongly Condemned in the Roman Bull. The tone of his response gives an indication of what he thought of recanting his views, and of of the Pope's demands.

Friday, 1 February 2013

The greatest question of all

Almost 2000 years have passed since the question was put to the Jewish people by Pontius Pilate; ‘What shall I do then with Jesus which is called Christ?’ It was a question which at that time brought a vociferous response from the crowd, for there were none gathered in Jerusalem who had not some opinion on Jesus Christ. Persuaded by the chief priests and scribes, the answer which came from the gathered mob that day was one of rejection, for they cried ‘Let him be crucified’. When given the choice of whom they would have Pilate release they chose Barabbas, a murderer, over the Son of God. For those in Israel 2000 years ago it was a question of great importance yet their answer was one that brought with it great and terrible consequences, for in rejecting the Lord Jesus Christ they rejected the long awaited Messiah and only begotten Son of God.