So you think you don’t have enough time?

Some people think that they don’t have enough time to investigate the claims of Christianity and in particular the claims of Jesus Christ.  They think that they have better things to do with their time.

Only – they do have enough time.  God has given them the time.  It is called their lifetime, but more particularly God has given them holidays – ‘holy days’ – in which to consider the matter.

God has given you seven weeks’ holiday every year; probably more than your employer.  It comes round every week –  the first day of the week called the Sabbath, which is Hebrew word for Rest.  It is your rest day.  Your employer cannot force you to work on it.  It is God-time  – your time to find and enjoy the fellowship of God through His Son, Jesus Christ.

If you neglect it, you are missing out on quality time with your God, and when you meet Him at the Judgement Seat you will not be able to say that He didn’t give you enough time.

God was the first to give us holidays.  “Six days shalt thou labour and do all thy work, but the seventh day is the Sabbath of the Lord thy God” Ex 20:9-10.  Your employer should let you have the Sabbath off work, as your quality time with God.  This secular society calls it a Funday for the family.  It is more than that.  It is the family’s time to learn about, worship and enjoy God’s fellowship.  It is a gift from God.

Your employer may give you six weeks’ holiday in a year, but this includes six days of God’s holiday, so almost one week of the six weeks are God’s holiday anyway.

Welcome to a new outlook on life – your lifetime.

To see ourselves as others see us

I have just received this birthday card from one of my younger sisters:

Gaelic proverb: A friend’s eye is a good mirror

Or to use the language of our Scottish bard, Robert ‘Rabbi’ Burns, in his poem To A Louse:
On Seeing One On A Lady’s Bonnet, At Church, 1786
.

“O wad some Power the giftie gie us
To see oursels as ithers see us!
It wad frae mony a blunder free us,
An’ foolish notion.”

What is Islamic Reformation?

Tonight, 14 Feb 2017, BBC Newsnight’s Viewsnight carried an opinion that Islamic State is a Reformation in islam.

Canadian author Graeme Wood compared the similarities of the rise of Islamic State (ISIS) with the Protestant Reformation under Martin Luther, pointing to 1. the call to return to the original sources (the Bible and Quran) to read it for oneself, bypassing the priestly class and mainstream clerics, giving back power to the people, and 2. using the latest technology to appeal to the masses against officialdom (the printing press in the 16th century and the internet and social media in the 21st century).

Thus Islamic State (ISIS) was compared to the Protestant Reformation, an intellectual convulsion that is re-making the muslim world, calling muslims back to the original sources in the Quran. He called them Islamic Protestants.

However, Wood makes an important mistake. He pointed out that the Protestant Reformation led to a bloodbath, and so has ISIS, as if there was not only moral equivalence but also causative equivalence between the two. He failed to point out that the bloodbath at the Protestant Reformation was at the hands of officialdom, but the bloodbath by ISIS is at the hands of conservative muslims against officialdom – an important difference.

It is astonishing that this mistaken historical perspective is so easily publicised on national television.

Rather, Islamic State is the death-throes of koranic islam as it feels threatened by more rational islamic voices interacting with the love and toleration of Christianity. The islamic reformation is on the other foot and began many decades ago. Salman Rushdie’s Islamic Verses was a challenge to the authenticity of certain verses in the Quran. This led to a fatwah against him. Interaction with western civilisation over several decades has diminished islamic attachment to the details of koranic teaching, so that westernised islam distances itself from the blood-thirsty teaching in the koran.

ISIS is actually a bloody Counter-Reformation to moderating and reforming muslim teachers, comparable to the 16th century Roman Catholic bloody Counter-Reformation with its Inquisition and manipulation of the authorities to do its dirty work for it.  It is not comparable to the liberating Protestant Reformers who gave to the world modern Parliamentary democracy, the right of private judgment and the freedom of thought and religion.

Addendum:
15/2/2017: Tariq Ramadan gave another perspective on Viewsnight tonight in which he contradicted Wood’s view and claimed that quiet reform is already happening among muslims, who “are trying to liberate themselves from both Arab and Asian patriarchy and Western cultural imperialism.” At least it confirms to some extent what I have written above.

Patrick’s Places – the difference between Law and Gospel

Patrick’s Places – the difference between Law and Gospel
by Patrick Hamilton, 1527.

Patrick Hamilton was Scotland’s first Reformer and martyr, burned at the stake by Roman Catholic cardinal Beaton at St Andrews in 1528 for preaching the Gospel. Of noble birth, he graduated MA from the College of Montaigu, Paris, in 1520 and enrolled in the University of St Andrews on the same day that John Major was received as Principal of St Mary’s College on 9/6/1523. In 1527 he was one of the first students in the new University of Marburg founded in 1527 by Landgrave Philip I of Hesse. The same year he wrote Patrick’s Places in Latin, translated by John Frith into English who named it Patrick’s Places ‘for it treateth exactly of certain commonplaces, which known, ye have the pith of all divinity.’

The nature and office of the law and of the gospel

The law showeth us our sin, Rom. iii. 9-20.
The gospel showeth us remedy for it, John i. 29.
The law showeth us our condemnation, Rom. vii. 23, 24.
The gospel showeth us our redemption, Eph. i.
The law is the word of ire, Rom. iv. 15.
The gospel is the word of grace, Acts xx. 24.
The law is the word of despair, Deut. xxvii. 15-26.
The gospel is the word of comfort, Luke ii. 10.
The law is the word of unrest, Rom. vii. 24.
The gospel is the word of peace, Eph. vi. 15.

A disputation between the law and the gospel; where is shown the difference or contrariety between them both.

The law saith, Pay thy debt.
The gospel saith, Christ hath paid it.
The law saith, Thou art a sinner; despair, and thou shalt be damned.
The gospel saith, Thy sins are forgiven thee, be of good comfort, thou shalt be saved!
The law saith, Make amends for thy sins.
The gospel saith, Christ hath made it for thee.
The law saith, The Father of heaven is angry with thee.
The gospel saith, Christ hath pacified him with his blood.
The law saith, Where is thy righteousness, goodness, and satisfaction?
The gospel saith, Christ is thy righteousness, thy goodness, thy satisfaction.
The law saith, Thou art bound and obliged to me, to the devil, and to hell.
The gospel saith, Christ hath delivered thee from them all.

Dr Donald M. Boyd
3/10/2016