Archive for the ‘power of the gospel’ Category

The Gospel would reverse Western moral decay and save our civilisation

May 10, 2013

Far more significant than economics and demography are problems of moral decline, cultural suicide, and political disunity in the West. Oft-pointed-to manifestations of moral decline include:

  1. increases in antisocial behavior, such as crime, drug use, and violence generally;
  2. family decay, including increased rates of divorce, illegitimacy, teen-age pregnancy, and single-parent families;
  3. at least in the United States, a decline in “social capital,” that is, membership in voluntary associations and the interpersonal trust associated with such membership;
  4. general weakening of the “work ethic,” and the rise of a cult of personal indulgence;
  5. decreasing commitment to learning and intellectual activity, manifested in the United States in lower levels of scholastic achievement.

The Clash of Civilizations and the Remaking of World Order. Samuel P. Huntington. New York: Simon and Schuster, 1996, p.304

Do we not see all these characteristics in Britain and throughout the West?

 

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January 4, 2013

The beginning of knowledge (that the Nazis intended to murder the Jews) for the ghetto, and the clinching news for Oskar, was the return to Cracow—eight days after he’d been shipped off from Prokocim—of the young pharmacist Bachner. No one knew how he had got back inside the ghetto, or the mystery of why he returned to a place from which the SS would simply send him off on another journey. But it was, of course, the pull of the known that brought Bachner home.All the way down Lwowska and into the streets behind Plac Zgody he carried his story. He had seen the final horror, he said. He was mad-eyed, and in his brief absence his hair had silvered. All the Cracow people who had been rounded up in early June had been taken nearly to Russia, he said, to the camp of Belzec. When the trains arrived at the railway station, the people were driven out by Ukrainians with clubs. There was a frightful stench about the place, but an SS man had kindly told people that that was due to the use of disinfectant. The people were lined up in front of two large warehouses, one marked “CLOAK ROOM” and the other “VALUABLES.” The new arrivals were made to undress, and a small Jewish boy passed among the crowd handing out lengths of string with which to tie their shoes together. Spectacles and rings were removed. So, naked, the prisoners had their heads shaved in the hairdresser’s, an SS NCO telling them that their hair was needed to make something special for U-boat crews. It would grow again, he said, maintaining the myth of their continued usefulness. At last the victims were drivendown a barbed-wire passage to bunkers which had copper Stars of David on their  and were labeled BATHS AND INHALATION ROOMS. SS men reassured them all the way, telling them to breathe deeply, that it was an excellent means of disinfection. Bachner saw a little girl drop a bracelet on the ground, and a boy of three picked it up and went into the bunker playing with it. In the bunkers, said Bachner, they were all gassed. And afterward, squads were sent in to disentangle the pyramid of corpses and take the bodies away for burial. It had taken barely two days, he said, before they were all dead, except for him. While waiting in an enclosure for his turn, he’d somehow got to a latrine and lowered himself into the pit. He’d stayed there three days, the human waste up to his neck. His face, he said, had been a hive of flies. He’d slept standing, wedged in the hole for fear of drowning there. At last he’d crawled out at night. Somehow he’d walked out of Belzec, following the railway tracks. Everyone understood that he had got out precisely because he was beyond reason. Likewise, he’d been cleaned by someone’s hand—a peasant woman’s, perhaps—and put into fresh clothes for his journey back to the starting point. Even then there were people in Cracow who thought Bachner’s story a dangerous rumor. Postcards had come to relatives from prisoners in Auschwitz. So if it was true of Belzec, it couldn’t be true of Auschwitz. And was it credible? On the short emotional rations of the ghetto, one got by through sticking to the credible. The chambers of Belzec,  Schindler found out from his sources, had been completed by March of that year under the supervision of a Hamburg engineering firm and of SS engineers from Oranienburg. From Bachner’s testimony, it seemed that 3,000 killings a day were not beyond their capacity.
Thomas Keneally, Schindler’s Ark, 150

Everthing Bachner said was true. Bachner was an eyewitness. But he wasn’t believed. He wasn’t believed because people didn’t want to believe him.

People do not believe in line with the facts. People believe what is conventional, easy, agreeable to one’s own self perception and, whereever possible, without personal cost.

People cannot be argued into the kingdom of God by human reasoning and gentle persuasion. God must confront sinful man and break the fetters that bind him to falsehood. Only the gospel in the power of the Holy Spirit can change a heart of stone.

Another thought – imagine how passionate Bachner would have been. He was confronting men and women condemned to die. Shouldn’t the gospel preacher be even more passionate since he confronts sinners condemned to eternal death?

The Gospel sanctifies as well as saves

June 5, 2010

When we speak of the centrality of the gospel we refer to the fact that every aspect of our salvation stems from the gospel. We mean that the gospel is truly the power of God for salvation in that it is through the gospel we are called, regenerated, converted, sanctified, and finally glorified. We mean that Jesus Christ, God come in the flesh, as he lived, died and rose again, gave meaning to all history and human existence. We mean that the gospel is the only means we have of beginning, continuing, and persevering in the Christian life . . . . When we approach sanctification as attainable by any means other than the gospel of Christ–the same gospel by which we are converted–we have departed from the teaching of the New Testament.

Goldsworthy Trilogy, 2008, p.171

The policemen tell me that the public houses are nearly empty, the streets are quiet and swearing is rarely heared. Even old quarrels were ended begun by the Penrhyn quarry strike

October 3, 2009

In Bethseda, December 20th 1904, one minister said, The policemen tell me that the public houses are nearly empty, the streets are quiet and swearing is rarely heared. Even old quarrels were ended begun by the Penrhyn quarry strike.

David Lloyd George, in extolling the effects of the (Welsh) revival (1904-5), compared it to a tornado sweeping over the country and bringing in its train far-reaching national and social changes.

E.Evans, Welsh Revival of 1904, pp.110, 114, 115

Bookshops complained of the inadequacy of their supply of Bibles. The coal miners were transformed by the sound of praise in the place of blasphemous oaths. The public houses were empty of rowdy customers and the homes were full of joy and singing. The pit ponies wouldn’t respond to the miners’ commands so accustomed were they to the orders being associated with blasphemous oaths.

ibid., p.105

What Would a Cultural Relativist Do?

September 10, 2009

When Wesleyan missionaries arrived in Fiji in 1835 they found a society “in which infanticide, human sacrifice and cannibalism were endemic”…in 1868 out of a population of 120,000 almost 106,000 were reported to be in regular attendance at public worship.

Brain Stanley, Bible and the Flag, Apollos, 1990, p.112

Presumably this ‘cultural imperialism’ was a terrible thing and the natives should have been left to engage in their ‘infanticide, human sacrifice and cannibalism’

What Would a Cultural Relativist Do? Time to make a few WWCRD bracelets?

(it is an illusion) that indigenous cultures prior to the missionary impact were in a condition of static perfection. This mythical view is itself a peculiarly arrogant form of cultural imperialism, founded on the notion that non-Western societies knew nothing of change or innovation until brought into contact with the modernizing West. On the contrary, almost all cultures exist in a state of perpetual flux, and represent an amalgam of diverse and often contradictory influences. The choice confronting  indigenous cultures has not ben between change and no change, but between a number of possible directions of change, som evidently more beneficial than others.

ibid., pp.170-171

The Power of the Gospel

July 31, 2009

About 200AD Tertullian wrote, ‘Parts of Britain were inaccessible to the Romans but have yielded to Christ.’

Douglas C. Wood, The Evangelical Doctor, Evangelical Press, p.2