Archive for the ‘Jim Gourlay’ Category

Certainty of God’s Promises

August 24, 2009

When God appeared to Jacob he didn’t say, ‘The land that I promised to give to Abraham & Isaac I will give to you, but, ‘the land that I gave to Abraham & Isaac I will give to you.’ (Gen. 35.12). Yet Abraham & Isaac had not received the land.

God’s promise is as good as God’s giving the thing promised.

Jim Gourlay 22/4/6

Reasonable Faith

August 23, 2009

We are told again and again that faith is irrational. In fact, the more one can believe despite the evidence, the more this is seen to be genuine faith. We are called upon to believe against reason and to accept the paradoxical, to take a blind leap and leave our minds behind.

So we must pour scorn on Peter and the other disciple when told by Mary that the body was gone from the tomb for being so unbelieving that they went to see for themselves. We must, if we are to people of our day and age, disapprove of their desire to check the linen that once covered Jesus’ dead body. They should have just believed; and not believed after seeing.

So we think, but not so Scripture which invite us to consider the evidence and believe on the basis of it, rather than contrary to it. The facts are clear: the best explanation for the empty tomb, the most reasonable hypothesis for the abandoned linen, the rolled stone and the church’s faith is the resurrection of Jesus. Faith is not mere intellectual assent, but neither is it contrary to the facts.

Jim Gourlay 8/6/98


August 23, 2009

The question is not, ‘Do I have any friends?’ but, ‘Can I be a friend to somebody?’ It is not, ‘Who loves me?’ but, ‘Who can I love?’

Jim Gourlay

Free Will

August 22, 2009

 Men may be free to do what they will; but what they will they are not free to choose.

Jim Gourlay


August 7, 2009

Imagine you have survived a sinking boat by climbing out of the water into a life raft – others are still in the freezing water.  What do you do? Admire the view?

Imagine you have just discovered the cure for cancer – do you keep it a secret?

Jim Gourlay

As someone once said, evangelism is one beggar telling another where there is bread.

Democracy – founded in a Christian doctrine of humanity

August 6, 2009

Since all people bear God’s image it is reasonable that all should be involved and have a say in the decisions of government.

And because all are fallen there need to be checks and balances upon government so that power is not concentrated in one person or institution who may abuse that power. Because people are fallen they must be accountable for their actions and not trusted blindly.

Because people bear God’s image they are worthy of protection by the law. Because they are fallen man needs that protection from men.

Jim Gourlay

Deception – the use of half-truths

August 6, 2009

When we use fishing bait we deceived fish by saying to them, in effect, ‘Here is food – take it! Indeed it really is food. That much is true. We have not lied to them as such; we have merely withheld the whole truth.

Jim Gourlay

The limits of education

August 5, 2009

If education were a cure-all then we need only to tell all the smokers that it was bad for their health and they would instantly give up. If education were a universal panacea then we need only get the information to unhealthy eaters and obesity would drop in a few months. If education alone were the answer then no-one would break any laws because they would understand the negative consequences of their anti-social behaviour and feel heartily ashamed of all the hurt and expense they have caused.

Jim Gourlay

Human Responsibility

August 5, 2009

If a person is merely a victim of his poor upbringing or circumstances then he is not responsible and so less than fully human. If responsible, then dignity is restored but guilt remains. If only guilty then despairing. But if forgiven, then dignified, rejoicing and more fully human.

Jim Gourlay

Virtue is hard and vice easy

August 5, 2009

Evil can men attain easily and in companies: the road is smooth and her dwelling near. But the gods have decreed much sweat before a man reaches virtue” and a road that is long and hard and steep.

Plato (in Glaucon’s voice) quoting Hesiod (Works and Days, 287) in The Republic, 364d

Why is it difficult to be and do the good? Why must we persevere at it, be principled even when it costs us and often we fail at it? And why, on the other hand, is it so easy to do evil, to be unprincipled, to allow our wrong desires free reign? Why do we not have to encourage ourselves to be and do the good? Why do we need moral instruction and guidance if, as some say, our hearts are basically good?

Goodness needs to be learned and worked at; badness comes naturally and all too easily.