Tag Archive: The Gospel


No, dear reader, I haven’t mis-spelled a word in my title, I’m just rather partial to puns…

393px-Gojira_1954_poster_3Do you ever wish you could read a book or watch a movie in which nothing goes wrong, where nobody gets hurt and there are no problems to solve? I’ve discussed with my sons the fact that works of fiction probably would never meet with much, if any success, without trouble at their center.

Without some sort of tension to resolve-injustice, war, loss, unfulfilled desires, threats or enemies-any movie, novel or drama would probably be rather hum-drum and not very interesting to the majority of people. Can you think of any work of fiction without at least one problem to put right? Even Christian stories center on family break-up, loss, persecution or aggressive debate.

It seems that while we all hate to suffer ourselves, we want to see others suffering, at a distance…but then perhaps to see the problem resolved at the end of the story. The hero must win the battle, or wreak revenge, or get his desired lover. If there isn’t a problem, we like to create one…don_quijote_and_sancho_panzaWe like to tell ourselves that we enjoy seeing suffering because it “reflects reality” and touches upon our own struggles. Even sci-fi and fantasy stories are really just dressed up hypothesized versions of real-life problems, although in these times some Hollywood-style stories attempt or hope to shape reality rather than mirror it.

History is a long succession of stories filled with tensions and resolutions, and in many cases there is no happy ending. So it is even in the Biblical narrative. Problems begin almost on the first page, when Adam and Eve fail a simple test. But wait a minute: why is there a test to pass or fail in the first place? Wasn’t it God himself who put that nasty tree in the garden? And wasn’t it God who seems to have turned his back while the Tempter came to persuade Eve to disobey? Behind it all, God had a grand plan-a scheme, the subject of the Bible: a narrative which is still in process of being acted out and fulfilled. I’ve written about this in my series “Why Do We Suffer?”Ary_Scheffer_-_The_Temptation_of_Christ_(1854)I was looking at a few facebook pages of people I used to know, and I was amazed to see even there that a common source of mirth and hilarity these days is ridicule of Donald Trump. Of course this isn’t news to any of us-it’s going on in many places. And the things they say about him are hateful, spiteful and most often completely false. They come from a media and an entertainment industry which has declared war on the world’s leader and his supporters.

So what do they want in Trump’s place? Who would they replace him with? I’m convinced they want more of the same. They want what President Obama was working hard to give them: a throwing off of the influence Christianity has had over the past two millennia, and a reversal of the confusion and separation of Babel. At Babel God acted to prevent the world of men from being unified. He did that because he knew that any such unity would be in opposition against him and against all that he created mankind for. And sure enough, the modern socialistic, one-world movement seeks to redefine marriage, spirituality, gender, love, and just about everything you can think of which relates to the original plan of God for mankind. Trump, imperfect though he is-as we all are-and his supporters, seeks to set back the clock on the perversion of God’s plan. The dissenters, the “jokers” and the haters all seek to continue the movement away from God, which was so enthusiastically facilitated and encouraged by our last president, his appointed judges and his devoted followers.800px-Pieter_Bruegel_the_Elder_-_The_Tower_of_Babel_(Vienna)_-_Google_Art_Project_-_editedThe history of man has been likened to a tale of two cities: one the celestial city of God, and the other Babel, the city of man. It’s all actually one story only: history is His-story. I’ve written before about the “Beautiful City”, a place in which man will one day, he hopes, realize his Utopian dreams; where he can do whatever he wants without consequence or criticism, and from which God is banished forever. However, proponents of modern humanism and secularism do seem to like the idea of inviting into the free world one version of god and his followers, in the hope that this god will aid in the removal of the one they see as the great ogre-the Biblical God.

Why do the nations rage, and the people plot in vain? (Psalm 2:1 ESV).

Behind it all the devil works to take down free society so that the gospel of Jesus Christ can be strangled once and for all. Many people see this as a top priority in life. They just refuse to see the fact that the gospel cannot be controlled or suffocated, any more now than it ever has been; any more than it was at the beginning when Jesus Christ was crucified and his disciples scattered and persecuted throughout the world. Persecution, as horrible as it is, only serves to further the cause of the gospel.What-is-truth02All these people will accomplish is the loss of freedom. But freedom will not only be lost for those that they hate: it will be gone from them also, because the system they work to impose in God’s place is intentionally excluding the only source of freedom.

All the machinations of those who seek to destroy what the West has stood for, with all its failures and weaknesses, may succeed temporarily, and on a superficial level- the only level they’re willing or able to see and detect. But in fact they’re expending all their energies only upon that which God has already planned and foreseen. Man without God is like a convict digging an escape tunnel, only to find that the entire prison guard are waiting for him at the other end.

God’s grand story is still unfolding-we’re in the middle of it now. The last page of the story of rebellious man is not far away, and man himself is helping to write some of the detail. Our Creator will bring to completion the Resolution of all resolutions, when those who’ve sided with God’s only son Jesus Christ will experience the happiest ending of all. And the happiest ending of all will begin a never-ending succession of wonderful, amazing stories without tension, trouble, or problems.

There can be no other outcome for the world than God’s victory over man’s rebellion, because God is the creator and sustainer of all things. Not only this, but he, and his Son, are the beginning and the end of the grand story:

Behold, I am coming soon, bringing my recompense with me, to repay each one for what he has done. I am the Alpha and the Omega, the first and the last, the beginning and the end (Revelation 22:12 The words of Jesus Christ-see verse 16)

 

 

 

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GETTING FAITH

A member of my distant family recently commented that he had not been given the gift of faith. This to him is the end of the matter-he clearly expects to live the rest of his life without it.

gift-wrapping-paperSome Christians think that faith is only given to a select few. God chooses some while the rest get left out. That flies in the face of the words of Jesus Christ himself, who said:

And I, when I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all people to myself (John 12:32 ESV)

and:

God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life (John 3:16 NIV).

Faith is elusive for someone who thinks it’s a blind conviction or a feeling. It’s difficult for people to find where they’re kept in the dark: where mention of the Christian faith is shunned or forbidden, or even put down with violence. Many voices in the West are working to silence the faith of their fathers, and instead to welcome a faith which will enslave them and the nations they live in.

Jesus said “whoever believes…” The Christian gospel offers salvation as a free gift to anyone who will respond. We have to turn from our un-Godly ways, and accept the sacrifice of God’s only Son, and his resurrection. I’ve written before about this*

I explained to my family member that getting faith isn’t a difficult thing. We don’t have to first deny reality, or strain to convince ourselves of everything in the Bible, or work up a feeling or an emotion. Instead, I said, having faith is a little like getting on a plane. The pilot and his airline guarantee that they can get us to our destination. All we have to do is trust them to do it, and get on board.

God built the “plane” of salvation, and Jesus Christ is the pilot: just get on board.

* https://nickyfisher.com/2013/08/13/what-is-the-gospel-of-jesus-christ-2/

 

Truth was once a universally-accepted standard which was “out of style”*. Then truth became whatever you wanted it to be. Now political correctness is attempting to muscle out of existence all opposing views of truth, in order to impose its own…

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Many people have written and commented on post-modernism, and on the “post-truth” age, as have I in my own small, humble, bumbling way. I asked, rhetorically, if anything is objectively true, or is truth only that which we personally or as a society imagine or decide for ourselves is true? Does the answer matter anyway?

In post-modernism, apart from an Almighty God as our Western world now is, nothing is objectively true. There’s no Truth with a capital “T”.  Nothing is incontrovertibly factual, and nothing is set in stone to measure all standards and opinions and decisions by: such truth is out of style. Law, belief, standards and truth itself, are now all, to use a popular euphemism, “fluid”. This is also why the US Constitution is increasingly under attack, or at least being bent out of shape for convenience.

Without that ultimate measuring stick of the Word of God-the removal of which was and is one of the aims of the anti-Church, anti-Christ movement, you’ve got your truth and I’ve got mine, and even if both views are in total opposition it doesn’t really matter, because we can still both be “right” and happy.

I here repeat an assertion of a colleague of mine who calls himself an atheist and a “rationalist”. To demonstrate just how rational he is, he told me that given enough time “anything” can happen, and gave an example by saying that in any universe, due to “the laws of probability” a man would somewhere eventually do backward somersaults through a hoop while being both swallowed and spat out by a whale.

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Of course, there’s no way of disproving my friend’s theory, but my point is that people-many people now-are prepared to believe patent nonsense, simply because it tickles them, appeals to their view of what truth ought to be like, and might I say, provides a colorful deviation from that measuring stick known as Almighty God.

There are, of course, downsides to this approach to truth. For example, under this kind of logic a politician or celebrity and his compliant media representatives can adjust, hide, twist and manipulate the facts and give a totally different story to the real one, but still be telling the truth- as he sees it. We all know out-workings of that little fallacy.

But it seems to me that those pushing for “fundamental change” in our society have already had some success in taking us all one step further, to a time in which the rest of us are being coerced into accepting one view of things; their rough road to Utopia. What they say is true is to their minds now objective truth-they being the gods of the new age, and any criticism of it is struck down with a hail of insults and accusations. It’s no longer enough for them just to have a wildly differing take on truth: any opposition to their opinion must now be destroyed.

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Political correctness, so-called “hate-speech”, and the accompanying self-righteous inquisition work to push the now old multiverse of truths out of existence: there can be only one acceptable view of things. Any dissension will land you, they intend, out of a job, out of business, and in prison.

What the rest of us are convinced is unquestionably true, such as the fact that men are born men and women women (barring physical mutation) they insist is an old lie-an oppressive construct of dark ages past. Old lies must be buried, burned, knocked down, abolished and forgotten. Truth as seen by all of humanity for all of the several thousand years of civilization is under attack. What most of us have known logically, instinctively, physically and empirically are the things which, opponents are determined, must be abolished and forgotten. We are in the age of Anti-truth.

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However, here’s some good news: the good news. Jesus Christ said,

I am the Way, the Truth and the Life. No one comes to the Father except by me  (John 14:6).

Yes, dear reader, no matter what may or may not be thrust upon our culture and our time by the enemies of Truth, there is an end in sight to all this madness and foolishness, and it begins with our acceptance of God’s only Son, Jesus Christ.

*  https://nickyfisher.com/2014/05/17/truth-is-out-of-style/

 

 

 

 

Can you call yourself a Christian if you vote “left”, or “right”?

Since the nineteenth century some socialists in the West have claimed that they are the real Christians in society, while in contrast anyone who doesn’t agree with them politically is self-seeking and doesn’t deserve to be called “Christian”. If you vote on the “right” you’re obviously greedy and don’t care about the poor-you only care about yourself. Currently it seems to me that those on the political far-left have all but abandoned any association with the Faith in favor of either atheism, secularism, plurality or the god of Islam. But still, to them being a real Christian is all about people-usually someone else- parting with their money to correct inequality.USCurrency_Federal_Reserve

My dad was the most godly man I’ve ever known, and the most generous. He lived in humility and holiness as much as any man does, and he considered himself a socialist. He felt that way because when he was a child the people who did all the hard physical graft-including his own dad-were paid little and worked long hours, receiving little respect from their employers, and socialism promised to fix that problem. I don’t think he realized that all self-respecting socialist societies, particularly at the time he was raised, were based on atheism, naturalism and secularism.

But given his life as an example, I don’t doubt that a socialist who may be wrong about a few Biblical doctrines as he was can also be a real Christian in the original, true sense-and a good one. The term “Christian” (“Christ-one”) was intended for those who were believers in the gospel of Jesus Christ, the gospel being about repentance from sin, and faith in Christ’s sacrificial life, death and resurrection.

God doesn’t “vote” left or right, but by his own standards. Those standards-or many of them-may or may not be followed by people on the left or the right. However, Socialism-solidly and often extremely “left” of center (if there is such a thing as “center”) is predominantly atheistic or at least simply secular. We can see this in the present-day use of the Constitution’s “establishment” clause as a weapon against expressions of faith, when the clause was clearly intended to protect the free exercise of religion-all religion-without the ability of the government to establish and impose one on its people. Socialism is often, as prescribed by Marx himself in his communist “Manifesto”, established or promoted by violent rebellion or the threat of it, whereas the gospel is about love of all men-rich or poor-and obedience to established authority as far as it’s godly. See my post on the birth and aims of socialism:

https://nickyfisher.com/2012/06/09/war-religion-and-atheism-part-2-marx-and-engels/

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Socialism is opposed to the Church and to the traditional, Biblical family. Many on the “right” of the political spectrum are on the right not because they’re greedy (and greed is not confined to the “right”-there are billionaire and millionaire socialists-even in politics) but because they see the extreme “left” to be at war against Christian social values and principles.

Socialism is fundamentally opposed to freedom of enterprise, conscience and thought, and attempts to shape all minds into its mold, most particularly now through indoctrination in education.

The difference between socialist and Christian giving is clearly seen in the book of Acts-sometimes used erroneously as a selling point for socialism. In chapter two we read that:

“…all who believed were together and had all things in common. And they were selling their possessions and belongings and distributing the proceeds to all, as anyone had need” (Acts 2:44-45).

There are three important things to see in this passage. First, there’s no doubt that the first Church-age believers really were generous. Secondly, however, they were generous towards each other, not to the state’s coffers. Thirdly and most importantly, the giving and distribution was voluntary.

The difference between socialist redistribution of wealth and real, original Christianity is that socialism demands and extracts money from you in the form of high taxes, and distributes it as the ruling elite decides. Sometimes it’s allocated to anything but Christian causes, such as abortion or sex-changes. Socialism takes your money by “law” whether you want to part with it or not, and whether you can afford it or not: Christian giving is willing, voluntary, joyful, generous giving from the heart, and from wealth that you have earned from your own hard work and enterprise.

HOW TO BE OFFENSIVE

Ask anyone who knows me and they’ll tell you I’m not quite like other people. And I know from experience that when people don’t fit easily into a stereotype, others attempt to either squash them into one or just write them off as being “weird”.

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Some claim to approve of weird and unusual types, until they come across one whose weirdness doesn’t fit their understanding of what weird should be.

From an early age, having realized and been told that I was “not normal”, I made a point of not fitting any molds, even though I didn’t really need to try. And having perplexed many before being a Christian, I increased my powers of perplexation once I became one (I’m developing a habit of creating my own words-how do you like that one?)

Being human, Christians also put other Christians into boxes or stereotypes, upset or offended when they don’t fit the available boxes. Consequently I detect a considerable amount of recoiling going on when I meet people. Not that I’m trying to offend or repulse-it just happens, even when I’m trying to be friendly…

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The herd mentality is prevalent in human nature because nobody wants to be rejected or spurned, and this is why political correctness almost succeeded in getting a stranglehold on all of us. Even though it’s fashionable today to be individual and unique, people tend to be individual and unique in all the same ways, though I don’t want to name some of those ways for fear of treading on toes. I think I’m long past any compulsion to follow the herd, and I’m really determined not to shape my personality, my tastes and my habits just to fit into acceptable boxes.

I have no desire to be offensive, and we believers are supposed to do all we can to be at peace with all men. However, if I’m offensive to someone simply because of who I am, then so be it. Churchill said, “You have enemies? Good. That means you’ve stood up for something, sometime in your life.” 

The one good way to be offensive is in what we profess, and in adherence to the cross of Jesus Christ. Paul referred to the “offense of the cross” (Galatians 5:11), and explained that the message of the cross is “a stumbling block to Jews and folly to Gentiles” (1 Corinthians 1:22). It was that very message which Paul was intentionally preaching, and which we are also called to preach.

So let’s be offensive for God. I don’t mean get in someone’s face and be an intentionally irritating and self-righteous embarrassment: I mean let’s believe and profess the good news without shame or reservation. Let’s winsomely stand up for the one thing which is most worth standing up for. If that’s offensive to someone…so be it.

 

 

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