Showing posts from March, 2013

Gay Marriage—Does it Change Anything? Further Thoughts

In my earlier blog piece after the passing of the second reading of the Gay Marriage bill in NZ, I suggested that in reality the passing of this legislation changes little for Christians who uphold traditional marriage. While many of us will be upset and saddened our response should not be to be reactive prophets of woe, defensive and bitter toward politicians (they are people too) because they have chosen this path, or continuing to regale the world with moralism. No doubt each Member of Parliament all acted in good conscience, and that is all a person can do in any situation. Rather, our response should be to dig deeper into God and work harder to be the people of God we are called to be—people who live out of the call of the gospel. This means being people who live the gospel full of grace and seasoned with salt (

There was one additional question that came to me as I continue to ponder this situation.…

Worldwide Religion Rejection—Sorry Bob Jones, You Are Wrong

Bob Jones is at it again. In the NZ Herald today (19/03/2014) he has commented on the decline of religious adherence in the recent British census. He speaks of his hope that the same thing will happen in NZ. No doubt his hope will be realised, as there is no secret that European Kiwis who make up the majority of the population have been rejecting institution religion for decades now. Sadly for Bob, we Europeans don’t have many kids, so NZ will increasingly become non-European and religious adherence will begin to rise as we are peopled by Polynesians, Asians and others in the future—enjoy it while it lasts Bob.
In the opinion piece Jones shows his modernist atheist biases. First, on the basis of philosophy he rebukes Jeff Tallon for suggesting that the intricacy of the universe supports the possibility of a creator. The problem for Bob is that he shows he is out of touch with philosophy. Philosophy does not rule out a creator, it regales against those who believe that there must be a…

Gay Marriage—Does it Change Anything?

So the marriage amendment bill passed it second reading and, in NZ, very soon gays and lesbians will be able to marry. This was no surprise to me. It was obvious at the first reading that the bill was going to get through, despite the best efforts of many to convince MPs to change their vote. So where to from here for those who follow the Christian view of marriage? That is, an exclusive life-long commitment made between an adult man and a woman, in which both partners commit to wholly love and be faithful to the other.

The first thing is that I don’t think we should declare apocalyptic woe on NZ as if God will now punish us. If we do this, we will interpret any negative event in the next year or so as God pouring out his wrath on NZ. That would be dumb! The thing is, nothing much has changed in the last two days. Three days ago, a man could form a civil union with a man, and similarly a woman to a woman. This was a legally binding relationship. Now they can marry, at least in the ey…

The Election of a Pope: Is it just me?

So another pope is about to be installed. What to make of it all? First, some disclaimers. I am not saying that the Roman Catholic Church is not Christian—after all, for some 1500 years, it was one only a few  institutional churches on the planet. It remains the largest denomination in Christianity. Without doubt, among its people are many priests, nuns and people of faith; Christian people who love God and serve him faithfully. People like my wife Emma’s late mum, Brenda Jenkins. What a saint! Not to mention the Mother Theresa’s of this world—I stand humbled by such a wonderful women of God and a prophetess[1] to the world in her service in India. I would never deign to suggest I am anything like this women in terms of fidelity to God. There are many many clergy, nuns and monks who I am sure have given great service as leaders in God’s church. I am not saying that my church is any better. I am a Presbyterian at present and we have had a swag of problems over the years! As a biblical…

The Positive Side of Death

In my last blog I shared from the heart some of my thoughts on death after my Dad’s tragic passing in Middlemore Hospital. I spoke of my abhorrence for death, its violation of life, and the hope of death’s end—thankfully, because Jesus has conquered death, death’s demise comes closer everyday—bring it on!
As I have reflected, I have realised I needed to add to that picture I painted. That is, the positive side of death. Everything has a positive side. Pain is very useful—it causes us to withdraw from situations that endanger us. I remember being very moved by reading in Philip Yancey’s Soul Survivor of the story of Paul Brand who works with lepers and who speaks of the positive side of pain from the point of view of lepers. Lepers damage themselves because they do not feel pain. Pain causes us to withdraw to safety; otherwise we will be maimed.
In a fallen world susceptible to suffering and pain, death has a positive side too. Without death, those who suffer immensely in great pain …