Saturday, June 26, 2010

Are you scared of it?

Two newspapers in Australia have reported that their are 'concerns' over the way scripture, or Religious Instruction, is being taught in N.S.W. public schools. Volunteers from the community, as well as church pastors, take these classes as part of the legally mandated Scripture classes run in public schools in the state. A study by Macquarie University has been told that children are being told they will go to hell if they do not believe in Jesus Christ.
Does anyone dare write to the people running the study and tell them: bluntly, though it's not intended to be a threat, that is what the Gospel does teach. There is only one way for the human soul to be saved after the body dies. The soul is everlasting, and it may or may not be saved from permanent misery by separation from God; and that one way is to know Jesus Christ and believe in Him.
The complaint is that kids are being brainwashed, or scared, or something, into 'extreme views' of Christianity. Apparently the pure truth taught by the Christian Gospel is 'extreme'.
It might be that those teachers who put this across had in fact said that Jesus came to save the world, and die for us, rather than just trying to scare kids. Evangelism is 'the Good News', after all. But it is not extreme to teach about the threat of dying unsaved, unless you want to falsify Christian doctrine into a wishy washy thing about just being nice to people.
Suppose it scared kids to be shown what can happen if they drink and then drive, by telling them what happens in vehicle accidents? Should they not be told in case it makes them uncomfortable? What about the risks involved in unsafe sex? Should others keep silent in case hearing the truth upsets someone? In Australia, we have health warnings about skin cancer caused by too much exposure to the sun. Should we stop running them in case it upsets someone?
It is not compulsory to attend Scripture classes in public schools. No-one has to be there. But if the classes are about Christianity, should they not tell it like it is?
I had to grapple with this when I first became a Christian, at 24 years of age. It was not good to know that some 'good' people I knew were not saved. They needed to come to terms with Jesus, not just be well intentioned. I find it difficult to cope with. But if it's true, it is true. You can't escape an issue by denying it.
That is why some people do not want to hear the Gospel. It would confront them with things they don't want to have to admit or deal with. I can't make them, but they can't make me deny what Christianity is and dumb it down for their convenience. If they don't like hearing, what does that show? They might be afraid it's true? It's funny the way some people scoff at Christianity, yet get uncomfortable when ever it is discussed.
Are they scared of it?

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Some deeds I admire.

This could quite a list, but I'll stick to two particular ones. We all have our heroes, although we have to keep hero-worship under control, because it can be a misleading distraction.
Did you ever hear of Captain Oates? He was a member of Robert Falcon Scott's Antarctic expedition in 1911. They set out to reach the South Pole, hoping to be the first people to do so. When they reached the Pole they found that another group, led by Roald Amundsen, had beaten them to it. So, disappointed, they set off back to their base, and ran into trouble with fatigue and failing health. Captain Oates realized that his friends were being slowed down by him, because he was the worst affected, and that the others might lose their lives trying to save him.
So he walked out into the freezing cold, knowing he would die, to give the others a better chance. Apparently his last words were, (paraphrased) "I'm going for a walk, gentlemen. I may be a little time."
When I read that I couldn't think of anything else for nearly an hour. That took guts - and it took care for others to put them first, giving up his own life.
Another example was a soldier, Colonel O.C. Hannay. He was a Scotsman, and an officer in the British Army.During the South African War (1899-1902) he was given an order that he knew would cost the lives of too many of his men. The order was to make a mounted charge against a strong postition, which Hannay knew would have just got his men slaughtered. But he had his orders. His orders were "You are to charge the enemy position." Hannay took the view that, right, HIS orders were to charge this strong enemy position, even if it was suicidal.
So he obeyed his orders. He charged - on his own. He gave NO order to his men to follow him, and charged the enemy alone. He was shot down from his horse and killed, but he had saved his men from pointless slaughter.
That action was noble and brave. He gave up his own life to spare others.
Those two men could only save the bodies of others. They could not save souls. They must have cared enough about others to do what they could, whatever it amounted to.
The human race must look quite contemptible to God, with all the cruel and stupid things we do. You could wonder how much suffering we are worth going through for.
Crucifiction has been described by doctors as the most agonizing way to die. But Jesus Christ undertook to suffer it, for the sake of others. Not only that, but according to the Scriptures, when His body died His soul descended tnto Hell. He literally has been to Hell and back. But Hell couldn't hold Him. It had no claim because he was guilty of no wrongdoin.
Men like Oates and Hannay, and women too, have gone to death to save the bodies of others. I hope they were saved. Jesus Christ went through death to Hell itself,to save our souls.
Self-sacrificing heroes and heroines reflect the awesome example of Jesus Christ, because Humankind is made in the image of God and we can sometimes reflect His glory when we do what is right and good. But they can only save bodies. One only can save our souls, and He suffered hideously to do so. God be thanked. Come again, Lord Jesus.