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While the Capt’s away – the men must pray!!

August 8, 2012

It’s 7pm on Thursday night the location is Ballarat and it’s very cold; for our church it is the time designated to come  together for corporate prayer. We have so many things to petition God about. In particular there are two young German infants who are fighting for their lives that need our prayers. In fact this week is typical of every week, we have so many ongoing things to petition God about and the need to also thank God for His provision and grace is the same as ever.

The only notable difference this week is, the Pastor and a Deacon are away at conference.

So with some of the leadership of the Church absent this would be an excellent opportunity for the mature spiritual Christian’s of the church to rise up and display those qualities; that the next generation of potential leaders should be practicing now – so that when God looks for the faithful to carry out His glorious work there will be believers ready, equipped and experienced.

The Australian Army has a saying Train Hard and Fight Easy. This means if you do the hard work during training when the time comes to fight it will be easier because you have put the work in already.

The Australian Army has a reputation of producing among the finest caliber of infantry in the world. There are many many examples of Australian soldiers being faithful to the task beyond what is considered reasonable by the enemies of the particular time. In WW1 Australian’s were the shock troops of the Allies and held over 30% of the front for extended periods – a task entrusted to one of smallest nations in the Commonwealth. In WW2 it was the Australian Militia that first defeated the Imperial Japanese Army in Battle on the Kokoda track. General Rommel ruefully commented to Hitler that if he had 2 Divisions of Australian’s he would conquer the world for him. In Vietnam a platoon of 12 Australian soldiers at the Battle of Long Tan defeated a force of over 2000 Viet Cong. Currently in Afghanistan the region controlled by the Australian contingent of ISAF is the safest in the country because the Taliban has largely been negated. Australia’s soldiers are professional and dedicated to the task and they are respected and feared around the world.

Christians are freed slaves bought into God’s army by the Righteous sacrifice of Jesus Christ on the cross of Calvary, we are not our own but the purchase of Jesus Christ. We are saved by unmerited grace through faith in Jesus Christ. We have been given the greatest gift of all – eternal life in Heaven with God.

How many of us understand the responsibility we have to serve our God as first class soldiers? We are given so much by God in-order that we may serve Him and be commended in the day of His glorious return. We are equipped with the absolute best in our spiritual equipment but are we competent to use our spiritual equipment?

Are we training hard in the spirit; pressing in diligently in prayer, the study of scripture and Holy living? When the time comes to fight the good fight, will we be fighting easy because we have trained hard and are ready for the battle? Will we be willing to go beyond what our enemy Satan considers reasonable in order to obtain our Lord’s commendation?

Or will we decide to train easy, make excuses, feed the flesh and starve the spirit? And when the testing of the battle arrives be overwhelmed and brought to shame.

If you are a believer then all these questions will be answered in due time…BUT it must be remembered that we individually determine what kind of soldier we are.

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Church Bookstore Opens

March 27, 2012

Our new church bookstore has opened. There will be a range of bibles, reference, teen and childrens books as well as calenders and gifts available. All profits will go to support our missionaries.

This is an exciting development in the church’s history and it is hoped that this can grow to become a fruitful source of funds to suport our church’s mission contribution. Please support it as much as you are able. The store is opened to the public but it is currently restricted to Sunday mornings before and after church. In time and as resources and priorities permit we may look at expanding this

We are currently in the process of opening a specific account for the bookstore, at which time we will be able to offer Paypal as a payment method if you have no cash on hand. In the next month or so we will also support layby’s as well as an invoice option. It is also possible to purchase a giftcard for someone else to spend in the store.

Please speak to Geraldine or Troy for any futher enquiries.

There is a new page up on the website to promote the store and it also contains a sample of some of the books currently in stock, so feel free to have a browse

http://www.heritagebaptistchurch.com.au/bookstore

A Plea to Atheists: Pedophilia is next on the Slippery Slope; Let us turn back before it’s too late

September 1, 2011

http://www.JewishWorldReview.comOriginally authored by Rabbi Moshe Averick. It presents, I thought, an incisive expository on exactly where the thinking intrinsic in the atheistic worldview ultimately leads

It is axiomatic that in the world of the atheist there is neither morality nor immorality, only amorality. This is often misunderstood to mean that atheists have no values. That conclusion would clearly be erroneous. To associate atheism with amorality is not to say that atheists have no values, they certainly do; amorality is a commentary, not on the existence of values, but on the significance of those values. Since in the atheistic worldview we are nothing more than upright walking primates, our value systems have no more significance than those of our jungle dwelling relatives. In the Darwinian view, the human is to the cockroach as the cockroach is to the paramecium. To imagine that we are something “more” is just that: a product of the human imagination.

It would be absurd then for the atheist to suggest that the pronouncements of any individual or society obligate others to behave accordingly. For the atheist, morality is simply a word that is used to describe the type of system that an individual or society subjectively prefers. Each society establishes, maintains, and modifies its values to suit its own needs.

“Morality is the custom of one’s country and the current feeling of one’s peers. Cannibalism is moral in a cannibalistic country.” (Samuel Butler)

It becomes obvious that these values will shift and metamorphose to accommodate changing needs, attitudes, and preferences. In my own lifetime I have witnessed radical societal swings in moral behavior and attitudes regarding marriage and sexuality, homosexuality, the killing of unborn children, euthanasia, and the use of illicit drugs.

One can reasonably predict that as the infatuation with skepticism and atheism grows among the influential “intellectual elite” of our society, so too will their readiness to embrace more radical changes in moral values. Religious believers expressing dismay and horror at the ominous moral storm clouds looming on the horizon are met with smug derision, hysterical counter-accusations, or utter indifference. There is nothing that atheistic societies are incapable of rationalizing and accepting — including the sexual molestation of children.

No doubt, this assertion will appear preposterous to some atheists, and will spark outrage. Yet the logical and philosophical consequences of atheists’ belief systems are inescapable. When asked by journalist William Crawley if he thought that pedophilia was “just wrong.” Professor Peter Singer of Princeton University — a world-famous philosopher of “ethics” — responded as follows:

“I don’t have intrinsic moral taboos. My view is not that anything is just wrong…You’re trying to put words in my mouth.

Singer went on to explain that he is a “consequentialist.” For the benefit of the philosophically challenged let me explain “consequentialism” in a nutshell: If you like the consequences it’s ethical, if you don’t like the consequences it’s unethical. Thus, if you enjoy child pornography and having sex with children it’s ethical, if you dislike child pornography and having sex with children it’s unethical. In an article entitled “Heavy Petting,” Singer likewise gave his stamp of approval to bestiality. As a reward for producing such pearls of wisdom, he has been granted the privilege of teaching our children “ethics” at an Ivy League university. Moreover, he is by no means the only atheistic philosopher industriously engaged in greasing the precarious slope on which Western society totters. Hence, my “plea” to atheists, for the philosophical groundwork for the acceptance of pedophilia has already been put in place by such philosophers.

Joel Marks, Professor Emeritus of Philosophy at the U. of New Haven, who for 10 years authored the “Moral Moments” column in Philosophy Now, made the following, rather shocking about-face in a 2010 article entitled, ” An Amoral Manifesto.”

“This philosopher has been laboring under an unexamined assumption, namely that there is such a thing as right and wrong. I now believe there isn’t…The long and short of it is that I became convinced that atheism implies amorality; and since I am an atheist, I must therefore embrace amorality…I experienced my shocking epiphany that religious fundamentalists are correct; without G0d there is no morality. But they are incorrect, I still believe, about there being a G0d. Hence, I believe, there is no morality.

Marks then quite boldly and candidly addresses the implications of his newfound beliefs:

“Even though words like “sinful” and “evil” come naturally to the tongue as say a description of child molesting. They do not describe any actual properties of anything. There are no literal sins in the world because there is no literal G0d…nothing is literally right or wrong because there is no Morality…yet we human beings can still discover plenty of completely naturally explainable resources for motivating certain preferences. Thus enough of us are sufficiently averse to the molestation of children and would likely continue to be…

At this point the utter intellectual (and moral) bankruptcy of Marks’ position becomes apparent. After correctly concluding that a world without the Divine is free from the shackles of the illusory concepts of morality and immorality, he pathetically attempts to have his cake and eat it too by suggesting that there is something “good” or “better” about the preference to being averse to child molestation. One does not know whether to laugh or cry at this dismally transparent exercise in grasping at straws. Isn’t that very point the entire difference between “preference” and “morality?” The recognition that there is something inherently and intrinsically abominable in child molestation renders the act immoral, rather than merely not to one’s taste. Morality implies that there are principles of behavior that are part of the very fabric of reality; principles which Dr. Marks understands can only have significance if they come from the Almighty. Preference, on the other hand, is subjective and notoriously capricious. As in: I prefer chocolate ice-cream over vanilla. I prefer jazz to hip-hop. I prefer that people have sex with adults instead of children and the family pet.

However, as Dr. Marks acknowledges, others have different preferences, no less valid than his own. Dr. John Money of Johns Hopkins University proclaims: “If I were to see the case of a boy aged ten or twelve who’s intensely erotically attracted toward a man in his twenties or thirties, if the relationship is genuinely totally mutual, and the bonding is genuinely totally mutual…then I would not call it pathological in any way.” (In view of his professional opinion, I wonder how many neighbors are courageous enough to arrange play-dates for their children at the Money residence.)

On August 17, 2011 a symposium sponsored by an association of mental health professionals called B4U-ACT took place in Baltimore, Md. The official brochure declared:
“This day long symposium will facilitate the exchange of ideas among researchers, scholars, mental health practitioners, and minor-attracted persons who have an interest in critical issues surrounding the entry for pedophilia in the Diagnostic Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM) of the American Psychiatric Association.”

In plain English, this is a symposium whose goal is to facilitate the removal of Pedophilia from the American Psychiatric Societies official list of Mental Disorders (DSM). B4U-ACT has already coined a bland, innocuous, and inoffensive term to make the idea of child-sex more palatable: “minor-attracted persons.” This phrase sounds almost pleasant, distinctly unlike those nasty and soon-to-be-politically-incorrect words like “pedophile” and “child molester.” (How does pedophobic grab you?) Not surprisingly, the featured speaker is Dr. Fred Berlin of Johns Hopkins University, a colleague of Dr. John Money. Child advocate, Dr. Judith Reisman disclosed that the conference is part of a strategy to condition people into accepting pedophiles: “The first thing they do is to get the public to divest from thinking of what the offender does criminally, to thinking of his emotional state…to empathize and sympathize…You don’t change the nation in one fell swoop, you have to change it by conditioning.”

Although first published nearly two decades ago, a special issue of The Journal of Homosexuality called “Male Intergenerational Intimacy” edited by three prestigious scholars (all PhD’s) gives us a taste of what is to come:

“In contemporary Western society, intimate sexual relations between men and boys are considered as immoral…regardless of the emotional contexts in which they occur [not according to Joel Marks and Peter Singer!]…the current social climate makes it rather difficult to look at these relationships in an objective way…man-boy relationships are not uncommon. As in homosexuality, man-boy sexuality occurs and not seldom in a context in which both partners consent…in these relationships a diversity of feelings are or can be expressed: affection, attachment, desire, domination and submission…men who feel attracted to boys have to legitimize their feelings toward themselves as well as towards society.”

All we are missing now is a scholarly “scientific” study which informs us that we have finally isolated a “man-child attraction” gene! An old German expression comes to mind: “So fangt es immer an”— “It always starts in the same way.” What also comes to mind are the lyrics of an old Barry McGuire protest song from the 60’s:”And you tell me over and over again my friend, you don’t believe we’re on the eve of destruction?”

The atheistic notion that life emerged randomly from ancient Earth’s prebiotic slime, coupled with the Darwinian belief that humans are no more than intelligent chimpanzees, leaves us morally bereft. In a society whose schools consider it a noble undertaking to teach a teenage boy how to use a condom, but streng verboten to teach him that the Divine has forbidden us to steal or murder, how can one anticipate anything other than a gaping and ever-expanding moral sinkhole? While there exist real challenges in determining exactly what the Almighty requires of us in the moral sphere, let us, at least, agree on the following before it is too late, and move forward from there:

All men are created in the image of the Lord and are therefore inherently and intrinsically precious

All men have been endowed by our Creator with unalienable rights and among these are the right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness

Thou shalt not murder

Thou shalt not steal

Thou shalt not bear false witness

Thou shalt not commit adultery, incest, or bestiality

Thou shalt not have sex with children, and if you do you will be looked upon as a disgusting and contemptible criminal and will be treated as such

Thou shall teach these laws to your children

We hold these above truths to be self-evident, not by proxy of some pragmatic social contract that can be amended and revised as often as societal whim and convenience demands, not as the result of the pompous and vapid philosophical musings of so called professors of “ethics,” but because they reflect the eternal, immutable, and absolute moral laws that emanate from the Almighty, the Creator of the universe and all mankind.

A wise man once observed that while belief in the Divine after the Holocaust may be difficult, belief in man after the Holocaust is impossible. The choices before us are clear: we will either seek a transcendent moral law to which we will all submit, or we will seek our own personal and societal indulgence. If we turn to Him in our quest to create a moral and just world, we have a fighting chance; if not, we are doomed to spiral into the man-made hell of the human jungle.

Norway Killings – A Fundamentalist Christian?

August 2, 2011

It was with great astonishment and dismay that I watched the tragic events unfold recently in Norway. My heart and condolonces go to all those families grieving the loss of a loved one. As a father of two children myself I cannot even begin to comprehend the devastation of losing a child.

However, my astonishment turned to incredulity as reports started to unfold that the killer (Anders Breivik) had allegedly claimed to be a right wing fundamentalist christian. First and foremost no person who follows the teachings of Jesus and has the spirit of God in dwelling in them could perpetrate such horrific acts which fly in the face of everything Christ taught.

“Blessed are the peacemakers for they shall inherit the earth”
“Bless those who curse you, pray for those who hurt you”

In the gospel of James we are told that “we shall know them by their fruit”. In otherwords, know those who are truly His rather than those who merely claim to be His, by the fruit that is evidenced in their lives. Clearly, the fruit of this perpertators life exposes him as anything but christian.

However there is more to this story than the fruit of Breiviks life. It was with lightning speed that the left wing anti-christian media jumped onto tenuous statements linking this man to christianity. An honest and even cursory look at the facts would soon have dispelled this as a claim without any merit whatsoever. Had those making these bold claims bothered to actually read his manifesto instead of opportunistically jumping onto some isolated comments taken out of context we might have had some realistic reporting.

At best, the most that can be made of Breiviks comments on religion is that he affirms the primacy of Europe’s “christian culture and heritage”. This is about as close as he gets to being a christian, which might as well be as far as the east is from the west.

As we explore his ideologies in further depth it becomes abundantly clear that far from being a christian, Breivik is more akin to a Darwinian atheist (more to that in a moment).

Indeed, what is even more telling, is that the statements of Breivik clearly revealing these links to Darwinian socialism remain virtually ignored in the mainstream media, hmm, I wonder why?

Let’s examine some of his statements about religion and follow where the evidence takes us

I guess I’m not an excessively religious man. I am first and foremost a man of logic. However, I am a supporter of a monocultural Christian Europe

On page 1307 of his manifest, he explicitly states that he has no “personal relationship with Jesus Christ and God” but instead believes in Christianity “as a cultural, social, identity and moral platform.”

“If you have a personal relationship with Jesus Christ and God then you are a religious Christian. Myself and many more like me do not necessarily have a personal relationship with Jesus Christ and God. We do however believe in Christianity as a cultural, social, identity and moral platform. This makes us Christian.”

So, Breivik explicitly denies that he is a “religious Christian.” He admits that he does not possess what all born again christians consider essential to faith: a personal relationship with Jesus Christ, which means a life of devotion, a life of seeking Christ and seeking to be like Christ, a life that honors what God revealed in and through Christ and accepts and celebrates the grace of God and forgiveness of sin that were made available to any person who would trust in them.

Breivik goes on to state that he’s not even sure that God exists. If you don’t even know whether God exists how can you in any way be a christian, that is agnosticism. He further proceeds to claim that science and naturalism are always to be held up as ultimate “truth” and goes onto idolise men such as Charles Darwin whose evolutionary theories stand in stark contrast to the truth claims of the bible. This exposes him as a God denying left wing evolutionary fundamentalist

“As for the Church and science, it is essential that science takes an undisputed precedence over biblical teachings. Europe has always been the cradle of science, and it must always continue to be that way

Breivik throughout his manifest makes clear references to his admiration for science and naturalism over religion and more importantly the supremacy of evolutionary theory and it’s application in how we should respond to world issues and ethical dilemnas. For example he says of the global issues related to famine and food shortages

“second and third world countries” cannot curb their production of human offspring, “nature will correct their suicidal tendencies as they are unable to feed their populations.” (p. 1202)
If starvation threatens the countries who have failed to follow our [population control] guidelines we should not support them by backing their corrupt leaders or send any form of aid.” (p. 1202) Indeed, “[f]ood aid to 3rd world countries must stop immediately as it is the primary cause of overpopulation. (p. 1203)

This aligns with Princeton University evolutionary biologist, Lee Silver, for a revival of eugenics, with Breivik arguing that, “radical policies will have to be implemented” to reduce the human population by more than half, or 3.8 billion people. (p. 1202)
According to Breivik, the “perfect Europe” includes the rule of Social Darwinism—the summation of “logic” and “rationalist thought

‘Logic’ and rationalist thought (a certain degree of national Darwinism) should be the fundament of our societies (p. 1386)

So while the atheist, left wing controlled media delighted in portraying Breivik as a fundamentalist christian, his own writing’s clearly demonstrate otherwise, indeed actually showing the opposite, an atheistic world view underpinned by the application of an evolutionary ethos promoting large scale population genocide. No wonder the media endeavoured to misrepresent the truth, for if they had reported the truth accurately, Breivik’s views are more closely aligned with their own worldview.

The media were not the only ones who took great delight in jumping on the bandwagon, but also either those who soak in their propoganda as if it were “absolute truth” without any attempt to critically analyse the facts or those who are wilfully blind opportunists and simply wish to portray the christian worldview and belief system in as bad a light as possible whenever a hint of opportunity to do so presents itself. Such individuals need to hold their heads in shame.

On a closing note, this tragedy certainly reminds us of the finite nature of our eartly existence – this is well stated in the gospels

Yet you do not know what your life will be like tomorrow. You are just a vapor that appears for a little while and then vanishes away

However the gospels also make clear that when our eartly existence ends it is just the beginning of our eternal existence, for man was not created for this life alone but rather for eternity. Ecclesiastes 3:11 – He has made everything beautiful in its time. He has also set eternity in the hearts of men
and
“it is appointed for man once to die and then the judgement”

The response we have in this life to the offer of free salvation that is in Christ Jesus alone will determine how we fare at that judgement. Let me be very clear, in the bible’s words, “all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God”.

Not one person will be able to stand before God and justify themselves, the bible says that every man’s mouth will be stopped as he stands condemned by his own actions in this life. You may think that you are a good person, however God’s standard of goodness is not the same as the worlds standard. God demands moral perfection on the keeping of his law (the ten commandments). Have you ever lied? Have you ever stolen? have you ever looked with lust? Then you will stand before the creator of heaven and earth as a lying, theiving, adulterer at heart. God says that He must and will judge sin. If you claim He should just overlook it, what would you think of an earthly judge to whom a convicted felon said, “judge can’t you just overlook my crimes” and the judge responded, “sure, we all make mistakes”. Would you consider this to be a good and just judge, one who saw that the law was enforced? Or a corrupt judge who was unable to uphold the law?

The same is true of God, His very goodness demands that he not overlook sin. But in order to be both just and loving God needed to do something dramatic. He did just that 2,000 years ago when he entered the stage of human history, became a man yet at the same time remained fully God. Having lived a sinless life He was able to offer himslef up as a spotless lamb to be sacrificed as our substitute. Only one who did not have to pay for His own sins could offer to pay for ours. As the lamb of God, hung on a cross, he suffered the full wrath and judgement of God, not for His own sin, but for yours and mine. “while we yet sinners Christ died for us”. That’s right, Christ died for those whom were naturally at enmity with and in opposition to Him. It has been well written, the greatest act a man could do is to lay his life down for a friend, how much more noble, loving and gracious was our saviour who laid down His life for His enemies.

On the cross we see perfect love and perfect justice, the end result reconcilliation between man and God. This is a free gift of God, you cannot earn it, there is nothing that can make you worthy of it.

However you must receive it, a prisoner on death row who refuses the governers pardon remains on death row, he must receive the pardon in order to be saved. The same is true with Christ, it is not enough to believe in the gift that is being offered, one must accept the gift by placing their trust in Christ completely to save them, not in their own ability to save themselves nor in any goodness they may think they possess, as Jesus replied to the pharisees, “there is only one good” and again, “all your righteous deeds are like filthy rags”.

One must then ask Jesus to forgive them for breaking His law, repent and turn from their sin and ask Christ to be Lord and ruler of their lives (rather than themsleves).
Romans 10:10 – For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you confess and are saved.

The simple fact is this – one day you will bow your knee before the saviour, whether you choose to believe now or not, for it is written, “that at the name of Jesus every knee will bow and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord to the glory of the Father”.

For those that have put their faith and trust in Christ and accepted His pardon God will dismiss their case from the heavenly courtroom and they will enter into eternal rest hearing the words, “well done thou good and faithful servant” or they will be cast into the lake of fire forever.

And I saw the dead, the great and the small, standing before the throne, and books were opened; and another book was opened, which is the book of life; and the dead were judged from the things which were written in the books, according to their deeds. And if anyone’s name was not found written in the book of life, he was thrown into the lake of fire.

However it is not the will of the Father that even one should perish.

I would plead with anyone reading this message to put their trust in Jesus Christ as Lord and Saviour. Life is brief and tomorrow is not guaranteed. Is your name written in the lambs book of life? If you were to stand before the Lord tonight would you go to heaven or to hell? You can make heaven a guaranteed reality right now by asking Jesus to forgive your sins and to be Lord of your life.

We put considerable time and effort in to temporal things yet almost no effort in to considering matters that can affect where we will spend all of eternity. How much more time and energy should we devote to what could impact us forever. If you have unanswered questions or are unsure of anything please do not hesitate to ask and I will do my best to answer honestly and truthfully.

The amount of historical, scientific, archaeological and philosophical evidence in support of the bible narrative are overwhelming. There comes a point where we must acknowledge we may never have every answer but that we can be sure “beyond reasonable doubt” that Jesus is indeed the Son of God, was crucified, raised from the dead and was God made manifest in the flesh and is the only way to eternal salvation.

Jesus said, “I am the way the truth and the life there is no way to the Father except thru me”.

Pilate asked Jesus, “what is truth?” Jesus was clear in his claim which unequivocally answered this question, “I am the truth”.

A Good Book?

August 1, 2011

A Good Book?
28 July 2011
From Ravi Zacharias Int Ministries

In publishing his godless Bible for those with no faith, A. C. Grayling may have expected a mixed reception. The ‘religious Bible’ (as he calls the Christian original) often sparks controversy, so one might have assumed that his would prompt a powerful reaction

But although there have been eyebrows raised, support given, and criticism leveled, I can’t help feeling that there is something a little flat about it all. Perhaps it is because we are in the midst of celebrating the 400-year anniversary of the King James translation of the Bible with its majestic impact on the English language, that one struggles to muster any strong reaction to this book. One of the repeated observations made about Grayling’s moral guide for atheists is that it just doesn’t seem to be as good or interesting as the original.

Jeannette Winterson, author of Oranges Are Not the Only Fruit, had this to say:

I do not believe in a sky god but the religious impulse in us is more than primitive superstition. We are meaning-seeking creatures and materialism plus good works and good behaviour does not seem to be enough to provide meaning. We shall have to go on asking questions but I would rather that philosophers like Grayling asked them without the formula of answers. As for the Bible, it remains a remarkable book and I am going to go on reading it.

Perhaps it has something to do with what seems to be a fundamental misunderstanding on Grayling’s part: the Bible is not merely a book containing moral guidance, as he seems to think it is. While Christians would say that it does contain the moral law of God and shows us how to live our lives, the actual text of the Bible is much more besides.

It is the history of a people and a grand narrative of redemption for all people. At its heart, it is the story of a relationship, and not a collection of platitudes. As the New Testament opens with God coming in human form, we encounter Jesus walking the earth, not simply to restate a moral code, but to offer us peace with God through himself. It’s about a personal God to encounter, not a set of propositions to understand or laws to follow. This is drama with a capital D.

The Bible also contains narrative history, at its most fascinating with well-preserved accounts recording personal perspectives on historical events. Whether it be a prophet like Jeremiah, writing in the 7th century BC, or the gospel writer Mark in the 1st century AD, this is compelling writing whatever our religious convictions. Who could not notice the honesty and detail of Mark’s turn of phrase when he recounts that “Jesus was in the stern sleeping on a cushion, the disciples woke him and said to him ‘Teacher don’t you care if we drown?'” (Mark 4:38). As history alone the Bible is compelling.

In as much as Grayling’s ‘Good Book’ cobbles together some of the finest moral teaching from our history, it will surely be useful to some. But from an atheist perspective is this really a legitimate task? Without God what is morality other than personal perspective or social contract? Do we need Grayling’s personal perspective any more than our own? And is he really in a position to tell us what a socially agreed set of morals should be? Great atheists of the past, like Bertrand Russell, rejected religious moral values arguing against overarching morality—do they really want Grayling to reconstruct one? “I don’t think there is a line in the whole thing that hasn’t been modified or touched by me,” he says. While his own confidence in his wisdom is clearly abundant, will others feel the same way? Readers might also note that from the 21st century, his is the only voice to make the cut and be included in the work.

In calling his worthy tome The Good Book, Grayling, perhaps unwittingly, references the story about a rich young ruler found in the Gospel of Mark. The man approaches Jesus and addresses him as “Good teacher.” “Why do you call me good?” Jesus answered. “No one is good—except God alone.” Jesus preempts centuries of philosophical debate about the nature of morality and locates goodness as an absolute in the being of God. We are challenged to question: “Without God, what is goodness?” As the debate over his book continues it will be intriguing to find out how Grayling knows his godless Bible to be a benchmark of “goodness.”

In the meantime, no doubt the Bible will continue to top best-seller lists, and engage audiences spanning all ages, backgrounds, and cultures. I for one will keep reading it.

Helmet of Salvation – July 9th, 2011

July 14, 2011

Dear All

Last Sat afternoon, July 9th, 2011 I was joined by a friend and Mr Kozo. A cold wind meancingly greeted us as we emerged from Bakery Hill McDonalds, embarking upon another afternoon of bringing the gospel to the streets of Ballarat.

Not to be deterred we marched staunchly up to Bridge Mall and set about the task at hand, distributing tracts and Smart Cards (are you a good person holograms) to those brave enough to venture out into the elements.

As people hurried by we would manouver into a position from which we could place a gospel message into their hands. It was not looking promising for many one on one conversations as there were very few people idling around.

A couple of highlights
1. A group of Islanders I approached, two men, two women, gladly took a smart card / good person test. They appeared intrigued and one of the women asked how much they had to pay, to which I replied they were “free”. They walked away holding their thumbs on the hologram to see if it would turn green afyer 15 secs (indicating they are a good person), unfortunately the hologram never turns green. BAd news but good news if they receive the gospel.

2. Mr Kozo approached a ggroup of young adults with the cards and handed out 7 or 8 in one go as they all wanted one

Still no one on ones though, a little jilted we headed back toward McDonalds, but continuing to trust the Lord would be faithful. As we neared our destination we stopped and waited. After a few minutes a young man approached holding a motorbike helmet. I proceeded to put a smart card in his hand and due to his curiosity managed to engage him in a conversation. His name was Daniel and he was around 23. Challenged with the hologram not turning green I asked him whether he thought he was nevertheless a good person, to which he replied he was, he had never murdered and committed armed robbery.

We then proceeded to examine the standard by which we should assess whether someone can be considered good, the Ten Commandments.

Me: Daniel how many lies have you told?
Daniel: Ahh, too many to remember
Me: What do you call someone who tells lies?
Daniel : A liar
Me: Have you taken anything that doesn’t belong to you, irrespective of value?
Daniel: Yes
Me: What would you call someone who does this?
Daniel: A thief
Me: Have you looked at a women and had inappropriate thoughts?
Daniel: All the time

Me: Daniel, Jesus called that adultery of the heart, he who looks at a women to lust after her has already committed adultery with her in his heart.

So Daniel if you were to face a perfect and Holy God whose standard of goodness is that you keep these moral laws, you would stand before him and by your own admission, present yourself as a lying, thieving adulterer at heart, do you think God would let you into heaven?

Daniel : No, I’d go to hell
Me: So you’d be in big trouble wouldn’t you
Daniel: Yes

I then took Daniel through what Christ had done on the cross as his substitute to take the penalty for his sin while he was considered an enemy of God. That if Daniel was to stand before God right now he would be guilty as charged but because of the shed blood of Christ, the perfect and spotless lamb, God could dismiss his case in the heavenly courtroom and allow him into heaven, not because of anything good in him but because of the imputed righteousness of Christ given to him if he confessed his sin, repented and put his trust in the saviour..

I managed to get some more reading material to Daniel and discovered his parents attend a church but he had never been with them before nor had he heard this amazing news from them. He left with a promise that he was now going to attend church with his parents and that he would read the materials he had been given and to do what it said at the end of the writing (to repent and put his trust in Christ).

Folks, how amazing is it that a young man can be in a home whose parents go to a church but never have had the gospel message presented to him. It doesn’t matter how you do it but do not shy away from the grave responsibility to make sure your children clearly know the gospel message, know who they are in God’s eyes and what they must do to be saved.

Please keep Daniel in your prayers, that the Lord will draw him and that Daniel will respond by repenting and putting his trust in Jesus. Thank you and see you again next week

Gold Strike – Evangelism Update – July 2nd, 2011

July 4, 2011

A friend and I set out from McDonalds Bakery Hill at about 3:15pm on a blustery Saturday afternoon, cold but some sunshine ambled down from between the clouds.

Heading straight for Bridge Mall we started handing out tracts, some IQ Test Cards with a gospel message on the back as well as some “Sure bet” tracts made to look like some cards from a card deck with a gospel message themed around gambling with your eternal future. Let me tell you folks, so many in Ballarat are playing a high stakes game with where they will spend eternity. Unlike the gambling man who has a small odd of success, in their current state, these people have only one outcome of their wager, and it is not heaven.

With the cold and windy conditions, handing out tracts wasn’t too bad but one on one conversations where as hard to come by as finding golden fleece on a sheeps back. However we kept pushing and finally struck some gold. A young man braved the pedestrian crossing in the middle of Bridge Mall straight into our path. Nick handed out a tract from his card deck and I took out a “Good person test” and challenged the young man as to whether he was a good person. Thus started a 20 minute one on one encounter wuith James, a 17 year old student from Ballarat still attending hgh school

James had a fairly good opinion of himself, however as we took him through the moral law conviction started to set in, on acknowledging he was a liar James blushed quite a bright shade of red as the full force of the law contradicted his claim to goodness, and so it continued as we went through “stealing” and “lust / adultery”.

James admitted he was in real trouble if he had to face God that night.

We then presented the incredible news of God’s grace in providing a perfect substitue to stand in James place and take the full punishment for his sin, so that his case is able to be dismissed from the heavenly courtroom if James would only put his trust in Jesus and repent of his sins.

We took him through the goodness of God’s character and that his goodness demanded he judges sin or else Gos is corrupt. We used the analogy of a plane about to crash and should he be offered a choice between a million dollars and a parachute – which would he take? He agreed the money was pointless, he would choose what could save him.

We pointed out that Jesus offer of salvation was the same. That James was in a plane that was going to crash, the destination being hell and all the things the world has to offer would not save him, only by putting on the Lord Jesus Christ and putting complete trust in Him to save him from the consequences of sin (just as the parachute saves from the consequences of gravity once someone exits the plane) could he be saved. That he needed to repent and turn from His sin

he was then given some further tracts (scientific facts in the bible and a New Testament). His parting words were that we had given him a lot to think about.

Please pray for James, that he would read the bible and tracts we gave him and put his trust in Jesus to save him

Watch out for next weeks update from the streets of Ballarat

Troy Geri