Gog and Magog [you will be called to account].

I am on holiday, in Cook’s Ferry, and thinking how much more simple life is with only a couple of bags. But even then, we have internet, even then the TV is on and the memes of this world flood in: and fairly stiff and tired after a long drive, a long walk and a good meal we ended up watching some.

I am also thinking how nice it is to sleep well, and wake up refreshed. And how beautiful this part of the world is: this was taken with the phone from where we had dined last night.

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But this has very little to do with the text for this morning. The text is ugly, but needed. We have been taught about false teachers and how they can destroy a church and damn souls. For such people will compromise with the world and all its works. When we should not: when we can not. Be very clear here. We will be damned for our own actions and sins. But this generation, this world will either repent or share the fate of Gog and Magog.

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Yeah, right. I thank God that my ex was not like that: I cherish my sons, I cherish my daughter and her children. And I want none of them to worship the beast. Be not deceived: we will be told it is progressive, for justice, and righteous. Within our churches.

Then I saw an angel coming down from heaven, holding in his hand the key to the bottomless pit and a great chain. And he seized the dragon, that ancient serpent, who is the devil and Satan, and bound him for a thousand years, and threw him into the pit, and shut it and sealed it over him, so that he might not deceive the nations any longer, until the thousand years were ended. After that he must be released for a little while.

Then I saw thrones, and seated on them were those to whom the authority to judge was committed. Also I saw the souls of those who had been beheaded for the testimony of Jesus and for the word of God, and those who had not worshipped the beast or its image and had not received its mark on their foreheads or their hands. They came to life and reigned with Christ for a thousand years. The rest of the dead did not come to life until the thousand years were ended. This is the first resurrection. Blessed and holy is the one who shares in the first resurrection! Over such the second death has no power, but they will be priests of God and of Christ, and they will reign with him for a thousand years.

And when the thousand years are ended, Satan will be released from his prison and will come out to deceive the nations that are at the four corners of the earth, Gog and Magog, to gather them for battle; their number is like the sand of the sea. And they marched up over the broad plain of the earth and surrounded the camp of the saints and the beloved city, but fire came down from heaven and consumed them, and the devil who had deceived them was thrown into the lake of fire and sulfur where the beast and the false prophet were, and they will be tormented day and night forever and ever.

(Revelation 20:1-10 ESV)

Many read this in the context of modern geopolitics. I am not so sure: what worries me more is the warnings than the methods. Christ fulfilled the prophecies of the OT — but not as the Pharisees thought he would in their learned commentaries, and the end will come when we have forgotten to teach Revelations at all.

Because it talks about punishment and judgment, and that makes us feel ick.

Which is no argument. Baby poo makes me feel ick, and I changed my fair share of nappies, including full body diarrhea. I have held the heads of people while avoiding their vomit. Because it was my child, or my duty, or because they are human, and their experience is one I may have.

And part of being human is being accountable. For not what we do, but how we influence. We leave waves behind as as we walk through the water that is the peoples of our family, our village, our country, our world. And we need to seek, in these fallen times, that crown that comes from walking away from the beast and all its temptations, lest we are accounted in the hordes that come from wherever God and Magog are.

LORD, keep us in your paths.

Yesterday ended up being interesting. The plan flight was delayed to the point where we arrived in Auckland to a closing terminal. All the rental car booths were shut. A half hour later, we had walked to the international terminal and got a taxi to my parents, and this morning we need to pick the car up.

And yes, I was angry. A robot I am not. At this time of the year one should not expect anything to go smoothly.

And this applies to the church also. We are a collection of apostates and we tend naturally to error and heresy. But what are we to do? And the answer is not one we will like. We are not allowed to give up, instead we need to be self disciplined and ready.

Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of his might. Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil. For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places. Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand firm. Stand therefore, having fastened on the belt of truth, and having put on the breastplate of righteousness, and, as shoes for your feet, having put on the readiness given by the gospel of peace. In all circumstances take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming darts of the evil one; and take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God, praying at all times in the Spirit, with all prayer and supplication. To that end keep alert with all perseverance, making supplication for all the saints, and also for me, that words may be given to me in opening my mouth boldly to proclaim the mystery of the gospel, for which I am an ambassador in chains, that I may declare it boldly, as I ought to speak.

(Ephesians 6:10-20 ESV)

There are two things that I need to reflect on here. One is being righteous, and not wallowing in the sewer of my emotions, as if that would give me power over them. Love and leadership is not about power but restoring the people who you love and helping those you do not live but have to interact with, and this requires self-control.

And the second is prayer. If you are unrighteous, your prayers dry up. Without prayer we cannot stand against the spirit of this age. This includes praying for each other: and when I talk to my Dad, over breakfast, and he mentions that he prays for this or that person it shames me, for he is far more faithful in this than I am.

And we need to continue to work on keeping ourselves armed. As a soldier cleans his weapons first, then we also need to keep ourselves spiritually straight.

So LORD, keep us all in your paths today. Let your Gospel be proclaimed by what we do.

Churchianity will fail [quotage]

After a series of depressing discussions of the text in 2 Peter and Jude, I find this, which summarizes the current state of play.

WHAT?? Men are not always to blame??
Uh, oh, Stanton’s newly updating view is not going to sit will with the Fireproof-Feminized-Neocon-Churchianity crowd. No, that’s not going to tickle their ears at all–and these are people with an ADDICTION to having their ears tickled–so much so, they must have their fix every Sunday from their local licensed hireling shepherd ear tickler.

Yeah. As if this world is going to acknowledge what we do, with a few clear-eyed exceptions.
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And our churches are starting to fail. Apart from the faithful ones: when the Anabaptists are an example, you know that the general church is in ruins .

But it still speaks to the fact that simply being virtuous, submissive and hard working (and even attractive) aren’t enough in themselves.

Indeed, amongst the community of conservative home educated women, I know plenty who are virtuous, submissive, hard working, attractive, and are Asian or white, and yet that’s still not enough. A few that come to mind are hitting 29, 30, 34. (They could marry a man they aren’t attracted to, but that’s literally the only option they’ve got on the marriage market.) Despite being extremely traditional, the conservative home educated community has no marriage marketplace worth noting; it just has a lot of frustrated single people.

I would estimate these women are a low divorce risk.

It’s not the women who are the problem, and it’s not the young men either. The men are making a valid decision that even a “low” divorce risk is still too high, and that the rewards are not significant enough. We have a market-clearing problem here: in essence, the transaction cost of marriage (with the cost being the cost of divorce times the probability of a divorce) is too high when compared to the benefit of marriage.

I think it’s worth looking at my community (plain Mennonite) which has a well functioning marriage marketplace. There are a few large cities (Toronto, New York City, Philadelphia, Cleveland, and Tampa, FL) which are close enough to a viable Anabaptist community to accommodate a lifestyle besides the agrarian lifestyle stereotype; I certainly don’t live one, although I could if I wanted to.

Whilst I strongly believe in what we believe, it still baffles me that our theological distinctives have left us the only traditional culture with functional marriage left standing. Why can’t anyone else copy what we do?

The Anabaptists have their own community and shun those who break the laws. The secular law is kept at hand’s breadth. They have used a functional ghetto (and a lack of Churchian pandering to what we desire, instead preaching what we need) to stay outside the culture of this age. The main church has stopped trying to influence the world and instead lets the world influence it.

But that strategy has never worked.

The scoffers at the end of the hippie cycle.

I don’t have a good name for the long generational cycle that is reaching its end-stage. It probably started in 1967: I was in primary school, so don’t blame me. But the hippies took a long march through the institutions, destroying logical positivism and class analysis along the way, leaving us without any sense of place, and a fractured society.

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For their passions count more than their love for one another. If you love another, then you want the best for them — even if it means working out how to delete photos, and modify what you eat for another person’s health — and when they succeed you are happy, when they fail you build them up. But this is not the way of the world now. One must censor, and the destruction of lives brings joy.

FzbfIRp

Now how do we find this in the church? Look for divisions. Look for people who pit men against women, rich against poor, those without melanin against those who have it (and do not need sunblock all year round) and make in and out factions within the congregations. And the simple lesson for today is don’t do that

But you must remember, beloved, the predictions of the apostles of our Lord Jesus Christ. They said to you, “In the last time there will be scoffers, following their own ungodly passions.” It is these who cause divisions, worldly people, devoid of the Spirit. But you, beloved, building yourselves up in your most holy faith and praying in the Holy Spirit, keep yourselves in the love of God, waiting for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ that leads to eternal life. And have mercy on those who doubt; save others by snatching them out of the fire; to others show mercy with fear, hating even the garment stained by the flesh.

Now to him who is able to keep you from stumbling and to present you blameless before the presence of his glory with great joy, to the only God, our Savior, through Jesus Christ our Lord, be glory, majesty, dominion, and authority, before all time and now and forever. Amen.

(Jude 1:17-25 ESV)

The Social Justice Warrior / Progressive memes have reached the point where many of my friends, who care deeply for the poor and have been staunch supporters of the Left and unions, are saying these things are ridiculous. The concern about process and being correct is now inhibiting people acting to do good. And this is wrong: at the end of any age the injustices of the system that the last revolution promoted are apparent to all.


Willcox is in my opinion the leading public policy figure arguing that marriage is in trouble
and if we don’t change course the economic and human costs will be enormous. The problem is, right now making meaningful changes to the legal structure designed to remove fathers from the home (child support and no fault divorce) is unthinkable. This is the case because the true costs of our system are still not evident. So far nearly all White women are still able to marry, and we haven’t seen the full dysfunction large scale multi-generational fatherlessness will cause. But as the costs become more undeniable we will first see more and more calls for men to man up and make our feminist redesigned family structure work, and eventually we will start to see more and more calls to dial back the worst excesses of the family court. But at least at first these will only be half measures, moving from denial to bargaining as reality sets in.

What isn’t clear to me is how much economic and social pain our elites will be willing to bear before starting to acknowledge the problem. It also isn’t clear that when the half measures they then grudgingly propose fail, they will be willing and able to reform the system enough to turn around both the family and the economy. We are squandering an incredible amount of goodwill by men regarding marriage, and the longer we wait to seriously address the issue the harder it will be to turn the problem around.

I fear for our societies. The number of disasters is increasing: there has been another mass killing in Australia today, and at times I want to just shut the door of my bubble and hide. It hurts a lot less than dealing with broken people, and confronting error, taking the risk that I will be rendered unemployable because doubleplusungoodthink. It appears that the endgame of this time was Orwell — instead of being a dystopia, his books are being used as models.

Beyond Dusk, South Otago Coast.
Beyond Dusk, South Otago Coast.

But I cannot. I am imperfect. I fail constantly. I’m no leader, and at times I am a very bad example. But if I can assuage the doubts of one or two, snatching them from the fire that will destroy this generational cycle and their works (if not in this life, the next) then this blog has a purpose.

In the meantime, love and listen to those in the faith that irritate you. For the spirit of God will be there when you unite in worship and doing good.

Administrivia on the eve of travel.

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Well, the theme has changed. It’s actually the new default for wordpress 4.1 — Twentyfifteen with an image used as background and a basic change in font colour. Mainly because the photo I chose for the background is really dark, and I have a links column working again.

I have also deleted some plugins such as those by Yoast.

cropped-CG6.jpg

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I am going to be on holiday from tomorrow, for four weeks: I have been setting up the travel phone — no my usual phone is not coming with me because it has work emails on it and they involve real people: I want it safely and securely at home. In doing this I have simplified down what I am using for communication to that which will connect me to the family — and everything else can remain on the non work laptop.

The work laptop is not coming for the same reasons.

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In the meantime, my cat managed to rip its brachial plexus, leaving it with a paralysed leg and under orders to be on bedrest for four weeks. The cat carer can handle this, but the cat — used to the freedom of the house and garden, is protesting.

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Ironically, while all of these photos relating to Auckland are being tweeted, today was warm. Quite warm. Too warm for some. I was wearing Auckland work gear — one shirt, light, and trousers…. light. And for the trip the bag is full of shorts and wicking shirts.

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However, Dunedin is beautiful, and I have learned to enjoy the difficulties of the weather. For sometimes there are evenings like this: the eventual photo will have my shadow cropped out, but since over the next month the blogging will be the lectionary and little else I leave you with my howe town, and my shadow. ekltarthree1

How to kill a church.

We are remaining this day in Peter, and I am again working from the pew. For in the pew — where I belong, for I am not qualified to lead[1], we need to be considering the teaching of our elders and praying for them. They have the greater honour, but also the greater burden.

And this is a sign that an elder is teaching falsely. Their church dies. For the heretical teaching leads to spiritual dryness, and we in the pews are thirsty. We will go to where we can drink.

These are waterless springs and mists driven by a storm. For them the gloom of utter darkness has been reserved. For, speaking loud boasts of folly, they entice by sensual passions of the flesh those who are barely escaping from those who live in error. They promise them freedom, but they themselves are slaves of corruption. For whatever overcomes a person, to that he is enslaved. For if, after they have escaped the defilements of the world through the knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, they are again entangled in them and overcome, the last state has become worse for them than the first. For it would have been better for them never to have known the way of righteousness than after knowing it to turn back from the holy commandment delivered to them. What the true proverb says has happened to them: “The dog returns to its own vomit, and the sow, after washing herself, returns to wallow in the mire.”

(2 Peter 2:17-22 ESV)

Let us look briefly at what the text suggests: the preacher boasts of his power, and entices those who have been sensual, who are shamed by their actions, into their church. OFten they blame the other: the men in the church (for not marrying these who are still struggling not to live according the slatternly feminist script for their lives), or the rich, or this tribe, or that race.

The preacher promises freedom, but enslaves the congregation in regulation where one should have liberty. For example he insists on tithing: given a tenth of one’s income can be a good habit, bit it has never been mandatory. Or micromanages small things in the congregation, while leaving great sin and corruption unchecked.

Then, having entangled the believers in a form or regulation and religion by works, they become enslaved again by the law, but without a sense of salvation. The sin of these preachers is that of Lucifer: theat they will be like God, and they seek the worship that belongs truly to God alone.

This cult of personality does not last. Their church dies with them, if not before: and there is not a continuation of the gospel into further generations. That is not a disaster. But the souls who get fed false food and false drink when they only thing that will satisfy them is Christ are more important.

So check your elders. Hold them accountable to scripture, and not the fashions of this age. ANd when they err, talk to them in private, and then with witnesses. And if they will not reform, find somewhere which will [2].

___________
1. An elder must be a mature believer, of good reputation and the husband of one wife, who manages his wife and family well. I’m divorced: I’m excluded.
2. All churches, in every time, have to monitor and confront for false teaching. We are, as humans, likely to stumble into error, and the trans-congregation accountability to a council of elders (bishops or consistory) is needed to deal with our relentless rediscovery of the same errors.

Notes in the fading of society [quotage]

Judgy clued me into this blog. It is about losing your kids, and not knowing where they are: in this person’s situation the ex has relocated to Australia and I have some cynical advice for him: cut her off. She is no longer in your country or jurisdiction, she has left the rules of your society (the blogger is from the USA) so be silent and wait.

For children know which parent is sane, and you are prevented from intervening. Yes, it is unjust, but if you expect justice in this society you are the foolish person in the room.

Let’s change gears for a few minutes. Ask any good Cop about his top fears and undoubtedly at least one will be having a girlfriend/wife get mad at you and file a restraining order against you. Since OJ, this just rots for men everywhere. Woman wants something from man. Man refuses. Woman calls Police and says man “Scared” her or “threatened” her or “Hit” her. Marks, no marks… hell the man doesn’t even have to be in the same County and guess what? Man gets arrested, woman gets restraining order. When the man is a cop, his gun (and job) go out the window, he is suspended and is wrong until he can prove the negative… that he didn’t do anything. This tactic is generally used as a ploy to secure a good size of your soon to be ex husband’s Police Pension or get more parenting time/child support.

I already mentioned earlier that Trish attempted to get a restraining order on me in an attempt to prevent me from enforcing the court’s orders and to gain the benefits noted above with negative results. What’s the next best thing? Have your girlfriend file a restraining order.

I got caught up in this one.

You aren’t paranoid if they are really out to get you. It really is a conspiracy if two or more people plan to do something illegal to you. The two of them got together, crafted wording that would barely pass the court and whala, ex parte restraining order against me. No injury. No witnessed threats. Just her word. TRO on Joe

Never had to do that. But I live with a stormy sea (the Cook Strait) between myself and my ex-wife. One of the few good things about the split is I collect less stuff. Over keeping can be destructive. Unfortunately, this is probably not a joke. I have had to unload too many loads of saved clippings from houses before. If you have not processed it and got rid of it within a few weeks then — it is time to go. That includes magazines, newspapers and saved Twitter screenshots.

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Although the idea of literally eating something the same shape as my appendage is not appealing, the irony of Ghey bakers refusing to bake an Christian theme cake while Christian bakers are ordered to bake a ghey one….

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Frances Paretto is usually worth reading, and he comments about the current state of the US corporate (feminist) paradigm:


These passive-aggressive expressions of contempt for men
– to say nothing of the contempt they express for business realities, the facts, and the truth – are now endemic. You can find them in bunches in virtually every periodical published in America. But surprisingly, that’s a sign of better days to come.

We’re witnessing a feminist “Battle of the Bulge.” They know that their real influence is dwindling rapidly, and that their numbers are dwindling still faster. So they’re putting on “one last big push,” through the media organs that have been their most effective weapons. And they’re gaining…approximately nothing from it.

Consider the “marriage strike.” Consider the declining male enrollment in colleges and universities. Consider the aridity of the social environment, particularly on those aforementioned colleges and universities. Consider the explosion of masculinist sentiment, at outlets such as MGTOW and The Return of Kings. And consider the ubiquity of female complaints about “how hard it is to find a good man.”

The “last man standing” in the gender wars will not be the feminists.

As I said above, this society is unjust. But this will not continue, and when justice rolls down like a river the current currency of offence will be worth less than the ruble, even in its currently collapsed state.

How do you know it is the end of an empire? It sounds like Cohen.

This is a follow-on from yesterday: it is the same passage, and the message is going to be even more unpalatable. There are a three stigmata of the false prophet here, and I am going to deal with them, below the post. These occur at all times, but at the end of an age, in the fading of an empire such behaviour stops being damned and is praised.

How do you know it is the end of an empire? It sounds like Cohen. When telling the truth is now subversion, and standing against evil a revolutionary act, and the people are encouraged to indulge in their vices.

This passage runs directly on from yesterday. It is clear that the preachers here are prepared to speak of what they do not go, and boldly speculate where even those with greater knowledge refrain from commenting, making judgement of God in the name of that they call God.

They may call it religion, but the only power they are interested in is their own.

and especially those who indulge in the lust of defiling passion and despise authority.

Bold and willful, they do not tremble as they blaspheme the glorious ones, whereas angels, though greater in might and power, do not pronounce a blasphemous judgment against them before the Lord. But these, like irrational animals, creatures of instinct, born to be caught and destroyed, blaspheming about matters of which they are ignorant, will also be destroyed in their destruction, suffering wrong as the wage for their wrongdoing. They count it pleasure to revel in the daytime. They are blots and blemishes, reveling in their deceptions, while they feast with you. They have eyes full of adultery, insatiable for sin. They entice unsteady souls. They have hearts trained in greed. Accursed children! Forsaking the right way, they have gone astray. They have followed the way of Balaam, the son of Beor, who loved gain from wrongdoing, but was rebuked for his own transgression; a speechless donkey spoke with human voice and restrained the prophet’s madness.

(2 Peter 2:10-16 ESV)

OK: three signs.

They tolerate sexual immorality. In their life, or in their congregation. They may be gay, they may be straight: they are generally sleeping with their mistress or homme du jour as well as whomever their life partner is. They talk about inclusion, justice and mercy, and not the need to be morally straight. They lack mercy and compassion for the broken: those of us in the pews who were married but the other has left. When one is wanting to fornicate with another, but choosing not to for Christ, they allow into leadership those who live in fornication. Where the rainbow flag of homosexuality flies, there is generally heresy [1].

They prey on the vulnerable. They may be morally straight, but they desire power and worship of a dependant congregation. They will feed the damaged pretty lies. They will appease the guilty conscience of women living in brokenness, naming their sinful state an improvement in their spirituality. They will say they are like Paul, and you should imitate their life. They use market research to craft their sermons. These people preach against offending, and not sin: they will not tolerate godly sorrow or call for repentance, and they measure success by the size of their congregation not the number with saving faith.

They desire worldly goods. Not the necessary (food, a rood, clothing) or the wanted (access to a research library, education for your children, and a true marriage) but bling. They preach prosperity instead of suffering. They call us to be comfortable instead of comforting others. They imply that the reason you struggle and are disappointed is due to lack of faith [2].

Peter reserves his scorn and condemnation not for the pagans who are about to kill him, nor for the society he lived in with its injustice, slavery, and corruption. He held it for those who preached falsehood in the name of Christ. And so should we. The times are eerily similar.
___________

1. I would add they have no empathy with those men and women who desire the same-sex, and choose to sacrifice this desire for the sake of Christ. They do not allow the rules that keep celibate communities celibate. This is being wilfully cruel, for the man with a conscience who has placed himself under self-control needs to be praised, not told he is repressed and needs to come out of the closet.

2. I reserve my scorn for those who do this. I have seen many people of faith die — despite prayers. I have seen people without faith be prayed upon and healed. And I have seen well-meaning people tell the mad and the despairing that is all due to their lack of faith, making the suicidal feel that they are damned. I spend most of my week with these people; they are the bleakly courageous, despite all this.

Risk doxxing: confront the errors of this age of Sodom.

The church in this time functions as if it is under the teaching of false prophets. We have forgotten what it is to be saved: we are taught that it is appropriate to indulge our passions. Our cities should distress us, because the lawless deeds are institutionalized, and we cannot speak against them without being called homophobic, sexist and being accused of perversion. To teach the gospel is to be accounted as a class traitor, and to risk doxxing and ritual condemnation by social media.

And in the East, being of the church is placing your life at risk. In the West, you are now at risk also.
Screenshot - 171214 - 08:30:00

But the teaching of the church has to reform. Particularly as the teaching of the world has become destructive. We will cause offence by reading the letters Paul and Peter wrote.

So let us be offensive. For the False Prophets will join the Fallen Angels in a hades of their own making.

But false prophets also arose among the people, just as there will be false teachers among you, who will secretly bring in destructive heresies, even denying the Master who bought them, bringing upon themselves swift destruction. And many will follow their sensuality, and because of them the way of truth will be blasphemed. And in their greed they will exploit you with false words. Their condemnation from long ago is not idle, and their destruction is not asleep.

For if God did not spare angels when they sinned, but cast them into hell and committed them to chains of gloomy darkness to be kept until the judgement; if he did not spare the ancient world, but preserved Noah, a herald of righteousness, with seven others, when he brought a flood upon the world of the ungodly; if by turning the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah to ashes he condemned them to extinction, making them an example of what is going to happen to the ungodly; and if he rescued righteous Lot, greatly distressed by the sensual conduct of the wicked (for as that righteous man lived among them day after day, he was tormenting his righteous soul over their lawless deeds that he saw and heard); then the Lord knows how to rescue the godly from trials, and to keep the unrighteous under punishment until the day of judgement, and especially those who indulge in the lust of defiling passion and despise authority.

Bold and wilful, they do not tremble as they blaspheme the glorious ones,

(2 Peter 2:1-10 ESV)

Interesting. Lot is accounted as righteous, but he is also a warning. For he was weak, and his daughters had become infected with the mores of Sodom: when their husbands remained in that city of vice and they were in effect widowed for Sodom was destroyed (I’d speculate volcanic activity, having been in Rotorua on many occasions : the active volcanic field under that town produces hydrogen sulphide, so the entire town smells of rotten eggs) they ensured their father was drunk and then impregnated themselves while he was asleep.

We need to remain disciplined and sober. We could never be accounted as righteous on our own works: for one act of disobedience (and we all have done that) would damn us. And the false teaching of this age is a form of gnosticism, that our spirituality is linked to our self esteem, which must be preserved regardless of how we act.

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The last sentence of the text is also important. Often, all too often those who are false prophets talk of spiritual power and warfare, impugning powers more intelligent and with more glory than humans ever had — for we are made a little lower than the angels — in a form of self-aggrandisement. They talk of light, of levels of sanctity as if the church is a regiment or corporation, where one is promoted up a scale. They think they are powerful, rich and preach both prosperity and power: when they, like us all, are poor, filthy, naked and weak. Beware of those who talk too much about spirituality and never reflect on their own sin.

For there are too many false teachers among us. If you are in the pews, test all teaching against scripture. And ensure that no elder remains in heresy. If you are an elder, do the same: you will have to give an account.

Scripture can never be post modern: a defense of fundamentalism.

I don’t look ahead at the next day’s readings, but in the middle of a conversation on the social media last night (in the context of a hostage situation in Sydney) I tweeted back to someone who had called me on missing his irony.

B47jU8hCIAAe3vt

I have a high view of scripture. It is the word of God. It is not a clever myth. It is what men have been compelled to see and share. It is no metaphor, no drama, no source of catharsis. It is even not that spiritual, for it is not noble rhetoric designed to heighten our feelings of unity and motivate us to good, but plain speaking about the failure of the very men of God who were writing the text.

Therefore I intend always to remind you of these qualities, though you know them and are established in the truth that you have. I think it right, as long as I am in this body, to stir you up by way of reminder, since I know that the putting off of my body will be soon, as our Lord Jesus Christ made clear to me. And I will make every effort so that after my departure you may be able at any time to recall these things.

For we did not follow cleverly devised myths when we made known to you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but we were eyewitnesses of his majesty. For when he received honor and glory from God the Father, and the voice was borne to him by the Majestic Glory, “This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased,” we ourselves heard this very voice borne from heaven, for we were with him on the holy mountain. And we have the prophetic word more fully confirmed, to which you will do well to pay attention as to a lamp shining in a dark place, until the day dawns and the morning star rises in your hearts, knowing this first of all, that no prophecy of Scripture comes from someone’s own interpretation. For no prophecy was ever produced by the will of man, but men spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit.

(2 Peter 1:12-21 ESV)

Peter is clearly aware that he will soon die. He is practical, and talking about what he wants us to do, how to act (which was the text for yesterday). But he now says that what happened, happened. He was not stoned. It was not some ecstatic vision. (If anything, from the gospel account, he was terrified). And he is stating that Christ is the fulfilment of the words of the prophets; which are valid.

So we need to take care. That we do not ask the apostles to check their privilege. That we do not discount the teaching of the Apostles, and Christ himself, as irrelevant. For human beings have not changed: we have not evolved into a new species, and we are no more intelligent than our forefathers. The correct position for any Christian is to take the scriptures as the word of life, for our very salvation depends on the promises held within.

Yes, we will struggle. Yes, we will find obeying the Spirit difficult. Yes, we will struggle with the world, for the memes of this world are the memes of destruction.

And yes, we are promised opposition, difficulties and suffering. We are not promised ease and prosperity. So let us not follow the heresies of this age that compromise either with the oppression of market forces in a false search for temporary wealth, nor with those who promise power and membership of the vanguard of progress if we worship the state alone.

Let us not discount scripture, even though the message we here is painful to our post-modern ears. Postmodernism is burning out, but the word of the LORD endures forever.