Luke Wilson | 01st March 2017 | General Articles, Lent | 0 comments
1 March
Mar 1
1st March 2017

This year for Lent I'm following a reading plan which comprises of a collection of extracts from various early church fathers writings. Each day I'm going to write a short overview and any thoughts on the text and link back to the source material so you can also follow along with me too, if you'd like. The overview of each day will probably be posted on the day after. The reading should only take 10-15 minutes of your time, and by day 40, you will have read ten different Fathers: Didache, Diognetus, Polycarp, Ignatius, Justin Martyr, Cyprian, Athanasius, Cyril of Jerusalem, Ambrose of Milan, and Leo the Great. I'll be reading from the “Church Fathers Lenten Reading Plan: With Texts”. Design/Text Selection by Jonathan Bennett; Texts Compiled by Chad Toney. Reading plan texts: http://www.churchyear.net/lentfatherscomplete.pdf Source Website: http://www.churchyear.net/lentfathers.html Day one begins with the full text of the Didache. Come and join me on this journey through about 400 years of Church History to get a glimpse into the minds of that great cloud of witnesses that have come before us to defend and uphold the faith! Start your journey: Lent: Day 1 - The Didache Lent: Day 2 - Mathetes to Diognetus, pt. 1 Lent: Day 3 - Mathetes to Diognetus, pt. 2 Lent: Day 4 - Polycarp to the Philippians Lent: Day 5 - Ignatius to the Ephesians Lent: Day 6 - Ignatius to the Magnesians Lent: Day 7 - Ignatius to the Trallians Lent: Day 8 - Ignatius to the Romans Lent: Day 9 - Ignatius to the Philadelphians Lent: Day 10 - Ignatius to the Smyrnaeans Lent: Day 11 - Ignatius to Polycarp Lent: Day 12 - Justin Martyr: First Apology, Chaps. 1-11 Lent: Day 13 - Justin Martyr: First Apology, Chaps. 12-23 Lent: Day 14 - Justin Martyr: First Apology, Chaps. 24-35 Lent: Day 15 - Justin Martyr: First Apology, Chaps. 36-47 Lent: Day 16 - Justin Martyr: First Apology, Chaps. 48-59 Lent: Day 17 - Justin Martyr: First Apology: Chaps. 60-68 Lent Day 18: Cyprian: On the Unity of the Church: 1-9 Lent Day 19: Cyprian: On the Unity of the Church: 10-18 Lent Day 20: Cyprian: On the Unity of the Church: 19-27 Lent Day 21: Athanasius: Life of Anthony: Chaps. 1-10 Lent Day 22: Athanasius: Life of Anthony: Chaps. 11-20 Lent Day 23: Athanasius: Life of Anthony: Chaps. 21-30 Lent Day 24: Athanasius: Life of Anthony: Chaps. 31-40 Lent Day 25: Athanasius: Life of Anthony: Chaps. 41-50 Lent Day 26: Athanasius: Life of Anthony: Chaps. 51-60 Lent Day 27: Athanasius: Life of Anthony: Chaps. 61-70 Lent Day 28: Athanasius: Life of Anthony: Chaps. 71-80 Lent Day 29: Athanasius: Life of Anthony: Chaps. 81-94 Lent Day 30: Cyril of Jerusalem: Catechetical Lectures: Lecture XIX Lent Day 31: Cyril of Jerusalem: Catechetical Lectures: Lecture XX Lent Day 32: Cyril of Jerusalem: Catechetical Lectures: Lecture XXI Lent Day 33: Cyril of Jerusalem: Catechetical Lectures: Lecture XXII Lent Day 34: Cyril of Jerusalem: Catechetical Lectures: Lecture XXIII Lent Day 35: Ambrose of Milan: Concerning the Mysteries: 1-4 Lent Day 36: Ambrose of Milan: Concerning the Mysteries: 5-9 Lent Day 37: Leo the Great: Letter XXVIII (called the "Tome") Lent Day 38: Leo the Great: Sermon XXI (On the Nativity Feast I) Lent Day 39: Leo the Great: Sermon XLIX (On Lent XI) Lent Day 40: Leo the Great: Sermon LXXII: ON THE LORD'S RESURRECTION, II  ...

| 05th April 2014 | Book Film Reviews, Hell | 0 comments
5 April
Apr 5
5th April 2014

Book review on Rob Bell's “Love Wins” (originally written March 2013) This book was quite openly condemned by some prominent Christian leaders when the book was first announced back around Spring 2011, mainly mainly accusing Bell of being a universalist and denying the existence of hell. Lots of leaders formed opinions about the book and thus lots and laypeople took on various opinions as their own without much insight or research. The problem was that these leaders hadn't even READ the book! It wasn't released yet at the time. They decided their opinions based on the blurb and promo video which posed provocative questions about the doctrine of hell. The book starts up asking lots of questions concerning salvation and how are you “attain” it and the consequences if you don't – while the same time pointing out the flaws in modern theology and general beliefs held by many in the Church today. He then presents a lot more question to get you thinking and quotes Jesus' words, and a few other scriptures, which leads to more questions. Therein lies the purpose of this book – not for Rob to push you to believe what he does, but to get you to question and really think about the things we say we believe. Bell then moves on to heaven. Unless you've really studied the Bible on Heaven, this chapter will likely smash a lot of cultural ideas you hold without you really realising it – the same can be said about the the chapter after which deals with hell. Prepare for an eye-opener, and a lot of "Gospel Truth" that has somehow got lost, changed, misrepresented and mixed up in Medieval tradition and imagery over the last few centuries. Anyone who is aware of the controversy that was/is surrounding this book and who heard that that Rob Bell "doesn't believe in hell" can rest assured that this isn't the case. To quote the book, Bell writes: "There is a hell now, and there is a hell later, and Jesus teaches us to take both seriously." (pg. 79) It's not only that he believes in hell "later" (i.e. after death), but also that because of our freedom of will in this life we can, and do, create hell on earth through our actions and sins. Likewise, we can also create heaven on earth in the same way. This is what Jesus referred to when he prayed "Your will be done on earth as in heaven" – bringing the kingdom of God to the here and now. The book then continues on from what is explained in these chapters to explore the rest of our theology and doctrines on salvation, the cross and the hereafter, often taking our contemporary doctrines (which aren't always as scripturally based as we may think) to their sometimes extreme logical conclusions; which often shows up the absurdities in them that we can overlook. The book ends by examining the Good News, explaining that "it's better" than we first imagine; that God has done so much more through Jesus on the cross than we can comprehend at times – God's reconciliation is, literally, awesome and that ultimately, one way or another, love wins. Whatever your thoughts or opinions on Rob Bell, whatever your beliefs about heaven, hell and everything in between, I highly recommend this book. Go in without an agenda – read it with an open mind and a willingness to learn and let the Spirit guide you. You may not come out agreeing with everything written, but if you at least question and think about your views on hell and who goes there and, more importantly, why you think that – then I believe this book has served purpose. Five stars – Well-written, easy to read and a thought-provoking book that everyone who takes Jesus' Gospel seriously should read at least once, even if they think they'll disagree....

| 05th April 2014 | Theology, Sin | 0 comments
5 April
Apr 5
5th April 2014

"All sins are equal." "Sin is sin." "All sin is the same in God's eyes." You may have heard these phrases said before (you may even have said them before!). But is all sin really equal? I do, and don't, think so. Let me clarify: All sin is equal in the sense that all illegal activities are crimes; but even crimes have degrees of severity and punishment, and it would seem to me that the New Testament also supports this concept in regards to sin. Lets look at a few examples: If you can blaspheme the Holy Spirit and never be forgiven (Matt 12:31), then it's a sin definitely not on par with others. If being sexually immoral is seen as something to shun more than most other sins mentioned, then it would appear that this is a sin potentially worse than others (as it sins against your own body which is the temple of the Holy Spirit etc.) - See 1 Cor 6:18-20. Also, as 1 John 5:16-17 says, "All wrongdoing is sin, but there is sin that is not mortal." This speaks of some sin leading to death and others not - then is that not giving degrees to some sins over others? In John 19:11, Jesus even says that "[he] who handed me over to you is guilty of a greater sin" and in Matthew 5:19 Jesus talks about levels of reward in the Kingdom - so why wouldn't there be levels of sinfulness? Yes, once we pledge our lives to follow the Lord we are granted salvation and eternal life, yet there is still talk of greater or lesser rewards along with that. The parable in Luke 12:47-48 appears to teach degrees of punishment for different wrongs (and the same type of message about different degrees of punishment is also in: Matthew 10:15, Matthew 23:13-15, Luke 10:13-14). Lets take a closer look at Luke 12: That slave who knew what his master wanted, but did not prepare himself or do what was wanted, will receive a severe beating. But the one who did not know and did what deserved a beating will receive a light beating. From everyone to whom much has been given, much will be required; and from the one to whom much has been entrusted, even more will be demanded. From this passage, it appears as though those who know what is right, yet do wrong anyway, will be punished more harshly than those who still did wrong, but were ignorant of it. This brings to mind Hebrews 10:26-27, which says "For if we willfully persist in sin after having received the knowledge of the truth, there no longer remains a sacrifice for sins, but a fearful prospect of judgment..." If you commit a "lesser sin" you are still guilty just as much as if you commit a "greater sin", much in the same as criminals in a court of law. Yet even then, those who are first time offenders, or didn't necessarily act maliciously, can receive a reduced sentence. In a similar fashion, Jesus would seem to teach that the punishment will indeed 'fit the crime' as it were, which gives me a greater sense and view of God's justice being actually just and not some type of binary black/white system which portrays God in an unjust and very robotic fashion (ie. "you sinned, no matter if it was telling a lie or committing genocide - burn in hell for eternity"). The Last Judgment by Lochner in the 15th century.   Viewing God the Father as one who will judge justly and righteously, and as one who would seem to care and look at what we did before casting a judgement, gives me a greater sense of hope for those who don't know Christ's salvation, in that I can view God as opening His books and really looking at what people did before making a decision (cf. Rev 20:12) - otherwise, what's the point in checking out everyone's deeds if the only thing that matters is whether you said "the sinner's prayer" or not, or were born in the right country/continent to have heard the Gospel message - and if not you are automatically condemned to hell? There's really no need for a judgement scene, for reading everyone's deeds, for looking through all the books, if the decision is already made by God to co...

| 05th April 2014 | General Articles, Blogging | 0 comments
5 April
Apr 5
5th April 2014

  Hello, this is a blog that I've been intending to create for too long now. So today I finally decided to sit down and do it. I've been compiling notes and thoughts, and have been writing on topics I'm exploring and grappling with for well over a year now - maybe even two. And then I stuff them in a digital folder to gather dust, so to speak. A lot of the discussion and ideas from these notes have come from being active in an Apologetics group on Facebook, which has helped to wrestle out some points and subjects by having about 20+ different opinions thrown into the mix! I'm planning to cover some big topics in small parts over a period of time and posts: Hell, Homosexuality, the creation of the Canon and my more recent area of interest, The Return of Christ. These have been some of the bigger areas of theology and my faith that I've have to grapple with more than others, and I've not completely setting my mind on them, but I'm closer than I was a few months to a year ago. Anyway, I hope you enjoy reading my thoughts here - feel free to share and leave comments!...