prayer
Church of England

Thy Kingdom Come: “prayer must always be the first action of evangelism and witness”

When the archbishops of Canterbury and York inaugurated a week of prayer last year under the banner ‘Thy Kingdom Come’, they could have had no idea that the Holy Spirit would seize those days between Ascension and Pentecost and draw so many into the essential mission of renewal and witness. The call to prayer rippled well beyond the parish boundaries of the Church of England: “Messages began pouring in from churches around the country that were making time to pray for the witness of the Church and fresh confidence to share their faith, writes Justin Welby. “It was not just from one particular tradition or area — every tradition and expression of church was represented.”

Thy Kingdom Come 2017 is an invitation to join the global wave of prayer between 25th May – 4th June. “The Presidents of Churches Together in England are joining with the Archbishop of Canterbury and York to make the call to churches of all denominations in England, and Archbishop Justin Welby is sending out the call to every part of the worldwide Anglican Communion, and the World Methodist Council to Methodist Churches worldwide.” Some will be sceptical; some will groan. As the Archbishop notes, the invitation might even end up in more than a few vicarage recycling bins. But to cease praying for renewal and reform is to cease renewing and reforming; and to cease renewing and reforming is to cease living Christianly, for we cease being transformed (Rom 12:2).

No doubt the Church of England’s ‘Renewal and Reform‘ programme is also being greeted with scepticism and groans. The mere mention of ‘evangelism’ sends shudders up quite a few ordained backs. Some might even think it antithetical to the richer essential mission of the Established Church to serve and minister to all, irrespective of faith or belief. It all depends how you view the Kingdom; whether you believe it is already here or is yet to come.

The theology of salvation is intrinsically linked to our partial understanding. If the motive for mission is conversion, the Kingdom is limited to the sum of saved souls. If the motive is church planting, the Kingdom becomes the Church. If the motive is eschatological, the Kingdom is a future hope and the exigencies of life are ignored. And if the motive is philanthropic, the priority becomes the pursuit of social justice and the Kingdom becomes an improved society. Focusing on any singular dimension is to limit both the Kingdom of God and the theology of salvation, but when these dimensions are held together in tension, salvation becomes a daily experience, a constant possibility, and a final hope.

Salvation is broad and deep. The path is narrow, but the walk is a hell of a long way and takes a hell of a long time, unless you run for it. Mission means being involved in an ongoing dialogue with God, who offers that salvation, and with the world, which – enmeshed in all kinds of evil – craves that salvation, even if it doesn’t know it.

Since Jesus came ‘that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly’ (Jn 10:10), it cannot mean a life of illiteracy, unemployment, the margin of starvation or any kind of oppression or bondage – it is both salvation from sin and salvation into the capacity to be fully human and truly free. Jesus’ proclamation of the arrival of the Kingdom of God may properly be seen as reversing the value judgments of a world that held up its own construction of reality as ultimate. It is because Jesus fleshed out in the midst of his own exigencies the values and spirit of a living, compassionate God that his life and message are so significant for mission, which still demands the communication of that salvation to the inescapable challenges of the present.

Indeed, the kairos is now, and the world cries out for a salvation when love and justice will reign. It begins with prayer, or is doesn’t begin at all.

  • Richard B

    This is welcome news Your Grace, yet did I not read in one of your ‘Brexit’ posts of Justin Welby quoted as not having a direct line to God? My reaction was, he should have one! There’s absolutely no point anyone being archbishop and not clearly hearing when many ordinary believers in various parts of the Lord’s body do hear!

    Moreover, not to be disrespectful, he and many leaders abdicated their responsibility by apparently having either dialled the wrong number or got engaged or unobtainable tone – or not even bothering – because they didn’t discover the Lord’s heart on the EU. I’ve published over a dozen prophecies, now proven accurate, over Brexit on my blog. In fact, we could claim Brexit as an ‘Act of God’ – one that seriously challenges church leaders!

    • Ian G

      Any chance of a link to your blog? I’d like to see those prophecies. Seriously.

      • Richard B

        Thanks for asking Ian. In view of my comment this goes to EU posts > https://richards-watch.org/eu-in-gods-face/ What you want is linked after the intro. Trust you’ll be blessed.

        • David

          Just skimmed read much of your website – very interesting. Much of it chimes with my reading of the history, nature and trajectory of both of the UK and the EU. So I’ve just sent you a short message.

          • Richard B

            Thank you David for taking the time and your remarks appreciated and agreed

        • Ian G

          Thank you very much very encouraging. You might find this to be of interest. It is a prophecy from 1992. http://thealmondrod.blogspot.co.uk/2013/07/the-text-for-those-who-have-trouble.html . There is also an anonymous comment and my reply that chimes in with what you have posted. I shall be looking at your site more frequently.

          • Richard B

            Many thanks for the link Ian and this may relate to a couple of other contacts of this week on what may be further developments on that theme. Interesting date of 1992 – Colin Winfield printed a word on the separation of the harlot from the Bride; a couple of leading teachers/prophets had similar vision to mine about a coming conversion of muslims to Christ (which is now gathering momentum).

        • The Explorer

          ‘Significant Spiritual Signs’ article. The comparison between the EU HQ and The Tower of Babel is a very interesting one. I’ve wondered about it myself, before now.

        • Dominic Stockford

          The Protestant Truth Society has opposed greater European Union since the 1950’s – way before any EU. That something seriously bad is in it is demonstrated by the response when we brought out booklets, leaflets, and pamphlets outlining why Christians should vote to leave. We were threatened by the Charity Commission (after ONE complaint, who made that I wonder?), and forced to withdraw all publications on the matter, and take down pages from our website. Such a ferocious reaction can only have been instigated from ‘the wrong place’.

          • Richard B

            Thanks so much Dominic and as this is in the public domain I’ve copied your comment into the opening paras of that page on EU sub-headed ‘Christian Criticism Censored!’. I’d be interested in any info/links via blog’s contact point.

  • Richard B

    Such a succinct summary and thank you. Yet one essential element is missing. It starts sincere praying and intercession for a nation – repentance. Imho, church leadership needs to repent for not having stood up for and obeyed and applied Christ’s commands, thereby showing our love for our Father and His holy Word.

  • carl jacobs

    Great. Just great. But perhaps Justin Welby could first figure out which God he would like people to address with prayer. God is not the sum total of what everyone thinks about Him. Christianity by its nature is exclusive. Justin Welby has to decide who he thinks is wrong.

    And here’s a place to start, Justin Welby. You aren’t a Christian simply because you are a member in good standing of the Anglican Church. No matter what color shirt you wear.

    • IanCad

      “So it was emphatically not a top-down, centralised initiative. Instead, it demonstrated that when God calls people to pray — and to engage their friends, neighbours, family, and communities with the good news of Jesus Christ — there are hundreds of ways of responding.”

      Thus wrote the AofC in the link referenced by the OP.

      All who proclaim the name of Jesus Christ can unequivocally claim the entitlement of “Christian.”
      We do not have to agree with him, but we tread dangerous ground when we assign to ourselves judgment in such matters.

      • carl jacobs

        Mormons proclaim the name of Jesus, yet they are polytheistic pagans. Are they brothers? JWs proclaim the name of Jesus, yet they are henotheists. Are they brothers?

        Let’s cut to the chase. Liberalism is not Christianity. Liberalism is an entirely separate religion. Justin Welby has to decide if he believes that or not. Currently he is far more interested in keeping the Anglican Communion and the CoE afloat than bothering with that question.

        • IanCad

          Darn it Carl, you had me searching my dictionary. I do not know about the Mormons – they sure sing The Lord’s Prayer superbly, and is listened to by me every morning: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oj0hr8oqqx8
          Neither am I an authority re. the JW’s As far as I know they proclaim Christ but are dodgy about the Trinity. Still, they must be considered Christians. Liberalism is worship according to the Gospel of Me. Nevertheless, the door must remain open. I was once a socialist.

          • dannybhoy

            Only those who accept God’s way of salvation as outlined in the Gospels and the NT letters. Ye must be born again! It’s that facing up to our sinfulness or waywardness before God, and accepting that Jesus died in our place in the Cross. That to me is the core of our faith. We can disagree on peripheral points of doctrine but not that.

          • IanCad

            Agreed, but we must engage those of other faiths and none.

          • dannybhoy

            Yes we have to, and treat everyone’s views with respect , and discuss differences as we are able. We should try to build friendships too. At the end of the day though, we cannot allow others to think our faith in Christ is but one of many.

        • Those liberals who believe in Trinitarian baptism and confess the Creed are Christian – many are schismatic or heretical Christians. From a Catholic’s point of view, all who are outside the Catholic Church are deficient to a greater or lesser degree.

  • dannybhoy

    ot
    Currently this website is almost impossible to use on Windows 10. It’s behaving more like “Pin the Tail on the Donkey’, The script jumps back and forth and rolls so that clicking on a box becomes a matter of superior eye and hand coordination! Is anyone else having this problem Danny wasnts to know? I thought perhaps it was the ad blocker, but turning it off makes no difference.
    Any ideas?

    • Orwell Ian

      I’m running windows 10 with no problems. This was a clean install and not an upgrade from Windows 7 or 8.

      • dannybhoy

        Huh. Mine is a free upgrade from Windows 7, and I have only had this problem since His Grace’s website went ‘modern.’
        Being of a suspicious nature I wondered if the site was being hacked, but that obviously can’t be so…..

        • We have made some speculative changes around JavaScript that we hope might improve the situation. Can you reload and try again and let us know how you get on? You might need to clear your cache to get the changes to run on your machine.

    • No, am on Windows 10 too. What browser are you using?

      • dannybhoy

        Chrome.
        Reinstalled Windows 10 three weeks ago
        Will check Chrome version.
        I don’t get this on my posh iMac, whether using Safari or Firefox..
        Problem is iMac is in the back bedroom, so rather antisocial as far as the wife is concerned.
        (Simpers) She likes me being close…. ;0)

    • The Explorer

      I’m on Windows 10 and no problem. But the laptop came with Windows 10 on it. When I upgraded from WIndows 8 on my previous laptop I had so much trouble that I had to abandon the machine.

    • I’m on Windows 10, Chrome Version 53.0.2785.101 m (64-bit). It doesn’t do this for me. I’ve also tested on Windows 10 Firefox, Internet Explorer, Edge. Also on iPhone Safari & Chrome on iOS 9 and 10. Also on Android with Chrome and built-in browser. Also on Ubuntu using Chrome, and finally a friend tested on a MacBook for me using Safari and Chrome.

      On all of these devices we’ve been unable to replicate this problem, but I am aware that a few users have reported it now. If you can let us know more about how your system is set up it’ll help. We need to know:

      1) The Operating System, including version number. You can get this in Windows 10 by hitting Start, typing ‘About’, then choosing the ‘About my system’ option. This should give a screen where you can see something like Edition: Windows 10 Pro N, then Version: 1607, then OS Build 14393.105

      2) The browser including version number – mine is Chrome Version 53.0.2785.101 m (64-bit)

      3) If you’re running any plugins like ad-blockers, and/or what type of anti-virus you’re running.

      There will be a common denominator across everyone who is having this problem – identifying this is the first stage. We can then figure out how to resolve it.

      If you don’t want to share your system information in a public space you are welcome to email it directly to me via [email protected]

      Thanks for letting us know, and your patience and perseverance.

      • dannybhoy

        Since responding to Magnolia I have….
        updated Chrome
        No difference
        Downloaded and installed Mozilla Firefox
        No difference
        Uninstalled Firefox
        Restarted computer
        and finally, followed your suggestion to clear cache…
        and now all seems well.
        Thanks everyone who responded to my ‘cri de coeur!’

        • It appears a setting designed to make JavaScript load quickly by adjusting the order in which it is sent to the user’s computer actually had the inverse effect and ended up slowing it down for some of you! Hopefully we have now found a happy medium where the site is speedy enough for everyone.

          • dannybhoy

            Huzzah!

          • Uncle Brian

            The speed is certainly an improvement.
            The bouncing has stopped now – can we be certain it’ll stay that way?
            BTW, I’m still on Windows 7.

    • Dominic Stockford

      I am finding it very difficult. Scrolling is very jerky. So difficult that I am unlikely to visit for a while until it can be fixed (not that this will worry some…).

      • We have made some speculative changes around JavaScript that we hope might improve the situation. Please let us know if things improve.

        • Pubcrawler

          It has for me. (Windows 7, Firefox something or other)

          Thanks

        • Dominic Stockford

          Now smooth as a well shaved chin…. Thank you.

      • dannybhoy

        ” (not that this will worry some…).”
        Nonsense!
        Hurry back.
        We miss you already!

      • Ah, the power of prayer …. 😉

      • IanCad

        No problems here with my IE 11 & wood-burning Windows 7.

    • len

      Did same on mine windows 8.1 on chrome.
      Doesn`t seem to do it on windows 8.1 IE 11 though?.

      • dannybhoy

        All now appears to be well len. I am not a computer buff. I only understand the basics and unfortunately antivirus programmes are becoming more complicated with more services that frankly, simply confuse..
        The Apple platform seems far more stable, and my iMac and my wife’s iPad never give any trouble. But the iMac is too clunky to have on our lounge diner table..

        • len

          Glad you got it sorted Danny.

          • dannybhoy

            Me2.

    • Jack has this problem when using Google Chrome. When using Internet Explorer things are fine.

      • dannybhoy

        Microsoft Edge is supposed to be the best according to Microsoft, but it’s very basic.

        • Jack still hasn’t figured out how to use it.

          • dannybhoy

            I fell out of love with Microsoft after Windows XP. I endure it rather than enjoy it.

          • bluedog

            Totally agree. There is nothing better than the Microsoft programmes up to Win 7. Then they lost it and lost this communicant too. Followed the kids advice and switched to Mac. Great operating system, totally stable and no probs with His Grace’s transubstantiated site. But you need to import MS Office to remain sane in the face of the Bransonesque rubbish of Apple’s own programmes.

          • dannybhoy

            Can you do that, and how?
            I hate Apple’s Mail programme ( I always end up with thousands of old emails and duplicates that are hard to get rid of.
            ‘Text’ is very limited. My wife uses ‘Pages’ on her iPad, but I haven’t tried it yet.
            It does seem to me that there are quite a few ‘useless’ or unnecessary programmes on Apple, like Launchpad. I don’t see any real value in it.

          • Pages is good.

          • bluedog

            Yes, you can buy MS Office and download it on to Mac. I’ve done it because Word and Excel are such wonderful programmes. The Mac Mail programme is infuriating, extremely hard to find and attach files, you really miss Programme Manager. One programme you can’t get to work on Mac is Internet Explorer, which is far easier to use and better than Safari. In an ideal world you would have a Mac machine with MS programming.

          • Ivan M

            That’s how they planned it. Win7 is the best OS on a desktop. But with that there is no further need for “improvements”. They had to branch in to being thoroughly networked, mobile and in sync. Otherwise the other competitors would eat their lunch. Microsoft has a very strong suite in the business world, they intend to keep it that way.

    • bluedog

      Macbook pro.

    • Uncle Brian

      Yes, not quite all the time, but on and off, and more on than off. I posted a comment addressed to Mike Rouse on the Chobham Academy thread yesterday but I never got an answer …

  • Inspector General

    Sometimes one wonders if he’s missing out on prayer, which he doesn’t much care for. Just occasionally, you understand. But it always passes…

    Prayer. A list of requests, needs, wishes, even whims maybe. From people who are unable to obtain what they want, for whatever reason, including unreasonable expectations. Are these prayers ever answered, or does it all just play out as it was going to anyway…

    Prayer, the last resort, the only resort, of the dis-empowered. The non-empowered.

    As one said. It always passes…

    • dannybhoy

      I think a great deal depends on your view of how God interacts with His creation and in particular our world.
      The problem is that some theological views lend themselves to a Christian version of ‘fate’ or immutability. That because they believe God ‘micromanages’ our birth, our life and salvation, prayer becomes somewhat meaningless or surplus to requirement.
      As previously stated I accept that God has an overall plan for this world and its ending. I don’t think though that everything happens as He desires, and that His will or a situation can be changed by the fervent sustained prayers of His people, the true worlwide Church. I think it is the dulling interpretation of God’s sovereignty that robs the Church of the power of prayer.
      And before John jumps in, I know all the verses he will quote; but I also know how Acts relates what God did in response to the early church’s prayers. That He told His ancient people the Jews that “If my people who are called by my Name, will humble themselves and pray; then will I hear from Heaven…”
      2 Chronicles 7:14

      • scottspeig

        So you know the verses that “John” will quote yet reject them while lifting the 2 chronicles 7:14 out of context and using it incorrectly? Ok…

        • dannybhoy

          I din’t reject them, but I do also take into considereration what it said or commanded, and what God actually does. It is clear from reading His dealings with men that He is often more lenient or compassionate than what His commandments require. Think Avraham and Sodom, Naaman the leper, and King David for example.
          How am I lifting 2 Chronicles7:14 out of context?

          • Because He’s a God of Love and Mercy.

      • See my earlier comment.
        You are underestimating the eternal nature of God and His constancy. Prayer is effective – it can work miracles – but God Himself prompts these very prayers and, from His point of view, i.e. eternity, He has already acted on those that are in our interests and serve His Divine purposes.

        • dannybhoy

          So if evil happens, it’s because God willed it to happen?
          As I have outlined there are plenty of places where God withholds judgement depending on man’s actions..

          • Permits it to happen – and brings good from it.

          • dannybhoy

            Yes, He permits fallen man to do evil things, but He will also step in to save or deliver when we as His children pray.
            My main point is that some forms of theology result in a sense of apathy or resignation. “God’s in charge,. He knows what He’s doing.We just have to endure it.”
            James 5>
            “17 Elijah was a man with a nature like ours, and he prayed fervently that it might not rain, and for three years and six months it did not rain on the earth.”

            I believe God interacts with His people and responds to their prayers. His end purposes are assured and will come to pass; but we can either work with Him in achieving those purposes or (in our life time) thwart them.

          • Nothing Jack has said disagrees that God interacts with people or responds to prayer. God already knew Elijah would make that prayer and had already answered it. Nobody can thwart God’s will. However, He doesn’t change His mind.

      • Not to disappoint you Danny. Here’s one verse.

        (ESV) 33 The lot is cast into the lap,
        but its every decision is from the Lord.

        Doesn’t come much more micromanaged than that.

        • dannybhoy

          ” If God can’t save my loved ones and others then what is the point of asking.”
          If you had said, ” If God hasn’t chosen/predestined to save my loved ones and others then what’s the point of asking?”
          I would agree, but the Bible makes it clear that God would have ALL men repent and be reconciled to Him.
          Yes, He knows they won’t, because they have free will and the whole world lies in the power of the evil one. So it is our prayers that can influence people so that the Holy Spirit can work in their hearts to bring them to salvation. I believe with all my heart that the prayers and witness of Christians were instrumental in bringing me to salvation. I just don’t believe that I was predestined to be saved.

    • Uncle Brian

      Maybe you’re living in the wrong place, Inspector. Here in Brazil people get their prayers answered. Some of the time, anyway.

      http://www.catholic.org/news/hf/faith/story.php?id=70613

  • len

    God works His Purposes through prayer. Of course He doesn’t need to, God can do whatever He likes and no power in Heaven or Earth can stop Him.
    But God works through His people because He wants to accomplish things that way.
    We see men like King David , Daniel and many others working Gods purposes through prayer and also the satanic opposition these men faced because Satan knows the value of prayer.
    If the church repented of having lost its way and turned back to God I am sure we would see a mighty revival.

    • dannybhoy

      “God works His Purposes through prayer. Of course He doesn’t need to, God can do whatever He likes and no power in Heaven or Earth can stop Him.”
      Tricky one Len.
      If God reveals that He will listen to our prayers, (going right through the Scriptures starting with Avram); then is it not reasonable to say that although God could do whatever He wants,
      He doesn’t. He doesn’t because He reveals Himself as Holy and Righteous. He is guided by His nature, and in His dealings with men He shows Himself faithful by responding to their moral choices. Which is why He sometimes changes His mind and doesn’t do what He intended to do in reponse to prayers and intercessions from us.
      He could do whatever He wanted, but then He’d be like the god of Islam.
      We have confidence in Him because He is unchanging in His nature, not His choices.

      • “Which is why He sometimes changes His mind and doesn’t do what He intended to do in reponse to prayers and intercessions from us.”

        Hmm … didn’t figure you to be a supporter of open theism.

        God doesn’t change His mind. He’s immutable and eternal, transcendent as well as immanent. As He doesn’t exist in time, He already knows all our thoughts, actions, prayers and intercessions – past, present and future. Is prayer therefore pointless? No. Because God acts contingently in time, through people and events, and our actions, thoughts and prayers all have an effect.

        • dannybhoy

          “God doesn’t change His mind. He’s immutable and eternal, transcendent as well as immanent. As He doesn’t exist in time, He already knows all our thoughts, actions, prayers and intercessions – past, present and future. Is prayer therefore pointless? No. Because God acts contingently in time, through people and events, and our actions, thoughts and prayers all have an effect.”
          We don’t know how God sees the past present and future Jack,
          I agree He is outside of space and time, yet in Him we live and move and have our being.
          Genesis 6>
          “5 The Lord saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every intention of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually. 6 And the Lord was sorry that he had made man on the earth, and it grieved him to his heart.”
          God is unchanging in His nature, not His actions. He entered into a Covenant with the people of Israel, and He bound Himself to that contract even when they didn’t.
          Jeremiah 31>
          “Thus says the Lord: “The people who survived the sword found grace in the wilderness when Israel sought for rest, 3 the Lord appeared to him[a] from far away. I have loved you with an everlasting love; therefore I have continued my faithfulness to you.”
          God wants a relationship with His creation -us. He wants to be our Father, and to walk besides us through life and guide us as we go.The more yielded we are to Him, the more He can use us for His purposes.

          • We don’t know how God sees the past present and future Jack.”

            He exists in the past, present and future – it’s all one ‘moment’ to Him. Scripture is man’s attempt to write down in our limited, human words God’s revelation. It’s inspired, not dictated. We use human constructs and give God human attributes.

            Declaring the end from the beginning, And from ancient times things which have not been done, Saying, ‘My purpose will be established, And I will accomplish all My good pleasure’;

            (Isaiah 46:10)

          • dannybhoy

            Yes, His purposes will be achieved, but His actions are conditional on our responses and prayers.

          • Contingent …. And God knows exactly what every person will do in every possible conceivable situation.

          • dannybhoy

            He knows what every person could do, and because He knows us so well, what we are likely to do!
            For example when Avraham interceded for the people of Sodom and gradually reduced the number of righteous that would save Sodom from judgement,
            was God playing a game with him?
            Was he yawning into His hand thinking. “Avraham you’re going to say this and I’m going to say that, and you;’re going to think you’re appealing to me friend to friend etc. But actually it’s all happened in eternity, and we’re just acting it out in the now…”
            Don’t believe it
            If that is really true that God in relation to man has already thought everything He ever will think, and done everything that He ever will do; that makes our ‘now’ a nonsense.
            Matthew 26>
            ” 38 Then he said to them, “My soul is very sorrowful, even to death; remain here, and watch[d] with me.” 39 And going a little farther he fell on his face and prayed, saying, “My Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me; nevertheless, not as I will, but as you will.”
            But God the Father already knew this would happen, and Jesus as God already knew too, so what’s the point here?
            I would suggest that God interacts with man in time and space and whilst all remains in His ultimate control, He allows us to make our choices and in time and space doesn’t always know what the outcomes will be.
            Here’s a couple of illustrations…
            Jeremiah 15:6 “Thou hast forsaken me, saith the LORD, thou art gone backward: therefore will I stretch out my hand against thee, and destroy thee; I am weary with repenting evil that I thought to do unto them

            Jonah 3:10 “And God saw their works, that they turned from their evil way; and God repented of the evil, that he had said that he would do unto them; and he did it not.”

            I pulled this off the web as the man poses it better than I can…
            https://bjorkbloggen.com/2012/05/06/gods-will-is-not-always-done-bible-verses/
            Some interesting thoughts here too..
            https://www.christiancourier.com/articles/227-does-god-limit-his-own-foreknowledge

          • You are limiting God and exalting man. God’s conversation with Abraham was genuine but this doesn’t mean God didn’t know its outcome. As Jack said earlier, God is eternal and both transcendent and immanent.

            Jesus was fully human and as well as fully God. As God, He knew His fate. As man, he was fearful. You really think Jesus didn’t understand what awaited Him. He’d been informing His disciples of this for 3 years! He also knew He would rise again too.

            Just because God responds to our prayers and acts of repentance, in time, doesn’t mean He has not shaped all these events, out of time, to His purpose.

            Open Theism is a dangerous teaching that undermines the sovereignty, majesty, infinitude, knowledge, existence, and glory of God and exalts the nature and condition of man’s own free will.

          • The only dissent I have from this fine piece HP is your view that God’s sovereignty is tied to his omniscience. Even here I don’t necessarily disagree. If you mean that God plans all things because he sees all things then I am not so happy. If you mean he sees all things because he plans all things then I am with you.

            In the final analysis God is utterly sovereign. His sovereignty is intrinsic to his God-ness. We degod God if we compromise his sovereignty. The ‘I Am that I Am’ is utterly self sufficient, self determining and self existing. He is essentially uncontingent. All else is contingent.

            Danny, if in him we live and move and have our being then his sovereignty is absolute. There is not a beat of your heart, a blink of your eye, or a twitch of a muscle that happens without him bringing it about. In him all things hold together. He upholds all things by the spoken word of his power. Without this intimate and absolute involvement of the Creator the creation would dissolve into nothingness. Indeed, into something less than nothingness.

          • “If you mean that God plans all things because he sees all things then I am not so happy. If you mean he sees all things because he plans all things then I am with you.”

            Jack probably means both. God’s sovereignty encapsulates human freedom to accept or to reject Him. God decides where and when we are to live when He creates us. He knows how each of us will respond to His call. He then endows individuals with graces and gifts according to the part each of us is to play in His plan for salvation.

          • dannybhoy

            Rubbish brother Jack. Did man create himself? Of course not. We do not exalt man, but rather we glorify God who created man.

          • On a number of occasions the bible speaks of God repenting. A couple of times we read, ‘is God a man that he should repent,’.

            Numbers 23:19 — God is not a man that he should lie, or a son of man that he should repent.

            1 Samuel 15:29 — The Glory of Israel will not lie or repent; for he is not a man, that he should repent.

            This last text comes in the very same story where it says God repented that he had made Saul king (1 Samuel 15:11, 35). It’s clear the writer sees no contradiction. There must be a sense in which God does repent and a sense in which he doesn’t.

            He clearly doesn’t repent in the sense a man does. He does not get something wrong and need to change his mind. He is not surprised by events for he sees all things .

            Behold, the former things have come to pass, and new things I now declare; before they spring forth I tell you of them,” Isaiah 42:9.

            It is, as someone has said, neither folly nor a lack of foresight that causes him to repent.

            Rather it is that different attitudes and behaviour in others call for a different response in him if he is to remain the consistent God of unchanging character that he is.

            Jonah is a good example. Nineveh was a wicked city and her wickedness provoked an announcement of judgement as we would expect from God. That is consistent with his nature. Yet Nineveh repents and as a result God decides not to punish them. This too is consistent with his nature for he is merciful and compassionate towards those who turn from their sin.

            None of this impinges on the question of God’s control of the world. We are not told in this text the role God has in bringing about the change of behaviour in others that merits a different response from him.

          • IanCad

            And of course His biggest regret was in having made us.

            “—And it repented the LORD that he had made man on the earth, and it grieved him at his heart.”
            Genesis 6:6

          • dannybhoy

            Genesis 18>
            ” Then the men set out from there, and they looked down towards Sodom. And Abraham went with them to set them on their way. 17 The Lord said, “Shall I hide from Abraham what I am about to do, 18 seeing that Abraham shall surely become a great and mighty nation, and all the nations of the earth shall be blessed in him? 19 For I have chosen[f] him, that he may command his children and his household after him to keep the way of the Lord by doing righteousness and justice, so that the Lord may bring to Abraham what he has promised him.” 20 Then the Lord said, “Because the outcry against Sodom and Gomorrah is great and their sin is very grave, 21 I will go down to see whether they have done altogether[g] according to the outcry that has come to me. And if not, I will know.”

            Then even earlier..
            Genesis 3>
            8″ And they heard the sound of the Lord God walking in the garden in the cool[c] of the day, and the man and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the Lord God among the trees of the garden. 9 But the Lord God called to the man and said to him, “Where are you?”[d] 10 And he said, “I heard the sound of you in the garden, and I was afraid, because I was naked, and I hid myself.” 11 He said, “Who told you that you were naked? Have you eaten of the tree of which I commanded you not to eat?”
            Is God playing games with them here? Is He pretending no to know that He knew this would happen? I don’t think so. I think God created man as a free sentient intelligent being and wanted to fellowship with Adam and Eve whom He had created and their eventual offspring..
            Is it not possible that in creating sentient beings with intelligence He decided to limit what He would know, and had already planned what He would do IF things went wrong?

          • dannybhoy

            This I like. This I think meshes in balancing what verses say, what the Law says, and what God in fact does in His dealings with individuals.
            “He clearly doesn’t repent in the sense a man does. He does not get something wrong and need to change his mind. He is not surprised by events for he sees all things .”
            I agree. He doesn’t repent like we repent. He would have seen all that man/men might do, but until the man or men chooses in real time He doesn’t respond in real time. How in His magnificent Being outside of time and space He ‘sees’ things is a mystery.
            So on those few examples we see God responding to men or leading men in real time, and there is no explanation given as to how we reconcile these things. Theologically though there is all the difference in the world between believing God has it all mapped out or micromanaged from eternity and we are just going through the motions..
            and believing that God is actually responding in real time to the prayers of His people and through them affecting the lives of people we love and the affairs of men/governments and nations.
            I don’t see how it detracts from the nature and sovereignty and omniscience of God. God is in control. His will will be done; but as St Paul says,
            2 Corinthians 6> ” Working together with him, then, we appeal to you not to receive the grace of God in vain. 2 For he says,“In a favourable time I listened to you,and in a day of salvation I have helped you.”
            Behold, now is the favourable time; behold, now is the day of salvation.”

            In short, do we believe the decline of the Church and the decline of evangelism and the decline in Christian morality is somehow in God’s plan – or do we believe that we can change things through prayer and repentance?

          • Danny, I don’t deny there are complexities in all of this. I believe, however, the most fundamental thing the bible says about God is that he is sovereign. He is absolute King. This is announced clearly in Genesis 1; God said, ‘let there be… And it was so’. All other gods were local and finite, the true God, Yahweh, is king over all things. He is transcendent (above all things) and immanent (fills all things). At each moment everything is held in being by the spoken word of his power.

            His sovereignty is implicit and often explicit in the bible narrative as it unfolds. I have pointed out before verses that express God’s involvement and determining in all the details of life. This ‘micromanaging’ however never implies that we are simply going through the motions. Our actions are real and willed and performed by us.

            A helpful verse that marries human behaviour and divine initiating and enabling without embarrassment is found in Phil 2.

            … work out your own salvation with fear and
            trembling,for it is God who works in you, both to will and to work for his good pleasure…

            Note, we do the work. We will and we do. Yet behind our working, willing, and doing is God working in us, stirring our wills and enabling our doing.

            Perhaps we should ask another question. What kind of freedom do we really want? What kind of freedom is really moral? The only desirable freedom is to do what God wants us to do. To do other is not to be free but to be enslaved. True freedom is only obeying God. In heaven we will not be free to disobey God. We will be constitutionally unable to sin. There will be no forbidden fruit in heaven. Will that be bondage? No it will be real freedom.

            In a fallen world men are sinners. In his sovereign wisdom God orchestrates human sinfuness for his own purposes. He puts into the heart of Senacherrib to attack Israel (the ten tribes of the North) and Nebuchnezzar to attack Judah (the two tribes of the South). These kings are his ‘servants’. He turns their heart, like a watercourse, whatever way he will (Prov 21:1). They become instruments of judgement and destruction in the hand of the Lord.

            What is true of the kings heart is true too of ordinary people. Many are the plans of a man’s heart but the Lord directs his steps (Prov 16:9).

            In Scripture, the godly always take comfort and strength from the knowledge that nothing happens in their life by chance. Nothing is a mistake or an oversight on God’s part. If they are being oppressed, if they are being attacked, if they are ill, whatever it may be, good or bad, it comes from the Lord. Sometimes it can cause perplexity – but the perplexity is why has the Lord done this too them. Note, they see God as not merely permitting an evil to overtake them, which in itself is God controlling, but they treat the misfortune as from God himself. Read the Psalms, they are full of this perspective.

            For the godly in Scripture, the fact that God micromanaged their life, gives security and meaning in a world that otherwise would be random, meaningless, and chaotic.

          • dannybhoy

            I don’t exactly disagree with you, and I’m not saying that I am right.
            Looking at the various passages of Scripture which indicate that God raises up individuals for a purpose to reprimand His chosen people, or to guide world history towards His ultimate goals, I accept that . But when it comes to (personal) salvation it is quite clear that God’s desire is that as many as possible might be saved, and that we can pray for those we love and those we care about that God might bring them to salvation. I would go even farther and say that through intercessory prayer we can cooperate with God in clearing away all the things that stop that person from truly understanding the Gospel.
            That might be rejection/overbearance, or strictness from parents -absolutely all kinds of things that the enemy of our souls uses to keep us from salvation.

            Taking into account all that our Lord said; (‘He could not do many miracles there because of their unbelief’), about compelling them to come in, or sometimes pointing out the things that stop them responding; and ditto with Peter and Paul in Acts and the letters.
            I do not see how accepting that during God’s periods of grace and forbearance we can work with God to get as many souls into salvation, in any way detracts from His overall control and purposes. God is our Rock.
            You might really find “God’s Strategy in Human History” volumes I and II really worth reading.

          • I have no doubt that prayer works and can ‘influence’ God. But I think there are two ways that we can look at things. There is, if you like, the human view, or the view from the road. The view from the stage. The other way is to view from God’s perspective. It is the view from heaven, the view from behind the scenes. The view of the scriptwriter. The bible employs both views.

            Viewed from the stage we are urged to pray and earnestly petition. We pray for X’s salvation. We are exhorted to preach the gospel and so we urge X to believe the gospel. When we see from behind the scenes we discover that God’s plan to save X was always certain. But he had ordained not only the end (to save X) but he had also ordained the means to the end. He intended to involve our prayers and our preaching in bringing X to salvation. By grace he not only saves us but he gives us a role in his saving plans. He gives us a lead role in his purposes in the world.

            God’s forebear acne is part of his purpose. God’s patience is part of his purpose. God’s hardening is part of his purpose. God’s mercy is part of his purpose. God’s judgements are part of his purpose. There is nothing that happens in this world that does not happen within the prescribed orbit of his will and purpose. The examples Scripture gives of God’s control of the events of history are not intended to be taken as unusual or atypical. They are assumed to be the norm. They are to be viewed not as the exception but the rule. All writers work with this theology of God’s sovereignty. It is part of the warp and woof of a biblical world view.

            In him we have obtained an inheritance, having been predestined according to the purpose of him who works all things according to the counsel of his will. Eph 1:10,11

            The LORD works out everything to its proper end—even the wicked for a day of disaster” (Proverbs 16:4).

            Romans 8:28 “And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.”

          • dannybhoy

            “. But he had ordained not only the end (to save X) but he had also ordained the means to the end. He intended to involve our prayers and our preaching in bringing X to salvation. By grace he not only saves us but he gives us a role in his saving plans.”
            But that doesn’t fit with His oft stated desire that all should be saved.,and doesn’t that desire fit in better with ‘compelling them to come in’ and St Paul’s “that by all means some might be saved”?
            Still, I think we’ve had enough of exchanging beliefs on this one. Time for a re-group! God Bless brother John…

          • carl jacobs

            God doesn’t passively acquire knowledge. He decrees.

          • Who said He did?

            God “accomplishes all things according to his will”. (Eph.1:11). God offers us the gift of salvation through grace and faith. In turn, we must accept this and persevere in good works “prepared beforehand” by God Himself (Eph. 2:8-10; cf. Phil. 2:12, 13).

            It’s all about balance around some core principles:

            God alone initiates salvation. He always turns toward man first and calls him. Man does not seek God or turn to him without God first calling man to Himself. God’s initiative does not exclude man’s free response, but demands it. God wills that man be free to choose His grace or reject it. Salvation is offered to each human person, not limited to some, and one can fall away from grace. Once one is touched by grace, he must persevere in charity in case he forfeits the free gift of salvation.

          • carl jacobs

            Who said He did?

            You did. A contingent God must acquire knowledge passively because the will of man is logically prior.

          • God knows all things, Carl, yet He allows for human freedom – it’s part of His Decree. This doesn’t mean He acquires knowledge “passively”. As Jack sees it, to understand God and His plan for salvation, in time, we have to see His acts as logical, sequential and contingent – which they are. However, for God, it’s not like this. He just “is”. Human history and salvation history, just “is”. It can be no other way. Before He created us, He knew exactly how each of us will act in whatever situation He places us, in wherever and in whatever time He places us. He also knows exactly how He will intervene in history too. And yet, it is still us who acts.

            God allows us free choice in all matters. He doesn’t want slaves or robots, blindly acting out His decrees. The Bible is all about men and women who decided to say “Yes” to God, of their own free will. The birth of Jesus, in 1st century Roman occupied Israel, was contingent on Mary accepting God’s plan. Mary says yes to angel Gabriel, who asks her to bear God’s son. And she does so in perfect freedom. Was God holding His breath? His plan of salvation dependent on Mary? God knew her answer before He asked her the question and He had showered her with special graces because of this.

          • Eustace

            Oooh, the authority queen is taking some new vocabulary for a spin, I see.

            God “decrees” now, does he? Next we’ll be hearing about how he “commands”, “orders”, “requires”, “demands” and “compels”.

            In the meantime carl jacobs sits back thinking “Dominate me God! Dominate me! I am yours to command! A regular holy drone!”

            In another place and time this desire to be commanded would have made him an ideal party apparatchik or stormtrooper.

          • dannybhoy

            Eustace sadly… you’re being a plonker.
            A stinker even.
            Not only that you are cheapening and insulting the beliefs and experiences of two men whilst holding up your own hurts and consequent bitternesses as the only things that matter.
            Are you so damaged that you can’t accept that other people’s life experiences are as valid as your own, and if they have reached different conclusions, those conclusions are to be compared, contrasted and questioned rather than rubbished. By rubbishing other people’s experiences and beliefs you rubbish your own.
            Shame on you.

          • Eustace

            I haven’t said a word about my own “hurts” and “bitternesses”. You’ve conjured them up from nowhere in a vain attempt to deflect attention away from my comments by criticizing me as a person.

            It’s perfectly legitimate to ridicule ridiculous beliefs. carl jacobs rants on at length in most of his posts about “authority” and “permission” and “sovereignty” and all sorts of other words that betray his obsession with hierarchy and power. His is a regimented and militarized mind that sees God as some kind of Supreme Allied Forces commander in chief to be obeyed without question. Anyone who questions the authority he holds so dear is a rebel who must be defeated.

            If the man wants to think like an American general from the 1970s then he should expect to be ridiculed. He’s fighting the Christian fight just like his nation fought the Vietnam War. Like the US Army of that decade, he doesn’t realize he’s a relic from another era. It’s one of his main weaknesses: a conviction of rectitude common to many Americans who fail to see that all strategies must be adapted to the time and the place in which they are played out.

            When it comes to one’s enemies, any weakness is fair game for ridicule. And despite his obsession with authority, or perhaps because of it, jacobs is incredibly weak. He reminds me of the belligerent general character in “Mars Attacks”. Ranting and raving about power and authority while he’s being shrunk by the Martians and then squashed under their leader’s boot.

          • dannybhoy

            “I haven’t said a word about my own “hurts” and “bitternesses”. You’ve conjured them up from nowhere in a vain attempt to deflect attention away from my comments by criticizing me as a person.”
            Sorry Eustace but you have alluded to the circumstances of your early upbringing, and I know of no one who wouldn’t have been hurt or damaged or scarred by such things.
            As one of five children whose parents were continually rowing/fighting and throwing stuff at each other, I can tell you that it leaves scars and emotional damage. We would have been placed in care had social services been around!

          • Eustace

            I merely described certain events in my childhood. All the “hurt” and “bitterness” were supplied by your imagination.

            It suits you to think of me as hurt and bitter because then you can dismiss the charges I lay at the door of your religion and your complicity in them as hysterical nonsense.

            Straight Christian men have been using similar tactics for centuries to control or discredit stroppy women, so it’s no surprise to see you doing the same to a gay man who refuses to acknowledge your “divine right” to dictate how things should be.

            It’s always the same with you people. At first you try to shout us down or threaten us into submission. When that doesn’t work, all of a sudden you’re our best friends and want to “help” us recognise and deal with our “trauma”, because of course if we disagree with you, we must be mentally ill, mustn’t we? If you can’t beat ’em, have ’em certified insane instead, eh?

            You’ve failed on both counts, I’m afraid. You are not our masters and therefore cannot tell us what we must do. You are not psychiatrists who can pretend to be our friends in order to manipulate us into thinking of ourselves as sick in the head. You’re just common, garden straight Christians who sees the former unquestioned power of their kind slipping away and who want to preserve what’s left of it. Only you haven’t realised that we now understand how you operate and can therefore no longer be hoodwinked and sidelined by you.

            In other words, you’re snookered. Your former dominance is gone forever and you’re going to have to get used to sharing power.

            In a power-sharing situation, everyone’s interests must be protected. Women get the vote, equal pay, the right to control their own reproductive choices. Gay people get acknowledgment of our right to exist as we are, legal protection against discrimination and equal marriage. And boy, don’t you just hate it?

            This is the world as it will be from now on. Get used to it, Christian. You no longer rule the roost.

          • dannybhoy

            yada-yada-oppression!-yada-hysterical nonsense-yadayada-yada-mentallyill…
            I shall rename you……..SYNDROME!.

            You prove my point Eustace. An inability to recognise that others may have also lived through hard times…
            Have a great weekend!

          • Eustace

            When they start accusing you of victimhood, you know they have nothing substantive left to say.

            You have a great weekend too. Why not spend it contemplating the collapse of your power base in little more than a couple of generations?

            From (admittedly self-proclaimed) hero to zero in the blink of an eye! Now there’s a case of decline and fall unmatched in the annals of history. And to make a bad job worse, you were beaten by a bunch of girls and gays.

            How do you live with the shame?

          • dannybhoy

            Danny has no power base.
            Danny has no shame..
            Danny has been beaten by no one …yet
            He will though, continue to pray for you :0)

          • Danny, my brother in Christ, you need to read and reflect deeply on Romans 9.

          • dannybhoy

            “17 For the Scripture says to Pharaoh, “For this very purpose I have raised you up, that I might show my power in you, and that my name might be proclaimed in all the earth.”
            But not in relation to salvation. This verse is showing God raised Pharaoh up as part of His plan to bring the Jews out of slavery in Egypt. If it were about salvation..
            “21 Has the potter no right over the clay, to make out of the same lump one vessel for honourable use and another for dishonourable use?”
            Nothing about salvation there either..
            Chapter 10.
            10″ Brothers,[a] my heart’s desire and prayer to God for them is that they may be saved. 2 For I bear them witness that they have a zeal for God, but not according to knowledge. 3 For, being ignorant of the righteousness of God, and seeking to establish their own, they did not submit to God’s righteousness. 4 For Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to everyone who believes.[b]”

            “11 For the Scripture says, “Everyone who believes in him will not be put to shame.” 12 For there is no distinction between Jew and Greek; for the same Lord is Lord of all, bestowing his riches on all who call on him. 13 For “everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.”

            14 “How then will they call on him in whom they have not believed? And how are they to believe in him of whom they have never heard?[c] And how are they to hear without someone preaching? 15 And how are they to preach unless they are sent? As it is written, “How beautiful are the feet of those who preach the good news!” 16 But they have not all obeyed the gospel.”

            Could St Paul be talking about those who are chosen to be ministers of God’s will for mankind, as the prophets ? Called by God to a role in preaching salvation?
            In 1 Corinthians 9 Paul discusses his calling and his methods..

            “19 For though I am free from all, I have made myself a servant to all, that I might win more of them. 20 To the Jews I became as a Jew, in order to win Jews. To those under the law I became as one under the law (though not being myself under the law) that I might win those under the law. 21 To those outside the law I became as one outside the law (not being outside the law of God but under the law of Christ) that I might win those outside the law. 22 To the weak I became weak, that I might win the weak. I have become all things to all people, that by all means I might save some. 23 I do it all for the sake of the gospel, that I may share with them in its blessings.
            and here..
            “24 Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one receives the prize? So run that you may obtain it. 25 Every athlete exercises self-control in all things. They do it to receive a perishable wreath, but we an imperishable. 26 So I do not run aimlessly; I do not box as one beating the air. 27 But I discipline my body and keep it under control,[b] lest after preaching to others I myself should be disqualified.

          • dannybhoy

            “‘My purpose will be established, And I will accomplish all My good pleasure’;”
            Absolutely and Amen, but the course He takes and the people He uses is affected by our yieldedness and prayerfulness.
            As I said to John Thomson, St Paul makes it clear that how we are used depends to some extent on our progress in sanctification..
            God WILL achieve His purposes with or without us.

        • CliveM

          “10 When God saw what they did and how they turned from their evil ways, he relented and did not bring on them the destruction he had threatened.”

      • len

        There is a false view that many have fallen into and that view is that’ God is Love’ so he will always respond to us with Love no matter what we do.
        This has led to the view in the church( and with some Christians) that we can’ push the boundaries ‘with God and He will always respond with forbearance.This is being shown with parts of the church endorsing Gay Marriage.
        Fear of the lord or ‘Respect of God’ seems to have become’Jesus is my mate’.Worship services have become ‘pop concerts’.
        Can we change the mind of God ?. No… we can change our response to God so that He can respond with Grace instead of Judgement. God is a God of Grace and Judgement we should perhaps remember this?.

  • scottspeig

    Surely the church should be in all situations, pray without ceasing???

    Forgive me your grace, but I think you missed the purpose of the church. It is to make disciples teaching them to obey God. The rest would come naturally then.

  • Inspector General

    Good old Jack. God’s rat hound. Any sniff of dissent, he’s right there with his jaws in you…

    • dannybhoy

      Good innit? I enjoy a good discussion. If Jack convinces me that I’m wrong I’ll say so. There’s nothing worse than a non thinking Christian…

      • Try to be kind to the Inspector, Danny. He takes his lack of understanding of the Gospel as a sign of “higher intelligence”. Poor soul.

        • dannybhoy

          I like the Inspector.
          He’s a one-off … hopefully
          His theology is even worse than mine, but his presence is valued, if not all his views..
          ;0)

    • Get those bony old knees on the floor this evening, Inspector. Pray for (a strengthening of) the gifts of faith, hope and charity. Then get hold of a simple penny catechism and a good bible, with commentary, and begin your Christian education.

      • Inspector General

        You know a lot about God, Jack. Or at least you think you do. Doesn’t surprise the Inspector, but it might, just might, surprise God…

        • Nothing surprises God, Inspector, not even your somewhat unique take on Him and Jesus Christ. Jack only knows what God has granted him to know. Mind you, Jack did pay attention at school and asked lots of questions.

          • Inspector General

            Questions! Good grief! You mean you didn’t interrupt someone for long enough to ask them questions!

          • Jack was always polite and well mannered, Inspector.

          • carl jacobs

            Btw, Jack. How’s that Pope guy working out for you lately?

          • He seems theologically confused, Carl. He seems more Orthodox Christian than Roman Catholic. As a pastor, he wants the Catholic Church to be less condemning of human weakness but, as Pope, he is playing fast and loose with tradition Catholic teachings on “intrinsic evil”, “primacy of conscience” and reception of the sacraments. Jack will say this though, as a result of all the controversies he’s been causing it has stretched Jack’s faith in a good way as he has sought to better understand Catholicism.
            Thank you for asking.

          • carl jacobs

            That would not seem to be the opinion at either Mundabor or Rotate Caeli at the moment.

          • Jack has to make up his own mind on these things. Francis won’t be Pope forever and we know God will protect His Church. Is Francis a material heretic? Opinion differs. Is he causing confusion in the Church? Undoubtedly. Will good come from all this? It always does.

            As Mundabor recently wrote:

            “Francis happens. It has happened in the past, it will happen in the future. It happens, however, mostly in times of corruption, either within the Church or among Catholics at large.

            We are living one of those period. Good. Let our faith be tested and found not wanting.”

            And:

            “Francis cannot steal one single soul. Those who decide to get lost through him are Reprobates willingly refusing to accept the Truth, and using Francis only as a convenient excuse. Let them eat and drink their own damnation, together with their evil leader. Pray for the poor bastards, and pity them exceedingly. But never, ever lose your faith.

            And in all you do, for Heaven’s sake believe in One, Holy, Catholic Apostolic Church. Not in the homemade dogma of the saintly pope.”

            “Francis is a blip in the Church’s radar.”
            .

          • carl jacobs

            Jack has to make up his own mind on these things.

            How very Protestant of you.

          • Did you overlook the rest of the post?

            “Francis won’t be Pope forever and we know God will protect His Church. Is Francis a material heretic? Opinion differs. Is he causing confusion in the Church? Undoubtedly. Will good come from all this? It always does.”

            A Protestant would not see himself as bound by the truth of the Deposit of Catholic Faith and would feel free to pick and choose what he believes and what he rejects. Plus, he would probably take off and set up his own “church” which would then splinter as theological differences surfaced.

          • carl jacobs

            Uh-huh. I look forward to your defense of communion for the divorced in obedience to the Pope.

          • Jack isn’t required to defend the Pope or to obey him on this as he doesn’t have responsibility for distributing Holy Communion or any authority over those who make these decisions under Canon Law. The divorced and remarried Jack knows will follow their consciences and continue to abstain. As for the others, God will judge them, not Jack.

          • bluedog

            Nothing has changed. Belief in One, Holy, Catholic Apostolic Church still trumps belief in Jesus Christ.

          • Martin

            HJ

            “we know God will protect His Church”

            As in:

            I know your works: you are neither cold nor hot. Would that you were either cold or hot! So, because you are lukewarm, and neither hot nor cold, I will spit you out of my mouth.
            (Revelation of John 3:15-16 [ESV])

            I’m afraid your church lost it’s lampstand long ago.

          • The Catholic Church can never lose it’s favour with God, Martin.

          • Martin

            HJ

            You can’t lose what you haven’t got.

          • Anton

            Or Ann Barnhardt, if you want another of that ilk (and she’s American and hates Obama).

          • Martin

            HJ

            Albert seems to think he’s the same as the last.

  • Eustace

    Well here’s an opportunity to put prayer to the test.

    Why not try a version of the experiment suggested by US author and neuroscientist Sam Harris?

    Ask every Christian in Britain to pray that a group of amputees’ severed limbs grow back. This is an everyday occurrence in nature: salamanders regrow lost limbs all the time, so it should be well within the capacity of an omnipotent God to tweak the human genome to activate the regrowth process.

    You’ll need to set up an experiment whereby one man knows he’s being prayed for, another knows he’s not being prayed for, a third thinks he’s being prayed for but isn’t and a fourth thinks he isn’t being prayed for but is.

    As for the period of time required, it could probably be worked out by taking average limb regrowth time for a salamander and factoring it up by a ratio equivalent to the difference in size between and human and a salamander limb.

    At the end of the period, inspect the stumps for signs of regrowth.

    If the men who were being prayed for are dancing about on brand new lower legs and feet (real ones, not prostheses), declare a miracle and come here to make me eat my words. BUT if the man who thought he was being prayed for but wasn’t also possesses a new limb, chalk it up to the power of positive thinking and an unknown yet entirely natural healing mechanism rather than prayer, and come here to be scoffed at some more by me.

    Well go on then, what’s stopping you? Ask and ye shall receive, after all. Scared you might not get the result you want?

    • Merchantman

      You don’t have to remind us you are of the- ‘ why not come down off the cross’ school of thought.
      St Paul was probably a member and look what he did. Hope for you too EUstace.

  • The Explorer

    Interesting how the blocking mechanism works. Usually, if someone has responded to you you get a little red notification. But if you’ve blocked someone, you don’t. You wouldn’t know you’ve been responded to, unless you scroll through the thread.

    I mention it because I can see, from the ‘Thus user is blocked’ entry at the head of the thread, that Eustace is at it again.

    If everyone blocked him, he might go away, or at least come back in another persona. But not everyone would agree to block him, so that’s not an option. However, the more people there are blocking him, the harder it is for him to divert the thread.

    • preacher

      Most of what he writes is twaddle, just trying to get a response from people here. Basically he’s a sad & lonely soul, living in a fantasy world, if this was not the case, what is he doing here ? a real fish out of water !. If this were not the case & life was as full of fun & satisfaction as he implies, he would have neither the time nor inclination to post here among a people he appears to disdain so much.
      One hopes that he might one day find the salve that he seeks for his angst ridden life, but I feel his pride will make him a faller long before the last hurdle ……… Sad !.

      • Pubcrawler

        Whatever his reasons, can we maybe have at least one thread that doesn’t end up being all about him? That feeds him just as much as replying to him.

        • preacher

          Yep brother, just thought I’d pop in my prognosis.

          Blessings P.

          • Pubcrawler

            Sure. Wasn’t directed at you (or anyone else) specifically.

            Peace

          • preacher

            Amen brother !.

      • dannybhoy

        I agree with your diagnosis and I think he really is seeking. That is why he comes back. We should just ‘love’ him I think, because there’s more to Eustace than his anger and bitterness..

        • preacher

          Thanks danny, many of us are brands plucked from various fires if we are honest, & we know, just as Saul discovered on the way to Damascus that men or custom & tradition cannot reach us, it takes a special move of God to extinguish the flames of hate & prejudice & produce a born again disciple, purified & perfected in the fires of life & ready to be used by Him in His service.
          Blessings brother. P.

  • Jon Sorensen

    I wonder is Christadelphian, Mormons and JWs are invited too. I guess Jews and Muslims are excluded, but maybe Church of Scientology could join this…

  • preacher

    All things that bare fruit for the Kingdom of God begin with prayer, the main problem is that the Church in many cases has forgotten 1/ How to truly worship the Lord & 2/ How to pray from the heart. Neither is difficult to cure, maybe our first prayers daily should ask the Lord for a fresh infilling of the Holy Spirit, based on the need of the Israelites to gather fresh manna daily, as the previous days provision had gone bad & although God provides, He expects us to collect blessings, rather than be lazy children & require Him to spoon feed us. Do you remember the old hymn that starts ‘ Fresh every morning ‘ ?.

    • dannybhoy

      ‘New every morning is the love
      our wakening and uprising prove;’

      • preacher

        That’s the one danny !!!!.

  • Shadrach Fire

    ‘If I be lifted up’ was the theme of a prayer meeting last night after a bible study and God came. The Holy Spirit was poured out on those that were there.
    There is prayer and there is prayer. Just to mouth worthless words is not prayer. It has to come from the heart and it has to ‘Lift him up’.