Tim Challies posted an article on parenting in a digital age.
Summary of key points
- Reject ignorance, embrace education
- Reject folly, embrace responsibility
- Reject fear, embrace familiarity
Read the full article here.
Recently, there were pictures and a video of a local megachurch pastor praying over bottles of oil and blessing them, with the purpose of distributing, selling them to his church members. This is not the first time this occurred; a quick search shows a similar video in November last year.
One of my church youth committee members asked, “Legit’ or not?” Is this real, and is the oil really blessed, anointed with power from God?
This reminds me of one of the issues that Martin Luther had against the RC church prior to the Protestant Reformation. Bottles of holy water believed to be blessed by the Pope were being sold to commoners in villages, as a result of an abuse of the local clergy/church and no access to God’s word and biblical truths/teachings.
Acts 8.9-24 records an incident regarding Simon the sorcerer who practiced magic arts and was called “the Great Power of God”. After he believed and was baptized, he observed the apostles laying hands and blessing others with the Holy Spirit, and offered money to have the same authority.
But Peter said to him, “May your silver perish with you, because you thought you could obtain the gift of God with money! … Therefore repent of this wickedness of yours, and pray the Lord that, if possible, the intention of your heart may be forgiven you.
Acts 8:20, 22 NASB
Peter reminded that we cannot obtain God’s power through material gain, and that we all need the forgiveness of our Saviour and Lord, Jesus Christ, as the basis of salvation.
Since Jesus’ death, resurrection and ascension, God has left us with 2 spiritual resources, namely the Holy Spirit and the Bible, God’s word. We can have direct access to God through repentance and faith, and as the early Reformers affirmed, there should only be 5 solas (from Latin, sola, lit. “alone”):
This week, our church sermon passage is on Daniel and the topic of ashes and repentance. In this season of Lent, it is indeed appropriate to reflect on what Christ has done on the cross, the costly grace and salvation that came at the price of our Saviour’s own life for the sins of the world. How often do we take for granted and let slip to the corners of our minds our wretched and sinful state, before we were led to repent of our sins and acknowledge Jesus Christ as our Lord?
Yet as much as we should not shortcut the process of salvation, and belittle the value and place of godly mourning, sorrow, and repentance, God’s word in Isaiah 61.1-3 proclaims,
The Spirit of the Sovereign LORD is on me,
because the LORD has anointed me
to preach good news to the poor …
to proclaim the year of the LORD’s favour …
to comfort all who mourn,
and provide for those who grieve in Zion –
to bestow on them a crown of beauty instead of ashes,
the oil of gladness
instead of a spirit of despair.
True repentance and Spirit-led life-change leads to a lifetime of beauty and everlasting joy (Isa. 61:7). God is in the business of touching and transforming lives, to bestow comfort for mourning, beauty for ashes, and gladness for despair. That is the true and amazing power and hope we have in the gospel message – while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us (Rom. 5:8). Have you experienced God’s saving grace and salvation in your life? Consider what Christ has done for you and I. Is there a loved one or friend in your life that has yet to come to know the Lord? May God equip and grant you His favour to proclaim His good news, and be an agent of hope and reconciliation for the Lord. May one and all come to experience Christ and be blessed with beauty for ashes this Easter weekend!
Tracking, reading through what’s been said critically about BatB on both camps, especially on a popular pro-family FB page, I think we need to be objective and balanced in our approach towards such issues, and depictions in films and media. This page went to the extreme of labelling BatB as a homosexual-themed movie, and called for boycotts. It obviously got slammed for not being consistent against other issues portrayed such as bestiality and magic, as well as hobby horsing and exaggerating over what was literally only a 3-second implicit scene of the character in question.
As much as I am saddened by BatB’s director’s open admission of creating this sub-plot and describing it as “a nice, exclusive gay moment” in a Disney movie, this is unlikely the first time, and definitely not going to be the last time.
Although I disagree with NCCS’ decision to issue a statement about this movie (there are endless others that deserve more attention, focus), I agree somewhat with part of what they advised, that we should be aware of possible influences, exercise discretion in guiding our children, and stay rooted in God’s word in developing a biblical worldview.
Reviews and critiques: