Let God Out of Church

We’ve locked God up in church and locked our brains out. That way, we can do whatever we like during the week and only surrender our freedom on Saturday. That is why it gets harder to thank God when life gets better – why thank somebody who stayed locked up in church and morning worship while I slaved away all week?

Of course, we are slack in doing church stuff Continue reading

Holiness In HD

Once, we were slaves who imagined ourselves kings. We did this by focusing on the brief frenzied pleasures that punctuated the ever lengthening periods of pain from whiplashes of unbridled desire. Indeed, we imagined ourselves free but it was our desires that were unfettered and bound us firmly, veiling our subservience with ever diminishing pleasure. Our bodies had chunks of flesh missing Continue reading

God for Dummies

Where are you? God comes strolling in Eden, longing for companionship with those made in His likeness but they hide and so He asks this question. This is not a geographical question but a relational question. Forbidden fruit has driven a wedge between God and man, not by driving God from man but by inculcating mankind with a self destructive desire for God’s absence. By asking, “Where are you?” God is also saying, “I am right here.” Humanity has fled the relationship but divinity still seeks companionship. It follows therefore, that Christ’s enshrouding of divinity in humanity was not an experiment meant to alter divinity’s perception of humanity but vice versa. That is why God is not reconciled to man but man is reconciled to God. Continue reading

Theodicy or Forensics?

“God,” cries Prophet Habbakuk, “the good boys are acting bad and you don’t seem to have anything to say about it!” Habbakuk can’t stand God’s silence in the face of evil among His people. Is God on leave? Does He not care anymore? The world is falling apart and God seems to be in no hurry to stick it back together again. Have you not looked at the chaos in the world and wondered if God had any plans to fix it? It is a common question: if God is so good, why all the injustice and suffering, especially by those who claim to worship Him?

“You think that’s something,” God replies, Continue reading

Hung Up on the Sex

A lot of Christian discussions about LGBT issues invoke Romans 1 as a rallying point for all opposed. Yet, this chapter is certainly not a chat about the birds and the bees. No doubt about it, homosexual behaviour is not cast in a positive light here but instead of it being a cause of God’s wrath, it is a result. Do not get hung up on the sex.
God’s wrath is revealed not in enraged violence nor dispassionate torture, but in handing sinners over to reap the consequences of their choices. Sin is the wilful rejection of God and chaos is its result. Those who think heterosexuals are exempt from the chaos of sin should read the whole chapter and not orbit around the verses that seem to suit their biases. As far as Romans is concerned, we are all in trouble, heterosexual or homosexual, Jew or Greek, moralist or hedonist. We are not in trouble because God is angry but God is angry because we are in trouble.
Sin is not bad because God hates it but God hates sin because it is bad. This is not a frivolous semantic merry-go-round but an important distinction. The troubles of this world are not to be blamed on an angry Creator but on rebellious creation. God is no where nearly as deadly as sin. Even many of those who claim the name of Jesus fail to appreciate this reality. Sin is the rejection of God and those who stand in the pulpit to present an unacceptable God, entrench the very sin they try to eject.
Another fallacy that assails us is the idea that pouring disgust on sinful chaos is enough to dislodge from the mind. On this nail hangs the coats of our keyboard warriors and their jeering friends. It is popular in our time to drown out the voice of dissent with scornful jeering in the form of witty come backs and derisive memes. This is the way in which many of us have sought to fight the chaos we all see. Romans 2 slaps that in the face, declaring the moralist doomed to feel within himself the same impulses that he derides in others.

In the end, we destined to be engulfed by the chaotic results of our rebellion and are helpless to extricate ourselves from its power despite our pious preaching and witty hashtags. Only God can rescue and restore us…as long as we trust Him. The distorted understanding of sin that believes sin is bad because God hates it has left us thinking that our greatest need is forgiveness. However, God hates sin because of the chaos it brings as opposed to the lofty heights that He created us for (to be in His image), our greatest need is restoration. Instead of getting hung up on sex and failing to realise that God’s table is much bigger than our corner of it, we would be better off learning to trust God to restore us.
photo credit: kennethkonica IMG_4159 via photopin (license)

From Scratch

“…neither circumcision nor uncircumcision counts for anything; the only thing that matters is a new creation! And all who will behave in accordance with this rule, peace and mercy be on them, and on the Israel of God.” (Galatians 6:15,16 NET)

How dull the vagaries of our attempts to extricate ourselves from our predicament are to those who accept the life offered in Christ. Jesus upending of our vainglorious ambitions by choosing a life of humble, honest and intelligent Continue reading

​ You Couldn’t Stop it if You Tried


“You’ll be back,” says the haunting thought. It mocks as you swear you’ll never dial that number again, even though you leave it in your phonebook or when you clear your browser’s history but leave that hidden folder (for next time?). Maybe it rolls its eyes at you when you quit smoking for the sixth time that month or when you pour that drink into the sink but keep it for deposit.
Continue reading

The Trouble with Good Boys

Wincing with fearful anticipation of the awful wrath of God, he begins his life of penance, a constant eschewing of all bad deeds in his attempts to do “the right thing.” Roaring applause and smiling nods of approval from all around him are his reward. Protective fathers snarl at all their daughters’ suitors but invite him for lunch as they loudly wish their sons could be more like him. With feet barely touching the ground when he walks, he is the hero; the quintessential good boy.

Behind their benign faces, good boys frown uneasily. They frown for one reason with many manifestations; from less benign manifestations such as a certain Delilah’s number lingering in his contacts, to malignant ones such as a growing resentment towards all things religious or a squeezing despair of ever reaching perfection. The manifestations are many but there is one underlying cause: despite his spirited attempts at avoiding bad deeds and straining to do “the right thing”, he is not a righteous being.

His righteousness is an illusion. Like a scratch revealing the stone wall as mere wallpaper, the simplest agitation reveals the malevolent sinner belying the smiling saint. The terrible things we do are not sin but its results. Murder is not sin but is caused by it. Sin is a software issue that crashes the hardware. Sin lies in our attitude toward God and reality. It is more perception than action; it is twisted perception that leads to twisted deeds. The good boy’s attempts are in vain for he is like a man trying to push start a car with no engine.

Good boys, just like bad boys, can only be truly good by relying on God. This is not to mean that they need not exert themselves but that they must draw strength from God. Only God can put an engine in the car, you need to exert effort in driving it. Only God can supply the stones for your wall, your part is to build it, stone by stone. Effort is indispensable in living a righteous life but only God can supply the strength and guidance. The trouble with good (& bad) boys is that they don’t trust God.

Believing the diabolical insinuation that God wasn’t trustworthy, Adam and Eve rebelled against Him and hid when He came to talk. The Israelites cowered with fear even when Moses told them not to (Exodus 20:18-21). Sin is the failure to perceive God’s goodness. This leads us to distrust God and look to ourselves for salvation. Thus, the bad boy who does his own thing and the good boy who tries in his own power to do “the right thing” are sailing in the same boat: away from God. The good boy is in worse shape though, because he doesn’t realize it; he thinks he’s sailing to God! Remember Saul who was surprised to find out that he was persecuting God when he thought he was serving Him? Remember the son who didn’t leave home but whose refusal to celebrate his brother’s return showed that he didn’t see himself as part of the family as he worked to earn what was his by birth?

God made us in His image: He endowed us with responsible benevolent creativity. We are designed to act from conviction not compulsion or impulse. In keeping with that God can neither demand trust nor manipulate us, not if the trust is to be eternal. Conviction demands evidence thus Jesus came to reveal God’s trustworthiness by living a life of total trust in the Father and unbridled goodness to mankind. The life of Jesus showed God’s eagerness for unfettered communion with mankind. His death showed that death by divorce from God is not arbitrary but consequent. His resurrection provides assurance that God is able and willing to restore that which is killed by sin, be it Christ or us. This is the trustworthiness of Jesus or the faith of Jesus or Jesus faithfulness (pistis Christus). Good boys need to realize that we serve a God whose “law cannot be enforced and whose favour cannot be won,” and rest in the knowledge that Christ can and will recreate all those who trust in Him.

“A sullen submission to the will of the Father will develop the character of a rebel. By such a one service is looked upon as drudgery. It is not rendered cheerfully, and in the love of God. It is a mere mechanical performance. If he dared, such a one would disobey. His rebellion is smothered, ready to break out at any time in bitter murmurings and complaints. Such service brings no peace or quietude to the soul.

“Christ assumed humanity, with all its humiliation and service, that he might set men free from the bondage of Satan. He knew that the service of Satan can bring only wretchedness and misery in its train. The sinner is a stranger to repose. He says, ‘I want my freedom.’ He hopes to get rid of all restraint by casting aside the law of God. But it is this desire that has made the world what it is today, corrupt as in the days of Noah, and polluted as the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah.” (Ellen G White, Signs of The Times, 22 July 1897)

“… A mechanical obedience may hide the smoldering fire of rebellion, but it is ready to break out at any time against restraint. In the service of such there is no peace or light or love. The atmosphere surrounding their souls is not fragrant.” (Ellen G White, Medical Ministry page 177)

“…Jesus came to teach men of the Father, to correctly represent Him before the fallen children of earth. Angels could not fully portray the character of God, but Christ, who was a living impersonation of God, could not fail to accomplish the work. The only way in which he could set and keep men right was to make himself visible and familiar to their eyes. That men might have salvation he came directly to man, and became a partaker of his nature.” (Ellen G White, Signs of the Times, 20 January 1890 egwwritings.org)