A return to the Word of God

A return to the Word of God

This article comes from the Intercessors for New Zealand – Pray for the Nation, September 2013 newsletter. IFNZ is headed up by Brian Caughley, who offered closing prayer at the NZCN Unsung Heroes Awards recently held in Wellington.

A return to the Word of God

It would appear that a huge majority of Christians do not read the Bible each day, let alone read a reasonable portion of Scripture daily or study God’s Word regularly. If you watch an hour of TV at night, during that hour you will probably watch 15-20 minutes of advertisements. In 15-20 minutes you can easily read about 4 chapters of the Bible!

So how come many Christians are “too busy” to read the Bible, study it and apply it, while they have time to watch TV and TV ads? If we don’t read God’s Word and listen to His voice speaking to us, how can we call ourselves Christians – His followers or disciples? It is no wonder that there is such confusion in the church about so many issues (e.g., moral issues) and that the church often appears as worldly as the unbelieving world around us.

Please pray that all true Christians will return to reading and studying God’s Word, listening to His voice and obeying Him. Pray that churches which are not preaching and teaching God’s Word, and those which openly contradict what God has said in His Word, will repent and turn back to Him and His ways!

This is urgent and serious! If the world sees no difference between us and them, why should they become Christians? Untold harm is done by parts of the “church” which are apostate (or almost so – if that is possible!) “The time has come for judgement to begin with the Household of God; and if it begins with us, what will be the end for those who do not obey the Gospel of God?” (1 Peter 4:17).

We need to see God’s judgement as a positive thing – God’s desire to bring us back to righteousness and blessing, instead of going down the path of evil and, ultimately, destruction. Pray for the Church! Pray for all Christians! Pray for our society and the nation!

May God have mercy on us, and restore us through our repentance and our turning back to Him and His ways!

Intercessors for New Zealand was started by Brian Caughley in January 1972, after receiving a word from God to call Christians to “Pray for the Nation”.

IFNZ specifically aims to encourage prayer, and present Bible teaching, which exhorts Christians to pray regularly and specifically for their nation – for revival and evangelism, the Church, the Government and the Nation.

A return to the Word of God

Jeff Tallon: Biblical references an everyday part of our lives

The  Bible  has to be read rationally as I have suggested and in the totality of its teaching, says Tallon. Photo / Getty Images
The Bible has to be read rationally as I have suggested and in the totality of its teaching, says Tallon. Photo / Getty Images

Originally published on nzherald.com
on Wednesday Aug 7, 2013

Strange how some people are so fearful of religion. Nowadays it’s everywhere. A week or so back London officials banned the use of the phrase “in sickness and in health” in civil registry wedding vows as “too religious”.

Then, here, it was prayers in schools – to expunge these we would have to drop the National Anthem. And every day I hear passionate prayers from the most irreligious – all it takes is a finger caught in a door. Now it is the Bible in schools.

Why the fuss? Herald on Sunday columnist Paul Little asserts that religion amounts to “an intellectual transit lounge where the shackles of reason are thrown off and replaced with the loose fitting robes of superstition”. David Hines, “Rationalist”, is stuck in a time warp, still choking on Crusades and Inquisitions. Both are caricatures that fall little short of bigotry.

If rationalism means, as my dictionary states, “reliance on reason as the best guide for belief and action” then I am a Christian rationalist. And so are many of my Christian colleagues and friends. Indeed I would expand “reason” to read “reason and evidence”.

I am an orthodox Christian because of reason and evidence. I see no “shackles” piled up outside the door of my church each Sunday.

Does it not occur to these gentlemen, and so many others like them, that the institution that gave us modern empirical science is actually rather likely to engage with the mind?

Now in fairness I think we should be allowed to inspect Rationalist websites. What does one find? No end of bigotry, abuse and hatred of all things religious.

There is an issue about Crusades and Inquisitions and it’s this: People in the church have always distinguished between the church political and the church pious.

Of course the church political has lost its way from time to time. Look at any regime where accountability has been mislaid. But also time and again the church pious has pulled it back to its roots and reformed its practice. What are those roots? They are the Bible.

The Bible has to be read rationally as I have suggested and in the totality of its teaching. That core teaching lies at the heart of our institutions of democracy, freedom and justice, our understanding of the inviolability of human dignity, our very understanding of “the Western way of life”. Any denial of this is just modern-day medieval book burning.

So why would it not be taught in schools? If we want facts, data, evidence, archaeology – then all that can be provided. It forms part of my daily study.

And here’s the rub. All this data is actually substantial and requires a great deal of study to critically assimilate. I find people are simply unaware of the sheer quantity that is available.

Can we find the teachers who can teach this? That remains a challenge. I’m sure that in practice there are good examples and poor examples and, like all teaching, it requires excellent training.

It would be futile to attempt to remove religious terms from secular discourse. Here are some rather clumsy but illustrative few paragraphs:

There’s a fly in the ointment. It’s a sign of the times that politically correct busybodies, who are a complete law unto themselves, try to force us to set our house in order. Faith is the scapegoat. Religion, we are told, is the root of all evil, a thorn in the flesh for society which is wallowing in the mire of medieval beliefs. We need the patience of Job. How can we hold our peace? The PC powers that be, self-professed salt of the earth, have seen the light and seek to redeem us lost sheep from the howling wilderness of faith and bring us safe and sound back to sterile secularism. At the eleventh hour they hope to rescue us by the skin of our teeth.

Of course each of these phrases were introduced to the English language from the Bible.

Point made? Our historical religion lies doggedly at the heart of all our culture – our language, our institutions, even our science. Seems like there’s plenty to teach in schools.

Dr Jeff Tallon is a physicist specialising in superconductivity.

Click here to read the piece on the NZHerald website and following comments. This opinion piece drew a lot of interaction, but has since been closed for additional submissions on the Herald website, but don’t let that stop you from making your own comments below on the NZCN website!