Wednesday, 23 December 2009

Bringing God into discussions about Quantative Easing!

Discussions about the solution to our economic woes are everywhere. Opinions are plentiful.

Has Quantative Easing avoided the worst of the recession? (That's printing money to you and me. Obviously the Government wouldn't want to call it that else we might question why they're allowed to do it and we aren't ;-) Will any benefits of QE come at the cost of a long and deep depression and eventual high inflation? Should Banker's bonuses be curbed or should the Government have never intervened in the first place (thus bankers would have been fighting for their jobs instead of fighting for their bonuses and the taxpayer's debt would be a fraction of what we now face)? The list is almost endless. Everyone has an opinion. Discussion heats up. It is tempting for the Christian to turn away from such debates.

Yet, underneath the opinions and arguments, different shades of the same worldview underpin them all. For everywhere it is assumed that man is in control of his destiny and that his destiny is to make money, make a name for Himself and have fun! Very few Christian voices can be heard in such discussions. Those that do enter in, invariably argue for ethics derived from the Bible. Whilst this is not a bad thing per se, I would argue that little headway will be made if this worldview remains unchallenged. I would liken it to a group of Doctors arguing about the treatment of symptoms before they have identified the cause of the illness.

The following is an example of a recent post I made at a financial website where I tried to do this. I don't hold it up as a good example, nor do I expect anything to come from it, yet it was offered for the glory of God. Imagine if christians everywhere were to start asking questions like this at every level of society? If people could no longer just assume that the underlying worldview driving all they say and do is the only valid one?

In the discussion contributors were lamenting the decline in our culture and arguing for less government intervention and a return to a time when people were less self-centred and short-term gain focussed and when good quality, hard work was rewarded - presumably in contrast to the current debate about bankers, who are perceived as those who have got us into the mess, receiving bonuses. Here is what I wrote:

That our work ethics and, indeed, whole culture, have undergone significant transformation in a matter of a couple of generations is undeniable. The emerging implications for our future economic prosperity are disconcerting. More important, however, yet seldom asked and then hotly controverted, is the question: what is the cause?

Any solution seeking to limit the increasing desire for fast, easy gain - whether through tightened regulation at one extreme or a return to full, free market forces at the other - is to attempt to treat the symptom not the underlying cause. All the while the symptoms are screaming at us just how far gone the sickness is!

The reality is that we have bought in to the dominant yet bankrupt worldview of our day - for whom we have blind, so-called 'enlightenment', and post-modern humanist philosophers to thank. Ironically just as the gaping flaws in their reasoning and the recognition that humanism is no less a blind faith than Christianity is alleged to be become apparent, so, at the same time, have the
masses unquestioningly bought into the 'opium' of self-worship. As the Apostle Paul so incisively pointed out, we have refused to honour God or give Him thanks and have preferred to supress the truth about Him. Thus He has given us over to the futility of our own thinking (Romans 1:18-21).

Like the Romans to whom Paul wrote, unless we repent, our downfall is inevitable. We reap what we sow.

Shining light in a dark culture

Secular humanism is all around us. As Christians we must seek to challenge it not flee from it. All too easily we can throw up our hands in despair, feeling powerless. But too many Christians keeping quiet for too long is what got us into the mess! We must speak out against all ungodliness as beacons shining in the dark. We must resist the unbiblical division the world tries to put on us that faith is a private matter to be kept at home and in the church and that it has no place in the public realm.

God rules all His creation! There is nothing that is not His and there is no creature that does not owe Him everything. Every law, every policy decision, everything in the public domain actually procedes on the basis of assumptions about the purpose and common good of mankind. The reality is that everyone has faith in something yet most people just assume and never stop to question the reliability of the object(s) of their 'faith'.

Christians need to start engaging in matters of public interest at all levels of society and exposing the bankruptcy of the faith assumptions that underpin secularism. And they need to proclaim Jesus Christ as Lord of all, including politics, the arts, commerce and the law. This is NOT a calling reserved for the elite and powerful. Each of us move in circles in which opportunities present themselves to us, whether it be the workplace, a local fund-raising committee, public debates and so on. In fact widespread internet access means almost all of us have such opportunities. Yet how many Christians restrict themselves to 'safe' Christian websites and only contribute to discussions in safe Christian environments? Why is that?

Are you frightened that you will make a mess of it?
Did not Christ die for you precisely because you do make a mess of everything you do!? And, is not the outcome the Lord's and nothing to do with how good a job you do!?

Are you afraid of people's rejection?
Was not Christ rejected so that you could be accepted by Him!?

Are you afraid of persecution?

Did not Christ face the fiercest of persecution and surrender His life that you too may know the joy of losing this life in order to gain life eternal!? To live is Christ and to die is gain! (Phil 1:21) Has He not promised to be with You always?

The times we live in may be evil, godlessness, greed and "Me-ism" may abound, but consider the Israelites when they went in to exile in Babylon. They too, like many coming from Christian backgrounds in our day, had forsaken their God and so He had given them over to the rule of the Babylonians, just as He had warned them (2 Chron 6:36; 7:19-20; Jer. 25:8-9). The Babylonians wanted to supress Israel's spiritual identity and make them conform to Bablyonian culture. Yet God did not say to the exiled Israelites 'have nothing to do with them', He told them to seek the peace and prosperity of the city and, in so doing, they would find their own peace and prosperity (Jer. 29:7). Likewise, instead of lamenting the times we live in we must engage with and seek the peace and prosperity of those around us.

Of course, true peace and prosperity is not found in the fleeting pleasures or treasures of this world so this will involve confronting the dominant worldview and presenting the risen Christ as the only hope for lasting peace and prosperity. He is, after all, THE way, THE truth and THE life. To the extent that we believe that, so should we proclaim it as we have opportunity.

The next post will give an example of what this could look like.

Tuesday, 8 December 2009

Must Watch Video!

This is from Matt Chandler: Video
He's a church pastor in America who was told he needed an urgent operation to remove a large brain tumour. Do you know the Lord Jesus Christ like that, so that you can say "He is enough. He satisfies my soul, in good times and bad, whatever comes my way"?

If you are not a Christian, how would your 'faith'/worldview enable you to face something like this?

Monday, 7 December 2009


1 O God, you are my God; earnestly I seek you;
my soul thirsts for you; my flesh faints for you,
as in a dry and weary land where there is no water.
2 So I have looked upon you in the sanctuary,
beholding your power and glory.
3 Because your steadfast love is better than life,
my lips will praise you.
4 So I will bless you as long as I live;
in your name I will lift up my hands.
5 My soul will be satisfied as with fat and rich food,
and my mouth will praise you with joyful lips,
6 when I remember you upon my bed,
and meditate on you in the watches of the night;
7 for you have been my help,
and in the shadow of your wings I will sing for joy.
8 My soul clings to you;
your right hand upholds me.
Psalm 63