SPARKLING DECEMBER ISSUE
The December edition of Premier Christianity was superbly brilliant. The Lebanese story on refugees was informative. The social action feature on the Church changing the world was so encouraging. Loneliness is such a relevant issue for us today. Sermons and Rob Parsons always go well together. And thanks for reminding us that Christmas is the greatest annual evangelistic opportunity…that we often miss! Wow, it was a great read.
John O McIlvenna
SCIENCE LACKS ANSWERS
I feel compelled to respond to the article about Jim Al-Khalili (‘Faith Explored’, December). I have a BSc in Theoretical Physics and Jim was my supervisor for a project I carried out as part of my Masters degree. I am now studying theology at Wycliffe Hall, Oxford University. No matter how much experts such as Jim Al-Khalili or Brian Cox know about physics, the things of God will not make sense to them! God needs to reveal it to them or they will never make sense of it. Science deals with the things we can detect and we need God to reveal the rest to us. Are people worshipping science like an idol, assuming it has all the answers? And are Jim and Brian keeping people in bondage to idolatry? My advice to Jim and Brian is go to church, go to a Bible group, stop rationalising what is going on and let God reveal himself!
Jim Al-Khalili and Brian Cox have an infectious enthusiasm for our world of wonders that puts many of us to shame. They remind me of the Disneyland fans arriving early to devote their whole day to experiencing every thrill in the park. They stay late, until the very last fireworks fade in the dark sky. On leaving, they pass the one feature for which there is never a long queue. It’s called the Walt Disney Story. They love the works of the creator but, sadly, they don’t love the creator.
THE BLESSING OF MODERN MEDICINE
I would like to add a comment to vet Paul Manning’s letter ‘Reconsider Assisted Dying’ (‘Feedback’, December). 6 I’m in my mid 60s and in good health. I just signed an ‘Advance Directive’ (Living Will) and lodged copies with my GP and family. It indicates that, should I be terminally ill and no longer able to take decisions, I don’t want to be ‘strenuously’ kept alive – this is spelt out in some detail, but clearly can’t cover all eventualities. At least it gives my doctors and children some idea of my ‘drift’ in all this. My reasoning (developed prayerfully with God), is that the NHS has limited resources and I don’t want to cling to expensive (and ultimately unavailing) treatment if I am terminally ill anyway. Above all, I am hugely looking forward to release into life with Christ for eternity. That is a very positive testimony. I wouldn’t support legalised assisted dying, nor should families or medics ever pressure anyone to sign ‘do not resuscitate’ orders. But let’s not, because there are pitfalls, shy away from these issues altogether.
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AN UNLIMITED GOD
The letter from Brian Allen on autism and response to the gospel (‘Feedback’, December) made me so sad. If we think God is limited to an intellectual response from us then I fear we are all doomed. Of course, if we have capacity, then we are responsible for our choices. However, what a joy to know that God desires to commune with us and can bypass our mental limitations. We can never fully comprehend his divine allencompassing power and love.
BETTER OR WORSE?
I enjoyed David Instone-Brewer’s article ‘A worsening world’ (December). I recently came across these words from James Denney about whether the world is getting better or worse: ‘It does not get better only, nor worse only, but both. Its progress...is a progress in which good and evil alike come to maturity, bearing their ripest fruit, showing all that they can do, proving their strength to the utmost against each other; the progress is not in good itself or in evil itself but in the antagonism of the one to the other.’ There is a great deal of good in the world and a great deal of evil, the decisive separation will only take place when Christ returns
Revd Jon Wilkinson
LESS CONFRONTATION, MORE CONVERSATION
‘What’s so good about the Good News?’ by Tom Wright (November) was thoughtprovoking and challenging. It made me think about why many people think that being a Christian is about keeping a moral code, saying your prayers and hoping you go to heaven. It troubles me that so many have a distorted idea of what following Christ is about. Tom Wright is correct in putting the power and excitement back into the good news – a new kingdom is coming and it’s not about an escape from a fearful and punishing God, but a loving God opening his arms to give you acceptance and belonging through Christ. As Christians we need to be less confrontational and more conversational in our evangelism, having an emphasis on friendship; of one sinner reaching out to another. I find an approach like this builds relationships rather than barriers.
@BenVealWrites A nice cup of tea and the latest festive issue of @Christianitymag. That’s my evening sorted then
@CYFmissioner Some time out to catch up with my reading @Christianitymag @youthworkmag @ChurchTimes – opportunity to reflect & pray
@GuildfordPeople Fantastic coverage of the refugee crisis in @Christianitymag – highlighting the importance of humanity #nolabels
@joshingaroundtv @andykindcomedy Just read your great article in @Christianitymag on comedy and the church...and yes let’s call that a prophecy #standup
Dear editor, I felt led to write in order to express my displeasure at the wanton display of impatience, indolence and downright slovenliness displayed in your latest edition of Premier Christianity magazine. I refer, of course, to the shameful front cover. ‘Be still before the Lord and wait patiently for him’, writes the psalmist, not ‘rip half the doors from your advent calendar before the month has started and wait impatiently for Christmas’. I note that all the doors up to 12th December were open, so unless that’s the date everyone receives their copy (which it isn’t), this demonstrates a patent lack of self-control. And precisely why you would be encouraging us to ignore the ninth fruit of the Spirit is quite beyond me. I may have graciously forgiven this lack of restraint, if it wasn’t so untidily put together. I’m not sure how it’s done in your backslidden house, but here we calmly open each door and fold them back neatly. Our Lord is a God of order, after all, as I was telling my children only yesterday when they left the toilet paper hanging down the back rather than the front of the roll. We are not animals! Furthermore, as I went to open the door of the 13th, I discovered that none of the others open at all! ‘Lying lips are an abomination to the Lord’, says Proverbs 12. Fake doors may also be the work of a deceiver! All in all, this was a complete farce. I include, on cassette, a 14-part exposition on Romans 8:25 to help you deal with this issue. Feel free to include a full transcription next month.
Discerningly yours, Rev Roger D Votional
Ed: Look out for more spiritual guidance from Rev Roger in our feedback pages