Thursday, 21 January 2010

Where wrath and mercy met

I just love C J Mahaney, he is overwhelming passionate for God and is enthused for God's word and sets my heart on fire. I recently enjoyed his excellent devotional book ,'Living the Cross centred Life' in this book he takes us on a journey through Christ's suffers and what it means for us. The chapter on Gethsemane brought me to my knees in joyful humbled thanksgiving. He starts this chapter by reminding us of the Jesus we have met in the gospels up till this point, a man of strength and assurance. Gethsemane comes as a shock what we find instead of the strong confidence Jesus is Jesus 'greatly distressed and troubled' Mahaney tells us that 'This is a consuming, crushing agony for our Saviour, utterly unlike anything we've previously observed.' (p76) In Gethsemane we met 'Jesus more vulnerable and more human than we've ever known. And we can't escape one question: Why? and he goes onto say why because on the cross Jesus will experience infinitely more than physical discomfort. For on the cross Jesus will experience 'unprecedented suffering of wrath and abandonment. His downward path into those unspeakable depths begins to plunge steeply in this garden called Gethsemane' p78
Mahaney presents us with the idea of Jesus looking into the cup and seeing the wrath, like a whole cup of volcono. 'As one Bible commentator notes, Jesus entered the garden "to be with the Father for an interlude before his betrayal, but found Hell rather than Heaven open before Him." p.81
I can't do justice to Mahaney's little book which comes out of a lifetime of being in love with Jesus, realising that this wrath is what you deserve and yet knowing that the saviour bore in love the cup of God's wrath so that we could live with Him forever.


Monday, 4 January 2010

Collision Movie

I love apologetics especially on the subject of Theism v Atheism so I was glad to receive for Christmas the dvd 'Collision'. The movie is a documentary following the Atheist ,Christopher Hitchens and the Christian Theist, Pastor Doug Wilson on a debating tour across the USA. They got together through a series of written debates that were eventually turned into a book called 'Is Christianity Good For the World?' Hitchens says of Wilson that He truly believes the Bible so I know where I stand with him. Hitchens also credits Wilson with giving an answer that he hadn't heard before. This to me was a reflection of the poor state of mainline British churches. Hitchens grew up in a upper middle class British family and went to church as part of his boarding school where he was taught moralism as Christianity. Wilson shocked Hitchens by pointing out that the Good Samaritan is more than a moral tale but an attack on religious hypocrisy and ethnocentrism. Here is something for us to be aware of, we must always teach the Bible as the history of God redeeming a sinful people to himself not a bunch of unrelated stories with a moral tale.
The movie is more about their developing relationship than the debate so I wish I had read the book before watching the movie. They are both honest, passionate and have a deep sense that this issue is an important one. Hitchens is not as militant as Dawkins and both he and Wilson have a real rapport with each other. It was good to see them laughing together at a meal or chatting in a bar. Although I would have liked to see more of the debate they both raise interesting questions. Hitchens challenges the goodness of God because of the Divine ban, where God commanded Moses and later Joshua to destroy the Amalekites. Hitchens finds this repulsive and Doug Wilson never answers this to Hitchens' satisfaction. Wilson respects Hitchens' morality but asks him to give a foundation for his belief in right and wrong, including how he can find something God does as wrong without relying on a borrowed Christian morality. Christopher Hitchens never gives Wilson a satisfactory answer to this question.
I have attended several of these types of debates but 'Collision' offered a glimpse of the personalities behind the debate. They are both likable smart guys with big personalities and have a real respect for each other. Believe it or not the movie is fast paced and exciting.
I have added the book to my list of must reads!
God Bless <><