Quantum Theology: Camels Dancing on Satan’s Grave

Phil GroomI love it! Phil Groom has published, at his at least for the moment badly misnamed Phil’s Boring Blog, a wonderful post I saw camels dancing on Satan’s grave. Warning: some religious people might find some of the language slightly offensive, but the rest of us will find it hilarious. I’m not sure where the recently discovered manuscript of Revelation comes from. But the rest of this, at least if you don’t quibble about every detail, gives a fantastic (in both senses of the word) overview of God’s purposes for the world. Here’s an extract:

This is Christianity at its best, at its most basic and its most glorious: completely down to earth with the God who undermines every rule of religious propriety, turns every dogma and social norm on its head, tears down the walls and raises the dead. God with us, God incarnate, God one of us; and it doesn’t stop there: once God has written himself into the story, the story itself is rewritten with the promise of the same Resurrection-OS reboot for the entire universe. Quantum theology: time and space explode, ripping the old order apart as the Jesus Event reverberates backwards, forwards and every which way in time, rewriting history and writing an even better future. New creation, new beginning, new everything.

“Quantum theology” indeed!

Quantum Theology: Camels Dancing on Satan's Grave

Phil GroomI love it! Phil Groom has published, at his at least for the moment badly misnamed Phil’s Boring Blog, a wonderful post I saw camels dancing on Satan’s grave. Warning: some religious people might find some of the language slightly offensive, but the rest of us will find it hilarious. I’m not sure where the recently discovered manuscript of Revelation comes from. But the rest of this, at least if you don’t quibble about every detail, gives a fantastic (in both senses of the word) overview of God’s purposes for the world. Here’s an extract:

This is Christianity at its best, at its most basic and its most glorious: completely down to earth with the God who undermines every rule of religious propriety, turns every dogma and social norm on its head, tears down the walls and raises the dead. God with us, God incarnate, God one of us; and it doesn’t stop there: once God has written himself into the story, the story itself is rewritten with the promise of the same Resurrection-OS reboot for the entire universe. Quantum theology: time and space explode, ripping the old order apart as the Jesus Event reverberates backwards, forwards and every which way in time, rewriting history and writing an even better future. New creation, new beginning, new everything.

“Quantum theology” indeed!

Evangelical Alliance report: HOTS Bath, healing & ASA

The streets of BathThe Evangelical Alliance has just released on its new website an article Healing on the Streets advertising appeal. This article reports that HOTS Bath is appealing to the Advertising Standards Authority against the ASA ruling that it must not claim that God heals today – as I already reported in my post God Heals Today through Prayer – Scientific Paper. For more background see my post God can heal, but not to meet advertising standards.

The EA article also gives some more background on Christian interaction with the ASA concerning healing. In fact there is little here which has not been reported before. But it is good to see this all in one place and from an authoritative source. Here is the most significant part of the article:

In liaison with the ASA the [Evangelical] Alliance has been seeking to produce some agreed guidelines to help churches when advertising, highlighting areas that have proved problematic and indicating how to avoid breaking the guidelines.

The ASA has refused to budge from its insistence that any public advertising of the historic Christian belief that God is able to heal people physically must be prohibited. The only form of healing the ASA is willing to countenance is what they describe as ‘spiritual healing’. We presented our case (accompanied by legal experts) to the ASA that not only was their attitude unfair and uncomprehending of orthodox Christianity, but that it was probably illegal. In particular, we argued that the attitude of the ASA could be not only in breach of Articles 9 and 10 of the European Convention on Human Rights relating to freedom of belief and speech but they may also be discriminating on grounds of religion and belief. A recent case in the Northern Ireland High Court has confirmed this view. Whether the ASA is acting illegally or not, it is to be regretted that the ASA ultimately refused to work with the Alliance to find an acceptable way forward that met the concerns of both sides.

The reality is that the ASA has little legal power to enforce such a rule, though they could try to make life difficult for local churches. HOTS Bath has appealed against the ASA decision, though based on previous experience a positive outcome is doubtful.

It will be interesting to see where this goes. But we must remember that for Christians the ASA, like the devil in 1 Peter 5:8, may roar like a lion but is ultimately toothless.

Evangelical Alliance report: HOTS Bath, healing & ASA

The streets of BathThe Evangelical Alliance has just released on its new website an article Healing on the Streets advertising appeal. This article reports that HOTS Bath is appealing to the Advertising Standards Authority against the ASA ruling that it must not claim that God heals today – as I already reported in my post God Heals Today through Prayer – Scientific Paper. For more background see my post God can heal, but not to meet advertising standards.

The EA article also gives some more background on Christian interaction with the ASA concerning healing. In fact there is little here which has not been reported before. But it is good to see this all in one place and from an authoritative source. Here is the most significant part of the article:

In liaison with the ASA the [Evangelical] Alliance has been seeking to produce some agreed guidelines to help churches when advertising, highlighting areas that have proved problematic and indicating how to avoid breaking the guidelines.

The ASA has refused to budge from its insistence that any public advertising of the historic Christian belief that God is able to heal people physically must be prohibited. The only form of healing the ASA is willing to countenance is what they describe as ‘spiritual healing’. We presented our case (accompanied by legal experts) to the ASA that not only was their attitude unfair and uncomprehending of orthodox Christianity, but that it was probably illegal. In particular, we argued that the attitude of the ASA could be not only in breach of Articles 9 and 10 of the European Convention on Human Rights relating to freedom of belief and speech but they may also be discriminating on grounds of religion and belief. A recent case in the Northern Ireland High Court has confirmed this view. Whether the ASA is acting illegally or not, it is to be regretted that the ASA ultimately refused to work with the Alliance to find an acceptable way forward that met the concerns of both sides.

The reality is that the ASA has little legal power to enforce such a rule, though they could try to make life difficult for local churches. HOTS Bath has appealed against the ASA decision, though based on previous experience a positive outcome is doubtful.

It will be interesting to see where this goes. But we must remember that for Christians the ASA, like the devil in 1 Peter 5:8, may roar like a lion but is ultimately toothless.

Harold Camping Repents of “Sinful” Predictions

Harold CampingLast year Harold Camping, the now 90-year-old founder of Family Radio, became notorious for his predictions of the Rapture on 21st May and the end of the world on 21st October. Nothing special happened on either day. But even afterwards Camping insisted that his general approach in predicting such events was correct, and he was mistaken only in the details.

But now, it seems, he has changed his mind. The Christian Post reports that Harold Camping Admits Sin, Announces End to Doomsday Predictions. In a letter to his radio listeners, the basis of the Christian Post article, Camping has written:

We have learned the very painful lesson that all of creation is in God’s hands and He will end time in His time, not ours! We humbly recognize that God may not tell His people the date when Christ will return, any more than He tells anyone the date they will die physically.

We realize that many people are hoping they will know the date of Christ’s return. In fact for a time Family Radio fell into that kind of thinking. But we now realize that those people who were calling our attention to the Bible’s statement that “of that day and hour knoweth no man” (Matthew 24:36 & Mark 13:32), were right in their understanding of those verses and Family Radio was wrong. Whether God will ever give us any indication of the date of His return is hidden in God’s divine plan.

We were even so bold as to insist that the Bible guaranteed that Christ would return on May 21 and that the true believers would be raptured. Yet this incorrect and sinful statement allowed God to get the attention of a great many people who otherwise would not have paid attention. Even as God used sinful Balaam to accomplish His purposes, so He used our sin to accomplish His purpose of making the whole world acquainted with the Bible. However, even so, that does not excuse us. We tremble before God as we humbly ask Him for forgiveness for making that sinful statement. We are so thankful that God is so loving that He will forgive even this sin.

So we must be satisfied to humbly wait upon God, and trust He will guide His people to safety.

I admire Camping for being prepared to publicly ask God for “forgiveness for making that sinful statement”.

Last June, after Camping suffered a stroke, I wrote:

I pray for a quick recovery for Harold Camping. I pray also for a genuine repentance and a return to the true gospel message with which he started.

The first prayer was apparently answered. I am pleased to see signs that the second one is also being answered, if perhaps more gradually. Camping also writes:

God has humbled us through the events of May 21, to continue to even more fervently search the Scriptures (the Bible), not to find dates, but to be more faithful in our understanding.

I now hope and pray that through this Bible study God will turn him away from his more general theological errors back to the true and powerful gospel of Jesus Christ.

Harold Camping Repents of "Sinful" Predictions

Harold CampingLast year Harold Camping, the now 90-year-old founder of Family Radio, became notorious for his predictions of the Rapture on 21st May and the end of the world on 21st October. Nothing special happened on either day. But even afterwards Camping insisted that his general approach in predicting such events was correct, and he was mistaken only in the details.

But now, it seems, he has changed his mind. The Christian Post reports that Harold Camping Admits Sin, Announces End to Doomsday Predictions. In a letter to his radio listeners, the basis of the Christian Post article, Camping has written:

We have learned the very painful lesson that all of creation is in God’s hands and He will end time in His time, not ours! We humbly recognize that God may not tell His people the date when Christ will return, any more than He tells anyone the date they will die physically.

We realize that many people are hoping they will know the date of Christ’s return. In fact for a time Family Radio fell into that kind of thinking. But we now realize that those people who were calling our attention to the Bible’s statement that “of that day and hour knoweth no man” (Matthew 24:36 & Mark 13:32), were right in their understanding of those verses and Family Radio was wrong. Whether God will ever give us any indication of the date of His return is hidden in God’s divine plan.

We were even so bold as to insist that the Bible guaranteed that Christ would return on May 21 and that the true believers would be raptured. Yet this incorrect and sinful statement allowed God to get the attention of a great many people who otherwise would not have paid attention. Even as God used sinful Balaam to accomplish His purposes, so He used our sin to accomplish His purpose of making the whole world acquainted with the Bible. However, even so, that does not excuse us. We tremble before God as we humbly ask Him for forgiveness for making that sinful statement. We are so thankful that God is so loving that He will forgive even this sin.

So we must be satisfied to humbly wait upon God, and trust He will guide His people to safety.

I admire Camping for being prepared to publicly ask God for “forgiveness for making that sinful statement”.

Last June, after Camping suffered a stroke, I wrote:

I pray for a quick recovery for Harold Camping. I pray also for a genuine repentance and a return to the true gospel message with which he started.

The first prayer was apparently answered. I am pleased to see signs that the second one is also being answered, if perhaps more gradually. Camping also writes:

God has humbled us through the events of May 21, to continue to even more fervently search the Scriptures (the Bible), not to find dates, but to be more faithful in our understanding.

I now hope and pray that through this Bible study God will turn him away from his more general theological errors back to the true and powerful gospel of Jesus Christ.

God Heals Today through Prayer – Scientific Paper

I am grateful to Healing on the Streets (HOTS) Bath for linking from their home page to my earlier post God can heal, but not to meet advertising standards, which they describe as “some good Christian wisdom”. That post was a response to the Advertising Standards Authority’s ruling that HOTS Bath must not claim publicly that God heals today, physically and not only spiritually.

I was interested to look at some of the other material currently linked to from the same HOTS Bath home page, in a section also responding to the ASA ruling. In particular, they link to a proper scientific paper providing evidence that God heals today, physically, in response to Christian prayer. The paper is entitled Study of the Therapeutic Effects of Proximal Intercessory Prayer (STEPP) on Auditory and Visual Impairments in Rural Mozambique, by “Brown, Candy Gunther PhD; Mory, Stephen C. MD; Williams, Rebecca MB BChir, DTM&H; McClymond, Michael J. PhD”, and is published in Southern Medical Journal: September 2010 – Volume 103 – Issue 9 – pp 864-869.

The research for this paper was done in Mozambique, at mass meetings sponsored by Iris Ministries (founded by Rolland and Heidi Baker) and Global Awakening. The authors tested the hearing or eyesight of people coming forward for healing and tested them again after prayer. They found statistically significant improvements in both hearing and eyesight. There is an extremely small probability that these were merely chance improvements or measurement errors. A suggestion or placebo effect cannot be ruled out, but the improvements are much better than have elsewhere been recorded for suggestion and hypnosis.

Heidi Baker with a baby who "was blind with white eyes just minutes before!"

Heidi Baker with a baby who "was blind with white eyes just minutes before!"

It is interesting that the authors write:

Conducting similar studies under controlled clinical conditions in North America would be desirable, yet neither Iris nor Global Awakening claims comparable results in industrialized countries (arguing that “anointing” and “faith” are lower where medical therapies are available) …

I can’t help wondering what results would be obtained if similar measurements were made in industrialized countries at, for example, Todd Bentley or Benny Hinn meetings. These two have also claimed spectacular results in third world countries but would additionally claim comparable results in the USA, and in Benny Hinn’s case other western countries. But, as far as I know, no similar studies have been attempted at their meetings.

Nevertheless, the scientifically demonstrated result that God heals today in Mozambique shows that he is able to do so also in a tent in Florida or on the streets of Bath. This also suggests the veracity of reports that he has actually done so, even if the frequency of such occurrences is less than in Africa.

HOTS Bath also links to the newly formed Global Medical Research Institute, which

seeks to apply the rigorous methods of evidence-based medicine to the study of Christian spiritual healing practices, including the widespread practice of proximal intercessory prayer (PIP).

There is also a link to a book to be published shortly by Harvard University Press, Testing Prayer (my link is an affiliate one to your local Amazon store) by Candy Gunther Brown who is also the lead author of the Mozambique paper. From the publisher’s material:

In Candy Gunther Brown’s view, science cannot prove prayer’s healing power, but what scientists can and should do is study prayer’s measurable effects on health. If prayer produces benefits, even indirectly (and findings suggest that it does), then more careful attention to prayer practices could impact global health, particularly in places without access to conventional medicine.

The clear implication of all this is that there is real scientific evidence that healing prayer is effective and a respectable scholarly opinion that it is beneficial. I am sure HOTS Bath are pointing this out in their appeal to the Advertising Standards Authority. Hopefully this will lead them to reconsider their apparent blanket ban on claims that God heals physically today.

Does this heartless thief now have a saint’s heart?

Sorry for so little blogging recently. Life has been very busy, for reasons which I hope to be able to explain soon.

The heart of St Laurence O'TooleThe BBC (also Joel Watts in a retweet, but surprisingly he doesn’t seem to have blogged about this yet) reports that the heart of Dublin’s patron saint has been stolen from the cathedral where it was kept. The 12th century relic of St Laurence O’Toole was stolen from inside a cage with iron bars. The thief apparently ignored nearby gold chalices and candlesticks and intentionally took only the heart.

Interestingly, this is an Anglican (Church of Ireland) cathedral. It seems strange to me as an Anglican that a relic like this is, or was, kept in one of our church buildings. It is of course of historic interest. But if it had become an object of veneration, it is perhaps good that, like Nehushtan in 2 Kings 18:4, it has been removed.

Perhaps the thief realised how heartless he or she was, and thought a saint’s heart would help with mending ways. Of course wrongdoing is never the road to repentance. But it is only God, through Jesus, who can give such a person the new heart they need:

I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you; I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh. 27 And I will put my Spirit in you and move you to follow my decrees and be careful to keep my laws.

Ezekiel 26:26-27 (NIV)

Does this heartless thief now have a saint's heart?

Sorry for so little blogging recently. Life has been very busy, for reasons which I hope to be able to explain soon.

The heart of St Laurence O'TooleThe BBC (also Joel Watts in a retweet, but surprisingly he doesn’t seem to have blogged about this yet) reports that the heart of Dublin’s patron saint has been stolen from the cathedral where it was kept. The 12th century relic of St Laurence O’Toole was stolen from inside a cage with iron bars. The thief apparently ignored nearby gold chalices and candlesticks and intentionally took only the heart.

Interestingly, this is an Anglican (Church of Ireland) cathedral. It seems strange to me as an Anglican that a relic like this is, or was, kept in one of our church buildings. It is of course of historic interest. But if it had become an object of veneration, it is perhaps good that, like Nehushtan in 2 Kings 18:4, it has been removed.

Perhaps the thief realised how heartless he or she was, and thought a saint’s heart would help with mending ways. Of course wrongdoing is never the road to repentance. But it is only God, through Jesus, who can give such a person the new heart they need:

I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you; I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh. 27 And I will put my Spirit in you and move you to follow my decrees and be careful to keep my laws.

Ezekiel 26:26-27 (NIV)