Friday, 29 November 2013

On the Trail of the Reformation - Number Two

As many of you who read this blog know, I was away in late June and early July in Europe on a Reformation History Tour, with author Douglas Bond.  That was probably one of the most wonderful, insightful, and enjoyable trips I have ever been on.  And it got me thinking about many things regarding the Reformation itself - one of which is here:

The Reformation was One of the Key Events in the Whole History of the Church

      Over the course of many hundreds of years, the then dominant religious power, the Roman Catholic Church, had slowly regressed into non-biblical teaching, sadly leading almost all who were in the Church astray.  But then came along men who looked at the Scriptures - and saw in it the life-giving Gospel.  Men like John Wycliffe, who translated the Bible into English;  Jacques Lefevre d'Etaple, who taught the Reformed faith in Paris long before 1517;  Martin Luther, who wrote the 95 Theses, starting a major part of the Reformation;  John Calvin, who wrote clear and solid theology - these were men who had been called by God to bring people in darkness back to the light of a right and full understanding of the Gospel.  These men saw that the Church needed to be brought back to the doctrines of salvation by grace and faith alone, and by God's strength, they succeeded in doing it.
      I believe that the Reformation was one of the key events in the history of the church because of this:
      If there had not been a Reformation, the Gospel could not have been preached freely and without hindrance - and could not have spread as it did.  If there had not been a Reformation, Scripture would still be shrouded in mystery and secrecy, and again, the Gospel would be hidden.  But since there was a Reformation, the living Gospel impacted the lives of an enormous number of people.  Since there was a Reformation we can look back and see the marvelous ways God has spread His kingdom over that particular period in history. Since there was a Reformation, we can see that God is continually reforming his Church - and in the end he will restore heaven and earth, and we will glory in his wonderful works of salvation in my life and yours.

Written and Posted by William A Moore

Traveling through Switzerland on a Sunday morning.

Friday, 22 November 2013

Remembering C. S. Lewis: 50 Years Later

        C. S. Lewis was born on November 29th, 1898, in Belfast, Ireland, the son of Albert Lewis, who was a lawyer, and Flora Hamilton Lewis.  Here he grew up with his elder brother Warren where they lived in a great big house which they played in and explored together.  Here it was too, that the seeds of adventure in the Narnia Chronicles were planted.  But life soon had a sudden shock.  His mother died of cancer in the summer, and Lewis’ father sent his boys off to boarding school in England.  

        Lewis moved two years later to Malvern College where he stayed until he continued on to Oxford University two years before the First World War.  After volunteering to fight and getting wounded late in the War, he and his brother eventually moved in with the mother of one of his friends who was killed in the War.  She looked after Lewis and his brother until she died much later on.  It was during this time at the Kilns, which was the name of their home, that Lewis began to write volumes.  

        Here, in 1950, he wrote The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe which is, without a doubt, his most read and most famous book.  It was here that the adventures with Warren in the great old house in their boyhood became real in The Magician’s Nephew.  It was here that Lewis wrote what I consider to be his greatest book, The Last Battle.  (I do not have the time nor space to write about it here, but if you read it for yourself, you will know what I mean.)  The effect that these books have had on the world is amazing.  Embodying Christian theology, with pure adventure, realistic fantastical worlds and creatures, with an author who has a wonderful grasp of the English language, these books must be considered C. S. Lewis’s highest achievements.  

        After writing many other books, such as Mere Christianity, and, Surprised by Joy, and having been made a Fellow of Magdalene College in Oxford, and with many other awards bestowed upon him, C. S. Lewis died on November 22nd, 1963, which is this day, fifty years ago.  He now rests with his Lord and Saviour, but his books, and the adventure, wonder, and truth embodied in them, still remain to be read by numbers of people the world over.  

Written and Posted by William A Moore

Tuesday, 19 November 2013

On the Trail of the Reformation - Number One

        Catechisms are a different subject to write upon, but they were an integral part of the Reformation.  Having had a good conversation with a friend about catechisms has helped me formulate my thoughts, which are based upon Scripture and history, into this post.

Catechisms Are a Tool Whereby We Can Clearly Understand and Articulate the Doctrines of the Faith

          The picture on the right of this post is of a part of Heidelburg Castle, Germany.  On the trip to Europe earlier this year, we stopped by this important site where the doctrines of the Reformation were beautifully thought out and put down in what we know today as the Heidelburg Catechism.  It was in 1562 that the Elector Frederick III, who was ruler of the Palatinate, commissioned two young men, whose names were Caspar Olevianus and Zacharias Ursinus to write a catechism to put an end to disputes in his kingdom.  Making use of many documents available at the time, they succeeded in completing a finished draft of it by the end of 1562.  Once approved by members of the Palatinate, it was published in 1563, and even having gone through many editions, the catechism still retains its intended ability and purpose - to explain the Reformed doctrines in a clear and simple, yet rich and full, way.

      Which brings me to the one thing which I would like to point out.  Catechisms are, I believe, one of the best ways to thoroughly and concisely be able understand and share the doctrines of the Faith - with everyone.  When I am asked about theology, one of the first things that pops into my head is a relating question from the catechism.  Knowing a catechism is one of the most useful things to have - both to defend the faith and to understand key doctrinal theology.  So learn theology through a catechism and you will have a good foundation to understanding and confidently sharing the whole Gospel.

Written and posted by William A Moore

Monday, 11 November 2013

Recollections of War: Ninety-Five Years?

      On this day it is 95 years since the ending of "The War to end all Wars".  Or is it? With each successive conflict people say that we, as humankind, are working together for universal peace.  True, many have fought and died for peace, and peace in many cases did come - but for how long? There is something which we are missing, something which has been lost.  Read below:

O God, our help in ages past,
Our hope for years to come,
Our shelter from the stormy blast,
And our eternal home.

Under the shadow of Thy throne
Thy saints have dwelt secure;
Sufficient is Thine arm alone,
And our defense is sure.

Before the hills in order stood,
Or earth received her frame,
From everlasting Thou art God,
To endless years the same.

Thy Word commands our flesh to dust,
“Return, ye sons of men:”
All nations rose from earth at first,
And turn to earth again.

The busy tribes of flesh and blood,
With all their lives and cares,
Are carried downwards by the flood,
And lost in following years.

O God, our help in ages past,
Our hope for years to come,
Be Thou our guard while troubles last,
And our eternal home.

      Did you see it?  That something is this: We should find and remember that our Hope is in God alone.  We must remember that it is not our efforts that control this world.  It is Christ who upholds the universe by the word of His power.  We must place our hope during conflicts and peace in our Lord and God, for He is mighty to save, slow to anger, abiding in steadfast love - forever faithful.  

Written and Posted by William A Moore

Tuesday, 5 November 2013

Our Choice

        Yesterday I did a draft of this post and posted it here.  I then realized I had rushed it and took it down – but, thinking it through, and rewriting it has yielded fruit in the three paragraphs below. I hope they are a blessing and challenge to you.

        When you look back over something that has gone wrong, you can see that it was not just one big decision that brought things tumbling down.  It is many small choices that either build something up - or tear it down.  In our day and age we must choose whether or not we will make the choice to stand or fall.  It says in Judges, after Joshua had conquered Canaan, that “there arose another generation after them who did not know the Lord or the work that he had done for Israel…And they abandoned the Lord, the God of their fathers, who had brought them out of the land of Egypt.” (Judges 2:10, 12)  If the people of Israel abandoned the Lord, that means that they had been taught about Him, and instructed, to some degree, to worship and serve Him.  So what made them forget God? I believe it is because they did not continually think upon his word, store it up in their hearts, and serve Him alone.

        We must choose this day who we shall serve.  Is that a hard question?  Or is the answer the thing that’s hard?  Young men and ladies, serve the Lord - make him your King, use your life for his glory, serve others and Him with cheerfulness and sincerity; for that is what we were created to do.  In the beginning, God made everything good, and since the fall, all of creation has been trying to get back to that state.  Even though things will never be perfect until the new Creation, our lives should be ones which show that we know Christ will come again, and we must share this with the world.  

        To finish: Are we going to lose sight of the mark and fall, like the generation who did not remember the instruction of their fathers and forgot God?  Or shall we strive, to the best of our ability, with the Spirit's help, to achieve the goals of the generation before us, remembering their godly instruction and set new goals for our children – doing all of this according to God's word to advance the Kingdom of our Lord.  Our choice must be to stand for Christ.

       Matthew 22:37 - And he said to him, "You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all mind."

Written and Posted by William Moore