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The Evangelical Presbyterian JUL-AUG 2014

In thIs Issue

World Cup fatigue

Pray for those in

Meet

Page 3

authority Page 4

Marcus Page 5

Finaghy ordination

Page 6

Page 7

Photos of

events Page 8

the Indwelling spirit

the Return of save the dates

Darwinism & hitler Book reviews Dear Rev

Page 10

Christ Page 12 Page 13

Page 14

Page 15

Page 16

The Evangelical Presbyterian is published bimonthly by the Presbytery of the Evangelical Presbyterian Church.

Website For more information on the Evangelical Presbyterian Church, including details of our various congregations, please visit our denominational website at www.epcni.org.uk

Policy The views expressed are those of the editor and contributors of the Evangelical Presbyterian Church, unless otherwise stated. Unsigned articles are by the editor.

Articles The editor is willing to accept articles for publication on the understanding that the submission of an article does not guarantee its publication. Contributors should recognise that all articles are also liable to editing and alteration without consultation. No material can be published unless the full name and postal address of the contributor is supplied. The preferred method of submission is electronically as a Word document.

strapline ‘Ecclesia reformata semper reformanda est’ – the Reformed Church is always reforming

editor

est’ – the Reformed Church is always reforming editor Gareth Burke 33, Onslow Gardens, BELFAST, BT6

Gareth Burke 33, Onslow Gardens, BELFAST, BT6 0AQ

Phone: 07803 282489 Email: gnburke@yahoo.co.uk

Book Reviews

Colin Campbell Manager The Evangelical Book Shop BELFAST BT1 6DD

Colin Campbell Manager The Evangelical Book Shop BELFAST BT1 6DD

Phone 028 9032 0529 Email: info@evangelicalbookshop.co.uk Website: www.evangelicalbookshop.co.uk

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The Evangelical Presbyterian JUL-AUG 2014

F1RST WORD WORLD CuP FAtIGue As you begin to read this edition of the ‘Evangelical
F1RST WORD
WORLD CuP FAtIGue
As you begin to read this edition of the ‘Evangelical Presbyterian’ you will be relieved to note
that the World Cup is almost over. It began on Thursday 20th June in Brazil and during the
past month thirty one nations have been competing against each other. A total of sixty four
matches will have been played in twelve different cities across Brazil. In many households
there has been a little tension over these past weeks. That tension has focussed especially
around the TV. In some households not everyone has wanted to watch so much football.
There are those who enjoy Wimbledon and other notable sporting events who were most
unhappy if other family members were insisting on constantly watching soccer. Mind you, even
the keenest of football fans is bound to have become a little fed up with the whole thing by the
All this World Cup talk has, remarkably, made me think quite a lot about heaven. This might
initially surprise you – how can an international football competition create an interest in
heaven? In two ways.
Firstly, there is the sheer amount of football being played. Many folks will just become weary
of the whole event as the weeks go by. However, when we get to heaven, even though we are
going to be there forever and ever we will never grow tired or weary of the experience.
As you read through the Bible it is clear that heaven is not a static experience for those who
are found there. We will be forever increasing in our knowledge of God and of his ways and
ever increasing in our appreciation of the beauty and sinlessness of the place.
The other aspect of the World Cup that reminds me of heaven is the international aspect of the
competition. Teams are drawn from all over the world. It is a truly multi-cultural, international
event. The Bible is clear that in heaven we will be surrounded by men and women drawn from
every nation of the world.
So heaven will be not be boring. A rich variety of people will be there and they will never grow
tired of it. Of course the key question for each of us is – ‘Will I be there?’ The good news is
that through faith in Jesus Christ, the Son of God, I can be sure of heaven. If I’ve turned from
my sin and trusted in Jesus then heaven is my future. What a place!

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‘Pray for those in authority’

Why should we pray for those in authority? We may often do so out of habit but it’s important to think Biblically, so let’s look at the instruction we’re given in 1 Timothy 2 v.2. The overall context of Paul’s exhortation is one of praying for all kinds of people. We are to pray for people of all nations and backgrounds, for God ‘desires all men to be saved and to come to

a knowledge of the truth’ v. 4.

But why single out those in authority?

‘For kings and all who are in authority’ covers a wide range of people. There were different rulers then as now: emperors, kings, governors etc. Evidently this didn’t mean simply people

in authority that we might like or be sympathetic to or even those

who might be Christians; rather we should pray for all in authority. What is important about them that calls for our prayers? the Bible. Romans 13 verses 1 and 4 remind us that the civil authorities are appointed by God for our good: they are called God’s servants. We need authority in this world. Man at creation was given that task of having dominion over the earth: ‘You have made him to have dominion over the works of your hands.’ There was authority at the beginning. Authority is important in the home, in the church, and in society in general. Chaos results if everybody is able to do just as they please. So we see this is part of God’s goodness, his common grace, that there is order. It’s important that we don’t see government simply as a human construct. Even in a democracy it is God who has put rulers in that position. So here is a reason to single them out for prayer: they have a particular role, a role which God has ordained. Think of the many places where the Bible refers to rulers, not just kings of Israel, but rulers in general e.g. Prov. 16: 10-15; Eccl. 8:

2-4; Ps. 2:2. In prayer we are to be mindful that God is the God of the whole earth. We don’t live in some bubble unaware of the world around us. We must pray for those in authority.

For believers

But there’s another reason given in this passage: the authorities’ world - John 17:15 ‘I do not pray that you should take them out of the world, but that you should keep them from the evil one.’ We live our lives, our daily calling, eating and sleeping and all that we do in this world. There are Christians today and in history who have taken separation from the world to an extreme and been unconcerned about what’s going on around them. So Paul encourages prayer mindful of how we are affected by those in authority. We are to pray ‘that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and reverence’. Now this isn’t a desire motivated by self-interest. Rather the concern is how we are to live before God and the world around us. They were to desire this so they could live with all ‘godliness and reverence’. The word ‘reverence’ here may be better translated as ‘seriousness’ or ‘dignity’. It describes a life of piety, living in the fear of God, keeping a good conscience,

but also a life that is respected in the eyes of those around us. where the land itself is in turmoil and war those things may be threatened. But the concern of the apostle in 1 Timothy reaches beyond the well being of the believer and his own freedom to live the Christian life, as important as that is. We notice how verse 4 is connected to this: ‘For’ this is acceptable to God ‘who desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth.’ The gospel is to spread far and wide and where the authorities hinder the church, the spread of the gospel is hindered. Sometimes the apostles had to leave cities such as Ephesus and Thessalonica because the rulers of the city were concerned to imprisonment, holding back the work.

historical examples

Sometimes in God’s sovereignty a time of persecution has coincided with the church growing. It was said by one of the church fathers – ‘the blood of the martyrs is the seed of the church’. But sometimes the opposite has happened - in France in 1572 tens of thousands of Huguenots were killed by order of for many centuries there was little gospel light in France. In Iraq today there has been violence and unrest – multitudes of believers the 1990s. We can think of many other examples.

Importance of this prayer

Paul saw there was a need to exhort that prayer be offered for those who were rulers. In his day Nero was the Roman emperor. He was a very wicked man, responsible for violently persecuting Christians. Nevertheless Paul exhorts that prayer be made for kings and all who are in authority. us, and especially when we think of rulers of other nations as well. But we can pray to the Sovereign Lord who rules over all. Prov. 21:1 ‘The king’s heart is in the hand of the LORD, Like the rivers of water; He turns it wherever He wishes.’ Practically we should pray that they act with wisdom and justice seeing the importance of what they do – that they ultimately are God’s servants, but praying as well for the protection and liberty of God’s people. The question of the relationship between church and state is a vexed one. It’s been a cause of much discussion in the history of the church. But the important thing to emphasise here is the need to pray for those who rule over us, believing that the Lord does hear us when we call upon him.

Marcus Hobson was recently installed as minister of the Finaghy congregation, having being involved for
Marcus Hobson was recently installed
as minister of the Finaghy congregation,
having being involved for a number of
years with the EPCEW. He is married to
Alison and they have one son, Edward.

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6.

We know that you are married to Alison and

6. We know that you are married to Alison and MEET MARCUS 1. Marcus, please share

MEET MARCUS

1. Marcus, please share with us a little about your

background - where you grew up, what schools

you went to, home and family life?

I grew up in Woking, Surrey and went to schools in

the area. My parents are Christians and we went to

a

local evangelical church.

2.

how did you come to faith in Christ?

As sometimes happens when you’re from a Christian

home I came to faith more gradually than suddenly.

I can remember particular sermons speaking to me

and being convinced there was nowhere else to turn. In the context of a secondary school where there were very few Christians you have to start to nail your colours to the mast quite early on.

3. Please tell us about your studies after school -

did you go to university?

I went to University in London and studied history followed by a course in Librarianship.

have been blessed with a son, edward, but many of our readers will wonder - how did a man from hertfordshire meet a girl from n Ireland?

As part of the course at WEST I had to do a church placement, so in January 2010 I spent some time at Gateshead and Durham and then came back in the summer for a longer period. During this time I got to know Alison. She’d been in North East England for some time teaching at Emmanuel College in North Coast and we got married up there so I feel at least partly Northern Irish!

7. Please share with us the Christian book that

That’s a hard one. I remember reading E.J. Young’s book Thy Word is Truth at a formative time and when you grasp the authority and reliability of the Bible a lot of other things fall into place.

8. thank you Marcus for sharing all these matters

with us. As you begin your ministry in Finaghy ePC what are the matters that you would like us to pray for?

4. the Lord called you into full time Christian

service - how did that happen?

I felt a desire to preach while I was at University but at the time was encouraged to get some work

experience, so I worked in a few libraries in London.

A job as Librarian was then advertised at the

Evangelical Theological College of Wales, now called WEST, so I applied for this and moved WEST I’d begun to do more preaching and was increasingly feeling a desire to go in this direction. So eventually, with the support of the church, I went into studying for the ministry.

5.Recently you were serving as assistant minister in Durham Presbyterian Church. Please tell us a little about the work and witness of the Durham congregation?

DPC as it’s become known started over twenty years ago. There’s a good congregation normally around 50 on

a Sunday. Many have been in the church for some

years. Durham itself has quite a transient population with the University attracting people from around the world and that brings visitors to the church as well. In 2009 Durham planted a church in Gateshead which is also going well.

I’d very much value prayer for wisdom and strength at this early stage when there’s much to learn and get used to.

and strength at this early stage when there’s much to learn and get used to. The
and strength at this early stage when there’s much to learn and get used to. The

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REPORT ON FINAGHY ORDINATION

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The ordination and installation of Marcus P Hobson as minister of the Finaghy congregation took place on Saturday 3 May 2014 at 2:30pm. Mr. John Grier, Moderator of Presbytery, conducted the service and constituted the Presbytery in prayer. Rev. Ian McLean (father of Mrs Alison Hobson) read the Scriptures, Daniel 7:1, 9-14; Revelation 5:1-14 and John 21: 1-14. Mr. Mervyn Langtry gave the narrative of events leading up to the call of Mr. Hobson. The clerk of Presbytery put the prescribed questions to Mr. Hobson who signed the formulae of subscription. Rev. Dr. Sid Garland led the prayer of ordination as members of Presbytery laid hands on Mr. Hobson. The charge to the newly ordained minister was given by Rev. Brian Norton (Durham) and Rev. Robert Johnston gave the charge to the congregation. Following the singing of the closing

praise Rev. Marcus Hobson concluded the service with prayer and the benediction. Following the service the congregation was invited to remain for the reception when the ladies (and men) of the congregation served superb refreshments. Mr. David Tinsley chaired the proceedings. Rev. Richard Holst (Cardiff) brought greetings from EPCEW. Mr. Hugh Williamson and Mrs. Garland made presentations to Marcus and Alison and Mrs. Judith Taggart presented young Edward with a gift. Mr. Tinsley presented a gift to Rev. Robert Johnston, and Mrs. Naomi Halliday handed over a gift to Mrs. Julie Johnston. The day concluded with Rev. Samuel Watson leading in prayer.

Harold Gibson (Clerk of Presbytery).

with Rev. Samuel Watson leading in prayer. Harold Gibson (Clerk of Presbytery). The Evangelical Presbyterian JUL-AUG
with Rev. Samuel Watson leading in prayer. Harold Gibson (Clerk of Presbytery). The Evangelical Presbyterian JUL-AUG
with Rev. Samuel Watson leading in prayer. Harold Gibson (Clerk of Presbytery). The Evangelical Presbyterian JUL-AUG
with Rev. Samuel Watson leading in prayer. Harold Gibson (Clerk of Presbytery). The Evangelical Presbyterian JUL-AUG
with Rev. Samuel Watson leading in prayer. Harold Gibson (Clerk of Presbytery). The Evangelical Presbyterian JUL-AUG

The Evangelical Presbyterian JUL-AUG 2014

How much of your day comes into contact with the Internet? Our lives have become heavily dependent on the Internet whether it is for communication, shopping, work, or leisure. Like many things in life, the Internet can be used for good or for bad. You may be very much aware of the bad aspects of the Internet such as the abuse of social media or the ease of access to pornography that is often prevalent on our news headlines. Yet the Internet has many positives to offer the Christian. Like many other areas of life, the use of the Internet requires that we effectively apply vital biblical principles such as self- control, accountability, and good stewardship of our time. Certainly one key requirement is discipline. Many hours in the day can be wasted in activities such as checking the news feed on Facebook or browsing the latest fashion range. The Internet also provides a huge amount of information that is contributing to the Christian merely processing data at the expense of the lost art of meditation.

I have listed below some tools and links that have been

1. Blogs – like the Internet itself, blogs can be a power for

good or bad. I have come across some blogs that have promoted unnecessary strife and gossip – these should be avoided like the plague. A good blog will offer intelligent, biblically rooted articles that engage with areas such as the Christian life, Christian resources, history, or current events/ apologetics. Blogs that I like to read include:

kevindeyoung/) justintaylor/)

2. Ministries – there are many Christ exalting sermons/

lectures available on the Internet (many for free) that are excellent for listening to in the car or at the gym. Below are some suggestions. Many of these also have apps available for your mobile phone allowing content to be easily downloaded and enjoyed.

3. eBooks – for me the eBook will never replace the printed book. In fact many eBooks can be just as expensive as the printed version. Yet there are many good deals available on the Internet including have limited space for storing books. Sometimes if I even enjoy an eBook so much I will buy the printed version! Other times I am glad I didn’t buy the printed version! Tim Challies’ blog detailed above is an excellent source for communicating the latest deals on quality titles. PDFs of most John Piper books are also free at Desiring God.

4. Bible Study Tools – there are a rich range of tools available online as well as specialised mobile apps to encourage and facilitate the study of the scriptures. Below are some I like:

comparing the text of multiple versions as well as including useful study tools such as maps and classic commentaries from scholars such as Matthew Henry and John Gill. the ESV, this site includes many free tools such as the ability to view John Piper sermons on the text in focus as well as optional paid add-ons such as Greek language tools and commentary integration. resources/the-james-philip-archives/bible-readings/) – The Tron Church in Glasgow offer free PDFs of the excellent daily bible reading notes from the Rev James Philip formerly of Holyrood Abbey Church, Edinburgh.

So why not try some of the above links and make the most of the Internet in a wise and productive manner? If there are them with us by writing a letter/email to the editor?

Christopher Doherty is a deacon in the Stranmillis congregation. After studying for a degree in Business Information Technology he now works in the Natural

Gas industry.

in Business Information Technology he now works in the Natural Gas industry. The Evangelical Presbyterian JUL-AUG

The Evangelical Presbyterian JUL-AUG 2014

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On saturday 26th April the Presbytery Day Confernece was held at Belfast Bible Collge. An excelent day of fellowship and teaching took place with Rev David Court (edinburgh) bringing the Word to us clearly and warmly. Mr John Grier was installed as the Moderator of Presbytery. One week later Rev Marcus hobson was ordained and installed as the new minister of the Finaghy congregation. shaun McFall of Ballyclare was busy with his camera at both events - the editor is most grateful to him for supplying the following pictures.

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The Evangelical Presbyterian JUL-AUG 2014

The Evangelical Presbyterian JUL-AUG 2014

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10 Does Jesus command the impossible? He commands dead sinners to believe in him! He

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Does Jesus command the impossible? He commands dead sinners to believe in him! He commands his Church to keep his commandments, to not love the world, to purify ourselves, and to love one another! Can you actually do it?

The wonderful thing about the command of God is that the commandment is accompanied with power to obey it. Remember Lazarus: he was dead, but was commanded by Christ to come forth out of the tomb. There was power in the command of Christ – it enabled him to obey. Or remember Ezekiel’s valley of dry bones, commanded to come to life; and they came to life! There was power in the word and in the breath of God.

God gives that same life - giving breath to every one of his disciples, to every believer. He gives us his Holy Spirit. And by his Holy Spirit, we are enabled to obey the commands of God. As Paul said in Philippians 4:13 “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.”

What’s more is that from John’s letter we can say that the Spirit of Christ dwells in every believer. Whether they are little children, young men, fathers or grandfathers, every believer is indwelt by the Spirit of God. The prophecy of

Any and all spiritual good that we see in the world is evidence that the Holy Spirit is at work. As John continues his theme of the love of God here in chapter 4 he shows us how the Spirit of God abiding in the Christian is the only means by which we are enabled to love God the way we ought, and it is only in his strength that we can truly love one another.

thus, as John seeks to bring assurance to the church – he writes to us about the very source of our assurance, the holy spirit.

he is the spirit of truth

came upon the apostles, so too other spirits have their

disciples – John calls them false prophets. They’re still out there today, and they invariably seek to draw us away from the Biblical Jesus.

John draws alongside those whom he loves in verse 1 and tells them not to believe every spirit, but rather to test the spirits. In 3:23 he had already instructed them what to believe – keep on believing on the name of God’s Son, Jesus Christ. But how could you be sure that what someone was preaching was actually true? John gives 2 tests.

1. What do they say about Jesus?

Do you believe the Shorter Catechism Answer 22? “Christ, the Son of God, became man, by taking to himself a true body, and a reasonable soul, being conceived by the power of the Holy Spirit, in the womb of the Virgin Mary, and born of her, yet without sin”. If they are speaking false things about Jesus – then the spirit at work is not the Holy Spirit, it is the spirit of antichrist! Note, it’s not that they’re just not “sound”, they’re antichrist! In the light of this John takes a moment to assure God’s people in v4 “You are of God, little children, and have overcome them, because He who is in you is greater than he who is in the world.”

2. How they are received by the world.

The false teachers left the church and the world received them with open arms. They were of the world, they spoke in a way that suited the world, and therefore the world loved them. But we are not well received in the world, says John – we are of God. We don’t win any prizes for popularity: we’re not asked along to open new shopping centres or hospitals; and stories of our missionary travels. Yet we are received well by fellow Christians, because the same Holy Spirit indwells us.

Through new TV channels and websites today we are probably more exposed to false teachers than ever before. But how can you be sure what you’re seeing and hearing is genuinely of God? Use John’s God-given tests. Does the Jesus they’re preaching sound different to the Jesus you know from the Bible? If so the alarm bells should be ringing! Are their doctrines and practices being well-received by the world? The idea of gay ministers suits the world down to the ground.

The Evangelical Presbyterian JUL-AUG 2014

The idea of a social gospel without any talk of repentance and faith in Jesus – suits the world 100%. They love it. Again, the alarm bells should be ringing when the world receives these new ideas…

he is the spirit of Love

The love of God in our hearts has cast out fear. His Holy Spirit abides in us – assuring us that God is love. He assures us that Jesus Christ is the propitiation for our sins

John is writing to help the church, to ensure they will not be led astray. He writes because he loves them. They are his brothers and sisters in Christ. It’s no surprise that he loves them: he is in dwelt by the Spirit of God, and the Holy Spirit is the Spirit of Love.

Christ has already borne the punishment for our sins – The torment has already been experienced by Christ as he hung and suffered on the cross. For the believer, nothing to fear from God on the day of judgement. Instead you look forward to that day – a day in which you will be made perfect.

V7-11 help us to understand why love is such a high priority for the Christian. There are three aspects to the Holy Spirit indwelling you in this respect: (1) Love is in your heart because God himself is in your heart. God is love, therefore the Christian’s heart is full of love, especially for other believers. (2) Love is in your heart because the Gospel is in your heart. God so loved you that he sent Jesus to die for you! That’s the Gospel message that the Holy Spirit continually applies to your heart. (3) Love is in your heart because God’s people are in your heart. Jesus just didn’t die for me – he died for us.

the spirit of God is invisible, but what he does in your heart is just too hard to hide! he causes us to confess Christ to one another and to the world.

Take a moment to consider just what that looks like and what it sounds like. Now ask yourself this question:

Are these sights and sounds found in my life? They are further evidence that the Spirit of love is at work in your heart.

he is the spirit of Boldness

The thought that God has given us his Spirit and that he indwells every Christian is a staggering one. He who hovered over the face of the waters in Genesis 1, he who came mightily upon Samson in Judges 14, he who came in power at Pentecost in Acts 2, he who according to 2 Timothy 1:7 is not “a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.”

Living with the spirit

Even now, says John, God has perfectly loved you and that is why you love him too. So you might respond with the words of v20 and say “I love God” but do you really? It looks as though many people were bold enough in John’s day to openly say the words “I love God” but there was a problem. They were not loving their brothers in the Lord. They were bold alright, but they were boldly mistaken!

The Spirit of boldness is also the Spirit of love and is also the Spirit of truth. We cannot divide up the Spirit of God and take only the bits we like! He is a person, and when he indwells our hearts, he brings all of his characteristics with him – and all of these are to be then seen in our lives. What will that look like? What will I sound like?

What will I say to my brother who did me wrong so long ago? How will I react to my sister who is struggling with her children behind me in church? What will I do for my brother who is getting dangerously close to the world? What will I do for the new Christian who has just started to attend my church? What about my brothers and sisters in Nigeria, in Syria, in North Korea?

Believer, you have been perfectly loved, and that love casts out fear. Therefore let us love the Lord our God with all our heart, with all our soul, and with all our mind. And let us be careful not to grieve the Holy Spirit and so love our brothers and sisters boldly and truthfully. “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.”

This same Spirit of boldness indwells every believer. We have seen some of that boldness already. Boldness is needed to test the spirits. Boldness is needed to stand out from the world. Boldness is needed to confess our faith in Christ as Lord and Saviour. But the Holy Spirit does much more than give us boldness before the world.

He gives us boldness before the throne of God on the day of judgement (v17). We have boldness because the fear of that day has been removed.

Robert Johnston is minister of Knock congregation in East Belfast. He is married to Julie and together they are blessed (and kept busy!) with three young children; Ben (8), Luke (6) and Sophie (3).

(and kept busy!) with three young children; Ben (8), Luke (6) and Sophie (3). The Evangelical

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‘The Return of Christ’

Part 10 - ‘The New Heavens and the New Earth: Revelation 21’

Where will you spend eternity? that’s a vital question. In our last article we considered the sombre truth that the ungodly will spend eternity in hell. In this article we consider the glorious and encouraging truth that the future destiny of those who have a living faith in Christ is the new heavens and the new earth. sometimes when we think about the future of the believer we have a tendency to overly emphasise the intermediate state while at other times we have a very plastic and ‘twee’ view of heaven. We see it as a place where the streets are paved with gold and all the saints in their resurrection bodies have golden locks of hair and cherubic smiles. however the scriptures set before us a place of remarkable beauty, an eternal dwelling place of which we will never grow weary. As we explore this exciting theme we will hang our thoughts on a number of key words

Creation

In Genesis chapters one and two we have the account of creation. One of the striking statements in those chapters is that ‘God saw that it was good’. The world which God made was perfect, utterly sinless and totally beautiful. Another notable feature of the creation narrative is the aspect of harmony. There was harmony between man and the animals which God had made and there was also, most God. We surely have more than a clue as to what the new heavens and the new earth will be like when we contemplate the pre-fall world. Whatever awaits us it will certainly not be a ‘lesser’ experience than that which Adam knew in the Garden of Eden. It will undoubtedly be beautiful, perfect and harmonious.

Fall

Of course Genesis chapter three changed everything. Man’s fall into sin was not only disastrous for humankind but for the physical world also. Earthquakes, famine, tornados, weeds, thorns and so much more characterise our world just now. Yet as I write these lines on a lovely June afternoon the study is bathed in sunshine and I am able to marvel at the beauty of God’s creation. If this is the beauty of the fallen world what must the world have looked like before Adam took the forbidden fruit?

Romans 8: 19 to 22 tells us that even the physical creation is yearning for the coming of Christ. Hard as it is for us to understand, Paul teaches that the creation itself is longing with eager expectation for the coming of the Saviour knowing that his return will be a day of liberation and blessing, not just for the saints, but for the physical creation itself.

Fire

So, the world was very beautiful, and, though still revealing to us the glory of God, is now fallen. What of its future? Why does the physical world yearn for Christ to come? Peter informs us in 2 Peter 3: 10 – 13 that on the day Jesus comes he will burn up the

the effects of the fall will be purged away and out of

This new creation

and the new earth’ (2 Peter3: 13)

will be a place of perfection and sinlessness. The harmony which characterised Eden will be seen there as Isaiah foretold ( Isaiah 11: 6 ff). As the Lord walked with Adam in the garden so the Lord will once more dwell in the midst of his people (Revelation

21:3).

Continuity

In a previous study we saw that there is an element of continuity between the body that we now have and the body which we will receive at the time of Christ’s return. This can also be seen regarding the physical creation. Whilst we now have no adequate concept of the glory and perfection of the new heavens and the new earth yet we know that we will not feel like aliens there. There is in the very vocabulary used

by the Holy Spirit to describe the new creation a hint

of continuity with the present world order.

translated new – kainos – does not speak so much of ‘brand new’ as of refurbishment or renovation. Cornelis Venema takes up this theme in the following provocative comment:

The word

‘Life in the new creation will be a restoration of all things – involving the removal of every sinful impurity and the retaining of all that is holy and good. Were the new creation to exclude the diversity of the nations and the glory of the kings of the earth, it would be impoverished rather than enriched,

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historically regressive and reactionary rather than progressive. To express the point in the form of a question: is it likely that the music of Bach and Mozart, the painting of Rembrandt, the writing of Shakespeare, the discoveries of science, etc., will be altogether lost upon life in the new creation?’ (1)

Growth

But what will we do there? There is no doubt that the worship of the Lord will be right at the centre of our activity in glory. Indeed, to understand what it will be like and what we will do there we need to have our (Revelation 7:15). However, we must also remember

that to be perfect is not to be static.

his perfect humanity, experienced growth and development as we see in Luke 2: 40 and 52. Adam must have spent some time exploring the treasures and beauties of the Garden of Eden and growing in his knowledge of the world into which God had placed him. Surely in heaven we will not only grow in our appreciation of all that Christ did for us in his life and death but also of the perfect place to which God has brought us. AA Hoekema expresses the matter well when he writes:

Jesus, in

‘ Are we to spend eternity somewhere off in space, wearing white robes, plucking harps, singing songs, On the contrary the Bible assures us that God will create a new earth on which we shall live to God’s earth, therefore, we hope to spend eternity, enjoying its beauties, exploring its resources, and using its treasures to the glory of God.’ (2)

This is our glorious future. By God’s grace one day we will experience all of this for ourselves. Shouldn’t we join with the trees, the hills and the plants in eagerly looking forward to the great day when Jesus will come to create the new heavens and the new earth?

Notes (1) ‘The Promise of the Future’ Cornelis Venema PaterNoster Page 482 (2) ‘The Bible and The Future’ A A Hoekema Banner of Truth Page 274

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14 This year much of the world remembers the centenary of the start of the

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This year much of the world remembers the centenary of the start of the First World War and the 70th anniversary of the Allied invasion of France to begin the end of the Second enemy was Germany. What is often missed is the important The human heart is a factory for all kinds of evil—including the evil of racism (Jer. 17:9; Matt. 15:18–19). While Darwin certainly didn’t invent racism, his ideology of evolution has fostered it. Darwin’s famous book “The Origin of Species” (1859) has a lesser known subtitle “The Preservation of Favoured Races in the Struggle for Life”. While in it he did not discuss the issue of human races and their relation to each other he laid the framework for another book titled “The Descent of Man” (1871). Here, he theorized that man, having initially evolved from apes, had continued evolving as various races, with white race as more advanced than those “lower organisms” as “savage,” “low,” and “degraded.” He also stated that “At some future period, not very distant as measured by centuries, the civilised races of man will almost certainly exterminate, and replace, the savage races throughout the world. At the same time the anthropomorphous apes, will no doubt be exterminated.” In all these statements Darwin was consistently applying evolutionary theory to the world of humanity around him. Ernest Haeckel (1834-1919) was a leading German foundation for Hitler’s plans for the advancement of German Aryan superiority. He promoted and popularized Charles Darwin’s work in Germany and developed the controversial recapitulation theory (“ontogeny recapitulates phylogeny”) claiming that an individual organism’s biological development, or ontogeny, parallels and summarizes its species’ evolutionary development, or phylogeny. He is infamous for his drawings of the stages in human embryonic development which have often been used to supposedly demonstrate the drawings are now known to have been fraudulently drawn by Haeckel to verify his thesis. They have often been used in abortion clinics to convince pregnant mothers that their foetus is not yet human and therefore can be aborted without violating the sanctity of human life. Haeckel divided human beings into ten races, of which the Caucasian was the highest and the primitives were doomed to extinction. He claimed that Negros have stronger and more freely movable toes than any other race which is evidence that Negros are related to apes because when apes climb trees they hold on to the trees with their toes.

Haeckel compared Negros to “four-handed” apes. He also believed Negros were savages and that Whites were the most civilised people. Haeckel also stated that “politics is applied biology”, a quote used by Nazi propagandists. The Nazi party used not only Haeckel’s quotes, but also Haeckel’s their programme of ethnic cleansing of Blacks, Jews, Poles and Gypsies. In his “Ontology and Phylogeny” Harvard palaeontologist and evolutionist Stephen Jay Gould wrote:

“[Haeckel’s] evolutionary racism; his call to the German state; his belief that harsh, inexorable laws of evolution ruled human civilization and nature alike, conferring upon favoured

races the right to dominate others

rise of Nazism.” In “Mein Kampf” Hitler wrote that the Germans were the higher race, destined for a glorious evolutionary future. For this reason it was essential that the Jews should be segregated, otherwise mixed marriages would take place. Were this to happen, all nature’s efforts “to establish an evolutionary higher stage of being may thus be rendered futile”. Hitler went on to apply the principles of Darwinism to society in horrifying ways progressing from abortion and forced sterilisation, to euthanasia and ethnic cleansing of More than six million people died in the holocaust. Hitler himself became the supreme evolutionist, and Nazism the ultimate fruit of the evolutionary tree. Firmly convinced that Darwinian evolution was true, Hitler saw himself as the modern saviour of mankind. Society, socialist’, the benefactor of all humankind. By breeding a superior race, the world would look upon him as the man who pulled humanity up to a higher level of evolutionary development. If Darwinism is true, Hitler was our saviour will grievously suffer. If Darwinism is not true, what Hitler attempted to do must be ranked with the most heinous crimes of history and Darwin as the father of one of the most destructive philosophies of history.

all contributed to the

Rev. Robert Beckett is minister of the Crosscollyer Street congregation. For many years he has been studying the whole area of Biblical Creation and has lectured extensively on this vital subject.

area of Biblical Creation and has lectured extensively on this vital subject. The Evangelical Presbyterian JUL-AUG

The Evangelical Presbyterian JUL-AUG 2014

Balanced Christianity Author: John stott Publisher: IVP Published: 2013 105 pages RRP: £6-99 Our Price:
Balanced Christianity Author: John stott Publisher: IVP Published: 2013 105 pages RRP: £6-99 Our Price:

Balanced Christianity

Author: John stott Publisher: IVP Published: 2013 105 pages

RRP: £6-99

Our Price: £4-50

This is a very practical book full of encouragements to live a balanced Christian life. John Stott introduces his subject with emphasis on the need for Christians to use their intellect as a priority, but brings alongside this the balance of paying attention to our emotions. He sets the scene for this balance with the principle that scripture never sets faith and reason against each other as incompatible. As an example of imbalance, he shows the danger of attending a church service and leaving unmoved. The warmth of truth should stir us intellectually to respond with love or anger. The men going to Emmaus felt their hearts burn when the scriptures were opened up to them. He points out that the balance of Christianity is not to do with being in the middle but having a rounded appreciation of what scripture has to say on every area of our lives. Stott rightly says that we are always to discern between scripture and culture. He brings out examples of our Lord Jesus as a fearless critic of the Jewish establishment with their exaggerated loyalty to human traditions and yet at the same time ‘conservative’ in his application of scripture. Keeping in mind that Stott was writing some 40 years ago he challenges us with a very practical observation: ‘Through unchecked television in our homes, are we encouraging the blunting of our sensibilities with sex without love and violence for kicks?’ Stott notes that God’s character never changes but he cannot see why God would be tied to 18th century hymns. He then turns his attention to those in the church who resist change and to those who agitate for change. I may have a different point of balance than John here, but nevertheless he tackles the real concern of trying to avoid being simply a social service with a social gospel. The last chapter is an interview with John Stott in which he expresses his views on a number of issues facing the churches today. His views for ‘staying in’ the Church of England are most interesting. Stott in this little book certainly opens up his position on the desire of Richard Baxter for all Christians; ‘In essentials unity, in non-essentials liberty and in all things charity.’ Do you have a balanced Christianity? Read and decide!

Allan Baird (Belfast)

Every year boys and girls from the different congregations of the EPC take part in
Every year boys and girls from the different congregations of the EPC take part in a Sunday School
Project. This year the projects were on Nan Dunlop, David Livingstone & CH Spurgeon.
Rev Robert Johnston, Convenor of the Presbytery’s Youth Committee has kindly supplied us with
details of this year’s prizewinners.
Preschool and P1
P4 - P6
1st Joshua Graham (Stranmillis)
1st Murray Birnie (Stranmillis)
2nd Elijah Underwood (Stranmillis)
2nd Sarah McMullan (Ballyclare)
3rd Juliette Hall (Stranmillis)
3rd Peter Wright (Stranmillis)
3rd Moses Underwood (Stranmillis)
P2 – P3
P7 – Year 8
1st Lauren Wright (Stranmillis)
1st Susanna Gaston (Stranmillis)
2nd Luke Johnston (Knock)
2nd Paulena Birnie (Stranmillis)
3rd Nathan Watson (Knock)
2nd Calvin Birnie (Stranmillis)
3rd Julie Rainey (Crumlin)

The Evangelical Presbyterian JUL-AUG 2014

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like the Bereans, we sift through what were reading to

drawn to it although the same elder who was less than positive about

If I was only to read

to scripture.

ensure that it’s faithful

my future relationship with Cynthia suggested that it didn’t sound

written by people who hold

the books and commentaries

very practical. However I’m inclined not to listen to him cos he’s all service and action and seems like a doctrinal lightweight.

fully to the same views as myself then I wouldn’t need a

be discerning.

faithful to scripture, Herbert, and

Keep

I read with interest what you said in your last email about fellowship.

Remember in heaven

But you need to free up a little.

fully

that just didnt

by your quotation form

you’ll meet all sorts of believers

I have to confess that I was a little surprised

subscribe to the Westminster Confession in every detail

and I didnt think you

J I Packer because after all hes an Anglican

while here on earth As for the Christian

would be reading that sort of thing. In my work there are a number

group in work, you should go.

expressed in

OK there may be some funny views being

of Christians and they’ve now decided to meet one morning a week for a prayer meeting at 7am and then one lunch time every fortnight

the meetings and there may be some tricky moments,

of God then

but if these folks are born again of the Spirit

in Christ and you need

why I don’t go along.

they’re your brothers and sisters

They can’t understand

for Bible study.

looking Herbert, to stand at with the a correspondence them in the workplace. course is not for you. computer screen and frankly, Herbert,

like that?

It’s crazy how could I go to a gathering

Baptist people all

There’s Brethren, Pentecostal, Methodists and

There’s no

Sheer confusion.

meeting together to study the Bible.

The issues being considered

are not

it’s just wacky.

to the ecumenical

Next thing I’ll be getting invited

unimportant but theyre not central to our faith. Herbert, brother Herbert, you’re rapidly becoming a little

way I could go.

them about how I write to

carol service at Christmas. I was telling

Yes, Im sorry about Cynthia and

cranky in your views.

They told me to

on different things.

you and you gave me guidance

:I think shes probably not

sadly, yes, your elder is correct

wanting a lot of contact with you. You need fellowship.

I promised I would but I know you’ll agree

ask you for your views.

people – your

Forget the course and start dealing with

with my separatist stance.

part of your family

brothers and sisters in Christ. Theyre – they’re there to help you.

Thanks for thinking about me,

‘The Rev’

Herbert

Dear Herbert My wife is away for a few days so I haven’t been able
Dear Herbert
My wife is away for a few days so I haven’t been able to
Dear Rev
show her your email
or my reply. That’s always a bit
me from being too outspoken. But
I have decided to take your advice and to join one of the Home Bible
prevents
I have to say
I’m not happy. You keep talking about going to the Home
Study groups in the church.
You see, to be honest, I’m very lonely.
Group in church.
Why don’t you just go?
I don’t hear from Cynthia
any more.
She isn’t replying to my texts
They’re well organised with
excellent Bible study material
being looked at every week. They’re led
by elders who
but I think that’s because she changed her mobile number and I
have a good grasp
of scripture and the prayer times are
don’t have her new one.
Do you think that I should read
anything into
really worthwhile – a place where you can really share
that? One of the elders in church suggested that
your burdens. So
get on with it, Herbert. Just go.
she deliberately
was trying to cut me off. What do you think?
Yes,
I read
and yes,
know – he’s
an Anglican.
So was
one J of I your
Packer heroes
– JC I Ryle
he was
a Bishop,
Anyway, I’m trying to decide whether to join a Home Group or sign up
for a correspondence course with the Reformed Institute of Theology
– Martin Luther - was a wonderful
great
hero
guy.
I have a little statue of him on my desk and think the
man was amazing
but you couldn’t possibly give the
and Doctrine in the USA.
They are currently doing a great one year
‘Amen’ to all his views. What did he mean, for example,
online course with modules
on infralapsarianism, Amyraldianism
by ‘consubstantiation’ – his view of the Lord’s Supper.
What was all that about?
God has given us the ability,
and Dooyeweerdian thought in the reformed church today.
I’m quite
Herbert, to be discerning.
We read the scriptures
and,

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The Evangelical Presbyterian JUL-AUG 2014