Apr 132014
 

Noah-2

Many people butcher the story of Noah because they misread what the Bible actually says. Did God choose Noah because he was a righteous man? Check out what Mark Driscoll has to say…

This post is about one of my pet peeves.

It bugs me so much that I have gone through my kids’ picture Bibles over the years with a Sharpie, scratching out the error so my kids can get the story straight. With all the buzz about Noah lately, it seemed like a good time to connect Noah to the gospel of Jesus Christ.

The wrong moral

The most common way Christians butcher the story of Noah is by misreading what the Bible actually says. The story is wrongly told that there were a bunch of bad guys who drowned and one good guy who got a boat. The moral of the story is that if you are a good guy then God will save you from death and wrath.

The problem?

This is not the gospel.

This is just good old-fashioned works. “Be a good person and you can get saved, otherwise you can just die.”

The story is wrongly told that there were a bunch of bad guys who drowned and one good guy who got a boat.

Not a good guy

Slow and careful Bible reading is really important everywhere, including here. The order of events is very important and deliberate.

Genesis 6:5–9 says,

The Lord saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every intention of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually. And the Lord regretted that he had made man on the earth, and it grieved him to his heart. So the Lord said, “I will blot out man whom I have created from the face of the land, man and animals and creeping things and birds of the heavens, for I am sorry that I have made them.” But Noah found favor in the eyes of the Lord.

These are the generations of Noah. Noah was a righteous man, blameless in his generation. Noah walked with God.

First, Genesis 6:5–7 states the total depravity of everyone on the earth with one of the most negative declarations about human sin in all of Scripture. We are told that God saw that every person was only evil all of the time. God was grieved that he had made humanity because they filled his heart with pain. This statement does include Noah, who was simply one of the sinfully wicked men on the earth who grieved God.

Everyone was a sinner in Noah’s day, just like everyone is a sinner in our day.

Second, Genesis 6:8 then explains the process by which God chose to save and bless Noah. It says, “But Noah found favor [grace] in the eyes of the LORD.”

Noah did not begin as a righteous man, but rather he began as a sinner not unlike everyone else on the earth in his day. The only difference between Noah and the other sinners who died in the flood of judgment was that God gave grace to Noah.

Noah was not a good guy, but a graced guy.

Grace and favor

Beautifully, the word “favor” is the same Hebrew word for grace that appears here for the first time in the Bible. It’s the same word that is echoed repeatedly by Paul and other authors throughout the New Testament as they proclaim that salvation is by grace through faith alone.

Everyone was a sinner in Noah’s day, just like everyone is a sinner in our day. God had no good person to work through to accomplish his plan of redemption. God worked, as he always has, by saving an undeserving sinner through grace, thereby enabling them to live a righteous life by grace, as is taught in the next verse.

The only difference between Noah and the other sinners who died in the flood of judgment was that God gave grace to Noah.

Genesis 6:9 then explains the effects of God’s grace to Noah saying, “This is the account of Noah. Noah was a righteous man, blameless among the people of his time, and he walked with God.”

Indeed, Noah was a blameless and righteous man who, like Enoch, “walked with God” (Gen. 5:24). But Noah was only this sort of man because God saved him by grace and empowered him to live a new life of obedience to God by that same grace.

The good news of Noah is that a bad guy received God’s good grace, and that same God still saves the same way today.

Apr 102014
 

This week marks the twentieth anniversary of the beginning of the campaign of genocide in Rwanda. Here are nine things you should know about one of the most horrific seasons of slaughter in modern times:rwanda_genocide

1. The Rwandan Genocide was a genocidal mass slaughter of Tutsi and moderate Hutu in Rwanda by members of the Hutu majority. During the approximate 100-day period from April 7, 1994 to mid-July an estimated 800,000 Rwandans were killed, constituting as much as 20 percent of the country’s total population and 70 percent of the Tutsi then living in Rwanda.

2. The Hutu (also Abahutu) are a Central African ethnic group while the Tutsi (also Abatutsi or Watutsi) are an East African ethnic group. The two groups intermarried for decades prior to the genocide which has lead to an ongoing debate about whether they can truly be considered two separate and distinct groups.

3. The inciting event appears to have occurred on April 6, 1994 when an airplane carrying Rwandan president Juvénal Habyarimana and Burundian president Cyprien Ntaryamira was shot down on its descent into the Rwandan capital. Genocidal killings began the following day as soldiers, police, and militia executed key Tutsi and moderate Hutu leaders, then erected checkpoints and barricades and used Rwandans’ national identity cards to systematically verify their ethnicity and kill Tutsi.

4. In rural areas, the local government hierarchy served as the chain of command for the execution of the genocide. The governor of each province disseminated instructions to the district leaders, who in turn issued directions to leaders within their districts. The majority of the actual killings in the countryside were carried out by ordinary civilians, under orders from the leaders. Tutsi and Hutu lived side by side in their villages, and families all knew each other, making it easy for Hutu to identify and target their Tutsi neighbors. Historian Gerard Prunier ascribes this mass complicity of the population to a combination of the “democratic majority” ideology, in which Hutu had been taught to regard Tutsi as dangerous enemies, the culture of unbending obedience to authority, and the duress factor – villagers who refused to carry out orders to kill were often branded as Tutsi sympathizers and killed themselves.

5. Between 250,000 and 500,000 women were raped during the 100 days of genocide. As a result of this rape, up to 20,000 children were born from these women. More than 67% of women who were raped during the genocide were infected with HIV. In many cases, this resulted from a systematic and planned use of rape by HIV+ men as a weapon of genocide.

6. An estimated 200,000 people participated in the perpetration of the genocide. Participants were given incentives, in the form of money, food, or land, to kill their Tutsi neighbors. Hutu were allowed to appropriate the land of the Tutsis they killed.

7. Local Rwandan radios would use propaganda to incite Hutus to violence. Broadcasts included such statements as, “You have to kill the Tutsis, they’re cockroaches. We must all fight the Tutsis. We must finish with them, exterminate them, sweep them from the whole country. There must be no refuge for them.”

8. Most of the murder was done with machetes (in 1993 Rwanda imported three-quarters of a million dollars’ worth of machetes from China), but automatic weapons and hand grenades were also used.

9. The U.S. was reluctant to get involved in the “local conflict” in Rwanda and initially refused to label the killings as “genocide.” Then-president Bill Clinton later publicly regretted that decision in a television interview. Five years later, Clinton stated that he believed that if he had sent 5,000 U.S. peacekeepers, more than 500,000 lives could have been saved.

(Originally written by Joe Carter http://thegospelcoalition.org/blogs/tgc/2014/04/09/9-things-you-should-know-about-the-rwandan-genocide/)

Mar 272014
 

MaKayOur missional God (who created all people groups) desires to offer salvation to all people groups through the proclamation of His gospel through His Church.
ONE such people group is the Bundjalung People of the Northern Rivers.

But it can be hard to engage people who are different to us.
So to help in some small way we interviewed Sharon McKay (nee King) who has Bundjalung heritage and offers some insights. This interview can hopefully help grow our knowledge and understanding of Bundjalung people and inspire us to engage together to a deeper level.

Note: Sharon answered the interview from her perspective and acknowledges that there is diversity in thought and opinion within people of the Bundjalung Nation. She doesn’t claim to be an expert and it’s only her personal opinion from her experience.

Q: There are many ways to refer to Lismore’s Indigenous people like Aboriginal, Korri, Goori, or First Australians. Do you have a preference, which do you like people to use?

A: I don’t like being referred to as Black, that’s offensive to me. If it’s coming from another Aboriginal person I don’t mind being called a Blackfella, but for some reason I don’t like it when whitefellas or other nationalities refer to me like that. I would rather everyone including Christians refer to me as Aboriginal, that’s the best.

Q: What makes someone Aboriginal?

A: I think it goes much deeper than our skin. I think it’s about where you grow up and what you learn. How do I say this? I think it’s when you accept that you’re Aboriginal and be proud of that. It’s about accepting your skin and not wanting to change it even if others don’t like it, because some people don’t, sometimes I walk down the street and people just look at me funny, but I just smile and keep walking. Or sometimes when I go to the shops and the security watches me and my kids. But I warn my kids about it. I tell them that they are Aboriginal and they should be proud of that, but I also tell them that they will most probably face racism. I warn them about it so that they are prepared and not to shocked by it. But I hope it’s not as bad for them as it was for me because they’re skin isn’t as dark as mine.

Q: What are the biggest issues facing Aboriginal people in the Lismore area?

A: I think it’s being judged. People can say reconciliation is in and there’s no more racism, but racism is still there. And I think the biggest issue for kids and youth is being in a cycle of alcohol and drugs that they learn off their family. They feel like there is nothing for them in their future. They want do something with their lives but deep down they feel unable to or they just wanna drink with their mates.

Q: If a Gospel Community wanted to outreach to an Aboriginal person what would you suggest for them to do and not do in that process?

A: Things not to do is, once after Church my nephew who was new commented to me and said that he got ‘swarmed’ by all the people that wanted to talk to him. It could’ve been because people might have thought he was Joel, (my son). Maybe just one or two people should just talk to people when they come along. And if they come back then more can have a yarn to them.

It’s really hard because Aboriginal people can feel shame. It’s good to just try and have little chats here and there and show them that you’re not perfect. Because sometimes they can think Christians are supposed to be perfect people and because they think this it makes them feel like they could never be a Christian because they’re not perfect. So if you can just try and show them that you’re not perfect and you’re just a normal person it will help them maybe ask some questions of you.

Even when you’re talking to them you should try and tell them times you have done wrong. For example when I am with my family or others (who are not Christians) I sometimes tell them, well I smoked drugs and I drank alcohol but now they see changes, and that I’m not a perfect person. The reason I do this is to make them aware that I can relate to them and I know what they are going through. It’s good to do this to just show you’ve made mistakes too. This will help them feel more comfortable with you.

*This is a section from the interview. The full interview in on the SCPC fb page.