Week 7 – Trade Unions and Industrial Action – A Christian View

This is a question that many of us do not consider, read the following blog entry by the “Urban Pastor” ==> www.theurbanpastor.wordpress.com/2011/06/22

What is the purpose of a Trade Union?

  • To act on behalf of and to represent its’ members to the Employer
  • National representation
  • To speak up for its’ members
  • To challenge bad workplace practice – H&S, Discrimination, Bullying, T&C’s of employment, Working Conditions
  • Worker protection during redundancy
  • Provision of support and consultancy for its’ members
    • Insurance schemes
    • Training
    • Legal Services
    • Financial Services

These aims and ideals are good and would fit in with a Christian view on how we should conduct ourselves towards other people.

Question – In an ideal world if the employer lived and conducted themselves by Christian principles then would we need Trade Unions?

In order to be able to start answering the question – Should a Christian go on strike or get involved in Industrial Action, we need to understand some of what the Bible says about our attitude to work and employment.

What principles does the bible teach about employing and working?

–          Work is a divine calling Genesis 1v28, Genesis 2v15, Colossians 3v23/24, Proverbs8v18; 28v19

–          Job trials are Growth opportunities

–          Make time to rest and celebrate

–          The workplace is a mission field

–          Love thy neighbour as thyself

–          Honour those in authority over you

–          Do good to all men

–          Thou shalt not steal or covet

–          God gives skills and talents – Exodus 36v1

–          God gives success Genesis 39v2

–          God controls promotion Psalm 75v7; Matt 25v23

Employers:

–          Serve employees Matt 20v26

–          Communicate Genesis 11v6

–          Hold employees accountable / evaluate performance

–          Pay a fair wage Mal 3v5; Deut 24v14/15

–          Pray to have godly employees

This website will go through some of these points in more detail ==> http://www.crown.org/Library/ViewArticle.aspx?ArticleId=303

Industrial Action – Strikes

So what about strike action or any form of industrial action

The organisation Christians at Work has a very good leaflet that sets out the principles which should be taken into account by a Christian when considering whether or not to take Industrial Action. It can be found HERE – Briefing Paper No.5

Life Group Notes Week 6 – Celebrity Culture

Celebrity Culture – Reality TV / Pop Music

Do a basic search in Google for “Celebrity Culture” and you will end up with multiple pages relating to the subject, and on first view the majority of pages relate to concerns about the effect that the “Celebrity Culture” is having on Children, Teens and families.

But what do we mean by “Celebrity Culture” how do we define it?

Exercise:

  1. 1.       When presented with the words “Celebrity Culture” what does it mean to you?
  2. 2.       What virtues or characteristics are generally associated with “Celebrity Culture” ?

The impact of celebrity culture on our ordinary lives

Nigel Tween, Elim Training  –  http://www.elim.org.uk/Articles/187528/The_impact_of.aspx

We live in a celebrity culture – a fact borne out by TV viewing figures and magazine sales. OK, Hello and Now, celebrity-gossip magazines are sold in their millions year on year, the huge viewing figures of ‘X factor’ and ‘I’m a celebrity get me out of here’ tell a story. Many a ‘Christian’ coffee or bedside table ‘owns’ a copy, and celebrity TV is required viewing in our homes too.

Jordon, Simon Cowell, Becks and Tiger Woods are simply the lead characters in a perpetual ‘real life’ soap opera that feeds our fascination with the famous. But is this trend harmful? Has not every generation had its hero’s, is it just innocent fun? Does celebrity culture trivialise life? Does celebrity create personal dissatisfaction with ‘my body shape or lifestyle?’ Do they create a harmful role model?

But, is it all bad or are there positive aspects that benefit society? Some celebs use their notoriety to promote good causes! Others try to promote awareness of worthy causes. But let’s consider a few of the more sinister aspects of celebrity culture, attitudes that perhaps come under the radar, ask yourself, how badly have I been influenced by ‘celebrity culture!’

Beauty

How about ‘Beauty’ it’s a hot word. The ‘celeb advert’ is usually a young, symmetrical, skin-and-bone, tanned woman (or man) swishing back their gorgeous hair, smiling with blinding even white teeth at your screen – “I had SUCH problems with my hair/skin/body etc; until I used THIS product!”, Popular celebs sell a lifestyle through Cars, Homes, clothes, IT, mobiles fashion, they say to us “if I want try life and happiness” buy me. Manufacturers budget huge amounts to have their product on the film set, or associated with celebs. To say we live in a celebrity-obsessed culture is evident to all, however the challenge is, how do we prevent Christians, especially our children from becoming beguiled by the prevailing ‘celebrity’ culture?

In Psychology Today, writer Carlin Flora suggests that our fascination with celebrity is a cultural obsession with the three A’s affluence, attractiveness and achievement as our common goal. Affluence, attractiveness and achievement are desirable and in themselves may not be harmful, but they have the power to divert individual’s especially young people from the noble goals of community, charity and commitment.

 

Sexualisation

Mental health experts say more and more youngsters are being influenced by the “sexualisation of girls,” a term coined in a report released by the American Psychological Association. What ‘role models’ do your children follow?

The research analyzed the content and effects of virtually every form of media, including television, music videos, music lyrics, magazines, movies, video games and the Internet. It also examined recent advertising campaigns and merchandising of products aimed toward girls.

What they found was a sort of “Girls Gone Wild” effect in which young girls are succumbing to the pressure of sexualization by posting nude pictures of themselves on the Internet, allowing boyfriends to photograph them in the nude and making their own amateur porn videos.

“The consequences of the sexualization of girls in media today are very real and are likely to be a negative influence on girls’ healthy development,” said Eileen L. Zurbriggen, PhD, professor of psychology at the University of California.

As a result of an over-sexed society, young girls are reaping the following mental health issues:
undermine a person’s confidence in and comfort with her own body, leading to emotional and self-image problems, such as shame and anxiety.

Sexual Development

Research suggests that the sexualisation of girls has negative consequences on girls’ ability to develop a healthy sexual self-image.

“As a society, we need to replace all of these sexualized images with ones showing girls in positive settings—ones that show the uniqueness and competence of girls,” said Zurbriggen. “The goal should be to deliver messages to all adolescents—boys and girls—that lead to healthy sexual development.”

 

As to the effect the afore-mentioned celebrities have upon our society? I have to say it’s mostly negative. Although they do not ask for the amount of attention they receive, they maintain an image that is terrifying. To me, celebrities are symbolic of an age where beauty, where fashion and superficiality are more important than your faithfulness, education, integrity spirituality and your sense of self.

The world of the celebrity is one where drugs, sex and beauty are traded on a daily basis. Social and physical capital is more important than godly capital. Models throw themselves at photographers in the hopes of securing a fashion shoot. Celebrities strike me as being eternal children, particularly those who have been introduced to the lifestyle at an early age. Psychologically, people only grow up by living through the tough times that life throws at you. Celebrities live in a cushioned world where little of this registers. And their selfish attitude encourages others in society to think the same way.

 

Quotes:

Germaine Greer – Pioneering feminist Germaine Greer has despaired at the growth of a “paedophillic culture” obsessed with celebrity, looks and sex.

Speaking to a packed Wellington Town Hall for the 2012 New Zealand International Arts Festival, Greer said the next generation was at real risk. “They are besotted with celebrity culture, asking their parents for cosmetic surgery. It’s a society where everyone has to be blond. There has been no other female stereotype more oppressed than this one. …………… “Just look at [model] Kate Moss, she’s 45 but she looks like she’s 12, yet we are all terrified of paedophilia. We are becoming a paedophillic culture and we have to resist, resist, resist.”

 

“We are interested-and young women are obsessed-with celebrity weight because stars are our benchmark in terms of fashion, glamour, and beauty,” TV Producer Alice Keens-Soper tells Yahoo! Shine. Keens-Soper, who helped create the BBC documentary “Super Slim Me” in which a faux want-to-be actress struggles to lose twenty pounds in eight weeks to become a perfect “Hollywood size zero,” adds, “And we love to gloat about celebrities who have ‘fallen,’ i.e. who are ‘too fat,’ have ‘lost it,’ and have proved that they are as glamorous and ‘real’ as we mere mortals.”

The CelebrityCafe.com: The pedestal on which we have put movie stars, sports figures, and famous people could give some people neck strain. We idolize them, follow their every move, and treat them as modern gods. There is a giant media subculture around the cult of personality. Gossip and news about the rich and famous is big business. Magazines like People and Us Weekly, TV shows like Access Hollywood and Entertainment Tonight, and a long list of blogs such as Gossip Girl, TMZ.Com, and Perez Hilton have captured our imagination. More specifically, the celebrities on which they report have. These days, there are more celebrity magazines than real news mags in the United States. Simply go to a grocery store to see how obsessed America is with our neo-royalty.

In our culture, celebrity news often takes the headlines above world events. We build them up as modern gods, and tear them down when they show us they are all too human. They make an easy object of obsession, as celebrities are ubiquitous. And the paparazzi have helped this craze by blurring the line between private citizens and public persona. When Princess Diana died, it was in a high speed getaway to escape reporter/stalkers. French courts ruled that photographers were not responsible for her death, but it clearly drives home the point: Our obsession with the rich and famous has a cost on us, and on them

Iain Duncan Smith: In an interview reflecting on the summer riots, he complained that the “celebrity culture” in Britain meant children took their role models from The X Factor and Premier League football.

He said that more needed to be made of people who had become successful out of “serious hard work”.

“We seem to be a society that celebrates all the wrong people.

“Kids are meant to believe that their stepping stone to massive money is The X Factor.

“Luck is great, but most of life is hard work. We do not celebrate people who have made success out of serious hard work.”

So how do we, as Christians, deal with the Celebrity Culture Exodus 20 v 1-5

Philippians 4 v 8

Matthew 13 v 22

John 17 v 15-17

1 Tim 6 v 17

Titus 2 v 12

Fruit of the Spirit

If we want our children [and may I say adults too] to live with the understanding that we are more than the sum of our achievements and failures, more than the sum of our possessions and salaries and more than our appearance and image. We must give our children the tools to examine or celebrity crazed culture.

Great Questions:

For children

  1. Resist putting a TV/computer in your Childs bedroom. This helps the parent to know what is viewed, this way you can discuss the program contents.
  2. Reflect on the celebrities they idolize. Ask: would you want to be known simple because of your looks or money rather than being a good, kind and thoughtful person?
  3. Regularly affirm and express appreciation to important people who serve in your community. By appreciating kindness, faithfulness and goodness of ordinary people you model ‘everyday hero’s’ and thereby teach your child a new value system.
  4. Re-examine assumptions, encourage your kids to be Sceptical. Get them to ask questions. Is the only reason I like ‘so and so’ because they are on TV?

For adults

  1. Resist being a advertising junkie, remind yourself that advertisers works by making you feel a ‘loser’ if you do not have the latest gadget. Before you make the next purchase; why not first consider the full purchase price and ask yourself ‘Do I really need this item?
  2. Reflect on who you idolize? Do you regularly fantasies about your neighbours wife?, car?, job? Salary? Do you find yourself continuously saying “if only such and such would happen……….” Why is it we always compare ourselves with those who have more, rarely with the majority who have less?
  3. Regularly review your lifestyle; does my friendship circle only reflect my social standing? Do I have friends who are unemployed, aged, immigrants or disabled? Should I down size my house so that I could be more generous? When was the last time I gave a generous financial gift? Ask am I a taker or a giver?
  4. Re-examine your heroes, have you been seduced by toxic media, that seeks to shape your thinking and choices, Are you aspiring to a lifestyle that has more to do with this worlds values? Should you consider going on a media fast?

There is a tendency to think in linear terms relative to the course of history and the church. In other words, we assume that things were once good, especially in Britain. To be sure, many things were probably better in some ways in the past, but some things were also worse.

Life in eighteenth century Britain was particularly brutal, decadent, violent, and vulgar. Slavery was only the worst of a host of social evils that included epidemic alcoholism, child prostitution, child labour, frequent public executions for petty crimes, public dissections, and burnings of executed criminals, and unspeakable cruelty to animals. I think it can be shown that it was Christian reformers that challenged the prevailing culture and demanded change. Do we need Christian families who refuse to be seduced by the fashions of this culture and march to the drum beat of this world, Christian that will live counter cultural lives?

A note of warning to the Church:

Need also to be careful about the Church – there are many “celebrity” preachers and pastors and people will travel miles just because their favourite speaker is in town ! Mega-Churches bring fame and fortune to their leaders

http://owenstrachan.com/2009/03/09/carl-trueman-on-christian-celebrity-culture-and-the-churchs-future/

The American church reflects the culture: ministries built around individuals, around big shots, churches that focus on god-like guru figures, all of them pointing to one door.  I have lost count of the conversations I have had with church people anxious to tell of who they heard at this conference, of which person they corresponded with, of how this opinion or that opinion would not sit well with this demi-god and is therefore of little value; and, of course, of how anyone who disagrees with, or criticizes, this chosen hero must, of necessity be morally depraved and wicked.  People want the gods to do their thinking for them.  All of the Pelagian, Manichean celebrity malarkey of the American political process is alive and well in the church as well.  The question is: when it comes to churches and ministries built around messiahs who are supposed to point not to themselves but to the true door, who is going to have the guts to leave the temple?”

Life Group Notes Week 5 – The Euro Financial Crisis

What is the “Financial Crisis”?

This is a presentation which gives an overview of the European Sovereign Debt Crisis

So what is at the root of the Euro Financial Crisis

  1. Debt
  • Debt is fuelled by
    • Consumerism
    • Selfishness
    • Greed

We cannot directly do anything about the National Debt crisis – that is in the Governments’ hands – but we are told to Pray for those in Government –

The area that we have influence over is our own personal response to the crisis, through the handling of our own affairs.

Romans 13 v 1 – let every should be subject to the higher powers

1 Peter 2 v 13-20 – be subject to those in Authority

1 Tim 2 v 1-2 – pray for those in authority

Romans 13 v 8 – owe no man anything

Why the U.S. debt deal should have us all re-evaluating our values

Jordan J. Ballor08/02/11

http://thinkchristian.net/why-the-u.s.-debt-deal-should-have-us-all-reevaluating-our-values

As United States lawmakers scramble to vote on a budget agreement and avert the prospect of default and large-scale government shutdown, it’s worth considering what a comprehensive Christian response to the crisis of public and private debt might look like. The following is a sketch of the kinds of questions and issues that such a response would begin to address, focusing on five main areas: the individual, familial, ecclesial, economic and political.

The first place to look is at the level of the individual. We must look closely at our own attitudes toward wealth and material goods, particularly in relationship to spiritual realities and the care of our souls. Do we properly value the material world as a gift from God, treating it as something to be celebrated but not worshiped? Are we committed as individuals to seeking first the kingdom and righteousness of God, trusting that all our material needs, our daily bread, will be given to us as well (Matthew 6:33)? Honest answers to these kinds of questions will provide us with a perspective from which we can readily agree with Brian McLaren, that our greatest deficit is spiritual rather than material.

The second area of our lives that merits focus is in our relationship to the family, the place where most of us first learn about the truths of the Gospel and the economic lessons that shape our relationship to money. If we look at our household budgets, do they properly reflect the commitments we purport to hold at the personal level? We should look closely, for instance, at how these commitments are manifested in the levels of charitable giving. As Ron Sider has written, “If American Christians simply gave a tithe rather than the current one-quarter of a tithe, there would be enough private Christian dollars to provide basic health care and education to all the poor of the earth. And we would still have an extra $60 to 70 billion left over for evangelism around the world.”

But the following implication of this reality is to examine whether these kinds of responsibilities are being proclaimed in the church. If the majority of evangelical pastors don’t think that tithing is a biblical mandate, it is perhaps little wonder that levels of Christian giving are typically in the range between 2 and 4 percent. It is worth examining as well what the budgets of local churches and denominations illustrate about the priorities of the bride of Christ. It is not uncommon at all for churches in North America to take on million-dollar building projects (and indebtedness to match) so that Sunday worship services can be conducted in state-of-the-art facilities. We must at least be able to broach the question of whether this is a faithful use of the gifts and resources God has provided for the affluent church.

Another place to closely examine our priorities and values is in the economic realm, the world of work and business. Do we see this area of life simply as a way to maximize profits and to gain all we can, without any corresponding sense of service or responsibility for that wealth? Or do we also appreciate this arena as one provided by God to be the normal means for the provision of our material welfare? Clement of Alexandria noted that we are to properly value the creation of wealth as a necessary precondition for maintenance of our common life: “Riches, then, which benefit also our neighbors, are not to be thrown away.”

A final place to look for the expression of our values is in the area of politics. Not surprisingly, this is the one that has received the most attention, both from secular intellectual as well as religious leadership. The federal government has been spending about 40 percent more than it has taken in, resulting in the massive current level of public debt, and we must ask some hard questions about the reasons for this. Increasingly Americans expect the government to do much more than we are willing to pay for directly. We want the government to do things for us that we do not want to have to do for ourselves or through other institutions, such as the church, charities or businesses.

We need to temper our expectations for what political solutions can offer us and come to grips with what the legitimate limits of governmental action are, particularly in light of the stewardship responsibilities we find in the other areas of life outlined above. The most important Christian response to the debt-ceiling debate and the debt crisis is to engage in an inventory of our priorities, individually and communally, and thereby to do the hard work of evaluating our values. In doing so we’ll find that the problems we face are far more than political – and far deeper than merely political solutions can hope to solve.

Life Group Notes – Week 4

What is Genetic Engineering

http://www.globalchange.com/geneticengin.htm

Genetic engineering is the alteration of genetic code by artificial means, and is therefore different from traditional selective breeding.

Genetic engineering examples include taking the gene that programs poison in the tail of a scorpion, and combining it with a cabbage.  These genetically modified cabbages kill caterpillers because they have learned to grow scorpion poison (insecticide) in their sap.

Genetic engineering also includes insertion of human genes into sheep so that they secrete alpha-1 antitrypsin in their milk – a useful substance in treating some cases of lung disease.

Genetic engineering has created a chicken with four legs and no wings.

Genetic engineering has created a goat with spider genes that creates “silk” in its milk.

Genetic engineering works because there is one language of life:  human genes work in bacteria, monkey genes work in mice and earthworms.  Tree genes work in bananas and frog genes work in rice.  There is no limit in theory to the potential of genetic engineering.

Genetic engineering has given us the power to alter the very basis of life on earth.

Genetic engineering has been said to be no different than ancient breeding methods but this is untrue.  For a start, breeding or cross-breeding, or in-breeding (for example to make pedigree dogs) all work by using the same species. In contrast genetic engineering allows us to combine fish, mouse, human and insect genes in the same person or animal.

Genetic engineering therefore has few limits – except our imagination, and our moral or ethical code.

Genetic engineering makes the whole digital revolution look nothing.  Digital technology changes what we do.  Genetic engineering has the power to change who we are.

Human cloning is a type of genetic engineering, but is not the same as true genetic manipulation.  Inhuman cloning, the aim is to duplicate the genes of an existing person so that an identical set is inside a human egg.  The result is intended to be a cloned twin, perhaps of a dead child.  Genetic engineering in its fullest form would result in the child produced having unique genes – as a result of laboratory interference, and therefore the child will not be an identikit twin.

Genetic engineering could create crops that grow in desert heat, or without fertiliser.  Genetic engineering could make bananas or other fruit which contain vaccines or other medical products.

Genetic engineering will alter the basis of life on earth – permanently – unless controlled.  This could happen if – say – mutant viruses, or bacteria, or fish or reptiles are released into the generalenvironment.

 

Why do some christians agree with genetic engineering and some do not?

 

The following are some thoughts found on various Blogs and Forums on the Internet

 

I think some look at it like – ” Hey God gave us the technology, lets use it”

The other side of the coin is that Only God has the right to create life.

 

I’m all for genetic engineering, to an extent. I’m NOT in support of cloning, or genetically engineering a fetus in order to have a blue-eyed, blonde-haired child. If it will assist in eradicating all disease (mental and physical), then I’m in support of it.

Others do not support it because to them it seems like humans are playing “god”…I disagree. God gave us the brainpower to learn this.

 

Because there are nearly as many varieties of christianity as there are christians.

 

Well, the more work we do on genetic engineering, the less of a need we have for “God” (whatever that is).

 

it is a bad idea because we do things like this without considering the long-term impact. it sounds like a good idea at the time, then we discover later that there is a price to pay…….there’s also the aspect that we want this technology for profit not from any desire to better the human condition…out of such reprehensible motives come horrific repercussions…

 

Well I think for example for God using Adam’s rib to create his female wife Eve.      In a way they were similar and yet not so similar as to generate mutations that were abnormal or harmful as incestuous ones are. Instead God altered them in some way so that the aggressive and regressive tendencies in Adam would be differentiated in Eve. That’s just my educated guess for what’s it worth in these circles.   But an operation such that God did to Adam to create Eve and using his genes as a means to create new life (for that is what biological impregnation is) was not contrary to God’s will or purpose for man and especially his creation for man.      Again this is my opinion. You may google all you wish to on this fascinating subject. I do believe that God is against honest scientific inquiry as long as it used for good and not for evil purposes.     Look at the motivation and reason for God doing what he did for Adam in creating Eve his wife.      Gensis 2:18-23

 

I don’t think most would believe that human genetic engineering is as good thing
But it was a christian who first studied genetic engineering, (Gregor Mendel) although knowledge of things like that had been used in breeding of various species for centuries

 

If it can help end human suffering I am all for it. If it is to make an army of blue eyed blonds I am opposed

 

 

Do Christians agree with genetic engineering?

There is no single opinion among Christians on this subject. Some Christians are strongly opposed to all forms of genetic engineering, but the National Council of Churches adopted a resolution that the effort to use genetics to improve on nature is not inherently wrong.
Naturally, there are different ethical considerations that apply to genetic engineering in agriculture versus humans.

This is a complex subject which encompasses many ethical questions and there is a wide range of opinion among Christian denominations. There is no “yes or no” answer.
What is the Christian opinion on genetic engineering?

God gave us dominion over a diverse and beautiful world for our benefit and enjoyment. The stated aim of those who conduct genetic engineering is to produce more and more and more and more and more by merging one species with another. Why do we think we can do better than God and is diversity not essential?
genetic Engineering is about man looking after himself and being self-sufficient, not relying on God.

Scripture says “Therefore I tell you, do not be anxious about your life, what you shall eat or what you shall drink, nor about your body, what you shall put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing? Look at the birds of the air: they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? And which of you by being anxious can add one cubit to his span of life? And why are you anxious about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow; they neither toil nor spin; yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which today is alive and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will he not much more clothe you, O men of little faith? Therefore do not be anxious, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For the Gentiles seek all these things; and your heavenly Father knows that you need them all. But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things shall be yours as well. (Matthew Ch 6)

 

 

DOES GENETIC ENGINEERING HAVE GOD’S ENDORSEMENT? 

 

http://www.newswithviews.com/Ciola/greg4.htm

 

By Greg Ciola

March 28, 2007

NewsWithViews.com

Stories about genetic engineering have been making headline news recently. For instance, rice grown with human genes has been given the green light for commercial production by the USDA. Meat from cloned animals is now okay for human consumption thanks to the FDA. The University of Nevada-Reno has created sheep that are 15 percent human at the cellular level in hopes of using these animals as human organ producing factories in the future. In scientific terms it’s referred to as xenotransplantation. On farms across North America farmers intend to plant record acreage of GM crops in 2007.

Since genetic engineering and biotechnology are now impacting our lives in so many ways, isn’t it time that it were examined from a biblical perspective? There is ample evidence from both the Bible and extra-biblical books that shows strong disapproval of genetic engineering.

The author of all life is God and according to the first chapter of the Book of Genesis, He created every species to reproduce after its own kind. Thus, there is no room in God’s creation for man to step in and start modifying DNA by cross transplanting the genes from one organism or species into the DNA of another. In essence, man is now creating species variants that God never intended to exist. Such alteration of species specificity is a serious violation of God’s natural order, and I believe it to be a corruption of life and an abomination unto the LORD.

“And God said, Let the earth bring forth grass, the herb yielding seed, and the fruit tree yielding fruit after his kind, whose seed is in itself, upon earth: and it was so. And the earth brought forth grass, and herb yielding seed after his kind, and the tree yielding fruit, whose seed was in itself, after his kind: and God saw that it was good.” (Genesis 1:11-12)

Unfortunately, the biotech industry has upstaged God’s role in creation by attempting to modify every aspect of life through their dark science. The genetic codes of each species’ DNA are God’s doing. They were not put there by some random act of evolution, as most scientists would like us to believe. In effect, what they are doing is mocking God by declaring that nearly everything He made is defective and can be improved upon.

In the Old Testament books of Leviticus and Deuteronomy there are clear instructions on how the Israelites were to farm their land and grow their food.

“Ye shall keep my statutes. Thou shalt not let thy cattle gender with a diverse kind: thou shalt not sow thy field with mingled seed: neither shall a garment mingled of linen and woollen come upon thee.” (Leviticus 19:19)

“Thou shall not sow thy vineyard with diverse seeds: lest the fruit of thy seed which thou has sown, and the fruit of thy vineyard be defiled. Thou shalt not plow with an ox and an ass together. Thou shalt not wear a garment of diverse sorts, as of woollen and linen together.” (Deuteronomy 22:9-11)

Notice that if a field was plowed with an ox and an ass it was a violation of God’s law. If a field was planted with various mixed seeds, it too was a defilement and violation of God’s law. Therefore, since God is adamant about not mixing – whether it be in plowing, planting or in the clothes we wear – what do you think His thoughts would be on gene mixing? Let me assure you that when DNA genes are taken from one organism and inserted into another, it too is a defilement of the land and a violation of God’s law!

Anyone who can see this biotech time bomb with spiritual eyes will understand that genetically modified foods and genetic engineering are not about improving crops and providing better alternatives to the world. They’re about playing God and polluting His whole creation. God’s law doesn’t sanction genetic engineering and it never will, despite the best efforts of the biotech industry to try and present these altered organisms as something beneficial to the human race. It may very well be genetically modified foods and genetic engineering that finally bring the wrath of God down upon us. I personally believe that this gene altering technology is one of the most critical issues the world is now facing.

The world was already destroyed once at the time of Noah because of what the ancient Book of Jasher seems to clearly indicate was a form of genetic engineering. If scientists insist on playing God, it may not be long before such a divine destruction happens again.

While the Book of Jasher is not actually in Holy Scripture, it is mentioned in Joshua 10:13 and 2 Samuel 1:18. The fact that the Bible cites it twice validates that there was such a book by this name in the early history of the nation of Israel. The book of Jasher is basically a parallel narrative of the first five books of Moses with the exception that it goes into much more detail. With regards to the story of Noah and the flood, Jasher sheds new light on some of the key events that were taking place before God destroyed the world. In light of our current discussion, one of these passages is very pertinent.

“And the sons of men in those days took from the cattle of the earth, the beasts of the field and the fowls of the air, and taught the mixture of animals of one species with the other, in order therewith to provoke the Lord; and God saw the whole earth and it was corrupt, for all flesh had corrupted its ways upon earth, all men and all animals.” (Jasher 4:18)

It’s also rather interesting to note that when Jesus’ apostles asked Him what it would be like before His return He said it would be like the time of Noah. Might He have been referring to events similar to those cited in the Book of Jasher? Is modern genetic research simply a replay of ancient history? The evidence is certainly enough to make one stop and think.

Notice how God describes the destruction He was about to bring to the world during Noah’s time in the book of Genesis.

“And the LORD said, I will destroy man whom I have created from the face of the earth, both man and beast, and the creeping thing, and the fowls of the air; for it repenteth me that I have made them.”(Genesis 6:7)

No doubt there were many reasons why it repented the LORD that He made man, but one of the most significant ones appears to deal with genetic modification. It is obvious from both Genesis and Jasher that the whole world had become altered because of the genetic technology that was taking place.

“The earth also was corrupt before God, and the earth was filled with violence. And God looked upon the earth, and behold, it was corrupt; for all flesh had corrupted his way upon earth.” (Genesis 6:11-12)

After much deliberation and research, it is my belief that genetically modified foods and genetic engineering as a whole may be leading up to a final battle between good and evil. The biotech companies have drawn a line in the sand and are determined to fight with all of their resources to implement this technology on a global scale. Despite past protests against GM foods in Europe and a growing juggernaut here in America, genetic engineering plods relentlessly forward – apparently unstoppable! Yet if God’s word can be trusted – and it can – then it’s just a matter of time before He steps in to put a halt to this outrage. These huge multinational biotech companies may in fact be getting into a battle that’s more than they bargained for.

If you don’t think food is a critical issue in the eyes of God, let me remind you that it was the consumption of a forbidden food in the Garden of Eden that led to the fall of man. Adam and Eve broke God’s very first commandment and ate the food from the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil. Do you really think Satan would forego a strategy that worked so well for him back in the beginning? Might he now also have the whole world breaking God’s food laws and eating the wrong food in the form of GMOs? And just remember one very important thing, Satan doesn’t care whether you know it or not. As long as he can stand before our Heavenly Father and accuse us to Him, that’s all that matters. (See Revelation 12:10)

Life Group Notes – Week 3

Legitimate Killing

What are we considering when we talk about Legitimate Killing? – War, Death Penalty, Assassination/Special Operations, Self Defence

In Exodus 20v13 God says “Thou shalt not Kill”

KJV/ASV – use the word “kill”, but

Amplified/Complete Jewish Bible/ESV/Good News/Message/Murder/NLT use the word “Murder”

Is there a difference in these meanings?

Kill – to deprive of life in any manner; cause the death of; slay.

Murder – the killing of another human being under conditions specifically covered in law. In the U.S., special statutory definitions include murder committed with malice aforethought, characterized by deliberation or premeditation or occurring during the commission of another serious crime, as robbery or arson (first degree murder),  and murder by intent but without deliberation or premeditation (second-degree murder). To kill or slaughter inhumanly or barbarously.

What is the biblical meaning?

http://www.theologyonline.com/DEATH.HTML

The rendering of the sixth commandment in the King James was very unfortunate. “Thou shalt not kill” in recent versions (like the NKJV, NIV, RSV, ASB, NASB, etc.) is accurately translated “You shall not murder” (Ex. 20:13). In Hebrew, as in English, the words for “murder” and “kill” can be used interchangeably, but their different meanings are easily understood from the context.

The Ten Commandments forbid murder, not killing  The chapter following the giving of the Ten Commandments has a number of commands from God to execute criminals, including:

  • “He who strikes a man so that he dies shall surely be put to death.” Ex. 21:12
  • “He who strikes his father or his mother shall surely be put to death.” Ex. 21:15
  • “He who kidnaps a man… shall surely be put to death.” Ex. 21:16
  • “He who curses his father or his mother shall surely be put to death.” Ex. 21:17
  • “[If an unborn baby is killed] you shall give life for life.” Ex. 21:23

It is not plausible to suppose that God contradicted Himself just a few sentences after delivering the Ten Commandments to Moses. Clearly God prohibited murder but insisted upon execution of murderers and others.

God forbid murder, and commanded the lawful execution of murderers.

Execution Not Optional

As punishment for murder, the death penalty was applicable to each and every murderer:

  • Whoever kills any man shall surely be put to death…. You shall have the same law for the [foreigner] and for one from your own country; for I am the Lord your God.” Lev. 24:17-22

The death penalty was not a maximum penalty, nor was it optional. As the Lord said:

  • ‘Moreover you shall take no ransom for the life of a murderer who is guilty of death, but he shall surely be put to death… So you shall not pollute the land where you are; for blood defiles the land, and no atonement can be made for the land, for the blood that is shed on it, except by the blood of him who shed it.’ Num. 35:31-33

Did God change this law in the New Testament? Consider that Jesus supports the death penalty in Matthew and Mark, and so does John in Revelation, and Paul in Acts and Romans, as does the book of Hebrews.

How do we reconcile the Old and New Testaments

http://carm.org/should-christian-go-war

Should a Christian go to war?

by Matt Slick

This question has caused a lot of division in the body of Christ. Should a Christian go to war where he might kill other people when the Bible says to “turn the other cheek” (Luke 6:29)? Is it right to do war against others or does the Bible forbid it?

War is a state of declared, open, and armed conflict between two or more nations. It is sometimes undertaken in self-defence such as when the U.S. entered WWII as a result of Japan attacking Pearl Harbour. Other times, however, nations unjustly go to war to take spoils from other countries. Murder, on the other hand, is an unlawful taking of life and is always wrong. When nations go to war, it is declared lawful by the countries going to war — sometimes for moral reasons and other times for immoral reasons. Therefore, and immoral war could be considered a form of murder where a moral war could be in self defence. But not all war is wrong.

It is difficult to determine when war would be a righteous endeavour given that leaders of nations are not Christian and could easily have ungodly reasons for going to war. Nevertheless, war is an unfortunate reality in this world and it causes great destruction, misery, and loss of life. It should be avoided if possible and undertaken only as a last resort.

The Bible teaches that we have the right to self defence, Exodus 22:2: “If the thief is caught while breaking in, and is struck so that he dies, there will be no blood guiltiness on his account.” The Bible also tells us to protect the innocent, Deut. 19:10, “So innocent blood will not be shed in the midst of your land which the Lord your God gives you as an inheritance, and blood guiltiness be on you.” Also, see “Fathers shall not be put to death for their sons, nor shall sons be put to death for their fathers; everyone shall be put to death for his own sin,” (Deut. 24:16). If we were to apply these principles to war, I would conclude that war is justifiable when it is in self defence and/or when it is to protect the innocent. Therefore, a Christian could rightfully engage in war given those conditions.

More on war

We can see that war is not a sin in itself since in the Old Testament God sends people into war:

  • “Then the Lord spoke to Moses in the plains of Moab by the Jordan opposite Jericho, saying, 51 “Speak to the sons of Israel and say to them, “When you cross over the Jordan into the land of Canaan, 52 then you shall drive out all the inhabitants of the land from before you, and destroy all their figured stones, and destroy all their molten images and demolish all their high places; 53 and you shall take possession of the land and live in it, for I have given the land to you to possess it,” (Num. 33:50-53).

In fact, God uses war as a means of disciplining nations.

  • “I sent a plague among you after the manner of Egypt; I slew your young men by the sword along with your captured horses, And I made the stench of your camp rise up in your nostrils; Yet you have not returned to Me, declares the Lord,” (Amos 4:10).

Also, the Lord is called a warrior.

  • “The Lord is a warrior; The Lord is His name. 4″Pharaoh’s chariots and his army He has cast into the sea; And the choicest of his officers are drowned in the Red Sea,” (Exodus 15:3-4).

From this we can easily conclude that going to war is not a sin. That is, if it complies with the biblical instructions of self-defence and protection of the innocent.

Furthermore, Christians are instructed to be in subjection to the governing authorities whose establishment is from God. This establishment has the right to declare war and to punish its citizenry, even by capital punishment.

  • “Let every person be in subjection to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and those which exist are established by God. 2 Therefore he who resists authority has opposed the ordinance of God; and they who have opposed will receive condemnation upon themselves. 3 For rulers are not a cause of fear for good behavior, but for evil. Do you want to have no fear of authority? Do what is good, and you will have praise from the same; 4 for it is a minister of God to you for good. But if you do what is evil, be afraid; for it does not bear the sword for nothing; for it is a minister of God, an avenger who brings wrath upon the one who practices evil,” (Rom. 13:1-4).
  • “Submit yourselves for the Lord’s sake to every human institution, whether to a king as the one in authority, 14 or to governors as sent by him for the punishment of evildoers and the praise of those who do right,” (1 Peter 2:13-14).

Finally, notice that some soldiers approached John the Baptist and inquired about repentance. John did not tell them to stop being soldiers, but to do their jobs properly, honestly.

  • “And some soldiers were questioning him, saying, “And what about us, what shall we do?” And he said to them, “Do not take money from anyone by force, or accuse anyone falsely, and be content with your wages,” (Luke 3:14).

From all of this, we can see that going to war is not wrong it itself and that a Christian can go to war under the right circumstances.

http://www.orlutheran.com/html/chrwar.html

The Christian View of War: Can War Ever be Just?

By Dr. Richard P. Bucher

How can anyone justify war from a Christian perspective? Is not one of the Ten Commandments “You shall not kill” (Exodus 20:13; Deuteronomy 5:17)? Do we not hear in the Sermon on the Mount, “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God?” Doesn’t the Bible repeatedly call God, the “God of peace” (Rom 15:33)? Doesn’t Jesus himself command non-violence for all Christians when he says, “Do not resist the one who is evil. But if anyone slaps you on the right cheek, turn to him the other also” (Mt 5:39)?

Since this is the teaching of the Christian faith, can war ever be just? Can war ever be necessary? Can war ever be God-pleasing?

Can War Ever be Just?

It was the great church father Augustine of Hippo who first sought to give some specificity to a definition of a just war. In fact, his position, which he articulated in the early Fifth Century, has long been the Church’s traditional definition of a just war. Augustine held that a just war must have five components. A just war:

(1) Must be waged for self-defense, rather than conquest, plunder, or political oppression;

(2) Must be initiated by the proper authority, i.e., lawful government, rather than an angry mob, etc.

(3) Must be fought with the right intention: peace. It should not be fought to gain land, power, wealth, etc.

(4) Must have a reasonable chance for success.

(5) Must use means proportionate to the goal. If the goal of a war is to liberate an oppressed people, for example, it makes no sense to destroy all their cities in the process, or to bring them under further subjection.

Unfortunately, throughout the Middle Ages, as demonstrated especially by the Crusades, Augustine’s definition was usually not followed. European governments, all of which considered themselves Christian realms, routinely waged war against one another, and rarely for the purposes of self-defense. Even the Pope had a standing army, and he, too, invaded other nations.

Because of the endless European warring, and even more because of the teaching of Scripture, Martin Luther saw few valid reasons to go to war. For him self-defense and the restoration of peace were the only valid reasons to go to war, and even then war had to be begun with great deliberation.

At the very outset I want to say that whoever starts a war is in the wrong. And it is only right and proper that he who first draws his sword is defeated, or even punished, in the end. This is what has usually happened in history. Those who have started wars have lost them, and those who fought in self-defense have only seldom been defeated. Worldly government has not been instituted by God to break the peace and start war, but to maintain peace and to avoid war. Paul says in Romans 13 [:4] that it is the duty of the sword to protect and punish, to protect the good in peace and to punish the wicked with war. God tolerates no injustice and he has so ordered things that warmongers must be defeated in war . . . And in Psalm 68 [ :30] God has the psalmist sing of him, “Dissipat gentes, quae bella volunt, ” that is, “He scatters the peoples who delight in war.”

. . . Let this be, then, the first thing to be said in this matter: No war is just, even if it is a war between equals, unless one has such a good reason for fighting and such a good conscience that he can say, “My neighbor compels and forces me to fight, though I would rather avoid it.” In that case, it can be called not only war, but lawful self-defense

. . . Take my advice, dear lords. Stay out of war unless you have to defend and protect yourselves and your office compels you to fight. Then let war come. Be men, and test your armor. . . The reason is that every lord and prince is bound to protect his people and to preserve the peace for them. That is his office; that is why he has the sword, Romans 13 [:4]. This should be a matter of conscience for him (Luther’s Works 46:120-121).

If the war was just, then the Christian could support and participate in the war with a good conscience, knowing that he was fighting in love in order to protect his neighbour.

Pacifism

The alternative view, that Christians should be Pacifists is held very strongly by the Quakers. The following website gives the alternative argument that Christians should not go to war  => http://christianquaker.net/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=56&Itemid=68