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It is Right to Intervene against Islamic State

in justice, World News

The Prime Minister of New Zealand John Key has announced that New Zealand will be sending members of the New Zealand Defence Force to Iraq to train Iraqi troops in the fight against Islamic State (IS). Against some who think we should not support the effort against IS on the grounds that it is “not our war,” against the government’s political foes (and even allies – but with the apparent majority of public opinion) I believe the PM has made the right decision for New Zealand to get involved, and a laudable one in the face of predictable opposition. In truth I think our soldiers should be going there to engage IS rather than to train soldiers, but involvement rather than keeping our distance is the appropriate stance. [click to continue…]

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An Ash Wednesday Reflection 2015

in Theology / Biblical Studies

We just got back from taking our kids to their first Ash Wednesday service. Ash Wednesday kicks off the season of Lent, a time where we examine ourselves with a repentant heart, confessing our sins and reminding ourselves of God’s mercy. Many people give something up for lent and the practice of fasting during Lent is common, so that people can take their focus off their needs and pleasures and focus on being made right with God.

During the Ash Wednesday service, participants are marked on the forehead with a cross. Tonight the prayer just before the marking with ash really stood out to me:

Loving God, you created us from the dust of the earth; may these ashes be for us a sign of our penitence and mortality, and a reminder that only by the cross do we receive eternal life.

What a simple reality. The prayer wasn’t burdened down with the language that we sometimes use to describe these truths, terminology like “physicalism,” “conditional immortality” or “annihilationism.” One of the frustrating things (but of course not the only frustrating thing) when Christians deny these biblical truths and talk about the immortality of the soul or about everybody living forever (it’s just a question of where they live) is that we have to come up with terminology to describe these positions.

This prayer, though, is a perfect example of how something like “annihilationism” or “conditional immortality” is ideally expressed, with the straightforward, unadorned claims of the Bible. We are mortal, made from the earth (or from stardust as some scientists like to say), we are dust and to dust we will return. We should have no default expectation of living forever, and it is only through Christ that we can have eternal life. Call that “conditional immortality” if you like, but it’s just the Christian Gospel.

Glenn Peoples

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Christians need to stop saying these things

in miscellaneous, Theology / Biblical Studies

Like nails on the chalk board, there are some things I wish my Christian peers (and everyone, I guess) would stop saying. I rarely post lists like this, but you can’t always rely on induction. Now I am posting one.

[click to continue…]

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Get cool stuff!

in announcements

You can buy some cool, geeky apparel and support Right Reason at the same time!

Over on the right there is a store link. Most of you probably didn’t know that, and nobody used it. Well, I’ve just revamped the store. Instead of working with CafePress, I’m not trying to pimp my gear via TeeSpring. Here is what you can currently buy:

Pretty sweet, right?

What do those numbers mean: 1/10 sold? allow me to explain: TeeSpring use a campaign approach to selling stuff. Take that hoodie on the left (that thing is so boss, I want one!). The threshold for going ahead with that product is 10. If at least 10 orders are placed during the campaign, then TeeSpring will make however many are ordered during the campaign. There are 13 days left in the campaign. The other numbers are higher, but I’ve requested that they all come down to 10, to make success more likely.

I’m no big time dude, so I have really low targets (e.g. 10), which results in me making not as much profit on each sale as I might otherwise, but I want reachable targets too.

If you like what you see, go right ahead and buy one! And one for all your friends, family and colleagues. And please share the link. It would be nice if I actually make one of the targets. Maybe in future I’ll just do one campaign at a time.

But even if you don’t buy one of these (but why would you not?!), please share the link and get others to do so as well. That would be a really big help!

Glenn Peoples

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So long, John Piper

in Heaven and Hell, Theology / Biblical Studies

What would you think if I offered to reward you by killing you? Would you think I was mad? Suppose that I was a well-known preacher who had steadily grown in popularity, so that I now pastored a large church, wrote and sold many books, was keynote speaker at conservative conferences and so on. And then one day I told, not just you but the whole world, that for people who don’t know Jesus to be annihilated forever would actually be a reward, throwing in a claim that really, it’s what they want anyway? Of course it would be just as mad as the person who thought that killing you would be a reward, but you might look at my rise in popularity and influence and wonder at just what point I crossed the line where I would think that this was a healthy thing, not just to believe, but to tell the world.

Not long ago, John Piper tweeted thus: [click to continue…]

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St Paul Quoted the Gospel of Luke

in Theology / Biblical Studies

As far as I can tell, St Paul quoted from the written Gospel of Luke. And since St Paul died in AD 67 or thereabouts, the Gospel of Luke must be younger than that. I’ve also reached the conclusion that what “critical scholars” say to overturn this observation is a whole lot of not very much based on even less.

[click to continue…]

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What’s really wrong with Apollinarianism?

in Theology / Biblical Studies

What is Apollinarianism, and what’s really wrong with it?

Apollinarianism is a well-known Christological heresy; a way of understanding the person of Christ that historic Christianity rejected. The orthodox Christian way of thinking about the person of Christ is summed up in the chalcedonian definition. In brief, it is that Christ is one person who is fully human and fully God. He has everything necessary for a complete human nature, and he additionally has everything necessary for a divine nature. Is Jesus a person? Yes. Is that person divine? Yes, because a person with a divine nature is a divine person. Is that person human? Yes, because a person with a human nature is a human person. But we are still only talking about one person, something possible because Christ has two natures, not just one. [click to continue…]

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