The Voyage That Shook the World (Notice for the Chapel and other interested parties)

The Voyage That Shook the World The Voyage That Shook the World

Darwin had a ridiculous beard but a brilliant mind. Was he right? Was he wrong? Come join us on the 28th November between 4 and 5 pm to watch a fascinating documentary on The Voyage That Shook the World. Click any image to link to the source.

The greatest story ever told kicks off with the line,

1 In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth…

Want to hear the verse in context? Genesis 1 – 7
What is this about?

About 7,000 years later (no guesses for where I stand) Charles Darwin published On the Origin of Species. His Theory of Evolution profoundly rocked the way that the human world perceives its place in the universe. Now, 150 years later, with the benefit of hindsight and scientific insight, a one-hour HD documentary, The Voyage That Shook the World, traces Darwin’s journey to the Galápagos Islands and investigates some of the ramifications and foundations that his works rests on.

So, if you’re a member, a regular visitor or just interested to find out what Darwin actually said and where we stand as a church on evolution, creation and everything in between please come and join us on Saturday, 28th November between 4 and 5 pm.

The Voyage That Shook the World The Voyage That Shook the World
The Voyage That Shook the World The Voyage That Shook the World

The spender and beauty of the Galápagos Islands is brought to life in High Definition in this one-hour documentary billed by Dr Ted Baehr from as “Fascinating and profound insights… one of the best produced documentaries ever made.” Click any image to link to the source.

The documentary will be shown at Midrand Chapel, 151 Pitzer Road, Glen Austin, 1685 on Saturday, 28th November between 4 and 5 pm. Wanna find it:

Watched the movie yet? What did you think? Want more information? Go and check out

The Gospel

The Gospel

The Gospel. The Good News.

You, like me, have sinned against God. Basically this means we’ve fallen short of His perfect standard. You see, God is Holy and Righteous, He’s perfect and He stands apart from sin. We’re not and so we’ve separated ourselves in many ways from Him by what we’ve thought, what we’ve said, what we’ve done and even in what we’ve left undone. We’re guilty. None of us make the grade, make the cut, stands acceptable.

Now, there’re results to this stain of sin in our lives, some of them are temporal others eternal. God says in the Bible that the wages of sin is death. This isn’t just a physical death but an eternal, everlasting death. And He’s just; we’ll get what we deserve.

Pretty gloomy? Well that’s the bad news. The good is that Jesus, as a demonstration of God’s love died for sinners so that those who come to Him may have eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen! Bottom line, Jesus’ death paid for the penalty of our sins and what’s more His resurrection proves that God accepted Jesus’ death as the payment.

God has revealed in His Word that if you confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. Salvation, the forgiveness of sins, is available to all who will trust in Jesus Christ as their Lord and Saviour. This Gospel is a call to live a life of faith joined with turning away from our sins and turning to God in repentance. It’s not something that we can do for ourselves but a gracious gift from Him.

While the wrath of God rests on sinners the saved are at peace with Him having been reconciled back to God through His Son Jesus Christ our Lord and Saviour. Because of that great work we can rest secure in the certain promise that nothing will ever separate us from His love.

All this means that I, with Paul, can say,

24 Wretched man that I am! Who will set me free from the body of this death? 25 Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord!

Want some more information?

Want to read more? Pick up a Bible and check out these verses: Romans 3:23, 3:10-18, 6:23, 5:8, 10:9, 10:13, 5:1, 8:1, 8:38-39, Luke 24:46 – 47, Acts 2:22 – 24, 38, 3:13 – 15, 19, 26, 5:19 – 20, 29 – 31, 10:39 – 40, 43, 13:28 – 30, 38, 26:18 – 20, 22 – 23

4½ point Calvinists make great 2 point Fundamentalists!

A while back I read a blog entry over at Sound and Silence called “Fundamentalism’s fatal flaw”. Whether it was right or not is inconsequential because: it got me thinking about: what are the fundamentals and what is a fundamentalist?

As I’ve been thinking through these things I’ve written a few blog entries to clarify in my mind at least about what my believes are and why I so firmly hold to them. So far I’ve covered the Virgin Birth and Substitutionary Atonement.

While checking out a regular haunt (beauty of the bible) I realized that people like to figure out just how Evangelical they are, how Calvinistic they are, how Reformed they are… Why not how Fundamental you are?

The poll below is based on the wiki entry for Fundamentalist Christianity.

This is kinda, sorta, 62.5% satire and a bit of clarification. Who knows: You might find out you’re more fundamental than you thought.

So Mark, fundamentally, what do you believe? Part 2 of 5

<— Click here for Part 1

Um, me. A long, long time ago in a land far, far away. The Scout Motto is “Be Prepared”. I can remember we always had to carry around two hankies – just in case. Click to enlarge.

As a kid I was a Scout. Actually I was a puddle pirate (Sea Scout). I remember the pride of donning my fancy blue uniform and wearing a ridiculous white sailor cap. I loved it! It was absolutely fantastic! We patrolled the waters in sailboats and tied knots; we rigged tents and started fires; we played games and sang songs. Even now, as an adult, the Scout Motto is etched in my mind: “Be Prepared!”

In my last post I asked myself the question, “So Mark, fundamentally, what do you believe?” Why? Why would I bother? Well, because the Bible tells us to bother; to be able to defend what we believe; to “Be Prepared!”

For example 1 Peter 3:15 says:

15 …but sanctify Christ as Lord in your hearts, always {being} ready to make a defence to everyone who asks you to give an account for the hope that is in you, yet with gentleness and reverence;”

I found the truths of the Virgin Birth quite easy to articulate. Right now I’m thinking of something a bit more complex: Substitutionary Atonement. If it’s complex why bother at all? Well because the Substitutionary Atonement of Christ forms part of the hope that is in me; and because, like all other fundamentals of the Christian faith, the Substitutionary Atonement of Christ is under attack.

He made Him who knew no sin {to be} sin on our behalf, so that we might become the righteousness of God in Him. 2 Corinthians 5:21

Maybe a short definition first? If substitute means “in place of” and atone means “to make amends for” then Substitutionary Atonement is Jesus Christ’s act of dying in place of sinners. It’s clearly taught in Romans 3:23, “For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God;” and Romans 6:23, “For the wages of sin [is] death; but the gift of God [is] eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.”

Who’d attack that? It seems so Protestant. Every read The Shack? I’m referring to it by way of an example of the teaching that has infiltrated the Church. This is a quote from page 119, “At that, Papa stopped her preparations and turned toward Mack. He could see a deep sadness in her eyes. ‘I am not who you think I am, Mackenzie. I don’t need to punish people for sin. Sin is its own punishment, devouring you from the inside. It is not my purpose to punish it; it’s my joy to cure it’.”

Get that? “Sin is its own punishment.” In a widely publicized radio show the author, William P. Young, made further statements regarding his Biblically incorrect view of Substitutionary Atonement. But he’s not alone. Many are now teaching a Gospel message which removes sin from the equation, belittling the work of Christ on the cross and cheapening His sacrifice.

Here’s the thing: Without Substitutionary Atonement we have no hope. You see if Christ’s death on the cross wasn’t enough or if it wasn’t for our sins, then there’s still a debt to be paid, an amount owning, an outstanding balance. But because it was a penalty paid in place of me I know that it’s done; it’s finished; my soul is won.

1 Peter 2:24 says:

24 and He Himself bore our sins in His body on the cross, so that we might die to sin and live to righteousness; for by His wounds you were healed.”

Ever wonder throughout history people have consistently demanded more human responsibility in God’s marvelous scheme of salvation?

  • has some good answers on this subject. Click here to read the article.
<— Click here for Part 1

So Mark, fundamentally, what do you believe? Part 1 of 5

Click here for Part 2 —>

Liezl, the kids and I went to Cape Town last year. This is The African Madonna by Leon Underwood in St. Georges Cathedral, Cape Town. I found it captivating. Click to enlarge.

“What if tomorrow someone digs up definitive proof that Jesus had a real, earthly, biological father named Larry, and archeologists find Larry’s tomb and do DNA samples and prove beyond a shadow of a doubt that the virgin birth was really just a bit of mythologizing the Gospel writers threw in to appeal to the followers of the Mithra and Dionysian religious cults that were hugely popular at the time of Jesus, whose gods had virgin births? But what if, as you study the origin of the word ‘virgin’ you discover that the word ‘virgin’ in the gospel of Matthew actually comes from the book of Isaiah, and then you find out that in the Hebrew language at that time, the word ‘virgin’ could mean several things. And what if you discover that in the first century being ‘born of a virgin’ also referred to a child whose mother became pregnant the first time she had intercourse? What if that spring were seriously questioned? Could a person keep on jumping? Could a person still love God? Could you still be a Christian? Is the way of Jesus still the best possible way to live? Or does the whole thing fall apart?…If the whole faith falls apart when we reexamine and rethink one spring, then it wasn’t that strong in the first place, was it?”

A while back I read Velvet Elvis. Rob Bell wrote it. He’s popular, very popular. The paragraph above is from page 26. It represents a question. Maybe it’s hyperthetical but it certainly does embody a question our culture has been and still is asking: “What’s so important about the Virgin Birth anyway?”, and “Seriously! A virgin? Maybe you’re reading it wrong!”

“What’s so important about the Virgin Birth anyway?”: Well I believe it’s important because Scripture doesn’t make room for any other interpretation. Remember Mary’s utter confusion in Luke 1:34: “How can this be, since I am a virgin?” followed by Gabriel’s response, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you.” Can you remember how in Matthew 1:20 the angel encourages Joseph, who was thinking of divorcing Mary, by saying: “the Child who has been conceived in her is of the Holy Spirit.” They never had sex! Check out Matthew 1:18, “before they came together she was found to be with child by the Holy Spirit.”

Isaiah 7:14 reads:

17“…Behold, a virgin will be with child and bear a son, and she will call His name Immanuel.”

The Θεοτόκος (Theotokos, Greek word for Virgin Mary, literally meaning “God-bearer or Mother of God” is regarded as the holy protectress of Russia. Click to enlarge.

“Seriously! A virgin? Maybe you’re reading it wrong!”: In the quote at the top Rob highlights that the Hebrew word עלמה (‛almâh) could rightfully be translated as something other than virgin. It could be damsel, maid or virgin. He infers that Mary might not have been a virgin, but rather a young lady having her first child or possibly… well you get the point. Thing is what he didn’t say (and it was left out to make a point I’m sure) was that Matthew, under the influence of the Holy Spirit, was not quoting the Hebrew text at all, but rather the Greek Septuagint*. The Greek word he used was παρθένος (parthenos. Word sound familiar? Athena is the Greek Goddess and virgin patron of Athens who never consorted with a lover, earning her the title Athena Parthenos (“Athena the virgin”). The Parthenon was built to worship her.). It’s a non ambiguous Greek word translated virgin. I love what John MacArthur once preached on this subject:

“Now, the critics can confuse the passage, but they can’t erase the clear commentary of Matthew on it, who used the word parthenos, which means “virgin.” Matthew knew what Isaiah meant, even if the critics don’t.”

I believe that the Virgin Birth is a brick not a spring. It’s not something that can be taken away. The Divinity of Christ, the humanity of Christ and Christ’s lack of a sin nature are all bricks built on top of the foundation of the Virgin Birth.

And so? Was she a young girl in trouble making up a story? Θεοτόκος (for you Steve)? A myth, yarn, story? Does it matter?

  • has some good answers on this subject. Click here to read the article.
  • The conversation about Velvet Elvis started in 2007. Click here to see the Facebook thread.
  • More data on the Virgin Birth? Wiki rulz! Click here.

* Septuagint: Greek language became more and more dominant from 330 B.C. on ward, and the Jewish nation adopted this language (kinda like we might have Afrikaans or Zulu as a second language, just more intense because they used it for trade, legal matters and literature). According to Jewish legend, Ptolemy Philadelphus (around 250 B.C.) commissioned 72 scholars, in 72 days, to translate the Old Testament into Greek. The Latin word for 70, “Septuagint” (LXX), was the name given to this translation. The Septuagint was the most widely used Greek translation of the Old Testament.

Click here for Part 2 —>