The Jubilee 03/06/12

Just returned from London where we waited hours to catch a glimpse of the queen, which we did. It was something we had planned to do for a while so I’m glad we didn’t chicken out. It will be nice to tell the grandchildren that we saw the Queen on her 60th anniversary and saw the largest flotilla for 350 years. Some comparisons inevitably come to mind:

1. We stood for ages in anticipation of seeing our monarch fully aware that we would only catch a fleeting glimpse if that.  When her boat appeared we all shouted and waved, it was a kind of worship or at least a celebration.  Question is, how excited does the church – how excited do I get at the prospect of seeing my sovereign lord?  He is more excellent, more powerful, more personal and has sat on the throne for 2,000 years. Can you even begin to imagine how thrilling it will be when he returns!

2. There was a wonderful spirit amongst the crowd. Sharing, smiling and chatting. One key thing had brought us together and levelled us, we generally felt a warm bond, a sort of fellowship together.  Question is, how intense is the fellowship of believers in Jesus?  Does our love for him make us soften and warm to each other? As fellow worshippers, do we resolve our sharing to such an extent that folk recognise us for it?  No-one could mistake the reason for the crowd today, all Union Jack’d up – so when we are seen can folk see what we are ‘dressed up’ for?

3. As the day progressed, so did the intensity of the rain.  As we walked along the embankment there on the ground were rain-sodden periscopes lying on the ground awaiting the road-sweeper.  Many flags which minutes earlier had been waved in joy were being trodden into the gutter.  When our jubilee year arrives the aftermath will not be ‘business as usual’ but a searing wave of liberty and life for all creation. Instead of the rain and work on Wednesday will come such beauty and rest and joy and fulfilment as will make the shadow fade completely away!

In the meantime – God bless her richly, as she is a blessing to us all!

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How to tell a good orchestra

OK, you listen to a piece of music and you think ‘they sounded good’, but are they really good and how is it possible to compare orchestras?

Well of course there are things that are hard to measure. The speed of a piece, the changes in volume and the way the conductor expresses what the piece of music is all about.

But beneath all these is a simple measure of technical ability and without a fine technique the biggest heart will not communicate to the listener.  Here are three tests (there are many others) that will tell you if an orchestra is in the premier league or second division.

1. Mendelssohn – A Midsummer Night’s Suite – Overture

Listen carefully to the strings shooting off after the slow opening. You will be surprised how many orchestras can’t play together!

2. Beethoven – Symphony 1
 Here the strings and woodwind are supposed to start at exactly the same time.  If you care to listen to a few examples of the openeing of this symphony you will hear only a few that actually start together.

Admittedly there are some acoustic issues with some recordings that exaggerate the distance between the folk playing woodwind (the long notes) and the folk playing the strings (the short notes that arrive at the beginning and end of the long notes) but even so it is not difficult – some bands I think are too sophisticated to play in time together!

3. Mahler – Symphony 2

Here is a wonderful test.  Listen to the very last two notes of the Andante (the second movement) of this symphony.  Just two notes in the middle of silence, very short but intended to be played precisely together.  More than often not they come out like someone dropping their shopping all over the floor!  One band that really nails it is Budapest Festival Orchestra. Love them!

Some bands seem to think that playing precisely together when they are asked to is an affront. Check this video where the ‘legendary’ Leonard Bernstein conducts the ‘legendary’ Vienna Philharmonic.  http://youtu.be/n5jBVD1cztA  At 03:50 he gives a clear beat and the orchestra wait a bit then ‘plink’, another beat, wait..wait – ‘plunk’!

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Music Critics

Music critics make me smile.  The things they come out with! Any random music review will contain such bizarre comments that will leave you thinking “what on earth do they mean”.

For example:
“...the orchestra bathed in a sensual glow the staging cannot reproduce” – “Eh?”

Or how about:
It was all too beautiful, too sweetly reasonable“!

Or these:
…tinged with the elegance of neoclassicism yet allowed to unfold in its own space
…less craggy than we’ve heard recently from conductors such as Osmo Vänskä
“...the apocalyptic trajectory of much of the music is profound
…a convincing balance of light and shade, stillness and propulsion, in which the irresistible Andalusian qualities of the score were never allowed to dominate its larger frame
…most of it sounded a little pedestrian in isolation from the images”

Maybe they know what they mean, but I am sure I don’t!

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For the love of Christ!

It’s a strange picture isn’t it. I mean angels aren’t meant to cry are they. They are the inhabitants of heaven and so enjoy perpetual bliss?

And what about us Christians?  Aren’t we supposed to be cheerful, ‘filled with joy’ and a constant source of encouragement to others?  Rejoicing in affliction! Some would go so far as to say Christians should not have problems, should not despair, should not weep?  It is as if a sad Christian ‘lets the side down’! No we should press on with a smile on our faces and in this way prove to others how our faith overcomes all obstacles.

Except that is not the truth, is it?

Many Christians; good, faithful, loving people I know have experienced great sadness and despair in their lives.  An illness that drains strength and the patience of their loved ones.  The endless rejection of work applications bringing feelings of worthlessness. The death of a life partner turning each day into a gut-wrenching challenge filled with waves of grief.  The feeling of rejection as employment is suddenly lost.  The birth of a child who is seriously ill. The emptiness of childlessness. The constant challenge of someone close who suffers from mental illness, or the pain of broken family relationships.  These things can bring a cloying hopelessness that is compounded by the guilt of being a despairing Christian. Prayers seem unanswered and as time passes and the sun doesn’t come out doubts arise in the heart – questioning the very foundation of all we have believed. We wonder if, after all, we are one of those destined to end up on the outside, looking in at the party that’s going on without us?  My good friend Colin identifies the worst symptom – hopelessness; which is why he started ‘hope on the street‘. He quotes Martin Luther King, “If you lose hope, somehow you lose the vitality that keeps life moving, you lose that courage to be, that quality that keeps you going in spite of it all”.

So what can keep us going through times like this?

Well not the Smart Alec answer. “All things work for good etc..” is hardly going to perk up someone who’s ‘soul is thirsty‘ – who’s ‘tears have been their food day and night‘  But at the same time, neither is rolling over and allowing the darkness to take over.  There are bits of scripture that seem to challenge the mood: “Rejoice” Paul says, “Do not be anxious about anything“.  But the key is why should we rejoice? Why should we not be anxious?

The Christian faith is not about a creed or a doctrine, or information, or community, or miracles – these are secondary.  The Christian faith is about a person – Jesus.  He is what makes the difference, and not in an abstract way like ‘Oh yes I have learnt his teaching’ or ‘Oh yes I have understood what the Bible says about him’  No. In times of great stress and despair he is the one person in our lives that we can genuinely hold fast to and for every good reason.  Strange that, in our pain, those we can touch and see are often not as real as the risen one!

So it is the truth that our souls cling to him and when we say we cannot continue, or we cannot cope, we mean we almost cannot.  And I say this – it is the love of Christ that keeps us going through it all.  His love of us and our love back.  This is not a ‘love me and fix things’ sort of love. This is a love that says “Though he slay me, yet will I hope in him” a love that says ” My soul yearns for you in the night; in the morning my spirit longs for you” A love that believes that even though the night is a long one, yet joy comes in the morning. It is what makes keeping on the best path, it is what makes us realise he is still for us and that there is no-one else with words of eternal life.

For the love of Christ – never give up!

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Broken Bones – Rant!

Broken for me, broken for you, the body of Jesus broken for you

Nice hymn, except of course his body was not broken! I must confess that over the years this small thing has slowly got to me – and so now I have a blog to get it off my chest!

The Jews were given the Passover Meal back in Exodus. The eating of the Lamb had rules surrounding it. One was ‘It must be eaten inside one house; take none of the meat outside the house. Do not break any of the bones.’  Paul tells the church ‘Christ, our Passover lamb, has been sacrificed

In Psalm 34 we have a prophecy ‘he protects all his bones, not one of them will be broken‘ And so when we arrive at the cross and see what happened ‘when they came to Jesus and found that he was already dead, they did not break his legs. Instead, one of the soldiers pierced Jesus’ side with a spear, bringing a sudden flow of blood and water‘ – no broken body, unlike his neighbours.

Before Jesus was arrested he took a loaf and said to his disciples ‘This is my body given for you‘  – this is much the same as when he said in John ‘I am the living bread that came down from heaven. If anyone eats of this bread, he will live forever. This bread is my flesh, which I will give for the life of the world‘. And anyway, how could Jesus talk to his disciples about his broken body when he was stood in front of them unbroken!

But there is one small problem: When we look in Paul’s account of the last supper we read (in the Received Text) ‘Take, eat: this is my body, which is broken for you: this do in remembrance of me.’  – why?  Well, there are 14 verses in the New Testament with the Greek word for ‘broke’ – and they all refer to the bread – apart from this one instance.  Simply, the Received Test is not accurate.  All the oldest manuscripts have ‘which is for you‘ just like in the Mark and Matthew, some others have ‘given for you‘ like in Luke.

Does it Matter?

Well here’s another question:  I remember an old Christian brother complaining that because Jesus says ‘this cup‘ (singular) we should never use more than one cup!  Is this in the same league, am I just being pedantic for no good cause?  Possibly. But I think there is something else here surely?

The first thing is that God took trouble to ensure Jesus’ bones were not broken.  Unless it was a fancy prophecy trick simply to allow us to marvel over God’s sovereignty over time and circumstance?  I don’t see that.  I see God telling us it was important, then ensuring it came to pass.  But why?

I have been thinking on this all weekend – please add your suggestions but here is mine at the moment:

Look through the bible. Bones are important and seem to represent the lasting memory of a person. Think Joseph’s bones, think Saul’s bones.  Breaking bones demonstrates absolute control and power over the whole soul and memory of a person.  To me it seems God is saying “these are my bones, they are not yours to break, the body of my Son will be remembered and be protected, for one day these bones will rise again in glory.” “Son of man, can these bones live?” I said, “O Sovereign LORD, you alone know.” – Rise they did and the body Jesus had before his death was not smashed, but glorified beyond time and space, beyond our imagination.  Though changed beyond our understanding, the body Jesus gave us at the last supper is the body he still gives to the world at Easter.

Comments welcome!

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Clearly, death is not “nothing at all”

Tom Wright in his book “Surprised by Hope” says we are all confused by death and what happens next.  In bringing us back to an authentic Christian view he points out that Henry Scott Holland’s words, so often quoted at funerals, mean the opposite of what we think they mean.  I quote the whole sermon below because it is a profound and powerful observation in the light of true Christian faith.

Where have all the churchmen gone who will say what God teaches rather than what they think the world wants us to hear!

(You will recognise the famous bit as you read. Also, I don’t think there is any copyright it is public domain in the US)

His sermon preached in St Paul’s Cathedral, London, Sunday 15th May 1910 was preached following the death of King Edward VII, whose coffin lay in state in Westminster Hall from 17 to 19 May, where it was viewed by about a quarter of a million people:

“Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when He shall appear we shall be like Him, for we shall see Him as He is. And every man that hath this hope in him purifieth himself, even as He is pure.” — 1 John iii.2,3
I suppose all of us hover between two ways of regarding death, which appear to be in hopeless contradiction with each other. First, there is the familiar and instinctive recoil from it as embodying the supreme and irrevocable disaster. It is the impossible, the incredible thing. Nothing leads up to it, nothing prepares for it. It simply traverses every line on which life runs, cutting across every hope on which life feeds, and every intention which gives life significance. It makes all we do here meaningless and empty. “Vanity, vanity, all is vanity.” Everything goes to one place, good and bad, just and unjust, happy and unhappy, rich and poor, all lie down together in one common ruin. All are cut off by the same blind inexorable fate. So stated it is inexplicable, so ruthless, so blundering — this death that we must die. It is the cruel ambush into which we are snared. It is the pit of destruction. It wrecks, it defeats, it shatters. Can any end be more untoward, more irrational than this? Its methods are so cruelly accidental, so wickedly fantastic and freakish. We can never tell when or how its blow will fall. It may be, no doubt, that it may come to the very old as the fitting close of an honourable life. But how often it smites, without discrimination, as if it had no law! It makes its horrible breach in our gladness with careless and inhuman disregard of us. We get no consideration from it. Often and often it stumbles in like an evil mischance, like a feckless misfortune. Its shadow falls across our natural sunlight, and we are swept off into some black abyss. There is no light or hope in the grave; there is no reason to be wrung out of it. Life is the only reality, the only truth. Death is mere blindness, mere negation. “Death cannot praise Thee, O God; the grave cannot celebrate Thee. The living, the living, they can only praise Thee, as I do this day.”
So the Scripture cried out long ago. So we cry in our angry protest, in our bitter anguish, as the ancient trouble reasserts its ancient tyranny over us today. It is man’s natural recoil. And the Word of God recognizes this and gives it vigorous expression.
But, then, there is another aspect altogether which death can wear for us. It is that which first comes down to us, perhaps, as we look down upon the quiet face, so cold and white, of one who has been very near and dear to us. There it lies in possession of its own secret. It knows it all. So we seem to feel. And what the face says to us in its sweet silence to us as a last message from the one whom we loved is: “Death is nothing at all. It does not count. I have only slipped away into the next room. Nothing has happened. Everything remains exactly as it was. I am I, and you are you, and the old life that we lived so fondly together is untouched, unchanged. Whatever we were to each other, that we are still. Call me by the old familiar name. Speak of me in the easy way which you always used. Put no difference into your tone. Wear no forced air of solemnity or sorrow. Laugh as we always laughed at the little jokes that we enjoyed together. Play, smile, think of me, pray for me. Let my name be ever the household word that it always was. Let it be spoken without an effort, without the ghost of a shadow upon it. Life means all that it ever meant. It is the same as it ever was. There is absolute and unbroken continuity. What is this death but a negligible accident? Why should I be out of mind because I am out of sight? I am but waiting for you, for an interval, somewhere very near, just round the corner. All is well. Nothing is hurt; nothing is lost. One brief moment and all will be as it was before. How we shall laugh at the trouble of parting when we meet again!”
So the face speaks. Surely while we speak there is a smile flitting over it; a smile as of gentle fun at the trick played us by seeming death. It is not death; nobody is dead. It would be too ludicrous to suppose it. What has death to do with us? How can we die? Everything that we cared for and loved exists. Physical death has no meaning, no relation to it. Reason refuses to bring the two together. There is no common term. Nothing that we see in this dead material now laid out under our eyes represents or involves or includes the thing that was or is alive. That which we loved is not here. That is all. It has dropped out. It has slid away. We are as sure of this as we are of our own identity. We cannot conceive any other possibility. Reason and imagination alike repudiate it.
And, as we stand there, death seems a very little thing. What really matters is the life with its moral quality, its personal characteristics, its intense and vivid charm, its individual experiences, its personal story; the tone of its voice, the pressure of its presence felt as surely now as once through eye and hand; the tenderness, the beauty, the force of the living will — its faults, and its struggles, and its victories, and its maturity, and its quivering affection. What has death to do with these? They are our undying possession.
Still are your pleasant voices,
Your nightingales awake.
For death he taketh all away.
But these he cannot take.
There is no severance, no gulf fixed. We can send our hearts over the silent frontier into the secret land. We hold converse with them that are gone from us. Not a tie is cut. They know it, we know it. The spirit bands hold. We can be content to bury this poor body, left behind, out of sight. It has nothing in it that really counts. We can be quiet and calm over it. There is no need for violent distress. All that matters shall go on as if death had never been.
Have we all felt like that now and again standing by the bed? True, we shall not be able to keep that mind. Alas! it will pass from us. The long, horrible silence that follows when we become aware of what we have lost out of our daily intercourse by the withdrawal of the immediate presence will cut its way into our souls. We shall feel it impossible to keep at the high level without a word, without a sign to reassure us of its truth. The blank veil will hang on unlifted, unstirred. Not a glimpse to be had of the world inside and beyond! How black, how relentless, this total lack of tangible evidence for the certainty that we believe in! Once again the old terror will come down upon us. What is it that happens over there? What are the dead about? Where are they? How picture it? How speak of it? It is all blind, dismal, unutterable darkness. We grope in vain. We strain our eyes in vain. “Oh, death is, after all, a fearful thing,” so we say with the old cringing fear that clings to the known, the familiar scene, and abhors the untravelled bourne.
Yes, but for all that our high mood was real, though it passes. It was a true experience; it gave us authentic intelligence. We were better able to win an insight into the real heart of things as we stood there by the bedside of the dead in spiritual exaltation, with every capacity raised to its highest level, than now when we are drawn under the drag of days, submerged, unnerved, wearied, out of spirits, disheartened. Therefore it is our reasonable act of faith to stand by our highest experience, and to assert its validity even when its light has faded out of our lives and we have sunk back under the shadows. Though we have returned to the twilight of the valleys, yet we will ever recall the moment when we stood upon the sunlit heights and saw the far horizons. It was a true value that we then gave to life and death. That act of insight cannot be disproved or discredited; even though there be a counter judgement which will not be gainsaid, and which still presses its conclusion and penetrating insistence.
Our task is to deny neither judgement, but to combine both. The contrasted experiences are equally real, equally valid. How can they be reconciled? That is the question. Only through their reconciliation can the fitness of our human experience be preserved in its entirety. How shall this be done? Is it not through the idea of growth? We are in a condition of process, of growth, of which our state on earth is but the preliminary condition. And this must mean that in one sense we know all that lies before us; and in another sense that we know nothing of it.
“Brethren, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be.” Think that well over. We are now the sons of God. That we can know for certain. That is a direct and absolute experience. And that means that we are already now that which we shall be hereafter. “There is no other world.” So said the crooked spirit of Voltaire. For the “other world” has come here. It is already over here with us, on our side. Its powers are ours. We are in possession of its resources. We have been born into it, born of its spirit, born in its freedom. Within us its secret is germinally lodged. “Our life is hid with Christ in God.” The channels are open; communications pass.
It is no novel world, then, into which we shall enter when we pass away, but our own familiar world in which we shall have had our conversation and fellowship. Therefore, from this point of view, death is but an accident. Nothing is broken in our vital continuity. What we shall be there will be the inevitable continuation and development of what we are now and here. We shall simply go on being what we already are, only without disguise, without qualification. We shall use the same forces, live according to the same methods, be governed by the same motives, realize the same intention. We are what we shall be. That is why, standing by the dead, we know nothing for them is changed. We are to use the same language as of old, to think of them under the same form, to follow them with our intimate and habitual familiarities. Yes, for they are what they were. Death does not count.
And yet, and yet, “it doth not yet appear what we shall be.” “It doth not yet appear.” Ah! How dreadfully true that is! Even though it be ever so true that this after state will be an outgrowth from what we are, yet we can have no notion beforehand of what the outgrowth will actually mean. We can see nothing ahead. No hint reaches us to interpret it. How can we picture it? How can we give it concrete and actual expression? We gaze and gaze, and the abyss is blind and black. Death shuts fast the door. Beyond the darkness hides its impenetrable secret. Not a sound comes back! Not a cry reaches us! Dumb! Dumb as the night, that terrifying silence! “It doth not yet appear.” Gaze as we may, we can make nothing of it. The very fact that it will be the inevitable result of what we are has its terrors as much as its consolations. Alas! what will the results be? What will show itself to be the issue of our days on earth? Who can say? And therefore it is a fearful thing to go out into the night alone, carrying the irrevocable past — to be changed we know not how, to remain in our alarming identity through the change, to be ourselves for ever and ever under unimaginable conditions which no experience enables us to anticipate or forestall. Dreadful, the darkness, the silence of the unknown adventure. We know nothing of what will befall. Only we know that all which is already ours, by living experience, by intimate attachment, will be gone. The warmth of the present companionship, the comfort of familiar habits, the loving intimacy of deep and dear associations, the tender presence of this fond earth, the joy, the love, the hands that touch, the voices that charm, the hearts that beat. Ah! woe, woe! They must be surrendered. We go out stripped of all that has made us intelligible to ourselves, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be. Death, then, must retain its terror, even though it is but a stage in our growth, the terror of the unknown, the terror of loss, the terror of finality to what have been hitherto the movements of our very life.
Yet, beloved, if we recall the idea of growth, then we can afford to be in ignorance of what lies ahead; we can afford to live solely in the present hour. We can afford to be stripped of our earthly investiture, and go out into the naked silence of the beyond, because still through being sons of God we have secured to us the very powers which will avail us in the untravelled land. We are already equipped with all that we can ever need. We shall hold in our hands the resources which will justify themselves under these strange conditions in the unseen world. We can never be found wanting if we are true to ourselves. We can never fail over these if we cling to what God has already given. The method by which we control life here and now is the very method which will hold good there. The strength which is now our stay will prove itself still our strength there. We shall use the same forces, we shall rely on the same assurances, we shall feed on the same food, we shall grow by the same process, we shall follow the same laws, we shall pray the same prayers, we shall rejoice in the same hopes, we shall speak the same language. All that is ours now will be ours then. For we are already sons of God; already we are in Jesus; already we are of His Body; already we live by His life and taste His pardon and His peace. The Jesus whom we see and know now, is the Jesus whom we shall still see and know then; only, since we shall see Him nearer we shall grow more like Him; since we shall know Him better, we shall be more closely conformed to His image.
Ah! why need we know more? Why should we be afraid of the great venture? We have Jesus now, and even now we can make ourselves more ready to draw closer to Him. We can begin to purify ourselves even as He is pure, to make ourselves more utterly His in the sure hope that at last we shall see Him as He is.
Brethren, today these two moods which we have rehearsed are peculiarly ours— the mood of violent recoil, the mood of quiet continuity. Today the white light of Pentecost pours itself around us, and we know ourselves to be in the possession of the first fruits of the Spirit. Yet the white light breaks itself against the blackness of a closed coffin, flung up before the eyes of all, to embody the irreparable disaster of a death which has touched the very heart of our National life. Sinister and silent the coffin lies there in the sunlight, and its very pomp of state makes its silence more sinister yet. We shall creep around it in dismay as it lies in Westminster Hall. Is this all that is left? Is this the end of that royal splendour of life? Ah, then death is a dreadful thing. It is blind. It is dumb. It is stupid. What does it hold in it? “We know not yet what we shall be.” “We know not.” We can tell nothing of what the change will mean to the dead. For a change it most certainly will be. “We shall be made like unto Him.” What will that not involve? What purging? What cleansing? How much of ourselves that is now part and parcel of our nature must go, must be cut away, if we are ever to be like Him? “We shall see Him as He is.” So the text says. Can you and I bear so to see Him? Dare we make the awful venture? Who can endure such a sight and not die? Who would not shrink from so fierce a test? So this unknown experience which awaits us on the far side is charged with the terror of the unknown. We flinch from it as we look merely at the isolated coffin awaiting its last burial, the symbol of disaster. Oh that we might be left inside the familiar conditions that are ours already! They may not be wholly good, but at least they are known. They are our own. We must cling to them with the desperation of habit. As for the far beyond, it may have its wonder and its joys. But we cannot be sure. “We know not now what we shall be.” If that black coffin were all, then, we should be left to these blind broodings.
So that black coffin harbours its black secret. But over it and round it and about it the light of Whitsuntide sweeps in to scatter all our fears. Why are we afraid? Have we not the gift of the Spirit? Has it not swept in upon us with a mighty wind? Is it not in our heart as a fire? Surely it has become our very own possession, one with our very life. And the Spirit which we now possess is itself the Life of all Life, the Life of the Life beyond death. It is the Eternal Life of God. And yet it is here, as our earnest of the hereafter, as our pledge and guerdon of all that must follow. What will follow we know not. Why should we? We must wait until we experience it in order to know. But whatever it is, it will be the outcome of what we are. It will be the work of the same Spirit who works in us today.
And in the power of the Spirit we are already passed from death to life. Death is behind us, not in front. “Ye were dead.” “Ye were baptized by the Spirit into Christ’s death.” The old sinful self, the man after the flesh, the old Adam in us, is already under the doom of death. It is stricken with a mortal blow. The grip of death has overtaken it. It is given over to death, with its greeds and lusts, with its envies and cruelties, with its meannesses and deceits. It is dead. It must be buried. We can commit it to the worm of destruction, to the avenging fire, without a shudder, without a fear. For it is not ours now. We have shaken ourselves free. We are in the Spirit. We have passed over to the other side. Now, even now, brethren, we are the sons of God; we have the Spirit of Him Who says: “I am the Resurrection and the Life; He that believeth on Me, though he die, yet shall he live. And whoso liveth and believeth on Me shall never die.”
Stand on the strong Word. In its strength you can even now use your remaining days to bury that which is already dead. You can strip off the clinging garments of decay, the deceits of the world, the flesh, and the devil. Has not the Spirit in you convicted you of sin? Has it not shown you the deadly thing that must be rooted out? In this light, this Pentecost, you know your sin, your own personal sin, the sin that is under condemnation.
Well, let this sin go, then. Uproot it. Cut it away. Bury it. Burn it out. Die to it. Kill it. You can, for you are a son of God, and the spirit of sonship will do its good work in you. It will slay in you the thing that offends. It will kill in you that sin which is the only sting in death. It will expel the devil from you who alone has power in death. It gives you the weapon. Trust the sword of the Spirit. Yield to it. Let the dead things go, and lay hold on life. Purify yourself as He bids you Who is pure. Then the old will drop away from you, and the new wonder will begin. You will find yourself already passed from death to life, and far ahead strange possibilities will open out beyond the power of your heart to conceive. For, “it doth not yet appear what you shall be.” Only, you will somehow become aware of what it might mean to become more and more alike to the Lord Jesus Whom you adore, as more and more in the infinite amazement of an ever-growing surprise you learn to see Him as He really is.”

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Evolution quotes…an excuse for the cartoon at the end!

“The pathetic thing is that we have scientists who are trying to prove evolution, which no scientist can ever prove.” (Dr Robert Millikan, Nobel Prize winner and eminent evolutionist)

“The theory of evolution suffers from grave defects, which are more and more apparent as time advances. It can no longer square with practical scientific knowledge.” (Dr A Fleishmann, Zoologist, Erlangen University)

“It is good to keep in mind … that nobody has ever succeeded in producing even one new species by the accumulation of micromutations. Darwin’s theory of natural selection has never had any proof, yet it has been universally accepted.” (Prof. R Goldschmidt PhD, DSc Prof. Zoology, University of Calif. in Material Basis of Evolution Yale Univ. Press)

“The theory of the transmutation of species is a scientific mistake, untrue in its facts, unscientific in its method, and mischievous in its tendency.” (Prof. J Agassiz, of Harvard in Methods of Study in Natural History)

“Evolution is baseless and quite incredible.” (Dr Ambrose Fleming, President, British Assoc. Advancement of Science, in The Unleashing of Evolutionary Thought)

It is possible (and, given the Flood, probable) that materials which give radiocarbon dates of tens of thousands of radiocarbon years could have true ages of many fewer calendar years.” (Gerald Aardsman, Ph.D., physicist and C-14 dating specialist)

“We have to admit that there is nothing in the geological records that runs contrary to the views of conservative creationists.” (Evolutionist Edmund Ambrose)

“The best physical evidence that the earth is young is the dwindling resource that evolutionists refuse to admit is dwindling … the magnetic energy in the field of the earth’s dipole magnet … To deny that it is a dwindling resource is phoney science.” (Thomas Barnes Ph.D., physicist)

“No matter how numerous they may be, mutations do not produce any kind of evolution.” (Pierre-Paul Grasse, Evolutionist)

“The likelihood of the formation of life from inanimate matter is one to a number with 40,000 noughts after it … It is big enough to bury Darwinand the whole theory of evolution … if the beginnings of life were not random, they must therefore have been the product of purposeful intelligence.” (Sir Fred Hoyle, astronomer, cosmologist and mathematician, Cambridge University)

“It is easy enough to make up stories, of how one form gave rise to another, and to find reasons why the stages should be favoured by natural selection. But such stories are not part of science, for there is no way of putting them to the test.” (Luther D Sutherland, Darwin’s Enigma, Master Books 1988, p89)

“Modern apes … seem to have sprung out of nowhere. They have no yesterday, no fossil record. And the true origin of modern humans … is, if we are to be honest with ourselves, an equally mysterious matter.” (Lyall Watson, Ph.D., Evolutionist)

“Although bacteria are tiny, they display biochemical, structural and behavioural complexities that outstrip scientific description. In keeping with the current microelectronics revolution, it may make more sense to equate their size with sophistication rather than with simplicity … Without bacteria life on earth could not exist in its present form.” (James A Shipiro, Bacteria as Multicellular Organisms, “Scientific America, Vol.258, No.6 (June 1988))

“Eighty to eighty-five percent of earth’s land surface does not have even 3 geological periods appearing in ‘correct’ consecutive order … it becomes an overall exercise of gargantuan special pleading and imagination for the evolutionary-uniformitarian paradigm to maintain that there ever were geologic periods.” (John Woodmorappe, geologist)

“The entire hominid collection known today would barely cover a billiard table, but it has spawned a science because it is distinguished by two factors which inflate its apparent relevance far beyond its merits. First, the fossils hint at the ancestry of a supremely self- important animal – ourselves. Secondly, the collection is so tantalisingly incomplete, and the specimens themselves often so fragmented and inconclusive, that more can be said about what is missing than about what is present. Hence the amazing quantity of literature on the subject ever since Darwin’s work inspired the notion that fossils linking modern man and extinct ancestor would provide the most convincing proof of human evolution, preconceptions have led evidence by the nose in the study of fossil man.” (John Reader, Whatever Happened to Zinjanthropus? New Scientist Vol. 89, No.12446 (March 26,1981) pp 802-805))

“Not one change of species into another is on record … we cannot prove that a single species has been changed.”

(Charles Darwin, My Life & Letters)

“To suppose that the eye with all its inimitable contrivances for adjusting the focus to different distances, for admitting different amounts of light and for the correction of spherical and chromatic aberration, could have been formed by natural selection, seems, I freely confess, absurd in the highest degree.” (Charles Darwin, Origin of Species, chapter “Difficulties”)

“A growing number of respectable scientists are defecting from the evolutionist camp … moreover, for the most part these ‘experts’ have abandoned Darwinism, not on the basis of religious faith or biblical persuasions, but on scientific grounds, and in some instances, regretfully.” (Wolfgang Smith, Ph.D., physicist and mathematician)

“As yet we have not been able to track the phylogenetic history of a single group of modern plants from its beginning to the present.” (Chester A Arnold, Professor of Botany and Curator of Fossil Plants, University of Michigan, An Introduction to Paleobotany (New York: McGraw-Hill, 1947, p.7)

“The more scientists have searched for the transitional forms that lie between species, the more they have been frustrated.” (John Adler with John Carey: Is Man a Subtle Accident, Newsweek, Vol.96, No.18 (November 3, 1980, p.95)

“…most people assume that fossils provide a very important part of the general argument in favour of Darwinian interpretations of the history of life. Unfortunately, this is not strictly true.” (Dr David Raup, Curator of geology, Field Museum of Natural History in Chicago)

“Despite the bright promise that palaeontology provides means of ‘seeing’ Evolution, it has provided some nasty difficulties for evolutionists, the most notorious of which is the presence of ‘gaps’ in the fossil record. Evolution requires intermediate forms between species and palaeontology does not provide them.” (David Kitts, Ph.D. Palaeontology and Evolutionary Theory, Evolution, Vol.28 (Sep.1974) p.467)

“The fact that a theory so vague, so insufficiently verifiable, and so far from the criteria otherwise applied in ‘hard’ science has become a dogma can only be explained on sociological grounds.” (Ludwig von Bertalanffy, biologist)

“Micromutations do occur, but the theory that these alone can account for evolutionary change is either falsified, or else it is an unfalsifiable, hence metaphysical theory. I suppose that nobody will deny that it is a great misfortune if an entire branch of science becomes addicted to a false theory. But this is what has happened in biology: … I believe that one day the Darwinian myth will be ranked the greatest deceit in the history of science. When this happens many people will pose the question: How did this ever happen?” (S Lovtrup, Darwinism: The Refutation of a Myth (London:Croom Helm, p.422))

“If one allows the unquestionably largest experimenter to speak, namely nature, one gets a clear and incontrovertible answer to the question about the significance of mutations for the formation of species and evolution. They disappear under the competitive conditions of natural selection, as soap bubbles burst in a breeze.” (Evolutionist Herbert Nilson, Synthetische Artbildung (Lund, Sweden:Verlag CWK Gleerup Press, 1953, p 174)

“In all the thousands of fly-breeding experiments carried out all over the world for more than fifty years, a distinct new species has never been seen to emerge … or even a new enzyme.” (Gordon Taylor, The Great Evolution Mystery (New York: Harper and Row, 1983, pp 34, 38)

“The uniform, continuous transformation of Hyracotherium into Equus, so dear to the hearts of generations of textbook writers, never happened in nature.” (George Simpson, palaeontologist and Evolutionist)

“As is well known, most fossil species appear instantaneously in the fossil record.” (Tom Kemp, Oxford University)

“The curious thing is that there is a consistency about the fossil gaps; the fossils are missing in all the important places.” (Francis Hitching, archaeologist).

“The intelligent layman has long suspected circular reasoning in the use of rocks to date fossils and fossils to date rocks. The geologist has never bothered to think of a good reply.” (J.O’Rourke in the American Journal of Science)

“In most people’s minds, fossils and Evolution go hand in hand. In reality, fossils are a great embarrassment to Evolutionary theory and offer strong support for the concept of Creation. If Evolution were true, we should find literally millions of fossils that show how one kind of life slowly and gradually changed to another kind of life. But missing links are the trade secret, in a sense, of palaeontology. The point is, the links are still missing. What we really find are gaps that sharpen up the boundaries between kinds. It’s those gaps which provide us with the evidence of Creation of separate kinds. As a matter of fact, there are gaps between each of the major kinds of plants and animals. Transition forms are missing by the millions. What we do find are separate and complex kinds, pointing to Creation.” (Dr Gary Parker Biologist/palaeontologist and former ardent Evolutionist.)

“Evolution requires intermediate forms between species and palaeontology does not provide them.” (David Kitts, palaeontologist and Evolutionist)

“I admit that an awful lot of that [fantasy] has gotten into the textbooks as though it were true. For instance, the most famous example still on exhibit downstairs [in the AmericanMuseumof Natural History] is the exhibit on horse evolution prepared fifty years ago. That has been presented as literal truth in textbook after textbook. Now, I think that that is lamentable, particularly because the people who propose these kinds of stories themselves may be aware of the speculative nature of some of the stuff. But by the time it filters down to the textbooks, we’ve got science as truth and we have a problem.” (Dr Niles Eldredge, Palaeontologist and Evolutionist)

“… Life cannot have had a random beginning … The trouble is that there are about two thousand enzymes, and the chance of obtaining them all in a random trial is only one part in 10 to the power of 40,000, an outrageously small probability that could not be faced even if the whole universe consisted of organic soup. If one is not prejudiced either by social beliefs or by a scientific training into the conviction that life originated on the Earth, this simple calculation wipes the idea entirely out of court …” (Fred Hoyle and Chandra Wickramasinghe, Evolution from Space)

“The chance that useful DNA molecules would develop without a Designer are apparently zero. Then let me conclude by asking which came first – the DNA (which is essential for the synthesis of proteins) or the protein enzyme (DNA-polymerase) without which DNA synthesis is nil? … there is virtually no chance that chemical ‘letters’ would spontaneously produce coherent DNA and protein ‘words.'” (George Howe, expert in biology sciences)

“Generation after generation, through countless cell divisions, the genetic heritage of living things is scrupulously preserved in DNA … All of life depends on the accurate transmission of information. As genetic messages are passed through generations of dividing cells, even small mistakes can be life-threatening … if mistakes were as rare as one in a million, 3000 mistakes would be made during each duplication of the human genome. Since the genome replicates about a million billion times in the course of building a human being from a single fertilised egg, it is unlikely that the human organism could tolerate such a high rate of error. In fact, the actual rate of mistakes is more like one in 10 billion.” (Miroslav Radman and Robert Wagner, The High Fidelity of DNA Duplication… Scientific America. Vol. 299, No 2 (August 1988, pp 40-44. Quote is from page 24))

“Evolution lacks a scientifically acceptable explanation of the source of the precisely planned codes within cells without which there can be no specific proteins and hence, no life.” (David A Kaufman, Ph.D., University of Florida, Gainsesville)

“The notion that … the operating programme of a living cell could be arrived at by chance in a primordial soup here on earth is evidently nonsense of a high order.” (Evolutionist Sir Fred Hoyle)

“We have had enough of the Darwinian fallacy. It is time that we cry: ‘The emperor has no clothes.'” (K.Hsu, geologist at the Geological Institute at Zurich)

“Scientists who go about teaching that Evolution is a fact of life are great con men, and the story they are telling may be the greatest hoax ever. In explaining Evolution we do not have one iota of fact.” (Dr T N Tahmisian, a former U.S. Atomic Energy Commission physiologist)

“Evolution is a fairy tale for grown-ups. This theory has helped nothing in the progress of science. It is useless.” (Dr Louise Bounoure, Director of Research at the French National Centre for Scientific Research, Director of the Zoological Museum and former president of the Biological Society of Strasbourg)

“I fully agree with your comments on the lack of direct illustration of evolutionary transitions in my book. If I knew of any, fossil or living, I would certainly have included them. . .I will lay it on the line, There is not one such fossil for which one might make a watertight argument The reason is that statements about ancestry and descent are not applicable in the fossil record. Is Archaeopteryx the ancestor of all birds? Perhaps yes, perhaps no: there is no way of answering the question. It is easy enough to make up stories of how one form gave rise to another, and to find reasons why the stages should be favoured by natural selection. But such stories are not part of science, for there is no way to put them to the test..” (Dr. Colin Patterson, senior paleontologist at the British Museum of Natural History. from a letter from Dr. Patterson to creationist Luther D. Sunderland.)

“My attempts to demonstrate evolution by an experiment carried on for more than 40 years have completely failed. … The fossil material is now so complete that it has been possible to construct new classes, and the lack of transitional series cannot be explained as being due to the scarcity of material. The deficiencies are real, they will never be filled.”  (Prof N. Heribert Nilsson, Botanist and evolutionist, Lund University, Sweden, as quoted in the May 1977 Natural History, Vol.  86)

 “The evolutionary trees that adorn our textbooks have data only at the tips and nodes of their branches; the rest is inference, however reasonable, not the evidence of fossils.” “Paleontologists have paid an exorbitant price for Darwin’s argument. We fancy ourselves as the only true students of life’s history, yet to preserve our favored account of evolution by natural selection we view our data as so bad that we never see the very process we profess to study.”  (Stephen J. Gould, Professor of Geology at Harvard University “The episodic nature of evolutionary change”, reprinted in the collection The Panda’s Thumb.)

Today, our duty is to destroy the myth of evolution, considered as a simple, understood, and explained phenomenon which keeps rapidly unfolding before us. Biologists must be encouraged to think about the weaknesses of the interpretations and extrapolations that theoreticians put forward or lay down as established truths. The deceit is sometimes unconscious, but not always, since some people, owing to their sectarianism, purposely overlook reality and refuse to acknowledge the inadequacies and the falsity of their beliefs. Evolution of Living Organisms  (1977)  p.8 It follows that any explanation of the mechanism in creative evolution of the fundamental structural plans is heavily burdened with hypotheses. This should appear as an epigraph to every book on evolution. The lack of direct evidence leads to the formation of pure conjectures as to the genesis of the phyla; we do not even have a basis to determine the extent to which these opinions are correct. Ibid p.31 What is the use of their unceasing mutations, if they do not change? In sum, the mutations of bacteria and viruses are merely hereditary fluctuations around a median position; a swing to the right, a swing to the left, but no final evolutionary effect.  Ibid  p.87  (Pierre Grasse  (1895 – 1985)  Editor of the 28-volume “Traite de Zoologie” Chair of Evolution at Sorbonne University.)

There are only two possibilities as to how life arose. One is spontaneous generation arising to evolution; the other is a supernatural creative act of God. There is no third possibility. Spontaneous generation, that life arose from non-living matter was scientifically disproved 120 years ago by Louis Pasteur and others. That leaves us with the only possible conclusion that life arose as a supernatural creative act of God. I will not accept that philosophically because I do not want to believe in God. Therefore, I choose to believe in that which I know is scientifically impossible; spontaneous generation arising to evolution. (Dr. George Wald, Professor Emeritus of Biology at Harvard University, Nobel Prize winner in Physiology)

“There is not a single instance of transformation of one species into another.” (Dr. T.H. Morgan of the California Institute of Technology)

“One of its (evolutions) weak points is that it does not have any recognizable way in which conscious life could have emerged.” (Sir John Eccles, Nobel Prize winner in Physiology)

“All of us who study the origin of life find that the more we look into it, the more we feel that it is too complex to have evolved anywhere. We believe as an article of faith that life evolved from dead matter on this planet. It is just that its complexity is so great, it is hard for us to imagine that it did.” (Dr. Harold Urey, Nobel Prize winner in Chemistry)

“The more one studies paleontology, the more certain one becomes that evolution is based on faith alone; exactly the same sort of faith which is necessary to have when one encounters the great mysteries of religion… The only alternative is the doctrine of special creation, which may be true, but is irrational.” (Dr. L.T. More)

“I have come to the conclusion that Darwinism is not a testable scientific theory, but a metaphysical research programme… (Dr. Karl Popper, German-born philosopher of science, called by Nobel Prize-winner Peter Medawar, “incomparably the greatest philosopher of science who has ever lived.”)

“The fact of evolution is the backbone of biology, and biology is thus in the peculiar position of being a science founded on an unproved theory — is it then a science or faith? Belief in the theory of evolution is thus exactly parallel to belief in special creation…” (Dr. L. Harrison Matthews, in the introduction to the 1971 edition of Darwin’s “Origin of Species”)

“What is so frustrating for our present purpose is that it seems almost impossible to give any numerical value to the probability of what seems a rather unlikely sequence of events… An honest man, armed with all the knowledge available to us now, could only state that in some sense, the origin of life appears at the moment to be almost a miracle… (Dr. Francis Crick, Nobel Prize-winner, codiscoverer of DNA)

“Evolution is a theory universally accepted, not because it can be proved to be true, but because the only alternative, ‘special creation,’ is clearly impossible.” (D.M.S. Watson, Professor of Zoology, London University)

“Naturalistic evolution has clear consequences that Charles Darwin understood perfectly. 1) No gods worth having exist; 2) no life after death exists; 3) no ultimate foundation for ethics exists; 4) no ultimate meaning in life exists; and 5) human free will is nonexistent.” (Dr. William Provine (Professor of History of Biology in the Section of Ecology and Systematics and in the Department of History Cornell University) Second Annual Darwin Day Celebration – University of Tennessee, Knoxville – Feb. 12, 1998)

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