OK, so it is an odd thing to be writing articles on one’s birthday, but there is some sanity to all this. My wife is at work at the moment so it has been a rather quiet day thus far. I did indulge in some decadence earlier on, with a late and leisurely breakfast consisting of coffee and donuts. It doesn’t get much better than that.
So my actual celebrations will likely take place later this weekend. But we did go to my fav bookstore yesterday where I grabbed six volumes as an early Christmas present. One of the books was a 1000-page commentary on 2 Corinthians which I have eagerly wanted to get ever since it appeared in 2005.
The volume, by Murray Harris, is part of the very helpful but rather expensive New International Greek Testament Commentary series. As I was reading through this prized purchase yesterday I came upon this quite helpful summary of the Christian life:
“Christian existence is often marked by paradox: divine comfort in the midst of human affliction, divine strength in the midst of human weakness, life in the midst of death, spiritual rejuvenation in the midst of physical debilitation, joy in the midst of sorrow, and generosity in the midst of poverty.”
Yes that is a good summation of the life we are called to. All the values which the world fanfares (power, strength, pride, and so on) are the ones biblical Christianity spurns. Paul certainly makes this case quite forcefully in his second letter to the Corinthians.
Paul had to defend his calling and credentials against the “super apostles” who gloried in their eloquence of speech, spiritual experiences, and human approval. “For Paul, what validated apostleship was not the parading of one’s spiritual experiences, one’s personal value and qualification, one’s eloquence and exploits” but things like preaching the unadulterated gospel, enduring sufferings for Christ’s sake, humility, and slave-like service.
Another volume I picked up yesterday and am quite enjoying is a 2009 book by English medical writer James Le Fanu called Why Us? In it he takes head on materialist evolutionary theory and naturalistic scientism which insists on the reductionist view that matter is all there is.
He argues instead that real science presents to us a world of wonder, mystery and incredible depth which transcends the material world. It is a helpful corrective to the reigning secular worldview which argues against all forms of the supernatural, and sees science as saviour.
So on this thus far rather uneventful birthday I am more than happily perusing my new volumes and doing the usual lobbying work on my own website and various others. For example, on a social networking site I have been posting more bits and pieces on the culture wars and related issues.
At the same time others have been posting birthday wishes to me. Many of them offer words of encouragement to keep fighting the good fight, to remain steadfast, and thanking me for the work I have been doing over the years. So let me here say thanks to all of you for your kind words and your well wishes.
And let me say here that I most certainly will keep at it. Sometimes people ask me if I will ever retire, and I ask how one can retire when so much is at stake. I certainly have no intention of giving up, whether because of old age, or all the darts of the enemy.
A calling such as this is never pleasant, easy or trouble-free. Indeed, one gets plenty of flak. The hate mail is never ending, and even more of it has come in today. But we must keep at it, because the stakes are far too high, and the consequences of surrender are far too great.
Indeed, I often look back at WWII for inspiration here. You have there in very real and graphic terms what a real life and death struggle was all about. Basically, the entire free world was at risk. If the Nazis won, it would have been the end of everything worth living for.
Those living in the free world had to get involved. There just could not be any sitting on the fence, or simply wishing that all this blood, death and destruction would somehow just go away. It would not go away – the only way it would come to an end was for good people to stand up and fight.
Many wonderful speeches were made during this period. And many came from the British Prime Minister Winston Churchill. Let me offer part of one of his many famous, stirring and inspiring speeches. This one was given in the House of Commons on June 18, 1940.
Just a week earlier the French had surrendered to the Germans, and things were looking quite dark and desperate. Britain now of course faced the very real prospect of invasion, and this was a very bleak hour for freedom and democracy.
Churchill had to once again rally the troops, and inspire them into a brave, united and courageous front against these evil enemies. He needed to motivate the British people to be strong, courageous and resolute during this very dark hour. This is how he concluded his speech:
“What General Weygand called the Battle of France is over. I expect that the Battle of Britain is about to begin. Upon this battle depends the survival of Christian civilization. Upon it depends our own British life, and the long continuity of our institutions and our Empire. The whole fury and might of the enemy must very soon be turned on us. Hitler knows that he will have to break us in this Island or lose the war. If we can stand up to him, all Europe may be free and the life of the world may move forward into broad, sunlit uplands. But if we fail, then the whole world, including the United States, including all that we have known and cared for, will sink into the abyss of a new Dark Age made more sinister, and perhaps more protracted, by the lights of perverted science. Let us therefore brace ourselves to our duties, and so bear ourselves that, if the British Empire and its Commonwealth last for a thousand years, men will still say, ‘This was their finest hour’.”
You can listen to part of this masterful speech here: http://www.bbc.co.uk/archive/battleofbritain/11428.shtml
In the same way today we are involved in a monumental struggle. The biblical Christian worldview is under attack on all sides. This site documents the incessant attacks, battles and warfronts. Way too much of value is being fought over right now.
The very glue of Western civilisation and Christian belief and values is coming unravelled. At stake is nothing less than faith, freedom and family. If there was ever a time we dare not surrender, compromise, give up, or refuse to take a stand, today is that time.
I for one will continue to stand. Who will stand with me?