Posted by: Hugh Griffiths | June 27, 2007

Perspectives

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T Austin Sparkes (The Way of Spiritual Growth)

Before we can or will consider the laws of spiritual growth, we need to have a real concern for that growth. There must be in us a strong sense of its importance and necessity. We must realize in a living way that:

1. The measure of our ultimate satisfaction to the Lord will be the measure of the fulness of Christ. 2. The measure of our value to others will depend entirely upon our own spiritual measure: not merely upon what we believe, or think, or say.

3. The measure of our own joy and satisfaction will be according to what fulness of Christ we know and live in.

Because these three things constitute the whole nature of, and reason for, our being called “into the fellowship of His (God’s) Son”, the New Testament is ninety percent occupied with the growth and maturity of believers.

Posted by: Hugh Griffiths | June 22, 2007

A bible without the extras

openbible.jpgopenbible.jpgopenbible.jpgopenbible.jpgYet another bible edition is on its way. Although there already seem to be endless types of bible on the market, The Bible Society is releasing another more unusual version. Whereas most new editions celebrate the extra featres – notes, commentary, cross-references, study tools etc – this one deliberately pares back the text alone.

Based on an existing translation, the editors have stripped out some of the additions that we normally take for granted. For example:

  • Articificial divisions between books are removed (eg between 1 and 2 Samuel etc)
  • Summary section or chapter headings are not included
  • Chapter and verse numbers are not present
  • Footnotes and other additions are removed
  • Layout is spaced in a single column rather than forced into the more usual two-column layout

In principle, I think this will be a welcome addition to the choice of bibles available – particularly since it should encourage reading the Scriptures in a fresh way. My only reservation is the choice to use the TNIV (Today’s New International Version) as the text. Personally, I am not a fan of this revision to the NIV and would much rather The Bible Society had used either the original NIV or the ESV.

You can check out the ‘bible without the extras’ at the publisher’s website which even includes some sample bible books for you to try.

Posted by: Hugh Griffiths | June 21, 2007

Sadistic, brutal and bleak

These are the words used in yesterday’s Guardian to headline a ban on the new video game Manhunt 2. The British Board of Film Classification (BBFC), responsible for classifying and approving media for release, rejected it because it “constantly encourages visceral killing”. I am absolutely delighted that it looks like this game will be illegal everywhere in the UK. However, I’m sure that will only encourage someone to release some sort of ‘bootleg’ version. There’s nothing like a ban for increasing demand by certain consumers!

However, what is perhaps remarkable is that this is the first product in a decade that the BBFC have rejected! Personally I find that statistic extremely troubling because it means in a ten year period they have accepted and rated everything. I am currently amazed at the sorts of films, games and other media that are placed openly into the consumer market which have overtly pornographic or extremely violent content. I think society should be concerned when films such as Saw, Saw 2, etc are readily available on promotional stands of family shops such as Tesco or Asda.

Before I was fifteen I couldn’t wait to be old enough to watch 15-rated (or AA for those of more than a certain age) movies. Here I am 25 years later and there are quite a few 15-rated films I would not watch myself let alone contemplate for my teenage son!

Posted by: Hugh Griffiths | June 20, 2007

The Secret

the-secret.jpgMany of you will have seen the book ‘The Secret’ appear in bookshops and supermarkets as it works its way through the best-sellers list. Already it has been insanely popular in the US due to the massive marketing machine that is driving it and an endorsement from Ophrah Winfrey.

I think its popularity should be both a concern and an opportunity to the Christian world. It is a concern because it oozes a counterfeit spirituality that seems to be attractive to this post-modern generation.  Worse, it seems to present some of the worst features of Western consumerism and selfishness in a way that appears to make false values not just acceptable but attractive. I have not read more than just excerpts, but it seems to me that plain old-fashioned mammon has simply been given a new set of 21st century clothes.

What is the opportunity? Well, I think one of the reasons this book is so popular is that it seems to provide a ‘hope and faith’ of sorts, albeit seriously misplaced. Clearly it picks up on the innate human desire for spirituality and this is perhaps where Christians can catch the moment. Faith in Jesus Christ is the only ‘secret’ and perhaps we can redirect people’s hunger towards God.

You can catch a good article on this book here courtesy of Christianity Today. It includes the following illuminating quotation from Newsweek:

On an ethical level, The Secret appears deplorable. It concerns itself almost entirely with a narrow range of middle-class concerns—houses, cars, and vacations, followed by health and relationships, with the rest of humanity a very distant sixth. 

All I hope is that the Christian world goes after this with as much vigour as it did with The Da Vinci Code. At least Dan Brown’s book was sold as a work of fiction!

Posted by: Hugh Griffiths | June 20, 2007

1 Corinthians series

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31 wallpaper slide31 wallpaper slide31 wallpaper slide31 wallpaper slide31 wallpaper slideSorry for being absent for a week or so – now back online and realising quite how easy it is to become internet dependent!

First up and in case you have been following this series, here is the link to pick up the next message in our church’s series from 1 Corinthians. These messages cover teaching from chapters 10, 11 and 12.

If you want to pick up previous posts on the 10:31 All for the glory of God series,  click here.

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