Friday, 29 April 2011


Kim has just done the first part of a scuba diving course. The other week we heard someone during our service draw an analogy between spitting into your mask before going for dive, and obeying the Lord without question. In that instance, although there is a practical reason for doing it, most divers do it because they were taught to do it and may have never considered that there was a good reason for it (it stops your mask fogging up). In a similar way, many believers are taught the Word of God and obey it without question - without ever considering that there may be a practical reason for it. Kim came home the other day very excited about learning to dive and shared some further spiritual lessons from her diving experience.
Eph. 5:15 ¶ Look carefully then how you walk, not as unwise but as wise
Firstly, she had to pass a test on the theory of diving. Many people start out in the Christian Walk being taught the tenents (the beliefs) of Christianity. For some, learning these beliefs about God, Christ, salvation, man's state, Satan, the age to come, the Resurrection and eternal judgment, may all seem merely theoretical - and like spitting in your mask - may not immediately appear to have a practical implication. But as Kim discovered, reading the compulsory 250page Diving Manual before diving is not just literary torture, but may actually save your life!
But as for you, continue in what you have learned and have firmly believed, knowing from whom you learned it
2Timothy 3:14
Secondly, Kim learned that you should never dive alone. Safe diving is not diving alone. In the same way, the Christian walk is not ordained to be lived alone. Christianity is a common faith. We live with a common mission, a common vision, a common set of beliefs, and a common care for each other. When we become a Christian, we are commanded to not merely look out for our own interests, but to take an interest in our brothers and sisters in Christ.
Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others.
Philippians 2:4
Thirdly, Kim learned that you must not take risks with your resources. If you think that something's not quite right with your dive equipment, don't use it - until you've fixed it. In a similar way, if something is not quite right with your walk with the Lord (or His people) - don't ignore it - apply some repentance and fix it. The dive instructor stressed to Kim that you might think your mask is cracked moments before a dive but you feel that you would hold things up if your said something about it. But to dive a mask you suspected was cracked could not only injure you but those diving with you. Sometimes we fail to take care to examine our spiritual resources. Neglecting your spiritual resources such as Bible reading, journaling, prayer, church attendance, ministry service, personal witnessing, family-time, or giving, may need attention before you proceed into some spiritual peril.
Father, help us to follow Christ well. May we understand in clearer terms the eternal consequences at stake in getting our foundations, fellowships and faith in good order. Cause us to be able to forgive others quickly and readily. Let no root of bitterness invade our souls. Fill our hearts with Your love for You, Your Word, and Your people. May we take as much diligence in following You as a diver takes in diving. In Jesus Name', Amen.
Eph. 3:21 to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, forever and ever. Amen.

Ps. Andrew

Wednesday, 27 April 2011


How Should We Think About Same-Sex Marriage?
by Dr. Andrew Corbett 26th April 2011
Printable Edition
How should we think about "Same-Sex" Marriage? This public debate is as much about the role of language as it is about marriage. The emotionalism involved from both sides of the argument is intense which often leads to the actual issues being lost in the jungle of irrational verbiage. How we settle this issue as a society says a lot about what kind of society we are.


Confucius is reported to have said- "When words lose their meaning, people lose their freedom." Someone has adapted this with the observation that, "When words lose their meaning, people lose their lives." Words have intrinsic meaning. Seasoned debaters know and employ the maxim- "He who controls language controls the debate." Arguably, Language is the battlefield of culture. For Christians, if the components of language can be arbitrarily redefined, then truth, and especially the Christian message, ceases to be coherent and is rendered meaningless.


The arguments in favour of Same-Gender Marriage can be summed up under four categories-
    1. Anti-Discrimination
    2. Intolerance
    3. Secular Society Acceptance
    4. Progressive Religion


This is perhaps the most compelling argument in favour of redefining marriage to providing for two people of the same gender to "marry". After all, if marriage is about committed love between two people why should it be restricted to people of complementary genders? Georgetown University (USA) Law Professor, William Eskridge, puts this argument this way-
"Same-Sex marriage is good primarily for reasons of equality. Legal marriage entails dozens of rights, benefits and obligations which are routinely available to different-sex couples. Those same benefits, rights and obligations should be available on the same terms to lesbian and same-sex couples as a guarantee of their equal rights in our polity."
"Relativism", Beckwith, Koukl, page 119

Torrie Osborn, former executive director of the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force, makes a similar argument and has said-
"I think it's a question of fundamental fairness...People who are willing to accept the responsibilities of marriage, which is about love, caring, commitment, long-term commitment, should be able to have the right to be married...[D]enying our fundamental humanity is not good for society."
Beckwith, Koukl, p. 119

Friday, 15 April 2011

Don't Quit

Steven BradburyWhen Steven Bradbury won the gold medal for ice-skating at the 2002 Winter Olympics, many people thought that is was just "luck". But he didn't. He had spent years training and months planning for this one race. He knew that he wasn't the fastest or the most talented, but he also knew that winning was more about finishing than racing. Many people who have found success in life have learned the same principle. The great life-battle-hardened apostle wrote to his beloved Ephesians, who were under intense pressure, to just hang in there. The way he said it was- "having done everything, stand."
Eph. 6:13 Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand.
There will be times when all you want to do it quit. There are times when you should quit (if you're causing harm, incurring loss, preventing someone from their rights, and so on). But most of the times when we quit, we shouldn't. Why do people quit before their finished? Discouragement. Disillusionment. Demonic. These are some of the possible contributers to quitting. When we desperately wanting to quit, and we go on the Bible describes this as "enduring".
and you will be hated by all for my name's sake. But the one who endures to the end will be saved.
Matthew 10:22
Perhaps you're going through a tough time? Perhaps you want to quit? Providing that what you are doing is wise, you almost certainly shouldn't quit. You should hang in there. Jesus knew all about this. In Hebrews 12 it says that He "endured" the Cross. In other words, before getting to the Cross, He had to deal with the temptation to quit. This is when He called out to His Father for strength and yielded to Him afresh. We should do the same. This was Steven Bradbury's secret to success. He knew that the first thing he had to do in order to have any chance of winning was: to finish!
and endurance produces character, and character produces hope,
Romans 5:4
Don't quit. Hang in there. Having done all you can do...stand. Just stand. Get back up. Dust yourself off. Get a good night's sleep. And keep going. Forgive those who let you down or hurt you. Bless those who persecute. Don't quit!
Father, give us the strength to keep doing what we should. Help us to endure. Help us not to quit. Help us to be bringers of people to Christ despite all of the distractions we deal with. Oh God, we need You. Give us wisdom to make the decisions You expect us to make. Give us the grace to be good friends to those who feel like quitting. Help us to stand. Amen.
Eph. 3:21 to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, forever and ever. Amen.
Ps. Andrew

Friday, 8 April 2011

Today Lord?

F.W. BorehamDr F.W. Boreham tells of the day he called upon an 80 year old man. "My friend, will you not trust the Saviour?" Pastor Boreham enquired. "No, no, I'm too old!" replied the aged man. The next day he met a teenage youth. "My friend, will you not trust the Saviour?" Dr Boreham asked. "No, no, I'm too young!" the youth replied. "Too young to accept Christ? Too old to accept Christ?" asks FWB in his early book, The Whisper of God. He wrote-
And betwixt that "TOO OLD" and that "TOO YOUNG" we all go dancing to our everlasting doom. What a strain on the mercy of God!
Dr. F.W. Boreham, THE UNOBSERVED GREY HAIRS, The Whisper of God, 1902, page 98
FWB was troubled. He was troubled about people's apathy to spiritual things. He noted how urgently ambassadors of Christ must be to transmit the Gospel to young people. He cites a major research project conducted by Dr Starbuck who investigated at what age a person converts to Christ. A good number of the 1200 people interviewed said they came to trust Christ as Saviour between the ages of 7 to 9. A few more came to Christ between 9 to 12. Most came to Christ between the ages of 12 to 16. FWB reports, "...fewer still between twenty to thirty; and after thirty they are very rare." (pg. 92). "If these figures do not startle us to our duty, nothing will."
" physical decay may assail a man without his knowing it, or even noticing the grey hairs that announce it, so his spiritual life is declining, and he notices neither the declension itself nor the symptoms that proclaim it. Alas, and is it so with us? A neglected Bible, listlessness in prayer, coldness towards the Master, indifference towards sin, the shunning of Christian companionships, carelessness as to attendance at the house of God, callousness as to the eternal welfare of others-- these are grey hairs that appear upon us, but we neither notice them nor the fearful declension of which they tell."
FWB, page 95
Hobart Baptist ChurchBoreham's mortification at the spiritual apathy around him led to take drastic action during his pastorate in Hobart Tasmania. Upon arrival in Tasmania in 1906 he was appalled that in his first Winter month there he could only get 300 attenders to Church on Sunday nights! He summoned his elders and presented this most urgent spiritual challenge. He proposed that after their 7PM Sunday service ended at around 8:30PM they should proceed to the Hobart Town Hall for a special series of evangelistic meetings. They agreed. FWB would then preach in the usual fashion at the Hobart Baptist Tabernacle in Elizabeth Street North Hobart then catch a horse-drawn cab down to the Hobart Town Hall where crowds of up to 1000 gathered to hear him preach the Gospel. They soon saw their Winter Sunday night attendances swell to 500!

How old do you have to be to be "on-fire" for Christ?
¶ But I have this against you, that you have abandoned the love you had at first.
Revelation 2:4
It seems that the call of Christ does not come at particular age but it also appears that it more commonly comes to you when you are young. That is, the Spirit of God wants people to trust Him with their lives as early as possible. But it is even more apparent that God desires for us to increasingly desire to be surrendered to Him! Therefore-
As it is said,
"Today, if you hear his voice,
do not harden your hearts as in the rebellion."
Hebews 3:15
God calls us to respond to Him afresh each day. We must guard against hardening our hearts and becoming prematurely spiritually "aged" rather than spiritually 'mature.' I know people in their 80s who love Jesus and have done so from the earliest of age. They continue to devour the Word and learn all they can. They pray fervently and have not been put-off by God saying "No" or "Not now." They live for 'today', not in yesterday, and not for "some day". They have heard the call of the Psalmist to hear the voice of God today and enjoy the kind of youthfulness that Isaiah said comes from waitering on the Lord. Conversely I have met people in their 20s, 30s or 40s who have become spiritually dull and 'aged' in attitude. God no longer grips their heart. The Word no longer fills their mind. His Spirit no longer stirs their soul. When God said, "Today!" they eventually responded with, "Can't today. I might be able to in a few days though."
And that servant who knew his master's will but did not get ready or act according to his will, will receive a severe beating. 
JESUS CHRIST, Luke 12:47
I want to walk with God today. I want to hear God's voice today. I want to respond to God's Word today. I want to be used by God to reach young people today. I pray that we will be a "today" people. And if you have not yet began to trust Christ as your today-Saviour, then I pray that today you will.
Father, help us to live surrendered lives to You today! Help us to reach out to the world with Your love and Word. Help us to be salt and light to a savourless and dark world. Give us the courage of our convictions to not be silent about Your grace and great love for all people. Help us also to live a demonstration of that truth and grace. May we see the hurting, the lost, the spiritually dead, all redeemed and added to Your church family, for Your glory, we pray, Amen.
Eph. 3:21 to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, forever and ever. Amen.

Ps. Andrew

Friday, 1 April 2011

What Is "Wrong"?

I've just returned from Hobart where I gave a short public lecture at the University of Tasmania's Stanley Burbury Theatre about why Marriage can only be between a man and woman. I was, and a couple of hundred of other people were, "greeted" by 'Gay-Rights' protestors jeering us as we entered the forum. Perhaps not surprisingly, what was supposed to be the issue seemed to soon be forgotten and the real (unstated) issue quickly came to the fore. This might simply be boiled down to this challenge- "Who are you to impose your religious beliefs upon a secular society!"
¶ And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth.
John 1:14
Secularists (those who promote viewing life without any reference to God) have claimed ownership over society and therefore its moral standards with a few simple maxims: (i) What's right or true for you may not be what's right or true for me; and, (ii) As long as you don't hurt anyone, do whatever you want. Both of these maxims are grounded and based in an idea called "Moral Relativism" (the idea that we individually determine what's right and wrong for us without any outside authority for determining what's right or wrong behaviour). Several protestors asked questions after my lecture which were grounded in this way of thinking.
¶ Now while Paul was waiting for them at Athens, his spirit was provoked within him as he saw that the city was full of idols.
So he reasoned...
Acts 17:16-17a
As Christians I think we face two challenges when it comes to defending the Bible in the public square: firstly, we need to be faithful and loyal to what the Creator has clearly commanded for all people (not just Christians), and secondly, we need to be on guard against the 'peer' pressure of the world to 'privatise' our convictions about God and life. Thus, when a Christian says that something is wrong because the Bible says that it is wrong, this is a sufficient argument, but due to the derision in which the Bible is held by the world, this truth is scorned. But if the world is allowed to remove God and His Word from how His world is governed what kind of world would we end up with? What I have just done is used an arguing technique which exposes an opposing argument for what it really is. Immanuel Kant called this taking an argument to its extreme end. Greg Koukl calls it, Lifting the Roof. What kind of society would we have if we extremely applied what Jesus Christ taught about how we should interact with each other? Conversely, what kind of society would we have if we took the do whatever you want maxim to an extreme? History tells us that when God and His Word are removed from society, godlessness results with all of its horrors.

Still there are Christians who feel that if we get involved in our communities, cities, states and nations, we are being politicaland not spiritual. "Christians should not be involved in politics", they protest. "We are here to save lost souls", they assert, "not to be in politics." It may surprise some, but I actually agree. We are on a mission to rescue lost souls from a Christless eternity of eternal torment and to appeal to people to be reconciled to the One who knows them best and loves them most. But consider that if we are silent in the public arena about what God says, how then will people hear the Gospel?
¶ But how are they to call on him in whom they have not believed? And how are they to believe in him of whom they have never heard? And how are they to hear without someone preaching?
Romans 10:14
How will they come to a knowledge of what sin is and therefore to the realisation that they need a Saviour?
¶ What then shall we say? That the law is sin? By no means! Yet if it had not been for the law, I would not have known sin. I would not have known what it is to covet if the law had not said, "You shall not covet."
Romans 7:7
Historically, when the Church, the Christian community, ceased to prophetically challenge people about their idolatry, the Church waned and society became less civil. Eighteenth century Europe is a case in point. Both England and France in particular had political and royal leaders who scorned God and His Word. They treated people poorly. They acted on their sexual whims and proclivities. The result in France was a bloody revolution followed by years of war and bloodshed. The result would have surely been the same in England. Charles Dickens described this era as, "It was the worst of times. It was the best of times." (The Tale of Two Cities). But England avoided moral collapse because God did something in His Church there which resulted in all facets of society being affected. God dramatically converted John Wesley and George Whitefield in particular who thundered the Gospel across England the American colonies. These evangelists were greatly used by God to convert thousands of nominal Christians to true faith. But by the end of Wesley's life he realised that he had largely failed to make a spiritual dent in his nation. He called for a young, recently converted politician, William Wilberforce to his deathbed. "Where I have failed, you must not!" he told and later wrote to Wilberforce. He charged Wilberforce to take the Gospel into the legislature of England. And he did.

William WilberforceWilberforce was maligned by the irreligious throughout his political career as he sought to implement a foundational truth of the Gospel - that all people are created in the image of God - this includes women, children, and enslaved black Africans. His campaign lasted over 30 years of arguing that England's Parliament should amend its laws to honour God and therefore ensure the greatest welfare of its people. Toward the end of his campaign he was accused of wanting to pass laws to make everyone a Christian. Wilberforce responded by saying that he wished he could pass a law which made everyone a Christian so that their eternal bliss would be secured, but alas, one cannot be converted by compulsion, that is, everyone must accept or reject God's offer of Christ as Saviour.

During Wesley and Whitefield's 40 year preaching revival, the number of church attenders remained largely the same. This is curiously because they actually preached salvation to existing church-goers. But at the end of Wilberforce's 40 or so years in politics, the number of church goers had risen exponentially! While Wilberforce was arguing for an ending to slavery, treating women with respect, and preventing industrial cruelty to children, he grounded his arguments in God and His Word. Wilberforce then made a logical connection between God and His Word, and the truth. The connection he made was that the truth would be verifiable in real life. That is, you could demonstrate that the world really was the way the Bible described it.

The Patriot, starring Mel GibsonWhy should we as Christians today be concerned about issues like "Same-Sex" Marriage? Because it is grounded in an entirely false view of how the world actually is. If we are indifferent on this issue and come under the spell of Moral Relativists and chant the mantra that truth is only true if it's true for me then we are failing in our Great Commission to "teach all nations everything I have commanded" and doing a tremendous injury to our trying to bring people to The Saviour for forgiveness for their idolatry. In the movie, The Patriot (originally starring Jimmy Stewart, then later remade with Mel Gibson), the father of three boys refuses to be entangled in the fight of the Colonists with the oppressive Red Coats. "It's not my war" he tells one recruiter. But then the Red Coats murder one of his sons. He fell into depression as he realised that his apathy brought this on. He then realised that sometimes you have to fight in order to protect and preserve. As the story unfolds, we see him very deliberately and intentionally changing his clothes and kitting himself with various familiar weapons. While we are wondering how this gentle farmer is so familiar with the ways of war, we are allowed to listen to a conversation that two of the American military leaders have as they recount how this 'farmer' was a decorated war hero prior to settling down for a more quiet life. It is then that we realise that the original appeal to him was really an appeal to be who he really was.

In a similar way, much of the Church has retreated to a more quiet life. While the war for men's souls rages and the Devil deceptively tells the world that God has no right to tell them how to live, and many us put our fingers in our spiritual ears and dismissively tell the Recruiting Spirit, "It's not my war." And then it shockingly becomes apparent to us that one of our own children is now spiritually dead. We take a look at our tear-stained appearance in the mirror and see that our clothes are all dusty. Standing in front of the full-length mirror we dust ourselves off and slightly amazed see that we are dressed as soldiers. Having never noticed it, we see a weapon strapped to our side. We take it in our hands and it feels strangely familiar. And like the enchanted sleeping King Theoden in the Lord of the Rings, we awake from a supernatural slumber and take up our Christ-won, rightful position of being a light on a hill. To this end, it is love for (not 'of') the world that drives us. It is our deep compassion for the eternal destiny of all people and our even deeper conviction that Jesus is Lord of all that we proclaim Him as such.
Father, help us to reach out to the world with Your love and Word. Help us to be salt and light to a savourless and dark world. Give us the courage of our convictions to not be silent about Your grace and great love for all people. Help us also to live a demonstration of that truth and grace. May we see the hurting, the lost, the spiritually dead, all redeemed and added to Your church family, for Your glory, we pray, Amen.
Eph. 3:21 to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, forever and ever. Amen.
Ps. Andrew


How Should A Christian Think About Earthquakes?[by Dr. Andrew Corbett 31st March 2011]
Recent large earthquakes in both New Zealand, Japan, Chile, and Borneo have led many Christians to speculate about what God might be possibly saying through these catastrophes. Other Christians are struggling with interpreting these same events from the perspective of trying to understand how a God of love and power could allow such massive destruction and loss of human life?


The Bible reveals that God uses phenomena such as earthquakes to speak, discipline and even punish. This is deduced from how earthquakes are referred to through out the Bible. For example, there was an earthquake -
  • coinciding with the death of Christ (Matt. 27:54);
  • causing the release of Paul and Silas from prison (Acts 16:26)
  • resulting in the destruction of the temple in AD70 (Rev. 6:12)
Some people speculate that it was an earthquake which destroyed the Tower of Babel (Genesis 11), which would make this particular account the first reference to an earthquake in the Bible, but it is more than probable that it was not an earthquake - for reasons which should be clearer shortly.
God declares through various prophets that He would use earthquakes as an instrument of His correction upon His people (Isaiah 29:6; Amos 1:1; Zechariah 14:5). But this is no small point: the only Biblical references to God using earthquakes in this way was to teach His people something (not Gentiles).
Ah, Ariel, Ariel, the city where David encamped!
Add year to year;
let the feasts run their round...
you will be visited by the LORD of hosts
with thunder and with earthquake and great noise,
with whirlwind and tempest, and the flame of a devouring fire. 

Isaiah 29:1, 6
But the Bible doesn't just describe earthquakes as divine instruments of direct communication (whether that be judgment, punishment or correction). They are part of the natural order which God has ordained to sustain life on earth (earthquakes partly release a build up of tension in the earth tectonic plates). God actually says that not every natural disaster or disturbance is Him speaking or directly acting. For example-
And he said, "Go out and stand on the mount before the LORD." And behold, the LORD passed by, and a great and strong wind tore the mountains and broke in pieces the rocks before the LORD, but the LORD was not in the wind. And after the wind an earthquake, but the LORD was not in the earthquake.
1Kings 19:11


It appears Biblically that the only nation God held accountable under the Older Covenant was Israel (and later Judah). All of God's disciplinary earthquakes during the Older Covenant were used to correct or discipline His people. Some have pointed to the possibility that when Jonah arrived in Nineveh, their willingness to receive his message was partly due to them experiencing a massive earthquake and solar eclipse just prior to his arrival. This may be the case, but notice that the actual result of this event. It served as a sign and wonder to the people of Nineveh to confirm to them Jonah's preaching. It was not referred to in the Book of Jonah and neither did Jonah threaten that God would send another as His way of punishing them for their sin and wickedness (although he probably wished that he could have!)...[read the full article]