Why Every Christian Should Be A Naturalist

The lockdown has us all longing to escape the confines of our homes. We need some fresh air. We need to walk in the wild. We need our eyes to feast on flowers and green leaves and grass. Among those of us who follow the Master, there should be a heightened desire to bathe our souls in nature rather than this everlasting masking and washing our hands in toxic cleansers.

I want to begin a series of blogs on why I believe every Christian should be a naturalist. I don’t mean that in the technical sense that we should all be environmentalists. I don’t expect every Christian to be a hiker or camper or even a gardener. I certainly don’t mean this in the sense that new-agers mean it, that we should all worship “mother nature”.

But we should all appreciate nature because of our LOVE FOR THE ONE WHO CREATED IT. Don’t you love the rather squiggly slashes of colour when your child or grandchild brings you one of their paintings to admire? Why? Because we love the child who painted it. Well, nature is God’s art.

Do we appreciate Michelangelo’s art? Art tells you about the artist. If we visit the Sistine Chapel in Rome and gaze at the ceiling with its astounding paintings, we will ponder how Michelangelo could possibly have painted those while lying on his back on a scaffold. Surely, we must come away with, maybe not love for him, but an enormous appreciation for the artist. When consider;

This is my Father’s world,

And to my listening ears

All nature sings, and round me rings

The music of the spheres.

This is my Father’s world:

I rest me in the thought

Of rocks and trees, of skies and seas—

His hand the wonders wrought.

Do we love God? Well consider his artistry. “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth…God saw all that he had made [during the six days of creation] and it was very good” (Gen. 1:1,31). If we go outside in the evening and gaze at the sun setting or the moon rising. If we wonder through the woods and see trilliums and violets carpeting the ground. If we gaze into the sky and watch V’s of Canada Geese flying north. Or if we even ponder the mystery of how our fingers work. If we really look beyond what we have come to take for granted and see God, our mouths must open in awe and our hearts expand with love.

Do you not know God as Father? Then you can’t really appreciate the glory and purposes of the created world. Read and believe the gospel in 1 Corinthians 15:1-5, and then gaze at the natural world around. As I found out when I was converted at 19, you too will discover through God’s Son by the power of the transforming Holy Spirit that:

Heaven above is softer blue Earth around is sweeter green;

Something lives in every hue Christless eyes have never seen

Birds with gladder songs o’erflow

Flowers with deeper beauties shine.

Since I know, as now I know, I am His, and He is mine.

(Loved with Everlasting Love, George Wade Robinson)

How do we feel as we watch the sun set or as we see the moon rise? “Oh, that’s really lovely.” How do we feel when we gaze on trilliums carpeting a woodland? “That’s beautiful.”

The Psalmist felt something deeper when he saw mountain peaks, oceans—indeed, everything. “The LORD is the great God…In his hand are the depths of the earth, and the mountain peaks belong to him. The sea is his, for he made it, and his hands formed the dry land. Come let us bow down in worship, let us kneel before the LORD our Maker, for he is our God” (Psalm 95:3-6). So moved was the Psalmist that he began the Psalm by saying, “Come, let us sing for joy to the LORD; let us shout aloud to the Rock of our salvation” (Psalm 95:1).

Every Christian should be a naturalist because first of all, we love for the one who created it. Secondly, and similar to that reason, we should be genuine, biblical naturalists because NATURE MOVES US TO WORSHIP.

John Muir founded the Sierra Club, a powerful force for ecological responsibility. Once when Muir was standing with a friend at a high point of the Yosemite Valley tears began to course down his cheeks. His friend was one of those rather unemotional types. Muir turned to him and in the Scotch dialect into which he often lapsed when filled with wonder said; “Mon, can ye see unmoved the glory of the Almighty?”

“Oh, it’s very fine,” came the reply “but I do not wear my heart upon my sleeve.”

“Ah, my dear mon,’ Muir replied, ‘in the face of such a scene as this, it’s no time to be thinkin o where you wear your heart.” (Sierra, March/April 1989, p23)

Even if we, like Muir’s friend, are unemotional types surely when we gaze at our wonderful world, or the mystery of a new-born baby, or the weather cycles we should at least shout in our hearts about the creative majesty of God! His power! His wisdom! His goodness and beauty for all that is good and beautiful in our world reflects the creativity of God; Father, Son and Holy Spirit. Amen and amen.

(Let me know your thoughts on this subject. If you appreciate this blog, please pass it on. Further articles, books, and stories at: http://www.countrywindow.ca Facebook: Eric E Wright Twitter: @EricEWright1 LinkedIn: Eric Wright ––)

 


[i] This Is My Father’s World, text by Maltbie D. Babcock, music by Franklin L. Sheppard

Does my Politician Encourage a Victim Mentality or Initiative?

How should a Christian view systems of government? A couple of things seem clear. As exhorted throughout Scripture, we should encourage compassion for orphans, widows and strangers or refugees. (Deut. 10:17-18 among many texts.) Into this category we should probably include seniors in long term care homes—those who have been so poorly served during this pandemic.

Certainly, character is a basic criterion. We need politicians who show from their history that they have a commitment to honesty and faithfulness. We want public servants who don’t run for office because they desire the limelight or love to debate. But in this blog, I want to highlight one general characteristic of desirable political parties.

Scripture makes clear that governments should do everything they can to encourage industriousness. While exhorting the Thessalonian Christians, Paul wrote: “Keep away from every brother who is idle…you ought to follow our example. We were not idle when we were with you, nor did we eat anyone’s food without paying for it. …we worked night and day laboring and toiling so that we would not be a burden to any of you…in order to make ourselves a model for you to follow. For even when we were with you, we gave you this rule. ‘If a man will not work, he shall not eat. We hear that some among you are idle…Such people we command and urge in the Lord Jesus Christ to settle down and earn the bread they eat” (2 Thessalonians 3:6-12).

Good government discourages idleness and promotes initiative. It encourages everyone to earn a living, be hard-working, develop entrepreneurship and if possible, create more jobs. Governments should not hinder entrepreneurship through excessive taxes or laws that hinder creativity.

While the selfish DNA within us might tempt us to vote for those who promise us a guaranteed income or special subsidies, we must deny the tempter and vote for what is good for the country as a whole. Encouraging laziness is not good for Canada. Welfare, except that which is very carefully targeted, hinders Canadian fiscal and emotional health.

A few Canadian facts. From 2010 to 2013 during the Harper era, the Canadian economy grew an average of 2.8% a year after inflation. In the next four years during the Trudeau era the economy grew less than 2.3% a year. Leaders in the current government claim that their approach to the pandemic—all the emergency spending—has worked and yet $100 billion went straight into Canadian’s bank accounts. That obviously was not stimulus money but added to our mammoth deficit without increasing flourishing. Fortunately, some of the stimulus money did go to those who need it.

Let me add one further set of facts even though they are rather tangential. At this point I am risking provoking the ire of cancel culture. We hear much about the importance of equality between men and women in the workforce. Central to the current Canadian budget has been promoting the fallacy that women suffered disproportionately from pandemic job losses. The facts tell a different story. Male unemployment shot up to 13.5% last May while female unemployment was close at 13.9%. Currently both have rebounded to 7.3% and 7.6% respectively. Of course, this does not describe the matter of wage parity, which must to be considered. Both sexes are equally worthy.

My point in this blog is to simply urge us, especially Canadians, to make political choices based on principle and facts. Certainly, one of the most important principles is to choose a party based on whether or not it encourages hard work, entrepreneurship and initiative or helps to further the victim mentality that is so hurtful to our democracy. Christians, like others, need to make informed decisions about politics based on facts not hearsay or warm fuzzies.

(Statistics thanks to comments in “The many false assumptions on which the 2021 budget is based,” by Andrew Coyne, Globe and Mail, April 24, 2021, O2)

The Tri-unity of God

Can we collect lightning in a bucket? Can we gather the ocean in a thimble? Either would be easier than trying to fathom the mystery that is God. We’ve covered a lot of ground in our attempts in these blogs to understand what God has revealed about himself through his attributes. As this series nears it end, we approach one of the greatest mysteries, the Trinity. This truth is not one we can deduce through reason, but as with most of what we know about God can be known only through revelation.

As we would expect, the most complicated truths about God are revealed later in his revelation, the Bible. Biblical revelation is progressive. The Old Testament has some passages that imply multiple persons but don’t fully describe the three persons. For example, ”And God said, ‘Let US make man in OUR image’” (Gen 1:26). At the tower of Babel, we read, “The LORD [said]…Come, let US go down and confuse their language” (Gen. 11:7). “The sovereign LORD has send ME, with his SPIRIT” (Isaiah 48:16).

The New Testament clearly affirms each of the three persons as divine. No reader of the Bible doubts that the Father is God. In many places Jesus Christ is declared to be deity. “I and the Father are one” (John 10:30). “The Son is the radiance of God’s glory and the exact representation of his being sustaining all things by his powerful word” (Hebrews 1:3) [Further see John 1, Col. 1, Hebrews 1, and Revelation 1.]

That the Holy Spirit is God is clear because the divine names, perfections, works and glory are attributed to him. “The Spirit of God…the Holy Spirit” (1 Cor. 12:3). It is important to note that the Holy Spirit is not a force but has personality. He is the Comforter who dwells within believers. He counsels, he comforts, and he “will teach you all things” (John 14:26).  “The Spirit helps us in our weakness” (Romans 8:26).

Thus, we have three, distinct, Divine Persons and yet they are one in essence. The Trinity is not a descriptor for one God with three names, Father, Son and Holy Spirit. Nor is it three Gods united in one purpose but with different responsibilities; the Father as the planner, the Son as the builder, the Spirit as the power. Neither does the Trinity refer to how God has revealed himself in three dispensations; the Father in the OT era, the Son during the life, death and resurrection of Jesus, and the Spirit during the Church Age.

There is one God, undivided in essence. And each of the persons is fully, completely, wholly God and yet they are distinct as expressed often in the NT. For example, see the baptismal formula in Matthew 28; the involvement of each person in our redemption in Ephesians 1, and the blessing in 1 Cor. 13:14. “May the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all”. [Please refer to a good theology book such as Systematic Theology by L. Berkhof for a more thorough discussion.]

This is a mystery beyond our experience and comprehension. But make no mistake, to be Christian is to be thoroughly trinitarian. We would be wise to heed the Athanasian dictum, lest we venture into heresy. “We must neither divide the essence nor confuse the persons.” Despite its mystery, the Trinity is a wonderful reality. It demonstrates that at the root of all existence is personality and relationship. Existence cannot be understand as merely material or mechanistic. From eternity, the Father has been delighting in fellowship with the Son and with the Spirit and so have each of the three with the other member of the Tri-unity.

As a relational God, God loves to have fellowship with you and me. He expects us to be in loving fellowship with each other. The Christian faith never encourages us to be loners.

But perhaps, you feel alone. You need not for there are three who love you more than a mother or spouse could. The Father. The Son. The Holy Spirit. Jesus taught us to pray, “our Father who art in heaven.” Jesus rose from the dead but said, “Lo, I am with you always.” Before he went to the cross, Jesus explained to his disciples, “I will leave you another Comforter, the Holy Spirit who will be with you for ever.

On the darkest night in the loneliest desert, we are never alone if we have received Jesus Christ as our Saviour. Repenting of our sins and receiving his forgiveness ushers us into an eternal relationship with the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit.

(Let me know your thoughts on this subject. If you appreciate this blog, please pass it on. Further articles, books, and stories at: http://www.countrywindow.ca Facebook: Eric E Wright Twitter: @EricEWright1 LinkedIn: Eric Wright ––)

A Truth Beyond our Imagination

Mankind has both a marvelous imagination and an astounding inventiveness. Think of the wheel, the printing press, the telephone and the internet. Or consider Ra, the sun god of Egypt, Baal, the storm god of Philistia, Ganesha, the elephant god of India, Allah, the god of Islam or mother nature–the god of many environmentalists. What a minute, these are examples of human imagination gone wild!

Imagination is fine when it inspires art or even leads scientists on a quest to discover some new truth. But No scientist abandons belief in the basic laws of mathematics and physics in their quest for a new discovery. They may probe deeper into reality and come up with the speed of light or the secret of pi or quantum physics. There are always aspects of reality beyond our current understanding.

But in our search for God there are certain truths He has revealed about Himself which, if we deny we venture into wild speculation that is not rooted in reality. Fundamentally, we begin our search by asserting that there is only one God. “The LORD is God; besides him there is no other” (Deut. 4:36). This reality is stated as the second of the ten commandments. “You shall have no other gods before me” (Deut. 5:7). Paul explains, “We know that an idol is nothing at all in the world and that there is no God but one” (1 Cor 8:4).

Besides the uniqueness of the LORD God which we considered in other blogs, the oneness of God requires us to think of his unity as stated in the Hebrew Shema. “Hear O Israel: The LORD our God, the LORD is one” (Deut. 6:4).

Ever since we used blocks to make a toy house or put Lego together, we understand that everything is composed of parts. Our bodies are made up of cells. Even apparently solid metals are composed of molecules. The atmosphere is composed of various gases including oxygen and carbon dioxide. But when we consider the oneness of God we face something completely beyond all experience. There are no parts, no division within God.

We’ve been considering the attributes of God. But we must not think that God is composed of wisdom plus holiness plus justice plus goodness, etc. These are not parts of who God is but qualities of his entire unified being. God is one, undivided.

We may think that God has at least three parts, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. But no, God is one undivided being. Yes, there are three persons, but they are one. The Father is infinite. The Son of God is infinite. The Spirit is infinite. Yet there are not three infinites but one undivided infinite essence.

We affirm this because Scripture demands we do so. Jesus said, “I and the Father are one” (John 10:30). This declaration was also affirmed in all of Jesus I AM statements and led the Jews to crucify him. “I am the bread of life…I AM the living water…I AM the light of the world” etc. By these declarations, Jesus was declaring that the Shema applied to him.

This is, of course, beyond our experience and beyond our comprehension. We cannot conceive of a being that exists as three persons and yet these three have one undivided essence. We should not be surprised. God in His essence and being is totally beyond anything comparable in the universe. Any consideration of God is a venture into mystery. Theologians have pondered these mysteries for 2000 years.

We’ll ponder ruther the mystery of the Trinity in next post. To keep us from the heresy of Unitarianism on one side and tri-theism on the other we would be wise to heed the Athanasian Creed which states; We must neither divide the essence nor confuse the persons.

All of us have gone to some school or university. I wonder what learning will be like in heaven? We have a lot to learn. (Let me know your thoughts on this subject. If you appreciate this blog, please pass it on. Further articles, books, and stories at: http://www.countrywindow.ca Facebook: Eric E Wright Twitter: @EricEWright1 LinkedIn: Eric Wright ––)

An Enigma Within a Mystery

History is full mysteries. How was Stonehenge constructed? What is the language of the 3500 year old Indus civilization and how did its people disappear? What happened to the crew of the Mary Celeste, an American merchantman found adrift in the Atlantic in 1872 with no lifeboats. How could the pyramids have been constructed? But the greatest mystery of all is the being of God.

Mohenjo-Daro, ancient city of the Indus civilization

When Muslims debate Christians, one of the first things they do is mock our arithmetic. “Don’t you know, one plus one plus one equals three, not one. Jesus could not be the Son of God for allah is one in absolute unity.”

Christians accept the Trinity as mysterious but we believe in it because God, himself, revealed it to us in the New Testament. If we are biblical Christians we are thorough going trinitarians. We believe in; God, the Father, God, the Son and God, the Holy Spirit. “Jesus commissioned his followers to, “make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit” (Matt. 28:19). And yet we believe that God is one. “Hear, O Israel: the LORD our God, the LORD is one” (Deut. 6:4). These two verses seem like a contradiction.

In this series of blogs about the attributes of God we have faced many truths that have stretched our minds. But now we come face to face with three even greater mysteries. Let’s approach the revealed facts that God is a spirit, that God is one, and that God is triune slowly and with care.

The place to start is with an admission of the reality of Mystery and the reality of our own limitations. We have neither the technology nor the intelligence to search the universe for God. In our meditations on God’s attributes, we’ve found Him to be unsearchable until he reveals Himself to us. Who can comprehend eternity? Or infinity? Or omnipotence? Or omniscience? 

Zophar spoke to Job saying; ”Canst thou by searching find out God? Canst thou find out the Almighty to perfection? …The measure thereof is longer than the earth, and broader than the sea” (Job 11:7,9 KJV). God is unsearchable. Paul wrote, “Oh, the depth of the riches of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable his judgments and his paths beyond tracing out” (Rom. 11:33).

We think so highly of ourselves with our robotics, our aircraft and our space probes. We proudly think that we have reached such a place in history that all truth is open to our investigation. Nothing could be further from reality. The only way to approach God is with humility. Think back to the beginning of history; to Adam and Eve. To create within Eve the Great Sin of Pride, Satan whispered to her; “Did God really say [don’t eat?]…for God knows that when you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God” (Gen. 3:1,5). That whisper echoes down through history to our day. Will we obey God? Will we approach him with faith, or arrogance? Will we read and accept what he has revealed about himself in Holy Scripture?

That God is mysterious and other-worldly should not surprise us. Actually, you and I are a mystery. The search for the essence of who we are has engaged philosophers from time immemorial. It is the secret of human consciousness. Are we just a bundle of brain synapses plus heart pumps and lung breaths? No, of course not, every human has a distinct spirit or soul that reflects his or her personality. Although researchers labour to identify which area of the brain is responsible for what function, we are not just a brain. We are living souls. And the soul is mysterious and invisible. 

If we are so mysterious doesn’t it make sense that God is more so, especially since we were created in his image? The Samaritan woman confronted by Jesus at the well probably had a material concept of God. This led her and her fellow Samaritans to believe that God must be worshipped in a place. Jesus corrected her. Worship must not be limited to this mountain or to Jerusalem. “God is spirit, and his worshippers must worship in spirit and in truth” (John 4:24). We must approach God in our own spirit or soul according to the truth about worship revealed in Scripture.

God is a spirit. This means various things. He is invisible and his essence does not consist of tangible matter. Although the universe is full of his presence yet we can never isolate him to one place nor measure his width, height or length. As we read in 1 Tim. 6:16; He is the one—”who only hath immortality, dwelling in light which no man can approach unto; whom no man hath seen, nor can see: to whom be glory and power everlasting”.

Being a spirit means also that he is a self-conscious and self-determining being. He is not an impersonal force. He is a personal being with thoughts, feelings such as love and a will that makes decisions.

God is beyond all the laws that he created and thus beyond the search of the scientific method. Beyond matter and mass. Beyond space and time. Beyond change and decay. Beyond any limitations, so that as a spirit, he can be fully attentive to a person in one spot with the whole of his consciousness.

Our mind-boggling God! Clearly there is much more to consider here. Is the Father separate from the Son and Spirit? What does the unity of God mean? What does the Trinity mean?

Perhaps most important for you and me is to know that when we pray in our spirits to our heavenly Father we have his total attention. He is here as an invisible spirit. He listens to our prayer. He loves us. He moves heaven and earth to take care of us.

(Let me know your thoughts on this subject. If you appreciate this blog, please pass it on. Further articles, books, and stories at: http://www.countrywindow.ca Facebook: Eric E Wright Twitter: @EricEWright1 LinkedIn: Eric Wright ––)

The only Real Change Agent

Can the leopard change its spots” (Jer. 13:23)? Can an evil man become kind and loving? Can a deceiver become honest and trustworthy by reforming himself? No. Then how did John Newton, committed slave trader, become a preacher of freedom? How did Chuck Colson, Nixon’s hatchet man, become such a humble agent of truth and the gospel? How does a Hell’s Angel biker or a drug dealer, or a womanizer become a godly follower of Jesus? Through saving grace.

We’ve been considering the astounding attributes of God in this series of blogs. God is infinite, eternal and unchangeable. He is all wise, all powerful, and omnipresent. Although he is far beyond our comprehension, yet he has revealed himself as one who can relate to us as a Father. He is good in at least five ways.

  1. His universal kindness—he is good to all,
  2. His mercy and compassion,
  3. His long-suffering—slow to anger,
  4. His love,
  5. His grace.

Grace is the goodness of God expressed towards guilty sinners. Grace is why God is moved to forgive repentant sinners. It is what triggers the Holy Spirit to create within the sinner a new heart as predicted in Ezekiel. “And I will give you a new heart, and a new spirit I will put within you. And I will remove the heart of stone from your flesh and give you a heart of flesh” (Ezekiel 36:26. See also Jer. 31:33, John 3:3, Hebrews 8:10). Without that new heart within we cannot change. Yoga will not do it. Counselling will not change us from the inside out.

The instantaneous and dramatic change in Saul from being one who hated and imprisoned Christians to the Apostle Paul who preached the gospel throughout the Roman Empire is because of grace. His conversion is one of the great proofs of the truth and power of the Risen Christ. From his sudden conversion on, Paul celebrated salvation by grace rather than through works of the law as prescribed by his Pharisaical training.

The law was given through Moses but grace and truth came through Jesus Christ” (John 1:17). “For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God—not by works,…for we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works” (Eph. 2:8-10).

God gives good gifts, not because we earn them, but by grace—his undeserved favour. His greatest gift is seen in the birth, teaching, death and resurrection of His Son. “But you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though he was rich, yet for your sakes he became poor, that you through his poverty might become rich” (2 Cor. 8:9).

If we try to earn our salvation by going to church, trying to be good, or keeping sacraments or anything else, we deny and vilify the GRACE of God. Everything a saved sinner has is a gift of undeserved grace; forgiveness of sins, the new birth (regeneration), justification, sanctification, and ultimately glorification. Receive it. Rejoice in it. Give thanks a hundred times a day.

The Puritan had it right when he prayed; I know that that Thou art the author and finisher of faith, that the whole work of redemption is thine alone, that every good work or thought found in me is the effect of Thy power and grace, that their sole motive in working in me to will and to do is for thy good pleasure. O God, it is amazing that we can talk so much about man’s creaturely power and goodness, when, if thou didst not hold us back every moment, we should be devils incarnate. This, by bitter experience, thou hast taught me concerning myself. (The Valley of Vision; Banner of Truth.. quoted in a Sept. 2002 Steve Brown letter.)

Do you want real change? Character change? Come to Jesus Christ and he will change you from the inside out.

(Let me know your thoughts on this subject. If you appreciate this blog, please pass it on. Further articles, books, and stories at: http://www.countrywindow.ca Facebook: Eric E Wright Twitter: @EricEWright1 LinkedIn: Eric Wright ––)

Are We Guilty Just Because of our Skin Colour?

Today’s radical justice warriors try to tell us that if we are white we are guilty of white supremacy; if male, of oppressive male patriarchy. Why? They have a theory that people are not only accountable for their own sins of oppression but for those of their ancestors and those of their whole racial grouping, if white. Supposedly, if our skin colour is white [Are there degrees of whiteness?] we belong to a race whose identity is defined by oppressing others. As a result, we have children being taught in school and youth in university that the overarching “truth” that explains life is that some are oppressors and some the oppressed, the victims.

This is pure revisionist Marxism. Instead of promoting social harmony and progress this theory encourages victimology, social division, resentment, anger, jealousy and a host of other ills. The history of the 20th century under Nazism, Stalinism, and Maoism ought to have cured us from ideas such as Critical Race Theory.

Sadly, this “truth” is being used to challenge the very foundations of western democracies. The goal seems to be to demolish societies based on the freedom and value of all individuals and instead divide people into classes, victims and oppressors. A new society is supposed to arise from the ashes when one class defined by skin colour accepts their guilt. And being part of that class of people who generations ago participated in historic wrongs, for example, slavery or colonialism, means they should accept and repent of their ancestral guilt.

But what do Jeremiah and Ezekiel have to say about this totally unjust idea? The LORD declares, “In those days people will no longer say, ‘the fathers have eaten sour grapes, and the children’s teeth are set on edge.’ Instead, everyone will die for his own sin, whoever eats sour grapes —his own teeth will be set on edge” (Jer. 31:29,30). In other words, we will be held guilty for our own sins, not those of our fathers and forebears.

Ezekiel also clarifies the importance of personal not ancestral or class guilt. “The soul who sins is the one who will die. The son will not share the guilt of the father, nor will the father share the guilt of the son” (Ez. 18:20). It is not only irrational to keep charging the descendants of colonialists and slave-holders with personal guilt, but it is totally UNJUST.

Western democracies have created the most prosperous and free societies in the history of the world. More than at any other time, people from with many skin colours and from many races have the opportunity to prosper. Of course, this does not mean that those of us living today should not do all in our power to alleviate any injustices we see. We should all work to demolish inequities that hinder personal thriving. Social progress must continue with freedom and opportunity for all.

But you say, did Exodus and Deuteronomy not say that the LORD is “punishing the children for the sins of the fathers to the third and fourth generation of hose who hate me” (Deut. 5:9. See also Ex. 20:5) We must not misunderstand this. The only sense in which guilt is passed on from generation to generation occurs when descendants deliberately or unconsciously adopt the sinful patterns of their forbears. Ezekiel explains that a child is free of parental guilt who “sees the sins his father commits, and …does not do such things” (Ez. 18:14).

Sadly, as I have seen in a number of people I know, hatred of God or denial of God is passed down from father to child to grandchildren. Bad habits and ideas are also passed on. Children may inherit their parents’ addiction to swearing, or cheating on taxes, or immorality or a hundred other evils. But each of us personally must choose to reject any pattern we see in our parents that is unjust or evil. We will be called to give an account for our own lives.

Charging individuals of a particular race with guilt by association with their ancestors is totally racist.

(Let me know your thoughts on this subject. If you appreciate this blog, please pass it on. Further articles, books, and stories at: http://www.countrywindow.ca Facebook: Eric E Wright Twitter: @EricEWright1 LinkedIn: Eric Wright ––)

Justice Delayed Means God’s Longsuffering Extended

Injustice—whether among our indigenous people or in Yemen, Russia or Myanmar—may move us to cry, “Why doesn’t God do something?” In a recent incident, hundreds of schoolgirls were kidnapped by Boko Haram in Nigeria. Hundreds of those kidnapped in previous years have still not been found. Why doesn’t God stop this evil?

On a personal level we pray over years for the salvation of loved ones and the heavens seem brass. Why? We pray for revival and instead complacency spreads. Why?

Part of the answer to our perplexity is that God’s expects us to step up and act, to witness to our loved ones. Perhaps we should write letters urging politicians to act. But sometimes there is nothing we can do but continue to pray.

Strange as it may seem, God’s apparent delay in acting is due to his goodness as expressed in his longsuffering. God’s delay in pouring judgment on evil is not because he can’t but because he longs for people to repent and be saved.

In the Old Testament we read repeatedly of God’s patience with rebellious Israel. Even after being delivered from Egyptian slavery through mighty miracles, the nation complained in the desert. The book of Judges recounts seven spirals of descent into idolatry and oppression by cruel nations followed by Israel’s appeal for God’s deliverance. Each time God sent a deliverer, but shortly thereafter the nation again degenerated.

The book of Jonah describes God’s directive that the prophet Jonah go to Nineveh and call them to repentance. We read of Jonah’s flight from the divine commission due to his hatred of Nineveh. We can understand his desire to see this wicked, cruel nation destroyed. He didn’t want to see them having any chance of repentance. He said, “I knew that you are a gracious and compassionate God, slow to anger and abounding in love, a God who relents from sending calamity” (Jonah 4:2). Too often we fail to appreciate God’s long suffering.

Fifteen hundred years after giving the law to Moses and seeing Israel rebel again and again, “in the fulness of time” Jesus was born. What a long-suffering God! Long-suffering in Hebrew means; long breathe.

But even when Jesus, the Saviour came God was not in a hurry. It wasn’t until Jesus was 30 that God sent him into kingdom ministry. Then he embraced the cross. No quick death. Six hours of agony bearing our sins. The long-suffering Jesus.

Romans 1-3 sketches human sinfulness in searing terms. Then Paul warns his readers, do you think “you will escape God’s judgement? Or do you show contempt for the riches of his kindness, tolerance and patience, not realizing that God’s kindness leads you towards repentance” (Rom. 2:2-4)?

Peter gives a similar warning to those who scoffed at the delay in the coming of God’s Day of Judgement. “The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise as some understand slowness. He is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish” (2 Peter 3:9).

How fortunate we are for the long suffering of God! Even after we are saved from the consequence of our sins by being forgiven, we still struggle day by day to throw off their cloying presence. Our sanctification is a long process. We pray for patience, love, and control of our tongues and then we stick our foot in our mouth again. Fortunately, God is there to forgive us in Jesus’ name. God is so-o-o patient with us. Why? Because he loves us.

Lord, help us to celebrate your longsuffering love but not take advantage of your patience by becoming careless and complacent.

(Let me know your thoughts on this subject. If you appreciate this blog, please pass it on. Further articles, books, and stories at: http://www.countrywindow.ca Facebook: Eric E Wright Twitter: @EricEWright1 LinkedIn: Eric Wright ––)

What Makes a Nation Great?

The mark of a great society is not its GDP, gross domestic product. Neither is it the size of its standing army. Nor its power and prestige in the world. The mark of a great society is the mercy and compassion it shows towards the unfortunate, the poor, and the elderly.

The actions and attitudes of nations are irresistibly linked to their beliefs. I have been posting a series on the attributes of God and the moral framework He has revealed to guide mankind, because as belief in God declines so does our nation’s moral fabric. We imitate what we most admire.

Sadly, the mark left by many nations in the twentieth century has been cruelty, oppression, war and outright evil. Think Hitler, Stalin, Mao, Pol Pot, Idi Amin and many others whose motivating principles were derived from belief in evolution and atheism more than faith in God. So far, the direction of the 21st century is not encouraging. Nations seem more bent on increasing GDP and countering climate change than fostering compassion.

A compassionate society is God-honouring society. Why? Because such a society imitates God who has revealed himself as merciful and compassionate.

The founders of the U.S. and those who established Canada understood the connection between God and greatness. The U.S. constitution recognizes this truth as does the motto on U.S coins, “In God we trust.”

In Canada, every time we sing O Canada, we declare an awareness of God’s role. We sing, “God keep our land glorious and free! O Canada, we stand on guard for thee.” Three Bible verses have been carved in stone onto the exterior of the Peace Tower. The most well-known of these three verses is also Canada’s motto: ”He shall have dominion also from sea to sea” (Psalm 72:8). The preamble to the constitution states; “Whereas Canada is founded upon principles that recognize the supremacy of God and the rule of law.” (See https://www.niagaradeclaration.ca/ )

Rajasthan, IndiaIn spite of our founding documents, both of our countries have been rapidly moving away from maintaining a connection between greatness and godliness. In Canada, why have we taken so long to ensure that our indigenous people have clean drinking water and good schools? In both our countries why have the elderly in long term care homes suffered so disproportionately from Covid-19? Why have those in low- income communities suffered so badly? Will Covid-19 shame us as a society into becoming more compassionate?

If we want to see our countries to become great again, each of us will imitate God by being merciful and compassionate. Mercy is the goodness of God expressed towards the unfortunate, poor, oppressed, bereaved, and fatherless. The Hebrew word racham means to ENFOLD WITH LOVE, TO CHERISH. God loves to enfold the unfortunate with his arms of compassion.

The Son of God came down to earth to show us the way. He demonstrated God’s mercy and compassion throughout his ministry. Jesus stood in a synagogue in Nazareth and read from Isaiah a prophecy about himself. “The Spirit of the Lord is on me because he has anointed me to preach good news to the poor, He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners, and recovery of sight for the blind, to release the oppressed.” (Luke 4:18,19).

Take one New Testament chapter as an example. In Mark 1 we find Jesus casting out an evil spirit, healing Simon’s mother-in-law, and delivering many from their infirmities. “A man with leprosy came to him and begged him on his knees, If you are willing, you can make me clean. Filled with compassion, Jesus reached out his hand and touched the man. I am willing he said. Be clean! (Mark 1:40,41). Untold thousands felt his healing touch or heard his healing words. Let’s pray for a renewed interest in Jesus Christ and in reading the New Testament.

Mercy and compassion does not end with care for our physical bodies but extends to care for our eternal souls. How terrible if we feed and heal people only to leave them unprepared for the gloom and horror of eternal judgement. To be prepared to face God’s judgement seat, people need the good news of the gospel. Jesus died for our sins and rose again to save us. And so we must pray for God to send evangelists throughout our lands. We must pray for spiritual revival to touch all our churches and overflow into our communities. May it be so, Lord!

(Let me know your thoughts on this subject. If you appreciate this blog, please pass it on. Further articles, books, and stories at: http://www.countrywindow.ca Facebook: Eric E Wright Twitter: @EricEWright1 LinkedIn: Eric Wright ––)

The Great Reset-Part II: Stakeholder Capitalism or Neo-Marxism?

May be an image of 1 person
As a guest blogger, Kamiel Gabriel continues to summarize the World Economic Forum at Davos Switzerland in this second part of his series.
One of the most promoted ideas at the 2021 Davos meeting by its founder, Professor. Klaus Schwab, is what he coined “Stakeholder Capitalism”. In his newly released book carrying the same title, he explains his concept as:
“Stakeholder capitalism is a form of capitalism in which companies seek long-term value creation by taking into account the needs of all their stakeholders, and society at large. We are facing a whole set of social, economic, and health crises, and the best response to these challenges, would be for all actors in society to consider more than their narrow and short-term self-interest.”
He adds :
“To ensure that both people and the planet prosper, four key stakeholders play a crucial role. They are: governments; civil society; companies; and the international community (e.g., the United Nations).”
While much of what has been promoted might be seen at the surface as laudable efforts to “level the playing field”, the initiative goes much deeper than that. At its roots, what is proposed is in fact a neo-Marxism. Marxism is a political and economic way of organizing society, where the workers own the means of production. Socialism is a way of organizing a society in which the means of production are owned and controlled by the proletariat.
According to Investopedia, Marxism posits that the struggle between social classes, specifically between the bourgeoisie (capitalists), and the proletariat (workers) defines economic relations in a capitalist economy and will inevitably lead to revolutionary communism. Marx proposed that this was the next necessary step in the progress of history. He argued for a worker revolution to overturn capitalism in favor of communism.
Marx’s class theory portrays capitalism as one step in the historical progression of economic systems that follow one another in a natural sequence. They are driven, he posited, by vast impersonal forces of history that play out through the behavior and conflict among social classes. According to Marx, every society is divided among a number of social classes, whose members have more in common with one another than with members of other social classes.
The difference between Marxism and what Professor Schwab promotes is that in the new Stakeholder Capitalism, the economic and social driving forces will be handed out to a small number of elites. Such elites are expected to unite in thought and actions to set up the new world order in which economic, social and environmental progress is realized according to new rules, policies and regulations. Such new rules allow the orchestrators of the new system full control while the majority of people will be expected to simply follow.
In all western democracies, the last few generations have seen a shift in decision-making away from legislature, which are more responsive to ordinary voters, and toward institutions like the executive branch, the judiciary and the Supreme Court. Therefore, there is a shift of power away from the most accountable parts of government. As Dr. Larry Arnn, President of Hillsdale College, so eloquently wrote :
“The spirit of remaking nature-including human nature-greatly emboldens both human beings and governments. Imbued with that spirit, and employing the tools of modern science, totalitarianism is a form of government that reaches farther than tyranny and attempts to control the totality of things.”
There is a strange anomaly here. Working class people “tend to be somewhat to the left on economics. They favor more welfare spending, higher minimum wage, more social security, more health care spending. [but] They are a bit more conservative…on social and sexual issues.” This cultural conservatism is not a racial issue. “A lot of morally conservative people- many of whom are non-white…feel that their viewpoint as traditionalist or as religious people is not represented in the commercial mass media.”
In his recently published book , American political scientist Michael Lind asserts that “the top 10% or so of the population, particularly those with advanced graduate and professional degrees, dominate the public, private and non-profit sectors in the US and other Western democracies.” So the big divide is not between the left and the right but between the elites and the working class majority. “Many of the policies that are preferred by the managerial elite…are very unpopular with the voters.”