The Shai Fund Receives International Recognition

The Shai Fund Receives International Recognition

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“Then the King will say to those on His right hand, “Come, you
blessed of My Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you
from the foundation of the world: for I was hungry and you
gave Me food; I was thirsty, and you gave Me drink; I was a
stranger and you took Me in; I was naked, and you clothed Me;
I was sick and you visited Me; I was in prison and you came to
Me.

Then the righteous will answer Him saying, ‘Lord, when did we
see You hungry and feed You, or thirsty and give You drink?
When did we see you a stranger and take you in, or clothe You?
Or, when did we see You sick or in prison, and come to You?’ And
the King will answer and say to them, ‘Assuredly, I say to you,
inasmuch as you did it to one of the least of these My brethren,
you did it to Me.”
Matthew 25:34-40

At a prestigious international event held in Yerevan, the capital of Armenia, on the 20th October 2019 the Shai Fund became the joint winner of the annual Aurora Award in recognition of its outstanding service to the suffering people of the Middle East and beyond. The official designation of this prize is summed up as follows:

“The Aurora Prize for Awakening Humanity to the plight of
countless survivors around the world who owe their chance
of life to the generosity of others.”

The Shai Fund has for some years now alleviated the pain of suffering and persecution that has visited the Christians of Iraq, Syria and beyond at the hands of ISIS and other radical Islamic terrorist movements. The Executive Director of the Shai Fund, Charmaine Hedding, has personally gone into these regions of the Middle East, at great risk to her personal safety, in order to bring refuge, medical treatment, help and care to the suffering Church. Much of this work was done at a time when ISIS still possessed its Caliphate and so it was a dangerous initiative that required wisdom and the grace of God to discharge. Charmaine was unflinching in her determination to fulfill the call of God over her life and so her courage is an inspiration to all of us and a testimony to the authenticity of the purpose of God flowing through her life.

That the Shai Fund has now received international recognition for its work constitutes an affirmation as to the excellent manner in which this non-profit organization runs its affairs and it constitutes a reassurance to donors that their financial contributions to the organization are rightly deployed according to their wishes. The Shai Fund is registered in the great state of Tennessee and its headquarters are situated in Murfreesboro. There is no doubt that the good people of Middle Tennessee, including World Outreach Church, ungirded its beginnings by their financial support and spiritual encouragement. Charmaine Hedding has not forgotten these small beginnings and is thankful for the many people who believed in her and supported her mission. Truly God be praised!

Charmaine began reaching out to the suffering Christians of the world when she first became aware of the plight of the South Sudanese Christians in Africa. Two million of these people were literally butchered by the Muslims of North Sudan and largely suffered alone. She came to their aid and at present she is reaching out to Christians elsewhere in the Middle East and to those who are now suffering at the hands of Boko Haram in Nigeria. It is important to note that the Shai Fund on average helps “ten thousand people every year who are under significant distress.” She needs your prayers and your financial support.

You can with confidence enable the Shai Fund to help the suffering Church of the Middle East and beyond by visiting its website at: theshaifund.org or by mailing your gift to:

The Shai Fund
500 N. Walnut Street,
Murfreesboro,
Tennessee, 37128,
USA.

Thank you and many blessings in Jesus,

Malcolm Hedding

A proud father!

The Place and Role of Women in the Church

The Place and Role of Women in the Church

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“Let a woman learn in silence with all submission. And I do not
permit a woman to teach or to have authority over a man, but
to be in silence.”
1 Timothy 2:11-12

“For this reason, the woman ought to have a symbol of authority
on her head, because of the angels. Nevertheless, neither is man
independent of woman, nor woman independent of man, in the
Lord. For a woman came from man, even so man also comes
through woman, but all things are from God.”
1 Corinthians 11:10-12

“Obey those who rule over you and be submissive, for they watch
out for your souls, as those who must give account. Let them do so
with joy and not with grief, for that would be unprofitable for you.”
Hebrews 13:17

No one serves, in any capacity in the world or in the Church for that matter, in isolation and free from authority structures. Human nature resents being told what to do because the very essence of sin is rooted in rebellion. This root is in all of us and we have to overcome it. There are then authority structures in our world that are the prerogative of men and others that are of women. For instance, women generally serve in nursing roles more than men do and they are exceptionally good at it. One does find male nurses within this field of activity, but they are generally required to submit to the authority of their female overseers.

The truth is, there are some roles in life where men have authority over women and others where women have authority over men because of the manner in which God constitutionally created them. Men generally serve in combatant roles because they are physically stronger than women. It was young men who stormed the beaches of Normandy on the 6th June 1944 and not young girls!

The Christian scriptures are clear about the fact that while men and women differ in their constitutional make up, they are equal in dignity and status before God their Creator. The one is not in anyway inferior to the other and shouldn’t be treated that way. Indeed, Paul affirms that in the believing community there is, “…neither male nor female (Galatians 3:28).” This means there should be no prejudice held when engaging men and women. They are equal in every way and should be afforded this dignity.

Having said this, it is true that the manner in which God made a woman means that she is ideally fitted to make up the deficiencies of her husband. She is made to help him be the man that God wants him to be and so she submits her wisdom, intellect, intuition and opinion to him. He needs help and God calls him to lead with her help (Genesis 2:18). Submission in the Bible is not one-way traffic. Meaning, that it is not only a man telling a woman what to do but also as a woman giving a man advice what to do in a spirit of gentleness (1 Peter 3:4-5). Men who turn this on its head and become authoritarian and abusive to their wives, and or to women in the Church, will not get their prayers answered (1 Peter 3:7). Men and women are “heirs together of the grace of life.” Men then have been equipped by God to lead and this is precisely why Jesus chose twelve men to be His Apostles. In fact, Jesus honored women, defended them, helped them and had them in His inner circle because He valued their spiritual intuition and appreciated their help and generosity, making possible His mission together with the disciples (Luke 8:2-3).

All this being true we should note the following:

1. That God has uniquely equipped men to assume teaching and leadership roles in the Church. However, the point of Paul’s statements in 1 Timothy is that women can teach and lead as long as they do so with male leadership recognition and support and do not usurp this authority structure. Just as a male nurse in a hospital ward must discharge all his duties in submission to the female leadership team. The male nurse is not allowed to do his own thing!

2. The Bible affirms and demonstrates that in Israel’s long journey there were always unique and strong female leaders who did great things for God; but always under authority. Deborah, Rahab, Miriam, Ruth, Esther and Mary easily come to mind in this respect.

3. The New Testament church was greatly blessed by male and female preaching teams such as Priscilla and Aquila (Romans 16:3-4). It is no doubt worth noting here that Priscilla is mentioned before her husband Aquila. Was she the dominant ministry gift? In fact, Paul refers to a woman called Junia, who together with her husband Andronicus, he calls “of note among the apostles” (Romans 16:7). (See footnote) Then there are the four daughters of Philip who were recognized as prophets (Acts 21:8-9). This of course means that they were part of the “gift ministries” of the ascended Christ recorded in Ephesians four verses eleven and twelve. Paul also writes about Euodia and Syntyche, two women who served with him in the preaching of the Gospel (Philippians4:2-3).Mary, the mother of Jesus, was continually in the company of the early leaders of the Church and the non-canonical writings of the early Church confirm that she played a very active role in the development and growth of the Church (Acts 1:14). To suggest then that women cannot share in the gift ministries of the Church and should not be preaching in our pulpits is just wrong and a contradiction of scripture.

It is certainly true that when women assert themselves without due recognition of the male authorities in the Church, they are disruptive, can be led into deception and more dangerous still, into a Jezebel spirit; all of which I have witnessed in my long years of Christian ministry (Revelation 2:20). But equally I have encountered deceived men in leadership who became authoritarian and dominating and they too brought a spirit of deception into the body of Christ (Titus 3:9-11). Diotrephes written about in 3 John was just such an individual as he loved the place of pre-eminence (3 John 9). The truth is, the abuse of God-given roles is rampant in the Church today and it all comes down to a problem with authority structures. According to Paul, Eve moved out of her covering of authority and instead of deferring to Adam she gave into the deception of the Devil. The original language of 1 Timothy 2:14 demonstrates that while Eve was deceived Adam sinned willfully because he knew better and consequently God held him accountable for the original sin and not Eve. Scripture then states, “As in Adam all die…” and not, “As in Eve all die” … (1 Corinthians 15:22).

4. In Paul’s day there were also cultural problems in that throughout the Roman Empire women who went around uncovered were actually prostitutes looking for business. Women in the Church, feeling the liberty that Christian teaching gave them, began to discard head coverings thus potentially bringing the church into conflict with the community. Paul writes to correct this as it would cause outsiders to stumble and bring the Church into disrepute. He urgently needs to rectify this matter and thus tells them that, though they may disagree, this is the “custom” that all the churches embrace (1 Corinthians 11:16). In fact, to reinforce this “custom” he notes that even angels recognize the divine sphere in which they live and appropriately respond to it by covering themselves (1 Corinthians 11:10). We sometimes have to submit to the culture to win it for Christ. Today head coverings are no longer an issue; thank God!

Also, the early Church adopted a Synagogue type of structure which meant that men and women were separated in the services. Consequently, the women would sometimes disrupt the meetings by calling out to their husbands for theological clarification. Paul brought this practice to an end (1 Corinthians 14:34-35) and so it is also important to point out that the command, given by Paul in 1 Timothy 2:11-12, that women should be silent in the Church, is in fact not the correct interpretation of the text. The original language is more correctly translated as “settle down” and not, “be silent”. That is, that women should not be disruptive in the meetings and settle down and, if we doubt it, then we should take note of the fact that the same word that is translated as “silent” in 1 Timothy 2:11-12 is used in 2 Thessalonians 3:12 where it is translated as “work in quietness” or “settle down.” Paul’s real concern was that all things in the gatherings of the local churches should be done “decently and in order” (1Corinthians 14:40).

5. It is thus worth noting that there have been and are great women ministries in the Church of Jesus. I have known and worked with such women and have been greatly enriched by their powerful pulpit and leadership ministries. Who can doubt that Corrie ten Boom was a huge blessing to the people of God and to the Jewish people and what of Kathryn Kuhlman, Ruth Ward Heflin, a powerful healing evangelist, Christine Darg, Gwen Shaw, Amy Carmichael, an extraordinary missionary to China, Joni Eareckson Tada who though disabled led thousands of people to Jesus, Christine Caine who rescued thousands of people from human trafficking, Francis Willard, Henrietta Mears, a great preacher in her own right who mentored great men like Bill Bright of Campus Crusade for Christ and of course Aimee Semple McPherson the founder of the Four Square Church of God and who led hundreds of thousands of people to Jesus. We could go on and on, the list is never ending.

It is worth noting here that when I studied theology, at a well-respected Reformed Theological establishment, half the student population were women. The majority of these became missionaries to Africa, Asia, the Middle East and the Indian Ocean Islands. The term missionary is a nice way to disguise the fact that they were actually Apostles going out into the world because the term missionaries means “those sent out”; the exact same definition of the term Apostle!

Conclusion

No paper like this would be complete without referring to the fact that scripture calls upon women to submit to their husbands (Ephesians 5:21-33). We have already noted what this means but it is certainly worth pointing out that God calls men to lay down their lives for their wives as Christ did for the church. This means that they must be given to extreme sacrifice for their wives and it is love like this that will encourage women to willingly and happily submit to their husbands.

All in all, then, Women can teach, preach and even become Apostles in the Church of Jesus but they do have to minister in a sphere that is mainly occupied by men. Hence, they must discharge their remarkable ministry gifts in recognition of this God-given authority structure. Most important of all is that male leadership teams should not be authoritarian, corrective and restrictive but rather encouraging, edifying and upbuilding. This is why God gives us positions of authority, to build up and edify (2 Corinthians 10:8). We rob the Church of a great blessing if we close our pulpits to godly women who have been called of God and anointed to preach.

The peace of Jesus be with you!

Malcolm Hedding


Contributing Editors:

Dr. Peter Watt-The General Chairman of the Assemblies of God of Southern Africa
Dr. David Elms-Founding Minister Emeritus of Kingsway Christian Fellowship, Liverpool England
Rev. Graham Jefferson- Minister Emeritus of Word of Life Baptist Church, Durrington England

Note; with reference to Romans 16:7:

Early church writers and scholars translated one of the persons referred to here by Paul as Junia, which is absolutely correct since the ending of the name is in the female designation. For 1900 years every translation that came out did the same but in the 20th Century, translators, all of which were mainly male, unilaterally and without textual basis, changed the name to a masculine ending meaning that it became Junias. This was wrong, in fact entirely wrong, and it was only done because they would not accept that a woman could be an Apostle. In other words, they arrogantly inserted their prejudice into the inspired text! In recent years this unjustified edit has been corrected in keeping with the original text, which is beyond dispute, and so Junia, the female “Apostle of note”, took her rightful place again in scripture.

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Days of Testing

Days of Testing

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“But as we have been approved by God to be entrusted with
the gospel, even so we speak, not as pleasing men, but God
who tests our hearts.”
1 Thessalonians 2:4

“Do not fear any of those things which you are about to suffer.
Indeed, the devil is about to throw some of you into prison,
that you will be tested, and you will have tribulation ten days.
be faithful until death, and I will give you the crown of life.”
Revelation 2:10

The God of the bible has a great plan for your life since His word declares that in Jesus, He “created you for good works that He prepared beforehand that you should walk in them” (Ephesians 2:10). The truth is, we do not have the spiritual capacity to walk into our God-given destiny and so God has to teach us about our real spiritual capacity and through a process of testing strengthen us. Paul is clear that before he moved into his God-given destiny, he had to be approved by God who put his heart to the test.

So, there is no doubt that days of testing are upon us. God puts His people to the test as He did with Paul and Peter and even Jesus. These “tests” are designed to determine the nature of our commitment to truth and whether our characters are dependable, stable, and useful to God, even under fire. No one escapes this principle in the Christian life. The Lord God of Heaven knows exactly what’s in our hearts, but He brings it out into the open for our instruction by the process of testing. We always think that we are stronger spiritually than we in fact are. These times of testing invariably involve times of great difficulty and our response to them teaches us something about ourselves that we didn’t know! In fact, Paul writes that we are “appointed to this.”

“…that no one should be shaken by these afflictions, for you
yourselves know that you were appointed to this.”
1 Thessalonians 3:3

The “testings of God” always have to do with truth. That is, the truth of God revealed through His Word. This truth cannot be bent, changed or adapted to our liking. It remains forever and is above His name and must be built into our lives (James 1:21). And Paul stated that we must allow the Word of God to “richly dwell in us “(Colossians 3:16). Jesus said quite simply, “Thy word is truth” (John 17:17). It is up to us to live by it or reject it and we shall never fully enter into God’s plan for our lives if we do not live in the Bible day and night (Psalm 1:4). A good devotional exercise for us all to do would be to read, in one sitting, Psalm 119. This will give us a very good idea as to how important it is to know God’s Word. The grace and patience of God always leads us to its truth but there comes a time when we have to demonstrate, through a time of testing, that we have truly received the Word of God and have built it into our lives in such a way that our actions flow out from it . Actually, to be “put to the test” means to be tempted. The word temptation in the original language means to be “put to the proof”. This invariably involves being exposed to the Devil!!!

Jesus was “put to the proof” when He was led by the Spirit of God into the wilderness to be tempted by the Devil:

“Then Jesus was led up by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted
by the devil.”
Matthew 4:1

Jesus’ temptations were not fictional or merely theoretical. No, as man he had to prove that He was perfect and sinless and therefore qualified to enter upon His God-given mission in life. He overcame the choices presented to him by the Devil by standing on the Word of God (Matthew 4:1-11).

Also, Jesus gave the Devil permission to prove Peter or “sift him like wheat”:
“And the Lord said, “Simon, Simon! Indeed, Satan has asked for you,
that he may sift you as wheat. But I have prayed for you, that your
faith should not fail; and when you have returned to Me, strengthen
your brethren.”
Luke 22:31-32

Peter was a big mouth and therefore “cashed cheques with his mouth that his body could not pay.” Upon hearing that Jesus was going up to Jerusalem to die he loudly asserted that he would do the same. He was indeed sincere, but actually, sincerely wrong because he did not have the spiritual capacity to do what he boldly claimed. Through a process of testing he found out who he really was and was enabled to take stock, repent, be strengthened and then become what God wanted him to be. It will be the same for you and me.

Two things are clear from this:
1. The Devil cannot attack you when and how he pleases…and;
2. The Devil can be an instrument, in the hand of Jesus, to help you grow!!

When we are put to the test, or proved as Christians, the Devil can do nothing to you other than, as he did with Jesus, give you an option or choice; the decision will be entirely yours to make. Peter was presented with the same option and ended up cursing and denying that he even knew Jesus. What did he learn? That he wasn’t the strong Christian that he thought he was and was not ready for ministry. So, James writes:

“Blessed is the man who endures temptation; for when he has been
approved, he will receive the crown of life which the Lord has
promised to those who love him.

“But each one is tempted when he is drawn away by his own desires
and enticed.”
James 1:12,14

So then, the “testings of God “always have to do with three things:
1. Materialism or things
2. Status or self-importance…and,
3. Cravings or self-indulgence

The Bible lists these as follows:
1. The lust of the eyes (materialism)
2. Lust of the flesh (self-indulgence) …and,
3. The boastful pride of life (self-importance)

Note: 1 John 2:16
In the wilderness “proving’s” Jesus faced the exact three things and responded according to the Word of God and thus proved that He was beyond sin and indeed perfect. Adam on the other hand faced the exact same three things in the Garden of Eden and failed because he doubted the Word of God. All that the Devil said to him was, “Has God said……? According to Jesus, the faithful Church is the one that keeps His Word (Revelation 3:8). That is, yes, God has said!

Note:
The extent of our ability to overcome the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes and the boastful pride of life determines our usefulness to God. The testings of God then are designed to prove if our lives are built upon the Word of the Living God and that consequently our characters are dependable, stable and useful to Him. There are many Christians who have failed in this respect because, having not built the Word of God into their lives, they make huge decisions that contradict the Word of God, that are in all respects life changing and that sideline their usefulness to God for years. Remember Jacob!

So, Don’t be surprised at the fiery trial you are going through. Read carefully what Peter has to say about this:

“Beloved, do not think it strange concerning the fiery trial which
is to try you, as though some strange thing happened to you.”
1 Peter 4:12

Be sure that you noted his refrain “to try you”, because God is putting you to the test through strange trials.
Don’t doubt that God is with you. Again, note what Peter has to say:

“In this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while, if need be,
you have been grieved by various trials.”
1 Peter 1:6

Once again, be sure to note the refrain, “if need be”. That is, your trials are needed so that God can test the nature of your faith and commitment to Him. He knows the nature of your commitment but you do not and so He will help you to find out!

Stand on the Word of God. That is, God is looking for men and women who will “under fire” always make decisions that flow out of the Word of God embedded deep within them. Jesus said:

“Man shall not live by bread alone but by every word that proceeds
from the mouth of God.”
Matthew 4:4

Stand in the place of prayer. In the Garden of Gethsemane, the Disciples were all over the place spiritually and Jesus saw their weakness and spiritual inability. He consequently responded by saying the following:

“When He came to the place, He said to them, “Pray that you
may not enter into temptation.”
Luke 22:40

What He actually meant was, “Pray that you may not enter into the trap of temptation.” That is, that you may not make the wrong choice or decision. We must be a praying people.

Conclusion
Above all remember that our confidence; in God’s loving care for us, and in His sovereignty, will get us safely through these times of testing. Because He will not allow us to be tempted beyond that which we are able to bear (1 Corinthians 10:13). Even though from time to time, like Peter, we will fail, He will pick us up, strengthen us and help us to fulfill our destiny. It all comes down to how much we love Him and our love for Him is measured by the degree to which we keep His word (John 14:15). Amen.

Malcolm Hedding

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The Fourth of July 2019

The Fourth of July 2019

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“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal…”
The Declaration of Independence July 4th, 1776

The New York Times just put out an article with a video questioning “American Exceptionalism.” They undermined this concept by seeking to point out that, as a people, Americans are no better, and indeed, are a lot worse than other peoples in the spheres of education, racial relations and science etc. For them then the concept of American Exceptionalism has to do with race as if this term asserts that Americans are just better than other people. This whole understanding of American Exceptionalism, as put forward by the New York Times, is actually based on a false narrative, is not based on historical fact and is just a lie! However, people believe this stuff because, quite simply put, they do not know their history.

It is to be noted that the Declaration of Independence clearly states that all men are created equal and therefore this undermines the notion that American Exceptionalism is based on race. It is this declaration that empowered Martin Luther King Jr in his fight for black civil rights in the 1960s and because of this he was guaranteed victory.

A plaque on the walls of the Holocaust Museum in Israel, called Yad Vashem, states, “Remembrance is the road to redemption, but forgetfulness is the road to exile.” How true this is, as a people who have forgotten their origins and history will eventually abandon them and lose the freedoms that were once purchased for them at a great price by their founders. This is happening in America today.

American Exceptionalism is to be understood by this; that by the grace and hand of God, and because of the Great Awakening (An amazing Christian revival led by George Whitfield and Jonathan Edwards in the original 13 States), the Founding Fathers crafted a form of governance, called the Constitution in 1787 that was unique to the world because it guaranteed freedom and equal dignity for everyone. This Constitution sets out three spheres of government and thereby puts checks and balances in place that would make it well nigh impossible for the freedoms won in the War of Independence with England to be taken away by a dictator. The Bill of Rights (The first Ten Amendments) re-enforced this idea and gave Americans additional protections from abuse by leaders. In fact, the idea of three houses of government; the Congress, Judiciary and the Executive, came directly from Isaiah 33:22:

“For the Lord is our Judge (Judiciary), the Lord is our Lawgiver (Congress),
the Lord is our King (President)…”

Also, Liberty Bell has inscribed upon it a verse of scripture taken from the book of Leviticus that states:

“…….Proclaim liberty throughout all the land to all
its inhabitants….”
Leviticus 25:10

It is because of this Constitution that Americans could build a nation that became a “shining light on a hill” since it freed a people, like none other on earth, to go forth and fully exploit their potential; free from government restraint and abuse. American Exceptionalism has nothing to do with race but everything to do with freedom; and the history of America proves it. It is for this reason that all those seeking high office in the Federal Government have to swear allegiance to the Constitution. A Constitution that is in every way Exceptional, but sadly today, continuously under attack.

So, don’t be fooled by the New York Times or anyone else as American Exceptionalism does exist, we have all been blessed by it and rightly do we rejoice in it on the fourth of July.

God bless America!

Malcolm Hedding
A soon-to-be-proud American Citizen

ISRAEL – LAND AND PEOPLE

ISRAEL – LAND AND PEOPLE

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“I will establish My covenant between Me and you and your descendants after you throughout their generations for an everlasting covenant, to be God to you and to your descendants after you. I will give to you and to your descendants after you, the land of your sojourning, all the land of Canaan, for an everlasting possession; and I will be their God.”
Genesis 17:7-8

The debate that rages over Israel’s modern day restoration is undoubtedly a heated one and there are good, honest Christians on both sides of “the divide”. It is crucial and important for us to make this observation because it is highly dangerous to treat each other with disdain and disrespect because we do not agree on this issue. Our salvation is not regulated by issues like this, but by our personal repentance and acceptance of Jesus as Lord and Saviour, all based on His finished work on the cross.

The Heart of the Matter
Some Christians see no biblical significance in the modern day restoration of Israel. For them the State of Israel is just like any other. The national destiny of the Jewish people in the “Promised Land” has been lost since the time of Christ because of their rejection of His Messianic credentials. They believe this even though the Scriptures affirm that the promise to them in this regard is an everlasting one! Consequently the church is exclusively the “New Israel of God” (The new Promised Land) and the only hope for all men, be they Jew of Gentile, is the acceptance of the Gospel.

From a certain perspective I must say that the latter statement is true. There is indeed “no other name give among men, under heaven, by which we can be saved”. We cannot and should not be dual covenant by belief! (Acts 4:12)

But is this the whole truth? I think not. The heart of the matter or the real issue is; has the everlasting promises of God in the Abrahamic Covenant, bequeathing the land of Canaan to the Jewish people, been revoked by God Himself? And if so, what evidence of this “revoking” is in the Bible? In other words, the debate is about what one thinks of the Abrahamic Covenant. This alone is the heart of the matter!

The Nature of the Covenant
First mentioned in Genesis 12:1-3 and reinforced time and time again throughout all of Scripture mostly, in fact, in the New Covenant Scriptures, the Abrahamic Covenant sets aside a people and a land for the blessing of the nations. “In you all the nations of the earth will be blessed…” For the Apostle Paul this was one of the earliest proclamations of the Gospel (Galatians 3:8). Thus, the Abrahamic Covenant is that great covenant of the Bible that promises salvation to a world lost in sin. It is made with Abraham and his descendants after him (Genesis 17:7). It is, therefore, the covenant of God’s decision to save the world from sin and all the other great covenants of the Bible flow out of it. Consequently, John the Baptist and even Jesus come into the world because of the promises made to Abraham in this covenant (Luke 1:54-55; 72-75). The Jewish people, as Abraham’s descendants, are chosen as the servants of the covenant. In other words, the nation of Israel is not brought into existence as an end itself, but as a means to an end – the salvation of the world. They are the means by which God delivers His redemptive initiative to the world.

Jesus said, “salvation is of the Jews” (John 4:22). Paul wrote that “they are the custodians of the oracles of God” and from them come the prophets, the giving of the law, the covenants and the Messiah who is God blessed forever” (Romans 3:1-2; Romans 9:1-5).

It is truly hard to believe that the covenant has been replaced in the light of all this, because if it has, then the decision to bless the whole world with salvation has also been replaced!!

The Nature of the Debate
The debate over Israel’s modern day restoration is over the continuing power and existence of the Abrahamic Covenant. In other words, has this covenant been abolished or reconstructed and if so, what biblical evidence is there for it?

Firstly, the “abolitionist theory”, (the total removal of the covenant) is not possible because of the New Covenant. For instance, in Galatians 3 we are told that “if we are Christ’s, then we are Abraham’s children according to the promise” (Galatians 3:29). Moreover, Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law “so that the blessing of Abraham” might come upon us by faith (Galatians3:14). The writer of the book of Hebrews insists that the wavering messianic believers can trust God and His promises in the New Covenant because he is faithful, completely, to His promises made in the Abrahamic Covenant (Hebrews 6:13-20). Hence, there is absolutely no hint whatsoever that this covenant has been in any way disempowered, replaced, or abolished. On the contrary, it is affirmed and established, and this after Israel’s rejection of Jesus’ Messianic credentials! Indeed, in Galatians 3 Paul argues that it cannot be annulled (Galatians 3:17) and in Romans 3:3-4 Paul clearly states that Israel’s rejection of Jesus has not in any way altered the faithfulness of God to them. Finally, in Romans 11 he argues that Jewish unbelief has not removed from them God’s calling and purpose (Romans 11:11, 29).

Secondly, then there is the more popular “reconstructionist theory”, otherwise known as Replacement theology, that claims that the Abrahamic Covenant has been altered or adjusted because of Jewish unbelief. This is an argument from silence, but it must be made by those who see no significance in Israel’s modern day restoration to what was once called Palestine. Given the New Testament evidence, that is overwhelming, they inadvertently accuse God of lying (Romans 3:4)! A covenant that promises the world salvation and promises everlasting possession of the land of Canaan to the Jewish people is not trustworthy! This is truly amazing when one considers that John the Baptist and Jesus came into the world because of this covenant and that our embracing of the Lord Jesus as Lord and Saviour places us in the promises made in it. The God we serve does not lie (Titus 1:2; Numbers 23:9) Actually, according to Romans 15:8, Jesus came to confirm the promises made to the fathers and not to reconstruct or replace them. For the reconstructionists the words of Paul in Galatians three, attesting to the promise of God in Abraham, as applying to the “seed” (Christ) and not to the “seeds” (many) is taken to support their reconstructionist thesis. They are wrong because the Abrahamic Covenant makes a promise to both; the seed, who is Christ (Genesis 22:18) and the seeds, who are Abraham’s descendants (Genesis 17:7-8). David affirms this in Psalm 105:7-12. Paul’s point in Galatians three is that God’s ultimate plan of salvation, brought to the world by the people of Israel, is appropriated by faith in Jesus and not by the works of the law (Galatians 3:15-18).

The Nature of Evidence
It has to be acknowledged by all in this debate that Jesus returns visibly and physically to Jerusalem (Acts 1:11; Zechariah 14:4). That is, in terms of the context of scripture, to the Old City of Jerusalem. Indeed, in a clear forthright manner, Jesus links this return to Jerusalem and to Jewish acceptance of His Messianic credentials (Matthew 23:39). He also Himself stated, in His Olivet Discourse, that one of the signs of His return is the return of the Jews to East Jerusalem after a global exile (Luke 21:24). When we add to this the interesting conversation that He had with His disciples on the Mt. of Olives concerning the restoration of the Kingdom to Israel, as recorded in Acts one and verse six, the picture becomes clear. To be honest the theological gymnastics that some theologians perform in their quest to negate the plain meaning of this text are indeed nothing short of bizarre. When scripture obviously and plainly challenges our positions, our response should be to honour it and adjust our thinking and not to attempt to negate the text. It is thus abundantly clear to me that a latter day return of the Jews, after 70 A.D. to Jerusalem, is envisaged by scripture! On what grounds? Clearly as the New Testament everywhere affirms, on the grounds of an everlasting promise made to them in Abraham (Hebrews 6:13-20).

Those embracing the “reconstructionist”, or a replacement view of the Abrahamic Covenant not only have to grapple with the weight of evidence in the New Treatment, but also with the weight of evidence in the Old Treatment. Exile and correction are always followed up with a promise of restoration (Amos 9:9-15). On what grounds? The answer is the promises of God given in the Abrahamic Covenant. (Haggai 3:14-15; Psalms 105:7-15; Deuteronomy 30:1-10)

It is precisely here that the “reconstructionists” misuse Scripture. That is, in contradiction of the context of the Old Testament Scriptures, which in most cases, in this regard, is literal they affirm that the passages, in this regard, have to be read allegorically. In short, they wrest from scripture its own authority and they assume to themselves this authority and therefore they will decide what Scripture means. As a consequence they debunk any literal interpretation of scripture pointing to a physical restoration of the Jews to the land of Canaan and instead assert that the Church is now the new Promised Land or Canaan. This assertion is totally unacceptable as a method of exegesis. The truth is; we are not literalists or spiritualists (the allegorical method of interpretation) but “contextualists.” The context of Scripture will alone decide our exegesis of it. If we follow this erroneous method of exegesis to its logical end we can ¬¬¬equally assume that Jesus’ death on the cross was not literal! In fact an early church heresy did precisely this. There is nothing new.

The Nature of the Divide
While the Abrahamic Covenant promises salvation to the world (Galatians 3:8) and land to Israel as an everlasting possession, the Mosaic Covenant (Moral Law), that flows out of it, demands from Israel that:

1. She lives out the light, revelation and blessing of God that she gives to the world (Exodus 19:1-6).
2. She lives out the heavenly demands of dispensing justice and righteousness to those living in her land (Micah 6:5-8; Exodus 23:11; Isaiah 5:7).

Failure in these two areas would lead to correction, judgment and exile, but not loss of possession, only loss of domicile! In all honesty, Christian Zionists fail in these areas. That is, they stress the promises of the Abrahamic Covenant but ignore the commands of the Mosaic Covenant or Moral Law. They thus stray into political Zionism. Israel’s spiritual condition matters to God and determines her borders.

How sad it is that the church can never find balance. We always think that “the other side” is wrong when in reality we are both wrong and both right. Scripture is therefore clear that Israel’s possession of the land of Canaan is unconditional and everlasting (Exodus 32:13) but her domicile (privilege of living on the land of Canaan) is conditional. That is, conditional upon her righteous behaviour. This includes treating the stranger with respect and justice (Jeremiah 22:1-5). Two devastating exiles in her history have proved this point well. In this regard the Church and the Christian Zionist world should find its voice. For Arabs, Palestinians, Christians and other minorities living in the Holy Land this is the major issue they have with Christian Zionists. The failure of Christian Zionists to address these issues has prevented these minority groups from hearing their message about Israel. But equally, the failure of Christians who champion these issues to address the consequences of the Abrahamic Covenant adequately has diminished their voice in the Jewish world. The truth is; we all need to “grow up” and be more balanced.

In the End
In the end Scripture affirms that Israel will exist forever as a nation before God and He will not cut her off because of all that she has done (Jeremiah 31:35-37). Scripture clearly implies that her long historical journey will be characterised by two exiles and two returns (Isaiah11:11). She will finally return a second time in unbelief (Ezekiel 36:24-28) and, through a process of affliction and correction, be spiritually recovered (Hosea 5:14-15; 6:1-3). Paul saw Israel’s interlude of unbelief as partial and as a time of bringing God’s salvation in Christ to the Gentiles. When this full number of Gentiles have come in then all Israel will be saved and the Deliverer (Saviour) will “come out of Zion” (Romans 11:25-27). It is surely no co-incidence that we have now witnessed the second return of the Jewish people from exile. We are all “caught” in this unique transition point in history trying to make sense of it all. This is much like the early Church trying to make sense of Gentile inclusion in the Church. It is a challenging process requiring grace and much love from those who tackle it. It is deeply troubling when Christians use Scripture as a weapon against each other. I do not write in this vain. I believe that in the end we must all acknowledge that there are great Christians on both sides of this debate. I have set forth my position in this devotional paper. A position I believe to be true. More true than all of this however, is faith, hope and love, but the greatest of these is love.

Malcolm Hedding


Notes:
(1) Given the emphasis in this paper on the Abrahamic Covenant it should be clear to the reader that most mainstream Christian Zionists do not support the modern day restoration of Israel because of eschatological consideration but because of promises that God made to Abraham 4,000 years ago. Christian Zionists are not “thirsting for Armageddon”, as some assert, but rather affirming the efficacy of a Covenant that holds a significant place in all of scripture.

(2) A well know theologian that spends much of his life and ministry seeking to debunk the position of Christian Zionists recently stated, in reference to Israel’s modern day restoration, that the “jury is still out” concerning whether this restoration has biblical significance or not. Quite honestly then, given his doubt, he should stay out of this area of ministry altogether because if the “jury comes in” and affirms the biblical significance of Israel’s modern day restoration, he will be caught out having resisted God on this matter. This is a highly challenging area of ministry and we should all remember that we, who have mounted this stage as teachers, will incur a greater judgment (James 3:1).

Days of Remembrance and Celebration

Days of Remembrance and Celebration

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“Therefore purge out the old leaven, that you may be a new lump,
since you truly are unleavened. For indeed Christ, our Passover,
was sacrificed for us.”
1 Corinthians 5:7

“When the Day of Pentecost had fully come, they were all with
one accord in one place. And suddenly there came a sound from,
as of a rushing wind, and it filled the whole house where they
were sitting. Then there appeared to them divided tongues, as of
fire, and one sat upon each of them. And they were all filled with
the Holy Spirit.”
Acts 2:1-3

Naturally there is a dynamic connection between Passover and Pentecost in the Bible. These two great pilgrim festivals essentially remind us that the pathway or door to the Kingdom of God is via the spilt blood of a Lamb. Paul writes that Christ our Passover Lamb has been sacrificed and thus we are delivered from sin, the wrath of God, the devil and reconciled to God. On the other hand, Pentecost reminds us of the power of the kingdom of God. This power is expressed in God’s word and in the infilling of His Spirit. We are to feed on the Word of God and be clothed with the Spirit of God (Matthew 4:4; Luke24: 49; Acts1:4-5).

Al this means four things:
1. A coming day of consummation

That is, there must be a second appearing of the Messiah to respond to humankind’s response to His death, burial and resurrection. This is what Paul stated as he preached in Athens in that, as he put it…” God will judge the world by the man Christ Jesus” who has been raised from the dead (Acts17: 30-31; Hebrews 9:28). In short, the world is now without excuse and will have to “square up” to the claims of Jesus of Nazareth. These claims will be verified by His second coming. The world will be humbled because, “every eye will see Him even those who pierced Him. And all the tribes of the earth will mourn because of Him. Even so, Amen” (Revelation 1:7)

2. A present day of victory

That God in Christ died for His world means that sin in us can and should be overcome by the power of God that works within us (2Peter1: 2-3). This power is greater than anything in the world and can overcome our unrighteousness (1John 4:4). Paul wrote that sin, of any kind, should not have dominion over us (Romans 6:14)! However, the life of Jesus has to be appropriated! This means that we do not wait for God in Christ to work within us but rather count on the Holy Spirit to do the work as we set out to obey God’s word. Obedience is the doorway to unleashing the power of the Holy Spirit in our lives (Romans 6:16). For this reason, Paul says that we should put off the old man and put on Christ (Ephesians4: 20-24). Victory over sin is not “rubbed off” us by praying etc. but by acting on God’s word. James reminds us of this when he exhorts us to be doers of the word of God and not simply hearers (James 1:21).

3. A day to encourage one another

Christians must and should belong to a local church; not a perfect church but a local one! It is in this context that the fullness of Christ’s life and presence is experienced. The Bible clearly teaches that to follow Christ begins with a personal decision, but this personal decision is followed through with a commitment to regularly associate with God’s people. Paul affirms that “by one Spirit we have all been baptized into one body….and made to drink of the one Spirit” (1Corinthians 12:13). The early church enjoyed “a together life” that included prayer, Bible study, fellowship and breaking of bread (Acts 2:42). Christians that isolate themselves from the local expression of Jesus’ people place themselves in serious spiritual danger! We should not and must not neglect the gathering together of the saints (Hebrews 10:25).

4. A day of kindness and appreciation

The great pilgrim Feasts of the Bible are given to Israel in their original context. They belong to Israel or, as Paul states in Romans 15:27, we share in Israel’s “spiritual things!” God has shown us mercy (Romans15:9) and brought us into His banqueting house of love through the nation of Israel and her glorious Messiah (Romans 9:1-5). Passover, Pentecost and Tabernacles, all rich in describing God’s redemptive acts, have become ours as well. We rejoice in God’s saving love and also recognize that we are indebted to Israel and the Jewish people (Romans15:27). Indebtedness means that you have an obligation to the one that has blessed and enriched your life. We should be careful to discharge this obligation for God will bless those who love and care for His ancient people. This is truly the abiding lesson that we learn from Cornelius and the Roman Centurion. Both were touched by the hand of God because they were kind and gracious to the Jewish people (Acts 10:22,31; Luke 7:1-5). Sadly, the wider Church in the world has not well learned this lesson.

May your celebration of Passover and Pentecost be filled with God’s love, joy and peace.

Malcolm Hedding.

Anti-Semitism

Anti-Semitism

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“Moreover the word of the Lord came to
Jeremiah, saying, “Have you not considered
what these people have spoken, saying, ‘The
two families which the Lord has chosen, He
has also cast them off’? Thus they have
despised My people, as if they should no
more be a nation before them.”
Jeremiah 33:23-24

As revolt and chaos spreads through the Middle East it turns out that the only stable Democracy in the region is Israel and indeed that the Apartheid State of today is not Israel but the Arab nations around her and even the Palestinian Authority. These nations are imploding with discontent and violence as people take to the streets protesting their lack of freedoms and their subjugation under the hands of thugs, murderers, despots and leaders who have made themselves rich on their backs! Syria, as we once knew it, is no more and, as the country continues to burn, 240,000 of its citizens lie dead, two million more are wounded, displaced and maimed for life and, because of its smoldering ruins, more than a million more have invaded Europe. Among these refugee invaders are jihadists who are determined to bring chaos and mayhem to the capitals of Europe, as we have witnessed in Paris, London, Brussels, and Munich and beyond. Christians throughout the Nineveh Plain have followed Jesus to the cross and the real barbaric face of radical Islam has been laid bare for all to see. Adding to this awful toxic brew is the arrival of the Russian military machine in the region and the mustering of Iranian/Hezbollah forces on the eastern side of Syria near to the Golan Heights. We should all take note and prepare ourselves to witness greater upheavals in the region in the near future and even the possibility of war.

Israel by contrast is a shining example of freedom, the rule of law, an independent judiciary and the freedom of the press and yet the educational institutions of our world have decided to boycott Israeli academics and to annually hold what is called, “Israel Apartheid Week”. The Republic of Ireland and the European Union are now moving to boycott and label Israeli products made in Judea and Samaria. Nothing is more hypocritical, and indeed shameful, as this. While totalitarian dictators, throughout the Arab world, suppress their people and even murder them in huge numbers on the streets of their capitals, these European technocrats, and those of the United Nations, constantly decide to focus on Israel and condemn her repeatedly. Sadly, many Church movements have also joined themselves to this hypocrisy. This is all part of a sinister plan to discredit Israel, delegitimize Israel and in the end dismantle Israel. Anti-Semitism is at work here for sure and it masquerades under the umbrella of the so called BDS movement. It is unbridled and unashamed and sadly attracts many followers and this is seen by the rapid rise of anti-Semitism in Europe just 75 years after millions of Jews were rounded up and murdered in their millions in its region.

We, who have been “washed” by the scriptures, recognize this evil disease that again and again seeks to impact the minds of people where it can flourish and grow. Sadly, this sickness is now invading the Democratic Party in America as in recent days we have witnessed newly inducted Congresswomen casting the age-old slurs of hatred at the Jewish community of the country. As in the United Kingdom and led by the leader of the Labor Party there, Jeremy Corbyn, there is now an attempt to mainstream ant-Semitism in the USA. Thankfully, we stand in its way and we will stand alongside Israel in her endless struggle to exist in a dark world. Jesus said, speaking of Israel, that, “This nation (generation) would not pass away until all things are fulfilled” (Matthew 24:34) and the Prophet Jeremiah declared that as long as the sun, moon and stars are in the firmament just so long would Israel exist as a nation before God (Jeremiah 31: 35-36).

The struggle will be a challenging and difficult one but we will stay the course because we have a God in Heaven who watches over Israel day and night (Psalm 121:4) and Who invites us into a place of dedicated prayer and intercession on her behalf (Isaiah 62:6-7). In the end the God of Israel will be glorified in the sight of the nations because He will arise, save and defend His people in a way that we never thought possible (Ezekiel 38:21-23) (Zechariah 12:1-9). Let us therefore take note of the anti-Israel antagonists and anti-Semites and let us arise to tell the truth about Israel and be faithful to God in defending the Jewish people and Israel from harm. The legacy of people like Corrie Ten Boom must live on in our hearts and be embraced.

Malcolm Hedding

The Festive Season – 2018

The Festive Season – 2018

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                                                “So teach us to number our days, that we may

                                                 gain a heart of wisdom”

                                                                                                Psalm 90:12

Dear Friends,

 Once again the Feast of Dedication (John 10:22), that of Christmas (Matthew 1:18-25) and that of a coming New Year are upon us. The years go by quickly and as this transpires we change bit by bit just like the seasons. Nothing is static; we are being driven along by the winds of time and there is precisely nothing that we can do about it. In reality we are small, finite and, as the Bible teaches us, a mere vapor. Scripture also states that we are like flowers that bloom for a moment and then fade away (1 Peter 1:24). Life is indeed fragile and interesting!

So, while we cannot change “the winds of time” we can embrace them in a way that they serve us and change us. Paul writes in his Ephesian letter that we are to “redeem the time” (Ephesians 5:15-16). The actual Greek language of the text means, “Buy it back.” Therefore we have to answer the question, “Does time control me or do I control time?” Or to put it another way, “Have we bought back the time allotted to us?” Our fading lives will never enjoy importance but they can and should become significant; and significance is something attributed to us by someone greater and bigger than ourselves. A soldier’s life gains significance when the President of his country awards him a Medal of Honor. Suddenly, by this award, what he did on the battlefield becomes special!

You will only gain real significance to the degree that the God of Israel knows you, recognizes you and gives you a Medal of Honor one day. This Medal will recognize that you served Him well on the battle-field of time. Apart from this your life will have absolutely no significance, no matter what noble cause you dedicate it to, and indeed it will have been a waste of time. The truth is: We are not to live like people who belong to time because we belong to eternity!

The Feast of Dedication, otherwise known as Hanukkah, reminds us of the holy exploits of those who lived in 167 BC who, because of their love for God, stood up against their Seleucid Greek persecutors. They only triumphed because of God’s supernatural help and thereby He honored their actions. This He did by performing a miracle by which the light of His presence in the rededicated Temple, symbolized by the Menorah, kept burning for eight days even though they only had sufficient oil for one. It took eight days to travel to the Galilee and back to retrieve the special Olive oil required for Temple ritual. The supernatural, eternal power of God has given their lives significance! Just think, two thousand and one hundred and eighty years later we still celebrate their lives.

Christmas reminds us that only God’s light, shining in our hearts by Jesus Christ (John 1:9), enables us to enjoy significance in this dark, uncertain and foreboding world. Jesus is the light of the world and as we live in His light we, though puny and weak, will enjoy significance and that of eternal life. We will all one day appear before Him and blessed will be those who receive a Medal of Honor (2 Corinthians 5:10). That is, the Medal of faithfulness; for on that day our lives will be scrutinized and then hopefully He will declare, “Well done good and faithful servant enter into the joy of your Lord.” What use are you making of the time allotted to you? A woman speaks of a vision that she had of God’s throne where all of humanity was gathered before Him. One by one the names of each one were called out and then they came forward and were required to put their “stuff” before Him. This stuff was the proper use of their time while on earth! What “stuff” will you bring on that great day; if any? (1 Corinthians 3:11-15).

And then there is the arrival of the New Year, 2019, and with it all the resolutions we hope to keep as this calendar year roles on relentlessly. Most of these we will abandon very quickly and our old habits and ways will quickly set in but time will keep moving forward and it will age us and progressively limit our days on the earth (Ecclesiastes 12:1-5). We should all be mindful of this and it was for this reason that the Psalmist wrote,  “So teach us to number our days, that we may gain a heart of wisdom.” Wisdom is the ability to apply knowledge correctly and the “knowledge” we should all embrace is that of knowing God. The Apostle Peter, writing in his second epistle of a world that is in turmoil and great upheaval, concludes by saying, “… but grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To Him be the glory both now and forever. Amen.”

I write to you, as one who cares for each and every one of you. All of you are important to God and He loves you without exception. So then, as we give ourselves to much merriment this Festive Season think on these things; for it is my desire and prayer that each one of your lives should embrace significance and make good use of the days allotted to them.

Malcolm Hedding

Christmas 2018

Christmas 2018

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“Behold, now is the accepted time; behold now
is the day of salvation.”
2 Corinthians 6:2

“Paul, a bondservant of God and an apostle of
Jesus Christ, according to the faith of God’s
elect and acknowledgment of the truth which
accords with godliness, in hope of eternal life
which God, who cannot lie, promised before
time began, but has in due time manifested
His word through preaching, which was
committed to me according to the command-
ment of God our Savior.”
Titus 1:1-3

At this glorious and very special time of the year we pause for a moment and celebrate the fact that because of Jesus Christ and Christmas Day we can receive and enjoy the certainty of eternal life. This is an amazing message and one that gives real hope and joy to millions of people all over the world. This is for sure “the day of salvation” and it is important that we share this glorious message of hope with our friends and family. Jesus did for us on the cross what we could not do for ourselves and by this once for all sacrifice purchased eternal life for every man and woman on the earth. But this gift has to be appropriated by personal faith and repentance and by a lifestyle, which, as Paul points out, is in accordance with godliness. Essentially this means living a life that is wholly punctuated by love. Only God in Christ can give us this love and pursuing it on a daily basis is well worth it. Paul put it this way:

“For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision nor
uncircumcision avails anything, but faith
working through love.”
Galatians 5:6

In other words, it is the life of Christ in us alone that transforms us and that enables us to truly love one another. This is what it means to be a Christ follower and this alone is the final proof that we are in fact Jesus’ children and therefore belong to him and all of this because of Christmas Day. To live one’s life then without appropriating the significance of Christmas Day would be a tragedy that will lead to eternal loss and sadly many do. We are called to change this by the faithful preaching of the real message of Christmas.

 

The Suffering Church

At this time of year it would not be appropriate to rejoice, celebrate and spoil ourselves without pausing to think of, pray for and help support the suffering Church; mainly in the Middle East and Africa. Here in these regions of the world the Church of Jesus Christ is being persecuted and literally slaughtered by radical Islamists. This carnage continues in Egypt where the ancient Coptic Church is being assaulted as never before by Islamic radicals and in Nigeria where thousands of Christians have been murdered by Bokoharam and then, in the Nineveh Plains of Iraq the believers in Jesus endure an unending persecution at the hands of Muslims.

Charmaine Hedding, the Director of the Shai Fund writes concerning Egypt, “Egypt’s Christian community faces threats of violence during church services, attacks on buses filled with innocent pilgrims and children, and an epidemic of kidnapping, rape, beatings and torture of their women. The problem is that these crimes are common in the villages outside major cities, where these actions occur often with impunity, and even more so because local communities are unwilling to get involved, and therefore the victims receive little or no help.”

Even the Christmas story is punctuated with this wickedness and suffering in that Herod murdered every little boy two years and younger in an attempt to kill Jesus (Matthew 2:13-18). We must act and cannot just “pass by on the other side.” You can help by donating with confidence to the Shai Fund. Please remember the suffering Church in the world by going to: www.theshaifund.org or write to the Shai Fund at:

Shai Fund,
500 N. Walnut Street,
Murfreesboro,
Tennessee 27130.

Cheryl and I would like to wish you all a very blessed and peaceful Christmas, filled with the love of God and the very real presence of Jesus.

Merry Christmas,

Malcolm Hedding

Darwin’s Deception

Darwin’s Deception

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                        “In the beginning God created the heavens

                         and the earth.”

                                                            Genesis 1:1

 

                        “By faith we understand that the worlds were

                         framed by the word of God, so that the things

                         seen were not made of things that are visible.”

                                                            Hebrews 11:3

Darwin’s voyage on the Beagle in 1831 to the Galapagos Islands was a dark day for the human race because he consequently made assertions that effectively deny the existence of God as Creator and that have paved the way for Fascists to justify their programs of extermination on a scale never seen before. The world he wrote of in his books, “The Origin of the Species” and “The Descent of Man” is that of brutality and disregard for human life. Darwin was indeed a radical racist and described black people, Indians, South American people, Aborigines, Eskimos and Maoris as inferior to white Europeans and in fact as savages. He did this routinely and indeed he had to because his misguided theory of evolution demanded that “the best of us” emerge from the vast pool of evolving human beings. For him evolution was ongoing and thus must be seen in the human race. Consequently the European branch of humanity was the most developed leaving other peoples inferior, unequal to them and expendable. Here is Darwin in his own words:

“The western nations of Europe now so immeasurably

surpass their former savage progenitors that they stand

at the summit of civilization. The civilized races of man

will almost certainly exterminate and replace the savage

races through the world…” Charles Darwin

Adolf Hitler became an enthusiastic supporter of Darwin’s evil ideas and simply applied them with fanatical zeal. The German Arian race was therefore at the very top of the evolutionary process and the other nations particularly black people; Gypsies and Indian people were near the bottom. The Jews were at the very bottom; they had not evolved enough and were a threat to the survival of the best or the fittest amongst us! It was for this reason that the Nazi regime banned intermarriage, as this would weaken the gene pool of the more greatly evolved Germans. Welcome to the world of brutality and barbarism! It is of course necessary to take note of the fact that Islamic theology asserts, to this day, that Jews are the descendants of apes and pigs and in the 1930s many Islamic leaders made common cause with Hitler.

Richard Weikart in his book, “From Darwinism to Hitler” demonstrates:

That many leading Darwinian biologists and social

  thinkers in Germany overturned the traditional Judeo-

  Christian and enlightenment ethics, especially the view

  that human life is sacred. Many of these thinkers

 supported moral relativism, yet simultaneously exalted

  evolutionary fitness to the highest arbiter of morality.

  Darwinism played a key role in the rise of eugenics, but

  also euthanasia, infanticide, abortion and racial exterm-

  ination. This was especially important in Germany since

  Hitler built his view of ethics on Darwinian principles

  and not Nihilism.”

Of course some would consider this to be an extreme view of Darwin’s misguided thinking but in fact Darwin’s deception took hold of many British leaders and adventurers so that even Cecil John Rhodes, a great admirer of Darwin and well respected everywhere, because he digested Darwin’s writings, considered black people, Indians and others within the reach of the British Empire to be inferior savages that could with impunity be exterminated like unwanted pests! Consider his words below:

 “I contend that we are the finest in the world and that the

 more we inhabit it the better for the human race. It is our

 duty to seize every opportunity of acquiring more

 territory and we should keep this one idea steadily before

 our eyes that more territory simply means more of the

 Anglo-Saxon race, more of the best, the most human,

 most honorable race the world possesses..”

 Cecil John Rhodes

Darwin’s deceptive writings brought misery and murder to Australasia in that his writings, as substantiated by the “Melbourne Review”, were used to justify the genocide that was applied to the indigenous Australian people known as the Aboriginal people. These people were mercilessly slaughtered because they were considered to be mere underdeveloped savages. So, the paper wrote:

“The inexorable law of natural selection justifies the extermin-

   ating the inferior Australian and Maori races. The world is a

   better place for it since failure to do so would be promoting

   the non-survival of the fittest, protecting the propagation of

   the imprudent, the diseased, the defective and the criminal.”

The same is true of the slave trade in America in that when Darwin’s book “The Origin of the Species” was published in 1859 it reached America’s shores pretty quickly and at a time when the issue of slavery was just about to spark a civil war. The slave traders of the time defended their business by referring to Darwin and so for them black people were not really human but commodities to be bought and sold in the market place. In fact when brought over on slave ships black people were not listed as human beings but merely as cargo and in many instances they were thrown overboard in storms and thus jettisoned to save the ship from sinking. This is the brutality of Darwin’s world; a brutality that has left millions dead and six million Jews mercilessly slaughtered. Even Stalin, like all communists, embraced Darwinism enthusiastically because it validated his idea that the existence of God was a myth and consequently human life had no real dignity and could be exterminated and he set about murdering more people than Hitler! Again welcome to the world of the survival of the fittest! Of Stalin Michael Flannery writes:

“Biographically speaking, reading Darwin’s Origin was seminal in Stalin’s own march toward a godless communism.”

And then in “Landmarks in the Life of Stalin” (1940) Yaroslavsky writes about the influence Darwin had on young Joseph Stalin and Francis B. Randall, in “Stalin’s Russia” (1965) states:

“He remained all his life an admirer of Darwin, whose

theories had been so exciting and controversial in

Stalin’s youth. Darwin had taught him that all things

move progressively forward in an evolutionary

determinism.”

People who take Darwin seriously must become racists and fascists and they cannot become selective believers in his racist theories. Humankind, at different stages of evolution, comes from apes and this must be reflected in its evolving progression. Darwin believed this, wrote about it and thereby removed dignity from the human race and the idea that all men are equal and accountable to God and that they, albeit imperfectly, reflect the image of God. The “Grand Apartheid” government of South Africa was heavily influenced by the Nazis and took on board the notion that black people were underdeveloped and inferior to Europeans. They effectively embraced “The Fuhrer Principle” of racial superiority that was reinforced by Darwinism and consequently they introduced “bantu education” which was a dumbed down educational system designed to meet the inferior minds of black people. Darwin’s theory of evolution, by rejecting the God of the Bible, made gods out of human beings and these, with the greatest power and weapons available to them, became tyrants and were consequently able to subdue others and even exterminate them.

Darwin’s journey that led him to reject the notion that the God of the Bible created all things and set them in order began with his desire to become an Anglican Minister. He lived in the 19th Century that is considered by Christian historians to be the “Golden Age” of British Christianity; and indeed it was. The Wesleyan Revival of the previous century had greatly impacted the nation, even the Anglican Church out of which it came. The churches and chapels throughout the land were generally well-attended and great Christian missionaries; movements and preachers arose within the nation. William Booth (1829-1912) founded the Salvation Army; George Muller of Bristol (1805-1898) did remarkable work amongst the orphans and founded 124 schools. The London Missionary Society, The China Inland Mission and the Baptist Missionary Society sent people like David Livingstone (1813-1873), C. T. Studd (1860-1931) and William Carey (1761-1834) to the ends of the earth.  In Britain itself powerful preachers like Bishop Ryle of Liverpool (1816-1900), Charles Haddon Spurgeon of the Metropolitan Tabernacle in London (1834-1892), Professor Jacob Janeway of the Scottish National Church and Robert Murray McCheyne (1813-1843) were greatly impacting the nation and even in government evangelical Christians like Lord Shaftesbury (1801-1885) were exercising huge influence in the affairs of state. Christianity was at this time very well respected in society, in the universities and amongst the political establishment.

This climate made it unpopular to express views that would appear to dismantle Christianity and challenge its very foundations and Darwin well knew this. Though he set out to become a Christian preacher Darwin had no personal relationship with the God of the Bible and thus he did not know Christ and was not “regenerate” as the New Testament teaches (Titus 2:4-5). This fact greatly precluded him from understanding the Bible and he therefore came to conclusions about God that were nothing short of a betrayal of his own biblical ignorance. The Bible affirms that the natural man, without living faith, is incapable of subjecting himself to the Word of God because his mind is filled with dark imaginations (Romans 8:7; Ephesians 4:17-18). Of God then Darwin wrote the following:

“But I had gradually come by the time to see that the Old

Testament from its manifestly false history of the world,

with the Tower of Babel, Rainbow as a sign etc, etc., and

from its attributing to God the feelings of a revengeful

tyrant, was no more to be trusted than the sacred books

of the Hindoos, or the beliefs of any barbarian.”

Darwin- His private autobiography

Darwin was careful not to make public statements like this as he needed the respect and esteem of his peers but in his “private writings” he displayed a total rejection of the God of the Bible thinking Him to be nothing other than a tyrant! The Old Testament no where puts forth God in this light and in fact it was the validating truth that undergirded Jesus’ ministry (Deuteronomy 8:3;Matthew 4:4) and by which He demonstrated, in His life and person, what God is really like (John 1:18). Darwin was a man without living faith trying to understand holy things of which he knew precious little. His wife to be, Emmy Wedgwood, was duly alarmed by his opinions, as she, being a devout Christian, knew that by expressing them he was challenging the very foundations of the Christian faith. She consequently wrote to him and challenged him about them.

“I implore you to read the parting words of our Savior to

His apostles, beginning at the 13th chapter of the Gospel

according to John.”

Darwin for his part, not willing to lose her, essentially side-stepped her in his reply and really did not address the issues at hand. The truth then is that Darwin’s struggle was a spiritual one, as he did not want to be accountable to God for his actions and subsequently set out to cast off His shackles (Psalm 2:1-6)! Darwin did not rage against God, he planned against Him. A comment in Scientific America acknowledges this when it states:

“By dissociating intellect and morality from God’s power of

creation and attributing them instead to self evolving forces,

Darwin undermined the very foundations of a society shaped

by the Anglican Church, with its hopes of eternal life and the

omnipresent threat of punishment.”

As a divinity student he first attended Edinburgh University and it was there that he came into contact with some fellow radicals, who like him had no living faith in Christ and who also questioned the validity of the biblical record. Two of these were Richard Carlile and the Rev. Robert Taylor. Robert Taylor was so outspoken on these matters that he was actually imprisoned for blasphemy. Darwin found common cause with them and later abandoned his attempt to enter the Anglican ministry and instead took up his studies at Cambridge University in 1828 where he changed course and studied natural history and sciences. Here, by virtue of his studies and his investigative voyage on the Beagle in 1831 to South America, he eventually concluded that the species “were not to be attributed to God’s endless creativity but were the product of a blind, mechanical process that altered them over the course of millions of years.” Though sometimes claiming in public to be agnostic in private for him, God was not present at the dawn of creation and in fact never existed and the record contained in the Bible of His creative actions was false. Darwinism is not compatible with Christianity. Christopher Marty comments:

Charles Darwin’s “theory of evolution still clashes with the

creationist beliefs of some organized religions. For him

personally it meant the end of his belief in creation by God.”

 By contrast the Bible everywhere claims to be wholly inspired or God breathed (2 Timothy 3:16; 2 Peter 1:21). Even Jesus, speaking of the Old Testament stated that it was absolutely true (John 17:17). In fact Jesus fully endorsed the biblical record of creation because He referred to Adam and Eve (Matthew 19:4-6), the flood of Genesis 6 and Noah’s epic voyage in an Ark (Luke 17:26-27), Jonah’s journey in the belly of a whale (Matthew 12:40) and much more. If Jesus lied about all of this then what else did He lie about and truly, if He did, then Darwin is right! How is it possible that the Man who has most influenced the world for good, and more so than any other, is in fact a fraud and a liar? But Darwin is wrong because Jesus, the greatest man that ever lived, was absolutely right. The God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ created the universe and He did this through Christ by His word (Hebrews 1:1-4; Colossians 1:15-17). When we add to this the fact that in the Bible God everywhere presents Himself as the Creator of the heavens and earth then the idea that we are the product of random selection or choice and that we evolved from apes and monkeys is absolutely absurd. No, God made us within our species and humankind is the masterpiece of His creative work because it is endowed with a free will and is not bound, like the animal kingdom, to instinct. We believe then in micro-evolution, adaptation within the species, but not in macro-evolution, adaptation from the species.

In addition, if God is to be God, then it matters not whether He created everything in one day, seven days, seven thousand days or seventy million years because if He cannot create everything in one day then He is not God! In fact He chose to create everything in seven days and because He is God I believe it, and so did Jesus and His followers. Indeed the complex nature of our beings makes it impossible to believe that it all came together by accident. Just the amazing make up of the eye with its cornea, retina, lens, perfect balance and connection to the brain to process images and all this times two is beyond the boundaries of chance. Darwin himself could not explain this and admitted that it would be absurd to attribute all of this to haphazard events that began in a primeval mud pool with a single genetic amoeba. He therefore wrote:

“To suppose that the eye, with all its imitable 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

   possible.”

No wonder he exclaimed, “The intricacies of the human eye give me cold shudders”, and yet for all this he asserted that it all came about because of chance or random selection. Since the 19th Century medical science has made startling discoveries about the human body and its amazing abilities that Darwin knew nothing of. The Bible correctly attributes this to God.

“For you formed my inward parts; You covered me in my

   mother’s womb. I will praise You, for I am fearfully and

   wonderfully made; marvelous are Your works, and that

   my soul knows very well.”

 Psalm 139:13-14

Darwin planned against the existence of God because he did not want to be accountable to Him. In fact, if the truth be told, he knew that God existed but did what every sinner in need of the love and grace of God does; he rejected this knowledge, removed God from creation and ended up honoring creation more than he did God. This is a common problem amongst men and Paul knew it and wrote of it:

 “For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes

are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are

made, even His eternal power and Godhead, so that they are

without excuse, because, although they knew God, they did

glorify Him as God, nor were thankful, but became futile in

their thoughts, and their foolish hearts were darkened.

Professing to be wise, they became fools, and changed the

glory of the incorruptible God into an image made like

corruptible man-and birds and four-footed animals and

creeping things.”    Romans 1:20-23

This passage fully describes Darwin’s position in that his problem was not physical or scientific but in fact spiritual. He knew that God existed and that he, Darwin, is and would be accountable to Him for his actions and therefore he deliberately suppressed this knowledge and contrived a theory to ease his conscience. The absurdity of his theory is seen in the fact that having removed God from creation he was left with no explanation as to how everything, including the whole universe, came about from nothing. Nothing is not the atmosphere or air that we breath since this contains atomic elements. Nothing is really beyond our ability to comprehend it as it resides outside of our universe and so it can best be described as a total void. This nothing, we are to believe, went off with a bang and produced all the foundational elements required to build the universe and to sustain life upon the earth. Quite frankly it takes more faith to believe in this than to believe that God created all things and was responsible for the “bang”.

In the 1980s the “Venus Probe”, a satellite that was sent to investigate Venus, accidentally recorded, what is called, the “ripples of the universe.” That is, the speed with which the universe is expanding through nothing! It even sent back a computer image of the universe, which looked like an egg traveling through nothing. The mystery that this provoked is, who or what is accelerating the universe in this way? Actually the universe needs to expand at a remarkable speed in order for life to be sustained on earth! In short, to use scientific language, what gives “the bang” the power of continuous acceleration? The answer is; God by Jesus Christ.

“He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over

   all creation. For by Him all things were created that are

   in heaven and that are on the earth, visible and invisible,

   whether thrones or dominions or principalities or powers.

   All things were created through Him and for Him. And He

   is before all things and in Him all things consist.”

  Colossians 1:15-17

 In the end Darwinists are not going to admit that they are wrong; this will never happen. Not even if they are presented with infallible truth and proof concerning intelligent design will they agree that they are wrong. A few years ago two Darwinists were debating two Creationists on this issue and, not realizing that their microphones were live, the one Darwinist was heard saying to the other just before the debate began, “Whatever happens tonight do not concede to intelligent design.” In other words the debate was not concerned with truth but with stubbornly holding to evolution and the rejection of God as the Creator of the heavens and the earth. According to the Bible, this is the definition of a fool (Psalm 14:1).

Malcolm Hedding