Friday 30 November 2012

Evolution is an Unsubstantiated Theory

In 1987, I sat under one of Britain's experts in evolution while studying at the University of Birmingham, England. Each week I would thrust my hand in the air to request the lecturer to re-explain these almost unexplainable quantum leaps in the development of life-forms. He presented no sound arguments. How could he? There is not the slightest evidence in the fossil record or any other record of these miraculous steps upwards to produce higher life forms. Evolution is an unproven theory, some would say a myth!

Despite the lack of evidence to underpin these wild evolutionary claims it has not deterred the academic world from developing a sophisticated narrative of the development of animal and plant forms, often footnoted with some comment about "millions of years ago". There is so much to say on this subject and there is so much which must be said.

In the UK today, there are huge governmental pressures in the name of "political correctness" to accept the government's "new morality" with its sophisticated approach to religion, ethics, evolution and science. To object at any point is to be labelled as a bigot or to be called "narrow-minded'. Well, I dissent to the notion of evolution on sound academic grounds. The implications of accepting evolution are immense with respect to ethics and morality. There is a much better alternative and it is to accept a world-view which has the belief in God at its heart and faith in the Lord Jesus Christ.

A recent BBC historical documentary called "The Dark Charisma of Adolf Hitler" ( repeatedly stresses that much of Hitler's evil schemes were established on Darwinian principles. Therefore, do not be misled in thinking that the acceptance of the theory of evolution is innocent. Of course, I am not suggesting that it leads all people to endorsing the wicked ideas of Hitler, but the implications can be devastating and far-reaching.

Now, the Bible is very clear and it always has been. The Book of Genesis was given by inspiration of God to Moses to clarify the whole matter. This revelation given by God came well in advance of the work of Charles Darwin. This book teaches us that: "In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth" (Gen 1:1). God almighty created all things in six literal days and at the end of this act of Creation, he rested.

We read in Genesis 2:1-3 "Thus the heavens and the earth were finished, and all the host of them. And on the seventh day God finished his work that he had done, and he rested on the seventh day from all his work that he had done. So God blessed the seventh day and made it holy, because on it God rested from all his work that he had done in creation".

The first man was called Adam and he was created by God and he was a real, literal and historic person. All humanity has descended from Adam. It is long overdue for Christians to present articulate counter-arguments to the ever-present teaching on evolution and the often common link with "new atheism" that is so prevalent and trendy. This is the counsel of Almighty God to new or old school atheists, so be warned: "The fool says in his heart, 'There is no God' ”.

Saturday 24 November 2012

Pursue and Pray for Godly Wisdom

"The beginning of wisdom is this: Get wisdom, and whatever you get, get insight. Prize her highly, and she will exalt you; she will honor you if you embrace her. She will place on your head a graceful garland; she will bestow on you a beautiful crown” (Proverbs 4:7-9).

How beautiful it is when a Christian walks in wisdom. Wisdom, that is God's wisdom does not come quickly to us as Christians but it is part of our growth in grace. The exhortation here is to "get wisdom". We need many things in our Christian pilgrimage. We need to understand the Gospel of God (Romans 1:1), we need to learn to walk in love and humility (Ephesians 5:2), we need sound doctrine (Acts 2:42) but we also need to walk in wisdom.

This is indeed the apostolic counsel of Paul the apostle to the Colossian church. "Walk in wisdom toward outsiders, making the best use of the time. 6 Let your speech always be gracious, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how you ought to answer each person" (Col. 4:5-6).

In all we do may we not forget to pursue wisdom and here are the marks of godly wisdom from James 3:17 "But the wisdom from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, open to reason, full of mercy and good fruits, impartial and sincere". Let us pray for this kind of wisdom, let us pursue this kind of wisdom. May we all "get Wisdom!".

Monday 19 November 2012

The Danger of Becoming an "Internet Theologian"

What an interesting topic! A fellow minister warned me about two years ago, that in his experience, quite often some church members becomes ensnared by certain untested "winds of doctrine" to be found on the internet. This blog post is not anti-technological. The internet is in many ways a blessing but it is also a conduit for all kinds of material. The danger I am warning of is this: Anyone can find someone on the internet who will agree with them.

For a Christian who is gullible or not well taught, this can potentially leave them wide open for a whole range of false teaching. This is warning number one! However, there is a further warning and it is that the internet can easily become a substitute for the real thing. What is the real thing? It is teaching and fellowship in and through the church. It is live preaching and fellowship that God has chosen as his ordinary means of grace. This raises another danger; that is the one of becoming over-reliant upon internet sermons.

Listen to what Paul wrote to the Corinthians: "The eye cannot say to the hand, 'I have no need of you', nor again the head to the feet, 'I have no need of you' " (1 Cor.12:21). It would be completely unacceptable for all of the apostles if they heard that Christians stopped at home to surround themselves with teachers who feed their itching ears (2 Timothy 4:3). This small blog article introduces some dangers of people becoming their own isolated "internet theologian", when God has ordained instead, pastor-teachers in the flesh to govern and teach us. Here is a checklist of things to consider to guard yourselves from deception.

1. Do you faithfully worship in a local church where you are in submission to godly elders? If this is not the case then you misled and therefore you are probably not in position to discern and judge between what is right and wrong with respect to theology found on the internet.

2. Do you have a teachable spirit? Most often this is where the problem lies because if you listen to internet sermons as a substitute to sitting under teaching by a pastor, then you cannot be confronted or corrected.

3. When you open your mind to teaching on the internet, take the time to find out about the location of the person's church position who is doing the teaching. Recently, I took the time to investigate a well-known reformed internet advertised ministry, only to discover that the founder had no checks and balances and he is a loose-cannon beyond the bounds of any correction. He is not part of a church, he is not ordained or trained theologically and yet he has a worldwide internet Christian ministry. It is amazing how someone can get such a following and continue "under the radar" and damage the church of God.

This blog post is a small start to hopefully protect the true sheep of God from becoming ensnared by untested and unaccountable teachers who are easily found on the internet.

1 John 4:1 "Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, for many false prophets have gone out into the world".

Tuesday 13 November 2012

Sermons from the London Presbyterian Conference

The London Presbyterian Conference 2012 turned out to be a huge blessing to many people, on many levels. For those who were not able to attend the conference, the sermons are now available on the EPCEW website.

The link is:

There may also be people who were at the conference but they also want to listen to the sermons again.


Kevin Bidwell

Tuesday 6 November 2012

A Christian's Pocket Guide to Baptism by Robert Letham

The sub-title for this book published by Christian Focus Publications (2012) is: "The Water that Unites". This should immediately grab our attention because often discussion on the subject of baptism among Christian's appears sometimes to do the opposite. This little book is a summary of the historic reformed position on baptism which includes children of a believing parent(s).

There are nine mini-chapters and I recommend this to all Baptists also to read. Why is that? Well, I do not make the recommendation as a subversive way to convert them to our presbyterian position (though that would be great), but rather to foster a greater degree of understanding and humility on all sides. Paul's admonitions are so valuable and here are three of them.

Ephesians 5:2 "Walk in love, as Christ loved us and gave himself for us, a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God".

Philippians 2:3 "Do nothing from rivalry or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves".

Romans 12:18 "If possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all".

I would not want to stir up controversy regarding baptism but quite honestly some comments I have received from Baptists regarding a presbyterian view on baptism have sometimes been founded on a misunderstanding.

One section towards the end of the book is worth it's "weight in gold". It is entitled "Is it Biblical to Require a Conversion Narrative of Christian Children?" (p 99-101). No matter what one's persuasion on baptism, this section is of great pastoral use to every section of the church. I commend this book to you!

Thursday 1 November 2012

The Third Mark of the Church

John Calvin was not a detached theologian; he was a pastor at heart, and one who refused to drive a wedge between theology and practical ecclesiology. In 1539, during a time of temporary exile in Strasbourg, the pastor from the church at Geneva clearly defended the Reformed doctrine of the church in a letter to Cardinal Sadolet. He writes that ‘there are three things on which the safety of the church is founded, namely, doctrine, discipline and the sacraments’(1) and also that ‘the body of the church, to cohere well, must be bound together by discipline as with sinews’(2). This concern for a well ordered church highlights discipline as a third strand of Reformed ecclesiology.

This third mark is widely accepted among Reformed scholars and Berkhof explains that the faithful exercise of discipline is ‘absolutely essential to the purity of the church’(3) a notion also clearly upheld by Clowney (4). The Scottish Reformation unashamedly walked in Calvin’s footsteps and modelled itself on Geneva and it is no coincidence that John Knox and Andrew Melville prepared books of discipline. Donald Macleod explains that their intention was that ‘the church must have proper biblical organisation’ if things were to be done decently and in order, to which end ‘functionaries and officers are to be appointed to facilitate the life and mission of the church’(5). However, Macleod has a clear and important goal in sight in that he asserts that ‘the church must organise itself in such a way, that it can serve the gospel with maximum efficiency’(6). This third mark is arguably a vital component for the maintenance of the first two, which may well stand or fall by the effective upholding of church discipline as part of the exercise of the ministry in the congregations.

1. John Calvin, ‘Reply by John Calvin to the Letter by Cardinal Sadolet to the Senate and the People of Geneva’ in Calvin’s Tracts Relating to the Reformation, Vol. 1 (Edinburgh: The Calvin Translation Society, 1844), p 38.

2. John Calvin, ‘Reply by John Calvin to the Letter by Cardinal Sadolet to the Senate and the People of Geneva’ in Calvin’s Tracts Relating to the Reformation, Vol. 1 (Edinburgh: The Calvin Translation Society, 1844), p 55.

3. Louis Berkhof, Systematic Theology (Edinburgh: Banner of Truth, 1958, repr. 2005), pp 576-8.

4. Edmund P. Clowney, Living in Christ’s Church (Philadelphia: Great Commission Publications, 1986), pp 130-6, offers helpful discussion of these three marks.

5. Donald Macleod, A Faith to Live By: Understanding Christian Doctrine (Fearn, Ross-shire: Christian Focus Publications Ltd., 1998), pp 259-60.

6. Donald Macleod, A Faith to Live By: Understanding Christian Doctrine (Fearn, Ross-shire: Christian Focus Publications Ltd., 1998), pp 259-60.