Where Are You Going?

Where Are You Going?

ON THE MORNING of August 24th 79ad, the top of Mount Vesuvius in southern Italy split apart with a thunderous explosion. Smoke mushroomed into the sky darkening the sun. A rain of volcanic cinders and ash began to sift down amid terrific crashes and terrifying flashes of light. Violence descended on the two nearby cities of Herculaneum and Pompeii. Herculaneum was engulfed by an avalanche of volcanic mud. In Pompeii the terror came by ash and cinders, coupled with clouds of suffocating sulphur fumes. Destruction of all life was sudden and complete. The cities remained buried under volcanic rubble for almost 17 centuries, until they were uncovered by archaeologists and the picture of their terrible end was realised. The ruins of Pompeii were quite different from the ruins of a city which has withered away or even been buried in mud.  When the city died its inhabitants were about their

The Danger of Humanism

The Danger of Humanism

WE OFTEN hear comments like ‘You don’t have to be religious to be good’. Undoubtedly there are many non-believers who seem to be more kind, selfless and empathetic than many professing Christians. This is particularly true of Humanists. Humanism is one of the dominant philosophies in the modern world. This is a summary of Humanist belief: The Golden Rule At face value, Humanism and Christianity share important values. In common with many other belief systems, they embrace the moral principle known as the ‘Golden Rule’ which states that people should aim to treat each other as they would like to be treated themselves. The term ‘Golden Rule’ is not in the Bible, but the principle most certainly is. Centuries before Christianity or Humanism it was in the Law of Moses: You shall not take vengeance, nor bear any grudge against the children of your people, but you shall love your

Primitive Christianity

Primitive Christianity

SOMEONE once said to me, “You Christadelphians are the only church I know that preaches ‘primitive Christianity’. It’s a pity you’re so small!” I wasn’t worried about the comment on our size as a community, as history shows that true believers have always been a minority. But what did he mean by ‘primitive’? Was he suggesting that we’re outdated and we need to develop a more mature set of beliefs? Was he accusing us of being fundamentalists, with all the negative connotations attached to the word? He explained that ‘primitive’ literally means ‘the origin of something’, so ‘primitive Christianity’ is getting back to the basics of the Christian faith, the original Gospel as taught by Jesus and the First Century apostles. I took that as a compliment! Well, does that make us perfect Christians? Absolutely not, for make no mistake, arrogance is a terrible failing for anyone calling themselves a

Paul the Apostle

Paul the Apostle

This is the fifth in a series in which we examine this fascinating Bible book. You can catch up with the previous articles at www.gladtidingsmagazine.org. THE PERSON who is perhaps most associated with Acts is the Apostle Paul. Paul is the main character in more than half of Acts; he also wrote at least 13 of the letters which are preserved in the New Testament. Paul was born in Tarsus in Cilicia (now southern Turkey) of Jewish parents, but unusually for a Jew he was also a Roman citizen. At some point he moved to Jerusalem where he was instructed in Judaism by some of the most prestigious teachers of his day. Paul’s Conversion Paul’s collision with Christianity began in Judea. At this time he went by the name of Saul and was a scholar of the Jewish Law in Jerusalem. He was part of the group who were actively

Isaiah

Isaiah

IN THIS lovely book we learn of the holiness of God and of His promise of a Saviour and King for all nations in the future age when Jerusalem will be His capital city. The Suffering Servant Isaiah prophesied the birth and life of Jesus, 800 years in advance: he is referred to as Immanuel (7:14); the Son of God (9:6); the Suffering Servant (42:1–3; 52:13, 14 etc.); the Lamb led to the slaughter (53:7), a Saviour who was to suffer and die in order to conquer sin. The second half of the book (chapters 40–66) opens with the words, “Comfort, yes, comfort My people! says your God” and brings hope of salvation not only to Jews but also to Gentiles (42:6; 60:3 etc.). Chapter 53 contains an accurate and moving description  of the sufferings of the Messiah—a vivid prophecy of what actually happened to the Lord Jesus Christ. God’s

False Gods

False Gods

ANCIENT ISRAEL was commanded by God to worship Him only, and to avoid the ‘idols’ of the surrounding nations. An idol is something that is worshipped as a god. Archaeological evidence shows the many gods which were worshipped by the Egyptians, Canaanites, Babylonians and others. They could be images of people, or animals, or monsters, or they might simply be rocks or trees. Some people worshipped the sun and moon. Often idol worship involved bizarre, cruel and depraved rituals. But there is something darkly appealing about it, and sadly the Israelites often succumbed to idol-worship. Of course in the 21st Century we’re more sophisticated and we don’t worship idols. Or do we? Are there things which we worship—people we revere, or things to which we devote ourselves? Modern Gods When a pop-star died recently, the media paid such glowing tributes to him that he was elevated to the status of

White Noise

White Noise

THIS IS one of the most brilliantly simple inventions of the modern age—it’s a white noise machine. Our world is full of unwanted noise: traffic, machinery, people, people’s music, aircraft noise … when we yearn for peace and quiet it can be hard to find, and so white noise can be the answer. White noise is a steady noise in the background. You get used to it, and it effectively helps to mask the noises you don’t want to hear. True white noise is a combination of every audible frequency and sounds like the hiss of an untuned radio, but there are many other sounds available from a huge variety of machines, web sites and phone apps—the sound of wind in trees, rain on a tent, the sea-shore, a coffee shop, a waterfall … White noise can be the key to a good night’s sleep in a noisy home, or