Simon Peter Sutherland
My name is Simon Peter Sutherland I am a Musician and Songwriter and Theologian from Lancashire, England. I have 2 album releases and 2 major degrees in Theology (B.Th, Th.M). I am currently writing a number of books and have deep concerns for our current age and society and religion and politics.
“For the time is come that the judgement must begin at the house of God”
1 Peter 4: 17
In the immediate context of the given passage of 1 Peter 4: 17, we can derive from the text that Peter is addressing the now historical Temple in ancient Jerusalem and the destruction which Jesus prophesied would come about upon the temple, as recorded for us in Matthew 24: 2.
This prophecy was fulfilled in AD 66-70 when prince Titus by order of Vespasian destroyed the Temple and Jerusalem with his army and not one stone of the historical Temple complext was left standing upon another. Yet, aside from the historical aspect and literal reading of the text, we can derive from the following text of 1 Peter 4 and verse 17 “and if it first begin with us, what shall the end be of them that obey not the gospel of God?” that the Lord’s aim of rebuking and judging His church is that the church might be restored so that judgement might begin upon the world so that they too may come to Him and repent. This initial context of this passage being the Jews who did not obey the gospel, but rejected Jesus as Messiah. But on a broader and wider application of the text, this can also apply to judgement falling upon Christ’s church who so often fall, as did the ancient Jews by either denying Jesus, continuing in sin or denying what is written in favour of their traditions. Jesus is the Word of God, so deny the Word, you deny Christ. Thus, Christ so often calls out for His people to repent that safe territory and good teaching may be offered them who are new to the faith. But how can this come, when the much of the church is fallen and those who stand are not teaching accurate doctrines?
We see that in the days when Jesus walked upon the earth, the established Jewish church was in an ungodly condition, they were very prosperous, critical scholars, arrogant, believing that they were chosen and others not, the pharisees were ruling by their own authority, they were wealthy and they were ‘to speak in modern terms’ the head professors of the scriptures, the literal interpreters of the scriptures, yet as common with powers up at the top, they were the ones who were actually denying the scriptures and leading others away with them in their errors.
CHRISTIANITY IN ENGLAND TODAY
Now, today within the body of Christ there is much confusion and division. From a perspective viewed from England, some Protestant congregations within the UK are falling in numbers, and the many evangelical congregations who are holding to Biblical truth are forced to separate themselves and form independent gatherings of their own, these gatherings often happen in houses and other venues such as public halls and rented rooms. The churches which succeed in these areas are often flourishing in numbers.
The more established official state church such as the Church of England are largely divided and many are liberal in thinking and hold to modern ideologies and theologies and I certainly would argue are re-interpreting the Bible in favour of evolutionary science, feminism, varying times, passing winds, popular cultures and so forth.
The Church of England today certainly does not hold to its foundations and the likes of Pilkington and Cranmer would turn in their graves if they could. There can be little doubt that the Church of England is in desperate need of reform, a reform which may be happening from within. However, I fear that unless the Church of England is reformed, then Christianity in Britain will be reduced to a powder within the next 200 years and a less tolerant religion will take its place in an England that will never be the same again.
Yet, unlike the Church of England and its attempts to re-interpret Biblical truth with modern evolutionary science and feminism and so forth, some Baptist churches which are loyal to the Bible and have a good grasp of Biblical Theology are growing in numbers and God is with them. Whereas, independent Congregational and reformed gatherings in England are largely stuck in the puritan past and lack the Biblical movement and the presence of the Holy Spirit and more modern visual presentation. All too many reformed gatherings in England are greatly lacking and will not move from 20th century presentation to 21st century. Many even fail basic evangelism due to some form of hyper Calvinism.
In short and with all these denominations and people in mind, to sum the situation up with a few lines: one congregation follows one doctrine and another follows another doctrine. One Christian believes one doctrine and another believes another doctrine, both being faithful to the Biblical narrative in one way or another.
Yet many evangelical churches within England are influenced by the more leading figures of Christian teaching which is coming out of America. Today however in contrast to England, in America cults are fast growing and many Christian denominations are also popular and spreading. However, research reveals that many of the more faithful larger and modern American churches, from denominations such as Baptist, reformed and even Arminian Churches, many are moving and growing fast, much of them being reformed or Arminian in doctrine and young in their approach are multiplying. Celebrity pastors are on the rise.
Yet much division can still be seen amongst the people, and far too many genuine Christians are all too often at war with each other, un-reasonable, often slanderous and yet both sides are part of the same coin. Many being faithful in some way to what they see in the Biblical narrative.
Yet Modern Reformed Christianity, often linked with so-called ‘Calvinism’ particularly in America claims to hold firm to the ideals of the 16th century Reformation, yet many within that denomination are so systematised by their own interpretation of the scriptures that they make a heretic out of anyone who does not agree with their theology. When all the time, it may be they who need reforming!
It is my opinion that Reformed doctrine in its 16th century form is very Biblical, yet much modern reformed doctrine has moved away from its 16th century stand point, but even still, I think modern reformed doctrine is much more Biblical than the Arminian view, and I hold to much Reformed doctrine as good doctrine and agree a great deal with the principles and Theology of the 16th century reformation. However, I believe with the authority of scripture, that some modern Reformers do greatly err on doctrines such as double predestination and limited atonement. However, modern Reformers believe they are correct and often present themselves as almost exclusive to the truth and often claim that ‘Arminians do not worship the God of the Bible’. Yet at the same time many embrace John Wesley and sing Weslyan hymns. Thus, the claim that Arminians worship another God is pathetic, since some of the greatest revivals in church history came through the likes of John Wesley, so how can anyone claim that God stand not with Arminians? Likewise Arminians also fall into this pathetic argument when they battle against Calvinists and believe they are more Biblically accurate and often refer to Calvinists as worshipping another ‘god’ which is not the God of the Bible. (Note: I use the lower case ‘g’ in referrence to both arguements) However, this arguement of Calvinists and Arminians worshipping two gods, is pathetic and untrue. Differing on interpretation of certain doctrines such as predestination, election, universal offering of salvation, limited or un-limited atonement is one thing, but worshipping another god is another matter.
The question I ask is this: Is not possible that both Calvinists and Arminians could be correct in some way and what the areas which lack in Arminianism can be answered in Calvinism? And the areas which lack in Calvinism can be answered in Arminianism?
Many may laugh or hate my asking that question, yet if we look at the original Reformation teaching of Wycliffe and Tyndale, many modern Calvinistic reformers who limit the Bible to their systems would say that both Wycliffe and Tyndale were Arminians, and although Wycliffe, Tyndale and Luther believed in predestination, neither believed that anyone was predestined to hell. So which doctine is truly reformed?
It seems to me that what is said to be reformed doctrine in the 21st century, is not 100% reformed, but 5 point Calvinism, a system of thought which Calvin himself may not have actually taught and dates back to the 17th century and not 100% accurate to the original 16th century Reformation teachings which were held in 16th century England by Tyndale, Cranmer, Pilkington, Hooker and so forth. This can also be said of Luthers reformation which certainly did not agree with 5 point Calvinism.
One problem is, that many today think of the word reformed as implying Calvinism, which is untrue. That is just one branch of reformed thinking, made popular by our American brothers and the revival of Puritan books.
“If a kingdom be divided against itself, that kingdom cannot stand.
And if a house be divided against itself, that house cannot stand.”
Mark 3: 24-25
Jesus said a house divided cannot stand, yet Christianity today is massively divided and much of this division comes through a wide number of issues, some are loyal to the Biblical narrative, some are not. Some are honest, some are lying. Who then is correct?
Thus, I must ask: Where is the Bible and the Holy Spirit in all this muddle? Is the Holy Spirit who leads a man into all truth as found in the Biblical text itself not what the heart of the reformation was all about? That the Bible was to be in the hands of everyman, and that the Holy Spirit who reveals all truth would guide a man into the truth of God? Thus, the Spirit and the Word, the Word and the Spirit. If yes, then why is there so much doctrinal and personal division within Christianity today?
Thus, division is nothing new, we can find it throughout church history, and if we look at today’s church, we will see that many of the same errors happening in our time as what we saw during the time of the reformation.
There is little doubt to me that the church has gone around in circles and needs to return back once again to what the Bible actually teaches, and to cease from denying what is actually written in favour of personal bias, traditions, established creeds, confessions and ideas of men both from history and from the moderns.
Thus, if the church is to ever move forwards and be truly united in Christ and in His truth, then the leading sides of Arminians and Calvinists, need to cease from denying texts in re-interpreting them, to fit their doctrines and many of today’s major leaders within Christianity, who’s influence upon Christendom is vast and, must return to the actual Biblical narrative once again.
Thus, this is not a call out to dismiss all that has gone before or what God has done throughout the history of His church, but more a call out for the leaders to move on and return to the future.
In total contrast to the desire many have for revival, it will not come until the house of God is put in order first. It is reformation we need, not revival.
For, I believe the time is now that God by His Spirit is calling out for a fresh reformation of His church and her doctrine and is calling for the leaders in both England and America to whom He has given great authority and power to lead His people, to seek Him more now than ever before, and to awake and prepare for the reality of a coming reformation of Christ’s Holy Church.
I am one of the 655,811 people who have (at this moment) openly signed the partition with “Coalition For Marriage” http://c4m.org.uk/.
I hold to a Christian view of marriage.
In an article published by the Telegrath, the fears of Michael Gove are made known. The article states; “Michael Gove fears that the Government could be powerless to stop primary school teachers being sacked for refusing to teach homosexual marriage, it emerged last night.”
Here is a link to that article
I must say that this is outright disgusting and suspect to boot!
Posted in England issues on May 3, 2013
Deane Parish Church, St Mary’s http://www.deanechurch.co.uk/pg/p199.asp
George Marsh Martyr @ http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/George_Marsh_(martyr)
Rev George Marsh book of Martys account @ http://www.biblestudytools.com/history/foxs-book-of-martyrs/the-rev-george-marsh.html
It seems that every week, more or less, the BBC attempt to brainwash us Brits with more fairy tales about ‘Macro-Eveolution’ in the on going quest to lay the foundations for the so-called “new world order”. An order which if true and successful must demolish the foundations of Christianity in her fundamental reading of the Bible.
As is said: If Britain does it first, the rest of the world might follow?
The latest quest by the BBC is entitled “Archaeology: A secret history” in which Dr Richard Miles offers us a version of history and archaeology which as it is said, began to prove Biblical truth starting in the 4th century AD with the founder of archaeology, Helena, the 1st Christian Archaeologist. The history soon moves forwards and the quest to prove the Bible got archaeologists into dangerous waters?
Permit me to say as one who has studied these matters, knows the Biblical narrative in its original and visited the lands of the Bible, that when the Archeology of the Bible lands is handled correctly, there is no contradition whatsoever between Archaeology and the Biblical narrative. That is unless the eviendece is in the hands of the BBC or Israel Finkelstein or some other polemic.
It never ceases to amaze me of how prejudice and narrow minded documentaries can progress, as they work their angled agendas against something by opening rather fairly and then move rather swiftly on to debunking their opponent with a mere majority system of thought. Facts have little to do with it. Opinion more like. Majority opinion.
It so-often starts with creation does it not? With Genesis and so forth. Suddenly the archaeology slips on its own vomit and then dumps on its own dinner by confusing ‘Archaeology’ with ‘Geology’. Which are not the same thing. Similar though they are.
It seems that the misleading title “Archaeology” has now stepped onto new territory and entered into the geological field. A geological field which is often stated as a fact, but is in reality little more than a philosophy. Thats right, a philosophy. An idea. A theory. Not modern at all, but an 18th century philosophy called ‘Uniformitarianism’. In other worlds, an assumption which is believed to have started with James Huttton (1726-1797) and made popular by Darwins apostle, Charles Lyell (1797-1875). Lyells publication “Principles of Geology” (1830) was read by Darwin and thus, the rest is history.
Suddenly the Bible, ancient history, Judaism and so-forth are now proven wrong because a philosophical theory takes centre stage? For Darwinians, Creationism (their enemy) has been the support act while ‘Uniformitarianism’ is the headliner, though under a deceptive new name.
For those who are still in evolutionary ignorance and do not know, permit me to mention what Uniformitarianism is. Uniformitrianism is a philosophical concept which evolutionary science uses to claim that what the earth is doing now it has always done. That is merely an idea, a philosophy, not a fact.
The idea of Uniformitrianism is that the earth was shaped by a series of sudden and violent events is an idea which is not the only conclusion to the evidences we see before us. But it is the more common notion which people tend to follow because ‘Science’ says so. The rest of the world must bow the knee because ‘Science’ says it is a fact. The earth is billions of years old? Those who think otherwise are either uneducated or bias due to religious persuasion and fundamentalism. Wishful thinking.
It seems to me that the only facts which present themselves with documentaries such as “Archaeology: A secret history” and those commonly broadcast by the BCC these days is that they are prejudice towards the Bible and Biblical archaeology are basically uniformitarian in their concepts and believe that the present is the key to the past. How so?
It is for this very reason why the BBC have in the past laid the foundation-stone in this anti-Biblical quest by attacking the historical claims of a worldwide flood. A flood not only written about in Genesis and compiled in the Bible, but written about in Africa, Babylon, China, India, Australia, America, North America, South America and even Greece. These historical accounts cannot be ignored, neither are they going to go away. And the catastrophic consequences of the flood would mean that the present cannot be the key to the past, since the earth’s crust would have changed when the flood resided.
But clearly Dr Richard Miles has concluded otherwise and we sheeple must bow the knee to what the scholars say, because scholarship is always right, right?
Clearly by his employment of ‘Neanderthal’ in his documentary thesis, Dr Miles has concluded that Genus Homo (Neanderthal) is evidence of a common ancestor rather than a common designer. That an ancient and incomplete set of bones which have been reconstructed accordingly is evidence for macro-eveolution?
I think not. If ‘Neanderthal’ is evidence for macro-evolution then I am Jack Benny reborn.
But what does it matter what I think, I’m just some deluded religious nut case with an over literal reading and knowledge of history. I clearly have some issues with the way the world is these days. But if believing that history is history and that there was indeed an ancient flood makes me a fundamentalist nut case, then I am indeed content to be a fundamentalist nutter. But I’ll be damned before I believe in some fairy tale theories about some ancient extinct creatures being our common ancestors. And I would rather lick the dirt than believe the present is the key to understanding the past.
Thus, when history is what we know and have in writing by ancient eye witnesses, with evidence to back them up, are we really going to deny written history and vast amounts of geological evidences because of Charles Lyell’s 19th century agenda to ‘Free science from Moses?’. Are we really going to take the word of orthodox evolutionary scientists without thinking for ourselves?
I don’t know about you folks but I have never believed in fairy tales and I am not into scientific totalitarianism. Neither am I willing to put my trust in evolutionary scientists who present theories as fact, and philosophies as geology when I know they are not speaking the truth.
Trailer for the first docuemtary ever made on the life of the Protestant Martyr George Marsh, who was burned at the stake in Chester on April 24th 1555.
“What a trade is that of the priests. They want money for every thing: money for baptism, money for churchings, for weddings, for buryings, for images, brotherhoods, penances, soul-masses, bells, organs, chalices, copes, surplices, ewers, censors, and all manner of ornaments. Poor sheep! The parson shears, the vicar shaves, the parish priest polls, the friar scrapes, the indulgence seller pares ….. all that you want is a butcher to flay you and take away your skin”
(Obedience of a Christian Man)
Thanks to the folks at Revelation TV my first documentary “The Apostles at Paphos” has been aired on Revelation TV, Sky 581, Freesat 692, Freeview HD 228 on Friday 1st March at 8pm and Sunday 3rd March at 3pm and Wednesday 27th March at 10 am.
Keep posted with the Revelation TV listing for further schedule.
Revelation TV play some interesting stuff, so pass it on.
For more information on Revelation TV, visit http://www.revelationtv.com/
On 22nd January 2013, I attended a lecture at the Manchester Theological Society by Alex Jacob. The lecture was on the topic of Mr Jacobs book “The Case for Enlargement Theology”.
This polemical lecture explored the relationship between Christianity and her mother religion ‘Judaism’.
Although the lecturer did not put too fine a point on it, Alex Jacob briefly refuted the somewhat inconsistent and popular doctrine of ‘Replacement Theology’.
As always, a question and answer period was offered after the lecture. Many at this point made statements rather than ask questions. Cannon Andrew Shanks asked a question and made a rather problematic yet interesting statement during that session. The point was that in his position he would argue that the 21st century person cannot live by the standards set by St Paul since “we are at a different point in history”.
Obviously, if I am taking this point correctly, it would not involve ‘all’ the standards of St Paul, since many of those standards are still relatively common, common sense, but some of them. The question would also be that many Anglican’s claim we should live according to the words of Jesus, which when consistently studied, are not contrary to the letters of St Paul.
However, in the natural and the historical, that is according to the natural man I could be inclined to agree with the statement by Cannon Shanks? But according to the spiritual man, I could not agree. The reason would be according to my knowledge, understanding and experience of the Holy Spirit and His power to cause a man to live not by bread alone (the natural) but by the Spirit and the Word.
That in order to obey the spiritual we must transcend the natural.
However, following from this line of thought, I would like to add that when an interesting comment or point is raised to me, I often ponder it for a long time.
Being a Christian within the 21st century and maybe not even the Christian I would like to be, I struggle with sin. It is an awful and difficult thing in many ways to be a committed Christian and to live in a 21st century city where modern conveniences and fleshly delights are ever before my sin. The question then haunts me like a ghost; How does a Christian live in modern times according to the standards set before us in the New Testament?
The answer must be ever continual flowing grace from God.
In February I visited the town of Skipton in North Yorkshire with my wife and children and the ancient Holy Trinity Church which dates to around the turn of the 14th century and contains 15th century alterations.
Within the Holy Trinity Church there can be found what is known as “the Anchorites cell”. Apparently this cell dates back to the middle ages and was used by a female Anchorite.
For those who may not know, an Anchorite was a person who withdrew from the world and lived alone in a cell for the rest of that person’s natural life. The word itself stems from the Greek, meaning to withdraw. It is a form of the monastic life.
In the Anchorite cell at Skipton, people were permitted to visit the Anchorite in the cell which was attached to the church. He or she spent the rest of the natural life in this cell in prayer and also offering advice to any visitors.
Food was given through a small window of which the Anchorite had a view of the altar.
The proposed challenge for those today is to spend time apart from the world to meditate and to pray and in this sense the Anchorite’s cell is just as important today as it was in history, only the application is different.
The question is does a person need to cut themselves off from the world in order to live the Godly life? The answer is no. It cannot be yes or there would be no Christian witness in the world. Thus, as the Christian slogan says, be ‘in the world but not of it’ the matter is obviously clear. But even better than that Paul in Romans 12: 2 instructs us be none-conformists in the sense of not conforming to this fleshly world and in Galatians 5: 16 he gives us the means to do this, “walk in the Spirit and you shall not fulfil the lust of the flesh”.
How then do we walk in the spirit? The answer is in the meaning of verse 13, ‘Freedom’ and not the freedom to do as you wish, but freedom within, freedom from sin.
The answer can be found in Jesus, “Look unto me all you who labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest” Matthew 11: 28
Look to Jesus wherever you are and not to yourself and you will be delivered from yourself.
Posted in Christianity on January 25, 2013
“When it is morning, think you may die before night; And when evening comes, dare not to promise yourself the next morning. Be thou therefore always in readiness, and so lead your life that death may never take you unprepared” Thomas a Kempis. (The Imitation of Christ. 1. Ch 23. 3.)
What a wonderful thing, not morbid for those who live for Christ and look to see Him. Death is only the beginning and we know not when the time may come. We know not the plans of God or when He is to call us home. Therefore, consider these thoughts both morning and night. Let no idle actions consume us, nor let things pass us by. For today is the day, and tomorrow is enough for itself.
“Ye know not what shall be on the morrow” James 4: 14
Jews in Israel are now claiming that they are re-building thee 3rd Jewish Temple. This is a huge isssue, since many Biblical scholars and theologians believe that God is going to re-establish His Old Covenant sacrifices when the re-building of the so-called 3rd Jewish temple in Jerusalem is complete.
Many pre-milliennial theologians employ 2 Thessalonians 2: 2-12 to proclaim that antichrist will do this? But the problem is that this re-establishment of old covenant sacrifices is based upon one interpretation of Daniel 9, which claims that Daniel was prophesying that at the end of days, antichrist will set up and image of himself in the new temple at Jerusalem and will briefly put an end to sacrifices which have been re-established by a levitical priesthood.
However, despite the controversy which surrounds escatological interpretations, it is clear that Daniel 9 is a prophesy concerning the coming of Christ, who, according to many modern scholars, put an end to sacrifice and offering in the middle of the Jewish week and not Friday, as many claim to be the day in which Christ was crucified. However, the problem remains that the building of a 3rd temple in Jerusalem is not a mere matter of theological interpretation of the scriptures, or problematic only because the levitical priesthood does not exist anymore and cannot be reinstated by any priesthood, but, it is a problem regarding the Red Heifer.
According to the Bible, the Red Heifer was a bull used by levitical priests in accordance with the Law of Moses as part of the ritual sacrifices for the so-called cleansing of sin. These requirments are found in Numbers 19: 1-22, which is contained in the Bible and in the Torah and cannot be broken by anyone accept God Himself. So the problem remains, that there is no longer a pure Red Heifer anymore. The Red Heifer genetically gained white markings sometime over the last 2000 years or more. The white markings now found on the Red Heifer make it impossble for the laws of purification to be fulfilled according to the word of God. Jewish scholars and pre-millennial theologians have got a problem. Nothing other than a pure Red Heifer at the age of 3 can be a satisfactory offering (Genesis 15: 9)
So until a pure Red Heifer comes along, there is no signal for the end of days and the sooner people realise that the re-building of temple was made complete in the followers of the Lord Jesus, who are the Temple of the Holy Spirit, then the better for all of us.