Sir Run Run and Adventist ‘China Doctor, Dr Harry Miller

I found it rewarding and inspiring to read about Dr. Harry Miller, The China Doctor. But first, Sir Run Run Shaw who died 7th January 2014 at the age of 106. Following from a previous post it was interesting to read about Sir Run Run Shaw and his connection with Loma Linda University Health Care. LLU Remembered Sir Run Run Shaw earlier this year,  a Philanthropist and Humanitarian in the World of Health Care. The Media Mogul Partnered with Loma Linda University to Bring Western Medicine to the Zhejiang Province in the People’s Republic of China.

“Not one to hoard his wealth, Shaw donated billions of dollars to charity over the years, most recently contributing $13 million for disaster relief after the 2008 Sichuan Earthquake. His name adorns many hospital and school buildings in China and Hong Kong.”

But how did Sir Run Run Shaw’s connection with Adventist Health Care come about? It appears it was down to one man, Dr. Harry Miller, referred to as ‘The China Doctor.’   “Sir Run Run Shaw’s mother had received treatment from Dr. Harry Miller, an Adventist physician, at a progressive hospital in China. He was impressed by the compassionate, whole-person care provided to all echelons of society, from government officials to day laborers. As a result, he vowed to one day bring a similar level of care to his own community.

“He never forgot the excellent care his mother had received from Dr. Miller,” says Joan Coggin, MD, MPH, former vice president for global outreach, Loma Linda University Adventist Health Sciences Center.

When Sir Run Run Shaw initiated plans to build a hospital, he asked the Seventh-day Adventist Church and Loma Linda University and Medical Center to become involved in the process.

Sir Run Run Shaw Hospital officially opened on May 9, 1994 as a 400-bed facility providing Western-style services in all of the medical specialties practiced in the United States. The hospital received Joint Commission International Accreditation in December 2006, making it the first in China to achieve this level of recognition and success; it was subsequently re-credited in 2009 and 2013. Today the 1,200-bed tertiary care hospital treats more than 6,000 patients a day.”

Says, Loma linda University President, Richard Hart

“By any standard, China is impressive today. With its 1.3 billion people, dozens of crowded cities, and forests of apartment buildings reaching the sky—and requiring huge investments in infrastructure—this country is preparing for the future. While we build 100-bed hospitals, they build 1,000-bed hospitals. In fact they have driven up the price of cement worldwide due to their insatiable demand for construction.

“And yet,” says the LLU president, for those who have the privilege of visiting China, it is not their impressive size or growth, not their international press coverage, and not even their development or exports that distinguishes China today. It is surely the gracious attitude, the always solicitous approach to strangers, that one remembers after each visit.

“Sir Run Run Shaw had been impressed by the compassionate, whole-person care provided to all echelons of society, from government officials to day laborers. As a result, he vowed to one day bring a similar level of care to his own community.

“He never forgot the excellent care his mother had received from Dr. Miller,” says Joan Coggin, MD, MPH, former vice president for global outreach, Loma Linda University Adventist Health Sciences Center.

When Sir Run Run Shaw initiated plans to build a hospital, he asked the Seventh-day Adventist Church and Loma Linda University and Medical Center to become involved in the process.

But there is much more to read on Dr. Harry Miller. Page 2 of this link gives us some idea of the extent of respect for Dr. Harry Miller’s expertise and mission in China. This bio concludes:

“Dr. Miller died on new Year’s day, 1977, at the age of 97, just as he was getting ready to go to his beloved church.

“Harry Miller was a shining example of what the Chinese call “The Great Man.” He dedicated his life to the welfare of all beings, human and nonhuman. He chose a life of voluntary simplicity, finding his real joy in giving. Close associates estimate that, in professional fees alone, he turned over some $2.5 million to the hospitals, church, and nutritional work with which he was connected. Spiritual values were at the center of his life. Though world famous, he was the most humble of men; though very busy, he had time for each person who needed him. His vision was fifty years ahead of his time. He left an indelible impression on the world. Would that he could be here with us now to see the blossoming of his work in America and around the globe.

More on Dr. Harry Miller here, and back to here. A remarkable Christian man to read about.

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Adventist Hospitals in the News

David Peterson On Porter Adventist Hospital

The San – Sydney Adventist Hospital’s “200m dollar extenstion 

Waterloo Adventist Hospital Hit by Ebola

Loma Linda University Hospital’s $1.2bn Extension

Sir Run Run Shaw Hospital

We don’t see Adventist hospitals in Europe so it is good to read what is happening in some of the many Adventist hospitals around different parts of the world where they serve their communities as well as supporting care facilities further afield.

David Peterson On Porter Adventist Hospital:

David Peterson’s post on the death of his wife in the Huffingto Post was a moving tribute to Porter Adventist Hospital. A blogger on Huffington Post, Peterson describes himself as a veteran outdoorsman, and a founder of the Colorado chapter of Backcountry Hunters and Anglers. He was a Marine Corps helicopter pilot, and a sportsman-conservationist. He is also the author or editor of more than a dozen books. Twice he has been honored by the Colorado Wildlife Federation, as Conservationist of the Year, and a Lifetime Achievement Award for Conservation. He is currently involved in a documentary film on ethical hunting.

But there was someone in Peterson’s life dearer to him than all that; I found this story very moving as this journalist expresses his feelings and grief over the loss of his dear wife and praising the loving care she received. Peterson’s post was titled, ‘A Love Letter to Angels’,

The San – Sydney Adventist Hospital’s “200m dollar extenstion

Another tribute to an Adventist hospital came from Australia’s Prime Minister, Tony Abbott. It was the recent opening (17 October) of the new extension to the 12 story, 550-bed Sydney Adventist Hospital, the largest private not-for-profit hospital in New South Wales.

Although the data on this link seems to need updating, it does appear to tell us that ‘the San’, as it is fondly known, is the flagship of the church’s hospitals ‘down under’, and supports field hospitals and clinics with over 500 volunteers, and according Tony Abbott’s speech, has over 2500 staff  with 800 doctors.

Waterloo Adventist Hospital Hit by Ebola

Not all Adventist hospitals are as fortunate as the ‘San’. Those serving on the ‘front line’ are much more vulnerable, such as Waterloo Adventist Hospital, supporting government and other aid agencies that are overwhelmed with the Ebola crisis in West Africa.

(On the Ebola Virus, “Médecins Sans Frontières/Doctors Without Borders (MSF), the NGO with the largest working presence in the affected countries, had grown increasingly critical of the international response. A WHO spokesperson has said that, “ “The Ebola epidemic ravaging parts of West Africa is the most severe acute public health emergency seen in modern times.”).

Loma Linda University Hospital’s $1.2bn Extension

The ‘San’ isn’t the only hospital undergoing expansion; across ‘the pond’ Loma Linda University Hospital, has plans for a $1.2bn expansion.

Like Australia’s ‘San’, Loma Linda services care facilities further afield as well as having partnerships with other major medical institutions. “The hospital is also a teaching and researching base for medical students and scholars. It has student exchange programs with the United States, Germany, Japan, India, and Hong Kong.”

Sir Run Run Shaw Hospital

Not in the news but I thought it interesting to read of one such partnership Loma Linda has with the 1200 bed Sir Run Run Hospital. Says Wikipedia, it cooperates with and receives funding from the American Loma Linda University (LLU).

It is named after the successful Chinese billionaire media mogul and philanthropist  (knighted by Queen Elizabeth II in 1977).  “His only request was that he wanted to partner with the Seventh-day Adventist Church in operating the hospital.” Sir Run Run Shaw died January 2014, aged 106.

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Waterloo Adventist Hospital Staff  Die From Ebola

Waterloo Adventist Hospital and Cooper Adventist Hospital in Liberia are reported to have closed and under quarantine due to the Ebola Virus, which has claimed the lives of three of the staff at the Waterloo hospital.

Says Adventist Health International: Hospitals are said to be the most dangerous place you can be right now. Which is why it is important to show support to these brave medical professionals that are working to maintain a level of safety and health for the patients they are treating. Canadian Relief Organisation, Global Medic, have supplied needed help and aid to Cooper Adventist hospital.

Relocated from Chad to Liberia to keep Cooper Adventist hospital open due to the Ebola crisis Dr Appel described Liberia as “shutting down” around him. “There’s a curfew that’s been initiated. Many businesses are not open; all the schools are closed, government offices are closed,” Appel told Myrow. “So for example our hospital is not getting paid by the insurance companies, because insurance companies are closed. The whole economy is coming to a standstill.”

At Cooper Adventist Hospital in Liberia Dr Appel “acknowledged his own fears in treating patients during the ongoing crisis.

“I can’t say I’m not afraid,” he said. “In all my medical training, there’s only one thing that’s ever scared me and that’s Ebola —  because it is so lethal and happens so quickly and there’s no known treatment.”

The BBC reports that the Ebola Virus is spreading. It reports that Ebola is so dangerous it kills 90% of those infected.

I had not heard of the ‘Ebola Virus’ until the recent publicity but it appears to have been around since 1976. But no cure has yet been found. So what is Ebola?

The Times of India gives quite a comprehensive history on Ebola in its report and on the current Ebola Outbreak

One can see why health professionals who volunteer their services are considered heroic. Health professionals have died in treating the disease. There is a tremendous shortage of medical staff in these countries and they are desperate for help as well as financial support.

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Evolutionist Scientist Turned Creationist

Dr. Gary Parker has some excellent reviews on his book: Creation: Facts of Life . To read reviews of this book scroll down on Amazon. Reviewers found Dr. Parker respectful and non-aggressive in his approach. His arguments are well thought through, and quite convincing. He demonstrates how observable facts are more consistent with creationism and inconsistent with evolution.

One reviewer chose this one out of several as a “textbook” for a class on the subject. He found the book short and easy-to-read. There are only three chapters but the chapters are divided up into manageable chunks for those who prefer reading in chunks. For myself I wanted to get through the whole material from beginning to end. As another reviewer points out, Parker writes clearly, succinctly, and convincingly. Said the reader, If you ever thought that science had all the facts, and creationists had all the faith, you may discover the roles are reversed! Another found the book highly scientific and filled with facts, yet easy and very fun to read. I found it as praised by most reviewers.

I think it is book worth having to share but if you want to defer buying the book Answers in Genesis have offered it online.

The book informs us that Dr. Gary Parker earned his doctorate in biology, with a cognate in geology (palaeontology). He has earned several academic awards, including election to the national university scholastic honorary society Phi Beta Kappa, and a Science Faculty Fellowship from the National Science Foundation.

Dr. Parker discusses in an easy-to-understand manner DNA, embryo development, fossils, “early man,” symbiosis, genetics, and many other topics: critical issues in the evolution/creation debate.

On page 12 Dr Parker writes: “This book is especially for those who love and/or respect science. In it I would like to share with you some of the scientific evidence that helped to change me, as a biology professor, from an enthusiastic (even “evangelical”) belief in evolution to a belief instead that the Bible is the best guide to understanding God’s world and our place in His plan. But the bible contains no explicit references to DNA, mutations, fossils, or Grand Canyon! My scientific applications of Biblical truths are no better than the evidence I use to support them.

“I also want you to understand evolution clearly and thoroughly, so I’ll also be going over with you  – as I still do with my students – all the standard textbook arguments used in favour of evolution.

“Take your time. Be critical. Think it through. It took me three years of re-examining the evidence before I gave up my deep-seated belief in evolution and concluded, like thousands of other scientists in recent times, that the Biblical framework is the more logical inference from our scientific observations.”

Read him online and see on Answers in Genesis Website:

Or accept the invitation by NCCG to “dive right into this fascinating and inspiring read!” (pdf) .

 

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No More Death!

This Week, Monday 4 August 2014, was the commemoration of 37 million casualties! – the total number of military and civilian casualties in World War I. There were over 16 million deaths and 20 million wounded, ranking it among the deadliest conflicts in human history according to Wikipedia.   Intended to be the war to end all wars 21 years on began World War II with estimated casualties of over 60 million, which represented 2,5% of the world population. With many regional wars since World War II the dream of World Peace is still elusive.

I am reminded of George Bush and Tony Blair’s ambition to pursue a ‘New World Order’. It doesn’t seem to have worked out.   We have coined terms like 9/11 and 7/7, symbol terms for the beginning of a new era of terror that has come to our world.

More recent we have had the Gulf wars and the Afghanistan war and Libya.   As in Borneo with the murder of two British medical students this week, Britain too has its knife crime and gun crimes that bring heartache and pain to the bereaved families and communities affected.   But for most people, life must carry on, until the next atrocity against humanity.

We have been shocked by the images from the current Gaza-Israeli war, and what has been happening in Eastern Ukraine.   In his speech this week before national leaders in Belgium on the legacy of World War I, Prince William suggested that the Ukraine conflict was not just a localized war, but a threat to the whole of Europe. Said Prince William, “The events in Ukraine testify to the fact that instability continues to stalk our continent.”

We see no respite from the evil our world seems so ready to entertain. What hope is there for our hurting world? And, where do Christians end up in all this? Like everyone else, they suffer from the consequence of conflicts and war. The wars that had the intention of bringing democracy to both Iraq and Afghanistan has left extreme tribal factions fighting each other with Christians having the option of either becoming Moslems, – or be killed.

The removal of a tyrant leader leaves a vacuum to be filled by others even more tyrannical than the original tyrant! The removal of Colonel Gadaffi in Libya has left competing militias who vie for control of their country, tearing their country apart, while Christians are forced to flee the country. The same in Syria and Egypt. Lebanon is now host to the many Christians that have fled the oppressive Middle Eastern countries.

The recent saga over Meriam Ibrahim brought to light what Christians have to cope with in Sudan. Giving birth to her second child in prison while in chains, she was condemned to 100 lashes before death by hanging. For fellow Christians around the world and those agencies working for her release from prison it was a delight to see their hopes, efforts and prayers realized. She and her family are now safe in America.

The Islamic gorilla group, Boco Haram in Nigeria wants to turn Nigeria into an Islamic state. The group seems free to go on its pillaging and killing sprees at will. Capturing Christian schoolgirls seems just part of its power game with President Goodluck Jonathan. “Boko Haram, . . . has attacked Nigeria’s police and military, rival clerics, politicians, schools, religious buildings, public institutions, and civilians with increasing regularity since 2009.”

Christians in these lands, who will not submit to Islam and its theology and culture, suffer oppressions of which we in the West have no experience since the Dark Ages.   Last month in an emotional address in the House of Lords, Chief Rabbi Lord Sacks said, there is “an upsurge in religious persecution that threatens to drag humanity ‘back to the dark ages’. He said attempts to wipe out Christianity in parts of the Middle East and the murder of followers across much of Sub-Sahara Africa and Asia amount to the ‘religious equivalent of ethnic cleansing.’” But he said these “purges were echoed by recent mob attacks on Jews in France and other parts of Europe, Islamist violence against other Muslims and the persecution of the Bahai in Iran as part of a new tribalism which had taken hold in the wake of the Cold War.”

The question in Revelation 6:9-10 seems so pertinent for a world that has supposedly come of age, ‘How long is this to go on for?’

This question being asked in Revelation 6:9, 10 is particularly about those “who had been slain because of the word of God and the testimony they had maintained.” The Apostle John records, “When he opened the 5th seal, I saw under the altar the souls of those who had been slain, because of the Word of God, and the testimony they had maintained. They called out in a loud voice, ‘How long, Sovereign Lord, holy and true, until you judge the inhabitants of the earth and avenge our blood?'” (NIV).

How long must such crime and outrage continue? It is nothing new! In the Apostle day Christians were persecuted and killed for being a follower of Jesus Christ. It was so in what we refer to Dark Ages when so many died for their Christian faith. In our world today, Christians face hardship, and even death for their convictions. In his visions, John was not just witness to his own local situation, but to the persecution and evils down through history. And so the cry in verse 10, “How long?” It is a loud cry for vindication. And many people must be making that cry today. How long must evil reign before good will come?

What is not appreciated by many – is the presence of the evil forces in this world as well as the good.  Satan and his angels are like al-Qaeda, you can’t see them but they are everywhere! They have been battling with God through humankind all down through history. Two thousand years ago the Great Peace-Maker Himself was cruelly crucified on a cross. And God’s people down through history have been asking, How long will the evil one keep getting away with it?

Verse 10 calls for vengeance, “Avenge our blood,” is the cry of the saints – of all ages. That seems to be an unusual reaction for Christians, doesn’t it? Jesus said in His Sermon on the Mount in Matthew 5:44, “Love your enemies, and pray for those who persecute you.” And Jesus practised His own teaching on the cross when He uttered that cry, “Father, forgive them for they know not what they do.”  So the idea of “avenge our blood,” seems completely contrary to the spirit of Jesus. But that is not the sense of this passage if we look at it closely.

First of all John does not see literal souls in heaven crying out “How Long?” He does not see literal souls who have been slain confined under a literal altar crying out for vengeance. There is no altar of sacrifice in heaven, just as there are no horses of different colours in heaven (Revelation 6:1-8).   We read in Genesis 4:8-10 where Abel’s blood cries out from the ground for an explanation and for judgment. Here in Revelation 6 John is saying that the spilt blood of the ages is crying out to God.

If, as Revelation 6:10 tells us, “God is the Sovereign Lord, Holy and true,” how can He allow the brutal crimes of the ages to continue? It was that what Habakkuk asked God when he foresaw the invasion of the Babylonian armies and what they would do to Jerusalem and its people (Habakkuk 1:2-4). And isn’t it that what is being asked in the many places around the world where evil seems to hold sway? How many more brutal crimes affecting humanity does there have to be before God brings it to a halt?

We read that question “How Long” in Daniel 8:13. “How long” will it be that everything that God stands for will be trodden underfoot? When is God going to make the world accountable for the continuing presence of evil? While we commemorate the centenary of World War I we are still making and selling arms to nations that will use them for aggressive purposes.

One of the perplexities about the existence of God is the co-existence of sin, evil, suffering and death. How can a good God exist alongside evil and suffering? But here is where we find part of the answer, if not all. The cruel death of Jesus on a cross 2000 years ago indicates that if there could have been another way of ridding the world of sin, evil and death, God would have found it! The problem of sin is not something local or parochial, it is a cosmic problem, as the Bible reveals and is the explanation for Jesus’ mission to this earth and his death on a cross.

But Jesus won his victory over sin and death on the cross, and has given that victory to us.   We are promised that life is not always to go on this way. Look at verse 17 of Revelation 6: “For the great day of their wrath has come, and who can stand?” The implication is, no one will escape the Judgment bar of God (Hebrews 9:27-28).   But if the blood of the saints of all ages is as it were, “crying out to God,” should Christians today not be hearing these voices too?

When we compare our commitment to God with the commitment of those who have died on duty to the Lord down through the ages, would that be how death would catch us? – on duty for the Lord?

That is what I think of Meriam Ibrahim. In her time and place in prison in Sudan, she was on duty for the Lord. The world got to know of her Christian commitment, she would accept the 100 lashes and death by hanging, if that is the way it had to be. In no way would she give up her Christian faith! She made it clear, that despite the death penalty hanging over her she would stay loyal and true to God.

Somehow, the strength of her conviction and the dignity with which she bore all that was thrown at her, along with the care for her young son while being heavily pregnant in prison, captured the world’s respect and admiration for her. What strength of character and Christian conviction she possessed. How many others does she represent that we never hear of, and will never hear of, who have suffered and faced death, and still suffer and face death because of their love and loyalty to Jesus Christ?

The Bible tells us that it is only God who will finally erase such evil from our world when Jesus comes at the Second Advent (John 5:28-29).  The question “How Long,” should challenge Chrtistians, shouldn’t it? What John has shared with us here in the Revelation is intended to inspire us and to urge us on to a greater commitment to the Lord Jesus Christ, and to sharing the Good News of salvation through Jesus with others (Matthew 28:18-20; cf. 24:14).   The life we live as well as the mission we are part of, should reflect the same message John recorded nearly 2000 years ago. “How long”, will be the instinctive cry of all God’s people as they see the evil and hurt of this world?

We do not want to see continuing what is happening to humankind in famine and war and disaster wherever on our globe. We want to see an end that makes sense of it all. An end, that brings in a new beginning with the Second Coming of Jesus. It’s an end which the Apostle John describes for us in Revelation 21:1-5, which really is about a new beginning:

“Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and there was no longer any sea. I saw the Holy City, the New Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride beautifully dressed for her husband. And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, ‘Now the dwelling of God is with men, and he will live with them. They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God. He will wipe away every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain. For the old order of things has passed away.’ He who was seated on the throne said, ‘I am making everything new!’ Then he said, ‘Write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true.”

Think of those images we are seeing so frequently on our TVs. Those who hate and exploit and cause pain and death will be excluded from God’s new world. No more, neither mourning or crying, or pain.   In commemorating World War I and the tragic loss of life then, there is one death we must remember above all others: “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.”

Posted in Christ's Sacrifice, Christian Mission, Evil, Gospel, Injustice, Second Advent, Suffering, Tragedy | Comments Off on No More Death!

The Resurrection of Jesus

William Lane Craig asks, ‘How do we know the Christian God is real? The answer of the New Testament is: the resurrection of Jesus.’ William Craig examines the historical grounds for belief in Jesus’ resurrection, focusing on the empty tomb, his post-mortem appearances, and the origin of the disciples’ belief in his resurrection.

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Death Sentence For Woman Caught In Adultery

Amnesty International, and International and British media have drawn attention to the cause of a 27-year-old Sudanese woman, a doctor, who has been sentenced to death for adultery for being a Christian, and marrying a Christian, which is contrary to Islam’s Sharia Law.

Refusing to renounce her faith she faces execution. She will apparently be allowed two years to nurse her newborn child before being hanged. All three British Political Leaders have protested and called for her release.

According to al Jazeera, Sudan is not in line with the rest of the Islamic world, or in line with Islamic law on death for women. And there are those who give a counter view to the Islam as expressed in Sudan.

Nesrine Malik, a Sudanese writer for the Guardian, gives a very insightful picture of the current Sudanese government for us outsiders. Christians face a difficult time under the new Islamic government.

We can only pray that the appeals for her release will get a positive response. Can we be optimistic? The Christian Post reports that the charity, “The Barnabas Fund has rescued over 8,000 Christians fleeing Islamic persecution in Sudan.”

Going back 2000 years we can read of another woman who was caught in a real act of adultery. There was a call for her to receive the death penalty. The story is in the Gospel of John, chapter 8 and verses 1-11.

The story begins at verse 2 of John chapter 8, “At dawn he (Jesus) appeared at the temple courts.”

The last part of verse 2 tells us that, “all the people gathered around Him, and He sat down to teach them.” That sets the scene. There are lots of people around him to witness this incident.

Verses 3 to 5 introduce the plot: “The teachers of the law and the Pharisees brought in a woman caught in adultery. They made her stand before the group 4 and said to Jesus, ‘Teacher, this woman was caught in the act of adultery. 5 In the Law Moses commanded us to stone such women. Now what do you say?’”

We might ask, where is the other person involved? Perhaps he was part of the plot! The woman was the unfortunate bait. Jesus is the intended victim of the plot.

If Jesus told her accusers to let the woman go the Pharisees would accuse him of breaking the Law of Moses. That would discredit him in the eyes of the people as a Teacher of the Law.

On the other hand, although there is no historical record of it ever happening in the Bible, if Jesus told them to stone the woman, then he would be reported to the Roman authorities. Only the Romans had the right to impose capital punishment. Either way, as verse 6 points out, this would draw Jesus into the trap they had set for him.

One thing that stands out for me in this story is not just the way Jesus responds to the accused, but also the way he responds to the accusers! In the Sermon on the Mount,  in Matthew 5:44, Jesus told His followers to “Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you.”

How do we learn not to hate those who wish us harm? That is where Jesus found himself.

Jesus was the long-looked for Messiah. He was the very Person who came to this world to give us peace and eternal security. And yet they want him dead! Jesus was taking away their control over the masses. He was giving people a freedom they had not known before.

It says in Luke 4:16-21 that on one Sabbath he stood up to read the scroll of Isaiah in the synagogue, “‘The Spirit of the Lord is on me, because he has Anointed me to proclaim the good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners and recovery of sight for the blind, to set the oppressed free, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favour.”

The masses were being drawn to him and the Pharisees were aggrieved by it. We read in John 7:31, “Still many in the crowd put their faith in Him, When the Christ comes, will he do more miraculous signs than this man?” And in verse 32 we read, “The Pharisees heard the crowd whispering such things about Him. Then the chief priests and the Pharisees sent temple guards to arrest him.”

They resented Him greatly. Did they think before Jesus came along that they would ever harbour such a resentment that it could lead to feelings and thoughts of hate to the point of killing the Messiah?

In this story we see Jesus responding differently from those who have gone so far down the road of resentment that they had become his enemy. He didn’t ignore them. He didn’t just tolerate them; he actually focused on his enemies; but not in the way his enemies focused on him – with suspicion, resentment and hatred. The Apostle Paul says in Romans 5:8 “While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” This was the Divine love he had for humankind, irrespective of race, gender or status (John 3:16). It is what the Bible calls grace (Ephesians 2:8).

In his defense of the woman we see Jesus also showing love towards her accusers. Whatever Jesus revealed in the coded language he wrote in the dust on the ground, his enemies knew that he knew they had serious defects of character to put right in their own lives! And yet, whatever he knew about them could be erased if they repented, just as easily as scuffing the ground with his feet over whatever was written on the ground.

What I see Jesus doing in this story is not just saving the woman’s life; what I see is Jesus caring for both her and her accusers. He wants them in his kingdom too!

Jesus refuses to become the judge over the woman’ conduct; he places the responsibility for judgment on them. But there is a proviso. Whoever throws the first stone, must be blameless.

That should have challenged her accusers! Instead of repenting, Jesus’ words sent them off in their different directions to smart and regroup for another day.

But it did not have to be that way. In whatever Jesus was writing he gave them opportunity to see themselves as they really were. We are all sinners at the foot of the cross! We are all in need of his forgiving, saving Grace. Her accusers did not have to reject the conviction about themselves – and about who he was. Jesus wanted them in his kingdom too. That is what I see in this story. “God so loved the world that he gave his one only Son, that whoever believes in him, shall not perish but have everlasting life” (John 3:16). And that meant his enemies too!

Jesus did not approve of their sinfulness any more than he approved of the woman’s adultery. But in not blurting out in public what he knew about them, he was telling them that he cared about them. He gave them opportunity to acknowledge their ill-intentioned motives and to accept their need of changed lives (1 John 1:9).

It’s a challenge for us today, isn’t it? We read in Acts 17:30-31; and Hebrew 9:27-28, that there will be a judgment, will Jesus find us blameless because we are imbued with the love he had for others, – even for our enemies? And, will he find us blameless because we welcome his gift of righteousness that covers our own unworthiness?

While we may see ourselves not quite as good as some people, there is a natural tendency in us all to see ourselves not as bad as others? It is somewhat like we read in Luke 18, where the Pharisee congratulates himself before God that he is not a sinner like others he could point out (Luke 18:9-14), but the tax collector acknowledges he knows his place, and prays to God in verse 13, “God, have mercy on me, a sinner.” And Jesus says in that story that it is the sinner that goes home justified, or made righteous by God.

In this story in John 8:1-11, we see Jesus refusing to be her judge before her accusers. Instead, he became her defence council and saviour, which left her accusers with no chance of succeeding in prosecuting their case against her. That is why Jesus came to this earth to become our defence council before the bar of the great accuser, Satan (Revelation 12:9-10).

Even Jesus’ enemies could have had that same protection in the judgment too, if they would have allowed him to become their Saviour! Here says Jesus is the mark of one who belongs to me. Be like me. Love your enemies, and do good to those who despitefully use you (Matthew 5:44).

But that can only be through the work of the Holy Spirit (John 3:3-8). The Apostle Paul writes in Galatians 5:22-23, “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law.” That is a description of what Christians are to aspire to, through God’s grace.

It doesn’t come naturally. What Jesus is saying in this story of the woman taken in adultery, it is not what you know about salvation, but whom you know and how you express that salvation towards others which counts in the kingdom of God (John 17:3).
A saved person can afford to be generous to others just as we have seen God is generous to us.

When I see Jesus behaving the way he did towards his enemies, I know I can’t be like that naturally. I am as human and as fallible as the next person. But the Apostle Paul found the answer when he said in Galatians 2:20, “I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me.” Whatever Jesus asks of us He promises to do for us and in us, if we let him.

In the Lord’s Prayer Jesus taught us to say, ‘forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us.’ It is only when we see ourselves against the perfect Jesus that we see our own imperfections and our need of forgiveness. It is when we are forgiven that we find it possible to forgive, – through God’s grace.

We sometimes hear or read about horrific stories of criminal abuse – unforgivable. Forgiveness is difficult. But we do come across horrific stories where crime and abuse has been forgiven, even though the perpetrators have to accept the legal consequences of their crimes. But that has to be through God’s grace, whether it is recognised or not. That is when we can experience what that woman experienced when Jesus said to her, neither do I condemn you, “Go now and leave your life of sin.

When Jesus frees us from our sinfulness we are then able to free others from our judgments; we won’t want to sin against Jesus anymore by holding prejudices or scores against others. That’s the difference in the way the Pharisees looked at the Law of Moses and the way Jesus looked at the Law of God.

Jesus saw the Law, whether the Law of Moses or the Ten Commandments, as friends and not the enemy. The Apostle Paul points out in Romans 7:7-13 that it is sin that is the enemy, not the Law. As the One who gave the Law of God to Moses in the first place, Jesus knew its intention. It was to guard and protect His people. When asked which was the greatest law, Jesus answered, “Love the Lord your God with all your heart, and your neighbour as yourself” (Mark 12:30-31). As a summary of the Ten Commandments Jesus saw the Commandments as guides to keep us on the right track; to keep us from hurting ourselves as well as from hurting others.

When all her accusers retreated under the scrutiny of the Law Giver himself, Jesus told the woman, ‘neither do I condemn you, leave your life of sin.’ Jesus saw the Law as being remedial – rather than punitive. Jesus didn’t come to this world to be punitive. We read in Luke 19:10 that “The Son of Man came to seek and to save the lost.” The Laws given to Moses by God were about him and his forgiving grace.

If only the interpreters of Sharia Law could see their laws that way too.

The Ten Commandments might be best termed the Ten Principles. They have a double role. When we break them they point us to a need of a Saviour and the need for forgiveness.

The 20th Century Evangelical preacher, Dr, Martyn Lloyd-Jones said in his exposition on the Book of Romans, ““The Apostle Paul never makes light of the Law, he never disparages it… A man who speaks disparagingly of the Law merely shows he is a defective and ignorant Christian… If you do not see the Law being honoured on the cross of Calvary you have never seen the true meaning of the death of Christ: it is essentially an honouring of the Law.”

That is how Jesus used the Law of God with this woman. Condemned by her actions, the Pharisees, unwittingly became agents in bringing her to Jesus, where she found pardon. Said Jesus, “Neither do I condemn you, go sin no more.” The commandments are guides that when observed keep us from harming ourselves or harming others.

For the Pharisees that should have been a new way of looking at both Laws, the Law of Moses and the Law of God. And because Jesus saw those Laws that way, that woman found a forgiving friend in Jesus.

The irony in this story is that while Jesus sent the woman on her way sinless: without condemnation; the Pharisees disappeared one by one carrying their sins that Jesus had exposed, with them, unrepentant – and unforgiven.

Interesting to see Jesus application of the two laws in this story, the Laws of Moses and the 10 Commandment Law of God (Exodus 20:1-17). The Law of Moses would be the 5 first five books of the Bible, which includes the 10 Commandments. The woman had broken the 7th commandment. She had met Jesus and went home like she hadn’t broken any; she was forgiven. The Pharisees had met Jesus too, but he had provided enough evidence written in the dust of the ground of what they were really like, but they went away unrepentant, and guilty before God. It is a surprising twist to the story; the Pharisees’ expectation to see the Law carried out, and then to see how Jesus applied it.

But that is where Christian belief is so different from any other belief. There is no force used in the Christian faith. God doesn’t force people to love him. If he did it wouldn’t be love. The Apostle John tells us in his 1st Epistle (4:19) that the power of the Gospel is that “we love, because he first loved us.” There is the drawing power of the Christian faith. We call it, “Grace, God’s Marvellous Grace.”

Posted in Faith & Obedience, Forgiveness, Jesus, Law of God, Punishment, Salvation, Saved by Faith, Saved By Grace, The Gospel, The New Birth | Comments Off on Death Sentence For Woman Caught In Adultery

China’s Largest NGO Is Christianity!

There are five things you need to know about faith in China, says Evan Osnos, and one is that Christianity is China’s largest non-governmental organisation.

3) Christianity: China’s largest N.G.O.
“The Chinese constitution guarantees freedom of religion, but the right is narrowed by regulations against proselytizing and other activities. Officially, China recognizes five religions — Taoism, Buddhism, Islam, Catholicism, and Protestantism — and believers can worship in state-controlled settings. More than twenty million Catholics and Protestants attend churches run by the Chinese Catholic Patriotic Association and its counterpart the Three-Self Patriotic Movement. But more than twice that number worship in unregistered “house churches,” which range in size from small farmhouse study groups to large semipublic congregations in the cities. The house churches are not legally protected, so authorities can tolerate them one day and shut them down the next, if political orders came down to tighten up. The Party is under increasing pressure to change the way it regards the desire for faith; China today has sixty to eighty million Christians, a community as large as the Communist Party. Li Fan, a secular liberal writer, told me, “Christianity has probably become China’s largest nongovernmental organization.””

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Is There Evidence For Jesus Outside The Bible?

“The reliable Gospel eye witness accounts aren’t the only ancient description of Jesus. There also non-Christian descriptions of Jesus from the late 1st to 5th Century.” Read on the non-Christian accounts by J. Wallace Arnold here:

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The Deity of Christ

Each generation has to know the ‘Teachings of Christianity’ for themselves. When it comes to our salvation the Father did not send someone inferior to pay the consequences of our sin and rebellion. Only the Creator could redeem his fallen creation. The Son, equal with the Father and the Holy Spirit, came to redeem his own creation (Philippians 2:5-8).

“Faith in the deity of Christ is necessary to being a Christian. It is an essential part of the New Testament gospel of Christ. Yet in every century the church has been forced to deal with people who claim to be Christians while denying or distorting the deity of Christ,” says R. C. Sproul: . . .

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