The Name of Jesus (Acts 4)

Had the privilege of sharing with Nancy’s Life Group. And it seemed the right moment to share four thoughts from Acts 4:

v.1-12 SALVATION is found only in the name of Jesus.

v.13-22 There is always OPPOSITION to the name of Jesus.

v.23-31 There is POWER in the name of Jesus.

v.32-37 People are granted supernatural UNITY in the name of Jesus.

Tyndale advocated ‘the divine right of kings’

Well, I hadn’t realised this! Apparently, Tyndale, the great bible-translator and martyr, was the origin of the idea that the king of a country was the head of that country’s church, rather than the pope. His book ‘The Obedience of a Christian Man’ is said to be the first instance, in the English language at any rate, of advocating the divine right of kings, a concept mistakenly attributed to the Catholic Church. It is believed that the book greatly influenced Henry VIII of England decision in declaring the Act of Supremacy, by which he became Supreme Head of the Church of England, in 1534. Later, Tyndale’s opposition to Henry’s divorce from Catherine of Aragon earned him the king’s enmity, but when Tyndale was arrested by the Roman Catholic authorities in Antwerp in 1535, Henry’s chief minister Thomas Cromwell attempted unsuccessfully to intervene on his behalf. Tyndale was executed for heresy the following year.

(see Wikipedia)

Charles Simeon’s Struggles to Pray

Early rising did not appeal to his natural tendency to self-indulgence, however, especially on dark winter mornings. . . . On several occasions he overslept, to his considerable chagrin. So he determined that if ever he did it again, he would pay a fine of half a crown to his “bedmaker”. A few days later, as he lay comfortably in his warm bed, he found himself reflecting that the good woman was poor and could probably do with half a crown. So, to overcome such rationalizations, he vowed that next time he would throw a guinea into the river. This (the story goes) he duly did, but only once, for guineas were scarce; he could not afford to use them to pave the river bed with gold. (H.C.G. Moule, Charles Simeon, London: InterVarsity, 1948, p.66)

‘Genesis 1 gives science the firmest possible foundations’

The realities spoken of in Genesis 1 provide the scientific enterprise with its firmest possible foundations:
1. Laws up above.
2. A world out there.
3. Minds in here.

Thus says Glen Scrivener, whose thoughts on the matter are well worth reading in full.

Hot Fuzz

Suppose that one was to transpose the action of an American cop film into the idyllic setting of the rural English village. That is the essential premise of this film, and as such it is a fascinating exercise in cross-cultural communication — remember, Britain and America are two civilizations ‘separated by a common tongue’. And of course — this is vital to note — British police officers do not typically possess firearms.

Some will complain that the film is full of violence and gore — and admittedly, I did not particularly want my baby boy wandering into the room while fountains of red liquid erupted from the wounds of those injured by the narrative. But the truth is that the violence here is deliberately unrealistic and absurd, and the fact that it is impossible to distinguish the movie’s blood from spurting tomato ketchup is a running joke that becomes an important plot device.

What this film really is, is a rallying call for men to hold on to their youthful idealism, to not be bullied by some myth of a ‘greater good’ into losing their basic integrity and their desire to somehow bring justice to the world. That this is inevitably poses difficulties when it comes to maintaining some sort of work-life balance is a challenge the film looks square in the eyes but the response of Hot Fuzz is one of brotherly wisdom.

‘I know it’s difficult to switch off from your work,’ the film says. ‘And I don’t want you to lose your sense that your job is intrinsically connected to the triumph of good in the world’s war against evil. But if you’d just learn to sometimes switch off, you’d discover that the brotherhood and inspiration that you discover in occasionally relaxing with the boys will turn out to be essential tools in the mission you have to do.’

Or more concisely: ‘I know you’re busy–but come to the pub, and then we’ll watch a movie. It’ll be worth it!’

From a Christian perspective, you could say that it’s somehow about the skill of Sabbathing.