January 11, 2012

Christians Are Called To Shine With the Glory of God

In January we begin a New Year and many people pause to reflect on their lives and make resolutions on what to do in the New Year. It helps if you have some idea of the purpose of human life. As Christians we are different because we do not believe that the purpose of life is to die with the most toys, the biggest house or the largest investment portfolio. Christians believe that the purpose of life is to be a sign of the glory of God. The Readings chosen for today remind us that God chooses holy people and reveals Himself to them so they will be filled with joy and reflect His glory.

1.     God chooses holy people
The Readings include two call stories – the call of Samuel and the call of Nathaniel. Why is Samuel chosen instead of the priestly sons of Eli? If we read around the call story we learn that the two sons of Eli had blasphemed God, had not repented and had not been rebuked by Eli. Both Eli and his sons had made themselves unholy by their failure to respect the authority of God. In contrast, notice the humility of Samuel. Notice how he never even thinks that God might want to talk to him. His life is focussed on serving God by serving Eli.

January 6, 2012

Reply to "Mormons are indeed Christians" letter to National Post

 (This is the original text of my letter which was shortened and published in the National Post on January 5, 2012)
Mormons are very good people who live exemplory lives reflecting Christian
values but they are not really Christians in the original meaning of the
word. Christians, to quote from the Anglican Baptism questions "put their
whole trust in Jesus Christ as their lord and saviour." They depend on
grace, the forgiveness of sins and eternal spiritual life through repentance
and faith in the atoning sacrifice of Jesus on the Cross and regular
participation in communion with other Christians. In contrast the Book of
Mormon and the resulting new religion has established a path to salvation
which is more based on works and personal morality - i.e. self-salvation;
and does not respect the spiritual equality of women. Christianity is based
on the 66 books of the Bible which include over 3,000 years of verifiable
prophecies, historic events and settlements. The Book of Mormon was a
revelation to one individual whose occupation according to the US Census was
"treasure hunter", was claimed to have been translated from 'Ancient
Egyptian' which is a language unknown to Egyptian linguistic scholars and
describes ancient civilizations with large cities that have not been
detected in spite of modern satelite imagery and ground probing radar. The
bottom line - or perhaps the top line is that sadly their churches are under
what looks more like a phallic symbol than a cross.

Rev. John Gishler, M.Div., Calgary