From the Editor

From the Editor

From the Editor

Andrew Smith

Dear Friends

I am excited to be working on the first edition of the Omega
Times Quarterly Update. I trust you extract encouragement,
comfort and learning from these pages as we continue the work God
has given to us. The work (ministry) given to us incidentally is
spoken about in 2 Corinthians 5:18-21, it is the work of
‘Reconciliation’. We are each called to this work as
ambassadors of Jesus Christ. What a paradox to be discussing
reconciliation in today’s divided world of factions,
opinions and diverse beliefs.

The following is broken into sections for digestion
purposes.

World view...

I would like to begin by discussing ‘World view’.
What do we mean by world view? We each have one, which in turn
drives our conscious and unconscious thinking, in turn directly
influencing our behaviours. A most powerful mechanism, yet even
on a good day, we see through a glass darkly – so these
personal perceptions must be tempered with objectivity, and
wherever possible, a spot of supporting evidence. It has been
said "Sometimes we believe because of the evidence, and other
times, in spite of it."

Recently I read a very useful article (1) where the writer
looked at the five constant sources of ‘authority’ in
today’s marketplace world. These are: Reason (rationality,
deduction), empiricism (induction, scientific method), intuition
(subjectivity), history (memory, past events), and revelation
(sacred writings and the physical world). In our understanding of
belief it is most helpful to know which authority we are
appealing to, and why. Furthermore, in matters of ultimate
importance – living, raising families, social welfare,
death, employment... it is vital to be aware of the strengths or
weaknesses inherent with drawing from any such authority.

It’s impossible not to have a world view BUT we
believers have Scripture (Revelation), which certainly changes
ones outlook. The Word of God is a true ‘Living
document’ for today. I would put my trust in this ancient
book light years ahead of adopting many of the views of people
who believe they have ‘progressed’ beyond its
relevance. We have whole societies in the West who provide ample
proof that we in our cleverness have not advanced, but actually
regressed in terms of social development and life-skill
competencies. Indeed the bible teaches simple truths which are
central to family, and community. To avoid the tough questions
concerning family and community is to avoid reality, for if one
cannot effectively function in these two areas, how can one
possibly operate effectively elsewhere?

Authority... Revelation

Without an agreed foundation clearly identified, "rights
speak" must do two things: 1). It will slowly become its own
authority; and 2). It will eventually be manipulated by the
State.

"In 2004, this is probably the most disputed source of
authority because it presupposes the existence and reality of God
or some form of deity.

Revelation speaks of an external world which is beyond time
and space, and neither deductive or empirical..."(2). When the
Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) was being discussed
after world war 2, the nature of authority was explored at
length. (3)

The Chinese delegate, P.C. Chang, the Indian delegate, Mrs
Lakshmi Menon, and the French delegate, Mr Solomon Grumbach,
along with many others accepted the notion of inherent dignity
because it was consistent with their own thinking and their
desire to be "practical". They would not however accept any
foundation argued for strongly by the Lebanese delegate, Charles
Malik, who suggested that dignity resided in men and women
because they were created in Gods image. The question of
authority was stark. The delegates were reminded of Jacques
Maritain’s conclusion (in the UNESCO philosophers
committee) that the nations should reach practical agreement on
basic principles of human rights without achieving a consensus on
their foundations. (4) Pragmatism won the day.

Community...

The word community implies that there are certain things which
are held ‘In Common’. These may be beliefs, goals,
ideas, property – and must include a common submission to
principles which are accepted as central and imperative.
Incredibly, in the days we are living, we see such disruption to
family life that within a family nucleus it has become
commonplace to find family members who hold little ‘in
common with one another.’ Sadly, we witness the
disintegration of family community even amongst those of the
household of faith.

This brings us to the point! What began at the Tower of Babel
(5) is culminating in April 2004 and beyond, in today’s
world of diversity. The scenario is fairly straight forward
– the whole earth was of one language, and a common belief.
Acting independent of God, the people wanted to build a city,
with a tower which would reach into the heavens; the people
wanted an identity apart from God. Gods response was that He
mixed up the commonness of the people by 1. Confounding the
language (many languages) and 2. Scattering them throughout the
world. Cultural diversity was born, and would produce many
painful consequences.

Even as believers, we face the complexities of cultural
diversity at regular intervals. "Why don’t you take the
Word of God at face value" someone hisses. Another responds "Ok!
Your face value or mine?" So off we run to the authorities which
best serve our purpose – the pursuit of validation and
support. This we must do – because we want to make right
decisions. Debate is great, if it comes from the right spirit.
Pride brings contention and mean-spiritedness.

The latest issue is of course "The Passion of Christ"
movie.

Who Speaks For God?

The human tendency of ‘following every wind of
doctrine’ is no new thing – Paul exhorted the
Ephesians in a better way (6). Please note the all important
context of Paul’s exhortation: "The unity of the spirit
– in the bond of peace."

Ironically, the moment a Christian writer utters such
‘fluffy words’, we are drawn and quartered and named
liberal and apostate. God knew many, many generations ago the
heart of man, and that even His Word would be used for personal
gain and the oppression of others.

We may look to our peers for consensus as we circum-navigate
the mine-field of Christian perceptions... but often this proves
futile. Finally we click – we ought to fear God and
not men! This means – we don’t need to tow a party
line.

Paul gives further instruction as to Gods provision of the
fivefold ministry gifts – assisting us to grow in the
knowledge of Christ. Furthermore, Hebrews 1 tells us "that God
has in these last days spoken to us (directly) by His Son."

The Spirit of God will speak to us today – how
wonderful! The individual’s ability to discern between
right and wrong becomes a matter of conscience, Scriptural
guidance and sound Bible teaching. Often, these will override our
world view.

Discernment

In this edition of Omega Times Quarterly Update I am
thrilled to present several articles to assist you with your
discernment. I must say that many of the comments I hear from
believers about all sorts of issues, seem to most often fit the
category of subjectivity (a view with personal prejudice),
although dressed up as objectivity (a view without prejudice). As
the editor of this bulletin, I will endeavour to provide you with
some meaty objectivity to consider. A progressive understanding
of God’s Word and Gods ways is our desire.

I have received a lot of information about "The Passion of
Christ" movie – and must say I struggle with some of the
‘truth claims’ made (almost like tabloid press), even
though I have not seen the movie. In this edition of the OT,
writer Phil Siataga provides varying perspectives on the
topic.

I consider the early fruit of the Passion movie to be as
follows – 1. It has believers divided; and 2. In my own
experience, I have had numerous worthwhile discussions with
non-believers about Jesus, a result of this movie; 3. Because Mel
Gibson was/is deeply influenced by A.C Emmerich, Catholic
extra-biblical writer (and mystic) there is a spiritual dimension
at work. I suspect we will witness over time conversions to
Catholicism (as a form of Christianity) rather than to Christ. We
will watch with interest.

In response to the claim that the movie is anti- Semitic, I
believe it prudent to look at the Scriptural account of what
actually took place – the actions of the Romans, the Jews,
and of course the redemptive God factor.

The Jewish people have always denied being responsible for the
Lord's death, which is in one way correct as Yeshua died because
of the sins of every one of us. He even said Himself that noone
takes His life, but He freely gives it. But it is recorded in the
Bible that Pilate wished to release Him, but the Jewish crowd,
urged on by their leaders, demanded that Yeshua be crucified.
They accepted the responsibility as they cried "His blood be on
us and on our children." Matthew 25:27 (NKJ). Again, the movie is
most likely a very accurate account of what happened, and it is
impossible to faithfully follow the Biblical account and to
overlook the reality of the day. To tell the truth about the
Jewish people’s involvement cannot be called
anti-Semitic... Because of wrong teaching handed down from many
of the already anti- Semitic early church fathers, new Christians
are never taught that the Jews didn't kill Yeshua, but they
sacrificed Him. If it had been taught that Yeshua the Lamb of
God, came to Earth to be a Levitical sacrifice, and only the
Jewish people could prepare such a Holy sacrifice, acceptable to
God, then instead of being called "dirty Jews", they would have
thanked us for performing our God given duty. They would have
realised that if the Jews hadn't called for His crucifixion, then
Yeshua would not have died on the cross that day to seal the New
Covenant, and the Gentile nations would still be dead in their
sins, with no hope in the world of salvation (Ephesians 2:12). (7)

So, "Who speaks for God?" The most authoritative voice on the
subject is God. His Word is the absolute objective truth and He
calls us to become ‘lovers of it’. As such we will be
challenged daily to take up our cross and follow Him. We find
ourselves in all sorts of situations where we can do one of two
things: take on the mind of Christ, or default back to our
‘oft subjective’ world view.

Until we are delivered from this body of our humiliation,
until we shake off our mortal coil and have our eyes liberated
above our very finite world view, to the ‘eternal
view’, can I formally suggest that humility become our
closest companion – that in our truth claims we push the
cross.

In Jesus Christ - The Lord
Andrew E Smith


(1) See Bruce Logan, Evidence Magazine No.9 2004 "Who’s
the boss – a question of authority".
(2) Bruce Logan
(3) See Mary Ann Gleeson, A World Made New, (NY; Random House
2001)
(4) See Third Committee, ninety seventh meeting, Oct 8. 1948; and
one hundredth meeting, Oct 12, 1948, 127.
(5) See Genesis 11.
(6) See Ephesians 3.
(7) See David Silver of ‘Out of Zion Ministries’
http://www.out-of-zion.com/