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Martyred for the Gospel

Martyred for the Gospel
The burning of Tharchbishop of Cant. D. Tho. Cranmer in the town dich at Oxford, with his hand first thrust into the fyre, wherwith he subscribed before. [Click on the picture to see Cranmer's last words.]

Collect of the Day

The Fifth Sunday after the Epiphany.
The Collect.

O LORD, we beseech thee to keep thy Church and household continually in thy true religion; that they who do lean only upon the hope of thy heavenly grace may evermore be defended by thy mighty power; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

Daily Bible Verse

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

The Sola Panel | Responding to disaster



"God’s judgement is a very unpleasant subject to speak about or to preach about. But it is the most real factor in life. We are surrounded by the judgements of God, and we do ourselves or others no kindness by skating lightly over or ignoring the reality of judgement. However we must always speak of it as persons equally deserving of it, yet saved from it, I trust, by the love of the Lord Jesus Christ who bore it for us." --D. Broughton Knox--



The following is quoted from a radio talk given by D. Broughton Knox, an Evangelical Anglican who was part of the Sydney Diocese of the Anglican Church in Australia. It's taken from the Sola Panel website. The quote is from Volume III of the Selected Works, although no page numbers are given.


The Australian community suffered a severe shock when Darwin was devastated by a cyclone on Christmas Day. Now that the rescue operation has been completed and thoughts are turning to rehabilitation, we should reflect and assess what the disaster means. Hard on the heels of Darwin came the Hobart bridge tragedy, where further lives were lost suddenly and unexpectedly. In between the two events, newspapers have been reporting on the destruction of Pakistan (where thousands of people have lost their lives) and the famine in North Africa (which has brought death to tens of thousands, particularly in Ethiopia). Misfortune and sorrow overtake all of us during life, and sometimes we suffer more severely than others.

The Bible story of Job is an illustration: he was an excellent man—upright and generous—one who feared and reverenced God, as chapters 30 and 31 of the Book of Job make clear. Yet he suffered terrible misfortune: he lost all his property, he lost his family through a whirlwind, and he lost his own health for a long period of time. Yet it is plain that these events were under the control of God. Though they did not originate with God but with Satan, in the end they brought a very great blessing to Job in the form of deepening experience and fellowship with his Heavenly Father. So misfortune which overtakes Christians should be turned into blessings, for that is the purpose that God allows them. The only real blessing that counts in the end is a deepening experience of God, and we may rejoice in our trials if this is the outcome.

But there is a further very important point to stress. If looked at carefully, it will be seen that we deserve every misfortune that comes into our life (even though God intends it not for judgement, but for blessing). We deserve God’s judgement because we do not fear and reverence God in the way we should. We are not single-minded in serving God as, for example, our Lord Jesus Christ was. Anything short of his perfect character is wrong, and deserves correction and punishment. Thus we deserve the very misfortunes that overtakes us, and we should accept them as stepping stones back to God.

But we must not think that those who suffer are more deserving of judgement than those who escape; we all deserve it equally. This was the message that Jesus emphasized in the catastrophes that took place in the community during his ministry. Pilate the Roman governor had executed some Galileans, and Jesus asked his hearers whether they thought that these victims were more deserving of their fate than those who escaped. This would perhaps be the natural view, but our Lord repudiates it. I quote his words from Luke 13:2-3: “Do you think that these Galileans were worse sinners than all the other Galileans, because they suffered thus? I tell you, no; but unless you repent, you will all likewise perish.” Our Lord then went on to comment on another incident: it would seem that a tower had collapsed in Siloam and killed some of those standing close by. Jesus again asked his hearers, “[T]hose eighteen upon whom the tower of Siloam fell and killed them, do you think that they were worse offenders than all the others who dwelt in Jerusalem? I tell you, no; but unless you repent, you will all likewise perish.”1 We may conclude that those who suffered as a result of the cyclone in Darwin or the accident at Hobart were not necessarily any worse than their fellow citizens, but the point that Jesus underlined was that we all deserve judgement and we will all receive it unless we repent of our godlessness: “Unless we repent, we will all likewise perish”. Jesus’ words were literally and terribly fulfilled a few years later in the destruction of Jerusalem and in invasions by Roman armies, ravaging the countryside. His hearers suffered much more fearful and terrible deaths than the Galileans or those on whom the tower fell.

The lesson to us Australians should be plain: are we going to sink back into complacency, pleasure seeking, money making and sexual indulgence? Or will we repent and wake up to God, who controls all the events of life and our eternal destinies? Nothing happens purposelessly. The collapse of the tower of Siloam should have been a warning that all deserve the same fate. The loss of life and loss of property in Darwin and Hobart should be a warning to us too. We deserve the same judgement. Our Lord warns that unless we Australians repent and cleanse our lives and our society, we will all likewise perish—perish not only as a nation overwhelmed by some enemy, but perish also individually and eternally. That is what we deserve and that is what we will inevitably receive, unless we repent of our godlessness and selfishness, recognize Jesus as the Lord and saviour to whom we look for forgiveness and salvation, and hallow God’s name in our own lives as well as in our national life.

God’s judgement is a very unpleasant subject to speak about or to preach about. But it is the most real factor in life. We are surrounded by the judgements of God, and we do ourselves or others no kindness by skating lightly over or ignoring the reality of judgement. However we must always speak of it as persons equally deserving of it, yet saved from it, I trust, by the love of the Lord Jesus Christ who bore it for us.

Do you sense the justice and imminence of God’s judgement? Then repent, turn back to God, fear and honour him, acknowledge Jesus as the Lord and call on him, and he will save you, now and always. He will change you from being under God’s wrath into being in his presence so that even death, whenever it comes, will no longer be a part of God’s judgement. Instead death will be transformed into a gateway for fuller fellowship and joy in the presence of God.
1. Luke 13:4-5.

To view the original posting click here: The Sola Panel | Responding to disaster

D. Broughton Knox Selected Works: Volume III: The Christian Life. Tony Payne and Karen Beilharz, eds. (Kingsford: Matthias Media, 2006). Pp. 201-203.

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