Bits and Pieces is a random collection of news and views compiled by Dr. Frank McClelland for Toronto F.P.C.
The Government of Ontario has begun to relax the meeting restrictions on churches. They are allowed to open with a maximum of one-third of the building’s capacity. The Toronto church is considering these matters carefully and prayerfully. The Session and Board feel it would be wise to hold off on opening for public services at this time. They are concerned for the safety and well-being of everyone and especially the most vulnerable. Today and next Lord’s Day services will be on sermonaudio.com, the adult Bible class at 9.00am, and the morning and evening services at 10.00am and 5.30pm. The Sunday evening prayer time is at 4.30pm on zoom, as is the Wednesday evening prayer meeting at 7.30pm. Those on the mailing list will be informed of any change.
LORD CAREY’S PTO REVOKED
Last week we reported on the Free Presbyterian protest, in May 2000, against ARCIC (Anglican and Roman Catholic International Commission) meeting in Mississauga, Ontario. Its objective was to get some sort of acceptance of the pope as “universal Primate” of the church. It failed. Part of that protest was to deliver a letter to then Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr. George Carey. Now, this week, Carey (84) is in the news again by having his PTO (permission to officiate) revoked by the Bishop of Oxford meaning that he cannot take part in Anglican services. The reason is that new evidence, linking him to the late lawyer John Smyth, a convicted abuser, has surfaced. Although there are no allegations against Carey of abuse yet his relationship to Smyth is under review. It would be unusual for such a high churchman to be banned from the pulpit. [BBC]
NAPOLEON AND JESUS
Napoleon Bonaparte was not known for religion, he was a French Army General. But in his exile on the rocky island of St. Helena, he turned to Count Montholon with the inquiry, “Can you tell me who Jesus Christ was?” The question being declined Napoleon said, Well then, I will tell you. Alexander, Caesar, Charlemagne, and I myself have founded great empires…upon force. Jesus alone founded His empire upon love…I tell you these were men: none else is like Him; Jesus Christ was more than a man…He asks for the human heart: He demands it unconditionally; and forthwith His demand is granted. Wonderful!… All who sincerely believe in him experience that remarkable supernatural love towards Him…Time the great destroyer, is powerless to extinguish this sacred flame… This is what proves to me quite convincingly the divinity of Jesus Christ.” [Cited from The Scriptures of Truth by Sidney Collett. P 323].
A MORE EXCELLENT WAY
Love, or charity, has rightly been called the “queen of Christian graces.” Paul states that, “the end of the commandment is charity” (1 Timothy 1:5). It is a grace essential to true godliness. Many believers could not discourse upon the deeper points of Christian doctrine, but all know something of love. It is the chief of virtues. A person may be great in faith, or be a notable philanthropist, or possess outstanding wisdom and knowledge. He may be a gifted orator and expounder of God’s Word, but the absence of love is fatal to all these gifts and negates their effectiveness. Love is important, being the sum total of the law. The great commands direct our love first to God and then to our neighbor. On these, said Jesus, hang all the law and the prophets.
There are many mistaken views about what love is. It does not involve just giving to the poor, as in the modern meaning of the word charity. It does not mean that one can never disapprove of another’s conduct or religious views. Sometime the greatest expression of love is to point out error and try to guide a person away from sin and towards God.
There is also a strange love in some pulpits today that commends the wicked and condemns the righteous, that protects the guilty and exposes the innocent, that thrives on ritual but has lost touch with reality, that says, “it is well” when in fact the soul is on the broad road to destruction. The Lord pronounces His woe upon such “love.”
The first expression of the Christian’s true love should be to the One who first loved us, Jesus Christ. Then it should extend to our family members, those of the household of faith, and the ungodly whom we hope to reach with the Gospel message. True love is the root of all Christian service. “The love of Christ constraineth us” [11 Corinthians 5:14]. “Faith, hope, charity, these three; but the greatest of these is charity.” [1 Corinthians 13:13).
“Suspicions subtract, faith adds, but love multiplies. It blesses twice – him who gives it and him who gets it.” [C.T. Studd].