Saving the 8th: Thoughts on Truth, Personhood, and our Capacity for Compassion

Saving the 8th does more than save lives

Saving the 8th amendment does more than save lives: it preserves our society. It does this by grounding us in the true fundamental realities of existence, namely the personhood of the unborn and the human obligation to other-person-centred love.

When we refuse to speak truth – society dissolves

At various points in the history of a society people have been able to step back and observe its descent and disintegration. Alexander Solzhenitsyn lived during the height of communist Russia and wrote of its horrors in his work, The Gulag Archipelago. He points out that one of the reasons why things became so unbearable was that truth became corrupt at every level of society, from the individual, to the family, to the government itself. In Stalin’s Russia no one could be trusted and therefore no one could be truthful. 2 out of every 5 people were government informers. Think about that this meant that you couldn’t speak the truth to those closest to you for fear of recrimination.

Others have also pointed to the necessity of continually speaking truth and refusing to swallow lies. Ghandi, Mandela and others have all concluded that what happened in their respective societies was that individuals refused to speak the truth and instead spoke lies.

There then is a goodness about speaking the truth even in the midst of a society that refuses to hear it. The truth will set us free after all!

This is why, on the issue of abortion, it is crucial that we don’t remain silent, that we think carefully about these issues and in doing so commit to speaking truth and refuting lies. Voting “No” on May 25th would be commitment to the truth of the value of the unborn.

What makes a person?

Fundamental to this issue is the question of “what constitutes a person?”
Assuming, of course, that we are all against killing “people”, the argument seems to run that an un-born child is not a person and so it is morally acceptable to terminate a pregnancy. This is why people use terminology like “tissue” or “clump of cells”.

Well why is it not a person? When does a clump of cells become a person? The issue here is that if you draw the line anywhere other than conception you draw a false line that would include adults among those whom you would “terminate”.

For example, someone might say “a person is someone who is independent and a foetus is dependent on its mother”. But aren’t we all dependent on others at various points? To say nothing of severely disabled people who are dependent on their carers are they not persons?

Philosophers like Peter Singer have taken this sort of thinking to its logical conclusion. If a foetus isn’t a person because it is dependent on its mother, then why draw the line at birth? He writes, “Human babies are not born self-aware, or capable of grasping that they exist over time. They are not persons…the life of a newborn is of less value than the life of a pig, a dog, or a chimpanzee.”
See what he is saying? Because babies are dependent on their mothers and not cognisant of their surroundings, they are not persons!

American University philosophy professor Jeffrey Reiman has asserted that unlike mature human beings, infants do not “possess in their own right a property that makes it wrong to kill them.”

Take a moment and absorb that…

Others might say “he or she is only a person if they have a heartbeat”.
And yet there are plenty of cases where an adult’s heart would not beat without medical intervention do we refuse such treatment?
What then do we do with people who have pace makers fitted? Are they no longer a person?

Or perhaps you say that a foetus isn’t “sentient” or has limited brain function and therefore cannot perceive the world in the same way as a fully developed person?
What about those in a coma are they no longer people?

What about whether the foetus is wanted?
We seem to confer personhood on those we “want”. You go into a maternity hospital and because the majority of pregnancies are desired, people don’t think twice about using the language of “child” and of doing everything they can medically to preserve that life. Yet the language of abor-tion tends to dehumanise the unborn because they are unwanted.

However we must recognise that there are plenty of people in our society who have been rejected and who are unwanted by the people around them are they still people? Would it be morally acceptable to end their lives? In fact don’t we have a moral obligation as Christians to embrace those whom society rejects?

The 20th century saw dreadful examples of people who were dehumanised by those who saw them as undesirable. These unwanted people were killed in their millions: Hitler’s Germany, Stalin’s Russia and Mao’s China are a sobering warning of how easy it is to kill someone if you consider them to be unwanted or less than human.

The Christian worldview maintains that human beings have intrinsic value by virtue of being image bearers of God (Gen. 1:26-28). This innate nature endures regardless of the circumstances of their conception, whether or not they are wanted and despite any disabilities or limitations that may possess. The science attests to this in that conception brings about the creation of a genetically unique and distinct individual.

It’s only potential human life

Some may respond that an embryo isn’t a human but of a lesser status perhaps describing it as a potential human life. But what do we mean when we say this? We mean that given normal conditions it will develop into a fully formed human. It would arguably be more accurate to describe it as a human life with potential. The key difference between you as an unborn child and now is time!

But even if someone is only willing to admit that it is a potential life surely they must concede that given time and natural processes, it will realise that potential and become a fully formed human be-ing and is therefore of more value than an indiscriminate lump of tissue?

Perhaps you aren’t sure if it’s a human life or not? What should you do then?

Imagine you are driving at speed down a dark road. In the distance you see a the outline of something in the path of your vehicle. You think that it might be the figure of a person but you aren’t sure. What do you do? Do you press down the accelerator full speed ahead! Or do you exercise cau-tion, stop the car and find out for certain whether it is a human being in your path?

If you aren’t sure whether an unborn child is a human or not surely you should err on the side of caution and vote NO?

What about Rape?

Our health minister Simon Harris made an impassioned speech at the beginning of his introduction of the 8th amendment referendum bill stating that he, “could no longer live in a country where a women who was raped was forced to travel to another country to have an abortion”. He also made a highly emotive argument about sparing women the heartache of having to carry a child with a “fatal foetal abnormality”.

His words are a deep plea to our sense of compassion. Rape is an abhorrent and despicable act and why wouldn’t we want to limit the suffering of any woman who has endured such a violent ordeal?.

However, we must step back and recognise the flaws in this sort of argument.

First, the Rape Crisis Network Ireland stated that in 2013 there were 2036 reported sexual assaults. Of those 90 resulted in pregnancy. This means that 4.4% of the total number of sexual assaults ends in pregnancy.

The vast majority of abortions in the UK are carried out for “social reasons” i.e. a woman already has several children and does not want any more and so elects to have an abortion.

Should we make a wide ranging provision for such a small percentage of cases? Perhaps the victims of an horrific assault are not best served by a procedure that itself can impact a woman’s mental health? And why are we seeking to end the life of a child conceived in horrific circumstances when it had no part in (or responsibility for) the manner of its origins?

“Fatal Foetal Abnormality”

The repeal of the 8th amendment would allow the Oireachtas to legislate widely on the issue of abortion. Abortion up to 12 weeks is only the first law proposed and we can anticipate more wide reaching provisions. Yet as it stands the 12 week law would grant an abortion “without specific indication” i.e. without the mother having to give a reason. However in the case of so-called “fatal foetal abnormalities” (such as anencephaly) abortion would be permissible up to term (40 weeks).

For an article from a medical doctor outlining 20 reasons why we should think twice about aborting a child with anencephaly click the here.

But notice also the language changes between cases. At one point the unborn are an indiscriminate “clump of cells” and yet people (like Simon Harris) implicitly confer personhood to the unborn in circumstances such as FFA when he speaks about the traumatic nature of losing a child. He cannot have it both ways. It cannot be tissue at one point and then a child whose untimely death is tragic at another. People don’t weep for ill developed tissue, they weep for children.

Is suffering to be avoided?

One of the unchallenged assumptions held by those who would be proponents of abortion is the idea that all suffering is a mistake and should be avoided. The reason for this is an a priori belief that suffering is meaningless. So the logic runs:
– The mother will suffer mentally or physically
– All suffering is meaningless and should be avoided
– Therefore it must be avoided
– Abortion minimises the suffering of the mother and is therefore a good thing

Or in the case of so-called “fatal foetal abnormality”:
– This will have no “quality of life” or will be a tremendous burden.
– Suffering is meaningless and should be avoided
– Therefore the compassionate thing to do is to end the life of this child

Let’s probe this at two levels:
1. Does abortion end the suffering of the mother?
2. Is suffering meaningless or does it have a purpose?

First, there are a host of complications associated with abortion that are not well publicised. These include infection to the uterus or fallopian tubes that can lead to infertility. There is also the emotion-al distress of undergoing an abortion to consider. The risk of mental health issues is particularly high for women who are young or who have had previous pregnancies.
The sad reality is that “many counsellors believe that the psychological trauma of abortion can re-emerge many years after the event, can affect men as well as women and has some features in common with post traumatic stress disorder”

Second, as Christians we must challenge the assumption that suffering is meaningless and should therefore be avoided. This does not mean that we seek out ways to suffer, rather it is an acknowl-edgement of the nature of the world God has made. The secular mind hates suffering, sees it as an interruption to the proper function of life and seeks to avoid it all costs. Part of this avoidance is the lack of philosophical and emotional resources within that worldview to deal with suffering when it comes along.

And it not just again the secular worldview that the Christian view of suffering stands utterly unique, as Tim Keller writes:

“Christianity teaches that, contra fatalism, suffering is overwhelming; contra Buddhism, suffering is real; contra karma, suffering is often unfair; but contra secularism, suffering is meaningful. There is a purpose to it, and if faced rightly, it can drive us like a nail deep into the love of God and into more stability and spiritual power than you can imagine.”

If God is not there (the secular worldview) then of course suffering is ultimately meaningless, it is the blind indifference of the universe and we should seek to avoid it at all costs. Our highest ideal therefore is personal happiness and that becomes the metric governing our decisions. Perhaps there are higher ideals to aspire to than individual personal happiness? Study after study shows that people who do NOT have children are generally happier than those who do. Should we then conclude that there is something inherently wrong in having children or do we change the orienta-tion of our life away from the pursuit of mere happiness and to the pursuit of other-person-centred-love.

Christianity maintains that there is a God who works even in the midst of pain and suffering to bring about his good purposes. This means that our grief and pain, while terrible, are not without meaning they make us who we are, they clarify what we value, they elicit dependence on God, they drive us to him.

This is the hope that lies in the Christian worldview that even when circumstances are at their bleakest and most hopeless there is still meaning, purpose, hope and the potential for human flourishing. The resurrection of Jesus from the dead is a potent reminder that suffering is meaningful even when we cannot see it.

Killing the weakest amongst us dissolves our capacity for compassion

90% of Down Syndrome pregnancies in England and Wales end in an abortion. What that means is that those who might be considered among the most vulnerable in a society are systematically wiped out. Virtually an entire group of distinct, beautiful, image bearers, because of their higher level of dependency or assumed lower quality of life, have been exterminated. Yet below the obvious tragedy lies a deeper one when we opt to kill the weakest amongst us, we stunt our own capacity for compassion, generosity and love.

Love always chooses the harder of two roads. It says that this is the more difficult path and chooses to walk it anyway for the sake of the other. This is the difference between love of self and love of others. Love of self demands that you die for me love of others lays down its life. It sacrifices time, money and dreams for the sake of the other and in doing so finds itself enriched.

When we choose to kill the weakest amongst us we give ourselves over to the worst of our nature rather than striving for those higher ideals encapsulated in the gospel love of God and love of neighbour (this includes our unborn neighbour).

Compassion also necessitates the speaking of truth into a situation, especially in the cause of op-posing harm. We speak the truth about abortion to people because to fail to do so is to stand by while people pursue that which would harm and enslave them.

I began by painting a fairly dystopian view of the world when truth is eroded and it is likely that society wont immediately collapse should abortion become legal in this country. However, do not underestimate the spiritual, psychological and sociological force of legalising abortion. It is suppressing the truth of the created nature of human beings, of the reality of God and the inherent dignity he bestows upon us. To suppress the truth in the Biblical mind is to become less human, to de-create ourselves in the name of autonomy and personal freedom. We do not find ourselves more complete but more estranged from our God-given capacity for other-person-centred love. We become more alienated from one another, more fearful and more adrift in a sea of moral relativism. In short, we suppress the truth at out peril! Remember, societies disintegrate when the truth stands silent in the streets. Let the truth about abortion and the truth about the Good News of God’s free grace to us in Jesus ring loud and clear across this land.

For more information visit Love Both.

Sources used:

-http://www.rcni.ie/rape-pregnancy-and-abortion-in-ireland-rcni-release-new-figures-today/
-http://www.cmf.org.uk/resources/publications/content/?context=article&id=148
-Walking with God through pain and suffering, pg. 30

My First Sunday in Dublin

 

 

 

Written by former City Church member Elizabeth Reilly

 

My first Sunday in Dublin, I put on my boots, zipped up my raincoat and walked northward across town, checking google maps every 2 minutes. As I tried to calm the butterflies in my stomach, I noticed the streets were empty. Was I the only one headed to church? As I approached St. Patrick’s cathedral, the church bells tolled and I watched the tourists snap pictures on the lawn. I may have taken a photo or two myself.

As I neared the doors of City Church, I remember feeling nervous and marveling at the fact that I had never had to “church shop” before. I had been following Jesus for a while and yet, I was anxious.

Would anyone talk to me? Would this church be the right fit? What would the music be like?

I hail from Tallahassee, smack dab in the middle of Florida’s panhandle. On that first Sunday, I was aching for my community. The glamour of life abroad had worn off and I was very aware of my need for friends.

Within 10 seconds of setting foot into City, I was welcomed, talked to and force fed biscuits. In short: I was made to feel at home. During the service, a committed member of the church sat next to me instead of her husband –perhaps, because she knew I desperately needed a buddy that day.

I had a list of churches to consider in Dublin. City just happened to be the first. Yet, after that day, I decided to stay. Not because it matched every requirement on my “must-have checklist” but because I knew community when I saw it. And because I had found there is beauty in the choosing.

By making a choice to commit early, I had more time to invest in the people of City. I spent 4 short months in Dublin and yet, by the end of my time, I felt I had truly built a life there. I had real life-long friends and a community that knew me. I had been challenged and comforted. I had laughed until I cried and cried until I laughed. I had a place that reminded me that sometimes the best self-care practice is other-centered love.

I have been challenged recently by the verses: “Bear one another’s burdens and so fulfill the law of Christ…each will have to bear his own load” (Galations 6:2-5). During a recent bible study, we compared these two words: burdens and loads, marveling at the juxtaposition of individual responsibility and a call to dependency. I am called to carry my own “load.” Simultaneously, there are burdens that I cannot carry alone. Burdens that feel so overwhelming I could suffocate from the weight of them. This is where the Kingdom of God comes in. My sisters and brothers in Christ’s household come to my aid through the grace of God in prayer, correction, encouragement and real, tangible support. It is the most beautiful thing!

I am an only child. I was raised by a single mother most of my life. My family is small by most standards. YET, when people ask me about my family, my brain fills with snapshots of my spiritual sisters and brothers –my older sister Sarah, my younger brother Benjamin. These are my family members. These are the people who come when I am in the hospital waiting room or need a ride to the airport at o’dark thirty…or who kick my butt when it needs kicking!

This is community. This is what makes God’s Kingdom different from any other earthy Kingdom –that all are welcome, no matter your blood lineage or status. So, I leave you with this: if you find yourself in a foreign land, do a little research, find a church and plug in. Make it a priority to meet with people outside of the church walls. Do something fun with them. Treat them like brothers and sisters. Ask real questions and give real answers. Look to serve alongside them. In short, say “I’m in!” to the Kingdom of God wherever you find yourself.

At the end of your time in that place, you might just find that your family has become that much bigger and your heart has been changed for the better.

Blog Update: Abby Zwicky

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I’ve been struggling with a way to accurately sum up the more important things that have been happening in my life since I’ve been here, the spiritual growth and character development I have gone through. Going into this trip, I had no idea what to expect, and I had my doubts as to whether or not I was making the right decision in going. Everyone’s excitement to have me come did little to quench the trepidation I felt in my heart about not knowing what I’d be doing, who I’d be living with, and whether I’d develop any kind of meaningful relationships. During my first week in Ireland, however, God very graciously reminded me that I am not here in order to get something out of the trip for myself. I am here to serve Him and bring Him glory, and I can do that no matter what I’m doing or how lonely I am. He reminded me I need to trust that, when He has called me to something, He will provide in His perfect way.

 

Since that first week, God has continued to bless me through the people I meet at City Church. I have never been among a group of people who so truly exemplify what Christian community ought to be. Though this is only my third week here, I already feel like I am a part of the family, for family is really the best way to describe it. Most of them are in Dublin for less than two years, due either to the length of their job or their education, but they do not let this hinder them from giving their all to the church and those who are a part of it. The people who stay at City Church see the value of committing to a church wholeheartedly, despite any time limits they may have. This has been a great encouragement to me to step out of my semi-introvert bubble, stop worrying about the awkwardness of getting to know new people, and invest in deep, meaningful relationships.

 

Through these experiences, God has been gradually pushing me out of my comfort zone (though there’s still a long way to go!), showing me that when I give up my fears and insecurities to Him, He gives me strength to do what I thought was impossible. Six months ago, I would have never imagined myself in Ireland doing ministry; I was all set with my quiet life, working and spending time with family and friends, and generally not doing anything too exciting. I was quite comfortable in this life, but God had a different plan. And now that I’m not quite so terrified of it as I once was, I’m really glad He did.

 

“Now to Him who is able to do far more abundantly that all that we ask or think, according to the power at work within us, to Him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, forever and ever, Amen.”

Ephesians 3:20-21

Weekend Away

img_8051One of our City Dwellers has been reflecting on her experience of our first ever weekend away. Here’s what she has to say.

 

WEEKEND AWAY

WALK IN UNITY

WALK IN LIGHT

PUT ON THE WHOLE ARMOR OF GOD

These themes encapsulated these past 2 1/2 days at the Castledaly Manor in Athlone, County Westmeath (pretty much in the dead center of Ireland), thanks to Gary Ellison.

City Church Dublin ventured out on our first ever weekend away on Friday evening to return to our beloved city this afternoon refreshed – if not slightly tired – and edified. After spending a few weeks in church diving into the apostle Paul’s letter to the Ephesians, Gary joined us at Castledaly with his wife Allison to expand upon and ignite deep thought about chapters 4-6.

These past 3 days welcomed 3 speaker sessions, 3 times of worship, 6 meals, endless snacks, team competitions, 1 game of Settlers of Catan: Cities & Knights, a few games of Uno and Spot It! and a few walks. The result is a fuller picture of the body of Christ and a deep desire never to leave my City family. But as we were sorrowfully reminded as we closed our last session this morning, “to everything there is a season, a time for every purpose under heaven” (Ecclesiastes 3:1). Fortunately for me in this transient church family of ours, I am the first to leave (and thus will be crying just once) – May 10th – to be quickly followed by students and interns and workers who are all fortunate to call Dublin home for either just a short time or just a few months out of the year. To commemorate this together, we shared aspects of City for which we’re thankful and things that are hard about this time. The resounding consensus is this:

City Church Dublin does an exceptional job of teaching and seeking to learn from the Bible, God’s living Word, and living out the Gospel truths evident within. Members of City embrace every newcomer, not despite their residential timeline, but because of it: they recognize time is precious and that church is a body of believers meant to encourage, strengthen, and ultimately send one another out for the Great Commission – to share the good news. I can only pray I find a home church like City in the next place I go. And as Dave so beautifully reminded me, I now have a piece of City; I have been immeasurably impacted by its love and grace and now have the wonderful opportunity to grace the next place I go with a touch of City – of the body of Christ living out the Gospel thousands of miles away. The reflection on our thankfulness for City’s embrace of international brothers and sisters coming together, for however long, placed so much more beautiful emphasis on Gary’s teachings. So I’ll share a bit of his messages with you now. [some pictures at the bottom]

 

WALK IN UNITY {EPHESIANS 4:17-32}

We are different – set apart – called to live lives that consistently contradict the world around us. That set apartness brings unity among us who center our lives around Christ.

Outside of Christ we are corrupt: of futile minds, darkened understanding, and blind hearts. It is through Christ we are made new, lifted from our old selves into righteousness and holiness (being set apart) [vv.17,18,24].

But you have not so learned Christ, if indeed you have heard Him and have been taught by Him, as the truth is in Jesus: that you put off, concerning your former conduct, the old man which grows corrupt according to the deceitful lusts, and be renews in the spirit of your mind, and that you put on the new man which was created.” -vv. 20-24

That’s all fine and good, but practically, where does a Christian differ from a non-Christian? How does the aforementioned transformation affect my everyday life, thoughts, and behaviors both in private and around others?

We must speak the truth. Any words that set out to convey false impressions are lies. We must bring unity in the church through honesty.
how are you? I’m good, how are you?
This is a classic false impression most of us give several times a day. How much richer will our communities be if we bear one another’s burdens and celebrate together through victories? This is a small example, but one that sets the stage for many other conversations throughout the day. Another one:
oh wow, I’ll be praying for you!*never or rarely or lacklusterly prays for them*

Our anger must be sinless. It is okay to be angry, frustrated, upset. When we see injustice, when we feel the brute of sin against us – these are examples of righteous anger. What isn’t righteous is holding bitterness in our hearts by letting “the sun go down on our wrath.” Forgive before the day is done and free your heart from any potential foothold for the devil to fill it with real hatred. When this seems impossible, trust your anger into the hands of God, the just Judge and perfect King – He deals fairly with all and brings righteousness to the unjust. Do not give in to gossip, bullying, retaliation, grumbling, hatred, or unforgiveness.

We must be given to honest hard work. In a world that will do anything to get ahead, we must be different, full of integrity, that we might give all glory to God and share the Gospel through our daily behavior. I’ll skip ahead to chapter 6, verses 5-9: God holds no partiality among His children – so too, whether we are at a managing level or lower employee level in our workplace, we must hold all men in regard and with respect. We mustn’t give in to gossip, bullying, retaliation, grumbling, hatred, or unforgiveness. In doing so, we strengthen our community and are also better able to provide for our brothers and sisters by the fruit of our labors.

Our speech must give way to the glory of God. In a world that so often both values and squanders freedom of speech, let our “conversations be always full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that [we] may know how to answer everyone” (Colossians 4:6). Use it to edify the body of Christ “that it may impart grace to the hearers” (v. 29).

Ultimately I learned to ponder this question: Do I have the frown or smile of the Holy Spirit upon me? The Spirit Who teaches, Who convicts, Who reminds, and Who brings unity by binding us all to Christ and thus to one another. Do not grieve the Holy Spirit who brings you closer to each of these 4 ways to lives as a new man, as “renewed in the spirit of your mind” (v.23).

 

WALK IN LIGHT {EPHESIANS 5:8-14}

Holiness (being set apart) brings light. Therefore, we are lightwe must live as lightwe must confront the darkness.

“If we say that we have fellowship with Him, and walk in darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth. But if we walk in the light as He is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus Christ Hi Son cleanses us from all sin.” -1 John 1:6-7

Need I go on with this one? Use the tactics above in the Walk in Unity section and try to identify areas in your life where you can be the light of Christ in the darkness of this world. Start with home life and work life by examining Ephesians 5:22-33; 6:1-4; 6:5-9. These aren’t easy so seek pastoral advice, online bible commentaries, or reach out to me if you’re really struggling with these ideas. Remember that they SHOULD strike a chord with you – they’re calling us to live lives contrary to the world around us. It’s difficult!

 

PUT ON THE WHOLE ARMOR OF GOD {EPHESIANS 6:10-20}

I’ve always loved the strength we derive from these words, not of our own accord, but by a power far stronger, wiser, and more loving than we will ever be. But today, wow today, I was challenged and encouraged by the idea of spiritual warfare far more than ever before.

We have a battle on our hands.
We have weaponsin our hands.

Paul likens spiritual warfare and our tools against it to a Roman soldier’s tools in battle:

T R U T H is our belt, by which all our armor is secure. When we face temptation, we are facing lies – false teaching – and our job is not to fight these lies, but to be girded with the truth to bring light to the darkness.

R I G H T E O U S N E S S is our breastplate, protecting our front, our back, and all our vital organs in between. It is an essential piece of equipment and one we have only in Christ. Think back to the first section: we are corrupt without Christ and in Him we are “created according to God, in true righteousness and holiness” (Ephesians 4:24).

R E A D I N E S S is our sandals – Roman style – that stand firm in battle, with the finest leather doubled over and secured around our feet. “And how shall they preach unless they are sent? As it is written: How beautiful are the feet of those who preach the Gospel of peace, Who bring glad tidings of good things!” (Romans 10:15).

At Pine Cove camps, you must wear closed-toed shoes when serving in the kitchen. So there’s this sentiment that if you wear open-toed shoes to a meal, you’re essentially saying that you’re not ready to serve in the kitchen if called upon. Much like we are unsure when Jesus will come back to earth or when He will call us home, we can never be sure when or on how short of notice He’ll call on us to share His Word. We need to shod our feet in preparation of battle. To quote a sticker on the back of a car I saw one time, “if you stay ready, you ain’t gotta get ready”

F A I T H is our shield, where we feel most safe and protected, impenetrable by the Enemy. C.S. Lewis said, “faith is the art of holding onto something your reason once accepted in spite of changing moods.” The author of the letter to the Hebrews wrote, “Now, faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen” (v. 11:1). When our thoughts and actions support an intimate relationship with God, our walk brings light into darkness, and out behavior unity in the church, our faith will be increased throughout these experiences.

S A L V A T I O N is our helmet that gives us confidence to go boldly into battle. There is no fear of persecution or defeat in the battle against darkness – spiritual warfare – when salvation is ours to eternally live with God the Father and Christ the Son in Heaven above. Through Christ’s loving sacrifice alone, do we have our salvation and it is by that salvation we have strength to face whatever  attacks when we willingly go to battle.

Why would we go willingly into battle? Let’s recap – we have  a belt holding up our breastplate. Our feet and head are covered and we bear our shield before us. So if anything were to attack, we can defend ourselves. But see, we are called to do MORE than just defend ourselves. We are called to “stand against the wiles of the devil” (v. 6:11). We are to fight the good fight and bring light to the darkness. So how do we do that? With our last tool:

G O D ‘ S  W O R D is our sword, to be used with all prayer and supplication, for the piercing of all veils and darkness and calamity. There’s no way to win a battle huddled in the fetal position waiting for your opponent to tire. If we are to bring the hope of salvation to untouched peoples and pursue holiness in community, we must put on the WHOLE armor of God.

This is so pertinent and the followup is so practical:
study His word. “Meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do according to all that is written in it” (Joshua 1:8). Dive into specific passages and themes until you have a more complete understanding; then move on. Memorize Scripture, not just by the words, but by their intended meaning and instruction and value.

I IMPLORE YOU TO BE THE LIGHT WHERE YOU SEE DARKNESS. I URGE YOU TO “ALWAYS BE READY TO GIVE A DEFENSE TO EVERYONE WHO ASKS YOU A REASON FOR THE HOPE THAT IS IN YOU, WITH MEEKNESS AND FEAR” (1 PETER 3:15). I ASK YOU TO JOIN ME IN PURSUING HOLINESS AND OFFERING OTHERS THE TOOLS TO PURSUE HOLINESS THAT IT WOULD BRING UNITY THAT IS GLORIFYING TO GOD.

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This blog post was originally from Kim’s, Meet The Road Blog.

Does Ireland need the Gospel?

(Warning this post contains strong language)

original

Today we are broken hearted for the city we love as people took to the street to advocate for the destruction of little men and women in the womb. Dublin was brought to a stand still as protestors marched on international women’s day to repeal the 8th amendment.

The following are slogans from the march, we do not share these to shock or to pass judgement but rather to weep and to call our brothers and sisters everywhere to prayers for the city and country we love.

Slogans included:

  • May the foetus you love be gay
  • Keep your rosaries off my ovaries
  • Keep your theology off my biology
  • Not all vaginas belong to women. Keep your language inclusive
  • Not the church not the state, women must decide their fate
  • Thou shalt not mess with a woman’s reproductive rights (Fallopians 4:28)
  • If I wanted the church in my vagina I would fuck a priest
  • Hoes before embryos
  • My body my choice
  • My body my rules
  • Think outside my box

May we never be in doubt that Ireland desperately needs the gospel of the liberating grace of the Lord Jesus.

North Cider or South Cider?

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Over the last term it has been a great joy to spend time with our City Dwellers on a Tuesday night – studying the Bible together, sharing meals, praying for one another and talking about our interactions with those who don’t yet know Jesus.
Some people have travelled for 90 mins or more on public transport because they know the value of meeting outside of the Sunday gathering and are committed to being part of a gospel community in the city.
Before Christmas we plotted a map showing where we all gather from and discovered that, for the first time, we are split evenly between North Siders and South Siders. Our desire then became to multiply into the south of the city. Next month, by God’s grace, we will make that a reality!
We have a new location, leaders, a core team, and we are getting ready to send them off.
As we prepare for this move it is crucial that we continue to pursue the evangelistic desire that has so marked the last term. We must continue to cultivate and deepen relationships with those outside the family of faith. We must be lavish in our generosity as we seek to serve and encourage one another in our walks with Jesus.
Both groups will be smaller as a result of this move. The north side group will feel the absence of their south side brothers and sisters – but that is all the more reason to seek to fill those chairs! Similarly, the south side group has a whole new neighbourhood to speak into, with new needs to address and new friends to make.
On the 1st and 8th of February, this new group will meet socially in their new location to restate our commitment to mission and to pray for this new beginning. If you would like to be part of this south side group (meeting 10 mins from the Bluebell Luas stop on the Red Line), please get in touch with Chris@citychurchdublin.ie to express your interest.

Quarterly Update

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QUARTERLY UPDATE – SEPTEMBER 2016

Please CLICK HERE to access our quarterly update to keep informed on everything happening and ways that you can pray for Dublin & City Church.

 

 

 

City Church Dublin