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November 2013

Truth on Trial – Part One

Thousands of years ago Isaiah the prophet thundered to his generation and nation; “Justice is driven back, and righteousness stands at a distance; truth has stumbled in the streets, honesty cannot enter. Truth is nowhere to be found, and whoever shuns evil becomes a prey.”
This indictment is probably true of many nations in the world today but it is particularly true of my nation, South Africa. Isaiah could have been speaking directly to us.  As I write this I can hear the news droning in the background – government officials  trying to prevent the Public Protector’s report on the millions of public funds spent on developing the president’s private residential complex from going public – the much criticised secrecy bill now passed by parliament – a former freedom fighter responsible for the deaths of civilians and recently up on charges of drunken driving proposed as the head of the police watchdog organisation! Yes, truth has stumbled in the streets and is about to sprawl headlong into the gutter!
I have recently released a revised edition of ‘Truth is The Word’. It is about restoring a lost focus on the one who is truth itself, the Lord Jesus. In the introductory chapter I write;
‘We are living in an age when, as in the days of Isaiah the prophet, “truth has stumbled in the streets”, and is “nowhere to be found” (Isaiah 59:14–15). In our day, we have reduced truth to just another aspect of personal or community preference. Relativism  and pragmatism  rule. The motto of the age is ‘If it appears to work for me, then it must be true’. This is not just prevalent in society, business, and politics, but is also a dominant mind-set within the church. I do not believe we should allow ourselves to default into this mind-set.’
In my next post I want to explain and illustrate both Pragmatism and Relativism, and in future posts I plan to pick up different sub-themes from the book and present them to you in short ‘word bytes’.

When Jesus stood before Pilate, the Roman governor, Truth was on trial…and it still is.

Truth is The Word – Restoring a Lost Focus has recently been revised and published in e-book format. Find out more from the author on Jesus, truth and biblical interpretation in this revised edition! 

Truth on Trial – Part One Read More »

Strange Fire and Unholy Smoke

Last month Dr John MacArthur convened an anti-charismatic conference and fired his latest written salvo against Pentecostals. Both the conference and the book were called ‘Strange Fire’, an appellation taken from Leviticus 10 where the sons of Aaron offered unauthorised offerings to the Lord and as a result were consumed by fire. MacArthur and other speakers made huge assumptions based on superficial and flawed interpretation and research. In the final analysis they charged most of the 500 million charismatics and Pentecostals in the world with blasphemous doctrines and practices and assigned them to the status of unbelievers. When criticised for dividing the church MacArthur tweeted the now infamous, ‘We are not trying to divide the body of Christ with this conference. We’re trying to identify the body of Christ’. That about sums up the tone and content of the conference.
I am not going to add to the growing number of responses that have already been published such as Frank Viola’s ‘Pouring Holy Water on STRANGE FIRE – A Critique of John MacArthur’s Strange Fire and Charismatic Chaos.’ You can download this paper without charge provided you do so within the next 10 days or so –
Instead of castigating, analysing, and countering I would rather pose a simple question; ‘what would Jesus make of this and how would He respond?’ This is a question we can attempt to answer because of the wonderfully sufficient revelation in scripture. We can get a good idea of His nature and character from what He said and did and we can then apply this to the case at hand.
Consider how Jesus dealt compassionately with the woman caught in the act of adultery recorded in John chapter 8. Read again his charitable response to the ‘unauthorised’ man who was driving out demons in Jesus’ name (Mark 9). Then mark well that the only people He really got angry with were the Pharisees!
Would Jesus approve of the aberrations, antics and smoke and mirrors of SOME charismatic pastors and evangelists? Clearly He would not! What He said concerning blasphemy against the Holy Spirit in Mark 3:29 would no doubt apply – but I fear it would apply even more directly to those who attribute the work of the Spirit of God to the devil! Would Jesus approve of sweeping generalities, harsh judgments and pseudo-intellectual elitism? No He would not!

They say there is no smoke without fire. What the few high profile charismatics sometimes do is indeed ‘strange fire’ unacceptable to God. However, what MacArthur and company are doing is just unholy smoke. What a sad and tragic combination. May the Lord Jesus have mercy on us all.

Strange Fire and Unholy Smoke Read More »

About Me

My name is Christopher Peppler and I was born in Cape Town, South Africa in 1947. While working in the financial sector I achieved a number of business qualifications from the Institute of Bankers, Damelin Management School, and The University of the Witwatersrand Business School. After over 20 years as a banker, I followed God’s calling and joined the ministry full time. After becoming a pastor of what is now a quite considerable church, I  earned an undergraduate theological qualification from the Baptist Theological College of Southern Africa and post-graduate degrees from two United States institutions. I was also awarded the Doctor of Theology in Systematic Theology from the University of Zululand in 2000.

Four years before that I established the South African Theological Seminary (SATS), which today is represented in over 70 countries and has more than 2 500 active students enrolled with it. I presently play an role supervising Masters and Doctoral students.

I am a passionate champion of the Christocentric or Christ-centred Principle, an approach to biblical interpretation and theological construction that emphasises the centrality of Jesus

I have been happily married to Patricia since the age of 20, have two children, Lance and Karen, a daughter-in-law Tracey, and granddaughters Jessica and Kirsten. I have now retired from both church and seminary leadership and devote my time to writing, discipling, and the classical guitar.

If you would like to read my testimony to Jesus then click HERE.