September 2019

Hope Feature image

We All Need Hope

Top image of HopeWe all need hope. The three greatest qualities of a Christian are surely Faith, Hope, and Love. They are also the three greatest needs in the world today.

Hope Defined

We can best define love as unconditional self-giving, which is the opposite of the self-serving greed that drives our world system. One way of understanding faith is that it is complete trust and confidence in God. This is something greatly lacking in the world and, sadly, in much of the church where it has been replaced with faith in faith, or faith in wealth,  or science, or self.

A good way of understanding hope is that it is an expectation of future good, light shining in a dark place and an anchor for the soul.
For many of us, the light of hope has become small and uncertain. Our current politics, economy, the levels of violence, and our personal stress weigh more towards hopelessness than hope. The conditions in the Apostle Paul’s day were also violent and stressful yet this is what he wrote to the Christians in Rome: ‘May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit’ (Romans 15:13).  Here he identifies God as the source of hope, the one who gives us hope. But, hope in what?

Our Eternal Hope

Above all else, the hope that God gives to those who trust in him is eternal life. No matter what happens to us here and now, we have the expectation of continued life in the presence of the Lord. Paul expressed this in his letter to Titus as follows: ‘When the kindness and love of God our Saviour appeared, he saved us, not because of righteous things we had done, but because of his mercy. He saved us through the washing of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit, whom he poured out on us generously through Jesus Christ our Saviour, so that, having been justified by his grace, we might become heirs having the hope of eternal life’ (Titus 3:4-8).

Hope for Today

However, God also provides hope for here and now.  But what is the hope we have for the here and now?

  1. We believe that Jesus is always with those who are born again of His spirit. Matthew 28:20 records the Lord’s assurance to His disciples; “Surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”
  2. Our hope is that, because of his presence in our lives, ‘We know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose’ (Romans 8:28-29).
  3. Our hope is based on the fact that we trust Jesus completely. John 4:1 has, “Do not let your hearts be troubled, you trust in God, trust also in me.” So we have the hope of his ongoing presence with us, the expectation that he works in and through us to achieve the highest good, and we hope because we trust him. Therefore, we can have the joy and peace of which Paul writes.

Romans 15:13 again: ‘May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit’.

Joy is a calm delight, and Peace is quietness, rest, oneness with God, with others, and with life in general. These are the results of placing our hope in God, of believing him and trusting him.

When Joy and Peace are Missing

I have been going through a period where my level of joy and peace has been low. Among other things on my mind, the condition of our nation seeks to rob me of joy and peace. But many folk I know of have, in addition, very difficult personal circumstances, financial problems, relationship breakdowns, and so on. However, all of us need to take to heart Paul’s words in chapter 14 vs 17 of Romans: ‘For the Kingdom of God is not a matter of eating and drinking, but of righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Spirit.

Now, if this does not describe our current reality, then what should we do about it? Here are two things that I believe we should and can do to re-anchor our souls. Firstly, spend more time with the Lord in Bible and prayer dialogue. And I do mean ‘dialogue’, which is talking to him in prayer and reading the scriptures with an openness to his talking back to us. Secondly, we should cry out to him to fill us again with the sense of his presence and the Holy Spirit, and expect him to do just this. Luke 11:13 “If you sinful people know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your heavenly father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him.” These seem so obvious and simple, but it is often the obvious that we do not see and the simple that we do not do.

Overflowing Hope

However, the benefits of hope should not be restricted to our own joy and peace, because others are supposed to benefit as well. God expects us to overflow with hope to others. Hope is a bright light we are to shine into the darkness that engulfs so many fellow believers. Many are overcome by the darkness of the world today. Perhaps the deepest darkness engulfs those who have hoped in medicine, or advice, other people, or even in their own ideas of what God should do for them. Proverbs 13:17 states that ‘Hope deferred makes the heart sick.’ Do you think we can just say to these people, “It will come right”, or “you will soon be out of pain”, or “you will get a job”, or “in time your broken heart will heal”?  Is this the hope we are to offer them, the light we shine into their darkness? No, surely not! Rather, what we can and should do is shine a light focused not on their human expectations or fallible possible solutions, but on Jesus. Show them Jesus in their future, Jesus with them now, and Jesus working good in all things.

Three New Questions

As the face of Jesus our true hope comes into focus, then the questions so often asked in difficult times fade and three new questions form:

How can my current condition help me to know Jesus better?

How can this help me to become more like him? and

How can I use this to help others to know and become like him?

Hope for Unbelievers

However, we also need to shine the light of hope into the lives of those who are not yet believers in Jesus Christ. Ephesians 2:12 describes the condition of the unbeliever as ‘without hope and without God in the world.’ The Apostle Peter also wrote, ‘in your hearts set apart Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect.’ (1 Peter 3:15-16). The world needs light, our nations need the light of hope, and Jesus said that we are the light of the world because we know the source of light. the Lord Jesus Christ himself!

A Work of the Holy Spirit

Now, while Jesus is the object of our hope, the Romans 15 text makes it clear that the overflowing of our hope is a work of the Holy Spirit. When we, as individuals, overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit, we call it renewal. When the church on mass overflows with hope in Jesus in the power of the Holy Spirit, we call it… revival! And what South Africa, and indeed the world needs now more than anything else, is true revival!

‘May our Lord Jesus Christ himself and God our Father, who loved us and by his grace gave us eternal encouragement and good hope, encourage your hearts and strengthen you in every good deed and word’ (2 Thessalonians 2:16-17).

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Truth is The Word Report Back


I think it is time to give a Truth is The Word report back. My son Lance interviewed me recently for a blog he has started. Here are the main questions and summaries of my responses. They constitute a reasonable idea of the status of the ministry and should prove interesting to anyone who has been supporting the effort to restore the lost focus on the Lord Jesus Christ to the church.

Chris, tell us about Truth is The Word.

TITW is a Jesus-centred repository of resources. At present, it consists only of my life work, but I have plans to include other authors later. It is part of a worldwide mission to restore the centrality of Jesus to the church.

I started it in 2006 (13 years ago) on BlogSpot (now called Blogger) but moved it to its own domain in 2014. In that year, it averaged 20,000 hits per month. By 2018, this had grown to 70,000, and in this year so far it is averaging 120,000 hits per month.

What does the ministry comprise of?
On the site, you can find Blog posts, Podcasts, articles, books, sermons and links to the social media accounts.
How many blogs and podcasts have you produced, and what has been your most popular production?
I post twice a month and produce two podcasts (TruthTalks) per month. So far, there are 560 posts on the site with 780 comments, and the TruthTalks have been listened to by 8600 unique visitors. The most popular post to date is “The worm has been turned” which attracted 250,000 hits in the space of two weeks. Click HERE if you would like to read this particular article.

There are also  3 major books and 4 Christian QuickReads on the site (Click HERE) as well as over 100 articles, 40 videos (on the linked Youtube channel) and 110 sermon audios and notes.

What is your vision for Truth is The Word and your plans for the future?
I am presently concentrating on Amazon Kindle publishing, and also starting to refocus on church leaders as a primary audience. I will also be broadening the scope of articles to include all of ROADS, which is an acronym for Relationships, Outreach, Anointing, Doctrine, and Structure – Five ingredients of a healthy growing church. All articles will of course have a distinctly Jesus-centred perspective.

My medium term plans are to build the subscriber base and then eventually open the site to other authors, theologians and church leaders as a platform for Christocentric publishing in general.

Do you get enjoyment from it?
Yes, I do. I love preaching and writing and I derive great satisfaction from being part of the mission to restore the centrality of Jesus to the church.
So, as you can see, we are growing and we can grow even more with your assistance. Sharing posts always helps to get the word out, and so would sending this link to your family and friends… 

Thank you for reading the posts and for your comments. Kindest regards.

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Feature Image Apostates TruthTalks

TruthTalks: Apostates in the News

Top Image Apostates TruthTalks

A dictionary definition of Apostasy is ‘an act of refusing to continue to follow, obey, or recognize a religious faith’ and I will leave it to those who know Hillsong’s Marty Sampson and his circumstances to determine the extent of his ‘falling away’.

In this TruthTalk, Dr Christopher Peppler deals with certain aspects of the recent apostasies reported in the news. If you missed the original post of this please click HERE. If you would like to listen to the audio of this post with added explanations, press play on the button below.


Thank you for taking the time to listen to this TruthTalk.

Kind regards, Karen (Admin)

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Apostates Feature Image

Apostates in the News

Apostates Top ImageOf late there have been several apostates in the news. Most recently, two fairly well known ‘Christians’ proudly declared that they had renounced their Faith. One of them was Hillsong’s Marty Sampson who recently announced on Instagram, “I’m genuinely losing my faith.” Christianity Today  has reported on his apparent apostasy, so I won’t attempt to summarise or evaluate Marty’s reported utterances.

A dictionary definition of Apostasy is ‘an act of refusing to continue to follow, obey, or recognize a religious faith’ and I will leave it to those who know the man and the circumstances to determine the extent of his ‘falling away’.

One Reason for Modern Apostasy

What I want to pick up on is Marty’s reported frustrations about the Christian faith and apparent contradictions in the Bible. He posted “”How many miracles happen. Not many. No one talks about it. Why is the Bible full of contradictions? No one talks about it. How can God be love yet send 4 billion people to a place, all coz they don’t believe? No one talks about it”. Well, I want to talk and write about it, but perhaps from a perspective that may be different to that of the many critics of people like Marty Sampson.

Marty is a high profile representative of an alarmingly large group of intelligent men and woman who fall away, to one extent or another, from orthodox Christian belief. Many of them suffer a crisis of faith because they cannot reconcile the biblical record with science, modern morality, or common sense. They learn of the well-established theory of macroevolution, but then their Christian mentors tell them that the cosmos is really just a few thousand years old because the Bible ‘says so’. The Old Testament appears to them to depict God as wrathful, petty, and vengeful, yet their pastors tell them that although God is love He also has an ‘angry’ face. They identify anomalies in scripture that seem to be distinct errors yet their theologians inform them that the Bible is inerrant and that ‘errors’ are just the perceptions of uninformed and spiritually immature readers. And these are just some of the more obvious issues that trouble many people, not to mention Hell, evil, predestination, and so on.

My Position on Scripture

For any reader who doesn’t already know where I stand, let me state that I believe in the inspiration of the Bible and regard it as entirely trustworthy. However, I differ from many of my contemporaries in my understanding of the Bible’s purpose and how it we should understand what it is saying. Although I may differ from some orthodox theologians on these matters, I am in good company – actually, the best company. We just need to read the Sermon on the Mount  to realise that the Lord Jesus affirmed the inspiration of scripture yet, almost in the same breath, informed the learned men of His day that they were misunderstanding what the scriptures taught.

Let me state my essential thinking on the Bible’s purpose and my thought on how to understand what it teaches. If you want my abbreviated statement on the purpose of the Bible, then click HERE. In brief, my understanding is as the Apostle John put it:

Jesus did many other miraculous signs in the presence of his disciples, which are not recorded in this book. But these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name” (John 20:30–31).
My essential view of biblical interpretation flows out of this in that I regard the Lord Jesus as both the author and primary interpreter of scripture. If you want my full view on this then click HERE.

The Nature of the Bible

I believe that the Bible is a divine-human collaboration primarily designed to reveal the character and nature of Almighty God, pre-eminently through His self-revelation in and through Jesus of Nazareth. The Bible is exactly what God wants it to be, apparent anomalies and all. It’s divine purpose includes revealing the sinful ways of humanity, good and bad examples of responses to His instruction, and the way we can be eternally reunited with Him. It is not a science textbook nor a theological dictionary. It is a testimony to God and His ways and man and his ways.  Now, if people like Marty Sampson understood this, then why would they have a crisis of faith when encountering biblical ‘problems’?

Let me offer one possible answer to my question. It is highly likely that the mentors of men like Marty have taught them that the Bible is inerrant because The Holy Spirit dictated all its words (impressed upon the writers just what they should record). If there are any ‘errors’ that can not be attributed to scribal incompetence then it would mean that God is in error. So “just accept everything and contradict nothing or you will be guilty of blasphemy!” (my own possibly overstated words and not a quote).

I have covered this idea in my book ‘Truth is The Word’ , but it must be obvious, at least I think it is obvious, that some thinking men and women of integrity are likely to struggle with any concept of total inerrancy. Perhaps some of these folk, like Marty, would not even consider walking away from the Christian Faith if they had a different understanding of the purpose of the Bible and of how to interpret its contents.

Inerrancy of Scripture

In 2006 I wrote a short article on biblical inerrancy which you can find HERE. One of my favourite theologians when it comes to biblical inspiration is the late Clark Pinnock. His major work on this subject  ‘The Biblical Principle: Reclaiming the Full Authority of the Bible’ contains excellent comment on inerrancy. Unfortunately, this book is not available on Kindle. You can read Steven H Propp’s review of the print version on Amazon HERE and click on the ‘Look Inside’ to get a general idea of the book’s contents.

Final Thought

I don’t know Marty Sampson and I have no detailed information on why he thinks as he does. I have no knowledge of his testimony of salvation, nor of his life as a church worship leader. However, perhaps we should be gentler in our criticism of him and a little more challenging in our criticism of the kind of fundamentalist dogma that makes total inerrancy a litmus test of true faith.


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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.