July 2022

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The Metaverse

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We all know about the internet and we have become familiar with the word Cyberspace, but what is the Metaverse, and what difference could it make to our lives?

As with a previous subject, Critical Race Theory, this is a topic that I felt I needed to know more about, so this article is the product of the research I have done over the last week or so. I am sharing it with you because I am reasonably sure that the Metaverse will be looming big in our lives within the next five years. It is all so new and untested that I cannot draw too many conclusions from what I have found, but I do have some questions that I believe need answering… from a Christian perspective. I am a theologian and not a sociologist or a futurist, and so my concerns are mainly around the effect the Metaverse is likely to have on our spiritual lives.

What is The Metaverse?

I guess that place to start is to define what the term Metaverse means.

In the fewest words possible, the Metaverse is a virtual-reality cyberspace in which users can interact with a computer-generated environment and with other users. It is an online 3D universe that continues to exist in cyberspace whether or not individuals are logged into it.

This digital world consists of whatever its creators choose to make it and will include office space, learning areas, entertainment, commerce, sport, and anything else imaginable. Its inhabitants are digital representations of real people called Avatars, which can move, talk, teleport from one place to another, change form, and eventually even feel, smell, and taste.

There are already several versions of a Metaverse in existence, but for simplicity sake I refer to The Metaverse throughout this article. Several big tech and social media corporations are hoping to align their offerings so that users can pass seamlessly from one to the other in what will amount to one giant Metaverse.

Image from secondlife.com

Second Life is a virtual platform that probably gives the best current presentation of what the Metaverse will be like. It is only one of many in existence already and although it is controversial, some say it is the very first example of a metaverse It is a vast 3D-generated virtual world filled with user-generated content where people can interact with each other in real-time and also hosts a thriving in-world economy. The platform was officially launched to the public by Linden Lab in 2003.  In Second Life residents (users) can do almost anything people do in real life, such as watching movies, listening to music, playing games, going to parties, buying or selling stuff, and creating new content for the virtual world. If you would like to have a look around Second Life then click on https://secondlife.com/

Components of The Metaverse

Some of the kinds of spaces of a digital universe (metaverse) are:

Gaming spaces where people represented by their avatars, can battle each other, conquer armies, build cities, race cars, solve puzzles, go on mythical adventures and so on. Many of these types of games already have versions in the  Metaverse, such as:

  • Axie InfinityA play-to-earn Metaverse game that features fantastical animals called Axies which can be bred, raised, collected, and traded.
  • Sandbox: A software package consisting of three primary products: Modeling objects and avatars in 3D, a Marketplace that allows people to sell their works to other users in its Metaverse, and a Game Maker, where players create 3D games without writing any code.
  • Minecraft: A game where players can compete against the artificial intelligence game engine or each other. They can cooperate or just hang out and build things. In Creative mode, they can build their own world and game, and invite other people to join.
  • Fortnite: Another game where the basic purpose is to remain the last one standing while fighting against other players. Competitors can collect items, explore the world and build structures to gain an upper hand in battle. The Metaverse potential of Fortnite is the worldbuilding possibilities in its Creative Mode, as well as the ability to trade looted and self-made items.

Education and e-learning spaces: The Metaverse provides the platform for eLearning to transform from online, limited interaction offerings, to immersive group and individual learning experiences. In a Metaverse education space, students can interact with a lecturer, the material, and each other while still enjoying the benefits of individualised learning paths and rates of progress.

Social spaces: All the major social platforms, such as Facebook, are adapting their offerings to the enhanced conditions offered by the Metaverse. Facebook (Meta) has already stated that it wants to be the “next evolution of social connection.” It will use virtual reality, augmented reality, smart displays, and other technologies to bring people together under a single overarching platform run by the company.

Business spaces: The COVID-19 lockdowns necessitated the acceleration of an existing trend to decentralisation work-from-home office culture. The Metaverse will have spaces dedicated to individual companies, conferences, think tanks, and so on.

Commerce spaces: Every major retail outlet will be represented in the Metaverse in one form or another. For instance, Nike plans on selling sneakers that the Avatars can wear (no kidding!) and which the actual human can view in 3D space and then order to be delivered. Payment in the Metaverse will be by some form of cryptocurrency (such as bitcoin). The actual items traded in the Metaverse will be in the form of Non-fungible Tokens (NFTs), a sort of digital asset registered against the name of the purchaser.

Other spaces in the Metaverse will include, concerts, political rallies, digital land acquisition and development, churches, etc. etc.

Why we should pay attention now

Hey, that all sounds like a giant computer game, so why should I pay any attention to it? Well, in January 2022, Microsoft announced that it would be investing $70 billion in acquiring Activision Blizzard, the enormous video game developer and publisher, as a means of securing a major spot in the Metaverse. Meta, the company that owns Facebook, has so far invested $10 billion into acquiring and developing hardware and software that provides Virtual Reality (VR) and Augmented Reality (AR) capabilities within the Metaverse. Google is redeveloping its AR offerings and in addition, is investing $39.5 million in a private equity fund for all Metaverse projects. Nvidia is planning to become a key part of the Metaverse’s infrastructure by developing tools, like Omniverse, to help developers bring their visions to life. It also intends to develop digital avatars that people can use to represent themselves in the Metaverse. In November 2021, Unity Software acquired Weta Digital for over $1.6 billion, a company whose innovative Visual Effects tools will help Unity Software to further develop its Real-time 3D technology for use within the Metaverse. Shopify plans to offer a virtual shopping experience in the Metaverse where people can view the products virtually before placing an order for delivery to their homes. Meta (Facebook) also has big plans for e-commerce in the Metaverse. Roblox is interested in the social side of the Metaverse, which will include players using virtual avatars to communicate and build social circles.

Qualcomm has stated that its collaboration with Microsoft represents a shared commitment to Extended Reality and the Metaverse, and that it is focused on inspiring more people to set their sights on this ‘new version of the internet’.

Now all of these giant companies, and others, are investing so much of their time and resources to the Metaverse because they see it as a huge opportunity to influence, exploit and make digital buckets full of money! We need to be paying attention too… but for very different reasons.

Potential dangers of The Metaverse

Over the last few years, we have all seen and suffered from the control and influence of social media. In the wrong hands, something like the Metaverse could be used to manipulate, indoctrinate and even control our lives. Facebook, Google, and others already have access to an alarming amount of information about every user and the Metaverse will multiply the magnitude of this problem by ten. Currently, some virtual worlds are developed on an open-source platform and owned by all contributors through a blockchain system. These will be more or less democratic in nature, but the ones owned by big tech companies and consortiums will be like digital dictatorships and so the risk of control and manipulation will be very high.

Some psychologists are warning that an immersive and seductively engaging Metaverse may well have at least two extremely negative societal effects:

  • It may well create dependency and a form of addiction through Dopamine infusions to the brain whenever someone encounters a new and exciting aspect of the Metaverse or wins a battle or buys something.
  • It may also encourage dissociation from reality and confusion of identity and personality. This is quite likely in those whose everyday life experiences are unpleasant, boring, or meaningless.
I am of course concerned about these negative effects, but my focus as a theologian is more on the influence the Metaverse could have on our spiritual lives, so I will turn to this now.
What did Jesus say?

John 17 records the Lord Jesus’ wonderful prayer for his disciples of all ages. Verses 16-17 read: “They are not of the world, even as I am not of it. Sanctify them by the truth; your word is truth”. From this comes the well-known phrase, ‘we are in the world but not of it’ and reinforcing this idea are the verses that refer to disciples as ‘aliens and strangers’ (Hebrews 11:13, 1 Peter 2:11). It seems obvious that anything that embeds us further into ‘the world’ is a denial of Jesus’ will for us.

Materialism has this effect as does the all-consuming distraction of a digital world built undeniably on the principles and values of Godless hedonism and self-centredness.

The 2018  movie ‘Ready Player One’ starts with the statement, “People come to the Oasis (their name for the Metaverse) for all the things they can do, but they stay because of all the things they can be”. The storyline then shows that this ‘being’ is not a good, wholesome, or God-honouring transformation.

Christian Values

Another obvious danger to Christian values is the focus on ‘self’ imposed by the Metaverse, which in essence is all about what I choose, what I explore, what I experience, and what I want.

Philippians 2:3-4 says  ‘Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves.  Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others’.

1 Corinthians 10:24:  ‘Let no one seek his own good, but the good of his neighbour’.

A theological consideration is that the Metaverse construct moves human spiritual composition into even further conflation with the mind.

We already suffer from this blurring of the distinction between spirit and mind because so much of what we regard as spirituality is in reality just mental engagement.

We are made in the image of God as triune beings consisting of physical, mental, and spiritual dimensions. SO much of today’s Christianity centres on the mental dimension to the detriment of the spiritual. Some ministers present saving faith as a mental ascent and a decision of the will instead of the metaphysical spiritual miracle of rebirth that it actually is. Church services so often exclusively point us horizontally to one another rather than vertically towards God. In the Metaverse it is all about horizontal interactions and experiences and church services presented in a Metaverse religious space will have singing, listening, possibly sharing, and so on, but no ministry in the power of the Holy Spirit.

You see, the Avatars that gather for a church service in the Metaverse are spiritless projections of human egos, but the Holy Spirit dwells in regenerate human gatherings, not in a collection of digital constructs.

The church is a supernatural extended family, the Body of Christ, and the Temple of the Holy Spirit. Already so many seeker-sensitive and institutional churches offer consumeristic benefits of connections, teaching, and so on, but little exposure to the Holy Spirit and his ministry. I am concerned for the authenticity and validity of a ‘church’ located in cyberspace where the members are just sprit-less Avatars. However, Metaverse church services will have a seductive attractional power. People who attend, via their Avatar, will be exposed to the world’s most entertaining and emotionally and mentally stimulating teaching, music, and creative arts, while in the real world the local church offerings are all pretty ordinary. We experienced something of this during the COVID-19 lockdown when we had to rely on services streamed from churches or canned presentations of past productions. The temptation was to hop onto the slick presentations by world-famous church teachers and musicians rather than stick with our humble home church offerings. Of course, many megachurches have capitalised on this form of Christian consumerism for decades.

I am also concerned for Christian families, and indeed families in general. Technology and social media have already waged a deadly war on family communications and relationships. Teens sit in the lounge with their noses buried in their cellphones and parents don’t do much better. They eat and sleep in the same physical space but live lives separated from family love and community. I also feel that the Metaverse will further exacerbate the division between age groups and the marginalisation of the elderly that we currently experience. Older people will probably not adapt to the new technologies and mindset required to ‘live’ in the Metaverse and will become helpless spectators of the meta-folly of their younger loved ones.

The Metaverse may well present advances in education, eLearning, business enterprises and commerce, but I think that it could be very detrimental to biblical Christian values and practices.
Conclusion

I now know more about the Metaverse than I did two weeks ago and I hope that I have conveyed to you its main features. Some aspects of the Metaverse may well benefit humanity, but it seems to me that it will, in the main, be a retrogressive step down the path of human history. In particular, it will pose challenges and threats to the Christian belief system and way of life. I have some more extreme thoughts concerning the role it may play in the descent towards apocalypse, but I will refrain from airing these until I have a far better grasp on just how the Metaverse will develop and evolve.

The Metaverse Read More »

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TruthTalks: Living in the End of the Age

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Are we living in the end times? If we are, what can we do about it?

In this TruthTalks podcast, Dr Christopher Peppler talks about that very matter, citing what Jesus had to say about the end of days, referencing and explaining biblical sources.

If you have your bible handy while listening, turn to Matthew 24 so you can follow along.

If you suspect that we ARE indeed living in those times, or even if you don’t, this TruthTalk is worth a listen! Simply scroll down and click on the play button below, download the audio, or subscribe to our podcast feed and get them delivered directly to your phone. By the way, a map is referred to during this TruthTalks audio, and you can view it in the previous article HERE.

TruthIsTheWord.com is non-profit and we rely on YOU to help us spread the word, so please like, comment, subscribe and interact with us. Alternatively you can show your support by buying one of Dr Peppler’s books HERE

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Living in the End of the Age

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Dramatic weather changes, pandemics, economic woes, and  Russia invading Ukraine have prompted many Christians to wonder afresh if we are now living in the End of the Age.

 

In February 2021 I wrote on this subject under the title of ‘Are these the End of Days?’ where I quoted a lot from what Jesus said and did. The main source of his teaching on the End Times is Matthew Chapter 24 and in this current article, I want to provide further insight into this important passage of scripture. This chapter of Matthew’s gospel is not easy to understand yet it is essential to providing any meaningful answer to the question many are again asking at this time.

Some of the Difficulties

The chapter starts with the disciples asking Jesus a compound question, but the complication is that it is not immediately obvious how many parts the question contains, one, two, or three. How we understand Jesus’ response depends largely on how many questions we think he addresses.

Then there is verse 14 which has, ‘and then the end will come’, counterbalanced by verse 34 which speaks of ‘this generation’ not passing away until everything spoken of has been completed. So, what time period is in view here? The destruction of the Temple in AD 70 or the second coming of Jesus sometime after 2021?

These examples point to the main problem that confronts us – is Jesus speaking about events less than 4 decades in the future, or events thousands of years in the future, or both?

Systems of Interpretation

Theologians love to create names for their ways of thinking and to gather together various texts and ideas under their chosen heading. The study of the End Times (Eschatology) is no exception, and when it comes to Matthew 24 there are at least three schools of thought.

  • There are the Preterists who see the whole of Matthew 24 as referring to the period between AD 33 and AD 70.
  • The Futurists hold that all of Chapter 24 concerns just the events immediately prior to Jesus’ second coming.
  • The Historicists believe that the whole church age is in view to one extent or another.

So what should we do? Should we opt for one of these systems or try to let the passage of scripture itself settle the matter – this is the approach I take.

The Disciples Question

To understand Jesus’ answer we must obviously understand the questions he was answering. He and his disciples had just been in the temple courts where he had confronted the teachers of the law, and pronounced seven dreadful woes upon them. He concluded his diatribe with the words, “And so upon you will come all the righteous blood that has been shed on earth, from the blood of righteous Abel to the blood of Zechariah son of Berekiah, whom you murdered between the temple and the altar. I tell you the truth, all this will come upon this generation” (Matthew 23:35-36). Then he left the temple and as he was walking away ‘his disciples came up to him to call his attention to its buildings. “Do you see all these things?” he asked. “I tell you the truth, not one stone here will be left on another; every one will be thrown down.”’ (Matthew 24:1-2) From there they went up to the Mount of Olives, just to the east of Jerusalem, where the disciples asked him, “When will this happen, and what will be the sign of your coming and of the end of the age?

Premillennial Dispensationalists (Futurists) teach that the disciples’ enquiry consists of three separate questions; (1) When will the temple be destroyed? (2) What will be the sign of your second coming? (3) What will be the sign of the End of the Age? This matches their eschatological system that requires a distinction between the second coming of Christ to gather up the church and a much later End Time Judgement. I do not subscribe to this theological system as I believe it is seriously flawed in several ways. Rather, I understand the disciples’ question as containing just two parts; (1) When will all this take place? (The destruction of the Temple), and (2) Will there be any sign ahead of time to signal your return and the end of the world? (The return of Christ to both remove remaining believers from the Earth and to judge all others, followed immediately by the creation of a new HeavenEarth).

The Structure of Jesus’ Answer

The Lord Jesus answered both of these questions in detail, but the problem we have is to work out where in Matthew 24 he deals with each. Some teachers, like Dr Sam Storms, teach that almost all of the chapter concerns the period up to the destruction of the Temple in AD 70, but then have to contend with several end-of-the-world references like verses 29-31 that just do not fit this scheme. Others, like Tim LaHaye, make the whole chapter apply only to the very end of the age but they have to deal with verses like 34 (and what Jesus said in Matthew 23:36).

There are some observations I can make that help us determine the structure of Matthew 24:

  1. The fact that much of what Jesus said is addressed to the disciples who were with him, but this does not preclude the fact that what he said will also be relevant to future generations. However, it does mean that what he said was indeed relevant to his original hearers within their time frame. In other words, it is not just about the distant future.
  2. There is evidence of editing, or at least rearranging, of what Jesus said. For instance the insert in verse 15 ‘let the reader understand’ as well as the different narratives in the parallel accounts in Mark 13 and Luke 21.
  3. The fairly obvious conclusion is that the disciples associated the destruction of the Temple with the End of the Age – otherwise, why would they frame their composite question the way in which they did?

My understanding of the structure of the passage is that Jesus answered both parts of the question in a way typical of teachers of his time by dealing with one, moving on to the other, and then coming back to the previous question. We find this a lot in Paul’s writings and in many parts of the Old Testament. So, the structure that I discern in Matthew 24 is:

a) Vs 4-14 Relating to the End of the Age

b) Vs 15-23 Relating to the destruction of the Temple in AD 70

c) Vs 23-33 Relating to the End of the Age

d) Vs 34-35 Relating to the destruction of the Temple in AD 70

e) Vs 36-51 Relating to the End of the Age

EDITORIAL NOTE – April 2024: Since writing this article, I have come to understand that a simpler structure of Matthew 24 is: Vs 4 – 29   Jesus’ response to the disciple’s first question concerning the destruction of the Temple.  Vs 30 – 51 The second response concerning Jesus’ second coming and the end of the age

 

The Destruction of the Temple in AD 70 Vs 15-23 and 34-35

Most translations start verse 15 in a way that indicates that it is just a continuation of the previous paragraph – ‘So when you see…’  However, the New Living Translation (NLT) has ‘The time will come when you will see…’ which allows the possibility for the start of a new thought. The underlying Greek text allows for either of these translations, but I think that the NLT is more correct

Jesus refers to an Old Testament prophecy and says: “The time will come when you will see what Daniel the prophet spoke about: the sacrilegious object that causes desecration standing in the Holy Place” — reader, pay attention!  “Then those in Judea must flee to the hills”.  The reference is to Daniel 11:31 which signifies that ‘the Temple would be used for an “abominable” purpose at some time in the future. As a result, God’s faithful people would no longer worship there-so great would be their moral revulsion, contempt, and abhorrence at the sacrilege-and the Temple would become “desolate.”’ (from Nelson’s Illustrated Bible Dictionary).

Luke’s account is a little different and reads, “When you see Jerusalem being surrounded by armies, you will know that its desolation is near. Then let those who are in Judea flee to the mountains, let those in the city get out, and let those in the country not enter the city”. The history produced by Eusebius records that when the Roman armies were marching on Jerusalem, before its ultimate destruction in AD 70, the Christian population of the city took heed of Jesus’ warning and fled the city and relocated in the unique hill town of Pella. Roman soldiers carried the emblems and standards of Rome that the Jews regarded as blasphemous and idolic. When the troops later sacked  Jerusalem and the temple, their presence and their emblems in the Holy Place were to the Jews an absolute abomination that causes desolation.

Matthew 24:21 has, ‘then there will be great distress, unequaled  from the beginning of the world until now — and never to be equaled again’. The historic record shows this to be so. Prior to the siege of Jerusalem, the city was in turmoil with sects and gangs fighting with each other and murdering thousands. When the Romans laid siege to the city, famine and disease added to the dire conditions. Mothers were eating their own children and tens of thousands died of starvation. When the Romans breached the city walls, they systematically slaughtered all the remaining people in Jerusalem save for about 100,000 who they took into slavery. The estimated deaths were over one million people and the slaughter was so great that the blood running in the streets extinguished some of the burning buildings ignited by the soldiers.

Jesus spoke to his disciples about this in AD 33 and all that he predicted concerning the destruction of the temple occurred just 37 years later; this is why he said, “I tell you the truth, this generation will certainly not pass away until all these things have happened” (Matthew 24:34).

Verses relating to the End of the Age in Matthew 24  – Vs 4-14, 23-33, 36-51

Although what Jesus said to his disciples applied to the period from AD 33 to AD 70, it applies even more to us today. He warned of the following:

Deception by false prophets and teachers claiming to represent him.

He explained that part of their deception would be the performance of signs and wonders. He also warned that these people would try to attract Christians to come to them so as to entrap them and deceive them. He used a powerful analogy when he said: “So if anyone tells you, ‘There he is, out in the desert,’ do not go out; or, ‘Here he is, in the inner rooms,’ do not believe it. For as lightning that comes from the east is visible even in the west, so will be the coming of the Son of Man. Wherever there is a carcass, there the vultures will gather”. When we see vultures circling in the air then we know that they indicate the presence of a carcass and not of a source of life. No, when Jesus comes again it will be as obvious and as widely observable to all as lightning covering the whole horizon.

In the last few decades, we have certainly seen and experienced all of these things playing out and intensifying. How many false miracle workers have we seen setting up shop in cities all around the world and beguiling people to come to them for healing, wealth, and influence?

Wars and the news of pending wars.

There have been more than 115 wars in various places during the last 30 years!

Famines and earthquakes

War and famine go hand in hand and the current invasion of Ukraine by Russia could well trigger famine in the developing world, especially as climate change bites harder and harder. Here is a link to an impressive list of the deadliest earthquakes in the last 30 years

Persecution and apostasy

Living in the West or in South Africa, as I do, it is hard to imagine the extent and severity of persecution actually taking place right now. Here is a map showing the 50 countries where persecution is currently most prevalent.

From christianitytoday.com

Strange and frightening signs in the heavens

Of late there have been many strange phenomena in our atmosphere and in the solar system. The US government is even reopening its investigative case on the appearance of UFO sightings. I don’t want to comment further on this as it is a subject that lies somewhere in the twilight zone between unexplained actual occurrences and the imaginations of very creative people.

Jesus also gave two strong indicators of the imminence of his coming at the End of the Age when he said that the Gospel would be preached to the whole world as a final testimony to all people and that ‘the sign of the Son of Man will appear in the sky’. He used the analogy of the sprouting fig tree to indicate that when we see these things happen then we will know that ‘it is near, right at the door’. However, Jesus also warned that, “No man knows about that day or hour…”, but that it would be sudden.

Jesus gave no instructions to us about anything different that we should do when we see the swift approach of the End of Time. His essential message was to be ready to meet him and to be faithful stewards of his kingdom right up until he comes again (Verses 36-51).

There is no Pella to flee to, and no doomsday prepping to undertake, but there is a Gospel to share and a life to live faithfully in trust and obedience. It is more urgent than ever that we come to know Jesus, become like him, and help others to do likewise.

Gospel outreach and the Sign of the Son of Man

There are very few people groups  in the world who have not yet heard a presentation of the Gospel in some form or other. However, over and above that, genuine Revival inevitably results in a powerful surge of people coming to know Jesus. I believe that we are yet to see the greatest and most widespread Revival that this planet has ever experienced, perhaps a final act of divine grace before the End of the Age. See my article HERE or read my book about the key aspects of revival HERE.

What will the Sign of the Son of Man appearing in the sky be? I do not know, but it will be obvious to all people if indeed it is to have the result that Jesus spoke of when he said “At that time the sign of the Son of Man will appear in the sky, and all the nations of the earth will mourn. They will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of the sky, with power and great glory. And he will send his angels with a loud trumpet call, and they will gather his elect from the four winds, from one end of the heavens to the other” (Matthew 24:30-31).

Are we living in the End of the Age then?

I think that we ARE approaching the time of the end when Jesus will come again, all people will be judged, and God will create a new HeavenEarth as his eternal abode with his children saved from every age. I do not think that world conditions will get better, although the end will probably come when everything appears to be hunky-dory. I also do not believe that Christians will be snatched out of an increasingly chaotic world except for those still alive when the Day of Judgment comes, for God will never pour out his wrath upon his children.

A key passage of scripture that we need to believe and hold onto in these trying days is where Jesus said “remember, I am with you always, to the end of the age” HSCB (Matthew 28:20). This is the bottom line of the issue and this article; no matter what the conditions, Jesus is with us always.

Living in the End of the Age Read More »

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TruthTalks: Critical Race Theory

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Critical Race Theory (or CRT) is a complex issue.

In this post Dr Christopher Peppler takes the subject head-on, so join him in exploring it’s meaning and nuances.

Please click HERE if you would like to read the original post, otherwise click the play or download button at the bottom of this to listen to this TruthTalks offering online.

TruthIsTheWord.com is non-profit and we rely on YOU to help us spread the word, so please like, comment, subscribe and interact with us.

Better still, go deeper into the subjects at hand and buy one of the many books available which you can find out more about HERE

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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.