Covid-19

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How to Evaluate Truth Claims

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Learning how to evaluate truth claims has never been more important than in the 21st century.

COVID-19 may be on the wane but theories of its origin, purpose and composition are still circulating as fast as airborne viruses. In the past, we only had to contend with flat-earth poppycock, faked moon landings, and so on. Now we are faced with conspiracy theories and misinformation that would make Joseph Geobbels envious.

It would be OK if the tidal waves of misinformation washing through our brains via social media were just entertaining distractions, but they aren’t. They confuse, increase insecurity, raise tension levels and can cause both physical and mental harm.

In May 2020 I wrote an article titled So Pass It On where I gave some advice on what information not to pass on to others, and why we shouldn’t. Since then I have been obliged to view dozens and dozens of posts and videos covering such things as why all COVID-19 vaccines are actually deadly venom injections, how a cabal of all-powerful people are taking over the entire world, how the end of the world will come in a matter of months, and so on. During a recent discussion regarding these matters, I was asked why ‘the church’ had not taught us how to evaluate such claims. Now, I am not ‘the church’, but I accepted the challenge to write something on evaluating truth claims … so here it is.

Logic versus Emotion

If it were only a matter of applying logic then it would be relatively easy to filter out the, well you know what, from the media posts, but it isn’t.

Emotions play a big role in whether a person will accept disinformation as valid and unfounded theories as truth.

There is an interesting article on sciencefocus.com where the author sets out a few researched emotional reasons why some people are more prone than others to conspiracy theories. I think that the prime culprit is fear, specifically the fear of not being in control and of being helpless in the face of impending catastrophe. Ironically, the thing that eases the fear of not being in control comes from buying into the idea that a shadowy elite group is in control. They then find a sense of worth and validation by passing on information to like-minded people and warning sceptical friends of the impending doom. Of course, this just increases the general level of stress and anxiety and fails miserably in providing practical help and solutions.

Emotions aside, what we all can and should be doing is applying critical thinking to truth claims that come our way.

Critical Thinking Skills

Two essential preliminary steps to take when exposed to new information are;

  1. Test the premises: A premise is the base of an argument or theory and a good way to identify it is to a work backwards to a previous statement or proposition from which it is inferred. What you are doing here is checking the validity and connectedness of the statements made. i.e. If this is true then that would also probably be true. For example, I recently read a claim that an un-named ‘Spanish lab’ had tested the Pfizer vaccine and found that it was 99% Graphine Oxide. The person spreading this ‘fact’ across the world went on to state that this particular chemical was lethal. So the ‘logic’ is that Pfizer is attempting to kill off millions of people by injecting them with deadly venom. There is reliable evidence that Graphine Oxide in substantial doses can be harmful, so the main premise in this media post is not the claim that it can be toxic, but the claim that it is a major component of Pfizer vaccines. This premise can be tested by scanning the list of contents on a vaccine label, consulting the Food and Drug Administration list, or accessing the research of an accredited laboratory that has analysed the vaccine (not an un-named Spanish lab).

However, here is the problem for us ordinary mortals:

To adequately check the validity of a false truth claim such as the one I have just presented requires both access to the right kind of information and a level of expertise that most of us do not possess.

So, we refer to time-honoured reliable sources such as reports by well-known medical faculties at major universities available on the internet, or to articles in accredited news or fact-checking sources such as Reuters , Associated Press , Factcheck , and so on. But here comes the rub – the advocates of the theories we are testing immediately claim that our ‘reliable’ sources are not reliable at all because they have sold out to big pharma, big tech, or a shadowy cabal of supermen … and so the conspiracy deepens and widens and presents itself as unfalsifiable.

  1. Evaluate the argument logically:
    1. Falsifiable: Is there enough valid evidence to prove it wrong or are the claims made too general, vague or unsubstantiated to find against them. The idea here is that new truth claims must earn their right to be accepted by demonstrating that they can be tested, evaluated, and found to be truthful.
    2. Probable: What are the chances of this being true? For instance, most of the world conspiracy theories require that almost every authority and expertise source in the world is in cahoots – The British government colluding with the Iranian leaders, the American with the Chinese, The North Koreans with Japan, and subject matter experts all singing off the same out-of-tune hymn sheet.
    3. Generalisable: To use an old example, spotting three dogs that are black does not mean that all dogs are black. Some adverse reactions to a vaccine do not mean that everyone will experience adverse effects.
    4. Convergent: Are there several lines of research and reasoning that are all coming to similar conclusions or is the evidence emanating from just a small number of similar-minded people?
    5. Credible: Is the source of the information credible? Does it come from a well-known and generally well-regarded institution? Is the person promoting the ideas suitably qualified and experienced in that field?

To these five criteria I would add the matter of Rhetorical Malpractice:

  • Does the source attack the opposition to the idea and not the ideas themselves?
  • Does it capitalize on the fear of possible adverse consequences?
  • Does it beg the question by assuming that the conclusion is true without proving it to be true?
  • Is it peppered with inconsistent and self-contradictory statements?
  • Does it argue that because it happened after X it must have been caused by X? Does it exclude any other reasonable proposition other than the one it is promoting?
The Bottom Line

All well and good, but at the heart of the issue are some fundamental choices we all have to make:

  1. Are we prepared to do the hard work of researching and evaluating truth claims?
  2. Are we determined to allow logic and careful thinking to prevail over emotional and sensational appeal?
  3. Are we committed to refusing to pass on fear and confusion-inducing theories until we have personally verified them and satisfied ourselves that the recipients can do something positive with the information?
    Do they encourage, hearten, and fill us and others with faith. Do they point us to Jesus?
  4. Are we prepared to abide by the scriptural principles that we can easily deduce from the Word of God? For example:
  • Exodus 23:1 ‘Do not spread false reports. Do not help a wicked man by being a malicious witness’.
  • 2 Timothy 2:16-17 ‘Avoid godless chatter, because those who indulge in it will become more and more ungodly. Their teaching will spread like gangrene.
  • 2 Timothy 4:3-4 ‘For the time will come when men will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear. They will turn their ears away from the truth and turn aside to myths.
  • 2 Timothy 1:7 ‘For God has not given us a spirit of fearfulness, but one of power, love, and sound judgment’ HCSB.
Conclusion

I am convinced that most of us have the mental capability and basic skills to test truth claims, but I am not convinced that most of us are prepared to do the time-consuming and mentally challenging work that this requires. I am equally sure that some people find comfort in emotional validation rather than logical deduction. I also believe that most disciples of the Lord Jesus Christ want to help others, but some do not appreciate that the way to do this is not through imbibing and passing on conspiracy sewerage but by drinking and sharing the pure water of Jesus and his word.

 

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Living in Today

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As I was writing this article, the news came through that yet another type of COVID had emerged here in South Africa and that lockdowns loom. They should have called this virus Medusa based on the number of times COVID-19 grows a new ‘head’. So folks, more to worry about, stress over, or hide from. It’s a good time to remind ourselves that Jesus said,

do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own” (.Matthew 6:34).

However, I have to confess to you that living ‘in today’ is something I have never managed to do. I do not dwell on the past, but a lot of my focus is inevitably on the future. Yes, I know the song that goes “Yesterday is dead and gone and tomorrows out of sight”. I am also cynically aware of quotes such as, ‘The past is behind, learn from it. The future is ahead, prepare for it. The present is here, live it.” Actually, that isn’t a bad quote, but no matter how I try, I just don’t seem to be able to apply it. Perhaps it is my genetic heritage or maybe my training, but one way or another it is my reality. Let me give you two small but telling examples.

Occasionally, my wife, Pat, and I watch a ‘who-dun-it’ movie on  TV. Within ten minutes, I am trying to work out who the villain is and how the story will end. When I think I have solved it, I lose interest in the plot and start checking my social media. Sigh! Another example is when we go shopping. Yesterday we set off to a nursery to buy some specific plants that we need. Halfway there, Pat mentioned that we should visit a thrift store on route as it was just up the road. When we got to the nursery, even before entering the seedling section, she veered off and led me towards the home crafts division. My frustration levels rose immediately. I was there to buy a seedling, a specific seedling, not craft paint, gifts for the granddaughters or second-hand whatsits! My mind was already an hour into the future, back home with seedling in hand. Pat’s mind was in the moment. So, who do you think enjoyed the journey the most? My wife of course! Notwithstanding my grumpy recalcitrance.

The Problem with Living in the Future or the Past

A benefit of having a future orientation is that there are fewer surprises and perhaps better financial results. However, there never was a time as now that I can remember when the future was so unpredictable. The weather is a good parallel to life in general right now. When I was in my thirties, I could count on summer rain in Gauteng around 5 pm every evening. Now, I look at three different weather apps, note that they all tell a different story, then glance out the window and see weather conditions that none of the forecasts indicated.

Focusing on the future, while it has some advantages, often yields anxiety, stress, and even depression. However, living in the past can generate feelings of regret, indignation, or complacency.

Both ways of living produce more problems than solutions, and more negatives than positives. So, for people like me here are two scriptures to remember:

  1. Matthew 6:11, from the prayer model that Jesus gave his disciples: “Give us today our daily bread
  2. James 4:14  “Why, you do not even know what will happen tomorrow. What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes”.

And for those who focus a lot on the past, Isaiah 43:18-19 ‘Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past. See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it?

Balance Needed

Despite what texts we refer to or quotes we hang onto, we all know that we need to embrace all of our life experiences, past, present, and future.

  • Without a consciousness of the past, we tend to learn little and change less.
  • Without a sense of immediacy, we miss much that is good and fail to see potential around us.
  • Without any attempt to evaluate future possibilities, we tend to live in relative insecurity and often blunder into obstacles we could have avoided.

The Lord Jesus spoke several times about the need to live in the present, but he also spoke of the wisdom of foresight. Luke 14:28-30 has, “Suppose one of you wants to build a tower. Will he not first sit down and estimate the cost to see if he has enough money to complete it? For if he lays the foundation and is not able to finish it, everyone who sees it will ridicule him, saying, ‘This fellow began to build and was not able to finish.” His immediate application was to the cost of following him, but the principle applies to other applications.

He also told the well-known story of the wise bridesmaids who planned for the possible late arrival of the groom (Luke 12:35-40), and he also counselled the wisdom of remembering (Luke 17:32  John 15). So, the crux of the matter is balance, not absence. We need to remember the past and learn from it, and we need to plan for the future, but we need to live mainly in the present.

How?

Another confession. I get irritated by preachers who tell me to be, think or do something without presenting any useful information on just ‘how’ to achieve the desired state. Sometimes specific examples depend on individual circumstances, but the principles apply to all circumstances. The least a preacher can do is to clearly present the principles involved and then give one or two applications to make things more real and specific. Last Sunday the preacher, a man I like a lot, told us that we all need to hunger and thirst for righteousness. He even quoted someone who suggested that those who did not should not consider themselves as Christians at all. But just how can I change from apathy to passionate yearning for the things of God? Give me something practical man!

Practical Ideas

So here are some practical suggestions for how we can live in today, rather than in yesterday or tomorrow. I gathered these from a number of different psychologists, life coaches, and preachers but edited out the blather about yoga positions and mindfulness meditations. Please bear two things in mind; (1) These are just suggestions to consider that may or may not help you in your particular mindset and circumstances, and (2) If we just select one or a few of them, it could make a big difference to our orientation – no need to try them all.

  1. Focus on today’s tasks, challenges, and opportunities. Schedule/diarise things to do in the next 24 hours and not just the things to do later.
  2. At the end of each day write down what happened that day, forgive those who offended you, celebrate the good and satisfying, and pray with thankfulness to the Lord. The power of a daily journal lies more in the focus it brings of the present than the record it provides for the future.
  3. Simplify your life wherever possible. Fewer possessions and commitments mean fewer worries and the need to foresee what lies ahead.
  4. Practice spontaneous acts of kindness. Doing something kind, loving, or appreciative impulsively focuses us on the present.
  5. Consciously change routines as you go through your day. Eat, sleep, or work at different times or in different places.
  6. In as much as possible, confront today what you know will probably be a future problem – move it from future to present.

A quote I found interesting and thought-provoking is attributed to the great Albert Einstein:

‘Life is a preparation for the future; and the best preparation for the future is to live as if there were none’.

However, my favourite quote is from the pen of A.A.Milne:

“What day is it?” asked Pooh.

“It’s today”, squealed Piglet.

“My favourite day” said Pooh.

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TruthTalks: Darkest Before Dawn

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Last week Dr Christopher Peppler wrote on it being darkest before dawn.

This gave us a different perspective on the current situation in South Africa and the world. You can read that HERE.

Now you can also listen to this message in Audio form by clicking on the play button below.

If you feel hopeless or helpless about the state of things this is something you should listen to as well as pass it on to those who can benefit.

As always, we love to hear from you so please Like, Subscribe, Share, or get in touch.

Until next time, Admin

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Darkest Before Dawn

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I have written a long article ready for publication titled ‘The Dark Night of our Nation’s Soul’ which was drawn from Isaiah 59. However, the Holy Spirit has arrested me and directed me to rethink when and if I should publish it. My aim was to focus on the light of Revival as the only viable solution to our nation’s woes. This conviction has not changed, but there is another way I can express it other than bemoaning the darkness. For instance, the next chapter in Isaiah is, of course, chapter 60 and this starts with the gloriously well-known passage:

Arise, shine, for your light has come,

and the glory of the Lord has risen upon you.

For behold, darkness shall cover the earth,

and thick darkness the peoples;

but the Lord will arise upon you,

and his glory will be seen upon you.

Isaiah 60:1-2 ESV

Context

What is very noticeable about this statement by Isaiah is that the first verse is in the present tense while the rest of the passage is in the future tense. Your light has come… glory has risen upon you… darkness shall cover… glory will be seen.

Chapter 59 presents Israel as living in deep moral and material darkness yet in his next breath the prophet tells them that God’s light has already risen upon them. They are like a man standing in the deepest darkness who is unaware that behind him a light is already shining. He cannot see the light because it is behind him and the shadows before him are very dark. This was Israel’s condition, and it is our current condition.

Before us and around us we see and sense darkness, but perhaps we need to turn around in order to see the light.

The Light Behind Us

In our church service this Sunday, we sang a song with the chorus lines. ‘And all my life you have been faithful. And all my life you have been so, so good…’ As I sang these words, I was praying silently, “It is true Lord. You have been so good and faithful to me. Thank you Jesus”.  Of course, there have been hard parts in my personal history with all the pain, confusion, and sadness that is a part of life. However, when I think back, I can see that God’s goodness, grace and mercy has always shone brightly. (I wrote my personal testimony HERE if you would like to read it) The problem is that sometimes, like these present days, our eyes get blinded by the darkness and cannot see the light behind us. This of course is an illusion, because darkness is just the perceived absence of light and cannot blind us. However, we can’t see too well in the darkness unless we turn around and catch the glimmers of light reflecting off our past realities and our current circumstances.

The Light Around Us

The light of the Lord is a spiritual and not a physical light. It shines from a dimension beyond the perception of the six normal senses. This spiritual light enters our worlds through many windows such as the scriptures, the inner spirit, and fellow disciples of Jesus.

If we stop searching for the light in the scriptures, then we are turning our backs on the light. If we cease seeking for the light within our spirits, then darkness dominates our spiritual vision. In addition, when we sever contact with other spirit-filled believers, then we isolate ourselves from the light that shines through the windows of their souls.

The COVID-19 lockdown has been a brutal thing in so many ways and has isolated each of us in into our own small corners. Do you remember that children’s song from Sunday-school days about our small corners? ‘Jesus bids us shine, with a clear, pure light. Like a little candle burning in the night. In this world of darkness, so we must shine, you in your small corner, and I in mine’. Well, to benefit by the light that we each bear, we need to connect, and this is one of the reasons that the gatherings of the church are so important. If I had not been at the church service on Sunday I would not have sung of God’s faithful goodness towards me, I would not have heard others testifying to this, and I would most likely not have seen the light around me.

‘For God who said, “Let light shine out of darkness,” made his light shine in our hearts to give us the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Christ.’ (2 Corinthians 4:6) 
The Light Before Us

There are two ways in which the light is before us, past and a future tense. Isaiah probably had no idea that he was not only encouraging Israel, but also prophesying the coming of the Messiah. Speaking of Jesus Christ, the Apostle John wrote that ‘in him was life, and that life was the light of men. The light shines in the darkness, but the darkness has not understood it.‘ (John 1:4-5) Jesus is the light of the world, both 2000 years ago when he walked on Earth, and now. Every person who is born again of the Spirit is a light bearer and a member of what Paul described as the Kingdom of Light (Colossians 1:12); we are fellow sons and daughters of the Light (1 Thessalonians 5:5).

In another sense, the light is still before us on the timeline of the ages. In Revelation 21:23 John uses the analogy of a city to describe Heaven, and writes that it ‘does not need the sun or the moon to shine on it, for the glory of God gives it light, and the Lamb is its lamp’. However, the same book of Revelation hints strongly at a foretaste of the light of heaven in a last and greatest spiritual revival.

However, we only have to read the bible and consider church history to see that God sends the light of revival in the darkest times. Our present time is very dark – (and not just from load-shedding) both in South Africa and the world at large, and so should we not expect God to send revival?

Jesus Revival

In the yet to be published article I referred to earlier, I gave revival as the only truly foreseeable positive scenario for the future of South Africa. However, we cannot generate true revival no matter how much we declare it, structure for it, or pretend that it is already here. Revival is a sovereign act of God, preceded only by prayer. A few years ago I wrote a series on Revival and you can read it by following the links listed HERE or you can purchase the book in its entirety it from Amazon HERE. I urge you to do this because our need for revival is critical and urgent and we need to be asking God to send it ASAP!

Light Upon Light Upon Light

So, within our current darkness, we have past, present, and future light. We have the light of Jesus who was and is the very light of the world; we have the light of our remembrance of the light of the Lord in our own lives; we have the light of fellow light-bearers all around us, and we have the great light of future revival and ultimate heaven. This is why Paul can write:

‘For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Live as children of light (for the fruit of the light consists in all goodness, righteousness and truth) and find out what pleases the Lord. Have nothing to do with the fruitless deeds of darkness, but rather expose them.

For it is shameful even to mention what the disobedient do in secret. But everything exposed by the light becomes visible, for it is light that makes everything visible.

This is why it is said:

“Wake up, O sleeper,

Rise from the dead,

And Christ will shine on you.”‘

Ephesians 5:8-14

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The Seven Pillars of Wisdom

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“The Seven Pillars of Wisdom” sounds like the title of an unpublished Dan Brown novel. There is one famous book by that title, written by T.E.Lawrence (a.k.a. Lawrence of Arabia). However, what I want to write in this article is neither a novel nor an autobiographical historic account.

The phrase comes from Proverbs 9:1, which reads, ‘Wisdom has built her house. She has hewn out its seven pillars’. A little while ago I decided to do some research into this verse. I thought this would be an interesting distraction from the COVID-19 obsession of our days. It took me down some strange paths, but in the end, it yielded insights that apply to us right now. So join me in my little journey of discovery.

Not Much of a Clue

I discovered that few people have much of a clue of what the seven pillars represent.
Some say that the text presents a figurative ‘house’ where wisdom sets out her banquet of good food. Others say it refers to the seven pillars thought by the ancients to support the flat disk of the earth. Yet others speculate that they are a reference to seven sections of the book of Proverbs. Some Jewish scholars teach that they are the seven sciences of the ancient schools of knowledge, the ‘hokmot’ in rabbinical literature… and so on.

I do not think that any of these proposals make much sense, either logically or biblically. However, some commentators have attempted to locate the meaning of the seven pillars in the bible. There are two main lines of thought here, one from the Old and the other from the New Testament. The idea that James 3:17 is a list of the seven pillars of wisdom is unlikely to be valid mainly because it assumes that James is giving the inspired interpretation of Proverbs 9:1 without any real evidence for this or reference to the proverb.

Seven Pillars of Proverbs 8:12-14

The second attempt to find the meaning of the pillars in scripture is the contention that Proverbs 8:12-14 lists seven virtues attributed to wisdom. However, this passage contains no reference to pillars. We would have to combine Prudence and Discretion to construct a list of exactly seven. We would also have to ignore other elements of the passage that others could take as additional ‘pillars’ of wisdom.

Jeremiah 43:13

So, after exploring those cul-de-sacs, I back-tracked and turned my attention to the prophet Jeremiah. Jeremiah 43:13  records how the people of Israel were wanting to establish an alliance with Egypt. However, God warned them, through Jeremiah, that he was about to send the Babylonians to punish Egypt. Verse 13 reads: ‘He will break down the sacred pillars standing in the temple of the sun in Egypt, and he will burn down the temples of Egypt’s gods’.

The ESV version of the bible translates the words ‘sacred pillars’ as ‘obelisks’. Most translations provide ‘Heliopolis’ as an alternative to ‘temple of the sun’. This set me off down another path of discovery.

The Obelisks of Heliopolis

An obelisk is a monolithic (Carved from one rock) four-sided pillar with a pyramid-shaped capstone. They were mostly huge constructions weighing many tons and reaching up into the sky. Some scholars believe that their creators styled them after ancient phallic symbols. However, the imagery is more of a giant needle piercing the heavens and connecting the physical to the spiritual worlds.

A suburb of the modern city of Cairo, Egypt has what remains of the temple city of Heliopolis. Archaeologists have found evidence of the location of Sacred Pillars. One stood in the centre of the layout and the others were in pairs in front of the entrance to the temple. Roman emperors later scattered five of these across the globe.

One giant pillar still remains in the Cairo dig, five were exported to different locations around the world, and one did not leave the quarry.

The Location of the Five Exported Pillars

Istanbul, Paris, London, and New York each have one obelisk. A fifth stands in Saint Peter’s square in the Vatican (Rome). Cairo is home to a sixth one (still on its original site).

So that makes six accounted for and currently standing. The seventh was to be the largest of all, but it cracked during the process of hewing it from the quarry and so was left there in its incomplete form.

Interestingly, the largest of all obelisks ever made was erected in Washington in 1848 and is known as the Washington Monument. So, the largest planned sacred pillar in Heliopolis was never completed, but the largest of all obelisks ever made was constructed millennia later in Washington DC.

Now here is where the story sounds like it was written by Dan Brown…

Symbols of Idolatry

Dan Brown, and many others, have speculated on the possibility of an ages-long international conspiracy to control the world. Illuminati, Billionaires, China, and even reptilian shape-shifting aliens feature in these mythical tales. One of the key ideas presented is that these powerful conspirators have established secret signs of their dominance in plain sight in the major power centres of the world. if you consider that:

  1. Rome, and the Vatican in particular, is the power-centre of Roman Catholicism, a major international religious system.
  2. London is the financial power-centre of Europe.
  3. New York the financial capital of North America.
  4. Paris is the power-centre of one of the former major world colonising powers and is today Frances’s most important centre of commerce and culture.
  5. Istanbul used to be called Constantinople, the capital city of both the Eastern Roman Empire and the Ottoman Empire, and once a Crusader state. It was greatly contested by both Islam and Christiandom as a power-centre and economic and cultural hub.
  6. Washington is the political and military power-centre of the United States of America.
  7. Cairo is the site of the original temple of the sun-god Ra.

Absent from the list are any important locations in China, Russia, Australia, Japan, and the 3rd world in general.

A Whole Lot of Breaking Going On

Perhaps I need to state that I do not endorse conspiracy theories of any kind – they irritate me. I have given you the above information because I find it interesting and because it sets the scene for what I want to set out now as the main point of this article.

Sometimes God sends judgement upon people and nations that do not respond to his calls to repent and change; Noah’s flood and the Babylonian scourge of Egypt (Jeremiah 43:13) are evidence of this. However, God does not pour out judgment upon his faithful people and nor does he execute judgment on the ungodly without first warning and exhorting them to repent.

I think that we are currently in a period where God’s warnings are sounding out loud and clear and judgment is near. The devastation of the world’s ecology, the drastic decline of truth, integrity and morality in most of society, plus inequality and neglect of the poor and needy are all signs of this. And now the COVID-19 plague is most likely the latest of several biological warnings to humanity.

Severe Warnings Solicit Change or Obdurance (stubbornness)

One of the lessons from history is that when dire warnings come, some change for the good while others become even more committed to their ungodly ways (Revelation 16:11).

I do not think that God sent Isis terrorists to fly hijacked airliners into the Twin Towers in New York. However, I do believe that through that disaster he worked on the hearts and minds of individuals and nations to prompt them to carefully consider lifestyles and priorities. The world-psyche changed on that day in history. I believe that the COVID-19 pandemic is another such event. Politics, business, education, and the church will never be quite the same again; and hopefully, we will be better for what we learn and experience.

The True Pillars of Wisdom

As I concluded my journey from ‘pillar to post’ I arrived at three significant passages in the New Testament that reveal the true pillars of wisdom. They are:

  • 1 Timothy 3:15-16 ‘God’s household, which is the church of the living God, the pillar and foundation of the truth’.
  • Galatians 2:9 ‘James, Peter and John, those reputed to be pillars…’
  • Revelation 3:12 ‘Him who overcomes I will make a pillar in the temple of my God’.
The church is the true Pillar of Wisdom in a world that is being shaken and warned;  the solid support of truth, integrity, love, and wisdom. And all who are born again of the Holy Spirit, who are disciples of the Lord Jesus Christ, are part of the church.
We have an important role to play in these times whether we physically meet for worship or are locked in or released into society.  Either way, we can live and speak out our role as pillars of society. We do this by pointing others to Jesus as Saviour and Lord and by speaking and living what he modelled and taught.

These are difficult and challenging times for everyone, but for those who constitute the church, these are significant and important times of change.

So stand tall O pillars of wisdom.

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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.