Thursday, 25 July 2013

Christian ignorance

Do those who come to your church, whatever else they do or don't know or understand, come away knowing about the sufficiency of God in Jesus Christ, the eternal God, humiliated, crucified, risen and ascended?

Tuesday, 23 July 2013

The royal baby versus nonsensical gender drivel

By being born, the royal baby has managed to expose one of our contemporary Western absurdities.

Now as background we remark that before his birth, various politicians were promising to change the laws of succession if it was a girl, so that it would be guaranteed (should it survive long enough) to maintain its position as third in the line to the throne, regardless of whether any boys were born after it.

By being a boy, royal baby made all of that redundant.

But hang on a minute... how do we know that royal baby is indeed a "he" ? After all, it hasn't told us so.

You see, the thought-leaders of society had been telling us that gender is a social construct. It's only loosely, if at all, related to the body. Whether you're male or female is a personal choice, apparently. Hence, men can marry men. Whether they're sexually complementary has nothing, supposedly, to do with their bodies. Two women can raise a child as mother and father, so we're told. The present history of various countries (a bill is before the governor's desk in California to this effect, having passed through the legislature) shows that next on the agenda is to allow self-proclaimed women (who are really men) to choose their own locker-rooms, toilets, and sports teams - because allegedly to do otherwise would be to endorse outmoded gender stereotypes. It would be to oppress them.

Oh, whoops. The cat got out of the bag again. When you're talking nonsense, it's hard to be consistent.... at some point, the fact that you know the truth which God impressed upon creation will keep getting out. It turns out that you can look at the royal baby's bits and know that it is a "he", after all, even before it decides to tell us about it.

Why pornography is not a freedom-of-speech issue

Pornography is inherently degrading. The nature of watching other people involved in sexual activity is by its essential, unchangeable nature, defiling.

For the government to restrict pornography is not like the government restricting the discussion of political ideas it disapproves of, or banning all kitchen knives because once Johnny waved one at a friend. Neither discussion, or kitchen names are essentially and necessarily degrading by their very nature.

Therefore, from a Christian perspective, all arguments connecting attempts to regulate pornography to freedom-of-speech or state-overreach issues are bogus. They belong in the same category as arguing that if the state is allowed to forbid murder, then our freedoms are lost because the next thing you know they'll be banning scrapping in the playground. And just because they probably already have banned scrapping in most playgrounds, does not mean that we or anyone else should want to repeal laws against murder.

We need to both be clear that state-overreach is a real and increasing problem for godly living in our days, whilst equally avoiding falling into the ditch on the other side of the road: becoming radical anti-statists. The Bible is certainly neither. The state can, and should, penalise everyone involved in the production of inherently degrading material, and no issues of privacy or free "speech" or state over-reach are presented if it makes their transmission unlawful. (Though the current uproar has been caused by discussion of what you do or don't have to tick in order to receive it, rather than any proposal to actually make anything at all illegal. Obviously many commentators I've read online do protest far too much).


Sunday, 21 July 2013

The elephant in the room - he's still there...

In the present US big news story of the murder trial of George Zimmerman, for the fatal shooting of 17-year-old black American Trayvon Martin, I presume no competence to either endorse or contradict the verdict of the jury. They have listened to the evidence, examined it, and pronounced.

I note the post-trial comments of one juror, who says that both young men made mistakes, and that they both failed to lower the pressure and walk away when they could have done.

Looking at various accounts, I note various records of Martin's life, detailing a growing number of signs that he was heading off the rails. To repeat - that does not indicate what actually happened on the night he was shot, one way or the other. But there is a prima facie case that his being in the wrong place, at the wrong time, involved in the wrong thing (and at the risk of being boring, that does not decide one way or the other the question of whether he was unlawfully killed or not, or what Zimmerman's motives were or weren't) was not a random event. Regardless of the ethics of the final bullet, there's enough in there to say that this was a young man who needed direction and authority, and who wasn't getting it - and that had he, then he could very likely still be alive today. Read his Wikipedia page: When I see a pattern like that, I know now, from the Bible, to hone in on one question - where was that young man's father? And the answer always comes back the same - he wasn't there. Trayvon Martin grew up largely with a mother, and without a father - up until the point where his mother could no longer handle him.

And then this leads to the observation which comes up again and again in so many contemporary tragedies. Whilst the politicians on either side are all making their political speeches for their political purposes... once again, they're all ignoring the elephant in the room. The pattern in Trayvon's life is not random - it's predictable. Trayvon Martin grew up largely, as a disproportionate number of young black American men do, mostly without a father. He needed a father to guide him, and to provide strong paternal love and discipline. He didn't get it. If he had, then he might not have been in the wrong place, at the wrong time, with an unwisely aggressive attitude.

The Bible teaches us that the family is the foundation of a strong, stable society. But you can't both have that, and so-called "free love", radical individualism, abortion-as-contraception, and reject role relationships. It's not just one racial group, but an entire society - politicians preaching these new values, and people readily and gladly accepting them - that has welcomed the elephant into the room. One of the appalling results of direction-less, angry young men who don't know how to walk away from trouble when it crosses their path. The elephant in the room is still there, and sadly, many more will be trampled underfoot by him in the months and years to come. Don't buy the politicians' lies - that with cleverer economics and more the state providing more and more of its care, that we can make up for the deficiencies brought in by the sexual revolution. We can't - without repentance and revival, the whole society must eventually and inevitably perish. What a need there is at this time for true Christians to shine a light and show that it can be very different.

Thursday, 18 July 2013

Beware the desire to be rich

The Roman Catholic Church remains unreformed

This article reminds us that the essential doctrines of the Roman Catholic Church remain the same as they were before the Reformation:

One of the fundamental absurdity of Roman Catholic doctrine asserts itself again. If the Pope has power in his hands to remit the time that people spend in Purgatory, and if he can grant large remissions in return for trivial acts, then why does he do so so infrequently? Does he not care?

And secondly, why do these remissions normally come, not in exchange for acts genuinely useful to fellow human beings, but for acts that testify to the importance of Rome? As in the days of Tetzel, so today - in the article above, indulgences are not offered for alleviating anyone's suffering or improving their lot in life - but for climbing steps in Rome, or following the Pope's media output.

The doctrines of purgatory and imagined Papal powers to release people from are a big spiritual fraud. Their effect is to dissuade people from looking to the final, complete, glorious sufficiency of Jesus Christ and his finished work on the cross, given freely to all who come to him. Instead, they cause their followers to lower their eyes from him and instead put them onto the works-based, Rome-centred treadmill of conditional grace. Be warned.

Monday, 15 July 2013

Responding to "gay marriage"

The Christian Institute, in this paragraph, remind us that Christians need to be not just loving, but also clear and truthful in their responses when confronted in the future with people falsely claiming to be in "marriages":

Parliament can’t change what is hard wired into the nature of our existence. They could pass a Bill saying the moon is made of cheese, but it doesn’t make it so. Marriage remains the union of a man and a woman, whatever the politicians say about legal marriage. Marriage pre-dates British law, and it will carry on into the future.
In the future, British law will have one definition of marriage; and faithful disciples of Jesus will have a significantly different one. That is unfortunate, and will cause various difficulties; but that will be how it is. The line is drawn; the wheat and the tares will now be able to be more clearly distinguished according to which side of it they are found growing on.

Monday, 8 July 2013

Signs of the times...

He is only 26 ... which may be ‘getting on a bit’ in terms of tennis, but back in the real world, is still pretty young to get hitched.

I make no comment on Andy Murray personally, but it's interesting to hear someone saying that 26 is "pretty young" to get married, as mainstream media comment.

In the contemporary West, it appears that permanent teenager-hood is the ideal held out to us. It begins at about 8, as school, media and sadly often parents push you into it prematurely; it can either end somewhere just short of 40 when you hear the fertility clock ticking, or it can extend permanently into a very sad (as in, pathetic) old age (think of: ugly, silly old men strutting around stages with guitars like they did in the 1960s or 70s). The media actually holds that out as an ideal to aim for - still rocking at 70, yeah!

But... striking cool poses in the newspapers (for the select few) is no compensation for investing your life in something that tells for future generations (look at the family lives of those ageing rockers, and you'll want to run a mile...), or for eternity.

Permanent immaturity is not praiseworthy; the fact that so many think it so is a sign of the darkness of mind that God has judged our decadent societies with.

Saturday, 6 July 2013

Cultural defeat

This timely quote from T E Hulme has been repeated by Peter Mullen on Cranmer's blog today:
“We have been beaten because our enemies’ theories have conquered us. We have played with those to our own undoing. Not until we are hardened again by conviction are we likely to do any good. In accepting the theories of the other side, we are merely repeating a well-known historical phenomenon. The Revolution in France came about not so much because the forces which should have resisted were half-hearted in their resistance. They themselves had been conquered intellectually by the theories of the revolutionary side. An institution or a civilisation is beaten only when it has lost faith in itself, when it has been penetrated by the ideas that are working against it.”
I have been reflecting on this matter somewhat in recent months. What does cultural defeat look like? Part of it is when your enemy's ideas have penetrated so widely and deeply, that you actually adopt, practice and teach them without even knowing it. Apply that thought to Bible-preaching churches in the UK today. The mantras of personal choice, the individualistic way of life, acceptance of non-Christian, secular education, the lack of distinction between father and mother within a family, the lack of respect by children for their parents, the belief in the state as universal provider and problem-solver, the love of an easy-going, entertainment-based culture, the worship of triviality and of "cool": are these basic outlooks and features significantly less prominent inside Bible-preaching churches than outside of them? In former times, the unbelieving paid at least lip service to Christian truths, and went along with them - today, instead of exposing and refuting them, many British evangelicals follow the beliefs and practices of secularists. That's what cultural defeat looks like.

On which note, this headline popped up in the Telegraph at around the same time: Welby calls for Church to join the sexual ‘revolution’. The piece goes on to claim that the Archbishop is now planning to outsource relationships education in Church of England Schools to Stonewall. It finishes with Stonewall slapping him down and making it clear that they'll require a much larger dose of penance before they will even consider granting him absolution. When the foremost apologists for what God calls "abomination" disdain your attempts to curry their favour, even whilst you sacrificially offer up your young to appease them, you can be very sure that you're doing it wrong.

Are evangelicals in the UK, defeated? Yes; because we have not been faithful to the truths that were delivered to us plainly in Scripture. Is Jesus defeated? That's not possible - he's the Risen one; alive from the dead. His resurrection power is already unleashed in this age and this world. The solution begins with turning again to him.

Thursday, 4 July 2013

Where God dwells

- Everywhere (he is omnipresent)
- Throughout heaven and earth (Jeremiah 23:24); yet beyond them too (for when they were not, he was - Genesis 1:1)
- In heaven (Matthew 6:9 - "Our Father, who art in heaven..."); meaning the "third heaven" (2 Corinthians 12:2), i.e. the (to those of us in this life) unseen world of glory that is presently veiled and inaccessible to us
- In former times, visibly via the "Shekinah" (glory cloud) in the tabernacle and temple (Exodus 40:34).
- Within the hearts of the humble and lowly (Isaiah 66:1) - ultimately, those who have been humbled and mourn for sin, and trust in Christ - in those he dwells by his Spirit (1 Cor. 6:15).
- In the midst of the people of God, the church (1 Cor. 3:16)
- In all his fulness, in Christ (Colossians 2:9)

Where are the parents?

"In an outspoken intervention, the Education Secretary warned that many households were being turned into guesthouses with “fleeting” fathers playing a bit-part in children’s lives and young people being left to fend for themselves." -

Decades of secularist intervention to weaken the family (and thus increase the power of the state, against which strong families are the final bastion), via easy divorce, promotion of promiscuity, encouraging mothers to abandon their roles as home-makers, denigration of fatherhood (patriarchalism! evil!), relentless promotion of individualism, the progressive take-over of more parental responsibilities via providing more and more government "services", and the ruthless indoctrination of children in the values of secularism, individualism and "claims-my-rights-from-the-state" mentality have led to this situation. The weakness of family life in the West is not an accident, but the deliberate intention of the 1960s radicals who correctly realised where the seat of opposition to their plans lay.

One wonders whether Mr. Gove is blind to this (he recently voted for "gay marriage", so it appears that his voting hand has little idea what his other hand is thinking), or realises it but knows that saying it is unspeakable heresy amongst the elites (with whom it would be to advocate a "return to the 1950s", which is a code-phrase for "return to before the sexual revolution, i.e. enter hell"), or is merely paving the way for the secularist solution, which is that the government then claims more powers to intervene over families under the guise of "solving" the problems caused by the previous interventions.

Things you thought belonged to you... (like, your bowels)

One of our themes on this blog in recent times has been the rise of the State Almighty, the State as divine - all-powerful; able to decree whatever it wishes into being (We can print money out of nothing! Men can marry men! The unborn are not human until we find it convenient for them to be!); able to claim ownership of anything and everything within its physical territory. When there's (in modern imagination) no God, the must (because to truly have no God is not possible) instead be Big Brother, who loves you and has a wonderful plan for your life.

On which note... the Welsh government has just advanced a new ownership claim. It has a wonderful plan for your after-life, too.

You may have thought, up until this point, that one of the things which you certainly did own, and which the state was not likely to claim automatic rights to, was your body. You perhaps lived under the delusion that your heart, liver, lungs, skin, bones, etc., would not, by any law, be presumed to be the state's property. You imagined that you would never need to spend time taking explicit steps to "register" them as not the state's property. That went without saying.

Wrong, wrong, wrong: Yes, even your small bowel.

Notice too the gaping hypocrisy of secular politicians here. When it comes to abortion - where two individuals are involved, mother and baby - the politicians a) declare that there's only one individual involved (the mother) and b) declare that she has a fundamental, inalienable right to do with her own body as she wishes (including hacking to pieces the baby's body, or vacuuming with such power that it breaks into small pieces, etc.). And that "right" is apparently inviolable and sacred. But when it comes to this question of organ donation, that's all dropped. Didn't really mean it, ha, ha, ha! Keeping the government out of wombs? Nope - the secular state claims even bones and skin as its own - quite literally.