Friday, 25 December 2015

Glory to God in the highest

"Fear not, for behold, I bring you good news of a great joy that will be for all the people.

For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, who is Christ the Lord.

And this will be a sign for you: you will find a baby wrapped in swaddling cloths and lying in a manger."

And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying, "Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace among those with whom he is pleased!"

Luke 2:10-14

Monday, 14 December 2015

Thinking rightly about motherhood

I'm grateful for some of Tim Challies' readers writing in, to correct/improve one of his recent articles. Though Tim had good and useful things to say concerning the value of being a mother and home-maker, he used unhelpful terminology which failed to recognise the Bible's portrayal of a mother and home-maker as being the highest, and most glorious calling of a married woman. It is a unique privilege to be embraced, not depicted as a second-best, or equal option.

When a career in the work-place is "given up" or "sacrificed" in favour of this calling, that which is "given up" is a less glorious, lower calling. That may not immediately feel like it's the case when one is still in the grip of the world's thinking, and on day one of exchanging being a praised professional for a pile of poo, but that does not make it any less the case, when evaluated Biblically. Saying this is emphatically not to pre-judge every individual case and set of every family's circumstances. But it is an important matter for Christians to get right, when living in a society which comprehensively rejects the Bible's vision for how the sexes are to live together.

Tim publishes a variety of responses, and not all of Tim's correspondents get this right. One grinds an axe by taking Tim to task for not saying anything about singleness. But Tim's article was about the choices facing married women. Taking needless offence because our particular case isn't discussed  in detail every time is unhelpful. Similarly, not every married couple is fertile, etc. Unfortunately, though, the particular correspondent I'm thinking of makes her individual case a gold standard for every article about married women to be judged by, and makes absurd comments like "I am afraid articles like yours inadvertently encourages a middle-class Christianity - where women tie their identities to husbands and children instead of God." To read a mild post about the blessings of being a home-maker, and read in between the lines an encouragement to people to turn away from God, is absurd. You don't have to be an expert psycho-analyst to detect someone who protesteth too much.

Monday, 23 November 2015

"It’s violence. It’s a person. It’s killing."

In which an employee of an "abortion provider" admits that the work she's involved in is the violent killing of an innocent human being, but suggests that it'd be tactically better for abortionists to admit that and then make the argument that that killing innocents doesn't really matter that much:

Tuesday, 17 November 2015

Why is it so hard?

Why, when raising children, is it so hard to get them to do what's in their own best interests?

Take that question to Calvary. Our Saviour had to die so that we could learn, slowly and stubbornly, to do what's in our own best interests - which is, to walk closely with God, avoiding and putting to death sin. How quickly are you learning?

Does that give a new perspective on the matter?

Friday, 13 November 2015

Because it is according to my principles

The biggest selling science-fiction book ever (thus far!) is Dune, by Frank Herbert. I've been reading it. In one of the sequels, I came across this memorable quote:

" When I am weaker than you, I ask you for freedom because that is according to your principles; when I am stronger than you, I take away your freedom because that is according to my principles."

That was penned in the 1970s. If we applied it to the course of the anti-Christian movement of the last couple of generations, could there be a better description?

Act one: tolerance, tolerance! Let's all get along! We just want the same freedoms as you have!

Act two: Die, you bigots! You have no place in our society!

Friday, 2 October 2015

Stephen Holland protests the ordination of women bishops at St. Paul's cathedral

At around the six-minute mark, there is a very fine explanation of why simply not turning up is not a Biblical protest against wrongdoing, if it is happening in your church/denomination: . Note that this video is not available in YouTube's "Safety Mode", which is interesting in itself.

Saturday, 12 September 2015

Afflictions continue because of God's mercy

Matthew Henry, commenting on David's plea in Psalm 39 that God would be merciful and relieve him of some unspecified affliction that he was going through:

"He pleads the good impressions made upon him by his affliction. He hoped that the end was accomplished for which it was sent, and that therefore it would be removed in mercy; and unless an affliction has done its work, though it may be removed, it is not removed in mercy."

Saturday, 5 September 2015

Kim Davis and the rule of law

In the US in the last week, you've probably seen the news that, elected county clerk Kim Davis, a Christian, was jailed for refusing to issue marriage licences following the US Supreme Court's ruling that same-sex couples not only can marry, but that this is guaranteed by the US constitution.

Some Christians have commented that their sympathies are not with Davis, because a) her resistance will be (and now has been) proven futile, b) Christians should respect the rule of law and c) if she can't do what her job requires her to, then she should resign from her job.

On the contrary, my sympathies are entirely with Kim Davis, and so should yours be. How so?
  • The rule of law is great - but God has a law as well as man. And when they clash, God's law must trump man's, every time.
  • Any man-made law that strikes directly and unambiguously against God's created order, or which endorses and blesses that which God calls an abomination, is ipso facto necessarily invalid.
  • As such, it is not simply an option for a Christian registrar to chose to resist such a man-made law, but a duty. Extreme sexual depravity is not incidental to "same-sex marriage"; it is its very essence.
  • The legitimate rule of law and judicial tyranny are two very different things.
  • This shouldn't be hard to understand. Pol Pot, Stalin, Hitler, etc., all passed laws.
  • Resisting evil isn't something we're called upon to do simply in the abstract, as an intellectual game. It's something we're called to do in the real, physical world as part of the real history that God created us as part of.
  • When we look at pre-war and war-time Nazi Germany, we don't have a particular interest in whether German Christians were generally outwardly moral. We want to know specifically whether they resisted Hitler's evil laws requiring them to comply with the de-humanisation and eventual murder of Jews. That was a front-line of the battle they were in. Today, the secular West's war against God's created order with particular reference to gender roles and distinctions is one of the fronts for us.
  • Similarly, when future Christians look back upon our generation, they won't have a special interest in whether we had a generally good reputation for being nice moral people. They'll want to know what we did when confronted by routine baby-murder, how we used our unprecedented wealth and time in light of the appalling darkness that much of the world still resides in, and what we did to resist the secularist assault upon God's created order in relation to human sexuality.
  • Resistance against evil is never in vain. There will be another, higher court that sits, on another day, when God calls the world to account and judges it through Jesus Christ.
  • Whether we resist direct and obvious evil or not is not at all a question to be decided by whether we think we will immediately succeed in the direct object of our resistance.
  • The fact that the Western elite and media have been running a decades long campaign to persuade us that sexual depravity is nice and cuddly ("it's all about the lurve!") has absolutely nothing to do with the facts of the matter.
  • The public sector is not the private sector. The state is an ordinance of God, appointed to be his servant (Romans 13:1-8). In the private sector, you can quit your job and take up another, according to your contract. In the public sector, you have a responsibility to God and the people you serve to stand fast in times of trouble, and abandoning your post can be a neglect of duty in a way that leaving a post in the private sector isn't.
  • There is a difference between hunting for evil, and evil finding you. When evil finds you whilst you occupy a God-ordained role (such as as a state officer), it is your duty to deal with it - not to abandon your post and allow someone else to capitulate to evil on your behalf.
By being willing to go to jail as a testimony to God's truth, Kim Davis condemns legions of cowardly and worldly professing Christians in the West who aim to keep their heads down and coast comfortably into heaven, avoiding the way of the cross wherever possible. Moreover, she joins the glorious ranks of those who have suffered earthly loss for the sake of Christ, counting her freedom as worth less than a clear conscience before God and man. Such may, when everybody else's earthly hopes have passed away, look forward to a glorious inheritance which can never fade. Let us pray that God will sustain her to resist judicial and legal tyranny for as long as it remains her duty to do so.

Thursday, 25 June 2015

Generation narcissism and the final judgment

Dartford council commissioned a plaque, to commemorate the Rolling Stones, including the words "one of the most successful rock bands of all time".

Sounds pretty weighty, does it not? That's not just one of the most successful rock bands of the last fifty years, you understand. It's one of the most successful rock bands of all time.

The average life expectancy in the UK out-strips the total time in which rock music has been around, by about a decade. i.e. Rock music has not yet existed as long as the average citizen of the UK can expect to. But don't let that kind of thing spoil your enjoyment. For, my friends, we are the people - and the significant bits of history began with us! Our achievements are the best of all time, and our 3-minute ditties are the real musical stuff that measures all of history. Our culture produced... Keith Richards! And, of course (drumroll) Sir Michael "Mick" Jagger, who was knighted in 2003 for "services (yes, services) to popular music." Please all bow!

One might suggest that we'd better put up a plaque to commemorate this now, as if we don't then afterwards it might not be quite so apparent why someone would want to.

Note that in the BBC "news" story, this ridiculous piece of cultural narcissism - "of all time" - wasn't worthy of notice or comment. That was something else (the description of exactly how Richards and Jagger met, its accuracy - that's the controversy...).

We can laugh. (And weep). But... are you a cultural and historical narcissist? Do you believe the big Western lie, that we are the people, and that history began with us? That anyone and anything before 1962 is ancient history, a stone age of universal stupidity and wrong-ness? That the centre of the universe is your plans to achieve your goals, to fulfil your potential and discover your true self - you're a movie star, and the sound track is about you? That success is when the audience screams out your name, amazed by your level of coolness/fame/amazing display of wit in the latest reality TV show/whatever? That's how we're all being encouraged to think.

But what is your life, asks the Scriptures? It is a mist that appears - and then it is gone. It is the grass of the field: here today, and tomorrow passed away. Only what is done for Christ matters. Human beings love to hand out gongs, because we innately feel that there ought to be some sort of memory, some sort of record and recognition. We all have some sense of the final judgment, and that it's right for there to be one.

But at the final judgment, man's ridiculous self-congratulation will be nowhere to be found. We will all stand before Christ's judgment seat, and the real verdict will be delivered. Are you living your life in the light of that?

Friday, 5 June 2015

Exile stage two

The author doesn't touch on this, but here's something I'd add. In "exile stage one", the assumption of neutrality (which is discussed in the article) meant that children of Christians were raised bathed in the world's culture, with the assumption that some Christian teaching could be added on top to remedy the "bad stuff". This was disastrous, in terms of raising a generation of informed Christians who were equipped to build an alternative culture to the world's. What needs to be done differently this time, to avoid an even worse outcome, now that "stage two" has arrived? And, are the churches doing it?

Friday, 22 May 2015

The Genesis Account

Homosexual propaganda

Most peoples' perceptions of homosexual issues are massively skewed by relentless media campaigning/lying. They feel social pressure to conform to the constant diet of indoctrination, and do not realise how much of that indoctrination is simply the repetition of empty slogans and falsehoods.

In a Gallup survey, the mean estimate of the homosexual population was 23%. According to a second Gallup survey, the actual population that describes themselves that way was 3.8%.

To be clear: it's not being claimed that the media lies about the percentage of those who self-describe as homosexual, or have claimed that 23% would. The point is that the relentless, widespread diet of aggressive homosexual propaganda creates an impression, which results in the 23% figure. The over 6-fold increase from reality to false perception is measuring just how much false propaganda is in that diet.

Why Ireland should reject "gay marriage"

My comment (added in the comments box)...

"Gay marriage" is a legal fiction. A man can no more actually marry a man, than he can marry his left foot, regardless of what the paperwork says. I note that Graeme Archer, who considers himself conservative, provides no argument at all based on the nature of human sexuality (male/female) and addresses zero questions about the complementarity of the sexes. He simply assumes what needs to be proved - that a man/man relationship is the same thing. But this argument essentially means that male-ness and female-ness either don't exist, or are entirely interchangeable (which amounts to the same as not existing).

Archer's assumption throughout his piece is simply that marriage is whatever a majority say it is. This argument is insane, and takes the idea of democracy to a ludicrous extreme. It provides no logical reason why marriage can't involve one man and four women, or a brother and sister, or a man and his grand-daughter, or a man and his horse. If marriage is just whatever a majority of the voters, or a majority of the MPs, say it is, then ultimately marriage is nothing. It's completely arbitrary - one definition today; but perhaps the voters tomorrow will decide that "marriage" is the moon, or my left foot. This approach ultimately reduces marriage to nothing except "some sort of relationship with some sort of tax benefits".

Hence, it is correct to say that the redefinition of marriage is not simply a question of "extending the benefits of marriage". It "extends" by eliminating. The concept of "marriage" pushed by proponents of "gay marriage" has little to do with historic conceptions of marriage. That's why widespread easy divorce and acceptance of adultery and promiscuity as socially normal were necessary stepping stones before we could reach this stage.

Marriage is not a trophy, or a prize for society to award to favoured groups. Marriage is the exclusive commitment of two sexually complementary beings - a man and a woman - to live together as husband and wife, in a relationship which can, if so blessed, be fruitful in producing and raising up children. Hence I urge the voters of Ireland to reject the legal fiction, the oxymoronic nothing, of "gay marriage".

Saturday, 9 May 2015

An obvious truth about abortion

"Suppose, in the encounter between doctor and child [in an abortion], the child won half of the time, and killed the doctor in self-defense—something he would have every right to do. Very few doctors would perform abortions. They perform them now only because of their absolute power over a small, fragile, helpless victim."

—Stephen D. Schwarz, The Moral Question of Abortion (Chicago: Loyola University Press, 1990), 143.


Wednesday, 6 May 2015

Some events of interest to Christians since the last general election

A heart set free

A missionary friend gave me permission to post the following (it has been anonymised)...

* * *

These past weeks have been a tense and challenging time following the warnings from the government and various western embassies. Living out here with young children has certainly focused my mind. We seem a long way from the peace and safety of the UK!  My initial response to events was to organise the building of a safe room in our house, which is now ready.

My second response was not practical but theological; it involved a reconsideration of the value my Christian beliefs.  A few weeks ago I lay awake one night, unable to sleep for worrying about our situation. In those early hours I was reminded that if we're not careful, fear can control our thinking and leave us in panic. And that night I experienced fear. I've seen the images of what happened at (some place) and also a year before at (another place) and my imagination was running wild. The thought of seeing my wife and children gunned down is not a pleasant one. Should we go home? Should I send them off the campus?

As I tossed in the dark that night, a change in the direction of my thoughts happened and I felt gently rebuked. That day I'd been reading a biography of the hymn writer Charles Wesley, "A Heart Set Free".  It records how in 1735 Charles and his brother John were crossing the North Atlantic on their way to the colony of Georgia when a terrible storm blew up. Apparently John Wesley noted in his journal how people on the boat became gripped by fear, in many cases screaming in panic thinking that they would soon drown. Then he and Charles came across a different scene: a group of Moravian Christians from Germany calmly gathered together to sing hymns and pray. What struck the Wesley brothers was that these believers confessed the absence of the fear of death. Death had no power over them. It was at this point that John and Charles realised that whatever kind of Christianity they possessed, it wasn't the New Testament kind. They had no sense of the peace that those Moravians displayed. Later after the Wesley brothers were converted, they roamed the British Isles preaching the gospel, the fear of death gone.  There was a lesson for me here. 

The next thought that came to me in those early hours was how theoretical our Christian theology can be when life is calm, predictable and safe. How often back home have I proclaimed from the pulpit that "Jesus is Lord", that he has risen from the dead and has conquered death? Countless times I have sung Stuart Townend's words, "No guilt in life, no fear in death, this is the power of Christ in me". Wonderful, precious words, but the question I faced that night was would I believe them now, or would I allow myself to be overcome by fear? In those night hours, faith was slowly getting a grip on me and replacing the fear.  Let's make no mistake about it, death is a tyrant and it holds all the sons and daughters of Adam in its power. We do almost anything to keep it at bay. And yet the heart of the message of Christianity is that what Paul called the last enemy really has been conquered. We are released from death's grip and power. And recognising that and believing it brings great freedom.

Saturday, 25 April 2015

A "female soul" - ?

The following paragraph, from an article promoting (the only word to use - there's zero journalistic critique, only breathless passing on of every utterance as fact) former Olympic decathlete Bruce Jenner's decision to declare that he is in fact female, contains a very important element which a lot of people have missed in considered the question of "transexuality":
"Breaking his silence in his first interview on the subject, the 65-year-old decathlon gold medalist told ABC's Diane Sawyer that he explained it to his six children by describing the feeling he was born with a male body and a "female soul"."
The entire theory behind "gender re-assignment" is that sex and gender are separable. i.e. That your body may be male, but that "the real you", your "gender identity", can be female (or vice-versa).

Have you ever considered what's implied by that?

Let's take a step back. According to atheistic materialism - the dominant way of thinking in our society - you are your body. We are genes, we are DNA, we are physical beings only, controlled by physical laws. There is no soul - or, to use their pejorative phrase, no "ghost in the machine". Do you see the implications of that? If that's so, then there is no "real you" - you are your body, and your body is you. This being so, it follows that the whole idea of gender identity, as something separable from body sex, is a myth. It is a mental construct, but mental constructs correspond to nothing ultimate: they are simply chemical states in your brain. They are only the arrangement of different entities in the lump of meat in your head. All talk of "who I really am" is essentially meaningless. And neither can there be, in an atheistic, materialistic universe, any objective ideal of the "male" or "female" to tap into. There is nothing out there that "the real you" can correspond to. Atheism and Platonic ideals do not mix. In materialism, there is only matter, and everything must eventually be described in terms of the arrangement of matter and the physical laws governing matter.

If you believe that you have "a female mind trapped in a male body", then you cannot do so, without denying materialism. The idea of a "real you" essentially implies the real, objective existence of the non-material. In particular, it implies that humans are not simply matter, but are a duality - or, in other language, there is a body and there is a soul. There is a "real you" which is very closely related to the body, but which is not the body.

Our society both promotes materialistic atheism, and complete sexual autonomy. You can both choose your gender identity... and you also are nothing beyond a body. These two don't go together. Whenever the language of transsexual theory is used, body-soul duality has to be affirmed - as Bruce Jenner shows us. It's impossible to explain the idea that Bruce Jenner, who is plainly male, "is actually female," unless you refer to ideas which necessarily imply the actual, existence of a non-material part to human beings. Body and soul.

And having conceded that, it's time to abandon the idea that sexuality is a global free-for-all in which we choose our own identity, and ask what the will of our Creator is. On that question, the Bible is clear. God made mankind male and female, and instructed us to embrace what he had made us. Body and soul may be separable as intellectual concepts, but the concept of "male body, female soul" has absolutely zero Biblical basis. It is the ancient heresy of Gnosticism which seeks to separate God's physical world from its unseen underpinnings, as if you can prefer one to the other, or use one to over-throw the other. The two, in Biblical thought, are simply not in conflict: they are in harmony. We are created, and we can either embrace the facts of our creation, or rebel against our Creator. There is no middle ground where we can embrace the Creator and reject creation.

The Bible contains many clear commandments for us to embrace what we have been made - e.g. Deuteronomy 22:5, Leviticus 18:22, Ephesians 5:21ff, 1 Corinthians 6:9, 1 Corinthians 11:1ff, Romans 1:26-27. For such reasons, our forefathers in the faith warned men against the sin of effeminacy, as documented here:

A man is not to masquerade as a woman, or a woman as a man. "Gender re-assignment surgery" is a myth: it mutilates the body that God made. It cannot change us from male to female (and even on atheistic grounds, that must be conceded: XY doesn't become XX just because you pump in hormones and wield surgical knives). It is a lie, and it is a lie which insults our Creator.

In a fallen world, all kinds of confused feelings and desires can arise, and circumstances and life experiences can twist them in all kinds of ways. But the gospel redeems us: it straightens out what is bent. It teaches us to struggle to be what God has made us to be, not what our sinful desires are leading us into. It tells us that we are not to be identified with the helter-skelter of emotions and desires within us, but can be identified instead with the Son of God as he re-makes us. We are not our desires: we are fallen but being rescued. Men are not called upon to decide that they are women, and to abdicate their manly responsibilities and burdens: they are called, equipped and enabled by the saving power of the Son of God to embrace them. That may not be easy - that narrow way never is. It does, however, lead to life. It affirms God's good creation, and looks forward to its recovery and restoration. It accesses the soul-saving power of Jesus Christ, sitting at God's right hand. On the other hand, embracing the evil practices of transsexualism is creation-denying, and leads only to spiritual and eternal death. Our forefathers in the faith warned of this plainly, as does the Bible: let us take heed.

Monday, 6 April 2015

The day after Easter...

Christ has been crucified... Christ has been raised... Hallelujah!

What next?

That's actually the question posed by the structure of the gospels. They end rather abruptly. There's a great task: to call the world to discipleship - to come to Jesus Christ, receive his forgiveness, and learn at his feet. The abrupt ending is a challenge: well, reader, what of it? The gospel writers don't say "and, all this was done." Because, it hasn't yet been done. Even Luke, who continues the account in Acts, ends that book in a similar situation: the gospel has reached Rome (then, the centre of civilisation). But what next? It must go from Rome to the ends of the earth. How will that take place, reader?

And therein lies the challenge, on the day after Easter. Christ has been crucified, Christ has been raised: and you, reader, are invited into the story of grace and the reclaiming of the nations. What of it, reader? Are you taking your part in the story, or are you still toiling away in your unreal, self-centred personal story that ends in unforgiveness and doom when Christ returns again?

Monday, 16 March 2015

Einstein's hereoes... all creationists

Something worth remembering when an Internet scoffer is loudly proclaiming that all people as clever as he/she is disbelieve the Bible...

Tuesday, 10 March 2015

Jesus Christ is the true hero

One criticism made against Christianity by unbelieving scholars in the 20th century was that its central figure, Jesus Christ, too closely resembles other, obviously mythical/fictional, heroes from popular legend.

This criticism is hugely undermined by a) the complete disagreement on exactly *which* legendary hero he is supposed to be modeled upon - disagreement which occurs because b) re-examination of the details never finds as good a fit for any one particular legend's hero as the proposing scholar suggested.

Nevertheless, let's take the idea, and run with it. C S Lewis dealt with a similar criticism in a different way, turning it on its head. Here was the objection he faced. Why are there so many echoes of different pagan legends in the Christian story, unbelieving critics asked? Surely the Bible writers were just borrowing others' riffs when they wrote about Jesus Christ - and therefore their account was not authentic?

That does not follow, replied Lewis. If you're going to seriously consider the question of whether Christianity is true, then in doing so, you must open yourself up to the possibility that God revealed in Christ is the one who is in control of history, guiding it towards its purposes. Those purposes included the spreading of the Christian message throughout all nations. He intends history to bring the progress of the message and rule of Jesus Christ to the nations. In his providential guidance of those nations, what could be wiser than to have allowed stories about legendary redeemers - and legends they are, and the Bible never claims otherwise - that would help to prepare those nations for the coming of the true redeemer? What could be better than to structure creation so that there is, in all cultures, a yearning for a true hero, who, when he was preached, people would recognise as the real thing? Someone who fulfills every legitimate hope and longing that had been gathering through the centuries?

When put this way, the old objection takes on a new light: it's simply one more re-working of unbelief. Classical 20th century liberal scholars simply don't believe that there is an God who controls history. Their presuppositions forbid them to think of other answers than their own: that the Bible writers borrowed other peoples' ideas, instead of speaking through divine inspiration. But it only takes the tiniest amount of imagination to see an alternative: cultures across the world long for a redeemer and tell stories about redeemers who in some ways shadow Jesus Christ (whilst in other ways greatly misunderstanding him), because they have, somehow, an unshakeable feeling that they need one.

"Appearance of age"

If God created the world in 6 days, then does this mean that he would have (as many evolutionists insist this means) "deceived" people by creating with the false appearance of age? A useful distinction is made here in explaining a biblical answer to this question:

Saturday, 7 March 2015

Atheism doesn't work, concedes atheist philosopher

The problem, as conceded by an atheist philosopher: atheism doesn't work. Proponents of the "new atheism" would like it to, but their arguments don't stand up to the test of reality.

"New atheists", he explains, are basically people who say what they wish was true: not what there's any good reason to believe.

There's a basic divide in the atheist camp: on the one side, there's "New Atheists" like Richard Dawkins who say what fellow atheists would like to hear (a.k.a. preaching to the choir), but whose arguments are held by philosophers of any pedigree to be sophomoric nonsense. On the other side, there's "Old Atheists", like John Gray, who say it like it is: that atheism provides no coherent, rational basis for the world to work in the way that we feel it ought to.

There's a way out of this "dilemma", of course...

Friday, 13 February 2015

A reason to be thankful for the Internet...

The Internet is a segment of human life, and so includes all its dross; but here's the kind of resource that makes the Internet great:

Someone appears to have done this for free. It's high-quality, and well thought-out - and with the power of the Internet, anyone can do that, and anyone can benefit from it, with a few clicks. I just hope they'll make sure it doesn't die with them, if they're just an individual. You couldn't do that without the Internet: the dead wood would cost paper, and publishers have their expenses, etc.

Have you got any useful stuff you could stick online and share with the world? I've been pleasantly surprised to find people coming across stuff I did years ago, and sending a "thank you" note. It doesn't happen often - but in my reckoning, if you put the work in to produce something once, then you may as well squeeze everything you can out of it. If I stick it up there now, it might benefit someone in 20 years time. There's enough trivia on the Internet - do you have something, whether in the things of this world only, or things of the kingdom, that could be a blessing?

Why oppose the techniques involved in "3-parent babies"?

Monday, 2 February 2015

Waiting until the facts are in

This news story excellently illustrates a Christian teaching - of charity in judgment: waiting until the facts are in, and until the other side has had a full opportunity to explain themselves, before rushing to judgment: Note how one of the photographers involved made a public fool of himself by not doing so.

Dangerous case of boy who still had an imagination thankfully clamped down upon

Children who learn how to use their imagination risk not growing up to be compliant tools of whoever's in power. This can't be allowed. Thankfully, the authorities are alert to the dangers, and doing all they can to make sure it can't happen.

I'd love to assume that the following news story is a spoof, or that it's April 1st. It does, however, appear to be deadly serious. Make sure you read to the end to get the full list of the boy's various infractions...

The myth of 1%

Human and chimp DNA are very different -

Saturday, 31 January 2015

Something to chew over...

Fact: West Africa has dire spiritual and material needs.

Fact: Christians have a mandate, from the Lord God, and from the Saviour who bled for us and bought us, to do something about both of these.

I read about the material needs in secular sources often, with at-least-implicit encouragements to do more to help.

Concerning the small part of the Christian web that I look at from time to time (broadly conservative evangelicalism), I hear almost nothing about either.

Why is this?

Friday, 30 January 2015

A higher law

This article is a very interesting discussion of the concept of "joint enterprise" in UK criminal law:

I don't want to discuss that particularly - save the minimal observation that the concept is valid, but, as the article demonstrates, leads to complexity and needs nuancing to get right.

Note, though, what the whole article is doing - appealing beyond the law, to higher conceptions of what is just and fair. There is some higher standard, assumed to exist, and assumed to be accessible by us, that the law needs to conform to.

This, of course, is ultimately the basis of all law - we're trying to set the rules so that they fit both a) our society and b) the higher, objective notions.

Without both human society in its diversity, and objective norms which ought to always apply, you can't have laws at all.

And hence I observe again that you can't have laws, without a de facto state-approved religion. The "higher, objective notions" must be based on something. There must be some final values, beyond which there is no appeal, and which are not subject to man's whim to change when he feels like it. The only question is *which* religion, not whether we have them at all. In the West today, the de facto state religion is state-centric secular humanism.

And a second observation - everybody, whatever they profess, ultimately either acts consistently with the fact that they are created beings, under some ultimate law - or they act as insane people. I have no idea whether the author of the article loves God or acknowledges him at all. But I do know that he can't help behaving as if objective laws and higher notions of justice and righteousness exist, and that it's the duty of law-makers not to pass whatever laws they please, but to conform to them.

God is, and we are either lovers of God, or rebels against him - no neutral position exists.

Tuesday, 27 January 2015

Erastianism in 30 seconds

You can see the video of Paul Williamson's one-man protest here:

In summary, Williamson appeals to the Bible. Sentamu appeals to the will of parliament.

And there is the ultimate fact in the governance of the Church of England, captured in 30 seconds: its ultimate law is not God's law; it is the law of man.

That may not be what everyone in the Church of England would like, or personally believes should be the case - but that is the actual constitution of the body, and it's not going to change. What matters, finally, is not what the Bible says - it's what parliament votes for.

That is a large part of why, as I said in my earlier post, I find the Church of England to be a church whose fundamentals are unacceptable to me as a Christian.

Thank you, Paul Williamson

Where were all the evangelical leaders in the church of England yesterday, when God's word was trampled upon in their church? When the question rang out, "Is it now your will that she should be ordained?", why was there only one - one! - man present there to answer "No" ?

Either, they chose to stay away, so that they wouldn't have to answer the awkward question; or, they were present, but chose to remain silent.

"Nothing practical would be accomplished by saying 'no'", I hear someone say. "It'd go ahead anyway".

When the shepherds of the flock say that, as the wolves run amok, then we shouldn't be surprised when the flock feel the same way.

A Christian teacher asks... "Why should I stand up in my staff room, and say 'no', when the new 'equality and diversity' policy is announced, that mandates me to teach lies about human sexuality to children? After all, nothing practical would be accomplished by saying no. It'll go ahead anyway, and it'll only cause me trouble. Perhaps best just to not be present on that day."

A Christian council worker asks, "Why should I stand up in the council offices, and say 'no', when someone is proposing spending tax payers' money on promoting and enforcing lies about how God didn't make man 'male and female' after all, but that it's all a matter of personal choice? After all, nothing practical would be accomplished by saying no. It'll go ahead anyway, and it'll only cause me trouble. I'll just keep silent."

A Christian nurse asks, "Why should I stand up and say 'no', when the head of department is pushing us to advise women to kill their unborn babies, or to give assistance to people helping them to do it? After all, it'll make no difference. I'll just be quiet, and persuade myself that if it's not actually me pushing the policy, then I'm not really involved."

Personally, I don't find the Church of England to be a set-up that's compatible with the teaching of the Bible. But perhaps you do. If you do, then please stop having your cake and eating it. Embrace all its structures, and its regulations and procedures, and be present when the question "Is it now your will that she should be ordained?", so that you can say "No, certainly not". If you're telling yourself that your silent protest actually speaks more loudly than words, then you're deluded. The very point of a question, "Is it your will..." is to have an audible answer. That's precisely why all those who did turn up called out "it is" in loud voices.

"As you know, everyone from the province of Asia has deserted me", wrote the apostle Paul (2 Timothy 1:15). Yesterday, another Paul stood alone, whilst every evangelical leader found a reason to be somewhere else. Thank you, Paul Williamson.