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.