Thursday, 16 November 2017

Muddled thinking from Philip Jensen on "same sex marriage"

I have had many opportunities to be grateful for Phillip Jensen's work during my lifetime. However, his response to the Australian postal vote in favour of "same sex marriage" evidences several of the pieces of muddled thinking that, if Christians are to ever recover from their confusion over how their faith interacts with a secular culture in much of the West, we need to correct. He makes and endorses several of the mistakes which have helped ease our path to widespread cultural irrelevance, and which make recovering from it that much harder. Below, I quote from his post which you can find in full here.

Christians who voted ‘no’, and I am one, have a lot to be thankful for even in this result.
I do not share this thankfulness, because I do not share the reasons given for it.

1. We live in a democracy where issues that divide our nation are settled by the peaceful process of majority rule and minority acceptance of the outcome.
The benefits of a peaceful democracy in the West, which are enjoyed only in a few parts of the world, are a result of the Christian world-view permeating society. It is a blessing of past influence of the Word of God upon society, through Christians acting as salt and light. It is somewhat perverse to celebrate that this piece of our foundations is still intact whilst another piece is removed.
2. We do not live in a theocracy where the religious tradition of the nation imposes itself upon the will of the people. This protects us from other religious traditions, as it protects society from Christian imposition.
 This line could have been borrowed from any textbook of ideological secularism. As if all "religious traditions" are of exactly the same sort, and we need sparing equally from them all. As if it wasn't the case that there is one true God, who has revealed that certain things are truths, and others are damnable lies. No - they're just "religious traditions" which we need protecting from, by enshrining secular humanism as the new state religion in their place.

"Protects society from Christian imposition". What an awful thing for a Christian minister to say. As if laws which encourage people to stay away from sexual immorality and personal ruin through that immorality are an "imposition" that we need to be "protected" from.
The Kingdom of God must not be confused with the Nation or it’s Government. Christianity cannot be imposed by government but can only come by the spiritual persuasion of the populace.
There is a gulf as wide as the ocean between "imposing Christianity by government", and passing that promote extreme wickedness that leads people into ruin. Minimising that difference perverse in the extreme. By Jensen's reasoning here, the more wicked the idea that is enshrined in law, the more cause to celebrate: because it makes clearer that we don't live in a theocracy and that we haven't confused the Kingdom of God with Government. Hurray, how wonderful! The nearer to the Abyss we get, the more we can celebrate that we have a nuanced understanding of the nature of the New Covenant, hurrah!

There is a huge conceptual space available in between "Theocracy" on one hand, and "enshrining lies and radical immorality into law" on the other. To celebrate that your society hasn't fallen into the ditch on the left-hand side of the road, whilst it merrily accelerates into the ditch on the right-hand side, is really twisted. Celebrating that you're arriving in Brave New World's approach to sexuality on the ground that you haven't arrived in 1984's approach, instead of weeping, is not good.
3. The vote is against government interference in our personal lives. The privacy of the citizens to make their own family arrangements, without government interference, has the distinct advantage of small government. Though, to keep pushing in this direction can lead to the final collapse of a society as a whole. 
a) Christianity is not radical libertarianism.

b) Saying that homosexual relationships are just another sort of "family arrangements" is both a) conceding the whole issue which is under dispute and b) telling an untruth, according to Scripture.

c) The idea that such decisions push us away from government interference is naive foolishness in the extreme. We know this well enough from the rest of the world where "gay marriage" has been enshrined in law. It's got little to do with "not interfering", but the opposite. Witch hunts against "bigots", who get pushed out of their livelihoods if they don't conform to belief in "gay marriage" as a new test of their societal acceptability. Teachers in public schools. Bakers who refuse to repeat slogans they find disagreeable. Photographers and florists who decline to provide service to immoral ceremonies. Social workers and adoption agencies who won't conform to radical sexual revolutionary ideas. Disciplinary proceedings for everyone who won't sign the co-ercive 'diversity statement' which requires you to not just refrain from doing things, but requires you to say that you believe things which you don't. What planet is Phillip Jensen living on here?
4. Thanks to the postal vote, it is clear that the majority of Australians want marriage to be extended to same-sex couples. This is not imposed upon us by a gerrymandered parliament or a tyrannical ruler, but as best as could be managed, by a clear majority of voters.
How is this something to be thankful for? It is a demonstration of how far the rot has spread, and how far Christians have failed in being salt and light in preventing that societal rot over the last generation. Would Mr. Jensen be grateful if we had a majority vote to de-criminalise rape, or to send all people of Jewish descent to the gas chambers, simply because it came out because of a corrupt majority instead of through a corrupt minority?
5. A large minority have had, and have taken, the opportunity to express concern about this extension of marriage to include same sex-couples.
Marriage cannot, by its nature, according to God, be "extended". This postal vote was about re-defining its meaning in Australia to be something contrary to its actual nature. It was about making the laws of the land tell lies. It was about giving legal force to untruths about human sexuality.

If we are to be grateful that only a very comfortable majority of people are aware that sexual complementarity is essential to marriage, and that that universal ignorance has not yet taken hold, then OK.... but this is setting the bar disastrously low, isn't it?
6. The people of Australia are concerned with what they perceive as the fairness, justice, tolerance and welfare of a vulnerable, tiny minority as small as the same-sex community.
This sentence really says nothing. At best, it means that the people of Australia are very confused, with good intentions. It also repeats the "homosexual rights" movement's propaganda. Biblically, you cannot speak of a group of people who choose to self-define themselves by their particular sin as a "community". Thieves, liars and drunkards are not a community, and neither are people who enjoy the thought of committing sodomy. They are precious souls, human beings made in the image of God, who urgently need to be urged to repent of taking such a terrible decision and to find the mercy which Christ offers them in the gospel.

There is little to be thankful for in the failure of the Christian church to stem the one-way traffic of people adopting opposite views. To celebrate that we are not in a situation where depravity has reached 100% and where everybody acts out of the most evil possible motives, all the time, is really saying nothing. Mr. Jensen has again set the bar disastrously low. Did Wilberforce rejoice that slavers were concerned to see their slaves taking part in meaningful economic activity which contributed to an increase in society's prosperity? Was the Second World War a special opportunity to rejoice because it was only some classes who were sent to the concentration camps, and not all of them? I think not.
7. The widening gulf between Christian and nominal Christian, let alone non-Christian, enables Christians to perceive the character and challenge of holiness.
Is this what is happening? Non-Christians in Australia are increasingly understanding how holy Christians are, through this vote? Really? This item to give thanks for is theoretical: it does not reflect what's actually happening in society or in evangelical churches. It reflects a retreat into a private thought-world, whilst society plunges into perdition. It reflects spending too much time among ourselves, and not enough time with the lost.

Should we encourage the government to pass more and more evil laws, so that the difference between wickedness and goodness gets more and more of an airing?

"May your will not be done on earth, in case people don't understand too well what it really is?" should be our prayer?
It also clarifies the magnitude of the work that we need to do, to persuade society about God’s will for our life.
Again, how perverse. The more wicked the world gets, the more we celebrate that the size of our task is clearer? This really is scraping the barrel, and then rejoicing that the first sip of what we found there didn't immediately finish us off.
8. The process has awakened some to the cultural wars that have been undermining our Australian way of life for the past half century. This may lead to a greater diversity of opinions being expressed in parliament, and the media, and a diminution of the censorious monopoly of the cultural elite.

Again, has Mr. Jensen paid attention to any of the countries in which "gay marriage" has already been enshrined in law? I am sorry to have to say that Mr. Jensen's line of thinking in this blog post reflects something much too common among contemporary Christians: wishful thinking. Spending so much of our time amongst other born-again people, we find it hard to imagine how evil evil really is. We cannot bring ourselves to believe and accept that evil has no consistent stopping place, and that when it gains one demand, it won't politely sit down and refuse to go any further. We can't quite accept that there's a whole, thought-through, consistent agenda that's being pushed upon society, and that this is just one step. We expect evil to stop politely a couple of metres away from our front doors, and not bother us any further.

The rest of his post isn't bad. But if thought through consistently and Biblically, what he then says would leave little reason to credit the parts that I've quoted, or to take them in the sense that he's written them. He mentions that secularism is at war with Christianity: but how does he expect to fight secularism with such retreatist or head-in-sand observations as he's made above?

When you jump off a cliff, it's rather perverse, half way down, to list reasons for thankfulness that you've not yet hit the bottom, and to explain the benefits of being refreshed by all that air whooshing past you so quickly. Instead, we should be lamenting with tears and pleading urgently to God for mercy. "It could be worse" is more Stoic than Christian, and not the message that the people of God need to hear. No, I'm not saying that they need to hear the message "Doom, we're doomed." Absolutely not. Christ is alive and reigning. We're not doomed: we're victorious. But, we do need to understand that we need to reverse course in present society, as a matter of great importance. Mr. Jensen says that he finds things to be grateful for "in" the result. He surely means "despite" the result. Yes, by all means give thanks that we've not hit the bottom yet. But underlining and emphasising what's still left is hardly the need of the hour. (And underlining and emphasising things that are bad in themselves is certainly not).

I'm grateful for our remaining freedoms, but also aware that many of them are cultural left-overs that are under severe threat. Listing them and giving thanks to God for them is fine in its very limited way... but what are we actually doing to preserve and add to them? Are our children being indoctrinated, day by day, in radical secularist and sexual revolutionary ways of thinking? It used to be the case that Christians were educating the children of secularists. The world received guidance from the church. Today, secularists (consciously, or through the indoctrination they've received), brain-wash Christians. Evangelical churches are following the lead of the world. Even Christian leaders take up misguided terminology like "the same-sex community" instead of using words which you'd find in the Word of God. What are we actually doing to make sure that, for example, the youth of our own churches, see through this and, in their own households and lives, will be fighting against it?

Thursday, 2 November 2017

On eternity's doorstep

https://mesofarsowhat.wordpress.com/

I'm honoured to count Caleb as a friend. For all anyone down here can know, I'll enter eternity before him. But, as things stand, Caleb expects to be with Christ soon, and these are his thoughts in that situation.

If anyone's thoughts are worth reading, then they're the thoughts of a believer standing on eternity's doorstep. So stop reading this, and go and read that instead!

Wednesday, 1 November 2017

The 1950s Hebrides revival

Some years ago, I had the privilege of getting to know and praying with an old farmer who personally experienced the 1950s revival in the Hebrides. By the time I met him, he was in his 80s... but as he spoke of those amazing events, you could see him transported back through the decades.

Duncan Campbell's first-person account is only about £2 on Kindle. I read it in paperback a few years ago, and had almost forgotten about it. It is a very inspiring read, and a great rebuke and challenge.

Wednesday, 11 October 2017

A Europe we can believe in

This document should be spread far and wide. Its clarity of cultural analysis is first-rate: https://thetrueeurope.eu/a-europe-we-can-believe-in/

For example, how different would our politics be if this insight was endorsed by politicians and worked its way throughout policy, instead
mere lip service in theory and the opposite in practice?

33. Marriage is the foundation of civil society and the basis for harmony between men and women. It is the intimate bond organized around sustaining a household and raising children. We affirm that our most fundamental roles in society and as human beings are as fathers and mothers. Marriage and children are integral to any vision of human flourishing. Children require sacrifice from those who bring them into the world. This sacrifice is noble and must be honoured. We endorse prudent social policies to encourage and strengthen marriage, childbearing, and childrearing. A society that fails to welcome children has no future.

("All those who hate me (God's wisdom), love death" - Proverbs 8:36; which could almost be the chosen slogan of much of Europe's current political landscape).

Tuesday, 3 October 2017

Yes, really

As the extreme fringe of sexual confusion, i.e. transexual ideology, has made its way into the mainstream, it's been forcing more and more people to choose.

The choice:

1) Do I really believe this stuff... and accept its completely absurd (or worse) consequences?

2) Or.... do I say "no", and risk people calling me rude names (or worse)?

Or in other words... do I go along with the pretence that the Emperor is clothed? Or do I have to make everyone look at me by drawing attention to the fact that the entire kingdom can see his buttocks?

And so.... (drum roll)

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/education/2017/10/03/women-only-cambridge-college-allow-students-simply-identify/

Ta daa.... A Cambridge women's college which doesn't believe that there are such things as women. Yes, really. You see, gender is (they say) non-binary. There is no fixed point that you can call "womanhood". Womanhood, ultimately, doesn't exist. Thus says.... a women's college.

Their raison d'ĂȘtre is to provide education for women. Women. The ones who aren't men. But, in academic circles now, it's de rigeur to proclaim that there is not really any such thing as womanhood. You're a woman just as long as you self-identity as a woman. Womanhood is whatever you, choosing to identify as a woman, want it to be. Want to come to a woman's college? Well, you can, of course, as long as you feel that you're a woman.

Was it C S Lewis who point out that there are some things so stupid, that only really clever people can convince themselves to believe in them? And that anyone else just isn't capable of the mental contortions necessary to accept such obvious nonsense?

I suppose that if I choose to self-identify as "the person who sacks academics who've lost their minds", and visited a council meeting of Murray Edwards college in order to turf out all the people who made this decision, that would be OK too? None of them would start talking about how my personal delusions did not match up with objective reality? Do you think?

Well, that's enough of that. Those buttocks have warts on. It's putting me off my tea.

Tuesday, 5 September 2017

It makes a difference

The spirit of the age encourages us to believe that all religions are basically the same.

And certainly, it's considered rude to think that Catholicism and Protestantism have fundamental differences on vital questions.

But have you actually looked into it? Here, for example, is one of the things the Pope sincerely believes and practises:
http://reformedperspective.ca/jorges-heresy/

Monday, 4 September 2017

How God punishes nations

A few years ago, I read - I think it could have been James Jordan - someone saying that the Biblical pattern when God wishes to punish a nation for its wickedness, is that he raises up a nation even more wicked to do it. "So, you like wicked nations, do you? Here's one for you!".

So, when Israel or Judah turned to pagan idolatry in the Old Testament, then the experts at pagan idolatry would turn up to punish them. When, in the New Testament, the Jewish nation cried out "we have no King but Caesar", a few years later, it was Caesar who ordered her utter destruction. You don't get to say "that's not fair, we might be bad, but we're not that bad!" You do get to say "we've chosen wickedness, and when you choose wickedness, you lose any claim for God's hand of protection against wickedness."

At this point, what North Korea might get up to, is yet to be seen. Whether a warning shot across the West's bows, or whether they might actually nuke somewhere in the West, is unknown. But it bears thinking about, doesn't it?

And no, this isn't about Donald Trump, as if the West only decided how much it loved its rebellion against God a few months ago.

Wednesday, 30 August 2017

The Nashville Statement on human sexuality

Here: https://cbmw.org/nashville-statement/

It's good in what it says. What's telling is what it doesn't say - i.e. the things that self-identifying evangelicals and complementarians yet either 1) can't bring themselves to say, or 2) don't agree on or 3) didn't think of including. I'd suspect that, in terms of the most telling omissions, it's mostly 1) and 2).

I speak of the role relationships between husband and wife within a family, and the general connection between masculinity and responsibility to provide godly, Christ-shaped leadership in general in life, and the general connection between femininity and the responsibility to honour the general assignment of leadership to males in God's creation order (whilst fully recognised the complete equality and dignity of male and female as made in the image of God). This doesn't get a word. Articles 3 and 4 mention "the divinely ordained differences between male and female". But what are these divinely ordained differences? The statement mentions nothing beyond biological differences, and that marriage is intended to reflect the relationship between Christ and his church. But in terms of key words like "leadership" or "submission"; or concepts like affirming the value of home-making and motherhood against the world's lies about them; entire silence.

And that's the elephant in the room. It's a key area on which evangelicals begun compromising long ago. It's the place where the rot has already set in and travelled far. So far, that it can't even be mentioned in a statement explicitly intended to outline the contours of Biblical teaching on human sexuality. It's either embarrassing, or self-condemning, or both. We can't say "the husband has a duty to always provide godly leadership and take final responsibility for everything that happens in his family; the wife has a duty to submit herself to her husband's leadership and obey him in all things that are lawful according to God's word", because we either don't believe it, or don't want people to think we believe it, or don't practise it. (Which is why evangelical weddings commonly drop these biblical vows, despite the Bible's clear words about them).

What difference does it make? A huge amount. Study the statement. Ask the question "So... what difference does all this doctrine about human sexuality make in practice, according to what's written here?" Unless there's some actual *content* to idea of the relationship between Christ and his church, all we have left is the actual sexual act. The articles speak about who can, and who can't, partake in bodily sexual relations. i.e. It's hugely reductionist. The sexual act itself is left, under this scheme, as basically something arbitrary - and it appears that the unbelievers' charge (that on this subject, the church is just interested in forbidding sex, and not in too much else) has weight to it. But is being male and female really only about who you can't have sexual relationships with? Is that he beginning and the end of it? Are fatherhood and motherhood potentially interchangeable words? Do "husband" and "wife" signify nothing about role relationship? If they do, then it's clearly important enough to mention beyond an unexplained reference to a Biblical image. But if they don't, then in fact we as evangelicals do have a hugely reductionist doctrine of human sexuality, which this statement does nothing to fix.

So, as I say, the statement is good - in what it says. But if you look at what it omits, then you then see that it's not appropriate only for evangelicals to sign these statements to indicate their doctrinal purity, and talk only about areas in which evangelical practice is still mostly "holding the line". We also need to repent, do the former works, and confess the things in which we've sinned.

Saturday, 26 August 2017

4 common objections to Christianity

Courtesy of Solihull Presbyterian Church, 20-minutes answers to common objections that people make to Christianity:

You can’t take the Bible literally – Chris Statter
There’s more than one way to God – Stephen Dancer
How can I believe when there’s so much suffering – Chris Statter
Science disproves God – Stephen Dancer

Tuesday, 15 August 2017

Evangelical homosexuality

Tim Bayly asks whether it is consistent for evangelicals to spend 50 years removing, or minimising into functional nothingness, complementary roles from the marriage relationship, and then preach that there should be sexual complementarity in the marriage bed? https://warhornmedia.com/2017/08/14/cake-baking-homosexual-marriage/ . He asks, is preaching against other peoples' homosexual rebellion just a cover for our own? And the grand symbol and symbolic occasions where we see this acted out is here: at marriages of evangelical Christians, do the vows reflect the distinctive role relationship that God has revealed in Scripture, with man providing Christ-modelled leadership, and woman providing godly submission? Or do they reflect functional and doctrinal homosexuality, that either person could say either set of promises...because they're actually the same?

A new trend in the Western media

https://www.theguardian.com/sport/2017/aug/15/stephen-wooldridge-australian-olympic-cycling-champion-dies-aged-39
http://www.bbc.com/sport/cycling/40934545

For some reason, media in the West appear to increasingly consider it taboo to mention if someone kills himself.

Any ideas why? I've only recently begun to notice this, and not read any comment on it before. You have to guess it from the phoneline of mental health charities that might - or might not - be tacked on the bottom of the article. And then Google until you find out either way. I found a few more like the above two articles, before finding the implication in the phrase "he gave his life away" in the death announcement, reported at
https://www.stuff.co.nz/sport/other-sports/95814549/olympic-cycling-champ-stephen-wooldridge-dies-aged-39. To not refer to the death announcement takes deliberate, self-conscious action, so it can't just be that reporters missed it out without thinking about it.

The Independent is less coy:
http://www.independent.co.uk/sport/cycling/steve-wooldridge-dead-suicide-dies-olympic-cyclist-gold-medallist-australian-a7893736.html

This must be telling us something about something. But as I say, I've only recently begun to notice this trend, and not yet puzzled it out.

Friday, 28 July 2017

Fifty years of word games

http://www.christianconcern.com/our-concerns/sexual-orientation/fifty-years-of-word-games-jonathan-saunders

The children of Israel did not wipe out the Canaanites

A number of news outlets are today breathlessly reporting headlines like:


Then they proceed to note that in the Bible, God commanded the Israelities to execute his judgment on the inhabitants of Canaan for their wickedness, and destroy them.

For the sake of this blog post, let us assume for the sake of argument that there are people alive today with DNA indicating that they are descendents of Caananites of that time. Let us assume also that under the terms the command, there could not be a single person left who has this DNA (e.g. someone's twin who lived outside of the land, instead of in it, or a single person who escaped the massacre), etc. Does their existence disprove the Bible?

On the contrary, it proves the poor standards of Biblical literacy and editing in the contemporary press. The Bible not only records that God gave this command.... it also records that the Israelites only partially kept it, leaving many from various different Canaanite tribes alive, still living in the land.

Judges chapter 1, especially from verses 19-35, is the main record of that, with quite some detail. 2 Chronicles 8:7 is another example. Many places also record the continue existence of the Jebusites among the Israelites in the time of David, 500 years later.

As I read the comments on pieces like these, there's much glee: look, we disproved the Bible! Aren't we clever!

No: all you proved is that, despite being so eager to disprove the Bible, you haven't yet troubled yourself to read it. The ignorance is widespread, and wilful. Welcome to the modern West. We think we're the most advanced, sophisticated people who ever lived. Apparently you can be educated enough to be an expert in genetics, publish papers, write the accompanying press releases together with their "clever" PR angle, get it published in newspapers .... and nobody will spot the glaring error.

Thursday, 27 July 2017

Homosexuality, what is "natural", and the thought police

http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/home-news/homosexuality-decriminalisation-50-gay-sex-unnatural-rights-british-people-believe-same-sex-a7862191.html

A few unorganised thoughts:

- Is there still someone out there who thinks that the "gay rights" movement is really just about freedom to do what they will in the privacy of their bedrooms, rather than the wholesale re-engineering of society in their image? Let this survey, the associated comments, and all the other propaganda pieces you're seeing in the news this week (the time of the 50th anniversary of the 1967 acts decriminalising private homosexual intercourse) disabuse you of that notion.

- It's the thought police. The idea that someone, somewhere does not approve of their bedroom activities drives "gay rights" activists wild. It's not just "I want freedom to do what I want", but "everybody must approve of it" and "nobody must even think differently". The idea that some people still don't want to whole-heartedly endorse their views maddens them, and they can't live with it: the campaign must be total and eternal. Why would that be? Something to do with conscience?

- i.e. A totalitarian agenda. Nobody can be accused of peddling conspiracy theories when they point this out any more, since now they have sufficient cultural power to be completely open and straightforward about saying so, and have for a number of years.

- Note that the headline, like very many headlines dealing with the results of surveys, is wrong. The headline says that "Four in 10 British people believe gay sex is 'unnatural'". However, the article goes on to explain that this number of people both (presumably) think it is wrong and were willing to say so in the survey, despite the considerable social pressure to hide their true thoughts and say otherwise. The aspect of social pressure means, with a very high degree of likelihood, that the true number of those who believe that homosexual acts are unnatural is very much higher.

- Of course they do. If they don't, then they must be pretty ignorant of some rather basic anatomical facts.

- "Seventy-eight per cent of people aged 18 to 24 said that gay sex was natural, while 69 per cent of those aged 65 and above believe it is not." I wonder how much part social pressure pays in that. People aged 65 and over have much less to lose in various areas if they say what they really think, compared to 18-24 year-olds who've been given continual indoctrination as to what they are supposed to believe. Of course, the 1960s sexual revolutionaries have spent a long time teaching people to reflexively believe that younger people are automatically more interesting, relevant, thoughtful, cool, etcetera - that was a useful tool in the fight against other authorities in society (strong families, church, etc.).

- The main issue with the question itself, is what "natural" means. People with different world-views will interpret that in totally different ways. Christians believe in an "order of nature" - which isn't an order artificially imposed upon nature with only an arbitrary (fiat) relationship to it, but rather an order intentionally embedded by God in creation, arising from its construction, so that creation reflects his purposes and the right uses of things and indicates their binding nature upon us. But, what is "natural" to an atheist? They could stick to physicalism, i.e. biology (in which case homosexual acts are unnatural), or they could take it to mean "something that happens in the universe", in which case more or less anything is natural as long as it isn't physically impossible, and then the question is meaningless.

Saturday, 8 July 2017

More on John Stevens' capitulation

Following on from http://mothwo.blogspot.com/2017/07/has-fiec-capitulated-on-homosexual.html.

I came across John Stevens' opposition to "gay marriage", just 5 years ago at http://www.john-stevens.com/2012/02/fiec-news-c4m-coalition-for-marriage.html. There are also some quotes at http://www.christian.org.uk/news/fiec-director-urges-christians-to-defend-marriage/

The gay community is a tiny percentage of the population as a whole, but they exercise inordinate power through their vociferous lobbying.
In the post, he calls the proposals for "gay marriage": "Wrong", "Unnecessary", "Dishonourable", "Arrogant", "Opportunistic", "Unpopular", "Insidious", "Dangerous".

Yet now, just five years later, he opposes "those that have consistently stood against the grant of any civic rights and freedoms to the LBGT community", and distances himself from them, as if they were third parties. He continues "It is hardly surprising that the gay community is suspicious of the political objectives of evangelical Christians. Christians need to adopt a political philosophy that is appropriate for a genuinely plural society that encompasses both believers and unbelievers." Yet, who are these third parties that Stevens critiques? Himself! Does he really think that what he calls "the gay community" (or to use a more Biblical perspective: a mob of those bent on serious evil) are going to read him calling their agenda "Wrong", "Unnecessary", "Dishonourable", "Arrogant", "Opportunistic", "Unpopular", "Insidious", "Dangerous", and then not be suspicious of his "political agenda"? Really?

We should never repent of following Biblical teaching. Stevens has shifted his position, but under the guise of criticising other, unnamed evangelical Christians who have held to that Biblical teaching. In 2012, he correctly called the campaign for rebranding and promoting gross sexual immorality as "marriage" accurately, according to what it is - wrong, unnecessary, dishonourable, arrogant, opportunistic, unpopular, insidious, dangerous. In 2017, he says that people who speak like this are a danger to the Christian church, and that it is "urgent" (his word) to "advocate for a truly plural society in which they value the rights and freedoms of other communities as well as their own."

Is there not something deeply "dishonourable" about doing a 180 on your position, under the guise of criticising third parties who continue to say precisely what the Christian church has always said, what you said until a short time ago, and neglecting to explain that the position that you are criticising was your own position? Yes, there is. Is it not wrong for a shepherd to say that the sheep were wrong to do what he encouraged them to do, without openly explaining that that's what you're doing? Yes, it is. And, as I said yesterday, the rot and compromise on the homosexual issue has now apparently reached into the heart of FIEC, the UK's foremost organisation for independent evangelical churches.

A few short years ago, we had the revolting spectacle of seeing Conservative MPs, who as a majority voted against "gay marriage", then doing a swift 180-degree turn, explaining that they were now for it (because their careers now depended on it), and that their positions had changed. We sigh, we lament, and understand that politicians are politicians. When those with a Christian profession did it (e.g. Nicky Morgan, Tim Farron), we sighed and groaned and cried out to God for mercy. But at least we contented ourselves that conservative evangelical leaders were holding the line. But instead, the leader of the FIEC is advocating that we support the homosexual agenda in society, whilst retreating into the quietness of our churches and hoping that the world will leave us alone there. His goal is that the "gay rights" movement will not be suspicious of his political agenda, and leave him in peace. This goal only developed once he realised that they had the upper hand ... in 2012, when there was still a chance, he spoke very differently. Apparently, his principles depend on the political mood, not on unchanging truths. Sad, sad, so sad. May God have mercy!

Has the FIEC capitulated on the homosexual agenda?

John Stevens is national director of the FIEC. In this blog post - http://www.john-stevens.com/2017/06/tim-farrons-resignation-how-should.html - he has many good things to say.... but unfortunately ruins it all by taking the position that Christians have only themselves to blame if homosexual rights' activists think that evangelical churches are not on their side. He says:
First, some of the organisations that have been most vociferous in condemning the intolerance that led to the resignation of Tim Farron are those that have consistently stood against the grant of any civic rights and freedoms to the LBGT community. It is hardly surprising that the gay community is suspicious of the political objectives of evangelical Christians. Christians need to adopt a political philosophy that is appropriate for a genuinely plural society that encompasses both believers and unbelievers.
This view is disastrous. Firstly, since we are God's spokesmen, let us speak as God does. In the Bible, you will not find anything like the vocabulary of this paragraph. The Bible does not recognise such a thing as "the LBGT (sic) community" or "the gay community". This is not a Biblical way of speaking. People who choose to define themselves by, and campaign for approval of, what Scripture labels as serious depravity and rebellion as the Creator, are not a "community". There is no "gay community" any more than there is a "murderer's community", "adulterer's community" or "thieves' community". It takes a few decades of aggressive brainwashing before we start to forget these simple things, but in theory, in the churches of Jesus Christ we're regularly instructed on God's point of view and taught to think straight about such things - aren't we? Secondly, what does John Stevens mean by "the grant of any civic rights and freedoms to the LBGT community"? It is now over 50 years since private homosexual activity was decriminalised. Since then, the various political fights have been over such things as:

  • Whether it should be compulsory for schoolchildren to be indoctrinated in homosexualist ideology, or whether they should be protected form it (Section 28)
  • Whether children have a right to a father and a mother, or whether they should be treated as trophies, and homosexuals permitted to adopt them.
  • Whether Christians should be forced, on pain of losing their livelihoods, to promote homosexual ideology (e.g. by being forced to publish homosexual propagranda, write homosexual propaganda on wedding cakes, etc.), or whether they should retain the freedom to have and live according to their own views.
  • Whether marriage should be redefined so that it no longer is a fixed entity, reflecting the fixed thoughts and will of our Creator, but should instead be a political football reflecting the arbitrary will of a majority of 600-odd MPs, which today means, promoting homosexual depravity as fully equal to actual marriage.
  • Whether it should be a crime to seek to help a person who experiences homosexual temptation to seek to deny and/or re-orient his desires, through the power of the Holy Spirit, rather than teaching him to embrace them as his core identity.
And so on, and so forth. That's where the fight has been in our adult lifetimes, at least since before England last won the World Cup.

The fact that Mr. Stevens considers that Christian organisations who have been speaking up clearly and straightforwardly on these matters have been doing wrong, is absolutely disastrous. It shows that the rot of propaganda in the name of dreadful perversity has now reached right to the core of conservative evangelicalism. The fact that Mr. Stevens considers that capitulating is actually the *virtuous* thing to do is a thing that should make Bible-believing Christians weep.

Steven's stated position is that what is widely accepted in society ought to be the yardstick of what Christians seek for, and campaign for in the public space. On that basis, we should not just give up the fight against the homosexual agenda, and the current push for radical "transexual" ideology being pushed on our children (e.g. very aggressively by Ofsted), but a whole host of other issues too. Why fight against abortion? Against sexual immorality of any kind? The culture and society are against us. So why not just give up? "Pluralism" is such a warm and fuzzy word after all, isn't it?

Surely the answer to those questions has something to do with the Creator's rights over his creation? To be sure, the Bible recognises that sometimes laws will exist "because of the hardness of men's hearts". Churches are not an alternative police force. We must live, as much as possible, within the framework that we find ourselves in. But this has absolutely nothing to do with changing our theology, and handing over the world to the devil simply because people don't like what their Maker has to say about things. It has nothing to do with making peace with sin, and retreating into our homes and churches so that we only preach about it among the faithful, whilst leaving the rest of the world to rot.

There is more in the comment I wrote on Mr. Stevens' blog piece: http://www.john-stevens.com/2017/06/tim-farrons-resignation-how-should.html

One final thing. In case you think I'm too strong, notice the first comment, from one of the sheep, as he listens to this shepherd. What's his take-away? "A really helpful article. Thanks. It helped me think afresh on what it means to be a pluralist society, and challenged my opinion of some evangelical organisations who advocate and lobby parliament to uphold traditional Christian practices." As I say - this is a disaster.

Saturday, 1 July 2017

Persistent alarm bells for home educators

Whether you are a home educator or not ("First they came for the
Socialists, and I did not speak out - Because I was not a Socialist."),
please read this, pass it on, and write to your MP:

http://christiansineducation.co.uk/persistent-alarm-bells-for-home-educators/

Friday, 30 June 2017

Reminder: Luke 12v48 still exists

I won't quote it - because if you are in a good enough position to be
able to own computers, Internet, read blogs, and don't know it without
looking it up, then now's the moment to fix that!

Monday, 12 June 2017

The tares continue to grow in the field of our children's education. Does the wheat?

In my view, too many Christians in the West have the hopeful view that the tares will very politely reach a point at which they decide to stop growing, before the harvest. That, once evil has reached a certain stage, it will stop, allowing Christians to pretty much continue to enjoy the freedoms they still enjoy. And so, mercifully, we can all just stick our heads in the sand at hope that problems will go away without us doing much about them.

So, we don't need to build alternative structures to support us for when the tares reach a certain height, to be ready. In particular, we don't need any alternative structures to raise and educate our children, because the state's provision is still more or less approximate to how it was many decades ago. Any small defects can be made up for with half-an-hour's Sunday school and a bit of youth group too, surely?

Meanwhile, in the real world, just as A leads to B and B leads to C, so the people who are actually in charge of the state systems career on with the next stage, which is legislative frameworks permitting "early intervention" to remove your children if they are judged to be "in danger" of being exposed to supposedly damaging Christian world-views: http://christiantimes.com/article/ontario-approves-measure-that-allows-government-to-take-children-from-parents-who-oppose-gender-ideology/72273.htm. It turns out all that stuff about tolerance, freedom and respect was spoken with a forked tongue. Who knew, other than everybody who was paying attention?

This is how the war of the world-views works. It's a war. It might be the case that some bits of territory were not the strategic place for the battle to begin, when the sexual revolution was first launched. But that in no way means that the other side don't intend to establish their complete rule over those bits of territory eventually. They're close now. Is it time to wake up yet? What will our generation of Christians' legacy be to the one after us, in terms of preserving our freedoms to teach Biblical truth to our children, that God created mankind to be male and female, and that our role is to submit to his will, not to fight against it? What will we hand those coming next, when we pass the baton? "Well chaps, the enemy's now arrived at the gate, and we've been experimenting with some pea-shooters, because frankly we don't expect them to actually use those battering rams they're lining up over there. We're pretty sure they've done all the advancing they planned on. They keep shouting and screaming about 'tolerance', so I'm sure what they really mean with those cannons over there is that they plans some advanced tolerance manoeuvres but not to disturb our peace in any way. Have fun! If things get really sticky, we have some large sticks in a cupboard somewhere, though we lost the keys and you'll need to look for them."

I'm not advocating a fear-based, "circling the wagons" agenda. I'm advocating sensible, confident, God-trusting measures to make sure that we do what the Bible tells us to do: raise our children in the nurture and admonition of the Lord. A clear-headed recognition that teaching our children to love and fear God in every area of life is our job, not the state's job. That if we involve the state, that's an option, our responsibility, and something to do only if it's clear that the state will not undermine our efforts to teach them about Christ. A withdrawal from having our children taught how to work and think by people who have no place for God and who actively resist him in theory and practice, is not a withdrawal from the world: it is a withdrawing of our children from being harmed by the world. We must always be building relationships with non-believers, so that we can shine the light of Christ's love to them. But that is quite different to handing over major sections of our children's indoctrination to them.

What, practically, needs to be done? Bible-believing churches in each area need to meet together, according to their size and strength, agree on the need for Christian education for their children, and start the hard graft of planning how to open Christian schools, staffed by people convinced that the Bible is God's word as well as being gifted in a calling to teach the children. This needed to begin about 35 years ago, when the future direction of society was very clear. But it is better late than never. God is patient and merciful, and there is still time. But we need to respond to that. There has to be a call to action. Elders need to meet about this subject, and make concrete plans. Wishful thinking has been tried, and is doing nothing for the next generation. Christians used to routinely educate non-Christians in ways of thinking that flowed from Scripture. It is now the other way round. Non-Christians routinely indoctrinate the children of Christians in how to think and act like non-Christians, every day. How, in practical terms, will we reverse this situation for as many children as we can? We need to not just wish that it were otherwise, but work out what means God has placed at hand for us to do it - and start the doing.

Saturday, 27 May 2017

Why evolution is different

I don't agree with everything in this video or Professor Sewell's larger
views (I am a six-day creationist), but he summarises important parts of
the case against large-scale evolution well:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VpEXXNxjWYE

Saturday, 20 May 2017

Wedding days - woman, the glory of man

If you have even passing familiarity with UK "famous person" news,
you'll know that today is the wedding day of Pippa Middleton, the sister
of the Duchess of Cambridge.

All the coverage and the photos testify that we all still, underneath
the pretence, acknowledge the Bible truth: "woman is the glory of man"
(1 Cor 11.7). It's there throughout the news stories, the pictures, the
ceremonies that will take place.

Have you not seen it? The men will be dressed in functional suits,
because they are men, and that won't be much discussed. Their glory is
not one displayed outwardly on occasions like this. But... on the day...
what are the ladies wearing? Their hats, their dresses, their styles -
what will they be? The bridesmaids... and at the centre, the beautiful
bride. All eyes are upon her!

I had a minor epiphany some years ago when I realised that whilst men
were fascinated by female beauty.... this was not a precisely
symmetrical thing. So were women. Men desire female beauty; and females
desire to be beautiful. To be sure, male beauty exists and attention is
paid to it - but when put on the scales, the other sides sinks
immediately. There is a directionality. It's so pervasive that it will
take you years of brainwashing before you can make yourself believe that
this is a tragic artefact of our invisible lizard overlords. Sorry, I
mean the evil patriarchy; I'm getting my conspiracies mixed up. If
you've not had that nonsensical indoctrination, then on the contrary,
you'll see that it's so pervasive that it can only be seen as a simple
fact of creation. It is what the Bible says it is - part of nature. No
matter what people claim to believe, they act otherwise, because they
know otherwise. By "part of nature" I don't mean it's some weird Mother
Earth thing. I mean it's how God intentionally designed the world. It's
an echo of the Great Story - the hero comes from heaven to claim and
enjoy his glorious bride, the church. His glory is not in his preening
himself. His glory is in that he gives his blood to win his beautiful
bride - his glory is messy, dirty, sweaty. Her glory does not shine like
that. Her glory shines out visibly in her desirability to him - in the
Great Story, this is by his powerful grace, as the beauty of a
submissive and pure church which willingly gives itself to him.

Don't agree? Go again and look at all the coverage. Everybody knows it
really, at the tacit/intuitive level. Woman is the glory of man. His
glory will be to sweat and bleed for her from this day forth. Her glory
will be that she is glorious, and becomes more and more glorious under
his loving care. That's part of why it's his responsibility to honour
her, to protect her and in marriage to use his God-given authority to
lead her so that on the last day, the great Wedding Feast of the Lamb,
they might both shine together as part of the bride of Christ.

Friday, 12 May 2017

Pastoral Care or Psychotherapy?

The author of this excellent article holds a masters degree in secular
pyschotheraphy, and a post-graduate diploma in social pyschology, which
makes the conclusion even more striking:
http://www.affinity.org.uk/downloads/foundations/Foundations%20Archive/29_12.pdf

I was Dr. Crossley's apprentice for 3 years; he is a man whose life's
passion is to lift up Jesus Christ.

Wednesday, 3 May 2017

The value of the Bible's genealogies and historical lists

Here are some "big picture" reasons as to why the Bible is so interested in recording and preserving genealogical data. There may be many others:


  • History : God rules over history. He cares about history. In the records carefully kept by the Bible, we see his concern for the world’s history.
  • Real-world history : by carefully recording historical records like these, the Bible shows us what kind of book it is. It is not a book of abstract “religious ideas” that have no connection to the world we live in. It destroys the myth that we can keep the Bible’s religious teachings or meanings, but do away with its historical details. They are a package, and stand or fall together.
  • Practical encouragement : since the Bible is concerned to record, in (relevant) detail, real-world history, believers are helped to understand that the Bible is intended to direct their every-day lives. It is for the lives that we have today in this world.
  • Salvation history : God made promises about a seed of the woman. The genealogies show and document that these promises have been faithfully kept. Time does not diminish God’s faithfulness or purpose.
  • The justification of God : His exhauistive documentation of the genealogical line of the Messiah (and many associated lines) leaves unbelief without any excuse. No sound demonstration that there is any error in genealogy of Jesus Christ has ever been made.
  • Grace : When we see figures like the Gentile prostitute Rahab in the ancestry of Jesus Christ, we are reminded that inclusion among God’s people has always been by grace. When we see Ruth, we are reminded of his purpose to save the nations. Similarly, Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, we are reminded that salvation has always been by God’s gracious determination to save whom he will, and not by human choice.
  • Power : The sheer length of time covered by the genealogies that run from the beginning of creation until the coming of Christ reminds us of God’s power : the passage of time, and the concomitant rising and falling of nations and empires does not impede any of his plans; rather, they were always part of it.
  • Patience : Similarly, this sheer length of time reminds us of God’s great patience with rebellious humanity. The judgment has been tarrying for long, whilst people are given opportunity to repent.
  • Judgment : Historical records and surveys of peoples who lived and died millennia ago remind us that all is seen, and that all is recorded. There will be a day of judgment, when all is brought to account. When we read the names of people and have no idea who they were, we remember that this applies to every life, whether great or small.
  • God at the centre : The names of obscure people remind us that it’s whom God sees us as that counts, not whom the world sees us as. There are godly people named and recorded in the Bible, whilst rulers of empires and dynasties have been overlooked and forgotten. The final evaluation of all things will be given by God, not man.

Friday, 28 April 2017

Liberty of speech in the UK in 2017 - and what are we going to do about it?

Background: http://www.christian.org.uk/news/brits-back-right-mps-say-gay-sex-sin/ Tim Farron caved on a key issue in which the world and the followers of Christ are opposed. A front-line issue. He now finds himself in the unhappy position of all of those who do so. He's now not at home on either side. The people of the world who wanted to see him cave won't believe him, because they know that he caved under duress, rather than freely speaking his mind. They suspect, very strongly, that he doesn't really believe what he said when he caved - because if he did believe it, why would he not have said it earlier? Why the coyness, when he was just being asked to agree with the majority around him in the circles that he's in? What was the problem with going with the flow and saying that you hold the fashionable view?

Whereas, on the other side, he's just sold the cause of Christ down the river because his professed adherence to Christ's teachings was politically inconvenient. He's publicly legitimised those who say that the commandments of Christ have no place in the public sphere, and that anyone who wants to be more than a private individual must call good evil, and call evil good to get along. For Tim Farron, to call wickedness wickedness would have been bad for his current ambitions in the things of this life. He's denied the teaching of Christ on one of today's key issues, publicly denying the authority of God to determine human sexual ethics. What God calls vile rebellion against his created order, Tim Farron says is not a sin at all. This denial should immediately trigger a church disciplinary process within his fellowship. He ought to be required by his church to choose one side or the other, for the love of his own soul and the protection of the flock.

But notice this from the article too: in 2017, 32% of Britons believe that there should be no freedom for public figures to express a view on sexual ethics that deviates from the new orthodoxy. They don't just disagree with Christian sexual ethics - they think that public figures should be forbidden to do otherwise than disagree with it. Speaking out against the sexual revolution is apparently not just a mistaken idea that people can debate. The very act of wanting to debate it is wrong. Anyone wanting to do so should be banished from public life, apparently.

I don't think it takes any great stretch of the imagination to believe that the figure of 32% is higher among our social "elite", who have been far "ahead" of the public at large on such issues. i.e. Among the law-makers - the people with the power to put the thought that "people who disagree with me should have no right to speak" into practice. This is the UK in 2017. We are increasingly proving false the idea that freedom and Christianity can be maintained separately. i.e. That if we banish Christianity from public life as the source of moral instruction, then we can still hold on to the ideas that it brought with it. Or put another way, we can chop the roots off, and still have some good, healthy fruit. The fact is, that it has historically been Protestant Christianity - with its doctrines of a future day of judgment, and sphere sovereignty - that has provided the basis for freedom to disagree within reasonable bounds during the present time. Once you do away with that, you just have the state and "might is right". Public oaths of conformity for all public persons to rigid anti-Christian state dogma. The thought police. This isn't a distopian future. This is what a very considerable people in high places in the UK today actually want, and are no longer afraid to say so. What's your church's strategy for dealing with that reality?

Thursday, 6 April 2017

Who is the parent?

Do parents have any rights which are not subject to the arbitrary whims
of the state? Or are children ultimately wards of the state, which
benevolently grants their parents certain privileges when it sees fit?
According to the UK's "supreme court," it's the latter:
http://www.bbc.com/news/education-39504338

This is one of those petty tyrannies (a fine of £60) based on completely
non-petty theories about the relationship between state and parents
(that the state has arbitrary authority to specify the tiniest details
of the timetable of how you should educate your children). The only
sensible response to petty tyrannies, once they become widespread and
systematic, is mass disobedience. i.e. They should be made unworkable by
parents in a school co-ordinating to agree to withdraw their children
en-masse on a specified day, and daring the authorities to take every
single last one of them to court. Petty tyrannies only work because of
the salami-slicing effect - people say "this isn't my battle". But, a
thousand petty tyrannies down the line, you find that after opting out
of every battle, you lost the entire war by default. Legally, your
children have become wards of the state, and faceless bureaucrats tell
you what their will is for your children, and fine you if you differ on
any of the details. The same arguments which justify this particular
petty tyranny can justify just about anything the state pleases. And
they will.

Christian parents in the UK need to be joining the dots if they haven't
already done so. For example, with compulsory immoral, secularised sex
education on the way, combined with a court favouring the Department of
Education's viewpoint that removing your child from a state school for
even half a day is an offence, what's your plan? This isn't a situation
that just arrived last week. It's the outworking of the last few
decades, in which we've inevitably progressed from A, to B, to C, to D.
There's nothing alarmist about pointing out that the next step is
certainly going to be E. What's our plan to ensure that our children are
raised in the nurture and admonition of the Lord, as Scripture requires
of us?

Sunday, 12 March 2017

Women ejected from women's shelter in order to house man

The future has arrived... law-makers giving way to extreme transgender
ideology now results in vulnerable women being kicked out of women's
shelters, so that men can stay there:

http://globalnews.ca/news/3300518/concerns-over-transgender-client-at-okanagan-shelter/

Monday, 6 March 2017

The Shack

This document summarises the theological teaching of, and then contrasts with the teaching of the Bible, the mass-selling story "The Shack": http://www.watchman.org/profiles/pdf/shackprofile.pdf

HT: Triablogue


  

Friday, 24 February 2017

"Killed for Christ in the Amazon"

The story of the five Ecuadorian martyrs of 1955, in a 5 minute short
from the BBC:

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/video_and_audio/features/magazine-39039876/39039876

Steve Saint's book, "The End of the Spear", is really excellent for many
reasons: https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B00DW9NCSS/. Steve Saint's children
were baptised by one of the men who murdered his father.

Friday, 3 February 2017

Resisting Newspeak

http://www.christian.org.uk/news/doctors-told-not-call-pregnant-women-mothers-case-upset-transsexual-people/

One of the reasons why various sorts of political correctness, which
we'd do better to call Newspeak, must be resisted, is laid plain in the
link above.

If you go along with the idea that X is the same as Y, then, you must
accept the logical entailment that Y is the same as X. You can't
identify one with the other, without identifying the other with the one.

Or to speak more plainly, if Bruce Jenner in a dress is a woman, then
you've just grossly insulted the entirety of womankind. Because, it is
all the same as saying that there is nothing more essential to being
female which is possessed by other member of womankind, that is not
already possessed by Bruce Jenner in a dress.

If all you need to be female is the belief that you think you are
female, then femininity has no substance to it. If feminity is just the
belief that you have feminity, then there is no feminity. I believe that
I have a unreconstructued-anti-phlogistical unicorn in my garden. Does
this mean that I have an unreconstructued-anti-phlogistical unicorn in
my garden, just because I believe it strongly enough? If just believing
is enough, then it doesn't really matter what I mean by
"unreconstructued-anti-phlogistical unicorn". The thing itself is
irrelevant. Even so, femininity is then just a transient, subjective
thought about yourself, and what you think it refers to, is unimportant.
Feminine virtues, strengths and beauties evaporate into nothingness.
Your wife, your daughters - they have no feminine virtues, for there are
no feminine virtues to have. They cannot possess what does not exist.
The phrase "feminine virtues" then refers only to social constructs in
the heads of those who are inclined to follow them. And, as we keep
being told, we should keep challenging traditional social constructs,
until they break down.

So, which is it? Do particularly feminine glories exist? Or are they
just social constructs? You can't have your cake and eat it. Cowardice
and lying, in order to maintain one's social status, is not a virtue; it
is a sin. If God made feminine glories, then Bruce Jenner is a confused
man in a dress who at best deserves our pity for his confused mental
state. And people who love the truth must, in this time when it is a
hot-button issue, always be straightforward in saying so.

Donald Trump is exactly what our culture desired

"You Didn't Vote For TRUMP - Or Did You?"

Content warning: this video is not suitable for all audiences; it contains brief examples of completely obscene pop song lyrics from a "mainstream" pop star, and other references to "adult" topics. (But, on the other hand, probably nothing most readers don't have daily familiarity with, unless you threw your TV out). There are no obscene visuals.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bJXG0YOf5hQ&feature=youtu.be

I'm not an American, but Brits have nothing to smirk about here. The exact same news sources which are the most outraged - the Independent, the Guardian, the BBC - about Trump, promote Trump-like values without ceasing.

Only, when they do it, it's branded as "edginess", "confronting taboos", "challenging prejudice", "bringing liberation", or some other pleasant sounding phrase. But does it matter what we call it? It's what's in the can that matters, not what the packaging says.

Donald Trump represents so many values that the Trump-hating media have been pushing into the culture - and which, as the video explains, we
have been extremely happy to have pushed onto us - for a long time now. 
Our spending and use of time says what our values are. And on that basis, Donald Trump could be elected President of the whole "post-Christian"  West, with no particular incongruity resulting.

Thursday, 2 February 2017

The prosperity un-gospel

If you've never seen the cursed "prosperity gospel" in action, then here
you go:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vmZosnCACIo

The "pastor" first works his people into a frenzy, so that any remaining
discernment disappears down the plug-hole. Then he tells them that if
they give money to God, then God will give back more. Then he prays to
God as the one who gives money, and urges the people to hand their cash
over.

There's nothing subtle, or sophisticated. You might wonder how anybody
could possibly fall for this. Firstly, it's what vast numbers of people
in Africa are used to - they are not aware that there is another (real)
gospel. Secondly, very many are conditioned for it by education systems
that discourage critical thinking and encourage mindless repetition and
acceptance of the words of the authority figure, and by material poverty.

Have you considered if you are called to go and invest the years of your
life in bringing these people the real hope of the actual gospel? That
they might be taught about a real Saviour who she his blood for their
sins - not to multiply their bank notes in this life in this fallen
world, but to bring them into a new creation where righteousness dwells?
So that false pastors don't gorge themselves week by week by
slaughtering the flock for their own gain? Who will go?

Wednesday, 1 February 2017

Unpopular

"Unpopular" - this is a very clear explanation of the central issues of
the gospel.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oD87a_xnj00

Saturday, 28 January 2017

The future has arrived...

... and the weak don't belong in it.

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2017/01/28/panel-clears-dutch-doctor-asked-family-hold-patient-carried/

I recently became aware of this quote, by Flannery O'Connor, a novelist
(and I won't pretend to have heard of her before coming across the
quote!): ""In the absence of faith, we govern by tenderness. And
tenderness leads to the gas chamber." Are not so many of the West's
lurches back to paganism marketed as being great acts of compassion?

The bloody ripping of an innocent life from its mother's womb is
marketed in terms of "allowing a woman to control her own body". The
genocide of those unfortunate enough to have - or just be suspected of
having a raised statistical chance of having - Down's syndrome is
presented as a concern for all to have a high "quality of life". Forcing
mothers away from their children, out of their homes and into the
workforce to raise taxes for the leviathan state is presented as a great
concern for female empowerment. Pinning the elderly to their beds whilst
they are murdered with the assistance of their own families and the
state is presented as "health care". Yes: "compassion" which is divorced
from Christ, is a false compassion, divorced from life: its end is
death. And that end is not a dystopian dream of a far off time: it is
already with us.

Friday, 13 January 2017

The absurdity of gender reassignment

See this article for background:
https://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/2017/jan/13/happy-for-my-daughters-change-gender-fluidity

Did you note how utterly absurd the idea of "gender re-assignment
surgery" is, if you follow this unwitting writer through as he tries to
work out the logic?

In case not, I can spell it out for you. First, here's what he writer
says, which is the new orthodoxy that we're being pressured to accept
and believe (and not critique, at risk of appearing to be a bigot or
dinosaur):

* Gender, he says, is assigned by society. It is a set of social
conventions about expected behaviour.

* This is traditionally assigned to someone based on their bodily sex.
So, we expect girls to wear/do X; but we expect girls to wear/do Y.

* Some people feel that their sex and gender are out of alignment.

* And so.... they have "gender re-assignment surgery".

Let's respond to that. Firstly, note that, according to this theory,
gender is not your body. So, mutilating (for that is what it is) your
body, can only change your sex. Not your gender. Your gender (allegedly)
is *a set of social conventions imposed by other people*. No matter what
you do to your body, you won't change that.

OK, says somebody; it should be called "sex re-assignment surgery",
what's the big deal. Actually it is a big deal that this sort of
fundamental contradiction runs through the whole area. It's one of the
"tells" giving away the fact that you're not being sold a miracle cure,
but being sold snake-oil.

But, let's come to the bigger points. If someone feels that what society
expects of them is out of line with who they really are, then is bodily
surgery really the answer? If society says that I should be a foot
shorter, should I get a saw and remove from the shins down, perhaps? Or
if society says I'm too short, shall we send our young people onto the
rack, to correct this? What happened to "tolerance"? The same crowd
preaching the above nonsense are also always telling us about the
importance of "changing attitudes". How does this comport with
encouraging sexually confused people to have radical bodily surgery?
They must have surgery, so that they are now comfortable with the
traditional social conventions expected of them? Why have surgery? So
that now society is happy with the look of your body, because you now
behave in a manner that is in line with its reality?

Are you beginning to see the multiple levels of internal
self-contradiction in all of this?

The whole theory of surgery for "gender reassignment" assumes that
objective gender norms exist. It assumes that males are like
such-and-such; whereas females are not, because they are such-and-such
instead. It assumes that it is not simply a matter of societal
expectations. What kind of madness says that we need to chop and change
our bodies because they are out of alignment with changing social
preferences? Note too, how radically all this theory contradicts our
society also saying that you can follow any sexual preference you like,
regardless of your body - so, two men who have made a legal agreement to
commit sodomy can be said to be "married", even though there's nothing
of actual sexual complementarity involved in their relationship. i.e.
Society says that bodies and sexuality are independent. And yet,
supposedly, people are meant to have bodily surgery in order to bring
their bodies and their sexuality into line? Are there norms, or not? It
apparently depends on what particular sexual deviance is being discussed
at this minute. Next minute, the conversation might have moved on, and
we'll say the opposite.

Confused? They certainly are. The only way to hold this consistently
together is to drop all pretence that it's based on any consistent,
coherent or logical theory about human sexuality. Instead, the only
thing that can - and in reality, does - undergird it is the theory of
total personal autonomy. That everyone can do anything they like, and
reality is whatever they want it to be. That the only possible sin in
the whole area is to say "you should not do that, it is wrong".

Wednesday, 4 January 2017

Imagine...

"Imagine" has needed someone to deconstruct its lyrics for a long time.
And Douglas Wilson is just the man for the job.

https://dougwils.com/s21-atheism-and-apologetics/may-say-im-dweemer.html

Sunday, 1 January 2017

Anno Domini 2017

How good is the God we adore,
Our faithful unchangeable friend;
His love is as great as His power,
And knows neither measure nor end.

'Tis Jesus the first and the last,
Whose Spirit shall guide us safe home,
We'll praise Him for all that is past,
And trust Him for all that's to come.

http://www.hymntime.com/tch/htm/h/o/w/howgood.htm