Friday 25 April 2014

John 20, v19/31
The Gospel passage for this Sunday comes from John’s gospel in Chapter 20, and is the story of Jesus appearance to His Apostles in the Upper Room on the evening of the first Easter Sunday. John begins this passage by stressing the events taking place there occurred on the same day as the resurrection of Jesus.

The Apostles were in the Upper Room, terrified in fear for their lives. This was because rumours had been spread around Jerusalem that Jesus had been seen, and they feared the authorities might take action against them. The doors were firmly shut yet Jesus appeared in the room to the amazement, but also joy of the men. This suggests that His body was a supernatural body, and so if we are to be like Him in heaven our future bodies will also be supernatural also.

Jesus greeted them with the traditional Jewish words ‘peace be with you’, and then showed them His hands and side to prove that it was the same Jesus they had known when they were with Him, the One who had been crucified on the Cross.

Then Jesus gave them the commission, just as God had sent Him He was now sending them out to preach the gospel in His name. This is essentially and fundamentally what the Church should and must be doing, preaching the gospel that He left us.

Jesus also blew on them and symbolising the gift of the Holy Spirit in which they could forgive people’s sins, or if necessary to refuse to do so. It is from these that the Church can claim authority to pronounce absolution. This in turn leads to dispute amongst some Christians as to whether that justifies the belief that a Priest or Minister is necessary, but a similar commission was given by Jesus in Matthew’s gospel when it was to be upon those acting under Apostolic office.

Every Christian can seek forgiveness from God directly, but if we are considering wanting to make a confession of sins and seeking assurance, then for good order and discipline one could reasonably state a priest is the person to approach rather than just any member of the Church. I have known instances where people have met for study groups and during the meeting been invited and encouraged to speak out on personal troubles, which is quite seriously unwise as there is no moral demands on friends to keep confidentiality. There is no doubt that by talking out a worrying matter, it can ease one’s mind, but a priest (or ordained minister) is the one who should be approached.

At this first meeting of Jesus with the Apostles, Thomas was not present but he was told by the other Apostles what had taken place, and Thomas being known for his scepticism refused to believe them. He wanted to see and touch the evidence, their word was not good enough for him.

A week later however he is back with them in the Upper Room when Jesus again appears and Thomas realises his lack of faith and makes the confession with the deeply committed words, ‘my Lord and my God’.
Thomas received such level of faith only after seeing but for Jsus this was not good enough. To all who would follow Hi, Jesus blesses those who would believe without proof. Faith which results from seeing is good, but the faith which comes from hearing is better.

We must not criticise Thomas, he was bereft at the death of Jesus, it must have been hard to believe that someone so cruelly put to death should appear alive, it was a unique act in all history and people do have imaginary visions. How many times have you heard people telling of having seen tears fall from a statue, or of people being touched on the forehead and then falling to the floor in convulsions at some charismatic meeting?

Initially Thomas had separated himself from the others and we too can lose out when we are missing from Church. We may be tempted to thin no one will miss us but God will and we will have lost the happiness of being with our Christian brothers and sisters.

Thomas also had integrity, he would not say he believed something if he didn’t actually do so. There are Christians who will say things in Church which they do not truly believe. This is dishonest and it would be far better to remain silent. When Thomas did accept the situation he gave full commitment, and if all Christians did so, how much stronger the Church would be.

Jesus wanted to show the Apostles, and by extension to Christians through the ages, that His was a tangible bodily resurrection, and there was much evidence to prove so. Of course the liberal lobby in the Church today would prefer to go with the doubters and suggest it was a theoretical and spiritual resurrection rather than a physical one.

Far too many preachers submit to the universal belief that all will go to heaven so we don’t need to believe Jesus died just to save those who accept Him as Saviour. God however allows us all free choice but we will have to live with the choice we make, and one day those who doubt that a personal commitment to accept Jesus as Lord and Saviour is necessary, will have a consequence too awful to contemplate.

When you receive Communion this Sunday you are part of a tradition which has been passed down from that Upper Room. Many people have tried, and are now trying harder than ever to take Christianity out of public life, but while empires have come and gone, the Christian Church has survived, and millions and millions of people have found their lives enriched by their faith, and the words of Jesus are still relevant, ‘the gates of hell will not prevail against it’

The passage ends with John stating the story the gospel contains only part of the many things Jesus did and said, it was in fact largely a resume of His life. It could not be expected that all of our Lord’s teaching and acts over His ministry could be recorded in such limited chapters. When people try to call on Jesus to support their assertions, they inevitably say ‘well Jesus did not say anything about ?? which clearly means nothing; it merely leaves the view of Jesus unknown. However one can often reason what Jesus thoughts might have been from His other teaching.

God bless you and be at Church on Sunday

Wednesday 23 April 2014

This IS a Christian country

The Prime Minister, David Cameron, stirred up a controversy when he wrote an article for the ‘Church Times’, stating this was a Christian country. The usual collection of liberal thinkers, who would seemingly turn this country into a spiritual and traditional wilderness, eagerly responded alleging he was causing division in society. The irony is that statement is what is divisive. When you examine the name of the writers, Evan Harris, Polly Toynbee, Peter Tatchell, that says it all; notable liberals recognised by their total intolerance. Well has it been said there is no one so illiberal than a liberal; no reasonably responsible person should take their letter seriously. Most of them would campaign against anything that suggested a traditional form of morality or any belief contrary to their own liberality.

Christianity to most of the writers would be beyond their understanding, producing something offensive to their line of thought. To suggest that the teaching of a set of morality and ethics written so long ago could be applied to today’s society would be totally unacceptable. Our laws were based on the Ten Commandments and our ethics are based on Christian values. This is irrefutable.

This country is most certainly a Christian one, and to their great credit some ethnic leaders of other faiths have confirmed their support for the statement.

Whilst every Christian would welcome a repentant sinner and be ready to forgive a persons past errors, one does have to be careful and consider the veracity of the current pronouncements. David Cameron is not the best of people to advance the cause of Christianity in consideration of his known crave for publicity. He has chosen to make this Christian call just a month before a vital election for his Party; a short time after a poll suggested the Christian vote was going to UKIP. It was he who forced the same sex marriage act through ‘with a passion’, despite having once stated he would not. Despite it being against the wish of his party; despite the opposition of the Chburch he is now so fond of. and a realisation his disastrous passion lost him many traditional Conservative votes, whilst gaining few from the homosexual lobby, plus of course the fact that his Church attendance is severely limited. Hardly an evangelical approach. For all his faults, Tony Blair at least proved his commitment to Christianity.

The Christian message however is being diluted for fear of upsetting non believers and other faiths. We have just passed through one of the two great Christian festivals. Our whole faith is based on the Cross and Resurrection, it is the foundation of our faith and yet we have Bishops pontificating on poverty on Easter Sunday, or like another Bishop obsessed with gay rights..

The entire Christian ministry over the past week-end should have been on the sacrifice of our Lord and His glorious Resurrection, with the message of hope it brigs to all who turn to Christ. Instead I read bishops are dealing with semi political messages, relating to cuts and poverty. There is not doubt some people are really really experiencing hardship, but many more are trading on the goodwill of others. If we want to show real poverty we should show pictures of Sao Paulo and some villages on the continent of Africa. Everywhere I go I see people with ipads, smartphones etc, which are hardly things you buy with pennies.

The Bishop of Oxford has been pictured visiting the Prime Minister’s Office with a petition relating to poverty. I never saw a similar picture of protest when the same sex marriage act was being proposed from the same office..

Monday 21 April 2014

There are two fundamental doctrines of the Church which cause widespread controversy and unfounded rejection to people both outside the Church and to members within. Failure to believe and accept is to say the Bible is unreliable and untrue.

One of those doctrines we celebrated a few months ago when we told of the Virgin Birth of our Lord. This Sunday we celebrate the resurrection of Jesus as countless millions have done so over the centuries, but we face a battle to proclaim our message as secular extremists try to create a spiritual vacuum. Our message is that Jesus Christ is the One who died on a Cross for the forgiveness of our sins and rose again on the third day.

The principal character in our Gospel passage is a woman named Mary Magadelen who loved Jesus dearly. Mary came from the village of Magdala on the Sea of Galilee and was one of a group of women who became followers of Jesus, offering financial support and general help. Jesus had healed her from demonic problems and she never forgot that.

Early on the Sunday morning Mary went to the tomb and saw the stone had been rolled away and the body of Jesus had gone. She ran to tell Peter and John.

According to the other gospel accounts, other women besides Mary went to the tomb early that morning. It is sometimes claimed that the Bible accounts cannot be true because of variations in the gospels; that in fact only offers credibility. If everyone here this morning was given a piece of paper and told to go home and write an account of what happened from the beginning of the service until the time you left I guarantee when you later compared all the writings no two would be the same yet no one could doubt you were here. Any lawyer will confirm that when two witnesses offer an identical statement there is an immediate suspicion they have colluded.

John ran to the tomb, and John being the younger got their first, but he let Peter enter the tomb being the stronger character. We notice here two believers, one gentle and reserved as John, whilst Peter was always more impulsive and decisive, each revealing their devotion in different ways. There is room for all characters in the Church.

Peter and John left the scene but Mary stayed; she loved Jesus when He was alive and then was too grieved to leave. Mary was the last person to stay with Jesus at the Cross and first to go to His tomb. This was a testimony to her loyalty for none of the men stayed. She remained sobbing, but she was rewarded when she became the first person to meet the risen Lord. We see that those who are loyal to Christ are honoured by Him, and those who are most true will have most communion with Him

As she wept she saw two angels in white, and they asked why she was weeping. She said it was because they had taken away the Lord, and she did not know where they had laid him. She then turned round and saw Jesus standing, but she did not know that it was Jesus. Jesus asked her, why she was weeping and who was she looking for. Supposing him to be the gardener, she told him she was looking for the Lord and wanted to find his body so she could tae it away. It was rather optimistic and unrealistic for to expect herself, a frail woman, to carry a dead man’s body any distance. Jesus the identified Himself and told her to go and tell His disciples, so making her to become the first Christian witness.

This is what Easter is all about, the real spiritual message that Jesus rose from the dead, not the money making enterprise it has become. Easter is celebrated to remind us that when our days on this earth are over we have the assurance we shall live with our Lord if we have accepted Him as Saviour. The resurrection is the foundation of Christianity.

Whilst there is much about our faith that is respected by people who are not practising Christians, such as being forgiven of sin, hearing that God is love (very popular), but they think that is free for all without any commitment. They will come to Church for a baptism and make all sorts of promises simply because it is a necessary requirement, but they don’t take things seriously or literally. Things are not made any easier by the irresponsible liberals within the Church who themselves question much of the faith.

If someone had said a hundred years ago that we could sit in our homes and by watching a box in the corner of the room show events then happening on the other side of the world; or that by taking a small handset pressing a few buttons you could speak to someone in any part of the world they would have been deemed to be insane. Yet it happens every day by man’s efforts, and we still question what the Almighty God can achieve.

If Easter had not happened; if Jesus had not been raised from the dead, then we have no faith. Christianity rises and falls on the resurrection of Jesus. This has been proclaimed down the ages and if not true, the Bible writers would have lied and millions of people would have made great sacrifices in the cause of the faith in vain. Why would educated men like Paul, and down to earth fishermen, lie when they had nothing to gain by doing so?

If Jesus had not been raised there would be no forgiveness, we would have no future, but the evidence is overwhelming in favour. First century witnesses and documents tell. We have testimony from men present at that time that the resurrection of Jesus was real, objective and physical. This is what the Church has always believed in over two thousand years of Christian witness that has sustained the hearts of millions.

The Apostles Creed does not say I believe in the forgiveness of sins and the spiritual resurrection of Jesus, it says I believed in the resurrection of the body. When liberals challenge this they do so in spite of all the evidence.

After the resurrection we find the Apostles who had been timid and frightened men now ready to go preaching openly and fearlessly, and suffering violently for doing so. Men do not invent stories to be put in prison and get beaten up, or hung on a cross like Peter, or stoned to death like Stephen.

Through centuries that have followed, brilliant men and women have experienced the same fellowship and power in their lives, in addition to peace of mind. They were not simple minded people but some of the greatest scholars of their day who have forsaken the chance of earning great wealth in other professions in order to serve God and His Church.

Let us always remember that Jesus never changes, He is the same yesterday to today for ever, and will take care of all who believe and put their trust in Him.

Wednesday 16 April 2014

The Telegraph reported that a priest in the Lincolnshire Diocese has gone through a ceremony of (so called) marriage with his male partner. This was previously a married man with five children. There were the cries of delight from the usual crowd one expects from those who like to challenge all traditional theology.

The Evangelical body, Reform, have called on the Church to discipline the priest who has disobeyed the ban on clergy going through such ceremonies. It has been suggested the Church of England could follow the example of the American Anglican Church and form a breakaway Church. Whether this will happen is an open question, but what is quite clear is that any hope of disciplinary measures being taken against the offending priest is just not going to happen.

The Bishop of Lincoln states he was warned in advance of the intention of the priest; what has not been stated, as far as I am aware, is that the Bishop has acted responsibly and suspended him.

The Archbishop of Canterbury recently took part in a question and answer session on London Radio and I listened and watched a filmed recording of the interview. He was asked by one questioner if the Church should oppose the government, which has excluded the Church from performing same sex marriage. He was asked for his opinion and declined to give a positive answer, preferring to give the nebulous answer that all sex outside marriage is wrong according to the Bible, and added that the Church was working out how to deal with the Same Sex Marriage Act.

The Archbishop went on to say that groups within the Church had different understandings and (they)claimed the situation had changed from Bible days when social circumstances were different.

He was then questioned by Ann Widdicombe. For the benefit of international readers, Ann was a formidable Conservative government minister and one who had clear views, and was not afraid to state them. (It was interesting to see the looks on the faces of the Archbishop and radio presenter when she came on.) Ann left the Church of England in 1992 because ‘of its ‘wishy washy’ attitude, giving vague answers and having no clear stance on any issue’. I don’t think in fairness anyone could quarrel with her on that opinion, particularly after listening to this programme. She challenged the Archbishop to give a straight answer whether it was his opinion that homosexuality was theologically right or not, and he refused to do so, saying he was not infallible and the Church must treat all people with dignity.

He also stated he was convinced that it was theologically right to appoint women as bishops. I know the biblical case which has been put forward by those oppose such appointments, I have yet to hear the biblical case by those who approve. The main justification for approval is based solidly on cultural popularity, and to appear to be supporters of the Equality Act.

I just cannot understand the refusal to face up to reality. People may, and are entitled to, have their own personal thoughts, but when responding in any Ministerial capacity, any priest in the Church of England at least, has to have the moral courage and spiritual duty to say, ‘that is what the Bible states’. Indeed, every priest on ordination vows to adhere to the full teaching of Scripture.

I have quoted previously of an instance when a prominent evangelical preacher was being interrogated by a prominent American chat show hostess, who at the same time was trying to embarrass him. She asked him the same question as the Archbishop was asked by Ann Widdecombe. He replied, ‘I state what the Bible states, and if the Bible states something is wrong, I say it is wrong.’ This does not condemn the person but rather the act. This is in similar vein to the statement of Cardinal Nicholls who stated he was not in a position to be popular but to do what was right.

I believe the Archbishop now has a duty and a responsibility to take action against the priest who has ignored Church ruling. I have to say I do not have a lot of confidence.

Friday 11 April 2014

On Sunday we remember the first Palm Sunday, when Jesus rode into Jerusalem on a donkey to proclaim Himself as the Messiah and was greeted by cheering crowds waving palm branches, the same crowds who a few days later would be crying ‘crucify Him’. This is the beginning of Holy Week as we celebrate the events of 2,000 years ago and follow our Lord’s last days before His crucifixion, the heart of the Christian faith

Jesus had been in Jericho and was now ready to go to Jerusalem on the last stage of His life’s journey. He was going to walk the way many pilgrims had walked.

On reaching Bethphage on the Mount of Olives, Jesus sent two of His disciples ahead to the next village, telling them they would find a colt tied by the side of the road and they were to untie it and take it to Him. If anyone should challenge them they were to say the Lord needs it. We are not told how Jesus knew this, He may have had a prior arrangement with the owner or it could have been through means of His supernatural knowledge.

So began the fateful journey down the Mount of Olives where He was joined by waiting crowds who greeted Him wildly, laying their cloaks on the road in front of Him and waving palm branches, and singing from Psalm 118 which was a psalm pilgrims sang as a hymn of praise to God. Palm branches were used to signify joy and celebration.

Jesus would normally have slipped quietly into the city as He usually like to avoid attention, but on this occasion although He knew a price was on His head, chose to ride in triumphantly. All this was to fulfil the prophecy of Zechariah in the Old Testament made nearly 600 years earlier. When the crowds hailed Him as the Son of David, the Messiah, He did not stop them.

Jesus as He knew a demonstration would happen and further enrage the Jewish leaders, and in fact the Pharisees were annoyed, so making them more eager to plot against Him. Jesus knew that God had a plan for Him, which made the Jews change their intentions. Jesus knew well what He was doing.

Jesus made it clear to the crowds that He was not the kind of Messiah of their dreams; He came in peace not as a conquering warrior. They did not understand His intention and were following for the wrong motives. These same adoring crowds would a few days later turn equally wildly against Him as He faced the Cross.
As Christians we should ask ourselves are we following Him for the right reasons; do we realise the sacrifice He made for us personally?

This was in fact more than a journey into Jerusalem, it was a journey to the Cross, a journey Jesus could have avoided and left the world to perish, but He readily went on to a very brutal and cruel death to take our place on the Cross to pay the penalty for our sins, a penalty we are unable to pay for ourselves.

As He entered the city Jesus paused on the hill overlooking it and we are told He wept because He knew that within a few years the city would be destroyed by the Romans.

We should consider how we react to this Palm Sunday story. We may reject God’s Son as many did in Jerusalem. We may treat with an amount of indifference seeing it as just another bible story. As we study this story of our Lord’s journey to the Cross we see our forgiveness cost Jesus public mockery and the most cruel of deaths. Jesus wanted the people to accept Him as God’s chosen Messiah but their cheering was false and ultimately it would all lead to destruction

The Jews rejected Him as so many are now. There are many people who say they ‘believe in Jesus’, but that is not enough; the devil believes in Jesus. Down the ages people have believed He lived, but that is not enough.

It is important for us to understand the lesson we can learn from this event. It is not enough to think positively about Christ. When we get to the last days Jesus is not going to say ‘Did you have nice thoughts about me?’ The question is, have we accepted He is the Son of God and Saviour of sinners, and trusted in Him alone for our salvation.
There comes a time in life when you have to make a decision, one which can affect you for ever; such a time may be now for you. Many people like to put awkward questions away, but this one is one you cannot. Do you follow Christ, or reject Him like the Jews did all those years ago, with all the consequences for eternity, no one can wait forever. There comes a time when a decision must be made. Why not on this Palm Sunday morning be at Church and hail him as your Lord. And may God bless you.

Friday 4 April 2014

JOHN 11. v 1-45
The Gospel passage is the story about Lazarus, and John’s gospel is the only one which tells it. The story begins with a desperate plea for help from his two sisters Martha and Mary to Jesus with whom there was a close relationship.

These verses tell us Christians may become very ill as much as others for we live in a world full of disease. When Lazarus became so ill his sisters first thought was to call on Jesus. When our loved ones become unwell we are encouraged to seek medical help, but at the same time to call on the Lord to be with us.

When Jesus heard their call He said this illness will not lead to death in the sense that it did not lead ultimately to death, but it did lead through death in order to being raised a few days later. This was so that God would show His glory by working through Jesus to bring back to life. This would prove to the Jews that Jesus was the Son of God and prepare for acceptance of our Lord’s own resurrection which would take place later.

Jesus then waited two days to allow His friends to go through the sorrow of the death and to mourn because He loved them and wanted them to witness a spectacular demonstration of His power over death, thus seeing His glory as that of the only Son of God.

Jesus told His disciples that He was going to the family home in Bethany and they were shocked and concerned for His safety, for on a previous visit to the area where they lived His life was threatened. Jesus answered their concern by saying, ‘are there not twelve hours in the day, anyone who walks in the day does not stumble because he sees the light of this world.’

The Jewish day was divided into twelve hours, and the day ran according to the sun with the hours varying in length from 9minutes 48 seconds, to 14 minutes and 12 seconds. Jesus was meaning anyone who walks during the daylight won’t stumble, and be able to do so before darkness comes. Therefore, Jesus being the light of the world, anyone who walks in the light Jesus gives, walks in fellowship with Him obeying, in contrast to anyone who does not follow Jesus.

Jesus told His disciples that Lazarus had fallen asleep and that He would go and awaken him. The death of true Christians is sleep, from which one day they will be awakened, so when we lose someone dear, they will go to the grave just as Jesus did and one day also rise again.

Thomas was particularly fearful when Jesus said He was going back to Judea and anticipated they might all die. This shows all Christians are subject to doubt at some time and view things differently, and we must recognise varying characters as each serves the Lord. It has been said that anyone who has never had doubts has never had any thoughts.

Jesus made the journey of about 25 miles from wherever He was at that time, we are not told where He was, and by this time Lazarus had been in the grave for four days. Jewish belief was that though burial followed soon after death the soul hovered over the body for three days hoping to re enter it, then gave up and departed.

On arriving at their home Martha and Mary were with friends who had come to comfort them. It was common for Jews when friends and neighbours died to gather at the home of the deceased to mourn and comfort the relatives.

Here again we see different temperaments of believers when Martha rushed out to meet Jesus when she hears He has come, whilst Mary sat still; but the Church must be ready to receive all, we need Marthas and Marys, Peters and Johns.

Martha revealed her feelings of love and faith when she told Jesus she wished He had been there sooner, for she was confident Jesus could have kept her brother alive, but she still believed even then in the power of the Lord to do something beyond what might be otherwise expected.

The first words of Jesus are the promise that Lazarus would come back to life. Martha believes Lazarus will rise, but misunderstood the full meaning of Jesus’ promise thinking He was merely speaking of the final resurrection, whilst Jesus meant much more. Jesus was making the tremendous statement that He is the resurrection and all who believe in Him will not die for ever, but will be raised to glory their soul living on eternally. Belief in Him implies personal trust in Christ; lives refers to those who have spiritual life now.

Martha having confessed Jesus as the Christ the Son of God went to tell Mary that Jesus was calling her. The friends who did not have faith thought Mary was going to the grave, but by following her were able to witness a great miracle. Mary fell at Jesus feet and expressed the same feeling that Martha had used.

The reaction of Jesus when He saw Martha and Mary crying depicts the true human side of His nature. We are told Jesus was deeply moved, which means He felt deeply and strongly with profound sorrow at the death of His friend, and at the grief that his other friends had suffered in addition, and also with a deep sense of awe at the power of God which was about to flow through Him to triumph over death. The fact that Jesus wept shows that deep feeling is something of which we should not try to hide. If the Son of God could feel such sorrow for His friends, we can turn to Him in our hour of need.

The final verses tell of one of Jesus’ great miracles and reveal His divinity. When Jesus told them to take away the stone He was both involving people, who could then become witness to His greatness, and the same people would be able to verify there was indeed a dead man there.

Martha protested when Jesus ordered the stone away fearing the consequences of a dead body being removed, so Jesus had to remind her that He had told her this was for the glory and power of God to be revealed. Like Martha we can all lose faith when placed under distress. When all is going well it is simple to be strong, but our faith inevitably is tested when things are not going as we hoped

Finally Jesus lifted His eyes to heaven and gave thanks and praise to His Father publicly so that those standing around would hear and know that Jesus was sent by God. He then gave the command to Lazarus to come out and he did so and was seen bound with linen strips.

The wonder of this raising needs faith in Jesus in order to believe. The non believer cannot understand, and will not believe this story because it is supernatural and beyond the minds of those who turn away from the Lord.

Tuesday 1 April 2014

On Saturday same sex unions became lawful and we had the usual Cameron appearance making the rather silly remark that this was ‘a historic day’. I don’t suppose we could expect much better from him. We had the equally useless Clegg ordering the rainbow flag to be flown from government buildings. All this shows that these two overgrown schoolboys have let things excite them too much. They can be dismissed as having gone overboard for the sake of votes, whilst at the same time refusing to acknowledge the many who did not and do not support this law. Of course we will have an outburst of bigotry when anyone who does oppose will be abused and insulted. Such is so called democracy that we must all accept the outcome.

What cannot be excused is the behaviour and language of the bishops of Buckingham and Salisbury engaging in excessive welcome of such ceremonies and equating them with marriage. Encouragement was offered to those who supported such unions and calls made for the Church to reject the ban on Church ceremonies.

When these bad examples of priests, let alone bishops, make such pronouncements they should be reminded when they were consecrated to posts they have dishonoured they stated their willingness to faithfully exercise themselves in the holy Scriptures and with all faithful diligence to banish and drive away all erroneous and strange doctrine contrary to God’s Word and call upon and encourage others to the same. They are given a Bible and told to think upon the things contained in that Book. They obviously haven’t done so well.

In the matter of integrity, loyalty and honour, they show a deplorable lack of such qualities. The Archbishops and Church establishment have made their ruling and if they cannot abide it, I would expect any honourable person would resign. Be sure that is not going to happen.

Little, if any, publicity has appeared in the press to represent the views and opinions of opponents of same sex ‘marriage’. The following might well be considered.

Marriage was redefined over the heads of the 24 million married people in this country.

None of the three main political parties at Westminster made redefining marriage part of their election manifesto. It was not even in the coalition agreement.

Three days before the 2010 General Election, David Cameron told Sky News he had no plans to change the law of marriage.

The only consultation was on 'how' to redefine marriage, not 'whether' to.

The Government ignored the 500,000 names and addresses of UK residents on our C4M petition. They weren’t accepted as responses to the consultation.

Since the Government’s online response form was anonymous, anyone anywhere in the world could submit a response, as many times as they liked.

The consultation ruled out religious same-sex weddings. But when the Bill was published religious ceremonies were included.

This exposed religious organisations to the threat of hostile legal action, with one gay couple already publicising their intention to go to court to get a C of E wedding.

Though he still backs gay marriage, David Cameron has admitted he would never have gone ahead had he known the level of opposition that would be stirred up

The implications of redefining marriage have not been thought through. The Government agrees that people’s careers shouldn’t be damaged just because they believe in traditional marriage – yet the protections in place are completely insufficient.

A teacher was threatened with disciplinary proceedings because she said in the staff room that she believed in traditional marriage.

A couple wanting to adopt children were told they were unsuitable because they supported traditional marriage.

Just recently the Government stripped familiar words like husband, wife and widow from a raft of our laws simply because these words don't line up with the Government's new definition of marriage.

Only 16 out of 193 nations have done so.

Marriage – between a man and a woman – is the greatest partnership in history. It reflects the complementary natures of men and women.

Time and time again the evidence has shown that children do best with a married mother and a father