Friday 21 August 2015

The United Kingdom and the United States gave to the world laws
which, in theory, guaranteed citizens certain freedoms, one of which was freedom of speech. In Britain it was through the Magna Carta, and in the United States by the Constitution. The latter was a model to be admired, in that it was spelt out in clear precise language what was guaranteed by the founding fathers.

This ‘guarantees a person's right to hold whatever religious beliefs he or she wants, and to freely exercise that belief.’

In recent times we have had Cameron and Obama elected as political leaders of our countries, both of who seem to consider themselves little dictators who can override such laws of liberty.

Just consider, Civil Unions were established to allow persons of the same sex to enter into a legal partnership which conferred all the benefits enjoyed by married couples; and this was found to be generally acceptable. But to fulfil personal agenda, 2000 years of Christian belief were cast aside by these two men, to re-classify marriage from that laid down in Scripture. This has caused massive unnecessary division in both societies, especially as the leaders are determined to try and force people to accept such (so called) same sex marriage. Provided criticism is respectful and without malice, the Biblical statements should be allowed.

In addition, an attempt has been made to silence any voice of opposition or prevent any display of disagreement. In Britain government ministers have stated anyone who criticises same sex marriage could be convicted of a hate crime under new legislation. In America we have seen a bakery ordered to pay $135 in compensation for declining to bake a cake for such a union because of their religious beliefs; and other cases have been reported.

This is in direct contradiction to the Constitution, as quoted above, so why are the Courts not dismissing cases brought by people who have deliberately targeted Christian businesses when plenty of other places were ready to provide a service.

Wednesday 19 August 2015

The BBC programme ‘Songs of Praise’ was until recently an entertaining one, which particularly related to people with some faith who were unable for various reasons not able to attend Church, as well of course to Church people.

The producer of the programme, as you would expect from the BBC is not Christian, so perhaps is unable to understand what MOST Christians would like.

We have a mixture of presenters, some of whom look as if they have been dressed by Oxfam, and always have songs from the gospel Churches. Those Churches are probably attended by the most devout of people, but the music is I find as I imagine others do tuneless, and the words endlessly repetitive.

On Sunday last the programme received massive publicity beforehand as it was announced it would be filmed from the migrants’ camp in Calais, France. Some people thought this would be objectionable considering the political and logistical problems migrants create, and that the BBC was making a political statement, whilst others thought it most Christian like.

The programme suggested when broadcast it was controversial. Only two people from the (makeshift) Church were interviewed, both of whom whilst claiming to be Christians were preparing to act unlawfully by trying to smuggle themselves into England. There were no hymns nor prayers offered, and those hymns in the programme were from previously recorded programmes. We did however have Giles Fraser popping up there, so no surprise there.

There must be very few people who do not feel sorry for the plight these people are in and the risks they have taken in crossing the Mediterranean Sea. But if they are truly just wanting to escape persecution in Africa, why not seek asylum in the many countries in Europe, much nearer their homelands.

In all fairness it has to be admitted we are overcrowded here, and our facilities are already stretched beyond breaking point when we talk of paramedics acting as doctors. I thought it significant that the people I have seen and read of speaking up for unrestricted migration usually live in areas well away from big cities.

Friday 7 August 2015


I have long admired the United States as a progressive country renowned for its devoted patriotism and pride in its flag. Until recent times there was a deep Christian commitment with distinguished preachers, whom we can still see and hear on British television channels.

I have much pleasure in watching the 700 Club where Pat Robertson is a breath of fresh air with his frank and realistic talk, accompanied by the lovely talented presenter and interviewer Wendy Griffith.

But the America envisaged by the gallant men who formed the Constitution, and that preached for by Christian preachers, is gradually fading away. Is the founding statement, ‘One Nation under God’, still valid in President Obama’s time. From here it would appear the nation is much divided.

Who could ever have imagined an American President would be obsessed with same sex marriage; who would threaten to shut down government if Congress stopped funding an organisation which dealt widely with abortion and sold the baby parts to the highest bidder. Planned Parenthood receives $528 million of taxpayers money which Obama wants to protect, and which Congress looks like withholding.

Further, which President has ever lectured another nation to change its attitude on a moral issue, especially when he was asked beforehand not to do so.

Having watched the debate with the candidates for the Republican nomination, there is however a brighter future if the nation does not (again) elect a person from the wrong Party.

Sunday 2 August 2015

Ephesians 4 v 25/end.

This morning I want to turn with you to the reading from Paul’s Letter to the Ephesians Chapter 4. Paul was talking about the importance of unity and maturity as two aims of the Church and now moves on to show purity is necessary for those who belong to the Church.

He is writing to new Christians who have converted from paganism, so is anxious to show they have to behave and live in a totally different way from the past. They have to leave their old way and turn to Christ’s way.

He contrasts the heathen way with the Christian one. He writes, ‘I INSIST you no longer live as non believers’. The word Paul uses is likened to a stone harder than marble, meaning they were so insensitive, so hard, they could not feel goodness. They sinned at will.

The process of sin is gradual. No person becomes a great sinner all at once. At first it is regarded with fear and horror, but as this continues there comes a time when it loses all sensation, and shameful things are done without any feeling. The conscience which once found such things unacceptable now finds them acceptable.

People abandon themselves to every kind of unclean conduct; like a drug it can get so much a hold on a person that they lose all sense of decency and shame.

There is a desire to possess, a desire for things which others have, and if they can’t buy then steal. Desire to have what there is no right to have, and are not prepared to legitimately earn. People don’t care who gets hurt in the process, don’t get in my way. Paul saw hearts which did not recognise any wrong in their actions.

People do not see themselves as doing anything wrong or shameful today. We see vast sums of money being wrongly taken from employers, justifying it on the grounds of wanting pleasures they see others having. Women shedding their dignity and inhibitions, to be doing what men do, and to the worst excesses of their male counterparts. Men dressing and acting as women and parading in city streets

Paul says put off your old way of life as you would put off old clothes. He sets before them the highest standard in the world. He is warning of what Christians can slide into if they don’t change. A Christian must live their life as required by Christ, so we put off the old ways and put on the righteousness God gives us.

The followers of Jesus Christ must stand out in life and be known for being truthful and having integrity. No lying, yet we see from the highest public offices of government blatant lying and deceit. Sometime by men and women who like to inform us of their Christian credentials.

You can lie deliberately, or without intention, through carelessness or exaggeration. Truth demands a deliberate effort. It is so easy and tempting for people to elaborate a story to create a greater effect.

Sometimes of course we tend to tell in an exaggerated way out of kindness. I recall often being asked if I liked the cakes a particular lady made, and like a good Vicar said they were lovely. It would have been totally ungracious of me to say they tasted like sawdust. Imagine what domestic disturbance could be caused if a man told his wife what he really thought of her new dress.

There is the lie of silence. Keeping silent when we should speak out, so giving the impression that by our silence we approved some action which one actually knew was wrong; or failing to rebuke when it was necessary to do so.

Then Paul gives the reason for being truthful. A body can only be healthy if all senses are working properly. If the brain tells the hand something is cool when it is hot, pain will be caused. If we as Christians are one body, all must be true and faithful to each other; deception impairs the work of Christ.

Paul talks of anger. There is however, a right and wrong anger. To be angry as part of a fractious nature, or to get upset at trivialities, is wrong. Some anger is not only right but essential. Jesus got very angry at the moneychangers in the Temple and went about with a whip.

There is a need for greater anger among Christians. I get angry when I see clergymen/and now women, speaking on radio or television, stating we must reinterpret the Bible to meet current attitudes to morality. We owe it to our Lord, as our duty, to challenge these liberals for trying to set their own agenda on the Church, by changing Scripture to their thinking.

No amount of reinterpretation would ever convince me it was acceptable for a Bishop to divorce his wife, abandon his family, so as to go and live in a relationship with another man, and in so doing knowingly and willingly cause a whole disruption and schism in the worldwide Anglican communion, without any regret whatsoever. Indeed, he expected everyone to accept and support him.

Quite recently there was an exhibition in Glasgow, where the Bible was put on display and people were invited to write comments on the Bible, defacing it where condemnation was made of homosexual practice. Despite protest, the organisers refused to withdraw. Although ultimately they were forced to cover the Bible in a glass case and let people write their comments on paper to be attached to the Bible. Noticeably they refused to put the Koran on display.

Now compare our response to that of Muslims in Pakistan, who burned Churches and attacked Christians when it was falsely alleged by militants that the Koran had been CRITICISED by Christians.

Equally important however is the situation when two people in a Church don’t get on. It must be dealt with at once. The longer it is left the more bitter it becomes. All need to have the grace to say sorry and be forgiving. Don’t give the devil the opportunity. An unhealed breach causes dissension and strife, for two people at odds can cause a war to develop. Remember too, reputations can be murdered over cups of tea or coffee.

No evil talk. That means no foul language. Today on our television, foul language of the worst kind is commonplace. The comedian who won the award several years in succession for favourite comedian trophy, relies on foul language and content. What a verdict on society.

Two of the greatest comedians ever, were Bob Hope and Jack Benny, neither of whom ever made a rude joke. Ricky Tomlinson, himself an actor and comedian, stated recently, that our greatest comedians of the past would be a failure today, for they were always clean in language.

So Christians should speak in a manner which will help others, and not degrade them or themselves. Don’t be insulting either, use words wisely. Dennis Thatcher once commented,’ better to say nothing and be thought a fool than to speak and remove all doubt’ It is so easy to have an outbreak of passion, revealing anger which flames like straw.

There is much good in this country, but there are things which desperately need to be put right. The Church is the only body which can do that. You are the Church. Speak out and speak up for your Church… Let it be known what a glorious body it is and we have a glorious Saviour to follow. It may be polluted by a few members, but the vast numbers are good people who love the Lord.