The Speech Police Are at the Door | truthXchange

Source: The Speech Police Are at the Door | truthXchange

You should all read this. It’s going to happen – get ready for it. The picture sent to me was of the British Police:

Is the ‘Gay’ Agenda Totalitarian?

Is the ‘Gay’ agenda Totalitarian?

Answer: Yes.

Here’s the definition copied and pasted from Dictionary.com


totalitarian

[toh-tal-i-tair-ee-uh n]

adjective

1. of or relating to a centralized government that does not tolerate parties of differing opinion and that exercises dictatorial control over many aspects of life.

2. exercising control over the freedom, will, or thought of others; authoritarian; autocratic. (One might add, over the conscious of other as well – my comment)


Those  two definitions pretty much cover it.

If you follow the Wiki totalitarian link above you will read the line below

‘a totalitarian regime attempts to control virtually all aspects of the social life including economy, education, art, science, private life and morals of citizens.’

This is exactly what is happening.

And to prove it, try disagreeing, preaching, having a contrary view or holding to a ‘traditional’, better known as Biblical, view of marriage. It is now required that everyone ‘affirms’ and embraces the LGBTQ lifestyle or else.

Breaking News: Street preacher on trial today

Breaking News: Street preacher on trial today. Follow link for source. Story below.

It’s incredible that Preaching the Gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ could land you in a court of law. I’m presuming (not always a good thing to do) his offence is to mention sin. And it doesn’t take the brain of Britain to work out which sins – or even alluding to them. The worse crime one can commit in David Cameron’s United Kingdom is the sin of being ‘offensive’. It needs no definition. I pray Christian Concern will win their case. May God have mercy on our land!

______________________________________________

Street preacher on trial today for gospel preaching

Please pray for Mike Overd and the Christian Legal Centre team

Mike Overd – Street Preacher

Mike Overd, a Christian street preacher from Somerset, begins his trial in Taunton today for proclaiming the gospel in Taunton town centre.

Mike has been preaching the gospel on the streets of Taunton for over five years. But he’s faced real opposition — police even appealed to the public in a local newspaper to record him preaching so that they could get evidence of him making “offensive remarks”.

Now the Crown Prosecution Service is bringing charges against him under the Public Order Act. A number of witnesses say that they can’t remember what Mike said, just that it was “offensive”.

Mike preaches on the street because he loves people and wants them to come to Christ.

He says: My motivation for preaching the gospel is my love for Jesus Christ and my deep concern for people who do not know His great love and are heading towards an eternity separated from God.

Please pray for Mike and the Christian Legal Centre team as the trial begins today, asking that they will give clear testimony and that justice will be done.

Using Film as an Evangelistic Tool

I wrote a piece a few years ago for my own interest on the ‘evangelistic’ video ‘Who is this Jesus?’. I am in the process of listening to a series of podcasts by Dr Scott Clark on The Ten Commandments – the latest one I listened to is on Worshipping the Right God in the Right Way. Some of the discussion was on the ‘image’ of Jesus and it made me think of evangelistic films and this film in particular.

So here my scattered thoughts on the video. Hope you find it thought-provoking and helpful.

I sat and watched this video with a member of a church, where the church was intent on using it as a tool for evangelism. While watching I made a few notes, and typed the following scattered thoughts.

The principle behind the use of this video is this, ‘if it works it must be right’. It is my belief that this thinking is to say the least, unhelpful, particularly as you just cannot argue that because something works (i.e., people are converted) it is good or right. We are back again to the regulative principle, a principle that sections of the church would like to hold, but is unable to practice it in a media controlled world. We have to use only those means that God has given to the Church, regardless of – as far as we can tell – whether they ‘work’ or not. If they do not seem to work, then we should call upon the Lord to honour the means of His own appointing.

Some general comments on Video Use

1. Non-objective. It is a subjective use of images and editing.

2. Centred on man. What happens if the subject (the ‘celebrity’ star) i.e. the central character backslides or falls into serious sin? The charge then becomes the opposite of the original premise. That is, ‘look it works’ becomes ‘look it doesn’t work’. Man first, God second. Because of the way it is presented.

3. Relativism. It works for you, or the subject of the film. (See ‘Truth Decay’ p.163 The Hidden Dangers of Relevance) Subjective truth & Absolute truth.

4. Competing images. It tries to play the world at its own game. It will lose.

5. Manipulation. The (any) presentation will be highly scripted, not only this, but lighting, location, clothing, items in the room or ‘set’ etc. The whole presentation will be designed to manipulate the viewer. This is not the view of the apostle Paul and it shouldn’t be ours either.

6. Preaching is the presentation of objective truth. As Paul Cook recently (when I originally made the notes) said at a history lecture ‘we need to get back to preaching, and to believe in preaching’.

7. Many (not all) Media writers, I feel, would urge caution in the use of media where images are edited, scripted, and manipulated.

8. Theology. What is the theology (if any) of the Director and the Producer? This will influence the presentation.

9. Some Christians will argue for it because of the ‘well he uses it at school’ argument. So what has that to do with it?

10. Who is the intended audience? Again, this will greatly influence the production.

11. Is it really glorifying to God and his salvation.

12. ‘Documentary’ tends to give an authority that is probably not warranted.

13. Even if the video is very good, this is still no reason to use this type of method in evangelism.

14. The presenter is alive and likely to change. The presenter has been chosen, not for his spirituality, not for his gifts in exposition or preaching, but for his media personality, that he has a well-known face. In other words, media marketing is the name of the game.

The Video itself

Is it a documentary? Strictly speaking it is a ‘Docu-Drama’ as it utilises actors in playing a role, including playing the role of Jesus. It is a documentary in so much as it is attempting to communicate a series of propositions.

It may be worth noting that if this video presented the case for evolution, I suspect there would be stringent criticism of it.

The Use of Testimony.

You will notice that there is a housewife (a homemaker in these liberating days), a musician, a Rugby player, a care worker and a former gang member. Many differing faiths give the ‘convert’ a testimony. The whole use of testimony, to me is fraught with difficulty. It seems to be the opposite of ‘let me declare unto you this Jesus’. Instead we have ‘let me tell you what happened to me’. It very subtly shifts the centre of attention, from God to man.

Images and music used in the video.

Emotive use of music combined with images, or when talking of the cross.
If this were a ‘Billy Graham’ crusade, many churches would have nothing to do with it, as using emotive techniques to create a response. This video does exactly the same thing. This is particularly striking when Jesus is in the Garden of Gethsemane with use of emotive music and images. As Neil Postman states that the music is there to inform the viewer what emotions they should be feeling at the time.

Content of the video.

As far as I know, the geographical information is correct. However, it is worth mentioning that the Romans flattened Jerusalem in AD 70 putting the exact location of many places in doubt. I would however be more concerned about the message or should I say the lack of message. The gospel as far as I could tell was absent. The question then, is, what is the gospel? Some might say this video is nothing but a tool, a way to open people up, to make them willing to talk about spiritual truths. I commend the desire, but is this video really necessary in that case? Surely as we get to know people, opportunities will come, a word here, a word there, maybe an extended conversation that gives you a real God-given opportunity to ‘preach’ the gospel to them. Maybe they asked the question, what made you become a Christian? Then you can tell them. They will listen. Although the presenter talks of sin, we are never (as far as I could tell) told in necessary detail what it is. Nowhere is sin explained, or judgement (so as not to put people off presumably) or the nature of man. More seriously, the cross is only ever explained in terms of physical suffering and never in its spiritual sense. The physicality of it is far more emotive (making for good TV) than the spiritual aspect. This is quite deliberate. This is the serious point of the video. Any aspect of a filmed production has within it only those items that are meant to be there. It will be highly scripted, which I suppose explains the deliberate need for a professional actor (and actors).
The costumes were pretty poor, it has to be said, the hessian headgear looked brand new which to my mind made it pretty laughable.

We are told that many millions round the world believe. Is this really a valid argument, millions around the world are Catholics or Muslims, or Hindu’s, or Sikhs, or atheists for that matter! We have to stick to a propositional truth because it is truth, not because millions of others think it is true.

I can see what they are attempting in the video, and they are to be commended for their desire, but it is debatable as to what it is that they actually achieve. As for me, I think it is just another way of side-lining or denigrating preaching and further making us less likely to speak of The Lord Jesus Christ without the aid of a prop.

What says the scripture?

2 Corinthians 4:2-5

2 But have renounced the hidden things of dishonesty, not walking in craftiness, nor handling the word of God deceitfully; but by manifestation of the truth commending ourselves to every man’s conscience in the sight of God.
3 But if our gospel be hid, it is hid to them that are lost:
4 In whom the god of this world hath blinded the minds of them which believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine unto them.
5 For we preach not ourselves, but Christ Jesus the Lord; and ourselves your servants for Jesus’ sake.

2 Corinthians 2:17 (also 2:14-17)

14 Now thanks be unto God, which always causeth us to triumph in Christ, and maketh manifest the savour of his knowledge by us in every place.
15 For we are unto God a sweet savour of Christ, in them that are saved, and in them that perish:
16 To the one we are the savour of death unto death; and to the other the savour of life unto life. And who is sufficient for these things?
17 For we are not as many, which corrupt the word of God: but as of sincerity, but as of God, in the sight of God speak we in Christ.

The following quotations are from ‘Amusing ourselves to death’ by Neil Postman.

P90 ‘…all television programmes are embedded in music, which helps to tell the audience what emotions are to be called forth’

P119 ‘…not all forms of discourse can be converted from one medium to another. It is naïve to suppose that something that has been expressed in one form can be expressed in another without significantly changing its meaning,…’

P124 ‘I believe I am not mistaken in saying that Christianity is a demanding and serious religion. When it is delivered as easy and amusing, it is another kind of religion altogether.’

Letter to my MP – Same-Sex marriage

Not sure if I’ll get arrested for this, but here’s the letter I just sent to my MP….

Dear Mr ——–,

Given the recent anti-Christian manifestations of just where the Same-Sex Marriage issue has taken us, I thought an email to my Member of Parliament might be appropriate.

I’ve appreciated the fact that you have replied to earlier emails over this issue even though there seemed, to me, to be a veiled threat within them.

The manifestations I refer to are the Ashers Bakery case in Northern Ireland and the Red Cross case dismissal. Just to note: Same-Sex marriage is not legal in NI and the protest by Bryan Barkley was before the law had been passed here. Both cases could, even should, I would think, be open to a counter-claim of discrimination. But I don’t see the Government leading on this. The reason is obvious. The UK Government has made its position clear in that it opposes ANY disagreement with Homosexuality / Same-Sex marriage and would rather ‘celebrate’ an LGBTQ lifestyle.

To me this has been and will be a Vote-Loser. I have voted Conservative many times in the past but I’m no longer able to do so. Regarding Free Speech & Freedom of Religion, I believe Theresa May is a dangerous person believing in neither. That’s Atheists as well saying that about the Home Secretary.

The only party that I’m able to vote for with a good conscience is UKIP. Yes it might be (probably will be) a wasted vote, or even a vote for Labour as it were, but my conscience will be clear. Others will, but I can’t vote for a party that forces me to go against my conscience. At least UKIP seem to understand the need for Freedom of Speech and seeks to uphold it. Unlike the current HS who seeks to deny it. Since my conscience is being assaulted, abused and denied by the Conservative Party (not necessarily individual Conservative MP’s) I have no choice but to vote for someone else.

I’ve wavered at the Ballot box in the past and when push came to shove I have voted Conservative. But not this time. There will be no wavering.

The thing is MP’s generally think money is the only issue. I don’t have a particularly well paid job (???) but I’d prefer to have that and a clear conscience than loads of money. It’s not just the Same-Sex issue. It’s climate change, It’s the response to Islam and the whole politically correct agenda that’s helping to sink this country. If someone wants to believe something else – fine. But I believe in robust dialogue. The Christian faith is abused EVERY SINGLE DAY in one way or another. David Cameron etc really don’t have the first clue about Islam or Christianity. He claims to be a Christian, but his actions clearly show him to be deceived at best. Maybe his advisor’s are feeding him false information.

To conclude. What I really want – I’ve said this before, but things continue to get worse, is a commitment by the Government to Free-Speech. Many Atheists get that and want the same. For believing the Bible, many an Atheist would tell me I’m sick, insane, deluded, stupid, even dangerous. I’m ok with that. That is their right. But I just might speak similarly about them.

I do not want to ‘affirm’ homosexuality (LGBTQ). The Bible is very clear in its condemnation of Homosexuality & Same-Sex marriage. The Bible calls it Sinful. The implications of denying this Biblical teaching is huge. I don’t think politicians quite understand what is at stake. Homosexuality is in one sense a non-issue. We are all sinners, all under the condemnation of God, all have broken the Law of God, all are in need of a Saviour. My sin will take me to hell just as much as a practising homosexual. But if I choose to say my sins are OK I haven’t just re-defined my sins, I have changed everything. God, the Bible, Jesus and every single Bible teaching and ALL morality becomes a wax-nose for me to fashion in any way I choose. Why not have a threesome marriage, or four, or five? I could marry and have sex with my mother, cousin, daughter, son, father. Everything is allowed. Why? Any moral authority for saying those things are wrong has been, or is in the process of being destroyed. Worst of all, if there is no sin, there is no need for a Saviour. There is no longer any good news – no Gospel. This is why (some) Christians are making a noise about this. It’s not simply a lifestyle choice.

I’ll leave it there. If you have read this far, thank you for your time. Sadly I will not be voting Conservative at the next election. And if UKIP get on the ‘Gay’ bandwagon I will not be voting for them either.

Kind Regards,

I’ll let you know if I get a response.

100 Years ago – Remembering WW1

Lights out for WW1
Lights out for WW1 (Photo credit: mastamark2050)

Yesterday there were many acts of Remembrance all over Europe to commemorate the start of WW1. Westminster Abbey held a ‘full on’ act of Remembrance with readings from The Bible, prayers, letters from soldiers and other (now) historic documents. (They sang a great hymn as well but I can’t recall it – I’ll post it here if I remember.)

It was broadcast live on the BBC so I was able to watch most of it. There was a suitable air of seriousness and solemnity. And we should mark and remember these historic moments. I have to say (US friends would I think agree) No country does pomp & ceremony like we do.

I don’t want to be a killjoy, but it being a Religious act of remembrance is hugely problematic – to me anyway. Most likely not to anyone else. The whole service was a journey into the darkness of war. Candles were extinguished, and as they were, a section of the church was simultaneously plunged into darkness. Very visual. It worked I thought. With this idea of darkness – and even without it – the readings were like an incredible Beam of Light shining into the darkness of a sinful world (apostate church).

At the start of the service these words were read by Reverend John Hall the Dean of Westminster:

 “As we reflect on the failure of the human spirit that led to an inexorable slide into war, let us spend a moment in silent repentance,”

That failure of the human spirit is called sin. And when I heard the ‘call’ to ‘silent repentance’ I wondered what it was we were called to repent of. There is no doubt war is terrible thing, the cost is horrific. Later in the service readings from the Bible put some flesh on it as we were called through the Word of God to ‘return to the Lord’. As much as I appreciated the readings from scripture there needed to be preaching pointedly to the congregation and the Nation as a whole to repent and believe the Gospel. The work of the minister or Pastor is to ‘Herald’ the good news of the Gospel. But it can’t be good news without explaining that ‘we all like sheep have forsaken God, and turned to our own ways’. And that The ‘Lord has laid on Him the iniquity of us all’. We need a Saviour, a Mighty Rescuer to redeem us from the righteous and just Wrath of God.The readings will, I suspect, just be seen as part of the remembrance ceremony and to be discarded on leaving the building.

Imagine the furore the next day in the news – or even during the service – if the Gospel was powerfully proclaimed. If all were named as sinners in need of a Saviour.

This morning I read about Josiah and his reforms in 2 Kings 22 & 23 and 2 Chronicles 34 & 35. The stand out verse, and relevant to our discussion, is found in 2 Kings 22:8 ‘I have found the Book of the Law in the house of the Lord’. Also in 2 Chronicles 34:15. What an irony! The Bible is found in a Church. Upon hearing it read, Josiah tore his clothes as he realised the wrath of God is upon them (2 Kings 22: 13 & 2 Chronicles 34:21). Josiah then sets about reforming the worship and is the only King to put it all right since Solomon introduced false worship hundreds of years earlier.

The dignitaries are gathered, there is much pomp and ceremony. The Word of God is read. But no repentance toward God. ‘O that Thou wouldest rend the heavens and come down’ (Isaiah 64:1). O Lord have mercy on us and our land, grant repentance and faith in The Lord Jesus. Save the people Lord, Save the people and bring Glory to your Son Jesus Christ.

 

Isaiah Speaks – A Word for Today?

Read from Isaiah 59 this morning. Truth & Justice is truly fallen in the streets. I’m thinking of the West now – Such is the consequence of Nations that abandon The Lord & His Christ. The principle is vindicated by what we see happening. God is speaking. Praise God, He still saves all that will call upon Him.

“Ho! Everyone who thirsts,
Come to the waters;
And you who have no money,
Come, buy and eat.
Yes, come, buy wine and milk
Without money and without price.
(Isaiah 55:1)

Isaiah 59:1-8

Separated from God

1 Behold, the Lord’s hand is not shortened,
That it cannot save;
Nor His ear heavy,
That it cannot hear.

2 But your iniquities have separated you from your God;
And your sins have hidden His face from you,
So that He will not hear.

3 For your hands are defiled with blood,
And your fingers with iniquity;
Your lips have spoken lies,
Your tongue has muttered perversity.

4 No one calls for justice,
Nor does any plead for truth.
They trust in empty words and speak lies;
They conceive evil and bring forth iniquity.

5 They hatch vipers’ eggs and weave the spider’s web;
He who eats of their eggs dies,
And from that which is crushed a viper breaks out.

6 Their webs will not become garments,
Nor will they cover themselves with their works;
Their works are works of iniquity,
And the act of violence is in their hands.

7 Their feet run to evil,
And they make haste to shed innocent blood;
Their thoughts are thoughts of iniquity;
Wasting and destruction are in their paths.

8 The way of peace they have not known,
And there is no justice in their ways;
They have made themselves crooked paths;
Whoever takes that way shall not know peace.

Bakery sued for refusing to make a gay marriage cake

Here’s the latest in Homosexual silliness. To be fair there’s no indication on the Ashers Bakery website to show they are a business that operates on Christian principles. (Does this mean Christian businesses in the catering and hotel industry – probably other sectors too – need to be more explicit about their commitment to Biblical values?) So I’m assuming the ‘couple’ concerned didn’t know they were asking Christians to bake their ‘wedding’ cake. However, I suspect they knew it was a Christian business.

But let’s assume they didn’t know. Upon hearing the devastating news that Ashers would be unable to bake the cake, what was the reaction. Naturally it was to go blubbing to the Equality Commission. ‘They (the wicked evil Christians), sob, have refused, wahhh sob, to bake our cake, blubber sob’. Of course they knew the ‘rights’ of Homosexuals trump all other rights. They had the right to take their business elsewhere – perfectly fine. They have the right to boycott Ashers. They have the right to tell their friends not to buy cakes from there. They actually could have had a cake made and had the offending words put on some other way – but noooo.

Quite where this leaves the moral or ethical right of people who don’t agree with the homosexual lifestyle is not entirely clear. To be sued for refusing to bake a cake must for any sane person be the height of silliness. What this is, this is nothing less than the imposition of a minority ideology upon the Nation. It’s not enough for their ideology to be accepted. I read the Equality Commission for Northern Ireland has given Ashers a week to  “remedy your illegal behaviour”. It must go further than mere acceptance. Now it has to be endorsed, approved and promoted. That isn’t free-speech. That is propaganda. That being so it kicks into touch any rational thinking – after rejecting the Bible why would any homosexual couple want to get married in a Church of all places. Aside from the clear prohibitions found in the Bible there is also a clear creation mandate and design placed upon humanity. The male female partnership is endorsed by Jesus as is the design for procreative activity found in marriage.

After quite a while being quite mystified about how we have arrived at this situation I concluded some time ago that we as a Nation, and especially ideologically driven homosexuals are under and are experiencing the wrath God. I’ve written about this before, but put out of your mind the idea of a bolt of lightning striking people dead (though it could happen). Rather, realise the wrath of God means handing people over to do the very thing that ought not to be done and yet is being done. Rebellion against God, plain and simple, is what it is.

Homosexuality and associated behaviours (LGBT) is sinful. I’ll go further, these lifestyles are against the created order. It isn’t natural, it’s un-natural. Why? Because the Bible says so (see Romans 1: 24-27). Some of us actually still believe what it says and that it is the very Word of God.

What is the answer to homosexuality? The answer is just the same whether to the Homosexual sinner or the upright moral self-righteous person. Repent and believe the Gospel (Mark 1:15). So before any us get on our high horse let’s remember before God we are all deserving of the righteous judgement of God ‘for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God’ (Romans 3:23). ‘There is none righteous, no not one’ (Romans 3:10).

NEWS STORY BELOW FROM Christian Concern. More from the Christian Institute: Here.

Bakery sued for refusing to make a gay marriage cake

A family-run bakery in Northern Ireland has been threatened with legal action for refusing to decorate a gay marriage campaign cake.

Ashers Baking Company Limited in Belfast was asked to print the words “Support Gay Marriage” on one of their cakes. But the owners, Colin and Karen McArthur, felt that doing so would go against their sincerely-held religious beliefs.

They contacted the customer, a volunteer activist for QueerSpace, to offer a full refund and explain that they could not, in good conscience, complete the order. The following month, the Equality Commission for Northern Ireland contacted the bakery and said they’ll be sued unless they change their stance.

Manipulation & Performance in Worship

In the Old Testament worship was complex, precise and highly regulated by the Word of God. Not only so it was also to be strictly implemented in every detail. One of these aspects was the Holy Anointing Oil. Here’s the relevant passage from Exodus 30: 22-33

The Holy Anointing Oil

22 Moreover the Lord spoke to Moses, saying: 23 “Also take for yourself quality spices—five hundred shekels of liquid myrrh, half as much sweet-smelling cinnamon (two hundred and fifty shekels), two hundred and fifty shekels of sweet-smelling cane, 24 five hundred shekels of cassia, according to the shekel of the sanctuary, and a hin of olive oil. 25 And you shall make from these a holy anointing oil, an ointment compounded according to the art of the perfumer. It shall be a holy anointing oil. 26 With it you shall anoint the tabernacle of meeting and the ark of the Testimony; 27 the table and all its utensils, the lampstand and its utensils, and the altar of incense; 28 the altar of burnt offering with all its utensils, and the laver and its base. 29 You shall consecrate them, that they may be most holy; whatever touches them must be holy.[a] 30 And you shall anoint Aaron and his sons, and consecrate them, that they may minister to Me as priests.

31 “And you shall speak to the children of Israel, saying: ‘This shall be a holy anointing oil to Me throughout your generations. 32 It shall not be poured on man’s flesh; nor shall you make any other like it, according to its composition. It is holy, and it shall be holy to you. 33 Whoever compounds any like it, or whoever puts any of it on an outsider, shall be cut off from his people.’”

And also of the Incense in in Exodus 30:34-38

The Incense

34 And the Lord said to Moses: “Take sweet spices, stacte and onycha and galbanum, and pure frankincense with these sweet spices; there shall be equal amounts of each. 35 You shall make of these an incense, a compound according to the art of the perfumer, salted, pure, and holy. 36 And you shall beat some of it very fine, and put some of it before the Testimony in the tabernacle of meeting where I will meet with you. It shall be most holy to you. 37 But as for the incense which you shall make, you shall not make any for yourselves, according to its composition. It shall be to you holy for the Lord38 Whoever makes any like it, to smell it, he shall be cut off from his people.”

Note in verses 32, 33 & 38 the clear prohibition on copying the oil or ‘making anything like it’. Why do you suppose that was? You argue under that particular administration Israel and its worship was to be completely separate from the surrounding Nations. That would be true. But surely there’s a wider application to The Church and this wouldn’t be difficult to show. The Holy Anointing Oil represents the person of the Holy Spirit. Most Christians I think would accept that interpretation. The strictness placed on the presentation makes perfect sense. We find the same kind of strictness when dealing with any aspect foreshadowing the saving work of Christ. Gathering sticks on the Sabbath would be a good example. The overall lesson is that God will be worshipped in the way He prescribes – not how we prescribe it. He will be approached in the way He prescribes. Yes, we only approach a Holy God by way of sacrifice in and through the Lord Jesus Christ. We ‘enter the Holiest by the blood of Jesus, 20 by a new and living way which He consecrated for us, through the veil, that is, His flesh…’ (Hebrews 10: 19 – 20) So does anything go now – as long as it’s done in Jesus’s name. Not at all. I get no sense whatsoever that the Apostle Paul or the other NT writers even suggest we should worship any old way we like.

For example in Hebrews 12:18 – 24

18 For you have not come to the mountain that[c] may be touched and that burned with fire, and to blackness and darkness[d] and tempest, 19 and the sound of a trumpet and the voice of words, so that those who heardit begged that the word should not be spoken to them anymore. 20 (For they could not endure what was commanded: “And if so much as a beast touches the mountain, it shall be stoned[e] or shot with an arrow.”[f]21 And so terrifying was the sight that Moses said, “I am exceedingly afraid and trembling.”[g])

22 But you have come to Mount Zion and to the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, to an innumerable company of angels, 23 to the general assembly and church of the firstborn who are registered in heaven, to God the Judge of all, to the spirits of just men made perfect, 24 to Jesus the Mediator of the new covenant, and to the blood of sprinkling that speaks better things than that of Abel.

I fail to see how any sane person could imply from the contrasting covenants above that our worship should be any less solemn given we approach ‘the judge of all’. I see no reason or justification for flippancy, performance or manipulation in our services.

My concern here is to show how any form of manipulation of the senses in particular and therefore of the will is according to my understanding completely wrong. I abhor any appearance of trying to move the emotions for example by performance style reading of the Bible, and especially so if accompanied by music.

We are NOT to manipulate by any means. When we engage in such activity we are seeking to copy the work of the Holy Spirit. Under the Old Covenant copying the Holy Anointing Oil would result in being cut off from the people. I’m not saying people who use manipulation will be cut-off from the Church or lose their salvation but we should note the seriousness of engaging in manipulation. As the Apostle Paul in

2 Corinthians 2:17 For we are not, as so many, peddling the word of God; but as of sincerity, but as from God, we speak in the sight of God in Christ.

And in 2 Corinthians 4:2 But we have renounced the hidden things of shame, not walking in craftiness nor handling the word of God deceitfully, but by manifestation of the truth commending ourselves to every man’s conscience in the sight of God.

Manipulation or performance in evangelism or worship is deceit. We deceive ourselves, the worshippers, the evangelised and are offering to God ‘Strange Fire’. We should be plain in our speech. Paul again in

2 Corinthians 5:11 ‘Knowing, therefore, the terror of the Lord, we persuade men;’

No amount of performance or manipulation will raise the spiritually dead and neither will it cause the Spirit of God to move in our Worship services or Revive the Church. These activities solely belong to The Holy Spirit and to Him alone. If the Spirit of God is not manifesting himself in our services we must resist the temptation to ‘make up’ the difference as it were by doing what was forbidden in the Old Testament and seek to copy His peculiar presence.

It saddens and concerns me that Christians are now almost defaulting to the position where we are adding to the Gospel. The Gospel IS the power of God unto salvation to everyone that believes. We can’t add anything and we don’t need to either. Praise God He does the saving!

I will come back with more posts on worship.

BBC News – Bat faeces making churches unhygienic, warns bishop

Bat
Bat (Photo credit: Lee Carson)

BBC News – Bat faeces making churches unhygienic, warns bishop.

This was also featured on ‘Sunday’ a BBC Radio 4 religious affairs broadcast from 07.10 to 08.50.

Here’s the thing. The Bats are protected by law and have taken up residence in many Anglican Churches (maybe other churches too) and are making a mess even during Holy Communion. Children’s work is curtailed because Bat faeces are (obviously) unhygienic. Bats are protected by a European Directive and take precedence over the children and over the Worship of God.

Our little furry flying relatives clearly have as much right to the planet as we do. Bats are much more important than people. This is where we have come to! Utterly ridiculous. To my mind there is no decision to make. Solution: gas all the Bats and prevent further infestation.

But I have an alternative, a compromise is you like. Though I prefer the gassing option – quick, clean & cheap. My alternative / compromise would be to close the churches where there is no Gospel preached and hand the building over to the Bats as they will make much better use of the building. It’s a win win situation. The Bats get a home and the people are not subjected to a false Gospel.