Marriage Matters – letter to MP

Colin Hart of Coalition for Marriage asked for emails / letters to be sent to MP’s. The following is the email I sent today to my MP. Mark Pawsey is actually supportive of traditional marriage but Politicians sometimes need the encouragement – and the backbone – to stick to their principles. To be fair we all need that, it’s easy to buckle when the pressure is on. Pray for grace to stand firm.

Dear Mr Pawsey,

Suggestions for points to make:

  • We’ve already seen equality laws being used against people who express support for traditional marriage.
  • Foster carers should not be blacklisted by local councils just because they oppose same-sex marriage.
  • Religious groups should not be banned from hiring public venues just because they support traditional marriage.
  • The Public Sector Equality Duty should not be used to punish those who support traditional marriage, like teachers or other public sector workers.
  • True equality should mean fairness, but these days it means imposing political correctness on people.

I have pasted these in as they seem fairly reasonable and I’d ask you to vote against the bill and support the historical and current meaning of marriage.

Maybe those that want to see a change to the definition of marriage would like to consider coming up with their own definition rather than hi-jacking what has been perfectly acceptable for hundreds of years. It’s a bit like wanting to call a circle a square simply because I want it to be so. I do not agree with their lifestyle choice – and it is a choice – but I accept the provision of legislation that will protect same-sex couples in cases of tax and inheritance in the same way sisters that live together might need protection. But I fail to see why Marriage needs to be re-defined in order to achieve it.

The real reason behind this – it seems to me – is to further undermine the Christian faith. Continuing to undermine the Christian principles our Nation has been [founded] upon can only result in disaster for all of us. It will of course create a new minority – if it doesn’t already exist – of Christians and I can’t see the same paradigm shifts taking place to accommodate them, can you.

Thanks for supporting Marriage in the past, please continue to do so.

Kind Regards,

Women Bishops – Intended Consequences?

If you listen to the news, Prime Ministers Question Time, ‘BBC’s Question Time’ & ‘BBC’s Any Questions’ (haven’t listened to ‘Any Answers’ on this yet) you will quickly realise the decision has not gone down well. You will realise the poverty of Gospel input. There is next to no mention of God, certainly no mention of sin in the Gospel sense and no mention of the Bible. Obviously many of the comments are cherry picked to suit particular biases and interviews are mediated through the gatekeepers. We are told ‘the people’ are outraged by this. I’d like to know how they know that – I’m a people and I’ve never been asked! But we do know some surprising views. On Any Question one Rosie Harper said she would like those that are opposed to Women Priests to be ‘thrown out’. Now that wasn’t edited. I’ve been to an Any Questions broadcast and it isn’t edited – apart from a 7 second loop maybe. I’m guessing that view is not uncommon. The problem with the Anglican Church is its connection to the State. It’s the State Church and the State now wants its pound of flesh! In other words, agree politically or we’ll make you agree. What The State wants – whatever it tells you – is a church it can control.

A very good summary report was on the dreaded ‘Sunday:Religious News’ programme this morning. From what I can tell the piece does tell us where the Cof E is at on this topic. If you can get it on iTunes or via the BBC  iPlayer the relevant segment starts at 25m 10s till the end. For those outside the UK I’ll try and edit the segment out and post it up here for you to have a listen.

Now here’s why the title of this post is ‘Intended Consequences’. We all know about the law of unintended consequences but in this case in view of other debates and further decisions ‘coming down the pike’ it really is – I think – intended consequences.

The decisions to be made concern Homosexuals (LGB&T) in the church. Get women priests through first and it should be a formality to get the Homosexual issue sorted. In fact, not getting the women priests vote through actually helps the case. How so? Make the country so sick of all the debates and turn the ‘Traditionalists’ into a pariah and the outcry at the possibility of Homosexuals being barred in any way will be so strong the church will have no other way to go. Why? Because they are more concerned – or even only concerned – at what ‘the people’ think and not what God thinks. You will hear of how the church needs to come into the 21st or even into the 20th Century and at how the decision is not democratic. Well, if it’s a question of what ‘people’ think the church is not concerned about what people think ultimately.

The Bible – that’s God – says unless a person will repent of their sins and call upon Jesus Christ for Salvation they will be turned into hell forever. Now democracy will not solve that! Except you repent says Jesus, you will perish.

In many ways these debates are really about something else. The issue is really about the place and authority of God’s Word. ‘The People’ do not want the Bible and do not want King Jesus to rule over them. ‘The People’ want to rule themselves, to be in charge of their own destiny but it’s a lie. God is in control and His rule is not a democracy. All people will bow the knee to King Jesus one day either as Saviour & Lord or as Judge. That’s the real issue. And finally, in my view, Evangelicals, Reformed and Bible believing Christians should come out of the Anglican Church and get on with proclaiming the Gospel of the Grace of God. After all isn’t this reason for the Church of Jesus Christ?

Ideology Strikes again

It’s not often that I’m drop-jawed when listening to the news: but I was about half an hour ago when I heard

A couple have had three foster children removed from their care because they belong to the UK Independence Party.

To see more on this story go to BBC News. The story is on the front page of the Daily Telegraph.

For those outside the UK – UKIP is a main-stream political party and the children were removed because of UKIP’s position on Immigration and were seen by Rotheram City council as racist.

My immediate thought on hearing this was this; if a council can do this to a political party what will they do to Christians that have a different view on ‘Marriage’ for example.

If you are a minority that fits with an underlying Anti-Christian program you will be fine – but if not look out! I don’t think UKIP are any more supportive of Christian values that any other of the anti-Christian mainstream but it’s certainly a shot across the bows as councils flex their muscles. We’ll see if Rotherham gets away with it – doubtful this time. But the future looks bleak for this country. I can’t believe how far we have fallen. The US should look on this and beware.

Wearing the Cross or Preaching the Cross?

Millions of people all over the world wear a cross. A lady here in the UK has been ordered not to wear her cross at work. There is a campaign running and according to the campaigners the case has received considerable media coverage highlighting freedom of expression and the freedom to wear symbols of the Christian faith.

I received an email linking to the campaign. Here’s some of the blurb from the Not Ashamed of the Cross Website:

act now to protect christian freedoms.

Shirley Chaplin was barred from wearing her confirmation cross after nearly thirty years in front line nursing. Now hers is one of four landmark Christian freedom cases going to the European Court of Human Rights. Yet the British Government is not supporting Shirley and has even suggested that the cross is not a generally recognised form of practising the Christian faith.

Please contact the PM and your MP to urge the Government to support Shirley and historic Christian freedoms.

The cross is undeniably a symbol of the Christian faith but wearing one round the neck isn’t. And neither is wearing one a requirement of the Christian faith. I do not find a text anywhere in the Bible that says wearing one is either a symbol of the Christian faith or that wearing one is required of Christians. So on the one hand the campaign is laudable especially in terms of free speech yet on the other it completely – or potentially – misrepresents the Cross of Christ.

What the Bible does speak about very clearly is the ‘Offence of the Cross’. This explicitly refers to the Preaching of the Cross – and it’s this preaching of the Cross that is so hugely offensive to the natural man. My fear about this campaign – I’m aware good people will be involved – is that it may protect the freedom to wear one as a Christian symbol but forbid the preaching of the Cross itself. Why is this so?

We must not and we cannot confuse the cross as a symbol (worn around the neck) and the Preaching of the Cross as revealed to us in the Bible. I’m certainly not ashamed of the cross but wearing it round the neck has nothing at all to do with the Christian faith – that is the Gospel of Christ.

The message of the Cross of Christ tells us very clearly that God Himself has provided the only unique means whereby sinners may be saved from the wrath of God. To first century Jews and Gentiles (everybody else) this message was massively offensive and it is no less so today.

I also fear the campaign at best will give Christians the freedom to wear their faith symbol in the marketplace of ideas, in a society that propagates diversity and where all religions are equal – which of course they are not. Christianity is either true or it isn’t. And as it is in fact the truth ALL other religions are false. Modern sensibilities will not allow this, but is what people and governments need to hear but do not want to hear and will not listen.

What was the cross? It was an instrument of torture, of brutality, of humiliation, of utter degradation! It was a place reserved for criminals, a place of excruciating agony and a place of bloody agonising death! This is the true Cross where my dear Saviour the Lord Jesus Christ stood in my place to suffer the wrath of God upon His holy and righteous soul. The Cross is the only way of Salvation, there is no other! We are either saved by the cross of Christ or not at all.

The Apostle Paul said, ‘For the word of the cross is folly to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God’ (1Co 1:18). It’s the word or the message of the cross not a symbol that’s needed.

If Shirley wins her case and is allowed to wear her cross, how will this advance the Gospel? I think not at all. I wish her well, I wish the campaign well, but I believe it’s a backward step as far as the Gospel of Christ is concerned. Let us therefore not be ashamed of the preaching of the Gospel and as God gives us opportunity let us speak of this cross, this place of propitiation.

Gay, No Gay, Ex Gay Bus Campaigns

Listening again to the tortuous BBC Radio 4 Sunday program where during the last item a lively discussion took place about the Gay / Ex Gay bus campaigns. As seems the norm these days Free Speech only seems to work one way – in opposition to Christianity. I can do no better than point you to Archbishop Cranmer for two excellent posts.

If you can stomach it go to the BBC for more:

What is Truth?

Some people might recall the above from the show trial of Jesus when Pontius Pilate asked him ‘What is Truth?’ (John 18:38) Let’s face it, it’s a good question though wrongly motivated at that time. In fact it’s often asked from a wrong motive. I have no evidence or data for this but people usually ask it sneeringly because they don’t want there to be such a thing as truth – at all! If there were such a thing it would impact powerfully on us and our world. Here’s Albert Barnes commenting on this verse:

This question had long agitated the world. It was the great subject of inquiry in all the schools of the Greeks. Different sects of philosophers had held different opinions, and Pilate now, in derision, asked him, whom he esteemed an ignorant fanatic, whether he could solve this long-agitated question. He might have had an answer. If he had patiently waited in sincerity, Jesus would have told him what it was. Thousands ask the question in the same way. They have a fixed contempt for the Bible; they deride the instructions of religion; they are unwilling to investigate and to wait at the gates of wisdom; and hence, like Pilate, they remain ignorant of the great Source of truth, and die in darkness and in error. All might find truth if they would seek it; none ever will find it if they do not apply for it to the great source of light the God of truth, and seek it patiently in the way in which he has chosen to communicate it to mankind. How highly should we prize the Bible! And how patiently and prayerfully should we search the Scriptures, that we may not err and die forever!

Truth is Fallen

Whatever it was like back then, today, we live in world where truth is elastic, or relative, or subjective and the whole concept that there could somehow somewhere be such a thing as objective truth is preposterous – even dangerous. Perhaps you remember the phrase from Parliament when one ‘honourable member’ used the phrase or what is now popularly remembered as  being ‘economical with the truth‘ – that is deliberate lying or withholding pertinent facts. We live in days where according to the Old Testament Prophet Isaiah (Chapter 59:14 ESV) ‘Justice is turned back, and righteousness stands far away; for truth has stumbled in the public squares, and uprightness cannot enter’ or as another translation (AV) has it ‘truth is fallen in the street‘. This phrase very powerfully expresses where we are regarding truth today.

Truth is Vital

But aren’t we thankful that truth exists in our bank accounts or regarding our pay. Wouldn’t we be up in arms if our pay were cut for no other reason than our employers thought it added up. Or what about engineering calculations. Some of us might remember the ‘Wobbly Bridge‘ (Millennium Bridge) over the Thames. There had to be a re-calculation. Why? Because it’s important that 2+2 always equal 4. What about calculations that not only send rockets into outer space, but make sure they return. Truth is vital to the Astronauts!

And yet, as important as truth is, it doesn’t quite seem to be important at all in other areas. And this is what prompted this post. We have had in Norway a terrible massacre of young lives by a man his attorney has labelled mad or insane – Anders Behring Breivik. What about some of the issues he raised? What about his quoting Robert Spencer of Jihad Watch? Is Islam an evil religion, is it a deception? What about Immigration and the Islamic doctrine of Al-Hijra? These are things to do with Truth. Are they true or not? Just because these issues and names appear in the writings of an insane person does that mean some of the things he mentions are untrue?

Politicians ‘Wobble’

Politicians are faced, it seems to me, with a dilemma – especially when it comes to religion. Here’s the dilemma that politicians around the world and especially in Europe and America are faced with but will not address. Not all religions can be true – this is impossible. Their answer is to either not talk about – and a number of social commentators that I’ve heard warn against this. Or, they outlaw any discussion by re-framing it as either racist, xenophobic and most popularly now Islamophobic. I could mention many other unmentionable topics.

The question I want to address is this one. Is it true? People believe all manner of falsehoods be they religious or non-religious. But whatever these falsehoods are, some of them or all of them must not be true. They might not be deliberate untruth but it doesn’t alter the fact. To demonstrate the consequences of this – consider Robert Spencer. On his blog Jihad Watch there is a link to an interview by the BBC World Service that has the BBC trying to blame the Norway Massacre on Spencer because Breivik mentions his name in his writing. Frankly, I’m disgusted by the BBC but it clearly shows the consequences – deliberate or unforeseen. For Islamists (also read Anti Christian) this whole area is an open goal. I’ll let you think about that one!

Freedom of Speech

But once again I come back to this point and I’ll frame it more explicitly. Is Christianity true, or, is Islam true? They cannot possibly both be true. But will ‘Freedom of Speech’ be allowed to say so, and, say it unequivocally without fear of the police calling at the door. There are those that believe I and other Christians are total nut jobs. I’m OK with that. I don’t have a problem for example with Richard Dawkins or Christopher Hitchens having a go at Christianity – and other religions too. And I think they would be fine about our right to reply. So why is Islam off limits? Is this where our Freedom is headed? I want a robust discussion of these things. Will it be allowed? I’ve spent the last few posts on Islam and there are a few more to come – but it’s massively relevant at the moment. We are in the process of giving up many of our rights to Freedom of Speech.

Follow this link to Jihad Watch to find the Robert Spencer interview on the BBC World Service. Not sure how long it will be available so go to it ASAP.

Clergy Fear Prosecution

It’s interesting isn’t it. I was looking through the Stonewall website and clicked on the link to the Police – eventually arriving at the Diversity statement (see previous post). And then, checking through the email inbox find an article from The Telegraph ‘Clergy could be sued if they refuse to carry out ‘gay marriages’, traditionalists fear’.

It’s a funny thing – The House of Lords vote to allow Civil Partnerships to take place in Church, The Police have detailed Diversity statements and then Clergy fear prosecution for following a religious belief. It’s clear then, some one or some group of some-ones is going to suffer discrimination. Let’s think about who that will be. If two people want a Civil Partnership then I have absolutely no doubt they would be able to find a member of the Clergy to accommodate them. The question is, will this happen? Or will people seek offence and therefore the ‘right’ to claim discrimination or the ‘right’ to suffer a hate related crime. That is the fear. But in this case surely the Clergy could equally play the ‘Discrimination Card’ as they were targeted for holding a ‘Traditional’ religious belief. Under Warwickshire Police Diversity members of the Clergy have an equal right to a ‘religion or belief’. This particular belief has been taught for centuries and, is protected under current diversity policy.

It’s clear the whole concept of toleration is a nonsense because in practice someone will be forced to play the part of the ‘Intolerant’. I wonder who that will be?

All Equal Under The Law

The following is the Warwickshire Police Statement on Diversity:

As a Force we have clearly articulated our commitment to diversity and our aim to ensure: “no person will be treated less favourably on grounds of race, colour, nationality, ethnic or national origin, disability, gender, marital or parental status, age, religion or belief, sexual orientation, proposed or actual gender re-assignment, economic group, employment status, politics, staff association or trade union membership, or any other condition which cannot be shown to be wholly justified in relation to employment with Warwickshire Police or in delivering services to the community” in all that we do.

We are committed to ensuring that diversity is a key strand in the delivery of our citizen focused approach to effective and efficient policing services for the different people in Warwickshire.

Or, they could have said: We treat everyone the same, regardless. Doesn’t have the same ring to it though.