Saturday, 22 September 2012


(!!! - presented thus to make a point)

A. Be sure your faith is nominal and ‘low profile’. Keep it for Sundays only. Why be fanatical?

B. Compromise your faith whenever it is likely to be demanding. Why make trouble for yourself?

C. Never question the religious opinions of others: be open to their insights. Don’t be too sure of your own beliefs. Be as broad-minded as possible.

D. Maintain a good reputation with all and avoid costly commitment to Christ. Be as nice as possible.

Friday, 21 September 2012

Examine Your Elders

Given the deplorable spiritual state of the Christian church in the west, and the fact that most people are outside the Christian church, even those who are members in her, the finger of blame must surely be pointed at the pulpit.  At least this is what DMLJ believed.  The pulpit is the reason why so many are outside the church.  People come looking for reality, but find pretence.

Teaching elders have the heavy responsibility of ensuring that the church is operating along biblical lines.  It is his and privilege, duty and responsibility for caring for Christ's church on earth.  That means that the elders should have a care for each other as well as for the spiritual well-being of the church.  This could show itself in the regular examination of the elders as to their walk with the Lord.

There are detailed examination questions that could be used to ascertain how church elders are living.  For example, the examination questions as used by the Welsh Calvinistic Methodists in the societies in the eighteenth century would be a good place to start.  Here, you will find the direction in which examination ought to go.

Careful probing is essential for the spiritual health of both the elders and the congregation, but this will only be done by those ministers who are committed to overall congregational and denominational health.  I have heard a leading evangelical imply that it doesn't matter if elders are spiritual and godly men or not - just treat them as if they are and give them spiritual responsibilities!  I could not believe what I was hearing.  In other words, these men are playing the children's game, "Let's Pretend."  But they are doing it within Christ's church.  They are playing religious games with the souls of church people, and one day they will have to give an account for their misdoings.  What irresponsibility! 

Why do elders not spiritually examine their fellow-elders?  Because in so many churches, there are elders who are deeply unspiritual, godless men whose mouths are utterly filthy, church elders who are notorious womanisers, blasphemers, men who curse and swear like anything.  Now what would Presbytery think and do to any such minister who reports that after careful examination, several elders were found not to be fit for office.  This would be met with utter horror.  Why?  Because Presbytery ordained these men to office within Christ's church, men who do not even belong to Christ.  Add to that the enigma of woman elders, and you have a real problem facing the church.

But then if (or since) the churches are Roman in their orientation, and by that I mean, if they believe in their own infallibility, what does such a massive mistake say about them?  They will not claim infallibility but they behave as if they are.  Only the RC church in Ireland admits to being fallible (vis-a-vis the clerical child sex abuse scandal that is still ongoing in Ireland and elsewhere where Rome has put down her roots), despite its official position of being infallible.  Infallible Protestant churches will not wish to admit that they have been wrong.  And of this you can be very sure: the firm's men will back the church to the hilt, regardless of how far from Gospel truth she has departed. 

For there to be even the beginnings of church reform there must be moral and spiritual courage on the part of teaching elders, for without clear guidance from God's Word, any actions will be disastrous.  The church needs to take a long and hard look at her condition if reform is to be commenced.  And the more difficult reform proves to be, the greater the need for it.

Tuesday, 18 September 2012

A Prayer for Mothers - Dr Charles R. Swindoll

"As one whom his mother comforts, so I will comfort you." —Isaiah 66:13

We do worship You, our Father, and in our worship we give You our thanks. We thank You, not only for our own mothers and grandmothers but for all women who have filled that role. We remember those who are now deceased, who helped shape our lives, who taught us faithfully, and who enduringly loved us. Thank You for the contribution of fine women all over this world who live lives dedicated to Your service, to their families, to their extended families. Thank You for each. You have written in Your Word that their "worth is far above jewels."
Thank You for the tenderness and compassion mothers contribute to a world that's cold and raw and careless and harsh. Thank You for their affirmation and words of affection in the midst of a society bent on high achievement, self-serving goals, and short-sighted pursuits. Thank You for their hours of investment in others. Thank You for their contribution to You in the work of the church down through the centuries. Thank You for using women through the ages to improve their homes, their families, and other's lives. Thank You for their vision, for their strength of character. Most of all, for their hearts, tender to You and affectionate toward those they love.
Dear Father, so many of these things represent Your wisdom which is, as You have written, more precious than silver—better than gold. In light of that, we rededicate ourselves to Your work, to Your service, and to those who need our love. We commit our future to You for however many months or years You may give us. May we faithfully and relentlessly serve the Master.
In the name of the Savior, we pray. Amen.

See also  Exodus 20:12 ; Proverbs 6:20 ; 20:20 ; 30:17 .

A Practical Means of Comfort

There is a sense in which it is very easy to become so spiritual that we cease to be of practical help to others.  Reformed spirituality is the most practical form that spirituality takes.  The milk of human kindness ought to flow through us to others in need, whether is it by visiting them, preparing meals, looking after children or the elderly, taking them out for a walk or shopping, or a thousand and one other practical things.

But there is a very simple something that can be done by yourself, if you are up to it, and that is to get yourself a house dog to keep you company.  This creature will be with you at all times, will welcome you when you come into the house after being out, will lie beside you on the floor, will beg for food when you're eating, will take you out for a walk, and will bring a ray of sunshine into your life.

This is exactly what we found with our new house dog, Connie.  She is a ruby King Charles Cavalier Spaniel.  My wife finds her to be a very positive distraction from her other concerns, and gives her an interest.  She follows her about the house and my wife always calls for her when she hides underneath the table, etc.

But it is possible to understand your dog in such a way that it makes the relationship more beneficial to all concerned.  Visit this website and have a look at the suggestions that Murray Haven makes as you try to get to know your dog better.  This is a relatively new book which I came across quite recently and I want to share its insights with you. 

If you are feeling stressed and crushed by your current circumstances, anything that will ease the pressure will be welcomed.  If you feel you cannot clear your mind from your pressing problems, then a positive distraction will help enormously.  This book will point you in the direction to do just that.

Monday, 17 September 2012

Pop Worship

Why is it that minister's have today given up their God-given responsibility for determining and leading the service of worship?  Why have ministers, even in evangelical churches, handed over responsibility for the content of the 'songs' that are used in services?  Why is it that musically talented church members have now been given the role of starting the service (no call to worship, mind you) and of ordering it?  Why have ministers transferred leadership of the service to untrained performers?

No one can provide me with a biblical answer to these questions.  The argument runs, of course, that we have to try to keep the young people within the churches, so we give them a place in running the service.  Further, in order to remove the allegation that the modern church is outdated, the church has resorted to the whole scale introduction of unadulterated worldliness as a means of helping the 'pop generation' to worship God.  Times change, they tell us.  We are now in the modern times.  What was useful in the last generation is no longer useful today.  We must change because times have changed and men have changed and knowledge has marched on.

So God's ancient way of salvation revealed in the Scriptures and through the death and passion of Christ, is irrelevant.  A new way is needed, and the contemporary church is working hard to discover or invent a new way of salvation.  They tell us that man has changed, that he is educated, sophisticated, advanced, has walked on the moon, has split the atom, has discovered DNA and so on.  He is scientific man, knowledgeable man, clever man.  We cannot offer to such a man the same old way of worshipping God that our fathers used.  He is used to short blasts of information, 'sound bites,' so sermons have to be cut and shortened.  If modern people cannot concentrate for more than 12 minutes, keep your sermons to no more than 12 minutes.  If he prefers pop music, rock music, soul music, with endless repetition of choruses, then give him those.  If he prefers music that is similar to that of modern culture - unsingable - then music used in Christian worship must have the same characteristics.

What lies behind this practice is that man has changed therefore how he approaches God must be changed accordingly.  What utter nonsense.  Man is still the same fallen creature he ever was since Gen.3.  He has not changed morally, except that he has plunged to a greater depth of immorality.

Then, the Scriptures have changed.  The number of new modern translations demonstrates that the Bible has changed, so how we approach God must change as well. 

Then, and most seriously, God and His Son Jesus Christ have changed.  Yes, the Bible says that God is the eternal God and Jesus Christ is "the same yesterday, today, and forever."  But no matter; we think He has changed so He must be worshipped in a new way, and what better to use than the music that modern worshippers are familiar with. 

Surely this is a confession by the evangelical church that Scripture is inadequate and its way of salvation is no longer appropriate to twenty century man.

Today, it is man's preferences that determine what worship is, not God's Word.  The Word is out of date.  It is no longer the main thing in church life today.  We need to 'soup it up.'  Whatever gets that result is what is right and to be used.

This is the situation today in many evangelical churches, churches that once stood for the Gospel pure and simple.  They have lost the plot entirely; and then they wonder why church attendance is falling.  They need to take a good long look in the mirror when shaving each morning to see where the true problem lies.

Sodomy Welcomed by Unionists?

Lord Ken Maginnis, in a recent BBC interview following his departure from the UUP, was very annoyed, and understandably so, at the way the party leadership dealt with him concerning his reasonable views on moral and ethical matters.  His views do not cohere with those of his party, but Ken has always been able to think for himself and to articulate his own views well, even though many disagreed with him and them.
However, one thing has been overlooked in much of the comment, and it's this: wherever there is a dalliance with liberalism of whatever kind, there is sure to be serious and bad consequences.  Ken, sadly, was on the liberal wing of the UUP, and it was this very wing that disagreed so violently with his views, precipitating his resignation from its ranks.
Let it be said clearly - and we see this in church as well as in the affairs of state - there are none so illiberal as the liberals.  Liberals live in a 'cloud-cookoo-land' kind of existence, believing that getting rid of traditional and time-tested and honoured principles and practices is the way forward.  It is not.  Such views may prevail for the short term, but in their wake will come nothing but calamity and disaster.  The churches have proved this, and so will practically all the parties at Stormont that embrace a liberal methodology. 
The unionist parties have removed men who were involved in relatively minor alleged misdemeanours, and then  proceeded to welcome IRA/SF into government - that is liberalism at its worst.  The Stormont executive has funded Belfast pride this year again, as has the City Council and, I believe, the PSNI.  This demonstration of unprincipled support for what is clearly wrong and offensive is another manifestation of liberalism which at its core is destructive of everything good and decent.
Have these liberal parties at Stormont or in Westminster any future?  Yes, they will be around for some time, because that is what the people want; but the damage they will do in the meantime to the very fabric of our society will have repercussions for generations to come. 
And the sad thing is this: party members and party supporters have colluded in this moral meltdown promoted by liberalism in all its forms and will support their chosen parties regardless of the damage they are doing to the country and people they profess to love.  May God have mercy on us in our wilful rebellion against His Word.


What a sickening fiasco. French, Irish and now the Italians are cashing in on the hapless Duchess.

But are the British entirely without blame because we refuse to publish the pictures? No. Because this whole incident is but a symptom of our Europe-wide immoral, immodest culture, a culture where promiscuity, pornography and perversion flow unchecked. Indeed, our entire entertainment industry thrives on adulterous sex in particular and a mocking disregard for the Ten Commandments in general.

Of course the money-making motive is behind all this. 'Filthy lucre' is the apt expression. Not that there is anything filthy about feminine beauty. But the beauty of a man's wife should be for his eyes alone. The kind of decadence that ignores such privacy merely fuels public male lust and should be disallowed and even criminalized. Rightly did the Apostle Peter sum up the vice of our visual age. We are a society with 'eyes full of adultery, and that cannot cease from sin' (2 Pet. 2: 14). 

Is the refusal of the British press to publish (so far) evidence of a residual Puritanism? I certainly hope so. One would like to ask these hypocritical editors and their equally-hypocritical male readers this question: would they like topless pictures of their wives, sisters, mothers, etc available for all the world to see? And have they spared a thought for Prince William's feelings in all this shameless publicity? 

For those who see a relevant connection, I am not making any concessions to Islamic culture at this point; behind the seemingly-modest burkha barrier is a variety of sexual irregularities. No, I  am appealing to the kind of Judeo-Christian values which once prevailed in great measure throughout Western society, values which preserved and protected the purity and beauty of married life, at the same time creating a context of innocence and modesty in which to raise happy and virtuous children. Such are the desperate needs of our sex-obsessed society.

Unless we return to our roots, the lusts of the jungle will be our ruin! 

Sunday, 16 September 2012

A Grand Line.

It is very interesting that two of the greatest and best known itinerant evangelists in the UK, Dr John Blanchard and Roger Carswell, believe in and preach that died for all men.  This is the essential of the biblical Gospel message.  It is this message that was preached so powerfully by all the great evangelists in the Church's history - Calvin, Amyraut, Daille, the Wesleys, Whitefield, Edwards, John Jones, McCheyne, Ryle, DMLJ.

What a delight it is to realise that we stand in the true Gospel succession when we preach such a soul-stirring message.  How great it is to know that when we preach Christ as the Saviour of the world, we stand in the most noble and exalted line imaginable.  Would there were more preachers who embraced this liberating Gospel message.  Would that God would change men's hearts and thinking so that they would come to preach Christ as the all-sufficient Saviour of mankind and Redeemer of the world.  Would that a real message of real hope was set before a perishing world and sinners urged and pleaded with to trust Christ as their Saviour and Lord.

It is this biblical message that knows the anointing of God upon it and its servant.  And how the church needs men who are Spirit-anointed, men who see what is needed and take the appropriate action to bring about God-glorifying change.  The church today is in urgent need to beware of the subtle and not-so-subtle encroachments of Rome.  Evangelicals must be aware of what Rome is doing through ministers in the Protestant ministers.  She has bought them over by her smooth and sweet words, and they have not even seen what was happening.  They have been deceived into believing and doing what Rome has always believed and done, not least the insufficiency of Scripture.  Just as Rome developed a most complicated liturgy for its services, so today the evangelical churches have mimicked Rome in adding complexity to church services with all the razzmatazz of worldly show business.  But that's for another post.

The church must return as a matter of urgency to the simplicity and directness of the biblical Gospel if she is to avert divine judgement.  Nothing else will prevail.  The Gospel is "the power of God for the salvation of everyone who believes," (Rom.1:16).  Let the church preach that soul-saving message to everyone and seek to make them into disciples. 

Warning for Wales - Dr Alan C Clifford

Nineteenth-century Wales was blest with a host of godly Protestant Nonconformist preachers. Most notable among the Calvinistic Methodists were John Elias (1774-1841), John Jones, Talsarn (1796-1857) and Henry Rees (1798-1869). The nationwide Gospel labours of these zealous servants of Christ were wonderfully effective. Indeed, Welsh domestic, social and cultural life was permeated by the Christian Faith as never before.

In the wake of the Catholic Emancipation Act (1829), the restored Roman Catholic hierarchy (1850) created as much excitement in Wales as in England. Many looked with an anxious eye upon the encroachments of the Roman Catholic Church. Henry Rees felt gravely concerned lest the churches of Wales should lose their hold of the great fundamental doctrines of the Gospel of Christ: the inability of man to come up with the demands of God’s law; the infinite sufficiency of the atonement of Christ; the need of repentance and simple faith in the Saviour; and the glory of Christ as the Head of the

In the beginning of December 1850, a Quarterly Association meeting of the Calvinistic Methodists was held at Newtown, Montgomeryshire. Mr Rees was appointed to preach at ten o’clock on the morning of 13 December. The service was held in the large Baptist chapel. Henry Rees’s text was Col. 1: 23: “If ye continue in the faith, grounded and settled, and be not moved away from the hope of the Gospel.” In this sermon he contrasted the Pope as the false head of the Church with Christ the true Head. On the one hand, he described the Pope; he spoke of his high position in Rome, of what power and capacity were in him for filling that position. He declared his high assumptions,
together with his imperfections and fallibility.

On the other hand, he discoursed of the glory of Christ. He recounted His greatness in eternity with God; he spoke of His wonderful incarnation and of the magnitude of the work He accomplished while here; he described His agony and death in behalf of His people; and, finally, His resurrection and ascension into heaven, and how He was exalted above all principalities and powers to sit on the right hand of the Majesty on high, the Head above all things unto His Church.

This description of Christ came from a man who had been in close communion with Him that morning, and from a heart that burnt with love to his Saviour; and it failed not to absorb the most intense interest of the congregation. The preacher continued: “Now I have presented Christ and the Pope before you in the best way I could. The head of the Roman Catholic Church has had every fair play at my hands, I am sure; but as to Jesus Christ, I have utterly failed to do Him justice; He has suffered from my inability and unworthiness; His glory is infinitely beyond my poor description. I have wronged Him
from want of talent and power, and from poverty of language and expression. However, I have done the best I could. And now I am going to ask you the question, ‘Which of these two will you have? Which of these two will you have?’When the preacher put this question, the most intense silence prevailed. After a slight pause, he again said, “I think I hear some one in this congregation saying, ‘The old Head of the Church for us! The old Head of the Church for us!’ ”

With that word a strange, unearthly thrill passed through the preacher, and an overpowering influence like a wave rolled over the vast congregation. The effect of it was seen that very instant in the new twinkle in many an eye, arising from the tears which filled them. So instantaneous and so intense was the feeling that, according to the
testimony of one of the preachers who was there, the tears were dropping down from the gallery upon the heads of the people below.

With great power, Henry Rees appealed to the multitude not to leave Christ. “Arrest your steps before you go farther; reflect, and ask yourselves the question, ‘To whom shall we go?’ If we turn away from Christ and his Gospel, who can then give us the words of eternal life? What a dismal prospect lies before the man who moves away from the
Gospel! ‘For if we sin wilfully, after that we have received the knowledge of the truth, there remaineth no more sacrifice for sins, but a certain fearful looking for of judgment and fiery indignation, which shall devour the adversaries’ [Heb. 10: 26-7]. If thou, my soul, incline to depart from the hope of the Gospel, if sin and the world allure thee on, I would that the Spirit of the Lord should meet thee, as the angel of the Lord met Hagar in the wilderness, and said, ‘Hagar, Sarai’s maid, whence camest thou? and whither wilt thou go? Hast thou turned away from Abraham’s family, where the living God is worshipped? And canst thou find anywhere a better place?”

The preacher closed his sermon with a powerful challenge. “Thou, professor, who triflest with the temptations of the flesh and the world, whence camest thou? Is it from the house of prayer and from the communion of saints, and from among those who hope in Christ? And whither wilt thou go? Wilt thou wander into the wildernesses of the present evil world until thou come to the land of everlasting woe?... Now, then, my hearers, I am going to ask you, what will you do? I know well what I will do: As for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.”

The Revd John Foulkes Jones, BA, Machynlleth, heard this sermon. Vividly recalling it, he recorded its impact in one of his letters. The preacher’s object was ‘to contrast the Protestant and the Romish Church, and to show the superiority of the one over the other. We knew this before, and we believed it; but Mr Rees made our hearts feel that a simple but pure Gospel was infinitely and incomparably better than an unhallowed, though splendid Popery. Oh! we were all ready to exclaim, ‘Yr hen efengyl am byth!’ [‘The old Gospel forever!’] I thought at the time, and, indeed, I have often thought since, that I wanted no other, that I cared for no other—no other salvation, no other Saviour. Let us believe and trust Him.”

The ambitions of Rome remain unchanged. In view of liberal ecumenical apostasy, the message of the great Henry Rees is more urgent than ever.

Edited extract from Owen Jones, MA, Some of the Great Preachers of Wales (London:
Passmore & Alabaster, 1885), 404-7.