Friday, 12 October 2012

Evangelical Confusion

“To assume” is to make an ASS out of U and ME.  How true.  And to assume we know what an evangelical is is to do likewise.  We cannot now say that everyone who calls himself an evangelical knows what an evangelical is.  That day has sadly passed.  The time was when an evangelical was someone who was distinguished from all other professing Christians and from the world, but that day has long passed.

The very term ‘evangelical’ is a limiting term.  It distinguishes theological positions and the people who hold them. It is a term that sets apart those who hold a particular theological position from those who do not.  There are those who do not agree with opening up this subject because, they say, ‘We all know what an evangelical is.’  But do we?  There are so many brands of evangelical that one could be excused for being confused.  The argument is that as long as a man makes certain biblical noises, he is an evangelical.  Or, so long as he subscribes my confession of faith, he is an evangelical.  It is all about being formally correct, regardless of what a man really believes and preaches.  It’s about saying the right things with the right words at the right time to the right people.  

Surely this makes a nonsense out of the meaning of a once highly-honoured term.  The fact is that nothing is static, nothing stays the same; things and ideas are always developing, changing.  And this is as true within the church as outside her.  The meaning of the term evangelical has been thrown into a theological melting-pot, and what is emerging does not resemble what was thrown in.  It is being changed, altered, and developed.  And people tend to go with the new developments rather than hold on to the established facts.  

Take, for example, Calvin’s teaching on the atonement which is found scattered throughout his Institutes, his treatises and tracts, and his commentaries but especially in his sermons. There you will find that with the exception of the Saumur Academy, starting with Beza, Calvin’s successor in Geneva, many theologians accepted a developed form of Calvinism which became known in England as Owenism.  What the reformer taught on this crucially important doctrine was developed and altered by his well-meaning followers.  

The implication here is that Calvinism has to be re-defined in order to bring it into line with what the reformer believed and taught.  Now the same is needed to be done to the term ‘evangelical.’

Thursday, 11 October 2012

God - Our Maker and Mender.

"The One Who made us is the One Who can mend us."  This phrase stuck with us as we did our readings this morning.  It rang more than one bell in our hearts, and will do the same in every soul that has pressing health needs.  What light this shone on us as we sat and meditated upon God's grace to us in Christ.  "The One Who made us is the One Who can mend us." 

We encouraged our souls to allow this wonderful truth to rest and remain in our hearts.  What light it shines into our dark experiences!  God is immanuel.  He is with us; and He is in us as the covenant God.  He can mend what is broken in our lives.  After all, it was He Who made us, so He knows how we work best.

Same-Sex Marriage Rejected In Northern Ireland

I am for marriage as traditionally understood and practiced in most countries.  I want to do all I can to keep marriage as it is, and not tpo introduce a redefinition of marriage that is an abomination.  In fact, I published an information book written by Maureen Parnell on "How to have a Wonderful Wedding" which gives many practical helps on how to organise your 'big day.'  This book is now being offered at 60% for the next four weeks (cover price $17, now only $6.80).  You can get your copy now and use the coupon to get your 60% discount. Coupon ref. JG48H.

Whilst it is true that the Northern Ireland Assembly voted against re-defining marriage by 50 votes to 45, this is a time bomb that is waiting to go off in the near future.  Unionist members who are so liberal that it's unreal either abstained or absented themselves from the vote.  These members, it appears, belong to liberal churches where anything goes but the truth of the Gospel. 

So, on figures of those present and voting on that day, there only has to be a swing of three (3) votes the other way for the N I Assembly to endorse same-sex marriages.  The Assembly has 108 members, and the absentees et al, who make up 13 members, will tend to vote for change.  So out of the 108 MLAs in the Assembly, only 50 voted to protect marriage as traditionally understood.

Indeed, it is utterly inappropriate to even describe what is being proposed as 'marriages' because they completely undermine the true meaning of marriage which is the union of one man with one woman for life.  Mr Cameron, UK Prime Minister, is determined to destroy marriage as traditionally understood within Judeo-Christian religion.  So is his deputy, Nick Clegg.  The House of Commons, being occupied by members who must assess accurately public wisdom if they are to be returned at the next general election, will keep their eyes on which way the wind is blowing, and vote accordingly.

It is so sad that we do not have politicians of principle anymore.  Most are pragmatists who are self-serving at all costs.  Even those who fancy themselves as being principled have betrayed their personally-held secret views in significant ways when, for example, unionist politicians voted and acted to included IRA/SinnFein at the very heart of the government of our land.  But this move allowed them to get into power, so principle does not count.

I support and advocate marriage as understood in the biblical text.  In fact, I published a book written by Maureen Parnell on "How to have a Wonderful Wedding" which gives many practical helps on how to organise your big day.  It is now being offered at 60% for the next four weeks (cover price $17, now only $6.80).  Grab your copy now and use the coupon to get your 60% discount. Coupon ref. JG48H.

Report on Same-Sex Marriages [Part 1] - Graham Wood

These seven articles (parts) have been used with the report author's written permission. 

With much of the moslem middle east in violent political upheaval, turmoil or in flames, and with the Eurozone and several western countries in economic free fall, it beggars belief that same sex marriage can feature as a priority at all in any government’s legislative programme.

Many will find it depressing that at such a time our government can engage in the distraction of an ideological theory for redefining and reshaping marriage. More so as current policy to promote homosexual "marriage" is driven by only a tiny minority, within a minority, of the homosexual community in the UK. In pursuit of this arbitrary policy this coalition government is about to degrade, devalue, and depersonalise marriage.

That is certainly to radically re-define it. Everyone is free to love whom they like but not to redefine marriage because to redefine it is to destroy it. Marriage's fundamental essence to bind husbands and wives together for the protection of their children and their elderly relatives will be gone for ever. Behind much of the government’s policy is The Conservative Party’s ‘think tank’ ‘Policy Exchange’ report of 60 pages prepared by Lord Ashcroft which attempts to justify homosexual "marriage". It offers a view that a “conservative case” in favour of reform has emerged on this issue. The title of this report itself is risible - ‘What’s In A Name? Is There A Case for Equal Marriage?’ (1).

As an apologetic for the value of marriage in general much of the report makes a very fair and reasonable case, but regretfully in many instances the references to ‘marriage’ in it assume a same sex relationship. It is decision based evidence gathering not evidence based decision making.

Likewise the report's many references to “equal” is also deceptive, accentuating as it does a perceived inequality between heterosexuals and homosexuals in relation to marriage, which it claims needs to be redressed. The wrong inference drawn is that marriage as an institution is denied to homosexuals resulting in injustice, and it is this sense of grievance which mars much of some well reasoned discussion in the paper. 

For example it asserts: “there is not a compelling reason to shut out ‘gays’ and lesbian people from the benefits that marriage provides. Or - “there is still a case for equality before the law”. Again, “we do not believe that somebody’s sexuality is a justifiable reason to prevent them from marrying the person they love”. 

These claims perpetuate the myth that homosexuals are denied access to marriage, when what is really meant is marriage to one another!


2. Article by Jennifer Thieme: “The Roe v Wade of our time – The battle over

Report on Same-Sex Marriages [Part 2] - Graham Wood


Marriage – The Battle Of Our Time. [Part 2]

“There are key battles which define a generation. Back in the ‘60s the counter culture unleashed a torrent of radical liberation movements, which included the horrific abortion onslaught. It has became one of the key fights for the past half century. The most obvious example today is the war being fought over marriage. This is just as significant and monumental a battle as is the battle for life. It is a defining moment for the entire Western world, and it will have repercussions for the entire world. To destroy the institution of marriage by redefining it out of existence is a social upheaval so momentous and so far-reaching that we cannot even clearly predict just how much damage will ensue.” (Jennifer Thieme) (2).

But in the UK there is no justification for government to arbitrarily engage in this battle, for it has no democratic legitimacy in seeking to change the definition of marriage by legislating for homosexual "marriage".
In fact the policy did not appear in any party political manifesto in the 2010 General Election.
Equally, the following assertion made in the Policy Exchange report is disingenuous: “the burden of proof is on the opponents of marriage equality to say, in the language the law understands, why gay people do not deserve the same liberties as their fellow citizens”.

In reply it must be said again, such liberty of access to marriage is for homosexuals as for all others within the normal and accepted rules of consanguinity. I suggest therefore that the burden of proof for a change in the law lies with government which now challenges the universally accepted concept of marriage.


2. Article by Jennifer Thieme: “The Roe v Wade of our time – The battle over