Tuesday, 31 October 2017

Pro-Smacking Fundamentalism

The online propaganda sheet for secularism, rabid Scottish nationalism, LGBTism etc, the Herald, has sunk to new depths with its headline, “Revealed: Pro-smacking lobbyists funded by Christian fundamentalists.” 

In its “exclusive” revelation it uncovers the fact that Christians are against criminalising loving parents who occasionally physically chastise their children.  Shock, horror, outrage!

The language is interesting, It speaks of the “pro-smacking” lobby and does not call them the “anti-criminalisation of parents” lobby.  This gives the impression that Christians spend their energy thinking of ways to abuse their children and traumatise them by physical punishment and should be defined as pro-smackers.  Of course when it comes to a similar issue, say the protection of unborn lives, the Herald will not speak of the “pro-life” movement, but use derogatory terms such as anti-abortion of anti-choice.  

Then again, why speak of "Christian opposition" when you can bring in the catch all scare word, “fundamentalist. It seems that anyone now who is a Bible believing Christian is a “fundamentalist”.  (This in contrast to the acceptable face of Christianity seen in the Church of Scotland which is anti-smacking, pro-gay, and most definitely not Bible thumping – good liberal values acceptable to the secular mafia)

Of course, if you can castigate these fundamentalists, such as the Christian Institute, as also showing their rabid fanaticism in opposing the draconian State Named Person legislation - which seeks to appoint a state guardian for every child in Scotland who will determining if the child’s well-being is being furthered or hindered by parental care, instruction and example - so much the better.  You see these pro-smackers are also anti-child protection, the very essence of evil, or so the Herald would have us believe.

Any opposition to the SNP’s support of criminalising loving parents is ipso facto proof that the opponents are fundamentalists, who are daring to do the unimaginable, namely, argue from the Bible as well as argue from common sense, history and the consensus of popular opinion.  The gay marriage activist and anti Christian Green MSP, John Finnie, is quoted as being very concerned with the  view that there may be a “theological basis” to arguments against a smacking ban. It seems you are not permitted to argue from theological premises, but it is perfectly acceptable to do so from anti-theological or atheistic premises.

This is why Christian commentators who say that this is not an issue that the Church should campaign on are mistaken.  It is simply yet another club that atheistic secularism will use to beat Christian parents.  If this passes, (and due to the duplicity of the SNP who have renegaded on previous assurances that they will not legislate on this matter but now support the Bill, it will pass), it does not take a soothsayer to prophesy that among the first to be target will be Christian parents.  Just as the gays have not targeted Muslim bakers, photographers and printers, so the secularists will focus their anti-smacking enforcement on Christian families.

I can imagine a Named Person, already appalled that little Johny’s parents have dared to teach him that in God’s eyes marriage can only be between a man and a woman, that homosexual conduct is sin and that we cannot change our gender just because it feels right, interrogating the helpless child and asking, “Has Mummy or Daddy ever smacked you or in any way threatened your well-being by sending you to the naught-step or temporarily withdrawing TV privileges?” By coaxing the hapless child to incriminate parents the secular State enforcement machine will take another step in the battle against the destructive influence of Christianity.

Write to your local and regional MSP to express your opposition to this proposed legislation, pray against it individually and corporately and STOP BUYING THE HERALD!

Thursday, 26 October 2017

Innovations in Worship

Following on from my commendation in the last posting on the Ten Commandments, I read this amusing anecdote concerning the Rev William B Robertson, (1820 – 1886), who was minister of the United Presbyterian Congregation in Irvine, (1843 – 1886):

“During his whole ministry Dr. Robertson took a warm interest in the devout expression of the public worship of the Presbyterian Church. He had no sympathy with the idea of ministers being required to follow a prescribed liturg ; but, on the other hand, he was often pained by the slovenly manner in which the various parts of public worship were conducted. From time to time he introduced minor changes into the forms of the service in his own church, as he found that the people became willing to acquiesce in them. A lady who was connected with another congregation in Irvine said to him one day : " I hear that you are introducing some dreadful innovations into your church service." "Indeed," he replied ; "what innovations?" "Oh," she said, "I am told that you read the Ten Commandments at the communion table." "Is that all you have heard of? " he rejoined ; " We have introduced a far greater innovation than that." "What is it ? " asked the good lady somewhat anxiously. "We try to keep them," was his reply.”

“Scottish Clerical Stories and Reminiscences” by Jerdan, Charles, Edinburgh 1920

Wednesday, 25 October 2017

Displaying the Commandments

Displaying the Commandments

I was preaching in Perth Free Church last Sunday on the theme of the Law of God. (https://www.sermonaudio.com/sermoninfo.asp?SID=10221786380)

One of my introductory remarks was on the general ignorance of the ten commandments in society at large and in the church in particular. I mentioned that I had never ever seen the commandments displayed in any church, and there was a kind response from one older member who told me that in some Church of England congregations the commandments were displayed on a plaque at the entrance to the church.  A quick Google image search confirmed this, with some rather imposing examples.

So, why should we not display the Ten Commandments somewhere in our church facilities.  I can already hear the counter argument, “Why the Ten Commanments; why not the Beatitutes, or the Lord’s prayer, or 1 Corintians 13 on Love?”

This is not an either or situation.  There are many possible biblical passages to display and perhaps a rotating display where the posters were changed monthly might be appropriate.  However, I still think there is a valid argument for a permanent display of the Ten Commandments.

They need not be engraved in stone.  Modern technology allows us to print them off, our local high street print shops can expand them in full colour A3 poster size for next to nothing, and you can buy a nice A3 poster frame on Amazon.

Of course, we can also re-introduce the reading of the Law back into our worship, and this site provides a number of examples of responsive readings.

Let’s hit back at ignorance by display, instruction, and liturgy.

Wednesday, 4 October 2017

Beatitudes and Responses

Beatitudes and Responses (Psalms of David)

Occasionally, in place of the Reading of the Law before the Prayer of Confession, it would be appropriate to use the Beatitudes.  Indeed, it would be possible to frame the prayer of confession on the basis of the Beatitudes.  I recently read in a 19th century American Episcopalian work on the revision of their liturgy a reference to the Beatitudes with responses based on Psalm 51, (which the writer thought was rather artificial), but have not been able to trace this,.

These responses, based on the Psalms are appropriate.  I have edited them from some suggestions in: 

Matthew 5:3   Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

Psalm 70:5 But I am poor and needy; hasten to me, O God! You are my help and my deliverer; O LORD, do not delay!

Matthew 5:4  Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted.

Psalm 30:11  You have turned for me my mourning into dancing; you have loosed my sackcloth and clothed me with gladness

Matthew 5:5   Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth.

Psalm 37: 3, 11 Trust in the LORD, and do good; dwell in the land and befriend faithfulness.  The meek shall inherit the land and delight themselves in abundant peace.

Matthew 5:6 “Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied.

Psalm 63:1 O God, you are my God; earnestly I seek you; my soul thirsts for you; my flesh faints for you, as in a dry and weary land where there is no water.

Matthew 5:7  Blessed are the merciful, for they shall receive mercy.

Psalm 18:25   With the merciful you show yourself merciful; with the blameless man you show yourself blameless.

Matthew 5:8   Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God.

Psalm 51:10, 11   Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a right spirit within me.  Cast me not away from your presence, and take not your Holy Spirit from me.

Matthew 5:9  Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God.

Psalm 34:14 Turn away from evil and do good; seek peace and pursue it.

Matthew 5:10   Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

Psalm 31:15   My times are in your hand; rescue me from the hand of my enemies and from my persecutors!