Last Build Date: Sat, 21 Jan 2017 16:54:36 +0000
Sat, 21 Jan 2017 11:37:00 +0000licke - National Portrait Gallery: NPG 535 Portrait of Cranmer painted by an unknown artist after Henry VIII's death.] It was said that his beard signified his mourning of the king and his rejection of the old Church. When the king lived, with his Catholic sympathies, it appears that Cranmer followed the old Roman style. >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>]]]]]]]]]]]]]]]\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\[...]
Sat, 21 Jan 2017 04:39:00 +0000I find myself at odds today with the UK media over their seemingly 100% critical view of Trump, scornful now and fearful about the future.American Christian friends of mine differ. They may not exactly be Trump fans but regards propects as much better than the Hilary alternative. I willwait and see.
Sat, 21 Jan 2017 03:50:00 +0000This is my modernised version of Beza's grace.
Fri, 20 Jan 2017 06:25:00 +0000Togweeks@btinternet.comToday at 6:05archivist posted: " "It is possible that a Church may be ultra conservative, but jealous regard for the old faith is a good thing, and is especially to be commended when the minimizing of great truths is so much in fashion. The tendency of our age to believe as little as possible" "It is possible that a Church may be ultra conservative, but jealous regard for the old faith is a good thing, and is especially to be commended when the minimizing of great truths is so much in fashion. The tendency of our age to believe as little as possible, is sapping the strength of faith and depriving the Christian life of its vigor. That strength and that life are nurtured by an unshaken faith in the great truths of the infallible Word of God; and since our people deem it of vital importance to hold the doctrines involved in this case as necessary to their strength and usefulness, they deserve to be encouraged and fortified in that position by this Presbytery."—Rev. Joseph J. Lampe, D.D.Today's post, on the heresy trial of Dr. Charles Augustus Briggs, is taken from a longer article by my good friend Barry Waugh. Here he provides an excellent overview of a heresy trial that is uniquely central and important in the history of American Presbyterianism.A Summary of the Briggs Caseby Barry Waugh, excerpted fromCharles Augustus Briggs began his service at Union Theological Seminary, New York, in January of 1874, as a provisional professor, and in 1875 he assumed the chair of Hebrew and Cognate Languages. In 1890 he was transferred to the Edward Robinson Chair of Biblical Theology, but he had already been teaching courses in the Biblical Theology discipline including: The Religion of Israel, The Old Testament Doctrine of Redemption, Theology of the Old Testament, and New Testament Theology. Briggs’ inaugural address, “The Authority of Holy Scripture,” delivered January 20, 1891, declared that reason, the church, and the Bible were three complementary sources of authoritative, divine authority for the Christian. The inaugural lecture was published that same year and in the following year he explained his views further in, The Bible, the Church, and the Reason. Professor Briggs’ views on inspiration, inerrancy, and the sufficiency of Scripture led to his trial for heresy.Issues pertinent to Dr. Briggs and Union Seminary came before the General Assembly through the report of the Standing Committee on Theological Seminaries at the 1891 General Assembly. There were overtures from sixty-three presbyteries relevant to Dr. Briggs teaching at Union Seminary that were referred to the Standing Committee on Theological Seminaries. Francis L. Patton, of Princeton Seminary, Chairman of the Committee on Seminaries, presented the committee report to the Assembly, which resolved, by a vote of 449 to 60, to veto the appointment. In 1870, as a part of the reunion of the Old and New Schools, Union agreed to abide by the same rules as the other seminaries of the Presbyterian Church, including the rule allowing the veto of appointments to the faculty. There was a difference of opinion regarding the interpretation of the rules governing the Presbyterian Church’s oversight of Union. Union believed that Dr. Briggs was transferred within the seminary to the new position and his appointment was not subject to veto, [since] he was not new to Union; the resolutions adopted by the Assembly contended that he was elected to the chair, whether new to Union or not, and the Assembly could veto his appointment. Union responded to the decision of the General Assembly when the Union Board of Directors voted in June to retain Professor Briggs in his newly appointed position.This was not the end of the case, the New York Presbytery, in October 1891, returned two charges of heresy against Dr. Briggs. The first charge contended that his teaching conflicted with the West[...]
Wed, 18 Jan 2017 03:45:00 +0000I have a reasonable familiarity with thee countries. UK is the country of my birth, passport and identity, (though once upon a time I would have identified myself as British I would now say English. I will not say the reasons for the change here but will answer if you ask me why.) The symbol of British unity is Her Majesty, the Queen, of whom I am a loyal subject. I identify as a British subject, not a European citizen (but that is another story). Most of my fellow Brits identify as supporters of our monarchy. Republicans are a small minority but over-represented in the media, especially the BBC and C4.
Tue, 17 Jan 2017 09:45:00 +0000Being a loyal subject of the Crown today I ponder the history of loyalty. I would not always have been so had I lived in other years. In the 1640s I would have been for Parliament, Puritans and Cromwell and I still do not condemn the execution of the Man of Blood. But what about our American colonies? Would my loyalties have been with King George? Presbyterians in Scotland had a noble but unsuccessful history of rebellion against the Stuarts. I think that in 1745 Scotland's Presbyterians were with the Hanoverian crown against the Stuart pretender whose army was in the main Irish and Roman Catholic highlanders. Suppressing the Jacobites was a just war. The American colonists? Opinion in Britain was divided. Most Anglicans were with the king but some like John Newton wavered. Most non-conformists in England may have been with the colonists. On which side would I have been? It is my consistent habit to refuse to answer hypothetical questions, but here is a clue. I am first a Christian, then a Presbyterian and then English.Almost Entirely a Presbyterian Armyby Rev. David T. MyersWhen Lord Cornwallis brought his British army into the southern colonies, it was the Presbyterian colonists of that part of the infant nation which met him and his forces in every county and town with their Bibles, their Psalm books, and their rifles. Sending a fierce cavalry officer in Colonel Banastre Tarleton, who rarely gave quarter, into western South Carolina, with a picked force of 1100 men, they came up against the smaller American forces at a grazing ground on the Broad River called the Cowpens.Commanding the American militia and Continentals was Brig. General Daniel Morgan, a Presbyterian elder. In charge of the second of three lines of American soldiers was Presbyterian elder Andrew Pickens. The majority of the militia were from the Presbyterian congregations of South Carolina and Virginia. It was almost entirely a Presbyterian army. All through the night, the elders prayed with the men to ask God to give them the victory.At sunrise on January 17, 1781, the charge of the British forces began. Moving with fifty yards, the American forces, as they were commanded to do by Morgan, fired two volleys, and retired to the second line. The second line of American riflemen fired three volleys, taking down all the British officers, and retired to the third line of American troops. This was composed of battle hardened Continental troops of the American army. As they, along with the retiring militia, charged the British troops, American cavalry attacked both flanks of the British forces. The latter retreated with a tremendous loss of men killed, wounded, and captured. A full one third of Cornwallis’s soldiers were out of action, and the battle of Cowpens was over. An American victory was given in answer to the prayers and courage of Presbyterian riflemen from the southern states.Words to Live By: “The Lord is a Man of War; the Lord is His name.” Exodus 15:3 (Amplified) It has been a much discussed topic down through the years since our American Revolution as to where Christian Presbyterians should have been as involved as they were in it. But the issue really which should be discussed is whether it was a just war. If it was, then Christians must support it. If it was not, then Christians have no place in it. That is the question then. Was the American Revolution a just war? Our American Presbyterian ancestors thought it was, and so supported it and indeed fought in its battles. We need to do the same examination with conflicts today.archivist | January 17, 2017 at 12:05 am | Categories: January 2017 | URL: http://www.thisday.pcahistory.org/?p=18016[...]
Mon, 16 Jan 2017 11:30:00 +0000Based on Wikipedia, the free encyclopediaFerenc Dávid at the Diet of Torda. Detail of the painting by Aladár Körösfői-Kriesch, 1896The Edict of Torda (Hungarian: tordai ediktum; Romanian: Edictul de la Turda) in 1568, also known as the Patent of Toleration, was, that was born due the special political, social and religiou an early attempt to guarantee religious freedom in Christian Europes situation in the Kingdom of Hungary in the 16th century.Contents [hide] 1The original edict2Modern influence3See also4ReferencesThe original edictKing János Zsigmond Zápolya of Hungary, encouraged by his Unitarian Minister Ferenc Dávid, during the Diet of 1568 issued the following proclamation (roughly translated into English):His majesty, our Lord, in what manner he – together with his realm – legislated in the matter of religion at the previous Diets, in the same matter now, in this Diet, reaffirms that in every place the preachers shall preach and explain the Gospel each according to his understanding of it, and if the congregation like it, well. If not, no one shall compel them for their souls would not be satisfied, but they shall be permitted to keep a preacher whose teaching they approve. Therefore none of the superintendents or others shall abuse the preachers, no one shall be reviled for his religion by anyone, according to the previous statutes, and it is not permitted that anyone should threaten anyone else by imprisonment or by removal from his post for his teaching. For faith is the gift of God and this comes from hearing, which hearing is by the word of God.This edict was given at the Transylvanian city of Torda. Torda (now Turda, a city in Cluj County, Romania) was in 1568 at the center of a maelstrom of power struggles between cultures, religions, and thrones. The edict, appearing during the counter-Reformation and during a time when national churches were being established, represented a move toward religious toleration and a direct renunciation of national establishment of a single religion.This edict was not the first attempt to legislate religious freedoms in Hungary. Owing to the near collapse of the Roman Catholic Church in Hungary in this era (accelerated by the Battle of Mohács in 1526, in which most of the Roman Catholic leadership of Hungary perished), the Reformation made great inroads in Hungary. The edict was only one of a series in which various religious groups seized the opportunity to secure legal tolerance for their own adherents. The edict of 1568 legally applied to Roman Catholics, Lutherans, Calvinists, and Unitarians. Other groups, such as Eastern Orthodox Romanians (significant part the population), Jews, and Muslims, were "tolerated" but not granted legal guarantees. Moreover, the edict speaks of preachers and congregations, not of individuals. It does not guarantee the free exercise of personal religious conscience.Nevertheless, what is striking about this edict is the universality of its language, which owes much to the influence of Ferenc Dávid, and goes beyond any previous edict. It helped foster toleration as a notion beyond mere political expedience, and helped pave the way for the remarkably tolerant regime of the Calvinist Prince Bethlen Gábor of Transylvania, when (for example) Jews were relieved of the requirement of wearing the Star of David.In the near term, however, the Edict of Torda sparked a backlash from opposing political forces: Zápolya was replaced, and subsequent edicts revoked the Edict of Torda. Dávid, who went on to teach that praying to Christ is an error (nonadorantism), split the Unitarians and jeopardized their legal protection. He was convicted of heresy and died in prison under the asce[...]
Mon, 16 Jan 2017 04:49:00 +0000A blessed day yesterday, a real treat to hear Iain D Campbell from the Free Church of Scotland on Lewis preach morning and evening for us. But I suspect some of the congregation will have been surprised by sermons of over 40 minutes. Not me. I was brought up listening to Lloyd-Jones, 1964-67 when a student. Dr Campbell is not a preacher in such an oratorical style as The Doctor, but the theological depth of his sermons is certainly no less than that of the last century's greatest preacher.
Wed, 11 Jan 2017 13:02:00 +0000The place where I first spoke in public. It would have been 1949 or 50, aged 3 or 4 at the Sunday School anniversary. Topcliffe Methodist Chapel. My parents moved to Topcliffe in 1946 when I was a babe in arms. My maternal grandfather, George Graham had been pastor there. My parents married there. Grandad died of cancer in 1953, suffering much at the hands of a physician who wa s too mean with the morphine. He was in the valley of the shadow for several months with no sense of comfort from his shepherd except the memory of his faith and of God's blessing on his ministry since his conversion in 1912 and preaching from 1913 aged 23.
Sat, 07 Jan 2017 17:03:00 +0000January 7, 2017 by Friday Olokor and Chidiebube OkeomaThe Catholic ArchBishop of Abuja Diocese, John Cardinal Onaiyekan, has faulted the one-day national prayer directed by the Christian Association of Nigeria in honour of victims of the massacre in Southern Kaduna, saying Catholics do not take orders and instructions from CAN.He questioned the rationale behind such orders by CAN and how they arrived at the decision, “because I don’t believe in praying on a particular day. I will say, pray that God will deliver us from this, not particularly on January 8, 2017.”The General Secretary of CAN, Dr. Musa Asake, had declared Sunday, January 8, 2017, as “national day of mourning” for all Christians at home and in the Diaspora, and that Christians should dress in mourning attire; black clothes or dresses, on the said date to pray fervently for victims of the killings in Southern Kaduna.But speaking with Saturday PUNCH in Abuja, Onaiyekan said whoever gave that instruction should have known that there is a limit to how they could issue orders to Christians using the name of CAN.He said, “I do not know what to say about the present leadership of CAN because our (Catholic) church is not fully involved now in CAN. We were not even party to the election that brought in the new leadership of CAN. So, the only position that I can take now is to sit down and watch.“I cannot tell all my members to come to church next Sunday in black dresses. We don’t get instructions from CAN; every church has its own rules.”Meanwhile, the Archbishop of Owerri Catholic archdiocese in Imo State, Anthony Obinna, has alleged that the continued killings in Southern Kaduna were to intimidate Christians and wipe out Christianity from the country.Speaking at a thanksgiving service in Okwu community recently, Obinna urged the Federal Government not to allow the crisis to degenerate into a full scale national crisis, which he said could lead to a collapse of the country.He also advised Christians to be vigilant and pray for their counterparts in the crisis-ridden Southern Kaduna, while calling on former governors of Imo and Abia States, Ikedi Ohakim and Oji Uzor Kalu respectively, who were present at the service and other Igbo leaders to work closely for the growth and development of the South East zone.Copyright PUNCH.A house divided. What do Roman Catholics an Muslims have in common? They both mistakenly think they have a divine right to be in charge. - GJW[...]
Sat, 07 Jan 2017 16:43:00 +0000It has ben too many moths since I last posted book review. I have been through yet another prolonged bipolar down phase. It reduced my reading and destroyed my desire to review. I read quite a number of books but cannot now review them. But new year, new reviewing zeal so here we go1. Veterans: The Last Survivors of the Great War by Richard Van Emden Over the past three years I have read quite a number of books on WWI. None has managed to so well narrate the lives of ordinary people of the period. It is not just combatants but civilians too. Published in 1998, the authors saught out the last survivors with WWI memories, people aged 90 to 100+.The chapter headings give a good summary. Joining up. Leaving for the front. Trench life. Dreams of home. The Battle of the Somme. Saving the wounded. Death, bereavement and loss. Log-term recovery. Women and the home front. Prisoners of war. Road to victory. Armistice and aftermath. I think my only minor criticism is the absence of memories from sailors and airmen, The people who lived through the conflict are now gone. One may personally regret not having asked them more. Like the old lady, a customer in my pharmacy who told me about the Zeppelin raids and an ex-policeman who at the outbreak of war had the family holiday ruined by his police sergeant father being recalled from leave. I also remember an old Methodist who had suffered as a conscientious objector. This book has harrowing tales from those who experienced horrors we shall never know.2. Logic On Fire: The Life and Legacy of Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones by Paul D. Washer, Sinclair B. Ferguson, Ian Hamilton, Geoff Thomas, R.C. Sproul & John Macarthur. Amongs't the contributors are R.C. Sproul ....Three DVDs, three photograph cards and a short book in this pack to commemorate the man generally regarded as the outstanding preacher in English in the last century. And English was his second language. A brilliant physician,assistant to the king’s doctor, a Harley Street practice, wealth and fame at his feet. The Doctor as he became known gave it all up, still in his twenties, to pastor a backwater mission church in South Wales. There he experienced such growth in response to plain preaching without gimmicks, that when his own Presbyterian denomination rejected him as principal of its theological college, he was invited by Campbell Morgan pastor of the prestigious West End Congregational church at Westminster Chapel, a short walk away from Buckingham Palace. When Campbell Morgan passed on, The Doctor was pastor until he retired. I heard him many times in my own London student years 1964 to 67. That was a formative part of my theological education. All his sermons were of the highest order and some, like the Sunday after the 1966 Aberfan disaster were unforgettable.Most to the contributors here are family and friends, the latter mainly pastors influenced by the doctor. Hearing his voice again and these memories warms the heart and move one to desire to be a more spirit filled, prayerful preacher.I have four criticisms. The parts on the 1966 Evangelical Alliance meeting and the Doctor’s views the sealing and filling of the Spirit are not well handled. John Stott was at fault as chairman in the way he contradicted the Doctor at the meeting though I now believe there are reasons to perhaps show more sympathy for Stott’s views than the Doctor’s. On the filling of the Spirit I believe that Stott is right and the Doctor errs in calling the a sealing of the Spirit, a proper experience to be taught, which it is, but calling it the Baptism of the Spirit which it is not. The Doctor confuses terms which may end other, though not him, to confused theology. Thirdly, nowhere are the Doctor's views on baptism state[...]
Sat, 07 Jan 2017 14:31:00 +0000© 2017 Vanguard Media Limited, Nigeria By Taboola December 3, 2016 'Kaduna State Governor Mallam Nasir el-Rufai has said his government has traced some violent, aggrieved Fulani to their countries and paid them to stop the killings of Southern Kaduna natives and the destruction of their communities saying that the renewed violence is carried out by bandits.El-Rufai made this known while fielding questions from some select Journalists in his office in Kaduna.Mallam El- RufaiHe said: “For southern Kaduna, we didn’t understand what was going on and we decided to set up a committee under Gen. Martin Luther Agwai (rtd) to find out what was going on there. What was established was that the root of the problem has a history starting from the 2011 post election violence.“Fulani herdsmen from across Africa bring their cattle down towards Middle Belt and Southern Nigeria. The moment the rains starts around March, April, they start moving them up to go back to their various communities and countries.“Unfortunately, it was when they were moving up with their cattle across Southern Kaduna that the elections of 2011 took place and the crisis trapped some of them.“Some of them were from Niger, Cameroon, Chad, Mali and Senegal. Fulanis are in 14 African countries and they traverse this country with the cattle.“So many of these people were killed, cattle lost and they organised themselves and came back to revenge.“So a lot of what was happening in Southern Kaduna was actually from outside Nigeria. We got a hint that the late Governor Patrick Yakowa got this information and he sent someone to go round some of these Fulani communities, but of course after he died, the whole thing stopped. That is what we inherited. But the Agwai committee established that.“We took certain steps. We got a group of people that were going round trying to trace some of these people in Cameroon, Niger republic and so on to tell them that there is a new governor who is Fulani like them and has no problem paying compensations for lives lost and he is begging them to stop killing.“In most of the communities, once that appeal was made to them, they said they have forgiven. There are one or two that asked for monetary compensation. They said they have forgiven the death of human beings, but want compensation for cattle. We said no problem, and we paid some. As recently as two weeks ago, the team went to Niger republic to attend one Fulani gathering that they hold every year with a message from me.'My friend says, 'The Governor albeit his forked tongue spokespeople have since issued lying rejoinders refuting the above...'Wanting compensation for cattle lost not people killed rings true. Fulani are known to stop their migration for a cow to calve but not for a child to be born. This seems to me a very one-sided report. Where is the report of Fulani cattle destroying Christian's crops?' Fulani governor takes action. Enough said.[...]
Mon, 02 Jan 2017 09:34:00 +0000Personally I am more of a Van Tilian presuppositionalist in apologetics but Would also enlist this evidential approach.By Brian Nixon, Special to ASSIST News ServiceALBUQUERQUE, NEW MEXICO (ANS – December 1, 2017) -- I don’t remember the first time I heard the name Norman Geisler (b. 1932). It must have been in the late 1980’s, connected to one of his books. But by the 1990’s Norman Geisler name was everywhere in my world of Modesto, California: friends were recommending his books, Pastor’s were making his books required reading for leadership, and folks began to drop his name and reference his thought process, particularly as it related to apologetics and ethics. If my memory serves me correctly, the first book by Norman Geisler I bought (sometime around 1992 or 1993) was When Critics Ask: A Handbook on Bible Difficulties.And from that day forward, I’ve purchased dozens (to date there are roughly 100 books associated with Norman). As an example, on the shelf next to me I just counted 37 of his books -- and these don’t include the books I have elsewhere.And now I can add one more book to my shelf: Twelve Points That Show Christianity Is True: A Handbook On Defending The Christian Faith released in 2016 by NGIM Press.I’ll get to this particular book in a moment. But back to Norman’s influence.As I continued to unpack Geisler’s philosophical and theological angle (Evangelical-Thomist), I began to appreciate the scope of his thought in regard to a host of topics: apologetics, theology, logic, ethics, law, Biblical scholarship, and the like. As a Christian thinker, there are few others that rival his extent and insight. I also came to realize that there are thousands of other people outside of my little world that have been influenced by the man and his thought, including Ravi Zacharias, Ed Hindson, William Lane Craig, and Walter Kaiser, Jr. And as a recent Festschrift (a book honoring his legacy) shows, many of these people are leaders in the current Evangelical movement .For my part, I continued to read Geisler with great interest (I’m partial to his work on Aquinas and various tomes in theology), dialoging with people that studied under him, including Veritas Evangelical Seminary (VES) president, Dr. Joseph Holden. I was able to meet Dr. Geisler when Calvary Albuquerque hosted him via a Veritas Seminary conference , where he spoke on the problem of evil. Later, I was able to interview Geisler for a couple radio programs gaining more insight from his mind and ministry . And when the opportunity arose for me to attend VES, I jumped at the chance, reveling in the courses I took with Dr. Geisler. I eventually finished up an MA in Theological Studies , and I proudly proclaim that Dr. Geisler was my theology professor.And it’s here where I get back to Geisler’s recent publication.Throughout the courses I took with Geisler there were common themes interwoven within his defense of the Christian faith. One of the exams I took -- I believe in apologetics -- was built around these points, 12-14 to be exact. And though the points can be found in his book, The Big Book of Apologetics, I remember saying to myself, “these arguments should be made into a stand-alone book.” Low and behold, the book came to fruition (others must have thought the same). And with the Twelve Points That Show Christianity Is True, Geisler’s apologetic approach is carefully and succinctly described in an enjoyable and high-impact read.The points are as follows (even Wikipedia has them summarized ):1) Truth about reality is knowable.2) Opposites cannot both be true.3) The theistic God exists.4) Miracles are possible.5) Miracles performed in connection with a truth [...]
Fri, 30 Dec 2016 21:04:00 +0000I recently started quite a provocative thread on Facebook. Banned from Being Liberal's Page20 December at 21:47 · There are two genders.There isn't an argument. Amid the negative reactions from young men, a Christian friend has made some very good points.No, I cannot agree with the artificial distinction you make between a person's sex and a person's gender, whatever you feel you have observed, and however your views lead you to interpret those observations. It is perfectly open to you and others to redefine terms to suit your own opinion or purposes if you wish; you can decide to call a chair a lamp-post (though in its present form it will still retain the intrinsic characteristics and functions of a chair, whatever you personally decide to call it); you could decide to perform major surgery on it in order to make it look a bit more like a lamp-post. You could perhaps persuade or bully others into calling your chair a lamp-post, by threatening them with legal proceedings if they do not, or accusing them of hatred towards chairs that want to be lamp-posts, and vice versa, or declaring them to be ignorant or unintelligent if they persist in calling a chair a chair and not a lamp-post. You could say that for many people, being a chair is about other things than something to sit on, and being a lamp-post is about other things than a means of lighting a street. In short, you can say what you like, but the fact remains that the words 'chair' and 'lamp-post' conjure up historically distinct objects with distinct functions in the minds of the majority.........even, metaphorically, in the minds of chairs that would for some reason like to be lamp-posts (or lamp-posts that would like to be chairs). If this were not so, then neither would hanker after being the other, because neither would have a clear idea of what the appearance and function of the other actually is. 'How people see themselves' is irrelevant. An anorexic sees him/herself as grossly overweight; onlookers see him/her as dangerously underweight; in this case the theory of the validity of 'how people see themselves' could lead to death or irrevocable damage if somebody does not attempt to correct the distorted vision of the anorexic. Why try to correct the distorted ideas of anorexics in order to stop them doing irrevocable damage to themselves whilst in the grip of their delusion, yet encourage those whose ideas about their true gender/sex are equally deluded - and even offer to pay for and perform the permanently damaging surgery that they wrongly think will give them what they seem to hanker after? That is extremely cruel, and there are a number of well-publicised cases of people who have undergone such radical procedures and later regretted it bitterly. In the book of Genesis we read 'Male and female created he them'. We should be seeking to restore that truth in human minds, not encouraging the damaged perceptions which have increasingly developed as a consequence and concomitant of sin. There is a logical problem with the idea that a person 'knows' themselves to be 'born in the wrong body' in terms of sex/gender. What really defines a man or a woman? It goes way beyond choice of clothing, playthings, interests, career etc., or even emotional response. One can only know what being a man/woman really feels like by actually being one. Saying that you 'have always felt you were a woman', when in fact you have only ever have been a biological man, has to be self-deception. You cannot know what a woman experiences from infancy which defines her womanhood to her. Even she herself might have difficulty in establishing it. Third party observation can only be a very superficial and often misleadin[...]
Wed, 28 Dec 2016 20:51:00 +0000On the first day of Christmas my true love said to me I'm glad we've bought a turkey and a Whitehaven Christmas tree.On the second day of Christmas much laughter could be heard As we tucked into our turkey - a most delicious bird.On the third day of Christmas we had friends in from Cleater Moor The turkey tasted just as good as on the day before.On the fourth day of Christmas, Gran came from Kirkoswald. We finished up the Christmas pud and ate the turkey cold.On the fifth day of Christmas, outside the snowflakes flurried But we were nice and warm inside--we ate the turkey, curried.On the sixth day of Christmas the turkey spirit died. The children fought and bickered and we ate the turkey--fried.On the seventh day of Christmas, my true love gave a wince When he sat down to dinner and was given turkey mince.On the eighth day of Christmas, the dog ran off for shelter I served up Cumberland turkey sausage and a glass of Alka-Seltzer.On the ninth day of Christmas, poor Dad began to cry He said he couldn't stand the strain of eating turkey pie.On the tenth day of Christmas, the air was rather blue And everybody grumbled at eating turkey stew.On the eleventh day of Christmas, the Christmas tree was moulting Mince pies hard as rock and the turkey quite revolting.On the twelfth day of Christmas at last Dad smacked his lips The guests had gone, the turkey, too - we dined on Workington fish and chips[...]
Mon, 26 Dec 2016 10:35:00 +0000The boast of heraldry, the pomp of power,
Sun, 25 Dec 2016 18:04:00 +0000"O come, all ye faithful, joyful and triumphant, . . ."We sang little above a whisper, our eyes dartinganxiously up to the barred windows for any sign ofthe guards."Joyful and triumphant?" Clad in tatteredprisoner-of-war clothes, I looked around at the twodozen men huddled in a North Vietnamese prison cell.Light bulbs hanging from the ceiling illuminated agaunt and wretched group of men--grotesquecaricatures of what had once been clean-shaven,superbly fit Air Force, Navy and Marine pilots andnavigators.We shivered from the damp night air and the feversthat plagued a number of us. Some men werepermanently stooped from the effects of torture;others limped or leaned on makeshift crutches. "O come ye, o come ye to Bethlehem. Come and behold him, born the King of angels. . . ."What a pathetic sight we were. Yet here, thisChristmas Eve 1971, we were together for the firsttime, some after seven years of harrowing isolationand mistreatment at the hands of a cruel enemy. Wewere keeping Christmas--the most special Christmasany of us ever would observe.There had been Christmas services in North Vietnamin previous years, but they had been spiritless,ludicrous stage shows, orchestrated by theVietnamese for propaganda purposes. This was ourChristmas service, the only one we had ever beenallowed to hold--though we feared that, at anymoment, our captors might change their minds.I had been designated chaplain by our senior-rankingP.O.W. officer, Colonel George "Bud" Day, USAF. Aswe sang "O Come, All Ye Faithful," I looked down atthe few sheets of paper upon which I had penciledthe Bible verses that tell the story of Christ's birth.I recalled how, a week earlier, Colonel Day hadasked the camp commander for a Bible. No, he wastold, there were no Bibles in North Vietnam. Butfour days later, the camp commander had come intoour communal cell to announce, "We have found oneBible in Hanoi, and you can designate one person tocopy from it for a few minutes."Colonel Day had requested that I perform the task.Hastily, I leafed through the worn book theVietnamese had placed on a table just outside ourcell door in the prison yard. I furiously copiedthe Christmas passages until a guard approached andtook the Bible away.The service was simple. After saying the Lord'sPrayer, we sang Christmas carols, some of usmouthing the words until our pain-clouded memoriescaught up with our voices. Between each hymn Iwould read a portion of the story of Jesus' birth. "And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. For unto you is born this day, in the city of David, a Savior, which is Christ the Lord."Captain Quincy Collins, a former choir director fromthe Air Force Academy, led the hymns. At first, wewere nervous and stilted in our singing. Stillburning in our memories was the time, almost a yearbefore when North Vietnamese guards had burst in onour church service, beaten the three men leading theprayers, and dragged them away to confinement. Therest of us were locked away for 11 months in three-by-five-foot cells. Indeed, this Christmas servicewas in part a defiant celebration of the return toour regular prison in Hanoi.And as the service progressed, our boldnessincreased, the singing swelled. "O Little Town ofBethlehem," "Hark, the Herald Angels Sing," "It CameUpon the Midnight Clear." Our voices filled thecell, bound togethe[...]
Sat, 24 Dec 2016 21:06:00 +000071 Lee Road, Greenford, UB6 7DA, 02082480579, email@example.comGreetings from the Weeks family this blessed Christmas tide. 2016 has not been a very eventful year but here is the news. Our health continues to be reasonably good considering we have both reached the three score years and ten.We enjoyed two overseas holidays this year. In April we flew to Germany to visit our Ealing friends in Essen. 2017 marks 500 years since the start of Luther’s reformation. It would be good to find a suitable church history tour. In August, ten Weeks and Littles went on a family cruise suggested by Adrian’s parents. So our party was Adrian’s parents and sister, Adrian, Rachel, Ethan and Elissa, we two and Debbie. We had two weeks cruising from Southampton to the Canary Islands and back via Lisbon and Spain - very relaxing. Katy continues to be very busy with her cello and piano in church and cello in various outside groups. She is also very active in our Church’s English class helping women with their communication skills. Graham continues to preach at the Heathrow Immigration Removal Centre. He continues to convene two specialist groups for the local University of the Third Age as well as volunteering at the Evangelical Library. He is now in his 34th year as an elder in our church. Adrian is among four men about to commence an elder’s training course at our church. Our building plans have once again been delayed over costings but we are about to appoint a contractor and we hope building will start in January and be completed this time next year. Debbie still lives with us. She helps in the church mother and toddlers group and also a weeknight club for children in school years 1 to 6. Her craft and design skills are much in demand. Her work is still child minding three days a week caring for our pastor’s three children including one year old Phoebe who has Down’s Syndrome. Rachel now is freelance in her occupational therapy working part time in two local schools. Near Cambridge, Jonathan has found some temporary employment in the warehouse of the Cambridge Examinations Board. Bethany and Hannah are now teenagers. Bethany was baptised last month. It was a very encouraging service for her and all the church members were very supportive. We had a lovely bring and share lunch together afterwards. In Canterbury Zac has followed sister Sahara with good marks in the 11 plus. So next year he will enter a boys’ grammar school there. One major event we would pray for in 2017 is to move house. We have been here over 32 years and would like to downsize a little. We want to be no further from church but cannot afford to be nearer. We would like a smaller garden (Katy can’t cope with ours any more), a downstairs toilet, two reception and at least thee bedrooms. We are praying for God’s guidance in this and trusting in His goodness. With our love and prayers for 2017,Graham and Katy[...]
Thu, 22 Dec 2016 14:02:00 +0000The morning of 24 June 2016 was one of the happiest and surprising of my seventy years. The night before I had retired to bed after seeing Nigel Farage more or less admit defeat when polls closed in the EU referendum. To wake up and hear we were leaving the EU, or EUSSR as I call it, was bliss. To hear Cameron was resigning was added euphoria. I have detested him ever since the fiasco of same sex 'marriage' for which he had no electoral mandate. Since the vote, the minority who voted to remain (the remoaners)have slandered us, the Brexiteers as old, poorly educated, xenophobic little Englanders. I merely say the remoaners are bad losers like the USA's democrats. So why do I want out? First of all I shall refute the slanders. Yes I am old by the stsndards of a younger generation. But it means I can remember when I lived in an independent, sovereign United Kingdom-It was not inequitably devolved nor encumbered by laws not of our making. It was a representative democracy where I was a happy object of the Crown, not a citizen of an undemocratic union of foreign nations. As to my level of education, a 2:1 honours and I declined the offer of a Ph.D course. So like most people I class myself as of above education and intelligence :-) Xenophobic? As my many friends from diverse nations. I am in some ways ambivalent on immigration. I enjoy culinary diversity but not multiculturalism. I believe the levels of immigration in my lifetime are something not envisaged nor welcomed by many. But I defy anyone to say I have been less than welcoming personally. Immigration, on the positive side for Christians means you can engage in cross-cultural witness at home. You do not need to go the thousands of miles that we did. I do believe we have suffered from a sloppy Home Office failing to control our borders. They count people in after a fashion but fail to count then out when visas expire. I do object to free access for citizens of EU nations when life is made difficult for our Commonwealth allies, often kith and kin to come here. But I never questioned the right of EU nationals now here, to remain if they wish. Little Englander? That is not what the bathroom scales say. They almost cry,'One at a time please.' Englander? When I was young I would say I was British. Now I am English. That is what devolution, noisy nationalists and immigration have done to me. But let me leave the slander and give positive reasons. I object first and foremost to the loss of sovereignty from parliament and our courts.The decision had no real electoral mandate then, back in 1969 or 70, we had a general election prior to Heath taking us into the Common Market. We were offered no electoral choice. The main parties wanted in. In my constituency all the candidates were for joining. In my father's constituency the candidates were against the Common Market. So we had no choice and the majority of people were happy to be led astray by the repeated lies from all sides telling us this was a solely economic matter, nothing political. Heath et al lied. They knew it was political, not least to keep peace in Europe, stopping the Germans and French fighting for a third time in the century. When Heath fell and Wilson offered a referendum it was questioning about the stable door after the horse has bolted. Or to put it better, it was like asking the young mother some time after the shotgun wedding and birth of the baby, 'You didn't mind ,did you?. Everyone now says Wilson only did it to unit[...]
Thu, 22 Dec 2016 10:53:00 +0000He Gained the Martyr’s Crownby David T. MyersThe enemies of the Covenanters had very long memories. Long after sermons were preached or actions taken, the authorities in Scotland remembered words and actions against them. Such was the case with a young minister by the name of Hugh McKail.A child of the manse, from Bothwell, Scotland, his pastor father was one of those forced out of his pulpit and parish when he refused to conform to Prelacy. Little is known of young Hugh’s early days, but he did go to Edinburgh for education. There he was soon marked out as a young man of exceptional ability. For that, upon graduation, he was chosen to be a chaplain and tutor of the Lord Provost of Edinburgh, Sir James Stewart. In that Covenanter home, he would sit at the feet of those in leadership positions in the church and learn of the dire situation facing both the church and the state.In 1661, he applied to the Presbytery for licensure in the ministry. Preaching in a variety of situations, he was quickly recognized by his hearers for his great ability in the Word of God. However, his ministry soon came to an end as it became obvious that he wouldn’t compromise his convictions, just as his father before him. Preaching his last sermon in a church in Edinburgh, he had a sentence in it which marked him for remembrance by the Prelate forces of his day. He said, “the Church is persecuted by a Pharaoh on the throne, a Haman in the State, and a Judas in the Church.” The identification was obvious to all in the pews that day.Forced to leave his beloved Scotland, the young twenty-six year old would spend the next three years in Holland. On his return to Scotland, the situation had not improved any and there was a spark of rebellion in the air. That spark was ignited, as a prior post here, one November 28th indicated, at the Battle of Rullion Green. Hugh McKail was among the nine hundred in the Covenanter ranks that day. But his own physical weakness removed him before that great battle arrived, and he traveled to Edinburgh instead. There he was arrested by the authorities, not so much for his Covenanter attachments as for his statement made in that Edinburgh church some years before.Interrogated in prison, he was placed in the Boot, a fearful torture device which all but crushed his leg while he remained silent in voice. He was ordered to die by hanging on December 22, 1666. His exact words that day of death have been preserved through the ages. They were:Farewell father, mother, friends, and relations; Farewell the world and its delights; farewell meat and drink; farewell sun, moon, and starts; Welcome God and Father; welcome sweet Jesus Christ the mediator of the New Covenant; welcome blessed Spirit of grace, the God of all consolation; welcome glory, welcome eternal life; welcome death! Into Thy Hands I commit my spirit.”Words to Live By:Could Hugh McKail have compromised his convictions and avoided suffering and death? Certainly, and many did. But this young man was reared by a parent who by his example remained steadfast to the Word of God and the testimony of Jesus Christ. With such an example like that, it is no wonder the young minister was given over to sacrifice, in loyalty to both the Living and Written Word, come what may to his physical body. Addressing all parents reading these posts on Presbyterian history: Your life preaches all the week. Are those in your family being helped or hindered to fo[...]
Thu, 22 Dec 2016 10:48:00 +0000The Time Was Not RipeThis mysterious phrase is found on a stone memorial on the grounds of the Battle of Rullion Green which is located eight miles south of Edinburgh, Scotland. It tells the tragic story of defeat in the first battle of the Scot Covenanters—Presbyterians all—against the English government of Charles II.This battle was part of the Killing Times era of Scottish Covenanters. In essence, the Anglican government had declared war against the Presbyterians of Scotland, asking for unconditional surrender on their part. Their pastors—some 400 of them—had been ejected from their pulpits, their manses, and their parishes. When some of them began to preach to their people in the fields and moors, that whole scene became a dangerous practice, with fines leveled against the attenders, and imprisonment and death as well. All that was needed was a spark to ignite the smoldering indignation of the Scottish people of God.That spark occurred on November 13, 1666 when an old man by the name of John Grier was accosted by the soldiers of the English government. Unable to pay a fine for his absence from his church with its Anglican curate in the pulpit, he was beaten severely that day. Four local Covenanters happened upon the scene, and tried first to reason with the soldiers. When that failed, words turned to actions, and one of the soldiers was shot. Other villagers joined in the fray and took the solders prisoners. At this point, the Covenanters numbered ninety people.Aware of the danger posed by their actions, they marched to Dunfries, Scotland, where they attacked other soldiers, killing one in the process. By this time, their numbers had reached two hundred and fifty. On the way, they captured Sir James Turner, the overall military commander in the area. Continuing further, they encountered a soldier friend by the name of James Wallace, who had experience in warfare. He and his military subordinates joined the Covenanter crowd. They then headed to Edinburgh, the capital city, to find more support for their actions to stop “the killing times,” though to their surprise, the weapons of the citizens were turned against them. The time was not ripe for a rebellion against English rule, evidently, despite their numbers having reached some three thousand or more by this time.The English government dispatched General Thomas Daiziel against them, who with an army of 3000 (some sources say 5000 soldiers), marched after them. The Covenanter force, with their inadequate weapons and supplies, began to fail, with many deserting the force, leaving some 900 left to do battle. On the afternoon of Wednesday, November 28, 1666, on a long slope in the country side south of Edinburgh, three thrusts by the government forces eventually brought a crushing of the valiant forces of the Covenanters. Some fifty were killed, including two Presbyterian ministers from Ulster. But that was only the beginning of the killing done that day. A bloody retribution was exacted upon the prisoners, including starvation, death by handing, and sending many on prison ships to the American colonies and the West Indies.Words to Life By:On the monument which marks the battlefield, there is carved a biblical text from Revelation 12:11, which reads, “And they overcame him because of the blood of the Lamb and because of the word of their testimony, and they did not love their life even when faced with death.” Another inscri[...]
Wed, 30 Nov 2016 08:55:00 +0000Late on Saturday night I received a call from our pastor Paul. His voice was troubled as he said, ‘There is no easy way to say this. David Barnes has died from a massive heart attack.’ He had been watching Finchley play Harrow. Viewing local football was David’s usual Saturday afternoon pastime. On Sunday I had a message from Lesley asking me not to put anything on Facebook as the family would tell people. Last night seeing how many friends were posting messages I decidedI should write this short tribute. I had known David for over 33 years end counted him one of my closest friends. Christian friendship triumphed over differing sporting and political allegiances. If asked for one phrase to sum up David it has to be “full of good works”. If heaven were attained on good deeds, David would be at the front of the queue for both his public and private life. Of course we know David is in heaven now, not because of what he did but because of the work of the Saviour in whom he trusted and in whose resurrection we know David will share for David died firm in the faith. That Saturday morning he had been witnessing at our church book table in Greenford. In public life David the solicitor specialised in family law advocating the cause of disadvantaged children and parents in the courts. In private life he was passionate in prayer, evangelism, for the unborn child and mothers and for the homeless. He appeared to me to have an amazing ability to show a cheerful disposition even when undergoing major problems in work and home. He served for some years as an elder in our church and I think he had been a deacon too. He was a very affectionate brother to me and a faithful one when counsel or rebuke was needed. I will end with a little humour. David reminded me of the television portrayal of Rumpole of the Bailey, a lovable clever and able advocate. I think they both appeared at the Uxbridge Magistrates Court. David of course was a solicitor not a barrister. His labours now as a lawyer are ended. I mourn his loss with tears. Mourning is for those of us left behind. For David, troubles are over. He is with Christ which is far better The trumpets have sounded for David on the other side. My thoughts, love and prayers are with Lesley, Rosie, Pete, Tom and Elaine.
Thu, 20 Oct 2016 19:00:00 +0000From Release International, PO Box 54, Orpington, BR5 4RT, UK Pastor Akut and his community are in mourning after Fulani herdsmen raided their town in northern Nigeria and killed more than 40 people.Nearly all the homes in Godogodo have been burned down and crops destroyed. Thousands have fled the area.Please pray for all those who survived the brutal attack on this mainly Christian community in Kaduna. The attack began at about 5pm on Saturday. Pastor Akut and his family were among many people who fled into the bush. They slept rough until they felt safe enough to seek refuge in a nearby town the next day.‘The attackers were in their hundreds and were well armed,’ said Pastor Akut. Many wore police and army uniform, he added.The assault follows closely an assault on the town in late-September in which eight people died. A total of 16 church buildings and worship centres were damaged in both attacks. Pastor Akut sees this as part of a concerted campaign to rid the area of Christianity. ‘It is an Islamic holy war against Christians in the southern part of Kaduna state,’ he said.Pray for all those who are grieving loved ones or recovering from injuries in Godogodo. Pray that God will heal them.Ask God to provide for all those who have lost their homes, belongings and crops.Pray for wisdom for state and national officials in tackling violence by Fulani herdsmen. Pray that they will have fresh resolve to end this crisis and protect vulnerable Christian communities.(Source: Morning Star News)[...]
Thu, 20 Oct 2016 10:09:00 +0000I was at Westminster Chapel on the evening of Sunday 23rd October 1966. It was two days after the disaster at Aberfan. On the morning of 21st October 1966 in the small mining village of Aberfan an avalanche of colliery waste slipped down the mountainside, swept through houses, and overwhelmed Pantglas Junior School. It killed 144 people, 116 of them children. Here is an excerpt from my notes on the sermon.
Mon, 11 Apr 2016 10:12:00 +00001. by