Friday, September 19, 2014

Nigeria: Terror Attacks in Three States

Thursday, September 18, 2014 q


By Dan WoodingFounder of ASSIST Ministries

KANO, NIGERIA (ANS) -- Fifteen people were killed and 34 injured on Wednesday, September 17, 2014, when suspected members of the Islamist terror group Boko Haram launched a suicide bomb and gunfire attack on the Federal College of Education (FCE) in the capital of Kano State in northern Nigeria.
A student in one of the bombed classrooms at Federal College of Education in Kano (Photo: AFP/Getty Images)
“An infant and a lecturer were also killed by the attackers who struck around 1.53pm, arriving in a tinted Prado SUV,” said one media report. “Witnesses said two suicide bombers entered two separate lecture halls filled with hundreds of students and blew themselves up after firing automatic weapons."
According to other reports armed men fired shots as they approached a hall at the FCE’s new site at Gadon Kaya on Zaria Road at around 2pm as a lecture was underway. One detonated a suicide device while the other launched improvised explosive devices (IED), before opening fire on students who were attempting to escape.
“Police at a nearby checkpoint are reported to have responded promptly to the incident, shooting two assailants dead. Two AK-47s were recovered from the scene,” said a spokesperson for Christian Solidarity Worldwide (CSW).
In a statement delivered by a spokesperson, President Goodluck Jonathan commiserated with the people and residents of Kano and commended the Nigeria Police for their prompt action.
Later that evening, the CSW spokesperson went on to say, the Nigerian Army’s 7th Division scored a significant victory when it repelled a major attack by Boko Haram on Konduga Town in Borno State, reportedly killing 100s of the sect members.
Boko Haram fighters are causing havoc in Nigeria.
On Friday, September 12, 2014, the army had fought off an earlier attempt by a large Boko Haram contingent to seize Konduga Town for use as a forward base from which to launch a major attack on the Borno State capital, Maiduguri, causing the sect to suffer heavy losses in equipment and manpower, including the loss of an infamous emir.
Nevertheless, according to a recent statement by the Catholic Church of Nigeria, Boko Haram is currently in control of 25 north eastern towns, and an intensification in terrorist activities within the last month has caused massive displacement, creating “a huge humanitarian crisis.”
Moreover, the violence sect continues to abduct women and forcibly conscript young men. On Saturday, September 13, 2014, over 50 women, including married ones, were abducted from Gulak Town. Sect members also conducted indoctrination sessions, forcibly conscripting every able bodied youth when their audiences failed to volunteer to join them.
“Elsewhere, armed Fulani gunmen launched renewed attacks on three communities in Sanga Local Government Area (LGA), in the southern part of Kaduna State during the early hours of Wednesday, September 17, 2014,” said the CSW spokesperson. “Around 40 people are reported to have been killed and dozens more injured in the attacks on Fadan Karshi, Fadan Karshi Daji and Unguwan Ganye villages.
“Among the victims were retired clergyman Reverend Jacob Aku and his wife. According to local reports, prior to attacking the villages the gunmen had ambushed a military patrol van, killing one soldier and injuring four others. The attacks were the first in the area since June, when at least 123 villagers were murdered by Fulani gunmen.”
CSW’s Chief Executive Mervyn Thomas said, “Our thoughts and prayers are with those who lost loved ones in the attacks in Kano and Kaduna States, and with the women abducted from Gulak Town, who we pray will soon be rescued or released.
“We warmly welcome news of military successes, but are deeply concerned by reports of mass displacement, and by the number of towns said to be under Boko Haram’s control. Clearly, as Nigeria continues its efforts to end the group’s campaign of terror, the nation will need international assistance in order to provide for its burgeoning number of internally displaced people adequately.
“In addition, the fact gunmen were able to overrun current security arrangements in the southern part Kaduna State and take more innocent lives serves as an indication that the military presence in that area must be reviewed and increased.”
Christian Solidarity Worldwide (CSW) is a UK-based Christian organization working for religious freedom through advocacy and human rights, in the pursuit of justice.
For further information or to arrange interviews please contact Kiri Kankhwende, Press Officer at Christian Solidarity Worldwide on +44 (0)20 8329 0045 / +44 (0) 78 2332 9663, emailkiri@csw.org.uk or visit www.csw.org.uk.

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Thursday, September 18, 2014

Still more trouble in Nigeria

These have been over a wide area - Borno State around Maiduguri and in the Biu area where in a group of villages the Chief was forced to show the BH terrorists which were Christian families, gave the people the option to convert to Islam or be killed, and then burnt the EYN (Brethren), Deeper Life and the ECWA churches; in Adamawa State towards Mubi and towards Gubio and Damaturu similar things, in Taraba State in the Wukari areas and in Plateau around Bokkos and Riyom.  Then yesterday the news came through that terrorists had attacked the Federal College of Education in Kano with bombs and shootings.  M



































































  The killings and burnings of churches, pastors' houses and Christian's houses goes on and on.  The army seem to be doing well in one area but then trouble breaks out in another.These have been over a wide area - Borno State around Maiduguri and in the Biu area where in a group of villages the Chief was forced to show the BH terrorists which were Christian families, gave the people the option to convert to Islam or be killed, and then burnt the EYN (Brethren), Deeper Life and the ECWA churches; in Adamawa State towards Mubi and towards Gubio and Damaturu similar things, in Taraba State in the Wukari areas and in Plateau around Bokkos and Riyom.  Then yesterday the news came through that terrorists had attacked the Federal College of Education in Kano with bombs and shootings.  Many students were killed.  Today the news is that 30 villagers and a soldier were killed at Fadan Karshi in Kaduna State with many houses burnt.  A pastor's wife was burnt to death.  In this group of villages 160 were killed in June.Because of the troubles, there are thousands of displaced people who desperately need support and somewhere to live.  Pray for the churches of the Central Belt to reach out to these people. 






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Calling voters in Scotland

I have no vote but I am praying No. I do not want to have to regard Scotland as a foreign country. We have been partners for over 300 years. The Union is not broken so why try to fix it by shattering it?  I think Yes would be an economic disaster for all concerned and our country's defence weakened. The future should be a strong UK not a house divided, a couple of rooms in the EU. I love Scotland. Please vote for us to keep together and do not be deluded by empty promises of a socialist utopia. Salmond and Sturgeon are but a pair of slippery fishes.

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Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Holiday in Scotland - Day 20 Kyle to Perivale

We drove 610 miles home in 12 and a half hours. The first miles saw perfectly still lochs in morning sunshine, perfect reflections but we did not have time to stop and snap. After being southbound to Spean Bridge and misty in the Great Glen we headed east on the road to Perth. Our first 100 miles was 2 hours of twisty single caraige way but once we hit the A9 going south we started with some dual carriageway and after Perth it was so all the way. In the east No sings predominated. From Perth it was south west A80 and M80 to go south of Glasgow then A74 and M74 to Gretna. In England it was M6 to the south of Birmingham. After a stop at Preston for fuel we managed to go off the route at Charnock Richard services so had a little country detour back to the M6 and east of Birmingham. M42 south of B"ham took us to M43, M40 and home by 9.30pm.

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Holiday in Scotland - Day 19 Harris, Skye, Kyle

We packed and cleaned and left for Tarbert in sunshine. This was perfect weather and did compensate for the dull day yesterday. After buying some lunch we drive to Hushinish which road has to be my favourite in the UK. One passes through pa castle grounds and beyond its gate are workers' cottages so I took photos to illustrate the omitted verse of 'All things bright and beautftiul'.
The rich man in his castle,
The poor man at his gate,
God made them high and lowly,
And ordered their estate.
At the end of the road were shepherds and dogs with sheep penned up. There is also at the road end what I call the loo with a view, the best situated public WC ever. Hebridean loos are well placed and clean. Later in the day I had a smile in Broadford, Skye where the Co-ops in-store loo door bore a notice saying,'Toilet out of order. Sorry for any inconvenience.' After Hushinish we still had time to drive to Scalpay, the island where we stayed 7 years ago in B&B. The ferry to Uig on Skye was a scenic voyage. It could only have been bettered if we had seen any marine life but the dolphins, whales and sharks were busy elsewhere. Driving over Skye to Kyle we one again enoyed perfect vistas of mountains, lochs and sea.

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Monday, September 15, 2014

Holiday in Scotland - Day 18 Harris

It was slight rain as we drove south to Harris where the rain stopped but the day remained overcast so we were not to see the other part of the long island at its best. Driving down The Golden Road on the east coast we passed through many small settlements, by countless lochs and the inhospitable rocky terrain from which crofters displaced by the terrible Clearances had to scratch a living by planting lazy beds, little raised up plots fertilised by kelp and capable of producing a few potatoes, barley and oats. Ay the southern coast is Leverburgh. I was surprised that the road signs, invariably in Gaelic uppermost and English below did not mention the Gaelic name of the town. It bears only the name of Lord Leverhulme, founder of Lever Brothers, Port Sunlight and owner of Lewis and Harris for a few unsucessfull years from 1918. It is as if St Petersburg was still Leningrad!. Driving up the west coast we stopped at one of the beautiful golden sandy beaches. The Harris beaches rank among the best in the world and all the better for seeing few visitors.

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Holiday in Scotland - Day 17 Eye Peninsula and the road to Tolsta


I found free wifi in Tesco Car Park Stornoway so could briefly check my mail. Then we went to search for the Iolaire memorial on Holm Point where on New Years Day 1919 205 men perished within a few feet of land , They were men who had served in the Royal Navy and survived WWI only to drown at the entrance to Stornoway harbour. It was the worst peace time maritime disaster ever in British waters and devastated every community on Lewis. The rocks where the ship foundered are the Beasts of Holm. Only 79 men survived the wreck. From this tragic place we went to the lighthouse on the tip of the Eye Peninsula then ate our lunch at nearby Port nan Giuran looking across Broad Bay to Bac. We drove through Bac stopping at the memorial to the post WWI Land Raids, erected at the place where Lord Leverhume has offered the men of Lewis new houses and jobs in Stornoway only to be told they wanted the land that the government had promised them for new crofts. We followed the road to its end at Garry where the road ends at The Bridge to Nowhere, a great piece of engineering that Leverhume had built to take the road to Nis, the far north of the island. The road was never built beyond the bridge at Garry where in good sunshine we enjoyed a walk on the perfect beach with the tide coming in and seagulls in plenty. Then it was back to our holiday home. Driving here is a pleasure with so few vehicles on the roads.

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Holiday in Scotland - Day 16 Shawbost and Stornoway Free Churches


In the morning we joined the Shawbost Free Church as invited. Our English service was in a very vcmfortable church hall while the Gaelic one was in the main church. We followed the usual Free Church custom of sitting to sing unaccompanied metric psalms the standing to pray. The Scottish 1850 Psalter was used so in Ps 22 we sang to be delivered from the horn of the unicorn, which in modern translation is a wild oxen. A visiting preacher gave a good word from Heb 1;1-3, especially good on, 'the joy set before him'. Our precentor was fine but one has to get used to letting him start each stanza on his own. If this was strange it was nothing compared to when we joined the Gaelic congregation for communion. Their precentor sings the whole first line then the people join in. It sounds to me like the singing of the Jews, and so it is. Someone else said it is like bagpipes but I would not be so unkind. I will settle for praise in a strange tongue. The church interior was impressive with three ministers on high about six foot up. Below them were two precentors on a raised platform, one precentor per language. The elders sat in a special pew around the pulpit with the deacons at the front sides. I fancy an elders' pew for IPC Ealing. After a Gaelic psalm finished the visiting minister began to fence the communion table. He did this in a three part address form Ps 27:5-6. It was most excellent, godly and moving talk, part before communion, part at the table and finally after communion. Very godly but I fear it had little to do with a proper exegesis of the text in its context.
The elders stood but we all sat for the minister's thanksgiving prayer. We remained seated as first the bread, cut white, was passed along each row followed swiftly by the cup which tasted to me like a decent port. Communion here is but twice a year and a solemn occasion. I forgot to say on being welcomed to the English service we were asked if we would be coming to the table and when we affirmed we were each given a Communion Token stamped, 'Shawbost Free Church 1890'. These had to be handed to an elder as we joined the Gaelic service. I wished I could have kept one as a reminder of Hebridean spirituality. After the service Alistair's uncle and aunt invited us to lunch. We even had a second lunch invitation from the wife of the minister. What a contrast to when over 25 years ago an American friend went to the very large Stornoway Free Church and no-one spoke to him after the service.uu
Lunch was excellent hospitality, rich lentil soup, ever so tender roast beef and Yorkshie pud followed by gateau with cream and ice cream. Conversation was stimulating with full and frank discussion on the forthcoming independence referendum.
We left in late afternoon to attend evening Free Church service in Stornoway. They have one way and pedestrian streets that fooled us two days running but on street parking is no problem. We had met the minister, Ivor Martin when he preached for us at IPC. The congregation was perhaps 200 to 300. More modern Psalms were also used as well as 1650 but here we stood to sing and sat to pray. Ivor's sermon on 2 Sam 6 was one of the best I have ever heard, on the presence of God, his holiness, joy in his presence and the danger of being a mere spectator of holy things. A great end to a memorable day.

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Sunday, September 14, 2014

Holiday in Scotland - Day 15 Lewis


We drove to Stornoway after breakfast to do a little grocery shopping amd look for the times of the Free Church services. After shopping at two charity shops we set off on food for the Free Church which we had not found by car. As we approached it we were greeted by a very helpful young man who turned out to be a deacon of the church. Alistair MacLeod invited us to join him tomorrow morning at the Shawbost Free Church Communion. He said a warm welcome was assured and we could expect lunch hospitality too. The latter would be welcome as places serving meals are in the main shut on Sundays in Lewis. After finding a third excellent charity shop, that of Bethesda Hospice, we headed for Arnol on the west coast of Lewis. First we lunched by the Black House museum. The house was built about 1870 and inhabited until 1973. Stone walls up to 8 feet thick, two walls with a turf filling, an original cavity wall, where the rain water from the thatched roof would run down the central cavity. No chimney, but a peat fire in the centre. The family lived in the main section, animals in the byre next to them. The museum was not open at lunchtime so we drove south to find the Siabost Free Church. To our amazement it had no notice board to identify it. We drove to the bay there and walked watching the tide coming in, blue seas again. Then at Carloway we enjoyed the Garenin museum of 9 croter's houses, the last abandoned in 1973, now restores as thatched dwellings. Their design was modified to have gable fireplaces and chimneys, nt so smokey for the crofters. Our last stop was to see the Callanish standing sones. Stonehenge eat your hear out. Callanish has the better location, coastal, there are more stones and you can walk among them. Estimated dates of these circles are from 3000 to 1500 BC. They have seen all of recorded human history.

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Books read in September 2014

1. The Last Runaway by Tracy Chevalier  

Set in 1850s Ohio this is a beautifully told story of a young Quaker girl from Dorset experiencing a new life in a new country. At the centre of the story is her desire to help blacks escaping slavery via the Underground Railroad to Canada. A federal Fugitive Slave act means severe penalties for anyone in a free state like Ohio refusing to aid in the capture of runaways. Qakers who detest slavery are forced to chose between Christian charity and the law of the land. The ethical dilemma is well portrayed as are the newness of America, its flora, fauna, people and slave hunting. There is also much about family loyalty and the importance of quilts. The one thing I question is the likelihood of a young Quaker virgin lying in the corn with a man and so becoming pregnant.

2- Lewis in the Passing - Calum Ferguson

I was given this book when going to holiday in Lewis. A previous holiday in the Outer Hebrides showed me that this was a different world to mainland UK. This book shows how life in Lewis changed in the last century though the memories of Lewis people. Some chapters are in Gaelic and I cannot comment on those. What I learned about was the passing of the crofting life. Many of the contributors were born in black houses, traditional dwellings with no modern facilities, even no fireplace or chimney. The crops were barley, oats and potatoes. Fuel was peat which had to be cut and dried. Work was strictly divided between the sexes. Women had most of the hard manual work at home. Men were often fishermen or left home to be sailors. The basic diet was salted fish and potatoes. Tuberculosis was a killer. Many of the men describe wartime service. Most were sailors but no-one testifying rose to be an officer. The place of Gaelic was very important and life was very much a community affair. Most of the testimonies tell of strong church observance and Christian faith though for some it seems the gospel of salvation by grace alone has not overcome a works based religion. But there is no rigid sectarianism. All in all this is a moving account of a passing way of life. Read and learn. Note that these memories do not seem to be edited to check some of the facts e.g the number of survivors from HMS Hood is inflated. The one thing the book does lack is an index.

3.  The Soap Man -  Roger Hutchinson

Sometimes one reads fact which seem stranger than fiction. Such is the story of Lord Leverhulmes failed attempt to run Lewis and Harris the way he had built up the commercial empire now known as Unilever. Lever started life as the son of a Bolton grocer. He became through his benign capitalism, a multi millionaire. He was also a megalomaniac who did not believe in compromise. Before he owned Lewis he had been unsuccesfull in persuading Solomon Islanders and Congolese that a cash economy was better than traditional life. He had not learned from these lesson and thought he could develop Lewis, with a population of 30,000 into an industrial economy of 200,000 people. He failed because the fishing industry on which he based his plans went into post war decline. He was also frustrated by the crofters who did not want Lever's industry, they did not even want to be owner occupiers. They wanted to continue with their subsistence crofting economy and have more land made over for crofting. ever never understood this. He even called their traditional black houses  'dwellings not fit for kaffirs'. It is a story in line with Burns' stanza, 'The best laid plan of mice and men gang aft agley, and leave us naught but grief and pain for promised joy'. But I doubt if Lever ever read much Burns. I spotted one factual error. Sir George Goldie did not in 1897 name 500,000 square miles of Africa, Nigeris. Nigeria was formed in 1914 when the protectorates of southern and northern Nigeria were joined by Lagos colony as the Colony and Protectorate of Nigeria.

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More texts from Nigeria

Main advances of BH have been into Adamawa State going beyond Madagali to Gulak and Bazza where the Catholic Church and Chiefs palace and houses were destroyed.  People took shelter in the secondary school but many fled.  Michika/Amjawa  were then attacked.  Captives have been rounded up, with Christians identified and then massacred.  The key larger town of Mubi was then under threat. Soldiers have fought back but generally been overwhelmed.  People are fearful of many more Muslims joining BH for their own security so increasing the threat of a religious war on a larger scale.

Over the weekend there has been a fight back with fighter jets bombing and foot soldiers engaging BH in street fighting around Michika. A curfew was imposed Saturday and Sunday.  Soldiers are trying to stop people fleeing out of Mubi and to restore order.  The army attacked and killed 50 insurgents at a secret camp not far from Maiduguri and one piece of artillery, 2 anti aircraft guns and an armoured car plus various ammunitions were found and destroyed.  One officer and two soldiers were seriously hurt.  

On Saturday though the village of Lamb Gyambar in Wase LGA in Plateau State was attacked with 6 people killed including one baby and many houses burnt  This is a region that has been at peace for some time.  A car bomb was discovered in Jos on Friday and it was said by the media that it was aimed at Muslims going to their mosque, but it was seen as an attempt to destabilise that part of town with non Muslims being charged of planting it.  Apparently there was no mosque nearby.

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Holiday in Scotland - Day 14 Great Bernera


I rose to see the dawn over the loch by the house. The rising sun shone on the bridge. Outside was 55F but too good not to sit and read outside before breakfast. We spent the day exploring Great Bernera which we had visited seven years ago. From the house we can see the bridge to Great Bernera, constructed in 1951 and known as the Bridge Across the Atlantic. In the morning we were on the south east of the island and at Circebost found the workshop of a French wood worker who had the most amazing wooden toys and other clever artefacts all made from local woods or driftwood. We bought a lovely Celtic cross to adorn our wall when we return. We lunched at the house then explored the north and west of the island in beautiful sunshine. So we have pictures of tropical looking sea and beach at Bostadh which has the most beautifully situated cemetrey possible . Nearby an iron age settlement was uncovered by a big storm and a replica iron age hut has been constructed. All the roads are single track with passing places except for a few which do not have sign posted passing places.

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Friday, September 12, 2014

IM - I R K Paisley


I am a five point Calvinist and all the points are sharp! -- Ian Paisley

There's no doubt about it, the Jesuits in England are flying a kite testing the temperature of the water. - I R K Paisley quoted in Christians in Ulster. E Gallagher p 22

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Thursday, September 11, 2014

Holiday in Scotland - Day 13 Skye to Lewis


We left Kyle for Broadford and bought fuel and food then on to the north west of Skye in sunshine, seeing the tops of the Cuillins for the second time. We lunched  the sea at Lower Millovaig the journey to Portree to meet Wayne Pearce, until now a Facebook friend. He ministers for the ARP, the church that split from the Free Presbyterians when they disciplined the then lord chancellor, Lord Mackay, over his attendance at the funerals of two judges who were Roman Catholics. Wayne has congregations on Skye and Harris. When he commutes to the Harris church it is by Saturday ferry retuuning monday. We motored on to Uig for the 6pm ferry which was an hour late. There were few vehicles and passengers and the meal we enjoyed on board was good value.So we arrived at Tarbert, Harris around 8pm in the dusk. The afternoon had turned cloudy, then sunny, then rain. Next it was fine. Now Harris was wet. The drive to the west coast of Lews took about an hour, the final stretch needing extra care for the single track road in the dark. But we met no oncoming traffic and our sat nav found us the house in Crulabhig just short of the bridge to Great Bernera. Our house was left for us, keys in the door, lights and heating on. We had a choice of four bedrooms, no less and total silence outside with a few lights of other dwellings showing in the distance across the island.

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Thursday, September 04, 2014

Holiday in Scotland - Day 12 - Rum and Canna

This afternoon we were among 12 passengers on MV  Eilean a Cheo a fast boat from Elgol. Two passengers disembarked at Rum to be picked up on our return from Canna. Rum is the largest f the Small Isles, Canna the smallest. Our captain  stopped to show us Kilmory Bay where the royal family used to picnic on the beach before the Blair government took away the royal yacht. There we saw red deer and wild ponies. Further along the rock Rum coast we saw what our captain described as the ultimate warning against drink driving, the wreck of a French trawler, Jack Abry II which went aground on the west side of Rum on 31st January 2011. Her skipper was arrested on rescue. He was charged at Stornoway Sheriff Court with failing to maintain a proper lookout. He pleaded guilty and was fined £3,000. He had fallen asleep on watch. We had an hour and a half ashore at Canna and saw what may be a unique local shop. It runs on honesty. You write down what you buy and put your money in the box. We heard strange hooting noises and thought someone was messing about. But no. It was the seals we saw when leaving the harbour. One our way from Rum to Elgol porpoises were spotted but they do not show themselves as clearly as dolphins. As we approached harbour we saw the Cuillins free of cloud for the first time.

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Wednesday, September 03, 2014

Holiday in Scotland - Day 11 - Inverewe

Another cloudy but fine day. We drove about 75 miles north to visit these amazing gardens which have plants and flowers not to be expected at these latitudes ( north of Moscow). But the North Atlantic Drift warms the shore here. Pics as usual on Facebook. We returned on a single track with passing places road though the Torridon mountains but each peak was head in the clouds. Motoring here is full of the unexpected. An A class road may be what you expect in terms of width, wide enough for passing cars, but suddenly it may become single track with passing places. Back to Kyle we went to pretty Plockton for an excellent seafood dinner at the Plock

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Tuesday, September 02, 2014

Escalation in Borno

News  today 2/9 was that the army could not retake and hold Madagali town and the BH have now totally taken over and set up their own rulers.

Then on Saturday Bama army barracks was attached and the insurgents were repelled and 100 of them killed.  Then yesterday they returned in numbers and totally overwhelmed the army and took over the camp, then the town killing all except some women.  Their aim now seems to use Bama as a launching place to attack Maiduguri.  

Also today news came through that Wukari in Taraba State (that’s south of the River Benue and where in the early days of SUM the mission ran a Freed Slaves Home). Confirmation came through a little later to say the call to prayer came at 5.30am with gun shots so attracting many people but then insurgents in army uniforms shot down 3 non muslim youths leaving also many injured.  There was pandemonium in the town.  

So these things are going on right now - how we need to cry to God to stop these horrific evil events.  The army seem powerless but our trust is in God alone.

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Andrew Melville’s Two-Kingdom Speech

by davidtmyers

The day is lost to church history. We know the month and the year of the Two Kingdom Speech of Andrew Melville. That month and year was September 1596. But the exact day is lost to us.  So this author is going to put it on September 2, this day in Presbyterian history, because it is too important not to consider it.
The elders of the General Assembly were meeting in Cupar, Fife, Scotland. Due to a breach of faith on the part of King James, the assembly had decided to sent a deputation to seek the resolution of their concerns. Heading that deputation was James Melville, who was chosen because of his courteous manner and the apparent favor he had with the king. Along side him, out of the spotlight, was his uncle, Reformation leader Andrew Melville.
Barely had James Melville begun speaking before the king cut him off and accused him of meeting in a seditious manner with other elders of the kirk, and bringing causeless fears before the people of Scotland. Andrew Melville stepped in, despite his nephew's attempt to keep him silent, by taking the king's robe by the sleeve, and saying that the king was "God's silly vassal."
"Sir," said Andrew Melville, "we will always humbly reverence your majesty in public; but since we have this occasion to be with your majesty in private, and since you are brought in extreme danger of your life and crown, and along with you the country and the Church of God are like to go to wreck, for not telling you the truth and giving your faithful counsel, we must discharge our duty, or else be traitors both to Christ and to you. Therefore, Sir, as divers times before I have told you, so now again I must tell you, there are two kingdoms in Scotland: there is King James, the head of the commonwealth, and there is Christ Jesus, the King of the Church, whose subject James the Sixth is, and of whose kingdom he is not a king, nor a lord, nor a head, but a member. Sir, those whom Christ has called and commanded to watch over his church, have power and authority from Him to govern his spiritual kingdom, both jointly and severally; the which no Christian king or prince should control and discharge, but fortify and assist; otherwise they are not faithful subjects of Christ and members of his Church. We will yield to you your place, and give you all due obedience; but again, I say, you are not the head of the Church; you cannot give us that eternal life which we seek for even in this world, and you cannot deprive us of it. Permit us then freely to meet in the name of Christ, and to attend to the interests of that Church of which you are the chief member. Sir, when you were in your swaddling clothes, Christ Jesus reigned freely in this land, in spite of all his enemies. His officers and ministers convened and assembled for the ruling and welfare of his Church, which was even for your welfare, defense and preservation, when these same enemies were seeking your destruction. Their assemblies since that time have continually have been terrible to these enemies, and most steadfast to you. And now, when there is more than extreme necessity for the continuance and discharge of that duty, will you (drawn to your own destruction by a most pernicious counsel) begin to hinder and dishearten Christ's servants and your most faithful subjects, quarreling them for their convening, and the care they have of their duty to Christ and you, when you should rather commend and countenance them, as the godly kings and emperors did? The wisdom of your counsel, which I call devilish, is this, that you must be served by all sorts of men, to come to your purpose and grandeur, Jew and Gentile, Papist and Protestant; and because the Protestants and ministers of Scotland are over strong, and control the king, they must be weakened and brought low by stirring up a party against them, and, the king being equal and indifferent, both should be fain to flee to him. But, Sir, if God's wisdom be the only true wisdom, this will prove mere and mad folly; His curse cannot but light upon it; in seeking both ye shall lose both; whereas in cleaving uprightly to God, His true servants would be your sure friends, and He would compel the rest counterfeitly and lyingly to give over themselves and serve you." (Melville's Dairy, pp. 245, 246, quoted in W.M. Hetherington, "History of the Church of Scotland" p. 105.
Words to Live By:Charles Hodge says in commentary on Romans 13:2  "we are to obey all that is in actual authority over us, whether their authority be legitimate or usurped, whether they are just or unjust. The actual reigning emperors were to be obeyed by the Roman Christians, whatever they might think as to his title to the scepter. But if he transcended his authority, and required them to worship idols, they were to obey God rather than man. This is the limitation to all human authority. Whenever obedience to man is inconsistent with obedience to God, then disobedience becomes a duty." (Commentary to the Epistle to the Romans, by Charles Hodge, p. 406)

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Monday, September 01, 2014

The day I heard Paisley

It was 1973 or 74 and I was a missionary taking deputation meetings all over the UK. I was staying near Londonderry and Paisley had led a march in the city and was to address a meeting near Macherafelt above the city. Paisley started speaking and seemed to have a bit of a frog in his throat. Clearing his throat he said, 'Sorry about that. I must have picked up something nasty in the Bogside.' (The story need sot be told with proper Ulster emphasis on BOG ). A brilliant opening line.

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Holiday in Scotland - Day 10 - Elgol

Fine weather for most of today but rather dull so we never saw the tops of the Cuillins. The road to Elgol is very busy for a single track with passing places. Our Misty Isle boat trip set of 11am returning by 2.30. It was a little choppy at times but our crewman kept us well amused and informed, even with the tale of the Soay mice which were transported to Edinburgh zoo while invading rats were exterminated from the island. Or as he put it, mice on vacation at tax payers expense. You will see from the pics on Facebook that there his a large colony of seals to see as well as cormorants. It is a 15 minute walk to the freshwater Loch Coruisk. However the way is more boggy Scotland rather than Bonnie Scotland. Rushing back my walking stick went in to an unexpected depth and I fell into a peaty puddle. The outflow from the loch had the stepping stones fairly well awash so we stayed on the near shore and did not get to see the misty topped Cuillins. Misty Isle does great hot chocolate on the return trip and I was helped to clean up too. An ancestor of Seamus our captain helped one Charles Edward Stuart escape from the island to Italy after his 1745 invasion. Skye was Jacobite country. 'Sail bonny boat..... over the sea to Skye.' We are now booked for a trip to Canna on Wednesday. Lots of birds to see including puffins. We did spot one skua today.

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NIGERIA – PREDOMINANTLY CHRISTIAN TOWN SEIZED BY BOKO HARAM

From

Pray for believers in Gwoza, Nigeria, a predominantly Christian town that was invaded and reportedly seized by militants of the Islamist group Boko Haram on 6 August. Residents were shot and slashed to death; eyewitnesses estimated that more than 100 people lost their lives. The assailants continued to loot and pillage the town.
Some of those who managed to escape sought refuge in the nearby Gwoza hills, where they were surviving on wild fruits and at risk of starvation. Some elderly and particularly vulnerable residents remained stranded in Gwoza town without food or water. Reports have emerged that Boko Haram has been enforcing sharia law in Gwoza since it seized the town.
The massacre was preceded by raids on villages near Gwoza, which is in Borno state, and the destruction of church buildings in the region. At least five churches were also set ablaze on 30 July in the Hawul Local Government Area of Borno.
The Gwoza hills have since 2009 been a safe haven for Boko Haram, which aims to establish an Islamist state in Northern Nigeria. Gwoza Local Government Area has been heavily targeted, with the Christian community bearing the brunt of the violence.
Pray for the grieving relatives and friends of those who were so brutally killed when the town was taken. Ask the Lord to protect and provide for Christians who fled from the violence, and petition Him to halt further attacks by Boko Haram on believers in Nigeria.

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Holiday in Scotland - Day 9 - Kyle of Lochalsh

We walked to Grace Community Church, which is part of our International Presbyterian Church, for morning worship. About 60 present with the service led by our host John and young people's talk and sermon by Stuart MacKinnon who is in training under the care of IPC. He gave us an excellent word on ! Pet. 1:1-2. The MacDonalds gave us roast venison for lunch. On a sunny afternoon I walked to the harbour (pics on Facebook). Evening service was a joint one for the area's churches. It was in the community hall Kyleakin, just over the bridge to Skye. The theme was topical, youth and education. Estimate 200 there. Surprised to learn that two out to the three Church of Scotland ministers in the local presbytery are leaving to join the Free Church.

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Sunday, August 31, 2014

Text from Nigeria 30/8/14

BH warned on Saturday that next month will be a bloody month as they continue to clear their caliphate of infidels. They announced that all remnants of minority religious ethnic people in the whole Gwoza LGA, that includes all Christians and others in the Gwoza hills and beyond as well as the villages on the plain are under attack. Supporters of the caliphate are many, and with almost 500 soldiers having fled into Cameroon and others refusing to fight, the situation is dire for all but the people willing to become BH members.

Please remember the Christians in Maiduguri and around other towns in Borno who although the cities are relatively quiet, there is much fear, rumours and intimidation. Christians in Maiduguri still try to be active although constantly feel under threat. Remember the leaders of Churches like COCIN ECWA QIC, pray for wisdom on handling mission and outreach in the 12 Northern States under Shari’a Law.

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Holiday in Scotland - Day 8 - From Arran to Kyle of Lochalsh.

Once again we have been blessed by good weather - except for the latter part of the afternoon when rain obscured the wonderful highland vistas.

We drove over 23 miles to catch our ferry, Lochranza to Claonaig on the Mull Of Kintyre. On a car next to us in the ferry queue I saw my first 'Better Together' sticker. I commented on this to the driver who was from Edinburgh holidaying with a friend from Fife. OTOH Oban where we did some grocery shopping was awash with a sea of Yes notices. Many were on lampposts which also had No notices too. But Oban was overwhelmingly Yes. However I am sticking to my opinion that empty vessels make the most noise. The status quo is No and those in favour of the Union do not need to shout.

One such noise is the matter of the public display of Gaelic on road signs. Here we have a country with an estimated 70,000 or so speakers of Gaelic, none of whom are unable to read English. The total population of Scotland is around 5,000,000. It is IMO folly and hazardous to put Gaelic place names above the English equivalent on road signs. This is a recent nationalist innovation. It certainly does not help the major industry of these parts, tourism. Finally on this, I note the two most important signs are only in English, 'SLOW' painted on the road before a bend and the ubiquitous 'Passing Place' so essential on narrow, single track byroads.

We lunched by the roadside on the coast north of Oban then stopped again ay Spean Bridge for me to pay my respects at the Commando Memorial. This was the training area for the elite WW2 men. I will put photos on Facebook ASAP but unfortunately have mislaid my cable to upload the pics.

The memorial is so impressive, even more so as a lone piper was playing a lament."United we conquer" is inscribed around the top of the stone plinth, while the original plaque on the stone plinth reads: "In memory of the officers and men of the commandos who died in the Second World War 1939–1945. This country was their training ground." 1700 were killed. 8 won the Victoria Cross. There is a large plaque quoting Churchill, 'Their glory will never fade.'

Our day ended with dinner where we are staying, the home of the MacDonalds, minister and GP.

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Friday, August 29, 2014

Holiday in Scotland - Day7 One day out of seven.

This has been the only day when we had the feared Scotland's wet weather. There has been 24 hours of rain and the beck by the cottage is in spate. We had two power cuts too. Never mind. We concluded our Arran week with a very good dinner out. See Facebook for the pics. The wind this morning prevented all ferry sailings from Lochranza. That is our route tomorrow so we pray for the wind to drop.

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The point of contact between Christians and non-Christians

As a Christian approaches the non-Christian, he still has a starting place from which to know the person in a way that the non-Christian does not have, because he knows who the person is. One of the most brilliant men I have ever worked with sat in my room in Switzerland crying, simply because he had been a real humanist and existentialist. He had gone from his home in a South American country to Paris, because this was the center of all this great humanistic thought. But he found it was so ugly. The professors cared nothing. It was inhuman in its humanism. He was ready to commit suicide when he came to us. He said, ‘How do you love me, how do you start?’ I said I could start. ‘I know who you are,’ I told him, ‘because you are made in the image of God.’ We went on from there. Even with a non-Christian, the Christian has some way to begin: to go from the façade of the outward to the reality of the inward, because no matter what a man says he is, we know who he really is. He is made in the image of God; that’s who he is. And we know that down there somewhere – no matter how wooden he is on the outside, or how much he has died on the outside, no matter if he believes he is only a machine – we know that beyond that façade there is the person who is a verbalizer and who loves and wants to be loved. And no matter how often he says he is amoral, in reality he has moral motions. We know that because he has been made in the image of God. Hence, even with a non-Christian, the Christian has a way to start, from the outside to the inside, in a way that non-Christians simply do not have” (F A Schaeffer, He Is There and He Is Not Silent.p. 82-3).

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THE TWO FACES OF ISLAM

Dr Patrick Sookhdeo, International Director of Barnabas Fund writes

Last month I was in Damascus. I had the great privilege of meeting Dr Ahmad Badr Al-Din Hassoun, the Grand Mufti of Syria. He is a man of peace who pleads repeatedly for equal and harmonious relations between Muslims, Christians and followers of all religions as members of one human family. Because of this stance, he has endured great abuse and criticism from some of his fellow Muslims and was targeted for assassination by the Saudis. Knowing that he would have good security and protection, the group of Islamist hit-men were instructed that, if they could not kill the Grand Mufti himself, they should kill one of his sons instead. In due course they murdered his teenage son. After some months, two of the perpetrators were caught and imprisoned. The Grand Mufti asked to see them and they were brought to him blindfolded. He instructed their blindfolds to be removed, and the two young men, discovering themselves face to face with the head of Sunni Islam in Syria and the father of their victim, shook with fear. But, to their astonishment, the Grand Mufti gently reached out his hands to them and told them not to be afraid. He said that he did not want their mothers to weep as his own bereaved wife had wept for her son, and therefore he forgave them.

Last week I was in northern Iraq and came face to face with the stark reality of another face of Islam, that of ISIS (the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, now calling itself simply the Islamic State). The sheer brutality of this face of Islam cannot be comprehended. It kills men, women and children, the elderly, the poor and the weak. It cuts in half little children and commits acts of ethnic cleansing that border on genocide. This behaviour is pure barbarism reminiscent of the early Assyrians and later Babylonians who once inhabited this region and were known for their immense cruelty.

ISLAMIC APOCALYPTIC DIMENSION

ISIS has started to produce a magazine, in English and other European languages, called Dabiq. The name is actually a town not far from Aleppo in northern Syria, which is important in Islamic history because it was the site of a major battle between the Ottomans and the Mamluks in 1516. But, more significantly, Dabiq is mentioned in a hadith (tradition recording the words and actions of Muhammad) that prophesies that a great battle will be fought there in the End Times, in which the Muslims will be victorious over the Christian forces, and which will be the first step in the Muslim conquest of the whole world. In Islamic eschatology, Jesus, whom Muslims call Isa, will descend via a minaret of the Great Mosque in Damascus, and from there he will lead his armies to victory. “Victory” means destroying every cross, killing every Jew and pagan, and either converting every Christian to Islam or killing them. This apocalyptic dimension is now shaping ISIS as it sees itself fighting an End Time battle.

In the first issue of Dabiq, ISIS addressed the “return of the Khalifah”, arguing that Islam is now in its final stages as it achieves at last its goal of re-establishing the Caliphate. The Ottoman Caliphate, which collapsed in 1922-23 as the Republic of Turkey was established, is now being reborn in a new Caliphate, represented by the Islamic State.
In the second issue, Dabiq looks at Noah and the flood. An article entitled “It’s either the Islamic state or the flood” begins with the “polluted ideologies that have afflicted people the entire world over” and condemns the idea of leaving people to choose peacefully for themselves what to believe. The only solution, says Dabiq, is to eradicate the principle of free choice and to implement God’s will. Any who oppose this will be punished both on earth and in the hereafter as those who scoffed against Noah were punished by flood and hellfire.
This face of Islam, based as it is on Islamic sources including the Quran and hadith, is as authentic as the peaceful tradition of the Grand Mufti of Syria. Both have existed throughout Islamic history. The Grand Mufti of Damascus has not only been ridiculed and vilified by his co-religionists but also told that he he is not a true Muslim. When he visited the UK some ten years ago, and preached at the Regent’s Park mosque in London and at other mosques, he afterwards had to be protected from Muslim leaders who disagreed with his theology. Today, he cannot return to the UK, being unable to get a visa and opposed by Muslim leaders.
MANY “ISLAMS”

The question therefore is: what is true Islam? The reality is that there are now many “Islams” depending on one’s interpretation of the texts and of the history. All can validly claim to be theologically based on the same Islamic source texts. Thankfully the peaceful traditions continue to live on, shaping the minds and hearts of countless millions of Muslims across the world. These are the Muslims who seek only a better future for themselves and their children and grandchildren, many of whom have also a deep desire to live at peace with all humanity, as well as with their co-religionists.

But equally, there is the undeniable rise of radical Islam with an ideology that is propagated by Saudi Arabia, Qatar and Turkey, funded by their vast oil resources, and now effectively reshaping Islam. This face of Islam brings extremists to the forefront and gives birth to movements like ISIS. ISIS has been publicly disowned by Muslim and Western leaders alike, including key political leaders in Britain and other Western countries, who assert that it does not represent Islam. In fact some would go so far as saying that ISIS is not Islamic in any way. But however much one may want to dismiss ISIS as a temporary phenomenon that will soon disappear, or that can be easily defeated, or that is un-Islamic and therefore can be rejected, these concepts may well prove to be nothing more than pie in the sky. Even if these extreme forms were to cease to exist, the ideological underpinning that has produced movements such as these will continue so long as nations like Saudi Arabia, as well as countless individual Islamic clerics and Muslim leaders, continue to use a literalist interpretation of Islam’s source texts. This remains true whether or not Western governments recognise the theological basis of such movements.

HOW CAN CHRISTIANS SURVIVE?

For Christians it is now impossible to survive within the territory controlled by the so-called Islamic State. For those in bordering areas, such as northern Iraq, Baghdad, Damascus, certain other parts of Syria, and Lebanon, the future is filled with terror. Hope seems to be fast disappearing as they see an international community without the will to defeat such an extreme force.
For many the only apparent solution that enables them to retain their faith and protect their families and communities is to leave – to leave their homes and their homelands in search of survival. Countries such as the UK have shown a reluctance either to address ISIS or to protect Christians and welcome them into our land.

CALLING FOR A CONCERTED EFFORT

Before I took my leave of the Grand Mufti, he commented on his last visit to the UK, a decade ago, when he had predicted that there would come a day when many British mosques would become radicalised and where some of their members would become prey to extremist beliefs and go on to do horrible things. Sadly, that day has now come. He asked me whether I could enable him to get a visa to visit the UK again and to teach a peaceful Islam based on tolerance and a common humanity.
If courageous Muslims like him do not come to the UK and other countries, if mosques do not open their doors to him, if the minds of the young do not receive his teachings and are not enlightened by his knowledge and wisdom, then the future of this land and others is increasingly uncertain. Christians in the Middle East, and now farther afield, see a rapidly approaching terror; the same terror may face us in the West before long.
The fearsome Assassins were a ferocious Ismaili Islamic sect that came into being in the late eleventh century and instituted a reign of terror, which lasted for some 200 years. The Assassins were eventually destroyed only when Christians and Muslims joined forces to work together against a group that threatened everyone. Unless a concerted effort is made by governments in the region and internationally too, ISIS will continue to grow and threaten us a

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Holiday in Scotland - Day 6 - around Brodick

Once again perfect weather despite the rain forecast. In the morning it was mainly tourist type shops the afternoon Katy and I alone went to the museum of Arran life, an excellent museum telling much of the history of Arran especially agricultural and military heritage. As usual, pics on Facebook.

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Thursday, August 28, 2014

Holiday in Scotland - Day 5 - Circuit of Arran

On a beautiful day with perfect visibility we set off to compass Arran, clockwise. Coffee stoop was Machrie Bay the Lochranza. All pics on Facebook

Lochranza Castle stood in defiance. During the 1490s, James IV used the castle in his campaign against the Lord of the Isles and the Clan MacDonald. In 1614 it was occupied by James VI and in the 1650s it was used by Cromwell.

By 1705, Lochranza Castle was the property of the Hamilton family, after it was purchased by the Duchess of Hamilton

Lunch was at the Arran Distiller opened by HM in 1997 so its oldest malt for sale is a 17 year old. With our lunch Geoffrey and I enjoyed a sampler tray of four different cask finishes. Tasted fine but the tasting notes are pretentious rubbish.

Later in Sannox Cemetery we saw 3 war graves including a RAF flight lieutenant who it seems was the son of the local minister. On the stone is, 'Why seek ye the living among the dead? He is not here. He is risen.'

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Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Holiday in Scotland - Day 4 - Lost in the woods

A beautiful day as the wind in the east kept away any rain. ( I am writing this early next morning in bright sunshine too but the midges are in the air around me. I am hoping they do not like pipe smoke.) After lunch at Whiting Bay Katy and I set off for the Glenishdale waterfalls. It was a gentle incline up a bridle way but when we entered the woods we went astray. The pines were tall and thin but their debris obscured what was now a mere path. In fact we could see no path. We saw the falls in the distance but could not find the way to them. The way was blocked by fallen trees and steep slopes. We were lost. But seeing some walkers we shouted to them and they told us where to head for the path, only it was not the way to the falls but the way we had come up. So no falls for us and I realised that I no longer had my O.S. map which was borrowed from Ealing Library. So on our return I will have to own up and pay up. Earlier in the day I chatted with a Glaswegian couple who were firmly no voters for the coming referendum. We saw a couple of Yes posters though. The day's photos are on Facebook as usual.

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August 27: Church of Scotland Adopts WCF (1647)

Westminster Confession Approved by Church of Scotland

You may ask upon reading the title of this contribution, why are we thinking about adoption of the Westminster Confession of Faith, when the whole This Day in Presbyterian History blog deals with Presbyterian history in the United States? And that is a fair question. But it is quickly answered by two considerations. First, this Reformed standard—The Westminster Confession of Faith—was, with few changes, the subordinate standard of all the Presbyterian denominations in the United States. And second, the Scots-Irish immigrants who came over to this country in its earliest days held strongly to this Reformed creedal statement.

The Westminster Confession of Faith was formulated by the Westminster Assembly of divines (i.e, pastors and theologians) in the mid-seventeenth century, meeting at Westminster Abby in London, England. To the one hundred and twenty divines, primarily from the Church of England, were added nine Scottish divines from the Church of Scotland. While the latter were seated as non-voting members of that Assembly, still their presence was felt in very effective ways during the six-year study that produced this confessional standard.

When it was adopted by the Parliament in England, it then went to the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland, where it was adopted without amendment on August 29, 1647. It then became the summary of the teachings of the Old and New Testaments which was "owned" by the officers of the Church—the teaching and ruling elders, as well as the diaconate—in every local congregation. Down through the centuries, some changes in the Confession were made, most notably in 1789, but these have not affected the overall doctrinal content of the Confession. The majority of those changes were made in 1789. You can ask your pastor for more information about those changes.

The historic importance of this document remains relevant to this day as a focal point of our unity as Presbyterians, and so we seek to make our friends more knowledgeable of its magnificent statements.

Words to live by: Most of the Presbyterian denominations do not require their lay members to take vows which speak of their adoption of these historical creedal standards in order to join the church. Yet a careful study of, and acceptance of this Confession of Westminster will give you a solid foundation for understanding the doctrine and life of the Word of God. We urge you to do so, perhaps asking for a class in your church on it, or just studying it yourself for your personal and family benefit.

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Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Holiday in Scotland - Day 3 - Brodick Castle

Whenever I visit National Trust properties I want to know about the family in the civil war. Scotland is more complicated but here are the lairds of Brodick Castle, the dukes of Hamilton.

'Brodick Castle did not escape the religious paroxysms that affected seventeenth century life (see the Wars of the Three Kingdoms). In 1639, Scotland was divided between the Presbyterianism of the Lords of the Congregation, and the Episcopalianism favoured by King Charles I. James Hamilton, 3rd marquess of Hamilton, the King's advisor on all things Scottish, was sent north to enforce the King's will, he had previously dissolved the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland when they had abolished the Episcopacy. Archibald Campbell, 1st Marquess of Argyll, was the de facto ruler of Scotland and leader of the presbyterian faction. Argyll seized Hamilton's castle of Brodick. Hamilton was made a Duke in 1643 and recovered his castle the following year at the outbreak of the Scottish Civil War. It was lost again to the Campbells in 1646, as the Royalists fortunes foundered. The Duke was captured after the disastrous Battle of Preston, and faced the block in March 1649. He was succeeded by his brother William, Earl of Lanark, but the second Duke died of wounds received at the Battle of Worcester in 1651. The Duchy of Hamilton and Earldom of Arran passed to the first Duke's only surviving child, Anne. She had been unwittingly sent to Brodick for safety. In 1650, Oliver Cromwell's Roundheads had taken control of the castle and had extended it by building an Artillery battery to defend the Firth at this strategic position.'

Centuries later, 'The Twelfth Duke, William had no male heirs, so although his titles passed to his distant cousin Alfred Douglas-Hamilton upon his death, he entailed the castle upon his only daughter the Lady Mary Louise Douglas-Hamilton. She married James Graham, 6th Duke of Montrose in 1906, and so after more than five hundred years Brodick castle passed out of the Hamilton family.'

I was relieved to find that these Grahams are not the same family as this infamous one. 'John Graham of Claverhouse, 1st Viscount Dundee (c. 21 July 1648 – 27 July 1689), known as the 7th Laird of Claverhouse until raised to the viscountcy in 1688, was a Scottish soldier and nobleman, a Tory and an Episcopalian. Claverhouse was responsible for policing south-west Scotland during and after the religious unrest and rebellion of the 1670s and 80s. After his death, Presbyterian historians dubbed him "Bluidy Clavers".'

As my maternal grandfather was a George Graham I have no wish to find an ancestral link to Clavers, nor to the Hamiltons.

One of the spectacular exhibits in the castle is the silver room with silver from the 16th century onwards. But the shine of the silver is dimmed when you learn the origin of the wealth that bought this opulence.

'The fine Beckford Collection of furniture, silver and china displayed at Brodick Castle, on the Isle of Arran, once belonged to William Beckford, owner of several sugar plantations in the West Indies. His family was one of the first to settle in Jamaica. It rose from modest beginnings to become one of the richest families in Europe.

In 1810, his daughter Susan Beckford married the 10th Duke of Hamilton. They lived mainly at Hamilton Palace in Lanarkshire but also stayed at their other home, Brodick Castle.

Susan Beckford married Alexander, 10th Duke of Hamilton. Her father, William, died in 1844. Susan inherited his estate and collections.

William Beckford was the last in a line of rich men. He inherited a fortune made from the Jamaican sugar plantations and built Fonthill Abbey in Wiltshire to house his collections and impress visitors. The cost was so great that he fell into debt. He sold the Abbey and bought property in Bath where he continued his life as a gentleman. He never visited his plantations.

Susan’s grandfather, William ‘Sugar Cane’ Beckford (1709-70), was born in Jamaica and lived in Britain – and was reputed to be Britain’s first millionaire. He owned 22,000 acres in Jamaica.

Her great-grandfather, Peter Beckford (1672-1735), also born in Jamaica, was said to be the richest man in Europe: by 1700; he owned 24 plantations where 1,500 enslaved people worked.

Great-great-grandfather Peter Beckford the Elder (1643-1710) arrived in Jamaica shortly after it became an English colony and took jobs as a hunter and horse catcher. When he died, he owned 11 estates, 24 plantations and around 1200 slaves. His fortune was estimated at £250 million (modern value).

So,silver tarnished by the sweat and blood of slaves.

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Monday, August 25, 2014

Latest from Nigeria

The town of Madagali was attacked on Saturday and virtually occupied by BH.

Today’s news is that 6 churches and the Govt Sec School have been burnt down, number of deaths is not known.

BH leader declared on Nigerian tv (which channel is not known) that Gwoza Local Govt area is their new Caliphate and added that USA is wasting their time by attacking ISIS.

Nigeria military claims they are waiting for new equipment and will then make a full scale attack.

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August 25: The Five Articles of Perth (1618)

by davidtmyers

Usurpers, Pretenders, and the One True King.

It was an ancient issue in many respects. Who was the king of the church? Was it the king of the British Isles, or was it Jesus Christ? There was no doubt in the prelacy party that the first answer was the correct one. And equally in the Presbyterian church, there was no doubt that Jesus is the king of the church. What was a turning point between the Crown and the Presbyterians was the passing of the Five Articles of Perth on August 25, 1618.

It all took place at a General Assembly on this date in Perth, Scotland. Yes, it was the national assembly of Scottish Presbyterians. Yes, there were various elders from the church of Scotland. Yes, there were faithful Presbyterians who were relegated to inferior positions, without the possibility of voting, even though they were elders sent by their Presbyterian parishes. Yes, there were many people present who were hand picked and not even ruling elders in the churches. The constitution of the Presbyterian Church of Scotland would be null and void in this gathering.

It was King James I who laid the five articles before the delegates. The five articles of this document were: (1) that Communion must be received in a kneeling posture; (2) Private Communion was permitted in cases of sickness; (3) Private baptism was permitted when necessary; (4) Children should be catechized and blessed by bishops (confirmation); and (5) Christmas, Good Friday, Easter, Ascension, and Pentecost were declared as holy days for the whole church.
Even though it was declared beforehand that those who voted in the negative against its adoption would have their names sent to the King for future action, actions such as the withholding of stipends, nonetheless forty-five ministers held to their convictions and voted in the negative. The total vote was 86 in favor to 45 against, and thus it was passed. The Articles of Perth were confirmed by the Edinburgh Parliament on August 4, 1621.

Brian Orr, on his blog, "thereformation.info", from which most of the above was used by permission, wrote in conclusion, "standing back a pace, it should be recognized that the Articles of Perth, and particularly the kneeling at Communion, affected the whole Church in a direct and visible way. Opposition was not total, but it was strong enough to give rise to a permanent nonconformist group within the church. It also gave rise to the holding of conventicles in Edinburgh and other places in opposition to the new rites that signaled defiance of the king; and retribution followed." (p. 3)

Words to Live By:
One of the blessings which we have in this nation of America is the separation of church and state. It is sadly true that this has been high-jacked by countless citizens to be equal to the separation of God and state. But in reality, it originally meant that no one religious denomination would be the one and only faith group recognized by the government. Our early Scot-Irish citizens did not wish to see a repeat of England and Scotland's state priority over the Church of England. Let us as Christian citizens do our work of explaining this true meaning of the phrase "separation of church and state" among our neighbors and friends.

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Sunday, August 24, 2014

Holiday in Scotland - Days 1 & 2

Saturday 23rd we drove up to Ardrossan in Ayrshire to take the ferry to Brodick, Isle of Arran. We enjoyed fine weather for or 220 mile drive and 55 minute ferry crossing. We are staying in a fairly isolated cottage at Siddery on the south coast of the island. The sea, Kilbrannan Sound is a 10 minute stroll. Across the Sound is the Mull of Kintyre. To the south one sees the Ayrshire coast and to the south west the Antrim coast of Northern Island. Photos are on Facebook. With us are my brother Geoffrey and his wife. He organised this week on Arran as a celebration of his 60th birthday. We also have his mother in law, Brenda, and her lovely dog, Mick in the two car party.

On our first evening we dined in some style at the Kinloch Hotel, Blackwaterfoot. Their seafood platter was my best ever and later the Arran Blue Cheese was deliciously pungent. We have booked a table for our last night here on Friday, this time a reserved table with sea view.

Sunday 24th before breakfast, Geoffrey and I gave Mick the dog a walk to the shore. Then our morning worship was with the Free Church Continuing in Brodick. Geoffrey knows the family of a retired minister there. They had us to lunch after the service. We knew their custom is to sit and sing unaccompanied metrical psalms and to stand for the prayers. We had experienced this psalmody before but never ever this slow. We sang slowly enough for one to have a short meditation on every line! The sermon was on DVD from one of their ministers in Glasgow. After lunch I tried to talk with our host about the split between the Free Church of Scotland and The Free Church Continuing, but he found it a painful subject on which he did not want to dwell and expressed strong longing for reconciliation.

On another controversial subject, out host and hostess told us that Arran is a hot bed of nationalism and they were happy to talk to us about the forthcoming referendum but preferred to keep quiet on the subject with the locals. The previous evening we came back from our meal to find Yes literature on the door mat and this in a cottage half a mile down a rough track from a tarred road. We await more opinions on this during our holiday.

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