Sunday, January 31, 2010

Cameron, Brown and Clegg Must Answer for Illegality of Sexual Equalities Agenda in Schools

Christian Peoples Alliance (CPA) party says,'Plans by Labour, the Conservatives and the Liberal Democrats to impose their
sexual equalities agenda on schools are being contested in the May local elections
by candidates standing for the Christian Peoples Alliance (CPA) party. Following
statements this year by David Cameron and Nick Clegg that they support Labour's
plans for relationships outside of heterosexual marriage to be taught as normative
to schoolchildren, the CPA is urging parents to assert their legal right for children to
be brought up in conformity with their own Christian ethical stance. The party is
pledging that if elected, its councillors will fight to uphold Christian rights of
conscience in all schools.

Speaking at a meeting this weekend in Kensington of the National Executive of the
Christian Peoples Alliance, party leader, Cllr Alan Craig of Newham Council said:

"The leaders of our three main parties - Gordon Brown, David Cameron and Nick
Clegg - have set themselves in favour of a sexual rights agenda that is opposed to
2,000 years of Church teaching. They seek to collapse Christian morality into a
relatavistic heap - sowing confusion and worsening the problem of breakdown Britain.
We know sexual relationships happen outside of marriage and SRE must be taught
with wisdom, respect and sensitivity. But what children need is a clear message:
sex is a gift intended by God for a life-long marriage between one man and one woman.
All other relationships are less than God's best."

Under new Government guidelines issued this week, all schools - including faith schools
- will be legally required to provide classes in sex and relationships. From the age of 11,
pupils will be encouraged to debate issues surrounding sexual orientation, same-sex
relationships and civil partnerships.

The Christian Peoples Alliance is pointing out that Conservatives, Labour and Liberal
Democrats oppose the biblical guidance that the primary responsibility for education
lies with parents, which is enshrined in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights as
article 26.3 'Parents have a prior right to choose the kind of education that shall be given
to their children.' They also point out that the secular parties also risk infringing Protocol 1
of Article 2 of the European Convention on Human Rights. It provides that the state shall in
exercising its functions in relation to education and teaching, "respect the right of parents to
ensure such education and teaching in conformity with their own religion and philosophical

The Department for Schildren, Schools and Families announced last year that it will take
forward all the major recommendations of the Teenage pregnancy Independent Advisory
Group, including making Sex and Relationships Education (SRE) statutory from 2011. It
also declared that parents' right to pull their children out of sex education classes in England
will be ended once pupils turn 15. Under government plans for SRE, all schools including
church schools must: "teach all aspects of SRE within the context of relationships in an anti-
discriminatory way; contraception, abortion and homosexuality are all legal in this country
....." The Government's review of SRE also requires schools to make "explicit links to young
people's advisory services and provision of contraception and sexual health services and
demonstrate this by teaching people how to access services."

Councillor Craig - who leads the Opposition on Newham Borough Council added:

"All parents have a prior right to bring their children up according to their own values. Yet the
secular parties want to impose an alien morality on all children, even Christian children. It is
deeply troubling and illiberal for parents who seek to teach the ideals of faithfulness, purity
and respect for life to their children in the home, to have teachers then totally undermine
Christian morality by teaching the ambiguity of "anything goes" sex in the classroom."'

For more information: Cllr Alan Craig 07939547198 or email or
call 07873 625396 or Visit

Saturday, January 30, 2010

BBC survey on its portrayal of homosexuals

Click on the link and fill it in. I fear the majority of respondents will be those sympathetic to the cause. I do not expect a similar survey on their pathetic portrayal of things Christian.

Lords defeat Govt over church staff

I saw no BBC reports on this but it seems it was, perhaps briefly, on the BBC site. This is the Christian Institute report.

Monday, 25 January 2010
The Government has lost in the House of Lords over its attempt in the Equality Bill to alter the law on who churches and other faith-based groups can employ.

Peers voted 216 to 178 in favour of Lady O’Cathain’s amendment to keep the current law unchanged.

Then in an extraordinary move the Government broke with House of Lords convention in a bid to damage Lady O’Cathain’s victory.

But in two further votes Lady O’Cathain won by 195 votes to 174 and by 177 votes to 172.

In the debate before the votes, the Government claimed its plans would simply ‘clarify’ the law.

But churches said the plans would narrow important safeguards designed to help religious employers defend their ethos.

The Government’s defeat means no change to the current law, which permits churches and other faith-based employers to protect their ethos by insisting staff live consistently with the religion’s doctrine on sexual behaviour.

At this stage it is not known whether the Government will try to overturn the defeat in the Commons.

The Christian Institute’s Mike Judge said, “We are delighted that the House of Lords has voted to protect freedom of association for churches.

“It is a shame that the Government didn’t listen to churches earlier. It’s almost as if they don’t care.”

The Archbishop of York, Dr John Sentamu, said during the Lords debate: “You may feel that many churches and other religious organisations are wrong on matters of sexual ethics.

“But, if religious freedom means anything it must mean that those are matters for the churches and other religious organisations to determine for themselves in accordance with their own convictions.”

He added: “Where are the examples of actual abuses that have caused difficulties? Where are the court rulings that have shown that the law is defective? If it ain’t broke, why fix it?”

At the weekend Church of England Bishops expressed deep concern about the Government plans.

The bishops said the Government has produced words that “create difficulties for churches and religious groups”.

They added: “This despite our raising the problem many months ago and offering various ways of resolving the issue.”

Bishops of the Roman Catholic Church have also opposed the Government proposals.

Most Revd Peter Smith, Roman Catholic Archbishop of Cardiff, voiced his regret at the Government’s refusal to “sit down earlier with religious groups and work out an amendment with the right wording”.

He continued: “As it is, legal advice indicates that a court might construe the wording too narrowly and if there was a doubt about the legal effect then the only prudent course is to support the rival amendment which deletes the definition entirely.

“That is the only sure way of guaranteeing this Bill neither widens nor narrows the scope of the current exemption.”

Ahead of tonight’s vote a Government spokesman said: “The Equality Bill will not change the existing legal position regarding churches and employment.

“It simply clarifies the current law to ensure a balance is maintained between the rights of people to manifest their religion and the right of employees not to be discriminated against.”

However, the Lords opposed the Government plans and voted to keep the present law unchanged.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

The story from Jos

I have recently received messages fron different Christian sources complaining about the biased media coverage of the Jos killings and the governmental bias against Christians. This is one such message.

Mon 18 Jan 2010

(Please pray for the following bretheren from ECWA Jos Jarawa where members were worshipping on that Sunday and the muslim guys went attacking: Azi Matthew Dandi, Francis Dung,Luka Musa, Yohanna Francis, Odun Ileseumi, Bobi Tangale, Ibrahim Azi, Gideon A. Nyako, Emma Kaze Peter, Azi Atsi, Felix. We are not presently sure of their whereabouts.
These others were in ECWA Nasarawa Gwom on Monday, 20 Jan. trying to stop destructtion of the church by muslims. These brethren had only sticks and stones when Gen. Sale Maina, GOC, 3 Armoured Div Jos - ordered their arrest. 7 of them were dumped in muslim concentrated areas of Nasarawa and they became a feast in the hands of the muslims. The following three are still being detained: Samson Bala, Emmanuel Danyaya and Azi Matthew Dandi. Pray for their release, please.)
Jos the Plateau state capital is witnessing another round of violence which has already claimed many lives estimated so far at 125 persons with hundreds of people injured and displaced from their homes. Hundreds of houses have also been burnt and destroyed. A dusk to down curfew running between 6pm to 6am earlier imposed by the state government was reviewed to 24 hours following an escalation of the violence on Tuesday. The State Governor who has been holding a joined security meeting with top security agents and members of the state inter-religious council announced the measures in a statewide television and radio broadcast.

The Governor also announced that a committee has been set up to help bring immediate relief to the internally displaced persons who are taking refuge in various camps.

The resumed violence began Sunday 17th January 2010 about 10 am when some Muslim youths attacked a church at Nasarawa Gwong area in Jos while in a worship session causing worshippers to scamper for safety. The Islamic youths destroyed the church and thereafter launched further attacks on non-Muslim/non-Hausa homes who are minority residence in the community. The attacks continued against the helpless minority Christians who were mostly away in church service or returning with security agents unable to intervene claiming they had not received orders to do so.

The muslim youth claimed they were reacting to the refusal of some people to allow a muslim man rebuilt his house in Christian populated area which was destroyed during the November 2009 violence in Jos. Unfortunately, this version of the story has been maliciously changed in the international media controlled by the Muslims to mean refusal to build a mosque possibly to gain sympathy from their Muslim folks around the world and escalate the crisis. The city of Jos has become polarised along religious lines of settlements following three violent clashes in the past.

The heavy military presence in the city at the moment has not pacified the situation either. The state government efforts to secure presidential orders for the joint military intervention in the violence have not yielded any positive result as at the time of reporting.

Unfortunately, the Muslims who control the military in Nigeria have taken advantage to infiltrate the system by aiding armed Muslim youths in military uniforms to attack Christians in their numbers. The uniform Soldiers have also been invading the Christian churches and ransacking them hoping perhaps to find arms and ammunitions.

A similar invasion on Christian worship places by military personnel took place at ECWA Church Nasarawa where the Pastor’s office and bedroom were forcefully entered after destroying the door locks. The operatives ransacked the file cabinets and drank up the drinks purchased for guests who were attending a leadership seminar in the Church and thereafter arrested and took away six Christian youths in the Church.

Unconfirmed sources indicated that over 125 persons have been killed, over a thousand injured, while more than 3000 people have been displaced from their homes leading to a pathetic humanitarian problem. The casualties are more in the Christian camp who were caught unprepared in a Sunday worship day.

The Red Cross supported by the Nigerian Civil Defence Corp has been working to take the injured to hospitals, clear away dead bodies, which litters the streets and also helping to attend to the displaced persons.

Four ECWA Churches namely, ECWA Rikkos ( destroyed in the last crisis but rebuilt), ECWA Bishara 1 Bukuru ( one of the oldest church buildings in Jos), ECWA Jos-Jarawa where completely destroyed while that of ECWA Mai –Adiko Ray Field was partly burnt as it was rescued by the Church youths who promptly responded and put off the fire.

Several Church worship places belonging to other denominations have also been destroyed.

The authorities of the Jos ECWA Theological Seminary, JETS in consultation with the ECWA Leadership have also announced a closure of the school following the death of one of her Students who was killed in the crisis by a stray bullet. JETS Provost, Rev. Ass. Prof. Bulus Galadima, noted that a date of resumption would be communicated in due course when the security situation improves.

The State police Commissioner, Mr. Greg Ayanting who has been very overwhelmed by the violence confirmed to newsmen how hundreds of Muslim youths attacked a Church during a worship hour which led to the current crisis and appealed to citizens not to take the law into their hand as the police is doing everything possible to contain the situation. He disclosed the he had requested for reinforcement for more armed police men from other states to help quail the violence.

Meanwhile, powerful Muslims in high political authority who have commenced a grand plan to sack him from his job are criticizing the frank and bold revelation of the cause of the violence by the Police Commissioner.

Sound of gunshots thrill the city as Muslim youths heavily armed with guns and sophisticated weapons engage a battle with Christian youths who had only stones and the likes, causing people near the fighting areas to flee their homes.

This brings us to the issue as we are forced to wonder why it is always the Muslims working so hard to ferment troubles wherever they find Christians in Nigeria. We are yet to know of any of the cases past and present where any Christians started aggression of any sort against Muslims in this nation, whether the former are either overwhelming majority or insignificant minority in those areas? Why do Muslims begin every trouble always, even on the Plateau? Why must the Church as a people, her property, and Christian homes and businesses be the target of each unprovoked attack by Muslims in this nation? Why does it seem, to say the least, like a grand design from most angles in this nation to smother Christians and Christianity?

Now, why should Nigeria not be listed among the nations of interest in terms of terrorism by the US government? The facts are clear we need help. Nigeria should admit that we have challenges of terrorism from the Niger Delta uprising, the Boko Haram upsurge, the various kidnaps that have become a thriving industry in Nigeria and the continuous religious hatred and violence which have resulted in the death of thousands of innocent Nigerians.

Our opinion might be termed unpatriotic but it is a fact that we have to deal with putting sentiments aside and asking for God’s wisdom to help us out of the problem.

Please pray for the peace of Jos and Plateau. Pray for people displaced in Jos.

Signed: ECWA General Secretary

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Lisa Alther -

Any mother could perform the jobs of several air traffic controllers with ease - Lisa Alther born July 23, 1944 American author and novelist.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Ibn Abi Zayd al-Qayrawani -

Jihad is a precept of Divine institution. Its performance by certain individuals may dispense others from it. We Malikis [one of the four schools of Muslim jurisprudence] maintain that it is preferable not to begin hostilities with the enemy before having invited the latter to embrace the religion of Allah except where the enemy attacks first. They have the alternative of either converting to Islam or paying the poll tax (jizya), short of which war will be declared against them.- Ibn Abi Zayd al-Qayrawani,(922 – 996) (a Maliki scholar from Al-Qayrawan in Tunisia.) La Risala (Epitre sur les elements du dogme et de la loi de l'Islam selon le rite malikite.) Translated from Arabic by Leon Bercher. 5th ed. Algiers, 1960, p. 165. [English translation, in Bat Ye'or, The Decline of Eastern Christianity Under Islam, Cranston, NJ, 1996, p. 295]

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Al- Mawardi, (d. 1058 ) -

The mushrikun [infidels] of Dar al-Harb (the arena of battle) are of two types: First, those whom the call of Islam has reached, but they have refused it and have taken up arms. The amir of the army has the option of fighting them…in accordance with what he judges to be in the best interest of the Muslims and most harmful to the mushrikun… Second, those whom the invitation to Islam has not reached, although such persons are few nowadays since Allah has made manifest the call of his Messenger…[I]t is forbidden to…begin an attack before explaining the invitation to Islam to them, informing them of the miracles of the Prophet and making plain the proofs so as to encourage acceptance on their part; if they still refuse to accept after this, war is waged against them and they are treated as those whom the call has reached….Al- Mawardi, (d. 1058 ), Shafi'i jurist , The Laws of Islamic Governance [al-Ahkam as-Sultaniyyah, (London, United Kingdom.: Ta-Ha, 1996, p. 60).

Abu al-Hasan Ali Ibn Muhammad Ibn Habib al-Mawardi ( أبو الحسن علي بن محمد بن حبيب البصري الماوردي ), known in Latin as Alboacen (972-1058 CE), was an Arab Muslim jurist of the Shafii school; he also made contributions to Qur'anic interpretations, philology, ethics, and literature. He served as judge at several Iraqi districts, including Baghdad, and as an ambassador of the Abbasid caliph to several Muslim states.- Wikipedia

This is an insight from a scholar of 'The religion of Peace'. This morning I was talking on the phone to a friend in Nigeria and lamenting recent events in Jos. We agree that the causes are political but ultimately religious. Islam must rule wherever it is. It is a religion of peace only on its own terms. Submit to Islamic rule and you will have peace. The people of the Jos Plateau have always resisted this. They did it before colonial rule and will continue to do so, therefore there will be no real peace.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Violence spreads in Nigeria's Jos, curfew imposed

19 Jan 2010 09:24:52 GMT Source: Reuters
'JOS, Nigeria, Jan 19 (Reuters) - Clashes between Muslim and Christian gangs broke out again on Tuesday in the capital of Nigeria's Plateau state, killing dozens and forcing police to impose a 24-hour curfew on the city.

A police official, who declined to be identified, said as many as 60 people may have been killed since Sunday when clashes started.

Police initially imposed a nighttime curfew on Jos on Sunday to ease tensions and prevent a repeat of the November 2008 clashes that killed hundreds of residents. But violence flared up again on Tuesday, forcing the police to extend its curfew.

"In view of this situation in town, I hereby declare a 24-hour curfew starting from now," said Gregory Anyating, the state's police commissioner.

Residents said sporadic gunfire could be heard in many neighbourhoods and several houses were on fire.'

So why is the BBC silent on this?

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Trevor Allin -

It is the reformed attitude, rather than the reforming one, that I think has caused more damage to the Church than most things in current days. In possessing the keys to the kingdom, we are in danger of hitting other pilgrims on their journey to the celestial city with those keys, instead of trying to unlock more truth together.- Trevor Allin

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Victory for 600-strong London Church in Lambeth Council ‘noise’ Battle

Christian Legal Centre reports, 'A 600 member strong London Church won its legal battle this week against Lambeth Borough Council in a last minute out of court settlement.

The All Nations Centre in Kennington was served by Lambeth Council with a noise abatement notice on 25 September 2009, preventing the Church from amplifying their music or sermons to the congregation on threat of prosecution.

Although the Church has been at its current location for over 45 years, a small number of residents began complaining to the Council about noise levels shortly after the Church began a leaflet drop in the local community. A noise abatement notice was then served against the Church in September without any warning or discussion.

Church leaders believed the timing of the notice and the procedural irregularities meant that there were motives involved in the case. In October 2009, senior Pastor Abraham Sackey said: “The complaint has nothing to do with the noise and everything to do with our faith. Lambeth Council are driving us out and we feel harassed.”
The Church sought the advice of the Christian Legal Centre. The All Nations Centre decided to go to court with the help of the Christian Legal Centre in order to appeal the notice issued against them but at the last minute the notice was withdrawn.

The use of Noise Abatement Notices is an issue of concern as recently it is being used effectively to categorise worship/the singing of hymns as Noise Pollution. At the Christian Legal Centre we are concerned that this law is being misused and could close down Churches. Paul Diamond, Barrister, led the legal team at the Christian Legal Centre and CLC has asked him to closely monitor the situtation.

Pastor Sackey said: “The Church believes that the Council’s withdrawal is an attempt to conceal what happened and which has been ongoing for some time, not only in Lambeth but nationally. The leaders of the Church maintained from the very outset that the notice had nothing to do with noise but rather was further evidence of the ongoing campaign of religious hatred and intimidation against evangelical Christians.”

Local MP Kate Hoey has backed the Church throughout. In December 2009 she said:

“They have been serving the local community for many years, consistently helping to improve the quality of life and overall well-being of people within the local community…It was therefore with a mixture of surprise and concern that I learned that they were served with a noise abatement notice.”

Onn Sein Kon, Case Manager at the Christian Legal Centre, said: “Regrettably, our case-load is increasing with Councils issuing noise abatement notices resulting in the curtailing or closure of Churches in London. Success in this case sends out a clear message that this method will not work. These Churches are vibrant and growing and play a critical part in their communities.”

A Petition of 15,000 signatures was delivered to the Office of the Mayor of London Boris Johnson on Tuesday asking him to fulfil the pledge made to the London Churches that Churches would be able to gain appropriate planning permission and premises in London.'

Andrea Minichiello Williams
020 7935 1488
Christian Legal Centre

Fair Pay Ratio Test for Senior Council Officers

'Fair Pay Ratio Test for Senior Council Officers Promised by Christian Peoples Alliance

Local councils will be pressed to adopt a fair pay strategy for their employees
if the Christian Peoples Alliance succeed in winning control of local authorities
in elections on May 6th. Under plans outlined by the leader of the party, all
senior Council officers will have their pay linked in the range of 8 to 16 times
the lowest employee salary, set according to local circumstances. The party
will also set-up new forums to bring together workers from the top and bottom
of local authority officer pay-bands during negotiations over salary levels.

Opposition Leader on the London Borough of Newham, Cllr Alan Craig, who
also leads the Christian Peoples Alliance nationally, told local activists:

"Leadership comes from the top. With many local authorities having to cut back
on budgets, sack staff and impose above-inflation council tax rises on a hard-
pressed public, we need fairness and justice in the wage structure. That means
excessive senior officer pay has to be curbed.

"This policy will generate a powerful link between the best paid and those at the
bottom of the pay scale - who are often those dealing on a day-to-day basis with
the public. It will create solidarity and fresh incentives to improve performance
across the organisation."

The CPA is pointing to findings last year from the TaxPayers' Alliance pressure
group which showed the number of local authority chief executives earning more
than £100,000 a year had soared by 27% since 2008, with 1000 receiving six-
figure salaries.

The Christian Peoples Alliance ran candidates in 17 local authorities in 2006 and
is looking to win more seats this year in London. The party is committed to tackling
social inequality and the excesses of boardroom pay. It is also pointing to
international evidence that Britain is out of step in both the private and public sector in the ratios between the highest and lowest paid.

Former chief executive of an international group of manufacturing companies
employing 2,500 people, Alan Craig said the public and private sector in Britain
should learn from Warren Buffett, chief of Berkshire Hathaway, who is an outspoken
critic of executive pay. Despite being worth over 60 billion dollars, in 2008 he drew an annual salary of $200,000. Assuming a minimum employee salary of $25,000 per
year, this made his pay ratio 8-to-1. As a contrast to the United States, the CPA is
pointing to figures which show that average chief executive pay ratios were about
11-to-1 in Japan, 15-to-1 in France, 20-to-1 in Canada and 22-to-1 in Britain in 2006.

As part of its Fair Pay Policy for Local Authorities, the CPA is drawing on Christian Democratic principles of workplace councils, which are popular in Germany and which bring together representatives of all the main grades of employment throughout a company structure.

Under CPA plans, local authorities would have to convene a round-table meeting at
least once a year, to discuss pay increases for all sections of the workforce from the bottom to senior Council officers at the top. Each main group would present its own case for a rise and the reasons to justify it and be subject to cross-questioning by other groups.'

An example of ridiculous red tape

Half way through the month I get this. NCSO is No Cheaper Supply Obtainable.

'Drug Tariff News
NCSO January 2010
The following products have been given NCSO status for the month of January 2010

Diltiazem 60mg modified release tablets
Pseudoephedrine 60mg tablets
It is essential that contractors endorse the prescription fully with the letters ‘NCSO' and full details of the product dispensed (e.g. manufacturer, brand name or price if it is an uncommon item and pack size). The endorsement must also be signed and dated. If any of this information is missing, payment will be based on the Drug Tariff price rather than the endorsed product.

The NCSO concession only lasts for the month it is granted. If at the beginning of the following month the situation is not resolved, a new application is made NCSO status .'

Why in the name of efficiency cannot I merely endorse the brand I gave out? The rest is time wasting superfluous work inflicted on the private sector by bums on public sector seats. Why are they so inefficient as to take half the month to realise these drugs which have been unobtainable in generic form for months are still not to be had? PRATTS.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

How the world changed in the Past Decade. Part 8 - Family, Sport and Work

I have gained a daughter in law, son in law and five grandchildren. I have lost a cousin. My wife has lost her father, two aunts and an uncle. My greatest joy is my children love the Lord and have married spouses from good stable Christian families.

Now over 11 years in the same job and friends keep asking when I will retire. The answer is, when health determines. There is no big pension fund and I believe work is therapy. I continue to try and find enjoyment in my toil. I am blessed with good staff and am pretty much my own boss. I remain very critical of NHS pharmacy with the endless paper trail and official lack of trust. We were given a new onerous contract with some idiotic requirements. But it is secure employment.

Sporting highlights are England winning the Rugby World Cup and the Ashes, twice. I have been a regular visitor to the Oval and Lords. Highlights are ODIs with over 650 runs in a day losing to India and tying with the Aussies, both at Lords. Football highlight, beating Germany 5-1 in Munich. My Leeds went from the top of the Premiership to the depths of League 1. Debbie and I took up the cause of Sale rugby and saw them champions. I espoused this unlikely cause from Lancashire because of Jason Robinson whose retirement was a sad loss.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

How the world changed in the Past Decade. Past 7 Health and Holidays

This may seem a strange title but having twice been ill just after or while on holiday it seems a natural combination to me and an account of health deteriorating with age would be most depressing. The depressing holiday thing was being taken for a ride and a four figure sum by a fraudulent discount holiday company. We also had a booking with a Christian tour firm that went bust but there ATOL came to the rescue. For most of the decade I had to holiday with a supply of antibiotics lest the cellulitis caught in Slovakia returned. We did have a recurrence but no more hopitalisation for it.

2000 we holidayed in self catering accommodation near Llanelli, Wales and Nairn, Scotland. We have never been back to Wales. The rugby was good but the pushing of their minority tongue to the top of road signs I find irritating, even dangerous to safety. In 1990 this was not the case in Scotland but is increasingly so even there. Totally ridiculous when barely 1% of the people speak Gaelic. But Scotland I love and we returned several times in the decade. Nairn is near so much history, e.g. Culloden and near Speyside with its multitude of distilleries. We returned there in 2001. I love the land north of Inverness, particularly the sadly cleared Highlands of the north west.

2002 we had two weeks in Bucharest, Romania. I was teaching prospective elders a course in church history. Romania was more like the developing world than Europe. It suffered greatly form communist misrule. We were helping a Korean missionary.

2003 We had a week self catering in Instow, North Devon and a hotel week in County Durham. Three weeks were on the West Coast, the first in Canada then we motored to Los Angeles and back to Vancouver 3650 miles in 10 days' driving. The highlight was Crater Lake, Oregon.

2004 we had a week in a Kent hotel awaiting the arrival of our third granddaughter. We enjoyed a cruise on the Rhine, Cologne to Strasbourg and back. Then we were in the US, DC and states north east enjoying friends' hospitality.

2005 first with family in Kent, Yorkshire and Staffordshire. I went on my own to Timosoara, Romania by train after flying to Budapest, Hungary. This was a church visit.

2006 we had two weeks in a hotel by lake Lucerne and went to our most unfriendly church ever. If it was not for beautiful scenery no-one would go to Switzerland. Locals in Afghanistan are more friendly. We stayed with friends in Kabul then enjoyed a couple of days in Dubai. For the second time in the decade I lost a camera.

2007 I received treatment for sleep apnoea. The machine stopped me forever falling asleep. I even once fell asleep while reading aloud in house group. It also cured snoring. We enjoyed a great week in a friend's apartment in Rovinj, Istria, Croatia, our first Mediterranean holiday, a gift for our 60th birthdays. Katy retired from school teaching so we were, in midsummer, able to do what I had wanted for years, a holiday in the Outer Hebrides. We were B & B but half way through I was transferred to different accommodation, threee night in the Hospital of the isles, Stornoway. Thanks to Ealing hospital haematology changing my hypertensives without monitoring I had heart failure induced by uncontrolled hypertension. Ealing was treating me for too many red and white cells. Nevertheless I reckon the islands to be heaven on earth if the sun shines and the midges do not bite. The Golden Road on Harris had one intoxicated by the beauty of creation. Later in the year we stayed in the gold rush country of northern California and visited Yosemite. But Scotland beats them all for me. We returned to Nairn for a winter weekend and the most sumptuous wedding ever. We were told the reception cost was six figures. Too much of a good thing was wonderful. This proved to be a start of a year of weddings.

2008 After Easter we took all 14 of the family to the Pas de Calais then Katy and i went for a week with missionary friends in Belgium. We had a week in Riga, Latvia for the Wedding of a Bulgarian friend. We stayed in Durham Castle for a second wedding the Graham alone flew to Sacramento to be toastmaster at another wedding. Later we had a family wedding in Staffordshire.

2009 started with Graham suffering abdominal pain which several quacks failed to diagnose as a return of heart failure, this time caused by atrial fibrillation. Hammersmith hospital was very good. It helps to have a consultant friend. We had a week self catering in Glossop, Derbyshire hunting Katy's ancestors. Graham enjoyed a very expensive week in geneva celebrating the 500th birthday of John Calvin. A wedding took us to Ireland for a week. Finally we flew to Verona, Italy then Belgrade, Serbia. From there we went by train to Timosara, Romania before returning from Belgrade by car with hotels in Austria and Germany en route.

All in all having surveyed the decade one can say that a benefit of being older, no mortgage, most children flown the nest, is that one can travel more. I much prefer going where we have friends.

My chronic health problem is obesity. I am a comfort eater. Part of my reason for this decade's observations is the awareness that I may not reach the end of the next one. Intimations of mortality. My father died at 75 but he was fitter than me. My grandfathers were both much younger when they went. Katy has chronic neurological pain because despite two spinal operations she was not treated promptly enough by the NHS. Over the decade I have learned better how to live with spells of depression. Why it comes and goes is often a mystery but I am coping better now and am more disciplined - except in diet.

Yemen Negotiates Release of Christian Hostages

Tuesday, January 12, 2010
Government Claims to Know Whereabouts of German Family and British Engineer
By Wolfgang Polzer
Special to ASSIST News Service
SANAA, (ANS) -- The government of Yemen has started negotiations for the release of six Christian hostages.

A German family of five and a British engineer are held captive in the Northern province of Saada, according to foreign minister Abu Bakr al-Qirbi. He was quoted by the German television channel ARD.

Johannes and Sabine Hentschel (both 37) and their children Lydia (5), Anna (3) and Simon (1) as well as the engineer were kidnapped six months ago during an outing near Saada. They were with two German bible school students and a South Korean teacher. They were found murdered on June 12. The nine Christians had been working at the Al Jumhuri hospital in Saada.

German foreign minister Guido Westerwelle has paid a surprise visit to Yemen. After a meeting with President Ali Abdullah Saleh, January 11, Westerwelle told reporters that the Yemeni government had obtained new information about the whereabouts of the hostages. If the information was correct, it would be “hopeful news”, said the minister.

Earlier the Yemeni deputy Prime Minister Rashad al-Alaimi had confirmed reports that the hostages are in the hands of Shiite Houthi rebels. The Germans were forced to care for wounded fighters, he said. The foreign office in Berlin would neither confirm nor deny the information.

Relatives of the East German family are still cautious about the news from Yemen. The reports were just “unconfirmed rumors”, brother in law Rev. Reinhard Poetschke told the evangelical news agency “idea”.

It is not the first time that Muslim extremists have murdered hospital workers in Yemen. Two men killed three US-citizens at a Baptist hospital in Jibla, December 30, 2002. Another American was wounded. The culprits were later convicted and sentenced to death.

Yemen is one of the strictest Islamic countries. 99 percent of the 21 million
inhabitants are Muslims. Small groups of Christians gather in secret.
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Monday, January 11, 2010

Books read in January 2010

1. Towards Islam by Alistair Duncan

Written in 1978 for Christians in contact with the Muslim world these four essays will also be informative for Muslims concerning festivals and art. A balanced non polemical presentation which I would only criticise for stating that the Koranic text has never been altered in 1400 years. This is not in line with modern textual criticism, a subject hidden from public view it seems. Also, not all Islamic art has been averse to the human form. I do not think the Mughals alone permitted it.

2. Escape from Islam by Hass Hirji Walji, Jaryl Strong

I have heard and read and even translated the testimonies of Muslims who have come to faith in Jesus Christ. This is among the best. The story is riveting. A Muslim family, in Uganda for nearly a century, experiences the horror of Amin's lawless brutality. Accepted as immigrants to America they are to their surprise welcomed by a Lutheran church with furnished housing, food and money. The author, a student, was attracted by the lives of Christians and when befriended by them wanted to convert them to Islam. Instead he was challenged by the truth of the gospel. He fought. Pushy Christians were no help but patient friends were and eventually he comes to faith with none of the dreams which are often part of Muslims' testimonies. My only slight criticism would be that there is no mention of repentance and baptism of Jesus as Lord. It is interesting the witness was through friendship and the corporate aspect of a para-church student group.

Once he told his family they threw him out. The carrot of the offer of pilgrimage to mecca did not succeed. Nor did a beating and attempted murder. He was tempted but stood firm and enjoyed a measure of family reconciliation. The gospel is clearly explained and the differences between the faiths. He centers that on Islam as a religion of legal observances while Christians know a personal relationship with the father through his Son and Spirit. A good book to give to a Muslim or a Christian seeking to understand witness to Muslims.

How the world changed in the Past Decade. Part 6 - The Church

I called this The Church not Christianity as I have a high view of the corporate nature of my faith. My view of what is church is that of the classic reformed tradition. She is catholic and apostolic, local and universal, invisible and visible, militant and triumphant and the gates of hell will not prevail against her. She is the bride of king Jesus and his appointed means to fulfill his great commission of preaching the gospel and baptising all the nations.

This decade has seen a further southward move of global Christianity. It is no longer a largely European based faith and the vitality of confession and witness had moved south especially to Africa. Western churches are increasingly paralysed by their abandonment of biblical faith. Liberals do not evangelise and grow. Evangelicals and charismatics do. So in the UK traditional liberal dominated churches have declined. Evangelicals and charismatics, black churches and Roman Catholics see growth. The Anglicans have been beset by the ordination of homosexual clergy, especially in the USA where they are now among the episcopate. Developing world Anglicanism will have no truck with this. The American church has been split and the intransigence of the face of ugly American episcopalian imperialism is likely to split the world wide Anglican communion. The Church of England is unlikely to see any significant exodus. Ever since 1662 the C of E has never expelled ministers and very few have repudiated its communion. Most who have left have moved to Rome, the natural destination from a church that was never fully reformed. Most have gone recently over women's ordination. More may go if women in England become bishops. Evangelical continue to stay. The cost of leaving is very considerable.

The Church of Scotland faces a similar crisis over ordination of homosexuals. Some there may leave but again, the cost especially in property is a consideration. The smaller Free Church would be a natural haven for these prospective refugees from the established church but exclusive psalmody would appear a real barrier. The Free Church which has also had a split and battles over property does show encouraging signs of questioning the exclusive psalmody stance which is encouraging for the prospect of its growth.

South of the border we have seen growth in the two small evangelical Presbyterian denominations. I have had two spells of two year terms as moderator of our presbytery. We have seen growth with two new congregations in England and six plants in progress. We have new congregations among Turks in Belgium and in Romania. There are plants in Romania, Italy and Azerbaijan too. The historic moment of being moderator came when we were able to have a presbytery meeting in the Jerusalem Chamber at Westminster Abbey. That also got one free admission to see all the abbey FOC.

Our local church in Ealing started the decade losing its pastor back to America then a time with no-one full time except a new graduate which I found difficult.Our pastoral search specified as high among our priorities a man with a British wife happy to settle in London. Too many Americans do not appreciate the strains involved in residence where though the language is allegedly in common, ways of living are different. A man applied who had no real tertiary education of any description so we did not invite him to preach. Dick Lucas heard and told us we had to hear him preach. We did. he has been our pastor for over six years now and we have seen unprecedented growth. He is an evangelist at heart, committed to staying until God calls him elsewhere, a godly young man with a great gift for contemporary expository preaching which attract people to the gospel. Under his ministry morning congregations have grow to more than our chapel can hold, evenings have gone from single figures to over 50, youth work has flourished and lunch time evangelistic services commenced in the Town hall. We have taken on an assistant pastor and a missionary to Farsi speakers. We have also been blessed with two Mission to the World families settling and the men being called as elders. Our denominations worked has also been blessed by other colleagues from the PCA working in England and other European countries. Our own session now numbers six men. Note we still are male. The only two things that prohibit consideration for eldership in our denomination are being female or a Baptist. The first qualification happily goes against the trends of the world which have invaded churches. We still believe in a male headship of loving servant authority in the spheres of family and church.

The second qualification led to the secession of most of our largest congregation. The elders wanted to ordain Baptists as elders in what was a Presbyterian church. Failing over several years to resolve the situation all the elders and most of the congregation left. Of course Baptists can be elders. But not in a church called Presbyterian.

As a denomination I do not think we have been beset by problems from emergent church, new perspective on Paul or Federal Vision. Theonomy, never a problem for us, seems to have gone downhill with the departure of RJR.

The demons of elf and safety and other arcane legislation ire upon us. Pot luck lunches are deemed unhealthy lest some visitor is poisoned. CRB checks are for all, even some of us who do not minister to children. Windows must be in all church doors. Queen Elizabeth would not have them in men's souls but the state must have them in our doors together with No Smoking signs in buildings where no visitor has ever been seen smoking. In a society not ruled by ten commandments our laws are legion.

The development of our church site has been blighted by the uncertainties of the property market. The old convent building next to us is derelict. The Chinese Embassy never gave us the requested opportunity of first refusal. It went through a couple of property developer, one of whom in total disregard of a preservation order, felled the pine tree which was over 100 years old and next to our chapel. The church though feels constrained not to repeat the procedure with one tree which will be in the way of any proposed redevelopment.

After it was declared that our last PM did not do God, it appears that our public sector is with him. Christians are increasingly marginalised. Registrars cannot opt out of the unchristian civil unions, counsellors cannot opt out from advising homosexuals in perverted acts, teachers and health care professionals offering to pray for or bless the needy face dismissal. Preachers who openly oppose homosexuality or Islam face arrest. Those who complain about public promotion of homosexuality are visited by Plod. The lunatics have taken over the asylum.

Most notable loss of the decade: Ed Clowney, friend, theologian and preacher par excellence. Anniversary of the decade, Calvin 500 in Geneva which I attened in July 2009.

North Korea Top Persecutor of Christians for Eighth Straight Time

ASSIST News Service (ANS) - PO Box 609, Lake Forest, CA 92609-0609 USA reports on Sunday, January 10, 2010

North Korea Top Persecutor of Christians for Eighth Straight Time
Iran Jumps to Second Spot on Open Doors World Watch List

By Dan Wooding
Founder of ASSIST Ministries
SANTA ANA, CA (ANS) -- Two of the most notorious and restrictive regimes in the world top the Open Doors 2010 World Watch List (WWL) of 50 countries which are the worst persecutors of Christians.

According to an Open Doors USA news release, North Korea is in the No. 1
Kim Jong-Il

spot for the eighth straight time. This reclusive country declares that every religious activity is recognized as an insurrection to the North Korean socialist principles.

In 2009, the North Korean regime of Kim Jong-Il targeted Christians all over the country. That resulted in arrests, torture and killings. North Korean leaders are desperately trying to control society in order to eradicate all Christian activities. There are an estimated 200,000 North Koreans in political prisons, including 40,000 to 60,000 Christians.

A veteran North Korean watcher, who can’t be identified due to security reasons, states: “Christians are the target of fierce government action, and once caught, are not regarded as human. Last year we had evidence that some were used as guinea pigs to test chemical and biological weapons.”

Iran is now No. 2 on the list. Iran was previously No. 3 on the WWL for many years, behind Saudi Arabia. The wave of arrests of Christians which started in 2008 continued even stronger during 2009, resulting in the arrest of at least 85 Christians. It is suspected that the arrests are a way for the Iranian government to distract attention from internal problems, including the domestic turmoil after the re-election of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. Most of those arrested were mistreated in prison. The turmoil and rioting continued at the end of 2009.

Of the countries on the top 10 list, eight have Islam as their dominant religion – Iran, Saudi Arabia, Somalia, Maldives, Afghanistan, Yemen, Mauritania and Uzbekistan. North Korea and Laos are communist countries. Also, 35 of the 50 countries on the list have Islamic governments.

“It is certainly not a shock that North Korea is No. 1 on the list of countries where Christians face the worst persecution,” says Carl Moeller, President/CEO of Open Doors USA. “There is no other country in the world where Christians are persecuted in such a horrible and systematic manner. Three generations of a family are often thrown into prison when one member is incarcerated.

“Iran jumping to No. 2 is noteworthy. Iranian Muslim Background Believers Maryam Rustampoor and Marzieh Amirzadeh were arrested simply for being Christians and refusing to recant their faith in Jesus Christ. They were released almost two months ago, helped by an advocacy campaign by Open Doors and other Christian organizations. But these two brave women along with hundreds of other believers still remain at risk inside Iran.”

Moeller adds that despite the growth of persecution in many regions of the world, Christianity continues to flourish. “There is a strong group of Christians in North Korea and actually the number of Christians in North Korea has grown in the last 10 years. Many are coming to Christ in the Muslim World. But we need to continue to embrace them in prayer in 2010.”

Saudi Arabia at No. 3 remains unchanged in the situation of religious freedom for Christians. However, no reports of Christians killed or physically harmed for their faith were received, and only one report of a Christian arrested was noted.

Open Doors USA says that Somalia moved up one spot to the No. 4 position as religious freedom for Christians became worse. In April the Parliament voted unanimously to institute Islamic law.

Rounding out the top 10 are Maldives No. 5, followed by Afghanistan, Yemen, Mauritania, Laos and Uzbekistan.

The Yemeni Constitution guarantees freedom of religion, but it also declares that Islam is the state religion and that Sharia Law is the source of all legislation. The Yemeni government allows expatriates some freedom to live out their faith, but Yemeni citizens are not allowed to convert to Christianity (or other religions). Converts from Islamic background may face the death penalty if their new faith is discovered. Last June nine expatriate Christian health workers were kidnapped by armed men. A few days later the mutilated bodies of three of them were found. The fate of the remaining six aid workers remains unknown.

New to the top 10 this year is the North African country of Mauritania, holding the No. 8 position. Mauritania jumped 10 spots, the biggest increase of any country in the poll. The situation deteriorated due to the murder of a Christian aid worker in June 2009, the arrest and torture of 35 Mauritanian Christians in July and the arrest of a group of 150 of sub-Saharan Christians in August.

The lone country to drop out of the top 10 list is the tiny African country of Eritrea, which fell from No. 9 to No. 11. Open Doors recorded fewer reports on persecution of Christians in Algeria, India, Cuba, Jordan, Sri Lanka and Indonesia, which dropped from No. 41 to No. 48 – the biggest improvement of any country in 2009.

The World Watch List, started by the Open Doors Research Department in 1991, seeks to understand the unique persecution fingerprint of each country. This is to ensure effective intervention since Open Doors ministers to the persecuted church in more than 45 countries worldwide. The data is derived from a questionnaire containing 53 questions sent to Open Doors co-workers, key church leaders and recognized experts in 70 countries. The questionnaire examines every aspect of persecution, including the degree of legal restriction, state attitudes, how free the church is to organize itself, as well as noting incidents of persecution, such as church burnings, anti-Christian riots and even martyrdom. Open Doors is uniquely positioned to provide this research as it is the world’s largest mission agency working on behalf of the persecuted.

For more information, including a list of all 50 countries, go to

(For more information or to set up an interview, contact Jerry Dykstra at 616-915-4117 or email

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Woody Allen -

In California, they don't throw their garbage away - they make it into TV shows.~Woody Allen

In my house I'm the boss, my wife is just the decision maker. - Woody Allen

Some drink deeply from the river of knowledge. Others only gargle.---Woody Allen

There are two types of people in this world: good and bad. The good sleep better, but the bad seem to enjoy the waking hours much more. Woody Allen

You can judge a society by the kind of people it celebrates. - Woody Allen

It (sex) was the most fun I ever had without laughing. -- Woody Allen, Annie Hall

Eighty percent of success is showing up --Woody Allen in Thomas J. Peters and Robert H. Waterman _In Search of Excellence_(1982)

I've often said, the only thing standing between me and greatness is me. -- Woody Allen, New Yorker 1996

Saturday, January 09, 2010

The Westminster Assembly

This was my talk given on the 350th anniversary of the Westminster Assembly and repeated at a special place in 2003 the the form below. Click on the title for photos.

The Westminster Assembly
In February 2003 the First Presbytery of the International Presbyterian Church in England was privileged to meet in the Jerusalem Chamber of Westminster Abbey, by kind permission of the Dean of Westminster. As moderator of the presbytery I gave this short address on the significance of our meeting place.

Believing that the earth is the Lord's and the fullness thereof, and that God is to be worshipped in spirit and truth, we know that ever since the curtain of the Temple was ripped from top to bottom, there have been no holy places. However, there are places of special historic significance, For us Presbyterians, the Jerusalem Chamber is the special of special places., not holy, but very special.

In 1647 the newspaper 'Perfect occurrences of everyday journal in parliament' had something of a scoop. It was the first ever newspaper advert. It was for a book, 'The divine right of church government' This was indeed a different age to our own but it was the most formative one in English history . That was the verdict of historian Christopher
Hill on the 17th century. in general and 1640-50 in particular.

1643 was a year after civil war started in England. In 1642 in the battle at Edgehill there was no clear victory for Charles I nor for Parliament. The king was victorious at Marlborough , Parliament at Winchester, and Turnham Green In 1643 Bristol, Bradford, Grantham Leeds, Reading Warfield, and Gainsborough all saw parliamentary forces victorious.
Theatres were closed, income & property taxes introduced, Hobbes was writing and
Milton too was busy with "The doctrine and discipline of divorce", Rembrandt painting in Holland and in Italy, Galileo died, This year , Isaac Newton was born. Coffee drinking was popular in Paris, Four colonies formed the Confederation of
New England, Tasmania and New Zealand were discovered, Portugal ceded the Gold Coast, now Ghana, to the Dutch. Gillespie, a Scottish commissioner to the Westminster Assembly, said an age of righteousness was to be inaugurated as per the prophet Ezekiel and it could be could be 1643. There was much millennial fever. This was the age of the Westminster Confession.

Our elders' ordination promise is 'To sincerely receive and adopt the Westminster Confession as containing the system of doctrine taught in the Holy Scriptures and to approve of the Presbyterian form of church government.' The confession is our subordinate standard after Scripture. The early church formulated the catholic creeds. The Reformation produced national confessions, but in 1618-19, the Synod of Dordt received as true by all reformed churches.

In 1643 England and Scotland were two different countries with one king. Both were united in hatred of Archbishop Laud who was imprisoned in 1641 and executed in 1645. In November 1641 the Long Parliament wanted to ban bishops and have representatives of both countries plus some from abroad to consider 'all things necessary for the peace and good government of the church'. A synod was to report to Parliament. Charles refused assent. The bill was passed without. Royal consent and 1st July 1643 was set for 'an assembly of learned and godly divines and others to be consulted with the
Parliament, for the setting of the government and liturgy of the Church of England' The Assembly met in the Henry VII Chapel of Westminster Abbey. By October it was very cold so they moved to the Jerusalem Chamber. Nearly all saw society as one
with none of modern concept of separation of church from state. They held a Puritan vision of a united Reformed Christendom as previously it was Catholic. All of England was to live in obedience to God. They wanted a national church establishment to encourage national obedience in a united society. Theirs was a different. view of the coercive power of church councils from today. They saw the entire nation to be in covenant with God. The future of the nation, not merely the church was involved.
All members were Calvinists. There were121 divines, all Church of England ministers, plus four Scottish commissioners, 10 Lords and 21 Members of Parliament.
Some didn't come because of the king, e.g. Archbishop Ussher. They met in theJerusalem Chamber until 23.March 16.52, first to revise the 39 articles of the Church of England. But the Scots, Baillie Gillespie, Rutherford and Henderson had sworn to uniform reform by the National Covenant of 1638. Baxter was not there
But said for eminent learning godliness, ministerial abilities and fidelity it was the best Synod, together with Dordt, since the days of the apostles. They had 1163 meetings.
The Scots with the right to speak but not to vote were influential for the divine
right of presbytery. The majority of the English said that Presbyterianism was most agreeable to the Word of God though their church had been Episcopalian, They were not prelatists, seeing bishops are princes of the church but as overseers of several churches. Many were still for moderate episcopacy. Some became Presbyterian.
Independents numbered 5 only, among them Goodwin and Nye . All had been exiled to Netherlands and had links with American Colonies. They were not separatists but accepted establishment though not as strongly as New England. Theirs was an influence beyond their numerical strength in the Assembly, possibly because they enjoyed widespread support in the Army, right up to Cromwell himself. There were no Baptists of any kind nor separatists who wanted no link between church and state. There were though Erastians, Coleman Lightfoot with Selden MP. They believed that pastors are teachers not church rulers. Authority rests with the state. The state is the final arbiter of discipline, excommunication. The church is under state authority. This was the view of many in Parliament. The Assembly was called by Parliament, and prohibited from publishing anything without parliamentary approval. Parliament could and did alter the All Assembly participants had implicit Erastianism.

They took an oath to maintain doctrine "most agreeable to the Word of God" and discipline "most to the glory of God and the good and peace of His Church."
Dissent was allowed but it was to be reported to parliament. Plenary sessions met and committees, Monday to -Friday, 9 to 2 except fast days. They met less frequently later. In the first year they debated meeting on December. 25th as the Scots wanted to decry
superstition and so they did meet on what had formerly been Christmas day. Initially there were three afternoon committees. Members were assigned to one but free to
go to any. All eventually discussed the same material. The Grand Committee, a joint one with the Scots, had about 20 members to report to parliament.
Baillie complained of "the unhappy and unammendable prolixity of these people,
inclined to differ from all the world and from one another and shortly from
themselves. No people had so much need of a presbytery." This Scottish opinion of the English is still relevant today. There was wearisome procrastination. It was difficult to progress in orderly fashion because of members' diversity and state influence. The
English had looked to civil authority for unity and order, but the Scots to the church. Baillie said weekly preaching before parliament and on Fast Days was with profound reverence that took the edge off all exhortation and made all applications to them toothless and adulatorous. There was a battle over liberty versus order. It spread to all society. The Scots were stricter than the English. No one said parliament was restricted to civil matters only.

Concern was raised at a book by Williams, The Bloody Tenet of persecution for cause of conscience, published 1644, and at Milton on Divorce. Palmer suggested the result of Willims' teaching would be all manners of heresies. Every man Jew, Turk, pagan, papist, Arminian, Anabaptist, would to be left to his own free liberty of conscience. Milton wrote his Areopagitica for such liberty of expression.

The Solemn League and Covenant pledged to maintain Presbyterianism in Scotland and reform the churches of England and Ireland according to Scripture and the examples of 'the best reformed churches'. Parliament and the Assembly signed it in September 1643. There was to be a uniform reformation in doctrine, order and worship. It was the price Parliament had to pay for Scotland's help against Charles I . This was why the Scottish commissioners were present. Later the political alliance failed and by 1650, the future Charles II was signing the Solemn League and Covenant, so he could enlist Scots support against Parliament.

Between July and October 1643 revising the Assembly was revising the 39 Articles. By 24 April 1644 a directory for ordination and proposition for church government was finished. It was not accepted by parliament but was by the Church of Scotland. There was church discipline for drunkenness, swearing, blasphemy, image worship, duels, dancing, gambling, Sabbath breaking, going to mediums. extortion, bribery and fraud. In
1644 a big parliament victory at Marston Moor established the authority of Oliver Cromwell. His secret was his disciplined cavalry, the only ones who would reform and charge again instead of the customary cavalry habit of riding off after one charge in order to loot the enemy's baggage train. "God made them as stubble to our swords", Cromwell would write. He was a godly man with a keen sense of the providence of God in all events. His army took York. The Queen fled to France. That year Rutherford published Lex Rex, to show God's law rules, even over Kings. But the assembly was bogged down in eclessiology. There was a breach in the spring of 1645 between Presbyterians and Independents. It is significant that this happened when the army triumphed. In 1645 Naseby, Bristol, Winchester, Carlisle, Basingstoke were all victories for Lt-General Cromwell.

1645 accepted the Directory for Public Worship by the churches and parliament. It was not a liturgy. Preaching was emphasised. Parliament told the Assembly to go on to the Confession and stop the church government. debate. There was trouble over the relation of church courts to parliament and Chapter 30 declared the church free from
parliament overruling excommunication. This clash with the Erastian parliament reopened the church government dispute. The Assembly never formally answered parliament's queries. The Confession's most notable omission is any clear statement of Presbyterian church government. This is understandable once one knows the history of conflict in the Assembly and with parliament.

1646 saw Oxford fall and Charles captured. The Confession not the Assembly's prime task but it was done by April 1647. The king at Carisbrooke agreed to abolish
Episcopacy and restore Presbyterianism. November 5th 1647 saw the completion of the Shorter Catechism. On 13 October 1647 Parliament established a Presbyterian Church of England for one year but Cromwell did not favour this.
14.April 1648 the Longer catechism was finished and approved by the Church of Scotland. But by now Scotland and England were at war. The English were victorious at. Preston and later at Dunbar

1649 saw civil approval of the Westminster Standards in Scotland .Bur when Charles was executed the Scots proclaimed his son king in Edinburgh.
22 February 1649 was the end of the Assembly's numbered sessions but until it continued until 16 52 as ministerial training committee.

In 1660 a modified, less Presbyterian version of the Confession was accepted by parliament but the mood had changed in England by this time 2 years after Cromwell had died

1658 saw the Savoy Declaration, the Congregational confession and in 1689 Baptist Confession Both based on the Westminster Confession. In 1729 it was adopted by the original synod in North America

Now or Confession enjoys the voluntary adhesion of multitudes where this English nation failed to confess it. Now liberals fail to confess while we fail to teach it. Our Confession is a product of its age. But what an age, and what a product.

Solei Deo Gloria

Friday, January 08, 2010

Churches Attacked In Malaysia

Friday, January 8, 2010 Developing story by Michelle MY Chan
Special to ASSIST News Service
KUALA LUMPUR, WEST MALAYSIA (ANS) -- Three churches were attacked here in the early hours of yesterday morning, an act which had been linked to a High Court ruling to allow the use of the word Allah in Christian publications.
None were injured in the attacks on Metro Tabernacle, Assumption Catholic Church and the Life Chapel (Brethren) Church, but the incident caused a stir of unease throughout the country, where the High Court on 31st December 2009 allowed the publication of the word Allah.
The country’s Home Ministry, which had initiated court proceedings, had appealed against the decision, and applied for a stay of execution which had been granted.
Meanwhile, Muslim groups unhappy with the court’s decision planned nationwide protests, which were allowed by the government. The attack on churches happened after permission was granted to hold protests.
Metro Tabernacle, an Assemblies of God denomination, had the first of its three-floor building gutted by a homemade firebomb. The other two churches discovered Molotov cocktails that failed to explode on their church grounds.
The Allah controversy in Malaysia interlinks the political, judiciary and religious landscapes. The debate has escalated with furore online, with arguments from both sides over the exclusivity of the word. Muslim groups are concerned that the usage of Allah in bibles will cause confusion to Muslims as to who God is.
The word Allah had been used in pre-Islam times as a translation for “God”, according to the Bible Society of Malaysia. In a statement, it said that Christians in Egypt, Lebanon, Iraq, Indonesia, Malaysia, Brunei - and other places in Asia and Africa where languages are in contact with Arabic - have been using the word Allah to refer to the “Creator God and the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.”
In Malay and Indonesian, the word Allah has been used continuously: first, in the printed edition of the Matthew’s Gospel in Malay (Ruyl, 1629); then, in the first complete Malay Bible (Leijdecker, 1733), and in the second complete Malay Bible (Klinkert, 1879) and the translations since.
Across the South China Sea in East Malaysia (Borneo), indigenous tribes had embraced Christianity and used Allah in their bibles for many decades.

The controversy and subsequent outbreak of violence on churches have caused concern, amid the police requesting the public to keep calm.
In a press statement, the National Evangelical Christian Fellowship (NECF), said, “It should be noted that in both East and West Malaysia, there are many churches conducting their religious services in Malay as well as in their own mother tongues. The use of the word Allah is in consonant with their traditional usage all these while and should be continued in the interest of preserving national unity and harmony.”
NECF urged all parties to uphold the court's decision and not to turn the issue into a religious debate nor politicized as a racial or religious affair. “The High Court decision should be respected for its bold and rational judgment based on sound constitutional principles and due considerations,” it continued.
Prayer Points by NECF:
1. Body of Christ in Malaysia to rise up and stand in the gap for peace, order and calmness in the nation. Diffuse all confusion, speculation and subdue all voices that promote unrest and tension.
2. Church leaders and Body of Christ to be clear-minded and filled with His love, wisdom and courage in the midst of intimidation.
3. Forgiveness and conviction on the part of those responsible.
4. Protection upon all churches and Christians in the nation.
5. Quick and decisive action on part of enforcement authorities, and for understanding and peace to prevail.
6. Uphold the Prime Minister, Home Minister and leaders of the country for wisdom to handle the current situation, and for God’s will to prevail.
Malaysia consists of West (Peninsula) Malaysia and East Malaysia (Borneo). It is a multi-racial country with a constitution that protects the freedom of religion for its citizens, while Islam is the official religion.
However, it also has a dual judicial system, with the federal courts operating alongside the Syariah (Muslim) courts. Matters relating to a Muslim individual’s religion are often referred to the Syariah court. Under Syariah law it is very difficult to leave the religion.
Christians make up about 10% of the population. Buddhists and Hindus complete the religious landscape.
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The Most Newsworthy Events of 2009

Albert Mohler, President of the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary lists these.
1. The Inauguration of Barack Obama as President of the United States
2. The Uprising in Iran
3. The Travail of the Global Economy
4. The Death of Michael Jackson and the Nation's Addiction to Celebrity
5. The Rise of Twitter and the Growing Domination of Social Media
6. The Battle over Heath Care Reform
7. The Leftward March of Liberal Protestantism
8. The Climate Summit in Copenhagen
9. The Swine Flu Epidemic and the New International Hygiene
10. The Spotlight on Private Scandals and Public Consequences

I am English so mine are different. I will also choose from an individual Christian perspective as if I was a news editor.

1. The banking scandal. Not just the bonuses and pensions but stealing our money while cheques clear.
2. Parliamentary expenses scandal. Too many snouts in too big a trough.
3. Anti-Christian, secularist dhimmi media bias, especially the BEEB.
4. The Islamist threat compounded by the human rights act.
5. Loss of British lives in Afghanistan where Christians have to be in secret.
6. The scandal of membership of an undemocratic super state which has no audited accounts.
7. The rise of the Nutories and the decline of Nulabour with the rats wanting to change the captain of a sinking ship but no party wanting to roll back the state and dependency culture.
8. The loss of freedom of speech due to hate crime folly.
9. A thermosceptic climate mania critique.
10. The southward move of Christian orthodoxy.

Thursday, January 07, 2010

How the world changed in the Past Decade. Part 5 - Technology and Science

When I was a child in the fifties I thought how the world had changed since my grandparents were young. The major revolution was in transportation, going from horses on the ground to jets in the air. How could the world change so much in my lifetime? The answer is in the technology of communication. When I was young there was not even a phone in the house. Now everyday life is interrupted by the noise of others on their mobiles. We had no TV. After we got one around 1959 there were no live broadcasts from other continents. I remember the first live broadcast from the US via the Goonhilly Down receiver. Now geostationary satellites inform my Sat Nav. Getting a GPS has been one of my advances this decade.

But the advance of the decade is broadband. I was on dial up 10 years ago. Now we are quicker. Skype is a new boon. New friends are now on Facebook.

In science the major debate is global warming. I write in the coldest time in England for 37 years. We are told this is weather not climate. Climate change seems to be a non-falsifiable article of faith for many. The media bombard us with it. We are told it is eithical to travel. We are to save the planet. The government bombards us with advertisements and relishes the imposition of green taxes the way the 18th century one taxed windows. Children feel their future threatened. I am a thermosceptic. There is warming but there always have been cycles. Is it to do with CO2 emissions. I doubt it as mars is warming up too and they have no emissions from fossil fuels. I am as sceptical about scientists predicting the future as about them pontificating on the unobservable past. For that reason, that science can say nothing without observation I am also a sceptic about evolutionism. Natural selection is observable. The start of the universe was not. The former is science. The latter is mere speculation. God only knows. He alone observed and gave us His account. I put not my trust in princes nor in scientists like Dawkins when they stray beyond their fields of competence.

Wednesday, January 06, 2010

SECRET - Conservative & Unionist/UKIP Deal ???

Alliance for Democracy Bulletin by Steve Uncles


A highly ranked source on UKIP's NEC (UKIP's governing body) has
confirmed the existence of a deal between the Conservative
leadership and Nigel Farage, ex-leader of UKIP and currently the
UKIP leader in the European Parliament.

Apparently Farage is being secretly backed by the Tory
leadership, as a proxy, to oust John Bercow, Speaker of the

John Bercow is very unpopular with the Conservative
Parliamentary Party for his expressed sympathies for
'New Labour'. His election to the office of Speaker was only
possible because of overwhelming support from the Parliamentary
Labour Party, calculated to embarrass the Conservative front

John Bercow's wife has also confirmed her ambition to represent
Labour in the Commons, which has caused further irritation
amongst Conservative MPs.

According to the UKIP NEC member: "If the wheeler-dealer Farage
is elected, Bercow will lose his seat. Farage will then resign
shortly afterwards, creating a by-election which the
Conservatives will win, thereby adding to their number in what
may be an extremely thin Conservative majority or possibly a
hung Parliament."

Under new rules, MPs are not permitted to serve in the European
Parliament. Farage would be loath to resign his European
Parliamentary seat and the generous salary, perks and allowances
he receives, and not least his co-leadership of one of the
groupings within the Parliament. He will therefore resign his
Westminster seat, repeating a claim he has often stated that
real power lies in the EU anyway.

The existence of such a deal is likely to cause disagreement
within UKIP. Already, UKIP’s new leader, Lord Pearson, has faced
considerable opposition from rank-and-file membership. This
follows the revelation of a deal where Pearson proposed to stand
UKIP down in the general election in return for a promise by the
Conservatives to hold a referendum on the Lisbon Treaty. The
Conservatives dismissed the approach, which will have been made
with Farage's knowledge.

This time, however, the Conservative leadership is particularly
keen to see the back of John Bercow.

According to sources in the local Conservative Constituency
Association in Buckingham, "Something untoward is going on
behind the scenes but if it is true Farage is involved, we
must appreciate that he is heavily tainted in his own expenses'
controversy involving £2m. He is not someone we would want to
represent Buckingham, deal or no deal."

Our source speculates that if Farage is elected in Buckingham
and then duly resigns, he will receive a Peerage a year or two
later. Under the new rules, Peers are permitted to sit in the
European Parliament.

Equality Bill Petition

I wish to alert you to amendments to the Equality Bill that are to be voted on in the House of Lords on 14th Jan which potentially will take away the right of every citizen to live according to their religious faiths and consciences, especially with regard to employment and the way their places of worship operate. The Equality Bill will strike out all exemptions on the basis of religion which will mean that all will have to conform to secularist values and ideology. Whether in our places of worship, the workplace and even the home.
Please sign the on- line petition to the Prime minister asking for the removal of Schedule 9, Paragraph 2, subsection 8 of the Equality Bill which can be found at:
This petition reaches out not just to Christians, who will be most affected by this legislation, but to people of all faiths and none: all those who value the freedoms that have cost the lives of millions of our ancestors over many centuries to live according to their consciences. We are looking for at least a million signatures by the 14th of Jan but the petition will remain open until the election, in three months time, so as to send a strong message to the contesting parties.
By not signing the petition you are inviting your own oppression.

The Equality Bill's employment provisions reflect a fundamental misunderstanding of the nature of faith and the religious life. To commit oneself to a faith or follow a religion is much more than to give intellectual assent to a particular set of doctrinal propositions or express a desire to worship in particular ways. In their truest form the life of faith, the religious life, is just that - a way of living in which people manifest the values and beliefs about God and humankind. These values and beliefs are incorporated into the lifestyle of persons following a religion; they are not an 'optional extra to formal worship and/or doctrinal instruction. So to attempt to separate behaviour, ethics and way of life from 'doctrine' or 'formal worship' is to strike at the heart of what constitutes faith. To insist on such a distinction in law, as the Equality Bill's current proposal does, is actually to deny people the fundamental right to freedom of worship and religion.

The Employment Equality (Sexual Orientation) Regulations 2003 provide exceptions relating to sexual orientation where the employment is for the purposes of organized religion.

The Church of England and the Catholic Bishops Conference of England and Wales have pointed out that if enacted the current bill will restrict the 2003 regulations substantially so that they only apply to employment where it concerns formal worship activities (liturgy) or the promotion or explanation of doctrine.

There is a range of posts, paid or voluntary, where it is essential that a religious organisation should have the right to prefer a candidate whose life is in accordance with its ethos (with particular reference to its requirements for sexual conduct). For example, youth workers are specifically stated in the guidance notes of the Equality Bill as not being covered by the narrowed exemption. Leading worship and teaching doctrine is in most cases not the main task of youth workers. The proposed legislation could leave organizations in the unacceptable position of having a person leading worship services or teaching doctrine among young people who does not comply with the sexual ethos they are required to teach.

The Bill could result in the legal obligation to employ individuals whose sexual practice or beliefs are directly opposed to the teaching which the organization professes and follows. The Bill as drafted would deny to religious organizations the freedoms afforded to others, for example political parties, to employ only those who comply with their beliefs and values.

We therefore invite you to sign the enclosed petition and encourage others so to do.
As people from all walks of life, political parties, professions and religious faiths, we the undersigned have joined together to commit ourselves to reaffirm the value and necessity of religious and civil liberty and the rights of conscience across the UK today.

We believe that religion and civil liberty must include the right to live and speak according to one's conscience privately and in the public sphere, both individually and collectively, without harassment or the fear of civil or criminal penalty.

In particular, we ask that the current employment provisions set out in Schedule 9, Paragraph 2, subsection 8 of the Equality Bill (the occupational requirements relating to sex, marriage and sexual orientation for the purposes of organised religion) be removed. These restrict the rights of religious bodies to employ personnel who conform to their teachings only if their duties are confined to worship activities or the explanation of doctrine.

The proposed subsection mistakenly set out in Schedule 9, Paragraph 2, subsection 8 of the Equality Bill seeks to deny integrity and authentic practical religion by separating religious belief and observance from behaviour and denies to religious groups rights that are extended to all other organisations, to employ only those who conform to their beliefs, practices and ethos.
The petition reads as follows:
Remove the current employment provisions set out in Schedule 9, Paragraph 2, subsection 8 of the Equality Bill (the occupational requirements relating to sex, marriage and sexual orientation for the purposes of organised religion). These restrict the rights of religious bodies to employ personnel who conform to their teachings only if their duties are confined to worship activities or the explanation of doctrine.
As people from all walks of life, political parties, professions and religious faiths, we the undersigned have joined together to commit ourselves to reaffirm the value and necessity of religious and civil liberty and the rights of conscience across the UK today.

We believe that religion and civil liberty must include the right to live and speak according to one's conscience privately and in the public sphere, both individually and collectively, without harassment or the fear of civil or criminal penalty.

The proposed employment provisions set out in Schedule 9, Paragraph 2, subsection 8 of the Equality Bill (the occupational requirements relating to sex, marriage and sexual orientation for the purposes of organised religion) mistakenly seeks to deny integrity and authentic practical religion by separating religious belief and observance from behaviour and denies to religious groups rights that are extended to all other organisations, to employ only those who conform to their beliefs, practices and ethos.

How the world changed in the Past Decade. Part 4 - The English are all criminals until proven otherwise.

The presumption of innocence – being considered innocent until proven guilty – is a legal right that the accused in criminal trials has in both countries This presumption is seen to stem from the Latin legal principle that ei incumbit probatio qui dicit, non qui negat (the burden of proof rests on who asserts, not on who denies committed the crime with which he is charged. The presumption of innocence is in fact a legal instrument created by the law to favor the accused based on the legal inference that most people are not criminals—whether the crime charged was committed and whether the defendant was the person who committed the crime—the state has the entire burden of proof.
With respect to the critical facts of the case, the defendant does not have any burden of proof whatsoever. The defendant does not have to testify, call witnesses or present any other evidence, and if the defendant elects not to testify or present evidence, this decision cannot be used against him.
The Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms of the Council of Europe says (art. 6.2): “Everyone charged with a criminal offence shall be presumed innocent until proved guilty according to law”. This convention has been adopted by treaty and is binding on all Council of Europe members.
In the United Kingdom, statue law provides for criminal penalties for failing to decrypt data on request from the Police. If the suspect is unwilling (or unable) to do so, it is an offence. [6] Citizens can therefore be convicted and imprisoned without any proof that the encrypted material was unlawful. Further, the onus is on the defendant to decrypt the data, and having lost the key or the password is not considered reasonable excuse.
Modern practices aimed at curing social ills may run against presumption of innocence. Some civil rights activists feel that pre-employment drug testing, while legal, violates this principle, as potential employees are presumed to be users of illegal drugs, and must prove themselves innocent through the test..

More pressing for me is that in England I am now a paedophile, money launderer and illegal immigrant unless I prove otherwise..

After the murder of two young girls in Soham, a crime which could have been prevented if police forces shared information, anyone working with children has to have a criminal Records Bureau Check. Our church complied. You correspondent resisted as he has no more contact with church children than does any visitor to our fellowship. But the church needed to register with the Charity Commission. They require all church charity trustees to have a CRB check. Elders are ex officio trustees. So in what I regard as an interference of state in church, this elder has had to have a CRB check. I was not aware that the pastoral Epistles list this as a qualification to be a presbyter. Of course once you introduce silly laws stupidity knows no bounds. If you pass a CRB check for your church you will have to take another for any other contact you have elsewhere with children. It turns out someone with a resemblance to me has a criminal record so my CRB clearance requires fingerprinting. Does Plod really have a record of someone with my full name and the same date and place of birth?

After 9/11, to prevent money laundering by Islamists, I have to have my identity checked when opening a bank account and even to give money to my son to buy a house. The latest fiasco I unearthed when I was told to check the identity of all my employees. I asked it this was only non British citizens. No I was informed. Equal Opportunities means you must have ID from everyone and best check it each year.

I am also suspected of drink driving. Plod can pull me over at any time for no reason whatsoever and make me blow into a breathalyser.

I nearly forgot. I am a suspect terrorist too. I photographed the pub after I took my stall for lunch there. I was questioned by a police officer as to why I was using my camera. The Chief Rabbi’s office is down the street and Islamists placed a bomb there some fifteen years ago. Well I suppose I do have a big beard as well as a camera.

Our innocence has gone. A bishop about to place his hands on a child to give his blessing was shocked to hear the child say,'Get your hands off me dirty old man'. A cardinal archbishop no less was told by parents they had trained their child not to accept an embrace from any stranger when their toddler ran from his approach. We have become an unfriendly police state.

Last of all my professional competence is questioned. When I qualified as a pharmacist, that was it. No more checks. Now there is annual fitness to practice declaration, compulsory continuing education and a paper trail for all my activities including an annual report of written complains when I have never had one in 41 years since I qualified. I have to make an annual survey of customer satisfaction when anyone not satisfied can merely go to the next pharmacy. The country is run by bureaucrats to keep public sector bums on seats. All professions are expected to do more writing about work than actual work. Trust is no more.

How the world changed in the Past Decade. Part 3. Where is freedom of speech today?

Back in the mid sixties I was an undergraduate in London studying pharmacy. One of my friends in hall of residence was a post-doctoral student from the then Czechoslovakia. One day I asked him what one thing from England he would like to take home. He told me it was Speakers Corner, Hyde Park.

The UK has long been home to freedom of speech. In the 19th century Karl Marx and Engels found liberty here when hounded out of Germany for revolutionary views. England is now a refuge for many Islamists who face persecution in their own lands. But now our freedoms are being eroded. Supposed hate speech laws are restricting public discourse. Even our supposed free press is afraid. Why else did no-one here have the courage of Denmark to publish the Mohammed cartoons? They were afraid of the consequences. These days, if a Christian street preach dares to mention Islam or homosexuality in a critical manner he or she may face arrest. Nor only preachers are at risk. A hotelier expressed to a Muslim guest his criticism of Islam. He is to be prosecuted for religiously aggravated public disorder. So I think I must be careful what I write here.

It is also reported that we will soon come under an EU law which means that if I publicly read Bible texts on homosexual sin and someone is offended, I may be charged with hate speech and the burden will be on me to prove it not hateful. The offence to the complainant will be being accepted as he or she has complained. This is an intolerable affront to the legal presumption of innocence until proven guilty. As a Christian I believe God alone knows our hearts, so for courts to judge motivation as aggravating some crimes is a peering into men's souls which no human court is competent to do. Recently a homosexual friend was beaten up walking home. I asked if it was a homophobic attack. He said he did not know. He agreed with me that his attackers’ motivation was irrelevant. If found guilty they should be sentenced according to the severity of the assault. Why they may have done it was irrelevant unless their was robbery too.

Twenty three years ago I started out in local politics because I was against my local council telling schoolchildren that homosexuality was an equally valid lifestyle choice. Mrs Thatcher passed a law prohibiting local councils from promoting homosexuality. Blair repealed the law and he has the support of present leader of the Conservatives. I left that party when it departed from Christian sexual ethics. Things I then openly talked about in public will now be regarded as criminal offences.

A Christian pensioner, Mrs Pauline Howe, 67, said she was the victim of a number of sexually explicit verbal attacks while she handed out Christian leaflets a a gay pride parade.
So she he complained to the Chief Executive of Norwich City Council because of the abuse she suffered at the homosexual carnival in the city on 25 July.
Two police officers came knocking on her door saying her letter was homophobic and might be be treated a ‘hate incident’.
Mrs Howe had written.“It is the public display of such indecency on the streets of Norwich which is so offensive to God and to many Norwich residents.”
She used biblical language to describe homosexual acts saying, they had contributed to the downfall of empires and that they were a cause of sexually transmitted infections .
Bridget Buttinger, deputy chief executive at the council, wrote to Mrs Howe , warning that she could face the charge of a criminal offence for such views.
“As a local authority we have a duty along with other public bodies to eliminate discrimination of all kinds,” she wrote.
“A hate incident is any incident that is perceived by the victim or any other person as being motivated by prejudice or hatred. A hate crime is any hate incident that constitutes a criminal offence.The content of your letter has been assessed as potentially being hate related because of the views you expressed towards people of a certain sexual orientation.Your details and details of the content of your letter have been recorded as such and passed to the Police.”
The police defended the decision to send officers to question Mrs Howe. They said anything reported as a crime must be investigated.
Where is freedom of speech today?

Tuesday, January 05, 2010


Barnabbas Fund reports 'While Muslim leaders are criticising the Swiss vote to ban the construction of minarets in Switzerland, Christians in some Muslim-majority countries face severe restrictions on the building and repair of churches. In countries such as Saudi Arabia and the Maldives there are no church buildings at all. In a number of other countries, there are church buildings for foreigners but none for the indigenous Christians themselves.

The referendum decision on 29 November 2009 in Switzerland is beginning to have ramifications in other countries around the world. In Egypt there has been a huge outcry against the Swiss decision, which concerned only minarets, not mosques themselves. But Egypt is a country where it is normally extremely difficult for Christians to get permission to build new churches or even repair the existing ones. Christians are forced to travel long distances to worship or must meet in secret in their homes due to an insufficient number of church buildings. Furthermore, recent months have seen a spate of attacks on church buildings.

In Turkey, on 4 December 2009, the leader of a church with a bell tower was approached by three people who threatened him, saying "Switzerland is banning minarets and we will ban bell towers to you. You will demolish the bell tower by next Friday." The police were informed of the incident and are now providing security for the church. A recent survey in Turkey has found that nearly 40% of the population has negative views of Christians, while over 50% of those surveyed said non-Muslims should not be allowed to hold open meetings where they can discuss their ideas and should not be allowed to publish literature that describes their faith.

A recent review of prominent events posted on various Islamist terrorist internet forums in December 2009 highlighted the following comment, "Switzerland is a fragile country which has always kept away from the conflict arena, but now is like other heretic countries in Europe and is placing itself at the top of the list of the sheep to be slaughtered by the Mujahideen".

• Pray for all Christians who are living in countries where they are the minority faith and facing such prejudice against them. Pray that they may know the peace and guidance of the Lord Jesus.

• Pray that officials in Egypt and Turkey will act justly to uphold religious freedom for all and provide protection for local Christians and the buildings they need for worship and ministry.'

When will Western governments speak out on behalf of persecuted Christians?

Monday, January 04, 2010

How the world changed in the Past Decade. Part 2 Politics

The politics of the past decade in the UK have been dominated by Blair and his New Labour. Blair espouses a privatised kind of Christianity which does not seem to refresh the parts of his being which decide his voting on matters of sexual morality. I do wonder how his politics would have been different if he was an atheist. He was sensible enough to delay announcing his conversion to Rome until after he left office.

His fall from esteem with the electorate co-incided with his decision to join the invasion of Iraq. Ironically this was his only major policy I supported. My support was because I favour the overthrow of murderous tyrants. With 20-20 hindsight I would not now be in favour of any invasion of an Islamic country to try and do it a favour. Muslims will never thank kafirs for such an intervention. The exception here is the Kurds. They are happy to have been liberated. Ironically Christians still in Iraq are more fearful than they were under tyrant Saddam.

Why did we invade? The reasons given are various. WMDs were not there except for some chemical or biological weapons.Was it for oil? Regime change was not a sufficient reason. Mugabe is still on seat as we say in Africa. It cannot surely have been to stop Alqaeeda.The other reason I have heard is that the US wanted a middle eastern base outside of Saudi for their presence in that holy land is so unpopular with Muslims. Whatever the reasons, forward planning for after the invasion seems to have been lacking.

The invasion of Afghanistan was to destroy Alquaeds's base and find Osama. But the Pashtuns still support the most oppressive Islamic regime ever and the war does seem increasingly unwinnable. Public opinion is moving away from support as we daily hear of our boys being killed. As to an exit strategy, what can there be in a country that had only ever been a place of waring tribes, except for those times when it was invaded and the tribes united to defeat the invader?

Zimbabwe remains a scandal. Mugabe has the support of fellow African leaders because turkeys do not vote for Christmas.

The US had three presidents in the decade. Slick Willy Clinton was the darling of our liberal media as is the new messiah, Obama. Bush was denigrated as stupid because he lacked the facility for oral communication evidenced by the other presidents.

The world has gone into recession because of irresponsible bankers who continue to be paid inordinate amounts. Governments intervened because when trust is faltering paper currency must be supported lest the whole house of cards falls down.

The EU continues to expand and demand more conformity from member states. It sees itself as a rival world power.It has no audited accounts. Its parliament does not make the rules. It is a trough for the snouts of politicians and bureaucrats. We should be out of it. If the electorate frustrate it, they are made to vote again as in Ireland.Babel is now in Brussels.

Venal politicians have been exposed at Westminster too. The House of Lords remains unreformed because an elected upper chamber would be a greater challenge to the executive running the Commons. As it is the Parliament Act has been used with unprecedented frequency to push through legislation the Lords rejected.

Mrs Thatcher changed Labour forever. They had to move from the left towards the centre to be elected. So Blair was Maggie's creation. Similarly, Cameron's NuTorys are Blairs doing. He has moved them to the centre ground. Cameron voted to remove the legislation which prevented the promotion of homosexuality in schools. He does not deserve the name Conservative. There is no clear blue water. If he wins the next election he will be in deep economic mire.

Devolution is a farce with a Welsh talking shop that cannot legislate and a Scottish one that can but refuses to tax. There and in N Ireland we have devolved governments for places with a population a fraction of the Greater London area. Meanwhile Scottish MPs can vote on legislation for England in matters where they have no say in Scotland. Is this representative democracy? University fees and residential care are paid for Scotland. Prescription charges have gone in Wales and soon will go everywhere except England. Why are the English so supine as not to protest? The biggest shock of devolved government is NI power sharing between the DUP and Sinn Fein. This is the world's most unlikely civil partnership brought about by the Good Friday Agreement with Uncle Tony's 'get out of jail free cards'. But the troops are off the streets. The road blocks are no more. This one bit of good news.

The state continues to be the idol of the people and it welcomes their adulation encouraging the dependency culture. We have a surveillance society with more CCTV snooping than any other country. We are due to have ID cards. We are not free to photograph in public places without police questioning. We are paedophiles, money launderers, illegal immigrants and drunken drivers until we prove otherwise but that is another article

I am a member a the Christian peoples Alliance, a Christian political party. We have three councillors in one London borough but it is a difficult task to convince Christians of the need for a distinctive Christian witness. main line parties are secularist and humanistic. A Christian party is to witness to Christ in the sphere of politics. Christians do not see it. Politics cannot be separate from faith. The CPA is far to the left of many of my views but I am in it because I believe in the principle of Christian witness in politics.

I have found this article most depressing to write. Put not your trust in princes is a text all too little taken to heart.