Monday, November 30, 2015

November 30: Jonathan Parsons [1705-1776]

One More Presbyterian Minister Stands for Liberty
by David T. Myers.
“Men of America,” the Presbyterian minister in Massachusetts preached, “citizens of this great country hanging upon the precipice of war, loyalty to England lies behind you, broken by the acts of the mother country – a cruel mother, deaf to the voice of liberty and right; duty to freedom, duty to your country, duty to God is before you; your patriotism is brought to the test; I call upon those ready to volunteer for the defense of the provinces against British tyranny to step into the 'broad aisle.'” Those who did step into that church aisle became the first volunteers to join the Continental Army and fight in the Battle of Bunker Hill. A political liberty became his emphasis in those days.
Such rhetoric was more commonly found among Presbyterian pastors than any other denomination in the days and years of the American Revolution. It was no wonder that the Revolutionary War was characterized in England as the Presbyterian Rebellion. And one of those Presbyterian ministers leading the charge was Jonathan Parsons.
Born November 30, 1705, he was the youngest son of church deacon Ebenezer Parsons and his wife Margaret Marshfield of Springfield, Massachusetts. This line of Parsons could be traced back hundreds of years in England and later, equally forward for a long time in America. Jonathan Parsons was influenced by the Rev. Jonathan Edwards to enter Yale, which he did at age twenty. Edwards, along with others, taught him theology as he prepared for the ministry.
Graduating in 1729, Parsons entered first into the pulpit of the Congregational Church of Lyme, Connecticut in 1731. Married to Phebe Griswold, the oldest daughter of the town's leading family, Jonathan gained much in the material realm in the first decade of his ministry. And he lived that advantage to the fullest. It was said that “he had a passion for fine clothes, for gold and silver, and for lacy ruffled shirt fronts.”
All this came into direct confrontation with the effects of the Great Awakening in America. Suffering doubts regarding the reality of his own personal conversion, he struggled long and hard in his own mind until “the doctrine of salvation by faith burst on his mind.” The result was that his pulpit preaching became marked by greater earnestness and simplicity as he expounded the sufferings of Christ and His undying love for sinners. Rev. Parson's ministry was now characterized by a spiritual vigor and a renewed freedom in preaching the Gospel of grace.
This embrace of the Great Awakening was enhanced by his meeting and subsequent cooperation with George Whitefield in the 1740's. The latter entered his pulpit in Lyme twice. While reviving many with the doctrines of grace proclaimed without reservation, eventually the congregation suffered a schism. And so it was that Parsons was dismissed from the Congregational pulpit in 1745.
With help from Whitefield, Jonathan Parsons became the pastor of the Old South Presbyterian Church in Newburyport, Massachusetts. He would serve the Lord for thirty years, in which time the congregation became one of the largest churches in New England. It was to this congregation that George Whitefield would visit in 1770, and indeed Whitefield breathed his last and was translated to heaven there in the parsonage of Jonathan Parsons. His body was laid beneath the pulpit of that church, and though later moved a short distance, Whitefield's remains are still there. Yet a few more years and Whitefield was joined on July 19, 1776 with the passing of his friend Jonathan Parsons.
Words to Live By:
Jonathan Parsons is a good example of what happens when the Gospel of the Lord Jesus fills our hearts and minds by the power of the Holy Spirit. Strive to so live and breathe that you always remain close to your Lord and Savior. Then watch to see how the Lord will indeed use you to His glory, in His kingdom.
From GJW
I note that a Presbyterian has no altar so no altar calls. The idea of an aisle call is something else :-

IM David Barnes (1953-2015)

Late on Saturday night I received a call from our pastor Paul. His voice was troubled as he said, ‘There is no easy way to say this. David Barnes has died from a massive heart attack.’ He had been watching the local team in North Greenford Viewing local football was David’s usual Saturday afternoon pastime. On Sunday I had a message from Lesley asking me not to put anything on Facebook as the family would tell people. Last night seeing how many friends were posting messages I decidedI should write this short tribute. I had known David for over 33 years end counted him one of my closest friends. Christian friendship triumphed over differing sporting and political allegiances. If asked for one phrase to sum up David it has to be “full of good works”.  If heaven were attained on good deeds, David would be at the front of the queue for both his public and private life. Of course we know David is in heaven now, not because of what he did but because of the work of the Saviour in whom he trusted and in whose resurrection we know David will share for David died firm in the faith. That Saturday morning he had been witnessing at our church book table in Greenford. In public life David the solicitor specialised in family law advocating the cause of disadvantaged children and parents in the courts. In private life he was passionate in prayer, evangelism, for the unborn child and mothers and for the homeless. He appeared to me to have an amazing ability to show a cheerful disposition even when undergoing  major problems in work and home. He served for some years as an elder in our church and I think he had been a deacon too. He was a very affectionate brother to me and a faithful one when counsel or rebuke was needed. I will end with a little humour. David reminded me of the television portrayal of Rumpole of the Baily, a lovable clever and able advocate. I think they both appeared at the Uxbridge Magistrates Court. David of course was a solicitor not a barrister. His labours now as a lawyer are ended. I mourn his loss with tears. Mourning is for those of us left behind. For David, troubles are over. He is with Christ which is far better The trumpets have sounded for David on the other side. My thoughts, love and prayers are with Lesley, Rosie, Pete, Tom and Elaine.

Friday, November 27, 2015

The 2015 Darwin Awards

The annual honour given to the persons who did the gene pool the biggest service by killing themselves in the most extraordinarily stupid way. Last year's winner was the fellow who was killed by a Coke machine which toppled over on top of him as he was attempting to tip a free soda out.
This year's winner was a real rocket scientist... HONEST! Read on...And remember that each and every one of these is TRUE.
And the nominees were:
Semifinalist #1
A young Canadian man, searching for a way of getting drunk cheaply, because he had no money with which to buy alcohol, mixed gasoline with milk. Not surprisingly, this concoction made him ill, and he vomited into the fireplace in his house. The resulting explosion and fire burned his house down, killing both him and his sister.
Semifinalist #2
Three Brazilian men were flying in a light aircraft at low altitude when another plane approached. It appears that they decided to moon the occupants of the other plane, but lost control of their own aircraft and crashed. They were all found dead in the wreckage with their pants around their ankles.
Semifinalist #3
A 22-year-old Reston, VA, man was found dead after he tried to use octopus straps to bungee jump off a 70-foot railroad trestle. Fairfax County police said Eric Barcia, a fast food worker, taped a bunch of these straps together, wrapped an end around one foot, anchored the other end to the trestle at Lake Accotink Park , jumped and hit the pavement. Warren Carmichael, a police spokesman, said investigators think Barcia was alone because his car was found nearby. 'The length of the cord that he had assembled was greater than the distance between the trestle and the ground,' Carmichael said.
Police say the apparent cause of death was 'Major trauma.'
Semifinalist #4
A man in Alabama died from rattlesnake bites. It seems that he and a friend were playing a game of catch, using the rattlesnake as a ball. The friend – no doubt a future Darwin Awards candidate - was hospitalized.
Semifinalist #5
Employees in a medium-sized warehouse in west Texas noticed the smell of a gas leak. Sensibly, management evacuated the building extinguishing all potential sources of ignition; lights, power, etc. After the building had been evacuated, two technicians from the gas company were dispatched. Upon entering the building, they found they had difficulty navigating in the dark. To their frustration, none of the lights worked. Witnesses later described the sight of one of the technicians reaching into his pocket and retrieving an object that resembled a cigarette lighter!
Upon operation of the lighter-like object, the gas in the warehouse exploded, sending pieces of it up to three miles away. Nothing was found of the technicians, but the lighter was virtually untouched by the explosion.
The technician suspected of causing the blast had never been thought of as ''bright'' by his peers.
Now, the winner of this year's Darwin Award (awarded, as always, posthumously):
The Arizona Highway Patrol came upon a pile of smouldering metal embedded in the side of a cliff rising above the road at the apex of a curve. 
The wreckage resembled the site of an airplane crash, but it was a car.
The type of car was unidentifiable at the scene. Police investigators finally pieced together the mystery. An amateur rocket scientist.... had somehow gotten hold of a J A T O unit (Jet Assisted Take Off, actually a solid fuel rocket) that is used to give heavy military transport planes an extra 'push' for taking off from short airfields. He had driven his Chevy Impala out into the desert and found a long, straight stretch of road. He attached the J A T O unit to the car, jumped in, got up some speed and fired off the J A T O!
The facts as best as could be determined are that the operator of the 1967 Impala hit the J A T O ignition at a distance of approximately 3.0 miles from the crash site.
This was established by the scorched and melted asphalt at that location.
The J A T O, if operating properly, would have reached maximum thrust within 5 seconds, causing the Chevy to reach speeds well in excess of 350 mph and continuing at full power for an additional 20 -25 seconds. The driver, and soon to be pilot, would have experienced G-forces usually reserved for dog fighting F -14 jocks under full afterburners, causing him to become irrelevant for the remainder of the event. However, the automobile remained on the straight highway for about 2.5 miles (15-20 seconds) before the driver applied and completely melted the brakes, blowing the tires and leaving thick rubber marks on the road surface, then becoming airborne for an additional 1.4 miles and impacting the cliff face at a height of 125 feet leaving a blackened crater 3 feet deep in the rock.
Most of the driver's remains were not recoverable. However, small fragments of bone, teeth and hair were extracted from the crater, and fingernail and bone shards were removed from a piece of debris believed to be a portion of the steering wheel.
Epilogue : It has been calculated that this moron attained a ground speed of approximately 420-mph, though much of his voyage was not actually on the ground.
You couldn't make this stuff up, could you?

Thursday, November 26, 2015

LoveJustice Carol Service 2015

LoveJustice invites you to it's 2015 Carol service in support of Internally displaced Christians in Northern Nigeria

LoveJustice Carol Service 2015

Dear Friend,
The LoveJustice (formerly LoveJos) team invites you to it's third annual Carol service in support of persecuted Christians in Northern Nigeria. This year our theme is 'Love in the midst of hate' and we will be focusing on the work done by Christians to bring hope to shattered lives and build bridges of love, even to those who persecute them.

Why Love in the Midst of Hate?

We believe Love is the way forward. We choose to overcome evil with good. The Lord commands this; difficult as it may be. May God help us all. These are difficult times.


Date - 16th December 2015
Time: Doors open at 6pm
Venue: St John's Church, Broadway, Stratford, London E15 1NG
For more information on our carol service please visit our website
To view a video on the LoveBack campaign please see The LoveBack Project
For a look at one of our recent carol services, we have brief recording here

For a map to St.John's Stratford please see here

We look forward to seeing you.
God bless
Rev. Tade Agbesanwa

November 26: John Knox is Buried (1572)

Parking Space Number 23
You might wonder what in the world is a post about a parking space doing in This Day in Presbyterian History?  Well, if this author tells you that it is the final resting place of Scot Reformer John Knox, as seen in the photo of this post, you will understand.  And yet we don’t really understand or comprehend it.  All right, every church needs a parking lot. Every church needs space for its worshiper’s automobiles. But to pave over a portion of the church graveyard without moving the graves there, especially the grave of a former pastor of the church and Reformation leaders, namely John Knox, that is really crass, in this author’s opinion. But that is exactly what happened sometime in the 1970’s of the last century.
His funeral had taken place on this day, November 26, 1572, two days after  he died. Read the words of Thomas M’Cree from the “Life of John Knox” (p. 277):
“On Wednesday, the 26th of November, he (knox) was interred in the church-yard of St. Giles.  His funeral was attended by the newly-elected regent, Morton, by all the nobility who were in the city, and a great concourse of people.”
William M. Hetherington in his History of the Church of Scotland, on pg 77, continues the story of his burial when he wrote:
“When his (Knox) was lowered into the grave, and gazing thoughtfully into the open sepulcher, the regent emphatically pronounced his eulogium in these words, ‘There lies he who never feared the face of man.'”
Regent Morton knew himself the truthfulness of these final words as John Knox had reproved him to his face, with Hetherington calling the regent later on in his history “that bold bad man.” (p. 77)
It is interesting to this author that, despite searching, he has not found anything of the burial service itself other than these brief remarks around the grave. We in these United States usually have a funeral message, with Scripture being read, and other remarks of comfort and promises  regarding the bodily resurrection of the Christian being buried.
What we do know is that in St. Giles Cathedral parking lot is a parking space with number 23 painted on it, with a blank yellow stone at  its head. Below that yellow stone that can be found written  in a circle of colored bricks the following message, “The above stone marks the approximate site of the burial in St. Giles graveyard of John Knox the great Scottish divine who died on 24 November 1572.”
Words to Live By:
There are several monuments to John Knox in Edinburgh, one inside St. Giles Cathedral itself. Another one is standing in Geneva, Switzerland. In one sense, all of Scotland is a memorial to this great Reformer. whether they acknowledge it or not. We who are the spiritual Presbyterian heritage of John Knox, have the hope and confidence that one day Parking Space number 23 will be emptied of its remains and John Knox will be reunited with his spirit already up in heaven. Come, Lord Jesus.

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

November 24: The Death of John Knox (1572)

knoxJohnNo Wonder He Was Weary.
Our post today, an account of the death of John Knox, is taken from the essential biography written by Thomas McCrie:—
Monday, the 24th of November [1572], was the last day that he spent on earth. That morning he could not be persuaded to lie in bed, but, though unable to stand alone, rose between nine and ten o'clock, and put on his stockings and doublet. Being conducted to a chair, he sat about half an hour, and then was put in bed again. In the progress of the day, it appeared evident that his end drew near. Besides his wife and Richard Bannatyne, Campbell of Kinyeancleugh, Johnston of Elphingston, and Dr. Preston, three of his most intimate acquaintances, sat by turns at his bed-side. Kinyeancleugh asked him, if he had any pain. "It is no painful pain, but such a pain as shall, I trust, put end to the battle. I must leave the care of my wife and children to you (continued he,) to whom you must be a husband in my room." About three o'clock int he afternoon, one of his eyes failed, and his speech was considerably affected. he desired his wife to read the fifteenth chapter of the first epistle to the Corinthians. "Is not that a comfortable chapter?" said he, when it was finished. "O what sweet and salutary consolation the Lord hath afforded me from that chapter!" A little after, he said, "Now, for the last time, I commend my soul, spirit, and body (touching three of his fingers) into thy hand, O Lord." About five o'clock, he said to his wife, "Go, read where I cast my first anchor;" upon which she read the seventeenth chapter of John's Gospel, and afterwards a part of Calvin's sermons on the Ephesians.
After this he appeared to fall into a slumber, interrupted by heavy moans, during which the attendants looked every moment for his dissolution. But at length he awaked as if from sleep, and being asked the cause of his sighing so deeply, replied, "I have formerly, during my frail life, sustained many contests, and many assaults of Satan; but at present that roaring lion hath assailed me most furiously, and put forth all his strength to devour, and make an end of me at once. Often before has he placed my sins before my eyes, often tempted me to despair, often endeavoured to ensnare me by the allurements of the world; but these weapons being broken by the sword of the Spirit, the word of God, he could not prevail. Now he was [sic] attacked me in another way; the cunning serpent has laboured to persuade me that I have merited heaven and eternal blessedness, by the faithful discharge of my ministry. But blessed be God who has enabled me to beat down and quench this fiery dart, by suggesting to me such passages of Scripture as these, What hast thou that thou hast not received? By the grace of God I am what I am : Not I, but the grace of God in me. Being thus vanquished, he left me. Wherefore I give thanks to my God through Jesus Christ, who was pleased to give me the victory; and I am persuaded that the tempter shall not again attack me, but, within a short time, I shall, without any great bodily pain or anguish of mind, exchange this mortal and miserable life for a blessed immortality through Jesus Christ."
He died in the sixty-seventh year of his age, not so much oppressed with years, as worn out and exhausted by his extraordinary labours of body and anxieties of mind. Few men were ever exposed to more dangers, or underwent such hardships. From the time that he embraced the reformed religion, till he breathed his last, seldom did he enjoy a respite from these, and he emerged from one scene of difficulties, only to be involved in another, and a more distressing one. Obligated to flee from St. Andrews to escape the fury of Cardinal Beatoun, he found a retreat in East Lothian, from which he was hunted by Archbishop Hamilton. He lived for several years as an outlaw, in daily apprehension of falling a prey to those who eagerly sought his life. The few months during which he enjoyed protection in the castle of St. Andrews were succeeded by a long and rigorous captivity. After enjoying some repose in England, he was again driven into banishment, and for five years wandered as an exile on the continent. When he returned to his native country, it was to engage in a struggle of the most perilous and arduous kind. After the Reformation was established, and he was settled in the capital, he was involved in a continual contest with the Court. When he was relieved from this warfare, and thought only of ending his days in peace, he was again called into the field; and, although scarcely able to walk, was obliged to remove from his flock, and to avoid the fury of his enemies by submitting to a new banishment. He was repeatedly condemned for heresy and proclaimed an outlaw; thrice he was accused of high treason, and on two of these occasions he appeared and underwent a trial. A price was publicly set on his head; assassins were employed to kill him; and his life was attempted both with the pistol and the dagger. Yet he escaped all these perils, and finished his course in peace and in honour. No wonder that he was weary of the world, and anxious to depart; and with great propriety might it be said, at his decease, that "he rested from his labours."
The Life of John Knox, by Thomas McCrie, p. 130.
Words To Live By:
it is the Lord God who raises up His faithful, humble servants and employs them in powerful ways to advance His kingdom. Pray that He would yet again shake the kingdoms of this earth with the fervent preaching of His glorious Gospel. Our God has done this time and again in the past, and He can and will so move yet again. Are you so praying and watching expectantly?

Italian police: Muslim refugees threw Christians overboard

November 20, 2015

By Mark Ellis
Passengers rescued
Passengers rescued
On a crowded rubber boat filled with refugees traveling from Libya to Italy, Muslims threw 12 fellow passengers overboard — killing them — because the 12 were Christians, Italian police said Thursday.
Italian authorities arrested 15 people on the boat and charged them with murdering the Christians at sea, police in Palermo told CNN.
The original group of 105 people left Libya on Tuesday. Sometime during the trip north across the Mediterranean Sea, the alleged assailants — Muslims from the Ivory Coast, Mali and Senegal — threw the 12 overboard, police told CNN.
Other people on the voyage told police that they themselves were spared “because they strongly opposed the drowning attempt and formed a human chain,” Palermo police reported.
Man arrested for throwing Christians overboard
Man arrested for throwing Christians overboard
The boat was stopped by an Italian navy ship, which removed the passengers and placed them on a Panamanian ship. That ship reached Palermo on Wednesday, after which the arrests were made, CNN reported.
The 12 who died were from Nigeria and Ghana, police said.
Thousands of refugees make the treacherous journey each year from North Africa to Europe’s Mediterranean coast, often aboard vessels poorly suited for such a trip. Many are trying to escape war and impoverished circumstances in Africa and the Middle East.
More than 10,000 people arrived on Italian shores from Libya since last weekend alone, the Italian coast guard reported to CNN.
Many die each year while attempting the voyage, often after their boats capsize. Last year at least 3,200 died attempting to make the trip. Since 2000, according to the International Organization for Migration, almost 22,000 migrants have perished trying to cross the Mediterranean.
On November 19th, another boat sank trying to make the journey. Only four people survived of the original 45 aboard, bringing the estimated death toll this year to nearly a thousand.

Friday, November 20, 2015

Books read in November 2015

For the summer months there have been no reviews. I had though not stopped reading. I had turned mainly to reading light fiction and being generally rather less than active But after a most refreshing fortnight in the U.S. I am thankfully in better form.

1.  Travel through Wales  – by John Aaron (Author), Gwyn Davies (Author), Brian Edwards (Editor)

I have read and own a number of these Day One guides. They are more than well illustrated travel guides. They give the reader lots of church history. This volume on Wales is no exception. Famous name from church history in Wales are here together with the more obscure. As usual in the series there are fine illustrations. This is a book to encourage some tours round the principality to see the setting of the history . There is though one sad note struck but the information that such and such a chapel or church building has now been put to secular use. True spirituality has declined with time. Finally there is a helpful glossary concerning Welsh place names and one can learn about the denomination which is native to Wales, Calvinistic Methodism.

Thursday, November 19, 2015

Canon Andrew White believes the only answer to Islamic State (ISIS) it to ‘radically destroy them’

'If you want to make peace, you can’t just do it with the nice people. Nice people don’t cause the wars’

By Dan Wooding, Founder of the ASSIST News Service
Canon Andrew White useLONDON, UK (ANS – November 18, 2015) – Canon Andrew White, the UK-born Anglican priest who is affectionately known as “Vicar of Baghdad”, has dedicated his life to making peace.
For many years he headed St. George’s Church in Baghdad, located in one of Iraq’s deadliest sectors, he has watched hundreds from his congregation killed or tortured.
Raised a Pentecostal, he says that more than 1,200 men, women and children who worshipped with him have been killed in recent years, he says. Four boys he knew were beheaded because they refused to swear allegiance to Islam. The church caretaker was forced to watch as his five-year-old boy was cut in half.
White has captured by terrorists, and also survived death threats, as well as a huge price on his head, all while battling his own debilitating multiple sclerosis.
Eventually, White had to be ordered to leave Baghdad by his close friend the Archbishop of Canterbury, the Most Rev Justin Welby.
“He said to me, ‘Andrew, look, what you are doing is so important and the reality is you are more use alive than dead. Come out of there. Don’t die.’” he revealed in a recent interview in London with Cole Moreton in The Independent (
White says that his new home in in Jordan, and says, “I see myself as the pastor of the Iraqi refugee community in Jordan. I am providing them with food, housing, education for their children and a clinic to give them healthcare.”
Canon Andrew White in his Baghdad officeIt was during his extraordinary interview with Morton, shortly before the deadly Paris terrorist attacks, that he revealed his views about the only way to deal with Islamic State, also known as ISIS.
White said that there used to be 1.5 million Christians in Iraq but now there are only 260,000.
“Some are calling it genocide. Surely he no longer believes that negotiations with ISIS could work?” Moreton told White, who then replied, “Can I be honest? You are absolutely right. You can’t negotiate with them. I have never said that about another group of people. These are really so different, so extreme, so radical, so evil.”
So what is to be done? “We must try and continue to keep the door open. We have to show that there is a willingness to engage. There are good Sunni leaders; they are not all evil like ISIS,” he said.
White then made his dramatic statement, saying, “You are asking me how we can deal radically with ISIS. The only answer is to radically destroy them. I don’t think we can do it by dropping bombs. We have got to bring about real change. It is a terrible thing to say as a priest.
My Journey so Far“You’re probably thinking, ‘So you’re telling me there should be war?’ Yes!”
He went on to say, “It really hurts. I have tried so hard. I will do anything to save life and bring about tranquility, and here I am forced by death and destruction to say there should be war.”
Moreton wrote that “some will be outraged by the views of the Anglican priest, but Canon White does not care. He really does believe in loving his enemies – even when they put a price on his head, and when war seems inevitable.”
White concluded by saying, “Sometimes the impossible can happen. “If you want to make peace, you can’t just do it with the nice people. Nice people don’t cause the wars.”
At present, Andrew White is on tour in the UK promoting his new autobiography, My Journey So Far (Lion), and he has a home and a family in Sussex, England, but says these two weeks are his longest visit to Britain in years.

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

The irony of IS attacking Paris

In the West we have a concept of religion and state which is not found in Muslim thought. Islam they will say is not a religion, something about private belief. It is a comprehensive philosophy of life where the religious and the political are in no way separate. The islamic garment is a seamless robe. So, France is to IS a part of the western crusader enemy. Western and Christian are synonyms in IS thinking. So here is the irony. France is perhaps the most secular, least Christian country in the public square in the whole of Europe. Its revolution was not only against the monarchical, aristocratic regime, but also fiercely anti-clerical. So this most secular of states is the prime target for IS which sees it as a crusader regime. Also it would appear that those who think that abolishing all religion would lead to a better world have no comprehension that Islam is not a mere religion.

Sunday, November 15, 2015

Tandoori Chicken - my signature dish

This is a favourite for church pot luck dinners and family meals. I have made it for many years and have reverted to following my late mother's  culinary ways. Ingredients were not measured. She knew what to put in by experience. Here goes.

Take a packet of frozen chicken, defrost, skin and score each pice twice each side.

Prepare the marinade. To a large pot of yoghurt add two heaped tablespoons of tandoori spice and two tablespoons of vinegar and lemon juice. For a hotter dish add a teaspoonful of chilli powder, or more if you like it very hot hot.  Mix then mix in the chicken. Marinade for four hours or overnight. Cover and cook in a medium oven for 90 minutes.

Take out the chicken and grill it, turning when well browned. Use the marinade poured onto the chicken to moisten it and keep the marinade warm. Serve the pieces separate from the marinade which serves as a sauce.

Eat with rice, naan, poppadums. We have coleslaw for a vegetable but one can use any veg, curried or not. For church I double the amounts.


Update from Nigeria

Replacement theology?

I was recently accused by a Facebook friend of posting replacement theology. It all started when I said that the name 'Israel' refers to a person or a people, not to the land. I do not believe that the present land and nation of Israel are a fulfilment of prophecy for I see God's prophetic promises are contingent upon the repentance of the covenant people. Israel today, whether in the land or diaspora, is a Messiah rejecting people so the establishment of the state of Israel is not a fulfilment of promise. The promises are for the spiritual, Israel the church. Israel according to the flesh is I believe, in lines with Rom 11, simultaneously an elect nation because of covenant promises and a cursed one because their messiah is rejected.Please do not take the last sentence as antisemitic. One can speak against Zionism but not dislike Jews. After all not all Jews are Zionist. But this morning I read this passage and it registered in a way I had not seen before.

“‘And gI will give you shepherds after my own heart, hwho will feed you with knowledge and understanding. 16 And when you have multiplied and been fruitful in the land, in those days, declares the Lord, they shall no more say, “The ark of the covenant of the Lord.” It shall not come to mind or be remembered or missed; it shall not be made again. 17 At that time Jerusalem shall be called the throne of the Lordiand all nations shall gather to it, jto the presence of the Lord in Jerusalem, and they shall no more stubbornly follow their own evil heart. 18 kIn those days the house of Judah shall join the house of Israel, and together they shall come from the land lof the north to mthe land that I gave your fathers for a heritage.- Jer 4:15ff ESV

Those who want a rebuilt temple are in error. No ark to be restored means no temple. Yet God is to be present in Jerusalem and worshipped by all nations. There has never been a reunification or return of the two kingdoms. I do not expect one as the church is the spiritual recipient and fulfillment  of these promises now.

Saturday, November 14, 2015

Blessed are those when men block them on Facebook

I have AFAIK just been blocked for the fourth time by a Facebook 'friend'. Interestingly none of these blockers know me in the real world, only the virtual. Two are men from the USA, two in Scotland. The first was a pastor in Las Vegas who did not like my critique of gambling as a sinful recreation. Next was a German, living in Scotland who differed from my views on many things like the Allied bombing in WW2 and the right of EU foreigners to vote in the Scottish referendum. Next I had a Scottish journalist who disliked my comments on the late I R K Paisley. He unfriended me despite me giving a favourable review of a book he had authored. Lastly today a liberal pastor in USA did not like me asking him to define fundamentalist which seemed to be his favoured pejorative word. In the past I have held elected office in local government. The contrast between personal relationships in the political sphere, civil and friendly, contrasts greatly with the sphere of church and relations between christians. Why cannot Christians who differ remain civil and friendly? Finally I should say that I have deduced the reasons I was blocked. It is unlikely that any of these four men will read this but if they do, I am open to correction if they believe I have misrepresented their views here. Others may have blocked me but these four are the ones known to me.

A reflection on events in Paris

It seems to me that since the West has largely abandoned any Christian worldview  and the transforming gospel it has nothing to combat the ideology of Islam. A reformation of the religion of peace is a vain hope. The West's ideologies of secularism and multiculturalism have no ideological weapons capable of eradicating or controlling this malign force. Only the Christian gospel does.

Thursday, November 12, 2015

The voluble Hitchens brothers and their tussle over fai

By Anthony Gutierrez and Mark Elli

Christopher (left) and Peter Hitchens
Christopher (left) and Peter Hitchens
To inaugurate his atheism, 15-year-old Peter Hitchens burned his Bible outside his Cambridge boarding school in 1967 in front of a group of curious and enthusiastic fellow students.
The desecration turned out to be anti-climatic. The Bible didn’t catch fire in the hoped-for dramatic fashion. As a matter of fact, the thick stack of paper pages were poor kindling and the wind put it out. Only with much coaxing and much patience did it partially burn. His friends, eager to gawk at the anti-God defiance, lost interest and drifted away.
Today, Peter Hitchens, has come full circle. After enlisting with Troskty communists and championing atheist causes, he is now back to Christianity. His older brother Christopher, a media darling and atheistic provocateur with a best-seller God is Not Great, never came back to faith.

Peter Hitchens
Peter Hitchens
The brothers faced-off in a 2008 debate in Grand Rapids over the existence of God. Peter had answered his brother’s jeers against God with his own book, The Rage Against God. The spirited debate was watched keenly: It was more than a clash between two Titans of undisputed intellect from polar extremes; it was two fiercely feuding brothers.
Christopher died in December 2011 from esophageal cancer, a condition provoked and exacerbated by hard drinking. At 64, younger brother Peter maintains good health, still cycling on public roadways at some risk to life and limb.
Peter’s journey back to God started after the young English gentleman, born of a British Naval officer, became a full-fledged activist from the left who clashed with police and got arrested for breaking into a fallout shelter.
By his own admission, Peter was a foul-mouthed juvenile delinquent who mocked his elders and anyone perceived to be weak. He raged against police and experimented amply with drugs. He was a card-carrying member of the Trotskyist International Socialists from 1969 to ’75.
“There were also numberless acts of minor or major betrayal, ingratitude, disloyalty, dishonor, failure to keep
A tale of two brothers
A tale of two brothers
promises and meet obligations, oath-breaking, cowardice, spite or pure selfishness,” admits the UK Daily Mail columnist.
“I have passed through the same atheist revelation that most self-confident British members of my generation — I was born in 1951 – have experienced,” he says. “We were sure that we, and our civilization, had grown out of the nursery myths of God, angels and Heaven. We had modern medicine, penicillin, jet engines, the welfare state, the United Nations and ‘science,’ which explained everything that needed to be explained.”
But his enthusiasm for the secular state began to founder when he worked as a reporter based in Moscow, where he saw the utter lack of morality and even manners – the result of decapitating God from society.
“The biggest fake miracle staged in human history was the claim that the Soviet Union was a new civilization of equality, peace, love, truth, science and progress,” he wrote in The Rage Against God. “Everyone knows that it was a prison, a slum, a return to primitive barbarism, a kingdom of lies where scientists and doctors feared offending the secret police, and that its elite were corrupt and lived in secret luxury.”
Today, he decries the violence of England’s rough neighborhoods in which “practical atheists” kick rivals’ heads “as if it were a football.”
“If you venture into the areas where these people live, you will find a complete absence of any kind of moral feeling whatsoever, a complete absence of self-government among the strong, among the healthy, among those who are able to take control and take advantage of their neighbors,” Peter said in the 2008 debate. “Christianity and everything that went with it have vanished from among them. They are practical atheists.”
But if Russia, North Korea and the cruel streets of England exposed the fraud of the great social experiment, it was a simple piece of artwork that reignited his faith.
At 30 years old, he was admiring Rogier Van Der Weyden’s 15th-century painting “Last Judgment” with naked figures hurtling towards hell, when suddenly he was overcome, not with a mystical presence, but with a simple impression that Christianity is not an outmoded fairy tale adopted to explain the mysteries of the world. It realized it is a reality of present day importance.
“I gaped, my mouth actually hanging open. These people did not appear remote or from the ancient past; they were my own generation,” he noted in The Rage Against God. “I had absolutely no doubt I was among the damned.”
At about that time, he let himself be charmed Christmas again. “I had pretended to dislike Christmas for many years,” he wrote. “I was enjoying it, although I was unwilling to admit it. I also knew I was losing my faith in politics and my trust in ambition and was urgently in need of something else on which to build the rest of my life.”
His girlfriend, who was not a Christian, wanted to get married in the Anglican church, and when the ceremony was performed, feelings long suppressed began to reassert themselves in his heart.
When he began to attend church, his journalistic cronies scoffed at him.
“For many years I was more or less ashamed of confessing to any religious faith at all,” he says.
Meanwhile, Christopher had taken up residence in America, digging deeper into his trademark God-bashing. He called believers “stupid” and a doting liberal media described him as “one of the four horsemen of the non-apocalypse” – along with Richard Dawkins. A movement called “New Atheism” was born, and Christopher was at the forefront.
The chasm between brothers didn’t open with their tussle over faith. It had existed since childhood and only grew wider.
As children, elder and younger fought like Cain and Abel. The painful dueling go so intense, their father imposed a peace treaty upon them. But it was Peter who tore up the familial contract displayed on the wall in a fit of rage.
Both were journalists who left their youthful leftist leanings and became conservative.
Their turbulent squabble has vented in publications and counter publications. “The complex relationship between me and my brother has been public property,” Peter rues.
The Grand Rapids debate was a showdown for which many pundits had yearned, proposed and heralded. But if they expected that one of the gladiators would die in agony, they were disappointed. Actually, before the debate, the brothers shared a friendly meal cooked by Christopher.
They engaged energetically on issues and accused each other of intellectual hypocrisy but retained a mutual cordiality.
The relationship was thawing, and the unfortunate progress of the cancer in Christopher seemed to help both to leave their differences and concentrate on enjoying those things they had in common.
“We got on surprisingly well in the past few months – better than for about 50 years,” Peter wrote in the Daily Mail.
When Christopher passed to his eternal destiny, Peter praised his courage to fight issues, even if the wrong ones and in the wrong way.
A Twitter account heaped praise on Christopher and disdain on Peter: “The wrong Hitchens brother died,” Terry Frost tweeted.
Though tactless, he was right in another way. One brother was ready to meet his Maker, the other ill-prepared for eternity. Indeed, the wrong Hitchens brother died.
Anthony Gutierrez is a student at the Lighthouse Christian Academy in Santa Monica.