The Speech I didn’t give….. (March 29th)

city view at london
Photo by Dominika Gregušová on Pexels.com

Look around you. Look towards the river – and there stands the building we all know so well, filled with so many people we wish we’d never heard of. The ‘Mother of Parliaments’ they call it – but many of you would probably want to give what’s going on there now a far ruder name!

It should be the place we look to for wise government, for sensible decisions, and for the rule and defence of Democracy. But it isn’t. And that is shameful.

Look in the other direction, look to the statue there, almost un-noticed in the crowds here today.

Just there stands a statue in remembrance of Nelson Mandela, a hero of those in that place, and yet a man who stands for what they do not. A man who, despite being flawed, led his people to freedom from under the jackboot of a tyrannical and unjust government. A government which cared nothing for the vast majority of his countrymen, a government which in many ways acted like the EU does today – pretending to care deeply for the people under their thumb, and yet who actually despised, loathed and disparaged them. Mandela never gave up – Mandela cried out, “Freedom!” Mandela helped his people gain freedom.

Now look there, behind you. There stands, proud, the statue of Churchill – a man who fought for this country both on the battlefield and in parliament. A man who would have nothing but shame and sadness at what is going on in that place now. His words were prophetic, his words were a warning – and this parliament of charlatans have forgotten them – and it is us, and it is democracy, which will pay the price if we give up our fight.
“I love Europe”, he said, “But, if it is a choice between Europe and the deep blue sea I would choose the deep blue sea every time.”

The other day Boris Johnson spoke of Moses – now there was a leader, a man who set his people free – but he did it with the help of God. This that we fight is not only a political battle, it is a spiritual battle for the very soul of this nation. We will not win this if we do not also turn to God and ask for His help in this task. Trust in God still, and he will bring us through even the darkest of moments.

Yes – let’s go swimming in the deep blue sea with Churchill. Yes – let’s walk to freedom with Mandela. Let us not give up. Let us mend broken Britain, and let us leave the EU behind us, like a bad memory. But as we do so, let us remember to turn to God in prayer, for His hand must be with us in our great mission.

Find your refuge, your hope, in the Lord Jesus Christ.

opened bible on wooden surfaca
Photo by rawpixel.com on Pexels.com

Over the last few months we have been covering the Book of Joshua in morning sermons in my congregation. I though that it would be worthwhile sharing the conclusion of the most recent sermon with you. The passage is Joshua 20 – it would help if you were to read it first.

“This passage in Joshua reminds us of the order, and of the righteous nature, of the work and the will of God. It reveals something of God’s character to us – that he is not a God who would permit unjust retribution to take place against a partly-innocent party. That is because he himself would not allow unjust retribution to take place against an innocent party. This makes the death of Christ on the cross, though he was innocent, even more astonishing an act of self-giving on our behalf. He did not deserve death, yet he, God’s Son, offered himself in our place. He took on himself the penalty due to us. And even though God would not have the innocent punished unjustly, he allowed this sacrifice to be made so that the guilty, us, could go free.

In the Old Testament journey of the people of Israel we have already seen the sacrifice of the lambs whose blood paid the price due for sin when the angel of God’s wrath swept over Egypt. We have seen the sacrificial replacement by God for the son of Abraham, which is Isaac, with a ewe. And on the other hand we have seen the righteous judgement worked out upon the ungodly and rebellious peoples who inhabited the land which God had set aside for the chosen people. A judgement we hear of again in the Book of Revelation, when the unrepentant rejecters of Jesus Christ will die eternally so that the eternal place which God has set aside for his chosen people will be kept free from sin.

God’s cities of refuge placed throughout the Promised Land are places of gracious provision, places where life may be preserved, because God’s desire is for justice and for mercy to abound amongst his chosen people.

For our part we have for our gracious provision, Christ Jesus, and though we are not innocent, just as the one guilty of manslaughter is not innocent of the shed blood, Christ is our refuge. We must be thankful that in God’s mercy we have a place of refuge where we can flee. And we must be thankful that despite our manifold and overwhelming sins, intentional and unintentional, the guilt we hold for them will not be counted against us if we repent of them, and if our trust is placed in Jesus Christ alone, and in the sacrifice he offered for us on the cross.

As the funeral service says, we have a sure and certain hope of the resurrection to eternal life for all who trust in Christ, who will change our frail and mortal bodies to be like his glorious resurrection body, according to his mighty power by which he is able to transform all things. What a wonderful and merciful God who provides such an astonishing and certain refuge for his true followers.

“…on that cross, as Jesus died,
The wrath of God was satisfied –
For every sin on Him was laid:
Here in the death of Christ I live.”

Imprisoned for your faith.

silhouette of a man in window
Photo by Donald Tong on Pexels.com

Are you ready to join the apostles Paul, John, and Peter in being imprisoned for your faith? The plain truth is that if you are a conservative Christian with Protestant views, and you actually believe what the Bible teaches (instead of what you want it to teach), then the day won’t be far away when this becomes a reality.

The UK has a ‘Commission for Countering Extremism’ headed up by someone with the interesting name of Ms Sara Khan. You shouldn’t read everything into a name, just as you shouldn’t judge a book by its cover. But reading the fly-leaf, or in this case looking more closely at what this Commission is up to, helps to deepen one’s accuracy of judgement on such matters. And doing so ought to awaken any sincere Christians to the imminent and seemingly inevitable moment coming when we are once again, like John Bunyan, going to be locked up for saying the unsayable.

And what is that unsayable? Well, there are two areas in which it is likely to be found. Firstly on doctrinal matters, especially those pertaining to what the Bible actually says and teaches. And secondly on moral matters, once again pertaining to what the Bible actually says and teaches.

One fundamental doctrinal matter over which we are likely to find ourselves in hot water will be making the simple and biblical statement that eternal salvation comes through faith in Christ alone. Even though Scripture is absolutely clear over this matter (Ephesians Chapter 2 being a simple text for proving this – “But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ—by grace you have been saved”) it has become clear that the law of the land is not going to protect those who make this statement in public for much longer.

Only last year, seeking to clarify the legal position on this, Lord Pearson of Rannoch, a UKIP peer, asked the House of Lords if they would “confirm unequivocally that a Christian who says that Jesus is the only son of the one true God cannot be arrested for hate crime or any other offence, however much it may offend a Muslim or anyone of any other religion?” The spokeswoman for the Government, Baroness Vere of Norbiton, did not give a clear answer, saying instead that the legal definition of “hate crime” has been the same for the past 10 years.

As for moral matters on which the Bible is unequivocal in its teaching, we will soon find that in the defence of the much touted, but never defined, ‘British values’ anyone who dares step out of line by publicly quoting, or relying on arguments based on Bible teaching on such matters as the family, divorce, sexuality, the value of unborn life, and so on (*see below), will not merely be chased across social media and in the newspapers, but will have legal charges placed against them. As others have rightly said about the Commission’s work: “We suspect that the real target will be the Bible and those who dare publicly to proclaim it.”**

So, I ask once again, are you ready to be imprisoned for your faith just as were the apostles? It is coming once again for those whose faith is more than skin deep. The time of quiet and comfortable Christianity in the UK is over. Your faith will be tested and you’ll either back down and keep silent, or you’ll fail in the keeping of the Great Commission and all that leads to.

On a personal note. I’m not ready in one sense, who could be? But in another, as Chairman of the Protestant Truth Society, I’m surprised I haven’t yet found myself in hot water with our ‘oh-so-right-on’ authorities as they seek to peddle not merely Marxist ideology, but plain and simple anti-Christian ideology. Are you ready? You need to be. And when the moment does arrive, remember, Christ is with you, and the Holy Spirit will give you the words to say. So don’t try and placate the accusers, speak Christ instead.

 

*I’m not going to seek all the Biblical quotations to defend these various positions. Both New Testament and Old Testament are utterly clear on these matters – and they only support a conservative, traditional, position.

**The British Church Newspaper – Editorial. 16/1/2019

Astonished – dismayed.

I was astonished today, when I read the post by Jules Gomes about St Helen’s, Bishopsgate ( Abortion is a no-go ).  The article clearly tells the truth, and clearly indicates that St Helen’s has, for all its doctrinal stringency, failed in this area. I don’t pretend to have visited the church recently and looked at the notice-boards there, but if you visited our congregation you would find the Christian Concern information ‘We care for Women’ prominently displayed. Would I find it at St Helen’s? The implication of all we read in Jules’ article is that we are unlikely so to do.

Given that abortion is a touchstone topic for Biblical Christians today, or should be, it is astonishing and dismaying that what is supposed by many to be ‘the’, or at least ‘one of the’, pre-eminent evangelical CofE congregations in the UK has so little accessible information about it. Unlike my far smaller congregation they have a packed website, full of information about all sorts of matters, theological, biblical, and about their congregation. It is filled with links to sermons, to talks, and even to other bodies. I cannot argue with what I find there. However, it is what is not found there which gives cause for concern. And we can now add to that their unwillingness to engage with those active in the field of opposing the killing of unborn children.

Two Novembers ago we had a visit from SPUC to my church. In the two weeks leading up to the meeting we had three posters advertising their visit torn down from our fence. Although I had about 20 posters printed, aware of this possibility, it was a clear demonstration of the aggressive attitude the world has towards those who oppose this killing spree. And should you doubt that it is a ‘killing spree’, what else can we call it when one unborn child in England and Wales is killed every three minutes, of every day, of every year for the last sad many years. As a church we also address this matter regularly in prayer, including during Sunday evening services. And as our local council is seeking to put an ban on meeting and praying near a local ‘killing clinic’ in place like the one already in place in Ealing, we have challenged them publicly, and we have fronted them up over the matter. Our view, born out of God’s Word, is not secret, hidden, or unspoken.

This aggression is indeed unpleasant – and I sure it is also one of the many things (along with our congregation’s support for a proper Brexit, and a resoundingly pro-Bible and anti-world stance generally) which means many people in Teddington wouldn’t even consider visiting, let alone being a member of the congregation. I am sure that the aggression demonstrated against us would be magnified many times by the pro-killing lobby if St Helen’s were indeed to take a more publicly robust line against this killing spree. But surely the congregation there, and those who run it, are well aware of the words of Jesus Christ:

“Then they will deliver you up to tribulation and put you to death, and you will be hated by all nations for my name’s sake.” [Matthew 24:9]

Note carefully His words – “they will”, and, “you will be hated”. No ‘might’, no ‘maybe’, no ‘possibly’, but definitely. Persecution and hatred are the lot for faithful Christians – therefore there is no way for faithful Christians to avoid it. Staying silent on a matter will not protect, nor will it further the Gospel of Christ, it is merely compromise. The world will pile in on us over some matter or another, eventually. We cannot prevent it doing so, nor can we effectively pretend that the Gospel doesn’t challenge the wilful and evil ways of the world.

Therefore, surely, it is necessary for us to be honest and to be Christian about ALL aspects of the teaching of God’s Word – not least the matter of life – a matter which so much of the world seems to hate, even though it has that gift. If St Helen’s are, as appears, scared of being outspoken about the simple matter of the gift of life from God, and about its sanctity, they are treading a dangerous path – as are all congregations which claim to stand for Christ, yet fail to stand up for those whom God has created, and fail to publicly stand up for all aspects of the teaching of God’s Word.

“Before I formed you in the womb I knew you…” [Jeremiah 1:5]

“God forgive our weaknesses and our oversights, but, please, I ask You, do not let us run scared of the world. For Your Glory, and in Jesu’s name I ask this.”

 

The Journey Begins

Why ‘Doubting Thomas’ Cranmer? Simply put, despite his public wavering as his death for denying the dangerous deceit of transubstantiation approached at the hands of ‘Bloody Mary’, when it mattered therefore, his faith in Christ Jesus over-rode his doubts, and overpowered his human weakness.

I trust that this website will help people to confront the doubts they may have in Christ by exploring the truth of the Bible, and of salvation by faith alone in Christ alone.

Good company in a journey makes the way seem shorter. — Izaak Walton

post