To venable (verb): To randomly muse upon this and that.

Archive for the ‘Government’ Category

Mrs May: Where it all Changed.

I am left wondering if it was in the Andrew Marr interview on 30th April where everything started to change for Mrs May. Up until taht date her position was unassailable. She was to all intents and purposes the queen awaiting her re-coronation. The June election was anticipated as a day of unmistakable triumph. And then she said this in the Andrew Marr interview (see here). Professing Christ she completely denied the truth that is in Jesus.

It just seemed from that point on things gradually changed. The wheels came off her campaign. There were the embarrassments surrounding the manifesto and finally the unexpected election results.  This all is quite interesting to me.

If you profess to know God, but deny that sin is truly sin you put yourself against the God you profess. A cautionary tale I feel.

Gay Sex and the Election

Perhaps we have already seen the low point of the 2017 election campaign. This interview with Tim Farron was surely something of a nadir. Why do I say it was a low point?:

  • It shows the moral deterioration of this country. If a politician, even twenty years ago, had said gay sex was not a sin, that would have wrecked his career. Now it is completely the reverse. Today if a politician says gay sex is a sin he is likely to be vilified. This is all emblematic of a change in our ethical culture. Historically, we had a culture formed around biblical values. Now we have a culture formed around secular values, The former led to stability, the latter inevitably leads to chaos. I fear for the future of our nation. 
  • A decent man, for that’s what Tim Farron seems to be, has been treated like a suspected criminal by the press. He has now been hounded, cornered and humiliated and all in the name of the new freedom. It is as if the press would not let him go until they had “shamed” him out of office or forced him to tow the secular line. So how do they feel now that they have battered him into submission? 
  • What does this really have to do with issues that people really care about? Not much, I suggest. But it is everything with regard to what the ruling elite care about. This is because they are set on demolishing the values connected to historic Christianity, which have been the bulwark of this country. It is interesting to observe how the new doctrines are continually pushed upon us. Sports programmes on radio, for example, so very easily have everybody towing the line by the way they raise sexuality issues. If anyone speaks against the new norm, astonishment and outrage ensue. To say that gender is fixed and homosexuality is  abnormal is now to be a heretic.
  • This all raises the question as to why Sadiq Khan, a man who professes Islam, was not hounded in the same way last year when he was campaigning for the London Mayor.
  • According to my reading of the Bible gay sex must be a sin. No matter what exegetical gymnastics you indulge in, it seems impossible to get away from this. So a public figure who professes Christianity has now said that gay sex is not a sin. All of which only confirms the secularists in their disdain for the rest of us who firmly believe it is a sin.
  • And then there is the by-issue here of faith being private. Again that is a glorious victory a for the anti-Christian activists who want to suffocate Christianity. And it is a blow for all those who have been accused of wrong doing through mentioning their faith at work.

Oh what a sad event this is.

Dealing With Authorities.

Over the last five hundred years the moral framework of the United Kingdom has been determined by biblical values. At the heart of society therefore there has been a desire to uphold truth. Connected with the determination to uphold truth has been the commitment to reliability. Hence we have the phrase: an Englishman’s word is his bond. As a result of this there was always an expectation that when dealing with authorities there would be a straightforwardness about their approach.

Further, the historic Christianised development of our society has meant that people were inclined to be helpful. The essence of love in Christianity percolated into society so that those in authority had a tendency to give assistance to those in need..

Alas things have shifted. Two particular influences increasingly dominate in our society. They stem from Humanism and Islam. My postulation is that these two ideologies have led to the following developments:-

  • Humanism inevitably puts self-interest before truth. Accordingly we see increasingly when dealing with authorities a tendency to “cover-my-own-back”. Rather than being concerned with a desire to uphold and convey truth, people now want to make sure that there is no come-back upon them. Accordingly, people will deviously operate whether that be in verbal or written communication. People no longer are driven by truth and helpfulness. Just as long as the file looks good for them then all is well. It does not matter how many people have suffered and been messed around along the way.
  • Islam. An essential aspect of Islam is that of maintaining honour. Islamic families, for example, are driven by a desire to uphold family honour. Aa a result, we hear of “honour killings” which are undertaken when someone is seen to have brought shame to their family. The murder is seen as removing the shame and being the means through which honour is maintained. Accordingly, when this thinking manifests in a society there is not a priority to uphold truth and helpfulness. The driving motive is that “I must maintain my honour and so there must be no shame on me and upon my family.”

All of this means, I suggest, that dealing with authorities will be become more and more difficult; Frustration will increase through people not returning calls and people failing to keep their word. Bullying will be experienced as the authorities, who want to cover their own back or maintain honour, will want to get their way rather than be helpful.

Accordingly, I feel our whole expectations need to change. Historically, we have expected the authorities to be on our side, helping us to resolve issues. More and more i suspect that we can expect  them seeking to do that which is their own interests.

 

Church Leaders and Politics.

So Wayne Grudem has had to withdraw his support for Donald Trump in the 2016 US Presidential Election. The detail is here. A question I would raise is: why declare support for him in the first place? Accordingly, flowing on from Wayne Grudem’s example, in this piece I want to consider the issue of the endorsing of political parties and politicians by church Leaders. I mention the following:-

  • For a church leader to indicate who to vote for can be divisive in a church. There are likely those who hold views which are politically diverse in the church. Church leaders are to be leaders in keeping the unity in Christ and advancing political causes can take away from this.
  • Church leaders should be leading people to think and make decisions for themselves. Wise elders guide the church members in how to think through political issues. The danger with declaring allegiances is that you end up with church members who just do what their leaders do. Far better simply to present biblical reasoning and lead the people in thinking biblically about issues.
  • Church leaders have to be ever vigilant in portraying what really matters to the people. Are we a people set to pleasing the Lord and living for His kingdom? Or are we primarily focused on the systems of this world? Are we godly or worldly? We need to remember that we belong to a kingdom which is not of this world. As our Saviour, Jesus, said, ‘My kingdom is not of this world. If it were, my servants would fight to prevent my arrest by the Jewish leaders. But now my kingdom is from another place’ (John 18:36)
  • Big declarations like that which Wayne Grudem originally made on the Presidential Campaign can come back to haunt you. Skeletons can come out of cupboards. I feel the stature of Wayne Grudem has been diminished in many ways through this sorry episode.
  • Our primary responsibility to the authorities is to be subject to them (see Romans 13:1) and to pray for them (see 1 Tim. 2:1-2). It is not to establish them.

 

EU Referendum; The Issues.

You may not have been persuaded by my post of yesterday about not voting. So if you’re set on voting I now want to address the issues to consider in voting. One of my observations concerning the things I have seen put forward by Christians is that their reasoning, very often, is hardly distinguishable from that of unbelievers. So here are some questions I think you should be asking so as to decide whether you go for Brexit or Bremain:-

  1. Which will lead to the greatest honour for our Lord Jesus? (God’s purpose is to honour His Son; see Phil. 2:9-11)
  2. Which will provide the best environment for the gospel to spread and go forward? (We should long for the spread of the Word of God; see 2 Thess. 3:1)
  3. Which will most engender peace among nations? (We are called tbe those who work for peace; see Matt 5:9)
  4. Which will most likely lead to the countries having laws which are in line with God’s law? (Righteousness exalts a nation; see Prov. 14:34)
  5. Which will enhance justice; that is the punishment of evil and the rewarding of good? (God approves of this; see Rom. 13:1-5)
  6. Which is most likely to facilitate the progress of false religions? (False religions destroy lives; see 2 Pet. 2:1-3)
  7. Which will lead us to be able to bless strangers? God loves to bless the stranger; see the book of Ruth and Luk. 10:29-37)
  8. Which will lead to our hospitals and schools being brought to collapse so that many are harmed as regards to their health and education? We should love our neighbour ( see Rom 13:10)
  9. Which will lead to many having the blessing of jobs, homes and food? We should have concern for others; see Matt. 5:43-48)
  10. Which will limit corruption and bribery? These always lead to harm (see Hos. 4:1-3) and are involve lying which is hated by God (see Ex. 20:16)
  11. Which will lead to a destabilising of Britain and other nations? The gospel prospers when there is stability and it can spread and so the great commission is fulfilled ; see Matt. 28:18-20)/
  12. Which will lead to most glory for God. the Lord is set to honour His Name; see 1 Cor 10:31)

For more details on all this please see here (from 33.57 in particular).

EU Referendum; to Vote or not to Vote?

Well, the month of the referendum has finally come, and there is still just over a week left to go to the actual event. One issue I hear very little off is that of not voting in the referendum.  I feel it is something that the Christian should seriously consider. I have previously stated some of the arguments in this document for the 2015 General Election. However, I further wnat to engage with the issue given the impending referendum.

The accepted consensus among Christians appears to be that you must vote in any election because in doing so you are exercising a privilege (dare I say right) that God has ordained that you would have. Moreover I know that there are strong arguments for voting. It somewhat galls me, though, that Christians seem not to consider any countervailing arguments that would present the case for not participating in the voting process.

Pilgrims.          The whole godly predisposition for Christians to be strangers and pilgrims on this earth is not considered at all. Let us consider the implications of this Scripture concerning Abraham that By faith he made his home in the promised land like a stranger in a foreign country; he lived in tents, as did Isaac and Jacob, who were heirs with him of the same promise. For he was looking forward to the city with foundations, whose architect and builder is God (Heb. 11:9-10). Further we read that All these people were still living by faith when they died. They did not receive the things promised; they only saw them and welcomed them from a distance, admitting that they were foreigners and strangers on earth (Heb. 11:13). It does seem more in line with the pilgrims and strangers ethos that we refrain from getting involved in the voting process. After all this is not our home, we have another home. 

Entanglement.          Paul says to Timothy Join with me in suffering, like a good soldier of Christ Jesus.  No one serving as a soldier gets entangled in civilian affairs, but rather tries to please his commanding officer (2 Tim. 2:3-4). Although it can be argued that this particularly applies to Timothy as regards his pastoral calling surely there is a principle for all Christians here. Entanglement in civilian affairs seems to accurately reflect so much of what is going on in the Christian community concerning the referendum at the moment. There seems something not right (dare I say unseemly) about that.

Looking At Jesus.          Let us consider this Scripture Another disciple said to him, ‘Lord, first let me go and bury my father.’ But Jesus told him, ‘Follow me, and let the dead bury their own dead.’ (Matt. 8:21-22). The full meaning of our Lord’s retort here is perhaps hard to establish. However, it does seem to strike a strong note against being overly concerned with resolving issues appertaining to the affairs of this world. It is sobering to ponder upon how much mental energy is being devoted to deliberating upon how to vote in the referendum. If only people were so concerned about deliberating about how they can help other Christians grow in Christ and how they can reach the lost masses around us.

So I want to urge towards some thinking here. I think there is a strong argument for not voting in the referendum (and elections generally).

 

Complaint

I wrote here about a case I had with HM Revenue and Customs some time ago. Amidst being set on a course which would lead to a tribunal and feeling somewhat overwhelmed by the whole process, I withdrew from the fray at the end of July 2014, and thereby admitted defeat. Nearly twenty two months later I have summoned up the, dare I call it, “courage” to make a complaint. So I posted the letter last friday.

I do believe firmly that Christians is called to be subject to the governing authorities (Rom. 13:1a) and pay taxes (see Rom. 13:6-7). Therefore we are not to be rebellious and disobedient to the authorities. However, I have made the complaint for two reasons:

  1. I still don’t know how my tax should be sorted out for other years. and so there is an issue of truth here. Also I don’t want the issue left for someone else to sort out should I pass away.
  2. There is an issue of Love your neighbour as yourself (Matt. 22:39b). I do not want others to go through what I went through. I want HMRC to learn something of the harmful effects that can ensue from the way they treat people.

I must say I mention those two things conscious that I have a deceitful heart that tends towards wanting revenge. Oh Lord save me from that and keep my motives pure.

The whole experience has, I trust, given me an insight into three things.

  1. The need to listen. A substantial part of the frustration over this issue has been a feeling that people are just not listening to what I say. This challenges me to make sure I don’t make responses to others  until I have fully listened.
  2. When you are badly treated by “the authorities”, and probably anyone else, there is this feeling of wanting to prove that you are on the side of truth. I have an innate feeling that chasing issues only harms those who do the chasing and in the end consumes the chaser. However, I can feel for those like the Hillsborough families who want to chase the truth in the face of continual obfuscation and cover-up.
  3. I feel for those who cannot cope with dealing with “the authorities” and leave those brown envelopes unopened because they just can’t cope. I received a brown envelope recently, for example, the contents of which started to send me into a mild panic. This was the hangover from my experiences in 2013/14, I believe that  having  brought that envelope before the Lord, He graciously gave me some peace.

I will see how it all goes now. I feel vulnerable of once again exposing myself to the might of “the authorities”. I pray to the Lord that I will be able to handle whatever the response is.

 

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