How many times have we felt that not a day goes by but we are bombarded with another news item about the LGBT movement? If it is not pride week (or month), it is Transgender Day of Remembrance, or National Coming Out Day, with the media ensuring that we have not missed the occasion. Yet perhaps it is only our imagination that makes us feel that the news is endlessly filled with articles related to the homosexual movement. Perhaps, as evangelical Christians, we are unreasonably reacting against any mention of LGBT issues, feeding our own unconscious bias and seeing a trend which is not truly there. Or perhaps not.
Monday, 27 January 2020
Sunday, 15 December 2019
In the book of Habakkuk the prophet wrestles with the great question of 'Why?' when considering the things are happening, and are to happen in his land. In personal anguish he first cries to the Lord over the idolatry of the people around him, burdened by the wickedness which he sees, and his sense of how the wicked seem to prevail over the righteous. When the Lord reveals to him his intention to use the Chaldeans as the means of judgement Habakkuk is equally perplexed; why does God permit such a wicked people to overcome God's people and to devour 'the man that is more righteous than he'. Habakkuk's concerns at the prophecy of the Chaldeans' advance are not unfounded, for the events which the Lord revealed to him are such as will bring untold political turmoil to the land of Judah, to the extent that the whole country will be annexed by the Babylonians and the great city of Jerusalem razed to the ground.
Monday, 21 October 2019
It is now apparent that same sex marriage and abortion will be undemocratically foisted upon Northern Ireland as a result of the Northern Ireland (Executive Formation etc) Act 2019. This will be a matter of great sorrow to all true believers in our province; both that the God ordained institution of marriage will be marred by the oxymoron of gay marriage, and also that any protection for the life of the unborn child will be removed. Whilst it is easy to focus our attention on where the blame should lie in these matters, and there are those who will certainly answer to God for their actions, the real question for the church is what it should do now. For long we have sought to prevent these things taking place, so does their pending implementation now mean that the battle is lost and our fight is over?
Wednesday, 25 September 2019
Over the years Northern Ireland has been famous for a number of reasons. Once described as the last bastion of Protestantism in western Europe, it was for many years known for its adherence to the historic Protestant evangelical faith, with churches on every corner and a gospel heritage unequalled in most parts of the west world. As the birthplace of the Titanic and the home of Van Morrison, Joey Dunlop and George Best, their achievements have caused its name to echo round the world. Sadly it has also been synonymous with terrorism as a result of the violence laden years of 'the troubles'. In recent years however it has obtained another association, that of the hit HBO television series Game of Thrones. Due to Northern Ireland providing a number of filming locations it has become widely associated with the program, and is now a popular tourist destination for its fans. Although the series is undoubtedly a profitable marketing tool for Northern Ireland's tourism industry it must surely be the case that the association which Northern Ireland now has with Game of Thrones should not be a matter of pride, but rather one of shame. In Jeremiah 3:2 the Lord rebuked the people for their sinfulness saying that 'thou hast polluted the land with thy whoredoms and with thy wickedness'. Rather than being something to celebrate, Northern Ireland's link with Game of Thrones is a pollution on our land, and a cause for great sadness.
Monday, 5 August 2019
It is a well known saying that 'sex sells'; the use of sexualised imagery being common in marketing, its intent to attract consumer interest in a particular product or service. Yet we can also say today that ‘sin sells’. The promotion of and identification with that which is sinful, and its use in marketing is increasingly evident all around us. With the advent of every ‘Pride’ celebration the logos of numerous companies are emblazoned with the colours of the rainbow, identification with the LGBT cause being almost ubiquitous, and evidently seen as a necessary publicity tactic. Clearly sin sells in the case of homosexuality. In Northern Ireland the local connection with the Game of Thrones TV show is massively exploited for tourism purposes, with the Northern Ireland economy receiving an estimated £250 million from Game of Thrones since 2010, and 350,000 people a year visiting the province because of it. It is a sad commentary on the spiritual decline in Northern Ireland that the province is now best known and celebrated as the location of a programme notorious for excessive violence and gratuitous pornographic imagery, including graphic depictions of rape and incest. Once again we can say that sin sells. The same too may be said of other vices such drunkenness; rather than being the object of shame, they are celebrated, promoted and used as a means of generating money - because sin sells.
Saturday, 20 April 2019
It was recently revealed that the Democratic Unionist Party is running its first openly homosexual candidate in the upcoming Local Government Elections in Northern Ireland prompts this request for the Christians in the party. Given the historically evangelical roots of the DUP, its former campaign to 'Save Ulster from Sodomy', and its ongoing policy of opposing the introduction of same sex marriage to Northern Ireland, it is necessary to ask a question of the Christians within the DUP. The question is particularly relevant for its currently elected Christian politicians, and prospective councillors who are standing for office in the current election.
Saturday, 13 April 2019
What is the great enemy of the Christian church? With the rise of Islamic extremism and the advance of the Muslim faith in the west Islam will often be named as the church's number one enemy, and militant Islam does indeed pose a great threat to the freedoms and liberties which we currently enjoy. Yet Islam is not the true church's great enemy. The LGBT movement will also be a popular candidate, and for good reason as it presents us with the greatest moral dilemma of our generation. Yet whilst it is in complete opposition to God and the bible it too is not the church's historic great foe. The recent rise of these movements in our society has caused many to lose sight of that great antagonist which has stood in opposition to the true church for centuries, and which continues to do so; the church of Rome, the 'mother of harlots and abominations of the earth.' C.H. Spurgeon said that 'Romanism is a most ingenious imitation of the gospel' and that is what makes it a greater threat to the church than Islam, for whilst the faith of Mohamed does not purport to be Christian, the religion of Rome does make that claim, and indeed make it exclusively of itself. In identifying Rome as the great enemy of the church we do not seek to imply that individual Roman Catholics are our enemy, rather they are the mission field. Yet the papacy and the Roman system of worship is in all its parts opposed to the true church of God, and must ever be regarded by the true church of Christ as its adversary.
Thursday, 7 March 2019
What does a charismatic do with 160 million Roman Catholics? Whilst that may sound like the start of a joke, it is actually an important question. It is a question posed by the existence of the Catholic Charismatic Renewal, a movement within the church of Rome purported to comprise some 160 million members in 2013, and which practices the charismatic gifts of prophecy, healing and tongues. The dilemma which this movement presents for charismatics arises from two issues; firstly the charismatic propensity of making the outward manifestation of the supernatural gifts the sure evidence of the infilling or baptism of the Holy Spirit, and secondly the existence of those same supposed gifts within the Catholic Charismatic Renewal.