Monday, 23 June 2014

The Dilemma of a Young Adult

There comes a time when young believers in the church, often in their mid to late 20's, feel that they have now outgrown the traditional Youth Fellowship environment. They become what we often term the 'young adults' of the congregation; a group which consists of a mixture of young married couples and unmarried persons aged approximately 20 to 40. Some churches will organise specific meetings and events for their young adults, effectively as a follow on from their Youth Fellowship days. This period in a believer's life is a pivotal one; they have come through the difficult and testing years of secondary school and university and are still part of the church, yet there seems to be the question of where they go from here. What should be the position of the young adult in the church?

Sunday, 15 June 2014

Calling the Sabbath a delight

'If thou turn away thy foot from the sabbath, from doing thy pleasure on my holy day; and call the sabbath a delight, the holy of the LORD, honourable; and shalt honour him, not doing thine own ways, nor finding thine own pleasure, nor speaking thine own words: Then shalt thou delight thyself in the LORD; and I will cause thee to ride upon the high places of the earth, and feed thee with the heritage of Jacob thy father: for the mouth of the LORD hath spoken it'. (Isaiah 58:13-14)

When the subject of the Sabbath is considered it is very often done from the negative point of view. The focus will be on what we ought not to do, those things which we should refrain from on the Lord's day. And it is true that observing the Sabbath does require us to cease from particular activities. In Exodus 20:10 the fourth commandment says of the Sabbath that 'in it thou shalt not do any work, thou, nor thy son, nor thy daughter, thy manservant, nor thy maidservant, nor thy cattle, nor thy stranger that is within thy gates:' Question number sixty one in the Shorter Catechism says that 'The fourth commandment forbiddeth the omission or careless performance of the duties required, and the profaning the day by idleness, or doing that which is in itself sinful, or by unnecessary thoughts, words or works, about our worldly employments or recreations.' Clearly a right observance of the Sabbath includes ceasing from particular activities, yet if we only focus on the 'negative' commandments regarding the Sabbath then there is the danger that we will consider the Lord's Day in a negative light, and even regard it as an inconvenience. The prophet Isaiah says that we are to 'call the sabbath a delight'; it is a day which should be viewed positively by the Christian because of the great benefits which it holds.

Sunday, 1 June 2014

Should an increasing Muslim population cause concern?

As the result of a sermon preached by Pastor James McConnell the Northern Ireland headlines over the last couple of weeks have been dominated by the issue of Islam. In the sermon preached at Whitewell Metropolitan Tabernacle Pastor McConnell described Islam as heathen, satanic and 'a doctrine spawned in hell'. Pastor McConnell also made the comment that he did not trust Muslims because of their devotion to Sharia Law. Many hours of news, television and radio debate have focused on this controversy, with politicians and church leaders giving views both for and against Pastor McConnell's statements, some defending the right to free speech and the exposure of false doctrine, others denouncing it as a hate crime. The greatest debate and outcry has been caused by the references to whether Muslims can be trusted, comments which some have construed as inciting religious and racial hatred.