King under the Law

John,_Magna_Carta

The year 2015 was the year of Magna Carta, celebrating 800 years since the famous charter was sealed. There have been numerous books and at least two exhibitions commemorating the anniversary, some of which are reviewed in this issue. The great struggle of the barons who forced the charter on King John, and of many other rebels down through the centuries, was to make the king accept that he was not above the law, but was under it just as they were. The kings and queens of England and Scotland accepted the rule of law only reluctantly until the Glorious Revolution of 1688, when the ability of Parliament to create a monarch and legitimate a dynasty finally shifted the balance of power.

Today it is not kings and queens but government ministers who try from time to time to act outside the law, and have to be reined in by the members of Parliament.

What Price Freedom of Conscience?

LutherWorms2

A lecture by a distinguished retired High Court judge in which he criticizes the present-day advance of secularism, and praises ‘Jesuits and puritans’ equally, has to be considered a truly extraordinary event. Just such a lecture was given by Sir Michael Tugendhat last May.

In recent years, the decisions of the courts have always favoured ‘equality’ at the expense of freedom of conscience to believe and practise the Christian—or indeed any—religion. One notorious judgment went so far as to describe legal protection for religious views as ‘irrational’.

Sinai-Living God’s Way

The dawn of a New Year provides a very natural opportunity for us as believers to pause and take stock. It is a time when we should both reflect on the year that is past and ask ourselves if in 2013 we truly lived to please and glorify God, and to look forward asking how can we live in 2014 in a way that will produce a greater likeness to Christ.

For many, even for many professing Christians, the solution to living a more holy life seems to be in making New Year resolutions that set a benchmark enable us to live better lives. The answer to living as God has called us to live in Christ is, of course, not in New Year resolutions however well-intentioned, but rather in setting before us the Word of God. Our guide for living is the moral law of God summarized in the Ten Commandments.

The Royal Birth

In July our nation welcomed the arrival of Prince George. This royal baby, who is third in line to the throne, will be known as His Royal Highness Prince George of Cambridge. As well as being an established regal name, George is also a saint’s name. St George was an early Christian martyr and is the patron saint of England. There have been six King Georges up to now, most recently the Queen’s father.