EU Citizens express ‘wrong’ opinions

ECI2The European Union has established a system, known as the European Citizens Initiative, under which members of the public are able to put forward proposals for new EU laws. If a million signatures are obtained, the European Commission is obliged to consider the proposal. But now the European Citizens Initiative is being reviewed, because EU citizens are not expressing the right opinions.

Ideas to pass the million signature threshold include a ban on animal testing, and a ban on using EU money to fund abortions or experiments using human embryos. But when Christian groups gathered support for a proposal that ‘gay marriage’ should not be recognized in EU law, EU officials began to express concern that the Initiative could ‘generate Euroscepticism’. In a masterpiece of obfuscation, the minutes of the meeting that considered the petition state: ‘The members regretted that experience to date had shown that citizens’ initiatives did not always move European law or the European project forward, but tended instead to involve highly controversial and emotionally charged issues of greater interest to minorities than to the vast majority of EU citizens and, ultimately, generated Euroscepticism.’ The meeting ‘called for a debate on how to rectify this situation and stressed that, in the current European context, the Commission should take account of the political consequences that this mechanism could have in the longer term.’

In other words, because the people who are making use of the Initiative to express their concerns are not expressing politically correct, liberal, progressive ideas, they must be written off as ‘minorities’ and ignored. Apart from revealing the manner in which the EU holds its citizens, this episode has its encouraging side. It shows that the peoples of Europe, who have a long Christian (if not always Protestant) history, still hold Christian values dear, and are prepared to express them, even if no one in Brussels is listening.

 

 

 

Understanding the Times

10753We live in perilous times, when many of the Christian foundations of our society and nation are being knocked away. Indeed, to those of us who are of riper years, the world today is a strange place, scarcely recognizable from the world of our childhood. Consequently we preach the gospel to a generation with new and unfamiliar preconceptions. 1 Chronicles 12:32

In 1 Chronicles 12:32 we read of some ‘men that had understanding of the times, to know what Israel ought to do’. We cannot ignore the times in which we live, however alien and unfriendly they may feel. God has put us here to serve him, in this place and this generation. We are not to look back to the past—neither our past, not the distant past—and wish that we were serving God there. ‘Say not thou, What is the cause that the former days were better than these? for thou dost not enquire wisely concerning this.’ (Ecclesiastes 7:10) Or in the blunt language of the NIV, ‘Do not say, “Why were the old days better than these?” For it is not wise to ask such a question.’

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’.

New Director of Ministry

PhilipTait

The Council of the Protestant Truth Society is pleased to announce the appointment of a new Director of Ministry.

The Rev. Philip Tait joined the Society from 1 February 2015, and brings with him years of experience in ministry, management and publishing.

Over the years, Philip has been involved with the work of a number of Christian organizations, including the Sovereign Grace Union, the Strict Baptist Trust and Pension Fund, and the Association of Grace Baptist Churches. He is currently a member of the Committees of Grace Publications Trust and the Grace Baptist Assembly. He has written numerous magazine articles and reviews, and is the part-author of Learning to be Happy and the author of The Real Thing? (both Grace Publications Trust).

Philip obtained a degree in English Language and Literature at the University of Southampton.  He then joined the civil service, working in the Department of Health and Social Security.

He trained for the Christian Ministry on the Theological Training Course of the Evangelical Movement of Wales. In 1989 he became minister of St John’s Wood Road Baptist Church, London. In 2004 he become minister of Hardwick Baptist Church, Stockton-on-Tees.  He left the pastorate in Stockton at the end of January to take up his new post with the Society.

Both the churches where he served as minister enjoyed good relationships with the Protestant Truth Society, and he is looking forward to carrying that relationship forward by working for the Society.

Churches and fellowships wishing to extend Philip an invitation to speak at a midweek or Sunday meeting, on behalf of the Protestant Truth Society, may contact him through the Fleet Street office.

Scottish Referendum Result

Rev. Dominic Stockford (Chairman) remarks:

It is with relief that the many unforeseen consequences, spiritual and practical, of the unravelling of our Protestant Union with Scotland has not come about. We thank God for the blessings He has poured upon the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland across the years, and turn to Him in trust that He will bring us all together under His rule. We hope that all the people of these islands will come to see that the freedom that He offers, through His Son Jesus Christ, is of so much more value than what this world has to offer.

Political move behind the removal of School heads removed in row over radical Christian helper

Two Scottish head teachers who allowed a preacher from a creationist Christian ‘sect’ to help out at their primary school for more than eight years have been removed from their posts while an inquiry is carried out.
Elizabeth Mockus and Sandra MacKenzie, who share the headship at Kirktonholme Primary in East Kilbride, have been moved to other duties to allow South Lanarkshire Council to investigate.
The helper, Mr Gear also ran a club at the 400-pupil school on Monday evenings and spoke to pupils about his beliefs as part of their religious education lessons.Many parents only realized their children were being exposed to the evangelical group’s agenda when pupils took home creationist books they had been handed at assembly.
Jim Gilhooly, the council’s director of education, said: ‘As indicated to parents, a full investigation into the management practices within the school has been instigated. In order to assist with this, the current head teachers have been moved from the school and re-deployed to other duties within education resources with immediate effect’.
The inquiry will further look at the use of the school premises for the youth club run by the West Mains Church of Christ.
A letter to parents stated: ‘It has been agreed that the West Mains Church of Christ will no longer allow access in schools for the youth club, or any other activity. In my discussions with the parent council, and during the larger parent meeting, it was clear that everyone was keen to see the school move on from the current situation’.
The scandal blew up after two creationist books denouncing the theory of evolution – one called How Do You Know God is Real? And the other entitled, Exposing the Myth of Evolution – were handed out to pupils.
Both were written by American author Kyle Butt, whose other works include a book called, Homosexuality – Sin or Cultural Bad Habit? His books are printed by the Alabama-based Apologetics Press, which is closely affiliated to the Church of Christ.
In a subsequent letter to parents, which was given out after the books were given to pupils, Mrs MacKenzie defended the decision to give the books to pupils.
She said: ‘While I appreciate that not every family in our school are practising Christians, I was only too happy to accept this generous gift on your behalf. I hope you will all accept it in the spirit with which it was offered.’
However, some parents made official complaints to the council about the books, while others threatened to withdraw their children in protest.

Church in Wales votes to permit women bishops

Cheers and applause greeted the result as it was announced at the Governing Body, which is meeting at the University of Wales, Trinity St David in Lampeter, Ceredigion.
Members of the Governing Body removed a clause which would have delayed the implementation of the Bill until a separate Bill providing statutory provision for opponents had been passed.
Instead, the Bill To Enable Women To Be Consecrated As Bishops will take effect next year (12 September 2014); and the Bench of Bishops will now have to prepare a code of practice ‘without delay’ to provide for ‘those who in conscience dissent’ from the ordination of women to the episcopate.
The Archbishop of Wales, Dr Barry Morgan, said that the bishops would ‘consult widely’ on the code of practice, and would ensure it was debated at the next meeting of the Governing Body at Llandudno in April before being presented in its final form next September.
The voting figures for the Bill, which required a two-third majority in each House, were:
Laity: 57 Ayes, 14 Noes and two abstentions
Clergy: 37 Ayes, 10 Noes
Bishops: 6 Ayes

Police criticised for preacher arrest

POLICE officers must be told that preachers speaking on homosexuality are not acting unlawfully, a Christian group is demanding. The Christian Legal Centre (CLC) has written to the Metropolitan Police following the arrest of a speaker in Wimbledon this month for suggesting that homosexual practice is sinful. Tony Miano was reported to police after preaching on 1 Thessalonians 4:1-12 on the need to abstain from sexual immorality when a passer-by reported him to the police for a homophobic offence, and he was questioned for 7 hours. But the CLC argues: ‘The questioning is unlawful as intrusive to “private life” within Article 8 of the European Convention; and to the “forum internum” within Article 9 of the Convention: Smith & Grady v United Kingdom (1999).’ From the transcript it appears as though the officers are convinced that if someone perceives there to have been a ‘homophobic incident’ then they believe an offence has occurred and therefore the speaker can be arrested. ‘We remain of the view that no reasonable police officer would arrest a Christian for preaching a Bible message in the circumstances of this case, nor pursue such an offensive line of questioning.’