Tag Archives: SSM

Sermon – Change & Decay?

The newly retired Moderator of a fellow Scottish Presbyterian Church has an Internet blog, written in his capacity as a Parish Minister in his particular denomination.

He seems to spend virtually every post, criticising, condemning, and commentating negatively on the Kirk.

According to this narrow minded bigoted view, the Church of Scotland has become apostate, heretical, unbiblical – because of recent decisions made by our General Assembly and by words spoken by individual ministerial colleagues. He has actually gone as far as to suggest that the Kirk deserves to die – an appalling and unsavoury remark from a fellow Christian minister.

In the immortal words of Dad’s Army’s Private Fraser (John Lawrie – from just down the road in Dumfries), “We’re doomed. Doomed, I tell ye!”

Certainly, there is a lot happening within the Kirk that is causing strain and stress.

Take for example, the Assembly’s discussion and debate on the Overture regarding Ministers in Same Sex Marriage. Although that comparatively brief discussion was, on the whole, conducted in a civilised manner, before this, there has been so much bile, unpleasantness, and a downright lack of Christian charity.

Several ministers and some congregations have left the Kirk as a result.

Last Saturday, at the Assembly, 215 commissioners voted against the Overture. 339 voted “for”.

Division, disagreement, disruption

Over the years, numerically, we are in decline….. for many different reasons – such as members becoming older and sadly being no longer with us; of younger people who have no interest; of some long term members who – for whatever the reason – have just given up.

The way we were – St Mary’s Church, 1901

 

I was ordained in 1974. Then Kirk membership was about a million. 42 years on – it’s standing at around 370,000.

I remember sometime around 1990, a member of staff from the Church Offices came to address my then Presbytery – Lothian.

He talked about church decline by way of membership numbers, and mentioned that if the trend continued, Edinburgh (our neighbouring Presbytery) would have no members by 2029 – and would effectively disappear.

Friendly rivalry caused many of us there at that evening’s meeting to guffaw – though it was no laughing matter.

He paused for a moment, then said: “I don’t know why you’re laughing; YOUR Presbytery will disappear the year after – in 2030!”

But – let’s say this…..

 

  • The Church still stands.

Despite knock backs, despite setbacks, despite the downward trajectory we seem to be on – we’re still here….. we always will be.

Do you remember the story of Christ arriving in Heaven, and being asked how many folk he’d left to carry on, and he answers “Twelve”

“Twelve!” comes the incredulous reply, “Is that all?”

And he answers, “It’s enough”.

Things may not get as few as that here, but think of how the Church is actually growing – in Africa, Russia, China…… that’s more than enough!

I read yesterday that in 1900, there were 8 million Christians in Africa. Now there are 335 million. And the growth rate continues to accelerate.

For Christianity the 20th century was numerically the most successful century since Christ was crucified. By 2010, there were 2.2 billion Christians in the world, 31% of its population.

 

  • And we stand for something.

Societal patterns are changing, as are attitudes, and as is need.

What is Church? It’s a group or congregation. Very often interpreted as people coming together on – usually a Sunday – to sing hymns, listen to the Minister say prayers (as to actually praying themselves) and listening to a sermon for ten/fifteen minutes…. then going home for lunch.

That may be “being” Church…. but “doing” Church involves more, so much more.

Helping, feeding, caring for those in need should be the ‘why’ of what we, if we truly want to “do”, not the how or the what. Following Christ’s teaching demands that we share the essentials of life unconditionally.

This is integral not peripheral, the beginning and not a side-line or optional extra. Jesus’ unequivocally states that we encounter ultimate meaning when we treat others as we would wish to be treated, love others as we love ourselves and meet the needs of the vulnerable, excluded and marginalised.

This is the imperative which drives and shapes the Church and its existence as a servant community, taking us back to Christ’s theology as found in his Parable of the Kingdom in Matthew 25

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  • And the Church doesn’t stand still

If you cast your mind back to the short address I gave near the beginning of today’s service – about the dog and the rabbit……

Let me – as it were – turn it around a bit…… and remind you of that wonderful poem written by Francis Thomson – The Hound of Heaven…..

“I fled Him, down the nights and down the days; I fled Him, down the arches of the years; I fled Him down the labyrinthine ways Of my own mind; and in the midst of tears I hid from Him…”

Thomson’s story is punctuated by sorrow, failure and addiction. The squalor and self-medication of his age come through in every chapter of his life, ultimately ending in his death at age 48. But Thompson’s real legacy is not the opium that consumed his body, but the paw prints of a Hound he says relentlessly pursued his soul.

Thompson knew that Hound as the God Who draws sinners to Himself even as they flee from His voice, a dauntless Hunter of hearts.

 


In the 1930’s Stalin ordered a purge of all Bibles and all believers. In Stavropol, Russia, this order was carried out with vengeance. Thousands of Bibles were confiscated, and multitudes of believers were sent to the gulags-prison camps-where most died, unjustly condemned as “enemies of the state.”

An American missionary team were many years later to discover that there was a warehouse outside of town where these confiscated Bibles had been stored since Stalin’s day.

They got permission to remove them, helped by several Russians .

One helper was a young man-a skeptical, hostile agnostic who had come only for the day’s wages. As they were loading Bibles, one team member noticed that the young man had disappeared. Eventually they found him in a corner of the warehouse, weeping.

He had slipped away hoping to take a Bible for himself. What he did not know was that he was being pursued by the “Hound of Heaven.” What he found shook him to the core.

The inside page of the Bible he picked up had the handwritten signature of his own grandmother. It had been her personal Bible. Out of the thousands of Bibles still left in that warehouse, he stole the very one belonging to his grandmother-a woman, who throughout her entire life, was persecuted for her faith.

the “Hound of Heaven” who had tracked him down to that very warehouse with devastating effect.

Jesus is truly the ever-present, all-seeing “Hound of Heaven.” He can still track us down wherever we’re hiding!

He called that young Russian man and how many more like him will he seek and find!

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Homophobic Witnesses

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God judges….

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April 14, 2016 · 11:01

Kim Davis

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September 13, 2015 · 07:26

Tunisia Massacre and SSM

PinkNews

Christian Concern compares Tunisia massacre to same-sex marriage
Nick Duffy 13th July 2015, 12:18 PM

A guest column carried by religious pressure group Christian Concern compares same-sex marriage to the massacre of British tourists in Tunisia.
The group, which works to oppose UK equality laws but failed to stop the passage of same-sex marriage, posted a guest article from “cultural apologist and church leader” Dr Joe Boot.
The column says there are many reason for Christians to ‘despair’ – citing the murder of innocent Christians in Nigeria, the massacre of 38 people in Tunisia, and the US Supreme Court bringing same-sex marriage to all 50 states.
It says: “Given the events of recent days, with Boko Haram slitting the throats of Christians in Nigeria, Islamic jihadists murdering dozens of Britons as they sat with their children by the sea in Tunisia, and as the Humpty Dumpty logic of the US Supreme Court led to a decision legalising same-sex ‘marriage’ in America – an act far more destructive of truth and liberty than a terrorist bomb – it would be easy to be utterly despondent as a Christian.
“However, the truth of the gospel means we must not – indeed, cannot – give in to fear, doubt or despair.”
38 people were murdered by a gunman in Tunisia, including 30 British holidaymakers.
Dr Boot claims that the Tunisian murders were driven by the fundamental beliefs of Islam, labelling the Prophet Mohammed a “violent and bloodthirsty warlord”, before drawing a direct comparison to the Supreme Court ruling.
He claims that “the US Supreme Court’s decision expresses, in a different way, a similar usurpation of sovereignty”, and accuses the justices of “waging [a] ‘legal’ war against Christ” in a similar way to radical Islamists.
The column continues: “In both Islamic militancy and activist Western courts, we are witnessing war on the living God by means and application of illegitimate law and the usurpation of sovereignty.”
Andrea Williams of Christian Concern is regularly given a platform to make media appearances, despite her group’s increasingly anti-gay stance.
The UK Independence Part’s ‘Christian’ manifesto was released earlier this year on a Christian Concern-run website – but was not circulated it via the official UKIP website or to the press.

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Idiot

Speaking at a Georgia church’s Independence Day celebration, Mike Huckabee warned a that the Supreme Court’s marriage equality decision will soon cause the U.S. to face God’s judgment.

“1975, the wife of evangelist Billy Graham said that ‘if God does not bring his judgment upon this land, He will have to apologize to Sodom and Gomorrah,’” Huckabee said. “She said that 40 years ago. What would she say today if she was still alive? When the Supreme Court just two weeks ago, or as I call them, the Extreme Court, made the most radical decision when it comes to the definition of marriage, it truly was a remarkable day in which they did not vote for equality of something, they voted for the redefinition of something.”

After criticizing President Obama for his stance on same-sex marriage, Huckabee said that people must defy the court’s decision with the same courage as the nation’s founders, adding that “the courts of man can no more suspend the definition and law of marriage than it could suspend the law of gravity.”

THE “CRIME” OF S & G WAS THEIR LACK OF HOSPITALITY

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you’ll never walk alone

 

New anti-gay marriage ad by Catholic group
Jul 01, 2015 10:27am PDT by Walter Einenkel

“The catholicvote.org education fund is something. I’m going to choose not to find out too much about them because the insane anti-gay marriage video they released says more than I need to know. It’s a video where people of all races and genders—and one creed—sit down in front of the camera and talk cryptically about feeling like they can’t talk about how much they hate gay people being allowed to marry. High-fill lighting and (probably) a ring light is placed in their eye-line to make those oppressed Catholic eyes pop and a sad meditative score will bring you to tears. These poor Catholics continue to be oppressed! It is insane and offensive and, unfortunately for them, really unforgivable.”

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nutter of the day

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’til equality us do part

from The Daily Beast

Australian couple threatens to divorce if gay marriage is legal
’TIL EQUALITY DO US PART
COUPLE VOWS TO DIVORCE IF GAYS CAN MARRY
BY WILLIAM BOOT 06.10.155:50 PM ET
Nick and Sarah Jensen have announced their possible divorce. Not because they’re having martial problems—in fact, Nick says that “my wife is the only woman I have ever loved, the mother of our children, my perfect match.”

No, Nick and Sarah’s marriage is in peril because of gay people. Specifically, the sanity of Nick and Sarah’s unity is threatened by pending marriage-equality legislation in Australia, where they live.
On Wednesday, Nick wrote in Canberra CityNews that should such laws pass, they may “force” him to dissolve his 10-year marriage.

He assures the masses that he has no intention of actually leaving his lady, writing, “After our divorce, we’ll continue to live together, hopefully for another 50 years. And, God willing, we’ll have more children. We’ll also continue to refer to each other as ‘husband’ and ‘wife’ and consider ourselves married by the Church and before God.”

No, his sacrifice will be entirely in rejecting the benefits of legal marriage—should they also be extended to his fellow countrymen. He says, “My wife and I, as a matter of conscience, refuse to recognize the government’s regulation of marriage if its definition includes the solemnization of same-sex couples.”

When reached by Fairfax Media for additional comment, Nick brought up the ol’ slippery-slope argument, saying that allowing gay people to marry will lead to polygamy.

It’s worth noting that Nick has a dog in this particular fight beyond his 10-year union—he’s the director of Lachlan Macquarie Institute, an entirely donor-funded conservative Christian lobbyist group. Their goal is “to see Christian principles influencing the way we are governed, do business, and relate to each other as a community.”

When reached by Fairfax Media for additional comment, Nick brought up the ol’ slippery-slope argument, saying that allowing gay people to marry will lead to polygamy.

“Once you say that marriage is detached from children, [that it’s] just about love, then when three people come to the state and say ‘Well, we’re all in love’, then the state has no grounds, except unjust discrimination, to say why they can’t get married,” he argued.

We have reached out to Lachlan Macquarie Institute to let Nick know that many of Australia’s marriage-equality advocates are actually anti-polygamy and will update if we receive a response.

We are currently looking into how to contact all of Australia’s gay folks to see if they have any comment on potentially ruining Nick and Sarah’s marriage. We’re sure they feel super terrible about that.

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It’s the end……. as we know it

Liberals Unite

Phyllis Schlafly Warns Gay Marriages Will Wipe Out Christianity
May 12, 2015 by Kimberley Johnson

 

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Gender traitor and destroyer of equality, Phyllis Schlafly, is picking on the gays now.

It wasn’t enough for her to spread lies about what constitutional gender equality would mean for the country decades ago, now she’s complaining that the gay agenda will wipe out Christianity.

In an interview with conservative radio host Chuck Wilder, Schlafly asserted that lawsuits against business owners who refuse to serve members of the LGBT community prove that marriage equality advocates are seeking to “to wipe out the Christian religion.”
Wilder asked, “Have you noticed that only Christian small-businesspeople have been harassed and sued for refusing to participate in same-sex marriages, even though our fast-growing immigrant populations, you know of Muslims, Hindus and other faiths are also opposed to that concept? The use of same-sex marriage to attack Christian businesses but not businesses run by members of other religions demonstrates what is really driving the demand for the new constitutional right to same-sex marriage.”

Wilder then asked Schlafly to “Give us the bottom line.”

Schlafly responded. “Well, that is right. They want to wipe out the Christian religion. And most of these other religions do not recognize same-sex marriage. I assume there are some Muslim bakers and photographers and other people who have been harassed, but they’re not being attacked and they’re not being criticized.”

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