Light for the Last Days

Signs of the Times – Christian Issues

Christian issues.

The Bible indicates that in the last days true Christians will face two problems – apostasy, departure from the truth – within the church and persecution / opposition from a hostile world.  Paul wrote ‘Now the Spirit expressly says that in latter times some will depart from the faith, giving heed to deceiving spirits and doctrines of demons, speaking lies in hypocrisy, having their own conscience seared with a hot iron.’  1 Timothy 4.1-2.

Jesus said, “Then they will deliver you up to tribulation and kill you, and you will be hated by all nations for My name’s sake.  And then many will be offended, will betray one another, and will hate one another.  Then many false prophets will rise up and deceive many. And because lawlessness will abound, the love of many will grow cold.  But he who endures to the end shall be saved.  And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in all the world as a witness to all the nations, and then the end will come.’  Matthew 24.9-14.

As a result of this the professing church will increasingly be part of the world government agenda.  Here are some examples of the assault on Biblical Christianity in our time.

Change the Bible to fit in with LGBT ideology.  September 2017.

Voice for Justice UK has asked people to sign a petition about the government funded Wilton House report which brands religion an enemy of homosexual rights and calls for state funding to re-interpret the Bible to make it fit in with LGBT ideology.  The petition reads:

We call on the Foreign and Commonwealth Office to reject wholly and without reservation the recent Wilton House report, Opportunities and challenges: the intersection of faith and human rights of LGBTI+ persons (9-09-16)

In a report of September 2016, Wilton Park (an executive agency of the UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office) branded religion an enemy of LGBTI rights, and called for state funding to reinterpret the Bible to make it compatible with LGBTI ideology. It further called for the new belief system to be required teaching in all churches, Sunday schools and theological seminaries, highlighting Evangelical Christians as being especially prejudiced against homosexuality. It accused them of disseminating hatred and intolerance, seen especially in the pernicious influence of missionaries working in the Global South. (https://www.wiltonpark.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/WP1488-Report.pdf)

The report was emphatic. Such views must be stamped out.

This report is clearly based on a biased and, we maintain, deliberately misleading portrayal of Christian belief in order to promote particular minority interests. It is an open and blatant attack on the human rights of Christians worldwide, and clear denial of the rights to freedom of belief and of speech, enshrined in UK law since Magna Carta. Its stated aim is the imposition of LGBTI and transgender ideology.

As an executive agency of the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, unless repudiated, there is every danger this report will be interpreted as State endorsement of the suppression of religious belief, and support for the global enforcement and promotion of LGBTI ideology.  This is outrageous and a clear denial of Christians’ legislatively enshrined and protected right to freedom of belief. We therefore call on the Foreign and Commonwealth Office unequivocally to reject this report and to issue a statement declaring that it in no way represents Government policy. We further call on the FCO to promote and defend freedom of religion and belief around the world, with particular reference to the African countries identified by the Wilton Park Report as particular target for ideological reconfiguration.

We further ask that Wilton Park be made subject of an inquiry to investigate its open promulgation of LGBTI and transgender so-called rights, and clear hostility to Christian belief.

To sign the petition go to http://www.citizengo.org/en/signit/74211/view

Church of England Synod’s sin offering.  July 2017.

The General Synod of the Church of England has voted to ‘welcome transgender people’ by considering preparing a church service as a way to ‘mark a person’s gender transition’.  The official church of the United Kingdom voted four to one in favour amongst the Clergy and more than two to one amongst the Laity (members who are not Clergy) at the four-day Synod, the motion reading:  ‘That this Synod, recognising the need for transgender people to be welcomed and affirmed in their parish church, call on the House of Bishops to consider whether some nationally commended liturgical materials might be prepared to mark a person’s gender transition.’

The General Synod also backed the ban on conversion therapy for Christians struggling with their sexuality, promoted by homosexual activist Jayne Ozanne.  This involves prayer ministry and counselling being given to those with homosexual inclinations, in order to set them free from this condition.  Bishop of Liverpool Paul Bayes said: ’LGBTI+ orientation and identity is not a sickness. And LGBTI+ orientation and identity is not a sin.’  The motion was passed, with the House of Bishops voting 36 for and one against, with no abstentions. The House of Clergy voted 135 for, 25 against with 13 abstentions. In the House of Laity 127 supported the motion with 48 opposing and 13 abstentions.  The Archbishop of York, John Sentamu, said the sooner the practice of conversion therapy was banned, the sooner ‘I can sleep at night’.

Commenting on these motions, Andrea Williams of Christian Concern said: ‘The Archbishop of York wants to prevent anyone from helping often abused, hurting people who want to move away from unwanted sexual patterns of behaviour and emotions, and desperately want help. Refusing help to such people is profoundly unkind and anti-Christian.  Jayne Ozanne is acting in her exclusive capacity as a homosexual rights advocate, not on behalf of the Church, but in order to undermine the Church. Her disdain for authentic Christianity can be found in her published material on so-called ‘spiritual abuse’.  According to Jayne Ozanne, spiritual abuse can be just about anything found in orthodox Christianity that she doesn’t agree with: promoting purity before marriage, preaching that sexual expression belongs within life-long marriage between one man and one woman, or therapeutic help to deal with unwanted same-sex attraction.  There are any number of valid reasons that an individual would seek help with unwanted same-sex attraction – loving Jesus passionately and wanting to be faithful to Him and His teaching, maintaining a heterosexual marriage and preventing a family breakup, or to maintain vows of religious celibacy, to name only a few.  The notion that therapy for unwanted same-sex attraction is harmful is simply not true.’

She concludes that the Church is now complicit in ‘mainstreaming and justifying homosexual behaviour and giving a national platform to ideologies which want to destroy biblical Christianity.  The motion for ‘Welcoming Transgender People’ is nothing short of a heretical assault on God’s creation ordinance (Genesis 5.1-2) and the meaning of baptism.  These ideologies are a poison seeping into the very roots of the Church, and if left unchecked, the roots will rot. We must recognise Jayne Ozanne’s Private Member’s Motion for the deception that it is, and the existential threat that it poses.’

Pope Francis: World Government to save the poor?  July 2017.

Pope Francis told the Italian newspaper La Repubblica that the United States of America has ‘a distorted vision of the world.’  The Pope made the observation in an interview with La Repubblica reporter Eugenio Scalfari.  ‘Last Thursday, I got a call from Pope Francis,’ Scalfari reported. ‘It was about noon, and I was at the newspaper when my phone rang.’  He said Pope Francis had been watching Putin and Trump at the G20 and had become agitated. The Pope demanded to see him at four that afternoon, according to a Google translation of the Italian report.

‘Pope Francis told me to be very concerned about the meeting of the G20,’ Scalfari wrote.  As translated into English by Agence France Presse, which picked up the story, the Pope said ‘I am afraid there are very dangerous alliances between powers who have a distorted view of the world: America and Russia, China and North Korea, Russia and Assad in the war in Syria.’

‘The danger concerns immigration,’ the Pope continued to La Repubblica. ‘Our main and unfortunately growing problem in the world today is that of the poor, the weak, the excluded, which includes migrants.  This is why the G20 worries me: It mainly hits immigrants,’ Pope Francis said, according to AFP.

A number of prophecy websites interpreted the Pope’s remarks as implying that America and Europe would be better off under a world government. For example YourNewsWire.com wrote:  ‘Pope Francis’s idea that Americans would be better off under a world government doesn’t stop there. The radical leftist pontiff also went on record stating that Europe should become one country under one government.  In the same interview, according to La Repubblica, Pope Francis said that Europe must take on a ‘federal structure,’ resembling feudal times when the peasants were ruled by unimpeachable monarchs.  ‘I also thought many times to this problem and came to the conclusion that, not only but also for this reason, Europe must take as soon as possible a federal structure,’ the Pope said, according to the Google translation of the La Repubblica article.

At the same time the Pope is under fire from traditional Catholics, including the retired pope Benedict XVI, who gave a shock warning that the Catholic Church is in danger of capsizing.  He recently spoke at the funeral of Cardinal Joachim Meisner, who was one of four cardinals who previously sent a letter criticising Pope Francis’ book ‘Amoris Laetitia’ (Joy of Love) saying it went against Catholic moral values.  Benedict said, ‘The Church stands in particularly pressing need of convincing shepherds who can resist the dictatorship of the spirit of the age and who live and think the faith with determination.’  By implication this means he sees Francis as bowing to the liberal leftist spirit of the age and bringing Catholic teaching into line with it.

He went on to say that because of this ‘pressing need Meisner found it difficult to leave his post.  What moved me all the more was that, in this last period of his life, he learned to let go and to live out of a deep conviction that the Lord does not abandon His Church, even when the boat has taken on so much water as to be on the verge of capsizing,’ the pope emeritus concluded.

Pope comes under fire from traditionalists.  March 2017.

According to a report in The London Times featuring the best selling Catholic author and journalist Antonio Socci, about 12 cardinals who have supported Pope Francis since his election in March 2013 now fear that his controversial reforms may cause a schism in the Church, and so they hope to pressure the Pope to resign.

“Four years after Benedict XVI’s renunciation and Bergoglio’s arrival on the scene, the situation of the Catholic church has become explosive, perhaps really on the edge of a schism, which could be even more disastrous than Luther’s who is today being rehabilitated by the Bergoglio church,” said Socci

The main criticisms of the Pope come from his support for what many see as the antichrist globalisation agenda and his abandonment of the traditional Catholic moral teaching and the belief that salvation is available through the Catholic Church alone.  His statements in favour of inter-faith approaches to Protestants, eastern Orthodox and other faiths have caused alarm, including his statement that Christians and Muslims worship the same God.  

The traditional Catholic LifeSiteNews says:  ‘The most extraordinary new development has been the head of the Roman Catholic Church 

  • proclaiming “proselytism is the strongest poison against the ecumenical path” and “Proselytism is solemn nonsense, it makes no sense.”
  • recently proclaiming that Marxist “Liberation Theology was a good thing for Latin America,”
  • upsetting the traditional applications of Catholic moral teachings
  • calling on all “to defend our Sister Mother Earth” while accepting the false claims about climate change alarmism as coming from “a very solid scientific consensus,”
  • trashing capitalism, and urging for a Marxist-sounding new international economic order 
  • strongly urging the opening of borders to millions of undocumented, poorly vetted Islamist immigrants with their radically different culture and religion-based laws.’

It goes on to say that Pope Francis has also been inviting increasingly virulent, prominent New World Order enemies of Christianity, such as Paul Ehrlich, Professor John Bongaarts, the vice-president of the Population Council, and China’s “organ czar,” to speak at Vatican conferences and advise the Church on policies.  A worldly, modern “social justice” list of priorities dominates Vatican actions and statements today.

LifeSiteNews draws attention to a talk given by Italian Cardinal Biffi when Benedict was Pope in which he says that the Antichrist is among us.  The Cardinal quoted Russian religious philosopher Vladimir Soloviev, saying  “the Antichrist presents himself as pacifist, ecologist and ecumenist. … He will convoke an ecumenical council and will seek the consensus of all the Christian confessions, granting something to each one. The masses will follow him, with the exception of small groups of Catholics, Orthodox and Protestants,” he said.   

In his “Tale of the Antichrist” Solovyov foresees that a small group of Catholics, Orthodox and Protestants will resist and will say to the Antichrist: “You give us everything, except what interests us, Jesus Christ”.   For Cardinal Biffi, this narrative is a warning: “Today, in fact, we run the risk of having a Christianity which puts aside Jesus with his cross and resurrection.”  He added that if Christians “limited themselves to speaking of shared values they would be more accepted on television programs and in social groups. But in this way, they will have renounced Jesus, the overwhelming reality of the resurrection.”  The cardinal said he believes that this is “the danger that Christians face in our days … the Son of God cannot be reduced to a series of good projects sanctioned by the prevailing worldly mentality.”

While the website does not apply this directly to Pope Francis, the way it is phrased certainly makes a link between this Pope and the Antichrist.  And that is coming from a Roman Catholic!

Persecuted Christians suffer ‘Worst Year Yet,’ mostly under Islam.  March 2017.

The persecution of Christians around the world, but especially in the Muslim world, has reached an all-time high—with 2016 being the ‘worst year yet,’ according to Open Doors, which recently released its annual ranking of the top 50 countries where Christians face the most persecution.

Among some of its more significant findings:

  • ‘Islamic extremism’ remains the dominant force responsible for the persecution of Christians in 40 of the 50 worst nations;
  • Nine of the ten worst nations are Muslim (North Korea being the only non-Islamic);
  • ‘In the top 21 countries on the Open Doors World Watch List (18 of which are Muslim), 100 percent of Christians experience persecution’;
  • 1,329 churches were attacked, damaged, or destroyed, mostly in Muslim nations;
  • Islamic Somalia is now the second worst nation; there, ‘If Christians’ faith is discovered it means instant death, executed without trial and often on rumour alone’;
  • In Nigeria—where more Christians have been slaughtered by Muslims than possibly in any other nation—the killing of Christians went up by 62 percent;
  • The nation where the most violent and sexual attacks on Christians take place—Muslim majority Pakistan—rose to the number four spot.

While everything points to Islam—or ‘Islamic extremism,’ as Open Doors puts it—as the chief factor behind the global persecution of Christians, what does one make of the fact that North Korea continues to rank as the number one worst persecutor of Christians? Surely this suggests that Christian persecution is not intrinsic to the Islamic world but is rather a product of repressive regimes and other socio-cultural factors?

Here we come to some critically important but rarely acknowledged distinctions.   While Christians are indeed suffering extreme persecution in North Korea, overthrowing Kim Jong-un’s regime could lead to a quick halt to that persecution—just as the fall of Communist Soviet Union saw the end of religious persecution. The vibrancy of Christianity in South Korea, a nation virtually identical in ethnicity, culture, and language to its northern counterpart, is suggestive of what may be in store—and thus creates paranoia for—North Korea.

In the Islamic world, however, a similar scenario would not alleviate the sufferings of Christians by an iota.  Quite the opposite; where dictators fall (often thanks to U.S. intervention)—Saddam in Iraq, Qaddafi in Libya, and attempts against Assad in Syria—Christian persecution dramatically rises.  Today Iraq is the seventh worst nation in the world in which to be Christian, Syria sixth, and Libya 11.  A decade ago under the ‘evil’ dictators, Iraq was ranked 32, Syria 47, and Libya 22.  The reason for this is that Muslim persecution of Christians is perennial, existential, and far transcends this or that regime or ruler.  It is part and parcel of the history, doctrines, and socio-political makeup of Islam—hence its tenacity; hence its ubiquity.

Muslim persecution of Christians exists in 40 nations today as part of a continuum—or ‘tradition’—that started nearly 14 centuries ago.  As I document in my book ‘Crucified Again: Exposing Islam’s New War on Christians’, the very same patterns of Christian persecution prevalent throughout the Muslim world today are often identical to those from centuries past.

A final consideration: North Korea, the one non-Muslim nation making the top ten worst persecutors list, is governed by what is widely seen as an unbalanced megalomaniac; conversely, the other nine nations are not dominated by any ‘cults-of-personalities’ and are variously governed: including through parliamentarian democracies (Iraq), parliamentarian republics (Pakistan and Somalia), one-party or presidential republics (Eritrea, Sudan and Syria), Islamic republics (Afghanistan and Iran).  Looking at the other Muslim nations that make the top 50 persecutors’ list and even more forms of governments proliferate, for example transitional/disputed governments (Libya #11) and monarchies (Saudi Arabia #14).

The common denominator is that they are all Islamic nations.

Thus, long after North Korea’s psychotic Kim Jong-un has gone the way of the dodo, tens of millions of Christians and other ‘infidels’ will continue to suffer extreme persecution, till what began in the seventh century reaches fruition and the entire Islamic world becomes ‘infidel’ free.

Confronting this discomforting fact is the first real step to alleviating the sufferings of the overwhelming majority of Christians around the world; for seldom can anything be fixed without first acknowledging the root of the problem.

The Bible Is ‘Criminal’.  British Court Convicts Preachers.  March 2017.

A British court has convicted two street preachers of a public order offence for preaching the Bible in public.  The Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) prosecutor in the case claimed that publicly quoting parts of the King James Bible in modern Britain should “be considered to be abusive and is a criminal matter.”

Michael Overd of Creech St Michael, United Kingdom and Michael Stockwell of Seldon, New York were found guilty under the Crime and Disorder Act 1998 at Bristol Magistrates’ Court.  Prosecutor Ian Jackson also told the court, “To say to someone that Jesus is the only God is not a matter of truth. To the extent that they are saying that the only way to God is through Jesus, that cannot be a truth.”

Overd, Stockwell and two others were preaching in a Bristol shopping area last July. They took turns speaking and answering questions from the crowd that gathered.   Video showed bystanders hurling abuse at the preachers.  The men explained the difference between Islam and Christianity, using the Bible and references to the Qur’an. They spoke of God’s love, and the uniqueness of Jesus Christ.

After about an hour, Overd was forcibly removed from the scene by a police officer.  The video records the police officer saying that Overd was preaching “homophobia” and “challenging Muslims,” to which Overd responds that he and the other preachers were “just saying what the Bible says.”

Overd and Stockwell were both fined £300 and ordered to pay a victim surcharge of £30. They’ll also have to jointly pay court costs of £3,372.   Avon and Somerset Chief Inspector Andy Williams said the court “determined that these men crossed that line and used their platform to comment on other religions and sexuality using disparaging and offensive language.”

What the men has said was an orthodox biblical understanding of the Christian faith as it has been historically understood.  The CPS lawyer was therefore in effect claiming that it is no longer legal to speak publicly about some aspects of this.  From the accusations made against these preachers, we can see four ways this could affect any of us who preach the Gospel

  1. Belief that the Bible is the Word of God.  Apparently quoting parts of it could be considered criminal.
  2. Belief that Jesus is the one way to God.  Now ‘saying one way to God through Jesus cannot be truth’.
  3. Saying that homosexual practice is sinful.  This is the unforgivable sin of our time known as ‘homophobia’.
  4. Challenging Muslims, in other words saying that the teachings of Islam and the Koran are not true.  Another unforgivable sin known as ‘Islamophobia’.

Jesus said ‘You will be brought before kings and rulers for My name’s sake.  But it will turn out for you as an occasion for testimony. Therefore settle it in your hearts not to meditate beforehand on what you will answer;  for I will give you a mouth and wisdom which all your adversaries will not be able to contradict or resist.’  Luke 21.13-15.

Christian Voice on British Values.  February 2017.

A senior Government advisor, Dame Louise Casey, has said Christians in public life should not be allowed to hold traditional Christian views on marriage.  Speaking to MPs on the Communities and Local Government Select Committee, Dame Louise said: ‘it is not okay for Catholic schools to be homophobic and anti-gay marriage. … it is not how we bring children up in this country. It is often veiled as religious conservatism, and I have a problem with the expression ‘religious conservatism’, because often it can be anti-equalities. We have got to be careful that people can choose, obviously, to live the lives that they want to live, but that they cannot condemn others for living differently.’

Although Dame Louise singled out Catholic schools, there are many Christians and other religious groups to whom her sentiments would apply.   ‘The Casey Review: a review into opportunity and integration’ was set up by Theresa May in July 2015.  It was ‘a review into opportunity and integration in some of our most isolated communities’.

In her review she calls for immigrants and public servants to take an ‘oath of British values’.  Her report proposed that migrants should swear an ‘oath of integration with British values and society’ before they become British citizens.  Similarly, both Dame Louise and Sajid Javid MP, the Communities Secretary, are calling for civil servants and all in public office to swear an ‘oath enshrining British values.’ These are specified as ‘tolerance, democracy and respect’.  If a public official were to violate such an oath, they could be excluded from public office. A teacher would have to stop teaching. Even a nurse might have to quit.

Ofsted would be sure to police such a regime meticulously. Schools in the public system already have a statutory duty to promote homosexuality and transgenderism under the Equalities Act. Having an oath of office would intensify the pressure on every individual teacher.  But looking deeper into the attitudes of Dame Louise reveals an intolerant mindset.  It is one probably owned by many people in government, officialdom and the media.  Firstly, she says one ‘cannot condemn others for living differently’. Well, we can. We call it ‘preaching conviction of sin.’ In Human Rights language it’s called ‘freedom of expression.’ And funnily enough, the Government does it, in campaigns against smoking and obesity. Ordinary people do it whenever they warn a friend about taking drugs.

Secondly, ‘to be homophobic and anti-gay marriage … is not how we bring children up in this country’. Well, excuse me, but whose children are they? Dame Louise has the statist idea that the nation’s children belong to the Government.  They don’t. They belong to the nation’s families. And some of those families are liberal in their views while some are conservative. Some families are lazy.  Others are industrious. Some are rough and some cultured. Some wouldn’t know a spiritual aspect of life if it bit them. Others are deeply religious. It’s called ‘diversity’ in its truest sense. And when a nation’s government pontificates that it is ‘not okay’ for parents and teachers to convey to children that marriage is an ordinance of God between one man and one woman for life, you are living in a society with a death-wish.

Thirdly, government appears to be moving towards a position where what people do in their destructive lifestyles is not just tolerated but celebrated and encouraged.  Meanwhile, what people think is condemned.  This reminds us of George Orwell and his prophetic book ‘Nineteen Eighty-Four’.  In it, the state takes reprisals against society’s dissidents who commit ‘thought crimes’.

We are not allowed to ‘condemn others for living differently’, but the Government will condemn us for thinking differently. You do not secure ‘societal cohesion and unity’ by forcing law-abiding people to act against their conscience. Instead, you store up resentment and anger. Tolerance has to tolerate intolerance. Homosexuality is on such shaky intellectual ground it cannot allow freedom of religion and freedom of conscience.  A ‘British values’ oath will sever our nation from its Christian roots. In doing so, politicians will saw off the very branch of our heritage they are sitting on.

Christians at risk of prison for preaching Christ.  February 2017.

The Policing and Crime Bill proposes to raise the penalty for a ‘racially or religiously aggravated offence’ from seven years to 14 years. The bill was debated in the House of Lords this week.  Lord Pearson raised a question about this offence, asking:  ‘Could such an offence be caused by a Christian preaching the supreme divinity of Christ and therefore denying the supremacy of Muhammad? Would various assembled Muslims be free to regard that as a religiously aggravated offence under this section?’

Responding for the government, Baroness Williams replied:  ‘It is a matter for the court and the CPS to determine the points that he makes’.  This means that the government considers that it is possible that a Christian could face years in prison for preaching the supreme divinity of Christ.

Andrea Williams, Chief Executive of Christian Concern, said: ‘It is extremely concerning that the government is not prepared to defend free speech to the extent that Christians may risk a prison sentence for saying that Jesus is Lord of all.

Free speech is fundamental to a free society. Sadly, the present government is not willing to defend this important value, and this raises the prospect of Christians being imprisoned for preaching Christ.  Free speech is meaningless if it does not include the right to offend. It is shocking that the government believes that a Christian could face prison for proclaiming the supreme divinity of Christ.  Already Christian Concern and the Christian Legal Centre have defended multiple preachers who have been arrested for preaching the gospel. The government clearly expects that we will have to defend many more preachers in the coming years.  This is a further step down the road to a totalitarian society where people dare not say what they think for fear of being arrested and imprisoned.  The government should be jealously guarding and protecting free speech rather than undermining it.  The fact that Jesus is Lord over all is the hope for our nation. It is at the very heart of Christianity, which has provided the moral and spiritual foundations for our society for centuries. People should be free to declare Christ’s Lordship in every area of public life.  The government should change its position and immediately clarify for the courts that preaching that Jesus is God will not be an offence under this act.’

Muslim prayers in church.  January 2017.

‘But there were false prophets also among the people, even as there shall be false teachers among you, who privily shall bring in damnable heresies, even denying the Lord that bought them, and bring upon themselves swift destruction.’  2 Peter 2.1.  

Apostasy, falling away from the faith ‘once for all delivered to the saints’ (Jude 3) is one of the signs of the last days.  Here are two incidents which show how far much of the professing church has fallen away from the true faith.

A passage from the Koran that denies one of the central tenets of the Christian faith was sung aloud at St Mary’s Episcopal Cathedral in Glasgow.    The passage from Surah 19, which specifically denies that Jesus was the Son of God and says He should not be worshipped, was sung during a Eucharist service at St Mary’s Episcopal Cathedral in Glasgow to mark the feast of the Epiphany.

A girl sang the passage from the Koran in a typical Islamic style. It narrates the Islamic account of the birth of Jesus, which includes the claim that Mary was ‘ashamed’ after giving birth, and the new born baby miraculously spoke from the cradle.  In the Koran’s account of the birth of Jesus Mary is a virgin, so the miraculous birth idea is preserved.  However there is no  understanding of why the virgin birth was necessary for the Saviour, the sinless Son of God, to come into the world, as we find in the Bible.   There is no Joseph in the Koran and Mary is a single mother who faces being stoned to death for sin until the baby Jesus miraculously speaks from the cradle to save her from this fate.

In the Glasgow Cathedral service the Muslim girl concludes by singing Surah 19.35, which states in translation: ‘It befits not the Majesty of Allah that He should take unto Himself a son,’ and then verse 36, which has the infant Jesus saying: ‘And lo! Allah is my Lord and your Lord. So worship Him. That is the right path.’  The cathedral praised the reading in a Facebook post, calling it a ‘wonderful event’, ignoring the fact that it denies the Gospel:  ‘And the angel answered and said to her (Mary), ‘The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Highest will overshadow you; therefore, also, that Holy One who is to be born will be called the Son of God.’  Luke 1.35.

Retired Anglican bishop Michael Nazir-Ali strongly condemned it, saying it was especially inappropriate for the feast of the Epiphany, which celebrates the revelation of Christ as the Son of God.  He said, ‘The authorities of the Scottish Episcopal Church should immediately repudiate this ill-advised invitation.  Christians should know what their fellow citizens believe and this can include reading the Qur’an for themselves, whether in the original or in translation. This is not, however, the same thing as having it read in Church in the context of public worship.    It is particularly insensitive to have this passage read in Church on the Feast of the Epiphany when we celebrate not only Christ’s manifestation to the gentiles but also His baptism and the divine declaration, ‘You are My beloved Son in whom I am well pleased’.’

Days after this event Gloucester Cathedral provoked controversy by hosting an event featuring the Islamic call to prayer, as well as Buddhist chanting, Rasta drumming, and a Pagan rock band.  The ‘Faith’ exhibition by artist Russell Haine, held inside the Christian monument, features 37 portraits of individuals from different belief systems, including Zoroastrians, Druids, Witches, Pagans, and Baha’i, as well as all the major world religions.  The Islamic call to prayer, which states that Muhammed is Allah’s prophet, a teaching incompatible with Christianity, was performed at the launch of the exhibition, by local Imam Hassan of Masjid-e-Noor Mosque.

Reverend Ruth Fitter, vicar of St. Paul and Stephen Church, who helped arrange the event, said the call was ‘absolutely beautiful’ and encouraged Christians to embrace all religions rather than spread the gospel in any way.  ‘We live in a world that is becoming more and more polarised by people who claim to have the truth. No one has any proof of God – that’s what faith is about.   My parish is made up of such an eclectic diverse population and is, therefore, a beautiful image of God’s creation in my view. Every single person is made in his image and loved by Him.  At the end of the day, we really make God very small if we think he cares about us fighting the corner for Him. Don’t you think He can do that for himself?’

Obviously this lady vicar has no idea of the meaning of the Gospel or the truth of the words of the Lord Jesus:  ‘I AM the way, the truth, and the life: no man comes unto the Father, but by me.  John 14.6.  Jesus said of such people: ‘Let them alone: they are blind leaders of the blind. And if the blind lead the blind, both shall fall into the ditch.’ (Matthew 15:14).  Sadly such blind leaders have command in so many of our churches, which is why spiritually the land is in such a sorry state.

Tony Pearce

Tony Pearce

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