Saturday, 13 August 2011

UK In Crisis


the root of the rot


Are we surprised at the looting louts of London (and elsewhere)?

Since there is criminality among politicians, the press, the police, the private investigators, the priests, etc, do we imagine the looters remain 'uninspired' by such public role models?

How then do we make sense of all the mayhem? First, away with the excuses - the Mark Duggan killing, tuition fees resentment, unemployment, summer holidays, etc. Yes, don't cut police resources during a recession, then blame them when they're overstretched, etc.

So what is the root of the rot?

We are reaping what we have sown. Our secular, Evolution-based culture, driven by the prophets Darwin and Dawkins et al has abolished God, the Ten Commandments and our law-abiding Christian heritage. We are witnessing the horrors of humanism.

Secularism has poisoned the churches as well as society. Clergy have caved in to materialism and perverted values. With pornography and promiscuity no longer frowned upon, infidelity, marital breakdown and rising divorce have devastated families. Parental failure surely lies behind the current criminality of our rampaging kids.

But parents are not helped when corrupt entertainment and relativistic education pervert their offspring.

Is there any hope? Not with those in power or with so-called democratic values shorn of their Christian origins. Humanism leads to hell, so vividly presaged by the fires of London. The following message sets out the only hope for crisis-hit UK.

May God have mercy upon us!

Your deeply-concerned fellow citizen,

Dr Alan C. Clifford

Norwich Reformed Church






(Exodus 20: 15)

God’s Law - summed up in the Ten Commandments - protects all concerned from injustice. It is a rule of righteousness in our dealings with God and our fellow human beings. The theme of protection is sharply focused in the Eighth Commandment. It highlights what is relevant to every commandment. It protects all that is sacred: God’s honour and glory (1-4), and our neighbour’s person (5, 6), marriage (7), possessions (8) and reputation (9). The commandment clearly implies that everyone has rights of possession which should never be violated.


If no one owns anything, stealing has no meaning. Thus nationalisation of private assets without compensation is stealing by the Government. However, a secular or humanistic view of private ownership is very different from the Judeo-Christian concept. Where the humanist insists ‘X is mine absolutely, forever and in all circumstances’, the Christian affirms ‘X is mine by divine donation, held on trust from God’. Unlike atheistic-secularism, Christianity holds that we are stewards who are ultimately accountable to God. God gives us strength to earn and own (Deut.8:17-18) and we are responsible to Him in the management of His provision (see Matt. 25: 14-30 - the parable of the talents; 1 Cor.4:1-2)


The thought and act of stealing is selfishly sinful. It is the ‘ME FIRST’ syndrome. It is a form of personal fascism: ‘I have an exclusive, absolute right to your X, you do not’. Both deed and thought are driven by discontent, a state specified by the tenth commandment - ‘You shall not covet’. The Bible gives numerous examples of this, notably Rebekah’s and Jacob’s conspiracy to obtain Esau’s blessing from Isaac (Gen. 27: 1-29), and King Ahab’s acquisition of Naboth’s vineyard (1 Kings 21: 1-16). Robbery and violence (and more!) often go together as Ahab’s actions show. In fact, eight of the Ten Commandments were broken: 1-2 (Ahab was an idolater, v. 26), 3 (God’s name was taken in vain, v. 10), 5 (Naboth was denied the possibility of honouring his parents, v. 3), 6 (Naboth was murdered, v. 13), 8 (his vineyard was stolen, v. 16), 9 (he was falsely accused, v. 13) and 10 (Ahab coveted what belonged to Naboth) were all violated by Ahab. Covetousness ‘which is idolatry’ (Col. 3: 5) also violates commandments 1 and 2. It is the source of every related evil (Jas. 4: 1-4, 1 Tim. 6: 10) and the very denial of trust in God (Jas. 4: 2, 7-10).


Many people would condemn blatant robbery. Even then, businesses increasingly have to budget for stealing these days. Petty-pilfering and shop-lifting are more and more common. However, the ‘theme’ of stealing comes in various forms in many real-life situations:

1. Time is stolen by lack of punctuality, excessive tea and lunch breaks.

2. Tax evasion, dubious stock market trading, fraudulent social benefit and expenses claims are stealing.

3. Failing to give value for money in goods and services is stealing.

4. Delayed payment of bills is stealing.

5. Late payment of wages and salaries is stealing.

6. Failure in honouring promises (to God and others) is stealing.

7. Failure to return borrowed books and other items is stealing.

8. ‘Character assassination’ is stealing a person’s reputation. ‘Who steals my purse, steals trash, but he that filches from me my good name makes me poor indeed’ (William Shakespeare).

For Scriptural examples, see Deut. 25: 13-16; Ps. 15: 5; Prov. 11: 1; Ezek. 45: 9-12; Lk. 6: 35; Mic. 6: 9-11; Lk. 3: 14; Jas. 5: 1-6.


One of the biblical definitions of sin is the ‘robbing of God’ (Mal. 3:8). Failing to give Him our worship, gratitude and obedience are all stealing what is His due. Hence the need to pray ‘Forgive us our debts’ (Matt. 6: 12). We are always debtors, worthy of hell - the debtor’s eternal prison.


A world of guilty debtors would have no hope unless another paid our debts for us. With all the resources of heaven, the Lord Jesus Christ came to rescue guilty debtors: ‘it was necessary for the Christ to suffer and to rise from the dead the third day, and that repentance and remission of sins should be preached in his name...’ (Lk. 24: 46-7).

Through his sacrifice for our sins, the Lord Jesus Christ has provided sufficient merit to pay the ‘debts’ of all the world (1 Jn. 2: 2).


As with Zacchaeus (Lk. 19: 8), restitution goes with remission. We should make amends where possible. Not to do so is to perpetuate stealing.

Not to show our faith by love and care to the needy is to ‘rob’ them. ‘Owe no one anything except to love one another’ (Rom.13: 8). Our worst robbery of others is to withhold the Gospel from them (Rom. 1: 14-15). May the generous grace of God make us generous to all the world for Christ’s sake!

Dr Alan C. Clifford


Friday, 12 August 2011

A Church Without God!

What is the point of services of worship, or even of preaching services, if we do not hear God, and meet with Him? What point is there in listening to a man preaching the Word, if God is not present by his Holy Spirit? If preaching is merely an activity in explaining a bible passage, then we do not need to come to church at all to get that; we can consult a decent commentary and get all the explanation we want!

I understand that we come to church to worship primarily to give to God the praise of our hearts. But since the preaching of the Word is the climax of reformed worship, and if we cannot worship an absentee deity, what exactly goes on in church services today? Are we fooling ourselves and our people if we are pretending that God is present with us when He is not?

Does the fact that we have to invent contemporary ways of worshipping God not tell us that we have lost God from our services and churches? Canon Michael Green once famously said that if the Holy Spirit were withdrawn from most of our churches, the work would go on and no one would know the difference. That is sadly true. Our churches have degenerated into institutions that are unwieldy and cumbersome, and are run like machines and businesses, there being no dependence on the activity of the Holy Spirit of God. The fact that we like to be in control leaves out the very possibility that God by His Spirit will interfere! He will not share His glory with another! If men want to organise the church along their lines, then them get on with it. God still gives people up (Rom.1:24, 26, 28) to their own perverted desires and plans. If they want a church without God, He will surely oblige.

The church today must get back to God by seeking Him with seriousness of heart and intent. Whatever rubbish that is polluting the 'wells of water' must be removed. Whatever is blocking the flow of blessing must be sorted. Where God's Spirit is being grieved, then there must be deep heart-repentance. A grieved Spirit will not come to a church in which He has been offended.

So identify the offense, and deal with it immediately, and then seek the Spirit's return to the church. We must mean business with God if there is to be any improvement in church life and fellowship (whatever 'fellowship' is?)! And further, if the life of our nation is to be healed, then the church must return en masse to her God, wailing her unfaithfulness and seeking His forgiveness.

Until this is done, we may but expect more horrendous things to come our way.

Silent Witnesses

I was saying in my sermon last Sunday that we do not hear any of our Christian leaders in state or church, saying that what happened in the Garden of Eden is the only reasonable and intelligent explanation for what is happening in our world today. Such talk of man's rebellion against God and His law will not attract votes in elections and will consequently not secure your seat in parliament. It is so sad that, given the number of Christians in parliament, their voice is silent on this vitally important matter. Head-scratching and expressions of concern and surprise at what is happening is the best we get! If Christ was to be paid on the basis of His contribution to debates and legislation-making in our UK parliament, then He would not earn a bean. His voice is not heard in the corridors of power. How we fool ourselves today when we think that having Christians in positions of influence is a good thing - their witness is usually effectively neutered by those who can determine whether or not you can remain.

Why is there such silence from Christians today? Is it because they are ashamed of Christ their Lord and Saviour? Do they no longer believe in the authority of Scripture? Is their God not up to the task? Have they imbibed the teaching of Darwin and his followers that God does not exist and that man is getting better by the year, therefore biblical interference would not be welcomed?

Jesus said that whoever is ashamed of Me and My words in this adulterous and perverse generation, of him will the Son of Man be ashamed on the last day? Are our Christian leaders ashamed to speak out for Christ? Then Christ will be ashamed of them on that Day. Are our leaders of state who profess to be Christians failing to speak out the word of God in this situation? Then Christ, the Saviour Whom they profess, will be ashamed of them on that Day.

What a fearful warning this is to all Christians; but for leaders who are Christians to scratch their heads and wonder what is happening and why, is apostasy of the greatest kind.

Where no vision, the people perish.

This is a familiar text from Prov.29:18, and, as it stands, contains some truth. But unfortunately, it is a very poor translation. The text should read, "Where there is no revelation, the people cast off restraint." (NKJV).

What this translation is teaching us is that where there is no word from God, where the Word from God has been blocked and/or silenced, where God is no longer heard to speak into the situations of individuals, families, churches, societies and nations, the inevitable result is that the people live as they please. "Every man does that which is right in his own eyes," (Judg.17:6).

Look at our country, or any other country, and you will see that where God is not heard to speak, lawlessness reigns. The people simply "cast off restraint." No heed is paid to the law, or to the good of society. The health and safety of others is cast aside, and their property targeted for incendiary attack and looting. The police become the focus of violent attack and innocent bystanders or other civilians who are seeking to protect their own property, are swept aside without compunction, regardless of whether they live or die. Where there is no living and authoritative word from God, this is what inevitably happens.

But listen! Where the church of Jesus Christ is not sounding the trumpet call to repentance and faith in Christ alone for salvation and deliverance, then people are left leaderless. Our nation is a nation without leadership - from either church or state. Pandering to the desires and wishes of special interest groups has left the people rudderless. Having to keep in with where the greatest threat is perceived to come from, means that all others must submit to that threat; therefore no leadership. The church of today is like a shell without the kernel - useless. She is as useful as an ask-tray on a motor-bike. She no longer has an authoritative message for our needy nation. And because of this, she does not get any respect from the people, and also, may I add, from many Christians!

Get back to God, ere it's too late!

Called to Preach the Gospel

There can be no doubt about it, but the greatest and most glorious call that can come to any man is the call to preach the everlasting gospel of Jesus Christ, the Gospel of God (Rom.1:1). There is nothing so exalted or so exhilarating as speaking to men on behalf of God.

I became aware of this call to preach in 1971/72, and from that day, the awareness of that same call is current with me. There is nothing I want to do more than to preach the mighty Gospel of God. There is nothing I enjoy more than declaring "the whole counsel of God" (Acts 20:27). It is still the work that I want to do full time.

I am very grateful for the invitations I receive to conduct worship in the various denominations, and to preach "Christ and Him crucified" (1 Cor.2:2) to the congregation. I wish there were more such opportunities, and that I could be engaged in this divine work every Sunday, and through the week.

Invitations to preach the Gospel may be sent to me by email at JEHLynch[at] or by telephone on 0044 (0)28 7963 4684. You can contact me by letter at "West Lynn," 23 Parkmore Close, MAGHERAFELT, Co. Londonderry, Northern Ireland, BT45 6PL.