Saturday, 12 May 2012


The inter-faith business is an exercise in deception and error.  It is anti-Christian in that it attempts to rob Christ, the only Saviour of the world, of His unique position as the second person of the blessed Holy Trinity.  It proposes an alternative way of salvation – which does not exist (Gal.1).  It treats the death and blood of Christ as an unholy thing, and is a demonstration of rebellion against God.

Christians cannot with good conscience be involved in such activity unless it is with the sole goal of evangelism.  Short of seeking the conversion of the participants it is an empty and spiritually dangerous thing in which to be involved. 

Friday, 11 May 2012

Exclusive Psalmody

If, in the opinion of those who prefer exclusive Psalmody, it is important that the only elements in the worship of God within the Christian Church are those required by God, then certain things follow of logical necessity.  First, we must use only the inspired words of the Psalms in the worship of God, then it follows, to be consistent, that the only tunes to be used are those used by the ancients in OT and NT times.  This is not done, of course, in exclusive Psalmody churches. Rather than Hebrew tunes, they prefer Scottish and American and a  few Huguenot tunes and melodies. 

How can the inspired words of the OT be sung using uninspired tunes, indeed, modern tunes, hymn tunes.  For consistency, both only the inspired words together with the inspired tunes must be used in the worship of God.

This seems rather strange when churches use uninspired human compositions to sing the inspired songs of Zion in the worship of God.  Did God sanction the tunes to be use when worship Him publicly, and if so when did He do so?  Are we to understand that with the words the tunes were inspired at the same time, and therefore sanctioned for use by the church? 

Members of exclusive Psalmody churches have pointed out to me that since it is wrong, in their view, to use hymns in praise of God, it must also be wrong to quote the words of hymns in sermons; but it isn't.  If all that goes on within a service of worship has to be biblical in every respect, what is the difference between sing a hymn and quoting one?  As a quotation, it is still the uninspired words of men that are being used.

Any suggestions as to an answer?

Crime is Down?

In 1968, Dr Francis A Schaeffer told an audience at Wheaton College in Illinois that we are "the first generation in history to do away with crime."  Northern Ireland's Chief Constable of police, Matt Baggot, seems to be the modern exponent of this philosophy.  As then, so now in 2012.  Crimes have been reduced to psychological irregularities.  This does not mean that there is no crime on our streets, but that we no longer call it crime.  Everything is explained in psychological terms. 

So to say that crime in Northern Ireland is down may well be true; but it may also have other explanations.  Either people are no longer reporting crime because they see no point in it, therefore the reported crime rate is down.  Or, even when it is reported to the police, it is re-categorised as something psychological, and it is not called crime.  Very clever.  That makes the police look very good and professional and up to the job.  It makes for good reading when the Chief Constable publishes his annual report.  But it is really deceptive. 

Crimes committed by republicans (for example, the terrorist spectacle in Londonderry during 'Easter' when threats were made against police officers) are not deemed to be crimes anymore.  The parading in full paramilitary terrorist uniform is no longer a crime in today's morally corrupt climate.  Displays of terrorist weaponry and prowess is not deemed to be criminal.  Terrorist crimes committed by republicans cannot (or perhaps, will not) be solved by the HET, but loyalist crimes can (and I am grateful for that).  Similarly, an international organisation called the Roman Catholic Church can be guilty of heinous sex abuse crimes against innocent children, yet it does not appear that that organisation will be held liable under the law.  Shouldn't such wicked and destructive organisations be closed down by the state? 

That raises another interesting question: Why is the Commissioner for Children and Young People not shouting from the roof-tops about this systemic clerical child sex abuse and the ongoing cover-up by the bosses in that organisation, and calling for it to be shut down and forever banned?  Why her silence?  Is clerical child sex abuse not a crime in her book?

It appears to the intelligent person that our society now, and without a doubt, "calls good evil, and evil good" (Isa.5:20).  And do you know what?  A divine "Woe" is pronounced on all those who do that and turn the biblical order on its head.  Paul says that "the wrath of God has been revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men who hold the truth in unrighteousness," (Rom.1:18).  In the light of Scripture, it is not difficult to see and understand what a nation under God's wrath looks like and how it operates.  
How easy it is for anyone to say 'crime is down' when society has done all it can to decriminalise even the most heinous of unacceptable activities and behaviours.  But I suppose it all boils down to who it is that commits them!

Wednesday, 9 May 2012

Irish Hymn-Writer Mrs Cecil F. Alexander

Hymns are an important part of life in Ulster and a central aspect of our Christian faith.  We were taught them from our mother’s knee and at Sunday School.  Singing them in church was also a treat, especially after spending so many weeks trying to learn them by heart.

But what do we know about some of our Irish hymn-writers?  For example, what do we know about the lady who wrote that lovely Christmas hymn, “Once in Royal David’s City”?  The writer was Mrs Cecil Frances Alexander (1818-1895).  The future Mrs Alexander was born in Dublin in early April 1818, the third child and the second daughter of Norfolk man Major John and Mrs Elizabeth Humphries.  From an early age, she started writing verse, a practice she kept up for most of her life.  As a young woman, she came under the strong influences of the Oxford Movement, and especially John Keble, another hymn-writer of some note.  As her hymn-writing became recognised for what is was, her compositions soon found their way into the Church of Ireland hymnal and also to other hymn books the world over.

She wrote that immortal hymn, “All things bright and beautiful,” that we know well.  Another very well-known hymn is “There is a green hill far away,” supposed to have been inspired by her view over the city of Londonderry.

For Christmas, the hymn that will be forever associated with her name is “Once in Royal David’s City.” 

Moving to Strabane in Co. Tyrone, she married William Alexander in October 1850.  He was an Anglican clergyman and rector in Strabane.  He later became Bishop of Derry and afterwards Archbishop of Armagh and Primate of all Ireland. 

Mrs Alexander was also involved in works of charity, the earnings from her first publication helping to build the Derry and Raphoe Diocesan institution for the Deaf and Dumb, founded in 1846 in Strabane.  The profits from her “Hymns for Little Children” were used to fund this school.  She was involved with the Derry Home for Fallen Women, and worked to develop a district nurses' service.  She was a tireless visitor of the poor and sick.

Before her death in 1895 at the age of 77, she saw many of her hymns published in various hymnals.  Seven were included in the 1873 edition of the Church of Ireland Hymnal, while eighteen found their way into A Supplement to Hymns Ancient and Modern (1889).  So well-known and well-loved are her hymns that they are sung all over the world by Christians of many different denominations.  Nine of her hymns were accepted for publication in the 1960 and 1987 editions of the Church of Ireland Hymnal.   
The year after her death, her husband a collection of her poems entitled, “Poems of the late Mrs Alexander.” 
Mrs Alexander spent most of her adult life in the north west of Northern Ireland doing enormous good for those who were less fortunate than herself.

Tuesday, 8 May 2012


Ecclesiastically, there is a fundamental difference between connexional churches and those of an independent polity.  Connexional churches do not seem to subscribe to the idea of a ‘gathered church,’ though this is how independents see the local church.

Yet the irony is that when connexional churches meet to elect a minister, or elders, or deacons/committee members, or decide on major capital spend, etc, they work on the basis of the ‘gathered church.’  It is the ‘gathered church’ that makes decisions on all important matters, not the total church membership.  

Also, it is then 'gathered church' that meets around the Lord's Table and witnesses Christian Baptism.

So Presbyterians need to take a fresh look at their church polity and acknowledge that they also work on the basis of the ‘gathered church’ when it is appropriate to do so  This is an admission that the ‘gathered church’ is the practical way of doing church business.  So if it is OK for these important matters, why not look at the church through this lens. 

Monday, 7 May 2012

Video Biography of Dr Lloyd-Jones

I have just today come across this short video biography of Dr D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones, which features also his wife, Bethan, and I commend it to you most warmly.  

For those of you who do not know very much about Dr Lloyd-Jones (1899-1981), this will give you an excellent taster.  For further information, please see the two volumes by Iain Murray, his official biographer and life-long friend.  Also, Dr Eyrl Davies has written a short biography of the Doctor.

The Cardinal Brady Affair - Church Cover-up!

Roman Catholic 'bishop,' Donal McKeown, has every right to feel flat on this May Bank Holiday (2012).  It has been a horrendous few decades for his 'church.'  He probably, and hopefully, feels thoroughly and deeply ashamed at both the actual clerical child sex abuse perpetrated against the innocents by his priests and brothers, and at the institutional cover-up that has quite clearly been going on. 

But do not forget that this kind of inhumane treatment may have been going on outside of official 'church' structures and inside what could be described at the 'para-church' institutions of his 'church,' namely the schools, orphanages, etc.  Anecdotal evidence would suggest that young boys and girls have been brutalised by both priests and nuns, if not physically, then psychologically and emotionally and mentally. 

Is this being investigated and by whom?  I hope not by the 'church' because that gives absolutely no credibility whatever to any outcomes.  When any organisation investigates itself, and is done by those specially chosen by the 'church' to conduct such investigations, then such a process is profoundly laughable if it were not so serious.

This must be conducted by those who have no links whatever with the Roman Catholic 'church' and by people who sufficiently independent to say it as it is.  Torch-holders for that 'church' will do a whitewashing job, and the victims of clerical child sex abuse will be doubly traumatised exactly as sex abuse victims of Fr Brendan Smith, Brendan are exposed to further humiliating 'measures' being taken by 'mother church.'

Smith's sex abuse of children was known to the Norbertine Order since the late 1940s, yet nothing was done by them to bring Smith to justice and also to protect the 100 known victims of his uncontrolled lust.  He had never been reported to the police in either the Irish Republic or in Northern Ireland.  'Cardinal' Sean Brady was actively and personally involved in an investigation in the 1970s into Smith's behaviour and was given the names of four other children whom Smith abused in addition to the boy he interviewed.  But nothing was done.  The boy's father, who waited in an adjoining room, was not told of the rogue priest's campaign, nor were the parents of the other four children informed of what was going on. 

How Sean Brady can say he acted in line with his conscience is commendable; but it all depends on how enlightened his conscience is/was.  If it has not been enlightened by the clear teaching of Scripture, it has not been enlightened.  If the very light of nature has not enlightened Brady about the basic difference between right and wrong, then for him to appeal to conscience is pathetic.

It would appear that his conscience was not held captive to the Word of God but to the rules and dictates of his corrupt and corrupting 'church.'  To abide by the rules or laws of any organisation, especially when those laws are contrary to nature law and the law of the nation, is to plead too much.  In fact, to do so is incriminating.

Now that the police are aware of the systemic child sex abuse within Roman Catholicism, what steps will they take to hold the entire religious organisation to account, and further, why has the Commission for Children and Young People been so quite at this time?  If this had happened in any other organisation, the authorities would have shut it down immediately pending investigation.  But that is not happening.  That religious organisation is being protected by that law that is designed to protect all its members, especially children. 

Brady must do the decent thing and resign from his post; but he must do more than that.  He must come clean and tell everything he knows about what happened since his initial involvement in the clerical child sex abuse campaign within his 'church.' 

But maybe, like IRA terrorist leader, Martin McGuinness MP, MLA, he too is silenced by some oath he has taken not to reveal what went on within that corrupt organisation.  Perhaps the truth will never come out this side of the Great Judgement Day.  But maybe it will.  But don't hold your breath!