Saturday, 1 February 2020

Must we be tolerant towards the intolerant?

A non-Christian gay friend of mine has asked me to sign a petition to ban F Graham from speaking in the UK, because of the latter's supposed hatred of LGBTQ folks. Needless to say, I declined because I do seek to live by the golden rule (Matthew 7:12)! By that kind of egological thinking (if thinking is the right word), one would have to ban, or, re-write the Bible (I’ll leave that to the spineless archbishop of Canterbury), or burn the Qur’an. Neither seems right to me, and, I trust, so say all of us!
Perhaps someone could prosecute ‘Eminem’, or help him develop a better grasp of the English language, as long as it is not from Shakespeare, with my apologies to Alastair Stewart, of course! Eminem’s lyrics ARE offensive, but I can choose not to listen to him! The same applies to so many other things in life, including people like Greta or Donald or Jeremy, not to mention my own name! 
Some people must surely be tired of hearing so much about history (why not herstory?); and ladybirds, what’s that all about?! MPs giving maiden speeches, how offensive is that?! Manchester! Who ever invented that name?! Tremendous trifles to be fought over! What could matter more? Where is my Newspeak dictionary?
I profoundly disagree with many friends, and often with myself, but that does not mean I hate others or myself! I certainly disagree with much that Franklin Graham stands for, but reading 'The cancellation of Franklin Graham’s tour events is a seminal moment for the UK' has sent shivers down my spine. The author has a point, and we all need to be alert and should not be afraid to stand up against bullies, ecclesiatical ones included! 
I have to remind myself again and again that it is indeed 2020 and not 1984! But by the sound of it, it looks more like January 1933, and we all know how that ended free speech!

Saturday, 3 August 2019

15 questions

I shall not bore anyone with the official teaching of the papacy on transubstantiation first officially formulated in 1215 (see, e.g., Trent, Vatican II and the RC Catechism), but this non-miraculous miracle has left me bamboozled. 
So here are 15 questions:
1. Did Jesus say this ‘is’ my body or this ‘becomes’ my body? 
2. Was our LORD holding His own (glorified?) body / divinity in His own hands? 
3. Is the Apostles’ Creed wrong when it insists that ‘He ascended into heaven, and sits at the right hand of God the Father Almighty’ until the final judgement Day? 
4. Is Jesus truly human if He can be present both in heaven where He remains until He returns as well as in thousands of different altars (wherever the mass is celebrated and the elements are consumed) at the whim of a male priest’s intervention? Women excluded. Not sure about transgendered ones.
5. Is the doctrine of concomitance (not to mention the use of a wafer rather than bread!) not a flagrant violation of our LORD’s command in Matthew 26:27, as well as the universal practice of the apostolic church? 
6. Why does Paul retain ‘eating bread’ (1. Cor. 11:27ff.) if the bread has disappeared?  
7. How does transubstantiation differ from ‘transubstantiation’ in John 2:1-11?
8.  Once the communicant has partaken of the Mass, at what stage do the elements ontologically cease to be the literal person of Jesus? 
9.  Which New Testament writer relies on the Aristotelian explanation of ‘substance’ and ‘accidents’?
10.  How can one get drunk on blood, if the wine ceases to be wine? Just let any priest drink a few cups of the left-over 'blood'!
11.  How can the ‘real presence’ be reconciled with the teaching of Jesus in Mark 14:7 and John 16:7?
12.  Does transubstantiation not destroy the sacramental character (destroying the analogy between the sign and the thing signified) as defined by Augustine, since the symbols (about to vanish) are changed into Christ?
13.  Is it right to speak of two miracles, in the words of one scholar, who says that “it takes a miracle to have the substance of one thing and something else’s accidents, and it takes another miracle to have the accidents of something and the substance of something else”?
14.  Why ‘do this in remembrance’ when Jesus is actually literally present?
15.  How does partaking of the Mass differ from cannibalism? 

Let the reader be warned that 
a. the papacy has not rescinded the following statement: "CANON lI.-If any one saith, that, in the sacred and holy sacrament of the Eucharist, the substance of the bread and wine remains conjointly with the body and blood of our Lord Jesus Christ, and denieth that wonderful and singular conversion of the whole substance of the bread into the Body, and of the whole substance of the wine into the Blood-the species Only of the bread and wine remaining-which conversion indeed the Catholic Church most aptly calls Transubstantiation; let him be anathema. " (source: click here)
b. My comments could have got me burnt in the 16th century! 

Tuesday, 2 July 2019

1933, 1948, or 2019?

This disturbing video on transgenderism has provoked numerous reactions. I had to remind myself that it is, indeed, 2019 and not 1933, or 1984, and that we do live in a democracy, if the politicians, who keep on lecturing to us on tolerance, can be trusted! I must, of course, immediately apologise to anyone who may choose to be offended, especially those with low blood pressure, but freedom of speech means freedom of speech. As I was born to talk (I think I got that from my mother!), I just cannot help it! I am, after all, a very human being, though normality may not come into it, but I have not consulted my Newspeak Dictionary! As yet I have not said anything significant - just saying, in case anyone wonders about me having misspoken! Indeed, for a change, I will let someone more intelligent have the penultimate word, enter D Robertson! Meanwhile, I am waiting for a response from the Scottish Education Secretary, who, as yet, has not replied! Not sure whether he will have the final say, though! So many voices are clamouring for attention! What's wrong with egological anythingism? Only bigots, like that young man, must keep their thoughts private!   
I'd better not translate Heine, or I might end up with a teacher trained by the thought police!


Friday, 8 March 2019

Amber is now off-colour!

So A Rudd got it in the neck again - this time not from me, but from D Abbott! But Amber Rudd apologises over 'coloured woman' comment! I hope she will also offer an apology to me, as she went on to say that "no one should suffer abuse because of their race or gender." Well, as far as I know there only is one human race which I was born into, but she may well live on a different planet altogether - if only! 
As to D Abbott, I am not allowed to say that someone is calling the kettle black - it might amount to a white lie! But D Abbott is allowed to say that "-'‘white people love playing divide and rule.’' And her past remarks about the Miliband brothers - "the clash of the Miliband" - are somewhat offensive: “If you’re 44 and your 40-year-old brother is running against you, it can’t be all sweetness and light. There’s always rivalry between siblings, let alone in a leadership race. They’re both quite grown-up, but as a mother, I think there’s something not quite right about it. We’re selecting from one of the narrowest [Jewish?!] genepools in history [brackets mine]. (Source click here)” D Abbott perhaps mis-spoke - again, as did H Clinton, so why not A Rudd?

I note that UK passport photographs must be "in colour on plain white photographic paper", which presumably means that black is not a colour! An application form for a job in Parliament asks for 'other skin colour'. 
I do have a vested interest in all this as I am a non-coloured person. Come to think of it, most politicians do raise my BP, thus changing my skin colour to amber red! Blame it on my choleric genes, or the dark side of my nature! On top of that, I am actually colour-blind - literally!
But now I think it's time for a black coffee - no, let's change that to coffee without milk! Now where is my copy of Chesterton's "Tremendous Trifles"? Perhaps there is no 1984 edition! May be, I could ask Gordon Ramsay for a copy! 






Saturday, 9 February 2019

Playing the Wilde Card!

17 June 2018
Watching this clip has left me asking the question as to who might receive the accolade for being the most popular person among that small-minded coterie.

I had been stupidly wrong about Andrew Marr, who I thought was such a jolly good fellow! But it isn’t the first time that the BBC has mocked Christians, and I am sure there is more to come! I should have known better!

Childish naivety, of course, is better than old-age cynicism, if I may excuse myself for being trapped in the wrong body with apologies to Peter Pan! We all know that sarcasm is the lowest form of wit, but Marr just wants to be, well, plain Marr! Thankfully, his Feuerbachian god is not my God! 

Oscar Wilde is dead, and one would not wish to speak ill of the living who seem spiritually dead (not that I am tarring all hypocrites – a well-known Greek synonym for ‘actors’ - with the same brush), or those who are no longer with us in body. 

Comparing Wilde to a “gay Christ” (so A Marr, though hardly original!) or viewing him as “better than Christ” (so Rupert Everett) is sheer fantasy (Christ was not a demi-god and the New Testament portrays Him as sinless), and most certainly a touch ridiculous, to put it mildly! At least Wilde was not linked to Muhammad, or it might have … okay, I’ll stop right here! And never mind the Beatles – who certainly were more popular than, well, Oscar, or Andrew Marr, or Everett rolled together into one! Not sure where that leaves this humble writer!

Oscar Wilde was wild by nature, but I do not for a moment think that he would have elevated himself above the Saviour of the world, judging by his (however misguided) admiration as vividly depicted in his ‘De Profundis.’ He was a fallen creature, and he fell mightily – very sadly!   

I care little for all the pretentiously sophisticated mockery one sees on the BBC these days. They tell me that little things amuse little minds. All the scorning has helped in strengthening my faith in the most hated man that has ever lived. And we are not talking about uncle Oscar now! We are talking about the importance of being earnest!

Dietrich Bonhoeffer put it well, if I may be allowed to quote him out of context: “Those of us who have learned to discern the power and nature of the world and of our own particular evil in the cross of Jesus Christ and who, in that same cross, deeply trust in the unending love of God for this world will surely not be so very surprised and shocked by certain expressions of this worldliness.

The whole sorry saga has left me neither shocked nor surprised, but rather somewhat bored! Now why did I have to watch that clip in the first place?! Well, my BP is up again! I am alive! At least it’s out of my system! I am sure that Oscar would have liked some straight talking!

My vision of Christ has not been marred, and I have not gone wild.

Perhaps it’s time to read and study the Gospel accounts again, just as Oscar Wilde did in his Oxford days! All of us may be in for a nasty shock or a pleasant surprise! Anyone who wishes to be compared to Jesus needs their head sorted and remember that he is ‘wholly other’, ‘the man for others.’ He is no Oscar Wilde, but superior in every respect! Dangerously so!     


Tuesday, 25 December 2018

Money, money, is not funny in a rich man's world. Aha! (from Abba - papa)

"Pope Francis has said that the true meaning of Christmas is being drowned out by materialism" (BBC, 2016). Now what is all that glittering stuff in the background, part of the richest institution on earth?
It reminds me of the following account: Dominic continued to preach and to debate where he could, and in 1215 he founded an order of preachers, who were to live in poverty, and devote themselves to studying philosophy and theology and to combatting false doctrine by logical argument rather than by the use of force. He was convinced that a major obstacle to the conversion of heretics was the material wealth of some of the clergy, which made plausible the accusation that they were concerned for their purses and not for the glory of God, and made workers indisposed to hear them. He therefore determined that the brothers of his order should live lives of poverty and simplicity, being no better off materially than those they sought to convert. When he was in Rome, seeking authorization for his order from the Pope, the Pope gave him a tour of the treasures of the Vatican, and remarked complacently (referring to Acts 3:6), "Peter can no longer say, 'Silver and gold have I none.'" Dominic turned and looked straight at the Pope, and said, "No, and neither can he say, 'Rise and walk.'" 
And how did the papacy accrue so much wealth in the first place in its shameful history?!
Lucas Cranach

May be it's time to read what happened all those years ago, in Mark's Gospel: And they came to Jerusalem. And he entered the temple and began to drive out those who sold and those who bought in the temple, and he overturned the tables of the money-changers and the seats of those who sold pigeons. And he would not allow anyone to carry anything through the temple. And he was teaching them and saying to them, “Is it not written, ‘My house shall be called a house of prayer for all the nations’? But you have made it a den of robbers.” And the chief priests and the scribes heard it and were seeking a way to destroy him, for they feared him, because gall the crowd was astonished at his teaching. (ESV).
I don't suppose Jesus is all that popular in the Vatican! 
But let Jesus have the last word: " “You lack one thing: go, sell all that you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow me.”", Mark 10 in loc. (ESV)


Friday, 16 November 2018

Who is my neighbour?



Forgetting about Brexit for a moment, my emotions have been stirred on reading this account about a young man who was assaulted for being openly homosexual. The attack was despicable, illustrating that weaklings usually hunt in packs. By way of contrast, Brian’s response was commendable and courageous. 
I wish that Bible-believing Christians could muster some courage to stand up for what the Bible teaches about human sexuality, and loving one’s neighbour, and social justice, and human dignity! 


Being a Bible-believing Christian these days, will, of course, attract greater opposition than Blair Wilson could ever imagine. I could easily prove this by stating my view on LGBT issues!

Martin Niemoeller speaks with an authentic voice. I would not want it to be said of me that I did not speak out about Blair Wilson as if piety was more important than solidarity! 

Thursday, 20 September 2018

First left - then right!

Mrs. T and the S. Word



Speaking of socialists Margaret Thatcher remarked that "what we need from these people is not advice, but an apology." The following quotes - by permission - have been gleaned from Margaret Thatcher Foundation.
The nine most dangerous words in the English language are “I’m from the government, and I’m here to help” (Ronald Reagan).
"We [Ronald Reagan and Margaret Thatcher] knew what worked. Small government. Low taxes. Sound money. Private property. Enterprise. They are what worked - and they always work. We knew too what didn't work - namely, socialism in every shape or form. And how many forms there are! Socialism is like one of those horrible viruses. You no sooner discover a remedy for one version, than it spontaneously evolves into another. In the past, there was nationalisation, penal taxation and the command economy. Nowadays socialism is more often dressed up as environmentalism, feminism, or international concern for human rights. All sound good in the abstract. But scratch the surface and you'll as likely as not discover anti-capitalism, patronising and distorting quotas, and intrusions upon the sovereignty and democracy of nations. New slogans: old errors ... I am glad that freedom is on the march again. But there is still in our own countries, particularly in the media class, a pervasive culture of puerile anti-westernism that needs to be changed. There are too many people who imagine that there is something sophisticated about always believing the best of those who hate your country, and the worst of those who defend it. Self-doubt can on occasion be attractive; self-criticism may sometimes be necessary; but self-loathing is a sure-fire guarantee of a nervous breakdown."
*****************
"They still believe in a bossy state that tells you which schools your children should go to, how much homework they must do, and even when they ought to go to bed. But, of course, we're all just children in the eyes of this government"
*****************

 “The proponents of these ideologies engaged in polemics and indeed violence against each other. But they had more in common than they admitted. For their essence was that the state had the right, indeed the duty, to act like God. And the results were devilish.”
 “The Russians who are lucky to have such a marvellous sense of humour, if only because they've had so little to laugh about, recount a story about Leonid Brezhnev's arrival at the pearly gates. St. Peter tells him that he has been found wanting but that he can choose between a capitalist and a socialist hell. To St. Peter's surprise the former Soviet leader replies that he prefers a socialist hell. St. Peter tells him to think carefully: this is no time for propaganda. But Brezhnev repeats that he chooses a socialist hell. St. Peter grants his wish, but asks for an explanation. To which Brezhnev replies that at least in a socialist hell they will always be short of fuel.”
“a system of the sort described by T. S. Eliot as being "so perfect that no one will need to be good"
“a system of the sort described by T. S. Eliot as being "so perfect that no one will need to be good"
"it's not just the under-class but the "over-class" that causes the trouble. If politicians or bureaucrats are given power that is unaccountable and unrestrained they will, in the long-run, be as corrupt as they can get away with. That's the best possible argument for limited government - and a pretty good one too against a centralised European Super-state"




Thursday, 7 June 2018

Law-abiding Muslims deserve better!

I have been asked by a well-meaning friend to ‘like’ a poster [apparently recycled, when it should have been left in the recycling bin] on facebook. I would urge anyone to agree with me – respectfully – not to be so quick on the button! 
I am, of course, writing as a non-Muslim, and my support they do not need, but the attached M Niemoeller quote provides my raison d'ĂȘtre
The poster, in my mind at any rate, recalls – with a degree of horror – the way the Nazi Germany often portrayed male Jews per se as child-molesters. It did the trick – Machiavelli was only a novice! Then the Jews – now the Muslims! They seem to get blamed a lot these days!
I do not deny that some of the vilest crimes are committed under a religious cloak, apparently quite literally so, judging by what one reads about Roman Catholic priests that would have made the inhabitants of Sodom and Gomorrah blush with shame! But it is slanderous to insinuate that all Muslims or Roman Catholics are or may be predators! Some wish it to be so, as it would confirm and justify their malicious mind-set, but thankfully it ain’t necessarily so! 
The poster intends to provoke an unjustified suspicion, creating a prejudice against Muslims, which I deeply deplore. The poster takes no account of the fact that some Muslim children may also be victims! The poster does not name its author; if it did, I would report him! The poster is morally and utterly reprehensible! 
Notwithstanding Richard Dawkin’s warped views on paedophilia - and P Tatchell is not far behind (let there be no misunderstanding about that!) -, I expect every decent Muslim, Catholic, and also atheist to stand up and condemn grooming, which is a terrible euphemism for a particularly heinous crime! In a free society, all are equal under the law, irrespective of how many legs [Muslim ones or not] one might have, to misquote George Orwell!
For sure, I resent paying taxes to keep the worst of criminals alive in jail! Where the evidence is unassailable, the ultimate deterrent should be reinstated for the most heinous crimes! The dead don’t re-offend, and children can sleep safely in their own beds!
I cannot embrace Islam as I am a Christian by conviction, but to 'like' that poster would send out the wrong message to my friend and also my Muslim friends. No one should have to live under a cloud of suspicion. But let us not be naive, either. The poster says more about the anonymous author, then the wider Muslim community. There are occasions when we need to remind ourselves of our common humanity! It can be humbling but also enriching! And some things we should not only not like, but also speak out against!











Thursday, 10 May 2018

SERIOUS JOKING ISN'T NECESSARILY FUNNY OR A LAUGHING MATTER


Presumably, we have all heard about the blonde female who was so very pleased with herself for having finished a jig-saw puzzle in just under six weeks. Understandably so, since it said on the box, 2-4 years!

Naturally, and in solidarity with all my victim friends, I am outraged at being made fun of, as I am blond myself! Is there no respect left in this world? I am not even sure whether I get it, but never mind. It can't be helped! I am sure it is all part of a world-wide conspiracy! Must get in touch with Dan Brown!

Now cracking a good joke may be offensive, if it were not so serious! Were I to end up in court it would be the end of my distinguished career! Mind you, the idea of free bed and breakfast is not entirely unappealing, but only if my wife can join me!

I would certainly not be able to repay all the blonde people in the world! Perhaps I should blame the jig-saw people, which would be slightly puzzling!

Image result for bad hair day cartoonSo, how can I extricate myself from this mess, now that I have opened my mouth? Maybe I should try to invest some money in a rain-bow coloured wig, or undergo some counselling? Perhaps Donald Trump can help, or even Meister Boris! They surely can understand my predicament! They know all there is to know about bad hair days!

Wednesday, 1 November 2017

To sneer or not to sneer!



So the sneerers have come out in full force; war on religion! Boring news, indeed! So what? Judging by what one reads about the unthinkable thinking thought-thinkers of ‘Thought for the Day’ the BBC is far more biased than it should be [‘A culture of sniggering contempt towards religion is endemic within the BBC’, so Giles Fraser], but no one is surprised any more, though perhaps a bit bored – if that is not too an offensive an admission to make.
It is well-known, of course, that many so-called Christian speakers do not necessarily believe their own holy book, the Bible. Their Jesus I do not recognise at all! I find such folks the most infuriating of the lot! I have little patience with pious claptrap. I wish the BBC would ban them! Blame my outburst on my Lutheran ancestors! I doubt if the founder of Christianity itself would be allowed on air! He certainly upset a lot of people!
It seems to be that religious adherents need something far more substantial and meaty than can be uttered in such a time, and the thought for the day usually vanishes into thin air, at any rate, which may be just as well! The whole thing reminds me of what happened in ancient Athens: “All the Athenians and the foreigners who lived there spent their time doing nothing but talking about and listening to the latest ideas.” (Acts 17:21) With due respect to the Humph and his belligerent his cohort, they are hardly original!
‘Thought for the day’ is chasing after ‘anythingism.’ Speakers are expected to be balanced, inoffensive, tolerant, and nice, which pluralists find so reassuring and enriching! Who wants to be upset first thing in the morning?! And who wants their backbone to be stiffened into active resolve when one might as well wobble along with hoi polloi on religious crutches?
Having listened to ‘Thought For The Day’ from time to time I have invariably found it to be the perfect cure for low blood pressure; it may also help insomniacs, or infuriate the God-hating atheists! It certainly unmasks the cultured despisers of religion! I have just stumbled on a cheap panacea (my own thought for the day) for all the ills of our nation! May be for that reason alone ‘Thought for the Day’ should not be scrapped! And if the program provides a powerful platform that threatens modern civilisation (as the new atheism may have put it) then it ought to be kept!
I guess I have just talked myself out of ever being invited to speak! I can live with that, and the BBC will thank me for it, I hope!

Monday, 9 October 2017

Think after me, or I will be after you!

I note with alarm that “Balliol College Oxford bans Christians from freshers fair”. I am stuck for words – which isn’t like me at all! Fake news? Not if it is in the Guardian! Am I going potty? Why has the C.U. been banned from one of Oxford’s Colleges? I must protest against Pottster's egologicalism! F Potts is a highly intelligent young man, and I can assure my readers that he is a very engaging person, even affable. But intelligence and wisdom are not necessarily synonyms, and I am speaking from experience, just in case anyone may wish to accuse me of taking the moral high ground. 
So Potts wants the Christian Union banned, and he was obviously empowered from on high to implement the edict. It will embolden him, no doubt! But a ban? On what grounds? ‘Gleichschaltung’ in Oxford?! Think after me, or I will be after you! Just as Orwell predicted!
I deplore the oppression of minorities, but I must insist that Christians are commanded to love all men and women (if such language is still permissible!) Can there be a higher ethic? Yet Potts wants such folks to be gagged! I note he makes no mention of Muslims, but let's not go there! 
Does the C.U. encourage neo-colonialism, when lesser mortals could not even explain this vacuous term? I doubt whether this blanket term (a pretext for oppression) has any meaning at all, except what the left want it to mean! Who could write an essay on it, even on a postage stamp? 
Christians have always at the forefront of social reform in the 19th century, and Oxford university was not exactly founded by atheists! Ask C.S. Lewis! I gather from the Balliol website that ‘it is thanks to the regular support of thousands of alumni that Balliol is a college that is accessible to talented students whatever their background’. Accessible to all, except the Christian Union, that is!
If Pott’s is right – well, he would not say that he is – then why not also ban oversea students from countries that oppress women, or execute homosexuals, or torture Christians? And why not ban any that advocate a male-female anthropology? Metallica, come to my aid: ‘Exit: light’ Enter: night Take my hand We're off to never never land!’
It is always bad for any democracy to attack freedom to speech, whether at Westminster or in Oxford. Someone is running scared of just a handful of Christians, who put their hands down for coffee? What an irony! What madness!
Marxism, now infiltrating and indoctrinating our academic institutions, of course, has failed millions of people all over the world. It doesn’t work! Never has done, and never will! Its epistemological basis is rotten to the core! It is always completely incompatible with human freedom and invariably shows utter contempt for liberty of conscience! If it could, it would have strangled the Christ-child in the cradle, rather than having to wait for another 33 years for the crucifixion!
At the root of this ban one detects a hatred for a God of love whom atheists believe to be non-existent! What crass stupidity! One might as well attack green elephants! God has indeed been killed, I am told! He has been dethroned, edged out of His own universe and put onto a Cross, as Bonhoeffer noted! But that was only the beginning of the end! One can, indeed, be a witless atheist, in Oxford, too, and nasty with it! A brave new world, indeed, where tolerance becomes intolerant!
Christians get a lot of stick these days, but most of them are pretty docile, harmless, too pietistic and don’t bite! I wish it were not so, but ecclesiastical realpolitik is with us to stay, at least for the foreseeable future!
But all is not bleak! Christians, of course, will never resort to violence, verbal or otherwise. Those who do are misguided and have departed from biblical Christianity! Christians must out-think, out-live and out-love their opponents! That is a tall order, but the Christian may stand tall and will always thrive in the face of opposition. Perhaps, unwittingly, the ban will attract students to explore the claims of Jesus, the greatest of all controversialists, the paragon of a persecuted minority, since he is the most hated person in the world! I am sure that Pott’s would have banned Jesus, too!
P.S. I now note that there has been a change of mind (Greek metanoia, viz. repentance!) I have started to breathe again - with apologies to Potts and his cohort! Hope uncle Richard won't be too upset, either! Common sense (which is not common) has prevailed - under duress! But one needs to remain vigilant before the vigilantes take over!

Saturday, 12 August 2017

BETTER WET THAN DEAD!

Reading anything by Donald Macleod is bound to raise not just an eyebrow, but also one’s spiritual blood pressure. His recent article on ‘Should Presbyterians Have Dedication Services?' does not disappoint!
I am just not so sure about Macleod’s intention behind his Oy-Yoy-Yoy! Has he been reading Luther too much of late?! Not so long ago Macleod seemed more irenic: I don't regard this debate between Baptists and Paedobaptists as a debate about fundamentals…The divergence itself is not one between Christians and non-Christians. It is very much an in-house division, dividing for example, men such as C. H. Spurgeon and John Kennedy, who on all fundamentals were agreed” [Donald Macleod - A Faith To Live By] 
David Robertson - as expected - has already robustly responded (see here)! Who says there is no fun in the Free Church?! See how these Christians love each other! The world has already taken note, voting with its feet, a long time ago! Less heat, more light!
Theological blogaholics should, of course (apologies to my socialist friends), be free to speak their mind (not always necessarily identical with Christ’s own mind), but what for? To attract seekers, to persuade outsiders, to promote the Christification of the Church? I would like to think so!
Sadly, both articles remind me of how the Church is made up of 'them', viz. those who are right on baptism, and 'us', that is to say, the wet baddies!!! The 'one' baptism that has caused so much division! At least we may thank Calvin's God for not living in a theocracy - well, 'living' is the wrong term for our Baptist friends!
I recall reading an article by another Free-kirker ‘What does the Bible say about infant baptism?’ The answer: Nothing! The Bible is not even quoted! I have no idea what such men are on about!
As to the razzmatazz on ‘dry baptism’ I sympathise with Robertson. He [like so many of us] is inconsistent, yet accommodating! Wrong in the head - right in the heart! It doesn't make me feel so bad, after all! In passing, it was a paedo-baptist who would have agreed with Robertson: “It can ...be argued that the parents' desire to dedicate their child to God and to pray for its salvation might be better expressed in a service of thanksgiving and prayer (although admittedly this is not clearly attested in Scripture; see, however, Luke 2:22-24), so that the child may experience personally the full significance of baptism when he has come to conscious faith in Jesus.” [I Howard Marshall - A Pocket Guide to New Testament Theology]. God alone is Lord of the conscience! 
It’s rather odd that Macleod does not see himself as a Baptist. A most able paedo-baptist expositor of the Westminster Confession complains more logically in regard to his opponents, “They now assume the name of Baptists; but this designation we cannot concede to them, if it be intended to insinuate that others do not baptise, and are not baptised, agreeably to the principles of the gospel.” [Robert Shaw - An Exposition Of The Westminster Confession Of Faith]. The Free Church has a biblical mandate to baptise believers and may even do so by immersion (the biblical  mode according to Calvin) - with a good conscience! I am not so sure about her right or wisdom to exclude Spurgeon or Lloyd-Jones from the ministry! But that’s perhaps for another day!
Back to Macleod. Worse still, and most disturbing, his own baptism seems to do little to assure him of his personal standing before God, as can be seen from his last sentence! Can one not be a paedo-baptist will full assurance? I doubt it!
What good is it Macleod saying that 'at the moment I would much prefer to be reflecting on the mediatorial work of Christ' (sic)?! Of what good is a de-gospelised theology that leaves one in despair over one's eternal destiny? 
I have had to remind myself that baptism is a Gospel (good news) ordinance, but its abuse (Southern Baptists, too, take note!) has brought Christ and the Church into disrepute! 
Take, for example, the two established Churches - with their post-apostolic roots - of the UK! These venerable institutions both nourish and tolerate, if not promote, heretics within their bosom, but woe to those who might refuse a parishioner 'to have their child done!' Such – and perhaps such only – will be disciplined and lose their livelihood for coming out! Okay, that could have been phrased better! 
At any rate, the Kirk (and the Church of England, too, I note) is to – indeed, must by law - help with ‘hatching / yells, matching / bells, and dispatching / knells’ its parishioners! It is always nice to feel to be wanted! No need to ask with Dietrich Bonhoeffer, ‘are we still of any use?’! The world has already answered that question! Plenty to keep us all occupied with less important matters! For good measure Karl Barth – the greatest 20th century theologian - may be consulted here.
The Free Church of Scotland (generally speaking, though with notable exceptions!) has played along nicely, too, by practising indiscriminate baptism for years, quite contrary to the explicit teaching of the Westminster Confession, but it would be unkind to say more!  
A recent article caught my attention: What does the Bible say about infant baptism?’ The answer: Nothing! Well, that was my impression as the author does not quote Scripture at all! No wonder that those of us blessed with a smaller mind have been fermisht!
I, too, like Macleod and Robertson admire Spurgeon, albeit to a lesser extent. He can have his say, If you see infant baptism in the Word, do not neglect it; if it be not there, do not regard it”. (Sermon on Ephesians 4:30
Well might we be asking, of what use is to cry over spilled water when the baby has been thrown out with the bathwater?

Friday, 28 July 2017

Karl Barth and Infant Baptism

"The real reason for the persistent adherence to infant baptism is quite simply the fact that without it the church would suddenly be in a remarkably embarrassing position. Every individual would then have to decide whether he wanted to be a Christian. But how many Christians would there be in that case? The whole concept of a national church (or national religion) would be shaken. That must not happen; and so one proposes argument upon argument for infant baptism and yet cannot speak convincingly because fundamentally he has a bad conscience. The introduction of adult baptism in itself would of course not reform the church which needs reforming. The adherence to infant baptism is only one - a very important one - of many symptoms that the church is not alive and bold, that it is afraid to walk on the water like Peter to meet the Lord, that it therefore does not seek a sure foundation but only deceptive props.

The consequence of this adherence to infant baptism is the devaluation of baptism by so-called confirmation, in which baptism is supposed to be confirmed by faith, in which therefore the confession and desire which ought to precede baptism are supposed to be made up for later. Fifteen years later one is supposed to confirm his faith. This procedure is impossible. But it cannot be avoided so long as we hold to infant baptism, which is indeed incomplete without this subsequent confirmation.

Another consequence is necessarily the formation of a mass church, the Christian character of which is never examined at all, a church which therefore cannot realize the comfort that comes from having been baptised. Under these circumstances, one need not be surprised at the stream of indifference and secularism which flows through our church.“