Rebekah Brings Blind, Backslidden Isaac to Repentance

I had some good comments on my piece about Esau the other day, and once again I thought it would be helpful to post one of my responses which was fairly lengthy, but which is worth an airing here as it will probably prove to be quite surprising, and more than a little thought-provoking to anyone interested in such things.   So here’s a summary of the questions, which were once again posted by Phil:   When Esau sold his […]

Esau’s Repentance? Ain’t Worth a Mess of Pottage!

One of my regular readers, Phil, posted a comment at the bottom of a recent piece, with some great questions on the nature of repentance and God’s judicial hardening. I promised I would try to answer these questions as best I could, but since my response has turned out to be really rather long, rather than posting it on the comment section of that piece, where no-one except Phil will read it, I though I’d post it as a separate […]

You Know What You Remind me of Man? A Beautiful Painting Daubed in Graffiti and in Need of a Work of Restoration

I recently engaged with someone on a comment thread under one of my articles for The Conservative Woman, on a point which is — in my experience — a very common response to Christianity. The commenter said that Christians seem to claim a monopoly on doing good deeds, and he then went on to mention that although he is not religious, he both believes in doing good and actually does it. Since this is such a common response to Christianity, […]

Finding the Real Jesus on Resurrection Sunday

It is no exaggeration to say that Jesus is the most (wilfully) misunderstood and (wilfully) misquoted person in history.  At no time is this more clearly seen than around Easter and Christmas, when people who normally show no interest in him come forward to use him as a figurehead for their particular social or political cause. One Tweet I saw, for example, claimed that “Jesus was a radical whose anti-greed message of peace & love scared Establishment of his day.” […]

Rebuilding Communities From the Ashes – Part 2

In the first part of this piece, I wrote about how the West, having largely escaped the individual-crushing ideology of communism, has instead been busy building a culture based on another unbiblical ideology – individualism. Although it has not led to gulags or political prisoners, its rotten fruits have been manifesting themselves in increasingly obvious ways over recent years. One of the most obvious has been loss of community. As Henry Van Til taught us, culture is religion externalized, and […]

On Telling the Difference Between Historic Anglicanism & ISIS: Clue – One Does Baptisms, the Other Does Executions

If you happened to visit my church on a Sunday, here is what you would find: a group of people of all ages – we don’t do age segregation – participating in a worship service in the historic Anglican tradition. After the service you would enjoy coffee and tea, along with plenty of fellowship and laughter. If you happened to turn up on the first Sunday of the month, we would ask you to join us for lunch – an […]

Rebuilding Communities From the Ashes – Part 1

There have been a growing number of books on the market in recent years which touch on the themes of community and place. Some of these books have sold extraordinarily well. Just to give a couple of examples, J D Vance’s Hillbilly Elegy and James Rebanks’s The Shepherd’s Life have both sold in their millions and reached the top of bestseller lists. Both books are said to be unlikely hits. But is it so extraordinary that these sorts of books […]

How to Prevent the Islamisation of Europe: Stop Stopping Children!

Once in a while politicians say something interesting. However, rare as such utterances are, unfortunately most of the really revealing comments get drowned out by the slurry of media commentary focusing on really important things like what trousers someone is wearing or how someone eats a bacon sandwich. Last week saw such an occasion where something revealing was said, and it was almost universally ignored by the media. It occurred at a conference in Malta, and the one making the […]

Fifty Shades of Turning the Clock Back to a Canaanite View of Women

So there I was sitting in the living room with some of my children when a bus went past the window. On the side was an advert for the film, Fifty Shades Darker. Oh great. How happy I am to be living in a society where my five-year-old gets to see such things on buses! Thankfully she didn’t ask any questions. Although I refrained from reading the first instalment of the Fifty Shades saga, I read enough reviews to be […]

Mistaking Baby Food for Meat: How Christians Are Taught to Stay in Perpetual Infancy

Imagine trying to give a baby solid food before it is ready. Not a happy idea, and I don’t recommend trying it. Now imagine giving a grown adult baby food. Kind of a weird thought that one, and again not one that I can heartily recommend. Now imagine one more scenario, but this time after moving their child onto solid food, after a while the parents decide to take him off it, and go back to feeding him breast milk […]

The Coming of the Saviour-King: Thoughts for Advent — The Saviour-King Has Come

“In those days a decree went out from Caesar Augustus that all the world should be registered. This was the first registration when Quirinius was governor of Syria. And all went to be registered, each to his own town. And Joseph also went up from Galilee, from the town of Nazareth, to Judea, to the city of David, which is called Bethlehem, because he was of the house and lineage of David, to be registered with Mary, his betrothed, who […]

The Coming of the Saviour-King: Thoughts for Advent — Day 27: The New Creation in a Womb

“In the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent from God to a city of Galilee named Nazareth, to a virgin betrothed to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David. And the virgin’s name was Mary. And he came to her and said, ‘Greetings, O favoured one, the Lord is with you!’ But she was greatly troubled at the saying, and tried to discern what sort of greeting this might be. And the angel said to […]

The Coming of the Saviour-King: Thoughts for Advent — Day 26: From Silence to Light

“Blessed be the Lord God of Israel, for he has visited and redeemed his people and has raised up a horn of salvation for us in the house of his servant David, as he spoke by the mouth of his holy prophets from of old, that we should be saved from our enemies and from the hand of all who hate us; to show the mercy promised to our fathers and to remember his holy covenant, the oath that he […]

The Coming of the Saviour-King: Thoughts for Advent — Day 25: Get Ready for the Sunrise

“For behold, the day is coming, burning like an oven, when all the arrogant and all evildoers will be stubble. The day that is coming shall set them ablaze, says the Lord of hosts, so that it will leave them neither root nor branch. But for you who fear my name, the Sun of Righteousness shall rise with healing in its wings. You shall go out leaping like calves from the stall. And you shall tread down the wicked, for […]

The Coming of the Saviour-King: Thoughts for Advent — Day 24: God’s Messengers are Coming

“Behold, I send my messenger, and he will prepare the way before me. And the Lord whom you seek will suddenly come to his temple; and the messenger of the covenant in whom you delight, behold, he is coming, says the Lord of hosts. But who can endure the day of his coming, and who can stand when he appears? For he is like a refiner’s fire and like fullers’ soap. He will sit as a refiner and purifier of […]

The Coming of the Saviour King: Thoughts for Advent — Day 23: The Son of Man is Given the Kingdom

“I saw in the night visions, and behold, with the clouds of heaven there came one like a son of man, and he came to the Ancient of Days and was presented before him. And to him was given dominion and glory and a kingdom, that all peoples, nations, and languages should serve him; his dominion is an everlasting dominion, which shall not pass away, and his kingdom one that shall not be destroyed.” (Daniel 7:13-14) In the preceding chapters […]

The Coming of the Saviour-King: Thoughts for Advent — Day 22: God Smashes the Kingdom of Earth

“And in the days of those kings the God of heaven will set up a kingdom that shall never be destroyed, nor shall the kingdom be left to another people. It shall break in pieces all these kingdoms and bring them to an end, and it shall stand forever, just as you saw that a stone was cut from a mountain by no human hand, and that it broke in pieces the iron, the bronze, the clay, the silver, and […]

The Coming of the Saviour-King: Thoughts for Advent — Day 21: The Image of the Kingdom of Earth

“You saw, O king, and behold, a great image. This image, mighty and of exceeding brightness, stood before you, and its appearance was frightening. The head of this image was of fine gold, its chest and arms of silver, its middle and thighs of bronze, its legs of iron, its feet partly of iron and partly of clay. As you looked, a stone was cut out by no human hand, and it struck the image on its feet of iron […]

The Coming of the Saviour-King: Thoughts for Advent — Day 20: A Tree to Cover the Earth

“There shall come forth a shoot from the stump of Jesse, and a branch from his roots shall bear fruit. And the Spirit of the Lord shall rest upon him, the Spirit of wisdom and understanding, the Spirit of counsel and might, the Spirit of knowledge and the fear of the Lord. And his delight shall be in the fear of the Lord. He shall not judge by what his eyes see, or decide disputes by what his ears hear, […]

The Coming of the Saviour-King: Thoughts for Advent — Day 19: What Kingdom is This?

“For to us a child is born, to us a son is given; and the government shall be upon his shoulder, and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.  Of the increase of his government and of peace there will be no end, on the throne of David and over his kingdom, to establish it and to uphold it with justice and with righteousness from this time forth and forevermore. The zeal of […]

The Coming of the Saviour-King: Thoughts for Advent — Day 18: What Child is This?

“For to us a child is born, to us a son is given; and the government shall be upon his shoulder, and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.  Of the increase of his government and of peace there will be no end, on the throne of David and over his kingdom, to establish it and to uphold it with justice and with righteousness from this time forth and forevermore. The zeal of […]

The Coming of the Saviour-King: Thoughts for Advent — Day 17: The Virgin and the Sign of Ahaz

“Again the Lord spoke to Ahaz: ‘Ask a sign of the Lord your God; let it be deep as Sheol or high as heaven.’ But Ahaz said, ‘I will not ask, and I will not put the Lord to the test.’ And he said, ‘Hear then, O house of David! Is it too little for you to weary men, that you weary my God also? Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign. Behold, the virgin shall conceive and […]

The Coming of the Saviour-King: Thoughts for Advent — Day 16: The King Destroys His Kingdom

“And the Lord was angry with Solomon, because his heart had turned away from the Lord, the God of Israel, who had appeared to him twice and had commanded him concerning this thing, that he should not go after other gods. But he did not keep what the Lord commanded. Therefore, the Lord said to Solomon, ‘Since this has been your practice and you have not kept my covenant and my statutes that I have commanded you, I will surely […]

The Coming of the Saviour-King: Thoughts for Advent — Day 15: The King and His Kingdom

“Give the king your justice, O God, and your righteousness to the royal son! May he judge your people with righteousness, and your poor with justice! Let the mountains bear prosperity for the people, and the hills, in righteousness! May he defend the cause of the poor of the people, give deliverance to the children of the needy, and crush the oppressor! May they fear you while the sun endures, and as long as the moon, throughout all generations! May he […]

The Coming of the Saviour-King: Thoughts for Advent — Day 14: God’s Enemies Provoke Him to Laughter

“Why do the nations rage and the peoples plot in vain? The kings of the earth set themselves, and the rulers take counsel together, against the Lord and against his Anointed, saying, ‘Let us burst their bonds apart and cast away their cords from us.’ He who sits in the heavens laughs; the Lord holds them in derision. Then he will speak to them in his wrath, and terrify them in his fury, saying, ‘As for me, I have set my King […]

The Coming of the Saviour-King: Thoughts for Advent — Day 13: I Will Build You a House

“‘Thus says the Lord of hosts, I took you from the pasture, from following the sheep, that you should be prince over my people Israel. And I have been with you wherever you went and have cut off all your enemies from before you. And I will make for you a great name, like the name of the great ones of the earth. And I will appoint a place for my people Israel and will plant them, so that they […]

The Coming of the Saviour-King: Thoughts for Advent — Day 12: The Shepherd and the Dragon

“When the Philistine arose and came and drew near to meet David, David ran quickly toward the battle line to meet the Philistine. And David put his hand in his bag and took out a stone and slung it and struck the Philistine on his forehead. The stone sank into his forehead, and he fell on his face to the ground. So David prevailed over the Philistine with a sling and with a stone, and struck the Philistine and killed […]

The Coming of the Saviour-King: Thoughts for Advent — Day 11: Give us a King

“Then Samuel asked, ‘Are these all the sons you have?’ ‘There is still the youngest,’ Jesse replied. ‘But he’s out in the fields watching the sheep and goats.’ ‘Send for him at once,’ Samuel said. ‘We will not sit down to eat until he arrives.’ So Jesse sent for him. He was dark and handsome, with beautiful eyes. And the Lord said, ‘This is the one; anoint him.’ So as David stood there among his brothers, Samuel took the flask […]

The Coming of the Saviour-King: Thoughts for Advent — Day 10: A Lion King to Gather the Nations

“Judah is a lion’s whelp; From the prey, my son, thou art gone up: He stooped down, he couched as a lion, and as a lioness; who shall rouse him up? The sceptre shall not depart from Judah, nor the ruler’s staff from between his feet, until Shiloh come; and unto him shall the obedience of the peoples be.” (Genesis 49:9-10) Since the passage we considered yesterday, where Jacob once again heard the promises of land, people and blessing coming […]

The Coming of the Saviour-King: Thoughts for Advent — Day 9: The Stairway to Heaven

“Jacob left Beersheba and went toward Haran. And he came to a certain place and stayed there that night, because the sun had set. Taking one of the stones of the place, he put it under his head and lay down in that place to sleep. And he dreamed, and behold, there was a ladder set up on the earth, and the top of it reached to heaven. And behold, the angels of God were ascending and descending on it! […]

The Coming of the Saviour-King: Thoughts for Advent — Day 8: The Sacrifice of … Isaac?

“After these things God tested Abraham and said to him, ‘Abraham!’ And he said, ‘Here I am.’ He said, ‘Take your son, your only son Isaac, whom you love, and go to the land of Moriah, and offer him there as a burnt offering on one of the mountains of which I shall tell you.’” (Genesis 22:1-2) Here we come to one of those passages that sceptics just love. “God, the God you worship commands child sacrifice, right?” Well, no. […]

The Coming of the Saviour-King: Thoughts for Advent — Day 7: The Contrived Son and the Son of Promise

“The Lord visited Sarah as he had said, and the Lord did to Sarah as he had promised. And Sarah conceived and bore Abraham a son in his old age at the time of which God had spoken to him. Abraham called the name of his son who was born to him, whom Sarah bore him, Isaac.” (Genesis 21:1-3) In the intervening years since the promises given to Abram in yesterday’s passage, Sarai remains barren and so the promises remain […]

The Coming of the Saviour-King: Thoughts for Advent — Day 6: Blessing for the World

“Now the Lord said to Abram, ‘Go from your country and your kindred and your father’s house to the land that I will show you. And I will make of you a great nation, and I will bless you and make your name great, so that you will be a blessing. I will bless those who bless you, and him who dishonours you I will curse, and in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed.’” (Genesis 12:1-3) […]

The Coming of the Saviour-King: Thoughts for Advent — Day 5: The False Messiah

“Now Adam knew Eve his wife, and she conceived and bore Cain, saying, ‘I have gotten a man with the help of the Lord.’” (Genesis 4:1) The first man and woman, despite their sin, are redeemed people. How do we know this? Firstly, we are told that where they had tried to cover their shame by sewing leaves together, God provided skins for them. These were animal skins, which implies animal sacrifice, and so was the first bloodshed. The book […]

The Coming of the Saviour-King: Thoughts for Advent — Day 4: A New King is Promised

“Because you have done this, cursed are you above all livestock and above all beasts of the field; on your belly you shall go, and dust you shall eat all the days of your life. I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and her offspring; he shall bruise your head, and you shall bruise his heel.” (Genesis 3:14-15)   These words are spoken into a world where the King has just died – spiritually exiled from God, […]

The Coming of the Saviour-King: Thoughts for Advent — Day 3: The Fall of the King

“But the Lord God called to the man and said to him, ‘Where are you?’ And he said, ‘I heard the sound of you in the garden, and I was afraid, because I was naked, and I hid myself.’ He said, “Who told you that you were naked? Have you eaten of the tree of which I commanded you not to eat?’” (Genesis 3:9-11) In yesterday’s reading we saw how God set up a King to rule over the earth […]

The Coming of the Saviour-King: Thoughts for Advent – Day 2: God Sets up His King

“Then God said, ‘Let us make man in our image, after our likeness. And let them have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over the livestock and over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.’ So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them. And God blessed them. And God said to them, […]

The Coming of the Saviour-King: Thoughts for Advent – Day 1: In the Beginning

This is the first of a series of readings and comments for advent (there will be 28 in all). It’s entirely possible, and even very probable, that I have misunderstood the meaning of some of the passages being considered. If so, do forgive me, but don’t be afraid to challenge in the comments section. I am indebted to the thoughts of the theologians Douglas Wilson, James B. Jordan and Peter Leithart, not to mention my own minister, Matthew Mason, for some […]

Is Donald the Last Trump Before the Rapture? Er no, But it’s Fun Teasing Dispensationalists

Being a rampantly postmillennial sort of a guy, I am firmly persuaded that the Kingdom of God will grow throughout the centuries, until the world is fully Christianised. Could take hundreds of years. Could take thousands. I know this is a minority position. Even a tiny minority position. But it is, I believe, the biblical position, as this passage from 1 Corinthians chapter 15 demonstrates: “But each in his own order: Christ the firstfruits, then at his coming those who belong to […]

Ashers Bakery, Wine That Doesn’t Turn Into Blood, Bodies That do Rise From the Dead and More — A Response to a Commentator

My recent article on the Ashers Bakery case generated a few comments from a gentleman named Oliver Green. I promised Oliver that when I found the time I would respond as best I could to what he wrote. However, rather than just posting underneath his comments, I thought it best to post on the main page. So below are Oliver’s comments in normal font, and my comments interleaved in bold italics. This is a fairly long piece, but I hope […]

The Ashers Bakery Case: The Little Sheep Tolerance’n’Diversity Hath Shed its Wool and Bared its Ghastly Teeth

The Ashers Bakery in Northern Ireland has just lost their appeal for the heinous crime of refusing to write a slogan on a cake. The phrase “you couldn’t make it up” is of course long past its sell by date. You couldn’t have made it up 20 years ago (or even ten), but now you can make almost anything up and it will have a good chance of coming true about this time tomorrow. If the McArthurs are weeping, then […]

Donald Trump & Hillary Clinton Now Starring in: The Basket of Deplorables — A Freak Show Masquerading as an Election

“As a connoisseur of human folly, I thought you impatient to be savouring these delights.” “Of some delights, I believe, sir, a little goes a long way.” Mr Bennet & Lizzie Bennet in the 1995 TV adaptation of Pride & Prejudice   I can’t help but recall these lines whenever my thoughts turn to the freak show masquerading as an election, which is currently hurtling its way to its dramatic and awful conclusion somewhere across the Atlantic. Were the spectacle […]

Guest Post: The Future Decline of Christianity and the Consequences — by John V

Instead of looking at religion from the perspective of belief and the never-ending-debate vs science, let’s consider a different approach and substitute the question of belief for the reality of societies without Christianity. From moral absolutes and the laws which follow, enshrined within western civilisation, the phrase, “Render unto Caesar the things which are Caesar’s, and unto God the things that are God’s” produces the visible divide currently narrowing throughout the west. When a society abandons Christianity, it leaves a […]

What is Wisdom?

My latest piece for Samaritan Ministries International What is wisdom? Here are a couple of definitions, taken at random from the internet: The ability to use your knowledge and experience to make good decisions and judgments The ability to discern the true nature of a situation, especially by intuition There is no doubt a lot to be said for these definitions. We certainly need knowledge and experience to be able to exercise wisdom, and the outcome of exercising wisdom will […]

British Government’s Sex Education Commissar is Heir to Obscure Hungarian Bolshevik

What parent would want an adult they hardly knew speaking to their children about sex, telling them where they can get contraceptives from, and showing them explicit literature and films about what sexual positions are possible? You’d think that the answer to that would be obvious, and in all other circumstances this is no doubt the case. Yet if the one doing the speaking and the showing is called a “teacher” and works in what is known as a “school”, […]

Creating Islands of Stability in an Unstable World

This is my latest piece for Samaritan Ministries International A year ago, I entered my 40s, by which you will rightly deduce that I was born in the 1970s. When I think back to the world at the time of my childhood, and then compare it to the world of 2016, there are a huge number of differences, far too numerous to mention. Yet if I had to pick one thing among all others that stands out as the defining […]

Religion is the Cause of all Wars? Well, Apart From … and … and … and oh Yes … and There Was … Not to Mention … But Apart From Them…

I haven’t posted an excerpt from my book, A Christian and an Unbeliever Discuss: Life, the Universe and Everything, for some time, so I thought it’s time for another. You can order a copy by clicking on the front cover on the column on the side. ‘And well might he have said that,’ remarked Alex sardonically, ‘since religion is the cause of all wars.’ ‘Well, apart from the Iraq war, the Falklands War, the Vietnam War, the Korean War, the […]

Recovering Objective Truth Part 2 – The World That God Made

In the first part of this piece, I tried to get to the root of the major cultural and societal changes that have come upon us over the last century or so, and I made the case that what we are seeing is Hegelian Dialecticism in action. This idea, from the 19th Century German philosopher Georg Hegel, proposes a marketplace of ideas (thesis and antithesis) which tend to compete with one another to produce a new idea (synthesis). Now this […]

Recovering Objective Truth: Part 1 – The World That Hegel Made

My latest piece for Samaritan Ministries International “The basic problem of the Christians in this country in the last 80 years or so, in regard to society and in regard to government,” wrote Francis Schaeffer in his Christian Manifesto, “is that they have seen things in bits and pieces instead of totals.” What he meant was that whilst Christians have seen a whole host of evils creeping into society and culture, they have tended to treat them as isolated issues […]

The Future is Bright: The Future is Christian

This last Tuesday, I was privileged to attend The Conservative Woman’s first forum, where the motion being debated by Peter Hitchens (Mail on Sunday) and Tim Stanley (Daily Telegraph) was “Christianity has no future in Britain”. The event was chaired by TCW’s very own Kathy Gyngell, who remarked quite rightly that the subject under discussion is immeasurably more important than the EU referendum. For those who regularly read Mr Hitchens, it will come as no surprise that he was the […]