Following on from the legalising of euthanasia in the Netherlands, similar legislation is now passing through the Belgian parliament. However, in this case the situation is even more serious; it extends so-called mercy killing to people suffering from incurable psychological illness.
That such legislation is given even the slightest consideration is an indication of how far Western society has drifted from its moorings in Christianity, and from a legal system which to some extent reflected the law of God. Clearly parliamentarians, and those who – often aggressively – promote euthanasia, are also ignoring Scripture testimony to the reality of a lost eternity.
Where is all this going to stop? Will what is brought in as voluntary euthanasia end there? God’s law is our only safeguard, in particular the sixth commandment: “Thou shalt not kill”.
The government has published guidelines for part of its new “Citizenship Education” programme for English schools. Two areas of particular concern are religion and the EU. The programme insists that pupils be taught that all religions are essentially the same – just different ways to God. The course is intended to promote an “inclusive” society rather than one which is “exclusive”. In the face of this, how will pupils fare who express their conviction of the exclusivity of Christianity – for instance, that “there is none other name under heaven given among men [except Jesus Christ, the Son of God,] whereby we must be saved”?
According to a report in the English Churchman, pupils will also be given a one-sided view of the “benefits of EU membership, including the desirability of ‘ever-closer union'”. This too is manifestly unacceptable.
It would appear that the Health Education Board for Scotland is not prepared to listen to reason or, for that matter, prepared to exercise ordinary common sense! What other conclusion can we arrive at when its members are determined to foist its sex-education scheme (known as Share – Sexual Health and Relationships: Safe, Happy and Responsible) on schools, notwithstanding the fact that a British Medical Journal report shows that its introduction on an experimental basis has only led to an increase in promiscuity and unwanted pregnancies? The scheme is described as being “liberal, non-judgemental and explicit,” but after its introduction on a trial basis in 13 selected schools in Scotland the results were as indicated.
However, a spokesman for this Board is reported as claiming that Share still remains “the best sex-education package we have available”! It beggars belief that the Scottish Executive should permit this publicly-funded Board to continue with this scheme and even allow for its expansion in the face of this evidence. We also find it inexplicable that loving parents, on their part, should allow their 13-year-old children to be exposed to such morally-destructive teaching. Perhaps they are unaware of it. Nothing, we are convinced, will halt teenage promiscuity and immorality but the introduction of the concept of sin into classroom teaching and the inculcation of the “Thou shalt not” moral imperative of the divine law.
It is significant that in Britain there is a sustained assault on institutions which are founded upon, and permeated with, Biblical principle. This is largely promoted by vociferous, highly-motivated and highly-organised pressure groups and implemented by politicians in Edinburgh, London and Europe who neither fear God nor feel sufficiently accountable to the population whom theoretically they represent. Whether or not these various forces are working consciously together, there is undoubtedly a mastermind behind them – they have all the marks of “the wiles of the devil. For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places” (Eph 6:11,12). The Reformed Faith, the Protestant Constitution of the throne and nation, the Sabbath Day, the family unit, and bodies which endeavour in various ways to contend for truth, are among the primary targets of Satan.
An insert in a recent issue of the Christian Institute’s Update claims that the Institute is “fighting for faith, family and freedom”. It recognises the connection of these three and how Christian faith, Christian family values and true religious and civil freedom stand or fall together. It asserts that “the marriage-based family is the bedrock of society” and “is worth fighting for”. The Institute argues “against attempts to downgrade marriage or equate it with temporary relationships or gay liaisons”. This fight for the family has involved opposition to easier divorce, to repeal of Section 28, to adoption of children by homosexuals and other unmarried cohabitees, and to criminalising loving parents for chastising little children – all of them ways in which legislative attempts are currently being made to undermine further the Christian concept of the family.
The British Prime Minister is not above using his authority in Parliament and his capacity to manipulate and expedite parliamentary procedures to promote, for example, the Adoption and Children Bill, which would allow unmarried and homosexual cohabitees to adopt children. An article in The Scotsman of 10 May 2002 claimed that “although adoption policy is devolved, the Scottish Executive has indicated that it will mirror the English law changes”. The argument put forward is that it would be discriminatory, and possibly contrary to the European Convention on Human Rights, to exclude homosexual couples from the category of unmarried couples eligible to adopt children under the new legislation. Reports that societies like the NSPCC and Barnardo’s misguidedly support these legislative moves as a way of securing homes for children make sad reading.
A parallel movement is afoot, following on the introduction of civil partnership and commitment registers in London, Manchester and Liverpool, to have same-sex relationships registered. This would be a first step toward giving people with this immoral lifestyle rights similar to those of married couples in matters such as pension, inheritance and property rights. Glasgow City Council’s “equality spokesman” said that such requests by the “gay” community tend to be looked at sympathetically “on the grounds that they are a group which is discriminated against”. So the vile lie persists and grows, and the moral foundations of our society continue to crumble. The question is urgent: “If the foundations be destroyed, what can the righteous do?” (Ps 11:3).
An editorial in the Spring 2002 issue of the Scottish Bulletin of Evangelical Theology acknowledges the place of the Lord’s Supper and of Communion Seasons in the nourishment of piety in Scotland’s past. The salutary point is made that “there is a need to remind ourselves that the Lord’s Supper is a means of grace, a sacrament, a moment of special encounter with the Triune God of grace and mercy who meets His people in all their need to refresh and renew their spiritual vitality”.
In this article, the writer asserts that “the Lord’s Supper was intended to be a powerful means of ‘proclaiming the Lord’s death’ as a converting ordinance to young and old”. There is no doubt that the preaching in connection with the Communion, and the significance of the Communion itself, may be used of God in the awakening of sinners who hear the Word and witness the sacrament. But it is erroneous to equate coming to the gospel feast with coming to the Lord’s Table, as the writer seems to do. The Lord’s Supper is for those who have already experienced the saving grace of God, for “the perpetual remembrance of the sacrifice of [Christ] in His death, the sealing of all benefits thereof unto true believers, their spiritual nourishment and growth in Him, their further engagement in and to all duties which they owe unto Him, and to be a bond and pledge of their communion with Him, and with each other, as members of His mystical body” (Westminster Confession, chapter 29).
The writer claims that “the stress, within some strands of Scottish piety, overly to ‘fence the tables’ and inhibit believers from ‘examining themselves, so as to eat’ has hindered many from experiencing the welcoming love of God that Rabbi Duncan spoke of when he said, ‘Tak it, woman, it’s for sinners!'”. He goes on to say that “the emphasis of the solemnity of the occasion, remembering the death of our Saviour, must never take away that note of rejoicing in the presence of the risen Christ and the hope of His coming glory”. It should, however, be recorded as a matter of fact, to the praise of God’s grace, that it is precisely where the fencing of the Lord’s Table is taken most seriously that would-be communicants are urged to the examination of themselves which will result in them coming as penitent believers to the sacrament “judging themselves, and sorrowing for sin; in earnest hungering and thirsting after Christ, feeding on Him by faith, receiving of His fulness, trusting in His merits, rejoicing in His love, giving thanks for His grace; in renewing their covenant with God, and love to all the saints” (Larger Catechism, 174).
It is in such circles, even in these comparatively barren days, that Communion Seasons are still looked forward to as occasions when the Lord in sovereign mercy is often pleased to draw near to give His people a little reviving and to draw the Christless to Himself. In a measure they are able at times to say: “I sat down under His shadow with great delight, and His fruit was sweet to my taste. He brought me to the banqueting house, and His banner over me was love” (Song 2:3,4).
May Communion Seasons long be valued among us for all the right reasons, and may those who partake of the Lord’s Supper “prepare themselves thereunto, by examining themselves of their being in Christ, of their sins and wants; of the truth and measure of their knowledge, faith, repentance; love to God and the brethren, charity to all men, forgiving those that have done them wrong; of their desires after Christ, and of their new obedience; and by renewing the exercise of these graces, by serious meditation, and fervent prayer” (Larger Catechism, 171).