No doubt a number of readers of The Monthly Record of the Free Church of Scotland were dismayed to see two leading articles devoted to a positive assessment of the novel and film, The Lord of the Rings. Another article discussed the Harry Potter children’s novels (assessed as “safe for reading”), referring also to the film, Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone. Any such films and videos, the writer cautions, “need to be watched carefully” – but that is as far as his warning goes.
J R R Tolkien’s book, The Lord of the Rings (and the film), we are told, deal with evil powers, wizards and magic, and also features elves, dwarves, and other mythical creatures – but that, we are assured by the editor, “in no way encourages interest in the occult”. We question his judgement on this point, and also his description of Tolkien, a Roman Catholic, as “a committed Christian”. He also expresses the hope that “some will be awakened [by The Lord of the Rings] to the values of another world”!
One Monthly Record reader, responding to the articles on the Harry Potter books, says that their author J K Rowling “is using real-life, wicked, occult practices and phenomena, familiar to Satanists and witches the world over . . . . A generation of children is being disarmed concerning the danger and wickedness of the occult.”
More than one critic of such literature and films appositely quotes Phillipians 4:8, “Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things”. It is to such true and pure things, and not the dark worlds of Tolkien and Rowling, that we should be directing the minds of our children.
A Right-to-die Demand
The euthanasia issue is being aired once again in connection with the case of an unnamed paralysed woman, who is fully competent mentally and is being kept alive by a ventilator in a hospital, where she constantly receives a very high standard of care. She claims she has the right to die and that the doctor caring for her is depriving her of that right by refusing to switch off her ventilator. She has taken her case to the High Court in London (a hearing took place at her bedside) and she now awaits the Court’s finding.
Not surprisingly, her doctor said in giving evidence, “If the court rules that the ventilation should be terminated, my personal feelings are that it will create a precedent, and I don’t know what effect it would have on other patients. The patient is just asking us to kill her, and that is something we would not wish to do.”
Those who claim the right to die are either ignoring, or are ignorant of, the fact that only God their Creator has the prerogative to give life and to take it away, and that no one has the right to die. Neither do they realise that death ushers them in before God, to whom they are responsible for giving an account of what they have done, “whether it be good or bad”. As Dr G Chalmers says in his useful and practical article, Euthanasia – The Real Issues (Evangelical Times, September 2001): “As religious faith has been eroded by secular and materialistic philosophies, the view is expressed: ‘There is no life, and therefore no responsibility, after death’. The rejection of personal accountability for the outcome of life, and of a future beyond death, has led to a cheapening of life.”
Paul van Buitenen, the European Commission official whose exposure of fraud in the European Commission led to the resignation of the Commission in 1999, has submitted to the European Parliament a 235-page dossier in which he alleges further corruption in the Commission. The files evidently point to a coverup by the Commission to protect officials guilty of past misconduct, and allege fraud in construction contracts at EU sites in Luxembourg and misuse of vocational training funds.
Successive British Governments have promised themselves significant economic benefits from our union with Europe. The sad reality is that the nation has not only lost much of its sovereignty but also has put its massive contributions to the EU into a bag with holes.
In pinning our hopes on Europe, we have left God out of the reckoning. Like the Jews in Haggai’s day, we have given a much higher place to our economic aspirations than to God and His claims upon us. “Now therefore thus saith the Lord of hosts; Consider your ways. Ye have sown much, and bring in little . . . and he that earneth wages earneth wages to put it into a bag with holes” (Hag 1:5,6).
The Prevalence of Bad Language
The string of swear words reputedly uttered during a recent crisis in the Department of Transport by Sir Richard Mottram, the Permanent Secretary, is symptomatic of the pervasiveness of profane language at every social level – including royalty. “In this self-obsessed, narcissistic age,” one newspaper columnist rightly says, “where instant gratification is all that matters and the needs of others are a dreadful inconvenience or bore, the four-letter language of contempt and aggression is the all-too-appropriate means of communication.”
One reason for the worsening of this foul malaise in society is the example of entertainment personalties who intentionally mouth obscenities and blasphemies to generate publicity for themselves. This leads many of their admirers to do likewise, but it disgusts all right-thinking people.
More serious still is the fact that foul language is abominable to God. Blasphemy and the irreverent use of the name of God is expressly forbidden by His commandment: “Thou shalt not take the name of the Lord thy God in vain” Swearing is not only debased language, but also the clearest evidence of rebellion against God’s requirement: “Let your speech be alway with grace, seasoned with salt”.