The Queen’s Speech and the age of consent
“MY Lords and Members of the House of Commons, I pray that the blessing of Almighty God may rest upon your counsels.” With these words the Queen ended her speech at the State Opening of Parliament.
How can we expect the blessing of the Almighty God to rest upon a government which proposes to reduce the age of homosexual consent from 18 to 16? In the Queen’s speech the proposal was stated in this manner: “Parliament will be given an opportunity to vote on the age of consent. The Bill will strengthen the protection of young people from abuse of trust.” To some people, these words seem almost innocuous, but their stark meaning is that the Government is determined to bring back the legislation, voted down by the House of Lords in the last Parliament, to lower the age of consent.
It is astounding hypocrisy, as well as wickedness, on the part the Government to propose to open up the way for predator sodomites and lesbians to target 16 and 17-year-olds and at the same to time to say, through the Queen’s speech, that it is to introduce measures to protect these same young people from abuse.
But God is not deceived. He looks down from His throne and sees how nations, as well as individuals, repudiate His authority and spurn His law. And if He comes to deal with us for this national sin, as well as other gross sins, we will have great reason to fear. The judgement upon Sodom and Gomorrah was preceded by this: “And the LORD said, Because the cry of Sodom and Gomorrah is great, and because their sin is very grievous; I will go down now and see whether they have done altogether according to the cry of it, which is come unto me; and if not, I will know.” (Genesis 18:20, 21). N.M.R.
The fiftieth anniversary of the World Council of Churches
DELAYED by the Second World War, the WCC was formed in Amsterdam in 1948 as “a fellowship of churches which accept our Lord Jesus Christ as God and Saviour”. Yet it was explicitly stated that its doctrinal basis “is not a creedal test to judge churches and persons”. In other words, those who come under the WCC banner may believe whatever they wish, and interpret this statement in any way that suits them. They are under no obligation to accept it in a scriptural sense,
In the sixties this body was highly influential, and the ecumenical movement seemed to forge ahead in the glow of publicity. It was seen as a vehicle for the hoped-for union of most churches claiming the Christian name. Now, when the WCC is celebrating its fiftieth anniversary, the report in the secular press of the opening meeting of its assembly, in Harare, Zimbabwe, is relegated to a few paragraphs on an inside page. It now appears unlikely that the WCC will succeed in bringing about church union. Much more significant are the efforts to bring about cooperation between individual congregations at grassroots level.
Rome has never joined the WCC, but attempts were to be made in Harare to set up a forum which would also draw in the Church of Rome, but this new body was not likely to be anything more than a talking shop. Rome evidently does not see the WCC as a suitable vehicle for bringing to fruition her ambitions for controlling the whole world. At the same time the Orthodox (Greek, Russian, etc.) Churches have been threatening to leave the WCC, and indeed boycotted the opening ceremony in Harare. They have been objecting to liberal trends within the WCC, in particular to the ordination of women.
This is an age when the greatest part of the professing Christian Church does not care about faithfulness to the Master whom she claims to serve. Christ has spoken in the Scriptures, but Churches refuse to accept that these Scriptures have the authority and accuracy which the Lord has indeed given them. So they are “carried about with every wind of doctrine” which is sweeping over this generation. They are prepared to accept Roman Catholic doctrine as deserving the same degree of respect as extreme unbelief, and every form of error in between. Let us, however, pray for a time when there will be genuine union in the truth, with total respect for the authority and absolute inerrancy of the Word of God. K.D.M.
Sabbath desecration in the motor manufacturing industry
SEVEN-DAY working is to be introduced by the Peugeot Motor Company at its Coventry plant. Workers are employed presently for 1,755 hours a year by working a four-day week on a two-shift Monday-to-Thursday operation, but many of them are being attracted to the extra new two-shift weekend working period, which runs from 6 am on Friday to 4.15 pm on Sabbath, because they will be working 339 hours less in the year for the same pay. A company spokesman said, “There’s a lot of interest in working at weekends and having the rest of the week off.”
The new system has been introduced in order to increase production, and it is expected that component manufacturers who supply Peugeot will introduce weekend shifts. Other car manufacturers do not at present work on Sabbath, but we fear that some of them will follow Peugeot if they see the need to do so.
The new system of working has not originated in France, where Peugeot has its base, but in Britain a country which once observed the Lord’s day more than any of its neighbours did. Israel learned the hard way that Sabbath desecration is not the way to prosperity. She was deprived of all her prosperity by the Babylonian empire and came under its dominion. We fear that our own nation will yet have to learn, under the chastising hand of God, that the way of transgressors is hard. If we refuse to honour God by honouring His holy day, we must expect that He will bring dishonour upon us. N.M.R.
Suicide rates reach alarming levels
A RISE in young men attempting suicide has pushed Britain to a record level of self-destructiveness, says a recent report. One in every 250 people in England are admitted to hospital casualty departments each year because they have caused harm to themselves. Deliberate overdoses and other self-injuries are so common that they are now among the five most common emergency admissions to hospitals – a level higher than in most European countries.
In an age when the standard of living has never been so high, this is surely proof, if proof were needed, that “man shall not live by bread alone”. Granted that there are many who exist at a level well below the average standard of living, and that those most likely to die by suicide are now male, unemployed, in poor physical health and living alone, it also indicates that this is a generation which has lost sight of the reality of judgement and eternity, and even of the existence and authority of God.
Material possessions can never properly satisfy a creature with a soul. Man was made to worship and glorify God, and when a generation tries to leave God out of consideration altogether, it is no wonder that, in the hopelessness of a Godless existence, increasing numbers of the most vulnerable are committing that most awful of sins against themselves – launching their souls unprepared into eternity. Man’s feeling of hopelessness is strengthened by a lack of any understanding of God as the God of providence who controls all that happens in an orderly way. The theory of evolution has presented man as nothing more than the most intelligent of the animals. With that belief woven into the warp and woof of modern thinking, it is not surprising that life has become so cheap that it can be all too readily thrown away.
This increasing rate of suicide is also evidence of the fact that God’s restraining grace is being more and more removed in our time – as we likewise see, on the whole, less and less of His saving grace. It is a situation which we ought to find heart-rending, to hear of so many young men particularly, who might have so many years in front of them, casting themselves in despair out of this life.
David, on the other hand, having the fear of God in his heart, could view life from the proper perspective. As he looked on the world around him, he said, “There be many that say, Who will shew us any good? Lord, lift thou up the light of thy countenance upon us.” (Psalm 4:6). He was conscious of his need of God’s favour and blessing. And it is only with such a prayer in our hearts that any of us can go safely on through life and into eternity. K.D.M.
ANOTHER piece of evidence for the degree of spiritual darkness in Britain today is the figure of an estimated 16,000 practising devil-worshippers in the country. Certainly all who are still out of Christ are as yet in Satan’s kingdom. But it is a very different, and even more serious, matter for people to give themselves over deliberately to the worship of the prince of darkness and of evil. It should be no surprise to us that, when spiritual light is becoming dim, gross darkness should come in instead. K.D.M.
“Couples Counselling Scotland”
IT is a sad sign of the times that the organisation, Marriage Counselling Scotland, has adopted a new name: Couples Counselling Scotland. Although Marriage Counselling Scotland has not been whole-hearted about marriage for some time, in that some of its members have been backing the suggestion that couples should live together for a trial period before getting married, this change of name is indeed a measure of the erosion of marriage, and the fact that unmarried couples living together is becoming increasingly acceptable.
Such a lifestyle is a continuous breaking of the Seventh Commandment, “Thou shalt not commit adultery.” God’s condemnation of this way of living, and His approval of marriage as the sole sphere of such intimacy, is shown by these words: “Marriage is honourable in all, and the bed undefiled, but whoremongers and adulterers God will judge.” (Hebrews 13:4).
Marriage, said the Government in its Green Paper Supporting Families, is the preferred institution for raising children. This is a welcome statement but altogether too weak. We have yet to see the Government weight its fiscal system in favour of marriage. N.M.R.
The injustices of the Northern Ireland peace process
AS John Hume and David Trimble take home their Nobel Peace Prize, the Ulster peace process, after the Good Friday Agreement, is far from healthy. The IRA remains armed to the teeth, the British peace-keeping forces are being withdrawn, the Government continues to release terrorist prisoners early, and terrorist beatings and shootings (many by released prisoners) continue. Since the beginning of this year, almost 300 people have been forced to leave Northern Ireland due to intimidation. Also, the RUC is the victim of virulent propaganda and has the threat of disbandment hanging over it.
The Government has been tough on General Pinochet, in giving permission for him to be extradited in connection with gross “human rights abuses”, but soft on the IRA/Sinn Fein. Surely its love for what it calls human rights should begin at home. The sympathies of the British Government clearly are not with the majority Protestant population of Ulster but with the Roman Catholic nationalists north and south of the border not with the loyal unionists of various hues but with Gerry Adams and his fellow republicans. Such unjust treatment of its own citizens cannot auger well for the Government, if only because the God of justice pronounces solemnly against rulers who oppress their subjects or abandon them to the tender mercies of the wicked. N.M.R.