The Queen’s Visit to a Mosque
It saddened many Christians that her Majesty the Queen made her first visit to a British mosque in the cause of inter-faith tolerance. On July 31 she entered the Islamic centre in Scunthorpe and went to the extent of removing her shoes to do so. Despite concerns expressed by what the press called “traditional Protestants”, Buckingham Palace said she was determined to recognise the growth in religious and cultural diversity in the past 50 years.
Of course, Muslim leaders understand the importance of her visit for their religion. A member of the mosque made the point that she is their Queen and that her visit was a tribute to the 3.5 million Muslims in the United Kingdom. But we cannot agree that in order for the Queen to acknowledge her Muslim subjects it was necessary for her thus to recognise their religion, which is the antithesis of Biblical Christianity.
We also believe that her action will be read by many as a signal that Christianity is not the exclusive religion it claims to be, that Christ is not the only way to God, and that all faiths are on an equal footing. Christ Himself states with crystal clarity and divine authority: “I am the way, the truth and the life: no man cometh to the Father but by Me” (John 14:6).
May the day speedily come when our Queen will no longer give recognition to multi-faith religion but will openly defend the faith she has solemnly pledged to uphold. Among the questions she was asked at her coronation was, “Will you to the utmost of your power maintain the laws of God, the true profession of the gospel and the Protestant reformed religion established by law . . . ?” “All this I promise to do,” she replied. She then laid her hand on the Bible and said, “The things which I have here before promised, I will perform and keep. So help me God.”
Let us pray that she would be so helped. “I exhort therefore, that, first of all, supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks, be made for all men; for kings, and for all that are in authority; that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and honesty. For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Saviour; who will have all men to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth” (1 Tim 2:1-4).
The Free Church and the APCs
One would think that a meeting of a body bearing the imposing title, “The General Assembly of the Associated Presbyterian Churches of Scotland and Canada”, would attract much media attention. The APC Press Officer, who found it so easy in 1989 to move journalists to provide many column inches of publicity in the national press, must be experiencing hard times. It would seem that the only organ to report on their Assembly is The APC News!
From this source we discover that the Assembly “enacted and ordained” the establishment between the APCs and the Free Church of Scotland of “such a relationship as shall manifest the essential unity of these churches, their separate and independent jurisdiction being always preserved”. These words, however carefully crafted, still savour of compromise and opportunism. They are found in the preamble to the “mutual eligibility” agreement which provides, among other things, for recognising “as to status Ordained Ministers, Probationers and Elders of the Free Church of Scotland as if they were their own; and the Ministers, Probationers and Elders of that Church shall thus be eligible for Call/transfer by any Congregation of this Church as if they were already Ministers, Probationers or Elders of this Church”.
In view of the tense relationship between the Free Church of Scotland and the Free Church of Scotland (Continuing), we find it odd, to say the least, that delegates from both these bodies were present and spoke at this Assembly. One would think that the “mutual eligibility” terms should have excluded the Rev A I MacIver, the Free Church (Continuing) delegate, whereas the Rev John MacLean, the Free Church representative, would have been cordially embraced! We wonder if the fact that they were photographed separately has any significance? It is remarkable that the Free Church (Continuing), who claim to be the true Disruption Church, in the resum