Archive for November 11th, 2011

Is England going into revolt?

John WycliffeThroughout the year of 2011, we have seen many issues raising their heads in England. Many spending cuts have been made upon public services and public spending by Parliament and as a result of what many regard as outlandish spending cuts upon the poor, the general public is at a slow fuse, revolt is in the air and England is not at peace and people are worried.

Now, it is obvious that the spending cuts cannot be argued to blame for the riots of 2011, those riots had nothing to do with moral protest or standing up for what is right, but was criminal and nothing more. The problem is that I certainly feel that the riots and protests of 2011 has only been the start of many problems that England may have to face up to in the coming Years? I believe there will not only be protests as is common, but it is possible that there may be riots and revolt? I say this not only out of instinct and because of a theory of historic recurrence, but because anyone who looks and learns can read the signs of the times and it is clear that history is repeating itself. England has seen many revolts over her history, such as the 14th century peasant’s revolt which came forth from the poor people and common people of England, and was a product of what could be seen as the same issues as we face in England today. The common people are tired of crime, tired of parliament, tired of the condition of England, tired of being lied to by politicians and of unemployment and poll tax, the cost of food increases and poor wages. Wages decrease but the cost of food rises. The price of food goes up, rent, mortgages, tax, petrol, car tax, etc and very soon the pressures people face with day to day life will have to explode itself and when it does, it most likely explodes with little control. The problem with the world today is that life is fitted around a lifestyle and when that lifestyle cannot be met, life feels like it cannot go on. And when you consider that the problems England is facing is almost akin to the problems it has faced so long ago, we see that history is repeating itself and when history is forgotten as we see so many people do forget their own history, we know that it is they who are condemned to repeat it. And we don’t want to see a peasants revolt repeated again in the 21st century.

But the problem remains that there is a distinct feeling of anarchy in the air, public revolt and anger and this is cause for concern and action.

When I read comments people make around the internet and on blogs, YouTube, and networks, the anger that people have within them is evident by their words. Swearing is dominant, aggressive foul verbal attacks upon people and a distinct lack of expressing what is right and wrong and when one researches the root of swearing, research is clear that the root of foul language comes from an outburst of anger and wrath, inner anger, deep anger. Anger words cannot contain.

I think one of the main problems England has at the moment is not only the fact that that spending cuts must be made, but the problem is within the public areas in which the spending cuts are being directed. It is not good or right to be cruel and it is clear that Mr. Cameron is not being very fair in his conduct and targets with the spending cuts. You cannot give the public something and then take it from them. It only stirs up hatred.

Now, when I see the efforts and debates of parliament and the conclusions and actions of our Prime Minister David Cameron, it seems that he has little regard for the working class, the poor, and the common people of this realm?

The spending cuts of Manchester have demonstrated this, since the Tories did not win the election votes for Manchester. I often hear members of the public say to me that “it would be strange to think that Mr. Cameron did not consider the fact that Manchester was Labour when he made those cuts?”

It seems unjust that parliament leaders should be living in luxury, while many individuals, families and single parents from amongst the working class who have no employment and live in council houses and rented property cannot find work because all too many jobs have been cut by the government?

Christ fed the poor and helped the needy, and He was the King of Kings. Might the leaders of this so-called Christian country do well to imitate that example?

No doubt many would say they should “get a job”? But how can they become employed when they were raised in poverty and cannot get themselves out of it? I know the reality of this, since I was raised in an area which is regarded as the lowest area of England.

It does not quite feel right and England must change its ways and thoughts and act soon. The public have much power and the government must remember how much chaos those abominable and criminal riots caused this summer by only a small number of people, how much more if more people suddenly snapped and went into revolt?

I love England, her culture, her way of life, her heritage and history and I fear that she is losing her identity and way of life and the British people know and felt this.

Please consider these points and I say these things out of concern for the future, peace and well being of our beloved England.

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The truth of the oldest New Testament fragment

In John Rylands Library, Manchester, houses the oldest fragment of the New Testament to date. During this present age of critical modern scholarship and its heavy critique of Biblical texts, we have a great testimony in direct contrast to many critical claims of modern textual scholars.

Many claim that the New Testament accounts were written much later than they actually were, and when I see this fragment as I do on a regular basis, its surviving words never cease to amaze me. They are a pure testimony to the reality of the absolute identity of Jesus Christ, son of God, who was and is, and is to come, “The Truth”. Not ‘a’ truth, but ‘The’ Truth.

The Greek fragment, of John 18: 31-33, on the recto reads as follows, ,

“the Jews, “For us it is not permitted to kill
anyone,” so that the word of Jesus might be fulfilled, which he
spoke signifying what kind of death he was going to
to die. Entered therefore again into the Praeto-
rium Pilate and summoned Jesus
and he said to him, “Thou art king of the
Jews?”

The Greek fragment of John 18: 37-38, on the verso reads as follows,

“a King I am. For this I have been born
and (for this) I have come into the world so that I would
testify to the truth. Everyone who is of the truth
hears of me my voice.” Said to him
Pilate, “What is truth?” and this
having said, again he went out unto the Jews
and said to them, “I find not one
fault in him.”

Is it not amazing that the oldest fragment in the world of the New Testament, dated possibly earlier than 100 AD and no later than 150 AD, speaks of such a great testimony to the word of God? Jesus said, “Heaven and earth shall pass away, but my words shall not pass away.” Matthew 24: 35.

This is certainly true. Glory to the Lamb of God.

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The problem of the red Heifer and the pre-milliennial view

Ephesus Simon Peter SutherlandJews in Israel are now claiming that they are re-building thee 3rd Jewish Temple. This is a huge isssue, since many Biblical scholars and theologians believe that God is going to re-establish His Old Covenant sacrifices when the re-building of the so-called 3rd Jewish temple in Jerusalem is complete.

Many pre-milliennial theologians employ 2 Thessalonians 2: 2-12 to proclaim that antichrist will do this? But the problem is that this re-establishment of old covenant sacrifices is based upon one interpretation of Daniel 9, which claims that Daniel was prophesying that at the end of days, antichrist will set up and image of himself in the new temple at Jerusalem and will briefly put an end to sacrifices which have been re-established by a levitical priesthood.

However, despite the controversy which surrounds escatological interpretations, it is clear that Daniel 9 is a prophesy concerning the coming of Christ, who, according to many modern scholars, put an end to sacrifice and offering in the middle of the Jewish week and not Friday, as many claim to be the day in which Christ was crucified. However, the problem remains that the building of a 3rd temple in Jerusalem is not a mere matter of theological interpretation of the scriptures, or problematic only because the levitical priesthood does not exist anymore and cannot be reinstated by any priesthood, but, it is a problem regarding the Red Heifer.

According to the Bible, the Red Heifer was a bull used by levitical priests in accordance with the Law of Moses as part of the ritual sacrifices for the so-called cleansing of sin. These requirments are found in Numbers 19: 1-22, which is contained in the Bible and in the Torah and cannot be broken by anyone accept God Himself. So the problem remains, that there is no longer a pure Red Heifer anymore. The Red Heifer genetically gained white markings sometime over the last 2000 years or more. The white markings now found on the Red Heifer make it impossble for the laws of purification to be fulfilled according to the word of God. Jewish scholars and pre-millennial theologians have got a problem. Nothing other than a pure Red Heifer at the age of 3 can be a satisfactory offering (Genesis 15: 9)

So until a pure Red Heifer comes along, there is no signal for the end of days and the sooner people realise that the re-building of temple was made complete in the followers of the Lord Jesus, who are the Temple of the Holy Spirit, then the better for all of us.

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Concerning “A modern sikh interpretation of the Bible” a lecture given by John Parry – November 10th 2011 – Manchester Cathedral

It is out of great concern and deep conviction that I am writing this post today. I write concerning a certain lecture I attended last evening and regarding a situation which I see is ever present with us in England today and is cause for great concern regarding the future of Christ’s church.

The title of the lecture in question was, “A modern Sikh interpretation of Jesus” and although the title itself could be seen as polemical and problematic, I was happy to attend and pleased to know that the lecture was free from admission charges, which is shamefully inconsistent with the many practices of modern Christendom but at least this act bore witness with the direct words of Christ, “Freely you have recieved, freely give” (Matthew 10: 8).

In his talk which began at 7pm after Cannon Andrew Shank’s introduction, the well spoken, humble and polite Mr Parry explored the apparent similarities between the Jesus of the historical canonical Gospels and the so-called Jesus of the Sikh religion. As part of the lecture, the majority of the text which Mr Parry explored was taken from the writings of Gopal Singh and a Sikh work on Jesus which I am not familiar with entitled “The man who never died”.

Gopal Singh’s text makes mention of certain topics which could be seen as Biblical, including ‘regeneration’, rising from the “state of death” and dying to self and yet “being  alive to what never dies within you” which I felt was a little Gnostic or mystical?

The writing then moved on to Jesus healing the sick and “bringing them back to themselves” and the historical facts that Jesus was worshipped as God, son of man, that He was scourged and crucified and the resurrection. Other themes also included the Grace of God and the “Samaritan woman” of the gospels.

In itself, the work written by Gopal Singh appeared to me to be not unlike the many poems and the writings of philosophers, and religious works past and present, and not unlike the ancient Gnostic writings and ancient apocryphal works such as “the Gospel of Judas’ or “the Gospel of the Essenes” or even “the Gospel of Thomas”. All such works which on the surface appears in-line with the canonical Gospels, and yet when examined more closely, they could and I would argue ‘do’ reveal themselves very far apart on the fine tuning of fundamental doctrines and established Christian truths.

This could be argued in the context of the Sikh text which Mr Parry presented, that due to the fact that the Sikh religion rejects the fundamental Christian doctrines of ”The incarnation of Christ” as testified to in the  2nd article of the 1562 ‘Articles of Religion’ which the Church of England continues to use and of the Trinity contained in Articles 1 and the Deity of Jesus which is an established Christian truth. Yet, Gopal Singh’s work “The man who never died” appears to embrace the historical identity of the historical Jesus and the Jesus of Faith? But I wonder if Gopal Singh even believed in the absolute identity of the Canonical Jesus or the fundamental Christian truths of who Jesus really was? I doubt it.

In Mr Parry’s lecture, he made mention of certain fundamental truths of the Christian faith and that the Sikh religion does not agree with these truths. yet at the same time seemed to be presenting the inter-faith argument that Christianity and Sikhism has much in common? That could well be argued in the context of philosophical themes and there may be evidence of similarities. But, these similarities, including morals and ethics may also be found in Buddhism, Islam and other faiths, yet the problem is that Philosophy, morals, ideas and such cannot save a single soul from eternal damnation. The Bible is clear that morals cannot save a man from damnation. This is likewise confirmed in article 11 of the 1562 Articles of Religion of the Book of Common prayer which states that neither good works nor mere belief can save a man, but the person and work of Christ on the cross is sufficient to save and justify those who embrace Him as savior and Lord. Thus, good works alone cannot save a man and faith alone or belief alone in Jesus cannot save a soul either, for, faith and belief which does not present works as a fruit of faith and not the root of faith is evidence contrary to real salvation. As it is written in James 2: 14 “What does it profit a man, my brethren, if someone says he has faith but does not have works? Can faith save him?”

If the fruit of faith becomes twisted with the root of faith, then the fruit is spoiled and destroyed and will be burned up. However, justification is a huge debate in itself and subject to reason, but few can deny that the fruits of a tree do not make that tree good or bad, but merely reveal to others if that tree is a good tree or a bad tree. I believe this is clear from scripture and good doctrine that the fruit of the Holy Spirit which manifests not only in the outward deeds of a person, but within the soul of a person brings forth good works and not the other way about, as stated in article 12 of the 1562 Articles of Religion.

Now, my readers may say what has this got to do with the topic at hand? Well, the answer is that although the people of the Sikh religion may be moral people, may be seen as nice friendly folk, they may even believe in a Jesus or certain aspects of ‘The’ Biblical Jesus, yet in reality, they do not believe He is the one and only, absolute savior and Lord God and the only way to heaven. This is contrary to the Word of God, as Jesus said, “I am the way, the Truth and the life and no one comes to the Father except through Me“. (John 14: 6)

Could a Sikh Jesus make such a claim? I doubt it, thus he cannot be the same Jesus!

 The Biblical narritive of John 14: 6 is clear that outside of the mediatorial work of Christ there can be no salvation. That although salvation may exist outside the church, it does not and cannot exist outside of Christ! That the fundamental Christian truth according to God’s Holy Word is that if you do not have and know Jesus Christ as Lord and savior and have received the Holy Spirit, you do not have eternal life.

Jesus claimed to be “The way, the Truth” not ‘a truth’ or ‘a way’ to God, but “The Way”. He claimed to be the great “I am” as it is written in the scriptures, “Before Abraham was I am”. (John 8: 58) Now, either a person argues their way out of this text and other texts by questioning the authority of divine scripture or by claiming that the Sikh religion is part of that mediatorial work of Christ, then that would be implying that God is not sovereign over His word and that the Holy Scriptures are not written by the inspiration of God, but are merely the product of the evolutionary thought of men of God and traditions and collections of ancient myths and verbal testimony of the Jewish people. Such is contrary to the claims of scripture and historical Christian theology.   

Paul writes, that he says that the things he spoke to the Corinthian church were spoken “for your sakes that you may learn not go beyond what is written” (1 Corinthians 4: 6) and likewise, the scripture declares that “Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God” (Matthew 4: 4)

Thus, did not the commandment, “Thou shalt have no other gods before me” (Exodus 20: 3) not come directly from the mouth of God? Or would the liberal theologian deny this established Christian truth?

Now, if the Church neglects these fine tunings and examinations of the Biblical Jesus and the character of God and embraces the people of the Sikh religion as though Jesus has provided another way to eternal life and the Sikh religion is part of that, the Church is guilty of denying the fundamental Christian truth’s and denying the Word of God and breaking the commandment of God and embracing other gods. That is dangerous place to be!

“There are few more warnings in scripture than this: “Remember lots wife” who did not obey Gods word.

I would also like you to remember York Minster!

It is clear to me that what the main problem with the lecture and theme and continuing theme which My Parry and the Church of England are moving deeper and deeper into, is that the inter-faith movement is not only a mere dialogue or the exchanging of ideas and thoughts, but of universalism and a denial of the narrow and absolute mediatorial work of the Biblical Christ, who is God made manifest in the flesh, the only Son of God as it is stated in the 39 articles of Religion, which still remains in the Book of Common Prayer.

Now, in conclusion I mention these things for the good of the Church and out of my love of the Brethren. I wish to make known that I have no problems with Sikh people and am not implying that Christians should avoid Sikhs or not reason and debate with them, but my issues are with bad doctrine. Likewise, I wish to make it known that I do not seek to argue with the church or attack her but to defend her with more than mere opinion. The gospel cannot be denied for the word of man, neither can we ignore the Biblical passages which I raised in my brief and voluntary public debate with Mr Parry during the service on the 11th Novemer, that the Sikh religion denies many sides to Gods character and attributes, and denies His power to do as He wishes and to make Himself incarnate (2 Timothy 3: 5) and as I mentioned in my critique of of the Sikh claim that “God has no hate in Him” that the text from Malach 1: 2-3 and Romans 9: 13 does not authenticate the Sikh claim, for God does hate certain people who are not only liberal but deny Him, as I mentioned in my debate. Hate is an attribute of God which many would ignore, as the scripture reads, “Jacob I loved, but Esau I hated” Romans 9: 13 – Malachi 1: 2-3. Why did God hate Esau? Well, there are many thoughts and ideas within that theme, but one theme is clear is that he sold his birthright.

Please note, many of the highest Biblical scholars and NT Greek experts agree that the word employed by Paul is clearly communicating that one attribute of God is that He does hate. However, this does not mean that He is not love or has not love, but that He has a side of Him that contains hate, a side that many do not know or understand. But who are we human beings to say that God cannot do this or that? We are only men and not gods.

Thus, Such an aspect of the character of God, which I would argue is distinctly mentioned in the Biblical narrative and is within the text for a reason, it is a side of God which many people of our generation of Church goers and leaders do not like to confess. Yet the warning is given for you, that you may have a care, lest you too sell your birthright and fall from the grace of God and give away your inheritance for the flesh, typified in the form of a plate of lentils and some stew.

That if you deny the commandment of God to have “no other gods before me” and thus whore after other gods and do like the ancients of old who did trust in lying words, and did stand before God in His house, which is known by His name and say “We are delivered, only to go on doing all these abominations” (Jeremiah 7: 10) then I fear that just as the judgement of God came upon His beloved temple in Jerusalem because she did “walk after other gods” (Jeremiah 7: 9) that let us not fool ourselves and deceive our minds that His judgement will not come upon His church once again.

The scriptures inform us time and time again, that Jesus warned about deception in the church more than any other topic, that false deceptive teachings and teachers would come into the church and as Peter said “secretly bringing in destructive heresies and denying the Lord who bought them” (2 Peter 2: 1) 

Thus, in conclusion, and after hearing Mr Parry and his lecture and giving this matter much thought and prayer, I must conclude that the theme was and is heretical and the interfaith movement which is coming stronger than ever and of which Mr Parry is part of, is an absolute heresy and has no business with the Christian Church or her people.

I say this in love and I mean it with all sincerity and please know that I write this out of concern and with a heavy heart for the good of Christ’s body; for I believe that the Church in England is in the condition it is in because she has forgotten her firstlove, and is not holding to Biblical truth. Please repent of this sin and turn back again to the truth of scripture by the power of the Holy Spirit and He will pour out His spirit upon this nation once again.

This day, I plead with the Church of England and all her liberal theologians and ministers who may be denying the truth of Gods word in favour of modern winds of doctrine and out of fear of what people might think? I would like to add that ministers, theologians and leaders should not give people what their itching ears want to hear or be a people pleasing modern concept. I plead with you who are involed in the inter-faith movement and resist the word of God according to modern man made ideas, to Repent and come back to the truth of Gods Holy Word and recieve the blessings that God by His Holy Spirit will send and restore and bring His church into a new era if His people repent and turn back to Him and His Word. Of this I am certain, that judgement does not fall upon the world, unless it has fallen upon the house of God first. As it is written in 2 Chronicles 7: 14 and also in the words of St Peter, and I believe this should be must spoken today in England, that “the time has come for the judgment to begin and it is beginning with Gods own household”  (1 Peter 4: 17)

Simon Peter Sutherland.

Manchester. 11th November 2011

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