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Monday PrayerCast 11th April 2022

11/04/2022

News and Prayer Update.

It’s Monday morning, 11th April 2022, and it’s our weekly News and Prayer Update from NI with a Christian perspective.  

LISTEN TO THE PODCAST HERE

Let’s begin with…

Abortion.

Back to the abortion debate that is currently raging in NI, and the recent decision by the ‘Assembly of the Wicked’ at Stormont to criminalise compassionate people who wait at the approaches to Abortion clinics, to offer support and help to mothers who are going in to have their unborn babies murdered in the womb, the so-called, “Abortion Services (Safe Access Zones) Bill.  Unbelievably, information has emerged from Belfast Health Trust, that they ‘misled’ MLAs, when they overstated the number of ‘incidents’ that had occurred at these gatherings.  The Belfast News Letter carried a story that it has …now emerged that the Trust apologised to MLAs after they queried how the number of serious adverse incidents presented to them ballooned retrospectively between two different evidence sessions last year. In July the trust had told the health committee that there had only been two incidents in the previous year and that “the vast majority of the protests have been peaceful and respectful” But by December its evidence was that there had been 41 incidents since March, an official adding: “I do not believe that that is anywhere near the total number of incidents”  In fact it was just 11.  The Trust has issued an apology, but the damage has been done.  Perhaps this will be a part of the judicial review of the law, being sought by pro-life groups.

Belfast Bible College

Belfast Bible College has announced the appointment of its new principal – a leader to take the college forward in the future.  I had planned to do a segment on this, for I’m sometimes asked if I can recommend college training facilities for young people seeking qualifications.  I wouldn’t recommend BBC these days, and this new appointment won’t encourage conservative evangelicals like myself to do so. The new principal is Rev James Burnett, formerly the minister of Lowe Memorial Church in Belfast, and that church’s ecumenical activities are shocking, to say the least, running alpha courses, along with Catholic Parishes, referencing the endorsement of the Pope, seeking closer links with the GAA… Look, it’s not up to me to tell BBC who to employ, or what stance to take on these matters, but I don’t think this new Principal will change my former opinion of this establishment. There’s more information on THIS LINK. Click the links in the episode nodes and do your own research, especially if you’re considering a course of study there. Be wise, and be discerning.

Transgenderism and The Conversion Therapy Ban.

Last week I reported that the UK Parliament had done a double U-turn on its proposed Ban on so-called ‘Conversion Therapy,’ and when the bill is brought to parliament it may well criminalise a lot of what takes place in personal evangelism, especially the application of the law of God, and prayer for conviction of sin, for example, after all – in order to be saved a sinner must realise the depths of his sin, and mourn over it, for ‘godly sorrow produces repentance.’  And conversion to Christ brings a radical change in lifestyle, a life of obedience to God and His word. The Christian Institute points out, “Jesus told the woman caught in adultery to ‘go and sin no more’. But saying the same thing to a practising homosexual could mean breaking a planned new conversion therapy law.”  

Not just homosexuals though.  There’s  a lobby wanting to include transsexuals in the Conversion Therapy Ban. – and that lobby includes some former professing Christians, who have written a letter to Boris Johnson – post-Christian clerics, including Steve Chalke and Ronan Williams, (former Abp of Canterbury) who wrote, “To be Trans is to enter a sacred journey of becoming whole: precious, honoured, and loved, by yourself, by others and by God.” In “the Critic” Magazine, journalist Matthew Roberts comments, “In one sentence this brings into the open what a good deal of the LGBT+ movement has become: it is now a sacred quest, an agenda no longer driven science, common sense, or simple compassion; but by a transcendental vision, a desire for mystical fulfilment and a metaphysical belief in unseen realities. This is, more than anything else, a religion.”

So, if an unhappy, hormonally confused teenager, watching the media and new media videos about gender identity, were to come to his/her pastor, and express anxiety about his/her gender identity, that pastor would be forbidden by law from giving him/her proper biblical advice and counsel.  Even if that person is simply struggling with something that they do not want, and they are looking for guidance.  Isn’t it madness, that Conversion Therapy Bans will prohibit doctors, pastors, even parents from affirming that a child’s objective bodily anatomy is the basis of their sexual orientation and gender identity, while at the same time encourage treatments that attempt to change a child’s physical appearance to align with their subjective feelings? For example, the the regular injection of puberty blocking hormones or surgical removal of the unwanted body parts.  So CTBs prohibit ordinary, simple conversations about what the Bible says about human sexuality, while giving the green light for boys to ‘convert’ to girls and vice-versa.  Perhaps that is the kind of ‘conversion therapy’ that should be banned.  But then, like many objective observers, I believe that the real objective of such legislation is to normalise homosexuality and transgenderism and to further stifle debate and discussion on these issues.  Perhaps that’s the point, – perhaps that’s the agenda behind the push for such legislation in the first place.

It’s important for Christians to understand the nature of conversion. Christian conversion is NOT the product of THERAPY.  Here’s the Heidelberg Catechism, LD33 Q88 What is the true repentance or conversion of man? A. It is the dying of the old nature and the coming to life of the new.  That radical inward change is not achieved by good advice, by the administration of drugs or by non-clinical therapies, nor is it achieved by attempting to cast demons out of an afflicted person.  It is the sole work of God the Holy Spirit, quickening and regenerating the soul in response to the Word of God.

Northern Ireland Assembly Elections.

There’s an assembly election campaign in progress here, and candidates are laying out their stalls.  An issue has been bubbling up in recent days.  A number of candidates, mostly from the more socially liberal sector of the party political range, have been declaring their interest in trialing a Universal Basic Income.  Now, what is that? Well, basically it’s the idea that everyone should earn a basic wage, set by the state, and paid by the state.  It sounds plausible, and its supporters argue that it could end poverty and homelessness.  But who is going to pay for it, will it encourage fecklessness, is it a ‘skivver’s Charter?’  Will it stop people from being motivated to get a job and earn a living, – will it remove people’s sense of worth and personal achievement, and doesn’t it sound just like communism? Perhaps the people who are proposing this UBI are too young to remember communism, and the number of people who died under Stalin’s regime.  Communism always eventually leads to some form of control of the lives of individuals, and non-conformists are the ones who suffer most, and, if memory serves me, the Christian Church in communist countries was ruthlessly persecuted.  We are right to be concerned.  I’ll look into this issue over the next few days, and hopefully bring you a more considered response from a Biblical perspective next week, and I’ll maybe even publish the list of prospective MLA’s who have endorsed this social experiment.

-oOOo-

Todays Grace Gem is from Arthur Pink. Writing back in 1943, he wrote,  “The novels and magazines of the last decade have been filled with obscenities and blasphemies. The best-sellers of today, are often books whose morals are of the barnyard, whose language is of the sewer and whose ethics are of the pit!” The breakdown and breakup of “Civilisation” appears in such things as the decay of the sanctity of marriage as evidenced by the multiplication of divorces, and the abandonment of large numbers of babies; juvenile delinquency and immorality among the young; the vandalism which is now so rife; such widespread pilfering and the flimsy efforts of the authorities to deal with such evils! Thousands of culprits who ought to be sent to prison, are given nominal fines. Law and order is almost reduced to a farce! One can only imagine what Mr. Pink would write if he were alive today!

Find more inspirational quotes on Gracegems.org. 

Let’s pray 

Heavenly Father, the God who created this world and everything in it, who has provided enough for every man, today we bring before you those who are suffering because of the rising costs of living, and especially those who are older, those who are struggling to feed their families, those who are homeless, and we ask that you would extend your fatherly care over all your creation.  Lord help us in our weakness, for there are times when we do not know what we ought it to pray for, but your Holy Spirit intercedes for us with groans that words cannot express. And He who searches my heart knows the mind of Christ, who interceeds for the saints according to the Father’s will. (Romans 8:26-27) Amen 

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