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All articles in category Cultural and Ethical

September 2016
Articles > Cultural and Ethical

PERSONAL VIEW: Brexit reflection

‘Vote leave’ supporters seemed as surprised as everyone else that Britons decided to exit the EU on 23 June 2016. At the time of writing this article no asteroid strike had taken place. Even the rumbling Icelandic volcano failed to erupt in disgust.  And there was no earthquake. Or was there an earthquake? In Revelation 11:13, we read, ‘And the same hour was there a great earthquake, and the tenth part of the city fell, and in the earthquake were slain of men seven thousand: and the remnant were affrighted, and gave glory to the God of heaven’. There has been no geological earthquake in...

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July 2016
Articles > Cultural and Ethical

What do we really think?

On 13 April, Channel 4 took a deep breath, risked the inevitable charge of being ‘Islamophobic’ and aired on screen its study of UK Muslim attitudes, What British Muslims really think. The broadcaster’s choice of person to front the programme was Trevor Phillips, erstwhile Chairman of the Equalities and Human Rights Commission. He had jumped at the chance to be involved. Shocks And what were his conclusions? The programme made the frankly uncontroversial point that many Muslims in the UK do not share the values of their ‘progressive’ neighbours. But Trevor Phillips and co, expected their audience would be shocked by this revelation. How curious!...

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March 2016
Articles > Cultural and Ethical

The tribunal

John Fairbrother, a retired primary school teacher who taught in inner Birmingham during the 1970s-90s, recalls a ‘run-in’ with the political correctness of his day. A new head teacher was appointed to the school. She was an advisor to the city education committee on multi-faith and multi-culturism, and picked up the fact that, when I took school assembly, I always did a Bible story or spoke on a Bible theme — like ‘the use of the tongue’ — beginning by quoting words of Jesus from the Bible. At Christmas, I told the story of Christ’s birth, using slides from the Jesus of Nazareth film. With...

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March 2016
Articles > Cultural and Ethical

Struck off!

Missioning recently in Oxford, I paused at the spot on Broad Street where Hugh Ridley, Bishop Latimer and Archbishop Cranmer were burned at the stake in 1555. Just a few yards away, Martyrs Memorial, which towers imposingly over shoppers, silently testifies as a permanent reminder of their courageous stand for truth. They refused to be intimidated by the ‘powers that be’ or their employers in the ecclesiastical system. Royalty itself proved impotent when pressurising these faithful men to be silent about their biblical beliefs. Obedience cost them their blood. And yet, a little later, I heard a fine Christian GP say that she never spoke...

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February 2016
Articles > Cultural and Ethical

Vital warnings

As news broke about Volkswagen’s (VW) illegal practices and consequent disgrace over exhaust emissions, David’s lament for King Saul came strongly to mind — ‘How are the mighty fallen!’ (2 Samuel 1:19). Saul was a mighty man, head and shoulders above his brethren, but he too suffered a fatal fall. There are significant parallels between his downward course and that of many institutions in our society today. In Saul’s case, the fall was the result of personal sin, though he was not the only sinner in Israel. God does punish nations and corporate bodies for institutional sin, but behind it all there is personal sin....

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September 2015
Articles > Cultural and Ethical

Loving your neighbour means listening

The old adage goes like this: ‘Convince a man against his will, he’s of the same opinion still’. It seems to get truer and truer. Let me explain. As Christians we are commanded to give a reason for the hope that we have. The aim is to persuade and commend faith in the Lord Jesus. As we do that, we sometimes have to say things that are true but unpalatable. So, take the controversy a few years back about penal substitution, and the Isaiah 53 idea that Jesus in his love bears the punishment for my sins in my place. One of the threads of...

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July 2015
Articles > Cultural and Ethical

Abortion and Christian ethics

Every year there is an anti-abortion ‘pro-life’ march in Zurich, mainly supported by Evangelicals and Roman Catholics. Liberal Protestants are noticeably absent and even the large buildings of Swiss Reformed churches in the city centre are refused to the marchers, who want a closing indoor rally. In recent years this march has needed police protection, because of violent intimidation (stone-throwing and loud verbal abuse) by a group of left-wing extremists. Such marches have evoked the same responses in Germany and elsewhere. Bleak outlook The signs look bleak for those, especially Christians, opposing abortion. Not only is it practically impossible for midwives whose conscience is against...

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May 2015
Articles > Cultural and Ethical

True democracy?

The BBC's Today programme celebrated 20 January 2015 as 'Democracy day' in commemoration of the first Westminster Parliament in 1265. But some Christians who have lost their jobs or businesses might not think that there is much to celebrate in British democracy today.

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