Owen on Preaching, Sinclair on Children and Christ

  How do you explain what its like to listen to preaching which gives you Christ?   Listening to preaching is not just listening to a lecture, getting information or just emotion and good stories.  I don’t really know how to describe it but I love what John Owen says about it – which, once you unpack the language, describes exactly what I felt last Sunday. … Continue reading Owen on Preaching, Sinclair on Children and Christ

The Times, The Secularists and the Challenge of Education for the Churches

I love the old KJV version of Psalm 41:3 – although the metrical version leaves a bit to be desired! 3 God will give strength when he on bed of languishing doth mourn; And in his sickness sore, O Lord, thou all his bed wilt turn. IN my juvenile mind (not so long ago I used to be a wee bit amused by those who … Continue reading The Times, The Secularists and the Challenge of Education for the Churches

Is Physical Discipline of a Child Assault?

“David, would you like to come on Good Morning Scotland, to discuss John Finnies bill on banning smacking” It was something I did not really want to do – for many reasons, not least it is hard to discuss when the question is usually set up as ‘why do you want children to be assaulted?”. But my golden rule as regards these kind of things … Continue reading Is Physical Discipline of a Child Assault?

Is the Benedict Option the Best Option for Today’s Church?

  There is a new ‘cool’ book in town! It’s a New York Times bestseller, endorsed by Russell Moore, Archbishop Charles J.Chaput, and, the ultimate accolade, Carl R.Trueman!   How could I resist? Especially as it is subtitled “A strategy for Christians in a post-Christian nation”. With such endorsements, and always wanting to stay up with what’s ‘cool’ in the Christian world – I rushed out … Continue reading Is the Benedict Option the Best Option for Today’s Church?

Educating Hans but not Hamish or Henrietta

There is a great and largely unnoticed injustice in todays Britain.  The government is pursuing a policy which discriminates against people because of their nationality and against the poor.  If this was being done by the UK government my Twitter feed would be full of outraged Scots decrying the evils of a Tory government – but it’s not.  This is the policy of the liberal, … Continue reading Educating Hans but not Hamish or Henrietta

Losing Our Religion – The Daily Mail on the State of the Church in Scotland

The journalist John Macleod has just begun a major three part series in The Daily Mail on the current state of the Church in Scotland.  Given that this is published in Scotland’s best selling Saturday newspaper it is good to see the question being given such prominence.  Coming on top of a more local and narrow series in the Dundee Courier focusing on the decline of the Church … Continue reading Losing Our Religion – The Daily Mail on the State of the Church in Scotland

When Yes Means No – Part 3 – The Dream

This is the third and final part of a series began earlier in the week, explaining why I, as a 2014 Yes voter have taken the painful decision to vote No if there is another IndyRef soon. When Yes means No – A Tale of Three Referendums – Part 1 – The Fantasy When Yes means No – A Tale of Three Referendums – Part … Continue reading When Yes Means No – Part 3 – The Dream

Debating Christianity and Education in a Secular University

‘It is time that the Scottish Education became fully secular – hence all religious practice should be removed’

This was the motion that Abertay University set for me to debate with my old sparring partner Alistair McBay of the National Secular Society (Sadly Megan Crawford of the Scottish Sec3bmfhzwiaa-t-x-jpg-mediumcular Society was unable to attend).     The debate was well attended and went well.   You can listen to it by clicking on the Sound Cloud link below – this is a recording from a students phone so is not high quality but you can get the gist and hear the content fine.  I would suggest that by far the most interesting bit is the Q and A about half way through….

There was a vote before hand with roughly two thirds being in favour of the motion and one quarter against.  After the debate there was another vote and although there was a little movement in my favour (two people changed to me and one went to Alistair), that was not the real point.  I found the whole thing fascinating and enlightening.  Alistair is a good speaker, but he said nothing that I had not heard before.  What was much more interesting was the reaction of the students.   The vast majority of the questions were for me.

 

Here are some of the basic lessons I would take from this:

  1. Students and academics in general have little or no idea about religion in general and Christianity in particular.
  2. Ignorance leads to prejudice, mockery and intolerance.  Consider this – a majority of students in this debate voted that all religious practice should be removed from education.   Even for those who want it.  There is no equality, diversity and tolerance here!
  3. 16426404_10208491449176912_1548059640_nAtheistic Secularists have faith that their secularism is neutral, when clearly it is not.   This is the most dangerous kind of prejudice, because if your default emotion is that your view only is the obvious right one, then you are not able to consider other viewpoints.
  4. The Christian worldview is rational, consistent and wholistic. In the post-modern market place of ideas we have the best product!   We also have by far the most radical.  We are not the ones defending the status quo to the priveliged!  We are challenging it.
  5. img_0381When students are presented with an alternative viewpoint many are open to consider something they had never thought about before.  I had several conversations afterwards which showed that.   Kudos to Abertay University for allowing this kind of discussion and debate.  Many secular institutions are so convinced of their own superiority that they would never think of allowing an alternative point of view.
  6. Therefore Christians need to be in the public square – not ‘defending’ the faith just in our own churches, but rather ‘attacking’ (questioning, undermining, challenging) the faith/presuppositions/prejudices of those who have been indoctrinated into the secularist worldview.    We need to do so in an open, tolerant, loving, gracious, humorous, brave and intelligent manner.  I know I fail in this in many ways – but at least I try.

Continue reading “Debating Christianity and Education in a Secular University”

Religious Observance in Schools – Letter in Courier – 5th Jan 2017

Article in Courier on Dec 30th…followed by my letter in response.     The Scottish Government is considering revising its guidance to head teachers, which states that opportunities for religious observance must take place at least six times a year in non-denominational schools. Gordon MacRae, chief executive of the Humanist Society Scotland, which has taken the court action over the issue, said: “This survey confirms … Continue reading Religious Observance in Schools – Letter in Courier – 5th Jan 2017