Issue 88 Summer 2008
|Correction to Trumpet Sounds 87 Spring 2008
'A correspondent has pointed out that my assertion in the last issue of Trumpet Sounds [No 87 spring 2008] that 'a recent survey found that 40% of male clerics in the Anglican church do not believe that He is the Son of God [the figure rises to 50% for women]' applies to the liberal wing of the church and NOT to the British Anglican communion as a whole. I do apologise most sincerely if anyone has been offended by this error.' KK
No go Areas
Free Speech but islam above criticism
Dubai picking up mantle of world financial capital
The Advance of Islam
Tony Blair on a mission
'God’s War on Terror'
Do not worry [KK]
One consequence of the fall of man is that all manner of evil things came in to spoil the wonderful world that God had made. Included in these are worry, anxiety, trouble. One of Job’s comforters Eliphaz summarises the human condition simply: “man is born to trouble as the sparks fly upward“. In other words trouble and anxiety are the common lot of mankind.
The Greek word used by Jesus in Matt 6:25 means thoughts that pull apart in different directions.
Worry comes in three forms
We can worry about the past – whether our past behaviour will come down on us, sins of omission and commission – what we’ve done and failed to do that work their way out in the present.
We can worry about the present, about whether we can pay our mortgage or our taxes.
We worry most about the future – what if I get cancer or lose my job, or my children get into bad company? Ask yourself at this moment what are you most worried about – it may be something simple like getting the lunch ready on time, or it may be something more serious like an upcoming appointment with your specialist.
In looking at the Christian perspective on worry & anxiety, we shall see that while sometimes it is justified, it mostly unnecessary or unproductive.
First consider the real and vivid story of Martha in Luke 10: she was clearly the eldest child of the family, and had taken it upon herself to invite Jesus to her home for a meal. Those who entertain will be familiar with her predicament. Here is the popular young rabbi who has graciously consented to dine with her. Naturally she wants to put on the best show she can: so she plans an elaborate meal, only to find that she has over-extended herself. While Mary sits unconcerned at Jesus’ feet, we read that Martha in the KJV was cumbered about with much serving : she was distracted: or as the NLT puts it - But Martha was worrying over the big dinner she was preparing.
Jesus offers a gentle rebuke that she was ‘anxious & troubled about many things’. The message puts it beautifully Martha, dear Martha, you're fussing far too much and getting yourself worked up over nothing. Jesus is homing in on those needless anxieties which we bring on ourselves, often by taking on too much or not being able to say no and getting ourselves into a state over nothing.
After all we need to keep a sense of perspective - keep things in proportion. What does it matter if our dinner party is a failure while there are millions around the world who have no dinner at all?
In the parable of the Sower, one of the few which occurs in all three synoptic gospels, Mark gives Jesus’ opinion on the seed sown among thorns, the cares of this world, the deceitfulness of riches, and the desires for other things entering in choke the word.’ The cares of this world are legion and can all lead us to an anxiety state.
What should we do with the cares of this world that afflict us all to different extents? The most important thing is to decide whether this is a legitimate cause for anxiety or not. There is really no point in being anxious about things you can’t control or have no influence over because as Jesus says it is an unprofitable exercise.
In Matthew 6:25 Jesus gives the command [not the suggestion] that we are not to worry. He has just set out for His hearers that single-minded devotion to God alone is the one way to be free of anxiety. If you do serve God alone, you will not have to worry about the necessities of life. Your heavenly Father knows you need these things – “seek first the kingdom of God & His righteousness and all these things will be yours as well.”
What you are really saying to God by worrying is ‘I don’t trust you to look after me’.
I’m not sure how many of you are worrying about how to make ends meet, or that you could be in such a situation caused by illness or an accident, but the answer is to tell Jesus about it and get on with seeking the kingdom of God. You do this, as one great preacher said, “by not seeking anything else“.
If you are a child of God, your lives are in His hands – as Paul puts it “your life is hid with Christ in God’” That means that we have eternal security in our heavenly Father, and as Jesus says nothing can snatch us out of His hands. [John 10:28]
A final scripture on this subject comes from Paul’s letter to the Philippians. He with Silas had founded the church in a gaol: and here he was in prison again. His life had been tempestuous in the extreme, and he sets out the problems in 2 Cor 11 which he ends with “as if that wasn’t enough, there is my worry about all the churches I helped to set up“.
Yet here he is, near death, writing to his beloved Philippians ‘have no anxiety about anything’: easy to say, but how’s it done – so then he gives the ‘how’ of it –“in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus“.
Where do you get all your worries? It is In your thinking and your feelings. Paul says that the peace of God will keep [the word means keep as in a prison] your hearts & minds.
So we emerge with two sound attitudes to worry & anxiety.
Jesus says keep a sense of perspective, ask yourself what worry accomplishes. Does it add an hour to your life, or an inch to your height? No, put God first in your priorities and seek His kingdom and his righteousness.
Paul urges us to tell God about it in prayer, and let His peace keep guard over our thoughts and feelings.
A few years ago I was the Architect for the refurbishment of the Pathology Laboratories at a London hospital. In one room that was being cleared out I noticed three small clear perspex blocks on the window sill. Encased inside each was a tiny human embryo. The smallest embryo was no larger than my thumb. I couldn’t help but pick it up and examine it closely. By its size I would judge that the embryo was 12 weeks old from conception. But most strikingly it was a perfectly formed little human being. It had tiny perfectly formed little hands and feet even with toenails each no bigger than a pinhead. In fact it had everything it needed for life. At 12 weeks it had a heartbeat and most of its organs had started functioning. All that had been denied it was choice. The choice to live a few more weeks of security inside its mother’s womb. Time to grow sufficiently to face life in the world.
Seeing that embryo was more persuasive than thousands of words in convincing me of the need to protect the unborn child. It has been reported that very few doctors in the NHS are willing to do an abortion after 13 weeks. Having held a 12 week old embryo it is easy to see why. Although only 61 mm long at 12 weeks the embryo is a little person.
The Human Fertilisation and Embryology Bill has almost completed its passage through Parliament. Some of the controversial issues it deals with are hybrid human/animal embryos, saviour siblings, abortion liberalisation and no need for a named father in IVF treatment. Over the last 12 months there has been considerable concern among Christians with regard to the ethical issues raised by this bill.
On 20th May I joined the rally outside Parliament to express concern over the proposals. Unfortunately it was not well attended. The pro-liberalisation of abortion rally next to us had three times as many supporters. Does it help to campaign on such issues when those opposed to our views are more numerous and on this occasion much more vocal? The MP for Shrewsbury considered it was. He came out from Parliament to thank us for standing with him and others in parliament who share our concerns.
We are living in the last days during which the world will become more evil. But that should not prevent us from standing when we can on issues which are important. We know that we will loose more battles than we win, but some victories will be worthwhile. On this occasion none of the amendments put forward by pro-life MPs were passed. We should not give up maybe by our prayers and actions some little children will be spared and allowed to live.
In an unexpected move the Government has postponed the third reading of this bill from July to October. In the third reading a number of amendments will be debated, some pro-life others pro-abortion. More information on praying and contacting MP’s can be found on the Christian concern for Our Nation web site www.ccfon.org or by contacting: SPUC Evangelicals, Society for the Protection of Unborn Children, 3 Whitacre Mews, Stannary Street, London, SE11 4AB, Telephone: (020) 7091 7091
No go areas – not every one has got the message [PW]
Bishop Michael Nazir-Ali's warning that Islamic extremism is creating 'no-go' areas in parts of Britain provoked a predictable barrage of outrage. He has been condemned for making 'inflammatory' remarks, distorting the truth about our inner cities and 'scare mongering' against the Muslim population
Unfortunately it seems that not everyone in, ‘There are no, ‘no-go’ areas, Britain’, has got the message. It was reported in the news in June that a police community support officer ordered two Christian preachers to stop handing out gospel leaflets in a predominantly Muslim area of Birmingham. The evangelists say they were threatened with arrest for committing a "hate crime" and were told they risked being beaten up if they returned.
The preachers, both ministers in Birmingham, were handing out leaflets on Alum Rock Road in February when they started talking to four Asian youths. A police community support officer (PCSO) interrupted the conversation and began questioning the ministers about their beliefs. "He said we were in a Muslim area and were not allowed to spread our Christian message. He said we were committing a hate crime by telling the youths to leave Islam and said that he was going to take us to the police station." The ministers claim he also advised them not to return to the area. As he walked away, the PCSO said: "You have been warned. If you come back here and get beaten up, well you have been warned".
West Midlands Police, who refused to apologise, said the incident had been "fully investigated" and the officer would be given training in understanding hate crime and communication.
Free Speech - but Islam is above criticism [PW]
According to the Pakistan based Daily Times, a high level delegation was sent from Islamabad to Brussels in June. The delegation’s mission was to persuade the EU to amend laws on freedom expression, in order to prevent offensive incidents, such as the printing of blasphemous caricatures of Prophet Muhammad and the production of an anti-Islam film by a Dutch legislator. They met the leaders of the EU countries in a bid to convince them that the recent attack on the Danish Embassy in Pakistan could be a reaction against the blasphemous campaign. They warned that if such acts against Islam are not controlled, more attacks on the EU diplomatic missions abroad could not be ruled out.
In Canada ‘hate speech’ has become a tool to prevent the dissemination of what are in reality ‘inconvenient truths’. Mark Steyn is on trial in Canada right now for telling the truth.
James Allan, Garrick Professor of Law at the University of Queensland, commented on the Steyn case, “what the Canadian Islamic Congress is objecting to are quotations Steyn used. They are quotes of what Muslim leaders have said. So the purported grievance is that a writer is quoting one of their fellow religionists, and that quote (though true) might in the minds of those ideologues staffing these tribunals expose someone to hatred, even though in fact there is not a scrap of evidence that this has actually happened. ………….. “
He further comments:
“Canada is today a country where you can say or write things that are true and yet still be brought before a tribunal. That tribunal can fine you; it can order you to pay money to the people who complained about your words; it can force you to issue an apology; it can do all three. That's not all, though. The people who complained will not need to hire a lawyer. Their costs will be picked up by the state, by the taxpayers. You, on the other hand, will have to hire a lawyer to defend yourself. And there will be no award of costs at the end, so that even if you win, you will still be out of pocket to your lawyers tens of thousands of dollars.”
I would add to the above, thank God for all those in Britain who stood up for the amendments to the law which clarified that merely voicing a different opinion or truthful criticism of religions and other lifestyles is not to be understood as hate speech. But we can never afford to be complacent. There are powerful forces in Islam that will keep trying to end any criticism of that religion however true the criticism may be.
(Since writing this article the case against Mark Steyn has been dismissed).
Dubai picking up mantle of world financial capital [PW] source: www.arabianbusiness.com
Dubai is picking up the mantle of the financial capital of the world. As global banking sectors in London and New York continue to fade on the back of the global credit crises, the Middle East and Asia have become crucial for global investment banks looking to remain profitable. The current spike in oil prices has benefited the growth prospects of the GCC (Gulf Co-operation Council). Each $1 increase in the price of a barrel of oil adds $5 billion to the annual revenues of the GCC. The GCC, is a loose economic and political bloc, which includes the Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates, Kuwait, Qatar, Bahrain and Oman.
American and British banks which are axing staff in New York and London have transferred many top jobs to the Gulf. The move is aimed at serving the growing needs of clients in the Gulf region and the wider Middle East. The relocation of roles from London and New York to Dubai, and to a lesser extent Mumbai and Shanghai, reflects the reshaping of global opportunities for investment banks.
Countries in the GCC plan to spend $1.5 trillion on infrastructure in the next five years, according to figures published by Société Générale Asset Management. Cerulli Associates, a US and Singapore-based research firm, estimated total managed assets in the six GCC countries and Egypt to be more than $1.6 trillion at the end of last year.
In another move to strengthen the economy of the region Gulf Arab central bankers have "more or less" finalised a monetary union deal that will be presented to finance ministers in September. The draft agreement will pave the way for Saudi Arabia and four of its neighbours to launch a single currency.
Footnote: we have to recognise that the rise in oil prices will have a huge impact on world mission. Not only will it increase the cost of living in the West, which will in consequence reduce the amount of money contributed to Christian Missions. It will also release huge sums for Islamic missionary work. In 2004, when the oil was priced around $40 dollars a barrel, Saudi Arabia contributed $12 billion to the spread of militant Wahhabi Islam. It is reasonable to assume that, with the vast inflow of funds from rising oil prices, the Saudi contribution to Islamic missions, with its objective of world domination, has increased considerably. I have no figures but would expect that on a pro-rata percentage of income the spending has increased to $40 billion a year or more.
To put this into context the International Bulletin of Missionary Research, January 2008, estimated that in 2007 the global budget spent by all sections of the Christian Church on foreign missions was $23 billion. Or looking at it another way most Christians, unless they have a specific policy of giving to foreign missions, contribute more to Islamic missions than they do to Christian missions. Every time they fill up their car or buy groceries, which have been transported any distance, they are unwittingly contributing to the spread of Islam.
The Advance of Islam [PW]
On the subject of the advance of Islam an article was published by Reuters, Istanbul. The article is based on an interview with, Adnan Oktar a 52-year-old Turk behind the pseudonym Harun Yahya.
Harun Yahya is one of the most widely distributed authors in the Muslim world. His glossy books and DVDs on religion and science sell in Islamic bookshops around the globe. He came to the attention of scientists in the West by mass-mailing them his 768-page “Atlas of Creation”, a lavishly illustrated book setting out a Muslim version of creationism. 10,000 copies were sent free of charge to scientists in the West.
The controversy stirred up by “The Atlas” turned the spotlight on a publishing empire that boasts about 260 books in 52 languages, over 80 DVDs and dozens of websites. His books are well-illustrated and free of theological jargon, they preach that Islam is the one true faith and Darwinism, by undermining religious belief, has led to the discord, atheism, terrorism and extreme political ideologies plaguing the world.
The flood of free books prompted suspicion among baffled Western scientists and teachers that U.S. creationists or Saudi financiers might be helping finance the campaign. Saudi funding is unlikely because Oktar’s message, while basically Sunni Muslim, mixes in Shi’ite and Sufi elements that clash with the kingdom’s austere Wahhabi school of Islam. As for creationists they dream of receiving a fraction of the funding that backs Oktar’s publishing empire.
Oktar is a controversial character, regarded by some as the guru of a sect and tried in Turkey on charges of creating a criminal organisation. He claims that his publishing empire is part of his religious vision of the end of the world in which he plays a role hinted at in his pseudonym. Harun is Arabic for Aaron, the brother of Moses. Yahya is Arabic for John — in this case, John the Baptist. “Our biggest project right now is to lay the grounds for the coming of Jesus Christ,” he said. “We understand this is going to be in the next 20 to 25 years.” The idea of Jesus returning as a Muslim is standard Islamic teaching about the end of times. The Islamic Jesus will come to establish Islam around the world and fight against those who claim that Jesus is the Son of God. The text of the article can be read by going to the following link:
Globalisation Gathering - Jerusalem May 2008 [PW]
source: Israel Today
President Shimon Peres took the occasion of Israel’s 60th anniversary to introduce a new annual conference with world political leaders which included President Bush, economists, professors, scientists, CEOs and other elite policy makers and thinkers from around the world.
Israel Today reports that: the conference participants took the eventuality of globalisation for granted and talked about not if, but how to facilitate global economics and security.
At the conference Tony Blair said that, “Globalisation is breaking down barriers. A global community is becoming a reality”. Henry Kissinger, a voice from the past but still very active added. “It has never happened before in the history of the world that every part of the world was connected with the other.” He added that statehood was in the process of being redefined.
As well as world leaders, Buddhist monks, Sikhs and Moslems attended the conference. The significance of staging a global conference in Jerusalem was not lost on the participants.
Tony Blair on a mission [PW]
In May on the eve of the launch of his “faith foundation”, the former prime minister said faith had given him the courage to make unpopular decisions he knew were right during his 10 years in office.
In an interview with Time magazine, Mr Blair said faith could be “a civilising force in globalisation”, bringing different peoples together to solve the world’s problems. He argued: “Faith is part of our future, and faith and the values it brings with it are an essential part of making globalisation work.” Mr Blair’s foundation, which was officially launched in New York, will attempt to bring religions together to tackle major global issues such as the UN’s eight millennium development goals, which range from eradicating extreme poverty to ensuring environmental sustainability. He is reported as saying, “This is how I want to spend the rest of my life”.
Tony Blair described the purpose of the foundation as follows: “The purpose of it is so that we achieve a greater understanding between the different religious faiths, so that we make platforms for action by those faiths and deal with some of the biggest issues in the world — for example the millennium development goals and so on — it should be an interfaith encounter through action. But also so that we show that faith is something positive, a force for progress, something to do with our future as well as our past, and I want the foundation therefore to be actively promoting the greater understanding between the faiths but also lead to action by the faiths in society, in the world to the greater public good”.
Comment: In these last days we face a choice. Join in with the world’s agenda, as propounded by Tony Blair and many others, or stand by the gospel. The world’s way will lead to acceptance and recognition, and many in the church will follow it. Within the global community the church will be praised for the positive part that it is playing in building the future. The gospel way will lead to rejection. We will be accused of being negative and causing conflict. To insist that the root of the problem is sin and that the first step in dealing with sin is repentance will never be popular. The gospel has from the beginning been divisive. People do not like to be challenged about sin and particularly hate those who claim to have ‘the truth’. But that truth is the narrow way that leads to life.
Religion will play a major part in the world of the near future. The time is coming when the Truth of God embodied in Jesus Christ will be rejected in favour of the lie embodied in Islam. Under the banner of Islam’s false messiah all the religions and peoples of the world will unite.
'God’s War on Terror' by Walid Shoebat, former Palestinian Terrorist and author of Why I Left Jihad and Why We Want to Kill You and Joel Richardson, author of Antichrist: Islam’s Awaited Messiah.
The advertisement for the book claims that this will be “the most exhaustive study on the subject of Islam and the End Times that has ever been written. Without trying to over-hype the book, it promises to completely revolutionise the prophecy world”.
After a long time in preparation the major work by Walid Shoebat and Joel Richardson has been published. I have just started reading the book. Some of Walid Shoebat’s style of writing I find difficult. It is similar to that of other Arab authors, which I have read. However the material is good presenting a thorough examination of Islamic eschatology and how it converges with Christian belief. This and other books emphasise the central role of the Mahdi. When he comes the effect on Islam will be like putting a match to a tinder dry forest. Overnight 1.3 billion Muslims will be transformed from moderates to militants. If you doubt that read the book. When he comes the time to prepare will have ended. For a trailer to the book see: