Monthly Archives: October 2012

Reformation Day Humour

This reformation day I would like to share a great little funny and educational video about the life of Martin Luther.


Catechising Through Hip-Hop

Following my blog post about Catechising I thought I would share this great video by Shai Linne.


Should we Reform Section 5 of the Public Order Act?

What is section 5 of the public order act?

“(1) A person is guilty of an offence if he:

(a) uses threatening, abusive or insulting words or behaviour , or disorderly behaviour, or
(b) displays any writing, sign or other visible representation which is threatening, abusive or insulting,

within the hearing or sight of a person likely to be caused harassment, alarm or distress thereby.”

Victims of section 5

The following cases are taken from the website of Reform Section 5.

Cafe Crazy– Cafe owner Jamie Murray was warned by two police officers to stop playing DVDs in his Christian cafe that showed texts from the New Testament. Following a complaint from a customer, the police officers told Mr Murray that they were investigating a possible Section 5 offence. Later Lancashire Police said that the police officers had misinterpreted the Public Order Act and apologized for any distress caused to Mr Murray.

Thought police– Cumbria street preacher Dale Mcalpine was held for seven hours and charged with a Section 5 offence for saying “homosexuality is a sin.” The comments were not made as part of his public preaching but in response to questions from a police community support officer about the issue of homosexuality. Cumbria Police later admitted they acted unlawfully, and agreed to give £7,000 compensation to Mr Mcalpine in settlement for a claim of wrongful arrest, unlawful imprisonment and breach of his human rights.

You couldn’t make this up– An atheist pensioner who placed a small sign in the window of his home saying ‘religions are fairy stories for adults’ was told by police he could be arrested under Section 5 if he refused to remove the poster.  John Richards, from Lincolnshire, emailed police asking what would happen if he put up the A4 sign. Lincolnshire Police replied ‘If a complaint is made then it can lead to you being arrested and dealt with for the offence of section 5 public order causing alarm and distress.’

Breach of Preach– Section 5 was used by police officers to try to stop Andy Robertson preaching in Gainsborough marketplace. The police claimed people might be “offended” by the preaching. Mr Robertson continued to preach but described the incident as “disturbing”.

Why the long face?– An Oxford student was arrested under Section 5 for saying to a policeman: “Excuse me, do you realise your horse is gay?” A spokesman for the Thames Valley Police said: “He made homophobic comments that were deemed offensive to people passing by.” Eventually prosecutors said there was not enough evidence and decided to discontinue the case.

Sign language– Section 5 was used to issue a court summons to a 16-year-old protester for peacefully holding a placard that read: “Scientology is not a religion it is a dangerous cult.” An allegation that the sign was “abusive or insulting” was referred to the Crown Prosecution Service. A civil liberties group intervened and the case was dropped.

Barking Mad– Kyle Little was arrested under Section 5 for what was described as a “daft little growl” and a “woof” aimed at two Labrador dogs. Although the dog owner did not want a prosecution, Mr Little was detained for five hours and prosecuted. He was convicted and fined. On appeal Newcastle Crown Court quashed his conviction. The case cost the taxpayer £8,000.

Seal of Disapproval – animal rights protesters were threatened with arrest and seizure of property under Section 5 for objecting to seal culling by displaying toy seals coloured with red food dye. They were told by the police that the toys were deemed distressing by two members of the public. The police then ordered the protesters to move on.

The Law of the Street– An elderly street preacher was convicted under Section 5 for displaying a sign which said homosexual conduct was immoral. Some passers by became angry and tried to remove the sign, others threw water and dirt at Mr Hammond. When police were called, they arrested Mr Hammond. He was prosecuted, convicted, and fined £300 plus £395 court costs. The High Court later upheld the conviction saying magistrates were entitled to find the sign “insulting” to homosexuals. No one in the crowd was charged.

As you can see Section 5 is being used in some rather silly situations. Section 5 is intended to ‘keep public order.’

Lets be honest, no one really likes being insulted. Do they?

But who defines what an insult is? The police, the courts, the victim?

Supporting a Reform of Section 5.

As you have no doubt guessed I support a reform in section 5. One legal text book describes section 5:

“…extends the criminal law into areas of annoyance, disturbance and inconvenience. In particular, it covers behaviour which falls short of violence or the threat of violence.”

A situation that is an inconvenience or annoyance by no means warrens police involvement  To me that is silliness and a waste of tax payers money.

In the Video below Mr Bean Rowan Atkinson shares why he supports the reform of section 5.

So why am I advocating a reform of section 5?

Ultimately because I see myself on the sharp side of the stick. The tolerance police are on patrol, society is increasingly becoming more and more hostile to Christianity.

The Gospel is offensive!

Section 5 is being used to silence those the authorities don’t agree with. What are we going to do about it?

‘Forget About the Price Tag’ – The Poets of our Day and the Prosperity ‘Gospel’

The Apostle Paul quoted and engaged with the poets and philosophers of his day. That being said i wanted to quote one of todays poets:

Seems like everybody’s got a price

I wonder how they sleep at night

When the sale comes first and the truth comes second

Just stop for a minute and smile

The words of Jessie J came to mind when I read an article in the Daily Mail about a Nigerian prosperity preacher.

This article talks about David Oyedepo and his shenanigans of exploiting often the most poor and vulnerably in society for his own end. This so called Pastor has an estimated fortune of 93 million earned largely by selling lies.

God never promises us health and wealth.   We are told by Jesus that we must pick up our cross and follow him.

“Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it.”

The prosperity ‘Gospel’ is repulsive. Sadly it is growing more and more in the UK.

These prosperity preachers have forgot about the ‘price tag.’ Jesus demands our all, even our wallets. For them it is all about the Money, Money, Money.

To close I will leave you with a powerful video by John Piper on the prosperity Gospel.

H/T to Sacred Sandwich for the images.

A very interesting blog post by Pastor Mez McConnel.


I am a (very convinced) Reformed Baptist, ministering and working in an independent Evangelical Church. I have even written a short book on preparing people (confessing believers) for baptism. Since my move to Scotland 5 years ago I became aware of ‘Presbyterians’ of all shapes and forms. Free Church, C of S, Continuing Free, United Free Church of Scotland, Reformed Presbyterian Church of Scotland. Are there more? Probably. Now, I have to confess my complete ignorance of all things Presbyterian before my arrival. My only experience of this denomination was in Brazil where, I have to say, they are doing an extremely credible job in producing serious theological study. In Scotland, however, the reputation was of people not allowed to get the bus on a Sunday, who don’t celebrate Christmas and don’t like musical instruments. So, not very ‘free’ at all then.

So, what have I learned during my stay…

View original post 808 more words

Is Catechising a Thing of the Past?

Catechising is something that’s not really done any more, at least not in the circles that I have moved in. I wonder if we have lost something by neglecting the practice that the reformers regarded as a key spiritual discipline.

Catechisms through out Christian history have been regarded as an important part of the discipleship of both children and adults. Have we as ‘Evangelicals’ neglected this to the demise of discipleship. Do we even have a an understanding of what discipleship is? It’s interesting to think that the children of a couple hundred years ago were more theologically literate than most of us ‘evangelicals’ today. I’m not claiming that theological literacy is discipleship, however if we long to know and love God then surely learning about His character our responsibility to honour and worship Him is a useful tool in ones spiritual formation.

Historically catechisms were written with at least three purposes. The first was to set forth a comprehensive exposition of the gospel—not only in order to explain clearly what the gospel is, but also to lay out the building blocks on which the gospel is based, such as the biblical doctrine of God, of human nature, of sin, and so forth. The second purpose was to do this exposition in such a way that the heresies, errors, and false beliefs of the time and culture were addressed and counteracted. The third and more pastoral purpose was to form a distinct people, a counter-culture that reflected the likeness of Christ not only in individual character but also in the church’s communal life.

I guess as good ‘Evangelicals’ many of us were taught bible verses as children. Indeed this also is an important practice that perhaps today has been sidelined.  I remember many many verses that I was taught around the breakfast table, with my dad banging on the table to keep a rhythm to make it easier for us to learn.  I guess at the time I wasn’t the most thankful for him doing this… However now I am incredibly grateful that I am able to recall various verses that i learned all those years ago, particularly helpful in pastoral ministry.

Maybe its about time that we begin to start memorising scripture again. Perhaps we should be thinking about catechising each other…

The good news is that Tim Keller and the guys at the Gospel Coalition have developed a fantastic catechism for both children and adults. Its called the ‘New City Catechism’ There is an iPad app, and the material can be used online (sadly no Android app yet) or downloaded as a pdf.

The New City Catechism is based on the Geneva, Westminster and Heidelberg catechisms and consists of 52 questions, one for each week of the year. The catechisms of the reformations times were much larger but the New City Catechism has been developed especially for the busy family today. For each question there is a prayer, a exposition of the Q and A and a short video reflection.

So have we neglected an important aspect of our Protestant heritage? If you think so, join me in leaning the New City Catechism. It would be good to have others to work learn along side to keep each other accountable in our learning, so if  your up for it- do get in touch!

Blog Round Up

This morning I thought it would be good to do a blog round up of all the interesting and engaging posts that I have read over the past couple weeks.

So here goes:

David Robertson and the Tron Church

David Robertson,
pastor of St. Peters Free Church in Dundee has been boldly speaking up for our brothers and sisters in St. George’s Tron in Glasgow city centre. The congregation of the Tron are being forced out of their building (which they have recently completed a £3 million renovation) by the Church of Scotland. David writes passionately, clearly and logically.

Click here for post 1.  

Click here for post 2.

Click here for post 3

In David’s third post he asks some very deep questions about Evangelicalism. This post is provocatively titled ‘Why I no Longer Call Myself and Evangelical’  this is without a doubt a very interesting read and I find myself agreeing with him. Here is and extract from the blog:

For a number of years I have been uncomfortable with the term ‘evangelical’. It sounds good but I am increasingly confused as to what is actually means. The evangel is of course the Gospel, the Good News. An evangelical is a Christian who lives, believes and communicates the Good News. And there was my first problem – surely every Christian does that, and if they do not in what meaningful sense can they be called a Christian? But evangelical has been used in the past couple of hundred years to refer to those Christians who would hold to the centrality of the Bible, the centrality of the Cross-, the necessity of evangelism and evangelical good works. Many churches would call themselves evangelical; numerous inter-denominational organisations such as Tear Fund, SU, and UCCF are evangelical. So what is the problem?

Love the Sinner, Hate the Sin?

Tim Challies wrote a very interesting blog post earlier this week.  The post  is bound to cause a bit of debate. We have all heard the mantra by Christian’s ‘Love the sinner, hate the sin.’ Challies asks the question how this works when a persons sin is closely linked to their identity. Click Here

Another Left Behind Movie

Rumour has it that there will be another eschatological catastrophe ‘Left Behind’ movie this time starring Nicholas Cage… Click here.


6 warnings

Time managment

Coming out: Is ‘Evangelical’ the new ‘Homosexual’