Thursday, 8 March 2018

A Russian Mission Impossible Force?

Is there a Russian Mission Impossible Force?
Was the following mission given?

Your mission, should you choose to accept it, is to test a new nerve agent on Sergei Skripal, traitor of our Mother Russia, and his daughter, Yulia, an opponent of our beloved leader.

As always, should you or any member of your task force be caught or killed, the Kremlin will disavow any knowledge of your actions.

Wednesday, 7 March 2018

From Russia without love

While some politicians are reluctant to point the finger, the UK press does when it comes to the Sergei Skripal affair. This poisoning has the chilling echo of the Alexander Litvinenko assassination in 2006. A 2016 report by the former judge Robert Owen concluded that two KGB agents, Andrei Lugovoi and Dmitry Kovtun murdered  Alexander Litvinenko.

Mr Litvinenko was poisoned by tea laced with polonium 210, a radioactive substance that points to a Russian state authorized assassination.

In 2012 Alexander Perepilichnyy, a key witness in a large tax fraud investigation involving corrupt Russian officials, collapsed and died at his Surrey home.

Now Russian involvement in 14 deaths is suspected, which has been raised in the House of Commons yesterday and in the press.

The use of sophisticated poisons points to the Kremlin's weapon of choice in covert warfare, according to security analysts. It is believed that the Russians have at least three categories of poison, and new toxins are being developed.

Friday, 2 March 2018

Admiring Manchester City's quality

At Wembley and at the Emirates quality, beautiful football and sheer class were evident. Manchester City produced quality football. A great side soundly beat a mediocre side on both occasions. Arsenal failed to score one goal, even from the penalty spot at home. The team needs to be rebuilt. Manchester City are the real deal. The gulf in quality is so apparent between the two teams: six goals to nil in two games and twenty points in the Premiership.

Wednesday, 28 February 2018

VAR shambles at Wembley this evening

In the first half of the Spurs versus Rochdale,  FA cup match, the use of VAR, video assisted referee, was a shambles. The decisions took far too long.  The crowd booed and the pundits were annoyed.

In time VAR will be a great asset, but tonight it seemed more of a hindrance than a help.

Thursday, 22 February 2018

Billy Graham, preacher

Billy Graham said that he wanted "Preacher" on his gravestone. He will be well remembered as a Bible preacher and evangelist. He probably preached to more people than anyone in history. I heard him preach at Earl's Court in 1966 and 1967, and later when he had mellowed in the 1980s at Upton Park, then the West Ham United stadium, in east London. Billy Graham had authority and sincerity, which some have doubted for no good reason.

The papers are full of tributes to his ministry. I know many who were touched and helped, even brought to salvation through hearing the Gospel at one of his rallies. He was admired and respected by religious leaders, politicians and monarchs. Those who said he was a fraud and a lying salesman out to make money did not know him or look at his life and work, his message and writings, the fruit of his Christian service. There is ample evidence of his trustworthiness, integrity, honesty and good works. He was not out to make money. He could have lived in luxury, drawn a large salary, but he chose not to do so. He lived modestly, like his good friend Rev. John Stott.

Comments about him on YouTube by Chris Hitchens are lies. Templeton, in fact, contrary to what Hitchens believed, was a friend who greatly respected Billy Graham (although he came to disagree with what was preached), and trusted him implicitly and never doubted his sincerity. Hitchen's comments wishing for Billy Graham's death are shameful. Billy Graham lived a long and successful life. (Hitchens, who died at 62, is now regretting what he said.) Billy Graham is now enjoying the delights of heaven.

Saturday, 17 February 2018

The Gifts of the Holy Spirit

Last Lord's Day I preached about spiritual gifts, charismata.

There are those, and they are called cessationists, who do not believe that certain spiritual gifts, the gifts of the Holy Spirit, are not available or genuinely present today in this time. Tongues, prophecy, healing and miracles, according to this position, ceased soon after New Testament times and when the canon of Scripture, the complete Bible, was established.

I find nothing in the Bible itself that tells me that the gifts of the Holy Spirit would not be available after the Apostolic age or that they would be available to for a very limited time. This position, therefore, denies miracles, signs and wonders throughout church history.

It is not part of their personal experience, so they are uncomfortable when other Christians testify to what they have seen, heard and touched concerning spiritual gifts. Some fellowships like to have everything under their control and strictly regulated so that nobody could prophesy extemporaneously.

In New Testament times signs, miracles and wonders were part of church life. The Holy Spirit is not limited to periods of time, to certain ages and eras. He is sovereign and like the wind He moves as He pleases outside of human action or agency. This also applies to His work in filling and empowering Christians throughout the ages and in various circumstances. He may work through crisis experiences and remarkable events, but He may also work quietly and gently. He may act quickly and He may act after a period of tarrying and waiting, after praise or prayer or fasting. We should not build any doctrine on our personal experience, such as the baptism in or of the Spirit, because the Holy Spirit works in many ways. His touch may be varied, mysterious and unexpected. 

Gun control of adolescents

We now know that the FBI failed to take the necessary action. Adolescents should not be allowed to bear arms unless they are supervised by a responsible adult. Such a move would prevent gang gun violence and make high school shootings less likely. Anyone expelled from school should have to submit to checks and should normally be prevented from owning weapons. These measures would reduce gun violence and fatalities.  


River Stour