Wintery Knight

…integrating Christian faith and knowledge in the public square

UK judge rules that Christians can be forced to work on Sundays

Dina sent me this article by Christina Odone from the UK Telegraph.


I’m scared that was the last Christmas we celebrated with a church service. The High Court ruled last week that Sunday is not a core part of a Christian’s belief; next, they’ll decide that Christmas is not, either. Mr Justice Langstaff has decided that a Baptist who works in a care home can be forced by her employers to work through Sunday too. This, even though her colleagues were happy to take Celestina Mba’s Sunday shift so she could do what all devout Christians do on a Sunday – go to church.

It didn’t matter that no one was complaining about Celestina Mba’s Sunday observance; her employers, Labour-led Merton Council, wanted her to drop her religious obligations. They’d decide what she was to do on the Sabbath day – not some dusty Bible. God? Who’s He? The Fourth Commandment? What’s that?

Christians like Celestina Mba had better take note: they live in an environment so hostile to Christians that any show of allegiance to this religion will get them into trouble. Don’t wear crucifixes, don’t pray for a patient, don’t try to foster a child: practising Christians are now barred from any of these activities. This, even though the majority of Britons still count themselves as Christians.

The clash of Christians and a newly strident secular establishment has become an everyday story: a cultural civil war that constantly claims Christian victims. Lawyers, and judges like Mr Justice Langstaff, have shown themselves, again and again, to stand on the side of the secularists. I still smart at the memory of the Law Society refusing to host a conference on the virtues of heterosexual marriage. Incredibly, this kind of censorship is allowed to go on under a Tory PM who himself claims allegiance to the majority Church.

In the UK, it seems like a common practice to use “lawfare” in order to coerce behavior. They use the nuclear option against individual Christians and conservatives in order to send a message to all. The message is that the government has a right to silence anyone who makes the secular left feel “offended”. The state is telling Christians and conservatives that it’s easier to go along with secularism and socialism just to get by. Even if you win your case, you will have to pay and pay legal costs to win it. Don’t try to be a hero, because if you do, we will get you.

You can even see this being done when law-abiding citizens defend themselves and get prosecuted for it. The message then is similar – don’t scare or offend criminals by deterring them with weapons.

Who would live in such a society?

Filed under: News, , , , , , , , , ,

How should Christians understand the Old Testament laws?

I found this post by Aaron Brake at Apologetics Junkie.


Perhaps no area of the Old Testament is more foreign and confusing to modern-day Christians than the Mosaic Law. When reading through the Pentateuch, many believers breeze through the narrative of Genesis only to hit a roadblock when confronted with the overwhelming number of commandments, statutes, and ordinances in the last half of Exodus (not to mention the books of Leviticus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy).

Yes, this is why you have to be careful when telling people to read the Bible, because not all parts of the Bible are good for new Christians! Not only are some parts pretty difficult to read, but the new reader has no framework to interpret what they are reading! I had a non-Christian guy in my office who was starting to read the Bible and he got bogged down in the Old Testament and had no idea whether these laws applied today. It’s a major problem, which is why I recommend everybody start with John instead, then maybe Luke and Acts.

There are two ways of solving this problem that are pretty popular. One way is the covenant model and the other is the dispensation model. I think that Aaron is presenting the covenant model. In the covenant model, the Old Testament laws were part of a covenant made between God and the people of Israel.

Aaron writes:

The Law in ancient Israel served three distinct purposes: relational, instructional, and structural. The Law was given to Israel in order to form a covenant or relational agreement between Yahweh and His people… the Law functioned as a constitution which provided internal structure for the nation as a whole. It provided objective standards by which the Israelites could maintain appropriate boundaries with one another as well as neighboring nations.

Jesus formed a new covenant with a new group of people who believed in his identity as the Messiah and that his death was an atonement for sin. So only the parts of the old covenant that are explicitly carried over to the new covenant still apply to our conduct as Christians.

Aaron writes:

Therefore, the primary interpretive question readers should approach the text with is this: “What does this passage tell us about God and His holiness, about Israel and her sin, and about how Israel needed to obey in order to maintain her covenant relationship with God?” Also ask, “What specific areas of life does God expect holiness and transformation within His people?”

I recommend reading the whole post. I think this is something that should be communicated to people who are coming at the Bible from a non-Christian perspective. Maybe we should have some scholars created an optimal ordering of the books of the Bible so as not to scare people away?

Note: I haven’t really looked into this problem in detail, but the covenant model makes more sense to me.

Filed under: Commentary, , , , , , , , , , , ,

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