Monday 25 May 2015

Is the Bible wrong regarding "same-sex marriage"?

Recent days have seen the citizens of Southern Ireland decide by popular vote to endorse "same-sex marriage". The BBC in the UK have revelled and delighted in this outcome, they have reported it as another seeming endorsement of this new social position in the West. What are the implications of such a trend in society? Does this "new morality" question the authority of the Bible on its revealed position on this subject?

The West historically have used the Bible as its baseline for morality, but on a national political level in the UK, this is no longer the case. Therefore, huge issues arise as to what is morally right or otherwise today. The UK has entered into a new season of subjective and relative moralism which is open to serious question. While the UK and Ireland actively promote "same-sex marriage" along with the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender agenda, they now actively intimidate and take to court anyone who disagrees with their new laws. It seems that the UK now behaves more like a democratic dictat than a free democracy. Confusion abounds among British politics and British society. Just look at the Asher's bakery ruling in Northern Ireland recently.

While the UK government and British society now rejoice in the pushing of boundaries so that all sexual restraints are being removed, the same groups seem to be silent on the ethical issues of abortion, IVF morality and other such things. In the UK every year around 200,000 babies are murdered either by surgical removal or chemical induced death of the infant. This is surely the result of a sexually promiscuous society who want the benefits of sex without the fruits and it prefers to murder instead of caring for legitimate offspring.

While there is uncertain moral chaos in British society, the Bible's message is unchanging. The Bible is God's unique revelation to teach humanity about the the one True God himself and also it teaches the truth about the sinful state of humanity. The Bible is contemporary and absolutely up to date. The problem is not with the Bible's view of marriage which is clear, the problem lies with sinful man, one who is determined to get his own way and to suppress any knowledge of God to legitimise his own actions.

Romans 1:18 teaches that: "For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men who by their unrighteousness suppress the truth". People in the West will therefore increasingly seek to silence the teaching of the Bible because they cannot tolerate voices of disagreement. Paul the apostle writes in Romans 1:26 and he calls Lesbian and Gay actions as "dishonourable passions" ... "for their women exchanged natural relations for those that are contrary to nature and the men likewise gave up natural relations with women and were consumed with passion for one another, men committing shameless acts with men and receiving in themselves the due penalty for their error" (Romans 1:26-27).

Is the Bible wrong regarding "same sex marriage"? No, the Bible is truthful. No, the Bible disagrees with the LGBT agenda. Does this mean that God is unloving? Absolutely not because God is love and a human being can never understand true love until they meet their Creator and recognise that "God so loved the world that he gave his only-begotten Son". Love is not a subjective worldly ideal, but it is based on truth. The God of the Bible is the Creator of all humanity and every human being will give an account to Him after they have died.

The real question then for all of us to consider is: Will I be ready after I have died, to give an account of the deeds which I have done in the body? This account will be made before the God of the Bible and it has been appointed to the glorified Lord Jesus Christ to be the judge. Will he deliver a verdict of everlasting punishment to you or the promise to enter into eternal life? The latter is based upon repentance from sin and belief in the gospel, that is belief that Jesus died for your sins and that he was raised from the dead.

Monday 18 May 2015

Have we lost holiness in student ministry?

Can you imagine the impact upon a Reformed Christian minister, when students who are members in your church, begin to complain about worldliness among Christians on the University Campuses? You cannot deny then, that there must be some kind of problem, when people aged 18-22 years old begin to dissent at such a mixture of Christianity and worldliness. In recent years, this has been a persistent and consistent comment from student Christians in some Reformed congregations. Is that your experience in your part of the UK? That is that, among Christian Union’s and professing Christian students and young people, that there is a growing worldliness at the expense of holiness. Where does this problem originate from? Where has an emphasis on biblical holiness gone and why? Hopefully, this all too brief article will provoke some thought, stimulate prayer and motivate some action to change the status quo.

The world’s message in this generation places great emphasis upon personal satisfaction, happiness and enjoyment. This mantra affects all Christians and churches to varying degrees. It can especially impact those groups who desire to reach out to non-Christians, but in doing so, they may unwittingly capitulate to using worldly methods and pursue a subtle, yet worldly approach to reach the world. But this should not be so among the people of God. The Lord Jesus Christ, who is the alone head of the church spoke plainly: “You are the salt of the earth, but if salt has lost its taste, how shall its saltiness be restored?” (Matthew 5:13).

It is my contention that there is a threefold problem among student ministry in the UK, one that is also shared by the wider evangelical church. This unwelcome situation can be exacerbated if churches seek to draw large numbers of university students without clear doctrinal and lifestyle standards. What are the root problems behind this sidelining of holiness?

Problem 1. When evangelism drives the student agenda, to such a point that little else in the teaching of Scripture is given much emphasis, not least holiness and godliness.

Problem 2. The spread of evangelical teaching that never mentions the Ten Commandments or in fact one that actually denies that the Ten Commandments are the rule for Christian living. This is found especially among the proponents of the so-called new covenant theology, but the unfortunate by-product can be the exclusion of an emphasis on holiness.

Problem 3. Perhaps the first step to problem-solving is recognising that there is a problem in the first place. This perceived problem of the absence of an emphasis on biblical holiness, may be as simple as “having dropped off the agenda”. Whatever the case, it needs putting back on the agenda for students and the wider church.

The Lord Jesus was and continues to be, the church’s model for perfect holiness. Therefore, to make disciples of students, this must include teaching on this subject, along with insightful application. Young Christian men and students share with me how prevalent internet pornography is being viewed among their peers. No doubt other age and people groups also fall prey to this sin as well. Is the church addressing the issue of internet pornography as well as many other contemporary sins? It is not uncommon for professing Christian students to frequent nightclubs and in my opinion, this is to play with sin and temptation. Jesus taught us to pray: “Lead us not into temptation but deliver us from evil”. In such a student culture, I find it hard to believe that high levels of sexual purity can be maintained.

Furthermore, how would people committed to other religions perceive such forms of Christianity? Can you imagine a pious Muslim observing Christian students behaving like the world and then being told of the exclusive claims of the gospel? They may rightly object to such manifest inconsistency. Paul the apostle wrote to the younger Timothy to “flee youthful passions and pursue righteousness, faith, love and peace, along with those who who call on the Lord from a pure heart” (2 Timothy 2:22); now that will preach among young people! Paul sadly at the end of the same letter reported that “Demas, in love with this present world, has deserted me and gone to Thessalonica” (4:10). This stark warning should show us the incompatibility of loving this present world and the claiming to hold to the gospel, because human souls are in the balance.

What is the way forward and how can we address this situation?
Firstly, we must pray about this matter and ask our Lord to help. James 4:2 is an encouragement and a rebuke and it is memorable in the KJV: “Yet ye have not, because ye ask not”.

Secondly, we could discuss this with our ministers and elders in order that they can “weigh and test” how best to proceed, if indeed they perceive a similar problem and how they locally may recommend advancing the cause of holiness and godliness.

Thirdly, for those who have access to UCCF staff, you could contact them for a meeting to determine how they assess the situation. You could request that from within the Christian Union network, that the doctrinal subjects of holiness and godliness be included for discussion nationally, locally and at student house parties (a weekend away for Christian students).

There has been a helpful book written recently by Kevin DeYoung called “The Hole in our Holiness” and this could be further reading on this subject. In addition, Ephesians Chapters 4 to 6 and Colossians Chapters 3 and 4. DeYoung spoke at a recent Banner Youth Conference at Leicester and he said: "To obey Christ is not legalism, it is Christianity” and again he declared that "to fight against sin is to fight for your joy, not against it”. Is that your desire to obey Christ and to fight against sin? May we we take up this cause for ourselves, others and future generations. May the very words “holiness” and “godliness” become as commonplace in contemporary Christian vocabulary as “evangelism” or the much used new buzz word “missionalism”.

Rev. Dr Kevin Bidwell is the minister of Sheffield Presbyterian Church (which is part of EPCEW) and their website is

Using the Search Engine on this Blog

Doing this blog is a little bit of a spiritual hobby. I have so many people who contact me with many questions and I seek to answer some of them on this blog. Hopefully, it points people in a good and right direction towards a better understanding of biblical and Reformed doctrine and practice.
If you use the search engine, there are articles from around 2008 I believe, so there is a lot of material. Here are a few words that you could use on the search engine:

John Calvin

Women Bishops

Charismatic influences

John Owen


Book Reviews

I do hope that this blog can serve many people for the glory of God.

Kevin J. Bidwell

Saturday 9 May 2015

Beware of the Marcionites!

Marcionites: What are they?. It may sound like a strange group of aliens, but in fact Marcion was a Second Century heretic, one whom the church deemed to hold utterly false views. Therefore, Marcionites are those who adopt his teaching. So, what did he believe?

1. That the God of the Old Testament was different to the God of the New Testament.

2. He had a reduced Bible canon so that he only endorsed and used Luke's Gospel and the letters of Paul. He apparently edited out OT quotes from Paul's letters as well.

Paul wrote something against people like Marcion before he died in 2 Timothy 3:16-17: "All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work".

Now every heresy keeps appearing and contemporary Christianity faces the Marcion teaching in one form or another today. How many Christians do you know who think that the God of the OT is different to Jesus and the God of the NT? This is not new thinking, because Marcion thought this, but this is indeed false thinking. How many churches today only preach from (or mainly from) the New Testament and virtually neglect the Old Testament for public reading and public preaching on the Lord's Day? We must beware of contemporary Marcionites! (this is why church history is so important, because there is "nothing new under the sun".).

The Lord Jesus cited many books of the Old Testament, as did the Apostles. Peter cited the Book of Joel and the Psalms on the Day of Pentecost; James cited the prophet Amos at the Council in Jerusalem in Acts 15. When was the last time you heard teaching from the Books of Amos or Joel?

The church and individual Christians need a fresh connecting of the Old Testament Scriptures with the New Testament Scriptures. They are both the product of the one mind of the one God brought to us by the one Holy Spirit. I sometimes wonder if in our printed Bibles, that the sheet of paper between the OT and the NT subliminally inserts a wall in people's minds between the OT and the NT. Let us love, read, preach and meditate upon all 66 Bible books.

Tuesday 5 May 2015

Do not underestimate the danger and power of sin

The heart is deceitful above all things,
and desperately sick;
who can understand it? (Jeremiah 17:9)

The heart is never being more deceitful than when it downplays sin. False teaching is never more prevalent and dangerous as when it downplays sin. It is utterly false to think that a Christian can be forgiven of their sin and then rarely have to wrestle with sin. There is the urgent need for the recovery of an emphasis on biblical and reformed piety in the life of the church with a delighting in subjects such as holiness and godliness. Is holiness and godliness a pursuit in your church, your family and your life? It should be!

Satan also wants to deceive the church that "all is well" and to downplay the danger of sin. The Garden of Eden warns us as with a huge red road sign, as if to say "Beware, Sin Kills!".

Thomas Brooks writes in his excellent little book "Precious Remedies Against Satan's Devices", that "sin is a plague, yea, the greatest and most infectious plague in the world" (page 31). In addition, he rightly warns "It is our wisest and our safest course to stand at the farthest distance from sin; not to go near the house of the harlot, but to fly from all appearance of evil (Proverbs 5:8, 1 Thessalonians 5:22).

For ministers to fail to warn against sin is therefore to do Satan's job and to expose the church to darkness. Paul wrote to Timothy to "flee these things" in references to lusts and sins and instead to exhort him to pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, steadfastness, gentleness (1 Timothy 6:11). Sometimes, professing Christian university students in the UK, wrongly think that they can play with the world and go to nightclubs. Be warned O Christian; to play with the world is to "play with fire", and it is to lead people into the danger of sin. Never downplay the danger of sin!

True biblical and reformed churches will warn against sin. We must warn people in a loving and firm way, but we cannot be silent of the danger of sin. We must not be afraid, but instead we should courageously take up the whole armour of God and fight the good fight of faith (Ephesians 6).