If someone had told you 10 years ago that it would soon become tantamount to a speechcrime to say ‘Men cannot get pregnant’, you would have thought them mad. That would be like punishing someone for saying, ‘Humans need oxygen to survive’. And yet here we are, in 2017, where PC has spun so violently out of control, and the cult of gender-neutrality has become so unwieldy, that one of the most controversial things you can say these days is: ‘Only women can get pregnant.’ Apparently that’s offensive to transmen (women who identify as men). ‘Men can get pregnant, too’, trans activists cry. Which strikes me as a real-life version of ‘2 + 2 = 5’.

It isn’t only the usual suspects who want us to stop treating pregnancy as a woman thing. Yesterday the Sunday Times reported that in its submission on proposed amendments to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, the Foreign Office suggested the term ‘pregnant women’ might be offensive to ‘transgender people who have given birth’. The covenant, a UN treaty, says society must protect ‘pregnant women’ and never subject them to the death penalty. The Foreign Office wondered if ‘pregnant people’ might be a preferable term, to avoid offending the infinitesimally small number of women who identify as men who have given birth.

Here is an abridgment of Gustav Dalman's "The Words of Jesus in the Light of Post-Biblical Jewish Writings and the Aramaic Language".

Well this is interesting.  I had got used to the standard response to terror.  I had thought that when 22 young people get blown up by a suicide bomber in Manchester we were meant to say that it made ‘no sense’, that it ‘wouldn’t change us’ and that ‘love’ must overcome ‘hate’.

I thought that when a crowd of people get run over and a policeman stabbed to death we were meant to say ‘We may never know’ what caused such an outrage.  And that when people slit the throats of Londoners while shouting ‘This is for Allah’ we agreed that only perpetrators themselves were responsible for such inexplicable actions?  At most, weren’t we just meant to rouse ourselves to a chorus of ‘Don’t look back in anger’ and move on?

Well what a very different standard applies when the victims are a group of Muslims exiting a mosque.  Since that despicable attack I have watched with astonishment as British Islamists and the British left who are so insistent that we should all refrain from ‘pointing fingers’ after any Islamist attack have taken both their fists out for this one.

RABBI JOSEPH KRESEFSKY answers ...

G_d IS omniscient. He does know the beginning and the end.

Ps. 139:16 – “Your eyes could see me as an embryo, but in your book all my days were already written; my days had been shaped before any of them existed.”

Or consider many of the Messianic Prophecies:

Be hated without cause- Is. 49:7, Ps. 69:4, Fulfillment -John 15:24-25

Be betrayed by a friend- Ps.41:9, 55:12-14, Fulfillment – Mt. 26:21-25;47-50, John 13:18-21, Acts 1:16-18

Be sold for 30 pieces of silver- Zech. 11:12 Fulfillment – Mt. 26:15

There is an increased clamour to redefine marriage, even in the Church. Steve Maltz explains the dangers inherent in such thinking…

There was a piece of news recently that has been largely overlooked but, in the grand scheme of things, greatly overshadows even the results of the General Election. The Scottish wing of the Anglican Church has just voted to legalise gay marriage1. After giving his reasons, the head of the Scottish Episcopal Church, David Chillingworth stated that “we affirm we are a church of diversity and difference bound together by our unity in Christ” . The Bishop of Edinburgh, John Armes, added, “if the Anglican Communion is to survive it must embrace unity” .

If Church unity demands that Biblical doctrine on marriage is thrown out of the window, then I suggest that the Anglican Communion does not deserve to survive, whatever the implications. In terms of core understandings of what a Church is in relation to Jesus, this doctrine is far more precious than these Scottish clergymen seem to understand, far more important than the survival of a single denomination, regardless of how many clergy it employs or the size of its investment portfolio.

Nick Gray of Balfour 100 examines how Christians shaped the modern Middle East a hundred years ago 

There are many centenaries to be marked at the moment, as we progress through 100 years since the “war to end all wars” took place. So many of these remind us of the horrific and tragic loss of life incurred on all sides of the conflict in battles big and small between 1914 and 1918. November 2017, however, sees the centenary of a political expression of intent made in the midst of wartime strategy that went on to become one of the most influential yet controversial documents in 20th century history.

The Balfour Declaration, named after the Foreign Secretary of the day who signed it, was an expression of approval for the concept of establishing a homeland for the Jewish people in the area that was biblical Israel but was then known as “Palestine” . It was an attempt to combine British strategic needs and the historical justice of returning a dispersed Jewish people to their biblical and historical homeland.

Hezekiah is affirmed in Scripture as doing “what was right in the Lord’s sight” (2 Kings 18:3). The next verse details what Hezekiah did: “He removed the high places, shattered the sacred pillars and cut down the Asherah poles. He broke into pieces the bronze snake that Moses made, for the Israelites burned incense to it up to that time” (2 Kings 18:4).Surely people understood a strong, spiritual leader removing the idols (the high places and the Asherah poles) that grabbed the hearts of the people and stole worship from the Lord. They would expect their spiritual leader to insist they stop worshiping other gods. But what Hezekiah did next must have been really unexpected and really controversial. He broke into pieces the bronze snake Moses made—intentionally. Not by accident. Not “I was carrying it and it fell.” To break bronze takes some effort.

This last two years have seen the Liberal Democrats recover since the devastation of the 2015 election.   That recovery was never inevitable but we have seen the doubling of our party membership, growth in council elections, our first parliamentary by-election win for more than a decade, and most recently our growth at the 2017 general election.

Most importantly the Liberal Democrats have established ourselves with a significant and distinctive role – passionate about Europe, free trade, strong well-funded public services underpinned by a growing market economy.  No one else occupies that space.  Against all the odds, the Liberal Democrats matter again.

We can be proud of the progress we have made together, although there is much more we need to do.

From the very first day of my leadership, I have faced questions about my Christian faith.  I’ve tried to answer with grace and patience.  Sometimes my answers could have been wiser.  At the start of this election, I found myself under scrutiny again – asked about matters to do with my faith.  I felt guilty that this focus was distracting attention from our campaign, obscuring our message.

Journalists have every right to ask what they see fit.  The consequences of the focus on my faith is that I have found myself torn between living as a faithful Christian and serving as a political leader. A better, wiser person than me may have been able to deal with this more successfully, to have remained faithful to Christ while leading a political party in the current environment.

Are you smarter than your smart phone?

Music and silence-how I detest them both! … We will make the whole universe a noise in the end. We have already made great strides in this direction as regards the Earth. The melodies and silences of Heaven will be shouted down in the end. But I admit we are not yet loud enough, or anything like it. Research is in progress –Screwtape

The fictional devil, Screwtape, invented by CS Lewis, is an excellent guide to many who would, otherwise, be ‘unaware of [the devil’s] schemes’. It is essential to satanic strategy that the human thinking process should be hindered in every way possible – especially thinking about or with God: “...the god of this world has blinded the minds of the unbelievers…” 2 Corinthians 4:4) and he seeks tirelessly to control Christian minds also… “set your minds on things that are above” (Colossians 3:2).

How does the Word of God speak about the People of God?

In the world people seek glory. Every field of human endeavour offers its own awards. High achievers receive medals, honours, titles and prizes. With the award comes admiration, honour and praise. The glory of this world usually leads to fame and fortune. A celebrity is listened to and gains the power to influence things.

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