What is Islamic Reformation?

Tonight, 14 Feb 2017, BBC Newsnight’s Viewsnight carried an opinion that Islamic State is a Reformation in islam.

Canadian author Graeme Wood compared the similarities of the rise of Islamic State (ISIS) with the Protestant Reformation under Martin Luther, pointing to 1. the call to return to the original sources (the Bible and Quran) to read it for oneself, bypassing the priestly class and mainstream clerics, giving back power to the people, and 2. using the latest technology to appeal to the masses against officialdom (the printing press in the 16th century and the internet and social media in the 21st century).

Thus Islamic State (ISIS) was compared to the Protestant Reformation, an intellectual convulsion that is re-making the muslim world, calling muslims back to the original sources in the Quran. He called them Islamic Protestants.

However, Wood makes an important mistake. He pointed out that the Protestant Reformation led to a bloodbath, and so has ISIS, as if there was not only moral equivalence but also causative equivalence between the two. He failed to point out that the bloodbath at the Protestant Reformation was at the hands of officialdom, but the bloodbath by ISIS is at the hands of conservative muslims against officialdom – an important difference.

It is astonishing that this mistaken historical perspective is so easily publicised on national television.

Rather, Islamic State is the death-throes of koranic islam as it feels threatened by more rational islamic voices interacting with the love and toleration of Christianity. The islamic reformation is on the other foot and began many decades ago. Salman Rushdie’s Islamic Verses was a challenge to the authenticity of certain verses in the Quran. This led to a fatwah against him. Interaction with western civilisation over several decades has diminished islamic attachment to the details of koranic teaching, so that westernised islam distances itself from the blood-thirsty teaching in the koran.

ISIS is actually a bloody Counter-Reformation to moderating and reforming muslim teachers, comparable to the 16th century Roman Catholic bloody Counter-Reformation with its Inquisition and manipulation of the authorities to do its dirty work for it.  It is not comparable to the liberating Protestant Reformers who gave to the world modern Parliamentary democracy, the right of private judgment and the freedom of thought and religion.

15/2/2017: Tariq Ramadan gave another perspective on Viewsnight tonight in which he contradicted Wood’s view and claimed that quiet reform is already happening among muslims, who “are trying to liberate themselves from both Arab and Asian patriarchy and Western cultural imperialism.” At least it confirms to some extent what I have written above.

Patrick’s Places – the difference between Law and Gospel

Patrick’s Places – the difference between Law and Gospel
by Patrick Hamilton, 1527.

Patrick Hamilton was Scotland’s first Reformer and martyr, burned at the stake by Roman Catholic cardinal Beaton at St Andrews in 1528 for preaching the Gospel. Of noble birth, he graduated MA from the College of Montaigu, Paris, in 1520 and enrolled in the University of St Andrews on the same day that John Major was received as Principal of St Mary’s College on 9/6/1523. In 1527 he was one of the first students in the new University of Marburg founded in 1527 by Landgrave Philip I of Hesse. The same year he wrote Patrick’s Places in Latin, translated by John Frith into English who named it Patrick’s Places ‘for it treateth exactly of certain commonplaces, which known, ye have the pith of all divinity.’

The nature and office of the law and of the gospel

The law showeth us our sin, Rom. iii. 9-20.
The gospel showeth us remedy for it, John i. 29.
The law showeth us our condemnation, Rom. vii. 23, 24.
The gospel showeth us our redemption, Eph. i.
The law is the word of ire, Rom. iv. 15.
The gospel is the word of grace, Acts xx. 24.
The law is the word of despair, Deut. xxvii. 15-26.
The gospel is the word of comfort, Luke ii. 10.
The law is the word of unrest, Rom. vii. 24.
The gospel is the word of peace, Eph. vi. 15.

A disputation between the law and the gospel; where is shown the difference or contrariety between them both.

The law saith, Pay thy debt.
The gospel saith, Christ hath paid it.
The law saith, Thou art a sinner; despair, and thou shalt be damned.
The gospel saith, Thy sins are forgiven thee, be of good comfort, thou shalt be saved!
The law saith, Make amends for thy sins.
The gospel saith, Christ hath made it for thee.
The law saith, The Father of heaven is angry with thee.
The gospel saith, Christ hath pacified him with his blood.
The law saith, Where is thy righteousness, goodness, and satisfaction?
The gospel saith, Christ is thy righteousness, thy goodness, thy satisfaction.
The law saith, Thou art bound and obliged to me, to the devil, and to hell.
The gospel saith, Christ hath delivered thee from them all.

Dr Donald M. Boyd

Pope Francis’ defective theology

In his inaugural address on 19/3/2013, the new pope of Rome Francis finished by praying to the dead. He said: “I implore the intercession of the Virgin Mary, Saint Joseph, Saints Peter and Paul, and Saint Francis that the Holy Spirit may accompany my ministry…” So he thinks that the Holy Spirit is in their gift to do as they please. It would be better to pray to the Lord Jesus Christ, the only Mediator between God and man 1Tim 2:5, instead of to those who cannot hear him. Jesus said: “I will pray the Father, and He shall give you another Comforter, that He may abide with you for ever” Jn 14:16.

In his mass for 23/4/2013, Francis said: “It is not possible to find Jesus outside the Church” and “you cannot believe in Jesus without the Church.” Pity the thief on the Cross who had Jesus beside him but no Church to help him. The apostle Peter had just denied his Lord and was nowhere to be found. Thankfully, Jesus was up to the task and assured him: “Today, you shall surely be with Me in paradise” Lk 23:43.

Roman pontiff Francis true to type

The new pope of Rome’s reforms does not include the doctrine of purgatory.

The Vatican offers ‘time off purgatory‘ to followers of pope Francis’ tweets.

Purgatory is a figment of the Roman Catholic imagination and is not found in the teaching of Scripture. Its practice and teaching contributed to the Protestant Reformation when Martin Luther criticised the money being raised from the sale of masses to get people out of this imaginary purgatory.

Recently there were indications that purgatory was being revised. This latest scam does not suggest any progress has been made, and it simply manipulates the religious sensibilities of Roman Catholics.

The announcement is in relation to the papal visit to Brazil, the country with the largest number of Roman Catholics, at which various indulgences can be obtained by attendance at events such as the Catholic World Youth Day, in Rio de Janeiro. The Christian church does not need such manipulation of man’s religious conscience.

18/7/2013 USA Today

New pope of Rome answers questions

I used to say that the pope of Rome never answers questions, and is not accountable to others.

At least, he now answers questions.

During the resignation of Ratzinger from the Roman papacy, the discussion on BBC Scotland asked the question whether the job was too much for one man. A papal advisor, Professor John Haldane of the University of St Andrews, suggested that some parts of the papal office may be split off from the Roman papacy. Another question asked if it was the beginning of the end of the Roman papacy. This was too much for Haldane, who denied that such a thing was possible. His Roman theology was very likely clouding his reading of Scripture and providence.

This may be the beginning of the unravelling of the Roman papacy. It is happening on cue, just in time for the Millennial advent. However, the international commission which will sit in judgment on the papacy Dan 7:26 has yet to be established. The openness of the internet era led to the collapse of the Soviet Union and the Roman papacy will not be far behind. The exposure of Ratzinger’s involvement in covering up paedophile priests was shown by BBC 4 on 10 June 2013, which along with “the murky world of Vatican finances“, have been reasons postulated for Ratzinger’s sudden and unexpected resignation. The Black Pope resigned not so long before this.

It is possible that we have witnessed the last pope of Rome to die in office. If Ratzinger does not die as the pope of Rome, does he die as an ordinary Roman Catholic? If future popes of Rome resign before death, although death in office is always possible, we may be witnessing the beginning of the end of the Roman papacy.

7/4/2012: Questions and answers in congregational life.

2012: Mea Maxima Culpa documentary.

10/6/2013 BBC Four: “Maxima Culpa: exposing the abuse of power in the Roman Catholic church and the cover-up that winds its way from Wisconsin, through Ireland, to the Vatican.” It was a hard-hitting exposure of the Vatican’s cover-up.

What is the pope of Rome’s theology on “Thought For The Day”?

Today, 24th December 2010, the pope of Rome broadcast a message to the British people on BBC Radio 4’s “Thought For The Day”, the day before the Queen’s traditional broadcast to the nation. It made the news as it is the first time a Roman pontiff has done so.

The BBC news reported this as his personal way of saying ‘Thank you’ to the United Kingdom. If so, then why did he chose to miss out Northern Ireland from his message? He said: “Dear Friends from Scotland, England, Wales and indeed every part of the English-speaking world, I want you to know that I keep all of you very much in my prayers during this Holy Season.” Is the rider about “the English-speaking world” to disguise the fact that the Vatican does not recognise Northern Ireland as part of the United Kingdom?

As usual, his theology is erroneous. He says about Jesus: “He was to be the Saviour of all people throughout the world and throughout history. And it was not a political liberation that he brought, achieved through military means: rather, Christ destroyed death for ever and restored life by means of his shameful death on the Cross.”

If we did not know more of Roman Catholic theology, one would assume from these pious platitudes that Ratzinger is a universalist – someone who believes that everyone will go to heaven.

First, if “Christ destroyed death for ever”, what has happened to hell? Is Rome changing its mind about hell just as it has changed its mind about limbo? BBC2 screened a programme Limbo Babies in early December 2010 which highlighted Roman Catholic theology that babies who die before being baptised cannot be buried with their family in Roman consecrated ground. Neither do they go to heaven, but to limbo. For centuries, parents with stillborn children were told that they would be eternally separated from them. The programme highlighted the unjustified shame that such parents felt as they buried their stillborn children in anonymous, unmarked graves – away from their families’ burial ground. The psychological damage is easy to imagine. Romanism has recently modified its doctrine of limbo, but not before countless numbers of Roman Catholic mothers have suffered through the centuries by this doctrine.

Now the pope of Rome tells us “Christ has destroyed death forever”. If so, then there is no hell and no limbo. Is Rome about to change its mind about hell as well? Does Ratzinger not mean destroyed death “for Roman Catholics” and some select others? Is he being economical with the truth, or is the explanation simply that the words sound nicer without the qualification? This is doublespeak – from the pope of Rome.

Secondly, if He is “the Saviour of all people”, then why does anyone need to be a Roman Catholic to escape a non-existent hell? Why do we need the pope of Rome? Why do we need Christianity? It is no wonder that atheists are so easily running rings round Romanism.

The pope of Rome in Glasgow – Thursday 16/9/2010

Joseph Ratzinger, the pope of Rome, travelled from Edinburgh to celebrate a Roman Catholic mass in Bellahouston Park, Glasgow.  About 65-70,000 people attended, which contrasts with the 250,000 who turned out at the same location in 1982 to see pope John Paul II (which has been claimed to be the largest religious service ever held in Scotland).

The speeches reveal why this date was chosen – it was “the feast of St Ninian”.  The pope of Rome possibly aspires to be in line with Ninian, who was one of the earliest Christian missionaries in Scotland and who is known as the Apostle of the Southern Picts.   Rome wishes to lay claim to Scotland, just as his beatifying of John Henry Newman on British soil is Ratzinger’s manner of laying claim to England.  The timing of the visit can be viewed also as an attempt to trump any celebration of the 450th anniversary of the Scottish Reformation of religion in May 1560.

One BBC commentator suggested that he was in Edinburgh as a head of state, and in Glasgow he celebrated the Roman mass as head of the Roman Catholic communion.  In this sense, Glasgow was given more prominence than Edinburgh, and he was evidently more relaxed in a place where he was top dog.


The rock concert stage set-up in Bellahouston Park had the added feature of a gruesome crucifix prominently displayed on stage, highlighting the Roman Catholic adoration of images – just as the BBC would later on Saturday night concentrate its cameras on the Roman monstrance during the papal mass at the vigil in Hyde Park, London.  Roman Catholics believe the monstrance contains the actual body and blood, soul and divinity of Jesus Christ, and this is displayed for them to adore.  A crucifix is not an empty cross, a symbol used by many Christians, but a cross with the image of a man supposed to represent Christ, contrary to the second of the Ten Commandments which forbids making images for worship.  Roman Catholics explain away the second commandment by including it under the first commandment, thereby trying to justify the worship of God by images.  This necessitates a re-numbering of the Ten Commandments so that the tenth commandment about coveting is split in two.  So when a person quotes “Thou shalt not kill” as the fifth commandment, you know he/she is a Roman Catholic.

Rewriting history

In his speech of welcome, Mario Conti, Roman archbishop of Glasgow, mentioned the execution of John Ogilvy in the middle of a list beginning with Ninian and ending with John Henry Newman.  He said that he was “hanged for his obedience to the Holy See”.  It is true that he was a martyr for the papacy, but he was actually hanged for treason.  The martyrdom theme was mentioned again in London speeches.  Roman progress in Britain was the theme, as Conti reminded his audience that David, the son of Roman Catholic saint and Scottish Queen Margaret, “revived the ancient bishoprics”.

Roman authority

The theatrics of the occasion included putting the mitre on and off Ratzinger’s head.  The BBC commentator explained that the pope of Rome takes his mitre off for higher authority, so what does it mean when it was replaced on his head before the reading of the epistle of Paul to the Romans 12:3-13?  It is part of the pope of Rome’s delusion of grandeur that he considers himself to be above all earthly authority and, as this symbolism shows, above the Word of God.  Such delusion gives force to Richard Dawkins’ diatribe against religion.

The sacrifice of the Roman mass
As Ratzinger bowed to the crucifix and circumambulated his altar waving incense in the air, some incense was put on him.  The BBC narrator explained that he was ‘incensed’ by a deacon – rather the audience should be incensed that walking about with incense can be considered a serious act of worship to the living God.  He prayed that “our sacrifice may be acceptable to God” and then this modern pope of Rome celebrated mass in Latin.  Mario Conti at his right hand continued in Latin also – to the enlightenment of some of the assembled masses who recited the collective Lord’s Prayer in Latin (Pater noster).  So as to be left in no doubt, the crowd was told that “this is the Lamb of God” as the white-robed officials handed out communion, with a plate held below the chin of the recipient of Ratzinger’s wafers to ensure that none of their sacred host was dropped on the ground.

This visit was an attempt to put a Roman Catholic stamp upon the religious and secular affairs of Scotland.  Its mesmerising effect was not lost on Alex Salmond, First Minister of Scotland and leader of the Scottish National Party, who was seated prominently in a front row alongside Nicola Sturgeon, Deputy First Minister.  He commented afterwards: “This was a great day for Scotland.”  Salmond is a Presbyterian who has actively embraced the multifaith agenda and courted the Islamic vote in Scotland.

Nor did it fail to impress David Robertson, editor of The Monthly Record of the Free Church of Scotland, and minister in St Peter’s Church, Dundee.  On his Facebook entry he wrote: “Just been on Radio Scotland to welcome the Pope to Scotland! I honestly think his book on Jesus is one of the best I have ever read. I think he is an intelligent and thoughtful man and I regard him as a Christian brother. I disagree with the office of Papacy and other things. But you have to ask why the militant atheists are so vicious against the Catholic church – because they are the biggest obstacles to the secularisation of our society – in general the Protestant churches have been pathetic in resisting this. I personally thank the Lord for this Pope.”

Ratzinger came across as a mild, old man, which is likely to sway the gullible; but his words were as dogmatic as ever.  John Haldane, the BBC guest with Sally Magnuson, reminded viewers that people thought of Ratzinger as strident, but this showed him to be a gentle man with delicacy and “maybe we should think again”.  This was expanded – his toughness was not hardness of personality but commitment to truth.  So his toughness was acknowledged: but it is not truth but the dogmatism of the papacy which needs to be noted.   As head of the office of the Doctrine of the Faith, formerly known as the Inquisition, Ratzinger was labelled with the nickname of Rottweiler, so that the Roman hierarchy was unsure how he would be received in Britain.   They have been surprised at his positive reception.

What truth?  Secular and/or religious?

In Edinburgh he spoke against militant atheism and told the media to be more responsible; in Glasgow he spoke about the dangers of relativism.  Ratzinger did not fail to use strong language, revealing the iron fist inside the velvet glove.  This secular agenda, with which many could identify, should not hide the religious agenda nor the errors promoted by the Roman papacy.