THERE IS A WAY WHICH SEEMETH RIGHT UNTO A MAN, BUT THE END THEREOF ARE THE WAYS OF DEATH. (Proverbs 14: 12.)
'On the day his body armour stopped the bullet in his back, Collins was unshaven. After that, he never shaved before a patrol, adding that to his superstitious ritual of listening to Linkin Park on his iPod before going out. Underneath his body armour he wore a wooden cross, one of those blessed in Bangor Cathedral and distributed by the chaplain before the tour.'
The above is a quote from an article on the online edition of the Daily Mail. You can read the article via the link below.
The reason I have quoted this is because it gives us a clear example of what is wrong in so-called Christianity today. This God-grieving malaise is exemplified in the so-called 'Christian' department of the British military. Dan was superstitious. Prior to patrols he would play a particular song, avoid shaving and wore a wooden cross which had been supposedly 'blessed' by some fool in a cathedral. Sadly, as we learn from the article Dan went on to take his own life. No one knows what went through his mind in his dying moments. But there is one thing we do know - his superstitious beliefs did him no good whatsoever - only harm.
It is of course not new for those in the military to observe superstitious practices when life and limb are at risk. The famous Red Baron, the highest scoring flying ace of WWI is reported to have always worn the same coat to fly as he believed it to be 'lucky'.
One dictionary definition of superstition is: 'An irrational belief in something.' Superstition has an infinite variety of forms, but the most common would probably be the object-based form like the supposedly 'blessed' wooden crosses already mentioned. We find all manner of statues, trinkets, beads and images in the plethora of man made religions throughout the world. The most well known of all these man made systems being of course, the great counterfeit of Christianity itself, which has a man called the 'Pope' sitting at its head.
Superstition, though a comfort to many, is of course, as the definition above states, irrational - it can only do us harm. The harm it does is that it deceives us. To be deceived is always a bad thing, sometimes lethal. Never more so than in the great matter of our eternal well-being.
My point is that because of the way UK law has evolved legislation has been set in place which forbids the condemning or even criticising of anything which an individual chooses to hold dear. Commonly called 'political correctness' or 'PC' for short.
When I was a serving soldier in Belfast during the troubles I used to pray prior to and during patrols because I feared death. I wasn't superstitious. The reason I wasn't superstitious was because I had been given good advice about God by an experienced Christian relative. Had I never heard the sound advice, I too may have indulged in superstition.
I recently spent just over 3 years in the employ of a nominally Christian organization called SASRA. S.A.S.R.A. stands for Soldiers' and Airmen's Scripture Readers Association. They have a hearty reputation amongst those that support them. But the best view of an organization is always from the inside. They claim to exist to proclaim the gospel of Jesus Christ to British soldiers and airmen. The trouble is, whatever they once were they certainly don't proclaim the whole gospel now - as I found to my cost.
I enjoyed my work with SASRA, though I did not enjoy the wishy-washy Christianity it brought me into contact with. But I did remind myself that that was why I was there - as hopefully a light in the darkness.
In 2009, I was working amongst the Coldstream Guards in Aldershot, telling them about the Gospel. It was good.
One day as I made my way around the rooms talking to the soldiers as they relaxed or got on with their personal admin I met a Roman Catholic soldier who told me he had a 'Saint Christopher', excitedly adding that it had been 'blessed'. This soldier was in the process of packing his kit to fly to Afghanistan on active service. I was keenly aware of the importance of telling this man the truth because it was obvious that he was placing the trust he ought to have placed in God in the Saint Christopher medallion which his sister had given him. I thought to myself, 'Now, how am I going to put this to him in a way which will not cause offence?'
'Lord, give me grace.'
I told him it was very nice that his sister had given him a present, that it was a nice expression of affection, but that when we speak about the things of God and the things of men we must make a distinction. I told him that it was not possible to 'bless' pieces of metal, that inanimate objects cannot help us draw near to God, that in fact they are impediments - they can only come between us and God. I told him that we have to know God personally, in our hearts - that we must know the invisible power of the invisible God.
We spoke for some time, probably 2 hours and covered a number of things. He seemed happy to talk with me. I remember him saying: 'That's not what I've been brought up to believe.' I was careful to stress to him that I was only telling him what the Bible said and that I believed it to be the word of God. The rest, I said, was up to him - between him and God. I told him that I could not make him believe and was not trying to - that is God's work, not mine.
I thought our meeting had been quite amicable, but it wasn't until some time later that I discovered he had phoned his father the same evening and told him about our conversation. The father's reaction was to pen a letter to the Coldstream Guards' CO bitterly complaining about what I had said to his son. I can only imagine (and hope) that I must have made the son begin to question some of the Roman dogma and that this was probably what incensed his father so much. The CO's reaction was to immediately prohibit me from speaking to any of his soldiers from that moment on. SASRA's reaction was to summon me to appear before a hastily convened kangaroo court. People in SASRA HQ in Aldershot who had always greeted me in the friendliest manner and called me by my first name suddenly treated me like a stranger, addressing me as 'Mr Mackenzie' and instructing me to 'wait there until you are called.' I was shocked.
The first question they asked me was: 'Why did you condemn his Saint Christopher?' I could hardly believe my ears. 'You mean I have to tell you?', I thought.
To cut a long story short, SASRA sacked me for telling the truth. The truth according to the Bible. Strange eh? I was told that I had 'done nothing wrong.' But that they had no choice because the army chaplaincy department would no longer allow me to work with soldiers because of the complaint made against me.
SASRA are all about compromise. They imagine that 'getting access' to soldiers at all costs is the be-all-and-end-all and anything that would seem to put that at risk is a big no-no. So that's the Bible out of the window then. Because if you attempt to preach what God requires you to preach to sinners, like exposing false hopes (which is a vital element of the gospel of Jesus Christ), and a complaint is made (which is inevitable if you are faithful to the truth), you will be expelled. The key thing seems to be: 'Don't upset the apple cart!'
It's fine to hand out superstitious soul-destroying relics like silly wooden crosses, but I get sacked for telling the truth. Is this God's will?
THE PROHETS PROPHECY FALSELY, AND THE PRIESTS BEAR RULE BY THEIR MEANS; AND MY PEOPLE LOVE TO HAVE IT SO: AND WHAT WILL YE DO IN THE END THEREOF? (Jeremiah 5: 31.)
THEY HAVE HEALED ALSO THE HURT OF THE DAUGHTER OF MY PEOPLE SLIGHTLY, SAYING, PEACE, PEACE; WHEN THERE IS NO PEACE. (Jeremiah 6: 14.)
P.S. I find in the latest edition of SASRA's magazine the words: 'Derick Mackenzie left us in August...' This is a lie. They kicked me out. Why do they not just write the truth? Why are they so keen to keep this matter quiet?