Christian Life 

A nation and nations divided

What future Scotland?
 
If at any time I announce that a nation or kingdom is to be uprooted, torn down and destroyed, and if that nation I warned repents of its evil, then I will relent and not inflict on it the disaster I had planned.

And if at another time I announce that a nation or kingdom is to be built up and planted, and if it does evil in my sight and does not obey me, then I will reconsider the good I had intended to do for it.

'This is what the Lord says: Look! I am preparing a disaster for you and devising a plan against you. So turn from your evil ways, each one of you, and reform your ways and your actions.' But they will reply, 'It's no use. We will continue with our own plans; each of us will follow the stubbornness of his evil heart.' "
  (Jeremiah18:7-11)


 

YesNosmallI was born in Scotland and have lived in the Scottish Highlands for all of my life. I regard patriotism and nationalism as two quite different concepts. The first is infused with affection, the second is often saturated in blood.
 
A call from out of the blue

Around a decade ago my telephone rang one afternoon. On the other end of the line was a lady whom I did not know; neither did she know me. We had never met, we have never met since and she and we have never been in touch again.
 
She explained her background and the reason for her call. She was Irish, but now living in London;  of a religious background (in her case, Roman Catholic) but now thoroughly born again of the Spirit of God. Although living in England the Lord had given her a heart to pray for Scotland. So, as she further explained, she had to ask a Scot. Her question to me was as succinct as it was profound: “What do I pray for Scotland?”
 
What do I prayWhat indeed should she pray for Scotland? But her earnest request, arriving out of a clear blue sky, required a considered response. How was I to answer? What would sum up my feelings on that immense subject?  It took me some time. When I was ready to offer my response I could barely speak the words. They stuck in my throat: they brought tears to my eyes and anguish to my soul.
 
I struggled to articulate my reply, but eventually it came out. “Scotland needs to be broken.”
 
A Toast becomes a Boast

In the context of the looming referendum I told this story to a Scottish friend the other day. “What did you mean?” he asked. And I found myself needing to give two answers. The first of these was in relation to the phone call. I quoted an old Scottish drinking toast:
 

Here's tae us; wha's like us?
damn few, and they're a' deid.”


Translated this becomes:
 
“Here’s a toast to us; who can compare with us? Very few, and they are all dead.”
 
The lines convey a proud and arrogant nationalistic spirit. And it is this spirit which has been evident in much of what has appeared on our television screens, in the newspapers and in radio interviews. It is a boastful, self-righteous and self-sufficient spirit expressed in bellicose and anti-UK rhetoric. But it is more than that. And this takes me to the second part of the answer.
 
Deserving to be broken

When I suggested these years ago that Scotland needed to be broken, it was with tears and related to that jingoistic pride rather than anything to do with politics and national boundaries.
But things have changed over the period, and not for the better. And here I now come to the second part of my explanation.
 
Though grieving over the state of Scotland, the nation does indeed need to be ‘broken’ because of the increasing godlessness which has flooded into the land in recent years.

A general godlessness has entered the political arena; and not just the political domain. Militant atheism is now evident in much of the legislation and public discourse of our times. And it was with a proud flourish that the present Scottish government very recently claimed a ‘UK first’ in the introduction of same-sex marriage.
 
The shameless disregard for a referendum on that issue has since been mirrored in the high-handed and undemocratic decision to routinely arm police officers on our streets.
 
God-defying policies

Meanwhile a Scottish political party has just taken on the campaigning mantle for assisted suicide.  (So human life could shortly be at  threat at both ends of the age spectrum.)
Sunday, the traditional day of worship (or at least family, leisure and recreational pursuits) is now a replica of Saturday and – for many employees – can be just another working day.

Schools are ‘educating’ children to believe that homosexuality is just another life-style  while any suggestion that the world was created rather than emerged from some primordial soup is ridiculed and outlawed by a militant neo-atheism.

Currently the Scottish government is introducing legislation which could deprive every Scottish parent of the freedom to choose what is best for their children.
The recent case of the Ashya King and his parents fight for the child’s welfare is a tragic and potent example of authorities in a totally uncaring fashion by ruthlessly over-riding parental decisions.
 
Scotland was once known as ‘the land of The Book (the Bible)’, but now in 2014 and in terms of the Judeo-Christian standards on which the nation was built, it is now utterly lawless.
 
"The question for Scotland is how far the nation will have to fall?"

But what will it take to change that? There is certainly no political will evident in the rhetoric pervading the referendum debate to revert to traditional norms of belief, behaviour and legislation. So what could take Scotland back to its Christian roots? It’s an old-fashioned concept but vital for today. Scotland needs to be broken and brought to a point of repentance: a repentance of heart-broken grief and a turning back to God.
 
The question for Scotland is how far the nation will have to fall before it reaches that point.
 
The nature of the spirit

Amidst all the deliberation, speculation and controversy regarding the Scottish referendum on independence the spiritual dynamic is being ignored
 
In all the uncertainty pervading the prognostications and public debate surrounding the Yes/No campaigns, four things have been abundantly clear.
  1. The spirit behind the drive for independence has, in many cases, been a proud, nasty, vicious and bullying one. (Alisdair Darling, a former UK cabinet minister has stated: “I have been involved in political campaigning for about 35 years and I’ve never seen anything like this before.” A former chief executive of Scottish Financial Enterprise said: “These intimidating acts, some of which are apparently criminal, are stifling free speech and undermining our democracy".
 
  1. The referendum has created huge division in the nation; and it will continue to create huge division for the foreseeable future and beyond. Scotland has become torn and polarised. And the public debate has generated and become infused with an anti-English sentiment which, if indeed it existed before, was minimal, discouraged and dormant.
 
  1.  No one really knows what the socio-political and economic impact will be if Scotland separates itself from the UK. Turmoil in every sphere of life while, in the event of a secession from the UK, the problems and the costs (not to mention those of capital flight) of restructuring will be enormous.
 
  1. The relationships  between Scotland and England, at every level and in every form have been very significantly soured and will likely remain so whatever the outcome.
Over and above all that, there is the question about where all this will end?

There is no logical end to the process of regional fracturing and if Scotland hives off from the UK who knows what the repercussions will be in the constituent parts of Scotland and in other parts of the UK.
UKdividedsmall


Meanwhile, and irrespective of the outcome in a post-referendum Scotland could we see the internal tensions in the SNP over all the other issues of the day start to break out?
 
But for Scotland the real irony in all of this is that independence could lead to the type of collapse which will break Scotland  which is exactly what Scotland needs. And yet another irony: if, no matter the outcome, a thriving and prosperous future develops, it could drive the nation further and further into godlessness and therefore become more deserving of the judgment which we are now due.
 
I grieve over the state of my nation, but pray to the God of the nations.
 
"From one man he made every nation of men, that they should inhabit the whole earth; and he determined the times set for them and the exact places where they should live.

God did this so that men would seek him and perhaps reach out for him and find him, though he is not far from each one of us.

'For in him we live and move and have our being.' As some of your own poets have said, 'We are his offspring.' "Therefore since we are God's offspring, we should not think that the divine being is like gold or silver or stone—an image made by man's design and skill.

In the past God overlooked such ignorance, but now he commands all people everywhere to repent. For he has set a day when he will judge the world with justice by the man he has appointed. He has given proof of this to all men by raising him from the dead."
(Acts 17:26-31)

Therefore, you kings, be wise; be warned, you rulers of the earth.
Serve the Lord with fear and rejoice with trembling.
Kiss the Son, lest he be angry and you be destroyed in your way,
for his wrath can flare up in a moment.
Blessed are all who take refuge in him.
  (Psalm 2:10-12)
 
 
Postscript:
When Solomon prayed his prayer of dedication on behalf of himself and the nation, he adopted a recurring theme in his approach to God: "if we will.... will you....?" 
In response the Lord assured the King that He would respond positively to the latter's requests. But then God added something that King Solomon hadn’t asked for. The Almighty, in His love and mercy continued: “....and [I] will heal their land” (2 Chron. chs. 6&7).

See also: The Origins and Implications of the Scottish Referendum
 
Addendum: Referendum Result (19/09/14)

The referendum produced an overall 'No' vote (for independence) and as a result, Scotland remains as part of the UK. The "No" side won with 2,001,926 votes over 1,617,989 for "Yes". The 85.6% turnout was the highest in decades.

Referendum map
The chart below shows that the areas of Scotland (Northern Isles) and the Borders (represented by the first four rows) had the highest proportion of 'No' votes (shown in red below).
Glasgow is Scotland's biggest city and Edinburgh - the second largest, the capital and the seat of the Scottish Parliament had opposite outcomes. Both of these cities are located in the most populous 'Central Belt' of Scotland. Glasgow produced a 53.49% 'Yes' while the Edinburgh result was a 61% 'No'.

Poll

The Editor, 15/09/2014

Feedback:
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Fearghas MacFhionnlaigh (Guest) 16/09/2014 11:35
I, like many Christians, intend to vote Yes in this referendum. In humility before God. Asking that His will alone shall prevail (as of course it shall). Praying for truth, justice, integrity, light, and hope. Praying for the mercy of God. For the renewing, refreshing wind of His Spirit through Scotland. For the power of the Cross at the heart of our future. For governmental restructuring in righteousness. For the rescuing of the wretched. For a new reformation.

I regret that the above article presents a grossly one-sided view. There are noble aspirations on both sides of this discussion. To demonise one view (the pro-independence view) as is done here, is, I suggest, simplistic and spiritually problematic. Both a renewed UK and a renewed independent Scotland are entirely worthy options. If we must bandy Scripture, let us consider the following:

"And it came to pass, when Joshua was by Jericho, that he lifted up his eyes and looked, and, behold, there stood a man over against him with his sword drawn in his hand: and Joshua went unto him, and said unto him, Art thou for us, or for our adversaries? And he said, Nay; but as captain of the host of the LORD am I now come." (Joshua 5: 13-14)
RVP (Guest) 16/09/2014 12:53
Dear Fearghas MacFhionnlaigh, (is that pronounced Fergus MacFonla?)As a Christian, we must have reverence for Scripture and not bandy it about. But with due respect the Scripture you quote has no bearing on the topic at all!
Would you be so kind as to enlighten us as to your millennial beliefs, or rather do you believe the Church has replaced Israel?
Jack, I will expand in due course.
Gordon (Guest) 16/09/2014 13:24
Yes, but Scotland seems determined not to repent. Despite all the light from the past, gross darkness now covers the land. God has children but no grand-children. Why should Scotland not now be renamed Ichabodland ? They seem to be predestined to reap the inevitable harvest that awaits all unbelievers, whether is a Highlander, a Lowlander or a Sassenach ! Don't put your trust in princes or in politicians but preach the Gospel, praise His name and pray that the people's eyes will be opened.
Jack Thomson (Guest) 16/09/2014 14:12
Gordon,
Scotland isn't even aware that it should repent.
And, no surprise, the Church of Scotland is silent on the subject of repentance - because, it isn't aware that it should repent either - its too busy engratiating itself to the world's spirit - ruled by you know who...
The UK (including Scotland) is, quite literally, a dammed, disordered and corrupted mess which is disintegrating and decaying before our very eyes.
Cameron implores us to value the family of nations which make up the UK.
Family ????- he, and his godless friends, don't even know the meaning of the word!!!!

Ron Beaty (Guest) 16/09/2014 17:28

I write this as as a Christian, well i thought i was one one till i read some of this.
The spirit behind the drive for independence has been a proud, nasty, vicious and bullying one.
Really !!!!,

This surely comes from both sides,not just the drive for Independence, you have actually now taken a side....There is a lack of honesty here..
Regardless, surely every country has a right of self determination, to ensure those worse off than ourselves are looked after, is that happening now, who is to blame for the greed culture in this country, the failing banks, the chasing of rainbows
Those in power now !.
We have food banks in the UK, this is without self determination.
Scotland has a record of looking after those who seek help & always has !

the quote ...Alasdair Darling, a former UK cabinet minister has stated: “I have been involved in political campaigning for about 35 years and I’ve never seen anything like this before.”
I have never read such rot as this ..I am also pretty sure he has.
This is mischief making at its best & also a lie.
I was politically involved for many years, in the late 60s & in the 70s.
I can state honestly & do so..What is happening during this campaign is nothing like it was then.
Much more rough & tumble , threats a plenty,including fights in run ups to by elections in many labour strongholds
Once again we see the truth for what it is, selective.
.
I agree with much of what Fearghas MacFhionnlaigh says & have no wish to be involved in arguments with all the righteous experts on here who are expert at quoting scripture.
Being an expert in scripture does not make you a better person, believe me, nor a better Christian, talk about a superior attitude, how condescending.

In fact reading some of this, i am wondering if i am in the real world, really , yes i know its worldly but i live here meantime.

I accept Christ as my saviour , totally, in every way. I pray that no one who is seeking Gods saving knowledge will ever read some of this, one thing is for sure, nothing more will turn them away from any church door.
Maybe works for those brought up in faith, but what a turn off for those who did not.
Yes i was one, saved by HIS grace whilst out walking, if i had read this , i would still be running
As far as i am concerned, here endeth the lesson


Editor 16/09/2014 18:58
Ron said: "As far as I am concerned, here endeth the lesson"

Thank you Ron for your contribution, and also for making your points and 'signing off'.

Please note that this facility is for responses,not discussions. If ping-pong discussions develop (as some postings seem to suggest) these will be deleted.
RVP (Guest) 16/09/2014 21:49
Jack,
At the time of the first Roman Empire, the Romans advanced north of the Scottish border, I think according to secular historians somewhere north of Sterling. However they retreated backwards and built Hadrian's Wall, one of which purposes were to contain the Scots! Now the Romans NEVER civilised any part of Scotland, they didn't build anything here, unlike in England & Wales where the practically strangled and saturated the place, of which today the remains bear testimony to what I am saying.
Now, when we come to the Bible, prophetically, God's Word tells us there will be a renewed Roman Empire in the 'last days'. Rome was a DEMOCRACY, i.e. a committal of a share in the government to the people, represented by "iron mixed with clay" Daniel 2.43. The Roman emperors, although reigning absolutely, were yet elected by the people; but it is when the countries which once formed the Roman empire are finally divided into ten, symbolised by the ten toes of the image, that the great adulteration of power will be seen under the headship of the prophesied Antichrist.
When we come to Daniel 7.7, we read that the great destroyer of Israel-is represented by a "beast, dreadful and terrible". It made Israel tributary; crucified the Lord; destroyed Jerusalem and dispersed the Jews! The ten horns answering to the ten toes of the image, signify that this coming (LAST GREAT)empire will finally be divided into ten distinct kingdoms-see Daniel 7.24, of which Scotland cannot possibly be a part of-as it wasn't part of the first Roman empire.
To any candid believer who has some understanding of Bible prophecy, Scotland is an independent nation (otherwise why has it a separate name?), and I believe will NOT be part of the coming Antichrist's kingdom. That is not to say that under the Salmon & Sturgeon SNP godless government that things will be as they ought to be, but God can remove these two at any time.
The Bible tells me (in my weak understanding that) we as a nation do not belong to the 'United Kingdom' and would therefore be 'better off' alone, without all the rubbish that comes from Westminster, Brussels, Strasbourg and a very apostate English monarchy. There will be no 'utopia' as such until Jesus Christ returns.
According to Zechariah 14.10 it says that "everyone that is left of the nations which came against Israel..." Think about it, if what I am saying is right, then Scotland will not be part of Antichrist's coming ten kingdom empire. It would appear therefore that for some reason, known only to God that Scotland will not suffer under God's wrath and coming judgement to the any thing like the same degree as those confederate under Antichrist's army?
I realise this may be beyond the scope of most that visit this site, and indeed many will think I am insane, but I do study Bible prophecy, because I believe God.
Jack, you really should 'rise above the bait' as it were and ignore those that want to be contentious.
RVP (Guest) 16/09/2014 21:55
I quoted Zechariah 14.10, it should have read Zechariah 14.16.
Jack Thomson (Guest) 16/09/2014 22:23
RVP,
Thank you for the explanation - it answers so many quandries.
I have always been prompted, but never understood why, to believe that Scotland would never be part of the EU......and what you've just divulged makes so much sense.
Rise above the bait ????
In my carnal, unregenerate nature I have always been a bit of a terrier....nevertheless, with Christ's enablement I will try to 'ignore those who want to be contentious'





Margaret Douglas (Guest) 17/09/2014 08:40
I recently joined this website to be in contact with fellow Christians and know what was going on around our nation. This morning I began to read the articles 're the referendum and I am deeply saddened to read such viewpoints which appear to be determined to cause division and drive division. I am a Scot and nearly all of my friends are English. We respect each other's views but most importantly we are one in Christ Jesus. I shall no longer be reading this biased website and pray that our vision is bigger than this divisive stance. May our God prevail in our hearts no matter what the outcome.
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