Friday, August 09, 2013

American finger to Christian art

From Mr Alexander Boot:

A surgeon from Connecticut took his family to Florence.

By itself there’s nothing remarkable about this: millions of tourists, many of them from the USA, come to Italy every year.

The surgeon then went to the museum of the Duomo’s works of religious art, which isn’t particularly newsworthy either: he was treading a well-beaten path.

Now I don’t know how often the Connecticut surgeon exposes himself to the great glories of Christendom, but it’s evident that he has little respect for them.

To make this point he tried to compare his finger to that of the 600-year-old marble statue of the Virgin by Giovanni d’Ambrogio. The test turned out to be of the destructive variety: the medical man accidentally snapped the Virgin’s finger off.

A security guard tried to stop the surgical procedure but he was no match for the inquisitive Connecticut Yankee. The police arrived, arrested the vandal, then released him without charge.

The museum curator also declined to press charges, and the surgeon rejoined his family, presumably in a queue for some other museum.

The queue is likely to be long: hordes of tourists unfailingly form a beeline for Florentine museums, making one wonder exactly how many art connoisseurs there are in the world. Tens of millions? Somehow one doubts it.

The doubt turns into a certainty when one looks at the crowds besieging, say, the Uffizi and listens to their conversations. Many art lovers, especially those from America, aren’t even sure which city they’re in.

A Scottish gentleman who runs an English-language bookshop in Florence tells me that hardly a day goes by that he’s not asked for directions to the Coliseum, Rialto Bridge, the Bridge of Sighs or even the Parthenon. Directions to Taj Mahal haven’t yet been requested, so there’s something to look forward to.

Why do they come at all, especially in such numbers? Many Americans defer the European experience until their retirement: “Hot damn, honey, we’ve worked hard for this so we’re gonna enjoy it!”

Nothing wrong about that, but if they’ve waited so long to partake of ‘culture’, they’ve waited too long: the boat has sailed. Yet thankfully only few have such far-reaching ambitions.

Most Americans regard ‘Europe’ as a sort of Disneyland, a place where fun can be had provided that one remembers it’s not real life. Real life isn’t about the glories of Christendom. It’s about the property prices in Connecticut.

This is to be expected. After all, the United States is the first (alas, not the last) country in Western history constituted along secular, materialistic lines. For all the cloying references to God in its Pledge of Allegiance, America separated herself from Christendom by a watershed considerably more significant and less navigable than the Atlantic Ocean.

What comes naturally to most Americans is ‘the pursuit of happiness’ stipulated in their founding document – not the pursuit of beauty or, God forbid, the truth. This has produced the happiest society in the West, and also the least Western. There’s a price to pay for secularism, and in America’s case the most prominent rubric on the bill is aesthetic.

Few Americans stop to think why just about everything man-made in their country is ugly, and even when such a thought crosses their minds they do not gasp with horror. Real life isn’t about beauty.

But the great Greeks had a ready explanation for ugliness. They considered what Aristotle called ‘transcendentals’ and what Plato specifically identified as Truth, Beauty and Goodness to be inseparable properties of being.

Leaving theologians to decide whether or how this prefigured the Holy Trinity, one can still derive a logical inference that a deficit in one element of the inseparable triad would automatically produce a failure in the other two.

If true, then Americans could do worse than look at the soulless ugliness of their Houstons, Clevelands and Detroits, and wonder where they’ve gone wrong. Perhaps they could start from the philosophical premise of their statehood.

At the time Giovanni d’Ambrogio was creating his Virgin, the pursuit of happiness would have been regarded as a dangerous heresy. Happiness wasn’t seen as the be all and end all. It was a by-product of other pursuits – specifically that of salvation.

By creating their Enlightenment-inspired secular canon, the Founders set up a cultural disaster. For it’s naïve to expect that the cultural tree of Christendom will remain luxuriant and fertile after its metaphysical roots have been severed.

Thus the finger incident is symptomatic: barbarians tend to break things they don’t understand. Whether they do so out of carelessness or hatred is immaterial. The things get broken in either case.

The word ‘barbarians’ as I use it here is merely descriptive, not pejorative. The Greeks and then Romans used it to describe those from elsewhere. Americans too are from elsewhere – not just geographically, but also metaphysically and therefore culturally.

Patrick Broderick, the Connecticut surgeon, has served a useful reminder of this. 

Alexander Boot is a writer on political, cultural and religious themes


Blogger David Hussell said...

Waoh, this one should stir people up !

Because of their work ethic, Americans have very short holiday allowances each year. So long trips abroad are postponed until their late retirements, which may then be rather late to develop knowledge of the broad historical and cultural sweeps out of which art and other cultural treasures arise. For this I feel rather sorry for the individuals contained in such a culture.

However as a patriot and a Geographer, it irritates me greatly the way that Americans lump all the diverse, rich mosaic of the many cultures and countries, from which their population, largely, has been drawn, into one amorphous mass referred to patronisingly, as "Europe". This reflects their lack of knowledge and experience of the wider world, even amongst middle class Americans. It is intellectually lazy, since knowledge can be sought even without travel. Indeed for the most powerful country on earth, economically and militarily, to be so ignorant of the world is downright dangerous.

Going slightly away from Art, but to another effect of intellectual isolation, I would say this. To a considerable degree the disaster of the EU, forcing countries of widely divergent cultures and economies towards one political grouping, is a product of this American tendency to not understand, to not have to seek, and respect many different views. I understand that US money helped fund the pro-EEC case for the now distant UK Referendum. The facts are a bit murky so I don't have the proof at my finger tips. Others may do so. Of course we were not told the truth by Heath. We were misled, tricked.
Great power and wealth brings great responsibility.

9 August 2013 at 08:23  
Blogger Martin said...

The great glories of Christendom aren't to be found in Europe or the Americas. They aren't works of men, whatever their theme. They aren't the idolatrous statues in some great church, whatever the artistic merit.

The great glories of Christendom are all in Christ and Him alone. If we don't glory in Christ alone and see these things as the feeble effort of sinful men we've lost the plot.

9 August 2013 at 08:42  
Blogger English Pensioner said...

The metal pin apparently sticking up from the broken finger seems to indicate to me that it has been repaired in the past.

9 August 2013 at 09:32  
Blogger David Hussell said...


At a profound level you have a point. Certainly any human artifact, property or even behaviour pattern can become an idol. However few people, certainly including me most of the time, operate at such a deep level.
But what if something is created, to honour God, and thereby to communicate theologically, is all that forbidden? Would you just have only the plain Word, as a means of communicating theological truths, or what ? Learning methods vary across people and few are purely word based. But perhaps you meant something else. How would you channel peoples artistic creativity if they wished to glorify God using their God given talents ? And what about music ?

9 August 2013 at 09:39  
Blogger Jay Bee said...

Few Americans stop to think why just about everything man-made in their country is ugly, and even when such a thought crosses their minds they do not gasp with horror.

This is a rather jaundiced view. Just a touch of repressed jealousy seeping out?

I can see style, flair and even beauty in the Chrysler Building, Golden Gate Bridge, sleek automobiles, and
the rugged faces of their muscular railroad locomotives.

Sure there is the soulness ugliness
of the inner city but America doesn't have the monopoly there.

Cheer up Alexander the US aint all bad. Let's not upset our friends.

9 August 2013 at 09:40  
Blogger John said...

I have generally found a higher level of kindness and generosity of spirit among the Americans I have met on my various trips to that country than their British and European counterparts. I must stress that this comment refers to the citizens of the Southern states as their metropolitan counterparts, particularly in the North East, are often less appealing.

9 August 2013 at 09:59  
Blogger Belsay Bugle said...

This is very good stuff!

We are told that America is a 'religious' country and that the majority goes to church, but what do they worship?

Individual material success, it would appear. And what has that to do with Christianity? It is the working out of the protestant dissent from Christianity and is withering because it is, as you say, separated from its metaphysical roots in Christendom.

And these ageing Yanks (mostly fat and beautifully attired in 'trainers', skip caps and track suits) had better get a move on if they want to do Europe before they die, because once they are jolted awake from the American Dream to the American Reality they will find they can't afford to leave their wonderful country.

9 August 2013 at 09:59  
Blogger DanJ0 said...

On A Summer In Wales the other evening one of the American tourists said that he has always thought Wales is the most beautiful part of England. I guess he was visiting South Wales rather than North Wales at the time as there was no blood spilled, at least on camera anyway.

9 August 2013 at 10:03  
Blogger LEN said...

I don`t pretend to be an expert on this but the 'lady' seems to have a somewhat 'Roman' appearance'?.

Could she be one of the Roman goddesses incorporated into the 'Roman religion?.'

As some has stated she seems to have had repairs before.There is a a story about the Patriarch Abraham breaking more than a finger in his fathers Idol shop.One night Abraham smashed all the idols but one and laid the hammer he used next to the last remaining idol. Abraham`s father was furious when he saw all his work destroyed and asked Abraham who had done this?. Abraham pointed to the last remaining Idol and said "He Did". Abraham`s father said don`t be stupid He cannot do anything.To which Abraham replied "Then why make them!"

9 August 2013 at 10:05  
Blogger David B said...

France, of course, is full of barbarians because a load of boy scouts cleaned invaluable cave paintings.

No wait - perhaps that is not quite fair, and extrapolating what one individual does, or what a small group of individuals do, into deciding the nature of a whole country is just plain stupid.


9 August 2013 at 10:05  
Blogger Malcolm Yarnell said...

As an American who has learned to appreciate Europe's amazing cultural heritage and brings dozens of Americans annually to learn the same, I find your point profoundly and troublingly true. As an historian with Christian commitment, I find the lack of remorse in this essay about the intolerance of historical Christendom, whether Orthodox, Roman, or Protestant, both profound and troubling. Thank you for pricking my conscience; I hope I have in a small way returned the favor. For a free people with free churches (or no church at all) in a free state I am thankful, however ugly our art and architecture.

9 August 2013 at 10:34  
Blogger Darter Noster said...

"If true, then Americans could do worse than look at the soulless ugliness of their Houstons, Clevelands and Detroits, and wonder where they’ve gone wrong. Perhaps they could start from the philosophical premise of their statehood."

Whereas when I in awesome wonder look upon Birmingham, then sings my soul my saviour God to thee...

9 August 2013 at 10:41  
Blogger Johnny Rottenborough said...

@ David Hussell (08:23)—From chapter 16 of The Hidden Hand: Britain, America and Cold War Secret Intelligence by Richard J Aldrich:

‘American officials, trying to stabilise post-war Europe in the face of growing communist parties in France and Italy, assumed that this required rapid unification, perhaps leading to a United States of Europe. President Truman’s Marshall Plan was designed to encourage a federal Europe and this was even more strongly emphasised under his successor, Eisenhower. … The creation of a federalist United States of Europe was therefore a holy grail for Washington. Extensive covert operations for the specific promotion of European unity were launched by the CIA’s greatest luminaries—William J Donovan, Allen Dulles, Walter Bedell Smith, Tom Braden and Frank Wisner—and they continued for over a decade.

The most remarkable US covert operation was vast secret funding of the European Movement. By the early 1950’s promoting European unity was the largest CIA operation in Western Europe. … This covert contribution never formed less than half the European Movement’s budget and, after 1952, it was probably two-thirds. Simultaneously this programme sought to undermine the staunch resistance of the British Labour government, and then of the Conservatives, to federalist ideas.’

9 August 2013 at 10:48  
Blogger Preacher said...

IMO a statue is a statue, a work of art is a work of art, things of beauty, certainly & damage to any is sad & regrettable but as previously stated it appears that the statue's finger has been repaired before & can be restored again.
Accidents happen, that's why they are called accidents. Sometimes people die in them.
If the gentleman in question had gone berserk with a hammer & destroyed it, as Len said Abraham did, that would be a different matter, namely vandalism.

If the figure was meant to be a representation of a god & worshipped, then it is an Idol & God commands that they should neither be made or worshipped as they are false 'gods' & can lead to spiritual bondage. Nothing should nor can replace the living God in the hearts of mankind, no matter how beautiful.
God can Only be worshipped in spirit & in truth, because He is alive & so are we.

Repair the statue & send the gent the bill, or claim on his or the museums insurance. I'm sure the piles of dollars the tourists spend will more than cover the premiums. Or failing that, a Tube of Super glue should do the trick.


9 August 2013 at 11:12  
Blogger carl jacobs said...

I don't suppose I need to point out that this article is two parts stereotyping and five parts European condescension seasoned with a fair amount of envy. I thought to reply in kind, but decided against it.


9 August 2013 at 11:23  
Blogger Darter Noster said...

Spot on, Carl.

It's not as if Europe is over-burdened with culturally sensitive and well-informed people, and nor does it lack complete dumps. Anyone who's ever been to Harlow could testify to the truth of those statements.

Still, it's worth bearing in mind that Boot has made a profession out of not letting balance or perspective get in the way of outrage.

9 August 2013 at 11:36  
Blogger bluedog said...

Das Boot's article drips with cultural snobbery of the worst kind. So much so that he seems unaware that the best tour group in Florence is American owned:

9 August 2013 at 11:57  
Blogger David Hussell said...

Johhny Rottenborough,

Thank you for that addition. As I said I haven't done any research on this but remembered accounts of such background reading by reasonably sane people.

Isn't it frustrating that there isn't time to read all the "sources" oneself ? But I suppose that's what "culture", in the broad sense is about, putting a degree of trust in the judgement of others ? But picking who to trust is the tricky bit. Personally I trust Jesus.

9 August 2013 at 12:09  
Blogger carl jacobs said...


I am prone to my own stereotyping of course. It would have been ironic to respond to stereotyping with stereotyping. Giving into the impulse to strike back would only have affirmed his argument. And it would have been just as unfair.

My daughter (who lives in Europe) says that an important distinction must be made between Americans and Americans who travel to Europe. It's expensive and so it represents a narrow and self-selected slice.


9 August 2013 at 12:17  
Blogger Avi Barzel said...

I like Mr Boot. Still reading through his posts and enjoying them, but on this issue I don't see eye to eye with him. Having grown up in Europe in one of the most beautiful cities, Prague, and having lived in one of the most overrated ones, Vienna, I've had my fill of Yurup and it's bottled residues of culture which will never fully mask the smell of hatred, oppression and violence of the past and present. Give me Northern Ontario, rural Quebec, the Apalachians, the Canadian West Coast with the Haida villages, the native reserve on James Bay's Factory Island, the tundra and the prairie, truck stop longes, the mining towns, bluegrass, small town bar bands, the low-brow art and music of the working man.

9 August 2013 at 12:20  
Blogger Marie1797 said...

It is outrageous what lengths some awful tourists go to just to get a souvenir.

Harlow is not all a complete dump I'll have you know. There are the Gibberd Gardens which are full of statues and creations. They are trying to create culture in a new town and built around Harlow old town which is small but full of olde worlde charm. They have Victorian fairs in full costume in the summer and the town is strewn with various bronze commemorative artefacts. A Cycle museum and tranquil gardens. You obviously didn't look too hard for culture.

9 August 2013 at 12:30  
Blogger Darter Noster said...


"I've had my fill of Yurup"

I know how you feel, though I'd plump for Arizona personally :o)

There's a lot more theology jobs in America than there are in Britain, so hopefully I'll be able to move at some point.

9 August 2013 at 12:35  
Blogger Corrigan said...

Have to say, Florence should be closed and only a limited number of tourists allowed in at a time. Went there last year on honeymoon and it was hellish. Couldn't move for tourists. The place is WAYYYYYY over exploited and is downright unpleasant to visit. Arezzo, just up the railway line, however, was a lovely surprise. But keep it to yourselves - we don't want bloody foreigners going there, now, do we?

Oh, and good man yourself, Avi - never pass up a chance to stick it to those Palestinian-loving Europeans, eh?

9 August 2013 at 12:47  
Blogger William Lewis said...

It does seem to take a certain kind of snobbery to berate the uncultured for attempting to experience some culture, however limited the attempt may be. Personally I'm all for anyone coming over to visit our royal palace theme parks, especially when they bring their dollars with them.

9 August 2013 at 12:49  
Blogger Darter Noster said...


Alright, alright, so I'm guilty of a slight generalisation, but not much of one.

I've spent most of my life in and around Essex, and I'm usually one of the first to leap to its defence against unfair stereotyping. Most of it is amongst the most beautiful countryside and villages in Britain.

Harlow and Basildon new towns, however, whatever vestiges of pre-war rural idyll they may have retained, are amongst the worst architectural atrocities 1950s town planners were ever able to perpetrate. They are far from unique in that respect, but as to their being bloody awful a quick Google image search should suffice.

9 August 2013 at 12:50  
Blogger Avi Barzel said...

Nice try Corrigan. Should have done your honeymoon in Jenin or Gaza City to prove your love then, although you might have lost your bride to the slave markets of Syria or Khartoum.

9 August 2013 at 13:06  
Blogger Avi Barzel said...

PS, I don't count Britain as part Yurrup. I have extended family there who would take make around to places away from the crowds and from the little I've seen in a single day, it's my kind of place. As a lover of the vernacular and the small scale, I would enjoy old manor houses, canals, old railway bridges and Industrial Revolution factories and row houses, the few functioning water meadows, the ruins, the hills of Scotland,the day soon I hope.

9 August 2013 at 13:20  
Blogger Peter D said...

"My daughter (who lives in Europe)"

Does she? Or does she live in a nation that is part of the continent of Europe? Is Mexico "American"?

Until the 'Americans' (of the USA variety) demonstrate an understanding and appreciation of the game of Cricket they will always remain barbarians so far as I'm concerned.

9 August 2013 at 13:34  
Blogger carl jacobs said...

Cricket is a bug. Not a sport.


9 August 2013 at 13:41  
Blogger The Explorer said...

Insofar as this post highlights the Enlightenment origins of the USA, I think it makes a valid point: the American theologian Greogory Boyd said as much in 'The Myth of a Christian Nation'. By 'happiness', though, the Founding Fathers were thinking more in terms of Aristotle than modern-style hedonism.

Given the generosity of American endowments to Oxford and Cambridge (to say nothing of donations to the rest of Britain, never mind the rest of Europe) I find the main thrust of this article problematic.

9 August 2013 at 13:44  
Blogger carl jacobs said...


Well, ya know. You could have left the slimy fish concoctions in Europe. Just sayin ...

Who affirms that all American stereotypes of Canadians are true

9 August 2013 at 13:45  
Blogger Corrigan said...

If I'd honeymooned in Gaza, Avi, I'd be more likely to lose her to an Israeli boming run. Still, I'd probably have been better off - if an Isreali bomb killed her, it means she must have been a terrorist, right?

9 August 2013 at 14:08  
Blogger Scott said...

What a dire festival of stereotypes.

9 August 2013 at 14:12  
Blogger Avi Barzel said...

Carl... who still thinks McFish sandwitches are grown in the basement of Micky Dees.

9 August 2013 at 14:14  
Blogger Avi Barzel said...

We don't do "boming runs," Corrigan. Upsets the ladies.

9 August 2013 at 14:16  
Blogger Owl said...

Having been to the USA a number of times, I find this article downright insulting.

To use a sterotype of the "dumb American tourist" to describe the people of the USA is nonsense.

I have met some of the most friendly, kind and cultured people in the USA. I have also met the opposite in various eurpean countries.

That the USA doesn't have monuments and scultures going back one or two thousand years is a bit bleedin.. obvious.

I wonder if Mr. Boot is confusing culture and history.

I think that he would also find that european culture is also not so well known in China and India, to name but a couple of places.

The Chinese and Indians are more well versed in their own cultures.

The US Americans are building their own culture. The politicians in the UK and EU in general are busily destroying their own.

9 August 2013 at 14:24  
Blogger Nick said...

I've often got into discussions about the beauty or otherwise on English Church buildings. Some people believe it is important that they should be beautiful so as to entice the passer-by to walk in take a look around.

I once attended a large well-known church in London, not far from the BBC, and which was running an appeal to raise £1 million. The money was not for outreach work, spreading the Gospel, or feeding the homeless, but for cleaning up the building.

The real church is not made of brick or stone, but of Christian people united through the Holy Spirit. In this sense, I agree with Martin that religious statues and buildings lie somewhere between
unimportant and idolatry. when they start becoming an end in themselves, then the beholder is drifting off Gods radar.

9 August 2013 at 14:36  
Blogger David Hussell said...

Nick ,

I have sympathy with your viewpoint.
No serious Christian would argue that a church or The Church is composed of its buildings. The first duty is to preach and teach The Gospel, provide the sacraments etc, and then support socially useful movements to demonstrate practical application of that gospel.

However that still leaves, the C of E. anyway, with the practical question of what to do with all these beautiful old buildings, , most now overlarge for their congregations. Many are protected structures and the individual parishes have a legal duty to maintain them. And it cannot be denied that many people, especially members of the fuzzy faithful, those at the fringes of the faith if you like, derive much spiritual comfort from entering them.

Do we ignore all that ? I do not pretend to know all the answers to these problems but just to remind everyone of the questions. Perhaps you know the answer?

9 August 2013 at 16:51  
Blogger John Thomas said...

As a lover of the late Gothic Revival and Arts & Crafts movements, I would point out that the US has produced many good things in these areas - as also, Darter Noster, has Birmingham (UK) which is stuffed with fine late 19th/early 20th century architecture and art - for those with eyes to see ...
I'm with you about the "pursuit of Happiness" (=pleasure = hedonism). Pursue only Beauty and Truth, and happliness will come along with them unbidden, unnoticed, almost.

9 August 2013 at 16:55  
Blogger DanJ0 said...

Do we know what happened to the finger in the end?

9 August 2013 at 17:42  
Blogger Darter Noster said...

John Thomas,

My point is not that Birmingham, or indeed my own current nearest metropolis of Newcastle upon Tyne, lack individual gems and their own unique charm.

My point is that the accusation of soulessness and ugliness can be substantiated against most major cities when one includes the whole metropolitan area. Personally, I very much admire the industrial and corporate architecture of cities such as Newcastle and Birmingham, but one cannot deny that both cities have suffered immensely from post-war town planning which saw little value in either.

Cleveland, Detroit, Newcastle, Sunderland, Birmingham, Sheffield - one has to take the rough with the smooth. There is just no justification for Boot's particular brand of transatlantic smugness.

9 August 2013 at 18:03  
Blogger Office of Inspector General said...

One gives a wry smile when he sees the usual extreme protestant suspects on this site decry the beauty of our Christian heritage. You have NO soul, you wreckers. Your destructive desires for our statuesque culture accurately reflects your bitter narrow minded and erroneous interpretation of God’s love of mankind and our efforts to produce magnificence in his image, as he produced a magnificent creation. Man prepares a beautiful house where he can worship God, and you blighters take a sledge hammer to the fittings and fixtures…

Now get out of this man’s sight. Be gone, you loathsome ignorant thugs…

9 August 2013 at 18:09  
Blogger Office of Inspector General said...

Has this man upset the pious, he wonders. Those who neatly dot ‘i’s and cross ‘t’s in the bible before they undertake their wanton destruction ? The men who believe in talking snakes. Of a loving deity, or so we are told he is, who on one of his frequent off days before Christ, turned an old woman into stone for a laugh. The men who admire a psychiatric case about to slaughter his son on a mountain, until the voice in his head told him not to after all.

And anyway - why should this man get all upset. Here’s why.

Because history tells us the same rabid people who smash idols as they ridiculously label these fine works are the very same that also smash good people too when they object to their madness…

That’s why !

9 August 2013 at 19:41  
Blogger Peter D said...


Do calm down!

Your first post was within the bounds of reasonable. However, I didn't detect any overwhelming strong objections to men and women using their artistic skills to honour God - apart from Len and Preacher which we've come to expect.

Your second was just a heretical rant demonstrating your ignorance of Scripture.

9 August 2013 at 20:15  
Blogger Office of Inspector General said...

Peter D. Do try and stay on topic, that man. Do you know, you can be really tiresome at times...

9 August 2013 at 20:38  
Blogger Peter D said...

Indeed Inspector, we should all endeavour to stay on topic. Trust you agree.

9 August 2013 at 21:04  
Blogger Nick said...

David Hussell

Fair point about the "fuzzy faithful" being attracted to our xhurches because of their attractive architecture. I am just concerned that many see these old buildings simply as museums. Perhaps the way the CofE is going, that's what they'll become.

I have no answer myself other than to say that teaching and living the Gospel should be the first concern of any church. The buildings are there simply to help serve that purpose.

9 August 2013 at 21:31  
Blogger Office of Inspector General said...

Nick, you are far more likely to find God in a magnificent church than you are in a puddle...

And that reads on all levels, as the Americans say...

9 August 2013 at 21:38  
Blogger Nick said...


I believe I can find God anywhere, as He is not restricted by any earthly boundaries. That includes puddles if necessary!

9 August 2013 at 21:46  
Blogger Martin said...


When what is claimed to be done to the glory of God distracts from the worship of God it becomes an idol.

A church is not the place for fine decorations, be they statuary, stained glass, hangings or anything else.

A church is a place to concentrate on God and Him alone

9 August 2013 at 21:50  
Blogger Martin said...


These old building are museums. They are no earthly use for the preaching of sermons, the acoustic is appalling and the words would chase each other round until they all met in the middle.

The early Methodists, Congregationalist & Baptists at least knew how to build a true preaching house. I recall a Baptist church where the pulpit was central on the long side of the building allowing the congregation to see and hear the preacher.

And get rid of choirs too, let the people of God sing, unaccompanied if possible.

9 August 2013 at 22:03  
Blogger plishman said...

Dear Mr Cameron

Have you ever found yourself crying, but not realizing why?

It happens when the emissary of the Trinity is near.

Go to Rome Prime Minister. Pray there, even if you're not sure what to say. Perhaps ask for the gifts of knowledge and wisdom. Perhaps other things besides. You are our leader, but you - and all of us here - are not alone.

Go there. I dare you.

9 August 2013 at 22:04  
Blogger Martin said...


If you recall, Jesus said there were no good people. That is down to Adam following his wife in accepting the advice of that serpent of old.

As for Scripture, if you don't want to accept its warnings don't call yourself a Christian. Remember, God doesn't love everyone.

9 August 2013 at 22:09  
Blogger Peter D said...

Martin said ...
"A church is a place to concentrate on God and Him alone"

Well of course it is - and His creation and Love for all mankind.

"These old building are museums. They are no earthly use for the preaching of sermons ..."

We worship God with all our senses and not just our ears and minds. Our liturgy reflects our theology. God deserves our best.

"The early Methodists, Congregationalist & Baptists at least knew how to build a true preaching house."

Cold, barren and bare - not uplifting or spiritual at all. Still, very much in tune with a puritanical and Calvinistic mind-set.

With his permission, I will quote the Inspector

"You have NO soul, you wreckers. Your destructive desires for our statuesque culture accurately reflects your bitter narrow minded and erroneous interpretation of God’s love of mankind and our efforts to produce magnificence in his image, as he produced a magnificent creation. Man prepares a beautiful house where he can worship God, and you blighters take a sledge hammer to the fittings and fixtures…"

9 August 2013 at 22:15  
Blogger plishman said...

God does love everyone. Why would He create something he didn't like?

If we separate ourselves from God, it is our choice, not His.

9 August 2013 at 22:31  
Blogger Martin said...


No, we worship God with our hearts, the core of our beings. Liturgy is for convenience, the teaching of the Word is what matters.

Those non conformist buildings were bare for a purpose, to avoid distraction. That which should uplift us is not the building but the Word of God. Christians are called to be pure, in their lives and their worship.

The soul isn't in fine art but in the dependence we have on our Maker and Saviour. God requires us to be His temples, not a fine building.

9 August 2013 at 22:34  
Blogger Martin said...


If God loved everyone He would save everyone. If God had loved Esau as He loved Jacob He would have chosen Esau as well.

“As it is written, "Jacob I have loved, but Esau I have hated."” (Romans 9:13 NKJV)

God chooses whom He will to love.

9 August 2013 at 22:37  
Blogger Office of Inspector General said...

Nick, one is in no doubt you could find God in a puddle, or a dog turd come to that. (...This is not irreverence – a point is to be made...)

God made clever people like you. He also made made the average Joe. A thick bastard, by todays standing. Does God love the average Joe ? Yes he does. Does the average Joe need something to impress him about the almighty, such as a glorious church beatified in his name, yes he does, by Christ he does...

Martin. Don’t you ever suggest again this man is not a Christian. Do you understand that ?

9 August 2013 at 22:42  
Blogger David Hussell said...


Yes of course a church is a place to concentrate on God . However we are not all the same. Different people approach God in different ways. For some Scripture is everything, perhaps the only way. But for others visual beauty is the way, for others it may be the uplifting singing of a fully trained choir and then again , for others perhaps incense (although it just makes me cough ) invokes a feeling of prayers ascending.
For me, Scripture is v. important, but not everything. I am more than happy to accept that I am not everyone, and if others find that God is accessible using their other sensory stimuli then I am content for them to do that.
So yes , in churches we must focus on God, but we do this in different ways I feel.
I also find that I readily feel the presence of God listening and watching to a mountain stream, or the ocean waves crashing against the cliff wall.
In Russia recently, I witnessed the real reverence that Orthodox Christians express, towards God, through their icons, their ancient Saints, role models for the Christian life. Let us celebrate the resurgence of that ancient Church in Putin's Russia, I say. The vodka was good too !

9 August 2013 at 22:46  
Blogger Peter D said...

"If God loved everyone He would save everyone."

Ergo he creates people he hates, condemned before time began to everlasting torment. Why? To demonstrate his power.

In one sentence you sum up the horror of the false god you worship. I take it you believe your god loves you?

Well you are welcome to him and I pray you don't spend eternity with him.

9 August 2013 at 23:02  
Blogger Martin said...


If you don't want to believe what God says in His Word, that is up to you. But don't tell me you trust Him.

Do YOU understand?

9 August 2013 at 23:24  
Blogger Martin said...


If it is not reverence to His Word, it is not reverence. If you don't trust His Word how can you claim to trust Him?

God has commanded one way to worship and that is through His Word.

9 August 2013 at 23:27  
Blogger LEN said...

Paul stated that to worship an idol is pagan because behind every
idol is a demon.

Idolatry is described by God as an 'abomination '( Ezek.16:36), no matter who
makes them or is worshipping them . “ Cursed is any man who makes any graven
image or molten image it is an abomination to the Lord” (Lev. 26:1, Deut.27:15).
While Catholics accept this practice of bowing in front of statues of Mary or
saints God does not accept it, He forbids it!

(Is it not strange that Catholics abhor one 'abomination' but embrace another?.)

9 August 2013 at 23:29  
Blogger Martin said...


What does God say. does He say He will save all? On the contrary He says He will have mercy on whom He will have mercy and it isn't up to us to second guess Him.

Did God love Esau as He loved Jacob?

We are all condemned before time, we all deserve damnation. Yet God places His love on some. Else all would be saved.

9 August 2013 at 23:31  
Blogger Brian Gould said...

What English Pnsioner wrote at 09:32: The metal pin apparently sticking up from the broken finger seems to indicate to me that it has been repaired in the past.

The museum restoration personnel had probably done a third-rate job when the finger snapped off on a previous occasion, which would explain why they opted not to prefer charges against the American tourist. All those rants against "uncultured" Americans are just a lot of silly juvenile nonsense, quite liklely prompted by sheer envy, as another commenter remarked.

9 August 2013 at 23:31  
Blogger Peter D said...


ardenjm demolished your position some threads down. If you want to reopen this, go there. I have nothing more to add to what he said.

9 August 2013 at 23:36  
Blogger LEN said...

Inspector... your appalling lack of knowledge about the Scriptures and about God is quite revealing you show about the same level of ignorance as Dawkin`s.

9 August 2013 at 23:39  
Blogger LEN said...

For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.(John 3:16)

Anyone who is a 'whoever' and believes in Christ qualifies for salvation.

9 August 2013 at 23:43  
Blogger Office of Inspector General said...

Len, a pox on you...

Martin, one is speechless, but don’t worry lad, you will get what’s coming to you...

9 August 2013 at 23:46  
Blogger Nick said...


I think everyone has their own particular place where they find it easiest to find God. That place may be in a beautiful church with fine music, or, as I've heard some people say, it might be alone at the top of a mountain.

I personally find listening to Scriptures or an enlightening lesson on the Gospels the most inspiring.

I take the view that God loves all people, including those we on this blog dislike and complain about. He loves Cameron, Clegg, and Tatchell too. Why? Because He created all of us, even the fallen ones. I think Gods love for these people is analogous to having a very naughty child. You may be driven to your wits end by their behaviour, yet to disown them completely causes the parent much pain. It's not a great analogy, but it is probably as close as we can get to understanding the depth of His faithfulness.

9 August 2013 at 23:50  
Blogger Office of Inspector General said...

HE doesn’t love Tatchell...

10 August 2013 at 00:07  
Blogger Office of Inspector General said...

Nick. One can’t imagine ascending to heaven, only to pass through the NAZI area, with Hitler and the boys....

Why should this man’s soul meet promoters of buggery ?

10 August 2013 at 00:14  
Blogger Peter D said...

Yes but Martin believe his god creates people, not through foreknowledge of their response to Him, as simply saved or damned.

Whilst we can claim no merit for our salvation, as it is from Christ, even you, I think, accept that some degree of human will plays a part in our response to Grace.

Nick said ...
"I take the view that God loves all people .... Why? Because He created all of us, even the fallen ones. I think Gods love for these people is analogous to having a very naughty child. You may be driven to your wits end by their behaviour, yet to disown them completely causes the parent much pain. It's not a great analogy, but it is probably as close as we can get to understanding the depth of His faithfulness."

I think it a good analogy. God is Our Father. God takes no delight in damning people. He became Incarnate and died for us all.

"For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life."


"For God decided to love a few before he created them and gave his one and only Son for them, left them no say in whether to believe in him, to give them eternal life. The rest he hated before creating them and condemned them to suffer eternally in torment".

10 August 2013 at 00:15  
Blogger plishman said...

I think this is called universalism. CS Lewis said that everything we do is according to God's plan, it doesn't matter to God. But it matters to us, since it determines whether we are bound for Heaven or hell.

I'm not sure how clearly Lewis saw, but I can't envisage anything being beyond God's control.

10 August 2013 at 00:49  
Blogger plishman said...

I have little functioning sense of smell, and I miss the incense (I even have some Prinknash incense at home, but alas I can no longer use it).

10 August 2013 at 00:55  
Blogger plishman said...

I believe the universe is trying to perfect itself. God is pruning the tree of life.

10 August 2013 at 00:58  
Blogger Peter D said...


No it isn't universalism. Universal is a heresy that teaches that all sinful and alienated human souls — because of divine love and mercy — will be reconciled to God.

This is not what I've said.

10 August 2013 at 01:16  
Blogger Nick said...


I didn't say that all these people would go to Heaven, I just say that it pains God to lose any of His creation.

Remember though, even people like Mr Tatchell were innocent humans at some point in their life, before they became corrupted.

Occasionally, God even wins back some of these fallen souls, as He did with Paul on the road to Damascus.

10 August 2013 at 01:52  
Blogger plishman said...

Peter D

What I am trying to say is that it is in the gift of human beings to decide whether they will reside with God (and accept his will) or hell (and do what they will).

Free will is real, although I think that God prevents us from doing any real damage by our tantrums. Our behaviour does however tell him what sort of creature we are.

It's an incomplete picture. I accept that there are many mysteries to existence.

10 August 2013 at 01:59  
Blogger Peter D said...


Then my apologies for misunderstanding you. I agree with you up to a point. I believe God permits, not wills, man to do real damage. He draws us to Him through Christ. We respond, or not, according to our openness to His Grace.

A picture is worth a thousand words. I grew up with a picture of the Sacred Heart of Jesus in my family home. I spend endless hours looking at it. The image is profound and worth an incalculable number of sermons.

There is one on my blog for anyone interested. Just follow the link. How anyone can deny the power of art and its capacity to draw us to Christ is beyond me. I do not worship this image. I am moved by the message of endless, patient and fervent, heart breaking love it conveys.

The Gospel in a picture that a child can understand - and a man.

10 August 2013 at 03:12  
Blogger non mouse said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

10 August 2013 at 04:00  
Blogger plishman said...

Peter D

If God allows us to do such damage, to put us to the test, surely He cannot leave the damage done? He must fix the damage we do. We call it 'forgiveness' I think.

This means that forgiveness is not simply a concept, but an action which costs God. Wouldn't it be of no value otherwise?

And - if we did not truly have free will, what would be the point of the test? The outcome would already by determined.

A poem I have found well worth wandering through is 'The Hounds of Heaven'.

10 August 2013 at 04:27  
Blogger Martin said...


I've yet to see ardenjm demolish anything except the truth. Fact is, Rome made traitors of all its adherents by requiring them to oppose the English state. Their theology was made dependent upon the murder of Christian believers.

10 August 2013 at 08:25  
Blogger Martin said...


Anyone who believes is of the whoever.

10 August 2013 at 08:26  
Blogger Martin said...


On the one hand we have the claim that God loves all men and on the other there are some who make themselves unlovable.

Yet God is angry with the wicked every day, and we are all wicked.

We are born as sinners and proceed to live according to our nature. We all deserve the condemnation, God does not create any of us for it but we choose to go that way, despite the knowledge of God He places within us.

If God allowed us to go as we will we would all end up damned, all refuse to attend the wedding feast of the Lamb.

But God does not hand that, even partial, victory to the Accuser. God chooses to gather in the weak, the ignorant, the poor and unworthy to that marriage feast, to His Church that it might be filled.

How can the dead raise themselves to life, how can the born arrange their own birth? Salvation has to be all of God and God does not change His plan which He conceived, outside of time, before this world existed.

To God be all the glory.

10 August 2013 at 08:41  
Blogger David B said...

It's quite interesting to see slightly different concepts of the emperor leading to see the holders of those concepts deciding on the basis of those concepts what clothes the emperor must be wearing.

All this before establishing that the the emperor is not nude, or indeed establishing that there is an emperor at all.

Still, that's theology for you.

In the bunkum that is phrenology, in the bunkum that is astrology, at least one can establish that there are heads, and that their are stars, no matter how false the ideas concerning the heads and the stars respectively have been shown to be.



10 August 2013 at 09:05  
Blogger Peter D said...

"On the one hand we have the claim that God loves all men and on the other there are some who make themselves unlovable."

Actions are unlovable - not the person. God loves us all - unconditionally and He draws us all to Him through His Son. At the moment of our death our fate will be eternally sealed. Until then there is always the possibility, through Christ, of redemption.

"If God allows us to do such damage, to put us to the test, surely He cannot leave the damage done? He must fix the damage we do. We call it 'forgiveness' I think."

God has already forgiven every sin that has and will ever be committed - on the Cross at Calvary.

It's then whether we as individuals access that forgiveness through a relationship with Christ by joining ourselves with Him.

Love and Mercy are eternal attributes of God. So to is Justice.

10 August 2013 at 12:46  
Blogger LEN said...

Something here needs to be addressed if not for the Inspectors benefit then possibly for others misled the Inspectors unthinking remarks remarks about the Patriarch Abraham and God Himself.The Inspector said 'The men who admire a psychiatric case about to slaughter his son on a mountain, until the voice in his head told him not to after all.'.

This is a direct insult to God and Abraham (who is the Father of the Faith)

God had a blood covenant with Abraham that the Messiah would come through the descendents of Abraham .Abraham though he and his wife we well advanced in years believed God.When Isaac was born against all natural odds he was 'the apple of his fathers eye' a beloved son.
God asked Abraham to take his son to Mount Mariah and to sacrifice his son there. The reason for this was not that God wanted Abraham to sacrifice his son but to test Abraham`s faith.
When Abraham was on the last leg of his journey he told those to with him to remain behind whilst he and Isaac climbed Mount Mariah.
Abraham said we will BOTH be back.
Abraham`s faith in God was so strong that he believed that God would raise Isaac from the dead if necessary!.

However God said for Isaac to stop and He (God) would provide the sacrifice Himself .And so He did many years later in the person of Jesus Christ on exactly the same hill on Mount Mariah named Calvary.

So Abraham called the name of that place The LORD will provide; as
it is said to this day, "On the mount of the LORD it shall be provided."
And the angel of the LORD called to Abraham a second time from heaven, and
said, "By myself I have sworn, says the LORD, because you have done
this, and have not withheld your son, your only son, I will indeed bless
you, and I will multiply your descendants as the stars of heaven and as
the sand which is on the seashore. And your descendants shall possess the
gate of their enemies, and by your descendants shall all the nations of
the earth bless themselves, because you have obeyed my voice." So Abraham
returned to his young men, and they arose and went together to Beer-sheba;
and Abraham dwelt at Beer-sheba.

10 August 2013 at 15:10  
Blogger Martin said...


God loves some and hates others:

“As it is written, "Jacob I have loved, but Esau I have hated."” (Romans 9:13 NKJV)

The context of this passage is about God making the choice, His choice, of whom He will save. He chooses to save some and allow others to continue in their path to damnation.

God made that choice in eternity, before the World was formed, because He knew that none would turn to Him.

“Blessed [be] the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly [places] in Christ, just as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before Him in love, having predestined us to adoption as sons by Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the good pleasure of His will, to the praise of the glory of His grace, by which He has made us accepted in the Beloved.” (Ephesians 1:3-6 NKJV)

10 August 2013 at 16:08  
Blogger Office of Inspector General said...

Rather silly idea Martin, the concept of God ‘hating’. Rejecting, yes, but hating ?

10 August 2013 at 16:52  
Blogger Office of Inspector General said...

Martin, Yet God is angry with the wicked every day, and we are all wicked.

Steady on, it’s not that bad. Has it occurred to you that the almighty might actually like us for what we are much of the time ? Apart from you that is, a God botherer....

10 August 2013 at 17:00  
Blogger Peter D said...


When referring to "Jacob" and "Esau", God is not speaking of two individuals, but of two nations.

God is not saying, "I’m sending one of you to Heaven and one of you to Hell". Romans is quoting an Old Testament passage from Malachi (1:2-3), long after Jacob and Esau were dead. Both passages (Romans & Malachi) refer to the nations of Israel and Edom.

"Love" and "hate" are used differently than they are used today. Hate is used in the sense of “loved less.

This Scripture is not speaking of personal salvation, but of how God elected Israel to be His chosen people and passed over Edom. It has nothing to do with our personal salvation. You make the mistake of saying this chapter is only about personal election, about whether one is sent to Heaven or Hell.

God is not talking about two individual predestined before birth, one for Heaven and one for Hell. God is not talking about salvation. He was simply saying that Israel is going to be His choice, and the descendants of Jacob are going to be His spiritual leaders in the world…Nothing is said here about one twin going to Heaven and the other going to Hell - or indeed about individual personal salvation within these nations.

First Timothy 2:4 speaks of a "God and Saviour" who: "Will have all men to be saved and come to the knowledge of truth.”

And John 3:16: "For God so loved the world, as to give his only begotten Son: that whosoever believeth in him may not perish, but may have life everlasting."

So, Romans 9:13 is a reference to Malachi 1:2-3 and refers to nations (Israel and Edom) and not individual sinners. God does not hate sinners. He loves sinners. The statement here is about national election, not individual salvation.

10 August 2013 at 17:40  
Blogger Martin said...


So what is God rejecting a person if not hating them? And it is quite clear that we are all wicked, we all choose to go our own way, we all reject God. What we are is rebels, siding with Satan against God. Is there anything in that for God to like?

10 August 2013 at 17:47  
Blogger Martin said...


Look beyond the verse to the rest of the passage. It is of God who shows mercy. Mercy was not shown to Pharaoh, an individual, because God chose to harden his heart. God chooses to make for honour and dishonour.

No one is predestined for Hell, we all deserve it, it is the just recompense for our sin. But God chooses some for Heaven.

God wills that all might be saved, the call goes out to all, but they all, in like manner, give excuses. They will not come to the marriage feast of the Lamb. So God brings in the weak, the poor, the lame, those who He chooses to save. To these God gives faith, that they might believe, that they might be the whosoever.

Romans 9 is about individuals, about their salvation.

10 August 2013 at 17:56  
Blogger Office of Inspector General said...

Martin, one sees it like this. You engage a fellow for a trial two week period. He does not impress, far from it. At the end of the two weeks, you say it didn’t work out. You tell him he won’t be staying with you. Rather different from ‘hate’ do you think ? We have a lifetime to impress – if we fail, we will never get closer to God. Rather simple really...

As for 17:47, what a disgraceful attitude you have. Has it occurred to you that if God really is pained at his human creation, what happens ? Well, we are still here, aren’t we. Rather think he is more intrigued than pained, as to what free thinking humanity comes up with next. Perhaps we are a game to him, an interest. We are his pets, if you will...

10 August 2013 at 17:57  
Blogger Peter D said...


He chooses to save some and allow others to continue in their path to damnation.

God made that choice in eternity, before the World was formed, because He knew that none would turn to Him."

What a dark god you worship.

Ephesians 1:3-6 reminds Christians we are part of the family of God. God the Father in the Prodigal Son is shown to be moved way beyond justice, propriety, and dignity and literally flies off his front porch to embrace us at the very first sign of repentance on our part. In it our relationship with Jesus Christ is affirmed.

It is through Christ’s grace, we are as God acclaims us: the adopted daughters and sons of God. It is more than a fact after we go running back to God. It is our destiny.

For a penitent or community in need of this affirmation, this is a brilliant reminder, a song that should always be on our hearts and on our lips.

It is not a dark tale of God condemning all man who he hates and randomly sparing a few. You diminish God with your interpretation.

Predestination has two elements:
God’s gracious aid directing us to an end we cannot reach ourselves; and foreknowledge of our correspondence with His grace. Predestination has only one fundamental cause: God’s love and not His hate for mankind.

10 August 2013 at 18:06  
Blogger Office of Inspector General said...

Len, Christianity had the choice to drop the OT. Or at least bury it behind a wall in Rome. Mon regret ! Nes pas...

How about, God asked Abraham to take LEN to Mount Mariah and to sacrifice him there.

However, LEN picked up on this and fled. Abraham tracked him down to a burrow. “Come out lad, it’s only a walk up and down a mountain” said Abraham, knife in hand. “If it comes to it, I’ll get your man to raise you up from the dead”

“Go away, you bloody madman” cried LEN. For he was in fear.

And the god of the OT laughed his head off at all that. Verily, I can tell you !

10 August 2013 at 18:09  
Blogger Peter D said...


Catholic Police ... calling Haw-Haw ....

I'm with Len on this one. Isaac foreshadows Christ's death.

10 August 2013 at 18:48  
Blogger Office of Inspector General said...

A dry run ?

10 August 2013 at 19:12  
Blogger Martin said...


You cannot do anything of yourself to please God. Remember:

“But we are all like an unclean [thing], And all our righteousnesses [are] like filthy rags; We all fade as a leaf, And our iniquities, like the wind, Have taken us away.” (Isaiah 64:6 NKJV)

That's what you and I are, our imagined righteousness is filthy rags, the best we can do is dung in God's eyes.

Remember Paul's attitude to all those things that made him good in his own eyes:

“But what things were gain to me, these I have counted loss for Christ.” (Philippians 3:7 NKJV)

If you are relying on "working out", you don't even approach it. You have nothing that God wants or needs but He still offers you mercy. Do not turn it down.

10 August 2013 at 20:04  
Blogger Peter D said...


A "foreshadowing" .... as in an indication, a suggestion, in advance of Christ's coming sacrifice.

10 August 2013 at 20:07  
Blogger Martin said...


It isn't a dark God at al, it is a wonderful, glorious, merciful God who saves men and women who do not deserve to be saved.

Yes, Christians are part of God's family, part of the Bride and yes He will bring them back when they stray. But those people of God have been saved by His mercy, by His act of sovereign grace when they deserved nothing but damnation.

As for OoIG question as to why we are still here. It is because God will save a people for His glory for Eternity.

10 August 2013 at 20:12  
Blogger Peter D said...

"He still offers you mercy. Do not turn it down."

But ... I thought ... it was all a done deal ... before creation? That God decides who He "hates" and who He "loves" and damns and saves accordingly.

Now you're confusing yourself and other Calvinists with this acknowledgement of an offer of Mercy that can be refused or accepted.

10 August 2013 at 20:16  
Blogger Peter D said...

" ... it is a wonderful, glorious, merciful God who saves men and women who do not deserve to be saved."

We're agreed on that.

"Yes, Christians are part of God's family, part of the Bride and yes He will bring them back when they stray. But those people of God have been saved by His mercy, by His act of sovereign grace when they deserved nothing but damnation."

Ummm ... leave that one with me. The "sovereign grace" bit suggests no need to cooperate on our part.

"As for OoIG question as to why we are still here. It is because God will save a people for His glory for Eternity."

Well, He saves us because He loves us all and wants us all to be with Him in Paradise. He lacks nothing and doesn't need us for His glory! Not all will make it but He is patient and waits like the Father of the Prodigal Son.

10 August 2013 at 20:25  
Blogger Martin said...


I'm not confusing myself. God offers mercy - anyone who wills may take it.

We can't cooperate, we're dead in our sins. And when we are saved it is done.

10 August 2013 at 20:46  
Blogger Peter D said...

"I'm not confusing myself. God offers mercy - anyone who wills may take it."

Have you missed a word out?

"We can't cooperate, we're dead in our sins. And when we are saved it is done."

So really we're right back to God deciding with no human agency at all. We're mere puppets.

Mercy is a given for all through Calvary. God's Grace is the key and whether it is sufficient or efficacious in accepting this and the role and extent of free will in this dynamic.

We're not totally degenerate - we're fatally, even mortally, wounded. There's a difference. Christ transforms us. He doesn't cloak our degeneracy.

10 August 2013 at 21:22  
Blogger Office of Inspector General said...

Ah, Martin is a Calvinist !

Well, if he’s in with that crowd, might as well disengage as he’s beyond help. But it does explain why he sees most of mankind as God’s enemy, and not as lost sheep as Christianity would have them. Had thought he was a freelancer, like Len...

10 August 2013 at 21:47  
Blogger Jumbo Driver said...

This article is unworthy of the Cranmer blog. The sort of anti-Americanism prevalent amongst many in socialist Europe demonstrates an ugliness of soul. I would request His Grace pack you off to the New Statesman or perhaps the Independent to share a desk with Owen Jones.

10 August 2013 at 22:14  
Blogger Ivan said...

Len, so finally old Abe was play acting with his son Isaac. What sort of a sadist would do such a thing? If Abe already knew or hoped that Jehovah would him pull back at the last minute, then Jehovah was jerking him around, the passage having is one of those dark Babylonian tales with no significance for Christians. Child sacrifice was practiced in the ancient world on occasions to appease the gods. Casuistry being what it is, had Isaac had been killed, they commentary would be that his sacrifice gave rise to new life etc. The only way to square the story with the actions of the Christian God, is as you say to view it as a prefigurement of the actual sacrifice of Jesus Christ the Only Begotten Son of God. Otherwise it is just a load of crap.

11 August 2013 at 08:29  
Blogger Ivan said...


As it is written, "Jacob I have loved, but Esau I have hated." (Romans 9:13 NKJV)

Jehovah hated Esau so much that Esau ended up with sons, cattle and land of his own. These being the signs of blessings in those moronic days. Esau was indeed a far better man than me. After cooling his heels and having time think it over, he forgave the cowardly cad Jacob. Now who among us, invested with the right of primogeniture would have forgiven so easily? Esau was a pearl among men, a man in a million as anyone involved a serious property dispute will attest. I am just glad that it is Jesus Christ and not motor-mouth Paul who saves

11 August 2013 at 08:42  
Blogger Truth Traveler by Dalton Priddy said...

One of America's great songs tells it like it is.
She is very beautiful and sacred.

O beautiful for spacious skies, 
For amber waves of grain, 
For purple mountain majesties 
Above the fruited plain! 
America! America! 
God shed his grace on thee 
And crown thy good with brotherhood 
From sea to shining sea! 

Mr. Boot, your so wrong about America. Yosemite, Yellowstone, Grand Canyon, to name a few, are some of the most beautiful places on earth and they're protected national parks for the people to enjoy for as long as they exist. Open your heart and eyes, look at the beauty.

12 August 2013 at 01:58  
Blogger LEN said...

Ivan I believe you have grasped the principle involved here; 'the only way to square the story with the actions of the Christian God, is as you say to view it as a prefigurement of the actual sacrifice of Jesus Christ the Only Begotten Son of God'

12 August 2013 at 14:55  
Blogger Johnny Rottenborough said...

@ Albert (18:54)—Islam has been pursuing ‘policies which result in the deaths of thousands innocent people’ throughout its existence. The suicide bomb is but the scimitar updated.

Sahih Bukhari Volume 4, Book 52, Number 220. Narrated Abu Huraira: Allah’s Apostle said, ‘I have been sent with the shortest expressions bearing the widest meanings, and I have been made victorious with terror [cast in the hearts of the enemy]’.

12 August 2013 at 22:13  
Blogger Ivan said...

Len, yes and I venture to say (though you may not agree), that is part of the mythos - in the sense of all-embracing truth -behind the Catholic Eucharist. Christ by offering Himself to be eaten in the form bread and wine, reversed the order of sacrifice in this world. In any ecosystem who eats whom, more or less determines the power structure of that system. The big fish eat the little fish all the way up to the apex predators, the sharks and the killer whales. The dominant classes throughout history that exploited the labour and substance of others functions as a kind of all-devouring predator. Examples such as these are legion. Where I live in Singapore, one can still find parts of suckling pigs offered to appease spirits, at the bases of trees. The primitive peoples did this to entreat the higher powers, to spare them, and eat the offered animals instead. Jesus Christ reversed all this, the sacrifices necessary to sustain the world would now be based on Him. Which is why it was so easy to convert the pagans, they understood instinctively, in their blood and bones, that here was a God who would rather that they eat Him, than be eaten by Him. As the late John Ashcroft said in the aftermath of 9/11: "Christians have a God who sacrificed Himself for us, and not have us sacrifice ourselves for Him."

I picked up these ideas from reading an extraordinary blog post that I cannot now find.

13 August 2013 at 06:07  

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