Thursday, January 09, 2014

Persecution is the price we pay for truth


Persecution is suffering. It can be inflicted by authorities, groups or individuals, usually for the silencing or subjugation of unacceptable opinions or beliefs. It has been endured by the Church since its inception within the Roman Empire, where Christianity was initially identified with Judaism, a religio licita, but in which a tiny and relatively insignificant 'sect' gradually established its own religious, social and political identity which was viewed as a threat to the political order. Early Christians therefore had to contend with persecution from three sources: the Jews, the Romans, and, as various groups grappled with ever-increasing theological differences, each other.

 The worship of pagan gods and of the emperor was commonplace throughout the empire, and the Christians’ non-participation in pagan rituals and general separateness brought accusations of anti-social behaviour. Talk of eating the body and blood of Jesus, and the customary greeting with a kiss, brought charges of cannibalism and incest. Tacitus spoke of Christians as being a "notoriously depraved" people who held to a "deadly superstition", and they consequently became associated with the collegia - clubs or secret societies. Such groups were considered a threat to political stability because of the threat of sedition. To refuse to participate in the pagan emperor-cult was a political as well as a religious act, and could easily be construed as dangerous disaffection. In the opinion of the general populace, such a crowd of wretches were plainly worthy of extermination, and any repressive measures that were taken against them by authority could be sure of popular approval. Successive emperors were therefore able to inflict persecutions with varying degrees of vehemence.

Nero arrested multitudes of Christians, and had them put to death in the most shocking manner. Their crime was not so much incendiarism as their anti-social tendencies. Dressed in wild animal skins, they were torn apart by dogs, or crucified, or made into torches to be ignited after dark as substitutes for daylight. Persecution became so great that it became the hope of many Christians to die a quick death by beheading (the usual punishment for Roman citizens). However, their citizenship did not always save them from the tortures. It was during this period that both Peter and Paul were martyred, probably within a year of each other.

Trajan followed suit. One of his governors, Pliny the Younger, was of the mind that Christians ought to be exterminated simply because of their "squalid superstition", not so much for any specific criminal activity. But Trajan insisted that credible charges should be brought against them, and execution was to follow unless he or she recanted and gave proof by invoking pagan gods. Persecution was especially bad in Syria and Palestine. In 107 Trajan went to Antioch and demanded that everyone sacrifice to the gods. Ignatius, Bishop of Antioch and pupil of the apostle John, wrote to Polycarp, another disciple of John, on his way to Rome: "Let the fire, the gallows, the wild beasts, the breaking of bones, the pulling asunder of members, the bruising of my whole body, and the torments of the devil and hell itself come upon me, so that I may win Christ Jesus." Ignatius refused to sacrifice to the gods, and was martyred by being thrown to wild animals.

Tertullian later observed observed: "The Christians are to blame for every public disaster and every misfortune that befalls the people. If the Tiber rises to the walls, if the Nile fails to rise and flood the fields, if the sky withholds its rain, if there is earthquake or famine or plague, straightway the cry arises: 'The Christians to the lions!’.” Clement of Alexandria recorded the consequences: "Many martyrs are daily burned, confined, or beheaded, before our eyes."

In AD202, Septimius enacted a law prohibiting the spread of both Christianity and Judaism. This was the first universal decree forbidding conversion to Christianity. Violent persecution broke out in Egypt and North Africa. Leonides, father of Origen, was beheaded. A record exists of a young girl being cruelly tortured, then burned in a kettle of burning pitch with her mother, and a poignant testimony of how Christianity crossed social barriers is evidenced in the martyrdom of Perpetua in Carthage. It is reported that this young noblewoman held hands with Felicitas, a slave girl, and exchanged a kiss before being thrown to wild animals at a public festival.

When Decius Trajan ascended the throne, he published an edict calling for a return to the pagan state religion. Local commissioners were appointed to enforce the ruling, which was the signal for a persecution which, in extent, consistency, and cruelty, exceeded all before it. It was the first to extend over the whole empire. When people were suspected of being Christians, they were given the opportunity of offering sacrifice to the gods before the commissioners. Certificates were issued to prove a person’s loyalty to the pagan religions. Many Christians yielded to the pressure, but those who refused were imprisoned and interrogated. There was no overt pursuit of martyrs, but rather a desire for conformity and syncretisation. Christians who stood their ground were subject to confiscation of property, exile, torture, imprisonment, and death. Those who conformed and offered sacrifices were excommunicated.

During the reign of Diocletian, the struggle between pagan Rome and the Christians caused persecutions so terrible that all before were forgotten. Eusebius records: "Christian churches were to be burned; all copies of the Bible were to be burned; all Christians were to be deprived of public office and civil rights; and, without exception, all Christians were to sacrifice to the gods upon pain of death." An edict was issued in 308 ordering all men, with wives, children, and servants, to offer sacrifice to the gods, and sprinkle their provisions in the markets with sacrificial wine. Christians had to conform or starve. All the pains, which iron and steel, fire and sword, rack and cross, wild beasts and beastly men could inflict, were employed against the church"
Some, suffering the punishment of parricides, were shut up in a sack with snakes and thrown into the sea; others were tied to huge stones and cast into a river. For Christians the cross itself was not deemed sufficient agony; hanging on the tree, they were beaten with rods until their bowels gushed out, while vinegar and salt were rubbed into their wounds...Christians were tied to catapults, and so wrenched from limb to limb. Some...were thrown to the beasts; others were tied to their horns. Women were stripped, enclosed in nets, and exposed to the attacks of furious bulls. Many were made to lie on sharp shells, and tortured with scrapers, claws, and pincers, before being delivered to the mercy of the flames. Not a few were broken on the wheel, or torn in pieces by wild horses. Of some the feet were slowly burned away, cold water being dowsed over them the while lest the victims should expire too rapidly...Down the backs of others melted lead, hissing and bubbling, was poured; while a few ‘by the clemency of the emperor’ escaped with the searing out of their eyes, or the tearing off of their legs.
Persecution ultimately failed because it separated the wheat from the chaff and caused growth. Eusebius’ account of the martyrdom of Polycarp tells us: "When one governor in Asia Minor in the second century began persecuting the Christians, the entire Christian population of the region paraded before his house as a manifesto of their faith." The suffering of some Christians spurred others to more faithful living. Martyrs were perceived as having heroic qualities, and many peasants, onlookers, soldiers and members of the nobility became Christians through their witness. Tertullian observed: "The oftener we are mown down by you, the more in number we grow; the blood of Christians is seed." Tacitus agreed, after the persecutions of Nero, that "in spite of this temporary setback the deadly superstition broke out afresh, not only in Judaea... but even in Rome".

In his letter to the Philippian church, the Apostle Paul confirms that many of his brothers in the Lord had been encouraged to speak the word of God more courageously and fearlessly (Phil 1:14). The Apostles played a fundamental role in encouraging, sustaining and instilling faith into all those who faced whatever the world threw at them; from minor insults (1Pt 4:4) to appalling deaths (Acts 7:58). Many of the NT letters have an emphasis on overcoming and enduring. For Paul, persecution was nothing to be ashamed of. On the contrary, it was one of the marks of true gospel ministry (2Cor 4:7-17; 11:23-28) and discipleship (Phil 3:10-11; Col 1:24). He emphasised that sharing in the sufferings of Christ translates into sharing future glory (Rom 8:17-18; Col 3:1). And Peter confirms that it is commendable if a man bears up under the pain of unjust suffering because he is conscious of God (1Pt 2:19). Suffering for righteousness’ sake was the key: "But and if ye suffer for righteousness' sake, happy are ye: and be not afraid of their terror, neither be troubled" (3:14). Peter believes that this is their calling "because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that ye should follow his steps" (2:21).

This is the essence of the faith exhibited by the Early Church. Suffering was not a solitary endurance. Not only was Christ there to guide them, but they had each other: "Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another: and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching" (Heb 10:25). It is said that the absence of fear was one of the hallmarks of the Early Church, and this permitted them to confront the persecutions head-on, however vicious or sustained they may have been. It is a fanciful view, for who would not reasonably fear the pains of torture? But as long as Christians viewed martyrdom as a spiritual promotion, with the approval and reward of God, any policy of persecution was effectively pouring oil on the flames. A weakened and declining Roman Empire ultimately could combat neither the cohesion of the Early Church network, nor the fortitude of believers in the face of persecution.

We in the West cannot pretend to know anything of this, but for our brothers and sisters across the Middle East the wheel has come full circle. The empire is not Roman, but Islamist. The emperor is not Nero or Trajan, but the idolisation of Mohammed as the perfect man of the highest moral excellence, and his life as the "goodly model" which all must follow - literally, step by step. We must let them know that they are not alone.

260 Comments:

Blogger Andrew Price said...

And I'm nervous about giving a few leaflets out on Saturday morning.

9 January 2014 at 10:12  
Blogger Elizabeth said...

A brilliant piece of truth.
"we must let them know that they are not alone" Amen to that!

9 January 2014 at 10:44  
Blogger Rebel Saint said...

A horrifically sobering piece Cranmer that I'm sure makes us all question how our own faith & allegiance to Christ would fair in the same circumstances when we wince at such "persecutions" as ridicule, ostracisation or even loss of income.

Lord have mercy on my own cowardice, and strengthen my brothers & sisters in Christ.

Maranatha

9 January 2014 at 11:02  
Blogger Guy Jones said...

Sobering and humbling.

Let's not forget North Korea where to accept Christ means accepting death. Yet the Church grows praise God.

9 January 2014 at 11:09  
Blogger James Church said...

Amen and Amen. They are not alone and may their suffering spur us to more faithful living too.

9 January 2014 at 11:11  
Blogger Corrigan said...

Here's an interesting link from the Franciscan University of Steubenville on the subject of Islam's attitude to Christians. What' really interesting, however, is that the speaker was banned from the UK for saying it.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kBSJspPc2Dc

9 January 2014 at 11:18  
Blogger Uncle Brian said...

The suffering of Syria’s Christians might have become even more extreme if two things hadn’t happened, one after the other, four months ago. First Ed Miliband defeated Cameron’s intervention plan, and Cameron was shrewd enough to leave it at that, without going back for a second attempt. A few days later, Putin made Obama an offer he couldn’t refuse and took over the Syria portfolio.

Whatever Miliband’s motives may have been for doing what he did and, for that matter, whatever Putin’s motives were, too, it looks pretty certain that if Cameron and Obama had both had their way, the outcome would have been even worse than it is now.

After Cameron’s defeat in the House of Lords yesterday on his awful “annoyance” bill, let’s hope that once again he accepts defeat and lets it go at that.

9 January 2014 at 11:58  
Blogger Dreadnaught said...

...The empire is not Roman, but Islamist. The emperor is not Nero or Trajan, but the idolisation of Mohammed as the perfect man of the highest moral excellence, and his life as the "goodly model" which all must follow -...

...We must let them know that they are not alone.


Fat chance!

And how in the real world would that be achieved without supporting a body taking the direct action as did Serbia? Look how comfortable the UN was to bomb Belgrade on our behalf. An end to sectarian genocide can't be achieved until the violence stops and that won't happen until the aggressor is disabled.

The Islamic mindset (Sunni or Shia) is too confident now, when faced only with moribund political Western indecision to act and be compelled to call of its wild dogs.

Non Islamic countries and religious entities, particularly and including the old crusading nations, have no cohesion of understanding or appetite for challenging an opposing a ideology masquerading as a religion; even if it is one that openly states as its prime objective, that of global Sharia.

Until such unity is achieved and backed militarily (probably World War Three), they will continue to sit like rabbits in the headlights.

No one in our Parliament,the EU or UN in recent times, has highlighted the malignant spreading of Islam in the long established culturally and now Christian Balkans, the Middle East and now widespread in Africa or the still denied Armenian genocide by Ottoman Turkey.

A review of ancient torture-porn will not influence a Western world view
that is blinded by economic dependence on Middle Eastern oil. There is no end of available imagery on line, of gross atrocities and misinformation being peddled in the name of the Religion of Peace.

I am not sure that even if Israel was defending itself in a war of annihilation from surrounding Islamic States, that western powers would still find excuses for non involvement or recognising Islam for the unaccountable, vile cult it is.

This is not simply a question Christianity needing to defending itself against Islam - I see it as the 'sane World' being challenged by the power of ideologically driven petro-dollar opportunists.


9 January 2014 at 11:58  
Blogger Preacher said...

Excellent! All who are committed to, & fully believe & trust in the gospel must be prepared to stand up for its truth irrespective of the cost.
Our brethren show the way. Jesus said The gospel will be preached to all the World & the gates of Hell will not prevail against it.
While we in the West still have the freedom to speak, (Despite attempts to use threats of new laws to silence us) we must use the time wisely. We are currently in a unique position of being able to share the gospel with those that vehemently oppose it. We share it with them not for our own sakes, but for theirs. We must stand firmly together or risk losing by default.
Many believers are fearful of speaking out. We've ALL been there. Remember Peter on the night of Christ's arrest? he denied he knew Jesus three times. Jesus did not reject him, but strengthened & reinstated him.
Compare the timid Peter of that night with the Holy Spirit filled man of Pentecost & his fearless message to the Jewish people & see the results.
Our site host himself struggled with fear when facing the ultimate sacrifice, but overcame it & was strengthened to face the fires of persecution.
We must pray for our family who suffer, but be resolute to become over-comers. The first hurdle is ourselves, Perfect love casts out all fear, but we must first want it cast out. Fear is a powerful weapon, but it will fall when our faith in Jesus Christ & the power of His resurrection & promises to us are central unshakeable facts of our faith.

Blessings to all.

9 January 2014 at 12:07  
Blogger Martin said...

Tony Miano has been arrested while street preaching in Dundee, Scotland. Christian Concern has a statement on its website.

"Mr. Miano finished his preaching in a few minutes and as the street preachers packed up two police officers arrived. At this point Pastor Williamson says the women shouted that they would get the preachers arrested.

“The female officer saw we had a camera and lunged for it and then the male policeman grabbed it and threw it in the police van,” says Pastor Williamson.

He says the male officer interviewed the women and then immediately arrested Mr. Miano, but did not question him or explain why he was being arrested.

“After Tony was put in the police van I asked why he was being arrested and was told it was for a breach of the peace and for using homophobic language,” says Josh Williamson."

Tony Miano was remanded in custody to appear before Dundee Sheriff’s Court today at 10am

9 January 2014 at 13:03  
Blogger Len said...

Many of the early Church thought their faith worth dying for as do many in the World today.
Followers of Jesus Christ have been persecuted throughout history and Jesus said anyone who would follow Him would suffer persecution.
We have indeed gone full circle and Christianity[ in its original form] is just an offence as it always was and ever will be to those who deny Christ or seek their own' pathway to heaven'.
It would seem that those who have heard of Christ are being challenged in their faith and those who have been with Christ draw strength by that experience.It is time perhaps to reflect on our faith and values and persecution certainly will focus the mind in that respect.

Well said Preacher , total agreement with your post.

9 January 2014 at 13:05  
Blogger Rasher Bacon said...

Brilliant post.

In one go it puts our UK position in perspective, encourages those in the world where horrific persecution is taking place, and corrects a view I keep encountering that real Christianity grew by clever political plays or even syncretism.

And it makes me wonder - what am I doing to honour the sacrifice they made to hand on the faith once delivered to the saints?

9 January 2014 at 13:21  
Blogger Len said...


Luke 21:12-16

"…they will lay hands on you and persecute you. They will deliver you to synagogues and prisons, and you will be brought before kings and governors, and all on account of my name. This will result in your being witnesses to them. But make up your mind not to worry beforehand how you will defend yourselves. For I will give you words and wisdom that none of your adversaries will be able to resist or contradict. You will be betrayed even by parents, brothers, relatives and friends, and they will put some of you to death."

9 January 2014 at 13:21  
Blogger Lucy Mullen said...

A brilliant piece your Grace and "Amen" to your conclusion.

9 January 2014 at 13:22  
Blogger David Hussell said...

Truly sobering words Your Grace,

Here in the west two things need to happen, and soon,

Firstly, individual Christians need to show enhanced courage and resolve, based on their faith in Christ, and his teachings. The destructive tide of deeply intolerant, so called "liberalism", fueling the legal attacks on our most basic structures, families and Churches must be countered, through faithful witness to Truth. Sadly some Churches, including my own, are colluding with such changes, and thereby failing to fulfill their historic task of pointing to, defending age old Christian wisdoms.

Secondly, all sane people of goodwill in the west need to stand up for the democratic values of free speech and for the basic rights of all peoples, everywhere to live their lives without persecution.

It is indeed ironic that at a time when huge amounts of legal activity and money is expended on the so called Human Rights, as persued by the often discredited European Court, operating the Convention on Human Rights, which meddles increasingly in the internal details of how individual signatory countries run their internal legal affairs, terrible, terrible human suffering in the ME and elsewhere is met with perverse reactions from the western EU member countries.

Like Obama, Cameron is amongst the worst in this regard, I believe. After Blair he is a true Post-Modern relativist PM, with no real concept of justice or truth - a mere political opportunist, with no overarching strategy, swept here and there by mere political opportunism.

For once I say, on behalf of Syrian Christians, thank you for Milliband, whatever his motivation, and thank you for Putin. He may be a wily, ex KGB man but he supports Christians in their hour of need, and so God will count certainly that in his favour, I believe.

9 January 2014 at 13:26  
Blogger David B said...

For some reason I found the words 'What about the Cathars?' springing to mind.

When one looks at that sort of persecution, and the martyrdom of catholics by protestant and vice versa, when one looks at the self imposed martydoms of the followers of Jim Jones, Heaven's Gate et al. then one cannot really use being prepared to die for faith as any sort of evidence for the faith in question being rooted in any sort of reality.

Having said that, then of course one must deplore religious persecution of all sorts by everyone - within the limits ser by sensible laws applying to all.

One can't really have, for religious reasons, people claiming persecution because they are not allowed to let their kids die in agony for want of a blood transfusion,now can we?

Where the balance lies? Always difficult, but to me it does not allow for religious privilege justifying exemptions from animal cruelty laws, or things of that ilk.

As time goes on I hope the tide turns more in that direction, even if I don't live to see it.

David

9 January 2014 at 13:45  
Blogger Ann Wilson-Rawi said...

Homophobia found no place in Christs teaching and clearly should find now in Christianity. That it does find a place and a prominent one in some peoples version of the Lords message owes much to the ex-pharisee Paul and to parts of the tribalistic Jewish "old testament".

9 January 2014 at 14:01  
Blogger Corrigan said...

David B will now tell us - without reference to Google or the history books, but solely from the depths of his own erudition - everything he knows about the Cathars and the Albigensian Crusade. Go ahead, David

9 January 2014 at 14:06  
Blogger IanCad said...

Thank You YG, Thank You.

A tremendous post.
A clarion call.
A huge commitment of time and study.

"We must let them know that they are not alone."

Yes! But how?

We are few and our efforts must be combined.

Great comment Preacher

"For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places"
Ephesians 6:12

9 January 2014 at 14:11  
Blogger Martin said...

Ann

What is homophobia? If you mean the condemnation of sex outside marriage then Jesus quite clearly condemns such in Mark 10.

As for the sense of such behaviour, I'd suggest most people would know it isn't sensible to interconnect two outputs.

9 January 2014 at 15:20  
Blogger David B said...

Corrigan, why should I spend ages saying all I know about something when enough is enough.

The Cathars were a particularly unpleasantly life-hating sort of cult, who were persecuted because of it, and that will do.

9 January 2014 at 15:25  
Blogger Lucy Mullen said...

The main objections to same sex sexual practice are not, Ann, about phobia or hatred, but on the Christian insistence upon love and appreciation for both sexes.

Homosexuality is dependent upon lack of appreciation and respect for the opposite sex, and a REJECTION of usual biological complementarity. Women cannot perform the function of a man in the sexual act, nor men the function of a woman, whilst both are necessary for that lovely moment of conception when the man's sperm meets the woman's egg, and they spin around in a dance of new life.

With biological rejection sometimes goes quite a degree of anger and lack of appreciation and quite an amount of dissing of the opposite sex, as in the comedy routines of gay clubs where the disgusting-ness of the female body is often a source of catty mirth. I have read this on a gay man's blog; he found this an embarrassing and horrible aspect of the culture of which he was part.

Whilst a large number have been abused in childhood this does not entirely excuse wholesale rejection.

REAL Christianity demands that you are honest about your own gender, do not attempt to act sexually as though you were the other gender, and appreciate and love both genders, both in proper self identification and esteem, and in a healthy and adventurous extroversion- reaching out to the otherness of the other gender and finding it exciting and not threatening.

Anything else fails to come up to the mark and needs help. I think that is an incredibly honest sane and intelligent attitude to sexuality, and find the bigotry and gender rancour of the LGBTs the real phobia to worry about.

I once saw a programme in which LGBTs tried to organise a gay prom. It turned into a total catfight marked by gender rancour and hatred. It was supposed to advertise the gay movement but actually showed that society where men and women complement and compliment each other and bring up children together is just so much nicer.

9 January 2014 at 15:30  
Blogger seanrobsville said...

It isn't just Christians who are under attack from this aggressive triumphalist cult. Buddhists, Bahais, Hindus, Sikhs, secularists, Jews and Ahmadiyyas are also being persecuted. But there seems to be no inclination for the kuffars to co-operate and form a united front against Islamic supremacism.

In fact, there is little evidence even within Christendom that the various Christian denominations are capable of adopting any coherent strategy, and instead seem to spend most of their time and energy obsessing about gays and lesbians. So what hope is there of them co-operating with the heathen?

Since the kuffars are incapable of hanging together, they are all destined to hang separately.

Allah Akhbar!

9 January 2014 at 17:17  
Blogger Phil Roberts said...

seanrobsville

Thanks for the link earlier

I enjoyed his presentation

Phil

9 January 2014 at 17:27  
Blogger The Explorer said...

David B @ 13:45 makes three perfectly valid points.

1. Christians have persecuted (and burned) one another.

2. Non-Christians have been prepared to die for their particular faith.

3. Respecting legal exemptions for faith means allowing people such practices as the refusal of blood transfusion for their children.

Others may come up with better responses than I do, but her are three brief answers.

1. The NT model is to try and get the heretic to change his/her mind; failing that to expel after two warnings. There is no excuse in biblically-based Protestantism for burning heretics, other than our own fallen natures which lead us sometimes into unchristian actions.

2. Teenage suicides are prepared to die - and do so - from personal despair. The Cathars despaired of the world. One must not simply look at the end result - death - but also at the motive.

3. Christians do not believe that faith in something must be right simply because it is faith. Faith may be misguided. (I myself do not accept reincarnation; although there are other belief systems in which it is central.) JWs once forbade vaccination, and then changed their minds. They forbid blood transfusion because they believe the soul resides in the blood. For orthodox Christians, their conviction is based on a misreading of a particular scriptural passage.

9 January 2014 at 17:29  
Blogger Phil Roberts said...

David B

Crusades at the time were not considered to be a problem at all. Indeed they were considered to be both extremely necessary and worthy endeavors.

We now try to judge them from our standpoint. Where:

A. We are allowed to express a point of view because our heritage is Christian not Islamic.

B. We are not immediately threatened with extermination because of our faith. you might have a different view if the Muslims were surrounding Tenby and you would know that if you were lucky you might be one of the small number that would be allowed to live, but only as a "newly returned" Muslim. The arrival of a Crusader Army that drives away the Muslims and so protects your family's life and protects your livelihood, would perhaps in these circumstances be acceptable.

Phil

9 January 2014 at 17:39  
Blogger The Explorer said...

Ann @14:01

By your use of 'old testament' I surmise that the Bible, for you, is a purely human product.

The Jewish tribes favoured sexual practices that would keep their numbers up; Paul could not escape his prejudices, and distorted the message of Christ.

If I thought the Bible were simply a rule book for outdated cultures, I would be second to none in wanting to be rid of it.

But I don't.

9 January 2014 at 19:52  
Blogger Len said...


'David B @ 13:45 makes three perfectly valid points.
1. Christians have persecuted (and burned) one another.
2. Non-Christians have been prepared to die for their particular faith.
3. Respecting legal exemptions for faith means allowing people such practices as the refusal of blood transfusion for their children.


Point 1 .No 'Christian' has ever burnt another.People who have followed 'religion' have burn, tortured,beheaded,and in fact committed every murderous act possible for mankind !.
People who follow Christ do as he commanded them to do!.

Point 2 Correct .

Point 3.legal exemptions for faiths already exist (all faiths excepting follower of Christ)

9 January 2014 at 20:26  
Blogger Inspector General in Ordinary said...

The Inspector doesn’t appreciate persecution. Not at all. You see, this fellow doesn't think he'd benefit from it. In no way at all. In fact, so contrary is his desire to be persecuted, that he will actively plan for and achieve the demise of those who would persecute him, if they caught him. A shameful position for a Christian is that ?

Now, does this make him a lesser Christian ? Is there anyone here who believes that ? Is there anyone who believes being persecuted, killed even, is good for the soul ? Well, if there are, get yourself off to the Central African Republic – you’ll love it there. No takers then, but don’t worry – the urge to survive is a strong one. And no, hypocrisy in this situation is a rather attractive trait. As attractive of having all four limbs intact.

So you all come over and join this man. There’s persecution in the air, so what to do ? The Inspector hands you a sword. You take it carefully, for it is sharp. You look at it, and you know what you must do with it. You don’t want to use it, but then, you don’t want to die a lingering and painful death while your enemy looks down at you and laughs and spits. We pray together. Now that is important, for what we must do is for the glory of Christ. We cleanse for Christ, and we hope that Christ will be duly grateful for our efforts. That is all we can do, hope that Christ approves. And then our time does come, and we go to meet our maker, and we are judged. And we say, yes, we broke a commandment, because it was hell down there. Sheer hell, but we survived, we triumphed over adversity, we did not deny our urge to survive.

9 January 2014 at 20:30  
Blogger Sister Tiberia said...

It also (to me anyway) shows all of us who argue about the particular details of our own branch of the Tree of Christ, be it Roman Catholic, Anglican, whatever, as petty beyond belief. I am ashamed.

To all of us who claim Jesus Christ as Lord, these are our suffering brothers and sisters in the Middle East, and Cranmer is doing a great service keeping their plight in the public gaze where so much of the secular press would prefer to ignore it. God bless you, Your Grace.

9 January 2014 at 20:38  
Blogger Len said...

Why is 'Christianity' different from every religion?.
Every religion has a founder(who died) who proclaimed that he was' a prophet', that he had a 'revelation' and declared that he was telling the truth about his god.This prophets god told him what he required the prophet
to tell the people about this god.

The God of the Bible does nothing without revealing His plan FIRST through His Prophets.This is how the God of the Bible proves Who He is and that His Word is Truth.

'I declare the end from the
beginning, and from long ago what is not yet done, saying: My plan will take place, and I will do all My will.' (Isaiah 46:10)

All religions claim to be 'the truth' but the evidence in the Bible proves otherwise.

















9 January 2014 at 20:39  
Blogger Lucy Mullen said...

@ IG in O
Happy to join with you in the battle as long as it is the spiritual battle.
Happy to weild a sword- as long as it is the sword of the Spirit.

Generally Ephesians 6 and St Patrick's Breastplate (aka the Lorica) seem to be the order of the day. I am sure we are back in a similar spiritual landscape to those great Celtic saints of the 3rd and 4th Centuries and can learn from how they tackled the prevailing culture.

It is good to reflect that they were victorious.

9 January 2014 at 20:50  
Blogger The Explorer said...

Len @ 20:26

Point 1. Calvin (or the Geneva Council) had Michael Servetus burned at the stake for non-Trinitarian opinions. (The Catholics were after him as well.) Although I am not a Calvinist, I am not prepared to say that Calvin was not a Christian. Followers of Christ sometimes lose the plot. I know I do.

Point 3. I wasn't meaning to focus on what's exempt. My point was that I don't feel obliged to agree with something simply because some one else believes it to be true. Because I will defend the Christian faith does not mean I feel compelled to defend religious faith as a generality. I would not seek to defend faith in Baal, Osiris or Tlaloc: then or now.

9 January 2014 at 20:54  
Blogger bluedog said...

A fine post, Your Grace, that highlights the civilizational threat to the West posed by militant Islam.

Christians are used to winning the great philosophical and moral battles, having conquered the Roman Empire in 325AD. It is fascinating to read that as late as 308AD, the persecution of Christians within the Empire was at its worst.

After two millennia of Christian progress a thoroughly regressive creed now poses an existential threat. In that context, one can only see David Cameron as the civilizational equivalent of Neville Chamberlain. Any Western politician who can keep a straight face while declaring the murder of Lee Rigby did not represent the values of Islam is either a liar, or fool enough to believe a liar. In this case the fool's liar was the Baroness Warsi, the voice of Islam within the British Cabinet.

To combat militant Islam, the West must remain true to its values, just as it did in the battles against fascism and communism. We must continue to promote the rule of law (our law) and democracy, both of which draw extensively on the Judeo-Christian morality that underpins the Western way of life. By promoting the rule of law and democracy we subliminally promote Christianity, or hopefully the pre-conditions for the acceptance of Christianity - the right to freedom of conscience. In this context, the Arab Spring can be seen as fatally flawed in its results because the wrong side won in almost every case. But the results were achieved by something approaching democracy and we should have the courage to respect that. It is to be hoped that democracy in Egypt is not dead and that it will somehow flower again, to be an example across the Middle East.

This communicant continues to believe that the West made a fundamental error by supporting a renewed military dictatorship, one financed by the House of Saud, in Egypt. If there is a government anywhere in the world other than that of the Chinese Communist Party that is implacably opposed to democracy and Christianity, it is that of the Saudi tyranny. Both the Chinese state and the Saudi state are possessed of immense financial resources and both have a vested interest in buying off their opponents, and they do so. The Saudis are very active in Syria as promoters of Sunni factions, which naturally include Al Qaeda.

Toppling the CCP is almost certainly impossible, but toppling the House of Saud would seem to be an obvious course of action in diminishing the threat of militant Islam within the West in general and within Europe in particular. Without Saudi funding all those Islamic schools and madrassars would suddenly find life less easy. Cutting aid to Pakistan, a close ally of Saudi Arabia, should be a high priority too. If Pakistan descends in to even greater chaos, so much the better. Their Chinese allies may help, but we owe Pakistan nothing.

A recent article in the DT highlights the total lack of strategic planning by the West in its recent interventions in the Middle East. There is a similar lack of strategic planning in measures to counter militant Islam, which David Cameron only very belatedly seems to recognise as a problem.

9 January 2014 at 20:56  
Blogger Inspector General in Ordinary said...

A compromise Lucy. You pick up the holy rifle and put the blessed bullets inside it, and then hand it to the Inspector who will use the thing for the glory of the Lord.

Blessed be the Lord, that we may smite his enemies for him...

9 January 2014 at 20:56  
Blogger Len said...

The Explorer.
Hopefully you will not 'lose the plot' enough to want to burn someone at the stake?.
Followers of Christ should actually follow Christ and His commands not murder people?.

9 January 2014 at 20:59  
Blogger bluedog said...

Well said, that Inspector @ 20.30. Turning the other cheek when the warriors of Islam are about to detonate their explosives or wield their scimitars is not for this man. It used to be said, 'We have the Maxim gun, and they do not'. No longer true, but you get the idea.

9 January 2014 at 21:04  
Blogger Dreadnaught said...

Bluedog

If Pakistan descends in to even greater chaos, so much the better

Yeah - better for the chances of fundie Islamic mullahs to take possession of a nuclear arsenal.

'Democracy' is not always the best policy. Democracy is meaningless when employed by false politicians to destroy itself.

9 January 2014 at 21:11  
Blogger The Explorer said...

Len @ 20:59

Hopefully not.

Don't know where the idea of burning people for misbelief came from. I imagine it must have been an import from paganism. Any ideas, anyone?

9 January 2014 at 21:16  
Blogger The Explorer said...

Just answered my own question: in European tradition, it appears to have come from the Romans and the Celts. The Romans may have got the idea from the Persians.

One source they didn't get it from: The New Testament.

9 January 2014 at 21:20  
Blogger Avi Barzel said...

@Andrew Price: "And I'm nervous about giving a few leaflets out on Saturday morning."

ROFLMAO!

9 January 2014 at 21:26  
Blogger Lucy Mullen said...

Black dogs and lavatories, are according to fundamentalist Muslims (not the more sophisticated decent types) prime foci for djinns (evil demons). It thus follows that a picture of a black dog specially trained to sit on a lavatory in Buckingham Palace, which HM the Queen could release to the general public, would soon see a mass exodus of undesirably militant Muslims. as they would decide that the country was unredeemably under an Evil Spirit of the highest magnitude!! It is reported that the Prophet had to say a prayer of preotection against both male and female devils when he entered a lavatory!

Sorted. :-)

No need for unseemly and unscriptural violence at all!

9 January 2014 at 21:32  
Blogger Inspector General in Ordinary said...

Chars Bluedog, you astute hound.

To paraphrase the bible, blessed were the peacemakers, while they were alive...



9 January 2014 at 22:27  
Blogger Happy Jack said...

Happy Jack says the bullet and the sword are no good against the liberal, humanistic, secularism over taking Western Christianity. It's infecting the Church too. Islam is not a tangible threat - yet. Who are you suggesting you point the rifle at just now?

We are not being persecuted for Christ in Britain. Okay, so there may be some discomfort and harassment. Being embarrassed or losing a job or having a business damaged is in a different league to the middle east. In militant Islamic nations Christian people in a minority are being brutally killed for their faith and living in constant danger - not the risk of an ASBO or being charged with a breach of the peace. Jack says, there is no comparison.

9 January 2014 at 23:02  
Blogger Avi Barzel said...

@Lucy Mullen: Black dogs and lavatories, are according to fundamentalist Muslims (not the more sophisticated decent types) prime foci for djinns (evil demons).

Gosh. Avi's family adopted a black kitten about ten months ago. It ballooned to a little fluffy elephant, so we have it on a healthy diet with lots of play exercise. No one wanted her because she was born on Halloween and Torontonians have made the holiday into an over-the-top macabre event with little kids terrified out of their wits by some of the gory displays of corpses and evil cats. Kitty looks like a little demon, as she camouflages well with shadows and as you walk up, all you see is her golden yellow eyes popping open. But a real sweetheart, very affectionate.

I like the idea of a black pooch in the Palace loo, Lucy. There should be a dreary old toilet closet with a hole over a moat, left over from Elizabethan times. I wonder if there are any black Corgies, as Her Majesty seems to prefer that breed.

Is His Grace the only one in the Western hemisphere to go on about the plight of the Christians in Muslim lands? Seems like it, and things are pretty quiet in Canadian mainstream press too, for whoever still bothers with it. Must annoy our betters, but thankfully the "annoyances act" flopped.

9 January 2014 at 23:29  
Blogger Inspector General in Ordinary said...

Jack. For a street bum on his uppers, as the Americans would put it, you are remarkably cognisant. Were you a victim of mental illness per chance to have put you in your mendicant ways ?

9 January 2014 at 23:40  
Blogger Cressida de Nova said...

Thank you for this excellently researched and moving post YG.

It is easy to forget the horrendous suffering of the early Christian matyrs. I for one marvel at their unflinching faith to endure all those unspeakable atrocities.How many of us here could walk in their shoes ?Certainly not me !

Also I agree with Sister Tiberia's sentiments about Christians joining together at least momentarily (because in reality it will never happen on a long term basis) to help the minority group of Christians who are being persecuted in the Middle East Africa and Pakistan.It is evident that they will have to flee like the Jews did in WW2 Europe if they want to survive. Are Western countries open to accepting all of them as migrants of persecution rather than economic migrants ...I wonder?

Persecution migrants should take priority over economic migrants.

I would say that it is fairly obvious that the Christian minority are never going to be allowed to live in peace any longer in Islamic countries. And as people are noting there is little exposure of this problem in the press and it is a serious one.The Dalai Lama and the Tibetans get far more coverage than the Christian crisis which is relatively unknown and unheard of.

Prayer is not enough in a situation like this Some practical help has to be enforced as well.

10 January 2014 at 00:01  
Blogger Happy Jack said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

10 January 2014 at 00:11  
Blogger Len said...

Most religions require the participant to do something to achieve salvation (although salvation is by no means assured)one is constantly working never knowing if one is going to 'make it'. Some religious gods are very fickle and one can never know what they will do!.
In some religions adherents have to achieve a certain state of 'enlightenment', or to do a certain amount of good works to' weigh their balance' on the 'good' side.In religions people have to work constantly to please or appease their god.
Christianity is unique in that God has already done everything necessary for salvation and we can do nothing to save ourselves but to receive salvation as a gift from God. Jesus said "It is finished " on the Cross at Calvary meaning He had accomplished everything necessary for salvation.

This makes Biblical Christianity Unique.

10 January 2014 at 01:15  
Blogger Happy Jack said...

Happy Jack points out there is a website that documents and reports on Christian persecution around the world. It's called "Aid to the Church in Need."

If you visit the site, there is a report there called: "Persecuted and Forgotten? A Report
on Christians oppressed for their Faith 2011-2013."

10 January 2014 at 01:25  
Blogger Happy Jack said...

Len, Happy Jack respectfully asks just how that little pearl of wisdom, shared at @ 01:15, actually helps our brothers and sisters in Christ who are being living in fear and being tortured and murdered - right this minute?

10 January 2014 at 01:33  
Blogger Cressida de Nova said...

You will have to make allowances for sad Len HJ. Best not to engage him. Not only is he challenged in the grey matter area and been swept up into some faux Christian sign a cheque for Jesus cult, which preys on fragile vulnerable intellects but he is also consumed with hatred for Catholicism which only exacerbates his condition.
Steer clear of him !

10 January 2014 at 02:31  
Blogger Malcolm Smith said...

Homophobia found no place in According to Anne Wilson-Rewi:
Christs teaching and clearly should find now in Christianity. That it does find a place and a prominent one in some peoples version of the Lords message owes much to the ex-pharisee Paul and to parts of the tribalistic Jewish "old testament".
I don't intend to discuss the issue of homosexuality. What I will do is point out the two obvious false assumptions inherent in that statement.
(1) It assumes that the Old Testament and the Pauline Epsistles should be ignored. That is equivalent to saying that Christianity is invalid, because both are essential parts of the religion.
(2) It assumes that Jesus was in the business of denouncing sin. On the contrary, his message was the Good News of the Kingdom. The sins he denounced were the ones which got in the way of that message. We tend to forget just how well God had prepared the way for His coming. By the time Jesus arrived, the Jews knew perfectly well what sin was. He didn't need to inform them. Rather, he had to explain that there was a way for the sinner to be reconciled to God.
On the other hand, Paul, writing to the gentile world, had to remind them that the sort of behaviour prominent in that society was definitely out of bounds in the eyes of God. Even then, Paul never lists sins except as a prelude to explaining how Christ has brought freedom from their chains.

10 January 2014 at 05:30  
Blogger Rambling Steve Appleseed said...

We are still free to sent monry e.g. via Open Doors and, for now, to speak. But the trend is towards persecution of ttue Christians here.

Anyone hear Giles Frazer on Radio 4 TFTD this morning? For him, homosexual suicides are the new martyrs. He described biblical viewss on sex as 'wicked' compared 'coming out' to the new birth and mangled scripture and my favourite Wesley hymn to do so. Do listen again, this masterclass in heresy should challenge anyone who still thinks the C of E can survive without a second Reformation. Glad I quit.

10 January 2014 at 08:24  
Blogger Nick said...

RSA

Nobody should be surprised at total perversion of morality you mention. There is nothing nee sbout it as can be seen from the OT. As then. God will bring retribution on those who try to corrupt His word.

We are generally powerless to do much about it. In a way thats to be expected as vengeance belongs to God, not to us.

10 January 2014 at 08:39  
Blogger The Explorer said...

Len @ 20:59

A question for you.

Once we have repented and accepted Christ, will we still have lapses and misjudgements for which we will need to ask forgiveness?

Or are you saying the true Christian will be incapable of sin?

10 January 2014 at 08:48  
Blogger David Hussell said...

Rambling Steve @ 8.24

Like you I distance myself from the opinions of Giles Frazer.

But the extreme of anything seldom says much about the average, or indeed give an accurate picture of the body as a whole !

In the years ahead, as Piling is debated and then a decision made, others who are guided by Scripture, Tradition and Reason, but not fashionable political correctness, may well leave the C of E , I feel. But I hope that they base their decision to do so on the basis of its official teachings, and not the opinions of one individual.

10 January 2014 at 08:59  
Blogger IanCad said...

RSA,

Thanks for the heads up on Giles Fraser.

All I can say is that, more than a second Reformation, we need to complete the first.

10 January 2014 at 09:29  
Blogger Len said...

The Explorer,(10 January 2014 08:48)
I wondered when you would ask that?.

IN Christ Jesus we will not sin, there is nothing to draw us towards sin.

IN 'the flesh' we will sin, the flesh loves to sin and is in direct rebellion against God.

I realise that you know what ' the flesh ' is but for anyone who doesn`t 'the flesh' is everything within the believer (and the unbeliever) which is not under the influence of the Holy Spirit.

We cannot control 'the flesh ' through 'will power' alone only the Holy Spirit within the believer can control the flesh .This is why trying to be 'good' is a futile exercise,the apostle Paul describes this in Romans 7 :19 'For I do not do the good I want to do, but the evil I do not want to do--this I keep on doing.'


For instance when we become' born again'[assuming that is the case]it is our spirit that is renewed, our soul [mind will and emotions]then goes through the period of sanctification by the indwelling spirit.
So we [born again`s ]still have within our soul(mind will and emotions) the lessons the patterns 'our flesh' taught us.
That is why it is vitally important to 'renew the mind'
'Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God's will is--his good, pleasing and perfect' (Romans 12:2)

That is why Biblical Christianity is the ONLY solution for the problems within mankind.Only God could have provided the answer and to have initiated it Himself.

10 January 2014 at 10:21  
Blogger Len said...

The problem with a lot of churches today is that they are being conformed to this present[evil] world system.
The pressures are enormous and if we don`t resist them we (the churches) will become like the salt that has lost 'its saltiness' and will be trampled underfoot.
The Church of Jesus Christ is to be a light to the nations and if it is not that what is its purpose?

10 January 2014 at 10:27  
Blogger David Hussell said...

IanCad @ 9.29

Rather than the C of E wasting away through those who are not prepared to follow "the world" simply leaving, on ones or twos, often joining Free Churches, some including myself are now asking, would it be better for it to officially split ?

The liberal half can follow their US Episcopalian brethren down that path of political correctness, and probably to sharp decline, whilst those who still intend to follow the faith as we received it, can regroup, preach the gospel and continue the Great Commission.

The worldwide Anglican community, GAFCON, will immediately recognize the second group whilst hoping that the Liberal revisionists turn back to scripture before it's too late. We would not be alone in the world.

Certainly I feel as an orthodox, traditional, Christian, an Anglican who places emphasis on Hooker's , Scripture, Tradition and Reason, with Scripture always as tie breaker, that the Pilling Report, if implemented, will be a watershed. Many like myself will feel it difficult to continue in a Church that fails to teach and uphold normative Christian family sexual relationships.

There are already of course free Anglican churches in England, but few in number.

10 January 2014 at 10:30  
Blogger The Explorer said...

Rambling Steve:

I read an assertion that Satanists don't believe in Satan; they believe in the Self.

That makes sense. If oneself is the highest thing there is, where else does one go? One might as well acknowledge God.

Even without the extreme of Satanism, the assertion of human autonomy does lead away from external worship. What's the need or purpose of going to church?

That seems to be why churches that espouse liberal theology so often end up with empty pews. You are a case in point. David H and I are considering our options.

10 January 2014 at 10:33  
Blogger The Explorer said...

Len @ 10:21

My belief is that being dead to sin does not mean we will be sinless. The conflict will continue until we reach Heaven.

10 January 2014 at 10:41  
Blogger Len said...

The Explorer .
Agreed.

Onward and upward though through many slips and falls .

But we must progress onward(as the hymn goes)
No more talk of 'losing the plot!'

10 January 2014 at 10:50  
Blogger Len said...

Cressida ,
I see your claws are as sharp as ever
I have quite a few cats so no surprises there .

Welcome back .

10 January 2014 at 10:52  
Blogger bluedog said...

Dreadnaught @ 21.11, 'Yeah - better for the chances of fundie Islamic mullahs to take possession of a nuclear arsenal.'

Unlikely. The real threat is if the Saudis buy a bomb or three from the Pakis, as the Saudis have intimated that they could potentially do, with Pak consent of course. A nuclear Saudi Arabia would seem to be a far bigger threat that a mullah with a bomb that is likely to create the mother of all mushroom clouds in an own goal. In short, the risk to Karachi or New Delhi is possibly far greater than the risk to London or Bradford.

But agreed in principle that any Islamic bomb is undesirable.

10 January 2014 at 10:56  
Blogger Corrigan said...

@ Len

"IN Christ Jesus we will not sin, there is nothing to draw us towards sin."

You really have to be a mental gymast of Olympic proportions to believe something like this, and I'll wager a juicy Spanish orange (not Jaffas, please) that Len lives this belief on a daily basis. In fact, I'll throw in a bunch of grapes betting that Len has never committed a single sin since the happy day when Jesus chose him above other men to save. See, this is the reason why I'll die a Catholic: you might rail about the imperial pomp and spendour of the Scarlet Whore, but by God, no Tim will ever have such a high and prideful opinion of himself as our Len.

10 January 2014 at 11:08  
Blogger Len said...

Well, the Gospel is doing its job and attracting Catholics who are lining up ready to try and trample it into the ground. Albertttttttttttttt!.
Well now you are gathering lets have a sermon?.

You Catholics cannot save yourselves neither can your catholic church save you with its sacramental system (or should that be 'sacrilegious system'.)






10 January 2014 at 11:22  
Blogger Lucy Mullen said...

I doubt whether Giles Fraser knows or has pondered the list of theose from Bryn Estyn, the Welsh children's home, who committed suicide or died from drug overdoses.

I see it as not a list of martyrs, but as a list of the by one remove slaughter of the relative innocents, by knowing and self-excusing sodomists, whose acts were made easier for them to contemplate by the "anything goes" mentality of sexually liberal morality.

There have been many many victims of the "I will do whatever feels good at the time and satisfies whatever sexual desires I may ever feel" mentality, and they are very very little publicised.

And not just some but many of the worst perpetrators are still around, free to peddle their excuses on the internet and try to influence public opinion to normalise their predatory behaviours.

The words "witchhunt", "overreaction to Saville" or even "Saville is/was innocent" are typical of this group.


10 January 2014 at 11:31  
Blogger Len said...

Getting back to H G`s article

'Persecution is the price we pay for truth'
The Catholics on this site are demonstrating this perfectly for us!.
This is how it works, whenever the Gospel is preached try to intimidate, then if that don`t work ridicule,then threats.
It ever was so and that is what is happening throughout the Christian world today whenever the true Gospel is preached.
What is surprising and never ceases to surprise me is that the real opposition to Christianity comes from the religious ?I suppose it shouldn`t really because the Pharisees were the main opponents to Christianity.

10 January 2014 at 11:34  
Blogger Lucy Mullen said...

@ Len

I thought to ponder the slaughter of the innocents and who they are in our day was suitable not only to the time of the year but also to HGs article on martyrdom, so hope you didn't think I was going off topic!

For those thinking of leaving the C of E please think on the subjects of salt and light. If the C of E offers you lots of openings and potentialities take them rather than go off to some likeminded holy huddle that preaches to the likeminded where the salt and light is less spread. If you find the preaching a bit substandard there are a plethora of good sermons by good preachers online to supplement the fare. And who knows? None of us is right all the time, and you might learn something anyway from those who think differently. At least it keeps you thinking.

The present Bp of Winchester seems to me to be strikingly orthodox as is the general direction there so am not sure why Steve felt the need. Think of the burghers of the real trendy PC dioceses who would be green with envy as they look at your diocese!!

10 January 2014 at 11:51  
Blogger Corrigan said...

Right, Len. The "main opposition to Christianity comes from the religious", does it? And, of course, Christianity is defined by Len, not the Church founded directly by Christ.

10 January 2014 at 11:53  
Blogger Dreadnaught said...

Bluedog

The House of Saud has too much to loose going down this route.More likely AQ and it's affiliates would not need a nuclear warhead or artillery or missile system to deliver. They don't need a mega-bomb; it's the raw material they would love to have in order to manufacture mayhem for in water supplies, subways, transport systems and densely populated areas. Once they have cleared the Christians and Jews from Musilm-only areas (as they are already doing) to locations where they can be conveniently and directly targeted.

They and their franchised Jihadis are brand-leaders in inventive terrorism after all.

10 January 2014 at 12:02  
Blogger AnonymousInBelfast said...

Rambling Steve

Giles Fraser has got so much form it's not funny - and not just on that single, solitary and overdone issue. The failure of the CofE to actually face up to members of its clergy who deny outright core tenets of Christianity is one of the reasons I've done the same as you. It's one thing to be a broad church, and quite another to tolerate heresy to published under the same banner.

10 January 2014 at 12:09  
Blogger Happy Jack said...

Happy Jack agrees with what Sister Tiberia said a while ago:

"It also (to me anyway) shows all of us who argue about the particular details of our own branch of the Tree of Christ, be it Roman Catholic, Anglican, whatever, as petty beyond belief. I am ashamed."

Jack says people who believe in Jesus, of whatever 'denomination', or, as Len says, 'religion', are being tortured and murdered. Some are Greek Catholics, some Orthodox, others Anglicans, some Pentecostals and other believers too. They are suffering and dying for Jesus - right now, this minute. Does anyone think when He greets them He'll give them a question and answer quiz on the what they believe?

Jack says let's pray for these poor people rather than have this horrible squabbling about who is a 'real' Christian. Satan must be laughing and Jesus shedding tears.

10 January 2014 at 12:15  
Blogger Lucy Mullen said...

Agreed, Happy Jack.

If we are not careful we get into the Martin Niemoller territory. "First they came for the (xyz's) but I was not an (xyz) so I said nothing."

If s.o.calls him or herself a Christian, calls upon Christ, confesses the Trinity admits his or her need for grace, forgiveness, new birth and the strength of the Lord, and makes an effort of some sort to live a godly life that person requires my solidarity and is my brother or sister, whatever else they may or may not think or do.

10 January 2014 at 12:44  
Blogger David Hussell said...

Happy Jack @ 12.15

Keen as I am to uphold the gospel it is I feel, not for me to judge who is or who is not a Christian, as that unenviable task is for God alone. So I agree with you largely.

But I do feel that it is my Christian duty to keep pointing to the truth and its sources, and not be pushed along by "the world" as the NT calls it.

And I agree totally that the real martyrs are without doubt the Christians of all denominations being murdered now, as we speak, in many, many countries around the world.

10 January 2014 at 13:22  
Blogger Phil Roberts said...

Lucy

Martin Niemöller and especially Dietrich Bonhoeffer both realised too late that quietly opposing Hitler was not working.

In Bonhoeffer's case he eventually realised that direct action including as the inspector would put it, taking up the sword is actually the more loving route. He had a lovely illustration involving a drunk who was about to drive a car down a street with lots of people. He said is the role of a christian to do nothing and to just be ready with bandages and bury the dead or is the more loving route to stop the driver using all means possible?

At the moment Christians are strong enough to take action. But for how much longer?

It seems to a great extent we have already lost the will to do what may become necessary to protect ourselves. Certainly if action involves any personal risk or discomfort it is not acceptable to the modern Western Christian. So we hide behind the "God of Love" pacifism, which seems to have been given perverse interpretations such as, "so you are about to kill me, OK lets talk about this and see if we can find some common ground".

We seem to forget that the disciples wore swords.....presumably only so that they could chop wood to cook dinner...!

Phil

10 January 2014 at 13:45  
Blogger Lucy Mullen said...

@ Phil

That is not the route Jesus took on the cross and fails to ponder the story of Malchus' ear together with the explicit warning of Christ that "those who live by the sword will perish by the sword."

The resort to bloodshed anger and violence not only relies upon the galvanisation of at least one of the seven deadly sins (pride, avarice, lust envy, greed, ANGER,
& slothe) but provides historically fertile ground for many of the others, and for many sins, including not loving your neighbour as yourself, the mass destruction, poisoning and maiming of innocents, rape, pillage, hatred, despair, impoverishment and murder. Oh and then there is the little issue of truth being one of the first casualties of warfare. It is still difficult to disentangle historical truths from propaganda for the last 2 wars all these years on, indeed.

Truly the Devil's own territory is armed conflict, and I am sure that Hell revels in it.

Peace and prosperity are what I want, unashamedly, and swords turned into ploughshares.

As for the car, well a stinger is the more subtle and cleverer approach. There usually is a cleverer approach, requiring lateral thinking, the gifts of the Spirit, obedience to Christ, mental vigour, that sort of thing...

10 January 2014 at 14:02  
Blogger Len said...

Corrigan, ' Christianity 'is defined by God that is why He gave us His Word so that we could judge what is true and what is false(and probably why it took so long to get God`s Word into print and into the hand of the common man.Many were martyred just to get God`s Word in to our hands!.
Satan has tried and succeeded in many cases to get people to either reject God`s Word altogether or to doubt it or to corrupt the Word to make it null and void.
The Reformation was an attempt to get away from the heresies of Catholicism and back onto the true foundation of Biblical Christianity.

Christianity faces enemies from within(religion and liberalism) and from without about every `ism you can think of.
Biblical Christianity is the only source of spiritual truth and that is why it has been and is under constant attack from all sides.
But you cannot change the truth you only to try and subvert it!.





10 January 2014 at 14:05  
Blogger Len said...

IF one really wants to talk about persecuted Christians lets talk about the inquisition,, Lets talk about the Papal armies.Lets talk about the corruption within the Vatican itself.
Lets talk about the Crusades.

How much of this did Jesus authorize?.

People are not walking away from Christ they are walking away from and rejecting religion!.

10 January 2014 at 14:16  
Blogger IanCad said...

David Hussell @ 10:30 wrote:

"--would it be better for it to officially split ?"

Although no longer an Anglican, I would say; No!

Far better, it would seem to me, is to strive under some kind of, "Unity in Disagreement," so to speak.

It happens time and time again; A doctrinal, social or financial dispute, and the same path is trod.

Satan loves this.

From mild discourse the voices rise. The protagonists recruit support. Soon anger is reached. Then they stop talking and soon stop attending.

From such disputes new denominations arise, or perhaps the aggrieved party rents a meeting room somewhere and
the split is final.

No! Keep talking. Keep praying, and try not to get too carried away.

I talk better than I act.

Isn't there a story about every village in Wales having two chapels?
The one we go to and the one we don't go to.

10 January 2014 at 14:16  
Blogger Len said...

Jesus Himself defines what a Christian is, 'John 3:3-7 Jesus answered and said to him, "Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born again he cannot see the kingdom of God." Nicodemus said to Him, "How can a man be born when he is old? He cannot enter a second time into his mother's womb and be born, can he?" Jesus answered, "Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit he cannot enter into the kingdom of God. "That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. "Do not be amazed that I said to you, 'You must be born again.'

John 1:12,13 But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, even to those who believe in His name, who were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God.

But apparently the Catholics know better (a christian is one who is a Catholic and does' good works', and tries to be a 'good person' apparently?)

I think I will trust what God says but that`s just me.

10 January 2014 at 14:31  
Blogger Len said...

Of course I support my brothers and sisters Worldwide who are facing persecution.
But the very reason[or one of the reasons] that persecution exists is to silence the Word of God .
Satan main weapons in his armoury are deception,corruption and when that fails he will try to kill outright.
We see this procedure happening right throughout history right from the Garden of Eden(yes the Genesis account IS true)even up to and including the Lord Jesus Himself.
Physical violence is important but just as deadly is the corruption within the church.

10 January 2014 at 14:45  
Blogger David Hussell said...

Phil @ 13.45

I'm with you on this. Pacifism is not a requirement for the Christian faith.

Article XXXVII, of the Thirty Nine Articles covers this. Taking up the sword is sometimes necessary.

Jesus told his disciples that after he had gone they were to take precautions, including buying swords. Luke 22 : 36

The passage about turn the other cheek is widely misunderstood. It is not about being passive. The social convention required one to leave ones face still exposed, to receive another rebuke, if the superior sought that. By doing the unexpected, moving the face, one would be rejecting that demeaning social convention - destabilizing the situation. Once again Jesus rejected unacceptable social conventions.

Yes, blessed are the peacemakers, but when faced by those who utterly reject peace, and seek only destruction, the God fearing Christian has the duty to protect the young, the old, the weak and therefore to do these things, themselves.

As the contemporary Christians in Africa realize, not to fight is to envisage the end of Christian communities in lands that they have every right to occupy. Pastors there are often armed.

We now have several generations in the UK who are unfamiliar with the idea or practice of having to fight, and we should be grateful for that. But the Christian has every right to defend themselves, and a duty to defend the weak.

Let us not conflate Pacifism and Christianity. Pacifism is for Humanists and Quakers. The early Quaker North American settlements would have been wiped out if they had not been defended by conventional Christians.

Many of our best soldiers, commanders, were devout Christians who did their utmost to minimize the loss of human life, which is entirely right, but sometimes life has to be risked to defend a higher ideal. Have a read of Constantine's Army Prayer. General Montgomery prayer's reflected that, and issued by radio, just before the start of the North African Desert campaign it was an effective call to arms, under God.

Let us pray for just peace, everywhere, but not for peace at any price.

10 January 2014 at 15:32  
Blogger Happy Jack said...

Lucy and David Hussell, Happy Jack agrees with you both. A Christian's reaction all depends on the situation.

Jack does not think Christian's living as a small minority in a Muslim land are in a position to take up weapons on behalf of Jesus. Going underground is there only option or if they go public they can expect death. This is truly terrible. They do have a right to defend themselves but this would probably result in even more murders. They cannot go on the offensive though.

This is very different to Islamists attacking us in our country. Here the state and each of us has the right and duty to defend ourselves. Should Christian countries mount an armed rescue mission to save Christians or threaten these countries with sanctions? Would it work? And is the political will there for this?

10 January 2014 at 17:39  
Blogger Lucy Mullen said...

For the first four centuries, following the very difficult example of Christ, who absorbed evil and refused to retaliate, although he spoke piercingly with the insight of the Holy Spirit into the situation, the church of Christ precisely was pacifist. And it advanced. And flourished, by the grace and wisdom of the Almighty.

What would happen if exorcists, who are, albeit rarely, sometimes physically attacked, took the attitude of physical retaliation?

None of us expects that, do we? Which shows we don't really believe in physical violence as being effective against evil. Jesus spoke tellingly against "an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth," the lex talionis which many on here seem very close to advocating. Revenge is a nasty business, that never ends. The Revenge tragedies flesh this out nicely.

It is a mystery as to why some are spared and some are martyred. in Acts 12 St Peter is sprung out of prison whilst St James is martyred. Later comes St Peter's time for martyrdom. Our times are in God's hands, and ultimately we all die. If God chooses to use that death for his greater glory through martyrdom it is- looking from a wider perspective- a more useful and honourable way than just wearing out, I think, and will not be wasted in the wider scheme of things.

We repeat the stories with admiration of those who were martyred whilst forgiving their enemies, like St Stephen. We do not regard them as ineffectual wimps at all. And I wonder why anyone would think that anything has changed!!

10 January 2014 at 17:40  
Blogger Corrigan said...

Notice how Len consistently dodges the problem of biblical interpretation by always kicking it back to God? At least Catholics claim the Church as the Body of Christ on Earth, which gives her the authority to interpret, but Len doesn't have the nerve to call himself the Body of Christ, which I suspect he privately believes. So which of us is the trickster?

10 January 2014 at 18:45  
Blogger David Hussell said...

Lucy Mullen @ 17.40

For the reasons that Happy Jack has grasped and explained well in para 2, of his post @ 17.39 Christians in the first three or four centuries were in no position to form effective militia. Later after Constantine all that changed and Roman armies took on a Christian flavour.

However I take a different position from you, in that I believe that there are situations in which physical violence is needed to defeat evil. This method is to be used as a last resort. Bonhoeffer reached that conclusion in relation to Hitler. His brave refusal to resist the recruitment of historic Christianity into the Nazi war mythology led to his execution. World War 2 itself was a very necessary war waged by still, at the time, distinctly Christian nations against evil. Pacifism would have handed victory to a truly evil regime.
So by all means go down the pacifist route yourself if you wish, but there are many Christians who will not. In Africa Christians have no option but to fight, and I believe that they are right so to do.

10 January 2014 at 18:47  
Blogger Phil Roberts said...

Lucy

Bonhoeffer writes these scalding words,

“The church confesses that she has witnessed the lawless application of brutal force, the physical and spiritual suffering of countless innocent people, oppression, hatred and murder, and that she has not raised her voice on behalf of the victims and had not found ways to hasten to their aid. She is guilty of the deaths of the weakest and most defenseless brothers of Jesus Christ."

This guy lived in terrible times as do many of our fellow Christians world wide. Our leaders in the Church either ignore their suffering or put them second place to payday loans.

Phil

10 January 2014 at 19:06  
Blogger The Explorer said...

Look what happened to Christianity in Constantinople after it had fallen to the Turks.

Without Charles Martel at Tours, Don John of Austria at Lepanto, the Knights of St John in Malta, or Jon Sobieski at Vienna, Europe would have been Islamic for centuries.

'Dhimmi' status forbids the proclamation of one's religion: in flat contradiction of Christ's command to preach the Gospel.

10 January 2014 at 19:16  
Blogger bluedog said...

Dreadnaught @ 12.02, haven't you seen those satellite pics of missile launch sites and access roads in remote Saudi? All in the public domain. The Saudis have already bought the missiles, they just need the war-heads, and the Pakis are supposed to be the suppliers.

Do you recall the infamous trip by Saudi Prince Bandar to Russia? Late last year where Bandar boasted, ' We can turn the Chechens on and off'? Noticed the Islamic bombing in southern Russia recently? Coincidence?

Plenty of straws in the wind suggest that the Saudis have a different perception of their position to yours. The problem facing the House of Saud is two-fold, succession and legitimacy. Think Game of Thrones in the land of the holy places; a recipe for massive instability. Saudi Arabia has the potential to make Iran seem like a beacon of stability and rationality.

In the meantime the House of Saud supports the spread of Wahabism wherever it can. The slaughter and expulsion of ME Christians is perfectly correlated the rise of Wahabism in the ME. Saddam in Iraq had Christian ministers and generals; not so the House of Saud.

10 January 2014 at 19:34  
Blogger Lucy Mullen said...

@ Phil
Bonhoeffer started off as a pacifist and found he could no longer continue. He hatched a plot against Hitler which achieved nothing. Brave man though he was his words are not as authoritative as any in the New Testament.

I think it unreasonable though understandable to suggest that the Church is guilty of every evil act she fails to stop.

Are you personally guilty of any misfortune that happens even to your own family which you fail to stop? Of course not!! Life would be intolerable were it so, and we would be unable to function for wretchedness and guilt.

People have 24 hours a day to spend; neither less nor more, and that brings limitations. We have to live graciously within those limitations.

So for even the Church, which is also a collection of individuals trying hard, and often failing, as we all do.

I an unconvinced by African Christians having to fight, as the example of non-violent change in South Africa is a glorious example of forgiveness and new beginnings.

10 January 2014 at 19:37  
Blogger skeetstar said...

David h, could you expand upon your different interpretation of 'turning the other cheek'? I always thought it meant a recommendation of passivity, but would be interested to hear more on your views. I went to Romania just after caucescu fell. I met Christian leaders there, but was , at the time, horrified to hear of their somewhat muscular response to the activities of informers in their midst, during the period of socialist government ther.e. Now I am older I have mellowed a bit and have some sympathy with them. Would be interested to see some sources for your more robust interpretation of our Lords words.

10 January 2014 at 19:51  
Blogger Lucy Mullen said...

I have seen what David H refers to, in a book regarding Christian non-violent responses, the kind of thing Ghandi was into. The point is to manouevre the opponent into a position in which the unrighteousness of their attitude becomes apparent to them.

Another version I have come across is if someone is insulting to you you say "Sorry I didn't quite catch that. Could you repeat it louder?"

That makes them uncomfortable and puts them in touch with their own conscience- well most times at least!!

10 January 2014 at 19:56  
Blogger skeetstar said...

Lucy, do you mean that example of new beginnings, where corruption is rampant, a woman I raped every 30 seconds, where aids can be cured by sexual intercourse with children , some citizens have to live in walled compounds for fear of their fellows and where, I think, more murders occur per head of population than anywhere else in the world?

10 January 2014 at 19:58  
Blogger bluedog said...

Lucy Mullen @ 19.37 @ says, ' the example of non-violent change in South Africa is a glorious example of forgiveness and new beginnings.'

Seriously? This communicant has always had the impression that the ANC waged something close to a low-level civil war. And if you are a white farmer in South Africa, it hasn't stopped.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lof6XJ8b1SU

10 January 2014 at 20:01  
Blogger The Explorer said...

Lucy @ 19:37

Re South Africa, I agree with Skeetstar.

Around 4000 white farmers murdered.

From the original two Rand to the £, there are now seventeen, and rising.

Check out these examples on You Tube.

1. Zuma singing 'Kill the Boer' at a conference.

2. White poverty. (Estimated at around 400,000). Lots of examples if you type White Poverty in South Africa.

3. The Somali shopkeeper stoned and kicked to death. No longer available. Removed for being too violent, but I cite it as an example of tensions between immigrant blacks and the indigenous population.

I came across those examples while reading comments about the probable future following the death of Mandela.

10 January 2014 at 20:16  
Blogger Dreadnaught said...

Bluedog

You may think the Pakistan scenario is unlikely but it's by no means a fantasy and has been on the radar for quite some time.

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/uknews/law-and-order/2700195/Terror-groups-developing-dirty-bomb-say-security-chiefs.html

10 January 2014 at 20:24  
Blogger bluedog said...

Exactly, Mr Explorer @ 20.16. 4000 is a lot of men and women, many of them of British descent and possibly British citizens too.

Shall we speculate on what the men were forced to watch being done to the women before both were slaughtered?

It was the same in Rhodesia, but the British government did nothing in either case, except turn a blind eye.

The wind of change, etc...

Meanwhile, the British government will not be recognising the contribution of the old Dominions in its celebration of the Great War. Preferring instead to highlight the role of India, Bangladesh, Nigeria and the Carribean colonies in the defeat of the Hun. All in the interests of British social cohesion, Good Grief! More like an admission of total social failure in the view of more than a few.

Can anybody explain why Pakistan is missing in action on this honour roll?

10 January 2014 at 20:46  
Blogger David Hussell said...

skeetstar @ 19.51

One of the difficulties in understanding exactly what was meant by the words in the NT is that we sometimes lack an accurate understanding of the society of the time, its "givens", its assumptions and the power plays inherent in human dynamics, in short its culture. Grappling with the OT is even more challenging.

So since Christ two thousand years of cultural distance separate us from his parables and everything else. Literalism therefore carries great risks. We have to try to "unpack" this. The western scientific concept of "explanation" plus Modernist conceptions of individualism also cloud all the issues.

Much of this is explored by Kenneth Bailey "Jesus through Middle Eastern Eyes". I believe that's where I encountered the alternative interpretation to "turn the other cheek" I recommend the book. It's a slow read !

10 January 2014 at 20:50  
Blogger bluedog said...

Dreadnaught @ 20.24, the Pakistan military are likely to cling to their bombs come what may. The default political setting in Pakistan seems to be a thin veneer of democracy with the military as puppeteers, a state within the state, so to speak.

The dirty bomb may be a real risk but non-state entities have no capacity to inflict sustained damage on a nation state, unless it's a micro state like Hong Kong or Singapore. The 9/11 spectacular proves the point, the shock was immense, the physical damage minimal. That's not to say a dirty bomb would not be locally catastrophic. We'll never know how many close shaves there have already been with dirty bombs.

10 January 2014 at 20:56  
Blogger David Hussell said...

South Africa,

Chance encounters that I have had over the past few years with ex-South Africans, from tenants I've had to people performing professional services for me, indicate that we are fed a diet of half-truths by our MM, but hey what's new in that ?

Violence is spiraling upwards. So many have fled for Australia and also back here.

Mandela symbolically held it all together but now he's gone I wouldn't invest too much of my money in the country, but the mines will keep producing no doubt.

10 January 2014 at 20:58  
Blogger Phil Roberts said...

Lucy

We do need to interpret what the Bible means. OK you don't like Bonhoeffer.

"When people come to me and say, ‘What does the Bible teach I should do when I’m persecuted?’ I say, ‘It’s simple. You want to not go get them and hate them. The Bible says reverse that. You have to go get them and love them.’ What do people say? ‘Impossible. That’s ridiculous.’ Of course, that’s what the Bible says you’re supposed to do. That’s what turn the other cheek means. Turn the other cheek does not mean you let people walk all over you. Absolutely not. Paul didn’t; he appealed to Caesar. Jesus didn’t; he protested when he was struck. ‘Hey, this is illegal,’ he said. The Bible always says you uphold justice for the sake of justice, but you let God be the judge. You give over the ultimate judgment of that person’s character to God and you go after justice without any vengefulness in your heart. You forgive"

Timothy Keller

I just don't see Jesus as you do as a Ghandi type figure.

Too much anger at injustice.

We should not be indifferent to injustice as Christians we should be totally outraged and willing to sacrifice to see justice done


Phil

10 January 2014 at 21:07  
Blogger Lucy Mullen said...

@ Phil

I agree with much of what you say. Actually justice is very important to me. And I think you risk corrupting the other person if you pretend that bad habits that they are getting into are OK. Part of the reason they are not OK are what they are doing to the other person.

But as we both know mercy is the other side of that balance, and just as we need it for ourselves, we are hypocritical if we do not let it flow out through us to others. Which is all such a hard balance. Good sermon by Michael Green on St Andrews, Oxford website on this, if you like that sort of thing.

Enter something like paedophilia, which we know to be an addictive entity, and it becomes an almost impossible balance which perplexes and eludes me at least, though maybe I am being obtuse in some way about it!!

11 January 2014 at 02:20  
Blogger Lucy Mullen said...

@ bluedog & the explorer

Sorry if I overstated. The objections you raise are important. I was enjoying the hope that was the reconciliation committees and the degree to which a bloodbath was averted.

But of course every life matters, and every bit of suffering, and it all needs contextualising.

Nevertheless ways of non-violence and reconciliation were shown to be viable, if far from universally enacted. I can still hope!!

11 January 2014 at 02:26  
Blogger Cressida de Nova said...

I agree that Jesus is not a Ghandi type figure. I also think part of the appeal of Christianity is its very intelligent approach to life.

Hate is such an enervating and destructive emotion and not to be confused with momentary anger.It is totally detrimental to winning any battle.

When it is said 'love thine enemy' it means you must tolerate enemies and treat them with respect and kindness when you have subdued them which they do not deserve...but a Christian is obligated to do so anyway and it makes good sense because historically it has worked.

'Turn the other cheek' is not an invitation to masochism which is a sin in itself .Turn the other cheek signals a refusal to diminish one's self by engaging in retaliatory practices with someone at a barbaric level unacceptable to Christianity. It does not mean you cannot defend yourself.


The Christian and supporters of the Christian way of life must find effective methods to defeat their enemies and stop hiding behind the scriptures to justify inaction through fear .

A just war is permitted in Christianity and the defence of the Christian way of life is a just cause.

11 January 2014 at 04:24  
Blogger David Hussell said...

Cressida @ 4.24

Well said !

11 January 2014 at 08:56  
Blogger bluedog said...

Thank you, Lucy @ 02.26

Thank you, Cressie @ 04.24

Early birds!

11 January 2014 at 09:37  
Blogger The Explorer said...

Lucy & Cressida:

bluedog's sentiments above to both of you.

11 January 2014 at 10:08  
Blogger Len said...

So what is the christian to do then?.

Form an army,[apparently]if one could unite all the different factions and divisions caused when the Pope declared himself 'infallible' and the leader of all Christianity?

Then fight all that oppose you (atheists, communists, Muslims ,humanists) and when you have 'subdued' all these these tell those remaining that you 'love them' despite having killed most of them and made the rest orphans and widows)
Well, we Christians have been there and done that and it solved nothing.

The battle we believers fight is a spiritual battle.
'For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.'(Ephesians 6:12)

The fight believers face is as much within the Church as outside it.(Read the Letters from Jesus Christ to the Churches in Revelation.)




11 January 2014 at 10:11  
Blogger skeetstar said...

Lucy, I hope you did not think I was being overly comabtive re your new beginnings, I agree the truth and reconciliation approach probably helped to divert a civil war, That and prayer) but sadly that was the only star in an otherwise dark firmament.

11 January 2014 at 10:12  
Blogger Phil Roberts said...

Len

"Well, we Christians have been there and done that and it solved nothing"

How so? You mean the Crusades / Opposing Hitler / The wars against Napoleon?

Because of their sacrifice at least we can still go to Church tomorrow openly and without fear. We can open a Christian school and debate what we believe with others who disagree with us.

How then were they not successful?

Letting the Muslims convert us by force, allow Hitler to triumph and the French to bring their "committee for public safety" to the UK would somehow be the more loving response...

I don't get it

Phil

11 January 2014 at 10:24  
Blogger Nick said...

Happy Jack 00:11

Well said Happy Jack

Yuo seem to be one of the more level-headed people on this blogg.

There is a certain amount of gratuitous offensiveness here but you seem able to resist the temptation to indulge in it. That is to yuor credit

Keep it up

11 January 2014 at 11:37  
Blogger Archbishop Cranmer said...

O, here we go..

11 January 2014 at 11:44  
Blogger Len said...

Phil, What i am saying is that opposition to anti Christian forces is not a war we can win by physical battles if that were true we would have Christianity spreading like Islam subduing all that opposed it? Of course we once Christian Countries have resisted evil in the past and battles have been won (in which many of my relatives fought and died) but the war against evil continues.
The war against Christianity is a spiritual one carried out through misguided deceived individuals.
Fighting evil with physical means is somewhat like fighting 'the Hydra'
(with every head cut off two more grew)
Jesus defeated evil at Calvary and it is the Gospel which is the Wisdom and the Power of God.
What is vitally important is that the True Gospel of Jesus Christ is preached before God Judges this present World System.
In the past God has waited until evil had risen to its full power before He judged it,we can see now the rise of evil coming in like a flood at this very moment in time.
People must know the truth about Jesus Christ and how HE can save them.
The Kingdom of God is not on this Earth...yet.

11 January 2014 at 11:55  
Blogger David Hussell said...

Nick @ 11.37

Well the offensiveness on this blog is as nothing compared to what prevails on other blogs.

It is always possible of course, and very fashionable, though not here thank goodness, to take offense, even none was in fact intended or given.

A robust defense of ones views is of course a legitimate part of the process, and not to be confused with offensiveness. Otherwise we'd all be muzzled, as indeed certain elements in the political hierarchy would support.

But I totally agree with you that we must not be smug about this, but strive to bring any tendencies to be unthinkingly sharp, or even offensive, firmly under control.

I applaud your congratulations of Mr Happy Jack too ! He's , if I may say so Jack, Mr Common Sense from Durham ! A schooling in LIFE, is what many of our geeky, theoretical politicos are demonstrably lacking in, and hence their arrogance and contempt for the "ordinary" folks.

Also I hope that I haven't given anyone offense ? Decades of "advising" politicians forced me to learn effective, but non-confrontational ways of presenting options and arguments, but one always needs to improve !

11 January 2014 at 12:01  
Blogger David Hussell said...

Len @ Phil Roberts,

We don't need to be either / or about this.

Fighting evil is, as a matter of definitions, as well as reality, truly a spiritual battle. Surely all Christians and indeed all people of goodwill could agree on that ?

But this doesn't mean that it precludes physical force, as a last resort and only when strictly necessary.

The first "weapon" is absolutely essential, and the second, well the sword should be rarely drawn, and only after a number of strict conditions have been satisfied.

Sadly the west, the US really, with allies in tow, has been far too hasty in using swords. But that isn't an argument for throwing all our swords in the sea, but rather one for growing in wisdom, self-control and being totally rooted in the spiritual soil that we've mentioned before.

I favour both approaches.

Speak softly and carry a big stick !

11 January 2014 at 12:12  
Blogger Nick said...

David H

Attacking someone's views is fine and we should all be prepared to defend those views robustly without taking offence.

However, I think attacks of a more personal nature are different. An individuals health, for instance, should be of no concern in this discussion. It is irrelevant, and nobody here should be forced into a position where they have to defend something that is of a such a poersonal nature. I see that as simply being decent.

11 January 2014 at 12:13  
Blogger Phil Roberts said...

Len

"What i am saying is that opposition to anti Christian forces is not a war we can win by physical battles"

I think that physical battles can be part of the process. There are literally hundreds of documented examples of nominal Christians taking the cross in the middle ages and finding that their participation on Crusades especially in the Holy Land was a process that drew them into a very deep relationship with God. They often came back and others could see the changes in them and this inspired many others to emulate them.

There are many ways to God. To my mind some of the more effective (and useful) ones for men have gone out of fashion.Partly because, as one Bishop put it, all we need to do now to evangelise is to smile, hug and hold hands!

Phil

11 January 2014 at 12:48  
Blogger David Hussell said...

Nick @ 12.13

I agree.

11 January 2014 at 12:57  
Blogger Lucy Mullen said...

@ Phil
Whilst I applaud your Bishop's desire to evangelise I don't at all agree with him, and many Bishops would not. Not too far away from you Dominic, Bishop of Monmouth for instance. There really are no lack of dark forces requiring gracious, firm and courageous opposition.

I have probably said this before but I like the imagery of being like an RNLI man, ready to leave the comfort of your fire at a moment's notice, brave the cold opposing winds, and help someone in danger of losing their life.

If you are involved in the conversion of someone from a witchcraft family or a Muslim one- those in particular- you will need every ounce of courage and fortitude that the Lord can muster.

Surely we are called to a unique blend of qualities, some of which our culture sees as feminine and some which it sees as masculine, but then it is a pretty confused culture in itself- bravery, courage, imagination and gentleness amongst them like the RNLI man, and his Newfoundland dog, if he has one!

I think Jesus showed us these qualities in Godly abundance!

11 January 2014 at 13:03  
Blogger David Hussell said...

Phil @ 12.48

Well I've always retained my belief in what is now sometimes, somewhat disparagingly, referred to as muscular Christianity, especially for boys and men. Although there's no reason why girls cannot have that experience as well, but probably, reality being what it is, fewer of them may want to do so.

However a combination of obsessive H + S, aggressive feminism, way beyond what is needed for genuine, respective human flourishing, and wretched PC nonsense, based on misunderstandings of what young people really need, have thwarted much of this.

But as ever the tide will turn, and it will return, I anticipate. Eventually "self-esteem" will be seen for the narcissistic thing that it truly is, and "character building " will return, but renamed no doubt. Careers will be made on rediscovering it !

However war is a terrible thing, and not to be lauded, but held in reserve as an absolute last resort, I believe.

11 January 2014 at 13:07  
Blogger Lucy Mullen said...

Yes, i agree with the proviso that some people, I confess that it is mostly women, have genuine problems with self-esteem. There are bruised and battered people out there who cannot say boo to a goose. However remedies against this are fashionable and thus often applied across the board, helping sometimes to make those with the opposite problem even more unbearable, under the guise of being assertive.

Most of us will have encountered one of these on the telephone at some stage assertively defending the indefensible. You know those occasions when you find yourself telling a collection agency many times over that you have already paid something, and paid for it to the original company whose admin is clearly rubbish you have repeatedly sent them the paperwork and the cheque, and you still get some person ringing up threatening you at regular intervals and when you protest they stand their ground, saying "I understand what you are saying,(assertiveness training; they don't) but this amount needs paying or [delivered threat]".

We could all do with being rid of that!!

11 January 2014 at 13:24  
Blogger Len said...

The Gospel of Jesus Christ is an offence to many.

I accept that and an willing to risk being offended by those who are against the preaching of the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

The 'threshing floor' is probably a place many would not want to venture but if the truth gets separated from error by that process who could object?

If we have errors mingled with our truths would we not want to get rid of the errors?.
I know that I most certainly would.

11 January 2014 at 13:34  
Blogger Happy Jack said...

Happy Jack says this thread is about innocent people being unjustly slain for believing in Jesus and the rulers of those states doing nothing and, in some cases, encouraging and promoting this.

Jack wants to sate that the Inspector's question did not offend Jack in the slightest. It was an honest question. Jack thought it amusing and well meant, though posed in the Inspector's style. Jack's reply was perhaps too robust, he apologies and will now delete it.

Jack thinks there are two different points being raised here about Christians and when they should rightly arm themselves and kill others - for self defence or for the greater glory of God. We need to remember we live in a country with a legitimate government and, as Jesus said, render to the state what is due to it and to God what is due to Him. In a totalitarian state this gets very complicated and deciding, as a Christian, when to wage war and kill others, and how to do this against such a state, is not easy. That was the situation the early Christians were in and they chose the path of witness and sacrifice.

11 January 2014 at 13:42  
Blogger Dreadnaught said...

There are 57 Islamic dominated States that make their voice heard as one at the table of the UN. They have demanded and received concessions of the rest of the world that have restricted free criticism of not only themselves, but of their religion and practices.

The CIA's World Factbook gives the world population as 7,021,836,029 (July 2012 est.) and the distribution of religions as Christian 31.59% (of which Roman Catholic 18.85%, Protestant 8.15%, Orthodox 4.96%, Anglican 1.26%), Muslim 23.2%, Hindu 15.0%, Buddhist 7.1%, Sikh 0.35%, Jewish 0.2%, Baha'i 0.11%, other religions 10.95%, non-religious 9.66%, atheists 2.01%. (2010 est.)

Now I'm no mathmatician, but those figures mean to me that Muslims are well over-represented, not only in the UN but also in the world psyche. This is where governments, NGOs non-Muslims should be battering down the doors of ignorance and fear and pushing the humanitarian case.

The UN is currently not fit for purpose but I believe that could be reformed if enough political effort was demanded by the votaries and electorates.

Organised Religions are their own worst enemy. Political ideologies can be worn down by economic or as a last resort; targeted and co-ordinated military reaction: but how can anyone convince another that one religion above all others should be held supreme and unassailable to reason, when they all demand faith first over reason.

I regard Prayers as meaningless mumblings that do nothing but make the individual fell better about themselves; believing that they are actually doing something to assist the poor bastards being slaughtered or pleasing the god of the other through murdering them in his/her name.

Prayer does not work. Some pray for relief from others; others pray for victory - some one is going to be disappointed. It is at best, a cruel hoax of expectation, especially for human suffering on Earth: at worst it a green light for the suffering to continue by illogically elevating it as Christianity does, to a state virtue.

11 January 2014 at 14:06  
Blogger Rambling Steve Appleseed said...

There is a limit to what can be done. Robert Spencer ( see jihad watch) talks a lot of sense including about the Crusades which eere essentially a defensive response to invasive jihad.

The trouble today is that the western secularists hate Christianity so much they have welcomed Islam into Europe and are bllind to its nature and goals. Recognising Islam as the cancer it is might require a re-evaluation of the Christian heritage we have rejected. The secular revolutionaries won't go there.

Peter Hitchens' book 'The Rage Against God' explores this. Personally I think the West is doomed andits our own stupid fault.

11 January 2014 at 16:11  
Blogger Phil Roberts said...

Lucy

The Bishop was making a disparaging point.

David

"However war is a terrible thing, and not to be lauded, but held in reserve as an absolute last resort"

Absolutely, however, we have an army, at the moment it is engaged in protecting Muslims in Afghanistan. At the same time Muslims are murdering Christians in the Middle East and we do nothing.

Hang on a minute this speaks volumes. We are scared of Muslim reaction to any intervention. We should not care less. If they were in our position they would not hesitate for a millisecond.

We are afraid of the awful cost of war. Well this is true and many of the earlier moral restraints on war were removed ever since Winston Churchill decided that he could not bomb factories effectively so he would try to kill the workers inc women and children instead. We recently debated this and I was appalled to learn that Christians such as Carl on this blog thought not just that deliberately targeting women and children was justified then, but it is still justified now on the basis that he was unwilling to sacrifice any of his soldiers to save the enemies civilians.

I think war with the Muslims is inevitable in the near future. At the moment it does not happen because we would win relatively easily.

This will not be the case for very much longer and the longer we leave it the more terrible it will be. The more terrible the war, the more ruthless the peace will have to be, whoever wins.

Phil






11 January 2014 at 16:33  
Blogger Phil Roberts said...

Rambling Steve

"Personally I think the West is doomed andits our own stupid fault."

Not if we wake up now.

Phil

11 January 2014 at 16:35  
Blogger DanJ0 said...

Phil: "We are scared of Muslim reaction to any intervention. We should not care less. If they were in our position they would not hesitate for a millisecond."

You're speaking of "Muslim reaction" and "the Muslims" as though they're all the same and can be treated as one i.e. they're a type. Doesn't that bother you at all?

11 January 2014 at 16:42  
Blogger Phil Roberts said...

DanJo

Like Gays you mean?

Common characteristics are......

You must admit Muslims are as different to Christians as Gays are to Heterosexuals. Not a lot of common ground here.

Phil

11 January 2014 at 18:58  
Blogger Mrs Proudie of Barchester said...

Goodness! What a meandering thread this is, from Cathars and crusades to Mohammedans and the bomb, with St.Paul lurking in the shrubbery (rather him than Mr. Slope, I grant you). I think it is time for a virtual cold bath, so here we go. Yes, dear DanJ0, the Mohammedans are 'a type.' They are heathens with an agenda (I hope that helps clarify matters). Yes, the CofE is in a dreadful muddle and has sold out to the zeitgeist (not in Barchester I might add, where the Bishop thinks - and I agree with him- that all Archbishops after Dr. Lang have been an absolute shower). Yes, politicians use commemorative events for their own purposes - they always have - and don't care two hoots about the populace as long as the populace is docile (by and large an English trait, alas). Yes the Spanish Inquisition was wicked - so is HMRC. Now, I need to loosen my bodice, put my feet up and indulge in hobnobs. You are all invited to join me of course...

11 January 2014 at 19:20  
Blogger DanJ0 said...

Phil, they're all human beings. Just in case you've forgotten, you see.

11 January 2014 at 19:47  
Blogger bluedog said...

Some interesting statistics, Mr Dreadnaught @ 14.06 on the mis-alignment between the percentage of Muslims globally and their numbers in terms of nation states, and hence representation in the UN. We hear a great deal about 'Islamic' or 'Arab' republics, but there has yet to be a 'Christian' republic. There is of course a European Union, possibly the closest thing imaginable to an Islamic republic in terms of its contempt for democracy.

11 January 2014 at 19:47  
Blogger carl jacobs said...

Phil wrote

We recently debated this and I was appalled to learn that Christians such as Carl on this blog thought not just that deliberately targeting women and children was justified then, but it is still justified now on the basis that he was unwilling to sacrifice any of his soldiers to save the enemies civilians.

If I may be allowed to translate through the hyperbole. I didn't suffer paroxysms of horror at the mere mention of Bomber Command's campaign against Germany.

carl

11 January 2014 at 20:22  
Blogger Phil Roberts said...

DanJo

"Phil, they're all human beings. Just in case you've forgotten, you see."

I worked and lived in a Muslim country for a few years (around 10 years ago)

We had a lovely lady come to clean for our family and there were of course lots of Muslims employed at work (although the majority were Christian)

I came to understand however, that the lady that worked for us, that we came to love a great deal would have killed us all if her Imam had told her to or someone/group had threatened her family.

I also got to know a Local Headteacher who I asked when he retired what he was going to do now with his time. To which he replied he had one thing that he must do before he died. That was to travel to the nearby country, and visit a specific town and street. I asked why, did you grow up there? To which he replied no, I would like to meet a man who lives in the house in that street. Why I asked? To kill him he frankly replied. I thought he was joking so I asked with a smile what terrible thing had he done? He killed my brother, he replied, 42 years ago.

I have often wondered the significance of this exchange and I have come to the conclusion that it may be this, that turns out to be the one thing in the end, that saves us.

Phil



11 January 2014 at 21:12  
Blogger David Hussell said...

carl jacobs @ 20.22 et al

Didn't Hitler bomb British industrial cities first ? My mother was bombed out twice in Bristol.

Wasn't bombing the centres of industrial production a military necessity, to weaken the German industrial war machine ?

Yes it did involve non-combatants, which is most unfortunate, terrible in fact, but when you've got conscription the difference blurs, in some senses.

Total war like that is a most terrible thing.

11 January 2014 at 21:15  
Blogger David Hussell said...

carl jacobs @ 20.22 et al

Didn't Hitler bomb British industrial cities first ? My mother was bombed out twice in Bristol.

Wasn't bombing the centres of industrial production a military necessity, to weaken the German industrial war machine ?

Yes it did involve non-combatants, which is most unfortunate, terrible in fact, but when you've got conscription the difference blurs, in some senses.

Total war like that is a most terrible thing.

11 January 2014 at 21:15  
Blogger Happy Jack said...

Carl, this is what you said to Happy Jack at the time:

"I am saying that I would choose burning 10,000,000 Germans to death in bomb-induced firestorms rather than accept a million dead Brits by the hands of their new Nazi overlords. And I would choose that outcome every time.

Every. Single. Time."


The end (victory), justifies the means (indiscriminate bombing of civilian cities)?

11 January 2014 at 21:15  
Blogger Phil Roberts said...

David

It was soon found that bombing factories was difficult because they could often be hidden and it was not always effective anyway. So it was decided that killing the workers would be more a better solution. Or rather the poor workers were targeted as the middle class often lived in large spacious houses that had gardens and were more difficult to destroy completely. Poor people were easy to kill, you just started a firestorm and the majority died from lack of oxygen and so this method killed even if they were in shelters, (Several hundred died in each one) as was the case say in Hamburg and Kassel. Killing the middle class was far more difficult as a shelter would normally provide enough protection as a firestorm in a middle class neighborhood was almost impossible to create.

We Bombed Berlin first as Churchill rightly suspected that the need for retaliation would stop the German bombing of our factories and aerodromes.

Later in the war the Bombing of Lubeck triggered the useless Baedeker raids that had no military objectives at all.

The point is that Bomber Command knew they were intentionally killing large numbers of civilians but did it anyway, right up to the very end of the war.

Phil





11 January 2014 at 21:55  
Blogger carl jacobs said...

Happy Jack

Yes, I did say that. I will say it again if you like. Do you suppose the Poles would disagree with me? Given their experience with Germany? How many German civilians could Poland kill before Poland would be morally required to submit to what the Germans did? That was the point of my statement btw. To force examination of that exact trade.

Let's put the question more generically. What is the relative weight of the lives of your own civilians to those of the enemy nation? The answer is not one-for-one.

carl

11 January 2014 at 22:03  
Blogger Roy said...

@ Phil Roberts

The point of Bomber Command's raids on Germany was to destroy infrastructure, thereby reducing Germany's capacity to wage war. That entailed the killing of large numbers of German civilians. Even precisely targeted raids, like the famous Dam Buster Raid, caused civilian deaths. In the case of the Dam Buster Raid not all the civilian casualties were German. They included slave labourers from eastern Europe.

We can debate the morality of bombing but civilian deaths were the consequence rather than the primary objective of British strategy.

11 January 2014 at 22:12  
Blogger Roy said...

Islamic fanatics are a risk to their own nations and to the world. Nevertheless, we should remember that not all Moslems are fanatics. We are supposed to love not only our neighbour but also our enemies.

The latter is very difficult. Loving our neighbours can be difficult enough. However, the message of the parable of the Good Samaritan would be more apparent to everyone today, not just those unfamiliar with the Bible, if it were renamed "the Good Moslem."

11 January 2014 at 22:16  
Blogger Roy said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

11 January 2014 at 22:16  
Blogger Marie1797 said...

Where is everybody?

Brother Ivo blog nearly as good as His Graces'.

http://brotherivo.com/blog/2014/01/11/the-immigration-debate-is-as-much-about-the-complexity-of-community-as-race/#comment-370

11 January 2014 at 23:26  
Blogger Rambling Steve Appleseed said...

Phil R. Yes in theory we could wake up. But we won't.

11 January 2014 at 23:28  
Blogger Inspector General in Ordinary said...

I say Marie, has Ivo quit Cranmer ?

12 January 2014 at 00:42  
Blogger Marie1797 said...

Inspector yes he has, he's going it alone now. Got a good blog on Wordpress set up. Go have a look.

12 January 2014 at 02:01  
Blogger Gungarius said...

"Talk of eating the body and blood of Jesus,...brought charges of cannibalism....Tacitus spoke of Christians as being a "notoriously depraved" people who held to a "deadly superstition"

Pity people like Archbishop Cramner also decided that Transubstatiation was nothing but superstition in the 16th Century unleasing another wave of equally vile persecution in England.

12 January 2014 at 08:30  
Blogger The Explorer said...

Inspector @ 00:42

Remember for a brief time there were four ccntributors to 'Cranmer'?

Before Ivo disappeared, the other two seemed to sink without trace.

12 January 2014 at 08:51  
Blogger Phil Roberts said...

Roy

"We can debate the morality of bombing but civilian deaths were the consequence rather than the primary objective of British strategy"

Why did they not mine the canals and rivers then?

When you drop thousands of incendiaries on narrow streets filled with wooden buildings that primarily housed the workers (and their families) for the factories that you could not find or could not hit. You knew what the outcome was going to be

Phil

12 January 2014 at 09:12  
Blogger DanJ0 said...

Phil: "I came to understand however, that the lady that worked for us, that we came to love a great deal would have killed us all if her Imam had told her to or someone/group had threatened her family."

You've made them Other so that you can deal with them without the normal pangs of conscience. It's one of the darker sides of human nature and it's important to recognise it when it happens.

12 January 2014 at 09:50  
Blogger David Hussell said...

Roy @ 22.12

Yes, that is the way I see it.

Triumphalism is out of course, just relief that it went the right way.

Terrible things are done during war, and it was a total war, that was the awful reality facing those responsible. So I shall not judge their decisions from the comfort, of a English speaking nation that is still relatively civilized. The choices they faced were stark, and we can not fully appreciate its full awfulness, in hindsight.

It is too easy to retrospectively to read into a situation motives, or just thinking, that are not the ones employed at the time, by the war planers, the High Command.

12 January 2014 at 10:09  
Blogger Roy said...

Blogger Phil Roberts said... [regarding British and US bombing of Germany during the War]


Why did they not mine the canals and rivers then?

I don't know but at a guess I would say that is because:

1) Although It would have been relatively easy to drop mines in the broad lower reaches of rivers such as the Rhine, it would be difficult to land mines in a canal (and the upper reaches of rivers) unless they were dropped from planes flying at low altitude along the canal or river. That would have made them easy targets for anti-aircraft fire. The level of Bomber Command's casualties was appalling enough without that and the crews were just as "innocent" as some of the civilians who had voted for Hitler.

2) Rivers and canals could be swept clear of mines.

3) Roads and railways would not have been affected.

12 January 2014 at 10:46  
Blogger Len said...

I think the concept of 'total war' somewhat chilling.Basically what this means is 'anything goes 'if it will defeat your enemy.
This is the war Satan has and is waging against Christianity.
Satan is using deception,persecution, intimidation,and where he can find willing subjects to carry out his commands death in his war against Christians.
Satan intends to totally wipe out Christianity so that Christ has no Body of Christians of which He is the Head to return to.

12 January 2014 at 11:06  
Blogger Len said...

When Emilio Mola, a Nationalist General was advancing with "four" columns of soldiers was asked how he planned to take Madrid during the 1936 Spanish Civil war he replied he was going to use his fifth column. His "fifth column" was his supporters inside the city who would support him and undermine
the Republican government from within.

This has happened within our Country and within 'the church' and the remedy is to return to our Christian foundation which is Christ....before it is to late.

12 January 2014 at 11:36  
Blogger IanCad said...

Danjo @ 09:50 makes a good point in his reply to Phil.

In Germany and the occupied countries thousand of faithful, and, in many cases, "Loved, Jewish retainers and household staff were blithely handed over to the SS for "Relocation."

A few tears, weeping even, but, they were "Other" and besides, there were plenty of cheaper, conquered, purer blooded Slavs to take their places.

Yes! Jews can do menial work; And, as in all their endeavours, do it very well.

12 January 2014 at 11:39  
Blogger DanJ0 said...

Steve: "The trouble today is that the western secularists hate Christianity so much they have welcomed Islam into Europe and are bllind to its nature and goals. Recognising Islam as the cancer it is might require a re-evaluation of the Christian heritage we have rejected. The secular revolutionaries won't go there."

I certainly don't hate Christianity at all, I just don't want it to have control over my life. I don't reject our Christian heritage either, I just don't reify it and allow it to prevent change. We've always had social change and all sorts of stuff has contributed to that. Our country's Christian past is very important but it needn't dictate our future, especially as most of our citizens are not Christians in any meaningful sense of the word.

As for Islam, in as much as it's a culture, it's an alien culture and it doesn't sit well with where we are now in cultural terms. Moreover, it typically brings with it different foreign cultural values too, depending on where the religionists or their recent forbears come from. That is important because it highlights the fact that Islam is not monolithic, nor are the people who believe in it.

So, how do we as a country deal with Islam here given that at least several million of our citizens are Muslim to some extent or other? For someone like me it's just a religious belief like Christianity, albeit with beliefs that are not socially attractive. We accept the right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion and so restrictions on that are not to be taken lightly. We need a sound basis to do so.

It seems to me that the notion of the Common Good might provide some sort of basis. However, that's poorly defined, understood, and accepted. For a liberal like me, the Common Good is a structure that supports individualism and diversity, and follows from a certain understanding of human nature. For Christians or Muslims, I expect it has religious themes related to their own beliefs. The blog owner has touched on this subject peripherally a number of times I think.

12 January 2014 at 11:41  
Blogger DanJ0 said...

I think Carl and others have also highlighted that liberalism (or, for Americans, libertarianism with a nod to positive freedom) assumes some common notion of virtue or perhaps moral aspirations. It certainly has some sense of social responsibility in it. The Common Good must have some of that built in, I'd say. otherwise it simply becomes permissive and decadent.

12 January 2014 at 11:49  
Blogger The Explorer said...

Rambling Steve @16:11/ DanJ0 @ 11:41

For "western secularists", I'd substitute 'Cultural Marxists'.

A few threads ago, I made the point that all Cultural Marxists are secularists, but not all secularists are Cultural Marxists.

Dreadnaught, for instance, is a secularist; but he doesn't hate Christianity, nor welcome the impact of Islam in Europe

12 January 2014 at 11:58  
Blogger Len said...

So I suppose the question some might ask is who do we trust and who do we follow.Some might say we can only trust ourselves and we can work it all out for ourselves with the help of 'science and reason'.
Well, good luck with that one because there is a spiritual war going on out there and to be blind to this is to try and fight a battle with a blindfold on and one hand tied behind your back!.

For Christians who want to know the truth Jesus gives us a promise which we should not ignore "But when he, the Spirit of truth, comes, he will guide you into all the truth. He will not speak on his own; he will speak only what he hears, and he will tell you what is yet to come."(John 16:13)

Do not let men tell you that they (and they alone) can tell you what the Holy Spirit is saying but Christians have a duty to hear for themselves.

"Seeing then that we have a great High Priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our confession. For we do not have a High Priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but was in all points tempted as we are, yet without sin. Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need." (Hebrews 4:14-16)

12 January 2014 at 12:07  
Blogger Phil Roberts said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

12 January 2014 at 12:32  
Blogger Phil Roberts said...

DanJo

There is a distinction between brothers and sisters in Christ and those that are not.

That does not mean that our cleaner was not loved and became part of out family and whenever we visited her home we were welcome also.

That said, I was in no doubt that Islam was rated higher than friendship. We were "others" to them because we were Christians and employers also.

I think the Church to its detriment has often lost the concept of putting brothers and sisters in Christ first. Islam knows this that is one of the reason it is open season on Christians the world over, but especially in the middle east

Phil

PS I recommend corrigan's link 9 January 2014 11:18 or the 5 or 6th comment down

12 January 2014 at 13:50  
Blogger carl jacobs said...

Total War dies not mean 'anything goes.' It means the entire state is mobilized to fight the war. Modern warfare is driven by technology and technology is sustained by modern economies. To win a war against a peer adversary you must - must - attack the economic base that sustains his war effort. Outcomes like the battle of France in 1940 virtually never occur. Indeed, one of the principal allied advantages in the war was that the Allied economic base in the US was untouchable. That is why the Battle of the Atlantic was the most important battle of the war.

Now, this implies some hard truths that people don't like to think about. Especially people who are living seven decades after the fact and are thus completely isolated from the consequences of these decision. If the factories and shipyards that made U Boats are legitimate targets, and the machines housed in those factories and shipyards are legitimate targets, then why aren't the workers who operate those machines also legitimate targets? Skilled workers are the most difficult component to reconstitute. And why aren't the houses that allow them to live in the vicinity of the shipyard legitimate targets? If I destroy his housing and displace him, he at least becomes a much less efficient worker. At best he is unable to work at all because he has been removed from proximity to his work sight.

At the other end of this campaign are my civilians depending upon food imported by sea. The U Boats are conducting a seige campaign intending to starve my population and thereby force capitulation. The easiest way to stop a U Boat is to prevent it from getting to sea. Do you think I am going to prioritize the suffering of enemy civilians above my own? If burning out enemy workers will help break the siege, then I will burn them out. Better burning in Kiel than starvation in Birmingham. Those are the kinds of stark choices that people had to make.

War is often about choosing which group gets to live and which group has to die. It's not an abstract 'ends vs means' test. It's not a philosophy exercise. It's a visceral reality of blood vs blood. Imperfect decisions made with imperfect knowledge and thousands of lives hanging the balance. Today the beneficiaries of those decisions carp at the decision makers and say:

"They should have done something else. They should have accepted more British dead for the sake of principle. After all, we won anyways."

"Oh, and would you please pass the pudding."


carl

12 January 2014 at 15:06  
Blogger Marie1797 said...

Christians celebrate the stepping down of the interim muslim president of Central African Republic after they fought back killing muslims to make them afraid of them one Christian man said as he explained Christians had been mercilessly slaughtered by the muslims there, they had to fight back.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-africa-25689087

12 January 2014 at 15:26  
Blogger Len said...

So here we have a problem does the christian fight or turn the other cheek?.
What did Jesus say?.
Jesus said, "My kingdom is not of this world. If it were, my servants would fight to prevent my arrest by the Jewish leaders. But now my kingdom is from another place . (John18:36)
Secularists point to the crimes committed against groups in the name of' Christianity' but it should be pointed out that these crimes were committed against the direct commands of Jesus Christ.

In complete contrast to Christianity every crime by believers in 'Allah,' however brutal and bloody, was done with the blessing of the Koran. The only guarantee of Muslims to enter paradise is to kill the infidels (unbelievers) to assure entry into' paradise'.

12 January 2014 at 15:27  
Blogger Len said...

It`s going to be a complete shock tomany Muslims when they find their paradise is actually hell and that they have been deceived.

12 January 2014 at 15:32  
Blogger Marie1797 said...

What gives muslims who choose to live in a non muslim country the right to demand their ideology take over and to bully and push the non-muslims out of their towns and cities? They have no right whatsoever and I think the only thing we have in common is that of sucking in air!

12 January 2014 at 15:34  
Blogger Phil Roberts said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

12 January 2014 at 18:43  
Blogger Phil Roberts said...

Carl

As it happened your example does not work because the subs were mostly sunk by the invention of airborne radar.

Anyway lets assume that your theoretical example is correct and we can identify correctly the factories making subs and where their houses are the of course your example works. As does the attack on Peenemünde which was designed to kill workers rather than destroy rockets and is generally regarded as a success.

We then say if these examples are justified then the other raids must have been right. This gets less and less tenable culminating in the totally unjustified attacks on refugee ships and of course many towns in the last weeks of the war, most notably Dresden

Phil

12 January 2014 at 18:43  
Blogger non mouse said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

12 January 2014 at 19:47  
Blogger bluedog said...

An excellent post by Carl @ 15.06 which brings a welcome dose of reality.

Churchill fully understood that the Battle of the Atlantic was the most important of the war, given Britain's dependence on imported foodstuffs, raw materials and oil. The chief scientist and a member of the British war cabinet, Professor Lindemann, was more in the manner of chief statistician, tracking trends in the construction of merchant shipping versus the losses in the Atlantic. At the height of the Battle of the Atlantic in 1941, British losses of merchant shipping ran a 500,000 tons per month, a simply unsustainable rate. Churchill kept charts of convoy movements and supply trends with him wherever he went. US ship-yards alone were able to make good the British shipping losses. To his great credit and through his support for Britain, FDR started what was in effect an economic war on Germany well before the US was forced into the shooting war by the attack on Pearl Harbor.

With respect Phil @ 18.43, your comment 'As it happened your example does not work because the subs were mostly sunk by the invention of airborne radar.' completely misses the point.

This communicant is an expert on the matter as his elder daughter gave him for Christmas an excellent book on FDR's pre-war machinations, 'Rendezvous with Destiny'.

12 January 2014 at 19:52  
Blogger non mouse said...

Ah. I wondered when he was going to start whining about Dresden.

Dear God, Your Grace. Has 20th century history been re-inscribed as witterings about the poor sweet enemy that our wicked ancestors set about for no good reason?

That's apparently what we get for providing a warrior nation with security and peace - and then inviting the enemy in to educate the children for whom our greatest generation did it.

The young have no idea what to defend, why, or how. They don't even know what freedom is, any more. They don't even know they're being persecuted.

Consequently: everything that our people have built and defended over the last 10,000 years is trashed. Our 'leaders' have betrayed those who sacrificed themselves to save us. Instead of overturning the money-changing tables in the Temples ... they've turned the temples into Marts or a Mosques. And the bombed out churches I passed every day as a child and student..... no one even knows they were there.

One trusts that the quisling potentates and their 'plebs' have defiled themselves by cheating us (a form of striking us with the wrong hand) --- but at this point only God can repay them. We British no longer have sufficient moral fibre, brains, or physical resources.

We are indeed fodder for the lions, before whom we abase ourselves and say "Feed upon us; Feed upon us." One trusts the predators like a fatty diet.

12 January 2014 at 19:58  
Blogger David Hussell said...

DanJ0 @ 11.49

'The Common Good" - a vital social concept.

My understanding is that this flows from Judaeo-Christian teaching, alone.

The starting point is the Ten Commandments, then compressed by Jesus himself (Matt 22: 37 - 40 ), and commonly referred, in Anglican speak ( and maybe other Churches?) as the Summary of the Law, with these few terse words, recited at the Eucharist Service, and elsewhere, as :-

1. Thou shalt love The Lord thy God with all thy heart, with all thy strength....

2. Thou shall love thy neighbour as thyself....

thus the whole idea is constantly placed in front of the faithful, week in, week out, and its meaning is pretty clear to anyone - brotherhood/ sisterhood and social responsibility to all.

Any agreements/disagreements or amplifications to that understanding ?

12 January 2014 at 20:16  
Blogger Phil Roberts said...

Non Mouse

Great piece. Absolutely correct. We don't need to worry about different opinions!

Just tell them how it was and make them like it.

After all opinions are no good unless we agree with them.

"You are a slow learner, Winston."
"How can I help it? How can I help but see what is in front of my eyes? Two and two are four."
"Sometimes, Winston. Sometimes they are five. Sometimes they are three. Sometimes they are all of them at once. You must try harder. It is not easy to become sane.”
― George Orwell, 1984

Phil

12 January 2014 at 20:35  
Blogger Inspector General in Ordinary said...

Just a thought chaps. While Germany was being relentlessly pounded, part of the ‘total’ war’ Goebbels talked about, why is there continuing criticism of Bomber Command and none, none I tell you, of the NAZIs failing to sue for peace in the last days. Of course, the surrender would have been then, as it eventually was, unconditional.

Well, detractors to the glorious sacrifice the aircrews made, your answers please...

And this is not an academic question either. You do realise that if say, Iran started throwing nuclear rockets around, we would have to do the very same to Tehran. Kill it, if you will, unless you think the future for the West is to be at the mercy of Islamic fanatics running evil countries ? To save a few Iranian civilian lives...

12 January 2014 at 20:47  
Blogger Phil Roberts said...

Inspector

Logically if you believe that Iran will throw rockets around soon with nuclear warheads on them then it is extreme foolishness to wait for them to start doing so before we act.

Also

I am not dishonoring the sacrifice made by the aircrews. But must we really all agree that everything that they did was worthy, simply because of the sacrifice?

Phil


12 January 2014 at 21:19  
Blogger Phil Roberts said...

Inspector

We must remember it was the American demand for unconditional surrender that prolonged the war in Europe.

Phil

12 January 2014 at 21:26  
Blogger Inspector General in Ordinary said...

Phil. The US 5th Fleet is permanently stationed in the gulf, much to Iran’s disgust. The firepower of that formation is best described by an Americanism, to wit ‘Awesome’.

On the subject of the 39 45 war, you cannot blame the US for terms of unconditional surrender. That was a given by all Allied powers, including representatives of governments in exile in London.

Dresden when bombed was a NAZI administration centre. You really can’t get away from that. But if it is some kind of guilt you are suffering over targeting of civilians, suggest you read Wiki ‘The Blitz’. A time when this country stood alone, and all we could do was take it. In no position to dish it out ourselves.

Also, the NAZIs used a tourist guide to bomb the best historic towns in Britain. Can’t remember its name offhand, but one of the targets was Georgian Bath. Hardly a hub of industrial or military might. To break our spirits, in case you didn’t know...

12 January 2014 at 21:51  
Blogger Corrigan said...

Come on, Phil. I'm not the greatest fan of the US, but how else than demanding unconditional surrender can you possibly deal with a regime like the Nazis? Be fair, man.

12 January 2014 at 22:21  
Blogger Inspector General in Ordinary said...

Dresden was an administrative centre of the NAZIs. After the firebombing, it was nothing. Nothing at all. Job done...

12 January 2014 at 22:28  
Blogger skeetstar said...

The guide was called Baedeker, spelling may not be right, and we fought Germany not the nazis.

12 January 2014 at 22:39  
Blogger Inspector General in Ordinary said...


skeetstar, that was the publication. But no, we did not fight Germany. We fought an ideology that knew no national boundaries. Rather like Islam then...

12 January 2014 at 23:06  
Blogger Marie1797 said...

The returning German bombers of WW2 got rid of any left over bombs they had on board over our fields of cattle and crops destroying our food supplies.

13 January 2014 at 00:34  
Blogger Ivan said...


Dresden was just an opportunity for the Allies to put up a one-thousand bomber show. Had it the significance that post-hoc rationalisers impute to it, it would have been hammered much earlier. Its only strategic significance is that it made it easier for Uncle Joe Stalin to swallow Eastern Europe whole. Dresden's fate can be compared to that of Hiroshima and Nagasaki which were kept of out Curtis LeMay's bombing list, only so that the terrible efficacy of the atomic bomb could be demonstrated.

13 January 2014 at 01:50  
Blogger carl jacobs said...

Phil

Winning the fight against the U Boats involved a lot more than airborne radar. It also depended on dedicated hunter/killer units, escort carriers, improved detection and ASW, breaking Enigma, and German reliance on obsolete boats until much too late in the war. Who knows what would happened if Type XXI boats had been available earlier than 1945.

But that misses my point completely. I was dealing with the fact that war planners have to make decisions without perfect knowledge of the impact of those decisions. The U Boat campaign could be fought on many fronts simultaneously and one of those fronts is production. The U Boat that isn't built can't attack and doesn't have to be sunk. That's the point. If I can help defeat the U Boats by bombing, I will do so. And I won't bother myself about the impact on the German civilians who happen to be affected. If those civilians are involved in building the boats, the I want to affect them.

I deliberately chose the U Boats as my example because I could directly tie it to the seige of Britain. I wanted to juxtapose death by starvation with death by bombing. Doing so allows me to establish the principle I am defending - that preventing severe hardship in my country justifies the imposition of severe hardship in my enemy's country.

carl

13 January 2014 at 03:24  
Blogger Rambling Steve Appleseed said...

Good point DanJo you are right to warn against tjis danger. But that is what terms like kufar, infidel etc mean to Muslims. We are ' the other' to them. Have you read the Quran? Just because we are obliged to recognise our common humanity and duty to love Muslim men, women boys and girls doesn't mean Islam isn't out to get us.

13 January 2014 at 06:06  
Blogger Rambling Steve Appleseed said...

I accept your point DanJo, perhaps I could have used a more precise term as clearly not all secularists have identical views. Nevertheless I remain convinced that there is a deeply entrenched and potent anti Christian conspiracy in this country which as per Andrew Neather's revelations deliberately engineered mass immigration to 'rub the rigjt's nose in diversity'.

How we handle the issue depends on recognising its nature and tendency. Call be paranoid or Islamophobic or a bigot whatevet but as Mark Twain I think said'Facts are stubborn little critters' . Based on my evaluation of the facts, Islam is going for world domination and can't believe its luck that we have dropped our guard.

How Britain and the west addresses the problem in a humane and decent matter is debatesble but the debate as to how to solve the problem is irrelevant until the problem is recognised as such.

Cherson and Molschy, Orianna Fallaci, Ali Sina (faith greedom intetnational) are a few of the secularist who have woken up to thr reality of the threat that Islam poses to the open free society we have come to take for granted.

13 January 2014 at 06:25  
Blogger Rambling Steve Appleseed said...

Good point Explorer I accept your correction.

13 January 2014 at 06:27  
Blogger Rambling Steve Appleseed said...

Sorry re typos @06.25 posting from mobile in bed. That' right not rigjt and faith freedom international

13 January 2014 at 06:36  
Blogger Phil Roberts said...

Carl

" Doing so allows me to establish the principle I am defending - that preventing severe hardship in my country justifies the imposition of severe hardship in my enemy's country"

Taking your logic forward, we should attack Iran now before it attacks us and more importantly, make sure that Iran is not able to be in a position to threaten us again by permanently occupying large parts of the country and ruthlessly putting down any resistance to our rule.

Many commentators have stated that it was the failure of Britain and France to attack Germany in 1935-7 period that nearly cost us the war. Everyone know that Hitler was going to start a war, and it the logic goes that if we had properly enforced the terms of the armistice, then the war would not have been so costly.

What I am saying is that, if as Christians we are to accept the morality you outline, then the implications goes far beyond justifying morally the actions of WW2 bombers or as we mentioned on an earlier blog, SS units in France.

The thing is though. Even though I think Christians struggle with the moral implications that you outline, I don't think that a Muslim would struggle with it so much, if at all.

Phil

13 January 2014 at 07:22  
Blogger Len said...

Europe is rapidly becoming a humanist society and most humanists don`t think Christianity worth protecting or preserving.
We see this in Muslim Countries where the atrocities against Christians rarely even get a mention in the Media.
Humanism is the new /old religion being taught throughout those 'Churches of Humanism' our schools and universities, and the Media constantly pushes Humanistic doctrines.
The Media puts out lots of anti Christian propaganda, how often is the local 'nutter' in films and TV portrayed as a Christian?.
Humanism is the last ditch attempt by man to put up some sort of orderly society to replace Christianity.
It will fail as all the other attempts by man to create a Godless society have failed.

13 January 2014 at 11:44  
Blogger Len said...

Humanists will tolerate any religion (or so it seems) except Biblical Christianity.

We are probably going to return to some sort of system when Caesar(the governing force in the EU) vets all religions and those he approves of are licensed and allowed to perform openly.

We already are seeing some religions becoming more politically correct and appealing to a more universal congregation even if this means diluting their doctrines and becoming more liberal in their attitudes.This is quite obviously leading to the apostate Church (being polite here!)foretold in prophesy.
http://www.lightforthelastdays.co.uk/The%20Great%20Apostasy.pdf

13 January 2014 at 12:15  
Blogger Uncle Brian said...

"Schooling, sex, and segregation"
-- interesting reading in the Erasmus column in this week’s Economist. At some British universities there are now Christian groups, as well as Muslims, who find it upsetting that women should be allowed to do things without male supervision.

http://www.economist.com/blogs/erasmus/2014/01/religion-campus

13 January 2014 at 16:30  
Blogger Happy Jack said...

Brian, Happy Jack read that and it is most worrying:

This is bad news: "A poll last year among Britons aged between 18 and 24 found that 41% saw religion as a source of harm in the world, while only 14% had the opposite view. Some 82% said religious leaders had "not a lot" or "no" influence on their lives."

Jack wonders whether there were any differences between Christians and Muslims in this because of this: "Yet those young people who still practise religion tend to do so in rather zealous and culturally conservative ways. That applies to campus expressions of evangelical Christianity and, above all, to Islam."

Can one be anything other than "zealous" for Jesus and "conservative" about the bible? Not good that Islam is being over protected and encouraged and not Christianity.

13 January 2014 at 17:41  
Blogger Uncle Brian said...

Happy Jack

I haven't checked the survey that the Economist is commenting on but I suspect that when the Economist says "rather zealous" it means what most of us would call "overzealous", such as the people calling for a ban on women going to meetings -- to Christian meetings, even! -- without their husbands.

I see you've got yourself a new lid, Jack. Again!

13 January 2014 at 17:57  
Blogger carl jacobs said...

Phil

I have no trouble with pre-emptive war. It is a fallacy to suggest that war is always the worst option or should always be the last resort. The world would have been spared much if Britain and France had possessed the courage to fight Germany when Germany was still weak. Certainly the victims of Nazi power would agree with that statement.

But not every threat requires pre-emptive war. It is always a cost-benefit analysis. People again making imperfect decisons with imperfect information. A pre-emptive war against Germany in 1936 does not logicaly demand a pre-emptive attack by the US against Iran today. However, the Israelis (for example) might evaluate that situation differently because they would evaluate the Iranian threat differently.

I also do not accept that there is any connection between what Bomber Command did to German cities, and what the SS did in France. There is a significant difference between what you may do to defeat an enemy, and what you may do to a defeated enemy. Those are not the same categories.

You are looking for a clean way to fight a war. It doesn't exist. War is organized brutality. Innocents are going to suffer and die as a result. The question is not whether innocents will suffer and die. The question is whose innocents will suffer and die.

The British busted a couple of dams during the war. They knew what would happen as a result. Thousands of people down stream would be killed. Women. Infants. Children. Old people. Infirm people. They would all be sleeping peacefully in their homes when a thirty foot wall of water would smash through the wall. No discrimination. No selective targeting. Just wanton death. But it was necessary. The dead were simply insignificant compared to the impact on German industry. That's the reality of war. You have to decide whether your people are more important to you than their people.

I will aks you the same question that I asked Happy Jack. He declined to answer. Perhaps you will take up the challenge. Knowing what the Germans would do to Poland, what action should the Poles withhold for the sake of principle in order to prevent conquest? When the consequence of defeat is existential annihilation, what strategy or tactic is denied? I could ask the same question about the Israelis today. When is a people required to submit to total destruction for the sake of principle?

The real answer is "Nothing." Perhaps a philosopher might give the answer that "We must not do evil to achieve good." But that answer will only be given by those who are not exposed to the reality of defeat and the consequences that would attend.

carl

13 January 2014 at 18:20  
Blogger David Kavanagh said...

As usual I doff my Kippah to Carl Jacobs when it comes to matters of war and peace and world war II.

13 January 2014 at 19:02  
Blogger Happy Jack said...

Carl, Happy Jack missed this question:

"Knowing what the Germans would do to Poland, what action should the Poles withhold for the sake of principle in order to prevent conquest? When the consequence of defeat is existential annihilation, what strategy or tactic is denied? I could ask the same question about the Israelis today. When is a people required to submit to total destruction for the sake of principle?"

Jack says that this is switching your original comment around. You were prepared, as a military tactic, to fire storm and indiscriminatorily kill 10,000,000 Germans, including civilians, women and children, in case 1,000,000 Britain's were killed by defeat. A bit disproportionate and unnecessary, and immoral, in Jack's view.

Militarily, the Poles would be quite right to use any legitimate means of warfare to avoid defeat and annihilation. Illegitimate means would be targeting non-military populations. In the case of Israel, using conventional weapons and going for military targets is okay, even if civilians and children are killed as a result. They should not use nuclear weapons first but keep them as a deterrent in case they are used or threatened to be used against them.

13 January 2014 at 19:31  

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