Wednesday, March 12, 2014

In appreciation of the Lord Bishop of Chester

His Grace got it in the neck quite a lot yesterday, following his post on the lack of behind-the-scenes communication between bishops and politicians: apparently it is okay to bash the lefty bishops who wrote to the Mirror about food-banks, but the Bishop of Chester did not merit the criticism. As one communicant wrote: "Your comment on Bishop Forster is unfair and unworthy. He is one of the few Bishops who speaks in a conservative way and amazingly for a bishop in a biblical way." And a regular reader emailed: "I was most disturbed to see you sully the valuable contribution of the Bishop of Chester on the issue of family and taxation.."

Which is rather bemusing, because nowhere were the Bishop's faithful works or personal beliefs criticised: the post was concerned solely with the communication (or apparent lack of it) between bishops and ministers of state, and the subsequent unseemly Church v State spats that appear in the (usually) left-wing press.

His Grace apologises if he picked the wrong bishop, and would like it to be noted that the Lord Bishop of Chester, the Rt Rev'd Dr Peter Forster, is one of the longest-serving bishops amongst the current Lords Spiritual. He has had a long-standing concern over the way in which family life and marriage are supported in the UK, and has campaigned consistently for the recognition of marriage in the tax system. He has talked and written since 2000 about the immense social consequences of Britain's failure to do this, including highlighting the impact on work incentives for one-earner couples via the Effective Marginal Tax Rate.

He wrote an eloquent and evidence-based foreword to CARE’s latest report on the taxation of families. The charity highlighted quotes from this in a press release (to which His Grace was not party), which they headed: "Osborne’s personal allowance policy is failing families". It seems to His Grace that this was bound to embroil the Bishop of Chester in a 'Bishop v Chancellor' scuffle: indeed, going rather ungraciously for "Osborne" seems a rather purposeful provocation.

Yesterday, Bishop Peter chaired and hosted a briefing for parliamentarians on CARE’s new research on the treatment of families within the tax system. It was also attended by the (mainstream) media, think-tanks and others with specialist expertise. His Grace hears that the Bishop shared his passion and knowledge on the subject, and it is undoubtedly the case that he has worked hard on this issue in Parliament, engaging with ministers over many years. Some recent examples of this work include:
10 Feb 2011
The Bishop of Chester secured a 2.5-hr debate on the role of marriage and support for marriage in British society in the House of Lords, in which he called for the Government to strengthen marriage and take action to implement transferable allowances. You can read his speech HERE.

9 March 2011
The Bishop of Chester hosted a briefing for parliamentarians and non-parliamentarians on ‘the taxation of families 2009/10’ in Parliament.

11 October 2012
The Bishop of Chester secured a 2.5-hr debate on Child Development in which he called for the Government to implement its transferable allowance tax plans for married couples. The speech can be read HERE.

12 December 2012
The Bishop of Chester hosted a briefing for parliamentarians and non-parliamentarians on ‘The taxation of families – international comparisons 2011’ for which he provided the foreword.

11 March 2014
The Bishop of Chester hosted a briefing for parliamentarians and non-parliamentarians on ‘The taxation of families – international comparisons 2012’ for which he provided the foreword
It is manifestly evident that Bishop Peter does pick up the phone to MPs, ministers and secretaries of state. As the ChurchState parliamentary team also tweeted: "Often they do (phone ministers). And write. And speak in Parliament. Doesn't always amount to a good headline though..."

And that was the point His Grace was trying to make: there is no doubt that when these stories appear in the press, the impression given is one of a total lack of communication or of a failure to hear what the other side is saying, both of which impair perceptions and hinder mission. If you put out a press release targeting "Osborne" and have a bishop associated with your work, as sure as night follows day you can expect this to be portrayed as a 'turbulent priest' story.

Nevertheless, His Grace appears to have caused some offence to Bishop Peter's admirers, so, by way of amends and in admiration and appreciation of the Bishop's work, here below is the full text of his Foreword for CARE's report The Taxation of Families – International Comparisons 2012:

As I write this foreword, I can see and hear the birds building their nests in preparation for the spring. Nature is hard wired to give priority to the nurturing of the next generation. Human beings may occupy a special place in nature, but we are not above and beyond its intrinsic dynamic. Yet we have seen in the UK a persistent tendency to marginalise children and their parents financially.

This report, which is concerned with looking at how different families in the OECD fare in the tax and benefits system, is the seventh such review that CARE has published.

Once again, CARE continues to impress with the breadth and depth of its analysis, which this year has improved yet further. The evidence they present should be carefully considered and acted upon by policy makers, politicians, academics, industry professionals and think tanks alike.

Even when tax credits are taken into account, this year’s report demonstrates that the tax burden on one-earner married families is still significantly above the OECD average and rising. Between last year’s report – which looked at 2011 – and this year’s – which looks at 2012 - the burden rose from being 42% greater than the OECD average to being 45% greater. More disturbing than this, however, is what has happened to the tax burden on a one-earner married family with two children on average wage as a proportion of that placed on a single person on the same wage. In 2011 we were already placing a tax burden on such a family that represented 74% of the tax burden placed on a single person on the same wage, when the OECD average was just 54%.

In 2012, though, we broke through the 80% barrier, moving ever closer to placing the same tax burdens on families as we do on single people.

We cannot promote such clear fiscal individualism and not expect to reap the consequences. Far from delivering policy solutions to fix ‘broken Britain’ it would seem that the government, at least in 2012, was more interested in exacerbating our social brokenness however inadvertently by promoting fragmentation. This was a far cry from David Cameron’s promise in his 2010 General Election manifesto to make Britain the most family friendly country in Europe!

Then there is the question of work incentives. In 2012, a one-earner married couple with two children and an income between £12,559 and £35,883 would have had an effective marginal tax rate of 73%, meaning that the family would have kept only 27p of every extra pound earned. The same goes for single parents with children.

This is particularly troubling state of affairs because, at 73%, our effective marginal tax rate is actually the worst in the OECD. We are, as such, the last developed nation to be able to lay claim to the title, ‘aspiration nation,’ at least as far as one-earner married families are concerned. As someone who believes in both the importance of supporting the family and in the intrinsic God given value of work (whether it be paid or unpaid), I find it deeply troubling that families where one spouse is in full time paid employment and the other is undertaking unpaid care can be treated in such a manner.

Moving away from 2012, the report makes it plain that there is one ray on hope on the horizon. In his 2013 Autumn Statement the Chancellor committed to introduce transferable allowances by April 2015. Although the commitment is to a very modest partially transferable allowance, it lays a crucial foundation upon which we can build to challenge the damaging effects of a tax system that between 2000 and 2015 treated Britain as a mass of individuals and had no regard for family responsibility. It comes not a moment too soon.

Rt. Rev Dr Peter Forster
The Lord Bishop of Chester
February 2014


Blogger Uncle Brian said...

Neither CARE nor the Diocese of Chester has Your Grace's name on their mailing list? They hadn't yesterday, evidently. They may have rectified their omission by now.

12 March 2014 at 10:51  
Blogger Archbishop Cranmer said...

Uncle Brian,

It isn't unusual: much church/charity media fixation is still very much with the print media. Only Lambeth Palace appears to have woken up to the fact that some bloggers have a wider readership on these important matters than many newspapers, whose circulation is manifestly declining, and whose own online presence is increasingly concealed behind a paywall.

12 March 2014 at 11:00  
Blogger Uncle Brian said...

Your Grace,

Let us hope that this incident has taught them the lesson that where Lambeth Pslace leads, it wouldn't be a bad idea for the dioceses to follow.

12 March 2014 at 12:00  
Blogger Len said...

'It is manifestly evident that Bishop Peter does pick up the phone to MPs, ministers and secretaries of state.'

As already noted these views do not seem to be filtering down to the humble 'man in the street'.

Perhaps one might suggest that these views are being politely(or perhaps not so politely) ignored.?.

Perhaps it is time for shock tactics getting out into the market place and kicking a few tables over?.
Early Christians made an impact on their society which was not ignored(politely or otherwise..
And what about preaching the Gospel as first priority?.

12 March 2014 at 12:24  
Blogger Busy Mum said...

One can't help but see a certain irony; the general acceptance of transferable tax allowances seems to have followed close on the heels of the redefinition of marriage.

12 March 2014 at 13:05  
Blogger richardhj said...

Busy Mum

With this government, that was the only way it was ever going to be.

It is not meant to help real families at all. It will be given to anyone who the government declares to be a family and at the same time, just in time for the General Election to be a bribe to the voters.

Other than that, an excellent piece by the Bishop

12 March 2014 at 14:22  
Blogger Busy Mum said...

I know, I teenagers - tongue in cheek thankfully - say they would be far better off if their parents split up, if their parents hadn't bothered to buy a house, if they had been neglected by their parents.....
All they see is their 'disadvantaged' peers getting handouts, bursaries, free this, free that....Living with only one parent? Have an extra grand for uni! Living in a council house? Poor you, take an extra grand to see you through uni! Been let down by your local comp/messed around so didn't get the grades?No worries, take yet another grand to see you through uni.
On the other hand...
Living with both your biological parents? In a house they have bought? You mean they made sacrifices to send you further afield than the local comp? And they actually attended parents' evenings and made sure you did your homework? You're advantaged kiddo, why on earth do you need any help through uni? Alternatively, why on earth do we want students like you - you might actually think for yourself.

The discrimination is so bad that my (advantaged)daughter was asked totally different questions at a uni interview compared with the other (disadvantaged) candidates - the bar was set so much higher for her than the others. What is the opposite of a meritocracy?!!

12 March 2014 at 14:43  
Blogger Happy Jack said...

Can someone please explain in simple words all these tax calculations to Happy Jack? He doesn't quite understand them.

12 March 2014 at 15:04  
Blogger Uncle Brian said...

This report gives me the opportunity to do something I don’t often get a chance to do, which is to put in a good word for the country where I live and pay income tax.

In Brazil, as in the United States, you get two different income tax forms to fill in (online forms, of course, these days). In the US, you are then required to file to the Internal Revenue the tax return (form) which shows you owing the higher amount in tax. Here in Brazil, it’s the other way round. Each taxpayer is free to choose which of the two returns he or she (or they) will file to the Receita Federal. In other words, you pay the lower amount, not the higher. One of the options is for a couple (married or not, that doesn’t count) to file a joint return. It will usually happen that when the husband and wife both have income to declare, separate tax returns will be more favourable to them. Otherwise, not. It’s their choice, that’s the important thing.

12 March 2014 at 15:40  
Blogger Samuel Kavanagh said...

Happy Jack Dude,

Marginal tax rate is a system in which the percentage of tax goes up, in relation to the income you earn.

So if you earn £1,000 and the threshold for paying income tax is £10,000, you are not obliged to pay any tax. If you earn £11,000 and the 'basic' tax rate is 20%, you would pay tax on the £1,000 and not the full £11,000. If you earned £40,000 you'd pay 20% of £40,000, less the £10,000 threshold. There is also a higher rate tax, which is payable at a threshold (say £50,000). So if you earned £51,000, you'd pay the basic rate on £41,000 and the higher rate on £1,000.

There is also national insurance and this is calculated differently. I don't think the threshold is as generous and is a real stealth tax as employers have to pay this as well as the employee.

12 March 2014 at 16:02  
Blogger Happy Jack said...

Thank you Samuel but Happy Jack still doesn't fully understand why this disadvantages non-working people who stay at home and whose spouse works.

12 March 2014 at 16:47  
Blogger Samuel Kavanagh said...

Happy Jack

I think it is to do with the fact the people get taxed individually nowadays, so if only one person is working in an average household, it will follow they will be poorer (and in terms of child benefits as well, which the government has made quite unfair toward the 'traditional' man works, woman looks after home setup).

Before 2000, there was an allowance for married couples, got rid of by gordon brown. I think liberals would see this as conservative 'social engineering' (as a tax break would encourage people to be married, rather than cohabiting) and discriminatory against co-habiting couples, gay couples etc etc. And expensive. Brown got a couple of billions getting rid of the married couples tax allowance which was handy for his subsequent spending binge.

12 March 2014 at 17:22  
Blogger Uncle Brian said...

The authors of the CARE report have avoided, for the most part, direct comparisons of UK tax policy and its effects on families with the situation in other countries, on a country-by-country basis. Nearly always they compare the UK figures with the OECD average and the EU average. The figures listed in the tables enable the reader, however, to “do the math” (or some of it) on his own account, with interesting results. In particular, the data reveal that most EU countries – and, in particular, the two biggest countries, Germany and France – are much more family-friendly in their tax policies than the anti-family (comparatively speaking) UK.

Table 1 of the CARE report lists the 34 member countries of the OECD, split up into three categories according to each country’s tax treatment of married couples. The three categories are:

1. Most favourable to married couples, right-hand column: ”Joint taxation of married couples”

2. Intermediate group of countries, middle column: “Individual taxation [with] transferable allowances/credit and/or spousal allowances”

3. Least favourable to married couples, left-hand column: “Individual taxation [with] no recognition of spousal obligations”

Of the 34 OECD countries, 21 are also EU member states. (Romania, Bulgaria and four other EU countries have not joined the OECD.) These 21 EU countries have a total population, according to the data shown here, of just under 465 million. Two hundred million, or 43 percent of the total, live under tax regimes classified as the “most favourable” to married couples. A further 164 million (35 percent) live in the “intermediate” countries, with only a minority – 100 million or 21 percent – in the “least favourable” countries.

The 61.8 million inhabitants of the UK are, statistically, by far the largest population living under the “least favourable” regime. The two largest EU populations, Germany’s 81.8 million and France’s 63.2 million, both enjoy “most favourable” status, with the two other large populations, those of Italy and Spain, in the “intermediate” category.

Table 1, in simplified form and omitting the non- EU countries, reads as follows:

Most favourable to married couples (7 countries):
Estonia, France, Germany, Ireland, Luxembourg, Poland, Portugal
Total population 200.5 million

Intermediate group (8 countries):
Austria, Belgium, Czech Rep., Denmark, Italy, Netherlands, Slovakia, Spain
Total population 164.5 million

Least favourable to married couples (6 countries):
Finland, Greece, Hungary, Slovenia, Sweden, United Kingdom
Total population 99.9 million

12 March 2014 at 18:13  
Blogger Happy Jack said...

Thank you Samuel and Uncle Brian. This is much clearer to Happy Jack now.

What differences, if any, do more favourable tax systems have on encouraging marriage and raising children?

12 March 2014 at 19:31  
Blogger Uncle Brian said...

Happy Jack

Glad to have been of service, Jack. The effect on marriage, in the strict sense, may not be great, because in some countries, at least (here in Brazil, for instance) a couple living in a long-term relationship similar to a marriage are treated as a married couple for tax purposes. That rule, I would imagine, probably varies from country to country. In any case, though, it would certainly tend to foster stable family relationships, with or without children, and with or without a formal marriage.

12 March 2014 at 19:40  
Blogger grumpyoldcl said...

Dear Happy Jack,

2 families both earn £22,000.

In the first family each partner earns £11,000. Each one pays no tax on the first £10,000 and pays 20% tax on the remaining £1000 (I.e. £200).
Together they therefore have £20,000 tax free and pay £400 in tax on the remaining £2000.
Family 1 has £21,600 per year.

Family 2 has 1 partner earning £22,000 and the partner is working to bring up the family.
The earning partner gets £10,000 tax free and pays 20% tax on the remaining £12,000 (I.e. £2,400)
Family 2 has £19,600 per year

Both have a family. Yet the family in which both partners work pay less tax

12 March 2014 at 20:20  
Blogger Happy Jack said...

grumpyoldcl, that illustration has made it even clearer for Happy Jack. Thank you.

The only solution then is to allow the non-working spouse to transfer their full tax allowance to the working spouse.

12 March 2014 at 20:39  
Blogger Inspector General in Ordinary said...

The Bishop of Chester was a front runner for AoC, was he not ?

Not much imagination needed to see why the fellow didn’t have a chance...

12 March 2014 at 21:20  
Blogger Samuel Kavanagh said...

Happy Jack,

I'm happy to be of service. Uncle B and grumpyoldcl have filled in the details. One other thing to think about is the issue of food and food banks. The real disgrace here is not food banks per se, but the fact of the EU's CAP, which over inflates our food prices.

True British farms benefit, but when you are a net importer of food, it means very little. We could get the difference cheaper if we imported from Ireland, Canada and New Zealand and America or even the agri power that is Brazil (Uncle Brian might want to comment there).

That's one of the reasons- aside from the general direction of the EU into Fascist/Stalinist type policies & anti Israel crap - I'll be voting UKIP. And at least Farage has has cool surname and likes a smoke and a pint! A bit like yours truly.

13 March 2014 at 00:41  
Blogger Len said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

13 March 2014 at 08:28  
Blogger Len said...

This thread to me seems to illustrate the problem that the Church has bored itself out of existence..

If a 'social Gospel' is all the church has then it has lost all relevance and is no better than any other charitable organization.(I have nothing against charities indeed I support some charities but the this is not the main role of the Church)
Lets hear the Gospel preached with a bit of fire from our Bishops ...
'I would rather you were hot or cold' rather than lukewarm '..which Jesus regards as only worthy to be spat out of His mouth.......

13 March 2014 at 08:52  
Blogger Busy Mum said...

Happy Jack,
There are all sorts of other little things that discriminate financially against stay-at-home mums like myself. For example, many children's activity parks, leisure centres etc operate a pricing policy which makes it cheaper for child-minders, au pairs, foster parents and nannies. If I take my children to our local soft-play centre, I have to pay £6 per head. If my daughter takes her regular babysitting charges, she only pays £3 per head which the working mum pays for, of course.

As a stay-at-home mum, my perception is that the government wants all children fully under its control, recognises that mothers are firmly in the way of this objective and so makes it as attractive as possible for them to go to work and surrender their children - body, mind and soul - to the state.

13 March 2014 at 10:26  
Blogger David Kavanagh said...

Busy Mum,

£6 per head seems quite cheap. Do you mean £6 per head, per hour perchance? That's the kind of rate you pay in London (if you are lucky). There seems to be a vicious cycle for some in which they work, but a good % of the takehome salary is spent on nursery fees. The other thing is that, putting aside the fact I can't see any objections to women working, both parents have to work nowadays for them to even being looked at by the bank for a mortgage or even renting.

13 March 2014 at 10:31  
Blogger David Kavanagh said...


These issues may be boring to you, but for the vast majority that live in the real world, they do of course matter. As the C of E is the state Church, it has a greater influence than any other religion in the UK. So it should speak up on these matters. I think HG said that people had e-mailed him to defend this Bishop as he was 'Evangelical'. There must be a point where people think you are just unappeasable.

13 March 2014 at 10:36  
Blogger Busy Mum said...

David K, I mean £6 per child entry fee, restricted to one hour's playtime if it's busy. With several children, that can quickly use the money put by for the next pair of school shoes. Why not just say every child pays £4.50 to go in? Why should I subsidise other children, whose parents are already better off financially? As I don't see why I should, even if I could, my children see the soft play centre as an annual treat as opposed to the monthly routine activity of their peers.

I would suggest that it was two-earner households that caused house prices to rise in the first place. If all mortgages were offered on the basis of only one earner's salary (man or woman) this would keep house prices down and mean that once children were on the scene, the household could afford to surrender one of its incomes, thus avoiding the vicious cycle you describe. We bought our house years ago on the basis of two salaries and have got by with going without a lot of the things the mortgage providers seem to consider an essential part of life e.g. foreign holidays, eating out, entertainment. Back to where I children are very aware that they would be materially much better off if we both worked or if neither of us worked. But surely we should put their spiritual welfare above all material considerations?

13 March 2014 at 10:58  
Blogger richardhj said...

Busy Mum

Last paragraph. Brilliant.

13 March 2014 at 13:51  
Blogger Len said...

David Kavanagh,
It come as no surprise to me that you do not understand my post @ 12 March 2014 12:24.

If the Church pursues as its main objective 'a social Gospel 'it is not fulfilling its proper function as to 'the Great Commission'. Also the pursuit of a 'social Gospel' makes the church more likely to gravitate towards the 'ecumenical movement'. (Common ground and all that)

'The history of the social gospel is, in nearly every case, a sincere attempt by Christians to do those things that they believe will honor God and benefit humanity. In every case, however, the practical working out of "benefiting humanity" has compromised biblical faith and dishonored God. Why is that? God's Word gives no commission to the church to fix the problems of the world. Those who attempt to do so are starting out under a false premise, "...a way which seemeth right unto a man ," not God's way. So where can it go from there? "The end thereof are the ways of death," i.e., destruction (Proverbs:14:12). Furthermore, the problems of the world are all symptoms . The root cause is sin'.

Of course the joining together of all faiths to do 'good works' will seem' a very good idea' to many Christians and to to those of no faith at all.There will be those who will compromise their faith in the interests of 'unity' which seems to be the way the Church is going .Look to what Pope Francis is saying ...
I am in favour of helping those who need support BUT this is not the Gospel of Jesus Christ and should never be the Churches first or only priority.

13 March 2014 at 13:56  
Blogger David Kavanagh said...

Busy Mum,

"But surely we should put their spiritual welfare above all material considerations?"

Well... I wouldn't be able to make a claim for the spiritual welfare of my family, if I forgot the material welfare of my family, so it isn't an either/or choice for me.

13 March 2014 at 14:39  
Blogger David Kavanagh said...

"It come as no surprise to me that you do not understand my post"

Well, I perfectly understand why Christians 'evangelize' as you are told to do it. That doesn't mean to say that the rest of us have to agree with this as holy writ and besides which as I've been reading the NT recently, there are numerous passages dedicated to the theme of money, the poor and people's welfare, but it is entirely in your gift what you choose to believe and which bits you want to emphasize.

"Of course the joining together of all faiths to do 'good works' will seem' a very good idea' "

Given your apparent desire on other threads to conflate Judaism and Christianity into 'Messianic Judaism', I find it incredibly amusing that you are now 'banging on' about the creation of 'one world religion'. Rest assured I'd never convert to mainstream Christianity, let alone join your particular cult, so you need not worry on that score.

13 March 2014 at 14:56  
Blogger Busy Mum said...

David K,
If you have been reading the NT, you may have come across words like these.
"Seek ye first the kingdom of God and all these things shall be added unto you."

"What shall it profit a man if he gain the whole world but lose his own soul?"

Can;t think offhand exactly where they come but they do explain a Christian's attitude - prioritising spiritual over material welfare, whatever the cost.

13 March 2014 at 16:38  
Blogger Len said...

David K .

Messianic Jews are a reality.
Get used to it.

13 March 2014 at 17:24  
Blogger David Kavanagh said...

Busy Mum,

Busy Dave here, with my numerous brood of kids to look after. Now, me reading the NT was for my children's welfare, after one of them was targeted at university by one of Len's favourite cults. I will say this to you, what is the point in being spiritual or pious and demanding that , if I can't even feed them? Is not the real spirituality a desire to provide for one's family? It is all well and good being pious, but what good does that do if there is no food on the table?

13 March 2014 at 17:37  
Blogger David Kavanagh said...


I'll be countering their cultism every day of my life from now on, don't you worry.

13 March 2014 at 17:38  
Blogger Busy Mum said...

David K,
A very good question and one I ask myself every day. Would my Christianity stand the trial of faith if ever faced with an empty table for the sake of conscience?

I agree that to provide for one's family is an absolute duty - not for nothing was Adam condemned to the "sweat of his brow."

A government that allows anyone to avoid work (not just men; as a stay-at-home mum I do 'work' to feed and rear the children) - I say, any government that obstructs anybody from pursuing that most sacred and essential of duties must be a government of the devil. That obstruction may take the form of an over-generous welfare state or by making it impossible to fulfil one's occupation without compromising one's faith.
Maybe we are heading to the final showdown where we will only be able to buy and sell if we have the mark of the beast.....

I am intrigued by your reference to Len's cults - what are they? I have checked the dictionary definition of cult and nothing I have read of Len's seems to fit with that.

And I do hope you are not insinuating that I am not really and truly a busy mum; I cannot force you to believe it but it is true. Please remember that busy mums by definition are extremely good at multi-tasking and just because the feminists and the greens have succeeded in making a brood of more than 2 a lower-class phenomenon, some of us 'busy mums' do not fit the popular perception of over-large, uneducated and uncouth females who may not even be sure of who their children's fathers are.

Busy mums are also tenacious to a fault - we do love having the last word - it's all part of the day job:))

14 March 2014 at 12:01  
Blogger Busy Mum said...

I meant to say, thankyou.

14 March 2014 at 12:04  
Blogger David Kavanagh said...

Busy Mum,

I'm busy too and I do indeed have a large immediate family, so I wasn't insinuating anything at all.

As for Len, make your own mind up or asks others as to why he is outside of 'mainstream' Christianity. For me, I lost interest when he launched into Orthodox Judaism and accused Israel of 'persecuting' Christian Messianic Jews.

So to you a Shabbat Shalom and a Chag Purim.

14 March 2014 at 17:05  
Blogger Len said...

Why am I outside mainstream Christianity?.
The question I would ask is what exactly IS mainstream Christianity?.

Here a short example of where I think the Christian 'religion has gone "Christianity started out in Palestine as a fellowship; it moved to Greece and became a philosophy; it moved to Italy and became an institution; it moved to Europe and became a culture; it came to America and became an enterprise." (Sam Pascoe)
The bottom line for me is truth and I can only find this truth in Christ.This truth is so precious to me that I will not adulterate it or compromise it with any man made religion.
Every move of God, every revival has eventually died because of compromise.The Reformation moved out in a blaze of glory but is has eventually lost all power because the leaders lost their vision and compromised God`s truth with this corrupt World system..

So to repeat a phrase "I'm out".

15 March 2014 at 08:53  
Blogger Len said...

The fact that the orthodox and the ultra orthodox Jews persecute the messianic Jews is a fact there is wealth of detail on the net...

Here is just one example which is just the tip of the iceberg... There are many more ...

15 March 2014 at 09:12  
Blogger Busy Mum said...

Len @ 8.53
I agree re the Reformation.

If I am correct in thinking Messianic Jews are Jewish people who believe that Jesus was the Messiah, then Orthodox Jews have been out to get Messianic Jews ever since the Jewish Jesus was crucified, followed by the martyrdom of his Jewish disciples and the Jewish apostle Paul. To give the Orthodox Jews credit where credit is due, they firmly believed Jesus was an impostor and guilty of the most terrible blasphemy. All explained in John 16, first few verses.

I can see why David K does not like this thought in much the same way as moderate Muslims are horrified by the thought that they are personally responsible for the atrocities carried out by Extreme Muslims.

Mainstream Christianity - a very subjective phrase - I am not C of E but like to think my lifestyle (dress, morals, Sunday observance) closely resembles that of former C of E generations.

17 March 2014 at 10:03  
Blogger Len said...

Most of the Pharisees rejected Jesus Christ because He did not conform to what the Pharisees expected of their Messiah.
The Pharisees were basically hypocrites they has' the Law of Moses' and that was all they wanted.The Pharisees administered the Law and didn`t want anyone challenging their position.
It is so with religions today , religion doesn`t need God because they have it' all worked out'(or so they think)Religion will never be that honest or that direct but that is 'the bottom line' with religion.
Many Jews (and Muslims) are having revelation of the true identity of Jesus Christ and are coming to faith in Him, but those who wish to control' their religions' and those within them hate Jesus Christ because He takes those from the bondage of religion and sets those captives free (and out of the control of those who wish to dominate and manipulate them)

17 March 2014 at 17:40  

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