Sunday, June 08, 2014

Ann Widdecombe: Britain is now "a very difficult country" for Christians



The Rt Hon Ann Widdecombe (still no peerage) says being a Christian in modern Britain is "very difficult". She attributes this to "quite militant secularism" and equality legislation: both have combined to create an intimidating and censorious context, making people feel they ought not to express their faith publicly. She said:
"Christians now have quite a lot of problems, whether it's that you can't display even very discreet small symbols of your faith at work, that you can't say 'God bless you', you can't offer to pray for somebody. If it's an even bigger stance on conscience that you're taking, some of the equality laws can actually bring you to the attention of the police themselves. So I think it is a very difficult country now, unlike when I was growing up, in which to be a Christian, an active Christian at any rate."
Of course, Jesus never promised believers that following Him would be a barrel of laughs. Those who hold on to a faith which embraces ethical and moral judgments are certainly having a rougher ride than those who disregard moral questions. It is easier to be the sort of half-evangelical Christian who proclaims an all-inclusive good news compared to the thoroughly evangelical type who believes that the Church can be committed to an ethical worldview without moderating its tone as a bearer of glad tidings.

Life in the Holy Spirit is a constant battle against 'the flesh'. The Spirit who descended at Whitsun - the glorious festival of Pentecost we celebrate today - empowers us to walk the precarious path between law and licence. We must be constantly vigilant, as St Paul warned in his letters to the Galatians and Romans, of the twin temptations of antinomianism and moralism. Every way of life not lived by the Spirit of God is lived by 'the flesh', by man taking responsibility for himself whether in libertarian or legalistic ways, without the good news that God has taken responsibility for him. Consequently, we cannot admit the suggestion that Christian ethics should pick its way between the two poles of law and licence in search of some middle ground. Such an approach to living the Christian life could end up by being only what it was from the outset - a fruitless oscillation between two sub-Christian forms of life.

A consistent Christianity must take a different path altogether, and that will attract scorn, condemnation and even physical persecution. But the path of an integrally evangelical ethic rejoices the heart and gives light to the eyes because it springs from God's gift to mankind in Jesus Christ. The flesh becomes dangerous when it is conceived as an alternative source of strength and wisdom to the Spirit: in the Christian life there must always be maintained a paradoxical tension between the weakness of the flesh and the strength of the gospel which is heard and lived through it.

So, let us be sure that we are being mocked and ridiculed for holding on to the faith that was bequeathed to us by Christ; not for expressing the opinions or moralistic obsessions of the flesh. Let us ensure that the world is hostile to the divine promise of the work of the Spirit within us; not the alternative rival source of strength and wisdom in the pretensions of the flesh. Let us, in humility, express the good news of Christ; not the justification of man through 'works of the law'.

As we reflect today on the descent of the gift of the Holy Spirit, let us remember not to seek fulfilment in our own self-expression, but in God's promise of ethical illumination which springs from the resurrection of Christ. The Spirit opposes 'the law' and 'the flesh' - the former is inadequate for salvation, and the latter is obsessed with autonomy and power. If things are 'difficult' for us, and if people snarl when you say "God bless you", is it because they hate the beauty of Christ within you, or because they find you an aggressive, hypocritical, loveless pharisee who bangs on about idolatry and moralism more than the believer's freedom, the fruit of the Spirit and the wonder of angels?

62 Comments:

Blogger Father David said...

Is Ms Widdecombe perhaps suggesting that there is "something of the night" for Christians living in Britain today?

8 June 2014 at 08:59  
Blogger Elwin Daniels said...

A well balanced reflection, your Grace. But the truth will divide and as our Lord said

'If they have hated Me, they will also hate you.'

Wheat from chaff time is coming. No use whimpering if the world hates us. 'Be ye of good cheer, I have overcome the world.'

8 June 2014 at 09:14  
Blogger David Hussell said...

A very good article, so thank you Your Grace.

Here we have wise words from both Ann Widdecombe and Cranmer, all worth reflecting upon.

I would say that Ann, a likeable, true English eccentric, freethinker and genuine Conservative, was and still is a victim of a vindictive and petty Prime Minister who has too small and narrow a view of public service, within politics, and even of his own party's breadth, to behave with the grace, forgiveness and generosity appropriate of a PM towards a long serving MP.

It takes a wise and strong leader to accept constructive criticisms, which if listened to and heeded, often help to prevent the very schisms which we now see gaping, wide open and threateningly before us, between those governing, and the governed, which has sadly been the defining hallmark of the divisive Cameron era.

I wish Ann a long and happy retirement. Her kind are all too rare now in the dysfunctional corridors of a Westminster, half-divorced from a nation that largely feels that those who tread its corridors, claiming to act as its MPs, no longer understand the people that they claim to represent.

8 June 2014 at 09:22  
Blogger David Hussell said...

Father David @ 08.59

Whilst I cannot claim to have asked her myself, I would very much doubt whether Ann Widdecombe would ever claim use of the strange, feminist "Ms" prefix, but maybe you are better informed than I !

8 June 2014 at 09:26  
Blogger DanJ0 said...

Article: "She attributes this to "quite militant secularism" and equality legislation: both have combined to create an intimidating and censorious context, making people feel they ought not to express their faith publicly."

I can't imagine the formidable Ms Widdecombe feeling she ought not to express anything, let alone her religious beliefs. I loved her agony aunt column in the Guardian where she gave "no-nonsense solutions to life's knotty problems". No doubt it was as ironic on her part as it was mischievous on the Guardian's part. That said, Christians have almost unlimited religious freedom in unregulated public places in the UK. It seems to me that the complaint is really that some former power and privileges have gone, and that the rest of us are most likely to be visibly embarrassed by overt religiosity than censorious of it. On top of that, a slightly shadowy set of Christian political pressure groups are collectively trying to push a persecution narrative into public perception for their own gains.

8 June 2014 at 10:02  
Blogger Len said...

An excellent article your Grace because it defines the struggle between 'the flesh' and 'the Spirit ' between God`s Law and God`s Grace (which comes only through the atonement of Christ at Calvary and received through faith.)
The Holy Spirit falling on and filling the disciples at Pentecost signified the arrival of 'the Church' and a new beginning.
Before Pentecost men had tried to serve God under the power of' the flesh' and failed as God knew that no good could come out of the flesh.
It is only through the power of the Holy Spirit that one can serve God as the flesh can only produce 'dead works'. The Spirit brings Life, God`s Law can only bring the sin nature in fallen man to the Light.That is why fallen man hides from and hates the Light but until fallen man can faces God`s estimation of sin(as defined by God`s Law) salvation is impossible.
Much of religion today is the product of dead works without 'the breath' of the Holy Spirit to infuse Life into it.
Before Pentecost it was all man doing his best.
After Pentecost it was God empowering the man to fulfill God`s purposes.

8 June 2014 at 11:02  
Blogger David Hussell said...

Len @ 11.02

A good summary there of the bare bones of the New Covenant, as understood by reformed Churches after Luther scrapped away the accumulated accretions, but now threatened by revisionisms. Here in the west we have already started the journey into another dark tunnel I believe, even as parts of Africa, S. America and China soar upwards into the light of the Gospel.

8 June 2014 at 11:17  
Blogger Malcolm Smith said...

According to DanJO, "Christians have almost unlimited religious freedom in unregulated public places in the UK."
The trouble is, public places are getting more and more regulated - and not for the better. When a church can get a visit from the police for putting up a sign with a reference to Hell, and a street preacher can get arrested because, when a homosexual asked him a question, he gave an honest answer, I would say that religious freedom is far from unlimited.

8 June 2014 at 12:30  
Blogger dfordoom said...

It's sad that one of the most dangerous enemies of Christianity today is the Church of England, which now stands for socialism and secularism. With friends like the Church of England Christianity doesn't need enemies.

8 June 2014 at 12:38  
Blogger Nick Prideaux said...

A wise and gracious word from HG. Thank you.

8 June 2014 at 12:40  
Blogger Inspector General in Ordinary said...

Hear Hear Ann Widdecombe !!

What is particularly disturbing is that the census shows the majority of people in this country identify as Christians. It thus follows that our elected representatives would have a good Christian showing. Something’s amiss then. Must be the collusion of these politicians with the secularist cause.

Poor show, you politicians who are Christians ! You need to realise you can’t mix the two approaches. It’ one or the other.

8 June 2014 at 12:41  
Blogger Nick said...

Yes, Britain is becoming a more difficult place to be a Christian, but it's not impossible to be one. I think Christians need to "redefine" themselves a little, not by adopting the current secular orthodoxy as many have done, but by reminding themselves about their spiritual roots.

I think that established religion, i.e. the CofE, is collapsing because it has largely surrendered to the ways of man. The CofE is not the way forward. The way forward is for grassroots Christians to think outside the secular box at all times. We should constantly question everything we have been indoctrinated with, whether at school, by the media, or through common culture.

8 June 2014 at 12:43  
Blogger Inspector General in Ordinary said...

Rather ironic that DanJ0, a homosexual, albeit somewhat tame one, should lament the ‘power and privileges’ he thinks Christians have. Sure the irony has not been lost on Cranmer’s discerning followers.

What we know is that in any system, one group comes out on top. We can only hope that it continues to be benign Christianity. God help us if his crowd manage to do it. Problem is, it’s his people in the ascendance as of late. Interestingly, the militant homosexuals speak for ALL homosexuals, whereas Christian activists only speak for regular church attendees.

Damn queer that !!


8 June 2014 at 12:49  
Blogger DanJ0 said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

8 June 2014 at 13:20  
Blogger DanJ0 said...

Inspector: "Rather ironic that DanJ0, a homosexual, albeit somewhat tame one, should lament the ‘power and privileges’ he thinks Christians have."

I see you're on about homosexuality here yet again even though the article has nothing to do with it.

8 June 2014 at 13:22  
Blogger DanJ0 said...

Malcolm: "When a church can get a visit from the police for putting up a sign with a reference to Hell, and a street preacher can get arrested because, when a homosexual asked him a question, he gave an honest answer, I would say that religious freedom is far from unlimited."

We all must assert and defend that freedom. The police have no case there, as we all know. It's just that the law and the guidelines encourage investigation even when it's obvious to most people there's no crime been committed. Just bear it mind that the freedom applies to citizens of all religious beliefs.

8 June 2014 at 13:23  
Blogger Inspector General in Ordinary said...

DanJ0 “I see you're on about homosexuality here yet again even though the article has nothing to do with it”

As if. You people are in the bloody vanguard of Christian oppression. Give the rest of us some credit for realising that.


8 June 2014 at 13:42  
Blogger DanJ0 said...

You talk of irony yet you've said here a number of times that you want people like me relegated to the back streets and out of sight. Now there's an example of potential oppression. I've said here enough times that I'm happy for the religious to be singing and dancing in the streets if they like. Also, for an allegedly oppressed section of society it's a bit odd to see a full hour of Christian religious service broadcast prime time on BBC1 this morning because it's Pentecost.

8 June 2014 at 13:55  
Blogger carl jacobs said...

The problem with this essay is that it gives no guidance on what it means to be "an aggressive, hypocritical, loveless pharisee who bangs on about idolatry and moralism." The essay floats in the ethereal. The world in which we live has its own moralism - a moralism that it aggressively promotes - and it doesn't want that moralism challenged. But we have a positive responsibility to challenge it.

So how do we do that without falling askance of the dictim here presented to not be "an aggressive, hypocritical, loveless pharisee who bangs on about idolatry and moralism." The author does not say, and yet that is the critical point. Because challenging the moral precepts of this age of autonomous deified man is going to earn us that charge no matter how we say it. We are not just challenging moral behavior, after all. We are denying the god of the age.

carl

8 June 2014 at 14:45  
Blogger Jay Bee said...

Carl

Perhaps the answer depends not so much on what we say but how we say it.
Be assertive but not aggressive, sincere but never sanctimonious, loving rather than legalistic.
St Paul gives us a guide in 1 Corinthians 13. Eloquence is useless when love is absent.

If we are to be dragged before the courts then let us suffer for presenting the Gospel in a way that demonstrates genuine concern for others and not for indulging in thoughtless Bible thumping rants.

JB

8 June 2014 at 15:43  
Blogger Inspector General in Ordinary said...

DanJ0 “you've said here a number of times that you want people like me relegated to the back streets and out of sight.”

A rather blunt way of putting it, but the sentiment is correct. YOU need to know you place in society. And it’s not at the front, that’s for sure - that’s reserved for parents of and including the next generation. Why, not even yours truly is there, being a bachelor.

As long as you continue to groom us to your way of thinking, you will be continually reminded of where you really are in the pecking order.

“Now there's an example of potential oppression.”

Really didn’t expect you to roll over and bark with glee on knowing where you actually stand in this life. So no surprise there then.

8 June 2014 at 15:48  
Blogger DanJ0 said...

Who knew there'd be such venom for merely being shown up as a gobby hypocrite? Blimey.

8 June 2014 at 16:39  
Blogger Inspector General in Ordinary said...

Venom ? For a working definition of that, you need to ask that homosexual couple who persecutes Christian B+B owners. Apparently, requesting you don’t smoke in a room is acceptable – expecting a couple of fruits to refrain from buggery for one night is not.

Why ?

8 June 2014 at 16:49  
Blogger DanJ0 said...

Inspector, the bulk of the article is about the work of what Christians call the Holy Spirit. As a self-identifying Christian at Pentecost, you might be better reflecting on the last paragraph of the article.

8 June 2014 at 16:57  
Blogger Phil Roberts said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

8 June 2014 at 16:58  
Blogger Inspector General in Ordinary said...

...while you feed us to the secular lions ? When one is at church, he always has an eye on what’s going on outside the back door.

8 June 2014 at 17:04  
Blogger Shadrach said...

Your Grace. Good article and worthy of much thought. I greatly respect Ann Widdecombe even though I believe she chose the RCC, but then who would choose the CofE at present.

Works versus Grace. An on going debate that drags many into slavery of service and others into licentious liberality.

Carl said, So how do we do that without falling askance of the dictim here presented to not be "an aggressive, hypocritical, loveless pharisee who bangs on about idolatry and moralism.
a subject that I have been considering since reading about Christians conciliatory approach to win over Muslims in Nigeria. When we 'bang on about morality' we antagonise. Antagonism produces antagonism and then walls are built.

I have considered the positions of the two Christian lobby groups, Christian Institute and Christian Concern. I had seen much antagonism towards the Institute from it's enemies which can mean that either it's message is getting home or that it is just creating barriers.

It is always best to look at what Jesus did. Did he castigate the immoral sinners or did he show love to them and encourage them to turn from their sin? Yet the Religious people of the day he had no time for and castigated them ferociously.

If we are lobbying we need to be aware that those in authority do not hold with God and only take umbrage at being told what they should do. But by virtue of 'reason', they may be persuaded.

8 June 2014 at 17:12  
Blogger Len said...

Things are going to get considerably harder for any Holy Spirit filled Christians.
The RCC has its problems which are numerous, but the Protestant Church has equally as many problems (although of a different nature)
The' prosperity Gospel and' the 'word of faith' movement has attracted many charlatans fraudsters and get rich quick con men who have done much damage to the Gospel of Jesus Christ..looking through the Christian Channels on TV is quite frankly depressing to see these frauds in action.There are a few exceptions but how would anyone searching for the truth know who
was genuine amongst the rest?.
IF the worst of the RCC gets together with the worst of ' word of faith' movement( which looks like is happening) then God help us.

8 June 2014 at 17:38  
Blogger Nick said...

Shadrach

"Did he castigate the immoral sinners or did he show love to them and encourage them to turn from their sin?"

Good point, but the problem we have is that many of those who claim to represent Jesus are now telling sinners they are not commiting sin at all. If they condone sin, they are then unable to convincingly show them a better way. Jesus did no compromise with sin, but his response to it was more concerned with salvation than condemantion. Of course, not everybody responded to him, otherwise there would have been no need for his ultimate sacrifice.

8 June 2014 at 17:50  
Blogger Inspector General in Ordinary said...

On the subject of Jesus...

A burglar broke into a house one night. He shined his flashlight around, looking for valuables when a voice in the dark said, 'Jesus knows you'r...e here.'

He nearly jumped out of his skin, clicked his flashlight off, and froze. When he heard nothing more, he shook his head and continued.

Just as he pulled the stereo out so he could disconnect the wires, clear as a bell he heard 'Jesus is watching you.'

Startled, he shined his light around frantically, looking for the source of the voice. Finally, in the corner of the room, his flashlight beam came to rest on a parrot.

'Did you say that?' he hissed at the parrot.

'Yes', the parrot confessed, then squawked, 'I'm just trying to warn you that he's watching you.'

The burglar relaxed. 'Warn me, huh? Who in the world are you?'

'Moses,' replied the bird.

'Moses?' the burglar laughed. 'What kind of people would name a bird Moses?'

'The kind of people who would name a Rottweiler Jesus

8 June 2014 at 18:02  
Blogger Tom Mushroom said...

One reason that Britain might be a "difficult country" for Roman Catholics if not Christians is the Tuam story.

Tom Stanley in the Telegraph provides an interesting alternative.

Stanley says, "Put all this evidence together and you have a far more nuanced picture than the one presented in parts of the media. Tuam was a miserable institution, blighted by underfunding and the snobbery of the locals. But it may sometimes have been run better than at other times, and it’s possible to see some of the nuns as people who were prepared to do something that the rest of the community would not – care, no matter how poorly, for unwanted children."

http://blogs.telegraph.co.uk/news/timstanley/100275222/what-happened-at-the-tuam-childrens-home-was-a-human-tragedy-not-a-catholic-one/

8 June 2014 at 18:40  
Blogger John Malcolmson said...

Ann Widdecombe has far more credibility without a "gong" than with one. It seems that a lot of honours these days (at least the ones that the media report) are handed out for political reasons to convince voters how "in touch" the government is with popular culture - hence the disproportionate degree of recognition given to those who achieve success in sport, pop music, film and theatre.

Mind you, Ann herself isn't above "rebranding" her image - she's come a long way since being dubbed "Doris Karloff" when she first entered government. This has a lot to do with demonstrating that she didn't take herself too seriously - by making a fool of herself on Strictly Come Dancing.

8 June 2014 at 19:02  
Blogger Shadrach said...

Inspector; That was brilliant.

8 June 2014 at 19:26  
Blogger Father David said...

The last time I heard Anne Widdicombe speak she ended her oration by saying that she was willing to answer questions on any subject not just politics. The great lady continued by saying that she was only once stumped by a question and that was when someone asked her "Why would anyone want to have an affair with John Prescott?"
What a shame she didn't get to become Speaker of the House of Commons, she would have made a worthy successor to Gorbals Mick.
Yes, I remember her stunning performances on "Strictly Come Dancing". I voted for her to stay week after week and was deeply saddened when she was voted off.
Apart from the Beast of Bolsover where are the characters now in the present day House of Commons?

8 June 2014 at 19:29  
Blogger Inspector General in Ordinary said...

Another for you Shadrach. This one emphases the necessity of firm discipline within the Christian household.

Two brothers, 7 and 4 share a bedroom. The 7 year old tells his brother that’s it about time they both started swearing. They’re about to go down to breakfast and the 7 year old says that he will swear first, and that his brother should follow.

On arrival in the kitchen, he climbs up on his chair at the table. His mother comes over and says “What do you want for breakfast” Back came the reply, “Coco pops, bitch”. The mother lets fly with a slap that knocks him off his seat and into the corner, crying his eyes out. The mother then turns to the 4 year old and says “And what do YOU want for breakfast”. The little lad replies “I don’t know now, but I’ll tell you one thing, it ain’t going to be f_____g Coco pops.”

8 June 2014 at 19:44  
Blogger Shadrach said...

Not sure Inspector if I will invite you to be the warm up act at my next bonfire party!!!!

8 June 2014 at 20:00  
Blogger graham wood said...

"being a Christian in modern Britain is "very difficult".

I think AW is overstating the case. Generally Christians in the UK still have a relatively easy ride.
Perhaps it would be more accurate to say that it is becoming more "difficult" for Christians in the UK to witness to Christ in the public square, and in some areas of employment, particularly in government posts - and indeed is getting harder.

However, sometimes we do need to view and then to appreciate in thanksgiving to God what is found in the wider world scene.
Of course numbers is not a primary criteria, nevertheless some of these are astonishing.

Rodney Stark (The Victory of Reason) points out much that should rejoice our hearts:
"The fact is, Christianity is becoming globalised far more rapidly then democracy, capitalism, or modernity....
the religious revolution in Latin America.... Africa is turning Christian so rapidly that there are far more Anglicans south of the Sahara than in Britain or North America.
Even so (all this)... may be dwarfed by China. In 1949 there were perhaps a million Christians in China..... 50 years later what some described as "rice Christians" endured decades of draconian repression, during which their numbers doubled again and again. There may be as many as 100 million Christians in China today/
Moreover, conversion to Christianity is concentrated not among the peasants and the poor, but among the best-educated most modern Chinese"
All this within about 50 years! Truly then, biblical prophecies concerning the triumph of the Gospel are being fulfilled, and the spiritual sons and daughters of Abraham are pressing into God's Kingdom.

8 June 2014 at 20:16  
Blogger David Hussell said...

graham wood @ 20.16

Thank you for reminding me of the incredible global advances being made for the Gospel outside our myopic post-Christian country and "tight" little europe. Europe and the west is so utterly out of step with a world that is rapidly becoming more and more Christian.

Most of those, oh so lofty secularists, who preach the gospel of atheism, agnosticism or Humanism from the BBC or the pages or screens of popular media and news outlets are deliberately, wilfully ignoring the incredible success story of global Christianity. In just Nigeria alone, admittedly a populous country, more Anglicans go to church on a Sunday than the whole of the UK, the US, Australia, NZ and the rest of the "old" empire countries and the present Commonwealth ones put together. And that's just Anglicanism - the other mainline Churches are having the same successes. Hallelujah ! The truth is that God is winning, not the doubters.

8 June 2014 at 20:54  
Blogger David Hussell said...

whoops, .....

should have said "..and the present Commonwealth ones, outside Africa, put together..."

8 June 2014 at 20:58  
Blogger David Hussell said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

8 June 2014 at 20:58  
Blogger Shadrach said...

Interesting about China. We had Brother Yun at our church this morning. An amazing man who has endured much that we must be thankful that we have not had to endure here. He also said that there are far more Christians in China than we have as a population in the UK.
What Ann W is talking about is nothing yet in comparison with what he went through.

8 June 2014 at 21:50  
Blogger Matt A said...

Who says you can't say God bless you? I say this quite often at work, so far unchallenged.

8 June 2014 at 22:17  
Blogger Malcolm Smith said...

It is interesting that you should start mentioning China. I had been intrigued about that when I read Rodney Stark's calculation that Christianity in the Roman Empire increased by 40% every decade.
I then did a bit of number crunching myself, using the most conservative figures available, and came up with the conclusion that Christianity in China is doubling every 5½ years.
See http://malcolmsmiscellany.blogspot.com.au//2013/08/the-christian-explosion-in-china.html .

8 June 2014 at 22:46  
Blogger Manfarang said...

In mainland China religion is restricted. One of the fastest growing religious movements in east Asia is I-kuan Tao.
Christians in England have great difficulty in forcing their beliefs on others otherwise they are free to do what they please.

9 June 2014 at 03:21  
Blogger dfordoom said...

"Christians in England have great difficulty in forcing their beliefs on others otherwise they are free to do what they please."

While secularists, atheists and the LGBTQXYZ crowd have no difficulty whatsoever in forcing their beliefs on others.

9 June 2014 at 05:19  
Blogger DanJ0 said...

Manfarang:"Christians in England have great difficulty in forcing their beliefs on others otherwise they are free to do what they please."

Heh, very good.

9 June 2014 at 05:20  
Blogger Manfarang said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

9 June 2014 at 07:29  
Blogger William Lewis said...

Manfarang

"In mainland China religion is restricted."

Perfect conditions for people to come to faith in Christ then. No wonder it's going great guns.

9 June 2014 at 08:46  
Blogger Preacher said...

Good report Dr C! It's always been the rule that when the Holy Spirit starts a work, there will be growing opposition.
The weekend tributes to the men who faced the might of the Nazis, should be an inspiration to us whose war is spiritual. After facing a seemingly hopeless task, they won us our freedom. Should we do less for those that are still held captive by an enemy even worse than Hitler?.
Some contributors here have spoken about those Brethren in China & Rome, who were persecuted & killed for daring to bring the gospel that liberates mankind. They did not die in vain or ignorance of the facts. They showed the love, mercy & grace of God in the death of His son to deliver men from the certain Judgement that they would deserve, as well as demonstrating the lack of fear & their faith in God's promises. Can we do less if the same Holy Spirit lives in us?.
They & we demonstrate our faith & invite & inspire others to join in the freedom that we enjoy. This is not enforced by forms of legalism or assisted by liberal theology. But in the same demonstration of joy demonstrated in the peoples of Europe as the curse of enslavement under the heel of the oppressor was lifted.
The Church grows under affliction, as Gold is purified in the furnace & diamonds are produced under pressure. History is proof of this. All of us will die one day, it's only a question of when, where & how.

How we face God as judge or Father is dependant on the choices we make here. How will they choose if we don't tell them, whatever the cost?.

9 June 2014 at 08:46  
Blogger Manfarang said...

William
Well then in that case any restrictions in England should be welcomed not complained about.
I-Kuan Tao is a movement with most growth in Taiwan.

9 June 2014 at 11:15  
Blogger William Lewis said...

Manfarang

"Well then in that case any restrictions in England should be welcomed not complained about."

Except where the restrictions close down adoption agencies or lock people up for saying that homosexual practice is a sin. These kinds of restrictions affect everyone.

However, in some sense you are right. Opposition to the Gospel is to be expected and welcomed - as the sermon on the mount teaches.

9 June 2014 at 11:41  
Blogger Jim Robinson said...

I hope things get progressively more difficult for christians to express their absurd, harmful mumbo jumbo.

I'm curious, Your Grease. What makes you an authority on the will of god, or what christians should be doing? You got the inside track on the supernatural? Tell us, how does it work? Where do you get your info?

9 June 2014 at 13:04  
Blogger Father David said...

In the light of the little local difficulty being currently experienced in Birmingham Schools there has been a debate in the House of Commons this afternoon where the Secretary of State for Education has been banging on about "British values". I wonder how Mr. Gove defines these values? Personally I cannot see that they can be derived from anything other than Christian values considering the long and great influence the Christian Faith has had upon our nation.

9 June 2014 at 16:59  
Blogger Manfarang said...

Father David
Confucian values are what is needed when it comes to education.

9 June 2014 at 17:13  
Blogger John Malcolmson said...

With reference to Father David's comment (16:59) about British values being derived from Christianity (a statement with which I absolutely concur) I would be interested to learn from Jim Robinson (13:04) a) how he defines British values and b) from where he thinks they are derived. Surely not from absurd, harmful mumbo jumbo?

9 June 2014 at 18:37  
Blogger Father David said...

It would be enlightening if the Secretary of State for Education himself were actually to define what he understands "British values" to be and where he thinks those values are derived from.

9 June 2014 at 18:45  
Blogger Len said...

There has been a definite agenda (from the EU) to dilute whatever 'nation identity' means right across Europe.
It is an old strategy called 'divide and conquer'.
And you just gotta hand it to them.
Its working! , and the means? unrestricted borders, dumbing down the population, get rid of any sort of moral codes, no absolutes in anything,ridicule Christians (the media have been very obliging in this how many times is the Christian portrayed as a 'nutter'?)
encourage homosexuality,the list is endless..........but the one thing is certain, all this is not happening by accident...

10 June 2014 at 09:24  
Blogger John Malcolmson said...

Father David @ 18:45 9/6

Michael Gove is one of the more courageous members of this government but even he (as Education Secretary) wouldn't dare say that British values are derived from the Christian faith. Think of the howls of protest from the atheist left - he would probably be accused of exactly the same kind of discrimination and indoctrination that are currently being investigated in certain Birminghma schools.

An Education Secretary who discriminates against children of other faiths and none? Absolute noonsense, I know, but that's the way it would be reported by the media. His position would become untenable.

10 June 2014 at 10:01  
Blogger DanJ0 said...

JM: "Michael Gove is one of the more courageous members of this government but even he (as Education Secretary) wouldn't dare say that British values are derived from the Christian faith."

They're derived from all sorts of things, including our specific Christian heritage. If he's going to start identifying their source then he should tell the truth really.

10 June 2014 at 17:42  
Blogger John Malcolmson said...

DanJO

"They're derived from all sorts of things, including our specific Christian heritage"

Some other examples would be interesting.

10 June 2014 at 18:20  
Blogger DanJ0 said...

JM:"Some other examples would be interesting."

Perhaps you can define British Values for, ahem, us and I'll see what I can do if I agree with some of your set.

12 June 2014 at 01:36  
Blogger DanJ0 said...

As an addendum to my comment above, when one looks at our history there different threads through the developing culture. For instance, there's the Enlightenment libertarian one, promoting freedom, self-sufficiency, and so on. One can see that reflected in the literature, such as Robinson Crusoe. There's also a paternalistic and very moralistic one, most evident in Victorian times, with its colonialism and later philantrophism.

12 June 2014 at 06:33  

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