A Strange but Blessed Legacy!

Folk might not get this and just conclude I’m crazy after all  (you certainly wouldn’t be the first!), but here goes anyway:

I would rather be deemed to have failed in endeavouring to help believers to live biblically than to have succeeded in helping them to live un-biblically. I’d certainly have more friends had I done the latter – though they wouldn’t, of course, be ones worth having – and I would doubtless have had a much easier life. But hey, it’s all about the Lord Jesus and what He wants, and that means living biblically and helping others to do the same, and I am content in Him!

Merry Christmas

Any honest look beyond the Christmas card image of the Yuletide season reveals something that not only the world hates to acknowledge, but many Christians too. Whenever the righteousness of God is revealed in the context of His plan to redeem a fallen and sinful humanity, the bearing of shame by the innocent is the only possible outcome. At the heart of the Christmas story, therefore, is a faithful and virtuous young woman who becomes pregnant outside of marriage, and a young man who marries her knowing he will be regarded by his family and peers as not just the man who was obviously her sad and pathetic second best, but also a fool for not preserving his dignity by just cancelling the wedding and wiping his hands of her. How few would have believed this young maiden’s story that she was pregnant by the Holy Spirit, and not a worthless fornicator, and that Joseph was actually as honourable and righteous a young man as any could care to meet. Their obedience to the God they so loved meant that shame, indignity and reproach would follow them for the rest of their lives.

And so it is for any who truly love and follow the One those two wonderful young people brought into the world and raised so faithfully, for more than any other man in history, the Lord Jesus was born to be the bearer of shame par excellence! Not shame for His own sins, of course, for never did He do any wrong; but rather the shame of everyone for whom He died. It is as if He was saying, “If they won’t take the blame for their sin, then I will take the blame for them!”

Whenever the righteousness of God hits up against the sinfulness of man, it is forever that same goodness which gets condemned in the eyes of unrepentant sinners as being itself evil. Thus, then, did the Lord end His days on earth, nailed to a cross of shame, being considered as, at best, a deluded deceiver, or at worst, a loathed and hated blasphemer. Never has any man been as innocent as was He, yet neither has any man borne such shame and reproach.

It bothers me then that Christians, and in particular Christian leaders, place so much importance on being honoured and respected, and on being highly esteemed by society. It seems somewhat of a far cry from Paul’s declaration that he and the other apostles were treated as the ‘off-scouring of the earth’, and from the way in which he gloried in his weakness and tribulation, plus the ultimate personal rejection of being actually physically persecuted. To seek to be honoured in the eyes of men, it seems to me, is therefore completely at variance with living in such a way so as to be honoured by God. Yet so much that Christians do, and so much of the way in which the Christian Church goes about things, seems positively designed to ‘look good’ in the eyes of the world, and to secure the honour and respect the Lord Himself never received.

Jesus taught that it is a very bad thing when all men think well of us, yet it is often what Christians go all out to secure for themselves. I can only say that it is fortunate indeed that neither Mary nor Joseph thought that way. Our choice is simple: to live fully by God’s Word, thereby incurring the wrath and disrespect of those who don’t – carnal Christians included – or tone down the Lord’s truth and demands so as to make ourselves as acceptable and inoffensive as necessary in order that all men to think well of us.

The writer to the Hebrews exhorted, “Let us, then, go to him outside the camp, bearing the disgrace he bore. For here we do not have an enduring city, but we are looking for the city that is to come.” (Hebrews 13:13-14)

I love Christmas and everything it stands for and represents; but let us never forget that at the heart of the Lord’s birth, life and death – and therefore of our discipleship – is the bearing of shame and reproach for Him. If the world, and I include here worldly Christians, love us, then the chances are that it is because we are loving the world: and that, according to the epistle of James, is enmity with God.

I wish you all a merry Christmas, and a very happy and blessed New Year!

 

 

 

On Trump vs Clinton!

serveimageI have never done anything like this before but with the US Elections looming I feel burdened to encourage my brothers and sisters in the States to use their vote, as well as to clarify the situation over there for those who don’t live in America. My burden is simply that I believe it to be vital that they vote for Donald Trump, and I will endeavor to explain why.

Firstly, as an Englishman for whom America is very much a second home, I wish to say how much I love both the American nation and it’s people. Without the good ol’ US of A this world would be a very much darker and more evil place. It is indeed the last great bastion of freedom to which we can all look with hope, and it is only from this immensely respectful vantage point that I dare presume to speak at all.

In the last couple of hundred years something previously completely unheard of has become taken entirely for granted by the citizens of western nations, and it is that common folk have a say regarding who rules over them. For all its shortcomings the democratic process remains the best political system for preserving personal freedom and for holding back the evils of national tyranny; and the point I want to make is that, unlike here in Great Britain, the American people still have an option actually worth voting for.

However important economic theory and strategy may be for a nation, Christians should never vote merely from the vantage point of whichever government or administration they think is most likely to result in the greatest prosperity for themselves and their families. Though not completely unimportant, economic policy is nevertheless far from being the top priority for those who love righteousness, yet those of us here in the UK who do yearn for national godliness can now only vote for differing economic policies. It is simply too late for us regarding issues of morality and decency because there is no party that would make any difference at all to anything that particularly matters to us. Britain has reached the place of being completely without a Christian voice, our various political parties all being committed to the continued mass killing of unborn children as well as to the spread of gay marriage. Indeed, it was a Conservative Prime Minister (the UK equivalent of the Republican Party) that championed the latter, famously referring to those who disapproved as ‘dinosaurs.’ (Once the so-called ‘conservatives’ in a nation are actively pro-gay marriage then you know it’s pretty much the end of the road!)

It is, however, a completely different scenario across the Atlantic, and Christians there can still use their vote in such a way as to actually be able to prevent further evil coming upon their land, as well as even potentially undoing evil currently being endorsed. There remains a strong and vibrant Christian voice, and never has it been so important for it to be heard. And so I come to why I am urging my American brothers and sisters to vote for Donald Trump…and it is nothing whatsoever to do with him as an individual!

The reality of this election is that it is possibly the most important for generations, and for the simple reason that whoever becomes the next US President will, over the course of their tenure in the White House, appoint several judges to the Supreme Court. And depending on whether Trump or Clinton makes those appointments, America will either be reprieved from the increasing evil of the current secular liberal agenda of the Obama administration, or be thrown headlong into the most dreadful escalation of it. Simply put, States rights will diminish more and more under Clinton as the secular liberal federalists impose their agenda ever more widely, or be protected – re-instated, even – under Trump, thus enabling decent God-fearing folk to at least have a chance of stemming the tide of the intellectual fascism of the liberal agenda, protecting unborn children by slowing down the increasing rates of abortion, and even possibly undoing the immoral absurdity of the redefinition of marriage.

It is so important that Christians don’t view this election in terms of Donald Trump’s personal suitability for the job of being the President of the United States of America, but only in terms of those individuals he would appoint to the Supreme Court, in contrast to those who would be appointed by Hilary Clinton. If (quite understandably) personal distaste for Trump leads to god-fearing Christians not voting at all – or voting for Independents instead – Clinton could well be let in by merely by default. If nothing else, voting for Donald Trump will save the lives of millions of unborn children. So it’s not a question of voting for Trump on the basis of whether or not he is a personal champion of righteousness, he clearly isn’t, but simply because he will appoint Republican-thinking Judges who will decide the rule of law according to the original intent of the biblical foundation of the Constitution, as opposed to Democrat liberal-thinking ones who will do the exact opposite, and whose agenda is secularism and the ultimate destruction of Christian morality and decency.

I leave you with this simple thought: Donald Trump’s inappropriate and offensive references to women and sexual immorality, however unpleasant, won’t lead to an increase in the killing of unborn babies, but a Clinton administration will! Donald Trump’s bombastic disrespect for his opponents, however unpleasant, won’t further the destruction of family life and the public denigration of those who hold to lifelong heterosexual marriage, but a Clinton administration will! Donald Trump’s colorful and unwise language, however unpleasant, won’t lead to increased oppression against Christians and the Christian faith, but a Clinton administration will!

It’s not about Donald Trump or Hilary Clinton! It’s about the Supreme Court! It’s about Judges who will uphold decent conservative and Christian values as opposed to Judges who will rule against them! It’s about freedom of conscience versus the thought police of the secular liberal agenda! It’s about decency and righteousness as opposed to a landslide of evil and sin such as America has never seen before!

Hold your nose as you do so if you must, but whatever you do, vote for Donald Trump on Tuesday!

 

Home Sweet Home

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The travelling we do as a family is extensive, and, although a great privilege and blessing, the trips are long, somewhat arduous, and quite exhausting. They always end with long haul flights which, as anyone who does them a lot knows, are about as much fun as having your toenails pulled out. But what keeps us going at that point is one simple, and utterly delightful, fact: We’re going home! Man, we’re going home!

And just like our trips, life in this world, though comprising of great joy, and the most wonderful sense of purpose in the Lord, can be exhausting, arduous, debilitating and often heartbreaking. A fallen world is never going to be a truly fun thing, and serving the Lord, having our sinfulness dealt with, plus being opposed left, right and centre by the evil one, makes it decidedly all the harder. But what keeps us on track as the Lord’s people, and what makes it all worthwhile, is the sure and certain knowledge that, the whole time, we are actually on our way home, and that we will eventually, for a surety, most definitely get there.

Home, where rest follows labour and peace follows turmoil. Where security reigns and the vagaries and, at times, even dangers, of travel give way to the calm safety of the delight of just being at home with one’s family. Where difficulty and trial give way to freedom, fun and delight.

For Belinda, Bethany and I there is nothing quite like coming home. That we are together on our travels is everything to us and is the reason why I can accept invitations to serve the Lord’s people in such far flung places the way I do; but it doesn’t, and cannot, compare to us actually getting home once our task is accomplished. And so it is with our home in Heaven with the Lord. We will get there, and it will be everything we could possibly ever imagine – and far more! More rest, more peace, more love, more security, more freedom, more fun and joy than we could ever begin to even conceive! The whole family of God together at last, but together at last with Him!

I have, as some of you will know from my battle with cancer, faced death and looked it squarely in the eye, and although it is obviously a bit of a bummer that it usually means leaving loved ones behind (though I always knew that Belinda and Bethany would join me later), I can nevertheless confirm that there is truly is no sting to it, given what – or, rather, Who – awaits us beyond it!

So be brave, Christian friend!  Be brave and keep going! Be diligent and unstoppable in serving the Lord, battling against sin and living godly in Christ Jesus! Keep resisting the devil and his wiles and keep being the light of the Lord in this dark, dreadful, beautiful, evil and wicked world! You are headed home! You are going to get there! You are going to be so very happy and have not yet the slightest clue just how incredible, wonderful and amazing it is going to be! You will be with Jesus! You will be without sin! You will, indeed, be home at last!

 

 

 

The Joy of Repentance

I can truly say that I want to please the Lord. For all the things I am not sure of, and everything I still don’t understand and can’t work out or properly comprehend, I am nevertheless absolutely clear that I do want to live a life that is pleasing to the Lord. My problem is, however, the sin that stands so distressingly in the way. I want to please Him, yet know my heart to be full of pride, selfishness, covetousness, self-righteousness and all kinds of evil. In what possible way, then, can I please a holy God? Well, there is a way; and it not only pleases Him, it utterly delights His heart:

So he told them this parable: “What man of you, having a hundred sheep, if he has lost one of them, does not leave the ninety-nine in the wilderness, and go after the one which is lost, until he finds it? And when he has found it, he lays it on his shoulders, rejoicing. And when he comes home, he calls together his friends and his neighbors, saying to them, ‘Rejoice with me, for I have found my sheep which was lost.’ Just so, I tell you, there will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who need no repentance. Or what woman, having ten silver coins, if she loses one coin, does not light a lamp and sweep the house and seek diligently until she finds it? And when she has found it, she calls together her friends and neighbors, saying, ‘Rejoice with me, for I have found the coin which I had lost.’ Just so, I tell you, there is joy before the angels of God over one sinner who repents.”(Luke 15:3-10)

And there you have it! Those verses don’t say that it is the angels who rejoice, though I’m sure they do, but that there is rejoicing going on before them. And so I ask: Who is it in Heaven before Whom the angels stand? Answer! The Lord Himself! Imagine! The Almighty God rejoices when a sinner repents. It would obviously be so much the better if I could please Him by not actually being sinful any more, and that day will certainly come when I am with Him having been freed from this body, and it should certainly be the case for all of us that we are seeing a progressive victory in overcoming sin in our lives, but it is nevertheless wonderful to know that, in the meantime, being honest about sin, and coming clean through confession when we have sinned, brings Him joy. In other words, I can’t please Him with sinlessness (if only I could), but I can bring Him pleasure and joy through ongoing confession and repentance.

Now there are those who would argue that the rejoicing alluded to in the above verses is limited to a sinner’s initial conversion; that is, when they first come to the Lord in repentance and faith, and of course it most most certainly does include that. But in the same way that a father is joyful at the birth of his child, and then joyful from that moment onwards, so too is the Lord thrilled not just when we are born again, but continuously as we grow in Him throughout the ensuing years. There is no way I can properly express the joy I knew when Bethany was born, yet that joy has increased as every year has gone by, and not in any way decreased. Whatever thrilled me about her when she was born, and she thrilled me beyond words, still thrills me all the more as each month goes by as I have watched her grow and develop. What a sad father who knows joy for their child’s birth, yet not throughout the years that follow. In fact, in becoming a father I have experienced an ongoing paradox which I’ve never been able to properly describe, though I do intend to have a jolly good go!

At whatever point in time I look back to as Bethany’s father I know that I was as thrilled to bits with her as I could have been. When she was a baby my overwhelming feeling was, “Man, this is amazing! She’s incredible! It just can’t get any better than this! Please Lord, don’t ever let this change!” Then, when she was a toddler I was thinking, “Man, this is amazing! She’s incredible! It just can’t get any better than this! Please Lord, don’t ever let her change!” Then, when she was small child I thought, “Man, this is amazing! She’s incredible! It just can’t get any better than this! Please Lord, don’t ever let her change!” Then when she got to her teens I thought…and so on and so forth, right up to this very new morning as I write!

From the moment she was born I thought she was absolutely amazing and, just as did Belinda, I fell utterly and completely in love with her. At any given moment it was completely beyond me how she could be any better, and I could only see any change as a negative and a step down. I therefore longed that she never would. Yet as each and every ensuing minute, hour, day, week, month and year passed, it was equally utterly beyond me at any one of those given moments also how this fatherhood thing could get any better, and my ongoing desire was always, at any given time, that she would never change. And yet, by definition, she was changing all the time, if only in that she was slowly, but surely, in the process of growing up. So I could never imagine how it could have gotten any better because I knew it was already as good as it could possibly be, and so I therefore didn’t want anything to change; but of course she did change, and yet I was still always, in any given moment, thinking, “Man, this just doesn’t get any better! Please Lord, don’t let her ever change” And so it goes on…

For me, therefore, fatherhood has been to live in a completely paradoxical state of being utterly unable, at any given moment, to imagine how being my daughters father could get any better, thereby never wanting anything to change in such regard, yet finding the exact same thing to also be the case at every point during the ensuing years, meaning that it was actually getting better all the time, and that she was changing and growing, even though it seemed to me at any one moment that it never could get any better or that her changing could ever be an improvement. At any given present moment I could look back on any given past moment at which I genuinely perceived that neither parenthood, nor Bethany, could have gotten any better, therefore yearning for it to never change, yet whilst still perceiving exactly the same thing in any given present moment, which, by definition, meant it had obviously gotten better, and precisely because she had changed…yet it still couldn’t have gotten any better because it was already as good as it could get…and…and…Man, life sure is strange…!!!

However confusing all this might seem it’s really just a description of what it means to love someone…and I love my daughter very, very much. She is, quite simply, wonderful, and always has been, but of course it is as much my love for her that I am describing as it is a description of her, and that is the real point here when it comes to us understanding in what ways we can be pleasing to the Lord! Because however deep and real my love for Bethany is – and it is extremely deep and intensely real – it is as nothing compared to how deep and real God’s love is for me…and therefore for you! And He loves us in exactly this same paradoxical way that I have just described in regards to my own fatherhood. His joy at our repentance, indeed, His joy at us, is not just for when we are born again and when we first come to Him in repentance and surrender, but precisely, just like our human parenting, from that point onwards. We have been born again into His family and have therefore become His children, and that in itself makes Him extremely happy; but it is wonderful in the extreme to know too that, whereas I make Him happy simply because I am His child; indeed, I can’t but make Him happy in such regard – after all, I can’t ever stop being His son – I can actually bring Him joy and pleasure on top of that by being on-goingly honest, and repentant, concerning my sin.

My joy over Bethany is therefore actually two-fold: firstly, simply because she is my daughter; but secondly, because she truly is as delightful, kind, godly and gracious a young lady as you could wish to meet. (Just ask anyone who knows her!)  And although it is wonderful enough to know that we please the Lord simply because we are His children, I for one nevertheless want to please Him also by the way I actually am; that is, by living in honesty, confession and repentance of my sins. Many Christians, I am greatly saddened to say, aren’t particularly honest about their sins or repentant of them, but at least I can be if I so choose. And that choice brings me joy in knowing not just that the Lord both forgives and restores me, but that it actually brings Him joy and happiness that I am so living.

Like my joy over Bethany, the joy of repentance is also twofold: It is joyful for the one who is penitent because of the peace and forgiveness it brings, but it is also a joy to such a one’s Father in Heaven Who finds infinite pleasure in His children being honest about their wrongdoing, and then saying sorry not just to Him, but to each other as well.

As a young Christian, before I properly understood what the Lord’s grace actually was, and what it actually meant, I was uncomfortable in the extreme with the subject matter we are here discussing, and I remember coming across a book, the title of which utterly baffled me. It was called, “Repentance: the Joy-Filled Life!” Just the title frightened the life out me, and I wouldn’t have dared read it back then in a million years. But now? Well, now I get it! And man, how wonderfully I get it too!

The writer to the Hebrews exhorts us to boldly approach the throne of grace in a time of need to receive mercy and help. Firstly, thrones are usually representative of power and strength, not grace and mercy. But then Jesus sits on this throne, and so I feel safe. Secondly, I come boldly and not in snivelling fear! Why?Because I’m qualified! I meet the criteria for approaching! And thirdly, I get what I come for! That is, grace, mercy and forgiveness! And why? Because my need, every day, even as a believer – no, precisely because I’m a believer – is to have my sins cleansed and removed by the Lamb of God Who takest away the sins of the world; mine included!

A Rather Dangerous Thing To Do…

DangerAfter I had known the Lord for about five years I did something which, looking back, was a bit of a spiritually dangerous thing to do. It was most certainly an absolutely right and biblical thing to do, and I have no doubt whatsoever that the Lord Himself led me to do it, but it was nonetheless decidedly risky. I asked the Lord to show me the true extent of my sinfulness and what it meant to carry the cross. I asked Him to show me what it meant to die daily to self and be one with Him in His death and resurrection. I am not exaggerating in any way at all when I say that, over the years that followed, I truly didn’t know what hit me.

There is no doubt in my mind that I really did know before then that I was a sinner. Indeed, the night I came to the Lord, totally out of the blue, I knew for the first time in my life that I was sinful and in need of His forgiveness and mercy. It was not a concept I had in any way previously comprehended, but that night I really was a penitent sinner cut down by a deep and abiding conviction of my depravity before God and the need for both forgiveness and cleansing. In other words, I was no fair-weather convert having responded to some perverted evangelistic message to the mere effect that God loved me and had a wonderful plan for my life. No! I knew beyond doubt that night that I was quite deservedly headed for a terrible and godless eternity, and that the Lord was commanding me to repent and to surrender to Him in the obedience of saving faith.

But however real that was, and it was extremely real, it doesn’t change the fact that the conviction of sin that I experienced upon my initial conversion, and over the handful of years that followed was, so to speak, just a taster. It was a sample, if you will, and a very small one at that, and it was only after several years of God dealing with me following that prayer that He began to show me something of the full extent of my sinfulness. Only then did I actually begin to appreciate and understand the sheer extent of the deceptiveness and evil of my heart. He demonstrated to me, quite terribly, that the simple truth was that, even though I had been a Christian for some years, I was still largely blind to the sin in me He yet wanted to reveal to me and deliver me from.

There are all manner of ways to describe the great need of the hour for those who claim to be followers of Jesus. Becoming comprehensively biblical! Growing in godliness! Coming into maturity! Living in obedience to Him! Yes, of course! But what it really boils down to is this: far too many believers who have been believers for years appear to be still largely ignorant of what their sins actually are. They live more in accordance with a kind of accepted, but rather wooly, Christian cultural ‘mindset’ then in deliberate comprehensive obedience to what the Bible actually teaches. They have, it would appear, called a ‘truce’ with the world, embracing a morally respectable, yet completely worldly, godlessness, where things like pride, covetousness, selfishness, the love of money and pursuit of material affluence go largely un-judged.

Part of what I do involves me, at times, in having to engage with brothers in the Lord, and sometimes their wives too, who are in process of shipwrecking their faith. Whether it be through immorality, bitterness and resentment, the love of money, or whatever, my desire and aim is to bring them to repentance and restoration, and freedom from the folly that has overtaken them. It is a joy when success becomes apparent, but heartbreak beyond words should they refuse to put lives in order.

But such situations, and here’s my point, make me realise yet again, as it should do us all, the sheer depth and danger of my own sinfulness, and how easily, but for the grace of the Lord, I could go the same way. As believers we must indeed judge each another and hold one another to account, just as scripture commands us to do (1 Corinthians 5), yet none of us dare forget, but for an instant, that we all stand in equal danger of any who are falling by the wayside, and thus forsaking the Lord and shipwrecking their faith. Scripture warns us of the deceptiveness of sin, and it behoves each one of to periodically quite intentionally ask the Lord to show us afresh just how sinful and prone to deception and self-righteousness we actually are.

“Search me O God and try my heart, and see if there be any wicked way in me.” So cried out the Psalmist in an exhortation we dare not ignore. Paul quite undeniably categorised some Christians as being carnal as opposed to being spiritual, and herein lies the difference between the two. Carnal Christians are little aware of their sinfulness and, broadly speaking, consider their lives to be theirs to do with petty much as they please. The probably won’t be sexually immoral or tell too many lies or anything like that, but outside of the ‘blatant’ stuff still perceive life to be lived in whatever way they fancy. Spiritual Christians however, in complete contrast, are not only fully aware of their sin, they also greatly fear it! They therefore surrender all, every day, lest in failing to do so they surrender instead to the sin they so greatly dread.

Further, carnal Christians will probably consider what I have written as being far too dour and negative for them. Spiritual Christians, however (and I use this phrase as does Paul in 1 Corinthians), will read these words not only with a sense of gratitude for the reminder, but also with a sense of the sheer joy that comes from knowing not only that their sins are forgiven, but that because they are also living in daily repentance, they don’t have to keep trying to deny, hide or excuse them any more.

We shall return to this in the next post…

 

 

The Myth of ‘Christian Culture’

RainbowContinuing on from my last post there is more to be said regarding what I there alluded to concerning the notion that Western culture has at its root the illegitimate merging of supposed Christian theology with varying political philosophies. Western culture is, therefore, to the extent to which such a synthesis has shaped and defined it, actually a distortion, indeed, a veritable perversion of the biblical concept of the kingdom of God. It is the result of the unfortunate and misguided attempt to make society and the Church of Jesus Christ culturally synonymous, society at large becoming, as it were, its national and political aspect. In complete contrast, however, is scripture’s teaching that the Christian life is a purely personal and completely exclusive matter between individuals and the Lord, issuing in a changed heart and godly lifestyle. It is a personal relationship with Almighty God, entered into because of repentance from sin and faith in Him. According to the Bible such believers corporately comprise the kingdom of God on earth/the Church of Jesus Christ/the Body of Christ, whichever term one chooses to use, but only such as are repentant, and who actually know the Lord, comprise it. The crucial point is that true godliness is a heart matter, brought about by the Holy Spirit, which can never be imposed from without, whether through political power or the use of force. It is the historical attempt to do this that has left us with the sad legacy of a Western society that now sees Christianity as the primary cause of so much perceived injustice.

This is not to say, of course, that a consideration of Christian principles should not in any way be brought to bear on national government, and it remains the case that the freedoms found in the West, as opposed to the more oppressive regimes historically encountered elsewhere, are the result of this precisely having been done; but it nevertheless remains the case that the completely unbiblical notion that it is in some way the function of the Church of Jesus Christ to ‘christianize’ the world through the use of political means has done damage beyond measure to the cause of Christ. The result is simply this:

The Tragic Legacy of Pseudo-Christian Societies and Culture

The long history of the merging of the supposed Christian Faith with political power, whether that of the Catholic Church, or those churches which resulted from the Reformation and thereafter, is the long history of the misguided mixing of the solidly biblical with the solidly anti-biblical. Hence what we are up against in Western culture today. And of course the problem is that when the Christian Church, be it the genuine thing or a merely a worldly demonic counterfeit, exercises political power and influence, whatever false doctrines and wrong teaching it is embracing at any particular point in history get passed into both law and national life. This results in two evils:

Firstly, various immoral behaviours are made illegal which, although certainly condemned in scripture as being sinful, should never come under the remit of legal ruling by national governmental legal rulings. Biblically speaking, the smaller the State is the better, and it is ironic that twisted so-called ‘christian’ thinking down the years has played such a big part in bringing about such in the West. Examples would include the making illegal of drinking of alcohol and gambling and, going back, for instance, to Calvin’s Geneva, such things as adultery! Such rulings have obviously always also included anything pertaining to a homosexual lifestyle. (Rape is obviously in an entirely different category because it does not involve the consent of both parties. Indeed, it is, by very definition, the violent imposition of something on someone who has precisely not given consent to what is being done to them. Violence, as opposed to legitimate force by way of maintaining the rule of law, is always criminal, but when of a sexual nature against women becomes especially terrible and vile. Though sexual in nature, rape is thus firmly in the category of those practises which should be quite properly ruled on legally by national government and made a punishable crime.)

Secondly, however, laws get passed concerning practises which are deemed to be wrong according to the Christian Church at any given time, but which are actually perfectly legitimate in God’s sight, and not actually sinful at all, the Christian Church of the day being itself completely in the wrong regarding them. And of course the big example of this is the shameful history of the Christian Church regarding its past (utterly spurious) theological justification for the abiding evil of racism and prejudice against non-whites. Indeed, this is one of my main reasons for contending that the backlash against Christianity by modern secular liberalism is, in part, actually deserved. Hence too my contention that Western society’s increasing antipathy towards Christian thinking is, at least partly, God’s ‘built-in judgement’ against the hypocrisy of so many who, whilst claiming to love God, bore (some still do) animosity toward those against whom they were racially prejudiced. The fact that even as recently as the 1960’s mixed race marriages were illegal in certain Western so-called ‘Christian’ nations is all the evidence needed for the argument to be conceded. One could also, of course, cite attitudes of segregation, whether legally enforced or not, that have been prevalent, even in my lifetime, in Great Britain (strangely, as much against the Irish as regarding black and Asian folk) as well as in the US and South Africa.

Christian Racism

We therefore have the following scenario: Christianity has, to say the very least, an extremely unfortunate history regarding the propagation and defence of the evils of bigotry and racism. Not, of course, that all Christians were, or are, guilty of such, even when such bigotry was the societal norm. Far from it, in fact! But the history of significant segments of the Christian Church is nonetheless inseparably bound up with the oppression of black, Asian and Oriental people, as a direct result of the completely unbiblical, and utterly sinful, false teaching that white folk are in some way superior in God’s eyes to others, and should therefore rule over them. As an Englishman I am, of course, only too painfully aware of the part this insidious attitude played in the historical spread of British Imperialism, eventually, and inevitably, spreading its infection into the New World also. So where have we come? What, exactly, am I saying?

The completely unbiblical false teaching that the Christian Church should in some way be merged with the state; that is, the notion that the spread of the kingdom of God should include a political dimension, resulted in a Western culture that was a mixture of genuinely biblical principles and ideas with a bigoted attitude towards certain minorities that was all the more insidious in that it was dressed up as being supposedly ‘godly.’ Therefore, when modern secular liberals contend that Christianity is a ‘religion of oppression’, best consigned to the garbage heap of history, they are actually, at least in part, correct. Genuine Christianity; that is, a personal relationship with Jesus leading to a change of heart and life in the individual that results in them loving their neighbour as themselves, has never oppressed anyone: but the distortion of biblical doctrine that inevitably results from the merging of the so-called Christian Church with worldly political power, with all its accompanying errors, prejudices and injustices, will always result in a society which is, as I am contending, a perversion of the very ‘christianity’ that gave it birth. Such a society will inevitably and unhesitatingly oppress anyone it sufficiently disapproves of, and who it fears is a that to its values, whilst actually claiming a (completely warped) supposed biblical justification for so doing.

The Liberal Agenda

We really should take our hats off to the secular liberals, you know! I mean, credit where credit is due! They have done a truly brilliant job of propagating their agenda, albeit it an utterly godless and humanistic one. They obviously, and quite unbeknownst to them, get considerable help from the god of this world; but nevertheless, credit where credit is due! And of course what they have done so well is to exploit these sad elements of our ‘christian’ history in their primary quest of discrediting biblical truth. Having quite rightly fought against racism and prejudice (many Christians stood in that vanguard with them), they then, quite erroneously, conflated issues of sexual orientation and gender identity with it. By endlessly emphasising the way in which sexual minorities had been, historically, as badly treated by elements of the Christian Church as had blacks, which was true, they then started to make the completely spurious case that to even disapprove of certain sexual behaviours, or gender confusion, was the same bigotry as was racial prejudice against people merely because they are, for instance, black. What they basically did was to hi-jack the civil rights movement, cleverly broadening it out in order to confuse the difference between disapproval of what a person does and the bigoted oppression of someone merely because of their ethic origin or colour of their skin. Hence the power of perhaps the greatest of liberal buzz-words: homophobia! (As an aside, this is exactly what happened regarding the genuine concerns of many over certain environmental issues a towards the end of last century. As the Berlin Wall and iron curtain fell a generation of champagne Trotskyites and Marxists realised they had seriously backed the wrong horse, and quickly looked around for another cause on which to exert their anarchic energies and decided their best bet was to hi-jack Greenpeace and the whole environmental movement. Thus was born the phenomenon of the modern eco-warrior and ‘green’ politics, resulting, of course, in the myth of global warming and the emergence of the ‘carbon’ economy!)

To compare the mere moral disapproval of the gay lifestyle to racism is no more legitimate than, for instance, comparing a Muslim’s disapproval of drinking alcohol to Islamic terrorism. A Muslim who disapproves of non-Muslims drinking alcohol may or may not be a murderous terrorist, just as someone who disapproves of the gay or trans-gender lifestyle may or may not be a violent murderer of such; but to say that the one automatically equates to the other is not only nonsensical, it is actually the kind of thinking that leads to bigotry and prejudice in the fist place, and then proceeds to procreate and feed it. The vast majority of Muslims are peace-loving law abiding citizens just as the vast majority of those who disapprove of the gay lifestyle, whether Christian or not, would utterly abhor any idea of anyone in any way oppressing those who embrace it. To be a racist is disapprove of, and to want to oppress someone simply because they are black, or white, or yellow (or whatever), and is an entirely different thing to merely disapproving of what someone does. It is like thinking a person to be in some way undesirable because they have green eyes or ginger hair. Racists, by definition, make no separation between the disapproval of actions and those performing those actions. Indeed, it is the very thing they precisely can’t do. It is the person themselves of whom they disapprove, and not merely how the person in question may or may not behave. Bigotry, therefore, disapproves of someone because of what they intrinsically are, as opposed to moral disapproval which has as its object and concern merely what someone does. Racists disapprove of the person because they are black, or whatever, in just the same way that those who are actually prejudiced against gay people disapprove of them simply because they are gay. The Christian position, however, is one of disapproval of gay sexual acts, just as with sinful heterosexual acts, yet whilst regarding the person so behaving as being a dignified and valuable human being needing forgiveness and salvation as does everybody else.

This, then, is the difference between people who are prejudiced against the gay and trans-gender community, which is indeed sinful bigotry, and those who merely disapprove of their lifestyle. It is not the person who is in view, but merely how they behave! I can disapprove of what I believe to be sinful sexual behaviour, just as I can disapprove of any number of other things – getting drunk, swearing, gambling, voting Democrat (just kidding) – yet whilst treating those who do such things with the same respect, honour and kindness as I would wish for others to afford me. It is therefore no more bigoted for me to disapprove of the gay lifestyle than it is for someone who is gay to disapprove of me because I believe that sex belongs within marriage, and because I define marriage as one man and one woman for life and think anything else to be sinful. I would not dream, in a million years, of doing anything to coerce, hurt, insult, humiliate, damage, or to be in any way unkind, to anyone who embraced the gay or trans-gender lifestyle, any more than I would a heterosexual fornicator or adulterer. I both honour and respect them as human beings made in the image of God, and would do whatever I could to protect their freedom of speech, and even their actions, in such regard. I ask only that they return the favour – which, of course, the vast majority willingly do!

What we are increasingly seeing today though is the attempt by a certain liberal mindset and agenda to actually stifle freedom of expression and action by using a completely incorrect definition of bigotry in order to accomplish their aims. It is ironic that in so doing they are being so completely illiberal, seeking to precisely remove people’s freedom of expression and thought through the pretext of the supposed championing of the freedom of minorities! It is the emergence of what is a rather sinister intellectual and cultural fascism dressed up to look like the cause of emancipation and the human rights of the individual. It is, in effect, the purest intolerance! Imagine, a so-called liberal agenda designed to actually prevent people disagreeing with it! It is actually the very same kind of perversion of a legitimate liberal outlook as was the historical perversion of biblical theology that got us here in the first place. The wheel has turned full circle! The only difference is that it is now the turn of a perverted ‘liberalism’ rather than a perverted ‘christianity.’

In Conclusion

Yet even with the above being said, even with the proper understanding of what is really going on, and just how sinister it actually is, I still think it’s important, and a good thing for us Christians to realise that, when it comes to things like racism, or the bad treatment of minority groups in general (such as those who are gay or trans-gender), the record of the visible Christian Church has not been a good one. How sadly it has failed to take on board the implications of the way in which Jesus so readily and deliberately hung out with prostitutes, tax collectors and Samaritans; that is, the rejected and disapproved of minorities of the day, whilst His disciples, just like the Pharisees so severely castigated by Him, looked on in prejudiced horror. Did Jesus approve of prostitution? No, He most certainly did not! Did He make clear to both prostitutes and their ‘clients’ that He utterly disapproved of what they were doing? Yes, mightily! Did He blatantly teach that sex outside of marriage was wrong? Absolutely! But did He also love and honour women who were prostitutes, and reach out to those who abused them availing themselves of their services? Yes, He absolutely did! He made clear to them that what they were doing was sinful, and told them, quite bluntly, that they should go and sin no more. But it nevertheless seems to me to be quite clearly the case that He was often happier amongst ‘those type of people’ than He was amongst the ‘oh-so clean living’ Pharisee-types!

It raises a question doesn’t it? If we’ve never really had ‘those type of people’ amongst our friends and acquaintances, would we be as happy as the Lord Jesus was if He were to suddenly start to bring them into our lives?