mawlid advent mohammed birthday jesus
Mission

Advent-cum-Mawlid: church holds joint birthday celebration for Mohammed and Jesus

Mawlid (or Milad) is the Islamic festival commemorating the birthday of Mohammed. The only thing it has in common with Christmas is that it isn’t actually the day the celebrated baby was born. Yet All Saints Church in Kingtson upon Thames thinks there’s an interfaith syncretised opportunity to be found in holding a joint birthday celebration for both Mohammed and Jesus – so they put the flags out for both, rejoicing in both, eulogising both, solemnising both, glorifying both, honouring both:

mawlid advent

But note how this event is “Marking the birthday of Prophet Mohammed”, but not looking forward to the birthday of the Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of God. Mohammed gets his prophethood, while Jesus gets neither his prophethood nor his priesthood; neither his kingship nor his messiahship. It’s the exalted Prophet Mohammed along with plain old Jesus, because to have added any of his claims to divinity would, of course, have alienated many Muslims (if they hadn’t already been alienated by the haram celebration), which wouldn’t have been very interfaith or sensitively missional, would it?

We have been here before: when Westminster Abbey hosted a service in which Mohammed was named in the succession of prophets, they effectively proclaimed to the world that Mohammed is greater than Jesus:

In Islamic theology, Mohammed was ‘The Prophet’ who came to fulfil and complete the partial revelations of all preceding prophets. Muslims believe that his coming was prophesied by Jesus: ‘But when the Comforter is come, whom I will send unto you from the Father, even the Spirit of truth, which proceedeth from the Father..‘ (Jn 15:26). The ‘Comforter’ or ‘Advocate’ (NIV) whom Christians believe to be the Holy Spirit is, for Muslims, Mohammed. So when he is declared in Westminster Abbey to be ‘The Chosen One’, it is not simply a benign multifaith expression of ecumenical respect in a commemorative service of reconciliation: it is a dogmatic affirmation of a perfected prophethood to which Jesus is subordinate, and His divinity thereby denied.

And then, of course, there was the act of divine worship  in St Mary’s Cathedral, Glasgow, in which it was declared publicly from the Qur’an that God can have no sons, and so the Gospel writers were engaged in a blasphemous deceit. Every time a church accords Mohammed the epithet ‘Prophet’, they are rejecting the crucifixion, denying the resurrection of Christ, and refuting that the Word was made flesh and dwelt among us, for Mohammed denied all of these foundational tenets of the Christian faith. The Jesus he espoused is the plain old one – no more than a prophet, and certainly an inferior one to him.

The Muslim Jesus – Isa – is ‘another Jesus’:

Say, “We have believed in Allah and in what was revealed to us and what was revealed to Abraham, Ishmael, Isaac, Jacob, and the Descendants, and in what was given to Moses and Jesus and to the prophets from their Lord. We make no distinction between any of them, and we are Muslims (submitting) to Him (Âl ‘Imran 3:84).

And (for) their saying, “Indeed, we have killed the Messiah, Jesus, the son of Mary, the messenger of Allah .” And they did not kill him, nor did they crucify him; but (another) was made to resemble him to them. And indeed, those who differ over it are in doubt about it. They have no knowledge of it except the following of assumption. And they did not kill him, for certain (An-Nisa’ 4:157).

The Muslim Jesus did not die:

Rather, Allah raised him to Himself. And ever is Allah Exalted in Might and Wise (An-Nisa’ 4:158).

All of which makes Mohammed a false prophet (Jer 14:14-16; 1Jn 4:1; Acts 4:12; 2Cor 11:3f), but to say that isn’t very interfaith or sensitively missional, is it? You may dismiss all of these expository concerns as gratuitously contentious and divisive: the Kingston Interfaith Forum is simply being neighbourly and hospitable, isn’t it? It is doing good work, isn’t it?

There are many sincere Christians across all denominations who take a Universalist approach to salvation, or for whom the Incarnation is a myth, preferring instead the conception of a ‘universal Christ’. These may force questions about the historical Jesus – that Christ, eternal and universal, has been incarnated in Jesus of Nazareth – but some Christians believe quite simply that such an incarnation has not taken place solely, finally, definitively and normatively in Jesus; that his Lordship can appear in innumerable forms, and that all religions recognise Christ in one way or another.

For many of them, historical inconsistencies or soteriological contradictions present no problem, principally because so many in the modern world no longer regard such questions as being of the essence of their faith, or they accept that we lack sufficient historical evidence definitively to settle most of them. By accepting a down-grading of the historical Jesus, certain inescapable soteriological problems conveniently become escapable.

We can reconcile the Noble Eightfold Path of Buddhism with the Five Pillars of Islam; and release from samsara in Hinduism becomes an expression of justification by faith alone in Protestant Evangelicalism. You may quibble over the radical redefinition of their essential claims, or the denial of central propositions, or the barefaced deception of warped and contrived compatibility. But it is a socio-soteriological fact that for a great many people in the world today, the Adonai of Judaism, the Jesus of Christianity,  the Dharmakaya of Mahayana Buddhism and the Prophethood of Mohammed, although phenomenologically different, may nevertheless all stand in their own soteriological alignment with the the Divine.

Blessed are the syncretisers, for they shall be called the children of God.

  • andrew

    The next logical step for a weak, emaciated, self harming and fragmented Christian faith is to accept the false prophethood of a lying, pathological Arab – all in the name of interfaith dialogue, kindness and friendship; I’m sure you’ll understand.

    • john in cheshire

      But what the CofE and the RC Church are preaching isn’t Christianity. So the leaders aren’t Christians and they are leading their flocks to perdition.

      • Albert

        What’s not Christian about Catholic teaching?

        • andrew

          You could argue Vatican ll has caused disruption from within, (didn’t Pope Paul Vl allude to the devils infiltration of the Holy See?).

          • Albert

            Perhaps, but that’s more to do with culture and behaviour than teaching. Vatican II itself is perfectly Christian.

        • Martin

          Albert

          The rejection of sola fide, worship of the saints & Mary, claim to authority ….

          • Albert

            Sola fide is simply wrong. We do not worship saints and Mary. We claim no more authority than the Lord gave us.

          • Martin

            Albert

            The Lord gave you no authority, authority rests in the Bible alone, not men. It is clear you do worship Mary and the saints, despite your denials. Sola fide is required by the Bible.

          • Albert

            Sola fide is never taught in the Bible and is denied by it, and is in any case meaningless, once one understands what the Bible means by “justification”.

            We do not worship Mary and the saints. The claim that authority rests in the Bible alone is not found in the Bible and rests on your own authority, and the Lord gave you no authority. Your position is therefore not just wrong but self-referentially incoherent.

          • Martin

            Albert

            Of course sola fide is taught in the Bible:

            For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek. For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith for faith, as it is written, The righteous shall live by faith.
            (Romans 1:16-17 [ESV])

            Now it is evident that no one is justified before God by the law, for The righteous shall live by faith. (Galatians 3:11 [ESV])

            Yes you do worship Mary and the saints. That is apparent by your statues of them and your feast days.

            You have no authority, but the Bible clearly has authority since it’s author is God Himself.

          • Albert

            Neither passage you cite teaches sola fide. You just don’t understand the position you disagree with.

            We do not worship Mary and the saints.

            No one denies the Bible has authority, but that fact does not give you authority to deny that God has given authority to his Church. The only thing that is obvious here is that you have no authority.

          • Martin

            Albert

            You do worship Mary and the saints, examine what you do, your prayers to them, your statues, and you will see it amounts to worship.

            The only reason you deny sola fide is that it contradicts your churches whole reason for existence. Sola fide means there is no need for the Mass, the ongoing sacrifice, confession or all the methods of gaining merit that Rome relies on. Those passages speak of faith, they speak of nothing else, hence they speak of sola fide. It’s very simple, faith is all that is required and that faith is the gift of God. Your church has nothing, no authority, no gospel. It left the Catholic Church long ago and its candlestick has been removed.

          • Albert

            We do not worship Mary and the saints, and your keeping saying this is not evidence that we do.

            The only reason you deny sola fide is that it contradicts your churches whole reason for existence.

            That is a reason, but it is not the only reason. Sola fide isn’t in the Bible and is flatly and repeatedly denied by the Bible. It is a 16th Century innovation based around a new idea of alien righteousness imputed to the person, rather than the righteousness of Christ infused into the person. This is the difference. The issue isn’t really over faith and works vs faith alone, it is over what righteousness means. We believe that we are made righteous by faith.

            Once you realise we are being made righteous, the idea of sola fide makes no sense. I don’t just mean it is wrong, I mean it is meaningless. As Paul says:

            if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. 1 Cor.13

            Instead, as Paul says again:

            in Christ Jesus neither circumcision nor uncircumcision is of any avail, but faith working through love. Galatians 5

            You say we are justified by faith alone. Is it not evident that scripture teaches we are justified by faith and love? The love comes from faith, but we are not saved without love, clearly. Well then, let us not love in word or speech but in deed and in truth 1 John 3. Hence, as scripture says a man is justified by works and not by faith alone (Jas 2).

            Search the scriptures, and you will see this is what they say. Understand what we say, you will see that the passages you cite do no contradict us.

          • Martin

            Albert

            The statues, prayers and feast days say otherwise.

            I’ve shown you where sola fide is taught, you’ve denied that it is taught there but provided no evidence. We are made righteous and justified by faith.

            For we hold that one is justified by faith apart from works of the law. (Romans 3:28 [ESV])

            Therefore, since we have been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ. (Romans 5:1 [ESV])

            Now it is evident that no one is justified before God by the law, for The righteous shall live by faith. (Galatians 3:11 [ESV])

            Now before faith came, we were held captive under the law, imprisoned until the coming faith would be revealed. So then, the law was our guardian until Christ came, in order that we might be justified by faith.
            (Galatians 3:23-24 [ESV])

            Your quotes are saying the same thing, that the evidence of faith is seen in the works.

          • Albert

            The statues, prayers and feast days say otherwise.

            The statues don’t say anything. Feast days don’t say anything, and the prayers do no worship of the saints. This is just another occasion in which you hold to a position without knowing what you are talking about.

            I’ve shown you where sola fide is taught, you’ve denied that it is taught there but provided no evidence.

            You’ve said where you think it is taught. But you have not shown how these passages teach it, and you certainly haven’t shown how they contradict Catholic teaching. Now if sola scriptura is true (which it isn’t) it isn’t my job to show the passages you cite don’t support your position, it is your job to show that they do.

            We are made righteous and justified by faith.

            Precisely. You have to show how that disproves Catholic teaching. Now if we are made righteous, and not simply declared to be righteous, it follows that faith alone is not justification, but good works done in love are. These works are done as a result of grace received through faith, but if they are not done, then there is no justification (=being made righteous) at all. Why is it so hard for you to believe that God can do that in you? Have you no faith?

            For we hold that one is justified by faith apart from works of the law. (Romans 3:28 [ESV])

            Yes, we are made righteous by Christ. Keeping of the law does not merit either that grace, or the righteousness that follows from it. I think that answers the other passages you cite.

            Your quotes are saying the same thing, that the evidence of faith is seen in the works.

            No they are not. Consider these two quotations:

            1. one is justified by faith apart from works of the law Rom.3
            2. a man is justified by works and not by faith alone Jas 2

            Now the key wording is identical, what we are “justified by”
            and then similarly, the to what we are not justified by. Now if you say 2 does not mean (as it says) that we are “justified by works”, then why especially should anyone accept that 1 means we are “justified by faith”? Why cannot a pelagian, by a similar device to yours not simply say that faith is the evidence of works? If someone genuinely has good works, then, on account of that, they will have faith. Thus, by denying one scripture, you have opened the way to inverting of passages that you rely on.

            I think I’ll stick to what the Bible actually says, rather than following your account of what it means in contrast to what it says. Here’s my faith, word for word:

            1. one is justified by faith apart from works of the law Rom.3
            2. a man is justified by works and not by faith alone Jas 2

            …this I know, for the Bible tells me so.

          • Martin

            Albert

            The statues, feasts and prayers say you worship Mary and the saints.

            So why would I need to show that:

            For we hold that one is justified by faith apart from works of the law. (Romans 3:28 [ESV])

            for example, teaches sola fide? Is anything other than faith mentioned that we are justified by? This is sola fide, justification by faith alone. That alone destroys Rome’s, not Catholic, teaching against sola fide.

            And please do not deceitfully quote James 2 again. You have been shown that James is not talking about being justified before God by works but about making your faith visible to men:

            But someone will say, You have faith and I have works. Show me your faith apart from your works, and I will show you my faith by my works. (James 2:18 [ESV])

            This is the crucial verse, yet you ignore it. It is quite clear that James is speaking of showing faith before men.

            We know that the source of faith is God:

            For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, (Ephesians 2:8 [ESV])

            And since that is so, it also follows that justification is the gift of God.

            But the free gift is not like the trespass. For if many died through one man’s trespass, much more have the grace of God and the free gift by the grace of that one man Jesus Christ abounded for many. And the free gift is not like the result of that one man’s sin. For the judgment following one trespass brought condemnation, but the free gift following many trespasses brought justification. If, because of one man’s trespass, death reigned through that one man, much more will those who receive the abundance of grace and the free gift of righteousness reign in life through the one man Jesus Christ.
            (Romans 5:15-17 [ESV])

            Thus there is nothing the believer can do to make themselves better than God has already made them. Your works have no influence on salvation.

          • Albert

            The statues, feasts and prayers say you worship Mary and the saints.

            Statues and feasts do not say anything. Prayers say things. Please elucidate.

            So why would I need to show that:

            For we hold that one is justified by faith apart from works of the law. (Romans 3:28 [ESV])

            for example, teaches sola fide? Is anything other than faith mentioned that we are justified by?

            This just shows why Protestantism is false. For all our discussions, the occasions when you are ask how someone might interpret the passage differently from you are few. Therefore, what happens is that you think

            I cannot see an alternative interpretation
            Therefore there is no alternative interpretation

            But this is just bogus logic.

            You say: Is anything other than faith mentioned that we are justified by. No and that’s the problem. It doesn’t for example mention grace. So we could construct the following Protestant dogma:

            the Bible says we are justified by faith alone (it doesn’t of course, but go with it)
            therefore we are justified by faith and not by grace.

            Thus everything turns on what is meant by apart from works of the law this alone is what the justification is set in opposition to. Now what does “works of the law” mean? It could refer to the ritual law, it could refer to the ethnic law, it could refer to works done prior to grace. The passage does not clarify that. So for example, in Acts 15, Jerusalem writes saying Christians are to follow the teaching of Paul and Barnabas: to lay upon you no greater burden than these necessary things: that you abstain from what has been sacrificed to idols and from blood and from what is strangled and from unchastity.

            Remember: the issue here was “Unless you are circumcised according to the custom of Moses, you cannot be saved.” Answer: no that isn’t try, but there other things you must do or avoid.

            Now what this means is that that one line from Romans simply cannot give you the conclusion you need. It is perfectly consistent with our position. Whereas, given that justification means to become righteous and not simply to be declared righteous, your position is plainly inconsistent with it.

            And please do not deceitfully quote James 2 again. You have been shown that James is not talking about being justified before God by works but about making your faith visible to men

            Dear me. How little you know of Christianity. If you think I am wrong, you don’t get to say I am being dishonest, for you cannot see into my soul. But you especially cannot here, for you haven’t shown anything of the sort. You argued the point you have made here, but even if the argument was successful (which it wasn’t), it wouldn’t exclude my reading, it would merely say the passage was open to both positions.

            But it is particularly unfortunate that you accuse me of dishonesty when I have repeatedly, and I think, without reply, answered your argument here.

            Firstly, “justified by” has a very specific meaning in the NT. It isn’t to do with being seen by men. Since Jas 2 can be interpreted in such a way that “justified by” is used in the sense it is used throughout the rest of the NT, it makes no sense arbitrarily to impose your own meaning on it here.

            Secondly, it makes no sense of the NT ever to use “justified by” to mean “in the sight of men”. Why should anyone wonder about being justified in the sight of men and not of God? Does not our Lord say to us:

            But when you give alms, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, so that your alms may be in secret; and your Father who sees in secret will reward you.

            We have no need to be justified in the sight of men, as Jesus says again:

            “Blessed are you when men revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on my account. Rejoice and be glad, for your reward is great in heaven, for so men persecuted the prophets who were before you.”

            On the contrary, Jesus repeatedly and explicitly condemns those whose good works are done to be seen by men. Why would you fly in the face of this to maintain your human tradition?

            Finally, your interpretation makes no sense of Jas’s use of the OT:

            Abraham believed God, and it was reckoned to him as righteousness [Gk justification]

            Now to maintain your position you have to believe that justification there means “in the sight of men, not of God”. But that is plainly not true. Just look at Genesis 15, there is no audience except God! And if it means, “in the sight of men” then it means the same when Paul quotes it in Romans 4 and Galatians. But there you will have to maintain that Paul is using justification to mean “in the sight of God”, not “in the sight of men.”

            Thus your interpretation is unspeakably bad. Since you drew my attention to it, I have seen other Protestants urging this reading. It just goes to show how desperate Protestantism is.

            James’ point is simple: a man wishes to set up an opposition between faith and works. If someone sets themselves up as superior by saying “I have faith” but they do not have works, they make a mistake, for the person who has works also has faith. It is not a question of either/or:

            What does it profit, my brethren, if a man says he has faith but has not works? Can his faith save him?

            This rhetorical question is answered “no” (how on earth can you honestly interpret the passage to mean “yes”?):

            a man is justified by works and not by faith alone.

            Now I have made these point already, and yet you say to me: And please do not deceitfully quote James 2 again. You have been shown that James is not talking about being justified before God by works but about making your faith visible to men “But someone will say, You have faith and I have works. Show me your faith apart from your works, and I will show you my faith by my works.” (James 2:18 [ESV]) This is the crucial verse, yet you ignore it I do not ignore it, I’ve just explained it, again.

            We know that the source of faith is God:

            For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, (Ephesians 2:8 [ESV])

            And since that is so, it also follows that justification is the gift of God.

            Again, you just have no idea of the position you disagree with. Proving that justification is the gift of God in no way answers me for I believe it is a the gift of God as well. Here’s what Trent says:

            God forbid that a Christian should either trust or glory in himself, and not in the Lord, whose bounty towards all men is so great, that He will have the things which are His own gifts be their merits.

            Bizarrely you then quote Romans 5. But that passage, as I have shown already spectacularly undermines Protestant teaching, for it says that justification is greater than the sin of Adam. Now since the sin of Adam meant people really became sinners, and are not simply declared to be such, it follows that the justification referred to must mean people are made righteous and not simply declared to be such.

            Thus there is nothing the believer can do to make themselves better than God has already made them. Your works have no influence on salvation.

            I have no difficult with that, provided by the last sentence you mean “my works” to mean my own works, not the works that God does in me.

          • Martin

            Albert

            “Statues and feasts do not say anything. Prayers say things. Please elucidate.”

            You know what I’m saying, please do not be dishonest.

            “This just shows why Protestantism is false. For all our discussions, the
            occasions when you are ask how someone might interpret the passage
            differently from you are few. Therefore, what happens is that you think

            I cannot see an alternative interpretation

            Therefore there is no alternative interpretation

            But this is just bogus logic.”

            I’ll ask you again, is anything other than faith mentioned in that passage? Grace, of course is seen the giving of faith, the faith that saves. Works of the law is very simple, it means any works. That is made quite clear here:

            Now we know that whatever the law says it speaks to those who are under the law, so that every mouth may be stopped, and the whole world may be held accountable to God. For by works of the law no human being will be justified in his sight, since through the law comes knowledge of sin.
            (Romans 3:19-20 [ESV])

            As Paul points out, the works of the natural man cannot please God and so cannot be a means of salvation..

            as it is written:
            None is righteous,

            no, not one;
            no one understands;
            no one seeks for God.
            All have turned aside; together they have become worthless;
            no one does good,
            not even one.
            Their throat is an open grave;
            they use their tongues to deceive.
            The venom of asps is under their lips.
            Their mouth is full of curses and bitterness.
            Their feet are swift to shed blood;
            in their paths are ruin and misery,
            and the way of peace they have not known.
            There is no fear of God before their eyes.
            (Romans 3:10-18 [ESV])

            And, of course, it isn’t just one line from Romans:

            Therefore, since we have been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ. (Romans 5:1 [ESV])

            Now it is evident that no one is justified before God by the law, for The righteous shall live by faith. (Galatians 3:11 [ESV])

            Now before faith came, we were held captive under the law, imprisoned until the coming faith would be revealed. So then, the law was our guardian until Christ came, in order that we might be justified by faith.
            (Galatians 3:23-24 [ESV])

            I’ve explained to you what James is saying, you’ve failed to demonstrate otherwise. True faith leading to salvation results in works, it is not the works that save but the true faith, the faith given by God to those He chooses to save. That those acts may be seen by men answers James’ “Show me your faith”. And guess what, I’ve no problem in Christians being made righteous.

          • Albert

            You know what I’m saying, please do not be dishonest.

            You know nothing of Christianity. You don’t think Christian morality applies to you. I can see nothing in our practices that should give you the right to make the claims you do.

            I’ll ask you again, is anything other than faith mentioned in that passage? Grace, of course is seen the giving of faith, the faith that saves.

            Yes, and works are included in the concept of justification – because it means to make righteous. I came not to call the righteous, but sinners says our Lord. Thus, the concept of simul iustus and peccator is self-contradictory. It follows that works are included in the concept of justification, so as the passage tacitly include grace, so it includes works.

            Works of the law is very simple, it means any works.

            No it doesn’t. It means works of the law, as it says. Why it that Protestants never take the Bible seriously?

            That is made quite clear here:
            Now we know that whatever the law says it speaks to those who are under the law, so that every mouth may be stopped, and the whole world may be held accountable to God. For by works of the law no human being will be justified in his sight, since through the law comes knowledge of sin.
            (Romans 3:19-20 [ESV])

            As any reader can see, this does not demonstrate the point you make, since it only talks of works of the law!

            As Paul points out, the works of the natural man cannot please God and so cannot be a means of salvation..

            Obviously. That’s my view too. But the works done through grace are not the works of the natural man.

            If you had any understanding of theology at all, you would see that each passage you then cite fits just as well with my theology as with yours. I would add that since you misunderstand the very nature of justification, the passages do not in fact fit with your view.

            I’ve explained to you what James is saying, you’ve failed to demonstrate otherwise.

            No. You’ve set out what you think James is saying. What James actually says is plainly different from what you say he is saying. If you think I have failed to demonstrate otherwise, answer my points. If I operated the way you do, I would now be accusing you of being dishonest.

            True faith leading to salvation results in works, it is not the works that save but the true faith, the faith given by God to those He chooses to save.

            That’s just so wrong. Obviously, we are saved by faith, but the works done in use are part of the righteousness God infuses into us, by grace. Hence this passage:

            And behold, a lawyer stood up to put him to the test, saying, “Teacher, what shall I do to inherit eternal life?”
            He said to him, “What is written in the law? How do you read?”
            And he answered, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your strength, and with all your mind; and your neighbour as yourself.”
            And he said to him, “You have answered right; do this, and you will live.”

            Now if your 16th Century tradition were scriptural, would not our Lord have said “Just have faith alone, and you will live.” But in fact, he says we must love God and love our neighbour. And scripture is clear on these things:

            Little children, let us not love in word or speech but in deed and in truth.

            Hence, Jesus then goes on to give the parable of the Good Samaritan, as an example of love. And it is plainly a good work – do this and you will live. Hence, again:

            And a ruler asked him, “Good Teacher, what shall I do to inherit eternal life?” And Jesus said to him, “Why do you call me good? No one is good but God alone. You know the commandments: `Do not commit adultery, Do not kill, Do not steal, Do not bear false witness, Honour your father and mother.'” And he said, “All these I have observed from my youth.” And when Jesus heard it, he said to him, “One thing you still lack. Sell all that you have and distribute to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow me.” But when he heard this he became sad, for he was very rich.

            Here Jesus makes it clear we must keep the moral law. Now of course, we will only do that by grace received through faith. Again, there is no hint of Jesus saying “Just have faith alone, and you will live.”

            Again Jesus said:

            “Thus, when you give alms, sound no trumpet before you, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, that they may be praised by men. Truly, I say to you, they have received their reward. But when you give alms, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, so that your alms may be in secret; and your Father who sees in secret will reward you.

            Reward, he says. What role is there in your teaching for reward for good works? Are we not justified by faith alone? If so, why would there be any reward for good works. And yet Jesus plainly and repeatedly says this.

            And this is Paul’s teaching too:

            For those who live according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who live according to the Spirit set their minds on the things of the Spirit…. if you live according to the flesh you will die, but if by the Spirit you put to death the deeds of the body you will live.

            Now you say the works in James are works to be seen by men. But Jesus makes it clear that this is not the case:

            “Thus, when you give alms, sound no trumpet before you, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, that they may be praised by men. Truly, I say to you, they have received their reward. But when you give alms, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, so that your alms may be in secret; and your Father who sees in secret will reward you.

            The Father sees in secret – others do not – and he rewards us for it.

            And guess what, I’ve no problem in Christians being made righteous.

            Made righteous or just declared to be righteous?

      • The Snail

        I have just seen the ‘spat’ between you people below.

        I note that around the world there are many Christians who are following Jesus after their own understanding. That is the best any of us can do. Unlike us in this sheltered country they are being persecuted and many are made to die for their love of Jesus Christ. I do not know what their individual beliefs may be, nor do I know what the Churches they belong to, or have as their doctrines. I do know however that like all of us they are imperfect sinners – none of them are completely ‘right’. Our equality and brotherhood lies in the fact we are all sinners and need the Grace of our Lord. The deaths of many of these followers of Christ make me question what I would do in their situations, my admiration for their bravery cancels out any doctrinal divergences I might have if I were to meet them

        Judge not lest you be judged – said Jesus.
        Before you try to remove the splinter from your brother’s eye take the plank out of your own.
        Let he who is without sin, throw the first stone.

  • Albert

    There are many sincere Christians across all denominations…for whom the Incarnation is a myth

    No. Someone who thinks the incarnation is a myth is not a Christian.

    By this you know the Spirit of God: every spirit which confesses that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is of God, and every spirit which does not confess Jesus is not of God. This is the spirit of antichrist, of which you heard that it was coming, and now it is in the world already.
    1 John 4.2-3

  • Anton

    The Christians who organised this are traitors with whom other Christians should have no fellowship.

    • Albert

      They certainly let the rest of us down. But the weird thing is that they actually let Muslims down. For what they convey is a sense that Christians are beginning to realise the truth of Islam. Whereas what needs to happen is for Muslims to recognise the truth that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of the living God.

      • writhledshrimp

        As usual God will triumph, despite this sort of nonsense , the Gospel is reaching the Muslim world. Egypt for instance has a huge and growing uptake of Bibles.

        • Anton

          Two things have happened in the lifetimes of many: the takeoff of gospel Christianity in China, a few percent of its population but a few percent of 1.4 billion people and all of them committed enough to risk persecution; and the coming to Christ of Muslims across the Islamic world in mass movements, not as isolated individuals who then have to be shipped out by Western missionaries. These are two huge movements of the Holy Spirit of God, making this a glorious time to be a Christian. When we despair about our culture and its churches, never forget these facts.

          • David

            Well reminded.
            The Big Picture is not what is happening in some small church in southern England, led by confused vicars, but the millions coming to know Jesus as Saviour all over the Islamic world plus China. The Holy Spirit is at work !

          • Dominic Stockford

            Yes, had evidence yesterday of Christianities spread in the ME. Even into tribes which have never before had Christian members!

          • Rhoda

            Sat 7 TV broadcasts in Farsi, Turkish and Arabic reaching otherwise hard to reach areas with the gospel.

          • Sir John Oldcastle

            Arab World Ministries use Facebook. Over 300 converts last year through that medium.

          • Rhoda

            So do SAT 7- the stories from some of these countries are really encouraging.

          • Manfarang

            There are millions of Hui people in China.

      • David

        Amen to that Alebrt.
        We should pray for them to see that Jesus is Lord.

    • dannybhoy

      Shall I shoot ’em Mr Mainwaring?
      Traitors no, misguided and wrong yes.
      Don’t forget they’re in the CofE and have presumably been there some years now. So how’d they get in, and who’s overseeing them?

      • dannybhoy

        No answers yet?
        Who was overseeing the leadership of this church?

    • Dominic Stockford

      Christians? You think?

  • dannybhoy
    • Mrs Proudie of Barchester

      Ah but the path to Hell is paved by good intentions…

      • dannybhoy

        That would have been the second half of the sentence.
        The thing is that there are sections within the Church in England which are ‘practicing humanists’ in all but name. Christianity is the flag around which they unite, Christian compassion and acceptance are the values which inspire them, and this is their anthem..

        This trend towards ‘Christian Humanism’ also manifests as a growing trend towards Universalism; no Hell, all religions are equal in value and Jesus just wants us to hug one another…
        They have a different anthem..

        • David

          That was close to the belief of a vicar I knew. He said the words of the service but they meant something far from their original meaning to him. Such people within any Church are fakes and counterfeits I think.

        • Martin

          I thought this was their song: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-SHhXMzXFl0

          • dannybhoy

            No, I don’t think so Martin. At the heart of it is man’s rebellious heart, always trying to achieve in their own efforts what can only be achieved through true repentance.

          • Martin

            I’m pretty certain most of the bishops would be happy to sing the Red Flag. That is on top of their rebellion.

        • Manfarang
          • dannybhoy

            Vibratory consistency??

    • SonoView

      There is a well known part of the universe the way to which is paved with “good intentions”

      • dannybhoy

        See below.

    • David

      Meaning well is no defence.
      As Christians we are asked to proclaim Christ as Lord – full stop !

      • dannybhoy

        See below..

  • andrew

    Has there ever been one nation or era in history in which conquered Christians – ruled OR outnumbered specifically by invading Muslims, benefitted from their own numerical disadvantage & loss of self determination? There is no immediate example that comes to mind, though I’m willing to be enlightened. From what I can gather, interfaith dialogue and the obligation to offer concessions for the purpose of cohesion and inter-community progress, always seems to rest heavily on the shoulders of Christians, yet not so much on the shoulders of the Muslims. The Muslims seem very happy to receive, but not so much to give.

  • Jon Sorensen

    They should definitively be more inclusive and also welcome the followers of Mithras, Zeus, Xenu and Osiris to that combined celebration.

    • dannybhoy

      Go away Jon..

      • Royinsouthwest

        In fairness to Jon even though his mischief making is at least mildly amusing and is far less offensive that the policy of th All Saints Church in Kingtson upon Thames. Furthermore Jon’s remark points to the logical conclusion of that church’s policy.

        • dannybhoy

          Being fair’s good.

      • Jon Sorensen

        C’mon now Danny! Why such unChristlike hate?

        • dannybhoy

          How could I hate you when I don’t know you?
          It’s just that you bring nothing of any worth to the conversation.
          Only your own cynicism.

      • Manfarang

        No combination with Chanukah that’s for sure.

        • dannybhoy

          Oh, I’d go to a Channukah service because I’d get a family invite, but it does nothing for me, never has done.

          • Manfarang

            Santa Claus for ever.

          • dannybhoy

            Mind you there’s been a lot of Church services like that too..

        • Ian G

          Jesus celebrated Chanukah. What else was He doing in the Temple? John 10:22 See also my reply to Sarky which links Chanukah, Tabernacles and the Prologue.

  • magnolia

    Trouble is they think the dhimmi tax is either an accolade or not for them. Others think it fits them perfectly. So ignorant- in such a rich variety of ways- theologically, philosophically, politically, psychologically, ethically, sociologically,, the list goes on and on…. So enormously deluded.

  • SonoView

    ” So Ahab sent word throughout all Israel and assembled the prophets on Mount Carmel. 21 Elijah went before the people and said, “How long will you waver between two opinions? If the Lord is God, follow him; but if Baal is God, follow him.”

    But the people said nothing.”

    Indeed!

  • Chris Bell

    Dannybhoy has it nailed: “The thing is that there are sections within the Church in England who are ‘practicing humanists’ in all but name.”
    But it may go much further in that the Christology of the last 100 yrs has gradually erased “the Fear of God” from common parlance supplanting it with ‘politically correct friendliness’……………..no awe, no mystery and no respect. I would suggest that our Father has no interest whatsoever in how much we love others but has great interest in how much we love Him. ‘Love your neighbour as yourself’ is one of the most damaging elements of this Christology for it has not been taught properly. We cannot love without knowing our true nature. Period. All else is cant and hypocrisy and self delusion. The question is therefore to what nature was Jesus referring to when he says ‘your self’.
    Was it the ‘man’, the ‘person’, the ‘woman’, the ‘doctor’, the ‘farmer’ and all manner of received identities or was it the ineffable Spirit common to all hearts? Without which love itself could not be recognised!! A person who is not in deep awe of the silent nature of his own Being is, indeed, impoverished for that person will love only the ideas he has of himself. Mere notions.

    • dannybhoy

      Thank you Chris.
      Once you abandon the authority of Scripture anything goes.
      Most noticeably the Gospel of Salvation and the centrality of the Lord Jesus as the (only) Way, the Truth and the Life.,.

    • Jilly

      “We cannot love (our neighbour) without knowing our true nature”
      Thank you, Chris, for that insight.

      I don’t love my neighbour, nor most of the human race. I recognise in myself much that I don’t like in others. But with a scientific background I stand in deep awe of the rest of God’s Creation – it’s beauty, complexity, and it’s generosity. It works under a natural law which can be harsh to our eyes but chaos would ensue if overturned. Regard the wonders of the created world and then that sense of awe, respect and mystery you mention as now lacking grows for the Creator.
      The church used to operate under a Law, biblical precedents, teachings of Christ and the prophets but now arrogantly makes its own laws with little scholarship or intellectual curiosity and predictably there is ‘anything goes’ chaos – eg the Kingston episode and so much contemporary foolishness.

      Loving ones neighbour has, for me, never been harder. If this damaged and fragile Creation were to be asked about evil, I’m fairly sure it would respond that the devil walks on two legs and has a human face.

      • dannybhoy

        Great post Jilly,
        Human beings have always been the fly in the ointment..
        I don’t believe in evolution but I do believe in adaptation with God having created the original families and weird things in the animal world. I can see how it all works as a self sustaining biosystem.
        People can be incredibly cruel and hateful, and sometimes I really don’t know why God bothers with us. But then one remembers how He intended us to be, with Jesus as our template, and His compassionate, loving and forgiving power which can transform us into saints..

        • Jilly

          Thank you Danny – I think that was my first post on this site. At least for years.
          I have referenced your reply to me in a reply to @ardenjm below – hope you don’t mind.

          I don’t think whether one is an Evolutionist or Creationist makes any difference to the great wonders of the natural world. The great apes are 97+% like us, elephants cherish their children, higher rates of intelligence are being demonstrated across species than originally thought. Humans can communicate with speech and what a Babel they have made of it! Even grass can do in cell organelles what humans far less efficiently do with solar panels…. So there is no big deal with mankind apart from a relationship with the Creator. Given our nature I really (not sometimes) don’t know why He bothers…. If salvation is through His Son, the Christ, then churches are playing a very dodgy game indeed in placing Jesus as equal or subordinate to Mohammed ‘Mustafa’!

          • dannybhoy

            I don’t mind at all Jilly. It’s good to have another woman come and post here. The ladies tend to have a calming, civilising influence on some of the ruffians and ‘ne’er do wells’ that litter this site.
            You’ll get to know who they are soon enough..
            So I hope you’ll stay around and share your views with us?

          • Jilly

            Calm and civilised.. Hmmm. I’ll try.Yep, really try! Tho’ temperamentally I’m more of a rager against the dying of the Light…
            I’ll stick around – at least until I become a ruffian…

          • dannybhoy

            Hm,
            A rager eh?
            This could be interesting.
            Anyway, we be called to be salt and light in the world, so we stay filled with the Holy Spirit and remember that we’re on the winning side..

      • Chris Bell

        It takes a certain courage to recognise that we cannot love our neighbour as exhorted to do…..something deep within recoils at pretence and hypocrisy since whatever that ‘something’ is, it requires truth over easy superficial ‘love’. Good science also parallels this repulsion requiring just one refutation to bring down an entire system of theory…..the ‘feelings’ of the true scientist, what he/she wishes, are and have to be ignored.
        Here the Church, however, is drowning in ‘feeling’, ‘rights’ etc etc. It has lost the fear of God refusing to accept the fundamental laws of our biology. Thanks for your thoughts.

    • Richard B

      Chris, interesting refc to ‘Fear of God’. You may like to know there are increasing references to its return and about which it so happens am about to blog!

  • David

    We can meet members of other faiths socially but to try to arrange joint services is extreme folly. The faiths are distinct and different and do not mix. Indeed they contradict.
    Muslims, and others, will I believe have more respect for us and our faith, if we defend what we believe in without compromise. Any cleric who attempts a blending of the faiths is denying his own and betraying Christ. Only weak fools would do this.

    • Manfarang

      Indeed no joint services with Roman Catholics, truth is clear.

    • Dominic Stockford

      #NotTheSameGod

    • @ David—Muslims will I believe have more respect for us and our faith

      Islam has zero respect for Christians and Christianity. From the Islamic law book Reliance of the Traveller:

      w4.1 (2)…it is unbelief (kufr) to hold that the remnant cults now bearing the names of formerly valid religions, such as ‘Christianity’ or ‘Judaism’, are acceptable to Allah Most High after He has sent the final Messenger (Allah bless him and give him peace) to the entire world. This is a matter over which there is no disagreement among Islamic scholars.

      Muslims may well pretend to respect Christianity; Islam encourages its faithful to lie in pursuit of a worthy cause.

  • Dominic Stockford

    All one can say is that hopefully people didn’t notice this going on. When I ran through Kingston town centre the other day (right past the church) on my way home from hospital in a desperate attempt (successful) to catch up with a 281 bus I didn’t see any of these posters. I shall have to spend longer this Thursday and see what other heresy and blasphemy this church is up to.

    • Merchantman

      Hold ++Welby responsible or is it +Pete? Heresy reigns in CofE.

  • magnolia

    Stars, moons, and a candle….now just add the sun, the signs of the zodiac,a chequered black and white floor and a cannabis leaf, and think how many more can join the jolly party!

    Then dilute the word “advent” to strip it of all its rich Christian meaning and stipulate that it must mean any welcoming of anything that is on its way which fits into what you personally welcome, and the full postmodern plurality of everything and nothing is staged (except of course that it doesn’t fit on any stage…!)

    • Little Black Censored

      I see that the “traditional Advent calendar” that has chocolates in it is giving place to an even more tradition kind with gadgets and toys and personal adornments for each day.

  • Pete Woodcock

    “Do not fear “, said the angel, “Behold I bring Good News of great joy. A murderer will be born who will marry a 9 year old girl and lie to people about God. His name is Muhammad.”

    • dannybhoy

      Ouch!!

    • The Snail

      I think you got it wrong – the angel actually said “Be very fearful……”

  • Martin

    “The only thing it has in common with Christmas is that it isn’t actually the day the celebrated baby was born.”

    Well, actually it’s quite possible Jesus was born around 25th December-6th January. The Sunday School lesson explains it clearer that I could: https://www.sermonaudio.com/sermoninfo.asp?SID=1225161257171

    As for this ‘celebration’ it does rather point out the folly of the ‘interfaith’ movement. Of course these churches have to have something to celebrate, since they’ve entirely abandoned the gospel.

    • Sarky

      Probably in the spring. Shepherd’s didn’t have their flocks out over winter.

      • Ian G

        Tabernacles with Chanukah as the Incarnation.John tells us this in the Prologue. The light that lightens every man – servant candle lighting the Chanukah menorah. Became flesh and dwelt (tabernacled) amongst us. The more you study this, the more it makes sense of other things as well. https://thealmondrod.blogspot.co.uk/2013/09/when-was-jesus-born-its-all-in-daniel.html

        • Anton

          Without going into the numbers/Daniel stuff, I reckon He was born at Tabernacles too. Certainly that is when his second coming will be. Autumn in israel.

          • Ian G

            The Final Harvest. it all makes sense.

      • Martin

        Sarky

        Oh look, you didn’t bother to listen to the sc I gave and so made a fool of yourself. Why would the shepherds need to bring their sheep in when they have Palestine’s climate?

        • Sarky

          Do your research. The temperature in palestine gets down to freezing in December and January.

          • dannybhoy

            In Israel you mean..

          • Sarky

            Same meat etc etc

          • dannybhoy

            I hate to quibble – we do enough of that already, just that there is no official Palestine..

          • Martin

            Sarky

            You’ve still not taken the hint have you.

          • Sarky

            ????

  • The former Archbishop of Mosul might have had the nice but dim do-gooders of Kingston in mind when he said in 2014:

    ‘Our sufferings today are the prelude of those you, Europeans and Western Christians, will also suffer in the near future. I lost my diocese. The physical setting of my apostolate has been occupied by Islamic radicals who want us converted or dead. But my community is still alive.

    ‘Please, try to understand us. Your liberal and democratic principles are worth nothing here. You must consider again our reality in the Middle East, because you are welcoming in your countries an ever growing number of Muslims. Also you are in danger. You must take strong and courageous decisions, even at the cost of contradicting your principles. You think all men are equal, but that is not true: Islam does not say that all men are equal. Your values are not their values. If you do not understand this soon enough, you will become the victims of the enemy you have welcomed in your home.’

    Today, Mosul. Tomorrow, Kingston.

    • Manfarang

      Mosul is back in Iraqi government hands.

    • Dominic Stockford

      There is an irony here – although Kingston is more ‘multi-culti’ than over the river here in Teddington, it is still not like much of London. You will see far more ‘visible Islam’ in Reading Town centre, for instance.

      • @ Dominic Stockford—The Kingston clergy may have been infected with the Orback virus. Jens Orback, once a Swedish government minister, said in 2004 [§5]: ‘We must be open and tolerant towards Islam and Muslims because when we become a minority, they will be so towards us.’ Once infected, patients lose the capacity for rational thought and inhabit a grotesque fantasy world.

  • Inspector General

    Over in Ireland, Jesus is known as Jayzus. Thought youshould know that.

    Can we find an image of the baby Jayzus at AllSaints Church in Kingtson upon Thames, with perhaps an image of Mohamed placed higher up? To signify his greater import. Don’t forget now, an image of the child Mohamed…
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
    This is playing with fire. There are Islamic purists out there who are not going to view connecting their beloved prophet with Christianity well. In fact, they might be somewhat bitter about it. We have not experienced gunmen storming a church in this country, and although it would seem inevitable sometime in the future, this kind of nonsense may well bring it forward…

    • Manfarang

      Begorrah

    • Dominic Stockford

      I went in today, and could find little. The chancel has been given over to a permanent cafe run on commercial lines, the ‘worship area’ has now been moved down into the nave. The gardens outside are inhabited by a ‘Christmas Fair’.

  • Dolphinfish

    Can’t think why this has popped into my mind, but is anyone here old enough to remember Victor McLaglan and that thing he used to do in the old movies, just before he punched someone? You know, when he would rub his big meaty hand slowly down his face from his forehead to his chin in a stressful manner, as though he were trying to contain himself? Like I say, can’t think why the image is visiting me.

    • dannybhoy

      The Quiet Man.
      Great film.

      • carl jacobs

        For John Ford & John Wayne you should watch “The Man who Shot Liberty Valence”.

        • dannybhoy

          Seen it years ago.
          How behind d’ye think we Brits are?
          John Wayne was the quintessential American, even though he walked pigeon toed..
          A real man’s man.

          • carl jacobs

            I’m never quite sure. In my continuing quest for effective opposition research (for even though I have you all outnumbered one to however many, I still have to have careful), I watch a youtube channel called “Lost in the Pond”. It’s made by a Brit who lives in the US. He attempts to explain Britain to America and America to Britain. It sometimes surprises me what Brits don’t know about America.

          • dannybhoy

            I have lived and worked with Americans, mainly Christians but some not. There are real cultural differences between us but the one I noticed most is humour. I/we Brits could understand and appreciate American humour, but they struggled with our dry/fatalistic/cynical approach.
            It was totally alien to them because it didn’t fit into their cultural values.
            But I like Americans, I like being around them.
            Well, maybe not you, but most Americans…
            ☺️

          • Anton

            Try “Over Here” by Raymond Seitz, an Anglophile US ambassador to London in the 1990s. He attempts exactly that, quite well I think.

    • dannybhoy

      Oh, it’s probably a sign.

  • magnolia

    What that church perceives as generosity is so couched that it will be perceived as what Allah wills as the due acknowledgement of their prophet as the greatest, to whom the natives, whether or not they know it, must inevitably bow.

    Do they realise how unkind they are being to those of us who would die rather than renounce our belief in the incarnation, crucifixion, and Resurrection of Christ?

  • Dreadnaught

    This is so unfair CoE; think of all the Operating Thetans who are deeply offended at their profit being left out of this – Why not the birthday of L.Ron Hubbard too?
    And lo; was it not uttered by L.Ron that ‘if you want to make a million bucks ya can’t beat starting your own religion’. At least that much of what he said is true.

    • Murti Bing

      To the second, we had the same thought, but you beat me to it.

      Anyway, let’s raise a glass to the Hubbard, at least he didn’t kill anyone.

      • Ian G

        As long as you don’t count the suicides, starting with his own son Quentin. (Russell Miller – Bare-faced Messiah).

        • Anton

          Great book!

          • Ian G

            I don’t think that many have read it, but it is very interesting and useful. If you are interested in cults, then “The Children of God” by the Deborah Davis, daughter of Moses Davis Berg, is a very insightful analysis of what constitutes a cult and from a Christian standpoint.

      • dannybhoy

        Just conned a lot of people..

  • saintmark

    1 Cor 10 comes to mind

    20 But I say, that the things which the Gentiles sacrifice, they sacrifice to devils, and not to God: and I would not that ye should have fellowship with devils.

    21 Ye cannot drink the cup of the Lord, and the cup of devils: ye cannot be partakers of the Lord’s table, and of the table of devils.

    22 Do we provoke the Lord to jealousy? are we stronger than he?

  • carl jacobs

    There are many sincere Christians across all denominations who take a Universalist approach to salvation, or for whom the Incarnation is a myth, preferring instead the conception of a ‘universal Christ’.

    According to what definition of “Christian”? Sincerity is not a virtue. It does not validate unbelief. It cannot make pure that which is fundamentally corrupt.

    • dannybhoy

      I don’t want to, but I have to uptick the truth of that statement.

      • Dominic Stockford

        In order to win the K.Livingstone Prize on this thread, I would point out that Hitler’s hatred of the Jews was utterly sincere…..

    • Richard B

      That concept smacks of a ‘Master Jesus’, ‘Cosmic Christ’ so called by Theosophists and the ‘New Age’; to which I once accorded some acceptance – but then the real living Jesus confronted me and by His grace and mercy saved me as I was about to die and descend into hell. (About which I’m blogging)

    • Jon of GSG

      Indeed.

      “If the heavenly life is not grown up in you, it matters nothing what you have chosen in the stead of it, nor why you have chosen it.”

      Can’t remember who first said that, sadly

  • len

    The Muslim ‘Jesus’ isn’t the Jesus of the Bible and the god of Islam isn’t the God of the Bible, so why should Christian’s celebrate either?.

    • Dominic Stockford

      I don’t believe that they do. However, some who call themselves……..

  • carl jacobs

    Once again. There is no point in complaining about Unbelievers acting in unbelief. The theology is bad but that is a given. It’s what they do.

    What you should instead focus on is this. A church with no money cannot do things like this. It will have to close its doors. Its unbelieving priest will have to find another job. Its unbelieving theology will disappear for lack of interest. So respond by cutting off money to any part of the institution that might fund it. The way to end synchretism is to disemploy those who teach it and practice it.

    When the priest who did this and the purple shirt who protects him are both unemployed, then you will have made progress.

    • Good point Carl. I quit my local Anglican church for a Bible church after the Pilling report (discussed here at the time). Another family followed me, without any prompting. The saying of the ‘Hail Mary’ was another last straw, following on years of weak and emotion-led sermons by lady vicars, including guff about ‘our Muslim brethren’ and ‘the resurrection, whatever we mean by that…’

      My only regrets were that I didn’t quit earlier, and that my dear wife decided to stay (for complex and valid reasons). My new Bible church is thriving, the old CofE is fading away as old folks die and aren’t replaced.

      Shame really. But, as we read in Revelation, ‘let he who has an ear, hear what the Spirit is saying to the churches.’

  • Steven Pape

    There is no need to pretend that there are not significant disagreements between Anglicans and Muslims, I am presuming All Saints, Kingston upon Thames is Anglican here.

    If we concentrate on what we do have in common, having faith in one God, we realise that we have more in common with each other, whilst acknowledging we have big differences. This is enough for us to have dialogue with Muslims without having to water down either faith. It looks like a step too far to me. We do not have to go this far to work with our Muslim friends.

    • carl jacobs

      A common commitment to monotheism is not the same as having faith in one God. Akenaten was a monothiest after all. Faith in the same God requires a common understanding of God.

      • Steven Pape

        I was not saying that we agree about the nature of God, we do not. I was pointing out that it can be used as a way into dialogue. Neither Christians nor Muslims need to dilute their faith in order to talk and to act on common themes.

        • carl jacobs

          Talk about what? What are these common themes?

          • Steven Pape

            See Anton in the post above.

          • Anton

            I thought I was supporting Carl! Would you answer my question above, please?

        • Anton

          We should befriend people of other faiths as we find them in our daily lives; we should unite with people of other faiths against secular evils such as pornographic sex education in schools; we should debate people of other faiths in front of uncommitted audiences (including online) so that the audience can see the Christian position set out and defended. What, though, is the good in taking part in multifaith gatherings in which people discuss their own religions amongst each other? This is a more specific question than it seems, and I’d be glad of a specific answer.

      • The Snail

        Quite so – People and things are known by their attributes.That is how we communicate about them. If I say there is a tiger in the garden and you believed me you would know what not to do – because tigers are fierce, might like to eat you and can run faster than you.
        You don’t need to find out by a painful or fatal experience.

        If I say I know the dear and irresistible ( to some) Mrs Proudie, but the Mrs Proudie I know is a short , plump redheaded, circus performer who regularly performs on the trapeze. .You would know it is not the Mrs Proudie that the Archbishop cherishes – unless he is hiding something from us!! We are not talking about the same person – though their names may be the same.

        Allah has few of the attributes of the Christian God.

    • Dominic Stockford

      Yes, it is a CofE ‘church’.

      And as for Islam, #NotTheSameGod

  • ardenjm

    It’s all in The Last Battle by C.S. Lewis.

    I hold out no hope whatsoever for the Anglican Communion.
    I hold out little hope for many members of my own Church either – vast swathes have already fallen in to Modernist apostasy and these are they who will follow the anti-Christ whenever he puts in his breathtakingly convicing ersatz-Christ-like deceptive appearance (my guess is sooner rather than later.)

    • David

      Only a remnant will stand.

    • CliveM

      “It’s all in The Last Battle by C.S. Lewis.”

      Shhh, don’t tell anyone, some Bishop will want it banned.

    • Jilly

      Sadly I agree it’s you: the game is up for the liberal churches for whom it is mandatory to do what you want, throw off the ‘chains of tradition’, do a bit of virtue-signalling and sign petitions for wimmins right etc… It will go on for a while because it is human-made and people enjoy feeling ‘holy’ while doing their own thing. But the altars will be empty and sanctuaries deserted (can’t remember where that imagery comes from but it’s appropriate ).
      In The Last Battle I remember it is largely the animal kingdom which remains faithful to Aslan and true to its own nature. Humans appear to be in a minority – even Susan, one of the original four children, is excluded – she had become too worldly to recognise the Great Lion – ‘childish nonsense’. I think human nature is vile so no wonder that so many failed to enter Aslan’s new kingdom. @dannyboy (see above in reply to my reply to Chris) has the impossible answer.

  • Mrs Proudie of Barchester

    At the go-ahead parish of St. Mohammed and All Jihadists, they have opened their arms to all comers. The rector-iman, the Revd. R. Sole, holds weave-your-own prayer mat workshops on Mondays after evensong, with Transcendental and Tantric Meditation in the vestry with Guru Sally Veraswami-Jones on Tuesdays. Hasidic Jews are catered for with a ‘Brush your own Beaver’ hat craft gatherings on Wednesdays and a Wiccan Men’s group – ‘Beltane and Braces’ – host communal touch-and-feely sessions in the Narthex. As I mentioned, all comers are welcome…only nobody goes.

    • dannybhoy

      Revd. R. Sole?
      Rings a bell somewhere..

      • Mrs Proudie of Barchester

        For he is legion…

        • dannybhoy

          “For he has lesions” did you say?
          Yes, quite possibly.

          • Mrs Proudie of Barchester

            tacky….

          • dannybhoy

            After a while..

      • Manfarang

        Ding dong merrily on high,
        In heav’n the bells are ringing:
        Ding dong! verily the sky
        Is riv’n with angel singing
        Gloria Hosanna in excelsis!
        Gloria Hosanna in excelsis!

  • William Lewis

    Lord have mercy!

    • Anton

      On the contrary: Arise O Lord and defend your name (Ps 74:22).

      • William Lewis

        That’s what we Christians should be doing – not “syncretising” the Lord into irrelevance.

  • Lady40ish

    Surely no ‘self respecting’ Muslim would worship in the house of kuffar. I wonder if any attended. Indeed any that did might just be the ones we could actually have a dialogue with

    • Dominic Stockford

      No, they wouldn’t. In fact, if they enter one you can be sure that they have some ulterior motive, and that the local Imam has given them specific permission to do so.

    • carl jacobs

      Dialog about what?

    • Anton

      Christians are ahl-al-kitab rather than kuffar, but it makes little difference in practice.

    • Simon Platt

      I think you misunderstand. Moslems consider that a place once used to worship their demon god has been taken over (I’m sure I don’t do proper justice to their reasoning, such as it is, with “taken over”, but it’s the best I can do right now). Places of “kuffar” worship are very appealing to Moslems for that very reason.

  • Dominic Stockford

    I popped in to Kingston Parish Church today on my way past – about one third of it is now given over to being a permanent ‘commercial’ cafe. The lawn outside is covered in a Christmas Market. There isn’t a lot about Jesus to be noted.

    • Ray Sunshine

      All Saints, Kingston, has an Upcoming Events page on its website (link below), listing some forty events in the period running from the beginning of November to mid-January. There are several carol services and there is the Christmas Tree Launch (sic) with the mayor of Kingston, and there are several baptisms, but there are only three events listed that could strictly be described as Christian worship, all three of them crammed into a single 12-hour period:

      Sunday* 24 December 11.00pm Midnight Mass
      Sunday 25 December 8.00am Holy Communion
      Sunday 25 December 9.30am Christmas Eucharist

      *(sic) again

      Credit where it’s due, there aren’t any Muslim events on the list.

      https://www.allsaintskingston.co.uk/upcoming-events

      • Jon of GSG

        I love the idea of a Christmas Tree launch. Presumably it ends up in orbit or something.

        • Royinsouthwest

          Let us hope it does not land in North Korea otherwise a rocket might be launched in the direction of Kingston!

    • dannybhoy

      That’s taking the initiative, well done you.

      • Dominic Stockford

        I went with a little bit of concern, as I had determined to tell the truth had anyone asked me ‘can I help you?’ As it turned out no-one seemed the slightest bit interested in helping me, so I needn’t have worried.

        • dannybhoy

          I think we Christians have to be bolder. Not reckless but bolder. The Lord is with us. Most people do not think they’re doing anything other than good, as at this church, so would be happy to answer questions.
          If we ask in a gentle spirit it’s unlikely we will encounter any trouble.

    • Carlotta

      I was going to comment in similar vein. I looked in there a few times when I lived in the area and was looking for a place to worship. It’s especially sad given its wonderful history.

  • Among the men and women in the team at my place of work are a homosexual and a Muslim. Both do their work satisfactorily, treat me with respect and make no secret of their positions. I wish them well.

    I am today baking a cake to take to work to share (everyone does this or equivalent now and then) but I especially wanted to bake a cake with raisins and sultanas soaked in Sherry. So I did. But out of respect for my Muslim colleague, I made 2 cakes, identical but one has no sherry. They will be labelled.

    However, The Creator has outlawed both same sex genital acts and alternative Christs. Galatians could not be any clearer.

    Inclusive cakes, yes. Inclusive worship- NO!!!!!

    • Anton

      Don’t say that to Ashers Bakery!

      • The cakes are now baked,despite a bumzer on my part- our new stove has 2 ovens and I turned on the wrong one!

        The Asher’s ‘gay cake’ case was, of course, about forced speech, not baking. To clarify, Anton, neither cake will have any writing.

        • Anton

          Happy eating! It was too good a line to resist in my preceding post, of course.

  • betteroffoutofit

    So wise and good of Your Grace to bless the ‘Other’ Children of God! Even naughty prodigal children still are His . . .

    I just wish they weren’t busy trying to corrupt those faithful to His Own Son and Person.

  • Chefofsinners

    Christmas is after all a human construct, mixing the birth of Jesus Christ with the timing of pagan new year rituals, the rebirth of the sun and all that. Perhaps it’s not worth defending. Like the Church of England.

    • Sarky

      Giving up again??

      • Anton

        He’s giving up on one part of the church, not on the whole church, and certainly not on Christ;

        • Sarky

          Christmas???

          • Chefofsinners

            The only bit of Christianity you want is the bit I could happily do without.

          • carl jacobs

            You are against Christmas?

            Or is this more inscrutable British irony?

          • Chefofsinners

            No. It is tolerable.

          • carl jacobs

            So I assume you will make the same arguments about Easter as well?

          • Anton

            I do. Easter is Passover and we are not commanded to keep Mosaic Law. Colossians 2:16 applies: it is up to each individual believer, and nobody should criticise any other for their choice.

          • CliveM

            Your a right miserable sod these days!! Personally I think the Church’s in this country should be more continental and have feast days and celebrations. We’ve become a right bunch of miseries, obsessing over sex and forever spending our time speaking to ourselves.

            We need to spread our wonderful, optimistic, celebratory message and party more.

            Anyway I need to get onto my wine club and order a case for Christmas!

          • Anton

            This is the time of year when the supermarkets sell champagne much cheaper. I also found a tenner off Auchentoshan in the supermarket, one of the best malts.

          • CliveM

            Yes I’ll get a couple of bottles of bubbly as well.

            I’ve got some decent Port which I will be opening as well.

            Not a whiskey fan!

          • Anton

            Late Bottled ruby port of decent quality is grand stuff. Vintage port is hugely over-rated I reckon.

          • CliveM

            Personally I prefer a Tawny Port. I have to say the best I ever enjoyed was a 40 year old vintage so I don’t agree with you there. But each to their own!

          • Many fundamentalists and Puritans are. It’s primarily an anti-Catholic thing.

          • carl jacobs

            Well, a couple of things.

            1. You are a Fundamentalist according modern usage so you should probably define the term.
            2. I wouldn’t be surprised if you considered me a “Puritan” so you should probably define that term as well. Seeing as I don’t fit your stereotype and all.
            3. I wonder at your use of “many” since I have never heard of this before, and I am generally well-connected to sources that would inform me of such things.
            4. This doesn’t strike me as anti-Catholic so much as legalistic. It reminds me of people who want to outlaw pianos in churches.

            In general, I am sympathetic to Anton’s position. Celebrate it or not as you see fit. Anything else is also legalism. But it seems curious to me that people would reject the celebration of Christmas simply because 1) we don’t know the actual date with certainty or 2) people have turned it into a secular holiday.

            Traditions aren’t bad. Well, it may be that bishops are bad. I have never settled that question in my mind. In any case, traditions aren’t inherently bad. They become bad when they take on the trappings of authority. [The sagacious reader will perform the appropriate extrapolation about Sacred Tradition, but I digress.] They serve to mark the times and seasons of life. They connect the past with the future. They are valuable and should not be despised.

            But a man is free to do as he wishes without judgment. I find Chef’s attitude curious and unnecessary – like a man who says “I will only drink water”. I don’t find it disturbing or sinful.

          • Manfarang

            Not so many years ago Christmas wasn’t a public holiday in Scotland.

          • CliveM

            Which is why the New Year use to be so big.

    • Darter Noster

      Christmas is celebrating the coming of the Light of the World who will triumph over death. What better time to celebrate it than the time when ancient peoples across the northern hemisphere celebrated something very similar due to the seasons? Religions will always share some features common to human experience; it doesn’t invalidate them.

      • Chefofsinners

        It’s the wrong date. Actually, no, it has a 1/365 chance of being the right date.

    • The Snail

      The Church celebrated the Feast of the Annunciation for very many centuries, on the 25th of March. This is when Mary was told she was to bear a son Jesus Christ. Nine months later is 25th December. Although some have tried to re-write history to say Christians took over pagan celebrations – no pagan festivals happened on the 25 December.

      • Anton

        What counts when considering the authenticity of the Annunciation celebration is how many years/centuries after the event the festival began.

        December 25th is the same day of the year promoted by Emperor Aurelian in AD274 to celebrate the sun god, sol invictus. Under the Julian calendar of that era it matched the winter solstice. The Julian calendar has drifted since, but it is still used by the Russian Orthodox church, which celebrates Christmas in January as a result.

        Pope Gregory ‘the Great’ explicitly advocated that the church take over pagan festivals as a mission strategy in a letter to his missionaries in England in the early 7th century. This letter is in Bede’s Ecclesiastical History of the English People, bk I, ch. 30.

        • Chefofsinners

          Much obliged Anton. Saved me a lot of typing. I go out for a game of table tennis and when I get back it’s all kicked off.

          Cut out all the arguing over what who said what when. Fact is, no-one knows the date. Sunday is the Lord’s day. (I’ll go out for a bit more ping pong while folks discuss that.)

          • Jonathan

            Perhaps I have kicked off too much about it, red rag to a bull and all that. Anyway I did say it was the day selected, not known. Perhaps I should leave it there, as it is not so edifying. Go in God’s Peace brothers and sisters.

          • Chefofsinners

            Too much? Not at all. Robust argument is what this group is all about. Don’t skulk off without answering Anton’s point about the Gregorian Vs Julian calendar.

          • Anton

            This discussion happens here every December and jolly good fun it is too!

          • Chefofsinners

            It’s what Christmas is all about. Arguments.

    • Jonathan

      The date of Christmas was “selected” because of the historically popular belief that ‘Great People’ lived exact years, that the Lord Jesus Christ was crucified on March 25th and that the Annunciation was also on March 25th, and so it followed after nine months was December 25th.
      Strange to our ‘modern’ way of thinking but there it is.
      Of course the truth is we do not know what day it was and this is merely the day chosen to make special commemoration of the Incarnation, they did not “know” then either.
      Her Majesty has an official day we celebrate her birth as well as her actual birthday, if it is good enough for the Queen of England how much more so for the King of Heaven.

      What it was not however was chosen as a pagan day, this is a new age revisionist myth.
      Our ancestors may have been many things, but they were not stupid, they knew full well when
      things were and made a point of having them on the correct day.
      There was no confusion.
      And claims it was are historical tripe.
      Saturnalia was always earlier than 25th December.
      Winter Solstice was always earlier than 25th December.
      Sol Invictus sun rebirth day was selected many decades (at the very least) after 25th December was already being used to celebrate the Incarnation.
      Mithras’ birth was not celebrated at all – it was not important to them and it was a ‘mystery’ religion, they didn’t do public celebrations, ever, cos its a mystery innit! What is more Mithras was 100% never ever the same as Sol Invictus.
      Horus was actually allegedly born in the summer.
      Zoroaster was celebrated birth in March (though again no one knew in reality).
      Krishna was actually allegedly born in August.
      And so on.
      The purpose of such tales from Atheists and New Agers is purely to attack Christ and Christianity – I advise rejecting their false arguments.

      • Anton

        December 25th is the same day of the year promoted by Emperor Aurelian in AD274 to celebrate the sun god, sol invictus. Under the Julian calendar of that era it matched the winter solstice. The Julian calendar has drifted since, but it is still used by the Russian Orthodox church, which celebrates Christmas in January as a result.

        • Sarky

          As do the copts.

          • Chefofsinners

            But not the robbers.

          • dannybhoy

            Be quiet, this is a very intewesting discussion.
            Now pay attention; you might learn something..

          • Chefofsinners

            Yawn. Seen it all before and it’s guff. Anton is right.

          • dannybhoy

            I think Jonathan is right, but then I like to be controversial..

          • Chefofsinners

            Do try to pay attention. If you stare out of the window all evening it’ll leave you with nothing to do tomorrow.

          • dannybhoy

            I like windows. They’re very transparent. More so than wot people are.
            Bed time. Busy day tomorrow. Sharpen chain saws in the morning and in the afternoon going to hear Canon Andrew White speak about his experiences in Syria..

          • Anton

            Careful with the chainsaw and you’ll enjoy Andrew White. I did when I heard him within the last year.

          • dannybhoy

            Thank you Anton.

          • He is.

            Hyppolytus of Rome explains in his Commentary on the book of Daniel (c. A.D. 204) that the Lord’s birth was believed to have occurred on 25th December:

            “For the first advent of our Lord in the flesh, when he was born in Bethlehem, was December 25th, Wednesday, while Augustus was in his forty-second year, but from Adam, five thousand and five hundred years. He suffered in the thirty-third year, March 25th, Friday, the eighteenth year of Tiberius Caesar, while Rufus and Roubellion were Consuls.”

            The reference to Adam can be understood in light of another of Hyppolytus’ writings, where he explains that Jesus was born nine months after the anniversary of Creation. According to his calculations, the world was created on the vernal equinox, March 25, which would mean Jesus was born nine months later, on December 25.

            In his book, Spirit of the Liturgy, Pope Benedict XVI explains:

            “The claim used to be made that December 25 developed in opposition to the Mithras myth, or as a Christian response to the cult of the unconquered sun promoted by Roman emperors in the third century in their efforts to establish a new imperial religion. However, these old theories can no longer be sustained. The decisive factor was the connection of creation and Cross, of creation and Christ’s conception.”

          • Chefofsinners

            Glad to see you coming round to my way of thinking on the birthday of Adam.

          • Jack didn’t say he agreed with Hyppolytus of Rome. He was simply pointing out the rational for 25th December goes back to the turn of the second century A.D. and is linked with theories at the time about creation and also the conception of Jesus.

          • Anton

            What Benedict fails to grasp is that my side of this debate is pinning the *celebration* to Aurelian’s Sol Invictus date. As to what day of the year Christ was actually born, the reason it was forgotten and guessed at 200 years later is that the apostolic church didn’t celebrate it.

            So, the gospels give only inconclusive incidental information, and the apostolic church didn’t celebrate it. I have both scripture AND tradition on my side here!

          • Hyppolytus of Rome was writing at the turn of the second century A.D., thus predating the Aurelian’s Sol Invictus date.

          • Anton

            Yes, I took that into account when I wrote my preceding comment about the *celebration*.

            Are you out of hospital? I hope so.

        • Jonathan

          Tertullian in AD200 wrote that Jesus’ Crucifixion was on March 25th. Hippolytus writing at the start of the third century (before AD212) said that Jesus’ Crucifixion was on March 25th and his birth on December 25th. Eastern christians who thought January 6th was more proper also thought April 6th was the date of the Crucifixion and Annunciation.

          • Anton

            But 25th then would not 25th today! I urge you to see what Tertullian actually wrote in Latin and then work through to what it would correspond in the Gregorian calendar.

        • Jonathan

          Saturnalia was orginally followed by the Birth of the Unconquered Sun on December 23rd. Emperor Aurelian apparently selected December 25th – why he did this remains a matter of conjecture. It was noted around that time that it was not the solstice. It should also be noted that the solar cult was of low importance in Rome for the imperial panoply of deities before this time. And many of the Roman gods were “Invictus” – Jupiter, Apollo, Mars, Hercules and more all had precedence over Sol.

          • Anton

            Do you have an *ancient* reference for Aurelian shifting sol invictus by 2 days please; and when was the solstice in AD274?

          • Jonathan

            Winter solstice in AD274 was 21st December. I doubt posting links is allowed, but here is the one I used. I hope it doesn’t get me blocked.
            https://www.timeanddate.com/calendar/seasons.html?year=250&n=215

          • Anton

            Yes, but that’s by the Gregorian calendar and they used the Julian one.

      • Pubcrawler

        Here is at least one atheist who has no patience with such pseudo-history:

        https://historyforatheists.com/2016/12/the-great-myths-2-christmas-mithras-and-paganism/

        (It’s mostly about the Mithra(s) nonsense, but the final section discusses the date question.)

      • Mrs Proudie of Barchester

        That is most interesting and something I was not aware of. Thank you.

    • Paul Handley

      The token ‘Christmas is just pagan anyway’ comment. Glad that’s out of the way.

      • Chefofsinners

        Subtlety is wasted on some people. It is in fact the token ‘the Church’s of England is just pagan anyway.’ comment.

    • Simon Platt

      Rubbish. Anachronistic rubbish, too.

      • Chefofsinners

        Read below for a more thoughtful debate. Maybe answer the points raised. Go on, dare to educate yourself.

        • Simon Platt

          Did that 30 years ago. Do you realise how arrogant you appear?

          • Chefofsinners

            Arrogant? Moi? ‘Rubbish. Anachronistic rubbish, too’.

          • Simon Platt

            Not at all. You were like that as recently as just now.

          • Chefofsinners

            You completely miss my point. Put simply, your original comment is a fine example of arrogance.

            Post an answer to the points made by Anton below beginning “What counts when considering the authenticity of the Annunciation…”

          • Simon Platt

            Not missed. Not even arrogant. And, at the risk of appearing arrogant, I’m certainly not going to post on a particular topic just because you demand it.

            Actually, now I think of it, that’s not arrogant at all. Not arrogant of me, at least.

          • Chefofsinners

            By inviting you to post I am
            inviting you to validate your everso humble assertion that you ‘did that 30 years ago’. Of course you can choose not to. Either keep your mouth shut and have people wondering if you’re stupid or open it and remove all doubt.

          • Simon Platt

            The other day someone complimented me on my willingness to post online using my own name, photo etc. It’s not a big deal really, a historical accident as much as anything, but I did say in my response that it had its benefits in that it helps me avoid saying unpleasant and unjustified things. I had a particular point in mind: for some reason, the phrase “such and such is a nasty piece of work” has been occurring to me from time to time, recently. Of course I never say it, because I think it probably unfair to the people concerned, who I mostly don’t know, and, even if it were fair, at least unkind, besides, I myself am not perfect, etc. The usual stuff.

          • Mrs Proudie of Barchester

            Dear Chef, are you perhaps getting a little overheated? A nice cup of Earl Grey, a hobnob or two and perhaps a chapter of Samuel Smiles is in order, I think.

          • Chefofsinners

            I am merely encouraging Mr Platt to address the arguments in question. Thus far without success. He prefers the blanket assertion, though it be not wide enough to cover him.

          • Anton

            Perhaps we could all agree that, since the divinely-inspired gospels give only inconclusive incidental information about what time of year Jesus was born, it matters not a whit to God that we should know it or celebrate it.

          • Simon Platt

            No, I’m afraid we can’t.

          • Anton

            In that case why did God, in the person of the Holy Spirit, not ensure that the date was readily deducible from the gospels; and why does Paul say that calendric observance is a private matter (Colossians 2:16), so that no Christian should be thought less of by any other for not observing it?

            PS It is this verse by which I in fact cut slack to Christians who do a big Christmas; I insist only that they can’t be sure of the date, that they in turn not condemn me, and that material aspects of the season not be excessive.

          • Simon Platt

            Funnily enough, I was looking at Colossians only the other day. I think, perhaps, you overinterpret it. But that’s not my point. Perhaps I overinterpreted you when you wrote “it matters not a whit to God that we should know it or celebrate it”. I think that God wishes that we should celebrate His incarnation and do so especially on the days which tradition, with good reason, I believe, has always done so.

          • Anton

            As I added above in a PS while you were typing your comment (!): it is by Colossians 2:16 that I cut slack to Christians who do a big Christmas. I insist only that they can’t be sure of the correct date, that they in turn not condemn me, and that material aspects of the season not be excessive. I cannot reconcile your last sentence with Col 2:16, though, and I have to prefer scripture.

          • Simon Platt

            Certainly we can agree on the material aspects. I deplore them, myself, and actually find Christmas rather depressing. How I wish I didn’t! It’s the shallowness of it all.

            But I should find it hard to cut any slack for anyone who didn’t make a big deal of Christmas.

            I rather thought St Paul’s point in Colossians was about superseded Jewish rituals, which I suppose – I’m sure, no, I know – was a matter of great significance in the early church.

          • Anton

            If Paul was saying that then you should suppose Easter is optional, let alone Christmas.

            I feel judged. And don’t forget believers in lands where there is persecution; I think God wants them to be willing to die to spread the gospel and stand against evil, not to have a blowout.

          • Simon Platt

            I didn’t mean to judge. Sorry. I think we’re not a million miles apart, although we obviously have very different perspectives in other ways.

          • Anton

            I hope so.

          • Anton

            If I said that I celebrate the birth , death and resurrection of Jesus regularly in my heart and find that sufficient, does it help you understand my preference better? That is my view, I assure you.

            May I ask for your view of why God didn’t put a clear statement of the time of year into the gospels?

          • Simon Platt

            Sorry for the delay. Been busy.

            I don’t have a view worth hearing on why this or that sacred truth might or might not have been preserved in scripture.

            I’m not trying to be funny; I welcome the question and indeed am surprised to find that I value it. Actually, I thought at first “what a stupid question”, but wouldn’t say that now were it not for the fact that on second thoughts I changed my mind. After all, do not preachers often tell us of the hidden meanings of the things we read in scripture along the lines of (I simplify) “what is God’s message here?” And I have the sense that the most worthwhile sermons are often those which do exactly that, exposing meaning in the Church’s Tradition that I, at least, had not previously appreciated. But I do try to avoid “what I think” type comments on things like this.

            Nonetheless, what I think is this: that the fact of the Incarnation is beyond doubt one of the most important truths of the Christian religion. Those of use who exist in time and space should, no, need to celebrate it also in time and space. And Christmas has been so celebrated from very early times and celebrated, so far as I understand, on the 25th of December. The mystical reasoning for this I understand in part to be because the Church Fathers, believed first that Our Lord was sacrificed on what we call 25 March, which I think is likely to be correct although I can’t now remember why, that he was for some mystical reason conceived on the same day of the year, which might also be true, and that he was, naturally, born some nine months after the Annunciation. The more literal and historical reasonings of which I have heard include reckonings based on the temple service of Zacharias and of census returns of Caesar Augustus (certainly, the conception, gestation and birth of St John and of Our Lord are recorded in Scripture). I know of no better date on which to celebrate this great feast, and Christ’s Church has done so on 25 December from very early times. I find it very difficult to understand those who would undermine the historicity of this celebration, although I remember doing so, once, in my teenage immaturity. I think I was impressed by some 20th-century explanation that Our Lord must have been born in the autumn, not the winter. St John Chrysostom disagreed, of course, as has the Church in Rome since, well, forever.

            Perhaps I could add, too, what might be obvious: that as a faithful Catholic I don’t believe that God speaks to His people only through scripture.

            Thank you for asking.

          • I sometimes feel that Christians should leave Dec 25th to the secularists, and celebrate a Christian Christmas, perhaps sometime in January.
            The secular Christmas is described in Revelation 11:10 where the world makes merry and sends one another presents to celebrate the death of Christian witness and the absence of Christ from the world for another year.

          • Simon Platt

            I deal with that by beginning my Christmas celebrations on the day the heathens finish theirs.

            Funnily enough, today I saw one of the Knights of St Columba’s “Christmas Joy and Peace” posters in a window. I wonder whether the householder had saved it from last year.

          • Anton

            Russian Orthodox celebrate it in January!

            My best guess is Tabernacles, in the northern autumn.

          • Phil Young

            In any case, I see no reason not to celebrate Christmas…it is at least the one time of year where unbelievers or agnostics might begin to think ‘What is this all about anyway..who is this baby Jesus?’ Quite a lot of people do actually go to a midnight service who otherwise don’t set foot in a church other than getting married or perhaps funerals.

          • Chefofsinners

            Is this perhaps something to do with the teachings of the Holy and Infallible Catholic Church (batshit crazy branch)?

          • dannybhoy

            We should celebrate the advent of Emmanuel into our world, (I personally think it was around the feast of Tabernacles), December 25th has been the traditionally accepted date and learned debates aside, we’re not going to change it now. Let’s just rejoice, worship and follow Him..

          • dannybhoy

            The Chef always likes to strike a pose, but not methinks, an arrogant one.

          • Simon Platt

            I think I hadn’t paid him much attention before.

    • I have recently reflected on C S Lewis’ essays on Christmas, easily Googled. He says there are three Christmases, the religious festival, the public holiday ‘ an occasion for merry making and hospitality’ and ‘the commercial racket’.

      I have no interest in ‘defending’ any of them, but propose to appreciate and enjoy the first two anyway.

      • Mrs Proudie of Barchester

        Very wise, dear Stephen. I hope your stockings are full on Christmas morn…

      • CliveM

        I agree, well said.

  • You don’t convert people to Christianity by validating their false religions.

    • Lucius

      I would submit that “conversion” may now be construed as bigotry, if not an act of violence, at least insofar as converting Muslims to Christianity.

      • The Snail

        The penalty, under Sharia Law, for converting from Islam to any other religion, or none is death. This is true of all Schools of Islamic Jurisprudence, Hanafi, Maliki, Shafii and Hanbali. How this should be applied differs between these schools but they all say that an adult male who becomes an apostate should be killed.

        It would seem that the severe penalty indicates that if you can’t win the argument for your belief system – you have to invent harsh punishment for leaving. It may be the only way to keep folks in!

  • The Snail

    Galatians 1

    There Is No Other Gospel

    6 I am astonished that you are so quickly deserting the one who called you in the grace of Christ and are turning to a different gospel— 7 not that there is another gospel, but there are some who are confusing you and want to pervert the gospel of Christ. 8 But even if we or an angel from heaven should proclaim to you a gospel contrary to what we proclaimed to you, let that one be accursed! 9 As we have said before, so now I repeat, if anyone proclaims to you a gospel contrary to what you received, let that one be accursed!

    There have always been those who would pervert the Gospel.

    “8 But even if we or an angel from heaven should proclaim to you a gospel contrary to what we proclaimed to you, let that one be accursed! Please note the Koran was supposedly dictated to Mohammed by the Angel (Jibril – Gabriel)

    A few quotes from the Koran:

    “Infidels are those who say Allah is the Messiah the son of Mary” (5:17)

    “When you come upon infidels, smite their necks” (47:4) i.e decapitate them

    “O you who believe! Do not take Jews and Christians as friends and protectors.
    Whoever turns to them as friends and protectors is one of them. Truly Allah does not guide an unjust people”.(5:51)

    “Fight those who believe not in God nor the Last Day, nor hold that forbidden which hath been forbidden by God and His Apostle, nor acknowledge the religion of Truth(Islam), (even if they are) of the People of the Book (Jews & Christians), until they pay the Jizya(Protection money/tax) with willing submission, and feel themselves subdued. ( 9:29)

    “We disown you and what you worship besides Allah.We renounce you. Enmity and hate shall forever reign between us. Until you believe in Allah alone” (60:4)

    There is quite clearly little compatibility between Christian writings and those of Islam.

    Perhaps these CofE churches referred to in the above article are in need of some education at least if nothing else.

    • Simon Platt

      Didn’t think you could get away with quoting Galatians without getting an up-tick from me, did you?

    • Inspector General

      Ah! That’s what the Islam happy part of the CoE conveniently ignore. ‘Neck Smiting’

      • The Snail

        I am told the redoubtable Mrs Proudie is renowned for her smiting spoon. It is rumoured that dead bodies have been seen. Perhaps, Inspector, you should call your colleagues to investigate yet another Midsomer incident!

    • Manfarang

      There are many gospels. Four canonical gospels made it into the New Testament.

      • The Snail

        Hi Manfarang,

        There are four books called Gospels – but the word Gospel means ‘Good News’ There is only one Good News expressed in the New Testament. It is the same in all of the Gospel Books – Jesus Christ died for the sins of the world..

        None of the books we call Gospels was written when Paul wrote Galatians – it is one of the earliest pieces of Christian writing in the New Testament – probably 50-55 AD, However all of the Gospel Books Matthew Mark Luke and John – were completed by 90 AD. Mark being the earliest and John being the latest.

        I hope that is helpful to you

        • Manfarang

          Proverbs 25:25
          25 As cold waters to a thirsty soul, so is good news from a far country.

  • Inspector General

    Manfarang, wherever you are. It’s not a laughing matter. You are familiar with Western ways but we can’t be sure about Islamists in general. Different races, different cultures, you see. What can be viewed by us as a thumbs up to Islam could well be interpreted as a slight. And we know with this religion, slights are serious stuff.

    Now, learn from this…

    • Manfarang

      I have lived in the Middle East. Have you?

      • Mrs Proudie of Barchester

        My Lord the Bishop and I visited Malaya once. We thoroughly enjoyed it.

        • Manfarang

          That’s a bit further than the Middle East.

          • Mrs Proudie of Barchester

            I know but it is the closest I’ve been…

      • Anton

        No, but I presume the Middle East you lived in had cars, electricity and medicine based on attacking systematically attack viruses and bacteria.

        • Manfarang

          Cairo is famous for its traffic jams. There isn’t a Middle Eastern country that doesn’t have cars, electricity, and medicine.

  • Chefofsinners

    We are invited to celebrate the deathday of the Church of England. Blow out the candles and make a wish.

    • Mrs Proudie of Barchester

      But, dear Chef, what would you and I do if the CofE dies?

      • David

        I woud suggest dear lady, that we can remain as Anglicans, just as in the growing number of congregations that are independent of the ever more liberal state Church.
        That doesn’t apply in Barchester of course.

        • Mrs Proudie of Barchester

          Forever Anglican….but of course.

  • Simon Platt

    “There are many sincere Christians across all denominations who take a Universalist approach to salvation, or for whom the Incarnation is a myth…” I think we’re working with different definitions of “sincere”.

    • ‘Sincere’ they may be; but ‘Christians’?

      ‘Nor is there salvation in any other; for there is no other name under heaven, given among men, by which we must be saved’
      (Acts 4:12).

    • dannybhoy

      Yes that’s true and I still find it shocking when even in a Bible study I suddenly realise that the person speaking believes that all religions lead to God, and ultimately all will be saved.
      Factors that have encouraged this trend might include a rejection of elitism (Christianity is elitist). Christianity is perceived as the religion of the Western world and Western man sees himself as superior.
      The West uses most of the world’s resources and causes most of the world’s problems.
      A loss of confidence in the Scriptures , plus a rejection of the concept of judgement and eternal punishment, and the apparent triumph of evolution. (which theory is endorsed by many on this blog).
      There are other faiths such as Buddhism which seem much more peaceful and gentle, and then of course there is humanism!

      • saintmark

        I hope you put them right

        • dannybhoy

          Put them right?
          I have had a room full of people turn and glare at me because I dared repeatedly question the integrity of a local clergyman (I won’t say which denomination), who was practicing and teaching zen meditation. That same universalism was at work in the audience.
          All as a result of churches which think holy communion is the be all and end all of collective worship, where there is no bible study, no prayer meetings and no outreach with the Gospel..

      • Simon Platt

        Elitist? Really? People calling themselves Christians think that of Christianity?

        (I’m not doubting you, just expressing my surprise. Actually, “surprise” is probably not the right word. But I don’t know what is.)

  • Sir John Oldcastle

    The ‘Heretic Hunter’ t-shirt I was wearing probably didn’t help….

    • Sarky

      Why the name change???

      • Dominic Stockford

        I was logged in on my phone, which seems to have decided to use that instead!

    • Anton

      A Dominican habit says the same thing more effectively…

  • The Snail

    Do you have experience of Mrs Proudie’s wooden spoon? If so perhaps you should elaborate !

    • carl jacobs

      No. No personal experience. I’ve just seen the bodies.

  • Manfarang

    Sinterklaas and Zwarte Piet coming tomorrow.
    Time to put the decorations up.

  • Lucius

    Unity at any price. This seems to be the guiding principle of Anglicanism in the modern era. A principle of such importance that it trumps even the divinity of Christ Himself. A Church built on such a foundation will not long last.

  • carl jacobs

    Sorta off topic but anyways it’s on our host’sTwitter account?

    A female Doctor? Who thought that was a good idea?

    You are free to applaud now.

    • dannybhoy

      Very deep Carl.
      A few clues for the duller of brain perhaps?

      • carl jacobs

        It’s an equivocation on the word “Who”.

        … Genius is never appreciated in its own age …

        • dannybhoy

          Thanks for explaining it Carl.
          Dumty dumty dumty dummm.
          Whistles tunelessly..
          Wasn’t very good was it?
          I mean, reeeaally..it wasn’t.
          But being ‘brother in the Lord’ Christianly frank with you..
          It was too clever for me.
          Danny is very literal.
          Not subtle at all.
          So in future when I ask you to explain something remember we aren’t all bright.
          :0)

  • John

    I look forward to hearing news of the Vicar of Kingston on Thames’ disciplinary inquiry for arranging this event in breach of his ordination vows.

    • Charlie

      Don’t hold your breath. A colleague of mine previously made a formal complaint to his bishop about him extolling the virtues of the new Muslim prayer carpet in their annexe in a newsletter and received a most feeble response. Something about it not being in during a regular worship service which makes it okay!

  • Skidger

    Perhaps the vicar at Kingston could trot off to the local mosque to promote Christianity for the good of inter-faith relations.

    • Anton

      And not come back.

  • Father David

    Didn’t I read somewhere recently that the Defender of the Faith was descended from Mohammed which must be good news for Her eventual successor the Defender of Faith.

    • Mrs Proudie of Barchester

      Yes, she is, according to royal genealogies. I must say I did chortle when the BBC said the Prince Harry and Meghan Markle wedding would ‘bring an international dimension to the royal family.’ Their knowledge of history is woeful. By the by, I am relieved to learn you harbour no republican tendencies, though your misplaced devotion to St. Jezza of Agitprop did rather point towards it.

      • Father David

        No, dear lady, there’s not a day goes by without me praying “”O Lord, save the Queen” – Long may she reign.

    • Anton
  • Mrs Proudie of Barchester

    One is saddened to see the ‘Diversity Barriers’ springing up all over the place – in Germany I believe they are called ‘Merkel’s Lego’ and are being wrapped up in jolly Christmas wrapping paper to make submission more palatable. Why does nobody ask ‘If diversity is so good, why do we need protection from it?’

    • Terry Mushroom

      Mrs Proudie, be warned at publicly saying such things. Even a Bishop’s wife is not immune to Plod knocking on the door of your palace if a Minister of the Crown can be visited in the Palace of Westminster.

      (Edited)

      • IanCad

        Terry, I’m sure Mrs.. P. shall heed your warning not at all. Neither, let me say, shall I; Nor I would hope will any of the regulars desist from politely but forcefully lambasting the feeble wretches whose life’s work seems to be the conflating of fish with fowl and the replacing of truth and common sense with error and madness.
        Don’t let them intimidate you Terry – Silence is assent.

        • Terry Mushroom

          Never fear. I was being ironic. Diversity Barriers are a very good name for them.

  • Hilary White

    TASH IS ASLAN! ASLAN IS TASH! get that through your heads you stupid beasts!

    • michaelkx

      I’m for ASLAN!

  • dannybhoy

    Just seen this on World Israel News.. fantastic!
    https://www.facebook.com/HalleluHeb/videos/1986312948306306/

  • IanCad

    The Gospel was not written with the intent of it being watered down. Even more so, not to be held as license to meld and dilute, and conform to the comfort of other faiths. The very guardians of truth will, and have, much to answer for.
    A short, sweet and sharp sermon YG.

  • magnolia

    I think more healing would occur if it were more widely acknowledged that mistakes were made in the past in trusting rather too readily the motivations of single men who wished to give up lots of time in running camps predominantly for young men. Add to this their allowing some young girls in as an enormous privilege, but only to be hardworking servants while the men had fun, and quite a few red flags appear vividly. These men really didn’t like women much, did they?

    Yes, no doubt some had good motives, and yes, no doubt they were men of their times, but to give women all the donkey work and the men all the fun points clearly to a moral failing of not liking women.
    Whatever the causes it is a severe failing because we are called by Jesus to love one another, and it produces all kinds of wrong and kinky fruit in amongst the good fruit.

    • Anton

      Wrong thread, Magnolia!

    • Anton

      On *any* occasion when nonbelievers come to church in numbers there should be an evangelistic sermon!

      • Phil Young

        I absolutely agree…when I was trying to ‘find’ God, I went to an Easter service…where the vicar actually spoke clearly about Jesus’s death and resurrection..the Holy Spirit really moved on me through that sermon. It seems fairly rare that (in the Anglican churches that I’ve been to at any rate) that they actually do spell out the foundational truths of Christianity.

  • HedgehogFive

    Reading The Times this week, I saw two articles, one about Boko Haram using captive women as suicide bombers. They have been married to a fighter who has got killed, and this is to prevent them from being remarried to an infidel.

    There was also an article from a refugee camp full of Rohingya who fled to Bangladesh. Some women in particular have been subjected to horrendous treatment by the Burmese army.

    The main difference that I can see is that the Boko Haram behaviour derives its rational from Islam, but I cannot think of anything in Buddhism to support the behaviour of the Burmese army.
    What would the people in Kingston make of that?

  • Terry Mushroom

    My public sector employer got it into its head that customer facing women should “think carefully” about wearing jewellery crosses in case – you know what’s coming – they caused offence.

    Before talking to HR, I spoke to some of my Muslim colleagues with whom I’ve had a number of very interesting conversations. And – guess what? – far from being offended they said that our employer was patronising them. The most interesting comment to me was, “If there’s one good thing us Muslims can do is to make the west take God seriously.” (Cue later discussion about what we both mean by God!)

    I asked HR who might be offended. Shuffling feet and eyes averted. The cowards! I was delighted to tell them what my Muslim colleagues said.

    I suspect that Kingston Muslims think the vicar is a bit of a know-nothing idiot.

    • dannybhoy

      Front them up like that Terry, that’s the way to do it. I see so many signs that we are drifting towards a situation like 1930’s Germany.
      1|) People obey rules and laws regardless of how stoopid they are.
      2) People are afraid to apply commonsense or point out how daft the rule is, because they fear losing their job or being demoted or marked as troublemakers.
      3) Our society is so structured that really there is no authorised, transparent and accountable body who can take these concerns seriously.
      So people stay silent. And obey.

      Makes you think twice about the way we castigated the German people doesn’t it?

      • IrishNeanderthal

        Ven our leaders say ve is ze monster race,
        Zen ve Schmile! Schmile! right in our leader’s face!

        After Spike Jones – Der Fuehrer’s Face – YouTube, but in reverse.

      • Terry Mushroom

        Exactly. This is why I so admire Poland. I first went there in the dark days of martial law. I met ordinary people who’d taken very brave decisions which cost them promotion, housing and jobs. Eg, refusing to join the Party.

        They were adept at reading the propaganda. In the most awful, filthy surroundings they had beautiful minds and sought out and treasured good music and pictures of great art. What I saw of Communism deeply shocked me, not least its awful drabness. The oranges we bought them shone like little suns in the grey.

        But returning to the West’s prosperity, I wondered who the real people were. I thought that again when I recently left Tate Modern, wondering why I felt so on edge and spiritually oppressed.

        Marantha!

        • dannybhoy

          When the enemy of our souls gains in power we will feel the spiritual oppression.

        • I was in Poland, in Warsaw mainly, for most of November of 1984, well after the martial laws, on a joint Warsaw U and U of Toronto project with Professor Jerzy Tomaszewski’s new Jewish History faculty funded in part by the Vatican. Filth everywhere, shocking poverty, lack of basic foodstuffs freezing cold, studies sowing notebooks out of toilet paper. Decent people, warm, generous, incredibly funny and brilliant students. An entire Jewish studies department with not a single Jew in the faculty or among the intensely religious Catholic students, all of whom put me to shame with their unbelievable level of knowledge of Jewish history and issues, and their facility in Hebrew and Yiddish. When and how they found time and materials to accomplish this is a mystery.

          Like you, I found my trip to be one of the most intensely real experiences of my life.

          • Terry Mushroom

            The great difficulty I had when I returned was explaining it all. Poland has much to teach the west. My fear is that it will be patronisingly dismissed as “rightist”.

            We don’t have the paucity of material things that you so vividly and accurately describe. But we certainly have poverty of spirit.

            “Intensely real experience is right”.

        • PS: Here’s a recent video of Warsaw U’s history institute: http://en.ihuw.pl/alumni/gallery/films/instytut-historyczny-uw-wspomnienia-absolwentow-cz-i-0

          Very eerie stuff; same buildings, but no falling stucco or broken doors and shabby furniture. All nicely maintained and everyone decently dressed and well-fed!

          • Terry Mushroom

            Thanks!

    • IrishNeanderthal

      I think that HR have — in a quasi-medical sense — a bad case of Islamophobia.

      Or is it Muslimophobia?

      • Terry Mushroom

        It strikes me as a symptom of follow-the-crowd virtue signalling amongst people whom we’re told are better educated than the plebs.

        “High ups” can be terrible sheep. My CEO, who has rather nice handwriting, recently bought himself an ink pen. Senior managers soon discovered the joys that owning a nib can bring. And these people go on leadership courses…

    • Ray Sunshine

      I suspect that Kingston Muslims think the vicar is a bit of a know-nothing idiot.

      I suspect that Kingston Muslims have got it right.

    • mark

      Those same muslims were also doing warfare lying, they hate the cross.

  • dannybhoy

    “I feel quite delighted I’m no longer an Anglican.”
    The wife and I are edging that way. Not that we ever were Anglicans but we’ve been very involved in our local church for the last six years.
    But the new year will bring changes, we know.

  • Anton

    To some births I take the same attitude that Job took to his (in chapter 3).

  • IrishNeanderthal

    Just looked up Christmas on Arabic Wikipedia and I find:

    عيد الميلاد, (‘Id al-Milad)

    • Ray Sunshine

      That looks as though it’s similar to Hebrew, חג המולד, chag ha-molad, the Festival of the Birth. (Molad, birth, can also mean the new moon, the beginning of the month.)

    • Melzner

      Wow.

  • Anton

    Yeah…

    Get Down and Get With It
    Coz I Luv You
    The Banging Man (their best ever, a minority view)

    • CliveM

      I won’t get the spelling right but;

      Far, far away
      We’re all crazee now!
      My friend Stan

      They were a hit machine at their hight!

  • Leander

    Well, one could never say of the CofE that it isn’t a broad Church, but one wonders whether one can still say it’s even minimally Christian.

  • What a disgrace. What an insult to Jesus Christ, the son of God. Mohammed, the rapist, the murderer, the pedophile, the bigamist, is the very opposite of Christ. That church should be ashamed of itself.

    • Don Davenport

      Thanks for speaking the truth many prefer not be told.

      • Islam rests on the character of Mohammed while Christianity rests on Christ. The difference can be summarized in this way: Christ died to start Christianity; Mohammed killed to start Islam.

    • Michael Hansen

      Amen

  • James M

    This…church, appears to be honouring Saints Jesus and Mohammed. No doubt these two great teachers will make it into an Anglican calendar somewhere.

    For that, logically, is what this joint celebration makes them.

    The people who have my sympathy are those Anglicans who expect Christianity from the C of E and its clergy, and get this instead. It must be agonising to have to put up with this.

    • Michael Hansen

      you must be joking ?

      • James M

        That first sentence was intended ironically, yes. Though it is only fair to point out that one could in principle treat “righteous heathens” as something akin to Prophets or Saints. As has happened. But it is not clear how Mohammed could be so regarded.

  • Don Davenport

    This event reminds me of a quote from a well-known, notorious criminal, “Being crazy used to really mean something. Today it don’t mean nothing. Everyone is crazy.”

  • Paddy Mac

    The inclusion of the this pagan and murderous political movement, known as Islam, and its recognition and inclusion in Christian celebrations is a stench in the nostrils of our Holy God. Hell awaits this apostate and quickly. Gracious, what a reprobate and heretic. Methinks the stake should be warmed and ready.

  • Matthew Q

    Christians such as these should recognise a fundamental truth, Mohammed was a false prophet, and false prophets as Jesus warns us “deceive many.”
    Those wishing to participate in events such as these would do well to understand this, before embarking on these so called “interfaith celebrations” with a faith which not only denies core Christian doctrine, but actively promotes hostility against those adhering to it!

    The old maxim “there are non so blind as those who will not see” was never more true in this case.

  • mark

    I wonder if there are any genuine christians at that, ahuum, church.

  • mark

    Act_20:29 For I know this, that after my departing shall grievous wolves enter in among you, not sparing the flock.