Canon Andrew White leads Top 100 UK Christians 2014


The awards for the Top 100 UK Christians were announced, word spread and admonition radiated. #CranmerList2014 was explained, word spread (again), nominations poured in and speculation grew. The waiting is now over.

By overwhelming affirmation and democratic consensus, you have chosen Canon Andrew White – the ‘Vicar of Baghdad’ – as your No1 UK Christian for 2014. The first will be last, you say? Quite so: Canon White would not demur from that immutable kingdom principle of selflessness and humility. To be chosen for this honour is not an invitation to pride or an invocation of vanity. Nor is it a denigration of the efforts of other ministers or missionaries who contend for the Faith in a harsh and unforgiving world. This award is bestowed in appreciation of Canon Andrew White’s ministry of peace and reconciliation, and admiration for his faithful dedication to the cause of compassion amidst the deserts of unimaginable suffering and persecution. The citations were effusive:

“For his work for peace in the Middle East in spite of his infirmity within and the warfare without.”

“He affirms to Jesus Christ Lord of all. Even in the present time and awful circumstance Canon White has faithfully served his people in Baghdad, and that despite his poor health.”

“For the cause of spreading the Gospel and shepherding his flock is truly amazing and he is an example to us all.”

“As Bishop of Baghdad he has worked tirelessly for his church over there (often at great risk to himself) and only left when Archbishop Welby pulled him out.”

“His fearless ministry over so many years continues to inspire so many – blessed are the peacemakers!”

“For alerting us to the persecution of Christians in the M.E. For his outstanding bravery and ability to speak the truth about what has been endured by his congregation at St Georg’s in Iraq.”

“For keeping the shockingly dreadful plight of Christians in Iraq in the public eye (and everything else he’s done as Vicar of Baghdad).”

“Brave work as the ‘Vicar of Baghdad’ His work in Iraq and Israel. The fact that he works for and respects various faith communities, while remaining totally Christian himself.”

“Christ personified.”

“His work for reconciliation and peace. His commitment to christians in Iraq, even at risk to his own life.”

“Though many of us have been following him for sometime, this year has seen the rise of Canon Andrew White among the popular press. He is now a not infrequent contributor on BBC Radio 4’s Today programme. I nominate him because he stands as a wonderful and all too rare example of someone who is living out the great commission, embracing sacrifice and loving his neighbour as his friend.”

“There are very few people so clearly in the world but not of it. He is living in such a place of darkness, yet is a star shining brightly.”

“He is surrounded by a culture of death in Iraq and a culture of living only for today in this country, yet he exudes a culture of true life – other worldly but rooted in this world. For this reason he is an example and challenge to us all.”

“For ministering to his Baghdad flock in the most difficult circumstances, despite his own personal challenges. The man is a true Christian hero. Prophet, saint, humble servant, courageous in the face of persecution and evil, generous and forgiving. I can think of no greater living English man, Christian or otherwise.”

“Actions speak louder than words and the Vicar of Baghdad’s actions shout much louder than any sermon. He has shown exceptional courage and devotion to both God and his flock. He had to overcome his own personal health problems to fulfil his duties, but has not flinched from his purpose even though he is constantly surrounded by death and personal danger.”

“His work in reconciliation between faiths in the Middle East. His heroism in working in the church in Iraq, and his love of the people there.”

“The love of Jesus that shines out of him. His life is a challenge and an inspiration.”

“For his relentless pursuit for justice and recognition of the persecution his Christians in the Middle East. For the unwavering loyalty to his church in Iraq. For his humility, character, honesty, tenacity, bravery and self sacrifice.”

“For the authority that comes from a man who has walked the walk.”

“For the unwavering loyalty to his church in Iraq.”

“I’m inspired to be more Christ-like due to his example.”

“For his work for relief and reconciliation in the Middle East.”

“For his unbelievable work in Iraq, where he continues to let Christ’s light shine.”

“He’s got to be number one for all his amazing courage and faith in God especially in the face of such adversity.”

“For being a true Christian believer, caring for others and giving hope and inspiration to many others.”

“A true servant of Christ seeking peace and reconciliation while ministering to his flock under the most appalling circumstances imaginable.”

“Despite health problems and all the horror visited upon his people he not only carries on undaunted but still prays for his enemies. Even for the salvation of ISIS. I cannot think of anyone more like the Lord Jesus.”

“He is the finest example of the love of Christ in action.”

“For a brave and faithful ministry in the most extreme of circumstances.”

“For staying to shepherd his flock and thereby putting his life in extreme danger, he offers a witness to the reconciling power of the Gospel with grace, humility and incredible courage.”

“He models a relationship with Muslims and the Islamic world that has to face Christian crusading and Muslim persecution and does so without ceding either Christian witness or loving care to others.”

“We have had people’s heads chopped off. We are having people convert. We are even having children slaughtered and cut in half,” he told Newsnight in August. “We are living in worst crisis I have ever known,” he wrote on Facebook. “Working day and night to meet the needs of those who have nothing. We are providing a huge amount.. we are all very tired, but our Lord is sustaining us.”

God bless Canon Andrew White and the congregation of St George’s Anglican Church in Baghdad, Iraq. Give thanks for his Foundation for Relief and Reconciliation in the Middle East, which provides a spiritual home, medical care and humanitarian relief as well as promoting reconciliation amongst different religious groups. And bless all of you who nominated him, pray for him and support his crucial ministry.

Top 100 UK Christians 2014The other 99 winners are presented below. The spiritual variety and theological breadth of nominees reflects the ecclesial catholicity of this blog’s readership. The winners’ placement in any missional/ministry ranking must ultimately be left to the perfect judgment of God, for we cannot know hearts or judge motives. In the meantime, they are ordered by the cosmic lottery of patronymic designation, for the second shall be 98th and the 78th fourth.

It must be stressed (again) that the following people are recognised and honoured not because they are in any sense greater in the Kingdom of God or more loved by Jesus (cf Jn 13:23), but because they have somehow distinguished themselves over the past year in their ministry, mission or Christian witness. The #CranmerList2014 does not constitute a lofty religio-political endorsement, but rather demotic appreciation of the scale and (often unseen and unknown) impact of their labours in the Vineyard of the Lord.

If your considered worthies are not named, it may because you didn’t nominate them. If you are irked that you yourself do not feature, meditate on Luke 15:25ff. If you are relieved that you have not been honoured, you have the luxury of being free to righteously condemn the whole concept over the coming days, and thereby move yourself into the frame for a nomination in 2015.

The 99 British Christians who came second (or 99th) to Canon Andrew White are:

Douglas Alexander2Rt Hon Douglas Alexander MP. Shadow Foreign Secretary. Nominated for being “one of the few Labour MPs openly raising issue of persecution of Christians in Middle East in public”. His most recent intervention in the Sunday Telegraph pledged Labour to the appointment of a Global Envoy for Religious Freedom, which was tweeted by the Archbishop of Canterbury.

Lord Alton3Lord (David) Alton. Crossbench Life Peer. Nominated for: “his interventions on the issues of modern slavery and the plight of Syrian refugees”; “a faith-based commitment to humanitarian aid”; “bold opposition to Falconer’s Assisted Dying Bill to highlight the pressures it would place on the most vulnerable and championing the work of hospices”.

Eddie ArthurEddie Arthur. Most recently executive director of Wycliffe Bible Translators who, since his retirement last year has toured churches to highlight the priority of mission. Nominated for: “his excellent missiological blog Kouyanet“; “He makes me think about the relevance of Jesus to modern culture. His reflections and insights never cease to inspire”.

Nick Baines3Rt Rev’d Nick Baines. Bishop of Leeds. Appointed the first Bishop of West Yorkshire and the Dales – the Church’s first new diocese since 1927. His blog, Musings of a Restless Bishop, is a must-read. Nominated for: “leading the call for the Government to open offer sanctuary to the persecuted Christians of Iraq”; “challenging Cameron on his ‘incoherent’ Middle East policy”.

Vicky BeechingVicky Beeching. Singer, songwriter, theologian and religious commentator. Nominated for: “being an inspiration to many and putting honesty and integrity ahead of her career”; “her tremendous bravery”; “She has boldly spoken of God’s love and salvation for those within the LGBT community who have been previously been rejected and turned away by the Church”.

Baroness Berridge2Baroness (Elizabeth) Berridge. Chair of the All Party Parliamentary Group for International Freedom of Religion or Belief. Nominated for: “her crucial work in promoting religious freedom and justice”; “Liz Berridge has kept persecuted Christians in Iran and Iraq and across the Middle East at the forefront of Parliament’s conscience”.

Matt BirdMatt Bird. Co-Founder of The Cinnamon Network, which has been commended by successive prime ministers. Nominated for: “mobilising Christian social action charities to partner with churches to grow and multiply their impact across the nation”; “(being) on target to engage a million beneficiaries”; “..serving many churches and communities – Matt Bird is Jesus centred”.

Fr Ray BlakeFr Ray Blake. Roman Catholic priest in Brighton. Nominated for: “his faithful witness, an excellent blog, and social actions”; “his true love and devotion of our faith”; “All round saint and blogger”; “A truly wise man reaching out via his blog to all, proclaiming truths that many have forgotten”; “He always puts others in need first and his homilies are excellent”.

Paul BlakelyPaul Blakey MBE. Author and founder of Halifax Street Angels. Nominated for: “the work of Street Angels in Halifax and the Christian Nightlife Initiatives (CNI) Network as a way of supporting church and community in other towns to launch night-time initiatives”; “Paul inspires others to love the person in front of them and to see communities transformed”.

Colin BloomColin Bloom. CEO of the Conservative Christian Fellowship and Director of Christians in Politics. Nominated for: “his work in bridging the Christian world with politics”; “burning the Tory flame and being unashamed to ‘do God’ where God isn’t usually done”; “reminding me every day that the Bible tells us to honour and respect and pray for those in Government”.

Kate BottleyRev’d Kate Bottley. Vicar of the churches of Blyth, Scrooby and Ranskill in the diocese of Southwell and Nottingham. She appears in the Channel 4 TV series Gogglebox. Nominated for: “telling the truth about Songs of Praise – that it’s ‘like a piece of soggy quiche‘”; being “a tireless Anglican priest and one of the few Christians who keeps it real and authentic online”.

Fiona Bruce2Fiona Bruce MP. Conservative MP for Congleton. Nominated for: “her tireless defence of the unborn”; “..presenting the Abortion (Sex-Selection) Ten Minute Rule Bill to Parliament on behalf of a number of MPs from all sides of the House, to outlaw abortion on the grounds of gender”; “(the) Stop Gendercide campaign to enshrine equality in the womb”.

Gavin CalverGavin Calver. National Director of Youth for Christ. Nominated for: “his work with over 250,000 young people a month in schools, prisons and churches”; “his ‘Pressing On’ conference, which inspired me to persevere through problems and keep my eyes on Jesus”; “an incredible and determined passion to see the Gospel reach young people all across this country”.

Jonathan ChaplinDr Jonathan Chaplin. Director of the Kirby Laing Institute for Christian Ethics. Nominated for: “beavering away on the intersection between Christian theology and politics.. making us consider the biblical principles of political policy and what political parties stand for”; “He’s already preparing the analytical spiritual ground for the 2015 General Election..”.

Mark ChapmanRev’d Prof Mark Chapman. In 2014 became Acting Principal of Ripon College Cuddesdon. Nominated for “help(ing) educate 100s of Anglican priests, and, in his characteristically understated and kindly manner remains a significant influence on the Church of England without chasing for preferment”; “(his) influence is huge – he’s trained just about every female priest in the CofE”.

Richard ChartresRt Rev’d and Rt Hon Richard Chartres KCVO. Bishop of London. Nominated for: “his passion for the job and his wonderful sermons”; “London churches seeing growth this year again partly due to his vision”; “supporting and showcasing a number of successful Holy Trinity Brompton church plants and successful church partnerships at Focus 2014“.

Steve CliffordSteve Clifford. Leader of the Evangelical Alliance. Nominated for: “his unwavering respect for the authority of the Bible”; “his prayerful reflection and integrity in the EA’s decision to suspend the membership of Oasis Trust“; “upholding Christian orthodoxy against the liberals and revisionists who produce ‘a god’ in their own likeness”; “Steve is a leader of leaders..”.

Richard ColesRev’d Richard Coles. Host of BBC Radio 4’s Saturday Live programme. Nominated for: “sticking faithfully to his view without ever stooping to belittle his opponents; indeed, he honours them”; being “the atheist’s favourite vicar – he crosses so many lines that it’s impossible to categorise him, but he makes non-believers think about the eternal and transcendent”.

Martha CollisonMartha Collison. 18-year-old Great British Bake Off star-turned-campaigner against child trafficking, as a representative for Tearfund’s No Child Taken campaign. Nominated for: “being very open and honest about her faith following all of the media interest she received from GBBO and using the attention to highlight the serious issue of modern slavery”.

Paul CowleyRev’d Paul Cowley MBE. Founder of Caring for Ex-Offenders. Appointed MBE in April 2014. Nominated for: “continuing to be very influential in Christian Prison Ministry”; “(being) a living witnesses to the power of faith to transform the mind and renew the heart”; “setting up Alpha Course in prisons – I think more than 80% of prisons now run the course thanks to Paul’s vision”.

Baroness CoxBaroness (Caroline) Cox. Crossbench Life Peer and founder of the Humanitarian Aid Relief Trust. Nominated for: “her work on behalf of the oppressed in Burma and many other parts of the world”; “International high-level ministry of Christian witness and compassion to those in need, often in appalling situations, backed by a strong prayer life and deep interest in people”.

Andy CroftRev’d Andy Croft. Associate Director of Soul Survivor and one of the pastors at Soul Survivor Watford. He studied Theology at Cambridge University and heads up ‘Soul 61’, the Soul Survivor course for emerging leaders. Nominated for: “inspiring young minds through his work with Soul Survivor, his charity work with Soul Action, and for doing this at a young age”.

Pete CunninghamPastor Pete Cunningham. Founder of Green Pastures – a national Christian social enterprise which provides homes for the homeless and those in most need. Nominated for: “selfless service for God and the most Christ-like person I’ve ever met.. His understanding of asylum and migration are biblical and compassionate”.

Deacon Nick DonnellyDeacon Nick Donnelly. Founder of the Protect the Pope blog. In March 2014, he was encouraged by his Bishop (Michael Campbell of Lancaster) to undertake a voluntary period of mandatory reflection, during which time the Lord would direct him to cease protecting the Pope. Nominated for: “impeccably discerning the will of the Lord”.

Gregor DuncanRt Rev’d Dr Gregor Duncan. Bishop of Glasgow and Galloway. Some Christians are thrust into the limelight by tragic events. The appalling accident in Glasgow a few days before Christmas in which six people died was met with compassion by Bishop Gregor, who was asked by the emergency services to “stand and pray“. (Co-nominated with Bishop Philip Tartaglia).

Iain Duncan Smith 4Rt Hon Iain Duncan Smith MP. Secretary of State for Work and Pensions. Nominated for: “his profound moral mission to get the jobless into work to restore people’s self-respect”; “ending injustices in the welfare system to make work pay”; “supporting families and strengthening marriage against the tide of fashionable secularist liberal criticism”.

Gemma DunningGemma Dunning. Founder of StreetSpace Bournemouth – an inclusive youth project that seeks to enhance the personal, social and spiritual development of young people. Nominated for: “her amazing work with young LGBT people in Bournemouth and more recently both nationally and internationally. She is down to earth, passionate about Jesus and bring light into dark places”.

Giles Fraser3Rev’d Giles Fraser. Vicar of St Mary’s, Newington. He writes ‘Loose Canon‘ for The Guardian and regularly contributes to BBC Radio 4’s Thought for the Day and Moral Maze. Nominated for being “provocative, incisive and profoundly thoughtful about God”; “..he feeds the sick and houses the homeless – you might not agree with his words, but you can’t fault his actions’.

Frank Field 3Rt Hon Frank Field MP. Co-chairman of the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Hunger and Food Poverty in Britain. Nominated for: “(being) Chairman of the King James Bible Trust”; “his faith-based writing in the Tablet and work with ‘Theos’“; “A very influential Socialist whose faith guides his politics”; “..a great supporter of Christians in Parliament“.

Peter GrantPeter Grant. Co-founder (with Mandy Marshall [also nominated]) of Restored – an international Christian alliance committed to ending violence against women. Nominated for: “working with the Church of England General Synod in 2014 to end Gender Based Violence”; “(being) people of faith who speak out”; “They model good leadership and integrity”.

Debra GreenDebra Green OBE. Founder of Redeeming Our Comunities – a Christian Charity that establishes multi-agency partnerships to reduce crime. Nominated for: “..her new book ROC your World; transforming communities for good,  (River Publishing, 2014)”; “She lives what she writes and keeps her faith at the centre of all she does. The work of ROC has expanded rapidly in 2014”.

Mark GreeneMark Greene. Director of the London Institute for Contemporary Christianity. Nominated for: “..pioneering and communicating a life-giving theology.. Mark has through programmes like ‘Imagine‘ begun to make churches take ‘whole life discipleship’ seriously. DVD Resources like ‘Fruitfulness on the Frontline‘ are now being used by many churches”.

Pete GreigPete Greig. Founder of 24-7 Prayer – an international, interdenominational movement of prayer, mission and justice. Also Director of Prayer for Alpha International. Nominated for: “His passion for the Lord. His great sermons. He has certainly taught me how to pray”; “Pete has inspired thousands to get praying seriously and believe that prayer can change nations”.

Simon GuillebaudSimon Guillebaud. Author, speaker and founder of Great Lakes Outreach. Nominated for: “Risk(ing) his life daily by living in the second-poorest, 10th most dangerous nation.. help(ing) local Burundians and get the gospel to them. Over past eight years he has seen 100,000 people in Burundi turn to Christ – that’s 1% of the population”.

Nicky GumbelRev’d Nicky Gumbel. Vicar of Holy Trinity Brompton and pioneer of the Alpha Course. Nominated for: “The indirect influence he has been through his work for Alpha”; “He just gets on with the job and his calling and he influences millions around the world for the Gospel”; “Probably more direct western conversions than anyone I know – a matter of using his influence for good”.

Colin HartColin Hart. Director of The Christian Institute. Nominated for: “Standing up for Christian values and freedoms in the public arena.. lobbying and taking legal cases”; “huge success with Reform Clause 1“; “defending Ashers Bakery against equality zealots”; “warning about and fighting against Government-imposed ‘British values‘”.

Andy HawthorneAndy Hawthorne OBE. Founder and CEO of the The Message Trust – a worldwide movement with a passion to share Jesus Christ with the hardest-to-reach young people. Nominated for: “doing great things in Manchester communities”; “The Message Tribe in Manchester continue to be terrific missionaries. Deserves recognition”; “Here I am, Send Me (The Message Trust, 2014)”.

Keith HebdenRev’d Dr Keith Hebden. Vicar in the Deanery of Mansfield; author of the Compassionistas blog and Seeking Justice – The Radical Compassion of Jesus (Circle Books, 2013). Nominated for: “Undertaking 40-day fast to raise awareness of food poverty.. a Christ-like concern for the poor”; “Significant success in raising the issue of poverty and foodbanks in the media“.

Sally HitchnerRev’d Sally Hitchiner. Coordinating Anglican Chaplain and Interfaith Adviser at Brunel University. Founder of Diverse Church. Nominated for: “her clear, sensible, honest posting on social media makes our faith look normal and relevant, as well as a challenge”; “when accidentally outed she took it in her stride and shrugged it off, highlighting how irrelevant sexuality is”.

Tim HughesRev’d Tim Hughes. Director of Worship Central – a movement which wants to see the worship of Jesus Christ made central throughout our communities. Nominated for: “Amazing spirit-and-scripture-fuelled songs which teach theology and help to enable our worship. And the huge influence of worship central in training up hundreds of young worship leaders”.

Agu Irukwu Agu Irukwu. Senior Pastor of Jesus House; founder of Mandate Men’s Ministries, dedicated to building men of integrity; leader of The Redeemed Christian Church of God – the fastest growing church in the UK. Nominated for “(being) an inspirational minister willing to work with different streams in the Church of Jesus Christ”.

austen ivereigh3Dr Austen Ivereigh. Author, journalist, commentator and co-founder of Catholic Voices. Nominated for: “continu(ing) the fight against same-sex marriage in the popular media”; “his probing and absorbing biography of Pope Francis – The Great Reformer: Francis and the Making of a Radical Pope (Henry Holt, 2014)”.

J JohnRev’d Canon J John. Evangelist, minister, speaker, social activist and writer. Nominated for: “(being) still one of the most influential evangelists in the UK”; “reminding me of the brilliance of CS Lewis, who powerfully and eloquently defended Christianity“; “(being) an inspirational storyteller and a faithful  ambassador for Jesus”.

Krish KandiahDr Krish Kandiah. Founder of Home for Good – a charity to help inspire the Church to engage in foster care and adoption. In 2014 he was appointed President of the London School of Theology. Nominated for: “(being) a popular evangelist both through local churches and at universities.. a key figure in holding together tensions between ‘conservative’ and ‘open’ evangelicalism”.

John KirkbyJohn Kirkby. Founder and International Director of Christians Against Poverty. Nominated for: “impact(ing) the lives of the poor in the UK like no other Christian. He is an example to us all of what it means to follow God’s heart”; “John doesn’t take a penny of state subsidy – he is therefore free to be open about the fact that CAP is a Christian organisation and works with clients from all backgrounds and faiths to spread God’s love”.

Rev Libby LaneRev’d Libby Lane. Vicar of St Peter’s Hale and St Elizabeth’s Ashley, in the Diocese of Chester. Recently announced as the first female bishop (designate for Stockport) in the Church of England. Nominated for: “overcoming centuries of canon law that says only men can be leaders of the Church of England.. a stunning and wonderful first for 2014”.

James LangstaffRt Rev’d James Langstaff. Bishop of Rochester. Nominated for: “Chairing the steering committee to deliver women bishops legislation that general synod accepted”; “championing the work done in prisons and speaking up in Parliament on issues of housing and social deprivation”; “being one of the nicest, most humble bishops one may care to speak to”.

Susie LeafeSusie Leafe. Director of Reform (the first woman to hold the post). Nominated for: “giv(ing) a new lease of life to the ReNew conference in conjunction with the Church Society and Anglican Mission in England”; “giving proper shape to conservative evangelical Anglicans”; “a fearless advocate for Christian orthodoxy, particularly in the debate about women bishops”.

John LennoxProf John Lennox. Professor of Mathematics at Oxford University; Pastoral Advisor at Green Templeton College and Adjunct Lecturer at Wycliffe Hall. Nominated for: “another year of forthright defence of the Christian Faith against the New Atheism”; “his world-wide ministry of Bible teaching, speaking and debating on the complementarity of science and faith”; “his charming, humble and affable manner when confronting Richard Dawkins”.

Xander Lucie-SmithFr Alexander Lucie-Smith. Priest in the Parish of St Hugh of Lincoln; blogger and journalist for Catholic Herald. Nominated for: “his wit and wisdom in all things Catholic”; “honestly, if you want to find the holes in episcopal expressions of Catholic theology or the chinks of light in the Holy Father’s public position, just plug in to his Twitter feed”.

Peter LynasPeter Lynas. Director of the Evangelical Alliance in Northern Ireland. Nominated for: “engag(ing) with issues of Christianity in the public square in the media. His leadership.. over controversial issues has been incredibly helpful to many believers. His personal blog, as well as his work on Christians engaging in culture, has given Christians the confidence and language to engage in meaningful conversation around difficult topics”.

Nathalie MacDermottDr Nathalie MacDermott. “A faithful servant of God who works for the Samaritan’s Purse relief agency. She went to Liberia to establish Ebola Care Centres at great personal risk.” “Nathalie is an inspiration to all who seek to serve God in the midst of immense suffering.” “Her compassion for the sick and dying radiates the love of Christ.”

John MarshJohn Marsh. Author of The Liberal Delusion – The Roots of our Current Moral Crisis, and a trustee of Contemplative Fire. Nominated for: “his voluntary work in prisons with the Prison Fellowship”; “his book The Liberal Delusion.. that we urgently need to reappraise liberalism, and separate out the positive, such as the commitment to greater equality and social justice, from the negative – excessive freedom and loss of morality”.

Mandy MarshallMandy Marshall. Co-founder (with Peter Grant [also nominated]) of Restored – an international Christian alliance committed to ending violence against women. Nominated for: “working with the Church of England General Synod in 2014 to end Gender Based Violence”; “(being) people of faith who speak out”; “They model good leadership and integrity”.

Chine MbubaegbuChine Mbubaegbu. First black woman to be appointed a director at the Evangelical Alliance (and at the age of 30!). Nominated for: “continuing to provide a strong voice for women in the church through her writing”; “her leadership at the Threads website has produced a place where young adults can feel at home exploring issues of faith and asking difficult questions”.

Alister McGrathProf Alister McGrath. Professor of Science and Religion at Oxford University. Nominated for: “another year of excellent ripostes to Dawkins”; “his defences of Christianity against the onslaught of atheism and secularism are particularly noteworthy. Among his numerous books, I would like to highlight his introductory texts to theology and spirituality”.

charlesmoore2Charles Moore. Authorised biographer of Margaret Thatcher; journalist for The Spectator and The Daily Telegraph. Nominated for: “(His) moral certitude is refreshing and goes far beyond party politics. He doesn’t dither and tells it like it is”; “It might have something to do with his being a devout Christian, but I find Charles Moore the most lucid of political thinkers”.

Maurice MorrowLord (Maurice) Morrow MLA. DUP Life Peer. Nominated for: “Bringing forward a Private Members Bill to improve the legislation in Northern Ireland with regard to human trafficking and exploitation.. His Christian faith played a central role in his motivation.. His work on this will not win him many votes, but it illustrates his care and concern for the vulnerable.”

Hannah MudgeHannah Mudge. Co-founder of the Christian Feminist Network, writer and blogger at We Mixed Our Drinks. Nominated for: “doing great work bridging the Christian and feminist gap. Her writing is clear and honest. She brings articulate argument to issues often ignored by the church, but also challenges the feminist world to take faith seriously”.

Michael Nazir AliRt Rev’d Dr Michael Nazir-Ali. President of the Oxford Centre for Training, Research, Advocacy and Dialogue. Nominated for: “(being) one of the few Anglican Bishops in recent times who has steadfastly supported the gospel”; “one of the few people not afraid to point out the problems of Islamic extremism in the UK”; “The best conservative bishop we no longer have”.

Vincent Nichols2His Eminence Cardinal Vincent Nichols. Archbishop of Westminster. Admitted to the Sacred College of Cardinals at the 2014 General Consistory. Nominated for: “telling Cameron that his government welfare reforms had destroyed the basic safety net for the poor”; “highlighting the rise in poverty and the plight of the poor – even if it’s not with much charisma or nous”.

Amy Orr-EwingAmy Orr-Ewing. Influential apologist. Director of Programmes at the Oxford Centre for Christian Apologetics and UK Director for RZIM Zacharias Trust. On the Archbishop of Canterbury’s Evangelism Task Group. Nominated for: “increasing recognition as a passionate exponent of a rational Christian response to many cultural issues we face in society”.

Ian PaisleyThe Rev’d Dr Ian Paisley, the Rt Hon The Lord Bannside. Nominated because: “He died, and thereby reminded the world of a lifetime of service to the Gospel of Christ”; “He was a politician in three parliaments but always had a servant’s heart”; “He was a faithful preacher and a distinguished leader. He spoke plainly and was never misunderstood – in his politics or faith”; “His funeral bore testimony to reconciliation and loving your enemies”.

Ian PaulRev’d Dr Ian Paul. Theologian, speaker and influential blogger at Psephizo. Honorary Assistant Professor at the University of Nottingham. Nominated for: “(being) currently No 1 in Top Blogs (Religion & Belief)“; “clear academic, theological thinking that provokes the church and provides pastoral theology to build up and equip the church”; “Well-mannered and gracious”.

Richard PeersFr Richard Peers SCP. Headmaster of Trinity Church of England Secondary School, Lewisham; an Anglican priest and a member of the Society of Catholic Priests. Nominated for: “making school a place where children and adults can flourish within a strong Christian community”; “his insights into the fraught intersection between faith, values and education; “Teaching with integrity ‘as a subversive activity'”.

Catherine PepinsterCatherine Pepinster. Editor of The Tablet; journalist at the Guardian and Independent. In 2014 celebrated 10 years of editing The Tablet, often against bitter criticism from some of her more traditionalist co-religionists. Nominated for: “(being) thoughtful and considerate about the complexities of Catholicism and how the Faith relates to the modern world”.

Martyn PercyVery Rev’d Prof Martyn Percy. In 2014 appointed Dean of Christ Church, Oxford. Nominated for: “voicing his concerns about the Green Report, which proposes a more corporate style training for selected clergy”; “confronting head-on (and doing himself no favours) the un-biblical model of church leadership and distinctly un-Anglican centralisation of power”.

Eric Pickles very happy indeedyRt Hon Eric Pickles MP. Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government. Nominated for: “sending in Commissioners to clean up Tower Hamlets“; “celebrat(ing) the importance of Bonfire Night“; “marked Europe Day by celebrating the liberation of Jersey from the Nazis”; “He understands that the foundation of our freedoms is religious liberty”.

Mike PilavachiRev’d Mike Pilavachi. Co-founder and leader of the Soul Survivor charity which attracts over 30,000 young people to its summer festivals. Senior Pastor of the Soul Survivor Church Watford. Nominated for: “continuing to influence thousands of young people every year bringing many to Christ and encouraging them to live fully committed Spirit-filled lives”.

Canon David PorterCanon David Porter. Director of Reconciliation at Lambeth Palace. Worked for months behind the scenes in the Church of England to broker new relationships between the factions divided over women bishops. Nominated for: “his wise guidance during the run-up to the women bishops legislation surely ensured that it was passed with minimal animosity and division”.

Queen6Her Majesty The Queen. Nominated for: “preserving the political harmony of the United Kingdom against the divisive forces of separation”; “Her Christmas Day message shares the Christian gospel with millions and demonstrates her strong Christian faith. Perhaps the most important ‘evangelistic’ message over the entire Christmas period”; “Her selfless service to her people. Her committed faith radiates peace and grace”.

Rend CollectiveRend Collective. A Northern Irish Christian worship band, comprising Gareth and Ali Gilkeson, Chris Llewellyn, Patrick Thompson and Steve Mitchell (who are recognised individually, so constituting five of the Top 100). Their album ‘The Art of Celebration’ was released on 14 March and shot to a No1 chart slot. Their music has influenced worship in many churches.

Angus Ritchie2Canon Dr Angus Ritchie. Executive Director at the Centre for Theology and Community. Nominated for: “Deserves it for Welby”s Credit Champions work. Pioneering churches’ engagement in their communities. The catalyst behind churches’ involvement in living wage campaigns, community organising, interfaith initiatives and youth leadership initiatives”.

David RobertsonRev’d David Robertson. Minister of St Peter’s Free Church of Scotland and author of The Wee Flea blog. Nominated for: “highlighting the flaws in secular lobbying groups.. (H)e has spoken boldly and with a clear and compassionate Christian heart for the good of Scotland’s children. His blog.. was runner-up at the Premier Christian Radio New Media awards in London”.

Chris RussellRev’d Chris Russell. Custodian of the community of Jesus Christ at St Laurence, Reading. Archbishop of Canterbury’s Advisor on Evangelism & Witness tasked with ensuring that evangelism remains central to the Archbishop’s ministry. Nominated for: “a great and unerring desire to see this nation turn to Christ. His passion to place young people at the heart of the church is to be commended”.

Mark Russell2Mark Russell. Chief Executive of the Church Army, leading a society of over 300 full-time evangelists and an advocate for evangelism in the wider church. In 2014 ne was Christian tweeter of the year. Nominated for: “(being) passionately committed to mission and spreading the good news of Jesus without compromise. Mark’s zeal is inspiring and infectious!” 

Dr Peter SaundersDr Peter Saunders. CEO of Christian Medical Fellowship and author of the Christian Medical Comment blog. Nominated for: “being a key campaigner in the fight to keep euthanasia and assisted suicide out of the UK. He is one of a bunch of British Christians who has put himself on the line and ‘out there’ about many of the issues that these days the Christian viewpoint is scorned and ridiculed”; “his Christian witness is one of the most impressive”.

Alan ScottAlan Scott. Leader of Causeway Coast Vineyard, Northern Ireland, which has also pioneered the Healing on the Streets movement. During 2014 the church has seen over 2,000 people become Christians in their town of Coleraine. Nominated for: “Leading a visionary, Spirit-filled church which is having a huge impact by living out their faith on their local streets, blessing their community”.

Helen ShannonRev’d Helen Shannon. Neighbourhood Pastor at St Barnabas Church, London; leader of Church@Five. Set up a church plant that now gets 50+ adults and kids most Sundays.. And a foodbank on Saturday.. As a result of the Holy Spirit’s work and His use of Helen, lives have been changed.. Adults are now doing paid and unpaid work and kids are attending college rather than bunking off!”

Nick SpencerNick Spencer. Research Director and currently Acting Director of the Christian think tank, Theos. Author of Atheists: The Origin of the Species (Bloomsbury, 2014). Nominated for: “The brains behind much of the excellent and articulate work that Theos carries out in the political sphere researching and presenting the state of the public face of Christianity in the UK”.

Francis SpuffordFrancis Spufford. Author, apologist and Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature. Nominated for: “having written, in Unapologetic, the most accessible, humane and convincing articulation of the case for Christianity that one could hope to read”; “(he) is fearless against the tide of New Atheism, taking it on with honesty, passion and humour”.

Tim StanleyDr Tim Stanley. Historian, blogger and columnist for the Daily Telegraph. Nominated for: “being unapologetic in his espousal of orthodox Christian values in a national publication. Tim regularly promotes the dignity of the unborn and elderly and is a fantastic measured articulate journalist, able to communicate his love of Christ in a manner that is compelling and winsome”.

Raheem Sterling Daniel SturridgeRaheem Sterling and Daniel Sturridge. These Premier League footballers who both play for Liverpool were proposed as a pair (and conveniently have consecutive surnames). Nominated for: “(being) footballers who are unashamed about their faith”; “Daniel Sturridge publicly acknowledged Jesus at World Cup when he scored, as he does every time for his club”.

Philip TartagliaMost Rev’d Dr Philip Tartaglia. Roman Catholic Archbishop of Glasgow. Some Christians are thrust into the limelight by tragic events. The appalling accident in Glasgow a few days before Christmas in which six people died was met with compassion by Bishop Philip, who “cried with the bereaved family“. (Co-nominated with Bishop Gregor Duncan).

Mervyn ThomasMervyn Thomas. Chief Executive of Christian Solidarity Worldwide. Nominated for “standing up for religious freedom (and) for persecuted Christians”; “He has tirelessly sought to positively influence policy makers, ambassadors, politicians and governments to strengthen justice and fairness for all persecucted minorities”.

Stephen TimmsStephen Timms MP. Labour Party faith envoy and Chair of Christians on the Left. Chaired the 2014 Parliamentary Prayer Breakfast. Nominated for: “Being a strong Christian voice in the Labour party”; “heavily involved in drawing together Christians across political boundaries and being a great advocate for Christian social action projects in Parliament”.

Phil TogwellPhil Togwell. Heads up Prayer Spaces in Schools – an organisation that runs creative prayer rooms in primary and secondary schools. 418 schools ran a prayer space in 2014. Nominated for: “leading a movement that is allowing children and teachers of all backgrounds to see that Christianity is vibrant and relevant and to reflect on questions of life and spirituality”.

Graham TomlinRev’d Dr Graham Tomlin. Dean of St Mellitus College – a learning community dedicated to helping Christians study theology and explore their faith more deeply, with a focus on missional leadership. Nominated for: “inspirational and influential leadership in shaping ordained ministry in the CofE”; “quality training many in pioneering Christian ministry”.

Prince Charles2aHRH Charles, Prince of Wales. Nominated for: “drawing attention to the persecuted Church“; “I’ve reassessed my opinion of the Prince of Wales.. he speaks with compassion and wisdom”; “It is good the Prince of Wales is continuing to speak up for persecuted Christians especially the appallingly persecuted Christian community in the M East”; “Islamism – he gets it“.

Matrin WarnerRt Revd Dr Martin Warner. Bishop of Chichester. Nominated for: “devot(ing) himself wholeheartedly to putting new heart into his Diocese”; “given calm and considered leadership to orthodox Anglicans at a difficult time”; “In less than three years as Bishop he has visited every deanery.. interviewed every licensed cleric and.. inspired the laity in their mission”.

Welby3The Most Rev’d and Rt Hon Justin Welby. Archbishop of Canterbury. Nominated for: “being a Church leader who leads from the front, putting prayer and community first”; “the way he is changing the picture people have of the church”; “challenging the Wonga money lenders and cleansing the temple of hypocrisy”; “his clear focus on reconciliation and bold communication”.

Ann WiddecombeRt Hon Ann Widdecombe. Author, humanitarian and political commentator. Nominated for: “championing Eucharistic compassion for divorced Catholics”; “(being) one of the most honest and trustworthy politicians around and who is not afraid to speak about the influence of her faith”; “Her speech in support of traditional marriage.. is the best political speech of the decade”.

Andrea Minichiello WilliamsAndrea Minichiello Williams. CEO of Christian Concern. Nominated for: “present(ing) the Christian faith with clarity and sincerity.. She represents Christians who suffer discrimination and harassment because of their faith”; “tirelessly and articulately promoting the biblical point of view in the midst of societal and political change”; “Doing a great work for the Lord & our fallen nation”.

Rowan Williams 24Rt Rev’d and Rt Hon Dr Rowan (Lord) Williams. Master of Magdalene College, Cambridge. Nominated for: “(being) a thoughtful and intelligent Christian in public life”; “as an academic he is respected internationally”; “A visible symbol of Christianity as being both thoughtful and intelligent in a media and culture that likes to pigeonhole us as the opposite”.

Sr Catherine WybourneSr Catherine Wybourne.  Benedictine nun (aka @Digitalnun) who blogs at iBenedictines. Nominated for: “her centred, prayerful presence on the web and her quiet example of how to offer spiritual comfort to the afflicted”; “(being) a holy and godly presence in social media”; “Her blog is succinct and always worth reading. It explains Christian principle and practice in a plainly accessible fashion. Her witness is important and valuable”.

  • Alexander Lucie-Smith


    • ynepf

      Richard Coles is an Anglican!! Enough said!! But he will (and is permitted to) exhange banter with arch-God-hater Steven Fry!

    • Uncle Brian


  • Martin

    My comment still stands, it is inappropriate to have such a list. Indeed to place people on such a list is to put them in danger of pride.

    There seems to be an undue reference to calling for the offering of sanctuary as if this were the main grounds for adding to the list.

    As for some of those listed:

    Vicky Beeching: is proclaiming her homosexuality as good, an act which should get her suspended from any church membership and raise the question of whether she is a Christian.

    Fr Ray Blake: is a member of the church of Rome & hence not a Christian.

    Rev’d Kate Bottley: is in rebellion against the word of God in claiming authority within God’s Church.

    Rev’d Richard Coles: is clearly not a Christian as his support for homosexuality and the label “atheist’s favourite vicar” proves.

    Rev’d Libby Lane: who arrogantly thinks she can defy what the Bible says.

    Rt Rev’d James Langstaff: who clearly hasn’t read the Bible or he’d know women are’t allowed the role of authority in the Church.

    Her Majesty The Queen: who abandoned her coronation oath to consent to the gay marriage bill.

    Rend Collective: a pop band? They really need to learn what worship really is!

    There are a few Christians in this list, but it is a shame to see them in among so many who know nothing of salvation. But where are those men who earnestly and faithfully preach the gospel week by week, those who have been arrested for doing so in our streets, those who have been persecuted for righteousness sake?

    • Peasant Farmer

      And a happy new year to you and yours Martin!

      A couple of points

      1. Being a Roman Catholic does not necessarily disqualify you from being a Christian, it may call your discernment into question ref. unbiblical practices but, though it may seem incredible to you, even the great Martin will have some areas within his life which are inconsistent with biblical teaching! We are non of us perfect.

      2. The Queen is an elderly lady who is left by her family and bishops to more or less fend for herself in regards to traditional Christian morality, despite this she does what she can where she can, and a lot more than most of those who take a pop at her, unless of course you mean that she would be disqualified in this calendar year, rather than from your list of who is and who isn’t a Christian? (If we assumed that an annual top 100 list was a good idea, which I don’t think it is on balance, though I have enjoyed the chance to read a short resumé of some people I otherwise would be unaware of.)

      • Martin


        It is one thing to be a Roman Catholic, quite another to be a ‘priest’ and allow others to call you ‘father’ in clear disobedience to Scripture.

        As for the Queen, she and her family place much emphasis on their duty. Her failure to act indicate that it is somewhat one sided.

        • I agree with you, Martin.
          Such lists are inappropriate for Christians. I therefore did not vote.
          However, since the poll did take place, I am glad that Andrew White won, rather than some of the others.

          • magnolia

            I partially agree with Martin actually, though only partially, as some on this list are patently clearly not only not living what has for many centuries been considered a Christian lifestyle but are also encouraging others to live a life that is not characterised by extreme truthfulness, not least in how God saw fit to make us, extreme love, and openness to extreme obedience to the Holy Spirit even when in contravention to the spirit of the age.

            Having “infectious enthusiasm” does not hack it when you face Jesus after death.

            “Infectious enthusiasm for what?” is a key question.

            Glad to see Andrew White heading the list, well mostly glad for it is an honouring that has ambivalence for we must hope that the extra publicity reminds people that the more he is feted the more he needs prayer for the more his enemies will gnash their teeth, so let us hold him in our prayers, for Heaven’s sake.

        • Shadrach Fire

          Poor dear, she had her corgis threatened.

  • William Lewis

    A very interesting and catholic (small ‘c’) list Your Grace. Well done for persevering with this. It helps bring to light inspiring people and important initiatives that many (not least myself) would not have known about.

  • Albert

    Thank you for doing this. When I saw the original post, I though it was a bizarre idea. Reading it now, I think it is a good idea. I think the winner is well-deserved.

  • Darach Conneely

    Seriously? Ian Duncan Smith? The man who brought hunger back to Britain for the first time since the Second World War, who brought despair and death to the sick and disabled cut off benefits by his ‘reforms’?

    • Darach Conneely

      But I must congratulate @His_Grace on capturing the sheer diversity of views of Christians in the UK and the wisdom of going for a single 1st (great choice) and then joint 2nd (or 99th) for everyone else.

    • Thank you for saying this, Darach.

    • John O’Connor


      What part of the gospel tells you that it is ok to compel others to aid the poor with the threat of state sanctions?

      • Darach Conneely

        The part where Jesus told us to pay our taxes, render unto Caesar.

        • John O’Connor


          That relates to our duty as believers to pay our taxes.
          It doesn’t say anything about being agents of the state and compelling those who work and earn to support those who don’t.

          Per se, I am not against a safety net for those in trouble, but scripture is just as strong in saying that those who can work should. In fact, Paul was very specific in widows allocations, that relatives should support them rather than the church collective.

          So a case can be made that IDS is also sticking to Christian principles. And as a contributing tax payer I would expect him to be a good steward of welfare finances.

          • Darach Conneely

            Hi John,

            That might be the case if there were enough jobs to go round, but there aren’t. The fact the government has to pad its figures with people who have no job but have had their welfare cut by the new draconian sanctions, people on zero hour contracts and those made work for free on ‘workfare’. Until there are enough full time jobs for everyone, we need as a society to take care of everyone who is unemployed. Are some people happy not to work? Sure. But that does not affect employment figures or the failure of our society to provide enough jobs to go around. It is scapegoating the unemployed for a problem that isn’t their fault. Isn’t it better that the few jobs available go to the ones who most desperately want to work?

            First century society was labour intensive. In Thessalonica, there were jobs available for the able bodied. Pentecost flooded the church in Jerusalem with pilgrims who had come for the feast, with enough money for a short period, who ended up staying as Christians learning from the apostles. Instead of saying they don’t work let them starve, the church held all things in common. Later, (as the influx of able bodied men found work) the priority was changed to taking care of widows who couldn’t care for themselves.

          • John O’Connor


            Interesting and thoughtful reply.
            There is a difference between the Church a voluntary group of individuals (and believers) deciding to hold “all things in common” from enforcing it on all believers on none as part of a state enterprise.

            I remember the vitriol directed at Bill Cullen when he commented on one of the RTE discussions a few years ago that welfare was too comfortable – that in his day, there wasn’t the safety net and therefore he had more incentive to go and create a business.

            As Christians we need to challenge the mindset and assumptions of the left just as much as we do the right.

          • Darach Conneely

            Thanks John.

            Agreed. Most of the NT is talking to Christians and churches and we need to walk the fine line between standing against injustice in our society and imposing particularly Christian views of morality on people who aren’t Christians or on Christians who don’t share our interpretations.

            However, while contributions to a common church fund were voluntary, paying taxes wasn’t. Democracy puts in the role of Caesar. We all share a responsibility to decide how the wealth and resources of our nation are taxed and spent. Of course we can learn from the NT church’s priorities in distributing resources, first to the most vulnerable then to everyone in need. The NT still teaches us to speak out against the exploitation of the poor and those who ‘devour widows’ houses’, not to favour the rich and despise the poor. But the best place to look at how God expects secular or pagan nations to behave and how God judges secular society is in the OT prophets. They weren’t condemned for idolatry or sexual morality but mistreating the poor while the rich lived in luxury.

            I agree the bible doesn’t teach one particular political system, what it does teach is that whatever your political system, what God is interested in is social justice and care for the poor and vulnerable in our society.

    • Shadrach Fire

      Seriously? Eric Pickles?

    • Royinsouthwest

      During rationing, which was actually at its worst in the years immediately after the Second World War, the diet, although monotonous, was probably healthier than that many people eat today. There were very few obese people around in those days. I wonder how the people who suffer from hunger in Britain today compare in weight with the average man or woman who lived through rationing?

  • B flat

    I suppose there should be no surprise that the critical comments are coming, given that Jesus himself spoke of the sword, rather than peace, being what he brings.
    Canon Andrew White’s life work is worthy of the pinnacle of this award, I am sure, and I could think of none better myself…except one which your list shamed me into remembering. This leads me to ask, as a conservative Christian, how many of the 99 would be able to do what they have in 2014, if it were not for the steadfast and faithful personal example and public witness by her own life of HM the Queen? May God bless her richly, with all your nominees, and everyone at Abp Cranmer’s blog in 2015!

  • Love this list, and love what you are doing. I really enjoyed seeing familiar names – Hannah Mudge, Sister Catherine, Chine Mbubaegbu, Amy Orr-Ewing, Peter Saunders, Simon Guillebaud and others, and really glad to celebrate with them, and read of others who are doing great things.

    My only quibble is with Iain Duncan Smith – I choked when I read of his ‘moral mission’ to get disabled people into work. He is doing no such thing. As a disabled person, and a representative of those who are on the receiving end of his punitive cuts that are affecting the most vulnerable in society, the toll of stress that sick and disabled people are facing with unnecessary and inaccurate ‘fit for work’ assessments, with Atos assessors who are given targets for taking benefits away from people who are too ill to work and have nowhere else to turn, despite medical evidence saying these people are too ill to work, Iain Duncan Smith’s actions have felt like a crusade alright, but not one we shoud be celebrating. For people in the ‘work related activity’ category, that is to say, people who even Atos have deemed are too ill to be able to work more than 16 hours a week, they can now be compelled by law to work in any job the DWP chooses, for any number of hours, with no pay, just the threat of losing their benefits if they don’t comply. For many people, this means choosing either money or their health. Can someone explain to me how this is a ‘moral mission’?

    I’m so disappointed to have read this, in an otherwise encouraging and celebratory list. Truly, this felt like a real slap in the face to all Christian (and non-Christian) disabled people who have suffered as a direct result of Iain Duncan Smith’s policies. This isn’t about enabling disabled people to work, far from it – and I am surprised and alarmed that people are taken in by the flimsy propaganda that is used to support such morally repugnant policies. To call this a ‘moral mission’ is deeply insulting to the thousands of disabled people whose health and income have been put at risk.

    Please bear this in mind for future lists – it’s strange to have someone championed as helping disabled people when the voices of the disabled people themselves are being ignored. Thank you.

    • I do, however, admire and appreciate how catholic (small c) and varied the list is. I just had to say my piece – I find it so hard when Christians don’t speak up for the rights of disabled people.

      • Pam_Smith

        Agree, Tanya. There are a few who made me shrug and think ‘Oh well, it’s down to personal opinion after all’, but I don’t see how Iain Duncan Smith conveys anything about the Good News to anyone. Disappointing indeed.

    • Phil R

      There is a family I know of in the village who has one member who is “too fat to work”

      I agree though she is and her kids are going the same way.

      She has much of her rent paid. She did drive a very nice car but now her kids drive her around in this car (new every year or so) that we pay for through our taxes and most of the village can only dream of owning.

      When she goes shopping she gets to park outside the store as she is too fat to walk far.

      IDS has as far more of a right of be on this list than many. A Christian is not all about money

    • DanJ0

      The use of fitness assessments provided by a company like Atos, and the ethos driving them, are a manifest evil, as are the heavy over-use of sanctions on other welfare benefits for political or performance-measuring reasons. I expect IDS is probably a decent man as an individual but he is responsible for putting policies and systems in place which are making the lives of vulnerable people even more miserable at best, and killing people at worst. I dunno how he can sleep at night. Something has to change there.

  • carl jacobs

    Having reviewed the list, I am still left with my original question. “What is the definition of Christian that serves to unite those on the list? ” It cannot be “Those who call themselves Christian.” That is an illiterate definition. So what is it?

    • Ask Martin, below. He’s the one with all the answers.

      • carl jacobs


        I’d rather ask the one who assembled we the list. It strikes me that the definition of Christian beneath the list is an organic definition that emerged from the nomination process. It reflects the Theological breadth of the readership of the weblog. But if that is so, then it is an incoherent definition. A Christian is not someone who self-identified as a Christian.

    • Darach Conneely

      You either include everyone who loves Jesus and tries to follow him to the best of their understanding, or you choose an individual to act as gatekeeper. In which case you are not so much defining Christian so much defining the version of whoever you choose as Pope or Calvin. The fact is, being a Christian is not down to our own efforts, we all fall short, but I trust in Jesus to keep working in everyone who trusts him and sincerely seeks after him.

      • carl jacobs

        Danica Conneely

        And how do you know if someone “loves Jesus and tries to follow him to the best of their understanding,” There are implicit doctrinal conditions all over that qualification. You haven’t answered my question. You have simply demonstrated the need for answering it.

        • Darach Conneely

          We cannot know if someone is being sincere, though there is less reason for public figures in the UK to pretend to be Christian than in the US where there are votes to be gained by a public profession. Imposing doctrinal conditions means appoint your views or your church as gatekeeper, whereas we are looking for people trying to follow Jesus Christ. All any of us can do is try to follow our best understanding of him and trust him to lead us into a better understanding of who he is and what it means to follow him. Do you think the thief on the cross met all your doctrinal conditions or did he simply have an encounter with Christ and throw all he had remaining of his life into trusting him?

          • carl jacobs

            Darach Conneely

            You yourself where one of the first to apply conditions:

            Seriously? Ian Duncan Smith? The man who brought hunger back to Britain for the first time since the Second World War…

            There are two parts to this discussion.

            1. What does a Christian believe?
            2. What does a Christian do?

            Those two questions are not independent. You asserted that IDS should have been disqualified because he did what Christians shouldn’t do. How do you know what Christians should or shouldn’t do? That is a doctrinal question inexplicably bound to what a Christian should believe.

            There are people on this list for both supporting and opposing the ordination of women. There are people on this list for both supporting and opposing the normalization of homosexuality. There are people on this list for both supporting and opposing orthodoxy/progressive Christianity. It isn’t a list of notable Christians. It’s identity politics where every faction is represented. It doesn’t represent the Christian faith. It obliterates the Christian faith by drawing boundaries so wide, the Christian faith ceases to exist.

          • Darach Conneely

            I am not in a position to question the sincerity of Ian Duncan Smith’s Christianity, I can as a follower of Christ question his actions and whether they qualify him as one of the Top 100 UK Christians 2014. The abuse and suffering he has caused the poorest and most vulnerable in our society is deeply evil and contrary to the love and care for one another Jesus teaches us. IDS may still be a believer saved by grace, but he teaches and may even believe the lie that the poor and disabled are all scroungers who wreck the British economy.

          • carl jacobs

            Darach Conneely

            and contrary to the love and care for one another Jesus teaches us.

            but he teaches and may even believe the lie

            There are your doctrinal qualifications right from your own hand. You teach what you believe. You act according to what you believe. IDS teaches and believes the lie. It’s right there in front of you. How do we know what Jesus teaches? How do we know the truth from the lie?

            What you are saying is that you can know what a Christian should do, but you can’t know what a Christian should believe. In so doing you assert that Christianity has no essential content beyond orthopraxis. But orthopraxis proceeds from doctrine. The two cannot be separated. I notice for example that there are no Mormons on the list. Why should that be? Do they not do good deeds? Do they not claim to love Jesus and follow him to the best of their ability?

            You talk about IDS. I will talk about Giles Fraser. I will lay charges against him for teaching the lie that homosexuality is a moral good in the eyes of God. I will go farther and charge him with heresy. His teaching proceeds from his belief, and his belief is false. The practice that finds its origin in his belief and teaching is objectively evil. I will go farther still and charge him with rejecting the Gospel and therefore being a false shepherd. And yet he is on this list. If we cannot make these distinctions, then we have no faith to defend.

          • Darach Conneely

            The lie I mentioned was the political rhetoric calling the disabled scroungers, not church doctrine. IDS’s treatment of the poor and disabled isn’t about doctrine either, it is about justice, morality and the love God commands us to show one another. Don’t forget Jesus chose a heretical halfbreed Samaritan to demonstrate the orthopraxis of loving our neighbour. You need to show homosexuality is objectively evil first rather than simply assume it must be because the traditional interpretation says it is wrong. That is why the church needs to discuss the question and why we need leaders on both sides of our very broad church to step up and engage in the question.

          • carl jacobs

            Darach Conneely

            IDS’s treatment of the poor and disabled isn’t about doctrine either, it is about justice, morality and the love God commands us to show one another.

            You have just said “It’s not about doctrine. It’s about doctrine.”

            You need to show homosexuality is objectively evil first rather than simply assume it must be because the traditional interpretation says it is wrong.

            There you go. Everything is made clear now. We understand why you would reject doctrinal gate-keepers even as you impose your own doctrinal gate-keeping.

          • Darach Conneely

            You have just said… No I didn’t

            There you go. Everything is made clear now. We understand why you would reject doctrinal gate-keepers even as you impose your own doctrinal gate-keeping.
            So we should just let you appoint gatekeepers rather than encouraging the whole church to search the scriptures to see if these things are so?

          • carl jacobs

            Darach Conneely

            Yes, you did. Your understanding of justice is a doctrinal question. Your understanding of morality is a doctrinal question. Your understanding of the love God commands is a doctrinal question. You can’t evade questions of truth, and how we know truth by simply jumping straight to practice. The practice is the instantiation of truth in life. You can’t have one without the other.

            You said in relation to homosexuality…

            That is why the church needs to discuss the question and why we need leaders on both sides of our very broad church to step up and engage in the question.

            Everything you just mentioned – justice, morality, the love God commands – is involved in that question. The discussion you want to have is a doctrinal discussion. That applies to all of Christian practice. You can’t accuse IDS of doing evil unless you have some doctrinal basis for doing so.

            So we should just let you appoint gatekeepers rather than encouraging the whole church to search the scriptures to see if these things are so?

            You haven’t defined who constitutes the “whole church.” How can the whole church do anything unless we know what the whole church is? That’s the definitional question that is being intentionally begged.

          • Darach Conneely

            Jesus distinguished between doctrine and practice when he spoke of those who call him ‘Lord Lord’ but don’t do what he says, the Samaritan’s actions as a neighbour that Jesus commended did not come from right doctrine. Practice is judged by its fruit not by the doctrinal roots it springs from.

            If you want to escape from being bound by the human tradition and traditional interpretations of the church you belong to, you need to start discussing scripture and interpretation with other Christians who interpret scripture differently to you. You never know. If your interpretation is right you might even oconvince them.

          • carl jacobs

            Darach Conneely

            The entire argument you are making is itself the outworking of a doctrinal discussion.

            But he, desiring to justify himself, said to Jesus, “And who is my neighbor?” Luke 10:29

            Jesus didn’t separate truth from practice. He was teaching how truth leads to practice. The problem wasn’t bad practice. It was wrong understanding of truth seeking to justify bad practice. You haven’t escaped my argument. You have once again confirmed it.

            Practice is judged by its fruit not by the doctrinal roots it springs from.

            This has already been shown incorrect by what I said above. But on its face it assumes an ability to judge fruit independent of truth. How do you do that? How do you know good fruit from bad fruit? This is one of the most common arguments in favor of normalizing homosexual relationships. “Look at the fruit.” What is the standard by which you determine fruit?

            you need to start discussing scripture and interpretation with other Christians who interpret scripture differently to you.

            You think I haven’t? You think (for example) I don’t know the scriptural arguments by which homosexuality is supposed to be justified? They are exegetical claptrap. No doubt, you will disagree. So at this point, we would have to agree on some standard for adjudicating our differences. And that is where the discussion will collapse into dust and ashes. The argument isn’t about what Scripture says. It’s about the nature and authority of Scripture as the Norm that norms all norms.

          • Darach Conneely

            Show how the Samaritan’s behaviour was the result of sound doctrine. That was the example Jesus used. It isn’t changed by the theological discussion between Jesus and the Pharisee. In fact the Samaritan demonstrates the sort of fruit Jesus was looking for, love.

          • carl jacobs

            The parable of the Good Samaritan is the answer to the question “Who is my neighbor?” It’s axiomatic. The behavior of the Good Samaritan does not exist prior to the question. Jesus used the parable to give His answer. And you didn’t answer my question. By what authority do you determine the quality of fruit?

          • Darach Conneely

            The parable is a story Jesus used to teach us what loving your neighbour was. If good practice can only come from good doctrine, how could Jesus use a Samaritan as an example of love? It is not enough to say the Good Samaritan is fiction, we are supposed to be able to learn from Jesus’ parables. Jesus didn’t seem to share your view you can only love your neighbour if you have your doctrine right first.

            Jesus also expected non Christians to be able to recognise genuine love when they saw it, to be able to judge, without the the authority of a correct doctrinal foundation you are looking for, that what they saw Christians practising was genuine love. John13:35 “By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.”

          • carl jacobs

            The parable is a story Jesus used to teach us what loving your neighbour was.

            Actually the parable taught us who our neighbor is. The point was not what he did, but who he did it for. The answer has to address the question, and the man did not ask “How should I love my neighbor?”

            It is not enough to say the Good Samaritan is fiction, we are supposed to be able to learn from Jesus’ parables.

            There would be no behavior of the Good Samaritan except to answer the question that was asked. So my answer was complete on its face. The behavior of the Good Samaritan was created to illustrate a point. Obviously men needed to be taught that point or Jesus wouldn’t have gone to the trouble of teaching it.

            Jesus didn’t seem to share your view you can only love your neighbour if you have your doctrine right first.

            Men can do good things in the eyes of other men, yes. They cannot do objectively good things in the eyes of God absent faith, for without faith it impossible to please God. That isn’t the point. The question that you keep avoiding is “How do you know what love is?” Even the unbeliever must answer that question according to a standard. What is the implied but unstated authority to which you keep referring? You refuse to refer back to Scripture for the answer. That’s where I keep pointing you, and you don’t want to go there. So what is the authority that you are using? It’s the same question I keep asking about evaluating fruit. How do you know good fruit from bad fruit?

            Consider this example. If an unrepentant man in a homosexual relationship is turned out of a church in accordance with 1 Cor 5, is that loving behavior or not? Is it just? Is it moral? If he is received and affirmed in his relationship, is that loving behavior or not? Is it just? Is it moral? And how should I judge the difference? Should I ask the unbeliever what he thinks? Should I evaluate the fruit of the homosexual relationship? What fruit should I evaluate? Upon what authority do I decide if this homosexual relationship is fruitful? Should I study Scripture? Other options? All of those questions have doctrinal answers. And they are all logically prior to the original question of putting the unrepentant homosexual out of the church.

          • John O’Connor

            Darach. Just checking if you are from Wexford ?

          • Guest

            That’s me.

          • CliveM

            You make accusations about IDS that are simply not true. He has never said that all benefit claimants are scroungers. In light of that I would suggest anything else you say must be treated with suspicion at the least.

            But then the a sort of accusations are always better then entering into a proper debate.

            Typical left wing misinformation.

          • Darach Conneely

            You are quite right, the propaganda is more subtle than that, it simply throws around the term scroungers to justify vicious cuts affecting the weakest and most vulnerable without making categorical statements that ALL all benefit claimants are scroungers. Do you think the 60 people who died in the last three years when their benefits were cut were scroungers? If 60 actually died from his cuts, how many vulnerable people had their physical or mental health made much worse by the stress of having benefits cut or the hoops IDS made them jump through to hold onto their benefits?

          • CliveM

            Well I certainly wouldn’t accuse you of subtle propaganda. Nice round figure 60. Unsupported of course.

          • dannybhoy

            You appear to be saying that nice, kind, well meaning, well brought up and inoffensive people can all be considered to be Christians because they do nice kind and well meaning things?
            There are people like that in every religion. Are they to be considered Christians too, or are we back to “All roads lead to God” theology?

          • Darach Conneely

            No I am just talking about people who consider themselves followers of Christ.

          • Shadrach Fire

            A Christian should deny himself in honor of Jesus.
            IDS like all Cabinet Ministers including Pickles voted for SSM.

            What does a Christian do? Well they should believe the Bible for a start.

          • Good points all, Carl.
            Isn’t all this ‘unity in diversity’ the end destination of the protestant reformation?

          • carl jacobs

            How are those German bishops working out for you, Jack? And their handmaiden, the new Pope? Anxiously awaiting that synod, are you?

          • The German bishops should all be excommunicated if they reject Church teaching, Carl. There’s now a Belgium bishop at it calling for recognition of homosexuality.

            The ‘official’ Catholic world is going a little crazy. The ‘unofficial’ one has been in a sorry state for decades.

            Pope Francis? Jack called him a “Jesuitical existentialist schizophrenic” recently on a website that supposedly encourages open dialogue. Jack’s comment was deleted by a moderator. With hindsight, Jack should have included the words: “patriarchal, misogynistic and homophobic”. Then it would have been left alone. One lives; one learns.

            Francis is Pope, the Vicar of Christ. What can Jack say? Let’s wait and see what the Ordinary and Universal Magisterium of the Church comes up with. One thing he is doing is giving more courage to those Jack considers heretics to voice their opinions.

          • carl jacobs

            The German bishops should all be excommunicated if they reject Church teaching

            But, of course, they won’t be. Which says what about the universal monolithic undivided RCC and its mechanism for achieving doctrinal finality?

            Division is division, Jack. It doesn’t matter whether it occurs within an organization or between organizations. Perhaps I should mention NCR to illustrate the reality of your situation.

          • CliveM

            Oh dear showing my ignorance here, NCR?

          • carl jacobs


            It’s a nest of rigorous Roman Catholic orthodoxy called the National Catholic Reporter. Jack was accused of being a “trad” there recently.

            They even called him a lemon. I have always thought of Jack as more of a grapefruit.

          • dannybhoy

            I like Jack even though I disagree with him. I think he merits a much nicer ‘fruity’ description than lemon or grapefruit.

          • carl jacobs


            Well, then. Have a look at Jack’s avatar and give a better description than grapefruit. Too round to be a lemon. Too yellow to be an orange. Are there other alternatives?

          • dannybhoy

            I’d put him down as an apricot, or a peach or even more exotic, a mango!
            From my perspective Jack defends what he wholeheartedly believes. As has been discussed recently with David the Anglican, essentially we try to unite around what we do agree upon and respect the differences without negating them.

          • CliveM

            I see your point!

          • A little game, then ….

            If Carl Jacobs were a fruit – what would he be and why?

          • carl jacobs

            I wouldn’t be a fruit. I would be a Hattori Hanzo Katana.

          • The question is not what would you be if you were a weapon and why. You don’t get to decide. Jack knows, he knows. This is very difficult for an American to accept.

            Anyways, Jack would put you down as a battering ram if the question was about weaponry, which it isn’t.

            Now ….. what fruit and why?
            Where is Cressida de Nova when she is needed?

          • carl jacobs


            Now ….. what fruit and why?

            The question is internally inconsistent. Like asking for the corner on the circle. You can’t compare me to a fruit. The Katana is much more logical.

            Jack would put you down as a Battering Ram

            I’m far too subtle for a battering ram.

            Where is Cressida de Nova when she is needed?

            Now, that’s below the belt. Cruel even. You wouldn’t sink that low. Would you?

          • “You can’t compare e to a fruit”
            One can compare another to anything, Carl. That’s the point. Use some imagini …. ummmm …. yes, it may be difficult for you.
            Anyways, have a Happy New Year and may 2015 see you defeat your wife at Scrabble.
            God Bless

          • carl jacobs


            Happy New Year to you as well. And it seems to be happy so far. Chelsea lost. In case you haven’t heard.

          • City’s recent good fortune, Chelsea’s suffering two recent losses and the blip in United’s excellent recovery, are all a result of Libby Lane’s ‘promotion’ by the Church of England. The New Year will see the restoration of the proper order. God had to express His displeasure in some way.

            Any luck at Scrabble yet? And what reference source do American’s use to establish the authenticity of English words, anyway?

          • CliveM

            An Ugli fruit!!!!

          • CliveM

            Ok thanks. Must have a look.

          • CliveM

            Oh it’s still the Christmas season, let’s choose something sweet not bitter. Satsuma!

          • dannybhoy

            I thought that! Or tangerine, or clementine…..

          • carl jacobs

            How about an unripened Killer Tomato? Jack might like being associated with something as dangerous as a Killer Tomato.

            Killer Tomatoes

          • Happy Jack’s avatar originated when he was called ‘Sunshine’ by another blogger in another place. He is not a vegetable or a fruit.

          • William Lewis


            Forgive my ignorance, but if it’s orthodox then wouldn’t being called a “trad” be complimentary?

          • avi barzel

            What basis do you have for your axiom that Jack is spherical rather than disc-shaped? Look at the size of his legs; they couldn’t support the mass of, properly maintain balance or effectively ambulate a spherical and presumably solid Jack, or a grapefruit. It may seem a bit of a paradigmatic shift, but we must strive to apply the principle of Occam’s Razor even when empirical evidence is sparse. I recently saw a yellow-icing covered Hannukah cookie made to look like the classic smiley face, red dots for ruddy cheeks included, that uncannily resembled Jack. Couldn’t bring myself to buy it.

          • William Lewis

            That’s harsh Avi. Happy Jack has been called many things, but two dimensional? I suspect there are more dimensions to Jack than a String theory symposium.

          • avi barzel

            Goodness, William, two-dimensional? Not so, Sir; a shadow or a projected light might be deemed two-dimensional, but not a disc, which no matter its thickness, has length, height and width! Anyhow, we haven’t seen the end of Jack’s dimensions yet…I suspect he’s still only warming up.

          • William Lewis

            I stand corrected and will keep your squashed grapefruit or iced cookie theory in mind unless or until further evidence to the contrary emerges. A Happy New Year to you, Sir.

          • avi barzel

            Ha ha! The squashed grapefruit suggestion provides a workable synthesis of two hypotheses.

            Thank you, and a happy New Year to you and yours and anyone else here who might read it as well!

            One doesn’t know who to give New Year’s greeting to anymore; some Proddies I know frown at implicitly bending their necks to the Papist calendar, the Eastern Church has its own on January 7th (whose adherents unfairly benefit from cheaper Christmas presents) and we Yids already had ours on Rosh Hashana, with some of my more earnest coreligionists equating offering or responding to the greeting to jumping into a baptismal font. Much ado about very little, I say.

          • William Lewis

            Much ado indeed. This Proddie would be happy to wish you L’Shana Tova whenever you like.

          • carl jacobs


            Well, Jack describes his origin in “sunshine” and the Sun as we know is a sphere. So I just assumed. And frankly the proportions of the avatar make one think “grapefruit.”

            As for the physics of the matter, Jack lives in a world of his own creation, so one would think that conventional laws of physics do not apply.

          • avi barzel

            Jack only thinks conventional laws of physics don’t apply to him, but at least some do. For example, he can’t get away from Newton’s law of universal gravitation, hence the stubby little legs. He may have somehow violated the principle of mass conservation in converting from a turkey-sized bird to a grapefruit, though.

          • carl jacobs


            I think Jack lives in the world of Bugs Bunny physics where you can cut the branch off the tree and the tree falls.

          • It ‘s very rude to discuss people when they are not present.

          • carl jacobs

            But… you are present. You just proved it. And anyways. It’s impossible for a Canadian to be rude.

          • carl jacobs

            BTW Jack

            Totally off topic, but … how is ‘Leicester’ pronounced, and why? Seems to me it should be pronounced “LIE – ches- ster” or maybe “LIE-ses-ster.” But on British TV it always seems to be something like “LIE-ster.”

          • Lol …. probably depends on what region in England one hails from.
            Being raised mainly in Essex, where we speak proper English, when pronounced correctly it sounds like Leicester i.e. Lester.

          • carl jacobs


            I closely inspected of the Avatar. Those don’t appear to be legs but the top half of a suit.

          • You carry on, Carl. Let’s not bring Rome’s doctrinal teachings into this. There’s nothing quite like a row with a Catholic to unite protestants. It’s the one area where many will find some broad doctrinal unity.

            And yes, the spirit of independence from and protest against hierarchy exists in Catholicism. However, we have mechanisms for responding to this and its up to the leaders of the Church how and when to use them.

            However, Jack is interested in how your co-religionists respond to your questions. They are your co-religionists, aren’t they? Let’s see how you put the 5 Solae into practice.

          • carl jacobs

            Yes, Jack. You do. I noticed those mechanisms were used against SSPX and FFI quite effectively. And what happened to Cardinal Burke after October?

          • You carry on, Carl. This is an Anglican weblog and we wouldn’t want to become bogged down in a discussion about the Catholic Magisterium and the CDF.

            As Jack added above, he is interested in how your co-religionists respond to your questions. Go to it. You had your Christmas ‘duck shoot’ yesterday over the Cathars Now let’s see how you translate the 5 Solae into practice.

          • carl jacobs


            I wouldn’t have said anything at all if you hadn’t put a 5″ shell across my bow. RCs have no standing to cluck about Protestant divisions.

            Anyways. This isn’t about the five solas but the rejection of the five solas.

          • “RCs have no standing to cluck about Protestant divisions.”

            Divisions, maybe. However, there is still a solid test for whether one is a Roman Catholic. This is challenged and argued about. Yet, it is still there. Jack’s little trips ‘abroad’ shocked him. He was unaware of the extent of disagreement within the Church. However, these have given him some insight into possible causes of this and he will discuss these with you at an appropriate time.

            “Anyways. This isn’t about the five solas but the rejection of the five solas.”

            But who says they have been rejected and on what authority? The bible? Who’s interpretation counts? Given the 5 Solae are, from a Catholic point of view, unbiblical, Jack would say they are inherently unstable and, given time, were bound to unravel. They just allow too much scope for individual interpretation and application. In less pagan times they may have held together. Nowadays, it seems, with so much ‘biblical scholarship’ and ‘textual criticism’ about, masking heresy and apostasy, they are insufficient to hold worshipping communities together or to teach the faith reliably.

          • dannybhoy


            “The ‘official’ Catholic world is going a little crazy.”

            If that’s the case..

            ” One thing he is doing is giving more courage to those Jack considers heretics to voice their opinions.”

            should that be lunatics rather than heretics?? 😉

          • Is there a difference between the two?

          • dannybhoy

            Of course! A heretic has persuaded or been persuaded, that his heresy is actually the truth; whereas a lunatic’s mental equilibrium is disturbed affecting his grasp on reality and therefore reason.
            Jacko, may I take this opportunity to wish you and all those you love a joyous, peaceful and ‘fruitful!’ New Year, and may our Lord bless and guide you in the year ahead.

          • CliveM

            Yes, lunatics can’t be held responsible, but heretics can…………..

            Oh dear, just earned full points for pedantry!

          • Your definition of ‘crazy’ is a very secular one, Clive.

          • CliveM

            Crazy and lunatic aren’t the same thing Jack! Lunacy (no Psychiatrist would use the term anymore) is a mental illness, crazy is just doing incomprehensible things for which you can be held responsible.

            Hope your hangover isn’t a bad one!

          • Dominic Stockford

            No doctrine, no faith. Even if the doctrine is ‘thin’ as with my friend on the other cross. But he clearly gave Jesus Christ ALL trust. Which many on this list utterly fail to do.

          • Darach Conneely

            I think we are in even less of a position to judge the sincerity of the faith in Christ of those we disagree with than we are to judge their doctrine.

        • Royinsouthwest

          What “implicit doctrinal conditions” did Jesus have in mind when he made the statement recorded in Matthew 7:21?

          Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven.

          Actions are far more important than what you say you believe.

          • carl jacobs

            Then they said to him, “What must we do, to be doing the works of God?” Jesus answered them, “This is the work of God, that you believe in him whom he has sent.” John 6:28-29

            Tell me. Suppose a man says to you “Jesus was a good man. He was not God and he did not rise from the dead, but I am still a Christian.”

            How would you respond to him?

          • Quite.

            One way round the problem is the term ‘professing Christian’.

      • dannybhoy

        “You either include everyone who loves Jesus and tries to follow him to the best of their understanding, or you choose an individual to act as gatekeeper.”

        The Scriptures make it clear what a Christian is surely, and the letters to the Churches make it clear what a Christian is not.
        Or was our Lord’s message , “If it feels good, do it.”

        • Darach Conneely

          Jesus said being his disciples costs us, he described it as taking up our cross and following him. That is hardly the same as “If it feels good, do it.”

    • Dominic Stockford

      Exactly so. But then this blog refuses to define Christianity – even though original Cranmer would have had no trouble doing it, and excluding RC’s from it!

  • Bernadette Burbridge

    In the midst of a pretty mixed bunch of people of profile, I note a curiousity of your own devising. The very excellent Angus Richie is listed alongside a photograph of the equally excellent Adam Atkinson – a splendid way to include both and possibly the best thing about your strange list.

  • Graham

    That’s a picture of Rev Adam Atkinson instead of Canon Dr Angus Ritchie…

  • Shadrach Fire

    I am sure there are many sound Christians on this list and the list has a value in bringing to ones attention many whom one was not aware of.

    The list does quite explicitly state the ‘Top 100 UK Christians’ so as Carl says below, 1. What does a Christian believe? 2. What does a Christian do?

    If the list was to have included persons who had done good for the ‘Traditional Christian society’, then I might have seen something for Including Eric Pickles. But he is clearly no Christian.

    Your Grace, I know that you are not responsible for the content of the list and I am very pleased that Cannon Andrew White is at the top. There are many on the list who I personally know to be bold in their faith and work tirelessly with integrity to promote the Gospel or defend the faith.

    As to the others, many I do not know but obviously many who visit this Blog, do know them and have voted for them. This clearly shows that there is a wide diversity of opinion as to what a Christian Should be.

    The following clips from their commendations raise questions as to where the Church is going and how people perceive Christianity in today’s world.
    but you can’t fault his actions‘ Actions without faith are good but to no avail for the Gospel, “how the Faith relates to the modern world” A Journalists commendation. I thought the modern world needed to relate to the Christian faith?
    Rev’d Sally Hitchiner There must be something missing in my thinking when a Minister thinks it Ok to live a life and minister in the Church when their life is in contradiction to the Gospels. Vicky Beeching’s story is very sad. Hailed as a great Christian and Musician only to have to reveal her secret. Now, she is evidently still revered as an outstanding Christian.

    Someone please tell me, what is going on. Have we abandoned the bible in favor of a God in our own image or what?

    • You should have a read of Father Ray Blake’s blog. He is a good, solid Christian.

    • Dominic Stockford

      Clearly we have done as you suggest. However, have you ever asked Mr Pickles for a profession of faith? He might in fact be a Christian, we just don’t know. We do know that many others of those in the list have made statements which tell us that they do not hold orthodox faith.

  • Inspector General

    I say, Cranmer, absolutely splendid stuff !

    Well done, that man !!

    The amount of work you’ve put into this is not lost on the Inspector, and be assured it is greatly appreciated. And the cherry on the cake is you have Martin sulking in the corner, close to tears. Magnificent result, old chap.

    If you don’t mind being asked, what was the total count of votes ? Did your Northern Irish protestant following vote more than once ? (Old habits, and all that…). Did you receive a large number of ‘postal votes’ from our muslim community ? Did any inner city ballot boxes in ethnic areas go missing in transit ? Did HM Queen demand a re-count ? Did the Ministry of Equalities threaten to prosecute you for restricting the field to Christians ? Have you a ‘bigot of the year’ award ? (It would please the Inspector no end if you would kindly consider him in the running…). Would you eat gay cake if there was nothing else ? Tell us all. Do tell us all.

  • maigemu

    Took me a while to realise your 2nd to 99th were merely in alphabetical order.

    • CliveM

      Thanks, I still hadn’t noticed!!

      • …cough …

        • CliveM

          Having server problems, so can’t see or remember what this was about!

          Will try again later.

        • CliveM

          Ok just remembered. So I’m a bit slow…………..

          • Happy Jack will tell no one.

          • CliveM

            Good, I don’t think anyone will have noticed!

          • CliveM

            Ps Hannah has a message for you,

  • John Hillman

    Excellent winner and well done Your Grace for instigating the poll. It is saddening is it not how easily we fall to judging and stone throwing at those on the list we might not agree with, instead we might be offer reflecting about the breadth of those represented that were nominated and what that might say. I was hoping to see Carl Beech on there still maybe next year…

    • carl jacobs

      John HIllman

      reflecting about the breadth of those represented that were nominated and what that might say.

      I have been reflecting on the breadth of those represented and what that might say. The list presents an incoherent faith teaching an incoherent god who simultaneously upholds and condemns everything but feeding the poor. It perfectly reflects the CoE and its desire to be every church to every man for any idea about God. What unites these people? If not a common creed – and it is indisputable that a common creed is not present among them – then what unites them? Language? Shared vocabulary? Purple shirts? Anything at all?

      And for goodness sake, don’t say something like “They all love and follow Jesus.” The Mormons say that. Even the Gnostics said that and Paul relentlessly condemned them for it. Christianity is not an a religion of individual autonomy. It has essential content. It is not a subjective experience.

      • magnolia

        I agree but please don’t just blame the Anglicans. The very unorthodox upon the list represent a variety of denominations, and some of them clearly garnered votes from um ah pressure groups, maybe some odd churches, and some youth groups, as being pretty much unknowns nationally, or some even in their own home towns.

        Thus a disappointing list, only about 70% explicable, though with some real gems, and those with an internet savvy following overrepresented. Possibly some people voted multiple times from different e-mail accounts for causes they felt passionately about, and some who voted probably were not even themselves people of faith, aspects that would need tweaking in future.

        • dannybhoy

          I was such a dodo I voted for Billy Graham, not realising it was for 2014…. Dohhhh!

          • A ‘Dodo’ you most certainly are not.

          • dannybhoy

            Awwww, shucks!!

          • carl jacobs

            And there was much rejoicing.

          • Hmmm … he was misunderstood. So much so, he didn’t really understand himself at times.

          • Meaning?

          • carl jacobs

            Be careful. Don’t presume. This is a bad idea.

        • carl jacobs


          I agree but please don’t just blame the Anglicans.

          Fair comment. You are correct.

  • Inspector General

    Oh dear. The chill wind of protestantism in extremis, berating us all for being human. Put a sock in it Carl.

    Anyway, whether he does or not, one is off to stain some wood. Happy new year to our host, his young charge he’s managed to acquire, and all who follow this stupendous site. May the next year not be our last.

    Toodle pip !

    • carl jacobs


      Yes, I’ll get right on that this very minute.

      • CliveM

        East, drink and be Merry, for tomorrow you may have a stinking hangover!

  • The Explorer

    “What’s your name?” the client in ‘Pretty Woman’ asks the call girl. “What do you want it to be?”
    What’s a Christian? What do you want it to be? Ever since Christ became a nice guy who died, the term ‘Christian’ has been hopelessly adrift on the waves of subjectivism.
    The Parable of the Sheep and Goats, however, reminds us uncomfortably that not all the myriad definitions, many made in the image of their definer, have equal validity.

  • maigemu

    34 Anglicans, 14 RC, 52 others or unknown to me so I think that may be balanced.

  • Ian Duncan- Smith? A Christian? That’s questionable considering what
    he’s doing to the sick, disabled, poor and the country too. Taking us
    backwards into poverty and workhouse like situations whilst himself
    enjoying an 11% pay increase! It’s one thing updating the computer
    system to be more efficient quite another punishing the sick and
    unemployed. If he were a Christian, he would be making a more positive contribution for growth than he is. He’s like all the rest, no vision.

    • Shadrach Fire

      He can’t. His boss is David Cameron.

    • Dominic Stockford

      His actions are nothing to do with whether or not he is a Christian, it is his faith that defines that.

      (Though, as a Protestant, and he being an RC, I doubt it very much).

      • If he had faith in God and Jesus, surely he would be treating the
        disabled and sick with compassion. He would also not be wasting
        extortionate amounts of money on employing third party private
        companies to find as many as possible fit for work, or throwing them
        out of their accommodation regardless.

      • The welfare bill needed to come down but the laughable thing is it’s gone up even higher. There are more people claiming and more claims for in work tax credits because employers are paying such low wages.

  • CliveM

    The right ‘winner’, could their really have been any other,

    • The Bishop of Bucks – what happened to him? And Rosie Harper?

      • CliveM

        Oh dear, hope they aren’t too crushed…….. LOL :0)

        • After a long, carefully worked campaign, Jack is most disappointed.

          • CliveM

            Who would have believed it? Frankly I’m stunned.

  • DF

    I am not a Christian. When I read the list of 100 I am impressed, looking in, by the consistency of the Christian vision, by the breadth of the work you do, and by the humility and devotion to duty that is so evident. I am sorry to say that when I read the comments I am very much less struck by all those things.

    • The Explorer

      As a matter of interest, what would be your definition of the thing that you are not?

      • DF

        Believing Jesus to be the Son of God & accepting him as Saviour.

        • The Explorer

          Thank you. Good definition, in line with the original given at Antioch to describe those who accepted the teaching of the Apostles. What’s problematic is when people who accept neither of those things DO describe themselves as Christians.

          • Yes but the Cathars would probably have given verbal assent to that too. They would have understood the terms ‘Son of God’ and ‘Saviour’ differently.

          • The Explorer

            The definition of an apostle was one who had seen the risen Christ. The Resurrection would thus have been central to the teaching of the apostles. The Resurrection would have sifted out the Cathars. SInce matter was evil, the Cathar purpose of life was for the divine spark to escape the body. To be resurrected in it: horror!

          • This is true. The definition given above therefore needs to be widened.

          • The Explorer

            I took the Resurrection to be implicit within the term, ‘Saviour’. The good thing about DF’s definition is that it does not focus on a purely social gospel. There are things that need to be believed.

          • Again, it depends on what we mean by these terms and the connection between them and then between them and us.

          • The Explorer

            True, but (being just allowed alcohol again) I am about to toast the New Year with my neighbours, and must abandon the keyboard.
            Happy New Year to you, DF and everyone else.

          • DF

            Thank you and happy new year to all of you too.

          • Uncle Brian

            And a Happy New Year to you too, Explorer.

        • magnolia

          A little too vague. Ron Paul got it as right as anyone when he somewhat diffidently said,
          “I have accepted Jesus Christ as my personal Saviour, and I endeavour every day to follow him in all I do and in every position I advocate.”

          The second half of the sentence is also vital.


          • Phil R

            Your definition is the gist of what is wrong with the CofE

            You are essentially saving yourself with these words. It also allows you to define God in your image not his.

            When I read these words I am reminded of the rich self absorbed guy who comes to speak to Jesus

          • magnolia

            You are way off again. It is no earthly or heavenly good just accepting Christ as Son of God and then sitting on your posterior. As St. James so pungently writes, even the demons acknowledge him.

            Quite why you should take umbrage at the idea that a Christian needs to try to listen and obey in all that they do to Jesus and call that an attempt at pelagianism is utterly beyond me, as it is merely a statement of extreme orthodoxy!

            As to who you are reminded of, that is your own prerogative, but I fail to see the thematic intersect, and it seems a bit unnecessarily “ad hominem” to me.

          • Phil R

            My point is the definition you use allows you to define God in your image or to recruit Jesus to your cause.

            Jim Jones could and probably did use a similar definition.

          • Dominic Stockford

            The Bible says – believing that Jesus died for our sins, according to the Scriptures, that he rose again, according to the scriptures, and that he was seen…

            Nothing there about what we do – and if there was, then how did the chap on the cross next to Jesus get to go there? He never lived in order to do it?

          • magnolia

            James 2 18-19.

            But of course not just there as every exhortation to follow, to be disciples or to be good neighbours. e.g bandaging up the
            guy bleeding on the side of the road, not to mention all that living of Kingdom values, and the fruit that good trees are expected to bear, or. they will be chopped up and put on the fire, no less.

          • Dominic Stockford

            Well I’m terribly sorry that what the Bible teaches isn’t enough for you, terribly sorry for you.

          • magnolia

            I am sorry that you seem to think St James is an apostate. And St. Paul never thought people would just say “I have faith” and that it was possible to have faith without using it. It is a little like keeping a horse and never going out for a ride or letting it have any nourishment. Faith is an active thing not a passive one. It needs to infuse and inform thoughts and actions or it is dead as a dodo and ineffectual, like being given a talent and burying it in the ground. Faith is only tested and increased in action. We see that every day. Unless you take the risk of praying x, y or z with p, q or r your faith never grows. Faith is for climbing peaks, rescuing people out of burning houses, for the RNLI, for bible smugglers, for the doers not the comfy sitters. Jesus frequently said as much.

          • Dominic Stockford

            I don’t. And, I’m terribly sorry that Jesus told the thief on the cross that he was going to share eternal life with God when that thief had no opportunity to “use the faith” as you describe it. And I’m terribly sorry that there are many people i have known who have indeed come to the Lord in the last moments of their lives, without shadow of doubt, and also find themselves in that position.

            Faith creates change of life – but a change of life can only be active IF SOMEONE HAS THE OPPORTUNITY to do it. many don’t – and they are not denied eternal life. therefore, ergo, acting that life is NOT necessary, however much you may want it to be. James and Jesus both point out that it is faith that saves, not actions.

          • magnolia

            Even for the thief on the cross it was necessary- for his newfound faith- to continue to follow Christ in all he did and in all he advocated was it not, no matter how limited his remaining time on earth? But for most of us we will have heaps of opportunity to be disciples or not in what we do and say, and we are called to be disciples. Is that not core? Surely Jesus came to make disciples, and not box-tickers to “accept the idea of faith in Jesus”. Faith is not an idea it is a force, and like sap through a tree it has to produce good words, good listening and good acts, or it is non-existent.

            The “betwixt the saddle and the ground” folk are few and far between, and it is better in all ways to “seek the Lord in the days of your youth” , not least as sin has a hardening effect upon the heart most usually, even to the extent that for some “my heart’s so hardened I cannot repent”. Those who do come to faith in very late years are often very sad that they did not know earlier on so that they could have lived a more fruitful useful and peaceful life.

          • Dominic Stockford

            I don’t understand most of what you are saying here, but you clearly do say that “Faith is not an idea it is a force”, which is the most preposterous description of it that I have ever heard. People do not ‘come to it’, because faith IN JESUS is a gift from God, freely given to the undeserving. And it is not even ‘faith’ that does the saving, Jesus has already done that on the cross – complete, finished.

          • magnolia

            What I am saying is orthodoxy itself. You are making false distinctions between the idea of faith and the necessary outworkings of faith. Jesus called disciples. He still does. If you fail to follow him in all you do and in whatever you advocate for that moment or period of time your faith is null and void, because if someone says they have faith and then acts as if having no faith they obviously did not have the faith that they thought they have. If for instance a person says that they have faith in the after life and then squeals with terror when a person points a gun at their head it belies their profession of faith.

            It is the fruits of the tree, as Jesus said, that show what is flowing through the tree. If it is the sap of faith it will produce the fruits of the Spirit. If not it is useless and fit only for the bonfire. That is what he said, and quite plainly.

          • Dominic Stockford

            Faith ALONE, Christ ALONE. Perfectly orthodox, see Article XVIII of the 39.

          • magnolia

            The original question was what defined a Christian, not who may or may not squeeze their way into Heaven by a shoestring eventually by remembering at the last moment a commitment made in the past. Christian is not actually a biblical term. The 39 articles do not seek to define it either. Your quotation seeks to define salvation. I took it as a “follower of Christ” which requires that you follow in his footsteps as closely as possible, and takes seriously his injunction to “follow me!”

            But anyway it is not faith v works which is an entirely different debate actually. But irrespective of which side you are on in that debate, and I as an Evangelical believe that one is saved by faith, it is no faith that does not RESULT in discipleship, and in turn increase from it so no discipleship means dead, missing, fake or rescinded faith. How on earth could you be a Christian but not a disciple? A very weird concept!!

          • Dominic Stockford

            We have it clarified that you reject the Reformation and Protestantism therefore. Which makes further discussion pointless.

          • magnolia

            I think you missed what I wrote, or read it though the wrong end of a telescope, because I reject neither. The early Christians called themselves followers of “the Way”. We sometimes call ourselves “of the faith”. The two are not distinct but the same, and Jesus said that “whoever does not take up their cross and follow me is not worthy of me” (Matthew 10.38). Quite simply thay are not on “the way”.

            The Reformation and Protestantism was never about sinning all you wanted because you had made a commitment to Christ in the past which gave you a “get out of jail free” card when you had tired of it. That is one of the accusations of Islam against Christians and fails to understand that the real person of faith does not want to live a sinful life but to follow Christ.

    • Phil R

      You mean that the comments do not fit your non Christian definition of Christian!

  • Happy New Year to His Grace, Gillan one and all on here.

    Just to let you all know I’m enjoying myself and staying out of trouble. I do drop by from time to time and often feel tempted to comment.

    Now where is me old mate Blowers hiding out these days? Has he run off with Nurse? I do hope he’ll have a few words for his long time partner in crime.

    • carl jacobs


      How many different ways is this a BAD idea?

      • William Lewis

        It’s a compulsion. Hopefully he’ll button up his raincoat and move along soon. 🙂

        Now where’s Happy Jack when you really need him?

        • Happy Jack was topping up his glass.

          • William Lewis


  • It’s all been a lot of fun, but let’s not take it too seriously. I’m inclined to burst into hysterical laughter when I see the names of Catherine Pepinster and Giles Fraser, so that’s probably wise advice.

    • William Lewis

      Wise indeed ecclesiam. One only has to look at Giles Fraser’s picture to see how saintly he is.

  • Shadrach Fire

    I am very thankful that I do not have to shoot myself as promised a few weeks ago if David Cameron ended up on the list.

  • len

    When I look through the list of those nominated some likely some unlikely I cannot but reflect on whom God might have chosen to be his ‘No 1 candidate?’
    In fact to carry this thought a little further : “what is mankind that you are mindful of them, human beings that you care for them?”(Psalm 8)
    It is the incredible Love of God that can transform any human being and re create them and place them higher than any accolade that man can give them…
    Such is the Love of God for His Creation..

    • magnolia

      Who God might have chosen?

      Someone unexpected who works for the Inland Revenue? A few tough fishermen, that is if there are any left still making any kind of profit, and there again “put down your nets on the other side” might result in them catching a year’s EU quota of fish in one day!

      Oh and then after choosing a rabble they argue in unseemly fashion about the top spots…

      Possibly only a few religionists… . Jesus was a little awkward!

      • len

        It was the heart that Jesus was looking at and He found acceptance amongst those who had no illusions about their own self importance or pride in themselves or their position.
        Jesus was condemned by the self righteous as one who was ‘a friend of sinners’.

  • Politically__Incorrect

    Happy New Year to HG and all on this blogg!

    I find the list of nominations intriguing, and it represents the views of a wide specturm of Christians. I’m glad to see Canon Andrew White at the top. He was my personal favourite. These are all figures who have been in the public gaze one way or another. i am sure that all of these people would agree there are many unsung heroes out there who are as faithful or more faithful to the Gospel than them. It is the nature of Christianity not to seek the favour of man. It is however, a good idea to hold up a beacon occasionally to help light the way. For that reason, I thank YG for this poll.

    There are a few faces I would not personally have nominated, but this is a free-speech zone, unlike many other areas of the media, so it is right that they should be included.

  • len

    I would like to thank His Grace and Gillan for the thought provoking articles they have given us this year past and to wish all communicants a Happy New Year..

  • Pamela Rae Schuffert

    God bless you all and a Happy New Year 2015! God has used this precious man, Canon Andrew White, to touch my heart as few people have done. At a time when there is so much commercialism and worldliness found in many church institutions and even some leaders, Canon White stands out as a true and genuine man of God, filled with love, compassion and humility, exemplifying the true call to discipleship: “If any man would be My disciple, let him deny himself, take up his cross and FOLLOW ME. For whosoever would seek to SAVE his life, the same shall lose it. But whosoever shall lose his life for My sake and the sake of the Gospel, the same shall find it.”

    Thank God for what he is doing in our troubled world today, to change lives and heal the broken through the ministry and witness of Canon Andrew White and all who have worked with him to labor in such difficult fields. And thank God for all the others in the TOP ONE HUNDRED LIST, plus the many unknowns who labor for God’s kingdom to make our world a better place.

  • Adam Gompertz

    What a sad thing to have written, a list of the top 100 christians, you have gone against the very essence of the gospel, the last shall be first, come to the kingdom as a child would do. Some very strange choices as well: Ian Duncan Smith ??!!!!! Instead of being counter cultural, you have instead just joined the prevailing culture. Again, how sad, what a pity.

  • Phil R

    IDS seems to have a lot of criticism here. Bizarre when you have Beeching, Fraser etc on the list!

  • Guest

    Deacon Donnelly? Is this some kind of traditionalist joke?

    “Nominations poured in”, but from how many individual nominees – with one nomination per person?

    Hardly reliable, and offensive to the many saintly people listed here.

  • Dominic Stockford

    What is that awful man from the radio doing here? Someone who happily indulges in drugs and a promiscuous homosexual lifestyle is hardly definable as a Christian.

  • Renou

    AKA: A list of predominantly white middle class men, peppered with a few tokens, women and LGTBs, just to keep it balanced…

  • xpressanny

    Shocked to see many of these people on this list. The idea that some of them are “Christians” is totally beyond me. Middle class and upper class and not that many women. Just simply awful. Some of the people on this list have been responsible for making people homeless, food-less, heatless, jobless. Utterly pathetic list.