1a - real Christian
Meditation and Reflection

Introducing TGI Monday – What does it mean to be a "real Christian"?

 

Move over Gogglebox. Forget Question Time. Ignore Everyday Ethics, The Big Questions and Loose Women. TGI Monday is here!

It has been many months in development, through creative tensions, scheduling traumas, job/family juggling and ecclesial diplomatic wrangling. But here we are at the official launch with (cue fanfare) Episode 1, in which a quartet of vicar-theologians discuss what it means to be a “real Christian” (or a “proper” or “true” Christian, as many commenters on this blog revel in judging/discussing day after day). The launch question being considered by the TGI Monday team derives from a decade (yes, 10 years this month) of the Archbishop Cranmer blog and the ensuing 100,000s of incisive and intelligent comments which each profound post precipitates..

The TGI Monday show has a ‘shop window’ website (still in development). The essential social-media mission is to reach out beyond the pulpits and pews to engage with people’s real-life questions about real faith issues. The team explains:

TGI Monday seeks to be a safe place for anybody to ask questions on Christian faith and spirituality wherever they are in their faith journey, from people who are curious about Christianity through to those with many years in the pew. On the show, we want to engage your honest questions with our honest reflections in order to deepen faith and open further discussion. We are not about church politics or arguments, but life following Jesus.

The Diocese of Lichfield’s Online Pastor, Ros Clarke, adds: “Just this week, former Chief Rabbi Lord Sachs won the £1.1m Templeton Prize and said: ‘We are trying to work out how we can speak to this You Tube short-attention-span generation which nonetheless have hearts of gold and are waiting for a positive altruistic message.’ Well, this is our answer.”

And so, every week, your questions on following Jesus will be considered by Ros, Hywel, Zoe and Dan, and each episode will be available for viewing every Monday morning only on this blog. There will be occasional eXtras (one already produced is an interview with Michael Ipgrave, the new Bishop of Lichfield) on the TGI Monday website, but the weekly episodes will only be available courtesy of His Grace. Yes, for your Monday morning spiritual cornflakes, you’ll have to munch right here.

You can send your questions directly to the team (sensible ones, please). You can also follow TGI Monday on Twitter and Facebook.

So here’s Episode 1: What does it mean to be a “real Christian”? The ensuing comment thread will doubtless be replete with the usual theological humility and spiritual discernment to which readers of this blog have become accustomed.

  • IanCad

    I’ll never eat chocolate cake again. What a pathetic lump of stodge it appeared to be. Front and centre as well.
    To me it seems that “real” Christian men all have beards and that their Christian sisters are wholesome, kind, and delightful.
    Best wishes to all concerned.

  • Dreadnaught

    Congratulation on the initiative Cranny and the ten year milestone. Its always interesting and informative to hear from others why they believe in what they believe.

  • CliveM

    Old fogies are great!

    • Uncle Brian

      Yes, we are !!

  • Uncle Brian

    Me too. The former French P.D.is on good form today.

  • IanCad

    No pussyfooting around from you Findars.

  • Anton

    “A Welsh plonker wittering on about heavy metal”

    This, from the man who called me a racist and when asked to make it stick from my posts went quiet!

    • Findaráto

      Sorry to disappoint you, but that particular plonker isn’t a plonker because he’s Welsh. He’s a plonker because he’s an ex-headbanger who loves Star Trek. I bet he speaks perfect Klingon and can recite the Lord’s Prayer in sixteen intergalactic languages.

      He should try Borg for a change. “You will be assimilated into the collective. Resistance is futile…” sounds like the perfect Christian marketing slogan to me.

      • Samuel

        It’s the fiftieth anniversary of star trek. You’d like it : the idea of a multitude of races and faiths working together under one government for the good of the galaxy. A bit like a utopian EU.

      • Anton

        Why bother mentioning he’s Welsh? The reference to heavy would have specified which one he was.

        • Samuel

          Do you think Fin is a closeted Welshophobic?

          • Anton

            He accused me of racism because in Britain one non-indigeneous race happens to be correlated with a religion that I was critiquing. I thought I’d point out that he too was concatenating mention of a race with a critique.

          • Samuel

            I know.

          • IanCad

            “concatenating” Thought I’d better look that one up for possible later use.
            Did so. Read all about it. And again. And again. No use – forget about it.

        • Findaráto

          Why not mention he’s Welsh? All the others were English. His Welshness stuck out like a sore thumb.

          I couldn’t mention that he was black, could I? Because he wasn’t. None of them were. Although they did well on other PC quota requirements by ensuring gender parity, one disabled participant, another who was clinically obese and at least one visible piercing … although there may have been more I missed. No obviously gay people though – hipster vic was the obvious candidate, but I checked out his online profile and he’s a married evangelical, so any gay skeletons in his closet will be well and truly locked away. Nobody transgender either.

          The Welshman’s Welshness was there in a quota-fulfulling, ethnically sensitive capacity. It’s therefore perfectly legitimate to comment on it.

          • Anton

            Were I to use the rhetorical trick that you used next, I’d suggest that you were protesting too much.

          • Findaráto

            Refuting an unjustified charge is never an example of excessive protesting.

            That you would level such a charge at me in the light of our last conversation says a great deal more about you than it does about me however. Trying to spread the blame, are you? Think you’ll be less obviously racist if you can persuade others to think I am too?

            Go right ahead and dig yourself in even deeper. I don’t mind. I’m actually quite enjoying the spectacle.

          • Anton

            And where did I level such a charge?

          • Slack Alice

            LMAO!!

  • Samuel

    Utter drivel and the personal animosity toward people you don’t even know….well okay. A question for you. Are you able in the slightest to use whatever brain cells you have to engage in intellectual debates?

    • Findaráto

      What intellectual debate?

      All I heard was “Jesus loves me, pass the cake!” …
      “To boldly go where no middle aged headbanger has gone before” …
      “Awww, sweetie pie, come to Mummy and she promises Jesus will make it all better” and
      “DIE TRUMP, DIE!!!

      If that’s the level of intellectual debate going on in Christianity, no wonder the Church is in terminal decline.

      • Samuel

        Okay . I get your initial response in a way as you are an atheist so have no reason to be charitable toward Christians or religious people. However , I’m more surprised from the Christians here, tbh.

        • sarky

          Really?? Nothing more Christians love than to moan about a lack of evangelism and then knock down anyone who tries something different.

          • Samuel

            I’m allowing myself one day of sunshine a week , where I deliberately forget my inner cynicism. The video is very vicar of dibly. But what’s wrong with that ?

          • I think I’ve just given Sarky my 1st ever up vote! Should I be worried?

          • sarky

            Nah, it’ll pass.

        • Martin

          Samuel

          The problem is that these four people seem to lack any discernment and are basing their statements on what they think, not what the Bible says.

          • Samuel

            Dude

            My beef up there wasn’t with the theological “soundness” because frankly I didn’t and still don’t know what makes a person a Christian , but the unnecessary personal swipes by fin towards that group. I read your comments and the difference is that you do/ did at least back then up via your bible. It doesn’t surprise me that you see them as wishy washy Anglicans. In many respects your views are familiar to I and do not shock , as you are pretty much 99% saying the same as the protestant missionaries I’ve encountered, the Jesus army and the messianic Jewish movement. I have no idea if you take that as a compliment or an insult, but it is my observation.

          • Martin

            Samuel

            I think you comment below is very apt, but I’m afraid there is a great deal wrong with the “Vicar of Dibley”.

          • Slack Alice

            Exactly. And if I want to hear people just open their cakehole and spout crap there are 5 pubs within walking distance of my house I can visit.

        • Slack Alice

          Being a christian does NOT mean having to accepting bland rubbish and puerile thought processes. St. Paul challenged this. We must also do so. What these four idiots are doing is corrupting the word of God and the scriptures.

  • Diana Courtney-Lashbrook

    I thought you guys were great. Makes you sit and think about why were are Christians. I am a firm believer that we cannot judge others, only God has that right. I will be waiting for more.

  • Martin

    So why did they not look in the Bible to see what the Bible says?

    Jesus answered him, Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born again he cannot see the kingdom of God. (John 3:3 [ESV])

    It’s very simple, to be a Christian you must experience the work of the Holy Spirit, you must be born again. Your nature must be changed:

    Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come. (II Corinthians 5:17 [ESV])

    As for, it not being good to discern who is a Christian, what rubbish. This is the reason the Church of England is in the mess it is in. There are those in that church, and other churches, who are not saved and who have authority, hence the heresy and error that abounds.

    You also need to know who is a Christian so that you know whether to preach the gospel to them, or baptise them. After all, baptism is only for those who are already Christians.

    Frankly they seem to be a typical bunch of wishy washy Anglicans who are part of the problem rather that the solution. At least one is in disobedience of the biblical edict on who may be a minister of the gospel.

    Oh, and by the way, the pope may be a catholic but he isn’t a Christian.

  • Martin

    Fin

    And actually I mostly agree with you, tho’ the guy in the cardy did seem to have a better idea of the subject than the other three.

    • IanCad

      And, upon reflection, so do I. As well as with your stout post above.
      Really, I must learn to flee from my tendencies toward kindness, meekness, and conciliation rather than truth.

    • Findaráto

      Yes, hipster vic wants to damn everyone to hell too. Is he a member of your church?

      • Martin

        Fin

        Everyone deserves Hell, you condemn yourself by your deeds. Don’t blame Christians who are telling you of God’s offer of mercy for your own wickedness.

        • Findaráto

          If I condemn myself by my deeds, you do exactly the same. All that judging you do when your God, if he exists, expressly told you not to.

          If there is a hell, that’s where you’re heading. You’re one of those the Bible warns us against when it says that those who cry “Lord! Lord!” will not enter the kingdom of Heaven. It is God’s will that you refrain from judging, and yet you consistently ignore him and choose to savage your fellow man and try to beat him up with accusations of sin. That’s direct insubordination, a grave and heinous sin.

          So much for transformation by the Spirit, eh? If after all that praying and groveling on your knees you’re still not ready to surrender your will to God, when will yoi ever be?

          No, you’re as hell-bound as any other, only the shock will be all the greater for you because of your monomaniacal conviction that you are among his elect.

          • Martin

            Fin

            Of course I’m condemned by my deeds, but I’ve been saved and received mercy. The same offer is open to you.

          • Findaráto

            But if you continue to judge people, which surely is the sign of an unregenerate soul from which the Spirit is entirely absent, how can you be saved?

            It’s the fruit of the Spirit thing that catches out Christians, especially the holier-than-thou variety, every time. If you really were saved, the fruits would be evident in you. So where are they?

            Let’s see … you show no love for your fellow man, just judgmental condemnation. If you feel any joy then nobody here ever sees it. I think we can safely say that peace is a foreign concept to you, considering that every exchange you have on this site is confrontational. Forbearance … well, the lack of that goes hand in hand with the lack of peace. Kindness … don’t make me laugh! Goodness … more hilarity! Gentleness … about as gentle as a bull in a china shop. And self-control, well anyone who’s ever poked you knows just how little self-control you’re capable of. So all in all, what’s the Spirit done for you? And without it, how do you plan on getting to heaven? By crying “Lord! Lord!” and claiming loudly to be saved?

            Good luck with that plan.

          • Martin

            Fin

            So where does the Bible say that discerning whether people are saved or not is a sign of an unregenerate soul? Indeed it shows love and kindness to warn you of your perilous state.

          • Findaráto

            Discernment is just a euphemism for judgment, which belongs to the Lord, not to you.

            A desire to usurp the Lord’s prerogatives is what caused Satan to fall. Careful how you step…

          • Anton

            According to the New Testament we are supposed to “judge” whether a potential spouse is a Christian or not.

          • Findaráto

            What? Another Biblical inconsistency? Judge, don’t judge … this God of yours just can’t make up his mind, can he?

          • Anton

            Stop showing yourself up. I JUDGE that you aren’t a believer, but I don’t CONDEMN you for it.

          • Findaráto

            Stop exposing your own ignorance. The Bible says “judge not lest you be judged, condemn not lest yet be condemned”. BOTH judgment and condemnation are very clearly described as unaccaptable behaviours for a Christian.

            You want to be able to judge and you think that as long as you avoid condemning those you judge, it’s OK. It isn’t. The judgment is just as sinful as the condemnation. It says so right there in that holy book of yours. You know, the one you cherry pick for the bits of Christianity you like while ignoring all the rest.

          • Anton

            You are making a cultural assumption in your reading of that passage, without realising it. You are assuming that “judge not lest you be judged; condemn not lest yet be condemned” is saying two things, because Jesus would presumably not waste words repeating himself.

            Not so! Look in the Book of Proverbs and you will see that the same thought is expressed in two ways; often using two similar words. God is doing that because we all think in slightly differing ways, and some of us will grasp what he is saying from the one way, some from the other. This is known as “Hebrew parallelism”. The passage “Judge not lest you be judged; condemn not lest yet be condemned” does not comprise two different statements, but two different ways of saying the same thing. If you abstract what that thing is, from the two ways (and it might be necessary to study the text in the original language), then you will have the correct understanding – one that is entirely consistent with Christians judging whether somebody at their place of employment is trustworthy, whether somebody else is a Christian and potentially marriageable, and consistent with Christians being judges in the legal system.

          • Findaráto

            Ah, so you admit that the Bible cannot be taken at face value then. Especially when it says something that you don’t like. That’s when you have to cast doubt on the English translation and claim that the original languages convey a different meaning.

            Of course when others do the same with passages they don’t like, that’s a different story, isn’t it? Then you claim that the Bible must be taken at face value, and that any attempt to find a different meaning in the words is nothing but revisionism.

            There’s a word for those who use the Bible as an excuse to heap heavy burdens on the shoulders of others while absolving themselves of the obligations it imposes on them. It’s “Pharisee”.

            The Pharisee twists “God’s word” to his own advantage while using it as a weapon against others. But “judge” and “condemn” have two clear and separate meanings in our language, which can’t be twisted to mean anything else without exposing the bad faith and self-interest of those doing the twisting.

          • Anton

            This is not a question of me “admitting” anything; I’m explaining something to you. It seems you don’t wish to understand it. So let me ask you a question. You are now aware of the notion of parallelism, that an idea can be repeated in slightly differing words to help the reader. When you say to somebody, “I didn’t quite grasp what you said; please could you say that again” they don’t use exactly the same words; they recognise that that would be pointless and explain it slightly differently.

            So, when you see a repetition in slightly differing words in the Bible, you need to ask yourself: Are two things being said here, with the difference in the words being crucial? Or is one deeper thing being said in two ways, to get a deeper perspective on it?

            Regarding Jesus’ words, “judge not lest you be judged; condemn not lest yet be condemned”, what is your answer to that question, and why?

          • Findaráto

            How many levels does “judge not lest you be judged, condemn not lest you be condemned” have? It’s an imperative form indicating a command or direction. And it uses two different verbs with two different meanings: to judge, or to form an opinion about something or someone after careful thought, and to condemn, or to express an adverse opinion or judgment about something or someone.

            The two are not the same. You can judge without condemning, just as you can condemn without judging. So there can be no question of using these two terms as parallels for each other.

            You might say “do not judge, do not put on trial”, or “do not condemn, do not pronounce guilt” as different ways of saying the same thing. But not “do not judge, do not condemn”. Those two terms express different stages in a process and as such are not parallel but rather sequential terms.

            What Jesus is saying is that you should neither put people on trial NOR pronounce them guilty. Not just the latter. So when you judge, you disobey Christ’s command even if you refrain from expressing condemnation.

            Most often however Christians do both. Look at Martin. He judges unbelievers as guilty of lying to themselves about God’s existence and then condemns us to hell unless we obey his command to repent and start believing. He is the ultimate Pharisee, wanting to condemn us for failing to obey God while claiming complete freedom to do the same and then pretending to be a faithful Christian. It’s a pitiful spectacle and one that underlines the hypocrisy of the self-confessed Christian. They seek to subject everyone but themselves to God’s laws and therefore exclude themselves from salvation while rendering their faith ridiculous to others by their blatant display of hypocrisy.

          • Anton

            If Martin has said that then you’d better take it up with him.

            Actually, you got the point. You wrote: “You can judge without condemning, just as you can condemn without judging.” That sort of judgement is exactly what everybody does – and rightly so – when they decide who to let look after their children for the evening. It is condemnatory judgement that Jesus tells us not to do. And there is a difference between judgement in your heart and judgement in court. Trouble is, having seen what was meant, you then start shooting from the hip and missing again.

          • Findaráto

            No, Jesus did not say it’s OK to judge but not to condemn. There is no mention of that anywhere in the Bible. It’s your rationalisation of what he said because you can’t imagine not judging … which considering how much you do it, isn’t surprising. But whether you can imagine it or not, the command is a clear one: do not judge.

            A true Christian who actually lived by Christ’s commands wouldn’t judge a babysitter. If that babysitter then did something awful to their children, well perhaps that was God’s plan for them. Your job as a Christian parent would be to console them, but not to judge or condemn their aggressor. Whatever happened to “turn the other cheek?” Or are your children more important to you than God’s commands?

            Tch, tch … bad Christian! Thou shalt love the Lord God more than anything and hate your parents and children in comparison.

            When seen in this light, the Roman Catholic abuse scandals take on a whole new meaning. Who can blame the various bishops and cardinals who stood by and let priests abuse children? Their role was not to judge or condemn. And as for those wicked parents demanding retribution and compensation, well such clear disobedience of the Lord’s commands means they’re all going to hell. As am I for saying that … but then we already knew that, didn’t we?

            I guess the difference between you and me is that I openly state my disagreement with God, to the point where I deny his existence, whereas you say you believe in him and pretend to be one of obedient followers, except when following him requires you to act against your own will and live by his standards rather than yours.

            See you in hell, Pharisee. And although my punishment will be excruciating, as the Bible says, the fate reserved for those who cry “Lord! Lord!” and then do exactly what they want will be the worst of all.

          • Anton

            You are misunderstanding me. Whether that is deliberate or not, I’m content for readers to decide for themselves.

            You DO believe in hell, then?

          • Findaráto

            Of course I don’t believe in hell. But sometimes it’s useful to step inside a Christian’s fantasy world and describe to him the consequences of his religion as the Bible describes them and not according to his own biased and self-serving ideas.

            As most Christians merely cherrypick the bits of Christianity they like and discard what’s left as irrelevant, or too difficult, or easily “interpreted” away, they’ve generally never considered how they should be living if they want to follow in the footsteps of Christ as outlined in the Bible. They want to do the minimum they can get away with and still be saved, which of course excludes anything that really touches them, like having to turn the other cheek when their children are threatened, or having to take the poor and underprivileged seriously rather than flinging a few coins at a street beggar every now and again.

            That’s the sort of Christianity you advocate. The kind that can be expressed as “I can judge because God really meant something else when he forbade judgment. His words don’t matter, it’s my interpration of them that counts. But not my neighbour’s! Oh no, he’s wrong when he says ‘do not judge’ even if that is what’s written in the Bible. You see only I or the Church I have decided is the One True Church can be trusted to decipher God’s true meaning”.

            That’s your true religion. The Church of Anton Deified. The rest is just you going through the motions and pretending to be a model Christian for show. But slapping your nose up against a grindstone and forcing you to deal with the unpleasant realities of not judging and turning the other cheek soon causes you to abandon even the pretence of following God.

          • Anton

            Anyone might be forgiven for thinking you were trying to wind me up!

          • Martin

            Fin

            Not at all, there is nothing in judging or discerning the state of a person that is forbidden in Scripture. This for example does not forbid it, just reminds us to be careful:

            Judge not, that you be not judged. For with the judgment you pronounce you will be judged, and with the measure you use it will be measured to you. Why do you see the speck that is in your brother’s eye, but do not notice the log that is in your own eye? Or how can you say to your brother, Let me take the speck out of your eye, when there is the log in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your brother’s eye.
            (Matthew 7:1-5 [ESV])

          • Findaráto

            He cites the very Bible quote that utterly condemns him in his own defence!

          • Martin

            Fin

            You still don’t understand, do you.

  • Ian Harris

    for Christ’s sake…just get on with it…everything else is just play school.

  • carl jacobs

    YES! If you are a true Stsr Trek fan, you can’t like Voyager.

  • carl jacobs

    Otherwise … I’m not sure what to make of that. Theologically deep it wasn’t. Perhaps that was intentional gven the target audience. But what am I to make of someone saying (paraphrased) “I became a Christian without understanding the Gospel”? That’s a theological contradiction.

    I find myself wanting a transcript right now because it would help to be able to read what they said.

  • If your Grace likes this kind of discussion, you need to join us at our AGM weekend at Launde Abbey one day, we have some very robust and serious debates after our evening prayers on the Saturday evening

  • Martin

    So how about your grace actually addressing the points we raise here, unless you’re scared.

    • sarky

      I somehow think that taunting won’t get you an answer.

      • Martin

        What taunting? He’s been whinging on Twitter, if he has a complaint why can’t he bring it here?

        • sarky

          Probably because he can’t be bothered with your crap.

          • Martin

            Sarky

            You post plenty that is ignorant and bigoted, so don’t come with that.

            Fact is, he was bothered enough to whine on Twitter, it would be better to have it our here.

          • Anton

            It’s HIS blog, for heaven’s sake. He has a duty of care towards us in the same way that any host has to his guests, albeit in a cyberspace sense. But this responsibility does not include responding to challenges to “come down and fight if you are man enough” or whatever equivalent you post.

          • Martin

            Anton

            If he quotes what someone has written here in a disparaging manner that person has at the very least the right of reply.

          • Anton

            Yes, on Twitter.

          • sarky

            Pots and kettles Martin, pots and kettles.

  • carl jacobs

    I have spent a little time reflecting.

    So my advice would be “Hold your fire.” A sample of one isn’t much of a sample. I found myself continuously saying “Yes, but …” through the whole video. There was so much left unsaid it was impossible to really track. (Example: “Is it what you believe or what you do? The Bible says more about what you do.” Yes, but those two concepts aren’t a dichotomy. They relate like lungs and breathing.”) And I think that is because these videos are targeted at non-Christians. It might explain how a ten minute video could examine the question of “What is a Christian” without mentioning the cross, or sin, or redemption. That disturbs. Is it merely about avoiding churchy language?

    I would like to know who these four individuals are. What churches do they serve? What Gospel do they preach? I heard a lot I could agree with if I turn on the right filter. I heard alot the disturbed me but I can’t get beneath the words. Perhaps the four speakers could introduce themselves, or perhaps they have done so already on another medium?

    • Busy Mum

      Click on the links to their names in the article – the four will tell you all about themselves……

      • carl jacobs

        Interesting. I picked up on the Evangelical with a passion for Luther (encouraging) right away. But he is the only one of the five who really provides such information. I wonder if this is a “theologically diverse” panel…

        • Busy Mum

          Just been checking out the new Bishop of Lichfield, in whose diocese this initiative takes place. From the website…

          “Bishop Michael has written extensively on inter faith issues, religion and human rights. He has edited six volumes on Christian-Muslim relations, is the author of ‘Trinity and Inter Faith Dialogue’ (Peter Lang, 2003)….”

          • Samuel

            My brother in law is from Lichfield : the Staffordshire lot have a sense of humour , with a village called “wall” and another called “hints” . Nice place it is too. They elect ale tasters every year. Went to the Dr Johnson museum, who wrote the dictionary . There was a pub )several) and I even ventured into the cathedral . Had to take my kippah off. Nice building tho, they’d got some ancient bibles, they’d got some Flemish strained glass windows taken from a Belgium church by some Lord or other that had been taken out for repair. I also enjoyed -as I am a simple man at heart- feeding the ducks in the big pond by the cathedral. I felt an enormous sense of well-being doing that.

        • Uncle Brian

          My impression is that they’ve decided to go for a certain degree of theological diversity, but without overstepping the boundaries of Anglicanism. This being an explicitly Anglican blog, it’s what I would have expected, anyway.

          • carl jacobs

            If so, it will be incoherent.

          • Martin

            Brian

            That’s a pretty wide range though.

          • Uncle Brian

            Wider than any other single Church, would be my guess.

          • Samuel

            Dude

            What’s all this Brazilian carwash thing all about? I thought it was a 70s film?

          • Uncle Brian

            Sam, yup, that was a great picture! If I’m not mistaken, it was one of Danny De Vito’s first films, and he had such a small role that his name didn’t even appear in the credits.

            The Brazilian one is even better. A bunch of judges in a relatively minor city, whose names were unknown to the general public until a year or so ago, have taken it upon themselves to bring corruption charges against a whole lot of top politicians, businessmen, and senior executives in government-owned corporations, and they’re doing a terrific job. There are lot of big shots behind bars already. The latest suspect to be hauled in for questioning, last Friday, was Luis Inácio Lula da Silva, who was president for two four-year terms and still hopes to run again in 2018.

  • Samuel

    Dudes

    Okay . In my religion you are born a Jew if mother was Jewish or you convert and that (in theory) entails the practice and following of the Halakha , passing this and the Mesorah (traditions) to one’s children via the osmosis of example of a Jewish home/wider family . I’ve watched the video twice. I still don’t get what makes one a Christian in the panel’s mind.

    My understanding from what I’ve picked up is :

    1). Catholics and Anglicanism says as cradle Catholic and Anglican Christians, you are born into these faiths and have the baptism and confirmation to affirm this as an” initiation ceremony”, similar to a,bar or bat mitzvah . If you aren’t born into the faith, you can convert via the cannon laws ( similar to Halakha) of these churches. This I understand and is similar to Judaism.

    2). Protestants say you have to wait till you are old enough to understand and believe the correct belief and then get baptised in a swimming pool as a ritual initiation ceremony. The belief being that Jesus, god and man at the same time , came to earth, said various teachings about his own religion , i.e. my religion of Judaism as he is (according to Christianity) the Jewish messiah of the Hebrew bible, but eventually got crucified , died and miraculously came alive again, then went back to heaven and at some point he’s going to come back. The death of Jesus was to take the punishment of one’s personal sins and the sin in the world which started via Adam and Eve (original sin) in the garden of Eden. Sin means God cannot accept you , as he’s perfect and you’re not , but whilst Jesus took the punishment for this sin as a sacrifice, only via repentance and belief in Jesus “born again” , are you forgiven to go to heaven when you die. If you don’t accept Jesus you go to hell when you die . This is why Christians have to evangelize to stop people from going to hell. Although there’s dispute about whether hell is as imagined in Dante’s inferno.

    So to be a Christian in the Protestant sense and I’m guessing in the Anglican /Catholic sense as well is about holding a correct belief and not about a correct practice or set of practices , i.e. “going and doing good” isn’t enough for the afterlife of heaven or for God.

    Is that correct as I didn’t quite get that from this video(?).

    • carl jacobs

      I still don’t get what makes one a Christian in the panel’s mind.

      That’s because they didn’t really answer that question.

      • Samuel

        Thinking about it , I’m guessing these vids are for you guys anyway. So I don’t really have to worry over a workout of how to come up with a definition of a Christian…

        • carl jacobs

          No, I don’t think they are for me. They are for the unchurched masses.

          • Martin

            Carl

            Maybe they are for those who think like they do.

            I did get the impression that Dan’s comments were ignored by the other three. I’d listen again to check that but I don’t think my bp would stand it.

          • carl jacobs

            Possibly. This is why I’d really love a transcript. I don’t remember him rejecting the whole “Only God can judge” contention though. That’s nonsense. Mormons claim to follow Christ. They claim to be Christian. They claim to have “accepted grace”, etc etc. But they aren’t Christians and that necessary distinction requires judgment. That distinction must be doctrinal and not behavioral. No one brought out that simple fact.

          • Uncle Brian

            I’d really appreciate a transcript as well. I wonder if that’s asking too much of His Grace. Do things like that cost money, or is the kind of job that volunteers do?

          • carl jacobs

            I think there would be SW for that now.

          • Uncle Brian

            Short wave?

          • carl jacobs

            Sorry. Software.

          • Uncle Brian

            Well, well. Yes, I see. I ought to have had the nous to puzzle that one out for myself.

          • carl jacobs

            All things considered, the world would be much better off if everyone spoke Engineer. All citizens should be required to learn:

            1. Differential and Integral calculus
            2. Statics
            3. Dynamics

            And be fluent in at least one SW language. This would solve many problems.

          • Anton

            Why not just require everybody to study Lagrange’s equations with nonholonomic constraints?

          • carl jacobs

            We want to educate them. Not kill them.

          • Uncle Brian

            Too late. You already killed me with your three requirements.

          • Samuel

            Dude

            Are they the same thing as ‘Lagrange points’? I remember Hannah learnt them in her degrees. Something to do with the points of stability between heavenly bodies?

          • Anton

            That’s essentially what a Lagrange point is. Lagrange’s equations are equations of motion for all of the bodies in a system written in terms of the interactions between them. They are equivalent to Newton’s laws but show that these come from a single principle (called a variational principle).

          • chiefofsinners

            Shortwave language?

          • Samuel

            Fair enough. I’m an” unchurched mass ” (great phrase!) and it had zero effect , except for conflicting messages, bemusement and a tiny bit of confusion. Still I’ve done my ecumenical bit and can go and discuss politics with Avi B on another blog now.

          • dannybhoy

            Where does Avi blog?

          • Samuel

            With the rest of unchurched masses (:

            Seriously , just around the j sphere as we call it. As it’s a small universe, you just bump into each other from time to time.

    • Busy Mum

      You are correct ; ‘going and doing good’ is not enough. The bearded Dan on this chat show has Luther as his hero and he will therefore be able to tell you all about justification by faith, not by works. ‘Going and doing good’ will be the fruit of that faith, but without faith, no amount of good works will earn you a place in heaven. If one thinks one needs to earn salvation, one is saying that Jesus’ sacrifice was insufficient.

    • Busy Mum

      In your religion you are born a Jew; in Islam, babies are Muslims at birth; into whatever -ism somebody is born, they are automatically a -ist.

      Christian mothers, on the other hand, have babies who are sinners.

      • Samuel

        “Christian mothers, on the other hand, have babies who are sinners”

        I see, I don’t agree (of course!) . However it does lead me to ask and this isn’t meant to be a trick question, but if the baby dies without having – excuse me if I’m clumsy in the terminology – “declared for Jesus” . What happens then? Where does their soul go?

        • Busy Mum

          How do I know?!

          With regards to not agreeing with what I said, I am not sure what there was to disagree with…??

          • Samuel

            Judaism rejects the theology of original sin, so I wouldn’t consider a baby to be born with sin like a hereditary trait.

          • Busy Mum

            But surely you agree that Christian parents see their babies as sinners rather than Christians?

          • Samuel

            Yes, sorry, I understand now what you meant there.

          • Uncle Brian

            Can’t you see them as both?

          • Anton

            No, one has to understand the gospel to be a Christian. St Paul says that the children of Christians are sanctified through their parents’ faith (1 Corinthians 7:14).

          • CliveM

            I’ve often wondered how much the thief on the cross understood of the gospel.

          • Anton

            Something of that can be inferred: he took Jesus to be the Messiah even though it was clear that Jesus too was about to die. To do that he must have been familiar with Jesus’ preaching.

          • CliveM

            Sometimes people give the impression that you have to have it all worked out. However I would be surprised is he was aware of the Trinity, original sin, the Holy Spirit, justification and other points of Christian understanding.

            It’s impossible to know what he understood, I suspect it was minimal, but it seems to have been enough. When we call out to God he answers, he doesn’t set a theology exam. Faith is a journey, but being saved by God is a step.

          • All around Jesus were people hurling accusations at Him – ‘He saved others, let Him save Himself’ and similar. The thief must have gathered that Jesus’ crime was ‘claiming to be the Messiah’ – the Chosen One.

            Being so close to Jesus in those final hours he realised that He did not behave like other condemned men – He prayed that His enemies would be forgiven, etc. At some point he probably received a revelation from the Father (just like Peter had)- and this led to the confession and prayer.

          • sarky

            Does that include me?

          • Anton

            By “children” is obviously meant “young children”, Sarky. How old are you?

          • sarky

            Older than I feel, but obviously not a child.

          • Martin

            Samuel

            So was David saying he was born out of wedlock:

            Behold, I was brought forth in iniquity,
            and in sin did my mother conceive me.
            (Psalms 51:5 [ESV])

          • Anton

            “Original sin” is too tightly packed a phrase. I believe everybody is born with something already wrong with them that was not in God’s original design plan, and that this is an inheritance running back to Adam. That is not to say that a newborn has committed any sin, nor will be judged as having committed one. Relative to those terms of reference, where stands Judaism, please?

          • Samuel
          • IanCad

            Never yet has there been a bare-knuckle, knock ’em down, drag ’em out debate about Original Sin on this blog. At least, none that I recollect.
            Finished the Pawson series – Thanks.
            Just started his twelve part presentation on the Book of James.

          • Pubcrawler

            I am inclined towards the Orthodox view, as discussed (at some length) here:

            http://www.stmaryorthodoxchurch.org/orthodoxy/articles/ancestral_versus_original_sin

          • Thanks for the link. Ancestral sin is very nicely explained.

          • Pubcrawler

            I’m glad to hear that. You’re former Orthodox, if I remember rightly. Although a fairly traditional ‘Prayer Book’ Anglican myself, I’ve found and am absorbing much of value in Orthodox thinking.

          • Yes, there are some things which are better explained by Orthodox churches, and this is one

        • Martin

          Samuel

          If I may butt in; while agreeing with Busy Mum’s reply below, we cannot know, we do know that salvation is entirely of God and that God is just so we can rely on God to do what is right.

          • Busy Mum

            Yes, have been ruminating…. and would hope that if ever faced with this situation, I would submit to God’s wisdom in removing a baby, rather than rebelling at His providence.

        • chiefofsinners

          What condemns a person is having understood the gospel and rejected it. Any person too young, disabled or ignorant to have understood will be dealt with mercifully.

          • Martin

            CoS

            Can you show me where in Scripture we are told the gospel is gained by understanding?

          • Anton

            How can you repent if you don’t understand the meaning of the word?

          • Martin

            Anton

            Understanding comes with the New Birth. And the new birth is not dependant upon what we do.

          • Anton

            No, but we are told in the New Testament the conditions in which it is granted.

          • Martin

            Anton

            There are no conditions, repentance and belief follow salvation for faith is the gift of God.

          • Anton

            The jailer asked Paul, “What shall I do to be saved?” (Acts 16:30).

          • Martin

            Anton

            Comparing that with Ephesians 2 I would suggest that the Jailer had already received saving faith and was being advised as to his next actions on receipt of salvation.

            God’s act of regeneration, by it’s nature, revives a knowledge of sin in the reborn soul which looks at itself and is filled with disgust at its sin.

          • chiefofsinners

            Romans 1 verse 31.

          • Martin

            CoS

            I think you may have the wrong ref there.

          • chiefofsinners

            See above where I inadvertently replied to myself!

          • chiefofsinners

            No, that’s what I meant. It describes unbelievers as those who have no understanding.
            Look also at Romans 3:11 and 15:21.

            Or Acts 28:26&27.

            See the explanation of the parable of the sower in Matthew 13:19 & 23.

          • IanCad

            Luke 24:27. On the road to Emmaus.

          • Martin

            Ian

            I don’t see anything about salvation there, just explaining/preaching.

          • IanCad

            Always thought that would be a good place to start gaining understanding.

    • dannybhoy

      Christians are made, not born. There has to be some understanding of what is required in order to become a Christian. Going regularly to church does not necessarily mean that you are a Christian, because people go to church for different reasons.
      I think it would be fair to say that most outside of the Catholic and Anglican denominations would have a more Scripture centred understanding of what it means to be a Christian. The two main denominations have ‘bits tacked on’ which sometimes acquire more importance or appeal than the basic message of the Gospel.

      • Samuel

        Dude

        Translation : Sammy’s right in what he’s just written and isn’t misrepresenting Christianity (?).

    • Aran’Gar

      I want to point out that Protestants (including Anglicans) practice infant baptism.
      (ana)Baptists are merely one small subset of Protestantism.

      • Anton

        Anabaptism is not necessarily the same as adult baptism. “Anabaptism” means “rebaptism” in Greek, and the first people to decide that baby baptism was invalid in the century after the Reformation, got themselves baptised as adults. They obviously could not do that within their denominations, since those denominations insisted they had been validly baptised at birth. It was their denial of their baby “baptism” and their action of getting baptised outside their denomination that caused them to be persecuted.

        The children of a baptist couple today will not be baptised at birth, and will get baptised only if they decide for Christ for themselves, so they are never “rebaptised”.

        • Aran’Gar

          That is why I placed ‘ana’ in brackets .

        • CliveM

          Some baptist (and other) Churches still re-baptise. I know someone who did and now bitterly regrets it.

          • Anton

            I did – and have never regretted it.

      • Samuel

        We’re getting into the minutiae here , but does baptism make one a Christian then? The more I try and pin this down, the more difficult it becomes. Surely being able to define a Christian is basic level stuff? Yet here we all are still struggling after 200 comments….

        • Aran’Gar

          BCP says baptism makes one “a member of Christ, the child of God, and an inheritor of the Kingdom of Heaven” that sounds like a Christian to me.

    • IanCad

      Sam,
      Original Sin is, primarily, an Augustinian concept.
      By no means do all Protestants accept the dogma.

      • Samuel

        Dude

        Okay. I’m only going by what I’ve encountered by likes of Jews for Jesus etc. I’ll happily tell them they’re actually wrong (:

  • preacher

    Well I think it’s a good incentive & shows willing. My main query is, who is it aiming at ? Believers, the undecided, searchers ? – Surely not the blasphemous trolls who haunt & taunt in an attempt to get a response from those who love God, & are really interested in genuine debate & sharing of different views of the Creator & His love & desire to redeem & save them.
    IMO, We do not need another set of opinions, everybody has those. We need a true, factual, scriptural teaching of what the Lord’s mission & message is. Then it’s up to the individual to seek further or go their own way.
    The need for all who attend Church is to hear the gospel preached on a regular basis. Some people may be visitors or seekers after solace or love & forgiveness, While others may be regular attenders who none the less have never heard or received the blessing of salvation & redemption, but follow custom, tradition & good works in the belief that these will save them.
    God Bless the TGI Monday team, it’s early days yet & time will tell.

    • Busy Mum

      The TGI Monday team includes a woman wearing a dog collar, who incidentally is a self-confessed ‘social justice’ champion…..

      Should we really ask God’s blessing on this arrangement, or should we pray that He opens their eyes and grants repentance?

      • preacher

        I would say that we should pray & ask for both & include the need for wisdom, guidance & discernment.

        • Busy Mum

          But if we ask for God’s blessing on a woman vicar, we will need to repent ourselves…and would God forgive us for this ‘sin against light and knowledge’?

          • preacher

            Well in My opinion, according to scripture we are all priests & ministers of the gospel if we are saved & Spirit filled, ” Neither male nor female, slave or free “. The separation of ordained or lay is incorrect. Many women feature very favourably in both Old & New Testaments ( Often better than the men to be honest ) in light of this we should go forward as one body to proclaim the gospel. If someone feels the need to wear a certain uniform to enable them to work better, that is their responsibility.
            God’s love & forgiveness is mightier & bigger than most of us can understand, there are many examples in scripture of this for example Saul, who persecuted many believers to prison or death until he met the Lord.
            We should all repent & ask the Lord’s forgiveness daily, as we all sin even after receiving salvation & perhaps God uses this to keep us humble.
            Blessings B.M. – P.

          • Anton

            Yes, I disapprove of the ordination of men as well as of women. But congregational leadership is to be male, that is clear.

          • preacher

            But this is a talk show, not a congregation Anton. If we were in a congregation we could choose to leave & go to another fellowship if we felt there was a problem.
            Being male doesn’t mean a thing if the message, the teaching & the leading is wrong. I’d rather see a few Deborah’s at the front than some of the men who haven’t a clue. That is not to say that either gender gets it right all the time, about 50/50. so not a lot to choose.

          • Anton

            I wasn’t discussing the video in that post of mine!

  • dannybhoy

    A Christian is one first and foremost who trusts in Christ for his or her salvation, and believes in a relationship with God through the life and sacrifice of His Son, our Lord.
    It says so many times and in many places in the New Testament. There can be no arguing on what Scripture teaches, only on how we interpret it.

  • Busy Mum

    “We are not about church politics or arguments, but life following Jesus.”

    Disingenuous.

    Episode one sneaks in a reference to Donald Trump. Politics, arguments and backbiting.

  • Slack Alice

    I cannot believe this is NOT a joke. It is like a parody sketch without the punch lines. I simply cannot believe that a blog such as Cranmer is actually encouraging this or providing space for it.

    Drivel, drivel and drivel. “God forbid we mustn’t judge”. ..”everyone enters Christianity from a different perspective – one might be a murderer, another might be a charity worker…..”.

    This is the happy clappy claptrap of people who embarrass the hell out of ordinary christians up and down the country. Sad social misfits who see churchy things as a means to boost their friendship network, No theology, no principles, no cohesion of thought – their “understanding” and “insight” into what is a “christian” could easily be substituted for a Year 8 “What do you think makes a nice person” question.

    I thought Cranmer’s blog was for people who had moved on from posters of sillhouettes in the sunset with “My Religion Is Kindness”….

  • I think a show like this– with its friendly informal atmosphere – will appeal to certain groups of people. Not everyone enjoys a formal sermon in church. The gospel should be presented to all sorts of people by all possible means.

    I suspect that the show is primarily for the benefit of people who never visit a church and who know little about the Christian faith – so this might be a good way to start. If you begin with, “All are sinners, etc.,” you would be correct, but the people who need to hear it most are likely to change channels immediately. It is necessary to make them comfortable first – then they might possibly come back to hear more of the truth.

    “For though I am free from all, I have made myself a servant to all, that I might win more of them. To the Jews I became as a Jew, in order to win Jews… To the weak I became weak, that I might win the weak. I have become all things to all people, that by all means I might save some. I do it all for the sake of the gospel, that I may share with them in its blessings.” 1 Corinthians 9:19-23 ESV

    • carl jacobs

      This I think is a perceptive comment. What is important is whether or not they share a common understanding of the Gospel and present that common understanding consistently. We should also cut people some slack the first time they try something. People learn by doing. If they didn’t make the doctrinal hospital corners just perfect, well … let them practice.

      It’s heterodoxy vs Orthodoxy that must be discerned. Don’t get hung up on the incidental stuff. Give them time and watch. The truth will emerge.

      • I agree – they are doing something for the first time and they need some time to get used to it.

    • DanJ0

      It’s specifically aimed at Christians, not unbelievers. It references this blog and the people who comment here. It talks about in-out groups and people deciding who falls where. It mentions the comment about the Queen, which was made by a self-identifying Christian here. It alludes to themes in the Bible: works flowing from faith, to specific theological positions: baptism and undeserved spiritual rebirth, and that core nugget at the end of it meaning to accept the Christian god’s grace. It doesn’t try to explain those things.

      • You could be right, but most churchgoers would have been taught most of these things in their churches.

    • cacheton

      ‘ If you begin with, “All are sinners, etc.,” you would be correct, but the people who need to hear it most are likely to change channels immediately.’

      No no, the people who need to hear it most are those who believe it, to comfort them in their faith. They would therefore not change channels. Those who change do so because they do not need to hear it.

      But I suppose you think you know what other people need more than they themselves do. cacheton raises eyebrows and sighs…..

      • Those who need to hear it most are those who have never heard it before – then they can make an informed decision whether that want to accept or reject this teaching.

        “No no, the people who need to hear it most are those who believe it, to comfort them in their faith.”
        But I suppose you think you know what other people need more than they themselves do…

        • cacheton

          Ha!!!

          But seriously, low self esteem is seen as a problem in today’s society, it stops you taking an active part etc etc. Labelling oneself as a sinner is seen as reinforcing low self esteem. People are unlikely to make the informed decision to accept they are sinners if at the same time they are not given info about how to not be a sinner, even more if they are told that they cannot not be a sinner. No method, but I think we’ve been here before haven’t we.

          • “Reinforcing low self esteem…”

            But there is a wonderful sense of well-being and happiness, when we realise that we are accepted as sons and daughters of the God of the universe. No earthly shortcoming can diminish your worth in God’s eyes.

            Regarding your next point about informed decision, I would suggest you read the link Pubcrawler posted below:

            http://www.stmaryorthodoxchurch.org/orthodoxy/articles/ancestral_versus_original_sin

          • cacheton

            There are other ways of realising that we are sons and daughters of the god of the universe.

          • Please give me a scriptural reference from another religion.

          • cacheton

            The relevance of this being what, exactly?

          • “There are other ways of realising that we are sons and daughters of the god of the universe.”

            Please provide evidence – through references from their scriptures – that other religions have ways of helping people ‘realise’ that they could be sons and daughters of God.

          • cacheton

            Again, I do not see the relevance of scriptural reference. One can understand this through introspection, meditation, spiritual experience and other means. One does not need it to be written in any book.

          • Pubcrawler

            So you claim. But unless the notion has, like Athena, sprung fully formed from your own head, you must have some other grounds for making that claim. Do tell.

          • cacheton

            ‘grounds for making that claim’

            Transformative personal experience. If your religion does not give you that then I would try something else. Or are you waiting to die first?

  • layreader

    I don’t think I can really take this seriously, and I haven’t even seen the first episode. It appears to be based in rural Shropshire – or am I misunderstanding the credentials of all the panel members? Possibly this is a deliberate antidote to the usual London-based tone of this particular blog – if so, it’s not likely to appeal very far. We have our prejudices, and we like it that way.

  • carl jacobs

    Ros Clarke said …

    I’m interested in almost everything except cricket and football

    Yes, but what does she think about soccer?

    • William Lewis

      Probably a fan. Having dismissed the two greatest sports ever invented; cricket and rugby football, soccer hooliganism is all that is left for poor Ros.

      • carl jacobs

        Cricket is a bug and not a sport.

        • William Lewis

          Sigh. You just don’t understand.

        • Anton

          Indeed it is not a sport. It is a game. It doesn’t have rules. It has laws.

      • Anton

        “Football” is simply an ambiguous term. There is rugby football (as in the RFU), association football (as in Wembley) and American football (as in America).

        • William Lewis

          True but as we are in the UK we can dispense with the theatrical, colonial mock-up and use the “soccer” disambiguation.

          • Anton

            But I was making the point – as were you, elliptically – that “football” is ambiguous even in Britain. There is a conversation in the well-known Doctor in the House novel, about postwar medical school, in which the author is asked at interview, “Do you play rugby football or association?”

        • carl jacobs

          Americans (being efficient) have abolished the ambiguity. There is football. There is Rugby. There is soccer. No American could ever confuse them.

          • Anton

            The problem does not lie in the full name for these sports but in the street name in the 21st century. Today the single word “football” means different things in Britain and America; so there is no ambiguity within America; there is no ambiguity within Britain; but there is ambiguity in the world.

  • DanJ0

    Having spent every day for the last month brow-beating one of the regulars here over his claim to be one of the Elect despite his behaviour, this has had me chuckling at my keyboard.

    • Martin

      DanJ0

      Browbeating with a feather is amusingly ineffective and shows you haven’t a clue. But remember, you will be judged for pretending there is no God.

      • sarky

        Sorry for jumping in DanJ0 but…..

        Yaaaaaaawwwwwwwwwwnnnnnnn

        • DanJ0

          I can see that you’re wavering in your unbelief after Martin’s ministry.

          • sarky

            Err let me think about that………..no

          • chiefofsinners

            Not wavering, drowning.

          • Martin

            CoS

            Drowned, dead.

          • DanJ0

            Thank god for sending Martin with his kind and effective ministry to help unbelievers out. The Holy Spirit is clearly flowing through him. Now there’s a true Christian, and no mistake. When I read Matthew 5:14-16, Martin is the first person I think of as exemplifying that chapter and verse.

          • sarky

            I like to think of it as splashing around on the top in my budgie smugglers, having a great old time.

          • chiefofsinners

            A mental image to make a grown man wince.

        • Martin

          Sarky

          Just make sure you remember that when you stand before the judge of all.

          • sarky

            Simon Cowell?

      • DanJ0

        As a self-identifying Christian in a sect which has a Calvinist flavour, do you think that your particular evangelism is effective in any way? Do you believe that the Christian god has chosen you to interact with me in the way you do? Do you think the Christian god wants you in particular to focus all your attention on challenging specific people over and over and over to repent? Is it the Holy Spirit calling people like me liars and perverts through you? Is it the Christian god’s work that you think you do here, Martin?

        • Martin

          DanJ0

          And there again you fail to understand.

          • DanJ0

            Yet you never say what I allegedly don’t understand, and you studiously ignore any Bible refereences I give you, and you fail to address any points I make. You just repeat your mantras over and over and over again. Curious, that. One might even think you have no defence and that what I say is the truth.

          • Martin

            DanJ0

            You don’t understand the gospel or the Bible. Though I have made efforts to explain to you it has made no difference to your understanding. Sorry about that.

            And why would I need a defence?

          • DanJ0

            As ever, you avoid the point and just repeat yourself. You’re no Christian.

          • Martin

            DanJ0

            I repeat myself because it is the only thing I can say, you must be born again.

  • DanJ0
    • John

      Daily Mail, DanJ0. Therefore creatively concocted, exaggerated, embellished, half-baked, complete guesswork, totally made up or knowingly untrue.

      • DanJ0

        “Elizabeth Windsor from London, standing next to her £935 million mansion, told friends that she […]”

  • The Explorer

    If I’d been called Hywel Snook I’d have sued my parents for defamation of character.

    • Uncle Brian

      Explorer, you don’t suppose that’s his real name, do you? Sounds to me like one of the Goon Show characters, along with Osric Pureheart, Hercules Grytpype-Thynne, Nugent Dirt, and Bluebottle.

      • The Explorer

        If it isn’t his real name, he ought to be sued for selecting it as a pseudonym on anything outside the Goon Show.

        • sarky

          He can’t be all bad, he’s an iron maiden fan.

          • The Explorer

            But nobody deserves a name like that. Not even him.

          • Uncle Brian

            And what about the one called Stork? His parents must have been hoping he’d grow up to be an obstetrician.

          • DanJ0

            Erm, the people in the video will be reading all of this as the blog owner has not just randomly pulled this off the web.

          • sarky

            I’m sure they’ve been warned! !!

          • Uncle Brian

            I expect they’re used to it by now.

          • IanCad

            Very good!!

          • CliveM

            Oh, he doesn’t like music then?

          • sarky

            Didn’t you know that studies have been done that show people who listen to metal are more intelligent? It’s because the structure of the music is similar to classical.

          • CliveM

            I did also read another study that showed that Heavy Metal fans were predominantly loners, who had trouble integrating socially :0)

            Naturally I wouldn’t like to comment!

          • sarky

            Nicest people I’ve ever met, always look out for each other, always make you welcome.

          • CliveM

            I’ve got heavy metal friends and apart from their dreadful taste in music, nothing wrong with them.

        • chiefofsinners

          Feeling litigious tonight? Offer Findarato your services.

  • carl jacobs

    Another thing. Don’t get caught up over concerns about women exercising the office of Elder. This is just four people talking. I reject women’s ordination and all its works and all its ways. This does not cross that line.

  • DanJ0

    One issue for me is how a Christian proclaims the Gospel or spreads the Good News. Is it better to live by example in the hope that people are inspired, or to challenge non-Christians to repent their Christians sins. Should one broadcast, or target individuals? Are people acting on their own initiative there, or are they acting under guidance of the Holy Spirit? Is it better to be blunt about the core theology of Christianity or focus on the alleged life-changing aspects when talking to non-believers? Should one be a gentle persuader or a fire and brimstone prophet?

    • William Lewis

      Speak the truth. Reflect the love.

    • chiefofsinners

      All of these have their time and place. It is good to start by listening to people.

    • CliveM

      Any particular reason you’re asking??

      • DanJ0

        I’m going to start spreading the Gospel at the weekend.

        • Anton

          If you do that with love and without compromise then may God bless you.

        • William Lewis

          Not another weekend Christian!

        • CliveM

          Which one?

          I’m not entirely certain that you are being completely honest here :0)

          • DanJ0

            I’m going with Matthew rather than John. People will relate to that better, I think. Especially the meek and mild.

            I’m not being serious. I could, of course, and how would people know that I’m an a-theist if I say the right sort of stuff?

          • CliveM

            You wouldn’t be the first.

            Considering the success some have enjoyed, it would be very difficult.

          • DanJ0

            I think the answer to the question considered in the TGI Monday thing depends on whether one self-identifies a Christian or not. I could preach the Gospel despite being an a-theist and people would assume I was a Christian. I could say I was a Christian afterwards too but that doesn’t make me a Christian of course. I could even be baptised but I’d be missing the belief part. Obviously to all a-theists, no Christians are true Christians in as much as there’s no spirit to be modified in the a-theist worldview. I have no doubt that many Christians live with a view to improving themselves and living according to the theology nevertheless.

            For an a-theist, the test of a true Christian is wrapped up in a combination of belief, knowledge, and good behaviour. Or rather, a drive towards good behaviour and a willingness to reassess one’s behaviour following constructive criticism. Hence, bare-faced bad behaviour, deliberate unkindness, a refusal to stop and consider one’s behaviour and actions, aggressive criticism of others despite one’s own faults, and so on, are indicative of hypocrisy and self-righteousness, and ultimately of not being a Christian.

            For a self-identifying Christian, whether other people are true Christians must be bound up in some of that but there ought to be two restraints on calling them out: 1. basic good manners on the basis that being born again is the start of a journey; 2. whether someone has actually had their spirit modified is a matter for the Christian god at the end of the day. It will know its own, in other words. But within congregations / communities, there would need to be social pressure to conform but I expect that ought to be applied with the best of intentions, and also for the edification of the community as a whole. I’m dubious about Christians judging and condemning non-Christians one on one. I don’t see the point in that.

            The Bible talks about fruits of the spirit being indicative of a living faith, and also that people can have a belief and say all the right sort of stuff but without actually having their spirit modified. That is, they can be worldly Christians whom Jesus doesn’t know spiritually. That implies that there are true Christians and false Christians within Christianity if that worldview is actually true. As such, a Christian ought to be able in theory to question whether someone is or isn’t a true Christian but I suppose the answer to that question is only a guess. Also if people are inclined to ask that question regularly, then it suggests to me that they’re measuring their own righteousness by reference to others, and that doesn’t seem right at all.

        • IanCad

          If, judging from your good sense displayed so consistently on this blog, that is what you intend to do, you could be very persuasive.
          Blessings indeed in your endeavours.

    • Aran’Gar

      I would say all of that depends entirely upon the individual and the audience.
      Targeting individuals is obviously the best method when attempting conversion (which I don’t mean entirely in the religious sense, it applies to changing people’s views on anything) but that said general broadcast can be necessary in setting the ground work up.

      That said the CofE could really use more in the way of fire and brimstone prophets at this point.

      • dannybhoy

        Good post. The Gospel Halls (Open Brethren) used to do open air services where preaching the Gospel was the main event. I think the times have changed and Christianity is presented more as an optional extra. Perhaps we need to return to the prophetic preaching of God’s Word as the great evangelists used to do.
        As regards our own witness, I more and more believe that God uses us but often not in the way we think He should..

    • IanCad

      Gentle persuaders can also turn F&B in a hurry. You ask a difficult question.
      Speaking for myself, I try meekness first, it generally doesn’t last long, stridency rears it’s head far too quickly. Maybe some of my posts attest to that.

      • dannybhoy

        Yeah, they do.
        :0)

    • len

      First the bad news, (we are all sinners and stand condemned and can do nothing to improve our position)

      Then then the Gospel ‘the good news’ Jesus took our punishment on himself and if we place our trust in what Jesus has done we become justified before God.
      This is how many old time’ fire and brimstone preachers’ worked but many preachers today are too P C to go down this route….

      • cacheton

        ‘First the bad news, (we are all sinners and stand condemned and can do nothing to improve our position)’

        And has anyone ever had any success preaching this?

        • len

          John the Baptist,was probably one of the first in a long line stretching from then till now.’ Pastor O’Connell’ recently appeared in court in Ireland for speaking about Islam ,pity there are not more preachers like him……

          • Anton

            His talk was very inflammatory and, while I am not in disagreement with it, he was very ill-advised to permit it to go on YouTube. That is where those who reported him to the authorities saw it, not in person.

    • dannybhoy

      That’s a very thoughtful post DanJ0.
      When I became a Christian back in 1968, the Christians I knew told us that if we were to follow the way of Jesus we must expect some ‘flak’, and that was a part of our Christian experience.
      Holy Joe – Creeping Jesus – hypocrite – and worse, because you wouldn’t join in with the dirty stories, the bullying of outsiders, you worked hard, you didn’t steal from work, that you went to church regularly; people noticed that and reacted in different ways.
      Being a Christian means being different.

  • len

    There was and is only one real’ Christian ‘Jesus Christ Himself all the rest of us are ‘works in progress'(providing you have been ‘born again’ of course which is a basic requirement not an ‘add on’ )

  • DP111

    The panel is made up of Christians in the UK – all safe, smiling & comfortable. But more educational would be to ask a Christian, who has been persecuted in Islamic countries, and he and his family faced death every day. Persons who stood steadfast in Christ through it all – as St Paul and the apostles did.

    • Darter Noster

      But to ask such a question would force Rick-the-Vic Trendy Wendies to come up with an answer that might offend somebody. It might actually ask them to think and choose. And that would never do.

      • DP111

        I cant imagine what I would answer if I was a Christian in an Islamic country, who was facing judicial or extra-judicial death by crucifixion every day. Paul says be joyful, be thankful.

        But I dont know. I cant imagine it.

        However there are Christians who have been through that, and are at the moment in the UK. One I know, even plans to go back.

  • chiefofsinners

    There’s nowt so catty as Christian on Christian ‘discussion’.

    • sarky

      Glad you said ‘discussion’.

      • chiefofsinners

        The alternatives are too gruesome to contemplate.

        • Mike Stallard

          No. Representing God to the Great British Public who abandoned Him fairly gradually between 1950 and 1975 needs to be done a lot more professionally than this.
          I stand by everything I said.

          • chiefofsinners

            OK. You carry on earnestly contending for the faith and I’ll carry on trying to persuade Sarky that Christians really do obey the command to bear with one another in love.

          • Mike Stallard

            Naff stuff never sells anything. This is the church of God which has produced Mozart, Thomas Aquinas, Leo the Great and several quite good painters, although I personally find Leonardo rather creepy now after that programme the other night. You know and I know that this is naff stuff. Let’s not pollute the excellent faith: it actually puts people off.

  • chiefofsinners

    Maybe three years’ interest free credit?

  • CliveM

    Thank you YG. An interesting and worthwhile initiative. I will follow with interest.

  • Aran’Gar

    And here I felt the need to give a little prayer that your Twitter hints weren’t pointing to the Personal Ordinarate.

  • I survived 30 seconds before feeling the need to bite my leg off. Do I get a prize?

    • preacher

      No, & don’t appeal because you haven’t got a leg to stand on.

    • William Lewis

      Yes, you get a free viewing of the next instalment, delivered to a web browser or your choice. You never know, you might even find out if you are saved, or not. Or you might just end up legless.

    • John Waller

      One second did it for me. Not sure if it was the lady’s dog collar or the metal through her nose or both.

  • Anton

    After I’d watched this video I felt immediate unease about it, but it took 24 hours for me to work out why. I don’t want to be knee-jerk negative, because this enterprise intends well for the Kingdom.

    Anybody who watches a Muslim proselytising video on YouTube will instantly notice something different. I don’t mean the doctrines. The deepest and most important questions of life are treated with the utmost seriousness and reverence. Here, in contrast, there is banter, offtopic wit, and the Rite of Cake at the end. It’s almost as if we Christians are too afraid to tell the great truths of our faith unadorned by culturally acceptable levity.

    Is it really true that if we don’t do that, nobody will listen? Those Westerners who converted from secular humanism to Islam and went to Syria were well aware of the vacuum of the former and were looking for something serious and deep. They have very great commitment to their new faith. Imagine that same depth of faith, but for Christ! We will never get such people with the approach on that video. We’ll get converts, alright; but will they be of the sort who can stand fast and firm when serious persecution comes?

    • Ivan M

      The bloody Westerners went to Syria to indulge in killing and mayhem. The cult of Islam being the current leader in righteous violence. If some branch of Christianity were to preach a crusade against the rich or decadent, which includes hanging from the lampposts, it is a certainty that these same buggers would be in the avante garde. It is my hope that they all die a painful death at the hands of the Syrians.

      • cacheton

        That does not sound like something Jesus would have said.

        • Ivan M

          That is why the secular humanists did not convert to Christianity after a lifetime of idiocy. No opportunity for righteous killing; only love, meekness and service. Who needs that when they can indulge in barbarity over at Raqqa or Mosul.

          For myself I prefer justice live and palpable for these buggers, and then forgiveness if Jesus so wishes. A spaced out superman like yourself is of course above these things.

          • cacheton

            Interesting. But your idea of justice is not comparable to Jesus’s, if one is to use the bible as reference. As a christian you would prefer your idea of justice to his would you? I reckon you would be given the same treatment as Trump gets by these 4 panelists. Do YOU think you are a christian?

          • Ivan M

            It is my considered opinion. Do you think you are a smartass?

          • dannybhoy

            Matthew 23
            “13 But woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you shut up the kingdom of heaven against men; for you neither go in yourselves, nor do you allow those who are entering to go in. 14 Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you devour widows’ houses, and for a pretence make long prayers. Therefore you will receive greater condemnation.”

            Matthew 5
            “25 Agree with your adversary quickly, while you are on the way with him, lest your adversary deliver you to the judge, the judge hand you over to the officer, and you be thrown into prison. 26 Assuredly, I say to you, you will by no means get out of there till you have paid the last penny.”

            Galatians 6:7 – “Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap.”

    • DanJ0

      I think it’s supposed to be ‘accessible’. So-called Outreach programmes are often a bit like that. Chatty, friendly, non-threatening, and over coffee and cakes. With plenty of knitwear. But if it’s aimed at Christians then it doesn’t need to be. There’s plenty between that, and preachy. It gets better after two or three watches.

      • Anton

        But how many people will give it that?

        • DanJ0

          I did, and I’m an a-theist! Or is that indicative of its problem?

    • len

      Many people think that an aggressive religion (such as Islam) is more ‘affective’ than a more gentle tolerant religion such as Biblical Christianity.Islam appeals to what in biblical terms is called’ the flesh’ which is mankind’s way of doing things.Attack, dominate, subdue, is the way of ‘success’ for man.Islam and suchlike religions are clearly devised by man.

      Biblical Christianity could only have been devised by God because it reverses the way man does things.Lose to win, die to gain Life, lose human reasoning to gain true wisdom etc. Biblical Christianity is super natural which is of the Spirit.

      • Anton

        I wasn’t seeking to compare Islam and Christianity above; I was using the reverence that Muslims show for Allah to try to make explicit my concerns about that video. I want to make any criticism of it constructive. On this occasion I am struggling for words.

    • carl jacobs

      What you win them with is what you win them to.

      What this video does not present is Jesus as Lord, and certainly not Jesus as Savior. Those are the insertion points for serious discussion because they require the introduction of topics like sin, and obedience, and judgment, and the cross. Those are all topics absent from the video. Instead they are presenting Jesus as a good buddy and friend. The treatment is light because the presentation is light. It’s principle purpose seemed to be to say “We aren’t here to judge you.”

      The modern generation sees the natural universe as self-evident and self-existent instead of God. It does not see itself as created and therefore has no sense of moral accountability to its Creator. It has no sense of its own moral culpability and therefore thinks it has no need for a Savior. And it certainly has no need for a Lord. This is where the video begins. It comes across as presenting Christianity as a life option instead of a necessity because it assumes the audience will immediately turn off any claim to necessity.

      But give it time. See where it goes. When you try things that are new, you learn as you go. If they are all orthodox, they will get there. I would be much more concerned with the theological spread of the panel. If this is supposed to be some example of “living in good disagreement” it will be stillborn. And it will deserve its fate.

    • I have noticed a similar difference between western and Orthodox churches, and attributed this to cultural differences. Many Orthodox Christians find the western approach to spiritual things frivolous and irreverent, and feel it is not the priest’s job to amuse people. Group discussions tend to be very serious. I have wondered how some of them might respond to Caribbean style worship – be totally horrified, I suppose.

      To this day, I fail to understand the popularity of churches like Hillsong – but the youth are drawn to Christ through their ministry and I think that is very important.

      • Anton

        Lack of confidence manifest in irreverence is my concern. I think that Caribbean worship is not irreverent, but I share the concern of the Eastern Orthodox with vicars who think that you must start the sermon with a joke

        • sarky

          That’s where I went wrong, I thought the sermon was the joke.

    • “We’ll get converts, alright; but will they be the sort who can stand firm and fast when serious persecution comes?”

      I don’t know, but western Christians have faced very little persecution in recent times, that I wonder whether the teaching in any church is sufficient to prepare people for that eventuality. Church leaders cannot train their congregations in things that they have no experience of.

      • sarky

        I seriously doubt there will be an ‘I’m spartacus’ moment in the face of persecution.

    • Samuel

      Anton, dude. Despite what’s been said. , I’m not convinced it’s for the “unchurched masses” such as I. Having watched again the starting point was a topic in this blog about the queen not being a Christian. This was written by a Christian poster . So presumably it’s an internal Christian discussion or aimed at regulars here who are of the Christian faith . Not one aimed at others as an evangelism tool. Most of us have strong views which aren’t going to change and there’s no way I’m putting my “pearls” out here – as your Jesus said- to have a fruitless discussion which leads nowhere.

      I feel that any would-be convert is likely to come here and to be at best exasperated by the gulf of opinions by Christians , even on what should be a basic question as as to what makes a person a Christian. If you don’t even agree among yourselves as to what a Christian is , how can you convert anyone to that theological standard or belief? The answer seems to my mind when a person converts or when one evangelises , it is all about the “brand” of the religion as much as they religion itself. If Christianity is baked beans , then each denomination is a brand of said product (with each incidentally saying they’re the original). Which would make sense. It’s easier to understand ,say, the seventh day Adventist belief , the Anglican belief , the Catholic belief, the Calvinist belief…. than it is about the overall unifying concept of Christianity (for the sake of sticking my neck out I’d assume that would be Jesus ??) e.g. that conversations below about baptism and original sin.

      • dannybhoy

        “The answer seems to my mind when a person converts or when one evangelises , it is all about the “brand” of the religion as much as they religion itself. If Christianity is baked beans , then each denomination is a brand of said product (with each incidentally saying they’re the original). Which would make sense.”
        That’s a pretty useful analogy Shmu’el; if you don’t mind I shall pinch it for use elsewhere..:0)
        The revolution in communications means that the most obscure of sects or groups (Belz for instance), are now open to scrutiny.
        In my young days it was unusual for people to know much about other religious/denominational groups outside their own.
        For example I have just bought a copy of the JPS version of the Tanakh in English (it flows beautifully), and I am ordering a Stone edition of the Tanakh in Hebrew/English.
        I would never have known about these interpretations without my online contacts.
        The other thing of course is that by communicating with Jewish people we find that there are in fact (apart from traditions common to both faiths), many points of agreement and interest albeit from different standpoints.
        I think that faith in the religious sense, is based on what the Scriptures teach; whereas religion has more to do with what tradition teaches….

        • Samuel

          Dude

          Defining a Jew is easy. Arguing over Judaism is a Jewish sport and national pastime and numerous interpretations are the norm , rather than dogmatic spoonfuls: my usual caveat applies that it isn’t a total free for all and there are boundaries , albeit with big borders. I got into an interesting side argument during my Torah study about heretics , heresy and when someone who follows a heretical movement is a heretic and when they’re not. See it’s complicated.

          • carl jacobs

            Defining a Jew is easy.

            It is? I remember reading an issue of Commentary Magazine that was entirely devoted to the question “What is a Jew?” They solicited inputs from over 60 voices across the Jewish spectrum, and the only thing they could agree on was “A Jew is not a Christian.”

            https://www.commentarymagazine.com/

            Excellent magazine btw.

    • Samuel

      I agree sincerity and commitment are better than converting on an emotional or otherwise whim. I know with Judaism, it takes a long time to convert , although there isnt a formal time limit and often involves a person being told to go away several times , staying regularly in a Jewish home (as most of our faith is done there as much as the synagogue) , learning basic Hebrew (so you can read from the Torah publicly and privately ), getting a Torah study partner , as well as the formal requirements of being circumcised (if male) and publicly immersing oneself starkers in a mikevah and appearing before three Rabbinical judges of a Beth Din, as a sort of “job ” interview.

  • F.A.B – 1689

    I enjoyed it as far as it went. For me the utility would be in watching it with a group of Christian friends and chatting about it afterwards. That is where the true substance of the various questions could be pulled out. With regards to what a real Christian is – I think this can be answered (scripturally and with some certainty) at very least how we should look, be, think and act.. but in the 10 mins available there was the merest nod in that direction. I look forward to the second episode with the hope of a little more red meat.

  • Martin

    Having watched some of their other efforts on YouTube, which I confess seem even worse, I hope they may have learnt something before Monday.

  • dannybhoy

    Having watched it I think they’re sort of in agreement -or at least providing parts of the overall answer.
    I really don’t agree with the “Don’t Judge!” line, because it seemed to be going as far as to include Christian commitment and discipleship; and when you look at those areas the New Testament is full of the need to judge in such a way as to bring the one in error back into the fold, to guard against false doctrine or immorality in the congregation.
    Being a Christian is a serious business and the more we progress in our discipleship the more we realise what is at stake.
    Doesn’t mean we can’t have fun or a good laugh or a drink together; it just means that in our hearts we are fully surrendered to Christ and we want to encourage each other along the way. We want to see people coming to Christ and their lives changed.

  • Martin

    DanJ0

    Of course, for there is no other way to avoid the condemnation. So seek God and His mercy.

  • Martin

    DanJ0

    Of course, for there is no other way to avoid the condemnation. So seek God and His mercy.

  • Martin

    DanJ0

    Of course, for there is no other way to avoid the condemnation. So seek God and His mercy.

  • DanJ0

    Clearly you have not been born again. See to yourself first before forcing yourself on other people.

  • DanJ0

    Clearly you have not been born again. See to yourself first before forcing yourself on other people.

  • DanJ0

    Clearly you have not been born again. See to yourself first before forcing yourself on other people.

  • DanJ0

    Clearly you have not been born again. See to yourself first before forcing yourself on other people.

    • Martin

      DanJ0

      Your attacks on me seem to indicate you find my comments meaningful. Just remember, it isn’t me that you are fighting against.

      • DanJ0

        You’re clearly no Christian, you’re just a pointless troll. Go find a bridge to hide under.

        • Martin

          DanJ0

          Oh dear, is it getting too close.

          • DanJ0

            You’re no Christian, you’re just a troll. Every cycle demonstrates that now.