Christian Persecution

Justin Welby's call to battle


What exactly is the grand plan that is going to result in the disintegration and destruction of ISIS?

On Tuesday military chiefs from 22 of the 60 countries making up the coalition fighting against ISIS (including five Arab countries) met in Maryland to discuss the way forward with the campaign. According to reports, the meetings proved once again that although there is a united aim amongst the coalition parties to see ISIS eliminated, once you move beyond that initial goal there is very little that binds them together, nor is there a coherent strategy. Serious divisions remain, particularly over the coalition’s plan for Syria and whether the current methods of military engagement will strengthen or weaken President Bashar al-Assad in the long run.

There is plenty of talk of air strikes and arming the defending forces, but if anything should have been learnt from the recent campaigns in Iraq and Afghanistan, it is that military might alone can no longer produce stable conclusions in the way we had grown to expect in the 20th century. Wars against jihadist terrorists require a significantly different approach, and our politicians and military commanders have shown over the last few years that they have limited answers. If we are to see lasting victory over ISIS and other Islamist terrorist groups, new approaches will need to be forged and adopted.

At this time of crisis, Justin Welby has stepped into the fray with a substantial article for Prospect Magazine in which he sets out a vision for how the global response to ISIS and their fellow self-styled jihadists should take shape as a “new and compelling narrative”. He writes:

Strategy must be global. The emergence of ISIS has been a wake-up call. The attacks on religious and ethnic minorities, Christian and others, have been getting rapidly more severe (across the globe).

Even where there is no violent conflict there is struggle and persecution. In September a group of Indian Christians meeting privately in Saudi Arabia, simply to worship, were raided and arrested. In the United Kingdom, mosques and synagogues have been attacked. Freedom to worship, or to hold no faith, must be upheld. It has been international law since the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. The road is short from intolerance and hostility to persecution and atrocity.

This struggle is not simply a religious conflict, but a terrible mix of ethnicity, economics, social unrest, injustice between rich and poor, limited access to resources, historic hatreds, post-colonial conflict and more. It is impossible to simplify accurately. We cannot tolerate the complexities and so we seek to hang the whole confusion on the hook of religious conflict. And because even to do that on a global scale is complicated, we focus on one area, at present Iraq and Syria, while others—Sudan, Nigeria and most recently Israel and Gaza—are forgotten. Or, equally dangerously, we deny it is religious, in the illusion that religion makes it unfixable.

We saw in the aftermath of the second US-led invasion of Iraq that Western leaders had not grasped the full nature of the beast they had sought to defeat. Terrible mistakes were made as they realised, too late, that simply toppling Saddam Hussein and his power structures would unleash a host of regional powers, tensions and ideologies that had previously been suppressed. Western secular thinking has proved to be inadequate against these forces as the intricate issues continue to be oversimplified and misunderstood. Welby rightly points out that, unlike democracies with a Christian heritage where church and state are usually separated, in the Islamic world state and religion are seen as a single entity. Many of the failures of response stem from these contrasting cultural and historical perspectives.

These are not just political conflicts: they are both political and religious, and an effective response must mirror this. Force alone will never bring about peace of any substance. When we bomb ISIS fighters, we may not see this as an act of religious aggression, but ISIS certainly do. Until we and our politicians begin to understand effectively what is going on in the minds of our enemies, we will be unable to find solutions that have the potential to work. What is worse, if we do not accept the deficit of our understanding, we deceive ourselves and, as Welby puts it, “deceit leads to the same nightmares that engulfed the world after 1914”.

We also deceive ourselves if we do not acknowledge the reasons our country, along with the US and others, have set ourselves up as global policemen, feeling the need to intervene constantly. At the root of this, is it because of our desire to protect the groups which are facing intense persecution, or is it because of our own self interests; a desire to protect ourselves and maintain the economic status quo that suits us so well? As Justin Welby sees it, if we are to change the minds and hearts of others in order to overcome this present evil, then we need to be willing to change our own too:

Strategy must aim for a just peace, not only our stability and prosperity. The creation of international structures that promote peaceful confrontation is one of the greatest achievements since 1945. Yet too often they break down. An effective strategy requires as its foundation the ideals which were so influential after 1945 in Europe and Japan. We are not fighting for economic prosperity and a second overseas holiday every year. That weighs little against an ideal, however perverted, of eternal salvation through jihadist killing. Our struggle is for the ideas of human flourishing both now and eternally, of mutual love and respect, of diversity handled in amity not enmity. There is a need for practical precision on what that means. What does the end of this struggle look like? It must include a review of those aspects of our own culture and lives that rest in power and self advancement and not in love for neighbour. That touches on systems of trade, international finance, and the exercise of power.

Welby may be a visionary, but he is also a realist. In a move that will disappoint some Christians and pacifists, he endorses the airstrikes and the use of violence to preserve order. This must not be seen as a “war on terror”. Such an attitude only feeds fear and enmity, but the justification for our use of military force must rest principally in meeting the extreme humanitarian need of those local communities which are in the process of being obliterated by creating safe spaces for them. But we must be realistic and reflect on our past failings:

We all know that violence by itself resolves nothing. Any global struggle with aims of human growth and development, of a just peace and not only on the terms of the rich and powerful, requires a different spirit. For Christians it is ultimately through following the example of Christ’s self-giving love that we may save ourselves and others.

This “different spirit” is the key to Welby’s thinking, and it is not one that can be entrusted to our politicians. Whether we choose to accept religious belief or not, it does not alter the reality that religious faith and ideologies hold far more power than guns and bombs. In the first three centuries of the Church it had no armies and pitched no battles, yet it overcame the Roman Empire through love and a gospel of God’s peace. Religious leaders need to be given a place at the top table as much as military commanders. Their insights into the role of religious belief as a driving force in individuals’ lives, along with their status, hold great value and potential to change the stakes.

There is an onus, too, on all of our religious leaders to take the initiative and become more outspoken, addressing those both inside and outside of their respective religions:

Religious leaders must up their game and engage jihadism in religious, philosophical and ethical space. Religious justifications of violence must be robustly refuted. That is, in part, a theological task, as well as being a task that recognises the false stimulation, evil sense of purpose and illusory fulfilment that deceive young men and women into becoming religious warriors. As we have seen recently, many religious leaders have the necessary (and very great) moral and physical courage to see the need for an effective response to something that they have condemned. It is essential that Christians are clear about the aim of peace and the need for joint working and that Muslim leaders continue explicitly to reject extremism, violent and otherwise. Any response must bring together all those capable of responding to the challenge.

Justin Welby talks about treasuring and preserving our values, but also of reshaping them. This would appear to be contradictory, but the context suggests that he is referring to both the values that have built peace and progress and also those that we have developed that bear the hallmarks of selfishness and self-preservation.

This is the battle that Justin Welby is calling for. It is a physical battle against the brutality of ISIS, but also one that is against our complacency, arrogance and indifference to religion. To bring an end to ISIS’ reign, the hearts and minds of the adherents to their corrupted ideology will need to be changed. The lessons of the past teach us that it can happen, but we on the outside will need to do more to remember and embrace the values and that “different spirit” which have brought us stability and healing from our own conflicts if we are going to be able to make a contribution beyond the provision of arms to groups we favour and a campaign of airstrikes.

  • David

    Well he is certainly correct that approaching these matters without taking into account its spiritual, religious and therefore cultural dimensions will lead to failure. Christians with a knowledge of the history of thought of their own faith and culture, and the other faiths that all originate in the ME, are better equipped to grapple with these, the most recent manifestations of jihadist Islam, which has to be seen against their ancient, gradually unfolding context. The west is attempting to erase its own culture, faith and even perhaps political arrangements, so how can it possibly begin to unlock the mind of Islamist who sees no division between the secular and the sacred. The secular has been rejected by these warriors and they see only the sacred. Western secularism is ill equipped to out-think these jihadists. It is most useful that Archbishop Welby has spoken and spoken clearly, for he was the very first high level public person to identify that it is indeed a global pattern that we are facing. Time perhaps for our western leaders to get out of their sand pits and playpens and think again like mature, reasoning men and women; men and women whose lives have been led within, and formed by, a culture that is, at base, a Christian one.

  • B flat

    I feel it is already much too late for the West to respond in the way this excellent article suggests. I hope I am wrong in this. The West is not simply complacent politicians, financiers, and multinational corporations seeking to continue their own and shared visions of well-being. It is also a massive population that has been lulled into compliant and indolent inactivity, by progressive feeding of acquisitive and self-centred habits, which now have become a characteristic of our culture.
    How could that mindset be turned around in even one generation? If those in charge of our political life, education, and the law, were able to agree among themselves in our country, and achieve a consensus in the wider European Union, and its allies, how long would that take? What effort would it take for the EU to be convinced that the foundation of European culture is Christianity, and then act accordingly?
    The laws promoting self-gratification, at the cost of destroying a healthy society founded on principles set out so simply in CS Lewis’s Broadcast Talks from WWII, now published as “Mere Christianity” are freshly planted. They are fiercely protected by prohibitions of hate speech, and promoted by compulsion in our schools.

    We are in a hand basket, lined comfortably in social security, travelling to the greatest unending holiday in warm climes.

  • Uncle Brian

    Turkey was one of the 22 countries taking part in the Oct. 14 meeting at Andrews Air Force Base in Maryland, purportedly to discuss a strategic plan to combat the Islamic State, notwithstanding Turkey had effectively entered the war on the side of the Islamic State against the Kurdish Peshmerga less than 24 hours earlier. The challenge of how to deal with a supposed “ally” which had just sent its Air Force to bomb troops fighting on the allied side—Turkish Kurds who had returned from fighting, or who were preparing to fight, with the Peshmerga across the border in Syria—required Obama’s State Department, once again, to tie itself in verbal knots:

    Obama administration officials, who have been exhorting Turkish officials to get more actively involved in countering Islamic State, avoided expressing any disappointment at Ankara’s decision to strike the Kurdish sites. “It wouldn’t be accurate to loop the two incidents together.…This situation is obviously not without a great deal of complexity,” said State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki, noting that the Turks had agreed to host a U.S.-run training program for Syrian rebels on its territory.

    • alternative_perspective

      Not really surprising.
      As IS grows and sucks in more support it de-legitimises every other islamic state. If IS is successful then in the eyes of Muslims Allah must be with them.
      Thus if the new incipient caliphate has Allah’s blessing; by definition Islamic nation states in the region don’t.
      If IS win, the local nations lose. Its not just 3 points for a win, its the end of season run in and the competition are losing one battle after another – that’s 6 points in IS’s favour.
      Once a critical mass is reached there’ll be a snowball / domino effect and the whole region will follow and the only one that will be left standing is “secular” Turkey. A bit like the Arab “spring” but in reverse.

      • IanCad

        If you are saying the Caliphate could be a resurrection of the Ottoman Empire then I’m in agreement. Saudi Arabia, Yemen and the Gulf States may again become Arabia and thus ripe for the West to step in and take over the lot.
        Libya now looks set to fall to the extremists. Iraq’s heading in that direction. That leaves Egypt, Syria, Jordan and Iran as the only halfway rational governments in the region.
        What an unbelievable mess we’ve caused.
        The same fools who toppled Saddam, bombed Gaddafi, and would have done the same to Assad, are still in charge.
        All we need now is for Sunni Pakistan to join in the fray.
        Prayers for all the innocent and defenseless.

  • Owl

    The chances of anyone changing the hearts and minds of these terrorists is zero. The indoctrination is too deeply rooted.
    The only thing that can be achieved is to effectively stop them. This is the only protection that can be offered to all other religious and non religious groups in the region.
    Everything else is pie in the sky.

    • HD2

      I agree. you win wars with overwhelming force, applied to the point of ‘unconditional surrender’.
      That does not make for pretty pictures in the papers or on the TV news (etc0 but it wins wars.
      Politicians asking their Armed Forces for fight with one arm tied behind their back leads to more deaths and stalemate:
      Northern Ireland

      And countless other examples.

      Give USA (masquerading as NATO or UN) full rein to do as they wish in Syria/Iraq and ISIS would cease to exist in less than a month.

      But it would be far from pretty and it would require a ‘crusade’ (lets use the word) against devote Muslims throughout the West, since ‘devote’ becomes ISIS overnight when you’re young and impressionable and have Web access to the Imams of hate.

      • Uncle Brian

        HD2, I’ve given you an uptick, though I have a quibble with one part of your argument. “Give the USA a free rein …” Yes, but whose USA? Poor silly John Kerry, or the Chicago-trained professional politician who currently pays his salary? What could either one of that pair be relied upon to achieve? Not a lot, I think.

        • IanCad

          I’ve learned, long ago, that it is very dangerous to underestimate the Americans.
          No matter who is in charge, if they get their dander up, watch out!

          • Maxine Schell

            It seems to me that the most of us Americans have given up getting angry…for apathy!

        • dannybhoy

          The USA is apparently experiencing the same extremist infiltration and influence as Europe, and some say with the deliberate connivance of their government.

          Really weird..!

      • Dude, I agree with you. I agree with the principle of military intervention. But the US will fight this war with hands tied. First, the refusal to put troops on the ground or not getting the Arabs to do so. Second. The illusion that you can win a war without civilian casualties. All IS has to do is to retreat into towns and cities, park their weapons in schools, hospitals and the most densely civilian areas… and watch as the liberal press does IS propaganda for them attacking the US for all those civilians killed by the US/ coalition, whilst forgetting IS atrocities,. The voters see this and come heavily against intervention, with demonstrations in the streets, probably making central London a Kurdish no go area(we can check in Jews too as we’re blamed for the rise of IS even in some respectable liberal circles). That’s what Hamas did in Gaza. Worked a treat for them. Heck, you’ll see the UN accusing the US committing “war crimes”. Straight out of the Hamas playbook.

      • CliveM

        Would cease to exist in less then a month? Don’t kid yourself. You would have to wipe out the whole population for that (which will not happen). Otherwise they will just hide amongst the civilians and you would also be left with the newly, previously non combatant, radicalised.

      • dannybhoy

        I agree with what you’re saying, but what we are talking about is a clash of philosophies, religious and secular, and short of almost totalitarian harshness towards our Muslim populations or a mass relocation back to their homelands….

  • C Law

    Implicit in Welby’s article (or at least in the parts of it quoted above) is that committed muslims agree that the actions of ISIS and the like are beyond the pale. This has yet to be shown to be the case. One of the most telling images in recent times was in the aftermath of the killing of a Pakistani provincial governor by a member of his bodyguard because of his opposition to the operation of the blasphemy laws in Pakistan: hundreds , if not thousands, of lawyers demonstrated in support of the killer, all volunteering to defend him. When even muslims who have been highly educated in the western concepts of the rule of law choose to demonstrate in such a manner in support of such a killing one has to doubt that commited muslims really do agree that the actions of ISIS are beyond the pale. If this is so then Welby’s suggested strategy, reasonable as it appears to be to us, is a non-starter.
    I do not make this point to be argumentative, indeed it pains me to think that this is, in fact, the case, given the implications which follow from it. Nevertheless one must look at the evidence: actions speak louder than words. Nor do I have a better solution to offer, as Welby – quite rightly – points out this is a very complex problem.

    • cacheton

      Very well put. As one bishop has said, this is a debate about what the good life is. To be blunt, religious extremists believe the good life is following a method set out in a book believed to be the word of God. The problem is one of spiritual leadership, an inability to discern what is and what isn’t a spiritual truth. Of course the belief that God wrote a book does not help.

    • Merchantman

      I think you have hit the nail well and truly on the head. In Islam there are whole chunks of doctrine we cannot abide. Eventually it will come down to our ability or not to live with the elephant living in our room.

  • “This struggle is not simply a religious conflict, but a terrible mix of ethnicity, economics, social unrest, injustice between rich and poor, limited access to resources, historic hatreds …. and more. It is impossible to simplify accurately. We cannot tolerate the complexities and so we seek to hang the whole confusion on the hook of religious conflict.”
    What an excellent insight and one that can be applied to the history of Christianity too and the various divisions and schisms it has experienced and the responses to them.

    • dannybhoy

      Jack ,

      ” Maybe Islam is, Jack is not an expert on it, but if it is, do we free people from Satan’s grip by relying on repression, armed force and, where judged necessary, by mass expulsions or exterminations?”

      To not fight is to lose a base to do anything from. Had we not resisted the Nazis for example, would they have been changed by Christians in Great Britain or would Great Britain have been changed by Nazism?
      It seems to me that whilst we Christians may work and pray for peace, the realistic thing is to recognise as did our forefathers that physical evil has to be physically resisted.

      • Jack was talking in broader terms and referring to Islam as a faith system held by many in the Western states.

        Of course IS and all manifestations of violent Islam has to be defeated by force of arms, just as Nazism was and perhaps Communism should have been. That or we let these systems collapse in on themselves and meantime standby and watch the innocent die.

        As Jack concluded:

        “However, this will not solve the animosity between Islam, Judaism and Christianity and the underlying social, political and economic forces fuelling the flames of conflict which others take advantage of.”

        • dannybhoy

          But if we accept that the absolutist authoritarianism of Islam as the preeminent religion in which the call to convert or behead is explicitly stated, is accepted by extremists, how will we ever get shot of extremism?

          • The world will never be rid of evil, Danny.

          • dannybhoy

            At least not this one, Grandad.. 🙂

          • There’s double ‘d’ in granddad, Danny.
            Jack will not tolerate evil affecting his granddaughter (double ‘d’ again) or there will be Hell to pay. Lucy’s Guardian Angel will have to give a full account and should Jack ever arrive in Heaven in time, hopefully after a short stint in Purgatory, he will be there interceding for her too.

          • dannybhoy

            Grandad is the gender neutral version.
            Ddddon’t argue with mme, Hhhhhhhappy Jjjjjjjack.

            As long as the intention of your heart remains motivated predominantly by love, with perhaps a smidgin of healthy, holy, fear (for of course we shall fall down in awe before His glory), then I have every confidence that if I too follow your example, we shall both avoid purgatory.
            (Although I shall be somewhat singed around the edges….)

          • Ummm …….. if you want to use gran’dad it should have a gran’dad in it …. innit.

            As for Heaven, we all have to be spotless in the presence of our Maker and purified by fire or perfected on this earth. None of this imputed grace and our imperfections being merely covered, malarkey.

          • dannybhoy

            Your little gran)child will be perfectly happy to refer to you as Grandad without worrying about your tendency to pedanticism.
            Love conquers all Jack.
            Shock! Horror!!
            We will never be perfect in this life, and as for the next..?
            If the ‘created’ was given free will by the Creator so that even Lucifer and a third of the angels were able to revolt..

            I dunno.
            I look to my Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ to accept me as one of His sheep. Dependent on Him to lead, to guide, to chastise and even carry me when necessary.
            Yes, my will must be surrendered to His.
            Yes, I want to be His forever.
            But perfection in this life?

          • So let’s hope we meet in purgatory ……… where we will be perfected.

          • dannybhoy

            I respect your intimate knowledge of these places HJ, but I am somewhat baffled as to why or how Purgatory achieves what our Lord’s death on the Cross apparently failed to achieve.
            Or how chaps like Enoch, Moses and Elijah managed to avoid the experience..

            Here’s one explanation..

  • len

    Muslims looking at the West see a society which has
    abandoned moral codes and has steadily become more corrupted.Western
    Society has by and large rejected Christianity and any form of
    Christianity that has survived has become emasculated by political
    correctness apathy and denigrated by those who have used Christianity only as’ a
    vehicle’ to amass personal fortunes
    There is a spiritual vacuum over many parts of western society and radical Islam is
    taking full advantage and taking ground wherever it can.Radical Islam was held back by God`s restraining Hand but now that God has has been rejected by our society evil is coming in like a flood.

    • Politically__Incorrect

      The West has not just abandoned moral codes, it is abandoning any trace of common-sense too. Looking at the Telegraph today sums it up perfectly. The NUS (National Union of Students) has rejected a motion by a Kurdish student to condemn the actions of ISIL. The NUS rejected it on the grounds that any condemnation would be pandering to “Islamophobia”. Had to check I was not in a parallel universe when I read it, but it is true. Those naïve young brain-dead traitors would rather see children beheaded than offend the diversity god. Beggars belief.

      • IanCad

        Thanks for the heads-up.
        Just when I think I’ve seen it all something like this comes along.
        It is by the grace of God that we’ve survived this far.
        Who on earth could ever employ such twerps?
        Silly me! The taxpayers will fund a nice cushy number for them.

  • Darter Noster

    “Even where there is no violent conflict there is struggle and persecution. In September a group of Indian Christians meeting privately in Saudi Arabia, simply to worship, were raided and arrested. In the United Kingdom, mosques and synagogues have been attacked.”

    Juxtaposing the UK and Saudi Arabia in their treatment of religious minorities is somewhat unfortunate, for there is no moral equivalence whatsoever between us and a despotic monarchy well-known to practice, support and spread an extreme version of Islam not so far removed from that of ISIS itself. If ISIS wanted to make King Abdullah the Caliph, instead of this Al Baghdadi nut-job, you probably wouldn’t hear a peep out of the Saudis.

  • DanJ0

    Welby: “Freedom to worship, or to hold no faith, must be upheld.”

    He should probably be saying “freedom of religion” rather than “freedom to worship”, I think. Though perhaps in Saudi Arabia freedom to worship is itself an aspiration.

    • IanCad

      You’re on the ball there DanJ0.
      I wouldn’t have caught it.

    • Martin


      You are quite right, worship implies only certain things. Indeed freedom of religion give the right to the believer to say “this is wrong, it should not be allowed” even if it offends.

      • DanJ0

        The right to freedom of religion is a qualified right but it seems to me that it’s a lot more than just the freedom to worship. That wasn’t really my point up there though. The two phrases are well known now as part of that wider debate and I’m a little surprised that Justin Welby deployed that one even with his prior example setting some sort of context for his words.

        • Martin


          So in your view, freedom of religion is a qualified right. Doubtless you don’t consider your rights to be ‘qualified’ even if they are only based on a behaviour.

          • DanJ0

            It’s not merely my view, it’s a verifiable fact. Feel free to check out the Declarations and associated law. Moreover, it makes complete sense to rational people, given that different religions make competing claims. That apostasy is a heinous crime in Islam does not put duties on the rest of us to stand by simply because the religious have complete freedom to act in matters of religion. If that’s not blatantly obvious to you, even accounting for your cultish beliefs, then I have nothing more to say to you about it.

      • DanJ0

        Just to pick up on the other part of that: It’s a right to freedom of expression that allows the religious to say stuff like that. Luckily, the same right allows the rest of us to disagree and say so, even if that offends the religious. It’s also a qualified right, of course.

  • carl jacobs

    Count me unimpressed. Decidedly unimpressed. This ‘vision’ is noticeably short of specifics – perhaps because it is totally unrealizable. In one short sentence, this whole article is a grand vision of … [drum roll please] … creating a more just and equitable world through international action that will be motivated by a compelling new quasi-religious narrative based upon a religified form of Western Secularism. Wow. Who would have thought of that? And just in case anyone might get the wrong idea, he seasons the article with a healthy amount of moral equivalence.

    A few observations.

    Who is this compelling new vision intended to influence? ISIS? Not a chance. The Muslim world? Didn’t he spend a good part of his article asserting that the West had to stop imposing its mode of thinking on the Muslim world? This compelling new vision is Western Secularism glossed over with a thin religious veneer. Any serious Muslim will see right through it.

    Does he really think that Western nations are going to commit military forces to create ‘safe areas’ in the absence of some compelling national interest? Nations won’t do that because it is politically unsustainable. So, to answer his question, “Yes, the nations are only going to fight to protect their own prosperity and security.” He can bemoan this but he can’t change it.

    And does he really think he is going to get a nation to voluntarily reduce its own prosperity in order to establish a more ‘equitable’ system of trade, international finance, and the exercise of power. Perhaps he could explain the politics of that idea so we can all understand how to realize it. Perhaps he could state right now that he wouldn’t complain about the economic impact in his own country. He could even say “Our unemployment and economic hardship is a fair price to pay for a more equitable system.” Because that is what he is implying.

    Perhaps he could call on unicorns and fairy dust to make all this happen. I don’t know. Unicorns and fairy dust just might make it possible.

    • It’s a dog eat dog world, eh Carl? A world where each nation acts in its own self interest simply because it can impose those interests through military or economic might and its citizens restrict morality for private, individual worship? God doesn’t count in international affairs?

      • carl jacobs

        Yes, Jack. That is the world without unicorns and fairy dust. If you wish to drive your own nation into penury in service to some Quixotic quest for international equity, then knock yourself out. Only don’t complain when you no longer have access to things like health care. You are sacrificing for equity, and that should be sufficient.


        • No, Carl. That’s the world without Christianity. Why exaggerate? Jack wasn’t calling for equity but justice and decency in affairs between nation states. You know, some good, old fashioned Christian morality. Who knows? It might work because its what God wants.

          • carl jacobs


            Well, that clears things up. You want ‘justice and decency’ between the nations, but not ‘equity.’ Not quite what Welby laid out, though, is it. So what does justice between the nations look like?


          • Come now, Carl. Use that intelligence and a bit of imagination. As a starter it would be good if the first consideration wasn’t “What’s in it for …. (insert nation state) …”.

            All of which means that the Spirit, a belief and encounter with an historically active, personal God, must surely be a consideration that shapes the Christian approach to international relations. If the tradition of the Christian faith is nothing more than a protracted theo-political Hobbesian spat, then these three traditions are some awfully sad sign posts. – See more at:

          • carl jacobs

            There was nothing there, Jack. That article was as soft as Welby’s piece. Here let me illustrate by a question. No western military forces were sent to Rwanda in 1994. Was that unjust?


          • Between 500,000–1,000,000 Rwandans were killed – up to 70% of the Tutsi then living in Rwanda.

            So yes, if something could have been done by nations to stop this planned genocide, then it should have been done.

          • carl jacobs


            So you have asserted a general obligation.

            Upon whom does this obligation fall, and what is the “something” they are required to do in accordance with this obligation? As an aside, would you say that a nation intentionally disarming itself is now an unjust act since doing so will preclude fulfilling this obligation?


          • Jack is not in favour of disarmament as a nation has a duty to defend its citizens.

            As for Rwanda, the “something” would have been decided through the UN.

          • carl jacobs


            That answer was a case study in non-answers. I should upvote it just because of how much it made me genuinely laugh.

            If the ‘something’ the UN decides to do is ‘nothing’ then have we arrived at a just conclusion? If not, then what is the subset of ‘somethings’ that must be considered? And what if countries B thru Z think Country A should do this ‘something?’ Is that a just outcome? Is country A obligated to act at the behest of Countries B thru Z?

            And it’s understandable that you don’t support disarmament but that wasn’t my question. Does this obligation you have postulated require a nation to maintain sufficient military power to intervene? Is a nation that refuses to do so acting unjustly?

            No more weaseling, Jack. 🙂


          • Carl, Jack is aware you leading him into a trap. You’ve been down this road with others, he suspects. You’ve probably also studied it in a military setting.

            Sometimes manifestations of brute evil just have to be tackled by those best placed to tackle them because they are intolerable. Rwanda is one such example. So Jack has no well reasoned or formulated answers to all those questions.

            If there was no oil in the Middle East and it was of no geo-political significance, would you advocate America standing by and letting the Arabs annihilate the Jews?

          • carl jacobs


            Jack is aware you leading him into a trap

            “Who? Me?”

            No, that wasn’t quite right…

            “Who? ME?”

            A little better…

            To answer your question. No, because Israel is an American ally.


          • Leaving the influence of Dispensationalism to one side, America is an Israeli ally out of the goodness of its heart? Or because it believes its own interests are best served by being an ally – because of oil and geo-political considerations?
            Okay, assuming Germany had no intentions of expanding, should the ‘Powers’ have intervened against Germany simply because of the genocide of the Jews?

          • carl jacobs


            You can’t separate the Genocide from the conquest. But to answer your question. No, if Germany had stayed within its borders, then there would have been no reason to fight the war. The War was fought because Germany was a mortal lethal threat. It had nothing to do with Germany’s treatment of civilians.


          • No humanitarian imperative?

            And the reason America is an ally of the Jews is self-interest?

          • carl jacobs


            The Soviet Union was considerably more bloody if more politically correct in its selection of victims. If the Germans had Auschwitz, the Russians had Kolyma. Can you name anyone who has ever asserted that the Western powers should have fought a humanitarian war against the Soviet Union? Since the answer is “No, you can’t” perhaps we should ask “Why?”

            The difference between the Soviet Union and Hitler’s Germany is that that the later was ripped open for the world to see. It is also true that Leftist political forces had an interest in stigmatizing their political enemies by association with the Nazis. The perception that the War should have been fought because of German crimes is entirely an after-the-fact assessment.


          • “Can you name anyone who has ever asserted that the Western powers should have fought a humanitarian war against the Soviet Union?”

            Well, a chap called ‘Fred’ Jack met in a pub once asserted it. Does he count? And Jack would not have been adverse to it although he was not around at the time. Let’s face it, Russian Communism was as evil as Nazism.

            Why didn’t we go for Russia after the war if we knew the extent of their crimes against their own people? Surely a state that is at war with its own people forfeits its right to govern? Did the world leaders know and decide to do nothing? Moral weakness? Battle exhaustion? A calculation that it could not be successfully accomplished?

          • carl jacobs


            The was nothing unique about Russian Communism that made it malignant. There is not a benign form of Communism any more than there is a benign form of Nazism.

            There was no war with the Soviet Union because there was never a sufficient threat from the Soviet Union to warrant war. A nation is not responsible for the well-being of foreign citizens.


          • “A nation is not responsible for the well-being of foreign citizens.”

            We’re talking mass extermination not just wellbeing. Crimes against humanity. And maybe no one individual nation is legally responsible for the citizens of another state but collectively the nations of the world have a moral duty to protect victims of such brutality?

          • carl jacobs


            But when I asked just a few posts back for you to expound upon that exact subject you folded like a cheap wallet. It’s easy to say “Do something.” It’s hard to say what.

            And there is no such thing as “collective responsibility.” It must be attached to a specific entity so that there is accountability


          • Just because its difficult to expound solutions doesn’t mean we walk away. And even though Jack may have folded like a cheap wallet, at least he wants to open that wallet.

            Each situation will be different and what Jack is saying is that the nations of the world have a responsibility to one another beyond self interest. Indeed, its in all our interests to establish a world where states don’t go around committing genocide.

            The UN is the best “specific entity” we have to express our shared humanity on a small planet and the “accountability” will, ultimately, be before God.

          • carl jacobs


            And that is where the conversation always stops. To take it any further means that someone has to assume responsibility to act. Who is that someone? What is the limit of his responsibility? The UN hasn’t any authority or power to act. It can’t express anything. So what then remains?

            This is why I asked about maintaining the military power to intervene. It’s easy to remove one’s responsibility by removing one’s capability. If you believe in this obligation, then you have a responsibility to be capable of fulfilling it. If that means you purchase less health care, then so be it. There is no virtue in telling others to carry the burden.

            Little by little you follow the logic of Just War doctrine to its inevitable end point. You are moving from “Just wars may be fought” to “Just wars must be fought.” And yet when I ask “How and by whom?” you immediate defer. You fear the answer too much to respond.


          • Jack doesn’t fear the answer, Carl.

            He does not believe in a ‘World Government’ with the capacity to wage war. It would inevitably be one based on liberal and secular values separated from an objective moral order. He’s expressing a desire that the nations of the world cooperate to defend innocents against extreme violent offence and murder by their own governments.
            If it means those nations who have the greatest wealth and capacity to respond have to do so at a cost to their prosperity, so be it.

          • Maxine Schell

            General Patton wanted the US to go to war with the USSR.

          • Maxine Schell

            If there was no oil in the Middle East, the Arabs would not have the means to Challange Isreal.

          • And if the West hadn’t shown them how to extract and market it, using its companies to do so, they wouldn’t have the means.
            And if the Middle East hadn’t become a proxy site for the interplay of the Western interests and then Russian and Chinese, things might not be so bad either.

          • Maxine Schell

            You are right about that. We should have listened to Churchhill.
            Islam and democracy are fundamentally incompatable; only a strong dictator is capable of keeping a semblance of peace in ME countries, and the West has helped the terrorist minded Arabs overturn most of them.
            Mankind needs religious faith…and the West is not offering much.

      • CliveM

        Happy Jack

        I think the problem Carl has is that he is very good at pointing out issues and problems with the range of suggested responses to IS. And let’s be fair, their is a lot in what he says.

        The only option he has put forward is mass slaughter, along with some ritual humiliation of the corpses. Now he knows this isn’t going to happen, apart from any other reason, the brutalising effect on the forces concerned would be unacceptable. They would after all be returned to civilian society at some stage.

        So where does this leave us? Ironically, considering his criticism of the article, his concerns and approach is singularly secular (and also mercantilist).

        He seems to be suggesting Christian morality cannot play any part in this.

        Was the AoB entirely correct? Probably not. But at least he was addressing the issue in a serious manner and suggesting ideas that need to be discussed. Otherwise all we are left is with Carls option – despair.

        • carl jacobs


          What he is not good at is suggesting solutions

          No, I don’t agree with that. An effective solution to the problem of ISIS is available. It is simply not politically sustainable. There is no willingness in the West to carry that level of commitment. What the West is looking for is a solution that doesn’t require commitment. That solution does not exist. We can pretend it exists. We can’t instantiate our pretense by force of will.

          When I suggested impaling ISIS fighters, I was actually addressing a different issue. The question was not ‘How do we stop ISIS from killing.” The question was “How do we stop ISIS from killing our citizens.” In that case, I was assuming no level of permanent commitment. The context was a short punitive expedition that had no purpose other than force protection. It did not propose to effect any change in ISIS other than to deter it from killing my people. It was in essence a thought experiment intended to convey the kind of response ISIS requires.

          In the 80s, the Palestinians kidnapped a Russian soldier. That soldier was released within a few weeks. I read once that the Russians leaned the identities of the kidnappers, and castrated some of their relatives. The kidnappers got the message. The soldier was released, and no more Russians were taken. Am I saying we should castrate ISIS fighters? No. But we might drop this western pollyanna attitude about how to deal with them.


          • The end (release of the soldier and deterrence of future kidnappings) does not justify the means (castration of relatives who were not complicit in the crime), Carl.

          • carl jacobs


            Can you differentiate between ‘illustration’ and ‘recommendation?’


          • Can you? Your “thought experiment intended to convey the kind of response ISIS requires” was hardly civilised, though, admittedly, it did at least target the guilty.

            When you refer to “this western pollyanna attitude” what do you mean?
            To change the focus slightly, Jack has often wondered if you believe predestined reprobates, assuming we can identify them, have the same human rights before God as the Elect.

          • carl jacobs


            You will not effectively oppose ISIS with candy-ass visions of tolerance and diversity. You are not going to change hearts and minds. It will interpret such attempts at conciliation as weakness. If you want to deal with ISIS, you apply a rod of iron. That’s why this air campaign cannot work. You need physical proximity to compel behavior.

            What do I mean? You kill its fighters. You imprison its leaders. You burn its books. You demolish its mosques. You impoverish its followers. You make it contemptible and despicable in Muslim eyes. You shame and humiliate it. This isn’t about exporting the West to Islam. That is a fool’s vision. It’s about dealing with Islam on Islamic terms.

            If you want to stop them, that’s how you do it.


          • “You will not effectively oppose ISIS with candy-ass visions of tolerance and diversity.”

            Is that directed at Jack? He has never suggested IS can be dealt in any other way that a violent response.

            “You kill its fighters. You imprison its leaders.”


            “You burn its books. You demolish its mosques. You impoverish its followers.”

            How do you distinguish between IS and Islam more generally before burning the texts and places considered sacred by Muslims?

            “You make it contemptible and despicable in Muslim eyes. You shame and humiliate it. “

            Or demonstrate it is a perversion of Islam? And there’s the difficult bit which may or may not be achievable.

            “This isn’t about exporting the West to Islam. That is a fool’s vision. It’s about dealing with Islam on Islamic terms.”

            So, in your opinion, Islam itself only understands violence and humiliation and being conquered by superior force? There is no room for change?

            (And this question:
            To change the focus slightly, Jack has often wondered if you believe predestined reprobates, assuming we can identify them, have the same human rights before God as the Elect.)

          • CliveM


            Agreed you need to make it contemptible in Muslim eyes. The question is how. Destroying mosques won’t work. Firstly it doesn’t have its own mosque, IS is not a sect within Islam. All you would achieve by this action would be to drive more into their arms.
            Wipe them out. Well I have no problems with that. But in the long term it isn’t a solution, all that you would achieve is another generation of bitterness instead.
            Ultimately you need to undermine their legitimacy. I don’t believe any one believes dialogue with IS would be fruitful. What I think is being suggested is you enter into dialogue with those they hope to recruit from and try and reach them before they are radicalised.

          • CliveM


            If the solution is politically unacceptable, it’s not really a solution is it? 🙂

          • carl jacobs


            No, I think there is difference between something you can’t do and something that can’t be done. I can’t run a marathon, but others can. Reconciling Roman Catholic dogma with Scripture can’t be done.

            Was that uncalled for? I mean, I tried to stop myself but I just couldn’t.

            OK, a less polemic example. I can’t run a marathon, but others can. No one can walk from London to NYC. It can’t be done. The West is not willing to do what is necessary. That’s not the same as saying that what is necessary could not be accomplished even in the presence of sufficient political will.


        • carl jacobs


          Otherwise all we are left is with Carls option – despair.

          So that comment hit home. Is that what I am counseling? To be honest, I think the charge is fair. I don’t see much that can be done about such things. There is moral clarity in saying “This is terrible. Something must be done.” But it is pointless to act in the absence of any realizable solution. The scope of the problem is too big. The resources available are too small. There is simply no willingness to try and fix the problems of another civilization. I am pretty sure ISIS could be suppressed. But ISIS is a much more legitimate form of Islam than many people want to admit. How do you fix Islam?

          No nation can assume responsibility for the fate of the world. And in fact even the “Do something” crowd will admit limits. To be precise, they won’t fight a major war over these issues. Rwanda is one thing, but Tibet can go hang. They can dress it up in Just War doctrine, but it still privileges self-intetest of the needs of others. So what we really have is “Do something so long as it doesn’t actually cause risk.” And that position is not so far from my own.


          • “But it is pointless to act in the absence of any realizable solution. The scope of the problem is too big. The resources available are too small.”

            Carl, one of the criteria for a Just War is: there must be serious prospects of success.

            So when you say, “Rwanda is one thing, but Tibet can go hang” is to misapply the doctrine. It doesn’t mean placing self-interest over the needs of others, or “Do something so long as it doesn’t actually cause risk.” It means a realistic appraisal of risks, objectives and the chances of success.

          • carl jacobs


            one of the criteria for a Just War is: there must be serious prospects of success.

            Yes, I know. You say that every time. In fact that exact argument (which I knew you would make) is what I was referring to when I said “They can dress it up in Just War doctrine.”

            There is a serious prospect of success in Iraq. So where are the soldiers? They aren’t there. Why? Because there is no willingness to pay the cost. People are not trading off the benefit to the oppressed against the cost to the liberator. They are considering only the cost. To themselves. In a very self-interested way. There is not even a thought of war with China no matter the provocation. The idea that Just War doctrine even plays in that assessment is hilarious. That’s naked raw survival instinct.

            What you have, Jack, is this. The West might do something if its relative military advantage is so great that there is essentially no risk of (Western) bloodshed. But only if there is no possibility of long term commitment. This is your noble Just War doctrine at work in the real world.


          • “This is your noble Just War doctrine at work in the real world.”

            Your analysis may or may not be correct but that isn’t an argument against Just War doctrine, Carl. If you’re correct, all it means is that nation states are not acting in accord with moral principles of the doctrine.

            Now, if we still had the Holy Roman Empire with the Kings of nation states paying attention to the Church ………

          • carl jacobs


            Your analysis may or may not be correct…

            My analysis is exactly correct and you know it.

            If you’re correct, all it means is that nation states are not acting in accord with moral principles of the doctrine

            It certainly means they aren’t paying attention to Just War doctrine. Whether that doctrine is in any sense morally binding is something you have yet to establish. And you don’t help your case much when you run the other way every time I try to get you to provide enough definition such that it could be followed.

            Now, if we still had the Holy Roman Empire with the Kings of nation states paying attention to the Church …

            … we’d be slaughtering the Albighensians.

            You have to decide whether you think it was a good thing or a bad thing that the RCC was denuded of temporal power. You take different sides of the question at different times.


          • The temporal and spiritual authorities are separate but connected – one being lesser than the other and bound to act in accord with God’s law. This general principle becomes complex in its application.

            If the temporal authorities judged IS – or indeed Islam – a threat to the common good of Christian nations and/or Christian people in foreign lands, then they would be obliged to act according to Christian precepts.

          • CliveM


            Anyone who denies the difficulty of identifying a cast iron solution would be an idiot.

            I think I have said in the past that (from my limited understanding) is that any military option simply buys time, it doesn’t resolve the issue.

            Historically the Arab nations since WW2 initially embraces a Socialist Nationalism (think Nasser) which became discredited through their wars against Israel. Arabs felt humiliated and defeated and looked back to a supposed Islamic golden age. It is to be hoped that continual defeats inflicted on the likes of IS may have the same affect.

            I do agree that is a big if!

    • James60498 .

      “Western Secularism glossed over with a thin religious veneer”

      Perfect. Just the phrase I have been looking for to describe “Faith” schools in the UK.

      Thanks Carl

  • Stephen Hayes

    Defeat Islamic State militarily-and then what? A world safe for abortion, unbridled sexual sin, the latest electronic toys and endless debt fuelled consumerism?

    Fasten seat belts earthlings for your final descent.

  • bluedog

    His Grace asks, ‘…or is it because of our own self interests; a desire to protect ourselves and maintain the economic status quo that suits us so well?’

    Well, yes, actually.

  • Martin

    The Qur’an has passages that support mercy & passages that support cruelty. There will always be those who prefer violence to peace while they consider they are deprived of what they consider their rights.

    Indeed, the whole concept of rights works against handling such a view. Perhaps it is why we see people from our country going to fight with such movements.

    So what should a Christian do? Is Islam an equivalent to Christianity? The evidence from the inconsistency found in the Qur’an is that it isn’t of God. So the real answer is not guns but to address the false nature of the religion, just as it is the answer to those who preach another gospel. The Christian should be challenging the false beliefs of men, pointing them to the Saviour who alone answers the needs of Man.

    Will it destroy ISIS, probably not, but then we always will see such.

  • dannybhoy

    “Freedom to worship, or to hold no faith, must be upheld. It has been
    international law since the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. The
    road is short from intolerance and hostility to persecution and

    Especially if a large chunk of the world’s population don’t actually agree with the concept of Human Rights..
    After all, were did the man made concept of Human Rights originate from?
    The post Christian Western world. What is now influencing the decision making of those post Christian Western nations?
    Their sizeable and growing Muslim populations.
    What significant world religion does not subscribe to man made laws of Human Rights?

    • I read a story in the mail online about a Christian in Pakistan whose been in gaol for 4 years (and now faces the death penalty) for allegedly insulting Mohammed on the evidence of Muslim co workers. This is the mentality or law in a “moderate” Islamic nation. Which sums up the problems quite well: the liberal democraic construct of the west and the Islamic law or notion of government as it is being implemented, are clearly like oil and water, best not to mix, but that has happened. My kids, assuming I have any in the future, assuming Jews are still permitted to live in Britainistan (or that we haven’t swung the other way to the far right), are going to have it tough either way. The more things change, the more they stay the same….

      • dannybhoy


        Ad meah veh’essrim!

        “My kids, assuming I have any in the future…”

        And also assuming they will be able to cope with Daddy… 🙂

        I can accept that Islam is (like Israel once was), a theocracy.

        British born extremists have made it quite clear that they do not accept the authority of our British laws, our government or our Queen. From their religious/world viewpoint why should they?

        Unfortunately for us, as they have grown in number here so their confidence and goals have grown. Fear is a wonderful motivator! The Chinese and Soviet state communist parties knew this, as did the Nazis.

        We will be potentially fighting a war, or struggle, on two fronts. At the moment militant Islam is raging across Africa and the Middle East and their (IS) intention is to activate their allies and cells across Europe and America. So the other threat to our cultural survival will be from within.

        “The more things change, the more they stay the same….”

        My bro in law says he has experienced very little antisemitism as an English/British Jew, and if you look at how many Jewish people are represented in the arts and sciences and politics, things have until recently, been moving in the right direction.
        Or did you mean something else?
        In which case, ignore the ramblings of a really old dude…

      • Uncle Brian

        This is the most detailed account I’ve seen so far of the Asia Bibi case:

    • “After all, were did the man made concept of Human Rights originate from?”

      Danny, human rights are not something that man creates. They are based upon an objective moral order. Human rights are founded on human dignity, because man is made in the image and likeness of God and is called to communion with God.

      So man is not the measure of human rights but God is the measure. True human rights are based upon an objective moral order based built on human dignity.

      What you’re decrying is the concept of liberal, relativistic ‘rights’ based on a perverted idea that man is the centre of this world with free reign and ‘rights’ to define marriage, a woman’s ‘right’ to abortion, a ‘right’ to take our own life.

      God given human rights include:
      (1) “the right to life, an integral part of which is the right of the child to develop in the mother’s womb from the moment of conception;”
      (2) “the right to live in a united family and in a moral environment conducive to the growth of the child’s personality;”
      (3) “the right to develop one’s intelligence and freedom in seeking and knowing the truth;”
      (4) “the right to share in the work which makes wise use of the earth’s material resources, and to derive from that work the means to support oneself and one’s dependents;”
      (5) “the right freely to establish a family, to have and to rear children through the responsible exercise of one’s sexuality;” and
      (6) the right of religious freedom, “understood as the right to live in the truth of one’s faith and in conformity with one’s transcendent dignity as a person.”
      (Compendium of the Social Doctrine of the Catholic Church)

      • dannybhoy

        I repeat and emphasise,

        “Especially if a large chunk of the world’s population don’t actually agree with the concept of Human Rights..”

        Islam teaches not the human rights of man, but the obligation of man to submit to the will of Allah as revealed through the prophet Muhammed.

        • Its no so much Islam’s insistence on submission to will of Allah, more its *revealed* method for achieving this and response when one decides not to.

          The Christian and Jewish faiths have to try and reframe these concepts through theological and philosophical debate.

          • dannybhoy

            What did you think of the Archbishop’s article in Prospect magazine?


            I actually thought it was rather good except for the last paragraph where he says,

            “It may be that we cannot avoid some use of force, but that must be done in the context of a greater and more selfless ideal that renews the vision that rebuilt our own continent after the long wars that began in 1914. This struggle is for the heart and the spirit, not only for our security and undisturbed wealth. It is a winnable struggle, but the victory requires us to reshape our values, as much as to overcome those of ISIS. If we respond as we should, if we take this challenge as we should, then the future is a hopeful one for us, and for those areas currently so terribly afflicted.”

            However, full marks for making a rather more robust statement of his position!

          • Honestly?

            Jack liked the sentiment and thought it an insightful, high level outline of a Christian approach. He agrees with Carl it lacked practical substance. Then, it is the role of the Church to state Christian values and for the temporal authorities to work out how to translate these into action.

          • CliveM


          • dannybhoy

            And if the temporal authorities be liberal secular humanists??

      • dannybhoy

        “The Commission on Human Rights was made up of 18 members from various political, cultural and religious backgrounds. Eleanor Roosevelt, widow of American President Franklin D. Roosevelt, chaired the UDHR drafting committee. With her were René Cassin of France, who composed the first draft of the Declaration, the Committee Rapporteur Charles Malik of Lebanon, Vice-Chairman Peng Chung Chang of China, and John Humphrey of Canada, Director of the UN’s Human Rights Division, who prepared the Declaration’s blueprint. But Mrs. Roosevelt was recognised as the driving force for the Declaration’s adoption.

        You might like to look at this article HJ..

        • One notes the difficulties amongst nations of different faiths and world views and also the apparent influence of Thomas Aquinas’ thinking in formulating the Declaration.

  • len

    It seems that we in the West have become so conditioned to’ political correctness’ that we do not know how to react to threatening situations.

    We set up committees and study groups,try to impose our’ sense of fair play’ and’ doing the right thing’. All this has been met with indifference and a total disregard for ‘western values’.
    Until we come to this realization that we face an enemy who places no value on us or our civilization we will continue to try and reason with them.
    This inability to confront the enemy we are facing or to put conditions on how we will react to them is a show of weakness that will only add to their conviction that we in the west are weak and encourage the Islamic extremists to double their efforts.

    • CliveM


      Interesting post. So what do you suggest needs to be done? I agree we need to change IS’s perception of the west but how?

      • len

        Clive M , The Church in the west should unite behind the principles and the moral codes as given by God.
        The World and’ worldly values’ and moral codes have been allowed entrance into the Church.The Church needs to make a stand for Biblical morality and to remove all those who cannot comply with Biblical principles from within it.
        Governments have imposed their morality &’ value systems ‘onto the Church which has accepted when it should have resisted.
        If governments keep trying to conform the church to ‘worldly values’ the Church must separate itself from the State.
        The Church must ultimately be accountable to God and if it cannot be so it is worse than useless for the purposes that God intended for it.

        • “The Church needs to make a stand for Biblical morality and to remove all those who cannot comply with Biblical principles from within it.”

          Just what is the Church, Len? A Mystical Body of believers organised to sustain one another in Truth and to promote the Gospel? You repeatedly state you aren’t a member of any visible structure and repeatedly dismiss organised Christianity. So from the outside, you advise throwing others out? Just how does that work?

          And as a Bible believing Christian, Jack says there is an organised Church that is resisting the world. She is locked in a struggle at this very time with those within her who want to adjust God’s truth to suit the world.

          • dannybhoy
          • len

            ‘Just what is the Church, Len?’.
            Glad you asked Jack.
            The word ‘church’ does not appear in the bible because ‘a church’ was never what God intended.
            “Christianity started out in Palestine as a fellowship; it moved to
            Greece and became a philosophy; it moved to Italy and became an institution;
            it moved to Europe and became a culture; it came to America and became an
            enterprise.” (Sam Pascoe.)

            For’ Church’ read’ Body of Christ’ or the Ekklesia’ the’ called out ones’ and this can exist within the Church system(despite not because of the church system) or outside of it.

            ‘The Church’ visible which professes to be the true Church of God of whatever denomination has largely become corrupted and misleads people into all sorts of heresies and false belief systems.
            The Church invisible of which Christ is the Head is the only pathway to salvation.
            How do we know which Church we belong to I hear you thinking?.
            Anyone can join the church’ visible’ but you have to be born (or reborn by the Will of God) into the Church’ invisible.’

            I only want to know the truth that is why I dislike’ the church visible’ when it pretends to be something it is not!.

          • You’re drawing a false distinction. One can be a member of a visible, worshipping community – something God intends – and, at the same time, either be or not be in a right relationship with Him. Jack believes full membership of Christ’s Body is both. Jack doesn’t believe Christianity is a faith of lone-rangers.

          • len

            Sometimes the only way to Judge rightly is from outside the system Jack….
            Your loyalty to the RCC has blinded you to its errors Which is my point.

          • This was your point that Jack was querying:

            “The Church needs to make a stand for Biblical morality and to remove all those who cannot comply with Biblical principles from within it.”

            You are a member of no organised Church, yet you want unnamed denominations to make a stand for “Biblical morality” and to remove all those who fail to follow “Biblical principles”.

            All left unspecified, of course.

            Len, until you comprehend the Catholic faith you are in no position to judge it – or any other church for that matter. You really have little idea about Catholic doctrines and fail to separate these from your understanding of its history. Its made errors – its run by sinful men as well as saintly men. Its a human organisation. Despite this, in matters of faith and morals it cannot err – God will not permit this..

            Notwithstanding the mounting efforts of some, virtually alone in the West, Catholic moral teaching stands unequivocally against: sex outside of marriage, contraception, abortion, divorce and remarriage, euthanasia and active homosexuality. All “Biblical morality” and all based on “Biblical principles”, natural law and her constant, unchanging tradition.

          • len

            Jack ,, your resume of the RCC is full of contradiction.
            Try actually looking at what you have posted.

  • IanCad

    Sorry Gillan, but now seems as good a time as any to ask whether or not I am the only one who prefers the old blog format?
    We live in interesting times.
    May God be merciful to the weak and grant wisdom to the strong.

    • Uncle Brian

      One advantage of the new format is that Disqus send you an email whenever someone replies to a comment of yours. Conversely, when you reply to another communicant’s comment, he can’t get away with pretending he never noticed it.

      • IanCad

        Egg on my face!! Uncle Brian
        Part of my discontent was due to having to log in all the time. Same for email. Only today did I realize that I had enabled the delete cookies/history on exit.
        No five year olds in the family so I’m handicapped.
        Sabbath Blessings to all.

    • len

      Think I also preferred the old format’

    • Change is always an upheaval. Things are still being tweaked and improved. I personally think this format is a lot neater, but all feedback is gratefully received as they say.