Thy Kingdom Come 2
Church of England

Thy Kingdom Come: a week of prayer for confidence to make Jesus known

 

“Jesus Christ calls every person to follow him. As Christians it’s our duty and joy to share that invitation. That’s why the Archbishops of Canterbury and York are inviting every church in England to join a week of prayer this Pentecost, from 8-15th May — let’s pray for every Christian to receive new confidence and joy in sharing this life-transforming faith.”

So reads the introduction to Thy Kingdom Come: a national prayer initiative inaugurated by the archbishops of Canterbury and York “for our nation to know Jesus“. There are helpful resources; encouragement to pray for friends; Beacon events of worship and intercession, and a Blog: “There’s such power in praying for our friends who don’t yet know Jesus. Not just doing it once in a while, or when we feel like it, but doing it regularly – persevering with discipline, and with joy.”

The mission objective is “to gather, to ignite and inspire worship and intercession for a generation to rise up with a fresh passion and confidence for the proclamation of the gospel.” You can just imagine the jaundiced comment thread which will develop beneath this post. Some will quibble over whether the kingdom is here or yet to come. Others will argue about the meaning of “follow” in the context of Christian discipleship. Still others will insist that the Church of England — if it is a church at all — is preaching another Jesus from the one they know; a false Jesus of perpetual compromise and erastian evil. And then will surely follow the personal attacks upon the Archbishop of Canterbury himself: that wishy-washy, wet and wobbly Welby — he’s not exactly a John Wesley or a George Whitefield, is he?

And through all the effort expended on cynicism, negativity and bile couched beneath the pious cloak of holiness and spiritual discernment, prayer will be dodged, evangelism avoided, and the proclamation of Jesus deflected by critiques of hermeneutics and contradictory perspectives of salvation. You don’t obey Jesus by antagonising sick children or expelling the devils of frail humanity. We are a new creation of liberation and reconciliation; not a moralising, spiritualising, judging and condemning community of superior authority.

Thy Kingdom Come does not mean that the kingdom is not present: it is simply that it is not yet visible to every eye. Our task is to make it so — not by bringing it to our friends and colleagues, but by discovering it with them, becoming like them, in community with them. If they see that we love them, our hope in Christ is shared and our faith spreads. Their conversion begins with our prayers, but our prayers should be concerned with anticipation and possibility, not with judgment and demands for conviction and repentance. It is the Holy Spirit who convicts; it is God who determines everything; it is Jesus who calls.

To make the Messiah known demands more than a week of prayer leading up to Pentecost: it demands that we become a ‘people of the beatitudes’, hungry for justice and righteousness, feeding the hungry, housing the homeless, healing the sick, clothing the naked and visiting people in prison.

Far easier, of course, to tweet about eschatology and expel demons in a blog thread.

  • IanCad

    “– it demands that we become a ‘people of the beatitudes’,–
    And from that it will be concluded by some that you preach the “Social Gospel” – which is of course the true gospel.

  • sarky

    He he had to giggle. This is a pretty good summarisation of cranmers armchair warriors, all bark and no bite. If they were at all confident in their beliefs they would come out from behind their screens and get out on the streets.

    • IanCad

      Let me make an observation Sarky.
      It is generally accepted that most people have a fear of speaking in public. To a lesser degree this applies to posting on blogs. By far the greater number of those who read blogs are a little shy about posting and probably participate not at all in public debate.
      I would venture a wager that, of those who post on this blog, the majority would have few qualms about voicing their opinions or religious convictions in the public square.

      • sarky

        I’ll wager they wouldn’t!!!

        • IanCad

          Can’t think of any regulars who would have reservations. Don’t forget, this blog is not for the casual poster, nor for those who may have momentary flings of passion. In general they are thoughtful, confident, and mature men and wenches who frequent this site

          • sarky

            Let’s be honest most of you can’t even deal with linus et al and he comes here by choice. Back in the real world I suspect most wouldn’t last 5 minutes.

          • IanCad

            Can’t remember when Linus gave out anything that couldn’t be refuted if it was a nonsense. I also seem to recall he made some good points. Don’t ask me when.

          • sarky

            Many good points!!!

          • carl jacobs

            Who wants to deal with the acid and vomit and piss that he leaves on the ground behind him? If only he would transform himself so he would be worth dealing with. But he is not willing.

          • sarky

            He’s quite tame compared to some you may come across. That’s my point.

        • carl jacobs

          You wager against your own stereotype.

      • David

        Well said and nicely judged, Ian.

      • Anton

        I’m used to speaking to an audience because of giving lectures and seminars in physics and maths. I enjoy speaking in church too. But I regard myself as a teacher more than a preacher in my Christian life, and preaching the gospel to an audience of non-Christians (rather than 1:1) has no appeal to me. I’d do it if called, but I have no desire to.

        • IanCad

          I like to speak in front of an audience when it is my rare privilege to do just that.
          At least they’ll listen; my wife never does.

  • Inspector General

    Let’s give the people the TRUTH, Cranmer. Accept Christ and be saved. Reject Christ and your soul will be rejected upon death. If you’re lucky, then your spiritual residue will be destroyed there and then by the Almighty. If you’re not, how does an eternity of torment appeal…

  • steroflex

    We had a priest who was a convert from Sikhism. He just loved people. He wasn’t all about sin and hell and confession. He just loved people.
    Recently at a hot public event, Sikhs were going round offering bottles of water to people with a smile.
    At Church today (Mother’s Day in Australia) the priest mumbled something about a blessing. Several people including me stood up. “No, only Mummies!”, shouted the priest. At the end of the service, noting how embarrassed I was, a man said that if it had not been for fathers, there would be no mothers. He was being nice.
    My point is this: all these three examples show what knowing Jesus really means.

  • pobjoy

    Before there are gospel words, there must usually be ‘good news’ actions. Most people become Christians because they see a difference in a person they know well, at work, at home or in leisure activities. Christians do not join in workplace bullying, or get a reputation for taking ‘sickies’. Christians do not leave chores to other family members inequitably, or make critical remarks about others in an unconstructive or gratuitous way. Christians do not cheat when playing games, or encourage others to harm themselves. When people see that a person actually lives in gratitude for his or her forgiveness, doing what is best for others; that doing this makes a great difference to how life is lived, they may emulate that person.

    • William Lewis

      Good comment Mr pobjoy!

      • pobjoy

        🙂 Thank you, sir.

    • Phil R

      “Christians do not leave chores to other family members inequitably, or make critical remarks about others in an unconstructive or gratuitous way. Christians do not cheat when playing games, ”

      Clearly what makes a good Christian. It seems I must be a bad one…

      • preacher

        No, just an average one – like me !!!.

      • pobjoy

        One is either a Christian, or one is not.

        • Phil R

          Yes but being a Christian has nothing to do with passing a “nice test”.

          Why? Because it is not up to you.

          • pobjoy

            being a Christian has nothing to do with passing a “nice test”

            Paul wrote ‘Test yourselves.’ What John, Peter, James and Jude wrote amounted to the same thing.

            So if it is not up to me, and not up to Paul, John, Peter, James and Jude, to whom is it up?

            Phil R?

          • Phil R

            “So if it is not up to me, and not up to Paul, John, Peter, James and Jude, to whom is it up”

            Who do you think?

            We try to please God because we are saved. We are not saved because we please God. We already do. We cannot pass any test made by man and it it evil to imply that Christians should do. We cannot meet any standard of behaviour that will be acceptable to God to be saved.

            Sarky and other Atheists love Christians like you because you set yourself a standard of morality and behaviour to attain, then fail to attain your own standard. They laugh at your failure, but it is not funny, because others think that this is what a Christian is, and it is anything but.

          • pobjoy

            We try to please God because we are saved.

            We are not saved if we think that we can join in workplace bullying, or get a reputation for taking time off work when we are perfectly fit and well. James said so. John said so. Peter said so. What is more, no intelligent person will even suppose that we are saved, though they may take hypocrisy as excuse to refuse the gospel.

            Which is presumably the idea.

          • Phil R

            Gosh, it is so easy to go to hell isn’t it.

            So taking time off work when you don’t need to sends you to hell. Well that is me OK then. So what about driving fast? I did 50 in a 30 mph limit some weeks ago (and got caught £350 fine) and on Friday I drove for half an hour (quite safely) at around 120 to 140 mph, because we were late for a Church weekend. What is worse? Taking time off work or speeding? Is it OK to speed on the way to a Church Weekend (We arrived on time)?

            You see it is impossible to judge one another because you are not God. None of these things in themselves condemn. We could argue for hours as to whether killing a man or adultery is unforgivable. The fact is that they are all unforgivable sins, but even so all the sins are forgiven. Those that I have made and those that you and I will make tomorrow.

          • pobjoy

            Gosh, it is so easy to go to hell isn’t it.

            It’s at the end of a broad road.

          • Phil R

            The thing is.

            If you cannot save yourself. That is. You cannot make yourself acceptable to God on this earth. Go ahead.. Try it. Try to make it to heaven by your own efforts and without Jesus. You will never do it but it seems many prefer this broad road to hell.

            Jesus is freedom. We no longer worry about the law. If like you say it depends on righteousness. We would not be free because we would always worry that we were not “righteous enough”. How would you ever know you were good enough? Therefore how would you ever find peace?

            Seen the film Schindler’s List? At the end he has saved thousands. Is he happy? No, at the end you see him look at his watch thinking he could have sold this to save one or two more lives. He looks at his coat etc. If we go down your road we are all like Schindler at the end of the film.. and for us the cross is essentially meaningless as we are not really free.

          • Cressida de Nova

            Nicholas Winter, Britain’s Schindler was very happy to have saved thousands. The Jewish children were very happy to be saved as well.

          • Phil R

            That is not in dispute.

      • chiefofsinners

        We’re all bad ones. That’s the point.

      • sarky

        Or not one at all…..

  • David

    There is only one route that leads us to God. Jesus is that gate that leads us to The Father. For that gate to open, we are invited to acknowledge our need for brokenness, throwing ourselves on the mercy of God. Our ever loving Father will then forgive us, making us a full member of His eternal family, The family of God.
    That is the core Truth that must be preached in and out of season.
    Empires, cultures and passing fashions come and go, but the Word of God is eternal, unchanging, and always pointing us towards that essential Truth.
    If we believe in God’s Truth then our lives, albeit imperfect, will reflect that wisdom, and our ultimate allegiance will be to The Kingdom and not The World.

  • carl jacobs

    So … in service to the development of a jaundiced thread, let’s just put it out there. This effort will fail. Why? Because “making Christ known” does does not mean “doing good deeds in soup kitchens.” It means “preaching Christ crucified” It means proclaiming all those hard things at which modern men laugh and roll their eyes – sin, repentance, guilt, judgment, eternal death. You have to be willing to earn the mockery and condemnation of the crowd.

    hungry for justice and righteousness, feeding the hungry, housing the homeless, healing the sick, clothing the naked and visiting people in prison

    The crowd loves justice … for itself. Does it love justice for the unborn child or the woman put out by her husband? The crowd seeks after righteousness … as Iong as it gets to define it. Does it love the righteousness of sexual purity? The crowd loves the justice and righteousness of men. but we are called to declare the justice and righteousness of God.

    Feeding the hungry, and housing the homeless, and healing the sick, and clothing the naked, and visiting the imprisoned are all tasks the modern world would allow to the church. It reflects the modern view that religion is a material crutch for the weak and the sick. It is supposed to exist at the margins because it has no purpose for the healthy, and rich and comfortable. But we are supposed to see those categories with spiritual eyes. We are first and foremost to declare the spiritual poverty of man – to declare to the rich man that he is poor, to declare to the righteous man that he is judged and found wanting. The primary purpose of the church is not to be succor for the material needs of man. We are first supposed to herald the spiritual answer to the spiritual needs of man – confident that God will give the increase. We need to declare all those hard things – sin, judgment, death – that present the true problem. Men do not need bread nearly as much as they need the Bread of Life. Give a man bread and he will still die. But here is the Bread that a man may eat and never die.

    You don’t just make Christ known. You make Him known through the Gospel. But we live among a dull people will dull ears and dull eyes. You have to be willing to earn the wrath and contempt and opposition of that people. You have to say what they do not want to hear. You can’t just run a soup kitchen and hope they notice.

    • William Lewis

      ” We are first and foremost to declare the spiritual poverty of man – to declare to the rich man that he is poor, to declare to the righteous man that he is judged and found wanting.”

      But by, first and foremost, demonstrating the love of Christ, we are inherently and implicitly declaring the spiritual poverty of man.

      • carl jacobs

        What did Paul do? What example did he leave us?

        • William Lewis

          Paul initially declared the truth of Christ the Messiah to various Jewish and gentile communities and latterly exhorted the nascent churches that he had helped build to demonstrate the truth of their beliefs by their behaviours. Not least to show unbelievers that they were serious in their beliefs.

          • carl jacobs

            Fair enough. But what comes first? The Gospel always comes first because it is the power of God to salvation.

          • William Lewis

            The Gospel is literally vital but what are we to make of those who preach it but don’t live it? Not least, it is inherently human to assess the messenger in conjunction with the message.

          • carl jacobs

            The Gospel is both necessary and sufficient. Can a man be saved without the presence of good works in a soup kitchen? Yes. Can a man be saved without the Gospel? No. That is the difference. Soup kitchens aren’t offensive to natural man. The Gospel is offensive – specifically all those hard things I mentioned above. If you aren’t addressing those issues directly, you aren’t communicating the Gospel. You are just doing good works.

          • William Lewis

            I can only agree, Carl, but who is preaching salvation through good works here?

            “If you aren’t addressing those issues directly, you aren’t communicating the Gospel.”

            But the objective is not to be offensive. The objective is to present the spiritual reality of the Gospel, offensive though it may be. That reality cannot be effectively presented by those apparently not living by its light, IMO. Paul has much to say on what it means to live by this light.

          • carl jacobs

            I’m not saying to be purposefully offensive. I am saying that you can’t hide the offensive parts behind a screen of good works that are acceptable to the unbelieving world, and still claim to be doing anything useful.

          • William Lewis

            True. Ultimately good works are good because they are the fruit of the vine. They are indicative of someone living the Gospel. They are not the Gospel per se.

        • Findaráto

          He provided Christians with an excuse for homophobic prejudice.

          • The Explorer

            That sentiment might have been around without St Paul. When the Nazis did their homosexual purge on the Night of the Long Knives, Christianity was not the ideology motivating them.

          • Findaráto

            Christianity has nurtured homophobia for more than 2000 years. Post-Christian societies are the successors of that hatred.

            In other parts of the world, other religions have also disapproved of homosexuality, but only the Abrahamic faiths have consistently persecuted and attempted to eliminate LGBT individuals. It all started with the Jews, and then Christians and Muslims perpetuated the tradition.

            During the colonial period Christian governments enracinated anti-homosexual prejudice across the world. So the situation we find today is largely the fault of Christianity. Gays beaten to death in Africa can thank Christianity as well as Islam for the fate that awaits them. Uganda is not a Muslim country.

          • The Explorer

            Judaism certainly took a strong line on homosexuality. Christianity inherited much of the Jewsih tradition, and Islam copied both with some permutations of its own.

            My point was that Nazism took a biological, Darwinian line about breeding. Abortion was forbidden to German women, but compulsory for Polish or Russian women impregnated by German men so that the purity of the race (from a Nazi perspective) would not be contaminated. The elimination of biological homosexuals was also part of the purification process, and the purge of ideological homosexuality was corrective. Those obsessed with the ‘mannerbund’, despite the value of the bond forged by war, needed to have their energies re-directed towards the perpetuation of the master race.

            Although the Nazis carried it to extremes, that sort of attitude has also always been around. Plato in the ‘Laws’ comes down against physical homosexuality, and he wasn’t influenced by Christianity, or even by Judaism.

          • Findaráto

            One of the unfortunate aspects of human nature is a tendency to demonise all behaviours that one wouldn’t engage in oneself.

            Not everyone has the kind of personality that condemns what it doesn’t like, but enough do, and especially enough heterosexual men used to dominating society and imposing their wills on others do, to have made homosexuality a taboo in many societies.

            It was the Jews and subsequently Christians and Muslims who erected this disapproval into a religious and social prohibition.

            Now that the West is leaving religion behind and has adopted a democratic and tolerant vision of how society best functions for the good of the greatest number, the old religiously codified bigotries are no longer acceptable.

            It’s OK to feel a personal distaste for homosexual sex. Most gay people feel a personal distaste for heterosexual sex, and that’s OK too. What is not OK is to erect your personal feelings into a universal prohibition and then use it as an excuse to destroy other people’s lives. That’s what Christianity does, and Islam and Judaism too. For no reason except “I don’t like it, so God doesn’t like it too, so you’re not allowed to do it, and if you do, I’ll kill/maim/imprison you and then you’ll be sorry!”

            Christianity may be your vision of how to lead a good life, but it is not mine. I refuse to be bound by your religious vision and will fight against any prohibition that it tries to impose on me and anyone else who does not follow it.

            As long as the law of the land is based on Christian morality, I will fight to change that law. The only morality I will accept is a civil morality based around the concepts of personal sovereignty, democratic responsibility and the tolerance of diversity and difference. It’s the only means by which a society as diverse as ours can function.

            Christians have the same place in that society that everyone has. They’re free to practice their religion and only when they try to interfere with the rights of others to live their lives unmolested will their actions be constrained. This is the only way it can be in a diverse society. If you don’t like it, there are countries you can move to where the Christian religion still dominates and where you can discriminate against gays until the cows come home without any fear of reprisal. Russia and Poland are two that spring immediately to mind. Why not try them? Or are you happier playing the oppressed martyr in your own country?

          • The Explorer

            Important thoughts, including responses to points I didn’t make. I outlined the history of different approaches, but didn’t express a personal opinion.
            Your argument is that monotheism created hostility to homosexuality, and that without monotheism that hostility would largely. disappear. My argument is that running parallel to monotheism there is, and has always been, a biologically-derived hostility to homosexuality that is independent of monotheism and that will continue whether monotheism survives or not.

            Heteros dislike gay sex and gays dislike hetero sex. It’s a matter of taste. As the film ‘Spartacus’ has it, some like snails, some like oysters, and some like both. Fine and dandy. Paedophiles prefer sex with children. it’s a matter of taste. Wrong. Paedophilia harms children. So taste isn’t enough to justify behaviour. We also have to look at consequences.

            One person may eat a balanced diet with plenty of fruit and green vegetables, and another my prefer a diet of french fries. Both fulfil the same purpose of sustaining the body. But what will happen to the respective bodies as a result of the respective diets may be more than a matter of taste. A matter, also, of consequences.

          • Findaráto

            My position is that monotheism turned personal distaste into a religious prohibition. The disappearance of monotheism will not cause personal distaste to cease to exist. But it will relegate it to its rightful place: a personal opinion to be kept to oneself out of respect for other people rather than a religious commandment to be imposed on all and sundry regardless of the harm it does.

            And if you’re going to go down the road of “consequences” then do be prepared to explain why God loves straight sex but inflicts vaginal prolapse on more than a third of women who practice it. Monogamously, with their husbands. Whereas apparently he hates gay sex, but only a tiny percentage of gay men ever suffer from anal prolapse, and virtually no lesbians at all.

            More people have died as a direct consequence of engaging in straight sex than have ever died from gay sex. Even when you adjust the figures to take into account the smaller percentage of gays and lesbians in the population, death in childbirth has historically been a leading cause of mortality among heterosexuals. And childbirth is a direct consequence of straight sex.

            Based solely on consequences it looks as though God must absolutely loathe and destest heterosexual sex. On the same basis he must merely disapprove slightly of the gay variety. But when it comes to lesbians, he’s right on board and thinks that girl-on-girl action is just fine and dandy.

            So much for God the homophobe. It’s straight sex that’s the real abomination. Otherwise why are women punished so terribly for engaging in it? Prolapse, urinary leakage, fibroids …
            the list of consequences just goes on and on.

          • The Explorer

            More good points. Never mind disease, God must really hate the human race because 100% of humans currently die. Much depends, of course, on whether or not death ends everything, or whether life continues in resurrection bodies after the Last Judgement. There is certainly no promise given that our current bodies will not be subject to decay.

            My understanding is that vaginal prolapse affects around 10% of women and is a treatable condition. Wear and tear on the body from the process of living. Both sexes sometimes need hip or knee replacements from the process of walking.

            I don’t offhand know the statistics for anal prolapse in gays, Without wishing to dwell on such matters, there’s also the possibility of prostate damage, ulcers and fissures, amebiasis, giardiasis, shigellosis and chlamydia, not to mention AIDS.

            Yes, indeed, the process of living kills you, and some ways of living kill you faster than others; and sometimes you may yourself be blameless, but victim of the decisions or actions of others. The problem of suffering goes way beyond sex.

          • Findaráto

            If you want to condemn gay sex using STIs as evidence of its evil consequences then you must condemn straight sex too. Both women and men can catch exactly the same kinds of diseases by having sex with someone infected. And anal sex is not the exclusive preserve of gay men. Check out a few straight porn sites if you don’t believe me. Perhaps not the ones you habitually look at. But that’s the nub of the problem with people like you: an inability to imagine that other people could possibly think differently from you.

            Also, please tell me where in the Bible anal sex is forbidden. Two men may not have sex as a man and a woman, but men and women can have anal sex and the Bible does not forbid this. Which means that the consequences of anal sex cannot in and of themselves be a punishment for sin because anal sex is never referred to as such.

            Even the Catholic Church’s prohibition on anal sex as not being “open to life” makes no sense when viewed as an act that men and women can (and do) engage in before vaginal coitus. If anal sex is a sin then so is fellatio, frottage, kissing and every other sexual practice that does not in and of itself lead to an emission of sperm within the vagina. Which perhaps explains the pious Catholic’s idea of sex as something that takes place through a hole in a sheet as a shield against sin, but for 99% of us just confirms that the Church has a problem with the idea of sex as a whole.

            BTW your statistics for vaginal prolapse are way off. They only take account of the final stages of the condition when internal organs have descended into the vaginal canal. The various stages in the development of this condition also count as prolapse and can be both debilitating and extremely painful. This apparently was your God’s plan for a large percentage of women. That they should suffer for following his commandment to multiply. What an unpleasant deity you worship!

          • The Explorer

            We’ve travelled a long way from St Paul on faith and works. However….

            Yes, a percentage of heterosexuals practise anal sex: especially those who have divorced the sex act from procreation. Once the primary purpose of sex is about sensation, a powerful argument against homosexuality collapses and there is no reason not to experiment with homosexual practices.

            Obviously, infidelity is a conduit for all sorts of diseases. Ibsen’s ‘Ghosts’ made that point forcibly in its day. But anal sex is riskier than vaginal sex. Some of the ailments I listed can be contracted from anal sex even when there is fidelity, which is not the case with vaginal sex.
            The Bible says nothing about non-vaginal forms of sex (I did not suggest it did); although the Sodom incident suggests a prohibition on homosexual rape. What the Bible does insist on is that sexual activity should be restricted to marriage between a male and a female. What happens within that union is at the discretion of the couole.
            I’m no expert on vaginal prolapse, and am quite willing to concede that my figure might be wrong.
            As to the unpleasant deity, I suppose the difference between your view of life and mine is that for you, life’s a bitch and then you die. For me, life’s a bitch and then you die: but the sufferings and injustices of this present existence will ultimately be remedied.

          • carl jacobs

            I’m surprised at you, Linus. You are a few month’s overdue in deleting your latest account. Have we finally shamed you into keeping an identity?

          • Findaráto

            If that’s the best retort you can think of, I’m clearly starting to wear you down.

          • carl jacobs

            That wasn’t a “retort.” A “retort” would require me to pay some level of attention to your posts. That was an observation that has been sitting in my head for (oh) about a month now. I just took the opportunity to mention it.

            Think of it as a back-handed compliment, because your behavior has demonstrably changed. We’ll see if it’s permanent.

          • Findaráto

            For someone who claims to ignore me, you seem to spend an inordinate amount of time dreaming up “stinging rebukes”.

            A whole month, eh? That just about counts as an obsession.

          • carl jacobs

            You created six separate identities over several months, deleting each one in turn – and then publicly lied about deleting them. You created separate & mutually exclusive backstories for each of those identities. Do you think people haven’t been waiting for “Findarato” to disappear as well? The fact that you still use that identity is the dog that didn’t bark, and rather loudly for that matter. It doesn’t take obsession to notice a recurring pattern. Nor does it imply obsession when one notes that the pattern has been broken.

          • Findaráto

            Big accusations from a very small man. Where’s your proof that I’ve lied about anything? Where in this blog’s or Disqus’s regulations does it say that deleting an ID and creating a new one is a crime? As long as a user doesn’t post under simultaneous IDs, no rules are being broken. Except perhaps rules that you’ve made up for yourself and now claim are universal and must be respected by all.

            Now what does that remind me of … ??? Oh, I know! Your entire ridiculous religion! Invented by narcissists just like you and erected by them to the status of holy law.

            Please, shriek and holler as loudly as you like whenever I break one of your divine commandments. And then watch me do it again and again. Your divine commandments mean nothing to me, just like your idea of what constitutes correct blog etiquette.

            What does revolt me are out and out lies, like the one you’ve just been caught telling. You say you never read my posts, and then respond to them in detail in a fashion that would be impossible had you not read them!

            Your imaginary God, what a bare-faced and unrepentant liar you are! And then you go and criticise me for lying without being able to present a shred of evidence in support of your accusation. So you’re not only a liar, but a hypocrite too! Accusing me of something you blithely engage in yourself. And clumsily too, considering all the incriminating evidence you leave behind you.

            And must we add charges of bearing false witness to this catalogue of misdemeanour too? Where’s your evidence that I’ve posted under several different IDs? I’m happy enough to admit that I do not believe that to do so constitutes in any way, shape or form a crime of any kind, but your accusation being backed up by no evidence cannot be given credence by any fair-minded person. Especially coming as it does from a proven hypocrite and liar.

          • carl jacobs

            Heh. What a classic Linus rant. The prosecution rests.

          • Findaráto

            How can you know if you never read my posts?

            Yes, the prosecution most certainly does rest. You are a convicted liar and hypocrite. And you want people to listen to you when you talk about Christianity. You? A constant purveyor of untruths? Who do you think is going to take you seriously?

          • William Lewis

            We know it’s your pet subject, Linus, but not everything revolves around your sexual desires.

          • Findaráto

            Why not? Everything revolves around yours. Marriage was defined for centuries in accordance to your sexual desires. Inheritance laws, civil rights and just about every aspect of social interaction revolved around the assumption that only man/woman couples were valid.

            Things have changed. Now society reflected by civil law admits that gay sexual desire is every bit as valid as the straight variety. All of a sudden everything no longer revolves solely around you. That’s what you really hate, isn’t it? Not being the unique centre of attention any more.

            Careful, your vindictive yet impotent jealousy is showing. You can’t bear that any of the limelight should be directed at anyone who isn’t exactly like you.

            Poor you, living in a diverse society where many different forms of relationship are celebrated must be a real trial for a dyed-in-the-wool narcissist. Only when everyone bows before you and tells you how wonderful and perfect you and you alone are will you be happy.

            You’d better prepare yourself to lead a deeply unhappy life then. You’re just one in a crowd now. Get used to it. You don’t have much choice.

          • William Lewis

            I’m not interested in your attempts to validate gay desire and “marriage”. They are built on nothing other than personal desire and are not the subject under discussion.

    • sarky

      Give a man a fish and he will eat for a day. Give him a net and he will eat for a week. Give him religion and he will die praying for fish.

      • carl jacobs

        The man who is born blind will never see except he is given eyes.

        • sarky

          He will….just in a different way.

          • The Explorer

            If I understand Carl correctly, he is saying that if you come to faith that will be God’s choice, not yours. You will be given spiritual eyes to see, or you won’t.

          • carl jacobs

            The man born blind knows nothing of sight. So why then does he seek to instruct those who can see about the inevitability of blindnes? He says “There is no sight. There are no eyes. Everythng is darkness. Your claims are illusion.” The man must first be given eyes before he can teach – before he can understand.

            But who can restore the sight of a man born blind?

          • Findaráto

            A blind man has good reason to believe that sighted people are in possession of a sense that he lacks. It confers upon them an advantage that he can easily detect.

            Put a sighted man and a blind man in a deserted museum that neither of them knows and tell them that a million pounds is waiting in a suitcase at the exit. The first to find it gets to keep it.

            So who will get the money? The blind man stumbling around not knowing whether any door or passageway he finds with his cane leads to the exit or not? Or the sighted man who simply has to follow the signs that visually point him in the right directlon?

            Repeat the experiment several times. By the second or third attempt the blind man will have realised that his sighted competitor is in possession of a sense that confers a distinct advantage on him. He may have no idea what sight is or how it works. But he’ll know it exists.

            So what advantage detectable by all who do not possess it does faith in God confer on you?

            And you wonder why we take you for fantasists and fools…

          • IrishNeanderthal

            רָאִיתָ–אִישׁ, חָכָם בְּעֵינָיו: תִּקְוָה לִכְסִיל מִמֶּנּוּ.

            Do you see a man wise in his own eyes? There is more hope for a fool than for him. 

          • Cressida de Nova

            Great explanation of the proof of the existence of God. Well done !!

          • Findaráto

            I repeat my question, what advantage detectable by all who do not possess it does in faith in God confer on you?

            Unless you can convince me that Christians have superpowers that I do not possess, what I wrote above can in no way be taken as proof of the existence of God.

            So what is it then? Do Christians have ESP and can they prove that to me via a series of experiments where they consistently pick a playing card or a hidden number?

            Do they have the ability to wiggle their noses like Samantha Stevens in Bewitched and magically alter things, or transport themselves anywhere in the world instantaneously?

            Perhaps it’s more subtle than that. But it can’t be too subtle because those who can’t do it have to be able to detect it the same way a blind man can detected that sighted people have an advantage over him. So what is it that only Christians can do that the rest of us know they can do, but we can’t?

            This should be good…

          • sarky

            No free will then

          • The Explorer

            Why should there be? The inventor of the game gets to make the rules.

            I’m not saying those are my views, but I can see the force of them. Certainly, free will, if it exists, is a gift: not an entitlement.

          • carl jacobs

            The problem is not the existence of free will but what we mean by free will. We tend to mean “libertarian free will” which only God possesses. Man’s free will is limited by the decrees of God. We cannot by our choices undo what God has decreed.

            People also tend to assume that free will requires the possibility of contrary choice. In this view there must be contingency. But all it really requires is assent of the will. The problem with man’s will is that man inevitably uses it to sin. He knows good and yet he chooses evil. It’s not that he doesn’t want to sin but does it anyways. It’s that he loves to sin and freely chooses to do so. Always. The free will of natural man is permanently set to “choose sin.”

            The Lord Jesus was fully man. He possessed the same will as everyone of us. Was there any possibility that He would choose to sin? No. Was he therefore not a man? Did He possess a lesser will?

          • If man can only chose sin cause of inherited concupiscence, then it is not “free will” at all. Plus, experience shows that not all men are compulsive, habitual sinners. What you’re overlooking is that God gives everyman sufficient grace to resist evil and to accept Him, in faith, or to reject Him.

          • carl jacobs

            You overlook the restraining hand of God on men. You also overlook the fact that even the “good” that men think they do is evil in the sight of God. It’s black letter law, Jack.

            For the mind that is set on the flesh is hostile to God, for it does not submit to God’s law; indeed, it cannot. Those who are in the flesh cannot please God. Romans 8:7-8

            Prevenient Grace who be a more credible concept if it existed somewhere in Scripture. Man is dead in sin. He is not mostly dead in sin. Man is a slave to sin. He is not mostly a slave to sin. That’s why he needs to be made alive. That’s why he needs to be redeemed.

          • Men do naturally much that is good is the sight of God. (Romans 2:15) As a result of original sin human nature has not been totally corrupted. It has been weakened and wounded; is subject to ignorance, suffering, the domination of death, and the inclination to sin and evil.
            References to grace are present throughout scripture. Where you see irresistible grace, Jack sees prevenient grace.

          • carl jacobs

            btw. Why aren’t you crowing at me?

          • Too soon. Waiting until Tuesday.

          • Cressida de Nova

            How are you darling? Keep well. God bless!

          • Uncle Brian

            Carl, there are several sayings of Jesus along the lines of “Do the right thing and you will be recompensed (repaid, rewarded).” One example: Luke 14.13-14:

            But when thou makest a feast, call the poor, the maimed, the lame, the blind: And thou shalt be blessed; for they cannot recompense thee: for thou shalt be recompensed at the resurrection of the just.

            Don’t get me wrong. It isn’t my purpose to challenge your statement about free will. But I’m interested to learn how the apparent “tension” is resolved, if you take as your starting point the assertion that man can never do anything right, that he always, invariably, inevitably goes for the sinful option. This is a very obvious question and I’m sure it must have been argued over in depth, in the course of the centuries, time and time again. Is it possible to state the answer succinctly, in just a line or two?

          • cacheton

            Here we are 2000+ years later and this ‘very obvious question’ has not been answered.
            My question to you is, considering that this very obvious question has not been answered, how does this affect your faith? Does it not introduce even the slightest doubt that the doctrine you follow might have a flaw or two? Does that not bother you?

            My answer to this question is Control. In order to keep people following your religion, you have to make it impossible for them to (believe that they will) survive without it. Teaching that they can never do anything right is a great way of achieving this.

          • Uncle Brian

            Cacheton, is it true that the question has not been answered? I think many different answers have been given. Sifting through them all is the difficult part.

          • cacheton

            And what would your criteria be for picking the ‘right’ one? Can you give an example of one or two of these answers?

          • Uncle Brian

            It may seem strange that Jesus should have spoken of reward for disinterested goodness, for one cannot be unselfish with an eye to heavenly gain; yet the reward is real. The loving service of the helpless and needy, which Jesus himself exemplified, is the very life of the kingdom of God, and those who learn on earth to enjoy such a life will enjoy the perfection of it in heaven.

            That is by G.B. Caird, a Congregationalist. I’m not sure, though, whether Congregationalists follow the same line as Carl on free will. I’m looking forward to seeing what Carl has to say on the subject.

          • cacheton

            ‘It may seem strange that Jesus should have spoken of reward for disinterested goodness, for one cannot be unselfish with an eye to heavenly gain;’

            Exactly. There is something perverse (I find) in people doing ‘good’ things which look as if they are for others, but are actually for their own personal gain. We even have a word for it – exploitation.

            ‘ yet the reward is real.’

            Claim based on – nothing at all. This is part of the ‘carrot’ in the carrot and stick christian doctrine.

            I too am looking forward to what Carl has to say.

          • sarky

            Then why punishment for using it?

          • The Explorer

            As I said, the inventor of the game gets to make the rules, and we are players without the option of non-participation.
            Your best hope, if belief is impossible for you, is for Christianity to be untrue.

          • sarky

            So you don’t know then?? Or like me, you can see the intrinsic unfairness in Christianity.

          • cacheton

            Surely even you can see that if free will is given, but you get punished for using it, then it is not free. That would make god a hypocrite. But I suppose god is allowed to be a hypocrite because he is god and he makes the rules?

            So all those people who are not christians because their integrity prevents them from worshipping a hypocritical god are just HOPING christianity is not true are they? Certainly not! They KNOW that it isn’t!

          • The Explorer

            Five-point Calvinists, I believe, don’t think that there IS free will.

          • cacheton

            Well they could just go and jump off the nearest cliff then couldn’t they. Sounds cool.

          • Ivan M

            Its part of the fun.

      • The Explorer

        That probably depends on the religion. In Christianity, for instance, Paul says that if a man does not work neither shall he eat. Belief in a role as steward of the Earth could lead to the preservation of fish stocks. And so on.

        • Phil R

          You mean if a man works too much he does not eat …….

          • The Explorer

            Sorry Too profound for me.

        • carl jacobs

          Sarky’s point is based upon a false understanding of prayer. He envisions a man reclining on his couch and saying “Dear Lord ATM Machine. Give me stuff for I am entitled and you are obligated.” His point has nothing to do with work. He sees God as the Bread King. But that is a vision that Jesus decisively rejected.

      • IanCad

        Give him religion and he will catch fish for those who can’t.

      • Very funny.
        God helps those who help themselves.
        The power of prayer upon the brain is known to have a positive effect. It’s not necessarily immediate but it can alter communication pathways.

        • carl jacobs

          God helps those who cannot help themselves. And prayer cannot be reduced to a physiological palliative associated with brain chemistry. That way is the way of Materialism.

    • Phil R

      “You can’t just run a soup kitchen and hope they notice.”

      Carl. You will destroy the very heart of evangelism in th uk

  • Anton

    It’s possible to pray AND argue, Your Grace. You did a fair bit of both six centuries ago…

  • preacher

    It’s good to see a desire to reach people with the gospel. This is the core of the Christian message, I would add a note of caution though, love manifest in social action & good deeds is never enough, as Paul points out in 1 Corinthians 13. Only God’s love will suffice to save. A desire to serve & a dutiful obedience to do what the Lord requires is never enough.We must have God’s love & that love is Only available through His Holy Spirit.
    None of us are perfect, & this should keep us humble enough to sympathise with the struggles that mankind has with sin, people are not fooled by an external show of holiness that often panders to our vanity. Only when we love the lost with God’s love will they warm to Him & come in from the cold.
    Our prayer should be, first & foremost that the Lord will repeat the experience of the first Pentecost on all believers & for us to bow to His will & enthrone Him in the epicentre of our hearts by abdicating the throne that self has occupied for most of our lives.
    The rest is easy !.

  • len

    To preach the Gospel of Jesus Christ today is harder than it was Centuries ago. Why I hear the question asked?.
    Because the Foundations of Christianity have been under constant attack through the centuries but now these attacks on the Gospel have been’ taken on board’ and the ‘irrelevance of the Gospel’ has been seen to be widely established and even anti- Gospel views are widely taught in those ‘Cathedrals of atheism’ our education system.

    So what’s the answer?.The Christian foundation have to be explained then the gospel will make sense;

    https://answersingenesis.org/why-does-creation-matter/crumbling-foundations/

    • Merchantman

      I suppose also we are so ‘rich’ and our lives are so clogged up with stuff of the inconsequential; Except it is not inconsequential when it creates the haze that often prevents us seeing.

  • pobjoy

    Not all who claim to preach the gospel actually preach it. So many people today do not know what the gospel is, even people who claim to be Christians. Also, Europeans are cynical, for many centuries very used to being told to obey Christ by people who obviously have not obeyed even basic rules of civilisation, never mind Christ. So the Anglican, Methodist or other British person who wants to convince others that Christ is worth following needs to show that fact in their own behaviour, ‘up front’. The gospel is indeed the power of God to save; but the justified shall live by their faith. If a person is justified by faith, he or she will be grateful for justification, and do as as Jesus would have them do. Paul wrote to ‘foolish’ Galatians: ‘What matters is faith that shews itself in love” (Gal 5:6). Similarly, James wrote to people who were in danger of saying, “I am justified by my faith, I can now do as I please.” They were almost like the Pharisees, who said, “We have Abraham for our father.” “Bear fruits in keeping with repentance,” Jesus told those ‘chosen branches’.

    To repent is to change one’s mind. The fruits of repentance are not harshness, bad temper, aggressiveness, impatience, indolence, duplicity, arrogance and wilfulness. They are kindness, cheerfulness, peaceability, patience, usefulness, reliability, humility and self-control.

  • chiefofsinners

    You will search the scriptures in vain to find Christ given the title ‘king’ in relation to the church. He is the Lord of the church.
    It is difficult to tell whether Cranmer has actually written this post, or whether he has caved in to popular demand and given Linus a column.

    • pobjoy

      The titles are interchangeable. Either one is obedient, or one is a rebel.

      • chiefofsinners

        The titles are noticeably not interchangeable, in that one is used, and the other is not used

        • pobjoy

          That is just as expected if they are interchangeable. Context is everything, as they say.

          • chiefofsinners

            You might as well claim that ‘banana’ is interchangeable with ‘Lord’, because that isn’t used either.

          • pobjoy

            If the word ‘banana’ was synonymous with ‘lord’, you could. So you could write, ‘God is the banana of hosts’. That would give perfect meaning for people who used this synonym, and could not confuse it with anything else.

            But what is of serious concern is the apparent lack of understanding of the role of the Messiah. Three types were anointed with oil; prophets, high priests, and kings, of Israel, Kings David and Solomon being the monarchs of most prophetic value. These were all types of the Messiah; Jesus was prophet, because he prophesied the future, and declared the will of deity; high priest because of his atonement; and king because of the voluntary obedience of the saints. Or ‘lord’. It really makes no difference.

            Though Jesus is more often referred to as the head of the church, his body. Or ‘the chief cornerstone’, the stone used to determine the exact position of the stones used in building.

          • chiefofsinners

            You might use the terms synonymously, but God does not. Each word of scripture is chosen by the Spirit of God. It is not for us to conflate them.
            Jesus was the king of the Jews and will reign over the earth, but to the church Jesus Christ is Lord.

          • pobjoy

            Jesus was the king of the Jews

            Odd that they crucified their king, then, and he did nothing whatever to stop them.

            to the church Jesus Christ is Lord

            ‘Some of you have become proud because you have thought that I would not be coming to visit you. If the Lord is willing, however, I will come to you soon, and then I will find out for myself the power which these proud people have, and not just what they say, because the Kingdom of God is not a matter of words but of power. Which do you prefer? Shall I come to you with a whip, or in a spirit of love and gentleness?’

            1 Co 4:18-21

          • chiefofsinners

            Jesus was the king of the Jews. As Pilate said when challenged on this: “what I have written, I have written.’

            The Kingdom of God is a big subject. At times it refers to the whole of creation: Psalm 103:19, Daniel 4:3. Yet in John 3:5-7 we are told it can only be entered through the new birth.
            But this is a different matter to the correct title of Christ in the church.

          • pobjoy

            Paul was writing to the Corinthian church as part of God’s Kingdom. No more lies.

          • chiefofsinners

            Yes, the Corinthian church was undoubtedly part of God’s kingdom. That does not necessarily convey on Christ the title ‘king’.
            Consider 1 Timothy 1:17. “Now unto the King eternal, immortal, invisible, the only God be honour and glory…” Is that Christ? Or are you, in calling Christ ‘king’ taking the title from where it rightly belongs?

          • Cressida de Nova

            Te audire non possum. Musa sapientum fixa est in aure !

          • Findaráto

            Musa sapientum est aut solum tibi libet me videre ?

          • Cressida de Nova

            Labra lege
            Faaaaaaaaaac ut vivas !

    • carl jacobs

      or whether he has caved in to popular demand and given Linus a column.

      That’s bitterly unfair, Chief. There is nothing of Linus in this post. It contains nothing of the malignant vituperation that is Linus’ stock in trade.

      • chiefofsinners

        ‘Bile couched beneath the pious cloak of holiness’.
        ‘Jaundiced comment thread’
        ‘Antagonising sick children’

        Admittedly lizards and sky fairies are in short supply.

        • carl jacobs

          Linus hates. There is nothing of hatred in that post.

          • chiefofsinners

            That is true. But there are only two who make such sweeping and unfettered criticism of those who comment here: Linus and Cranmer.

          • Merchantman

            We ‘smelled-a-rat’ long time ago.

          • Findaráto

            How do you know I hate if you never read my posts?

            D’oh! Caught in the act of telling barefaced lies yet again, Homer? Repent, for the end is nigh…

          • carl jacobs

            Every time you changed to identities I had to go back through the process of identifying you. And I was more conservative than most in making that identification. After almost a year, and seven identities, you are pretty well characterized in my mind.

          • Findaráto

            I opened my Disqus account as Findaráto some time ago and it’s also been some time since you publicly stated you no longer read my comments.

            And yet here you are not only reading them, but responding to them. Repeatedly. While claiming that you never read them!!!

            I’ll say it one more time. You are a barefaced and proven liar. You have no credibility. You claim to be a Christian and yet wilfully and unrepentantly ignore one of your faith’s most basic commandments. You should not be criticising the mote in my eye before dealing with the log in yours, and yet here you are demonstrably refusing to do so and compounding the sin by lying again and again and again.

            Have you no shame? Where’s your Christian conscience?

          • chiefofsinners

            It must feel good to have finally come out. Confession is good for the soul.
            On the subject of big fat lies, can we now look forward to you reassuming your French identity?

          • Findaráto

            I never said I had an account here before I created my current one. That’s just you jumping to conclusions. Jump away. It proves nothing.

  • len

    Reading between the lines I suspect Cranmer would like to’ crack a few heads together’ regarding constant squabbles over theology etc . And if that is his intent then he has every right to do so this being his blog.
    But how can any two walk together if they are not in step?.Gods Truth must be defended if error is presented as truth (by some misguided soul)
    It is only by discussion , indeed confrontation sometimes, that perspectives can be sharpened errors illuminated and truth extracted(hopefully
    (2 Timothy)
    15 And that from a child thou hast known the holy scriptures, which are able to make thee wise unto salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus. 16 All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: 17 That the man of God may be perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works.

  • David

    I am happy to report that my local Bible focussed Anglican church is certainly taking the Archbishop’s call for a national prayer initiative seriously.
    Indeed I would hope that all Trinitarian Christians, of whatever persuasion, join in this endeavour, to make Christ known to the many spiritually lost souls of our nation.

    • William Lewis

      As is my Anglican Church.

  • pobjoy

    ‘the Corinthian church was undoubtedly part of God’s kingdom’ chiefofsinners

    Will God listen to any who are not part of his kingdom?

  • Martin

    What we are called to preach is not an invitation, it is a command. Jesus message was ‘repent’, not ‘would you like to accept this invitation’.

    And of course, ‘repent’ assumes something to repent of. How will they repent if they don’t know what to repent of?