Evangelism
Church of England

Welby: "The best decision anyone can ever make is to be a follower of Jesus Christ"

 

Back in January, Tim Montgomerie, writing in the Times, vented his frustration with the Archbishop of Canterbury:

I remain hopeful that Justin Welby, a “graduate” of HTB and its famous Alpha course, might oversee a renewal of the whole Church of England but I’m increasingly worried about his early focus… We’ve heard his views on banking reform, Wonga, food banks, energy companies and welfare reform but where is his big intervention on the miraculous nature of Jesus Christ?

Montgomerie is not the only one to have suggested that the Archbishop talks too much about politics and not enough about more Godly matters (there are, of course, those who would rather he shut up altogether and just left us to get on with our lives, but that’s not going to happen). The thing is, if you spend time listening to Justin Welby, he just can’t help himself. No matter what the topic of conversation, he will quite naturally bring Jesus into it sooner or later. This is a man genuinely obsessed with his faith to the point of overflowing. Anyone who thinks he doesn’t talk about it enough either hasn’t heard him speak at any great length or has only observed him through the media, which loves to pick up on any of his comments that might be perceived as bashing Wonga/bankers/Ian Duncan Smith whilst generally losing interest once God gets a mention.

It really shouldn’t be a surprise that, on becoming Archbishop of Canterbury two years ago, he announced his three priorities as:

  • Prayer and the renewal of the religious life.
  • Reconciliation
  • Evangelism and witness

Now, just in case anyone was thinking that he’s become distracted along the way and left these intentions on the back seat, Welby delivered an impassioned speech this week devoted to evangelism, which set out his vision for a Church in which every Christian shares “the revolutionary love” of Jesus Christ.

This was the first in a new series of lectures at Lambeth Palace, and if the others match the gravity and quality of this one, they will be well worth hearing and disseminating.

“I want to start by saying just two simple sentences about the church,” Welby began. “First, the church exists to worship God in Jesus Christ. Second, the Church exists to make new disciples of Jesus Christ. Everything else is decoration. Some of it may be very necessary, useful, or wonderful decoration – but it’s decoration.”

That’s right: foodbanks, soup kitchens, mums’ and toddlers’ groups are just decoration. Jesus didn’t tell His followers just before He ascended to heaven that “You will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will set up debt advice centres and credit unions in Jerusalem, and throughout Judaea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.”

All of these social action projects that churches so valiantly maintain, which display God’s love in practical ways for the benefit of their local communities, have an incredibly valuable purpose and a place. But the Church is not an NGO or a substitute for the welfare state. When good works are detached from the power source of the Holy Spirit, they will inevitably dry up, and if any mention of Jesus is left at the door, then the gospel that drives motivation and compassion remains woefully hidden. And the very mission to which God has called His people is considerably hindered.

Archbishop Justin made a further point:

The old adage is attributed to St Francis of Assisi: “Preach the gospel at all times, where necessary use words.” Lay it aside, put it down, forget it. Don’t even think about it. Mainly for the reasons that he almost certainly didn’t say it, and even if he did, he was wrong. As T.S. Eliot’s character Sweeney said: “I gotta use words when I talk to you.”

As a Christian it is my deepest conviction that in Jesus Christ, God comes to call every one He has made. Everyone has been summoned in Jesus Christ. For in Jesus Christ, God has poured out his love and his grace, his forgiveness and his mercy, his faithfulness. God would not be doing this without you or I.

Evangelism is then a joyful proclamation of what has happened. It’s the news of Jesus Christ. His life as the light breaking into this dark world for us. His death as the fount of our redemption. His resurrection as the hope of all. This news must be told, or how will people know?

We live in a world where hope is in increasingly short supply. Cynicism about politics is the opposite of hope. Fear is the opposite of hope. Where there is no hope we turn on each other to give ourselves security – temporarily, briefly. When we’re filled with hope, all things become manageable, even the greatest fears. Who can keep quiet about such a fact?

And for those who find it in any way offensive that Christians should talk about their faith publicly, or have the audacity to want to draw others into a relationship with Jesus, the Archbishop had this to say:

Christian good news must not become bad news for people of other faiths, but we must not shy away from true engagement.

It is not unethical to present the Gospel with love, grace and gentleness borne of true assurance. The privilege of living in a free and mature democracy is that we can both be held accountable for what we do and what we profess, while having the freedom to pray expectantly and to speak intentionally of what we know to be the transforming love of Christ.

That is a freedom to cling to. If our motivation is truly of love and of divine calling, then we must share our experience of Christ with one and all.

Welby’s vision of Christians dropping talk of Jesus and their faith into conversation with friends and colleagues without fear or embarrassment is beautiful, yet a long way from the reality of most Christians’ lives. How do we know this? If evangelism were more widespread and effective, our church congregations would not be in decline and many more people would know someone who has become a Christian in their circle of acquaintances. So why is the church falling so spectacularly short when it comes to the spreading of the gospel and the use of the ‘e’ word?

The answer to this question is far from simple, but the many reasons include:

  • A societal culture that frowns upon anyone who claims to hold absolute truth and seeks to win others over through conversion.
  • Headline cases of Christians being disciplined and losing their jobs for sharing their faith and beliefs with colleagues and clients.
  • A belief that it is the job of paid Christian professionals (ministers, priests and evangelists) to bring people to Christ.
  • Fear of looking stupid or bigoted or losing friends by being open about the Christian faith.
  • Churches being out of touch with culture and not being able to present the gospel in a way that people with a limited understanding of Christianity (the majority of the population) can make sense of.
  • A lack of understanding amongst Christians of the importance of evangelism as set out in Jesus’ teachings.
  • Church congregations being too inward looking, obsessing with their own structures, and still expecting people to walk through their doors on a Sunday uninvited.
  • Universalist tendencies in some strands of the church, which deny that faith in Jesus Christ is the only route to eternal salvation.
  • Apathy. John Chrysostom, Archbishop of Constantinople who died in AD 407, wrote: “Nothing is more deadly than a Christian who is in­different to the salvation of others. Indeed I won­der if such a person can be a true Christian.”

There is a monumental challenge to change the mindsets and culture of Christians in the matter of evangelism. It will not be met by simply setting church growth targets or even (sadly) giving passionate lectures on the subject. The Church of England’s ‘Decade of Evangelism’ did next to nothing to stop the decline in church attendance. Evangelism cannot be initiated in a top-down manner: such a movement requires a belief and desire that can only come from the grassroots finding their strength of assurance and passion rooted in the love God has for them. Justin Welby is not naïve about this:

I am under no illusion as to the seismic shift that needs to take place in order for this to happen. But a seismic shift is what we need. For this country will not know of the revolutionary love of Christ by church structures or clergy, but by the witness of every single Christian.

And in the words of Chrysostom, quoted by the Archbishop:

Don’t tell me ‘it is impossible for me to influence others.’ If you are a Christian, it is impossible for you NOT to influence others! Just as the elements that make up your human nature do not contradict each other, so also in this matter – it belongs to the very nature of a Christian that he influences others. So, do not offend God. If you say, ‘the sun cannot shine,’ you offend Him. If you say, ‘I, a Christian cannot be of service to others,’ you have offended Him and called Him a liar. It is easier for the sun not to shine than for a Christian not to do so. It is easier for light itself to be darkness than for a Christian not to give light. So don’t tell me it is impossible for you as a Christian to influence others, when it is the opposite that is impossible. Do not offend God. If we arrange our affairs in an orderly manner, these things will certainly follow quite naturally. It is impossible for a Christian’s light to lie concealed. So brilliant a lamp cannot be hidden.

But there may be consequences, as Archbishop Justin warns:

This is not easy or without cost for any of us. As we remind ourselves that the Greek word for witness is martyr, we are more and more, in these days, confronted with the fact that the word has come to have the associations it has with death, because of the price the first witnesses were prepared to pay to be faithful.

Evangelism is rarely easy and can carry considerable risk, but Jesus does not present it to His followers as an optional extra. Our nation is crying out to know who Jesus is even though it doesn’t realise it. When churches and Christians invest themselves in sharing the gospel of Jesus Christ, then, as has been seen time and again throughout history, great things can happen. And our starting point should be to come to God in worship and prayer. On this, Justin Welby observed:

The importance of prayer cannot be overestimated. As St Paul testifies: “I planted the seed, Apollos watered it, but God has made it grow.” [1 Corinthians 3: 6]

In prayer we actively acknowledge that and practice it, by imploring the Spirit to work powerfully before and behind us, in our stumbling words and efforts.

..there is no evidence of any revival of spiritual life taking place in a society in the Western Christian tradition without the renewal of prayer and the Religious life. How much more would the Lord do if we do but ask Him?

In the late 1940s two sisters in their 80s who lived in the Hebrides began persistently praying in their cottage for revival. From these humble beginnings, the great Hebridean revival of 1949-52 began, which swept throughout the Scottish Islands with thousands giving their lives to God.

God has done it before and He can do it again. But He works with us, not apart from us. The Church can and will grow again when Christians have the faith to see God use them and earnestly devote themselves to obedient prayer for the sake of their families, friends and communities, knowing beyond doubt that the best decision anyone can ever make is to be a follower of Jesus Christ.

  • Anton

    Indeed. We hear only Justin’s (cliched) political views because the media report those and not his religious sermons.

  • William Lewis

    A good post, Gillan. Thanks.

  • CliveM

    Thank you for this. I think it helps inform a more rounded view of the AofC. Which I think is badly needed as the medias image of him is skewed by their own agenda.

  • sarky

    This pretty much backs up what I posted the other day. Christians are pretty rubbish at being christians.

    • CliveM

      Sarky

      Yes we are.

    • The Explorer

      I don’t know a Christian who would disagree with you. And Utopians are pretty rubbish at being Utopian. But most Christians don’t believe in the possibility of perfection in this life. Utopians do: after all, it’s the only one they’ve got. It’s now or never, for them (If they’re right about death finishing us.) If we’re right, we’ve got eternity. (Starting that book you recommended this week end, by the way.)

      • sarky

        If they do think it’s now or never and they are wrong, if you have done nothing, wont your eternity be tinged with sadness?

        (Hope you enjoy the book, it’s a bit mad but so is my friend! )

      • Linus

        I don’t know any Utopians. I know quite a few Realists, but nobody who believes in a perfect society where everybody loves everyone else amidst fields of clover and fluffy bunny rabbits. Or even anyone who really wants that.

        Christians are so wrapped up in their own vision of Utopia that they can’t help but project their own motives and desires onto everyone else. They have the intellectual capacity to understand that Atheists don’t share their belief in God, but they can’t quite go the extra stretch and figure out that we don’t have much use for unrealizable Utopian ideals.

        • Anton

          Many of us were atheists once and understand perfectly well the atheist mentality. Atheists “don’t have much use for unrealizable Utopian ideals”? Tell that to the millions of victims of communism.

          • Linus

            And Christians love their neighbours and always, always turn the other cheek, don’t they?

            Tell that to all the victims of the Inquisition and those who were killed during the Crusades.

            Oh, but Christianity has changed since then, hasn’t it?

            I have news for you: so has Atheism. It’s no longer mixed up with political systems like Marxist Leninism and Nazism, which were reactions to the horrors that had gone before them. If you condemn Atheism as unworkable because of Communism, then you have to condemn Christianity as unworkable because of the Ancien Régime, Tsarist Russia and the Spanish Inquisition.

          • dannybhoy

            “Oh, but Christianity has changed since then, hasn’t it?”
            Not changed Linus but better understood. Unfortunately for its victims (esp) the mediaeval Church persecuted those it considered heretics/enemies/and unbelievers.
            How God will sort out those that did these things I don’t know, but there is no justification to be found for it in the New Testament.

          • Linus

            Same thing for Atheism. We understand better now that the absence of a god doesn’t authorize immoral behaviour, as defined by doing harm to others for selfish reasons.

            The first Atheist régimes were reactions to dictatorship and oppression. They were controlled by the unbalanced personalities produced by the régimes they had overthrown. It’s no wonder they descended in their turn into dictatorship and oppression.

            The world has changed since then.

          • Anton

            Fukuyama you?

            Believe him and you’ll believe anyone.

          • Phil R

            “The first Atheist régimes were reactions to dictatorship and oppression.
            They were controlled by the unbalanced personalities produced by the
            régimes they had overthrown”

            Right……. Nobody but you seriously believes this..

            So

            Who does Stalin blame for his behaviour?

          • Linus

            The system that produced him. Orthodox Christianity enforced by an absolute monarchy.

          • Phil R

            Stain murdered most of his atheist friends. It had been communist for 20 years

          • Linus

            And yet Stalin grew up under the Orthodox Tsarist régime. Your own coreligionists claim that if you give them the boy for the first 7 years of his life, they will show you the man.

            Stalin was a product of a Christian régime. No getting away from that. He learned to hate, despise and eliminate his fellow man at the hands of Christian priests and state officials. He learned autocracy directly from a Christian autocrat.

            Communism was the unloved bastard child of Christianity. The crimes it committed were a direct result of its brutalized, neglected upbringing.

          • Phil R

            Yeah right. Whatever.

            And you say Christians live according to a fantasy of their own creation

          • Linus

            Check the dates. You’ll see I’m right. But then it wouldn’t be the first time a Christian has ignored reality because it doesn’t match his preconceived notions of what should happen.

            I hear there’s a Flat Earther conference being held at the Kentucky Creation Museum soon. You should sign up for it. Sounds like just your kind of thing.

          • Phil R

            Now let me get this right

            Because I hold Stalin and other Atheists responsible for their own actions.

            I am now deemed to be a Flat Earther,,,,,,,!

            I think even your fellow atheists might struggle with that one.

          • Anton

            There is some merit in the view that Marx bastardised Christian eschatology, with a chosen people (the working class) who would found a future regime of endless love and peace after a cataclysmic battle, but the real spiritual parentage of communism goes back, as all serious scholars recognise, to the French Revolution.

          • Linus

            The Revolution was just as much a reaction – a cataclysmic reaction – against the profound injustice of the absolutist régime that preceded it as Communism was a reaction against Tsarism and the feudal Chinese imperial system.

            Those schooled in absolutism could only have superficial and idealistic notions of liberty and equality that were soon overtaken by a new form of absolutism. Russia is still stuck in the same cycle. China isn’t much better. Only in the West have we managed to bury the demons of absolutism and pass from dictatorship to democracy.

            Britain did it “en douceur” by never having a significant revolution and gradually transitioning from absolute monarchy through aristocratic government to bourgeois dominance and now to democratic rule. France’s path was more cataclysmic due to our weaker parliamentary tradition. We took nearly a century to recover from the seismic shock of the Revolution and develop our democratic institutions into the strong and stable form they take today.

            My point is that you can’t go directly from dictatorship to democracy. We’re seeing that currently in the Middle East and North Africa. Stir a fundamentalist into

          • Anton

            Actually Linus I agree with you about a good deal of that. Burke said as much. What you neglect is that a revolution has to replace an old system with something else, not just overthrow it. That “something else” is secularism and, as I have said before, it has its unchallengeable tenets just as much s religions do; one such is the fact that man can be made good by enlightened education rather than by divine cleansing. It didn’t work: 20th century Europe had had the benefit of by far the most inclusive and most informative educational systems that the world had ever seen yet it fomented two world wars. So, what exactly do you think the education system should teach that will magically banish all hatred?

            In some ways I wish you were right. But the evidence of history is not with you.

          • Linus

            Modern Atheism left the dream of perfection behind long ago. I’m not surprised you refuse to understand this. Christians always take the worst interpretation of other philosophies and try to portray it as the only possible interpretation. Negative spin is your religion’s stock in trade. It has to be. You can only justify your death cult’s excesses by exaggerating the faults of other systems and making them worse than the Christian alternative.

            Secularism believes that man’s nature is improvable, but not perfectible. As long as we still have central nervous systems, we’ll always experience the full range of emotions, from love to hate, joy to sadness, serenity to anger, compassion to jealousy. They’re part of the human condition and determine how we interrelate with each other.

            Secularism seeks to provide us with boundaries inside which the most negative effects of these emotions can be contained and prevented from spilling over into open conflict detrimental to society as a whole. More than that only the most naive, idealistic and dogmatic secularists seek.

            Secularism is above all a realistic philosophy. We see ourselves and accept ourselves as we are, not as some imaginary god wants us to be.

          • Anton

            I find a lot of that to make very good sense but I have two reservations.

            First, my question to which I didn’t find a reply in what you said. What exactly do you think the education system should teach that will greatly ameliorate hatred; and why do you think it will be heeded?

            Second, while I accept that you at least do not seek to make man perfect but only better, there must be things you passionately believe that you cannot prove from anything else, ie your (nontheistic) faith. That you do not specify these things does not mean you don’t have them; indeed I claim to have demonstrated that it is impossible for any human being not to hold such beliefs. Your beliefs about gays, for instance. A man who really has no commitment to any view whatsoever is going to be an apathetic near-suicide.

          • Linus

            We’ll never stop hating, but we can govern ourselves in ways that can protect us from the worst of the harm that hate can cause. We can inculcate ideas of justice and equality that can help to limit the worst impact of hatred on whole classes of people. But there will never be a secular paradise where everyone loves everyone else and hatred is unknown. Humans who can’t hate aren’t fully formed. Hatred is just as much a part of our makeup as love.

            You insist I must hold beliefs that can’t be proven and cite what you refer to as my non-theistic “faith” as evidence, but you fail to understand, probably because your world view is distorted through the lens of your own arbitrary will, that others can stand outside of your need to impose your own desires and wishes on the universe and see it merely as the largely unknown quantity it is rather than personifying it and calling it God in order to make it seem less large, less random and less dangerous.

            The universe is what it is and belief doesn’t change that. God doesn’t exist because Christians believe in him. Faith doesn’t conjure him into existence. Neither can it conjure him out of existence if he really is there. All we can do is examine the evidence for his existence, of which there is precisely none, and arrive at a working theory of the likelihood that he exists, which based on the evidence we have is practically zero, and live our lives accordingly. In the full knowledge that we could be wrong, although given the data we currently have access to, that seems unlikely.

            There’s no good reason why God should remain hidden if he really exists. Witnessing his actual presence or incontrovertible traces of it is not incompatible with free will. Satan must know that God exists and still he chose to rebel, so why would knowledge of his existence take away our free will?

          • Anton

            Thank you Linus. I consider that a very fine statement of secular faith.

          • dannybhoy

            Accepted Linus, and we could both agree that the terrible behaviour of what I personally would call a Statist Church building and controlling a Christian Empire, is entirely inexcusable.
            Yet that was an aberration, a distortion of the Christian gospel, whereas modern atheism really does believe that man has no ultimate meaning and can therefore be shaped to conform to whatever is thought in the best interests of mankind.
            I lifted this next section because it shows that Hegel and Feurbach greatly influenced the thinking of Karl Marx..

            Hegel (1770-1831) was the man whose writings became an inspiration for the modem atheistic movement. He was one of the first prominent philosophers to advance the idea that God’ was dependent upon the world as much as the world was dependent upon God. He said that without the world God is not God. In some way, God needed his creation. This was the first step in saying that, since God was not sufficient in Himself, he was unnecessary and ultimately imaginary. “Hegel’s aim was to set forth a philosophical system so comprehensive that it would encompass the ideas of his predecessors and create a conceptual framework in terms of which both the past and future could be philosophically understood.
            Such an aim would require nothing short of a full account of reality itself. Thus, Hegel conceived the subject matter of philosophy to be reality as a whole. This reality, or the total developmental process of everything that is, he
            referred to as the Absolute, or Absolute Spirit” (Encarta Encyclopedia).

            Ludwig Feuerbach (1804-1872) was a German philosopher, an early prominent atheistic philosopher. He substituted religious psychology for orthodox religion and developed one of the first German materialistic philosophies. He denied all supernaturalism and attributed all talk about God to talk about nature. Man, he said, is dependent not on God, but on nature. Feuerbach promoted what is sometimes referred to as the wish fulfillment idea of God. He postulated that the idea of God arose as a result of men desiring to have some sort of supernatural being as an explanation for their own existence and the events they observed around them. This wish, or desire, is the seed from which the God-myth grew. “A person’s essential preoccupation is with the self, and the worship of God is actually worship of an idealized self” (Encarta Encyclopedia)

            Both Hegel and Feuerbach strongly influenced Karl Marx (1818-1883) and his English collaborator, Frederich Engels (1820-1895). They formulated the theory of historical materialism, which had the emphasis on people and human needs introducing a materialisticinterpretation of society.

            So as I understand it atheism is a philosphy which allows for the bending of men to the will of whoever is in charge, with no need to feel guilt or remorse.

          • alternative_perspective

            No, you’re wrong. Atheism NEVER authorized anything. Atheism is merely the proposition: there are no gods or god. But from that small statement objectivity dissolves and morality along with it. Atheism permits anything and comments on nothing.
            It makes the individual the ultimate moral authority and permits him or her to change their mind on a whim. Do not delude yourself like so many atheists.
            If you hold to any objective belief you are clinging to the hem of a theistic belief system you deny. If you believe it is morally wrong in any objective sense to rape, murder, dismember and consume an infant then you are invoking beliefs and principles that are ONLY defensible within a theistic/deistic framework. You may be horrified by the thought, you may be revulsed by it but unless you admit the existence of god you are not free to define it as innately wrong. Atheism has no capacity to comment it; nor does it have arguments to condemn it. The honest atheist, absent of any conjoined philosophy, will admit there’s nothing innately wrong in such an action and will not be able to differentiate between it and killing a cow to feed your family.
            If this is not you, then you are not an atheist and you must find a different believe system.

          • Good post.

            Linus uses terms such as: “immoral – selfish – oppression” – “victims”?

            These concepts presuppose a moral framework. Based on what?

            Human progress through education?

          • Anton

            Well said Jack. Will Linus answer your questions?

          • Happy Jack is not corresponding directly with Linus due to receiving personal abuse and nonsensical responses.

          • Anton

            Up to you Jack; I therefore put the same question to Linus: you use terms such as: “immoral – selfish – oppression” – “victims”? These concepts presuppose a moral framework. Based on what?

          • Linus

            Sad Jack has washed his hands of me, so those questions can’t be meant for me. They were probably directed at the Linus who inhabits his private fantasy world where the Pope rules as absolute monarch and Sad Jack is his prime minister and chief propaganda officer. That Linus apparently has horns on his forehead and a little tail. This Linus is appropriately amused by it all.

          • Happy Jack

            “Linus … has … a little tail.”
            ROFL

          • Linus

            More personal abuse and manipulative twisting of words from the usual suspect.

            Sad Jack claims to be straight, but he judges men by the size of their “tail”. I thought that was more of a heterosexual female and gay male tendency. He reveals so much about himself without realizing it…

          • Happy Jack

            Is your future intended partner in sin aware of this little problem, Linus?

          • Linus

            Sad Jack is obsessed with the contents of other men’s trousers. Poor Sad Jack! His only point of comparison is his own fossilized appendage, so he assumes that other men are as poorly endowed as he so clearly is.

          • Happy Jack

            Now, now. Just because your feeling insecure don’t go projecting this onto Happy Jack.

            Besides, there’s really very little there for you to worry so much about. Your partner in sin will probably understand. Your secret is safe with ‘this’ Jack.

            Ps
            Remember there is a risk of choking on small objects.

          • Linus

            Sad Jack’s obsession with other men’s members continues, I see. He can’t keep up the pretense of being straight for much longer. Straight men don’t engage in critiques of other men’s equipment and fantasize about what they’d like to do with it.

          • Happy Jack

            Not been around many normal men, have you? An absence of a consistent male role in childhood and adolescence, perhaps. Or maybe, just maybe, too few male friends due to spending all your time with your sisters and wanting to be like them.

          • Linus

            More idiotic amateur psychoanalysis from Sad Jack, who failed his night school psych course in the mid 60s. He kept the textbooks though, and keeps referring back to them with as much faith as he places in his bible. And with exactly the same intention: to use both as weapons against those he hates.

            Luckily for the objects of his hatred, Sad Jack’s arms are blunt instruments that mildly annoy rather than harm. He’s like a small elderly dog who’s lost all his teeth but still insists on snapping at any passing ankle.

          • Linus

            You can see my response to the abject nonsense you write on another post elsewhere in this thread. There’s no point repeating myself.

          • alternative_perspective

            “You can see my response to the abject nonsense”
            marks you out as a man who has lost the argument but cannot yet accept the consequences. They say the longest distance is that between the head and the heart.
            That’s ok, like all of us, you’re a human being: fallible and often proud. And like you, many of us started where you are now. Its not an easy journey but it is liberating.
            Please understand this. You’re NOT the subject of abuse or attack; your suggestions otherwise are simply false. You come to a site however populated by Christians who take their faith seriously and begin throwing trollish remarks around. What did you expect? That we’d just lay down and leave you unchallenged? Of course not. We care, truth matter to us – we believe it exists.
            If you’re here, you’re here for some reason. Perhaps God has pricked your conscience and at some level and is challenging your assumptions. Part of becoming a Christian is throwing down your arms, opening ones-self up to honest introspection and accepting that maybe you’re wrong – at least on some levels.
            I dare you to do just that.

          • Miles Christianus

            Sorry if this seems an overly simplistic question, but why are people who purportedly have no God in their life so bloody well obsessed with Him?

          • Linus

            We’re not obsessed with your god. We are concerned that those who follow him want to deprive us of our basic human rights and turn the clock back to a time when “heretics” lived outside the law.

          • Miles Christianus

            Sorry, Linus; are you talking to me? Really? Do you know me? And you dare to lecture me on prejudice?

          • Anton

            Not so, Linus; Christianity was defined before those abuses of it took place, and a glance at the gospel shows how far from it they were. The Inquisitors, I am in no doubt, are not going to wind up in heaven unless they deeply repent, while the Crusades were merely an episode in the ebb and flow of great power blocs and a response to centuries of Islamic violence against Europe (although it was wrong of the Pope to sell them as a holy war).

            Atheism is not a belief system since it is a negative, asserting merely that no powerful spirit being which interacts with man exists. Atheists in practice believe other things as well. You assert that they don’t believe in Marxism-Leninism any more, which depends on definition and may or may not be true, but they surely believe the truth of certain propositions which they cannot prove from others more primitive, ie they have faith in them, for otherwise those more primitive propositions would be their (nontheistic) faith. Admission that you have such a faith is the only way out of an infinite regress paradox. We religious are simply being honest in accepting the fact.

            In the absence of atheists honest enough to declare their faith, it is up to others to identify it for them. Christians, Muslims and pagans who come to the secular West recognise secularism clearly enough as a belief system. Only Western atheists have the hubris to say that they can base everything on reason alone, but they are like people unable to see a pane of glass immersed in water because it has the same refractive index.

            So let’s see. Do you believe, Linus, that human nature is perfectible by appropriate social engineering?

          • Linus

            There you go again with your false absolutes. It’s got to be black or white, doesn’t it? Grey just can’t exist…

            Human nature is improvable. That’s the whole point of education. But perfectible? What is perfection? Would you even recognize it if you saw it? Don’t wish for something you can’t even conceptualize or you’re bound to be disappointed.

          • Anton

            Humans can gain more knowledge. But more wisdom? Time will tell. A great driver of technology is warfare, and every new and more powerful weapon has eventually been used…

          • alternative_perspective

            Are you not the one stating that God absolutely does not exist?

          • alternative_perspective

            Look at the writings of the famous new atheists of this age. Look at the vitriol, the offensive, if not violent language they use and their encouragement to other atheists to mock and humiliate. Look at the causal and disrespectful tone you address others on these pages. This is nothing short of dehumanisation. It is only one step removed from systematic killing of the kind you referenced.
            All that is required is for a gentle change in the mood of society for those human urges to re-emerge and the moral freedom atheism innately conveys to permit any attrocity under the sun.
            Christianity has changed, Atheism cannot. The former’s structures and beliefs have evolved and are quite clearly different from a thousands years ago. Atheism is merely the declaration: there is no god or gods. From that single declaration moral nihilism is perfectly permissible; objective truth is struck down and the individual becomes his or her own god.

          • Linus

            More abject nonsense written in emotive and impassioned language that marks you out as the zealot you are. I never expect anything but abuse from zealots. They’re some of the vilest people on the planet, so wrapped up admiring themselves and the purity of their beliefs in a looking glass that they’ll go after anyone who spoils the perfect image with an axe.

            Martyrs I don’t mind. They can do what they like with their own lives. Holy executioners I can’t abide. All they want to do is satisfy their own blood lust using their god as an excuse.

          • alternative_perspective

            Hey, there’s nothing wrong with being a zealot, I’m loving it. Are you loving being an atheist?
            However I take umbrage with your accusations of abuse.
            Quote it to me and I will apologise.
            I made only one reference to you in this post and if necessary I will justify my observations by going back through every post you’ve made on this blog and re-quoting those to you which are condescending and disrespectul.

          • Linus

            You maintain that accusing someone of dehumanizing others is not abuse? It most certainly is.

            And yes, I’m a very happy Atheist. The world is a beautiful place and I’m very happy with the place I have in the world, so why would I be sad?

        • The Explorer

          Try ‘A Christmas Carol’. The two ragged children: Ignorance and Want. Abolish both of them, and Utopia will follow. The abolition requires the redistribution of wealth. Hence Utopian Socialism. I know plenty of Utopian socialists: usually hoping to bring it about with someone else’s money.

          • Linus

            Dickens lived in the 19th century when Atheism was bound up with strange and unworkable political ideas that were a reaction against prevailing religious orthodoxy and economic oppression.

            I’m not surprised you think Atheists live in the past though. You do and one of the marks of the Christian is his inability to imagine any state of being different to his own.

          • The Explorer

            Plus ça change, kiddo.

    • dannybhoy

      As the Explorer says we are not perfected in this life, but we can be used by God to reach many many people as Billy Graham did in his generation. As did the Wesley brothers and George Whitfield, as did the saints who brought Christianity to the British Isles, as did General Booth and Sankey and Moody in the States; and many many more.
      Christians too as God’s hands and feet in this world, will have to answer to God for their own failures Sarky. But thankfully God will reach every person who calls out to Him for salvation with or without our assistance.

      • sarky

        How? If they have no understanding of god (which the majority do not).
        I’m sorry but your position is negligent and at the very least lazy. It is passing the buck of the worst kind. By putting the emphasis on god you are absolving yourself of your responsibility to reach people.

        • Phil R

          That is what he said he would do

          All he ordains to eternal life will believe.

          • sarky

            Ahhh predestination. And all those he doesn’t ordain to eternal life? Kind of blows the old free will argument out of the water doesn’t it?

          • Phil R

            Not at all

          • sarky

            Explain.

          • Phil R

            Imagine that you were to eat 100 meals and had a choice.

            The one on the left was totally disgusting mess of offal and flies. The one on the right you favourite foods.
            Which one would you chose?
            The one on the right of course.

            The one on the left you could chose it but it is not desirable to you so you never chose it.

            How would you chose the one on the left?

            Only by intervention.

            Left to yourself you never would chose it.

            You cannot chose the meal on the left no matter how many meals you have it always appears an impossible choice.

          • sarky

            But you have proved my point. The only way to eat the meal on the left is by intervention which takes away free will. Otherwise like you said you would just eat the meal on the right.

          • Sarky, Jack tried his best to explain God’s supreme Power and man’s free will on an earlier thread.

            “If you are a Calvinist, then you will believe that before creation God preselected the Elect for Heaven and Hell. To the Elect, chosen randomly, He gives ‘irresistible grace’. The damned He leaves alone and, because man can only sin without His grace, as they are totally depraved, they will inevitably sin and be consigned to Hell. The ‘free will’ that a man has is predetermined by God. If you are not amongst His Elect, you must inevitably be damned because all you can do is sin. Those who are Elect, by His unmerited grace, are rescued from total depravity, given new natures, and are guaranteed Heaven.

            The Catholic Church has no settled theology on predestination. However, it does not teach that God predetermines – chooses – those who are to be damned and saved before He creates them. This is no free will at all – except to sin. The Church teaches that God Foreknows His Elect and how they will use the gifts of grace He dispenses. Everyone is offered sufficient grace to turn to God; not everyone responds and so this does not become efficacious grace. God knows in advance how we use His gifts – based on our free will. Man is not totally depraved but his soul is wounded and damaged and he can, once he is given God’s initial grace, turn His life to Him – if he so desires.”
            The initial turning to God is the work of the Holy Spirit and perseverance in one’s faith is too. Nevertheless, man has room to respond – and God’s Knows this in advance.

            Old Jim explained it so more clearly on the old weblog.

            It’s complex !

          • sarky

            I know Jack, just wanted to see Phil’s take on it, which was simply offal 🙂

          • Phil R

            The intervention simply allows you to see the value etc of real meal on the left.

            You can still refuse to eat

        • dannybhoy

          “By putting the emphasis on god you are absolving yourself of your responsibility to reach people”

          I don’t think so Monsieur.

          I think what I said was…
          “But thankfully God will reach every person who calls out to Him for salvation with or without our assistance.”

          So the disciples orders were ‘ to go out into all the world and preach the Gospel’ Our calling is to be salt and light in this world and share our faith and as Rabbi Saul enjoined us..
          “But we urge you, brothers, to do this more and more, 11 and to aspire to live quietly, and to mind your own affairs, and to work with your hands, as we instructed you, 12 so that you may walk properly before outsiders and be dependent on no one.” 1 Thessalonians 4 (ESVUK)

          Not only that Sarkosa and it’s not an excuse for me, but who converted Rabbi Saul?

          • dannybhoy

            Sarky, further to that comes this…

            I started to think about this Jesus constantly. I couldn’t get Him out of my mind. Finally, I lay awake one night and felt that I had nothing to lose. I whispered, “Jesus…?” I didn’t know if I was going to be struck by lightning. “Are you really there? Are you really the Messiah? If you are, I want to know. Please show me.” ( I might as well mention that I had always believed that Jesus existed historically and that he was a Jew. I had never been able to equate the Jewish Jesus with the very un-Jewish artistic depictions of him – blond hair, blue eyes, etc.) Nothing seemed to happen in my room that night, but in the weeks that followed, it seemed that everywhere I went, I was bumping into things and people connected with this Jesus.

            From the testimony of a very well known figure (at least to my generation!) from the world of pop music.

            http://www.israelendebijbel.com/index.php/en/component/content/article/12-testimonies/34-walking-back-to-happines

  • Mark Preece

    When Jesus was asked to summarize, he didn’t say “Love God, everything else is decoration,” he said “Love God with all your heart, and your neighbour as yourself.” He doesn’t suggest you can divide these and rank them against each other; he says the second is “like unto” the first. The Archbishop’s conclusion is a bit like asking which side of a coin is the real coin. You don’t have a coin without both.

    • Uncle Brian

      I think it’s a question of emphasis, of proportion. The process of NGOization of the churches has reached a point where we need to be reminded what it says on the other side of the coin. Faith without works is dead, but that’s not the issue here. The question Welby is addressing is works without faith.

  • dannybhoy

    The only decision that is acceptable to God is to be a follower of Jesus Christ!
    I think those people of other faiths who are genuine and devout in their faith but for whatever reason have neither heard nor accepted the Lordship of Christ Jesus, must answer to God. Even then God promises that those who seek him in humility and earnestness will surely find Him..
    “You will seek Me and find Me when you search for Me with all your heart.”
    Jeremiah 29:13
    We don’t seek after God because we don’t want to give up our independence.

  • carl jacobs

    The Gospel is that Christ died for sinners, and rose again for their justification. It therefore presumes certain things. It presumes that God exists with authority. It presumes that man is a created being responsible to God. It presumes that God is a moral agent who holds men to account. It presumes the existence of a knowable divine Law by which men will be judged. It presumes in short an ordered moral universe. How does the modern man “hear” this?

    He begins by denying the ordered moral universe. Since he has bought into the evolutionary mindset, he believes that he himself is a product of immanent processes. If God is not the necessary first cause, then His existence may be questioned. If everything in the known universe is explainable in immanent terms, then what evidence for God exists? “God” can be rationalized as a concept invented by primitives to explain things that could not previously be explained – the most important being man’s origin. By answering all questions of origin in terms of immanence, man can remove God as the necessary cause. The Universe no longer testifies to the glory of God but to the essential randomness of man.

    But if God does not exist, then divine Law does not exist. And if divine Law does not exist, then judgment cannot exist. Man becomes a morally free creature who happened to emerge from a random collection of hydrocarbons on a random planet in a random universe. His life has no meaning. His death has no meaning. There is no ever-watchful God to provide either. Man is alone in the universe, and he is free to do as he pleases. For who is there to set boundaries?

    And then along comes Mr Christian with this talk of sinners and justification. And the response comes back: “Who is this god you proclaim? I do not see him. And where is this law that calls me ‘sinner.’ I do not recognize it. Who told you I needed justification? I will justify myself. Who are you to set boundaries upon my freedom?” And he makes this response while standing upon a mountain of wealth and privilege. He may have no hope in God or in life, but he is content to hope in his bank account, and his liberty. He sees no need for what we proclaim. He is content for the present to eat, drink, and be merry. Tomorrow he dies, and the earth will cover him up for all time.

    Against this reality the evangelist knows that God has appointed some for eternal life, and those will respond when called. But we must always remember that evangelism is a two-edged sword. It declares both life and death. This generation is dull and hard of heart. It worships its own autonomy, and will brook no insult to its god. It’s hard to evangelize in the face of such reality. The work will be difficult, the insults profuse, and the results few. But these are the times in which we have been placed. We aren’t called to be successful. Only faithful.

    • Uncle Brian

      Carl

      Overlooking for a moment those three or four words in your last paragraph that you know many of us cannot agree with, I think you have expressed very forcibly the challenge that all Christians are up against, in conflict with the prevailing cultural values. I’m also very pleased to see that Welby is making such a firm statement. The only real difference, I think, is that Welby has cast himself (or has been cast) in the role of the recruiting officer, while you are speaking with the voice of the drill sergeant. On the one hand, friendly persuasion; on the other, no nonsense.

      • carl jacobs

        Uncle Brian

        three or four words

        But they are right out of the Book of Acts:

        And when the Gentiles heard this, they began rejoicing and glorifying the word of the Lord, and as many as were appointed to eternal life believed. Acts 13:48

        • Jack bible reads:

          “The Gentiles were rejoiced to hear this, and praised the word of the Lord; and they found faith, all those of them who were destined to eternal life.”

          Destined: “regarded as developing as though according to a pre-existing plan.”

          • Pubcrawler

            Carl’s version is closer to the Greek text. Though exactly what meaning is to be attributed to ‘tetagmenoi eis zoen aionion’, this lapsed Classicist must leave to a Koine specialist.

          • Well, Jack is no Koine specialist and all he’s gleaned from a quick internet search is that the meaning and implication of the word in Acts 13:48 is disputed.

            The Greek word is τεταγμένοι, which comes from the root word tasso and carries with it a generic meaning of; to arrange, to set, appoint. Apparently, tasso: means to assign someone to a particular task, function or role.

            As with all Scripture, one passage has to be considered in the light of its full content. Jack would say, that used to support a doctrine which states God, in His sovereignty, “elects” or “predestines” men to eternal life or damnation before they are born, on the basis of His pleasure, is inconsistent with the nature of God revealed in Scripture.

    • “Against this reality the evangelist knows that God has appointed some for eternal life, and those will respond when called.”

      Appointed, Carl? Meaning: “decided on beforehand”.

      The word is variously translated: “appointed”, “ordained”, “destined”, “predestined”, and “been prepared for everlasting life”.

      Taken in conjunction with the totality of Scripture, this leaves scope for differing interpretations of how God’s Foreknowledge and Predestination is worked out.

      As Justin Welby declared: “God comes to call every one He has made. Everyone has been summoned in Jesus Christ.”

    • Linus

      There certainly are some Atheists who believe in complete freedom from moral restraint on the basis that if there’s no authority imposing an arbitrary morality, they can do as they please.

      My take on it is somewhat different. I believe morality as a concept is a direct product and outworking of realism and is therefore subject to an ultimate authority, although that authority is not conscious and it certainly can’t be called God.

      For example, I might want to be able to hold my breath, sprout wings and fly through space to Venus and say hello to C.S. Lewis’s Green Lady (or rather his Green King, who sounds much more interesting to my sensibilities…) but I can’t. Reality doesn’t permit it. The authority of reality cannot be disobeyed in those terms and yet it is not a conscious authority that can write laws about how I should live. I have to knock up against it to know the limits of what’s possible.

      We know our existence is real, or at least as real as anything our senses can perceive. What is real is. And if it is, it is not meaningless. It’s existence imbues it with all the meaning it needs. Our lives are real therefore they have meaning. We don’t need to have been created by God in order to find meaning in our lives. We just need to be.

      As we are, so we can impute morality to those behaviours that promote our existence and immorality to those that endanger it. But we do not exist alone. We exist in the company of other beings whose existence must also be taken into account when judging the morality of an action. That which promotes our existence to the detriment of others cannot be considered moral if it adversely affects another being and deprives it of what it needs to exist.

      God is not needed to supply meaning or morality. Reality does both of these things more than adequately.

    • Linus

      There certainly are some Atheists who believe in complete freedom from moral restraint on the basis that if there’s no authority imposing an arbitrary morality, they can do as they please.

      My take on it is somewhat different. I believe morality as a concept is a direct product and outworking of realism and is therefore subject to an ultimate authority, although that authority is not conscious and it certainly can’t be called God.

      For example, I might want to be able to hold my breath, sprout wings and fly through space to Venus and say hello to C.S. Lewis’s Green Lady (or rather his Green King, who sounds much more interesting to my sensibilities…) but I can’t. Reality doesn’t permit it. The authority of reality cannot be disobeyed in those terms and yet it is not a conscious authority that can write laws about how I should live. I have to knock up against it to know the limits of what’s possible.

      We know our existence is real, or at least as real as anything our senses can perceive. What is real is. And if it is, it is not meaningless. Its existence imbues it with all the meaning it needs. Our lives are real therefore they have meaning. We don’t need to have been created by God in order to find meaning in our lives. We just need to be.

      As we are, so we can impute morality to those behaviours that promote our existence and immorality to those that endanger it. But we do not exist alone. We exist in the company of other beings whose existence must also be taken into account when judging the morality of an action. That which promotes our existence to the detriment of others cannot be considered moral if it adversely affects another being and deprives it of what it needs to exist.

      God is not needed to supply meaning or morality. Reality does both of these things more than adequately.

      • Linus

        Replying to my own post here … yes, I’m aware the apostrophe of catastrophe put in a brief appearance in my above post. Blame it on Apple’s intuitive text function. And let he who is without sin cast the first stone. Which I do frequently, because if there is no God, there can be no sin, so I can stone at will. But you lot are bound by a different moral code. Contravene it at your own peril…

        • Dominic Stockford

          Dear Linus, if you would care to visit me, thus bringing yourself within range, I would happily not stone you.

          • Linus

            I believe you live in Ulster, do you not?

            Thank you for the invitation but the French, for obvious reasons, are constitutionally forbidden from wearing Wellington boots. As visiting Ulster, or indeed any part of the island of Ireland, inevitably involves sinking up to one’s knees in an oozy peat bog as adhesive as quicksand, if I were not equipped with Wellington boots there would be no escape.

            That’s your cunning plan, isn’t it? Plant me in an Irish bog and preach at me until I crack.

            I know you Irishmen well. Churches in France are full of you (well where else are we going to get priests, apart from Poland of course?), so I know all the underhanded tricks and strategems you’re capable of.

            Nice try.

          • Dominic Stockford

            I know many good men of Ulster, and I shall have to suggest your plan to them. However, I live in the fleshpots of South West London. I was hoping to trap you in a café and give you the option of going my way or having the local JW’s set on you.

          • Linus

            JWs are a doddle. I just start snogging my partner and off they scuttle back to their Watchtower and bolt the door behind them.

            Doesn’t work on Mormons unfortunately. They tend to take it as an invitation to a foursome, which it most certainly isn’t. This is what happens when they send out barely post-pubescent young men to do their dirty work. In pairs no less! Ew! Sleeping with one cornfed ball of Murrican acne is a revolting enough prospect. Two are positively stomach churning.

            I’ll take a raincheck on the café idea. I’m not planning to be in London anytime soon and of course I couldn’t be seen in public with a Christian in a café here in Paris. There are certain things you just don’t do in polite society…

          • Anton

            Exactly the attitude that the Pharisees took to Christ, Linus. I thought you reckoned he was a good guy.

        • Anton

          So you are bound by no moral code?

        • Phil R

          Linus. The last sentence is the big mistake every atheist makes.

          We are not bound by a moral code and we do not break it at our peril.

          We love God so we behave accordingly. But not through fear of consequences

          • Linus

            But the whole point is that you generally don’t behave accordingly. If behaving accordingly is contingent on loving God, you clearly don’t love God.

            In which case, if what you say you believe is true, how will your fate be different from mine?

          • Phil R

            We are not God Linus

            Also God does not save us because of our behaviour.

            He loves us because he loves us. Not because of how much of “good person” we are

          • Linus

            So God doesn’t save you because of your behaviour, but he damns me because of mine, eh?

            Oh dear, you’re getting more and more confused as this conversation goes on. Take a deep breath and THINK before typing your next post. It might help.

          • Phil R

            if God damns you for your behaviour he damns me because of mine.

            In the eyes of God, my behaviour is not acceptable either.

            (You may have noticed that Christians are not all that good at keeping God’s laws)

            I am not saved or damned because of my behaviour.

            Neither are you.

        • Miles Christianus

          ‘He has to push the sanctity of marriage, or his God will punish him’. Not to.stoop to ad hominem, but that is a cartoon argument, Linus.

        • William Lewis

          “I can stone at will. But you lot are bound by a different moral code”.

          Very true Linus and the reason that you can stone at will is that your atheist moral code can be adjusted to fit any occasion or wim.

          • Linus

            No adjustments here. I react to hypocrisy and bad faith and a desire to hurt and punish in the same way whether it comes from Christians or not.

          • William Lewis

            Well, we are blessed to have such an atheist on this site; able to construct his moral code with such integrity and justice. One can only imagine who we could have had!

      • William Lewis

        “My take on it is somewhat different. I believe morality as a concept is a direct product and outworking of realism…”.

        Don’t you know that you can’t get an ought from an is?

        • Linus

          Yes you can. The sun IS a source of ultraviolet light therefore we OUGHT to cover our skin when exposed to its light. Life IS valued by those who possess it therefore we OUGHT to preserve it. Seemples!

          • William Lewis

            A little too seemples!

          • Happy Jack

            Why preserve the good health and life of others, Linus? Those answers just apply to you, don’t they? There’s no moral imperative in them. Even Jack j]knows that much.

  • underground pewster

    I am waiting for him to practice what he preaches.
    The Archbishop faced a number of “challenging” questions from pupils at the Church of England school (St Alban’s Academy in Highgate), where 80 per cent of its pupils are Muslim.
    Answering a pupil who asked whether he would encourage him to convert from Islam to Christianity, the Archbishop said: “I am not going to put pressure on you, and I wouldn’t expect you to put pressure on me.” (BirminghamMail)

    • Preach and teach the message – the Holy Spirit does the rest.
      What would you expect the Archbishop to say? That he would put pressure on a person of another faith? Jack thinks it was an astute answer.

      • Miles Christianus

        I try to follow St Francis on this. Get the message of the Good News across to those that are yet to receive it. And, if absolutely necessary, use words to do this.

        • “It’s not how much we give but how much love we put into giving.”

          “Spread the love of God through your life but only use words when necessary.”
          (Mother Teresa)

          • I heard the story of a Christian man who worked 40 years for the same company. At his retirement, one of his colleagues came up to him and said, “I’ve always admired the way you’ve lived. You work hard, you’re scrupulously honest, never swear, never spread gossip, you’ve been faithful to your wife all these years. You’ve always been friendly and encouraging, but you never tell risqué jokes or run people down.
            What’s the secret of living that sort of life? Are you by any chance a vegetarian?”
            .
            Our lives should certainly bear witness to our profession, but people won’t know we’re Christians unless we tell them.

          • There was his opportunity to evangelise, right there. And how do you know he didn’t discreetly share his faith with others?

          • Powerdaddy

            Mother Teresa

            Millions in the bank but no painkillers in the medicine cabinet.

            If your ideology is reality, she will burn for a long time………..

    • Dominic Stockford

      I too would have expected him to say that he must offer such encouragement to accept Christ’s truth – as all else leads away from God.

  • Doctor Crackles

    A couple of points Gillan:

    Welby states: “Fear is the opposite of hope.”

    Scripture states: “The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom: and the knowledge of the holy is understanding.”

    If Welby feared God more than the opinion of man he would have given a Christian response to Stephen Fry instead of bland talk of rights.

    http://bit.ly/1F8bjtl

    One other thing. Welby quotes Chrysostom, the author of Adversus Judaeos. I wonder if Welby holds to the Patriarch’s supersessionism?

  • len

    The Gospel of Jesus Christ is ‘the good news’ but some of the remarks by
    Christians to the unsaved are anything but good news.in fact as I have
    remarked elsewhere the Gospel has been buried under piles of religious
    rubbish mostly deposited by ‘the church’.
    The Gospel of Jesus Christ
    is to set people free from the power of sin.The power of sin is visible
    all through society today with corruption, paedophilia,murders, depraved
    behaviour, terrorism, etc. The power of sin is evident everywhere
    today and seemingly going from strength to strength and man seems
    unable to restrain let alone stop sin which spreads as fast as any
    virus.
    Jesus is the only person who offers a solution to totally eradicate the power of sin and to transform society.
    It
    seems that man will only want to escape from his fallen condition when
    things get so intolerable (as they rapidly are becoming ) that he will
    seek lasting solution to the problems afflicting him and society.
    Jesus said;
    “The Spirit of the Lord is on me,
    because he has anointed me
    to proclaim good news to the poor.
    He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners
    and recovery of sight for the blind,
    to set the oppressed free,
    to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favour.”

    Jesus came to set people free from the power of sin which’ binds people’ up as captives, which’ blinds people’ to the Light,and when He release them they shall be free.

  • Johnny Rottenborough

    if evangelism were more widespread and effective

    Evangelism is up against the cumulative impact of decades of subtle and not-so-subtle anti-Christian propaganda in the media. On pages lii to lvi of The Culture of Critique, Kevin MacDonald lists main examples of Jewish media ownership and control in the United States, saying that ‘the media tends to provide positive images of Jews and negative images of traditional American and Christian culture.’ On page lix, he writes that the author Michael Medved ‘fails to find even one film made since the mid-1970s where Christianity is portrayed positively apart from a few films where it is portrayed as an historical relic—a museum piece.’ In his 1995 defence of the evangelist Pat Robertson against a charge of anti-Semitism, Norman Podhoretz wrote:

    ‘Can it honestly be claimed that Robertson is wrong when he accuses secular liberal Jews of fighting “to undermine the public strength of Christianity”? Is he lying when he charges that “Jewish intellectuals and media activists” have ridiculed and vilified the religious beliefs of the Christian majority, and especially of the fundamentalists?’

    Caught between Jewish media power and Muslim demographic power, the outlook for Christianity in the West is bleak. ‘The Church can and will grow again’ when Christianity asserts itself against Judaism and Islam. Don’t hold your breath, though, because taking on Judaism would be anti-Semitic and taking on Islam would be Islamophobic—we may as well throw in racist while we’re at it—and it seems today’s Christians would rather let their faith perish than be called horrid names.

    The Rt Revd Paul Richardson, as he then was, wrote in 2009 that ‘Christian Britain is dead.’ Killed by Christian kindness.

    • Anton

      Try Unbroken for a recent mainstream film that portrays Christianity positively.

      • Linus

        What, that film directed by a notoriously unrepentant adulteress?

        Good fruit may not come from a bad tree. It says so in the Bible.

        • Anton

          She didn’t write the script. It’s based on an interesting biography, in which an empathetic (and secular) journalist tells simply as fact the story of her subject’s conversion as part of the story of his remarkable life. You can tell that she doesn’t quite ‘get it’ but many non-Christians will read this tale of how a man’s descent into alcoholism and domestic violence ceased as soon as he accepted Christ’s forgiveness, and handed it on by inwardly forgiving his wartime Japanese torturers. May book and film convert many (although the latter is mainly about his war) in line with Luke 9:50.

          • Linus

            She didn’t write the script but the interpretation of it is hers. So Christians should flee from this film. Bad tree, rotten fruit. Is a healthy ripe pear comestible if it’s smothered in the rotten flesh of another? Doesn’t the bad taste spoil the good?

          • Anton

            You missed my reference to Luke 9:50.

      • “Soon after the movie was shown, many Christians were disappointed to learn that director Angelina Jolie had left out an important part of Zamperini’s life: his conversion to Christianity. Jolie decided to leave out Zampirini’s fight against alcoholism and PTSD while omitting his Billy Graham-inspired religious conversion.”
        (Wiki)

        • Anton

          I’ve read the book, which is a biography of his entire life, and seen the film, which would best be called Zamperini’s War as all of the previous stuff is told in flashback and all of the later stuff in epilogue. But all through it there are hints that he is thinking of God, and in the epilogue it is stated that he became a Christian with no snide gibes at all. Moreover his son, a committed Christian, has said that he is happy with the way this is handled.

          Jack, I’ll repeat part of my comment below; the film is based on an interesting biography, in which an empathetic (and secular) journalist tells simply as fact the story of her subject’s conversion as part of the story of his remarkable life. You can tell that she doesn’t quite ‘get it’ but many non-Christians will read this tale of how a man’s descent into alcoholism and domestic violence ceased as soon as he accepted Christ’s forgiveness, and handed it on by inwardly forgiving his wartime Japanese torturers. May book and film convert many (although the latter is mainly about his war) in line with Luke 9:50.

    • Uncle Brian

      Keeping the Faith, not a very good film (I thought), in fact a rather silly comedy about a rabbi (Ben Stiller) and a Catholic priest (Edward Norton) who have known each other all their lives. But at least it portrays both religions in a favourable light.

    • Hi Johnny

      Yeah, Jews who are the persecutors of Christianity ….. but as Benjamin Netanyahu said recently:

      ” as Christians in the Middle East are beheaded and their ancient communities are decimated, Israel’s Christian community is growing and thriving, the only one such community in the Middle East.As women in the region are repressed, enslaved, and raped, women in Israel serve as as chief justices, CEOs, fighter pilots, two women chief justices in a row. … In a dark, and savage and desperate Middle East, Israel is a beacon of humanity, of light, and of hope.”

      • Johnny Rottenborough

        @ Hannah Out Loud—Jews were persecuted by white Christians for a thousand years so who can blame the Jews for taking their revenge on white Christians, particularly as the Jews are a superior people?

        ‘I was taught the superiority of my people to the gentiles who had oppressed us. We were taught to view non-Jews as untrustworthy outsiders, people from whom sudden gusts of hatred might be anticipated, people less sensitive, intelligent, and moral than ourselves.’—Stephen Steinlight, quoted on page xxxvi of The Culture of Critique

  • Albert

    WELBY: “THE BEST DECISION ANYONE CAN EVER MAKE IS TO BE A FOLLOWER OF JESUS CHRIST”

    …and so say all of us (well, most of us, anyway!).

    • sarky

      I thought it was not to eat the yellow snow!

      • Albert

        I’m think I’m beginning to understand why you are called sarky! 🙂

  • DOH

    I agree with Justin Welby, “The old adage is attributed to St Francis of Assisi: “Preach the gospel at all times, where necessary use words.” Lay it aside, put it down, forget it. Don’t even think about it. Mainly for the reasons that he almost certainly didn’t say it, and even if he did, he was wrong.” You can’t communicate the Gospel without words. Which is why we need more ministries like http://www.busstopbiblestudies.com

    • Miles Christianus

      What about loving God, loving you neighbour: end of? Surely God incarnate rather than God librate is our adoration and inspiration? By this we can live in a way that likewise makes those still to hear the Good News wonder what makes us so content (not smug or preachy); This is when we can let them in on the worst-kept secret in history.

      • DOH

        Miles, I agree. One thing leads to another. But, as I was reminded this morning, the first thing Jesus did after spending 40-days in the desert was begin to preach (Matthew 4:17), then called his first disciples (Matthew 2:19) and then, heal the sick (Matthew 4:23). Jesus teaches a lot about sowing seeds (which is what Bus Stop Bible Studies does) and notes that the seed must be transformed. Admittedly, loving your neighbour does prepare the soil for the seed to germinate.

  • “As a Christian it is my deepest conviction that in Jesus Christ, God comes to call every one He has made. Everyone has been summoned in Jesus Christ. For in Jesus Christ, God has poured out his love and his grace, his forgiveness and his mercy, his faithfulness. God would not be doing this without you or I.”

    Very well said, Archbishop Welby.

    “Evangelism is then a joyful proclamation of what has happened. It’s the news of Jesus Christ. His life as the light breaking into this dark world for us. His death as the fount of our redemption. His resurrection as the hope of all.”

    And again, well said, Archbishop Welby.

  • Well! I rubbed my eyes. I even changed my spectacles. But there it is- Archbishop Welby calls for evangelism and renewal. What can I say? I’ve been calling for this for a very long time, both here and on my blog. https://marprelate.wordpress.com/2012/11/09/archbishop-justin-welby-the-one-thing-necessary/ so it would be very churlish of me to make any criticism at this point, so I will just give a quick shout of “Alleluia!” and hope that the troops will follow where the commander is leading them.
    .
    I will make two points, however. ‘Unless the LORD build the house, the labourers work in vain.’ There needs to be much prayer; prayers of repentance and of commitment. I have written before that various Free churches up and down the country commit themselves to a Concert of Prayer once a quarter. The next such event is on either the 4th or 11th April starting at 10-00am. There are dozens of churches holding one, particularly in the North of England. I’m sure that Bible-believing Anglicans would be more than welcome and if anyone would like to know where one is that is local to them, contact me through my blog and I will try and direct you.
    .
    Finally, you may be wondering how one goes about this evangelism business. Well, why not join the Gideons if you’re eligible (Bible-believing Protestant business or professional person)? As well as getting involved with school assemblies and placing Scriptures in hotels, retirement homes, prisons and hospitals, you get a special New Testament to give out to friends and people you meet.
    Go to http://www.gideons.org.uk and find out more.

    • “There needs to be much prayer; prayers of repentance and of commitment.2,/i>
      And Joy, Martin. Let’s not forget the Joy.

      • There will be a time for joy, HJ. Now is the time for repentance (James 4:7-10).

        • Miles Christianus

          As well as furniture rectification, I found another curiously useful role for a Gideon bible. Its cheap though rugged plastic cover meant that it stayed in one piece in my combat jacket pocket during the six months of my 2003 desert excursion.

    • Linus

      I was given a Gideons bible once (we call them “les bibles des Gédéons” here).

      I was very pleased with the gift. It was just the right thickness to slide under an ancient table, one leg of which my dog had been using as a chew toy.

      It served me well that bible. It was at least a year before I could get the table restored and for all that time it kept the thing upright and steady.

      Of course any old potboiler would probably have done the trick just as well, but as I didn’t happen to have any handy, and as it would be churlish of me not to give credit where credit is due, I can put my hand on my heart and say that I’m grateful to Gideons for their bible distribution campaign. Furniture all over the world is kept from keeling over by the Word of God…

      • If you become a Gideon you get a copy of Gideon News once a quarter. There is a constant flow of people saved from suicide, prisoners turning their lives around, and folk coming to salvation.
        However,
        ‘Scorners delight in their scorning, and fools hate knowledge’ (Proverbs 1:22). Your loss.

        • Linus

          My gain. A whole year’s use of a table that would otherwise have been out of commission, all thanks to your imaginary god and the conveniently sized publications those who believe in him feel inspired to print and distribute.

          A year’s worth of happy meals (not the McDonalds variety) with friends and lovers (wasn’t in a permanent relationship at that stage of my life) translates to a whole lot of joy. All thanks to the Gideons and their god delusion.

          You see, even the worst of intentions can have positive, if unlooked for, ramifications.

          • Carl Jacobs has you number, Linus.
            You are like a twelve-year old boy running around seeking attention by being obnoxious.

          • magnolia

            A bit like Mr. Bean really, or Monsieur Bean.

    • Dominic Stockford

      We could hold one here, (Prayer Day). Do give me the details please.

  • David

    To decide to follow Jesus Christ is indeed the best decision anyone can make,
    ever ! All else fades into insignificance.
    Well said Archbishop !

  • Dominic Stockford

    Much of what is written is excellent – I especially like the critique he makes of the gospel of works.
    I am not sure about the way he puts following Christ as being a ‘choice’ people can make. I know we might hold the same thing, God alone saves, we are merely saved, but it could be said that he implies a choice not found in the 39 Articles.

    One issue I do see is that gospel is going to be offensive to those of other faiths, it cannot be anything else – as Jesus himself pointed out. And thus it will also be bad news, as it is for those who dissent from it on this blog, for instance.

    • Miles Christianus

      “I come not to bring peace but a sword”? It was ever thus. But He, with his gift for parable, meant this metaphorically. You can’t make an omelette without breaking eggs — I won’t commit heresy by implying that this is a modern interpretation of His words. But it is.

      • Miles, it’s not heresy to explore ideas and question how the words of Christ might be understood. The analogies and metaphors He used to convey timeless Truth come from a different time and culture.

    • “I am not sure about the way he puts following Christ as being a ‘choice’ people can make. I know we might hold the same thing, God alone saves, we are merely saved, but it could be said that he implies a choice not found in the 39 Articles.”

      Accepting it is God who saves, are you saying there is no room for man to assent or dissent from receiving God’s grace and faith?

      “One issue I do see is that gospel is going to be offensive to those of other faiths, it cannot be anything else – as Jesus himself pointed out. And thus it will also be bad news, as it is for those who dissent from it on this blog, for instance.”

      Offensive, as an adjective spans in meaning from feeling resentful, upset, or annoyed, through to actively aggression. Surely something depends on the attitude and approach of the missionary and evangelist?

      • Dominic Stockford

        Irresistible grace. Twas ever thus, as you sometimes say…

        • “Irresistible grace”, a free, unmerited gift to some?

          Why did God make us?

          • carl jacobs

            To glorify Himself.

          • “To glorify Him and enjoy Him forever.”

            But not freely, only those He decides in advance will do so?

          • carl jacobs

            Jack

            Man is by nature spiritually dead. He can no more choose to obey God than a corpse can choose to rise up and walk. Man must be made spiritually alive before he can obey God. It’s not a matter of free will. The free will of man is bound in slavery to death and sin. God regenerates the man, and because the man is regenerated, only then can he obey God. Just as a living man breathes, so a spiritually living man repeats, and believes, and follows God. The prior act of God to free the will of man from sin is the necessary cause.

            However. All men will glorify God. The Believer will glorify His love and mercy. The unbeliever will glorify His justice and wrath against sin. It is the purpose of man to glorify God, and man will fulfill that purpose.

          • How does God determine who will glorify Him through His love and mercy and who will glorify Him through His justice and wrath?

          • carl jacobs

            Read Romans 9.

            “I will have mercy on whom I will have mercy.”

            God does not answer that question. In fact He specifically refuses to answer that question. It’s not for us to ask. Our problem is that the criteria isn’t related to our goodness – because we have none. And that offends us. It isn’t “fair.” We are all owed nothing but hell. “Fair” is hell.

            Why did God choose to foreknow some from eternity and not others? (Note the active sense of that verb BTW. It’s important.) We don’t know. But we know this. Will not the God of all the Earth do right?

          • “God does not answer that question.”

            Granted it’s a mystery and we will only know in the next life. However, there is substantial revelation in scripture.

            You subscribe to ‘Decreedal Election’ – a doctrine that proclaims that God, in His sovereignty, “elects” or “foreordains” all of those who will receive eternal life or eternal damnation, based on His Divine pleasure. Then you say we don’t know how He chooses?

            Does God Will all men to be saved? Does God will good to us all; does He love us all?

            “Such prayer is our duty, it is what God, our Saviour, expects of us, since it is his will that all men should be saved, and be led to recognize the truth.”
            (1 Tim 2: 3-4)

          • carl jacobs

            Jack

            Then you say we don’t know how He chooses

            Actually, I said God refused to answer how He made His choice. There is a difference. And truth be told, we have no necessary reason to know. We know only that it has nothing to do with the redeemed being more worthy than the damned. For if it did, then the redeemed could boast.

            Does God Will all men to be saved?

            If God willed all men to be, saved, then all men would be saved. Man cannot frustrate God’s will.

            Does God will good to us all

            No, He does not. Did He will good to Pharoah? To Goliath? To Judas? To Pilate? They were each prepared vessels of God’s wrath.

            He God loves us all?

            In the sense of provision? Of making the rain to fall on the just and unjust? Yes. In terms of Salvation? No, He does not. He does not act impartially on behalf of all men. God specifically said “Esau I have hated.” And please don’t reduce the text to scrap metal by exegeting Esau into a nation. Jesus said that if He had preached in Tyre and Sidon, those cities would have repented. But He didn’t go there, Jack. He passed them by. And then He said the Judgment would be more tolerable for them. Why if He wills all men to be saved in the sense you say did He not go to Tyre and Sidon? Why did He let them die in sin?

            1Tim 2:4. Ah, yes. One of the three Arminian killer verses. That’s where they run when they can’t handle John 6. I can tell you the other two if you like.

          • When Jack asked if God loved us all he was asking about when He created us and whether when He did, He willed all men to saved as He loves us all. Scripture is written in time. God acts and Foreknows outside of time. However, there are still logical steps in the process of creation and predestination.

            St. Augustine believed all men were a humans damned and damnable from original sin and God blindly picks a small number to save, to show mercy to; the rest, He deserts, to show justice and His wrath.

            Jack does not recognise a God of Love or Mercy in this or your description of how He acts. And it’s no good dismissing Scripture because Arminians reference certain passages that challenge your doctrine. There are plenty of other verses.

            Jack is not an Arminian.

            Here’s what St Thomas Aquinas wrote on 1 Tim 2: 4:

            “Since a man cannot be directed to his ultimate end except by the help of divine grace, someone might think a man should not be blamed if he lacks these things, especially since he cannot merit the help of divine grace or turn to God unless God turns him.. .. But.. . many unsuitable things obviously follow.. . he would not be worthy of punishment.. .. To solve this problem we must notice that although a man by the movement of free will can neither merit nor obtain divine grace, yet he can block himself from receiving it.. .. But they alone are deprived of grace who set up in themselves an impediment to grace, just as, when the sun shines on the world, he deserves blame who shuts his eyes.. .. “

            And writing about Romans 8: 29, he stated:

            “Since all men because of the sin of the first parent are born exposed to damnation, those whom God frees through His grace, He frees out of mercy alone. “

            He then went on:

            “God, so far as is in Him, interiorly stirs up a man to good.. . but the wicked man abuses this stirring according to the malice of his heart.. .. Those whom He hardens, earn that they be hardened by Him. “

            So Saint Thomas Aquinas held two views in tension – one from 1 Tim 2: 4, and one from Romans 8: 29. .

            An alternative perspective on all this is offered by Father William Most. He suggests that God offers grace to all – because He loves us all and wants us all to be saved – and Foreknows who resists His grace. God decrees to let such persons go – reprobation – because of this resistance to grace. All others are predestined to salvation. And it’s not because of merit – so no boasting – nor even because of a lack of resistance. It’s because God wants to predestine them, and they are not stopping Him.

            That’s the short version. There is a very long one. Here’s the link for you or any one else who might be interested:

            http://www.catholicculture.org/culture/library/most/getwork.cfm?worknum=214

          • carl jacobs

            Jack

            I didn’t say you were an Arminian. But you are certainly arguing like one. Trust me on this. I have heard this argument a thousand times over.

            I don’t dismiss 1 Tim 2:4. I can consistently address it. You can’t consistently address John 6. Or John 10. Or Ephesians 1. Or Romans 8-9. John 6 is so clear on the doctrines of Grace, Joseph Smith chose to re-write it when he “corrected” the King James Bible for the Mormon church. I didn’t argue with you over 1 Tim 2:4 because I don’t want to argue about 1 Tim 2:4. I want to keep you where you belong. In Romans 9 – where this all started.

          • “I didn’t say you were an Arminian. But you are certainly arguing like one. Trust me on this. I have heard this argument a thousand times over.”
            Perhaps Arminian was arguing like a Catholic …..

            Jack offered an alternative perspective that to him appears to resolve the apparent contradictions and tensions in Scripture about God loving all men and willing all to be saved that does not rely on the Arminian version of free will. .It was suggested by Father William Most in the 1950’s. Jack posted a simple outline of it earlier:

            “He suggests that God offers grace to all – because He loves us all and wants us all to be saved – and Foreknows who resists His grace. God decrees to let such persons go – reprobation – because of this resistance to grace. All others are predestined to salvation. And it’s not because of merit – so no boasting – nor even because of a lack of resistance. It’s because God wants to predestine them, and they are not stopping Him.”

            All seems good to Happy Jack and means 1 Tim 2:4, Romans 8: 29 and Roman’s 9:15 can all be accepted.

          • Happy Jack

            Jack ain’t no Armadillo and he don’t run, pal.

            Try these ones for size:

            “For the grace of God has appeared that offers salvation to all people.”
            (Titus 2:11)

            “He is the atoning sacrifice for our sins, and not only for ours but also for the sins of the whole world.”
            (1 John 2:2)

          • Linus

            Sad Jack don’t run, or can’t run? Are we talking about a deliberate act of will not to run, or are a disability and a wheelchair (or perhaps morbid obesity and a mobility scooter) actively preventing you?

            Christians claim that all we do comes from their god, therefore a specific refusal to engage in a common and, according to them, sinless activity like running requires explanation. Why does Sad Jack refuse to use the legs he believes his god gave him for one of the purposes they were designed for? Is he criticising his god’s handiwork. Isn’t that tantamount to blasphemy?

            A blasphemous Catholic. Now there’s something you don’t … sorry, do meet with every day. Get thee hence denier of God’s holy plan. Refusing to run is the devil’s work…

          • Consider John 6:37.
            ‘All that the Father gives Me will come to Me………’

            There is Particular Redemption and Irresistible Grace. The Father has given a people to the Son and He has redeemed them at measureless cost, and they will come.

            ‘……And the one who comes to Me I will by no means cast out’.

            And there is your Free Will. Whoever will may come in repentance and faith. Come pimps and prostitutes, homosexuals and adulterers, Baader Meinhof terrorists or I.S. militants. He will not turn them away.
            .
            We must hold these two truths in tension. Just in case anyone thinks there’s some sort of contradiction, our Lord repeats Himself in verses 39-40, not to mention Matthew 11:25-30. Whoever will may come, but when he comes he will find that God has set His love upon him from all eternity and drawn him to Himself with bands of love (Jer. 31:3; John 6:44).

          • carl jacobs

            Gaah! Bad Calvinist. Bad, bad, bad. We are never to use the words “in tension.” These truths are not in tension. That is an Arminian construct.

            🙂

          • “Bad Calvinist”

            Is there a good Calvinist?

            Those two passages are not logically in tension at all. Wrong interpretation, but not in tension. From a Calvinist point of view: God decides and predestines and all so chosen before creation, Christ saves.

          • And the Holy Spirit seals (Ephesians 1). Salvation is Trinitarian, doncha know.

          • Happy Jack

            Jack’s not a numpty ………..

          • Bad Calvinist.

            [M.M. hangs head low]

          • Happy Jack

            Don’t play bible verse games with Jack.
            The full verse to get the proper meaning is:

            “All that the Father has entrusted to me will come to me, and him who comes to me I will never cast out. It is the will of him who sent me, not my own will, that I have come down from heaven to do; and he who sent me would have me keep without loss, and raise up at the last day, all he has entrusted to me.”

            That’s not free will – because the Father has given them to the Son and no one so given can be lost.

          • Well, Jack, you have done the very thing you accused Martin of doing. You missed out the next verse (v.40). “And this is the will of Him who sent Me, that everyone who sees the Son and believes in Him may have everlasting life; and I will raise Him up at the last day.”

            There is your free will! Just come, all you Linuses and Sarkys! The gate of heaven is wide open for you! Just look to Christ with your mind’s eye and see Him bleeding and dying on the cross and believe that it was for you that He suffered, to take away your sin. Here is eternal life for the taking! Here’s C.H. Spurgeon, a 5 point Calvinist:

            ‘Sinners, let me address you with the words of life; Jesus wants nothing from you, nothing whatsoever, nothing done nothing felt; He gives both work and feeling. Ragged, penniless, just as you are, lost forsaken, desolate, with no good feelings, and no good hopes, still Jesus comes to you and in these words of pity He addresses you, “Him that cometh unto Me I will in no wise cast out.”…………The man may have been guilty of an atrocious sin, too black for mention; but if he comes to Christ he shall not be cast out. He may have made himself as black as night- as black as hell……I cannot tell what kind of persons may have come into this hall tonight; but if burglars, murderers and dynamite-men were here, I would still bid them come to Christ, for He will not cast them out. No limit is set on the extent of sin: any “him” in all the world- any blaspheming devilish “him” that comes to Christ shall be welcomed. I use strong words that I may open the gate of mercy. Any “him” that comes to Christ- though he come from slum or taproom, betting-ring or gambling-hell, prison or brothel- Jesus will in no wise cast out.”

            And let us be quite clear: if anyone one does not come, it is not because God has prevented him, not because Christ’s blood will not cover him, but because he has a wicked, unbelieving heart. “And this is the condemnation, that the light has come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil………But you are not willing to come to Me that you may have life” (John 3:19; 5:40).

          • Linus

            One Linus, two Lini. But happily there’s only one of me here, so there’s not much call for the plural, which is probably why you’re unfamiliar with it.

            Thank you for my share of the invitation to your death cult’s imaginary paradise. Unfortunately I’m prevented from accepting until dreams and visions become reality. Point me to a place where I can see this unedifying spectacle of a man who claims to be a god dying on a cross (and not just some second rate artist’s interpretation of it carved out of wood or cast in plaster) and I might (or might not) change my mind. But expect me to adopt your beliefs just because you believe them and you’ll be disappointed. Who are you to influence me? I know nothing about you except that you take fantastic stories at face value and believe in them implicitly based solely on how they make you feel.

            What solid, verifiable evidence can you present to support your claims? Your own emotional judgment that “it makes me all teary so it must be true” doesn’t, I’m afraid, stand up to any kind of scientific and impartial scrutiny.

          • If you were really interested, I would spend some time explaining the ‘Many infallible proofs’ (Acts 1:3) of the crucifixion and resurrection. But you’re not actually interested or you would buy a book like Who moved the Stone and find out for yourself.

          • sarky

            Read it and still an atheist!!

          • Happy Jack

            “One Linus, two Lini.”
            In what language is that, then? Since when have names been pluralised?

            By the way, the more common form of the name Linus in France in ‘Lino’. That’s a cheap floor covering in Britain. Fitting, what !

          • “And let us be quite clear: if anyone one does not come, it is not because God has prevented him, not because Christ’s blood will not cover him, but because he has a wicked, unbelieving heart.”

            Accepted. Jack isn’t looking at the negative side – i.e. those who do not come to Christ. He is asking about those who do turn to Christ.

            Nobody can turn to God unaided. Where does the assistance come from? Is it made freely available to all? Or, is it offered selectively to some and not others? Does He withhold saving grace from some?

          • ‘Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ, just as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before Him, in love having predestined us to adoption as sons by Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the good pleasure of His will. to the praise of the glory of His grace…….’ (Ephesians 1:3-6).

          • ” … according to the good pleasure of His will”

            And you understand this to mean what?

          • Uncle Brian

            Baader Meinhof, Martin? No more recent candidates than that lot, in the terrorism department?

          • I listed them as an example of secular atheist terrorism.

          • Linus

            Thank you for my share of the personal abuse but I don’t believe that gays have anything in common with pimps, prostitutes, adulterers or terrorists, unless they happen to be indulging in these activities as well as being gay, of course.

            Keep on listing homosexuality as a sin equivalent to the other activities you mentioned and you’ll lose the gay community forever. Which you already have of course. But you’re doing nothing to remedy the situation. In fact you’re enjoying making sure we stay well away from you and your religion. You want us to burn. That’s your goal.

          • You just love casting yourself as a victim, don’t you, Linus? Well, if you don’t like my list you can look at the list in 1 Corinthians 6:9-10 if it makes you happier. You may see homosexuality as some sort of lesser sin, but God doesn’t. But then look at verse 11.

            If you don’t make it to heaven you will have no one to blame but yourself. The Gospel has been presented to you here on this blog.

          • carl jacobs

            Oops.

          • Best answer yet !!!

          • sarky

            “To glorify himself”? So we are just the result of an ego trip? So our whole existence is about being sicophants to a vain god who just wants us mere mortals to bow down before him?
            I really do not like your god.

          • Sarky, that is a Calvinist expression and is open to misunderstanding.

            A Catholic answers: “God made me to know Him, to love Him and to serve Him in this life, and to be happy with Him forever in the next.”

          • Anton

            Jack, I share your reservations about the Calvinist reading of scripture. If man does nothing and God does everything then it is monstrously unfair of God to condemn some to hell for what he has done. On the other hand I share the concerns of the Calvinists that anything else appears to be justification-by-works, which is unscriptural.

            To me the resolution is that salvation is totally to man’s advantage, so that grasping the lifeline with both hands is not an act of goodness, thereby making some better than others – which I think is the line that the Calvinists fear. And without the lifeline we should all sink.

          • That’s Armenian and Calvinists are right in saying it detracts from the Sovereignty of God and places too much initiative with man who is mortally wounded in sin.
            Who moves us to recognise the lifeline and grasp it? It can only be the Holy Spirit. Yet, not all do respond. Therein lies the mystery which the Catholic Church has left hanging between Augustine, Aquinas and Molina.

          • Anton

            Armenian??

            Yes at the deepest level it’s a mystery. I think that we grow in the pondering of it.

          • carl jacobs

            He’s God, sarky. What do you suppose He should focus on? What is greater than God that it should occupy His attention? He doesn’t need us. He doesn’t need anything from us. He lacks nothing without us. He was complete in Himself before Creation when there was nothing but Himself. So what is it that is good and right for God to do – you who would instruct Him as if you know the end from the beginning? Tell Him that He may be educated by your wisdom. Fill up what He lacks, for He obviously needs your instruction.

            You comprehend so little. The entire Christian faith is built upon God humbling Himself to become man. The infinite Eternal God becomes finite limited man.

            though He was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross.

            To live as we live. To die as we die. To die in our place. Do you not comprehend what that means? A few would die for a good men. Scarcely one for a righteous man. But who dies for the wicked? God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. God dies for the wicked. And not just die, but to experience the full wrath of God against the evils that men commit. Jesus experienced the full suffering of Hell, sarky. That was the point of the Cross. The justice of God could be satisfied by punishing Christ as if He had committed evil Himself. Jesus died knowing the guilt and shame of sin. He became sin. He who had never sinned was condemned to suffer in the place of sinful men who had earned that punishment of Hell. That is what this ‘egotistical’ God did for man. That is what this ‘egotistical’ God did for me. For if He had not done so, I would surely stand with you and condemn Him to His face.

            You are a creature, sarky. You were created for a purpose. But you say to your Creator “Why did you make me thus? Who are you to set a purpose for me?” He would be God. Because He is the Creator, He gets to make those decisions. And you should obey Him and worship Him and glorify Him because of who He is. You who receive every good thing direct from His hand. You live because He suffers you to live. You breathe because He gives you breath. You hang by a slender thread over oblivion, and it is God who holds you up. And still you curse and revile and accuse Him.

            Woe to you, sarky, if you do not repent. For you will not say to Him “I don’t like you” when you meet Him face to face.

          • sarky

            I wasn’t created at all. I am the product of millions of years of evolution ( and in my humble opinion I am the pinnacle).

            This is my problem (and I dont mean to offend)
            Jesus died knowing full well he would be resurrected in three days, where is the sacrifice? It’s like me making a big show of selling my house and possessions for charity knowing full well that in three days id be getting a bigger house and better possessions.
            For me a soldier who sacrifices himself for my freedom, knowing full well there will be no resurrection, is making a bigger sacrifice.
            For god to have made a real sacrifice of his son, jesus would have to have stayed dead.
            But that doesn’t work for Christianity, because you would lose the selling point of eternal life.

          • DanJ0

            That is the biggest flaw in the resurrection theology. It doesn’t really make sense because of it.

          • carl jacobs

            sarky

            The crucifixion was nothing but a physical shadow of the eternity of suffering that was inflicted upon the Christ. He wasn’t just killed painfully. He suffered the full puishment of every sin of every man who would ever stand redeemed before God. When Jesus said “Let this cup pass from me” He was not referring to the crucifixion. He was referring to His purpose of becoming sin and bearing the punishment for the sins of the world.

            You have no comprehension of what you are saying.

          • sarky

            The amount of suffering is irrelevant, it didn’t answer my problem.

          • Don’t underestimate the temptations or genuine sufferings Christ experienced in His human nature, Sarky. He was fully God and fully man. The temptation in the desert was not a feigned, stage managed one. The fear and isolation Jesus experienced in Gethsemane was real, not fabricated. In His Godhead, He knew the outcome. In His humanity, Jesus still had to accept death and suffering. Imagine having the power at any time to call a halt to the pain and utter humiliation – the cost being the eternal damnation of all mankind and its surrender to Satan.

            Would you really be prepared to endure all He did, even knowing you would resurrect, for others? It’s not the death, it’s the manner of His death you are disregarding.

          • sarky

            There were thousands and thousands crucified without the payoff of knowing they were coming back. Like I said where is the sacrifice?

          • Jack has explained as best he can. As the penitent thief said:

            “Have you no fear of God, for you are subject to the same condemnation? And indeed, we have been condemned justly, for the sentence we received corresponds to our crimes, but this man has done nothing criminal …. Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom.”

          • ” God dies for the wicked. And not just die, but to experience the full wrath of God against the evils that men commit. Jesus experienced the full suffering of Hell, sarky. That was the point of the Cross. The justice of God could be satisfied by punishing Christ as if He had committed evil Himself.”

            Again, Jack would just flag that this is one understanding of the atoning death of Christ – laying stress on the wrath of God and Christ being punished by a vengeful Father.

            There is another one.

          • carl jacobs

            this is one understanding of the atoning death of Christ

            Yeh. It’s the Scriptural understanding.

          • Nah, it’s Calvin’s reading of Scripture.

          • DanJ0

            All I ask is to be given the same choice as the angels.

          • DanJ0

            Grow up, troll.

          • Happy Jack

            Jack thought you’d like that one, Danjo.

            The same choice as the angels, indeed. Theirs was a once in eternity call. Yours may not be irrecoverable – yet.

          • Spelling, Jack.

            Irrevocable

      • Martin

        HJ

        Accepting it is God who saves, are you saying there is no room for man to assent or dissent from receiving God’s grace and faith?

        None.

        • carl jacobs

          Technically, faith is the free response of man’s will that proceeds from regeneration. But I get what you are saying.

          • How can it be a ‘free’ response to ‘irresistible’ grace? The real question is how God moves men towards Him.

          • carl jacobs

            Could Lazarus resist being called back to life? Will the dead on the Last day be able to choose to remain buried in the Earth? But once a man is alive, then He is free to act.

          • Happy Jack

            Did Lazarus have a conscious soul when he was physically dead. How could he have blocked his physical resurrection?

          • carl jacobs

            Precisely. The call was… Irresistible. Now, we remember that men are born spiritually dead in sin. And so we understand the call of the spiritually dead to be irresistible. He was dead. Now he is alive.

          • Assuming one accepts total depravity, Carl.

          • Martin

            Carl

            Isn’t faith the gift of God?

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

          • carl jacobs

            Yes, it is. But it is still something that man freely does. God gives us life, and we live. God gives us faith, and we exercise it. The regenerated man must exercise faith. He also will exercise faith.

        • CliveM

          Mathew 19: 16 – 39.

          • Martin

            Can anyone keep the commandments? No one ever has save Christ for the purpose of the Law is to condemn, not justify.

          • What ‘Law’? The moral law, written on all our consciences, or the Mosaic ritual law?

          • Martin

            HJ

            I suggest you read the passage.

          • Jack has ….

          • Martin

            HJ

            Then what does the discussion encompass, the ritual or moral law?

          • Now you want lessons in Catechism?

          • Martin

            HJ

            No, read the passage, what is the discussion about, the ritual or moral law. It’s an easy distinction.

        • CliveM

          Mathew 19: 16 – 30

  • preacher

    Amen to all the above. Jesus gave the disciples a commission, not an option before His return to the father. He also told them to wait until they had received power in the person of the Holy Spirit. These men had been with Him for three years, had seen miracles & witnessed His death & resurrection, yet they had to wait for another ten days before being empowered for the work.
    The Holy Spirit broods over God’s Church & waits for us to be prepared to follow in Christ’s footsteps – Wherever they may lead. But we must be willing to act & speak without fear, it doesn’t matter what the political minnows are saying or doing. They will have to answer for their choices on the day of judgement.
    it’s not a question of Knowledge, we have many people who have an Encyclopaedic knowledge of scripture & know ancient Greek, Latin & Aramaic, but they have never spoken to anyone about Jesus & His mission. Why? because they lack the ability to communicate in a way that modern people can understand.
    I know from many of the contributors here, that they are not in this position & await the chance to speak to many more souls about Christ’s redemptive death & what it means for them. God wants all men saved, even more than we do. He sent His son to accomplish it & will send the Holy Spirit to empower us when we pray with all our heart for revival. We can’t have revival without the Spirit of Jesus, in His own words “Without me, you can do nothing”.
    An old preacher friend of mine once said ” All Word & no Spirit & you’ll dry up, all Spirit but no Word & you’ll blow up. But Spirit & Word & You’ll grow up.”

    In my opinion it’s time to take down the decorations & go to work. If the A.O.C is serious – if not, well the Wesley brothers did all right as soon as they received the Holy Spirit.

  • Dominic Stockford

    Having read this through again I am also taken with this quote.

    “Nothing is more deadly than a Christian who is in­different to the
    salvation of others. Indeed I won­der if such a person can be a true
    Christian.”

    Today all too many Christians in this country huddle in the shadows, hide in backwaters, flee from London, and snarl at the few Christians who stick their head above the parapet – little do they realise that they cannot hide behind it much longer, because if it is not defended with vigour (Nehemiah, sword in one hand, trowel in the other, work, work work) then it will not be there much longer. Another 5 years of what we have just seen and Christians won’t just be prevented from running B&B’s in their own homes in a godly manner, or have their children ripped out of their home schooling programmes*, but also from preaching the Gospel in their own churches – which is almost the case in some parts of Canada already.

    We need such as Andrea Minichiello Williams of Christian Concern, and David Burrowes MP, to stand up and be counted. More seriously, we ALL need to stand up and be counted. So for instance, if no-one will stand up beside me to be counted here in Twickenham Constituency, then maybe it will only be me, but better one voice crying in the wilderness, than nothing but the sound of silence in the deadwaste.

    *(A recentish survey found that over 1/2 of those elected to US Senate and Congress were home schooled – can’t do the harm to prospects that some people say!)

  • http://www.hopecambridge.com/Groups/181987/Hope_Cambridge/Partners/Cambridge_Street_Pastors/Cambridge_Street_Pastors.aspx

    This lot have got it right. Read what it says on their posters. I would wager they get more converts (and will never know who they converted) than anyone who chooses to rant about damnation on a street corner. These people live what they preach.

    “And they’ll know we are Christians
    By our love, by our love.
    Yes, they’ll know we are Christians
    By our love.”

    • Dominic Stockford

      So Justin Welby is wrong when he says:

      “Everything else is decoration. Some of it may be very necessary, useful, or wonderful decoration – but it’s decoration.”

      That’s right: foodbanks, soup kitchens, mums’ and toddlers’ groups are just decoration. Jesus didn’t tell His followers just before He ascended to heaven that “You will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will set up debt advice centres and credit unions in Jerusalem, and throughout Judaea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.”

      (Quoted from above article).

      • CliveM

        He did also say that some of it was necessary decoration. He wasn’t dismissing it or saying it shouldn’t happen, but that evangelism comes first.

        • Dominic Stockford

          My experience of the Street pastors (above link), and after discussing the matter with their founder at some length, is that true evangelism comes nowhere – indeed, they are told that they shouldn’t be doing it.

          • As usual, it’s been said better a long time before 🙂

            James 2:14-20 (New Living Translation)

            14 What good is it, dear brothers and sisters, if you say you have faith but don’t show it by your actions? Can that kind of faith save anyone?
            15 Suppose you see a brother or sister who has no food or clothing,
            16 and you say, “Good-bye and have a good day; stay warm and eat well”—but then you don’t give that person any food or clothing. What good does that do?
            17 So you see, faith by itself isn’t enough. Unless it produces good deeds, it is dead and useless.
            18 Now someone may argue, “Some people have faith; others have good deeds.” But I say, “How can you show me your faith if you don’t have good deeds? I will show you my faith by my good deeds.”
            19 You say you have faith, for you believe that there is one God. Good for you! Even the demons believe this, and they tremble in terror.
            20 How foolish! Can’t you see that faith without good deeds is useless?

          • Dominic Stockford

            Read the passage carefully and you will see faith comes first, actions flow from that faith. this passage is also NOT about evangelising.

          • Just two sides to one coin, Jack would say. And everything we do as Christians is, or should, reflect the love of Christ.

          • Define “true evangelism”.

          • Dominic Stockford

            Being clear that all must “Repent of your sins, and believe in Jesus Christ, in whom alone your hope is found.

          • And how do you propose one goes about that?

          • sarky

            That approach is impossible because most people don’t believe they have sinned, therfore,have nothing to repent for. If they dont feel the need for repentance they don’t need hope in jesus.

            Think you need a different approach!

          • Come now, Sarky.

            Whatever name we give it, are you saying you have never done anything you regret or wished you hadn’t? Have you no faults that hurt other people, especially the one’s you love? And do you still keep doing these things, even though you try not to?

          • sarky

            No, I don’t believe in regret.

          • Sorry, Jack cannot believe that statement. You may not believe in regret but, unless you are a sociopath, or able to successfully repress every feeling of empathy, you will experience it. Jack believes you are neither.

            How do you teach your children ‘right’ from ‘wrong’?

          • sarky

            I teach them not to regret their decisions but to learn from them.

          • Same thing …. how do you teach them?

          • sarky

            By example.

          • And when they don’t follow it …. as children invariably do not …. what then?

          • Powerdaddy

            Set them alight and watch them burn forever?

          • sarky

            Then they learn from those mistakes 🙂

          • How do they know they have made a mistake?

          • sarky

            They don’t until after the event (this could go on and on and on)

          • It could. How do they know, after the event, they’ve made a mistake?

          • sarky

            Grrrrrrrr.

          • Happy Jack

            Grrrrr ……….

          • Anton

            Surely you can advise at first hand, Jack?

          • Jack’s interested in how you go about it. He doesn’t start from the same position with every person.

    • CliveM

      Sister Tiberia

      Are you disagreeing with what Welby said?

      • No, not disagreeing in the least. I’m commenting on human nature. That if you told any one of those people at 2am about Jesus Christ, they’d tell you to go forth and multiply. But if the street pastors have picked them up, got them to a safe place, got a hot drink into them and got them some practical help, then a few will say “Why are you doing this?” and that’s the moment you say “Because I’m a Christian”. And a few will remember – and they will tell their friends. And a few of those will start to see Christians in a light they hadn’t seen them before. It has to start with love – love of neighbour. The rest follows.

        • As usual, it’s been said better a long time before 🙂

          James 2:14-20 (New Living Translation)

          14 What good is it, dear brothers and sisters, if you say you have faith but don’t show it by your actions? Can that kind of faith save anyone?
          15 Suppose you see a brother or sister who has no food or clothing,
          16 and you say, “Good-bye and have a good day; stay warm and eat well”—but then you don’t give that person any food or clothing. What good does that do?
          17 So you see, faith by itself isn’t enough. Unless it produces good deeds, it is dead and useless.
          18 Now someone may argue, “Some people have faith; others have good deeds.” But I say, “How can you show me your faith if you don’t have good deeds? I will show you my faith by my good deeds.”
          19 You say you have faith, for you believe that there is one God. Good for you! Even the demons believe this, and they tremble in terror.
          20 How foolish! Can’t you see that faith without good deeds is useless?

          • Odd. I posted the above in the wrong place on the thread, deleted it and put it back where it should be, and it’s still showing as a guest post. Oh well, another Disqus hiccup 🙂

          • Lol ………… must have been predestined that way, Tibs.

  • Martin

    Did Israel choose God or did God choose Israel?

    Did the disciples choose Jesus or did He choose them?

    Did Saul choose to become a Christian?

    Can the dead raise themselves?

    Can you choose to be born, or born again?

    Perhaps the Archbishop should read the 39 Articles:

    XVII. Of Predestination and Election.

    Predestination to Life is the everlasting purpose of God, whereby (before foundations of the world were laid) he hath constantly decreed by his counsel secret to us, to deliver from curse and damnation those whom he hath chosen in Christ out of mankind, and to bring them by Christ to everlasting salvation, as vessels made to honour. Wherefore, they which be endued with so excellent a benefit of God be called according to God’s purpose by his Spirit working in due season: they through Grace obey the calling: they be justified freely: they be made sons of God by adoption: they be made like the image of his only-begotten Son Jesus Christ: they walk religously in good works, and at length, by God’s mercy, they attain to everlasting felicity.

    As the godly consideration of Predestination, and our Election in Christ, is full of sweet, pleasant, and unspeakable comfort to godly persons, and such as feel in themselves the working of the Spirit of Christ, mortifying the works of the flesh, and their earthly members, and drawing up their mind to high and heavenly things, as well because it doth greatly establish and confirm their faith of eternal Salvation to be enjoyed through Christ, as because it doth fervently kindle their love towards God: So, for curious and carnal persons, lacking the Spirit of Christ, to have continually before their eyes the sentence of God’s Predestination, is a most dangerous downfall, whereby the Devil doth thrust them either into desperation, or into wretchlessness of most unclean living, no less perilous than desperation.

    Furthermore, we must receive God’s promises in such wise, as they be generally set forth to us in holy Scripture: and in our doings, that Will of God is to be followed, which we have expressly declared unto us in the Word of God.

    • Dominic Stockford

      Absolutely. there will continue to be problem within the CofE as long as it’s overseers fail to hold to the theology that it professes. If they want to hold another theology they should go elsewhere.

      • “If they want to hold another theology they should go elsewhere.”

        Like you did – not once, not twice, nay not even thrice, but for a forth time?

        So lay it out, Dominic. How does God choose those He saves? Jack is listening with great interest.

        • Dominic Stockford

          My ‘theology’ has changed but the once, thanks for asking.

          I don’t pretend to know how/why God does many things, and I am comforted in that position by God’s Word in the Bible.

          • Come now, don’t be shy Dominic.

            “I don’t pretend to know how/why God does many things, and I am comforted in that position by God’s Word in the Bible.”

            How does God choose those He saves? How should Christian’s evangelise?

          • Dominic Stockford

            I am happy not to know the mind of God on every matter. I have no problem with that, why do you want me to?

          • “I am happy not to know the mind of God on every matter.

            Well, that’s a relief. However, Jack’s interested in those areas where do you do claim to know the mind of God.

            “I have no problem with that, why do you want me to?”

            You’ve criticised Justin Welby’s approach to evangelisation, without saying what he’s got wrong or what you would do differently.

            You commented:

            ” …. there will continue to be problem within the CofE as long as it’s overseers fail to hold to the theology that it professes.”

            What has the Archbishop got wrong, theologically, in his message about choosing Christ?

            What do you make of this comment of his:

            “As a Christian it is my deepest conviction that in Jesus Christ, God comes to call every one He has made. Everyone has been summoned in Jesus Christ.”

            Why are you being so circumspect?

          • Martin

            HJ

            What has the Archbishop got wrong, theologically, in his message about choosing Christ?

            He fails to abide by the rules of the CoE, the 39 Articles, which are based on the Bible.

          • Happy Jack

            Specifically?

          • Martin

            HJ

            I’ve already pointed out that God chooses those He saves, they don’t choose. See my quote from the 39 Articles.

          • Happy Jack

            See Jack’s response to that quote from the 39 Articles.

          • Hi Happy Jack,

            Um… What’s with the blueberry look?

          • Happy Jack

            Grrrr ………..

          • You must ignore ‘him’ Hannah. He can be very grouchy. Blame Carl.

          • Hi happy Jack I’ve read Robert Louis Stevenson….. but you can’t blame Carl Jacobs.:Only the Sith deal in absolutes…(:

          • So do the Jedi ….

            Robert Louis Stevenson?

          • Hi happy Jack

            ” The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde….”.

            Like the etrog you is Dr Jekyll and the blueberry you is Mr Hyde? Or I’ve been watching the “league of extraordinary gentlemen” and have come here feeling like I never finished the movie?

            Alternatively you are really a time Lord and the blueberry you is like the valeyard ….

          • Hmm …. probably more ‘dual personality’ than ‘amalgam’ of darker aspects, Hannah.

            Happy Jack suspects there might be ‘others’ lurking around. How this chap got hold of the password to his computer remains a mystery. Jack must be talking in his sleep as he never writes it down.

            Ps
            Rather like the Blue fellow’s hat, though.

          • carl jacobs

            Heh. “Blueberry.” Perhaps Jack is really Violet Beauregarde.

          • Happy Jack

            Fancy yourself as an ‘Oompa-Loompa’, then?
            Bring it on.

          • carl jacobs

            I’m too tall to be an Oompa-Loompa. However, the little Grapefruit guy isn’t. And he is the right color.

          • Happy Jack

            Yah reckon you’re a big guy then?

          • Martin

            HJ

            I’ve responded to that in the same way as above. God does the choosing.

          • chiefofsinners

            This is an argument without any profit. The scriptural doctrines of election and predestination are obvious. It is also obvious that whenever the gospel is preached it is offered to all who hear and is accepted by those who heed its call to obedience and faith.

            Can we not obediently and faithfully accept two truths which appear contradictory?
            The church in heaven can do everything the church on earth can do except one thing: preach the gospel. We are not taken to heaven at the point of conversion, we’re left here. With one overriding commission. Can we please stop quibbling and get on with it?

          • “The scriptural doctrines of election and predestination are obvious.”

            That’s why Saint Thomas Aquinas and Saint Augustine ran into theological roadblocks with both of them holding contradictory ideas. The obvious nature of Scripture resulted in a ten year and unresolved debate in Rome from 1597 to 1607 between competing schools, with the Pope eventually deciding to leave the question undecided.

            “Can we not obediently and faithfully accept two truths which appear contradictory?”

            We could obediently and faithfully decide to accept it is an unresolvable mystery. However, the implications for an understanding of Christ’s atonement, the operation of God’s love, mercy and justice, indeed His very nature, and its significance for evangelisation, are too profound.

          • chiefofsinners

            You demonstrate that great and godly minds have been unable to resolve these issues for the entire history of the church. Good luck with it. I go a fishing.

          • Accepted but one particular and narrow interpretation holds considerable sway and, in Jack’s opinion, is harmful.
            Happy fishing and Jack hopes you know where to cast your line.

          • Powerdaddy

            “Can we not obediently and faithfully accept two truths which appear contradictory?”

            Of course!

            What is Christianity without all these contradictions?

          • Martin

            CoS

            Those who accept the gospel are those God has already worked in the hearts of. We don’t know who id elect so we preach to all & God saves whom He will. There is no contradiction.

          • chiefofsinners

            The contradiction exists between Christians.
            The arguments on both sides are very, very well rehearsed, yet still they divide us.
            What you say is undoubtedly true. Yet for many it fails to answer a number of issues e.g. :
            – What are we to make of the scripture that “The Lord is… not willing that any should perish but that all should come to a knowledge of repentance”? (2 Pet 3 v 9)
            – How, logically, can Christ be “the atoning sacrifice not only for our sins but also for the whole world”? (1 John 2 v 2)
            – How do we reconcile this with our daily experience that we struggle to choose to obey the will of God, sometimes doing so and sometimes failing – as described by Paul in Romans 7?
            My suggestion is this: These things are like train tracks – working together. On close examination they are separate but parallel. When viewed from a distance, they are a single line.
            Of course, if all those who will be saved are going to be saved then we might sit at home arguing about it endlessly. But we are commissioned to preach the gospel.

          • Martin

            CoS

            That God does not wish any of His Creation to perish does not negate the fact that His justice demands that they do. His mercy saves some from the burning.

          • chiefofsinners

            It’s all so obvious that it’s hard to understand why half of Christendom disagrees. It’s not me you need to convince, it’s those who would reply:
            You say “God does not wish” – but scripture says God does not “will”. And election is all about God’s will.
            And:
            In what sense, then, do you think the word “world” is used in 1 John 2v2? What possible sense could remove the apparent meaning?
            And:
            If we saved sinners can daily resist God’s grace, why can’t the unsaved sinners do likewise?
            And so-on and so-forth until there’s no time left for evangelism.

          • Martin

            CoS

            I fail to see where the problem lies. God commands us to preach the gospel, we are not to worry about who He will save for He will save whom He wills to save. It is God’s salvation to dispense as & when He chooses.

            In 1 John 2:2 the word world merely means every saved person as against those John is immediately writing to.

          • chiefofsinners

            The problem lies right down the middle of the church universal, with one half finding your answers satisfactory and the other half not.
            My appeal is simply for each side to keep their eyes on what unites them more than what divides them. No doubt you do this, but others down the ages have not been so brotherly.

          • Martin

            CoS

            If it is a different gospel then clearly there is no unity.

          • chiefofsinners

            OK. I shall apply Titus 3 verse 10, option 3.

          • Martin

            CoS

            How about applying this:

            But even if we or an angel from heaven should preach to you a gospel contrary to the one we preached to you, let him be accursed. As we have said before, so now I say again: If anyone is preaching to you a gospel contrary to the one you received, let him be accursed.
            (Galatians 1:8-9 [ESV]

            If Someone is teaching that Man has any part in his own salvation, that is another gospel.

          • chiefofsinners

            No, it’s not another gospel. An Arminian preaching of the gospel will use the same words as a Calvinist preaching the gospel. Many are saved through the preaching of each.
            Christians who preach the same gospel and believe in the inerrancy of scripture come to different conclusions on this matter in good conscience.
            Your answers so-far would not serve to convince me, let alone an out-and-out Arminian. You have strained the meaning of kosmos beyond its use anywhere else in scripture, to a point where many would regard your interpretation as absurd. John had the word ecclesia available if that was what he meant.
            You have noticeably not answered the other points about 1 John 5.19 or Romans 7. And that’s just scratching the surface. We could speak of God commanding all men everywhere to repent, of God so loving the world, of names not being blotted out of the Lamb’s book of life or a myriad of other scriptures.
            I’m not trying to convince you that you’re wrong about election, just that other believers can hold an opposing view in good conscience and should therefore not be ‘accursed’. Personally I would prefer to adopt the position that both are true rather than impose improbable interpretations on vast bodies of scripture.

          • Martin

            CoS

            However, the Arminian will be concentrating on persuading his hearer to receive salvation, while the Calvinist will be driving how the message that the hearer is a sinner in need of repentance.

            In 1 John 5:19 shows that the term ‘world’ is used of a part of the whole of humanity in the letter, so clearly my point that 1 John 2:2 does not have to mean the whole of humanity.

            On Romans 7, it is clearly explained that we struggle with sin because we are still in the body. I’m not sure it has relevance.

            That God commands all men to repent does not mean they can do that, any more that His command that they refrain from sin means they can.

            I’m well aware that others hold differing views, but Paul makes it clear, and he opposed Peter for this reason, that such a departure from the gospel is serious. You must deal with what Paul says, not what I say.

          • Jack replied to that:

            “Jack can see nothing in this extract from the 39 Articles that is inconsistent with the Archbishop’s hopeful invitation to people to turn to Christ. It says nothing about how God works in the hearts of man or how He chooses those whom He saves.”

          • Martin

            HJ

            “Predestination to Life is the everlasting purpose of God, whereby (before the foundations of the world were laid) he hath constantly decreed by his counsel secret to us, to deliver from curse and damnation those whom he hath chosen in Christ out of mankind, and to bring them by Christ to everlasting salvation, as vessels made to honour.”

            There is nothing hopeful about salvation, God has decreed who He will save and those will be saved. Welby holds to the Arminian heresy where the sinner chooses Christ.

      • Martin

        Dominic

        Maybe they should start their own church if they don’t want to abide by Christ’s rules for His.

        • Happy Jack

          Well Dominic knows all about that …. seems he took the church building with him too …. probably has an information pack somewhere.

          • Martin

            HJ

            It’s what the bishops of Rome did.

          • Happy Jack

            Grrrr …….

          • Martin

            HJ

            You don’t sound happy.

    • “Perhaps the Archbishop should read the 39 Articles”
      Tad rude that, Martin. What you mean is Justin Welby is presenting a positive and hopeful message about salvation in Christ and an invitation to people to open their hearts to Him.

      What are you offering?

      “Predestination to Life is the everlasting purpose of God, whereby (before foundations of the world were laid) he hath constantly decreed by his counsel secret to us, to deliver from curse and damnation those whom he hath chosen in Christ out of mankind, and to bring them by Christ to everlasting salvation, as vessels made to honour.”

      Jack can see nothing in this extract from the 39 Articles that is inconsistent with the Archbishop’s hopeful invitation to people to turn to Christ. It says nothing about how God works in the hearts of man or how He chooses those whom He saves.

      Care to point out where Justin Welby has got it wrong?

      • Martin

        HJ

        If the AoC cannot keep to the rules laid down by his own church and by God he deserves to be reprimanded. A hopeful message that is wrong is no better than no message at all.

        What Welby has got wrong is that we do not choose to follow Christ, God chooses us and makes us to follow Christ.

        • “A hopeful message that is wrong is no better than no message at all.”

          Hmmm ……. strange comment.

          “What Welby has got wrong is that we do not choose to follow Christ, God chooses us and makes us to follow Christ.”
          However, Jack would say God wishes us all to saved – He died for everyone – but we can effectively block the saving grace of Christ and He will then leave us alone.

          Salvation is an invitation; not a random imposition.

          • Martin

            HJ

            Why is it strange? Is giving the wrong direction to a location better than giving no direction ?

            God may wish that all men might be saved but He doesn’t choose to save all men. Nor did Christ die for all, else he died in vain. No man can block God’s saving grace, salvation is an act of God, not an invitation, and it certainly isn’t random.

          • “Why is it strange? Is giving the wrong direction to a location better than giving no direction ?”

            If the end result is Hell, Jack would say so. Purgatory and it wouldn’t be too serious.

            “Nor did Christ die for all, else he died in vain.”

            We must be reading different bibles. Where does it say in your one that Christ died for the Elect and not for all men? Jack’s bible says something different.

            “No man can block God’s saving grace, salvation is an act of God, not an invitation, and it certainly isn’t random.”

            That’s begging the question. If Christ died for all, and God’s grace is available to all, then the nature of God’s “good pleasure” in redeeming some and damning others – before the foundation of the world – has to be understood in some way that is consistent with His Love, Mercy and Justice.

          • Martin

            HJ

            There is no Purgatory, nor can you do anything that fits you for Heaven. Giving the wrong direction is the same as giving no direction, both lead to Hell.

            The whole of the Bible speaks of God choosing but not of Man choosing God.

            God saves some, who deserve to be damned, but allows the rest to receive the due reward for their sin. God does not damn them, they damn themselves by their sin. God is just in His condemnation, His mercy is seen in that He saves some upon whom He has placed His love.

          • “God does not damn them, they damn themselves by their sin.”

            Agreed the reprobate damn themselves by their sin. Agreed, man can do nothing without the Holy Spirit stirring in him a desire and movement towards God.

            However, where your theology is corrupt and grossly unbiblical, is in the claim a Loving, Merciful and Just God would create men for predestined damnation without offering them salvation through sufficient grace which they are free to block. Scripture testifies against this.

          • Martin

            HJ

            Man can do nothing until God raises him from the death of sin. At that point he is saved.

            God does not create men for predestined damnation, they choose to sin & are not predestined to it.

          • See, Martin, this is your problem. God chooses, by His good pleasure, before the foundation of the world, to raise some from the dead, without merit. The rest are damned because without grace they can do nothing. That is not choice – because, according to your theology, they can nothing else due to the sin of Adam.
            Would a loving Father stand on a riverbank and watch His children drown without offering assistance – especially if He predestined them to be in the river before creating them?

          • Martin

            HJ

            They are condemned for their sin, they chose to sin since sin is always a choice, and they refused the offer of mercy.

            They have a tendency to sin but they retain their responsibility.

            Why do you think that the reprobate are God’s children? Again, they are not predestined to anything, they choose it.

          • In your previous post you said:

            “God saves some, who deserve to be damned, but allows the rest to receive the due reward for their sin. God does not damn them, they damn themselves by their sin. God is just in His condemnation, His mercy is seen in that He saves some upon whom He has placed His love.”

            We all deserve damnation. God selects those to show His mercy to and save. The rest carry on and damn themselves.

            Then you say in the next post:

            “Man can do nothing until God raises him from the death of sin. At that point he is saved.”

            We are born spiritually dead in sin. So God creates man knowing they we all heading for Hell unless He saves us. He decides to save some and leaves the rest.

            Now you’re saying here:

            “They are condemned for their sin, they chose to sin since sin is always a choice, and they refused the offer of mercy.”

            Now you’ve included sin as a choice and a refusal of the offer of mercy. How is sin a choice if we are born spiritually dead? And what offer is made to those whom God leaves dead in their sin?

            So which is? Man can do nothing until God raises him, and He selects some to raise – or – He offers us all mercy and gives us some choice?

            You can’t have it both ways.

          • Martin

            HJ

            Of course I can, inability through sin is not an excuse. They chose to sin & are thus condemned.

          • You’ve completely avoided Jack’s point. Better to accept you cannot answer it ……. or go back and re-read what was he asked.

          • Martin

            HJ

            Then what is your point for I could not see it.

          • Read the post ……… If you can’t see it , Jack isn’t going to continually repeat it.

          • Martin

            HJ

            You appear to be confused, we all choose to sin & thus spiritually die. That refusal to repent is a sin. The offer goes out to all, just as they were invited to the Great Feast and refused to come. Does that answer your point?

          • If you’re accepting that God’s grace, sufficient to turn us to Christ, is available to all, but some obstruct it efficaciousness, then it does, yes.

          • Martin

            HJ

            I’m not. God’s grace saves the sinner completely, nothing more is required so it is received only by the elect.

          • That’s a truism. Of course its grace that saves and those saved as the elect.

            This is what Jack stated:

            “If you’re accepting that God’s grace, sufficient to turn us to Christ, is available to all, but some obstruct it efficaciousness … “

            We’re going round in circles here and are right back to your unbiblical assertions that God choses before creation who are damned and leaves them to it without offering any assistance whatsoever.

          • Martin

            HJ

            Those who receive the grace are saved, those who are not saved do not receive grace.

            God chose before time who He would save. I have never suggested that God chooses who will be damned. He allows them to continue on as their will chooses.

          • “Those who receive the grace are saved, those who are not saved do not receive grace. God chose before time who He would save.”

            Martin, it amounts to the same thing if one can’t avoid damnation without God’s grace.

            “I have never suggested that God chooses who will be damned. He allows them to continue on as their will chooses.”

            Why are you refusing to acknowledge this? They are damned because they are born spiritually dead due to the sin of Adam and can do nothing without God’s grace. Yet, according to you, He does nothing to assist and let’s them go to Hell.

          • Martin

            HJ

            We are told:

            Behold, all souls are mine; the soul of the father as well as the soul of the son is mine: the soul who sins shall die.
            (Ezekiel 18:4 [ESV]

            So we are all responsible for our sin, we are, as it were, all pieces of wood set to burn in the fire. But:

            For those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, in order that he might be the firstborn among many brothers. (Romans 8:29 [ESV])

            God, in mercy, as it were pulls some of those kindling out of the fire, He saves those He chooses to save. The others get what they, and we, deserve. We all deserve Hell for our acts, not for Adam’s act but for our own.

            Tell me, why should God do anything for any of us?

          • Did Christ die for all man or just the elect?

          • Martin

            HJ

            The elect alone:

            Therefore he is the mediator of a new covenant, so that those who are called may receive the promised eternal inheritance, since a death has occurred that redeems them from the transgressions committed under the first covenant.
            (Hebrews 9:15 [ESV])

          • If we are dead in human sin because of Adam, and thus dependant on grace, if sufficient grace isn’t offered to all, then there is nothing anything can without this initial impulse.

          • Martin

            HJ

            Grace is given to those who God causes to be born again. They are raised from the death of sin and justified. They are then pleasing to God and are being made fit for Heaven.

          • Yes Martin. Do carry on.

          • Martin

            HJ

            Nothing more to add really. What were you expecting?

    • Uncle Brian

      Did Israel choose God or did God choose Israel?

      God chose Abraham. But did he make him an offer he couldn’t refuse? I don’t think so. Abraham chose to obey. He could have refused. He had the option.

      And the angel of the Lord called unto Abraham out of heaven the second time, And said, By myself have I sworn, saith the Lord, for because thou hast done this thing, and hast not withheld thy son, thine only son: That in blessing I will bless thee …

      • Uncle Brian,
        I think you might do well to consider Deut. 7:6-8 with reference to Israel and Joshua 24:2-3 with reference to Abraham.

        • Uncle Brian

          Martin, there is no mention of God’s command to sacrifice Isaac in either of the two passages you name. In both cases, the whole incident is omitted.

      • Martin

        Brian

        But God had already called Abraham by then:

        Now the LORD said to Abram, Go from your country and your kindred and your father’s house to the land that I will show you. And I will make of you a great nation, and I will bless you and make your name great, so that you will be a blessing. I will bless those who bless you, and him who dishonors you I will curse, and in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed.
        (Genesis 12:1-3 [ESV]

        And Israel:

        For you are a people holy to the LORD your God. The LORD your God has chosen you to be a people for his treasured possession, out of all the peoples who are on the face of the earth. It was not because you were more in number than any other people that the LORD set his love on you and chose you, for you were the fewest of all peoples, but it is because the LORD loves you and is keeping the oath that he swore to your fathers, that the LORD has brought you out with a mighty hand and redeemed you from the house of slavery, from the hand of Pharaoh king of Egypt. Know therefore that the LORD your God is God, the faithful God who keeps covenant and steadfast love with those who love him and keep his commandments, to a thousand generations, and repays to their face those who hate him, by destroying them. He will not be slack with one who hates him. He will repay him to his face. You shall therefore be careful to do the commandment and the statutes and the rules that I command you today.
        (Deuteronomy 7:6-11 [ESV]

        So clearly God does the choosing & He doesn’t tell us why.

        • Uncle Brian

          Martin, there is no mention of God’s command to sacrifice Isaac in either of the two passages you quote.

          • Martin

            Brian

            That’s because it is irrelevant, God had already called Abraham by then.

  • Shadrach Fire

    A spirited piece about an even more challenging message from the ABC.
    Many problems are highlighted but the solutions/problems rest with the Christians. A neatly formulated text that lays the blame at the door of Christians and Church congregations. Not a single word as far as I can see, points the finger at the pastorate, the clerics. If the blind lead the blind they will both end in the ditch.

    How can the unconverted become converted without direction. Those Anglican sermons I have heard would only pass as homilies to living a ‘Good life’. I doubt in some circumstances the ministers are even born again themselves. Others are only interested in a sacramental type of ministry where religion, ceremony and rituals are the foremost issues for a ‘Christian’ life.

    Of course those ‘evangelicals’ who understand there responsibility to catch all manner of fish will be fulfilling all the advice that Justin lays out. The remainder of ‘Iv’e done my bit by going to church on Sunday’ types and those that fulfill their ‘obligations’ by being ever so humble and helping out at the social groups can only learn to change when they hear the Gospel preached in power.

    There is a small group of commentators who will gladly hear Justin’s speech as a step in the right direction and may it continue.

  • DanJ0

    Article: “

    • len

      Agreed……. If some who professed to be’ Christians’ were arrested for being ‘Christian’ would their be enough evidence to convict them?.,

      • Linus

        The only thing that would lead to a Christian being arrested would be if he were suspected of committing an arrestable offence. Being a Christian is not an arrestable offence. Neither is going to church. Persecuting and harassing others and denying them service are against the law however, but not specifically because the persecution, harassment and denial of service are motivated by Christian faith. The issue is the act, not the motivation.

        Nobody in Western Europe has been prosecuted for being a Christian since the end of WWII. Many Christians have been prosecuted for persecuting, harrassing and denying service to others. Their religion does not oblige them to do any of these things. Ill-will, hatred and a desire to punish those who disagree with them do.

        • CliveM

          Linus

          It was a rhetorical question. Len knows perfectly well you don’t get arrested for being a Christian.
          The question he was asking is “do we live up to what we call ourselves. Would anyone actually know?”

          • Linus

            Apply the fruit test to yourself, then. If you fail, you’re not a Christian. It says as much in your holy book.

            Who among the regular commenters here would pass? So how many of you are real Christians? Lots of you cry “Lord! Lord!” and then happily attack and revile your neighbour.

            If I’m going to hell, I’m not the only one here. Indeed having to put up with some of you for all eternity may well be the worst part of the experience. And no doubt my presence will provoke similar feelings in you. But I can’t help thinking you’ll be worse off than me: you’ll have been expecting so much, and when the reality turns out to be completely different, the ill humour and cries of “Lord! Lord! It’s not fair! Didn’t I hate enough gays, Muslims and atheists for you?” will be deafening.

            I’ll just be thinking “Drat! Who’d a thunk all that drivel was actually true? There was no evidence to go on. Oh well, bad luck. But as I’m already here, I might as well make the best of a bad job. Now where’s the fat Catholic who used to try to annoy me online? Ah, there he is, wailing and gnashing his teeth and crying “Lord, why have you forsaken me?” Pass a pitchfork, I have business to attend to…”

      • If you were the Crown Prosecution Service, what evidence do you think you would require to bring a successful conviction?

        • Peter Wood

          Evidence acceptable to the court would depend on what the law said was evidence acceptable to the court. What sort of evidence would you accept?

          • Jack is asking the questions on this one, thank you very much. Len must have some criteria in mind.

          • Peter Wood

            Yes, Jack, so let’s hope Len will tell us what they are.

          • Don’t hold your breath for too long, Peter.

    • preacher

      Hey Danjo, I know how you feel, I felt the same a while ago. But now I’m a preacher.
      I feel now that although I thought I was running away from all that hype, I was really running away from the truth of what & who I was.
      I now talk to people who once I would have despised or used to my own ends, not a very nice story I know, but the unvarnished truth anyway.
      I’m still a long way short of what I would like to be, but my direction has changed 180 degrees & I now love & care for people.
      I am not a high power salesman & realise that people have free choice & free will, but if I do nothing, they have no choice to make, I speak for free, & I’m not on commission.
      I’ve only written this because I believe I recognise in you an honest person with the same attitudes & fears that I once had. Maybe I’m wrong. But not writing would IMO have been as irresponsible to me as watching someone drown while standing next to a lifebelt or jumping in with a lifeline.
      Blessings Preacher.

    • chiefofsinners

      Welby’s comments are by a Christian to Christians. He wouldn’t speak to you like that. Some Christians do – those are the ones with no gift for evangelism. I know what you mean about the American marketing style preachers. High pressure sales techniques and all that. I cringe far more than you do.
      Good works and personality change do speak loudly. I hope they eventually convince you. But convince you of what? We Christians also have to preach the gospel. Sin – repentance – forgiveness – eternal life.

    • Anna055

      “through permanent personality change for the better” made me think about this article which I came across earlier today:
      http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/media/11433361/Malcolm-Muggeridge-was-a-serial-groper-who-caused-much-hurt-to-those-close-to-him-niece-admits.html
      I remember seeing him on television in his latter days, but I had no idea what he had been like when he was younger!

  • Linus

    Just as an aside, but what’s with the graphic attached to this post?

    The woman is wearing a pinny and holding a pretty flower in her hand, clearly because a woman’s place is in the home and her basic role is to clean it and then fill it with pretty floral arrangements.

    The man is wearing a tie and standing on his head, presumably because he’s drunk and has fallen over and is making the best of a bad situation by looking up the woman’s skirt. This is of course a man’s place: going out to work in an office somewhere (there being no more industry in the UK), shipping 10 pints of ale a night, keeling over in the street and drunkenly ogling all the women who walk by.

    So do all British Christians live in this time warp between the 1950s and the binge drinking culture of today? Or is it just Gillan Scott?

    • carl jacobs

      Linus

      Did it occur to you for even one second that Gillan Scott might not have been the one to post the graphic? I mean before you attacked him without cause. Before you attacked him with that pathetic excuse of a stereotype.

      Did you think all that nonsense was clever? It wasn’t. Did you think it was funny? It wasn’t. There was no purpose to it at all other than to allow you to vent your spleen. It was nothing but spiteful and mean.

      You are like a twelve-year old boy running around seeking attention by being obnoxious. Perhaps you will finally get it.

      • Linus

        My questions about that graphic are perfectly valid. You may not like them, but guess what? That doesn’t bother me!

        I’ll let Gillan Scott respond if he wants to, which I doubt he will because this blog’s pretensions to intellectual seriousness will, I suspect, prevent him from deigning to engage in anything less than high-brow “I require you to admire ME and MY beautiful mind” discourse.

        No matter. Many different inferences can be drawn from a lack of response.

        • Happy Jack

          Quite right too, Linus. Happy Jack understands. You go straight to top honcho – don’t waste your time on us lesser minions. And if Gillan is so rude as to ignore you, you lodge a complaint with the Archbishop. The correct form of address being: “Your Grace”.

          Gillan and the Archbishop, both being reasonable men, must already appreciate your heroic efforts to maintain a reasonable standard of grammar and the correct use of punctuation marks. They will understand how foolish it would be to overlook your astute observations on their use of graphics.

          Btw, have you considered inviting one or both to the upcoming event of the social season?

          “I require you to admire ME and MY beautiful mind”

          We do, Linus; we do. You are the man.

          • Linus

            Sad Jack the bald-faced liar. Just a little bit earlier on this thread he was telling someone how he no longer communicates with me. Yet here he is addressing me by my name and spitting dull and badly composed sarcasm directly at me.

            Never trust Sad Jack. He is not a man of his word.

          • Happy Jack

            As Jack has said ‘that’ Jack refuses to talk to you; ‘this’ Jack is different.
            Still no reply from Gillan. Purhaps hes havin a draft reesponse chequed for composeton, spellin and gramma.

          • Linus

            Or perhaps his overestimation of the seriousness and intellectual worth of this site and his contributions to it is preventing him from responding to someone he considers is “lowering the tone”.

            Ah the snobbery of the pseudo-intellectual Anglican. English Catholics are used to being scorned, as as apart from a few notable families, they generally come from a social stratum where all pretense at snobbery is pointless (to be sure, to be sure…), so they’re much more likely to respond to all comers. But the bourgeois Anglican educated to believe his enlightened Via Media makes him better than everyone else thinks he’s above the common fray.

          • Happy Jack

            Apostrophe meltdown !!! Apostrophe meltdown !!!

            “Or perhaps his overestimation of the seriousness and intellectual worth of this site and his contributions to it is preventing him from responding to someone he considers is “lowering the tone.”

            “But the bourgeois Anglican educated to believe his enlightened Via Media makes him better than everyone else thinks he’s above the common fray.”

            Oh dear … now you’re directing pompous, sneering comments at our mutual host(s). All because you’re being ignored … diddum’s.

            The only pseudo-intellectual snobbery and bourgeois pomposity on show here is your delusions of grandeur and sense of entitlement to attention.

            You don’t “lower the tone”. What you do is behave like a total dickhead. Still, one must be true to one’s inner self, eh?

        • carl jacobs

          There was nothing valid about that post. You took something innocent and read corruption into it. That post said nothing about anyone but you.

          • Linus

            So you agree that reducing women to the role of domestic cleaners and sex objects is corrupt.

            We’ll make a liberal out of you yet…

          • carl jacobs

            That graphic doesn’t reduce women “to the role of domestic cleaners and sex objects.” That is your tortured reading brought forth from your own malignant stereotyping. No reasonable observer would reach that conclusion. Neither would he see a drunken man looking up women’s skirts. These images reflect what is inside your heart, and not what is inside the heart of the man who made the graphic. Nor the man who posted the graphic.

          • avi barzel

            O, go on, Carl, Linus has a point and he expressed it humorously. The graphic is a dismal flop…tarting up male and female washroom symbols with an apron, a flower and a tie, the weird “reflection” with the guy upside down and the chunky marmalade, orange Rorschach inkblot or thermonuclear fireball, or whatever that mess is, as a background are a mark of design either by an incompetent committee of amateurs or by someone important who fancies himself as a designer. If you have ever visited a marketing and design studio, it’s comments such as Linus’ that are solicited and immediately heeded. Every junior designer will tell you thatt if a design elicits ridicule, no amount of finger-wagging will suppress it and make people think nice thoughts. The associations he made maybe insulting, but count on many others making the sane ones indepentently. Just remember what sunk the Edsel….

          • carl jacobs

            Avi

            I am not going to pretend to understand how that graphic is supposed to work. I actually googled the phrase yesterday to see if I could get some insight. (I failed.) What does reflection have to do with the Great Commission? And how does a man become the reflection of a woman? Is it an issue of complements? I don’t know.

            Your use of the “Rorschach inkblot” is prescient because I almost used the phrase yesterday myself. The graphic may fail, and it may illicit ridicule. But the set of rational reactions to that graphic is not infinite. To find in that graphic the sexual objectification of women and a drunken man leering up a skirt is not rational. Linus was finding that reaction in his own stereotypes. He reached into his own expectations and pulled out exactly what he expected.

            And he used it to attack people. He doesn’t care sh*t about that graphic. He cares that it fits his preconceived notions about those who made it. That graphic is simply a tool he used to facilitate saying what he really wanted to say.

          • avi barzel

            But Carl, it goes without saying that Linus is hostile to traditional religion and traditional conservative gender differentiation. We can defend and rationalize our positions well, but the negative stereotypes are not without basis either…I’m sure we can both point to such characters and sub-communities in our respective faiths. You can also bet that many who are onboard with the message will also see what Linus saw.

            I’m just surprised at your vehemence on this, your blind spot, as many of us here…including myself…have been guilty of caricatures and stereotypes against our ideological opponents that are just as objectional to them. I see it as a normal part of our “culture wars” on these pages and concede this round to him.

          • Happy Jack

            “Do you see a man wise in his own eyes? There is more hope for a fool than for him.”
            (Proverbs 26:12)

          • carl jacobs

            Avi

            And I’m surprised that you as a Jewish man would be so sanguine about the crass application of stereotypes. Keep the graphic the same, but change the verse to a quote from (what I call) the Old Testament. Let’s say someone “reacted” to that graphic by spinning out a story about the virtuous innocent Dorothea and the predator Joseph Süß leering at her from … well … let’s just say it … the sewer. The case could make for that connection, Avi. I know enough to do it. I could spin out a paragraph of bullsh*t just like Linus did.

            Now, two things would happen if someone had made that case.

            1. You would call him an anti-Semite, and you would be right to do so.

            2. You would ask him “How did you manage to get from there to here? How could you possibly have read that narrative into that graphic?”

            The answer is that the narrative came first. The nature of the graphic is irrelevant. What matters is the ability of the graphic to be made to carry the desired narrative. Linus had a pre-conceived narrative. He wanted to associate that narrative with certain people, and the graphic allowed him the opportunity to do so. There was nothing legitimate about associating that narrative with the graphic. No more that associating Joseph Süß with it. The graphic was simple a means to an agit-prop end.

          • avi barzel

            And I’m surprised you interpret this issue in such extreme terms. Linus’ stereotype is more about traditionalists and conservatives than about Christians. It works equally well with the deluge of shlocky pietistic Judaica our stores are saddled with. The other difference is that regardless of Linus’s sentiments, he is “in” as insider in the Christian at least culturally and moreover, mocks a majority culture. If you surf around Jewish blogs, you will find such and worse “internal” stereotyping between different groups and some strong stuff between the secular against the religious, Zionists against liberals, the left and the right and do on. While the antisemites have a field day with free material they can use, to most of us it’s all in-house squabbling. Similar situation exists in Israel where a secular Jrwish public often mocks the religious, especially the ultra-Orthodox, socially and in the media and no one seems to care. Once the focus shifts to Christians or Muslims, though, the police, the attorney general and the courts take a very harsh approach, with people doing serious time for breach of peace. While we can talk about freedom of speech here, I’m sure you can see the sense behind suppressing this sort of stuff in a volatile country like Israel.

            Your Jew Suess analogy is way off. You are comparing a hostile propaganda with a lethal history dirwcted against an excluded and historically oppressed minority to what is essentially a family squabble along secular vs religious traditionalist lines.

            Lastly, Linus has had his secularism, his being French and his sexual orientation skewered quite frequently here and is giving some of it back.

          • carl jacobs

            Nothing to do with this argument, but I thought you would be amused to know that I am either

            1. A textbook example of Zionist Organizations in the West

            2. A Social Justice Warrior hippy

            Oh, and I just started Art school. And Osama bin Laden was a CIA Agent. And the Nazis were a Zionist plot.

            http://www.spectator.co.uk/features/9459602/its-nato-thats-empire-building-not-putin/

            You meet some interesting people on the Internet.

          • avi barzel

            An imperialist, new world order, high finance and media controlling Zionist like me I can undetstand, but a hippie? Hard to pull without LSD in the water tower.

            Peter Hitchens is just joining the crowd of Post-Normal Political Analysis. I also read on ‘net that the USSR never collapsed; witness the lit-up red stars on the Kremlin towers and lights off on the new crests above government office doors. And the lights are still on on the 3rd floor of Drzezhinsky Squate. Think about that, huh? Expansionist NATO. Cool. And here I thought NATO is just a mailbox address in Georgetown nowadays.

          • avi barzel

            Btw is this you or someone with the same name?

            I find that anthropomorphism really doesn’t help me deal with hardware all that much, because it lends a certain attitude of disdain to what would otherwise be a mere malfunction.

            Just the sort of thing you might say.

          • avi barzel

            …and another one:

            “People who are willing to rely on the government to keep them safe are pretty much standing on Darwin’s mat, pounding on the door, screaming, ‘Take me, take me!'”

            –Carl Jacobs, Alt.Sysadmin.Recovery

          • carl jacobs

            No, I didn’t write it. But it’s a nice compliment for you to think I did.

            Thanks! 🙂

          • Happy Jack

            Grrrr ………

          • avi barzel

            Speaking of design, the frowning blue avatar contradicts the “happy” in your moniker. As does your growl.

          • Happy Jack

            Don’t attribute that daft name to this Jack.

          • carl jacobs

            Yeah. Maybe it should be Grumpy Jack. We would only need five more to complete the set.

            Here’s a vote for Dopey Jack being the next manifestation.
            😀

          • Grouchy Jack

            Grrrr ……..

      • dav phi

        well I thought it was funny.

        • Happy Jack

          Except it wasn’t intended to be humorous.

        • carl jacobs

          What are you then? Twelve as well? Little boys think fart jokes are funny. But adults move on from the vulgar humor of little boys.

          • Happy Jack

            Jack laughed at the scene in ‘Blazing Saddles’ …. we’ve all got a child inside. There’s a difference between innocent humour and mean spirited sarcasm.

          • dav phi

            who mentioned farts? Or was it silent………..?

    • dav phi

      very good!

    • The Explorer

      Linus, old cherub (fallen variety, naturally) why not focus on your wedding and leave thinking to the likes of Carl? There’s a good chap.

      • Happy Jack

        Lol ….. he’s worrying about the arrangements. Plus, he has a secret to confess but ‘this’ Jack is sworn to secrecy.

  • Peter Wood

    I read Cranmer, especially the Chrysostom passage and then lighted on the excellent DanJ0. His reaction encapsulates the post-modern problem of communication and language. Chrysostom talks of influence but influence is a large word, it can be mediated in a dozen different ways. My only desire in relation to influencing any other person would be to contribute to their happiness, not to enlist them in our church. If there was a query, a movement, a sign of interest, then fine, but without a sign from them, I would not be able to justify trying to find the language in which to talk to them of Christianity. There is a marvellous play by Hiofmannsthal – The Difficult One – about a man’s difficulty in communicating with the woman he admires, possibly loves. Everything he says in the Austria of his day seems to be misunderstood, distorted. He is out of sympathy with his times and so his language to others becomes a major problem. How can we communicate with those whose mind-sets, language etc differ so markedly from our own? Even within the Anglican church, I’m repeatedly told that our concerns about this or that aspect of liturgy or worship may well not be shared by the majority – awareness and consciousness seem to be at a low ebb in some congregations. So talk of outreach starts to sound farcical. Am I making sense? Time to shut up!

    • Interesting comments, Peter.

      “My only desire in relation to influencing any other person would be to contribute to their happiness, not to enlist them in our church. If there was a query, a movement, a sign of interest, then fine, but without a sign from them, I would not be able to justify trying to find the language in which to talk to them of Christianity.”

      Jack’s only observation on this is to ask what you mean by the word “happiness”? However, he does agree that it would be ineffective to attempt to impose one’s faith and/or preach to people – especially about Hell, sin and damnation, unless the ground has been prepared. Jesus, it seems to Jack, always started where people He met were. The religious, He challenged. To sinners and the outcast, He showed compassion. How did He treat the mockers and scoffers? He hung on a Cross, died, and showed them His love.

      • Peter Wood

        Yes, ‘happiness’ remains to be tested and perhaps ‘testing the ground’ might provide some practical pointers as to how it might be achieved. I am only being tentative as I’m sure you realise. Your final sentences suggest we are on the same wavelength, which would make a discussion on baptism most interesting.

        • There’s enough controversy on this thread already about the nature of God’s saving grace without opening that particular door at the moment.

          Jack is happy to discuss baptism at an appropriate time. Suffice it to say he is a Roman Catholic and believes in the infusion of grace, and the rebirth of the soul into the Body of Christ and from the bonds of original sin, through baptism – including infant baptism.

          • Peter Wood

            Baptism and Jack – fear not kind Sir. I said “would” – pointing merely to an imagined future.

  • F.A.B – 1689

    Excellent piece, Your Grace – has caused me to reflect most deeply.

  • Doctor Crackles

    It is commendable that Welby advocates evangelism, which is not the first thing that one associates with the CofE. He courageously mentions sin although he makes no mention of hell and eternal separation from God. In some ways the speech was bold, however the message is aimed at individual believers. The test for Welby is being able to preach to the nation. By historical legacy Welby holds a position where he can directly speak to the nation. The criticism is that he does just this, but on social issues rather than matters of the nation’s soul. When he does this I will take notice. I pray he does, because the nation needs to hear this message. That said,I fear he fears the opinions of men; that he is Laodicean.

    My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge: because thou hast rejected knowledge, I will also reject thee, that thou shalt be no priest to me: seeing thou hast forgotten the law of thy God, I will also forget thy children. – from Hosea 4