Witness 3
Mission

Welby: witness gently for Jesus, and wait until you're asked (most of the time)

 

There’s always a danger when you pick up a comment piece from a newspaper that you glance at a headline and form an opinion from a crass summary of a journalist’s apprehension of what a person actually said. Did they actually speak those words? Do the quotation marks surround a verbatim report or a compacted version? Did they actually mean what they said? What was the context? Who were they speaking to? When? Why?

John Bingham in the Telegraph reports the Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby as saying: “Don’t speak about your faith unless you’re asked to.” At least that’s the summary headline. But it isn’t in quotation marks. The caption beneath the Archbishop’s picture reads: “The Archbishop of Canterbury said Christians should not actively ‘proselytise’ non-Christians.” But the only word in quotation marks is ‘proselytise’, which may or may not be because the word was used. And then we come to the body of text: “Christians should not talk to people about their faith unless they are actively invited to do so, the Archbishop of Canterbury has insisted.” But that isn’t in quote marks either, so it isn’t exactly clear what the Archbishop said or precisely what he meant.

The context was a reception at Lambeth Palace for faith leaders – a kind of Archbishop’s Garden Party of multifaith fraternity and fellowship – which certainly wouldn’t be an occasion to bash people over the head with Jesus. You don’t invite the Chief Rabbi and prominent Muslim, Sikh, Buddhist and Hindu representatives into your home to tell them their faith is deficient and they all need Jesus and if they don’t accept him as their personal Lord and Saviour they’re all going to hell. That’s just not very polite, is it? Indeed, it wouldn’t be very polite in any meaningful relationship: it is always preferable to witness in deeds rather than words.

So, the assumption must be that John Bingham has taken the Archbishop’s words to a specific people in a specific place at a specific time, and universalised them to define a preferred approach to mission to all people for all time. The only extensive verbatim quotation is in response to a question about the distinction between evangelism and proselytism:

“I draw the line in terms of respect for the other; in starting by listening before you speak; in terms of love that is unconditional and not conditional to one iota, to one single element on how the person responds to your own declaration of faith; and of not speaking about faith unless you are asked about faith.

“That’s a shorthand but I could go on.

“I draw a pretty sharp line, it is all based around loving the person you are dealing with which means you seek their well-being and you respect their identity and their integrity.”

When probed on Twitter, the Archbishop graciously responded, and did so by quoting Scripture, which is the mark of the man:

Witness

‘..but sanctify Christ as Lord in your hearts, always being ready to make a defense to everyone who asks you to give an account for the hope that is in you, yet with gentleness and reverence‘ (1Pt 3:15f [NASB]. The phrase ‘gentleness and reverence’ is also used in the RSV. The NIV prefers ‘respect’ to ‘reverence’; the KJV translates as ‘meekness and fear’). Whichever translation you use, St Peter’s focus is manifestly on witnessing with humility and graciousness out of respect for the person. But he didn’t say: “Don’t speak about your faith unless you’re asked.” But nor, perhaps, did Justin Welby, for his tweet does not say ‘wait’ to witness, but rather he exhorts Christians to witness with gentleness and reverence, as St Peter does.

And if the Archbishop did say: “Don’t speak about your faith unless you’re asked”, he plainly did not mean always, in all circumstances and forever, which is rather the inference of the Telegraph headline. Not least because he has previously encouraged Chinese Christians to share their faith, urging them to be “martyrs” (or “witnesses”), and he did so with the same exhortation to gentleness, graciousness and respect:

Peter was very clear that the heart of witness lay not in aggressive shouting at people or any other form of manipulation or disruption, but in lives that were lived so clearly that people would ask why the Christian lived in such a way and that the Christian would ‘always be ready to give an explanation for the hope that is within you, but with gentleness and grace’.

The context of 1Peter is the persecuted Church scattered throughout five Roman provinces, equating roughly to the greater part of modern Turkey. Peter most probably wrote it from Rome, where his evangelistic mission was being confronted with the reality of appalling suffering under Nero. The exhortation to talk about one’s faith with gentleness and reverence is made sensitively to those believers for whom the day-to-day reality was slander (allegations of incest, sexual orgies cannibalism), torture and death. In such a context, the quality of Christian character speaks far more eloquently than words. If you must use words, make sure you do so with love and respect, and that might entail waiting to be asked about the joy and peace you radiate.

Jesus’s approach was not always to wait until he was asked: he spoke the truth and proclaimed the gospel in a variety of settings, and he adapted his witness to the individual and his audience, as we all must do if we are genuinely seeking to save those who are lost. When the Pharisee Nicodemus comes to Jesus, it is Nicodemus who initiates the conversation: ‘Rabbi, we know that thou art a teacher come from God: for no man can do these miracles that thou doest, except God be with him..‘ (Jn 3:2). And this provides Jesus with the opportunity to respond directly: ‘Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God‘ (v3). And the questions of salvation ensue, and the gospel is shared: ‘Ye must be born again‘ (v7).

But in the next chapter, talking to the Samaritan woman, she does not ask him about spiritual matters. How could she and why would she if she does not have knowledge of who he is? It is Jesus who initiates the conversation with the mundane: ‘Give me to drink‘ (Jn 4:7), to which she enquires: ‘How is it that thou, being a Jew, askest drink of me, which am a woman of Samaria? for the Jews have no dealings with the Samaritans’ (v9). Her question is concerned with matters of prejudice, sex and race, which Jesus turns, gently and reverently: ‘If thou knewest the gift of God, and who it is that saith to thee, Give me to drink; thou wouldest have asked of him, and he would have given thee living water‘ (v10). Her question about drinking water is transformed into an opportunity to witness to the life-giving water of eternal salvation. She didn’t ask about faith: she was bound by historic enmity, sex inequality, ceremonial uncleanness and social convention. Jesus didn’t wait for her to ask him about his faith: he spied an opportunity and went for it.

Nicodemus approached Jesus, and the witness was immediate. Jesus approached the Samaritan woman, and his request was for assistance. He didn’t bash her over the head with doctrine or give her a gospel tract: he asked of her a favour. How many Christians win a soul by first humbly asking for assistance with something? Aren’t social contact and meaningful relationship preferable to the noisy gong and clanging cymbal of public declaration? Is it not better to witness for Christ by a life of humility and holiness rather than words?

But what about the prophetic ministry? Are prophets called to be gentle, respectful and reverent? Should they ‘wait’ to be invited before they speak what God has told them? It is worth observing that Jesus was rather abrupt, if not rude to the Samaritan woman: ‘Jesus said unto her, Thou hast well said, I have no husband: For thou hast had five husbands; and he whom thou now hast is not thy husband: in that saidst thou truly‘ (v17f). Now this might be a certain cause of offence, now as then, for the conviction of sin is rarely received with gentleness and grace: ‘Who on earth does he think he is, judging my chosen lifestyle and condemning my personal morality?’ We might even call it discrimination, prejudice or ‘hate’. And yet the insensitive challenge illuminates a soul: ‘The woman saith unto him, Sir, I perceive that thou art a prophet‘ (v19).

The prophet is called to foretell the will of God and forthtell the word of God. In speaking about the omniscience of the Godhead or matters of truth, justice, morality and authority, the prophet will not wait for secularists, atheists, fascists, Marxists or totalitarian regimes to invite him to speak about his faith: he will proclaim that he saw Satan fall and Christ exalted, and his witness may lead to martyrdom, for holiness with zeal can be a bit prickly, and humanistic utopias aren’t conducive to the myths of eternal salvation. Not all are called to be prophets, of course. But all saints are called to be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks about the reason for the hope that we have. For the pastor and evangelist, it is far better to wait for and listen to others before we expound the primacy of the freedom of the gospel over legalistic justification. For the apostle and prophet, there is no waiting: political corruption, judicial malfeasance, violent and sexually perverted entertainment, widespread criminality… these shadows will be subject to the light of God’s judgment, and the prophetic testimony is urgent: repent of sin and come to Christ by faith for justification by his covenant grace. You just don’t say it at a Lambeth Palace Garden Party.

  • Inspector General

    Inviting muslim faith leaders into your home is a bloody dangerous thing to do, isn’t it?

  • Inspector General

    Some good has come from this um, ‘meeting’…A question in an A level paper, Religious Studies…

    “An archbishop, the Chief Rabbi, Muslim, Sikh, Buddhist and Hindu meet up for a cosy about multifaith fraternity and fellowship. Who is the odd one out. Name and explain”

    • Politically__Incorrect

      Inspector, my wife recently invigilated at a “religious” studies exam. The question, or one of them, went along the lines “Choose any religion and discuss its treatment of women”. It seems the gynocrats have finally seized control.

      • Inspector General

        {HOWL!}

      • IanCad

        “gynocrats”
        Love it! If it’s an original from you PI, my hat’s off to you.

      • Anton

        There is scope for a subversive and Christian reply by contrasting Jesus’ treatment of women with that of the rabbinic Judaism of the day.

    • Anton

      For extra marks: Invent a joke that, in less than 100 words, insults individually each major faith group in the UK and is based on interaction between them.

  • Dreadnaught

    The prophet is called to foretell the will of God and forthtell the word of God.

    Isn’t it about time such prophetic stuff and nonsense was called out for what it is … a licence to dress fantasy as truth and brainwash minds by coercion and intimidation. ‘Religion’ in is a dead parrot in the 21st Century West compared to what political power it held in the past.
    Does anyone one really believe that Muhammad was a ‘prophet’ who did not model himself on the Christian and Judaic patterns? If Mo or Jos.Smith weren’t prophets what then makes for believing any of the others any more believable?
    Its a simple matter to take a current happening and rummage around for a random prophetical pronouncement and link the two to produce divine provenance: that is a simple shell-trick.

    As long as we as a society make exemptions for Christianity and Judaism to have protected status in the national conciousness, any number of emergent ‘religions’ including Islam, have a case for moral equivalence for similar considerations.
    No one group has welcomed Islam into this country more than the Christians and now they are being directed not to discuss diametrically opposed belief systems and in particular, one with globally active political motivation, to subsume whichever country they obtain concessions.

    There are Jewish atheists in Israel, there are christian atheists in Christian Britain but there are no visible muslim atheists here or wherever, once Islam is the law.

    • Inspector General

      Come the Caliphate, you will be made to regret that statement, you unbelieving infidel dog…

      • Dreadnaught

        Hey … less of the ‘dog’.

        • Inspector General

          That’s the spirit, Dreaders, fighting talk! Do not go to the headsman and his scimitar gently…

  • Inspector General

    Breaking news…

    Reports are coming in of an incident at Lambeth palace. Unconfirmed sources say 5 severed heads were found in the garden, near to an overturned tea urn. We now have a statement from Chief Inspector Knacker of the Yard….

    “At 11am, the entire investigation team has been suspended and referred to the Police Complaints Committee after one constable was overheard to say ‘It looks like an Islamic terrorist attack’. There are absolutely no grounds whatsoever to make such an inflammatory observation at this early stage. Such unhelpful remarks like that only go to stigmatise an entire community who have done nothing but good since they arrived on these shores, with their holy men.”

    • IanCad

      Just one of many similar and true stories I’m afraid Inspector. I do believe CI Knacker is a fast tracked super recruit. Much like the real, more famously useless – but aptly named – Cressida Dick.

      • Inspector General

        Lambeth palace has issued a statement…

        “Purely by the grace of God, the tea urn is found to be undamaged. This is without doubt a divine sign that the submission to Islam as a greater power for good will continue, unabated.”

        Meanwhile, the Inspector has been reliably informed that the search for a new AoC has already begun, and several prominent atheists in the CoE have been tentatively approached…

        • IanCad

          Well, they’d still have a little catching up to do with The Church of Scotland who have now voted to approve of same sex marriage within the ministry!! If the new Moderator, Dr Russell Barr voted for this it would be a surprise and disappointment.
          I haven’t, quite yet, figured out how this squares with biblical teaching.
          Silly me!! How old-fashioned I am.

          • Inspector General

            What a to-do the Inspector’s last statement has caused! The phone hasn’t stopped ringing at Inspector Towers. In fact, the Chadian the Inspector hired to man the thing says that he can’t take much more and unless the calls slow down, he’s going to hand himself in to the immigration authorities.

            So, for the many ‘ladies of the church’ who contacted, alright, alright, alright! The next AoC will be a woman (or even bettter, a man who thinks he’s a woman). To make up for two thousand years of misogyny. Now, will you give this man some peace….

        • Merchantman

          Top form- top form Inspector!

  • Politically__Incorrect

    Regardless of what the ABC may or may not have said or meant on this occasion, I think he and his crew are generally pretty good at not sharing message of Christ, even with their own flock. Sure, with leaders of various religions present, there would be little point in proseltysing them. The tea cups and vol-au-vents would be flying everywhere. So what was the purpose of this multi-faith meeting? To show that people of different religions can be polite and respectful to each other? Well that’s fine but I don’t the gathering would be so gentile if it were taking place in the Middle East, and wouldn’t be the Anglo Saxon Christians being “racist”.

    Which brings me to my final point. In the article, the ABC talks about a 1000 years of “racism” being the hallmark of Britain. Britain has been one of the most welcoming and compassionate of societies when it comes those seeking asylum for example. The ABC’s racist slur reminded me of how hard he played the “homophobia” card during the same-sex marriage debate. Presumably his idea of evangelsing is is along the lines: “You’re welcome to join our religion but since we are a bunch of homophobic racists, you are wellcome to despise us and go and join one of the more trendy religions”. Just as there is a big difference between proselytising and evangelism, there is a world of difference between “gentleness” and being supine.

    • Inspector General

      Just to reassure P_I, but there are precious few genuine racists in the UK. (Did you like the use of ‘precious’ in that sentence!) Everybody else is “I’m not racist, BUT…” and that includes the Inspector himself…and who can blame us, it’s common sense to use our knowledge of how aliens conduct themselves and to prepare and avoid if necessary…

      • IanCad

        Better tell that to the TSA. Etnic/racial profiling would reduce the lines in a hurry. It will come — it will come.

    • The tea party meeting was to show those of other faiths that Christianity has almost died a death in the UK, that we don’t speak about it coz we’re too scared. The meeting would have shown the gaping hole left and an opportunity Mustafa Leak to talk about his faith instead.
      When it should really have been an opportunity for us to show off and tell others all about Christianity and what it has given us ending the afternoon with a little service and a prayer for peace to all men. They could have been forewarned about the service and prayer on the invitation.

  • preacher

    Personally I feel that when a faith or belief becomes a religion, it can be more of a hindrance than a help. Justin Welby has some good things to say, but oh the burden of putting them into practice !. Robes, custom & tradition can stifle & distance most ordinary people from finding faith, it can become a religious sideshow with no relevance for the common people.
    Awe & reverence for God is soon lost when men feel it necessary to bedeck themselves with fancy dress to show their beliefs, they separate themselves from society & become a subculture.
    When the Lord Jesus came, He worked as a carpenter. At the start of His ministry, He chose fishermen, tax collectors & men who were openly seeking the truth of God & His plans for mankind’s future.
    After His passion & ascension, He sent the Holy Spirit to empower the Church for service – not as a fashion designer for clergy. In most cases the Church seems content to rest in religious sleep & dispense with the Holy Spirit as too dangerous to be unleashed on the humanity that Christ died to save.
    Jesus was successful because He was filled – brimming over with the Holy Spirit.
    If we really want to reach the lost with the gospel, we must step of off our thrones & enter honestly, gently, truthfully, lovingly & willingly into the stormy dangerous waters of modern society & the diversity of religious belief with the living proof, (us) of the gospel. Because those that are drowning need saving, not platitudes or religious tradition, it’s not enough to stand safely on the shore & shout advice in the hope that some will hear & swim to safety. Lifeboats are crewed by men who risk & sometimes lose their lives.
    The choice is individually ours.

    Blessings. P.

    • IanCad

      A great post Mr. Preacher.

      • preacher

        Thank you Ian !.

    • Anton

      those who are considered rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their great ones exercise authority over them. Not be so among you; whoever would be great among you must be your servant…

      • preacher

        Memories of Jeeves & Bertie Wooster eh Anton ?.

        • Anton

          Jeeves has found more suitable actors than Wooster in my view…

      • Inspector General

        You try telling that to the Westminster crowd and see how far you get…

    • sarky

      The problem is most of you don’t even get to the shore, let alone get in a lifeboat.

      • preacher

        LOL, – Maybe, but many of you non swimmers think there’s safety in numbers even when the boat’s sinking !.
        Have a good week mate.

      • Anton

        Do say what you mean, Sarky (including that intriguing “most”); it is good for the church to hear what the people it wishes to preach to think of it.

        • sarky

          It’s nothing I haven’t said before on here, but most Christians hide behind their church doors, staying in their safe little groups and never mixing in circles outside of their faith. There’s a lot of talk about reaching the lost, committees are formed, prayers are said and then…..the poster goes up. Since I left the church many years ago, I haven’t had one conversation about god with a Christian (that I haven’t started). The nearest I get is the leaflets through the door at Christmas and easter.
          At the end of the day its all talk, what are you all so scared of?

          • Anton

            Great question sarky; thank you for putting it here where Christians can read it, and putting it courteously.

    • Royinsouthwest

      I have always tended to think that it is better for clerics to wear normal clothes instead of clerical garb which can look rather ridiculous. However I must admit that there can be some advantages to distinctive dress. If you see someone in a Salvation Army uniform you know what that person stands for. Regrettably that is not always the case with other forms of clerical garb.

      In the Sunday Telegraph yesterday there was an interesting article about the Archbishop of York. He has taken time off his regular duties to go on a 6 month pilgrimage on foot across his diocese. There is a photo of him with a pair of hiking poles and wearing boots and typical hiking clothes together with his clerical cassock.

      The archbishop said that during the pilgrimage, which has just come to an end, he has had the chance to talk to and pray with many people. Although Archbishop Sentamu is a well known figure I suspect that quite a few of the people he talked to during his pilgrimage would not have recognised him if he had not had his cassock on. By wearing part of his “uniform” while hiking through his diocese he made himself both recognisable and accessible.

      • Anton

        People seem to think they need hiking poles (and a quart of water) for a stroll along the high street nowadays. But I hope Sentamu impresses. He definitely believes in God, which is more than can be said of some bishops.

      • preacher

        Good point Roy & I do believe that Sentamu has a heart to reach people. But what about the rest of us ? We ALL need to be reaching out with the gospel. Every Spirit filled believer should feel a desire to tell people the good news. It’s more than important, it’s Vital for their eternal salvation
        I believe John Sentamu stepped out in faith, but talking & praying with people is simply not enough. We must be honest with them, if you see a house on fire you act to save the family inside, you don’t suggest they need better smoke alarms or extinguishers then walk away.
        The Holy Spirit is the only one who convicts of sin & can lead a person to repentance & salvation – debate has never saved a single soul. When God speaks to a person, He speaks of things that only they & He know. The secret sins that will condemn them on the day of judgement. To reject Him then, needs either a fool or someone who has decided to ignore & refuse the offer because of the love of sin.

        Jesus never wore any clerical garb, but people knew He was the real McCoy & they responded by the thousands. We are called to be inheritors of the work the disciples started when the Lord told them to go – He gave them a commission. a command & He supplied the means to complete it. Are we less than they ? is God less powerful ?. Actions speak louder than words brother, & all of us need to ‘ Step up to the plate ‘, not just the ministers.

  • carl jacobs

    The Secularist basically wants religious people to shut the hell up. He wants us to put our religion in a safety deposit box, and visit it once a week on Sunday. Otherwise, he doesn’t want to hear about it. This is called “The proper the understanding of religious freedom” and its purpose is transparently obvious. The Secularist wants to maintain his authority to define (or redefine) the boundaries of moral behavior according to whatever passion du jour strikes his present fancy. Religion preempts this presumed authority with a higher authority beyond Secular reach. That can’t be allowed. Man is supposed to reign on Earth and not God, for man has ascended the Throne and declared himself like the Most High.

    Well, you can’t find a more Secular collection of individuals than the scum and villainy we call journalists. They often don’t know much about religion (my personal favorite example being the journalist who said that Augustine, the first AoC debated Pelagius on free will) but they know what they want to hear. And what they want to hear is prominent religious leaders saying that religious people should retreat into their churches and speak only when spoken to. The statement by the AoC thus gets garbled in journalistic wish fulfillment blended with journalistic ignorance. It also has the advantage of generating controversy because all the “right people” will be offended. The problem here is not what the AoC said. The problem is that journalists reported what journalists wanted the AoC to mean.

    • Anton

      “my personal favorite example being the journalist who said that Augustine, the first AoC, debated Pelagius on free will”

      The fact is that we don’t have Pelagius in his own words, and I don’t trust his opponent (the other Augustine) to summarise him fairly.

      • carl jacobs

        Let’s not bury the lead, Anton. This post is about how journalists are treacherous bottom-feeding scavengers. They are like lawyers only lawyers are smarter. As Gold Five famously says … “Stay on target.”

        • Anton

          Fine, but in all seriousness I think that journalists do a decent job of holding politicians accountable. That’s why politicians are always trying to muzzle them. Think of Watergate.

          • carl jacobs

            I didn’t say journalists were unnecessary. The politixal ecosystem needs treacherous bottom-feeding carion-eating scavengers. But it’s important to recognize them for what they are.

      • carl jacobs

        Besides .. Augustine wouldn’t need to misrepresent him. Augustine was right.

        • Anton

          There are paradoxes in this issue and I believe the point of paradoxes is to grow in the pondering of them. You can’t prove a paradox right or wrong.

  • David

    If a prominent cleric makes blunt pro-Christian statements then the media attack them.
    If they issue a more careful statement, then it is twisted so far away from what was really said, it becomes the message that the media would have had them say. In plain English the media puts words in their mouths.
    The media now exists not to challenge power, authority and privilege, which was its early role, but to perpetuate it, whilst also constantly obfuscating truth. In short most parts of it are dysfunctional. In my lifetime the veracity of the media has declined in inverse proportion to its technological advances. We become cleverer, in the technical sense, with each passing day; we are also becoming less wise just as rapidly.

  • len

    The true Gospel of Jesus Christ is an offence to many (even to some of’ the religious’)and we should perhaps remind ourselves of the fate of the disciples and all those who have suffered similar fates because they preached the Full Word of Gods Truth despite all attempts to silence them.

    ‘Hebrews 11:37 (BBE) They were stoned, they were cut up with knives, they were tested, they were put to death with the sword, they went about in sheepskins and in goatskins; being poor and in pain and cruelly attacked
    How many Christians were martyred because they wanted the Bible put into the hands of the common man?.
    Christians are being beheaded raped tortured and crucified today at the hands of ISIS for’ no other reason than their faith in Christ and the world looks the other way because it does not want to get involved’.
    People cannot accept the Gospel of Jesus Christ if God is not drawing them to Himself it does not matter if you shout from the rooftops or whisper’ in a genteel fashion it will all be useless .A case in point is the people who have heard the Gospel on this Blog but put up a stubborn resistance to the Truth regardless of all attempts to hold out the Word of Truth.
    Preaching the gospel can only be done in partnership and under the leadings of the Holy Spirit to go out alone is just so much wasted time….

    • sarky

      My ears are burning….

      • preacher

        Make sure the rest of you doesn’t follow Sarks !.

      • len

        Keep tuned in sarky…..

  • You don’t tell them how deficient their faith is, you tell them how enriching Christianity is instead without mentioning comparisons.
    They were lucky enough to be invited to Christian HQ, Lambeth Palace, the least they can do if they turn up is to listen and take note. If they get offended and kick off arrest them. We only love those who are peace loving.

    • Merchantman

      The best thing is to read them appropriate passages from the NT. We are forgetting (and so are they) we are People of the Book.

      • Anton

        I’m all in favour of reading the New Testament to people (the key verse for Muslims appears to be Jesus teaching Love Your Enemy), but this is to be done to save them, not us. I’m not interested in paying jizya tribute tax until we run out of money and then get executed for failing to pay.

  • Inspector General

    I say, chaps! It looks like Norbert is going to do it. Can’t see that fellow allowing the families of ISIS fighters to settle in Austria. And a good thing too, what!

    • Dreadnaught

      Doesn’t it make the blood boil when all news reporters refer to anyone remotely patriotic or realistic as being Far-Right, Ultra-Right, Extreme-Right as though there is nothing on the Left that is anything other than sweetness and light. Mightily pisses me off Guv’nor: pisses me off mightily sez I.

      • Inspector General

        Chin up, Dredders. One suspects the days of the lefty international reporter are over. You have a new crowd coming in who wish to keep their hide intact. Indeed, they have probably all been approached by the BBC who wish to steal a march on other news agencies and has invited them to go behind the lines and chum up to ISIS or Boko Harem. As of late, none have embraced these death sentences. Not even the Guerin woman!

      • Politically__Incorrect

        As far as the media’s concerned, anything to the right of Trotsky means goose-stepping Nazi storm troopers marching into Poland again. Well, the Left are about to be shown up for the idiots they are. They also refer to right-wing parties as “populist”, as if any party that has popular support must be bad. That springs from the fact that socialism is really about spreading and perpetuating the ideology, not about helping people.

        • Anton

          But people will still vote for politicians who offer them money for doing nothing, even if other policies of the same politicians are culturally suicidal over the longer term.

    • Politically__Incorrect

      The bad news they will probably try to come here instead, hidden amongst 80 million Turkish tourists.

    • Anton

      He lost by 50.1% to 49.9%, supposedly.

  • Inspector General

    Here is next weeks news.

    Friday. There was relief all round when the suspicious package left at BBC Reception turned out to be a wooden box containing the head of their Syrian correspondent. “We were really worried our time was up”, said a secretary as she filed her nails…

  • chiefofsinners

    Jesus drew listeners because of His miracles, Peter at Pentecost had the audience because they all heard in their own tongue. What miracles do we have? Transformed lives, that’s what we’re meant to have. Let’s be honest, if we were living lives that were half what they’re meant to be then Christianity would be booming in the UK. Certain atheist commentators do have a point. They seem like a pain in the arse but it’s more of a kick up the pants.

    • Politically__Incorrect

      There are probably several reasons why Christianity isn’t booming in the UK at te moment. Personal abandonments of belief in favour of the pursuit of self is a major factor but not the only one. Religious illiteracy is also rife, so that people don’t even know what Christianity is anymore. Then there is the watered-down secularised religion peddled by the likes of the CofE; the idea that Jesus was some woolly liberal in sandals and white socks who came to dismiss the teachings of the OT to create a “safe space” for a hippy-style love-in where nobody’s sins matter anymore. I could go on but I won’t.

      • chiefofsinners

        Yes, all true.
        In the end, though, it’s down to us to do something about it. Or not.

  • Uncle Brian

    Sheikh Ahmed al-Tayeb, grand imam of al-Azhar, Cairo, described in this report in the Catholic Herald as “the highest authority in Sunni Islam”, has an appointment with Pope Francis today (Monday) in the Vatican, to resume talks that were broken off unilaterally by al-Tayeb five years ago.

    On the subject of “interfaith dialogue”, Al-Tayeb is on record as saying he has no interest in “dialogue for its own sake. There has to be a clear agenda.” However, a quick look at the Holy See website has yielded no information about the agenda at today’s meeting.

    • He’ll be wanting something no doubt otherwise he wouldn’t have made the appointment.

      • Anton

        Perhaps in conjunction with a veiled threat concerning the wellbeing of the fabric of the Vatican. NB The talks he broke off would have been with Benedict, not Francis.

        • Uncle Brian

          So now we know. They met for half an hour. No. 1 on the agenda, apparently, to judge from the press release, was the great significance of this new meeting in the framework of dialogue between the Catholic Church and Islam. They went on to focus on the common commitment of the authorities and faithful of the great religions to peace in the world, the rejection of violence and terrorism, the situation of Christians in the context of conflict and tension in the Middle East, and their protection.

          So the protection of Christians ”in the context of conflict and tension in the Middle East” was at least mentioned, if only as an afterthought.

          • Anton

            Islam is uninterested in dialogue. Francis seems interested in nothing but.

          • Uncle Brian

            Here’s an alternative view. Cardinal Koch says “Christians have a mission to convert all Muslims.” I wonder why they didn’t invite him to this morning’s little get-together in the Vatican.

            http://www.catholicherald.co.uk/news/2016/05/23/christians-have-a-mission-to-convert-all-muslims-says-vatican-official/

          • Anton

            I don’t wonder why. But while we bemoan the cultural invasion of Europe that is taking place and the genocide against the Middle East’s Christians (although not in Israel), let us heed with joy that, for the first time in history, Muslims are turning to Christ in significant numbers. Regarding which, I particularly recommend the book “A Wind in the House of Islam” by David Garrison.

          • “Muslims are turning to Christ in significant numbers.”

            Are they? In the secular West where the churches have embraced moral relativism or in more traditional cultures where the values of the Abrahamic faiths still hold sway?

          • Anton

            Yes they are Jack, and it is good news. Read the book; you will find it worthwhile. I’m too pressed today to summarise – sorry – but I don’t find “Abrahamic faiths” to be a useful category.

          • Rhoda

            Where Muslims have become disillusioned with Islam.

            In Algeria an officially a Muslim nation, there has been a turning to Jesus amongst the Kabyle people ( Berbers living in the mountainous east).There are an estimated 60,000 Kabyle believers who worship Jesus in the country. This is probably the fastest growing church movement in the Muslim World. Many have been converted through Arabic language Christian satellite TV; others through dreams and visions of Jesus.
            There has also been a significant number of Iranians turning to Christ both inside Iran and among the Iranian diaspora.

            http://www1.cbn.com/cbnnews/world/2014/May/Iranian-Church-Growing-Despite-Risk-of-Death

          • Anton

            Jack, you can read enough of the Kindle edition of the book on Amazon preview to answer your questions:

            https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B00L2XVJS6/ref=rdr_kindle_ext_tmb

            The book is about conversions in lands where there are large and often dominant longstanding Islamic communities. Conversion is for the first time ever a mass movement, rather than comprising isolated individuals who have bumped into Western Christians. Good news for them – and us.

          • David

            Yes Anton’s recommended book, “A Wind in the House of Islam” is well worthy of a read. I recommend it.

          • You may be right, but the problem with dialogue is what exactly?

          • Anton

            The question is rather what is the point of interfaith dialogue? St Paul wrote: What fellowship can light have with darkness? What harmony is there between Christ and Belial?…What agreement is there between the temple of God and idols? For we are the temple of the living God…Be separate, says the Lord (from 2 Corinthians 6:14-17). How separate? We should befriend people of other faiths as we find them in our daily lives; we should unite with people of other faiths against secular evils such as pornographic sex education in schools; we should debate people of other faiths in front of uncommitted audiences (including online) so that the audience can see the Christian position set out and defended. But where is the good in taking part in multifaith gatherings in which people discuss their own religions amongst each other? If prayer is offered at such gatherings, to whom? When people say “I want you to respect my beliefs” the proper reply is “I respect you because you are a human being (in the image of God); in particular I respect your freedom of conscience to hold your beliefs; but I don’t agree with them or else I would hold them myself.”

          • Brian, how do you know the protection of Christians was mentioned only as an afterthought?

        • “Perhaps in conjunction with a veiled threat concerning the wellbeing of the fabric of the Vatican.”

          Meaning what, Anton?

          • Anton

            I’m sure you know what I mean, and I’m not making any dig at the RC church either.

    • Anton

      The Pope has hailed the election of Sadiq Khan as “Muslim” mayor of London, claimed mass Muslim migration is “necessary” for Europe, and blamed Paris and Brussels for the attacks on European soil. In an interview with French newspaper La Croix, Pope Francis strongly implied that the terrorists who attacked Paris and Brussels did so because they “grew up in a ghetto.”

      http://www.breitbart.com/london/2016/05/22/pope-celebrates-mass-muslim-migration/

      • Best to read the actual interview as opposed to one interpretation of it from a source that is not … let’s say … neutral.

        • Anton

          Breitbart is not anti-Catholic.

    • dannybhoy
  • Philip Lishman

    Welby should lead his flock, follow them, or get out of their way.

    • sarky

      He should make like a Shepherd and get the flock outta here.

  • Dreadnaught

    http://www.nytimes.com/2016/05/22/world/europe/how-the-saudis-turned-kosovo-into-fertile-ground-for-isis.html?smid=tw-share&_r=0

    [Kosovo] As early as 2004, the prime minister at the time, Bajram Rexhepi, tried to introduce a law to ban extremist sects. But, he said in a recent interview at his home in northern Kosovo, European officials told him that it would violate freedom of religion.

    The ABC would do well to read this article from NY Times to see where his trust in cuddling up to ‘tame’ Islamic clerics will take him [and the rest of Europe] and when resistance to Islamic expansionism is made into a capital offence.

  • len

    Biblical Christianity is an anomaly.Biblical Christianity will never fit in with this present world system because Biblical Christianity is from another world diametrically opposed to this present world system which is a fallen corrupt world system. Biblical Christianity requires a totally new creation a new race of beings, and a totally new world.
    IF we start from this position what is happening within the Christian religion will become a bit clearer.
    Many men through history have tried to make Christianity fit in with this world system by compromising the pure Truth of Gods word with elements that would make God`s truth ‘more attractive’ to the populous. ‘The prosperity Gospel’ so loved by many promises that if you sow a small seed into God`s Kingdom you will get a huge return (a stockbrokers dream)
    But now (in a bid to be relevant)the harlot church is selling itself and flirting with Islam and will sell her honour for a price, and what would the harlot gain?. Power prestige and to be seated on a throne where she imagines she rules over God`s Kingdom..
    It is time to decide where allegiances lie and what price is to be paid for those allegiances.

    • David

      Well said Len !

  • Watchman

    Perhaps the ABC could have taken a lesson from Elijah when he dealt with the prophets of Baal. Consorting with and having respect for those who place themselves as representing false gods is an offence. Elijah’s response as head of an apostate church would surely have been to invite the prophets of Baal to form a multi faith committee, the equivalent of the ABC’s tea party antics.

    • chiefofsinners

      God would have is deal graciously with those who oppose is. Judgment and damnation were no doubt deserved by the prophets of Baal, but equally deserved by you and me. We are sent to proclaim the gospel of peace.

      • Watchman

        “Do not think that I came to bring peace on earth. I did not come to bring peace but a sword.” Matt 10:34

        • sarky

          I’m an atheist and even I know it doesn’t mean that. A sword divides and severs. I.e. a household may be divided if a believer lives with non believers etc etc

          • chiefofsinners

            We’ll make a Christian of you yet, Sarks.

          • sarky

            More chance of the inspector becoming a Muslim.

          • chiefofsinners

            Already has. Haven’t you heard of the five pillocks of Islam?

          • David

            That got me chuckling !

          • chiefofsinners

            Probably not a comment for the Archbishop’s tea parties. But nicely inclusive, in that it’s offensive to everyone. Could possibly be improved by saying it was another virus the inspector picked up at Pink News.

          • magnolia

            “nicely inclusive, in that it’s offensive to everyone”…

            !!

          • Watchman

            You’ll have to forgive me, sarky, if I am bemused by the fact that you are attempting to interpret something said by someone whose very existence you deny. If He didn’t exist how can He have said and meant anything?

          • sarky

            The same way meaning is found in any work of fiction. I personally find meaning in star wars, although I believe yodas words can be interpreted many different ways.

        • chiefofsinners

          Have you not heard of something called the new covenant? Read up.
          You could start with Romans 12:18″As far as it depends on you, live at peace with all men.”
          Gal 5:22 “The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace”
          Eph 2:17 “He came and preached peace to you who were far away and peace to those who were near.”
          2 Tim 2:22 “Flee the evil desires of youth and pursue righteousness, faith, love and peace”
          Titus 3:2 “Be peaceable and considerate, and always be gentle towards everyone.”
          Hebrews 12:14 “make every effort to live at peace with everyone.”
          James 3:17-18 “the wisdom that comes from heaven is first of all pure; then peace loving. Peacemakers who sow in peace raise a harvest of righteousness.”

          I barely scratch the surface.
          Shalom.

          • Watchman

            Proverbs 10:10
            He who winks with the eye craftily and with malice causes sorrow; the foolish of lips will fall headlong but he who boldly reproves makes peace.

            I see no bold reproving here. The ABC’s first responsibility is to acquaint his tea party guest with the gospel and to warn them that they face eternity in hell if they do not acknowledge Jesus as propitiation for their sins. This is not a meeting of equals, the archbishop has the key to eternal life but instead seems to be content with not causing offence. Do you really think that the Apostle Paul would have missed such an opportunity?

          • chiefofsinners

            These are people who already know the gospel. Just telling them again isn’t going to work.

  • Anton

    Flames?

  • Watchman

    Matthew 10:34 NKJV
    “Do not think that I came to bring peace on earth. I did not come to bring peace but a sword.”

  • preacher

    Love your sense of humour Bro’.

  • dannybhoy

    S’funny to reflect that at one time the Christian churches in Great Britain and the US sent out thousands of missionaries around the world…

    “10 Famous Christian Missionaries”http://www.whatchristianswanttoknow.com/10-famous-christian-missionaries/

  • jsampson45

    Perhaps “teampyro” posted Spurgeon’s comment on “small rain” in view of this – see http://teampyro.blogspot.co.uk/

    • David

      Yes indeed.
      Thank you for the link, Jack.

  • magnolia

    What a beautifully written piece in all ways…

    Seems to me that a large part of the difficulties of those reticent to speak in the right context, and those unwilling to forbear to speak in the wrong context is self-consciousness, arguably a plague of our age, and arguably an inevitable part of any post-modern influence, in which all opinions are- ,at least theoretically- equally valued, thereby elevating the subjective and the ego.