Saturday, 16 November 2013

Why many British evangelicals are not that bothered with ethics

'If I profess with the loudest voice and clearest exposition every portion of the Word of God except precisely that little point which the world and the devil are at that moment attacking, I am not confessing Christ, however boldly I may be professing Him. Where the battle rages there the loyalty of the soldier is proved; and to be steady on all the battle front besides, is mere flight and disgrace if he flinches at that point.’

This famous quote has been attributed to Martin Luther, by Christian commentators as illustrious as Francis Schaeffer but, as argued convincingly by Carl Wieland, it actually comes from a 19th Century novel referring to Luther by Elizabeth Rundle Charles, called The Chronicles of the Schoenberg Cotta Family (Thomas Nelson, 1864).

However, according to Wieland, Luther did actually say something very similar. He said that if people were publicly open about every other aspect of their Christian faith, but chose not to admit their belief on some single point of doctrine (for fear of what might happen to them if their conviction on that one point became known) they were effectively denying Christ, period.

As Christians we are fighting in a spiritual battle, but Martin Luther’s point is that not all God's truth is equally under attack at any one time. In any culture and generation there are certain truths which are more under attack than others.

As Christians in 21st century Britain we need to be aware of which Christian truth is most under attack, and ensure that we are faithful in standing for that truth.

There are some Christian causes, which in Britain today are politically correct. If you campaign, for example, to end child poverty, to care for trees in the Amazon rainforest, to fight cancer, to clamp down on loan sharks, or to curb human trafficking you will find yourself in a large like-minded company of both believers and unbelievers.

This does not mean that these are not important causes for which Christian should fight. They are. But my point is that few if any will publicly oppose you for making a stand on them. Especially in the church, you will find many allies who will stand alongside you.

It’s terribly important that Christians and churches, particularly at a time of economic recession, are moving into food bank provision, debt counselling and street pastoring. The needs are great and we should be involved.

But if we restrict ourselves to those areas of Christian service that our society applauds, then we are actually being selective in our discipleship. Luther would even say we are denying Christ.

Most unbelievers are very accepting of Christians who support popular causes and it is tempting to imagine that if we are being good and faithful Christians everyone will like us, but Jesus actually said exactly the opposite (Luke 6:22).

The Bible reminds us that everyone who genuinely seeks to live a godly life in Christ will be persecuted in one way or another (John 16:1-4; Matthew 24:9-14; Mark 13:9-13; Luke 21:12-17; 2 Timothy 3:12). It was the false prophets, Jesus said, whom everyone spoke well of (Luke 6:26). We must ensure that our only offence is that of the Gospel but often in the Christian walk opposition is a sign that we are doing a good job rather than a bad job (Matthew 5:10-12).

Many people hated Jesus simply because he spoke truth that people did not want to hear – that is precisely why he was crucified. Likewise when we speak the same truth some people will hate us too (John 7:7).

Persecution began for the early church when Peter, John and Stephen opened their mouths and started to speak. We must of course speak the truth in love (Ephesians 4:15), but how often do we use 'sensitivity' simply as an excuse for cowardice, when our real underlying motive is actually to avoid being persecuted for the cross of Christ? (Galatians 6:12).

The high profile cases involving Christians getting into trouble with the law or governing authorities, with which we are all familiar, tend to involve a limited number of issues. Homosexuality is a particularly common theme – whether it is a couple running a bed and breakfast who wish to ensure their clientele sharing a double room are married, or street preachers addressing moral issues, or an Oxford student making casual remarks about a policeman’s horse.

When it comes to Christian doctors being hauled up before their NHS trusts, or being complained about to the General Medical Council, or being the subject of court proceedings, it is similarly a small number of issues that tend to feature.

If a Christian doctor wishes to opt out of abortion or gay adoption, or expresses views about these issues, or attempts to share the Gospel with a patient or colleague there are risks of losing one’s reputation, job or even licence to practise.

If you publicly express biblical views on subjects like abortion, euthanasia or sex you can become very unpopular indeed. Last year, in response to direct questioning on twitter, I expressed in simple terms what I regard to be an orthodox Christian view of sex. I said ‘All people are sinners (Romans 3:23) and also all sex outside marriage is morally wrong’ and ‘Sex between two people of the same sex - male or female - is always wrong’.

My responses were then retweeted by an atheist doctor (who was also gay!) to several thousand of his followers and I was buried for several hours under a barrage of the most unpleasant abuse you can possibly imagine.

I was recently out for a meal with a friend, with whom I have a great deal in common, who told me that he disagreed with me about three things.

While I was inwardly shaking my head with astonishment at ‘only three’ (!) my friend informed me that the three things in question were abortion, assisted suicide and homosexual practice.

My own view, as you might guess, is that abortion, assisted suicide and homosexual practice are not good ideas.

But the friend in question, an evangelical Christian and Bible college lecturer, felt strongly that there was a place for Christian involvement in all three. These views are not unusual.

The Evangelical Alliance surveyed 17,000 ‘evangelicals’, mainly at conferences like New Wine and Spring Harvest, in 2010 and published the results in January 2011 (See here and here).

Amongst the questions were one on each of abortion, assisted suicide and homosexuality. A wide range of views were expressed.

  • 63% of British evangelicals did not agree that abortion can never be justified
  • 40% did not agree that assisted suicide is always wrong
  • 27% did not agree that homosexual actions are always wrong 
Remember that these are conference-going evangelicals and probably represent therefore a more committed section of the evangelical population.

Richard Dawkins' Foundation for Reason and Science (UK) found in a poll published last year that of those who called themselves ‘Christians’:

  • 62% favoured a woman's right to have an abortion within the legal time limit
  • 46% did not disapprove of sexual relations between two adults of the same sex
  • 23% believed that sex between a man and a woman was only acceptable within marriage
  • 74% believed that religion should not influence public policy
Why is it that so many Christians now have views on these issues that would have been considered anathema just a generation ago?

First, and perhaps obviously, the prevailing culture has shifted hugely on these questions. The so-called mountains of culture – parliament, universities, institutions, law, science, media, arts, entertainment – are increasingly dominated by people with an atheist world view. This new ‘liberal elite’ believes that God doesn’t exist, that death is the end and that morality is relative to each individual. But in practice most adopt the ethics of secular humanism. Undoubtedly this cultural change has affected the church.

Second, as I have already alluded to, taking a traditional view on these issues now carries a cost that it did not have a generation ago. In 2012, Christians in Parliament, an official All-Party Parliamentary Group (APPG), chaired by Gary Streeter MP, launched an inquiry called ‘Clearing the Ground’, which was tasked with considering the question: ‘Are Christians marginalised in the UK?’ Its main conclusion was that ‘Christians in the UK face problems in living out their faith and these problems have been mostly caused and exacerbated by social, cultural and legal changes over the past decade.’ There is loss of reputation, job and income to consider with certain Christian beliefs and behaviours.

Third, some Christian leaders with large followings, have changed their position on these issues. The Bishop of Liverpool, James Jones, and Baptist minister Steve Chalke are two examples of prominent Christian leaders who have come out this year in support of the church affirming monogamous gay (sexual) partnerships. There is intense speculation that the Church of England’s Pilling report is about to be published recommending the same thing.

Fourth, there has been a huge decline in Bible reading and study generally and in Bible teaching specifically. In particular there is very little teaching in our churches about ethical issues. This year, I was asked for the very first time in 20 years of ministry with CMF, to lead a seminar on abortion at a leading London evangelical church. We were told that it was being widely advertised through home groups and through the over 30 full time workers in a congregation of over 1,000. Twelve people turned up. I learnt later that the poor attendance was due to the fact that the leadership had not thought it important enough to advertise. Last week I was asked by the editor of a major denomination’s ministers’ magazine to write an article on the biblical case against euthanasia. He was concerned that many ministers in his (well known) Bible-believing denomination were of the view that euthanasia in hard cases was a genuine act of Christian mercy.

But, whilst these four factors play a part in accounting for what I would call ethical drift amongst Christians, I think the real reasons are more deeply theological. I would attribute them to two destructive heresies – one infecting liberal evangelical congregations and one infecting conservative evangelical ones. In both groups are many who actually know their Bibles very well, but who are increasingly adopting ethical views that are much closer to that of the prevailing culture than those held historically by the church.

I have recently reviewed each of these in turn on this blog. I’ll call them the new liberal heresy and the new conservative heresy, although, as we will see, neither of them is actually new. They are a rerun respectively of what Joseph Fletcher called ‘situation ethics’ and what Dietrich Bonhoeffer called ‘cheap grace’.


  1. "In any culture and generation there are certain truths which are more under attack than others."

    Your opening paragraphs reminded me of the following dialogue, from the sitcom Father Ted:


    Bishop Facks: So, Father. Do you ever have any doubts about the religious life? Is your faith ever tested? Anything you would be worried about? Any doubts you've been having about any aspects of belief? Anything like that?
    Father Dougal McGuire: Well, you know the way God made us all, right? And he's looking down at us from heaven and everything?
    Bishop Facks: Uh-huh.
    Father Dougal McGuire: And then his son came down and saved everyone and all that?
    Bishop Facks: Yes.
    Father Dougal McGuire: And when we die we're all going to go to heaven?
    Bishop Facks: Yes. What about it?
    Father Dougal McGuire: Well, that's the bit I have trouble with.


  2. Interesting article. The disinterest in ethics is also due to the universally taught 'evangelical' view that 'Christianity is all about a personal relationship with God/Jesus'. This is misleading, as there are THREE persons in the Trinity, and Jesus came as the only way to the Father. The concept of 'relationships' has infected 'evangelicalism' in a deeply narcissistic way.
    It's related partly to the high degree of self-pity that a lot of people in the evangelical world have towards themselves, for lots of reasons but a lot of it is due to being rejected when young for being Christians. It's all about this fear of being bullied. Leanne Payne discusses in depth how this is the factor that has made so many evangelicals support Jungian psychology, because it appeals to the self, not realising that there is a difference between the old, false self and the new, true self in Christ.
    lastly, the other prophetic thing that Leanne Payne teaches is that the only people who should practice 'listening prayer' and journaling are those people who believe the Old Testament to be inspired Scripture, otherwise people will fall into Gnosticism and heresy. What that really means, at bottom, is that accepting Evolution makes for a low view of the Old Testament, and eventually a lack of foundation for the New Testament as the fulfilment of prophecy, and a lack of acceptance or even understanding of the ethical connection between the two.

  3. I think great care is needed here that there isn’t a slippage into 1) victim mentality (which is often rooted in a skewed sense of self-importance (i.e. a species of vanity) rather than actual occasions of perceived or real attacks); 2) scare-mongering.

    There is a tendency among a certain flavour of Christian, to always think the worst of people: ‘If someone isn’t a conservative Christian, then they must hate Christianity and Christians... and oppose all they stand for...’. This is far from the truth. Great care is needed to examine many of these ‘professional martyr’ cases individually – Christians who have face disciplinary action for actions they see as their right in the work place (sadly, in the main (judging from the court cases brought by Ambulance Chasers for Jesus) these seems to be a demand for the right to discriminate against homosexuals and wear trinkets – which are hardly core issues of the Gospel!).

    There is a great danger is seeing ALL cases brought against Christian professionals as ‘attacks’ when they could have some justification. Just because someone is a Christian, doesn’t mean they aren’t flawed creatures who can use their faith in unprofessional ways.

    Care is also needed on the part of Christians not to get hot under the cassock about some issues that are often based on half truths – and sometimes a deliberate desire to mislead (there are some Christian media that may have a disproportionate number of reports concerning the right to defend Lev 18:22, but seem rather lapse when it comes to Exodus 20:16!). I have certainly found this to be the case with regard to reports of some shady government/liberal conspiracy to usher in euthanasia. Week-in, week-out I attend meetings for the multi-disciplinary care of dying people (aged 18 upwards) (in both hospitals and hospices) and never in all the years I have attended such meetings has there ever been any talk of euthanising a patient (patients and relatives have ASKED for us to do this, but it has always been steadfastly refused). Yes, it is true, such useful tools in end of life care such as the Liverpool Care Pathway were wrongly used by nurses and doctors not experienced in end of life care yet the belief in some mass conspiracy to herald in euthanasia is just plain scare-mongering.

    Moreover there is little balance to such arguments. e.g. re: euthanasia, I have yet to read a conservative Christian blog post on the ethics of extending life beyond its natural span! Is it ethically right to give someone with advanced dementia chemotherapy? Or even the flu vaccine? Is it ethnically acceptable to keep people alive artificially? Or much is made of a Christian registrar’s refusal to conduct civil partnerships, yet we’ve heard little about how this committed Christian was able to square the circle of marrying divorcees – despite Jesus’ very clear words on this topic (cf. Mark 10). Or the whining Christian sex therapist who had no problem counselling unmarried heterosexual couples, but was stricken by his Christian conscience when it came to homosexual couples.

    Great care is needed with regard to how Christians (or anyone) walks the tightrope between working in public, taxpayer funded services and their private beliefs. Care is also needed to approach every ‘professional martyr’ case with wisdom and fairness. Just because someone is a Christian doesn’t mean they are above reproach! Nor should the wider Christian community delight in the vanity of victimhood – but should seek to weigh each case on the evidence, rather than the hyperbole that passes for Christian comment in some reactionary conservative circles.

    Yes, Christians (and public services) need a greater understanding of ethics, otherwise they will be poor witnesses for their own beliefs...

    1. There is very much sense in your reply Born Again Agnostic.

      I'm quite saddened by the main article. It's good to challenge us all to live our faith, but we all have to take the wood out of our own eyes.

      There seems to be a quickness here to herd a whole group of Christians into a labelled group. "It's all those evangelical Christians!" Is it? And is it accurate to talk of Christian festival go-ers as being representative of the most committed members of their churches? I'm not so sure that i could agree with that - but even if they are, I'm glad they're going to church and meeting with other Christians at events. If they find life and ethics a challenge, they're not alone in that. So did the disciples at times.

      I don't disagree with the sentiment of living your life ethically, of course not. I just think we have to be careful not to judge one another.

    2. In everything we do and see, we must make a judgement, otherwise we might decide to stay in bed rather than attend our work place, or church..Decisions are based on judgement, obviously, and we are told to judge everything by the Word of God. That is our guiding light, a "lamp to our feet" and we must "Contend for the faith, once delivered unto the saints". We are entrusted to spread the Word in every area of our life, as we are His witness here on earth, So let your light shire before men, "Try every spirit to see if it be of God". "Thou shalt not kill" is clear enough-so no euthanasia or abortion. "For this cause (marriage) shall a man leave his father and mother and cleave unto his wife", That's the only union ordained of Gog.So, no same-sex marriage. Not what we say, or think, but what God says. We cannot stray to one side or the other-it's a straight and narrow way..

    3. Jan T, The command not to judge is often used out of context. We are actually commanded to make judgements of behaviour and belief within the church. It is a Christian responsibility - see 1 Corinthians 5 -

    4. I take your point about not creating a victim culture. But, What issues of conscience are allowed, then? If a vegetarian wears leather shoes does that mean he doesn't get special catering at work events? If someone pays their taxes, knowing that some of the money is going to be used for funding the armed forces does he not get to opt out of conscription? It's very hard to keep yourself squeaky clean and live in the world. Freedom of conscience is a difficult one to judge, but accusing everybody of whining who has slightly different moral boundaries than you do is a little ungracious.

  4. I'm sick of these type of debates! The answer to all this is JESUS! Let's get back to being Bible believing Christians, the word of God should be final. The Bible doesn't need to move with the times it remains firm on where it stands and todays church should not compromise it to be popular with society or governments!.

  5. "Judge not, that ye be not judged" is the favourite liberal Get-out-of-jail-free card
    :-( - used as it often is, it precludes the exercise of any moral discrimination whatsoever.
    It's a great article, hard-hitting as well as perceptive - thank you for exercising moral leadership in an area where it's desperately needed, Peter.

  6. 'Persecution began for the early church when Peter, John and Stephen opened their mouths and started to speak.'

    Yes, Stephen was murdered by the Jews because he told them that the Jews had killed Jesus.

    And yet if Christians today say the Jews killed Jesus, they are accused of anti-semitism!

    How does that work then?

    1. Probably because Stephen was trying to get the Jews to see that they had killed their own Messiah and repent, whereas when people today accuse the Jews of killing Jesus they are usually trying to justify persecuting modern day Jews because of something their ancestors did 2000 years ago. Context is everything.

  7. Thanks, Peter, for taking on such formidable challenges and battling away where the battle is fiercest. You inspire us to keep speaking up for the faith so many of the apostles died for

  8. Thank you Peter for your faithfulness. I am forever grateful that there are bold men like you standing for God's truth. I pray God gives you strength.

    Acts 28:31
    Preaching the kingdom of God, and teaching those things which concern the Lord Jesus Christ, with all confidence, no man forbidding him.

    2 Timothy 3:1-5
    This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come. For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, without natural affection, trucebreakers, false accusers, incontinent, fierce, despisers of those that are good, traitors, heady, highminded, lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God; Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof: from such turn away.

  9. thank you for sharing. This was a very useful information for me

  10. This is great Peter. Thanks for writing it.

  11. Some time in the near future Christ will return with all his angels to cleanse the world of the wicked...True lovers of Christ who have been resurrected, along with those who rose to meet him at his coming, will enjoy a thousand years of peace under his divine leadership.
    As Matthew tells us, false prophets and wolves in sheep's clothing will lead mankind astray.
    We are experiencing these last days, but who calls mankind to repentance?
    There is only one true church on the earth at this time which delivers sound doctrine via continuing revelation received from Heaven. It is led by a true prophet of God who holds the same Priesthood as did Jesus Christ when he came to bring the Jewish people back into the fold.
    The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints stands firm against the mockers and deviants of this world.
    We have no fear, we preach the Gospel as it was yesterday, today and tomorrow.

    1. I'm afraid I beg to differ. Joseph Smith preached a very different Gospel from Paul.

  12. What's all this noise in here?!?!
    Just learn to accept one another as fellow humankind. Stop fighting over words/texts interpreted to mean this and that according to the perception of the mind of the reader. Literature, specially the Hebrew Texts of the Old Testament, can be misleading. Read just Leviticus and Joshua, for e.g, you would be in for a shock! Can any sound minded person think of the choosing of an ethnic group over another and causing that chosen group to kill/wipe out all children, women and men of another ethnic group? I’m obviously referring to the Canaanites. Apart from the Semites/Hebrews/Jews, all nations were biologically treated as enemies of God. Why ? What was inherently wrong with them? And the land given over as land of milk and honey? The planet we live in has seen millions and millions of human kinds killed by another humankind who felt they’re chosen people of God. The Puritans were the fathers of racism, slave trade et . Through their interpretation of the OT, they laid the foundation for European racial supremacy and racial hatred based on skin colour and language. From the beginning of 1500s, European Christians believed that Africans were soulless race, deserving no "salvation". The established/organised church has been tax feudalistic, the priests exploited the majority of ordinary people. To do that, the clergy created religious hierarchy, giving themselves control of everything, they denied the majority of people they called the "commons" any access to education. They taught people that the status quo was God-ordained" and that people had to accept them, not fight God; everything was taught to be "predestined". Read history my friends, and see what religious leaders have done to humanity. For e.g., around 1700s, Bishop Thomas Newton, Bishop of Bristol, wrote a notorious book which he called "Dissertations I - The fulfilment of prophecy...". In that, the Bishop sets out his doctrines which influenced his time generation subsequent ones too. He wrote "Africans are accursed by God, and that God provided supremacy for the English etc" History is full of evidences. Each religious literature has an influential power on the mind of subsequent generations. Today's Calvinistic Christians read and uphold literature written in the European dark ages when supremacy mentality was formulated, they call their Puritan forerunners as "the Divines", who showed them way of God. There is a difference between Jesus's personality and these religious leaders’. Jesus of the Gospels did not send the Galilean lads to go in to the world and colonise the world or kill human race! He rather taught the lads "to love" and be a good neighbour; Jesus didn’t establish Christianity, He taught way of life, not religion. Religious bigots made an institutional, elitist religion of Christianity. The sense of the word Christianity isn’t found in Jesus teachings. Religious clerics made eugenics? Bigoted interpretation of religious texts can be dangerous as much as blatant atheism or humanism can be in its worldviews! Based on their interpretation, people formed an institutionalised Christianity; they can be the most intolerant, uncaring and hard-hearted people. Most believe in the hotchpotch of their Calvinism, a doctrine developed by a despotic cleric who reigned in Geneva. Your religious views are shaped by your locality. I’ve never seen such a militant & patronising religion as Western Christianity; it sounds a blanket cover, I must say there are many exceptions. Racism came out of western Christianity.

    1. I think this last reply is more honest account than the lot above mourning, it makes me suspect churches but belive Jesus. The person clearly has read history critically. I am stunned by the sheer blatant and ignorance of western church's sickening involvement in african slave trade and exploitation of human kind. The Puritan lot are totally big headed and ignorant people. John MacArthur loves them so much, and I think he is equally big headed as most Calvinists.

    2. I think the article entitle" What's all this noise in here?!?! " is well written, not a rambling. I can see so many historical facts thrown in. The next writter calls it "rambling"- its wrong, there is no reason for it to be called rambling. You all evaded the issues raised in there and changed the subject of discussion setout there. The person was talking about, amongst other things, euro-centri christinity. Corrupt European church clerics abused the Bible and used it for their own gain, to rule and control and condemn non-European people. To be honest to history, the Bible itself did not originate in Europe, Jesus was not born in Europe, Jesus did not preach in or speak English. H elived in Africa from infancy till He was about in His early teens. He never had any religious racist attitude. But the European church clerics abused the message of Jesus. Colonialist and sugar plantation supervisors were all European church leaders who stood on the heads of negros and calling curse upn the negros, saying God cursed them, by quotting (misquoting) the Bible. How about the segreagtionist "white-church"? particularly, the slab and comb story? White churchs in USA have for many decades used a pinewood slab and combs outside their church doors to stop negroe Christians from entering into "white-only church" building. I bet many of you do not know this because you were not told in schools or your churches. Get a copy of Thomas Gossette's book: racism, an Ideology.." Basically, White church people & their leaders placed a long pinewood slab on top of the outside entrance/door and a comb next to it. Any Sunday morning, you would need to stand underneath the slab and comb you hair at the door. If your skin tone is darker than the pinewood, you're not allowed to enter the church, and if the comb did not go through your hair easily, you were not allowed to enter either. You can work out the only ones who would eneter.
      How sad is that, you need to know the ignorance, narrow mindedness and bigotry of European Christianity/church. Completely the opposite to Jesus Christ.

  13. I'm an historian. The person who wrote this post is clearly not.

    1. P.S. I meant the rambling above me starting (ironically) 'what's this noise'. But, for some reason, it didn't get posted in the reply section.

  14. Certainly food for thought. I know young parents who keep quiet at work about Christian views and are extremely careful on face book, because they perceive their lively-hoods, homes and families could be lost or ruined.

    1. Well I guess if I went around telling everyone of my belief in Zeus or Thor I would expect the same.

      Remember, you're almost as atheist as I am, I just happen to believe in one less god than you do.

      In any case, how many here who oppose giving people their own choice for euthanasia are firm believers in the death penalty and in no gun controls? Unless you oppose all three, you have inconsistent values and worse, hypocritical.

  15. I pray that God would wake the "apathy out of the church and bring in leaders who preach the real gospel and stop being soft on 'sin'.
    In Jesus mighty name. Amen.

  16. "Why is it that so many Christians now have views on these issues that would have been considered anathema just a generation ago?" - Remember that TV: dramas, soaps, and much more, blast people with materialialist/CD ideas 24/7; it affects everyone, no one is immuned.
    "James Jones ... Steve Chalke" - we don't follow either of these people, or anyone like them; Christians know this - but most people, in the end, are affected by the views and doings of celebrities and stars, and Christianity has them like everything else. The "pull" of personality is always, will always, be great.

  17. Specific cases of abortion and euthanasia are often not morally black and white from a Chrisian perspective, therefore the stats quoted in the article seem reasonable to me, and actually very different to those that society as a whole would hold.

    A generation ago? Views were quite similar then to now, in my experience. A difference now is that the internet gives a voice to a range of Christian views, and people can be shocked to learn that views previously unchallenged amongst their Christian circles are often not representative of Evangelicals as a whole.

  18. In the 1970's and 80's, the popular view was that God would send a 'mighty revival', replete with signs, wonders, miracles - as, in fact, per early church.

    Even then, I could not bring myself to share in the general enthusiasm for the imminent manifestation of God's power - mainly because the predictions jarred uncomfortably against 'end time' scriptures.

    Instead of a time of revival and healing, the question asked was, "Shall the son of man find faith on earth" - indicative (to me, at least) that, far from a church full of signs and wonders, the Lord Jesus will find only remnants of faith, here and there - the final guttering of candles tearfully nurtured by a battered and weary flock, and about to be finally extinguished by a raging storm of evil.

    The assurances of 'revival ahead' were pronounced in a time of great tolerance for the Gospel - a time when homosexuality was still largely held in check, a time when society still retained a vaguely respectful attitude to Christianity - even if most people had no intention of embracing it themselves.

    In those days, people could preach on street corners without being arrested. They could condemn sin without being accused of a 'hate crime'. The state might not have liked the message - but it felt the time was not yet right to prevent it being enunciated.

    How quickly all that has been swept away.

    All Christians can do now is hold on! - a white knuckled grip upon the basic tenets of faith, a grim determination not to be swept away by the raging winds of change, and the careful, prayerful, maintenance of that precious candle flame...

  19. There is a tremendous amount of misunderstanding of what it means to be Christian. Christ wants the best for us. Hook-ups and shack-ups in no way promote the dignity of the human being to be treated with the greatest of respect. Instead, people who live that lifestyle put themselves in position to be treated like a condom: use once and throw away. Being used as though one is an object does not fulfill the desire we all have to loved and cherished and special to someone in a way no one else is. Statistics show that there is a much higher rate of divorce among those who later choose to marry their "partners." The trust factor is always harmed. After all, if one is an "easy" mark before marriage, how can one be trusted to remain true to another after marriage?
    So much for those temporary relationships. Now to deal with same-sex relationships. Men and women are different. Those who have had children of both sexes know this to be true. It isn't because they were raised with this toy or that, it's because from the git-go they think and act differently. Men tend to think on a physically-logical plane while women tend to think on an emotionally-logical plane. The two together form a bond that helps the man get more in touch with his feelings while helping the woman to come more down to earth. They need and fulfill each other. She needs his physical strength; he needs her emotional input. No friendship outside of marriage can be as strong as the one between a man and a woman who love each other and commit themselves to each other.
    Another point concerns children in the marriage. I work around children all the time. Those that don't have mothers yearn for them; those that don't have fathers years for them. No woman can take the place of a child's father and no man can take the place of a child's mother. It won't happen because it can't happen. No woman can understand what it means to be a man and so she cannot teach a boy how to become one. No man can understand what it means to be a woman and so he cannot teach a girl how to become a woman.
    Abortion and birth control? Are we crazy? We are destroying the problem solvers that are being sent to us to solve problems we can't even know will come upon us! Country after country is dropping to below replacement rate for its population. Are we crazy? Homosexual relationships further take the reproduction of children out of the picture. Yes, they can adopt, but not if people don't put children up for adoption because they have chosen instead to throw them in trashcans courtesy of Planned Parenthood.


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