FOLLOWING on from a previous thread about evolution, I hesitate to raise the issue of religion again. But here goes anyway.
As a young Christian attending prayer meetings in a friend’s flat (yeah, I know – you have no concept of the term “misspent youth” unless you’ve spent it being a Born-Again Christian), I used to listen to taped sermons by a Baptist minister called David Pawson. Pawson was – and probably still is – an amazing preacher. A few years later, as a trainee reporter on the East Kilbride News, I became friends with a woman who was a member of a local evangelical church, and when she learned of my involvement in the Labour Party, she lent me a Pawson tape with the title “Prophetic insights into the 1987 general election” (this was after the election, by the way – it wasn’t that type of prophesy).
The main point of Pawson’s sermon was basically this: that the church in Britain was under God’s judgment and that it deserved to be persecuted by the state; that a Labour government would bring about that persecution (as prophesied in Revelations) but that God loved the church and was willing to deny Labour victory in order to allow Christians time to put their house in order. It was all based on a passage in the book of Job and the evidence that Labour was anti-Christian (Anti-Christ?), as far as I can remember, was that “Lefties” encouraged women to wear androgynous clothes and to shave their heads, thereby blurring the differences between the sexes. Well, Pawson thought they did, anyway.
It made me worry at the time that there were those Christians who actually looked with envy across the Atlantic to where the church has serious political muscle and where, in the 1980s anyway, endorsements from preachers could make or break political candidates.
No doubt there are Christians today who would welcome such a development here in the UK. But most Christians I know, evangelical or not, don’t want to go down that road and are, if anything, to the left of Labour in their political views.
Reflecting on that tape, I’m now forced to conclude that, great biblical scholar and orator that he is, Pawson was talking rot.