‘We don’t do God’, apparently

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.

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13 Comments

Filed under Church, Labour, Politics

13 responses to “‘We don’t do God’, apparently

  1. Auntie Flo'

    I recall prophesies that the church would be persecuted in Revelations, but not one that it would be persecuted by a Labour government. Would you elaborate on this?

  2. Auntie Flo'

    I’m not saying you’re wrong, by the way, I’ve no doubt that as a Baptist, or former Baptist, you know your bible a lot better than I do. I’m genuinely curious about this prophesy.

  3. Flo – I thought you were taking the mickey at first, but since you’ve persevered… I wrote: “a Labour government would bring about that persecution (as prophesied in Revelations)”. The prediction of persecution is Biblical, the assertion that a Labour government would kick it off was Pawson’s.

  4. wrinkled weasel

    I remember a fairly high profile Baptist Minister, many years ago, whose church I attended, telling us that if I was considering voting Labour, I should get down on my knees before God and examine myself in the light of the Holy Spirit…etc, etc, and repent. This was mainly to do with Labour wanting to turn us all into homosexuals.

    The disembodied blogging voice of “Christendom, Archbishop Cranmer, also thinks a vote for Labour cannot be countenanced if one is truly a Christian.

    I have thought a bit about your position in the Government. (How impertinent of me). I understand you are a committed Christian in a Government that, on the face of it, has a liberal aetheist agenda. I wonder if we, (that is Christians) may have something of a revival rather than “persecution”. There are others, well placed, to witness in word and deed. Humanism does not work. Multiculturalism does not work. We are a Christian country, not just by faith, but by tradition and inheritance. The fabric of our society is founded upon a Christian world view. We abandon that at our peril.

    The problem with New Labour is that it has taken hatred, not charity as its agenda. New Labour feeds on envy and retribution, on bullying and scapegoating (masquerading as “equality”. As Dietrich Bonhoeffer observed, “God’s truth judges created things out of love, and Satan’s truth judges them out of envy and hatred.”

    Labour has sought to penalise those who seek the best for themselves by elevating the weak to a level of tyranny. The dialogue of the left is peppered with words ending in “phobic” and “ist”. In seeking the humanist way, in seeking to create equality for those they see as the weak and under represented, they have merely exchanged one set of scapegoats for another. They have cornered Christians and Jews and the rich and white males; the latter are now not only demonised but discriminated against in multifarious ways.

    In essence, Labour has been the platform for persecution. If that was all, the party might rehabilitate itself quickly, but it is not all. This Government has shamefully committed war crimes. You are complicit in this, regardless of your intentions and motives. Tony Blair was party to a war for regime change, contrary to the will of the United Nations, contrary to International Law. Blair was party to a big lie.

    The irony is, that all the main culprits claimed to have Christian Faith. On that, I cannot judge, but only reiterate that it is by their fruits shall you truly know them.

  5. Johnny Norfolk

    I think most of us feel persicuited by Labour. They want us to do as they tell us and power has gone to their heads like no other government I have known in Britain.
    We have been over taxed and Labour have spent all our money. So in a way the minister was right. Every generation has to learn the hard way about Labour. This is why so many people are not happy as you just know Labour will not look after the country or your interests. It is self serving and lothes the people. it will of course give money away so long as it is not its own hard working people. It was just like this in the 60s and 70s when they last brought the country to it knees. Still less than 2 years to go at worst and maybe sooner when they loose Glasgow. Justice.

  6. “So in a way the minister was right…” What are you on about?

    I understand there are a lot of people out there who will use any posting – and I mean ANY – as an excuse to have a pop at the government. But come on, use some judgment yourselves and at least try to confine your comments to the subject of the original posting. The kind of persecution talked about in the Bible is nothing at all to do with tax rates or fuel duty.

  7. Brilliant post, wrinkled weasel.

    I broke my own rules and made a comment in the Daily Mail this morning, re. the Christian in Norfolk Police who refused to wear a pink ribbon for “Gay History Month” and the like:

    “There is no equality in this country, only a hierarchy of ideologies.”

    “And those who shout the loudest and snuggle up to politicians the most get their way and everyone down the list is supposed to submit to this new apartheid.”

    “Of course, that’s what it’s all about: divide and rule by fostering hatred where none was before.”

    As for Mr. Pawson, I guess we all want to be prophets, but to narrow Revelation down to Labour is missing the point a bit, because the whole world will wonder after the Beast. Labour is part of it inasmuch as the leadership is controlled by external, global forces.

    Pawson is right that the church in Britain is under God’s judgment and indeed, the Labour government really is bringing about our persecution.

    When you have Rowan Williams apologising to Muslims for the Godhead, then you expect the CofE to be crushed and deservedly so unless they dispose of his services forthwith.

    We are clearly witnessing the blurring of the differences between the sexes: young boys getting their hair bleached, dyed, streaked, highlighted, while the girls are getting drunk and swearing.

    Sorry Tom, I attend a baptist church and I don’t know anyone who is “to the left of Labour in their political views”.

    One of the elders gives fairly regular news updates on the various ways the government is trying to restrict gospel freedom and asking us to contact our MP, Russell Brown.

    I tried contacting him recently to ask him to vote to reduce the abortion limit and was told by his sidekick, Cameron, that he would not even be voting to reduce the limit to 20 weeks (despite babies in the womb being able to suck their thumbs below 12 weeks).

    Imagine my confusion when Cameron told me that Russell Brown is also a Christian.

    I didn’t know whether to laugh or cry.

    Maybe those MPs who confess to be Christians should get together more and put Christ, truth and righteousness before toeing the Party’s anti-Christian line.

    Actually, no ‘maybe’ about it. Ten men with God on their side are stronger than 100 left to their own devices.

    It’s time politics was about right and wrong, not right and left.

    How delighted I would be to turn my website into one of praise and thanks for Labour.

    Here is a quote very relevant to the interesting times in which we live.

    It is by the Rev’d Dr. Peter Mullen, Hon. Chaplain to The Freedom Association:

    “It was Christianity in the doctrine of The Trinity which corrected the metaphysical error which doomed classical civilisation. In the so-called Dark Ages, Christians invented the university and began to make possible modern science. Nothing has happened since that time to make our faith any the less believable. The problem is that our society seems to think we can give up Christianity, yet all the civilising and cultural benefits of the faith will remain: they will not.”

  8. Auntie Flo'

    Thanks, Tom, unfortunately my blogitis – caused by reading too many blogs far too quickly – has resulted in word blindness and inability to read full texts. Hence the nonsensical responses at times.

  9. Auntie Flo'

    As Dietrich Bonhoeffer observed, “God’s truth judges created things out of love, and Satan’s truth judges them out of envy and hatred.”

    Excellent points, Wrinkled Weasel, I agree with you.

    Tom, I respect you for your christianity, it’s your politics I detest.

    Re your comment:

    “I understand there are a lot of people out there who will use any posting – and I mean ANY – as an excuse to have a pop at the government”

    All’s fair in love and war, and most of your postings, even this one, are peppered with pro-nulabour nuances and/or propaganda 🙂

  10. Auntie Flo'

    Has anyone read Beirut hostage, Brian Keenan’s ‘Evil Cradling’? Brilliant book in my opinion. Keenan writes of the effect that about 5 years as a hostage had on his mind.

    The hostages suffered dreadfully, they were beaten, chained, always feared being killed, were deprived of food, had no books indeed very little of anything, they were kept blind folded in solitary isolation for part of the time. Though the hostages were eventually allowed to share a cell and that made their lives a little more tolerable.

    Keenan tells a poignant story about a bowl of peaches their captors gave them one day out of the blue. The hostages had lived on just rice for so long that they simply gazed at this fruit for ages before they could eat it, it seemed the most beautiful thing they’d ever seen and represented everything in the lives they’d lost.

    Keenan says he replayed every film, book and piece of music he’d ever known in his head to try to keep himself sane – although he didn’t keep totally sane of course and began to have hallucinations. One day he heard the radiator in his room playing all the music he’d ever known simultaneously. Then imagined his cell was filled with birds, all attacking him.

    Keenan been a teacher in Northern Ireland and one question tormented him. He’d left Northern Ireland to get away from violence, so why had he gone there, to a country with a gun toting rambo on every street corner?

    He recalled a book he’d read, true story, about a diverse group of people – nuns, children, a crook etc who were trapped together on a bridge that was slowly disintegrating. Keenan decided God had brought them together there because they all lacked something they needed to learn. They all died. I think Keenan decided he was in Beirut for the same reason, to learn. A bit like blogging and bloggers, when you think of it.

    While on this subject, Tom, please do what you can to help the currrent hostages and please try to do something about human rights in China, what happens there is just unbearable. We should not, in my view, be participating in the Olympic Games, because it encourages the Chinese leaders to believe they can abuse human rights and still be internationally accepted.

  11. Auntie Flo'

    I went to see the hostages’ church at Boxted a few months ago. John McCarthy, one of the other hostages who also wrote a book about his experience in Beirut, lived next door and was a paritioner.

    The church became the focus of John’s fiance, Jill Morrel’s, campaign to free the hostages. Partioners held loads of publicity stunts to keep McCarthy’s memory alive in the public’s and government’s eye and the highly effective ‘Days’ campaign was launched and based there.

    The church has lots of photgraphs of the hostages, even of Keenan who visited McCarthy after his (McCarthy’s) release there. The vicar held a champagne service and there are pictures of the vicar in his pulpit and the congregation with McCarthy and Keenan, all waving champagne bottles and drunk as lords.

    Two stunning stained glass windows were dedicated in thanks for the release of the hostages. One is a very depressed black and purple colour and depicts scenes from the hostages’ captivity and a chained hand reaching up to a cross.

    The other is wonderfully bright coloured and depicts scenes from the release of the hostages.

    The centrepiece of this second window is that beautiful bowl of peaches.

  12. Johnny Norfolk

    You just dont get it do you. Can you not feel the concern from so many postings. If every subject is turned ‘ to having a pop at the government’ why is this. its because that is what is in peoples hearts, their feelings, their concerns. Every day my concern grows about the way Labour are running our country and it is constantly on my mind, so that is why it comes out. I dont expect you to understand because you are part of the problem and will only see one side. We are all out of step except the government.

  13. Oh, for goodness sake.

    Any Christian who thinks the Labour government has been persecuting the Church needs to go and visit China. Or Burma. Or Indonesia. Or etc etc

    Too many Christians regard not using the state to actively propagate a version of Christianity (and let’s face it, that tends to distort the gospel message and turn people off Christianity anyway) as persecution. Let’s get this straight. God does not need special privileges from the state to operate. A level playing field between all religions and none will do God just fine.

    And let’s please dispense with this assertion that there is only one way to interpret the Bible when it comes to abortion and gender issues.

    Finally, it’s a general rule (one I’ve yet to find an exception to) that anyone who tries to marry up John’s visions in Revelation to current-day events is a few miracles short of a synoptic gospel.

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