How Evangelicals Became Theological Liberals

Evangelical Christianity has long been known for its emphasis on theological orthodoxy, a high view of Scripture, and an adherence to sound doctrine. Indeed, one of the defining distinctions between evangelicals and theological liberals over the past few centuries was the fact that evangelicals took the Bible seriously and saw sound doctrine as essential for the Christian life.

These were distinguishing features of evangelicalism and unashamedly so. But all that is now being undone. For various reasons many evangelicals are caving in and capitulating to the surrounding culture. That includes buying into relativism, subjectivism, and worldly notions of tolerance, acceptance and the like.

Truth is no longer championed, the Word of God is no longer seen as the supreme authority, and biblical morality is now seen as passé and restrictive. Doctrine has been abandoned and feelings have been put on a pedestal. Personal preference now reigns supreme in many church circles, and those who stand strong on biblical doctrine are dissed as being narrow-minded, judgmental and unloving.

Many of our biggest and most popular megachurches in the West today are the most reluctant to proclaim the hard truths of Scripture, to stand strong on doctrine, and to clearly and faithfully exposit Scripture on a regular basis. Instead we have entertainment galore, and a celebrity culture.

theology 15There are some notable exceptions of course, but on the whole, most of our big churches are competing with each other to see who can have the most hip and groovy entertainment experience. The black auditoriums, the strobe lights and the smoke machines are often top priorities, while the Word of God and its proclamation – especially on the hard issues of the day – are noticeable by their absence.

Thus today most of the clear Christian distinctives once fought for and championed have all but disappeared. Sin is almost never heard of in so many of these megachurches. The wrath of God is certainly not heard about. Hell is never mentioned.

The two distinct humanities and their eternal fate is seldom mentioned. The holiness of God is hardly even spoken of. The need for repentance is just the stuff of a bygone era. I have even heard contemporary pastors in large churches saying all this stuff was maybe OK to discuss back then, but not today.

All this stands in marked contrast to evangelicalism of several centuries gone by. If one simply looks at the various warnings and clarion calls for orthodoxy by the evangelical leaders of the recent past, we see how much of a contrast there now is to what we find today.

They fought with all their might to retain core biblical truths no matter how much they were attacked, ignored or downplayed by everyone else – both within and without of the church. Let’s consider just a few of these voices. H. Richard Neibuhr warned about this very thing for example.

Although he was not a conservative evangelical by any means, he rightly lamented in his 1937 volume The Kingdom of God in America the emptiness of liberal Protestant theology in which “a God without wrath brought men without sin into a kingdom without judgment through the ministrations of a Christ without a Cross.”

As was said in the 19th century about the religious scene in America’s northeast, especially about the Unitarians congregated in and around Boston, this liberal theology comprised three elements: ‘the fatherhood of God, the brotherhood of man, and the neighbourhood of Boston’.

One stalwart of the importance of biblical truth and doctrine was of course B. B. Warfield (1851-1921). In a 1916 article he wrote this:

The habit of calling ‘Evangelical’ everything which was from time to time characteristic of that church or which any strong party in that church wished to make characteristic of it—has ended in robbing the term of all meaning. Along a somewhat different pathway we have arrived at the same state of affairs in America. Does anybody in the world know what ‘Evangelical’ means, in our current religious speech?
The other day, a professedly evangelical pastor, serving a church which is certainly committed by its formularies to an evangelical confession, having occasion to report in one of our newspapers on a religious meeting composed practically entirely of Unitarians and Jews, remarked with enthusiasm upon the deeply evangelical character of its spirit and utterances.
But we need not stop with ‘Evangelical.’ Take an even greater word. Does the word ‘Christianity’ any longer bear a definite meaning? Men are debating on all sides of us what Christianity really is…
We hear of Christianity without dogma, Christianity without miracle, Christianity without Christ. Since, however, Christianity is a historical religion, an undogmatic Christianity would be an absurdity; since it is through and through a supernatural religion, a non-miraculous Christianity would be a contradiction; since it is Christianity, a Christless Christianity would be—well, let us say’ lamely (but with a lameness which has perhaps its own emphasis), a misnomer.
People set upon calling unchristian things Christian are simply washing all meaning out of the name. If everything that is called Christianity in these days is Christianity, then there is no such thing as Christianity. A name applied indiscriminately to everything, designates nothing.

Of course entire books were written on all this. One of course was the classic 1923 volume by J. Gresham Machen, Christianity and Liberalism. A few quotes from that classic work are worth sharing here:

But if any one fact is clear, on the basis of this evidence, it is that the Christian movement at its inception was not just a way of life in the modern sense, but a way of life founded upon a message. It was based, not upon mere feeling, not upon a mere program of work, but upon an account of facts. In other words it was based upon doctrine. There should certainly be no debate with regard to Paul himself. Paul was not indifferent to doctrine. On the contrary, doctrine was the very basis of his life….
But the tolerance of Paul was not indiscriminate. He displayed no tolerance in Galatia, for example. There were rival preachers there too. But Paul had no tolerance for them. “But though we,” he said, “or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel to you than that which we have preached to you, let him be accursed” (Gal. 1:8)….
It never occurred to Paul that a gospel might be true for one man and not for another; the blight of pragmatism had never fallen upon his soul. Paul was convinced of the objective truth of the gospel message, and devotion to that truth was the great passion of his life. Christianity for Paul was not only a life, but also a doctrine, and logically the doctrine came first.

Another keen defender of biblical doctrine was Anglican layperson Dorothy L. Sayers. Consider a few great lines from her 1940 booklet Creed or Chaos?:

The thing I am here to say to you is this: that it is worse than useless for Christians to talk about the importance of Christian morality unless they are prepared to take their stand upon the fundamentals of Christian theology. It is a lie to say that dogma does not matter; it matters enormously. It is fatal to let people suppose that Christianity is only a mode of feeling; it is vitally necessary to insist that it is first and foremost a rational explanation of the universe. It is hopeless to offer Christianity as a vaguely idealistic aspiration of a simple and consoling kind; it is, on the contrary, a hard, tough, exacting, and complex doctrine, steeped in a drastic and uncompromising realism. And it is fatal to imagine that everybody knows quite well what Christianity is and needs only a little encouragement to practice it. The brutal fact is that in this Christian country not one person in a hundred has the faintest notion what the Church teaches about God or man or society or the person of Jesus Christ….
And however unpopular I may make myself I shall and will affirm that the reason why the churches are discredited today is not that they are too bigoted about theology, but that they have run away from theology….
If Christian ministers really believe it is an intellectual game for theologians and has no bearing upon human life, it is no wonder that their congregations are ignorant, bored, and bewildered.

Or consider two other great defenders of evangelical truth, writing over a century ago. J. C. Ryle in his 1877 volume Holiness, said this: “Never, never be afraid to hold decided doctrinal opinions; and let no fear of man and no morbid dread of being thought party-spirited, narrow, or controversial, make you rest contented with a bloodless, tasteless, colourless, lukewarm, undogmatic Christianity.”

And William Booth, co-founder of the Salvation Army, said this in the late 1890’s: “The chief danger of the twentieth century will be religion without the Holy Ghost, Christianity without Christ, forgiveness without repentance, salvation without regeneration, and heaven without hell.”

And famous Catholic thinkers have rallied to the importance of doctrine in an age that distains doctrine. G.K. Chesterton said, “In truth, there are only two kinds of people; those who accept dogma and know it, and those who accept dogma and don’t know it.” Or as Fulton Sheen put it:

Modern religion has enunciated one great and fundamental dogma that is at the basis of all the other dogmas, and that is, that religion must be freed from dogmas. Creeds and confessions of faith are no longer the fashion; religious leaders have agreed not to disagree and those beliefs for which some of our ancestors would have died they have melted into a spineless Humanism. Like other Pilates they have turned their backs on the uniqueness of truth and have opened their arms wide to all the moods and fancies the hour might dictate. The passing of creeds and dogmas means the passing of controversies. Creeds and dogmas are social; prejudices are private.

Much more recently Protestant theologian Michael Horton put it this way in Christless Christianity:

Secularism cannot be blamed on the secularists, many of whom were raised in the church. We are the problem. If most churchgoers cannot tell us anything specific about the God they consider meaningful or explain basic doctrines of creation in God’s image, original sin, the atonement, justification, sanctification, the means of grace, or the hope of glory, then the blame can hardly be placed at the feet of secular humanists.

Yes the evangelical world is often its own worst enemy here. We have eschewed sound doctrine, biblical theology and total reliance on the Word of God for whatever the surrounding culture is pushing at the moment. And what it is pushing has nothing to do with the old evangelical verities.

Of course I am quite aware that lifeless orthodoxy is not the solution. We need on-fire, Spirit-filled lives of commitment and dedication to Christ, but we also need a return to basic biblical doctrine. The same John Calvin who said “Zeal without doctrine is like a sword in the hand of a lunatic,” also said this:

“Doctrine is not an affair of the tongue, but of the life; is not apprehended by the intellect and memory merely, like other branches of learning; but is received only when it possesses the whole soul and finds its seat and habitation in the inmost recesses of the heart.”

Or as A W Tozer more recently put it. “You can be straight as a gun barrel theologically and as empty as one spiritually.” So the answer to an evangelical church big on emotion and entertainment but weak on teaching and doctrine is not to just reverse things.

We need both. We need orthodoxy and orthopraxis. But at the moment we have very little of the former, leading to a real deficiency in the latter. John Piper ties it all together:

“Right thinking about God exists to serve right feelings for God. Logic exists for the sake of love. Reasoning exists for the sake of rejoicing. Doctrine exists for the sake of delight. Reflection about God exists for the sake of affection for God. The head is meant to serve the heart.”

[2039 words]

A Brief Word to J. I. Packer on His 90th Birthday

By Sam Storms
https://www.crossway.org/
This is a guest post by Sam Storms, author of Packer on the Christian Life: Knowing God in Christ, Walking by the Spirit.

Today is J. I. Packer’s 90th birthday. Longevity in life and ministry is often taken for granted in our day. We quickly forget that Thomas Aquinas died at the age of 49. Both John Calvin and Jonathan Edwards were 54 when they entered the presence of Jesus. Charles Spurgeon died much too soon at the age of 57. Martin Luther outlived them all, passing away at the age of 62. The church of Jesus Christ should pause and thank God for sustaining Packer’s remarkable life for as long as he has.

As I reflect on who J. I. Packer is and what he has meant to me personally, several things come quickly to mind.

First, few theologians are as thoroughly and pervasively Christo-centric as Packer. When I was writing my book, Packer on the Christian Life, I was repeatedly and pleasantly surprised by the way in which all exegesis, theological reflection, and pastoral application were grounded in the truth of Christ’s life, death, and resurrection. It was the odd page in Packer’s writings that didn’t include a hymn of praise or a prayer of adoration focused on the person of Jesus.

Second, although I’m profoundly grateful for all his writings, I want to especially highlight a short introduction he wrote to John Owen’s, The Death of Death in the Death of Christ. Packer openly acknowledges that no one in church history exerted a greater or more formative influence on the shape of his soul and the content of his theology than did Owen. Many of us who joyfully identify with the Reformed theology that Packer has so faithfully defended can point to our reading of his Introductory Essay as a decisive factor in persuading us of the truth of particular redemption or definite atonement. For those who are struggling to grasp the meaning and extent of Christ’s death, I can do no better than direct you to Packer’s essay.

Third, the evangelical world as a whole is deeply indebted to Packer’s relentless, yet loving, articulation of the truth of biblical inerrancy. When people on both sides of the Atlantic have argued that the notion of an inerrant biblical text is indefensible and out of touch with the discoveries of contemporary biblical criticism, Packer has held his ground. And he has done it with remarkable intellectual integrity, clarity, and in my opinion, persuasiveness. I’ve always been impressed with one statement in this regard, taken from his book, Truth and Power: “Authority,” he insists, “belongs to truth and truth only. . . . I can make no sense–no reverent sense, anyway–of the idea, sometimes met, that God speaks his truth to us in and through false statements by biblical writers.” [1] I thank God today for J. I. Packer’s immovable commitment to the truth of an inerrant Bible.

Fourth, I can honestly say that I’ve learned more from J. I. Packer about the nature of progressive sanctification through the power of the Holy Spirit than from any other individual in Christian history. Of course, Packer would confess that he himself has learned from the giants of the Christian faith, most notably Baxter, Bunyan, Calvin, Owen, and Edwards. But in a way that goes beyond each of these heroes of the faith, Packer puts the dynamics of spiritual transformation in a language that is accessible to believers of all ages. The clarity, conviction, and practical value with which he describes Christian living is, in my opinion, unparalleled in the history of the church.

Fifth, and finally, I want to draw attention to J. I. Packer as the consummate Christian gentleman. By this I have in mind the admirable and humble way in which he has conducted himself in numerous controversies, many of which resulted in unjustified assaults on his character. One need not agree with Packer on every issue to recognize that he has modeled for us the way one maintains a godly and principled position on disputed topics. Be it his involvement with Evangelicals and Catholics Together, his disagreements with Martyn Lloyd-Jones on church unity, or his unwavering opposition to so-called same-sex marriage, Packer has consistently displayed a unique blend, without compromise, of both immovable theological conviction, on the one hand, and the meekness and gentleness of Jesus Christ, on the other.

So, on this your 90th birthday, I say to you, “Jim”, thanks! May God richly bless and empower and extend your life as you seek to honor the Lord Jesus Christ in every way.

Notes:

[1] J. I. Packer, Truth & Power: The Place of Scripture in the Christian Life (Downers Grove: InterVarsity, 1999), 37.
Sam Storms (PhD, University of Texas at Dallas) has spent more than four decades in ministry as a pastor, professor, and the author of more than two dozen books. He was visiting associate professor of theology at Wheaton College from 2000 to 2004, and is currently senior pastor at Bridgeway Church in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. He is the founder of Enjoying God Ministries and the author of numerous books, including Packer on the Christian Life: Knowing God in Christ, Walking by the Spirit.

VIRTUEONLINE FOOTNOTE.

Over the years I have interviewed Dr. J.I. Packer several times, most recently in Latrobe, PA when he was then 87 years young. He was a speaker at the Anglican Church in North America’s 2nd Annual Assembly meeting at St. Vincent Archabbey and College in Latrobe, on the occasion of the induction of a new archbishop of the ACNA, Foley Beach and a farewell to the Most Rev. Robert Duncan, the ACNA’s first leader. You can read it here:

http://www.virtueonline.org/latrobe-pa-anglican-patriarch-ji-packer-still-going-strong-87

I am posting links to other stories I and others have written about this godly leader over the years.

http://www.virtueonline.org/herndon-va-canadian-theologian-ji-packer-talks-future-anglicanism
http://www.virtueonline.org/anglican-commitment-comprehensiveness-jipacker
http://www.virtueonline.org/lost-art-catechesis-ji-packer
http://www.virtueonline.org/reform-chairman-writes-letter-over-threat-suspend-ji-packer
http://www.virtueonline.org/white-horse-inn-interview-ji-packer-author-grounded-gospel
http://www.virtueonline.org/ji-packer-evangelical-life
http://www.virtueonline.org/ji-packer-first-order-issues
http://www.virtueonline.org/ji-packer-calls-rowan-williams-resign

This story on his call for Archbishop of Canterbury Dr. Rowan Williams to resign was probably his most courageous. No one in modern memory had ever called on a sitting archbishop seated in Lambeth Palace to resign. He did. The story got over 12,000 hits just at VOL’s website and went viral via VOL’s weekly digest and on countless blogs. Soon after, Williams resigned eight years before he needed too because he could not square the circle over sodomy, unable to please the growing orthodox Global South or Western Episcopal pansexualists. His tenure might well be the worst the Anglican Communion has ever known.

A Regent College scholarship has been set up in Dr. Packer’s name. A celebration was held, put together jointly between Regent College and St. John’s, Shaughnessy with wonderful tributes from the Rev. David Short, Jeff Greenman, Principal of Regent, and one from the Queen. A VOL subscriber said it was a memorable and happy occasion.

VOL invites its readers to record a remembrance they might have of this gentle scholar, and author whose books have influenced tens of thousands of lives, and will do so for decades to come.

David W. Virtue DD
President
VIRTUEONLINE

How a rolling sexual revolution is crushing freedom

By Gabriele Kuby
http://www.mercatornet.com/

When German writer and public speaker Gabriele Kuby talks about the effects of the West’s student revolution of 1968 she knows her stuff. She was there, at the Free University of Berlin, studying sociology and gung-ho with the anti-authoritarianism of the era.

There has been a revolution in her own life since then and she now devotes her public work to raising consciousness about the cultural devastation being wrought by the ongoing sexual revolution. In the following Q&A she talks about her book on the subject, an English edition of which was published in December.

Q. In your book, The Global Sexual Revolution: Destruction of Freedom in the Name of Freedom, you report and warn about the destruction of freedom and culture through the global sexual revolution. Why is this so?

A. As sex goes, so goes the family. As the family goes, so goes society. Sexual norms have a decisive influence on the whole cultural edifice. The anthropolgist J.D. Unwin, an Oxford scholar of the 1930s, showed in his book Sex and Culture that high culture can only exist with strict sexual norms. Christian European culture rests on the ideal of monogamy. We are now in a cultural revolution that overthrows sexual morality. The severe consequences are obvious: The destruction of the family and the demographic crisis. But the powers of this world continue to force the sexual revolution on every nation.

Q. Does moral deregulation lead to sexual liberation?

A. To throw off any moral restraint to sexual activity is wrapped in the temptation of “sexual liberation”. Everybody knows from experience that the urges and drives of the body need to be controlled, be it sex or food or drink, otherwise they will control us. Therefore temperance is one of the cardinal virtues. The explosion of pornography through the internet creates millions of sexually addicted people, tragically more and more youth are among them. Marriage and families break up if husband and wife are driven into unfaithfulness by their sexual desires, because they have not learnt to make them a servant of the expression of love.

Q. Who has contributed to the sexual revolution intellectually?

A. Tracing the ideas that have powered the sexual revolution one can go back to the Greek philosopher Protagoras who proclaimed that “man is the measure of all things”. This belief is the basis of relativism which claims, that there are no absolute moral values. The French Revolution overturned the Christian concept of man, created by God and ultimately responsible to God. Since then, many revered minds have contributed philosophical and psychological ideas and cultural revolutionary expertise. They all sympathise with communist or liberal political movements. To name just a few: Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels, Sigmund Freud, Simone de Beauvoir, Alfred Kinsey, the outright sexual revolutionist Wilhelm Reich, and the philosophers Adorno, Horkheimer and Marcuse, who are known as the Frankfurter Schule (Frankfurt school).

Q. What role did the radical feminism and Marxism of the 1968 movement play?

A. The breakthrough that changed society as a whole was the student rebellion of 1968. It was fuelled by the ideas of the Frankfurter School and it put into practice the ideas of Wilhelm Reich. Marxism, radical feminism and the “sexual liberation” merged and attacked the Christian value system at the root by rebelling against any authority. Children were the immediate object of the revolutionaries: So called anti-authoritarian “children shops” (Kinderläden) were founded, where children could do what they wanted and were encouraged in sex play.

Q. How has the 1968 movement influenced the time we live in?

A. The goals of 1968-movement have become the agenda of the UN and EU and are carried forward by the global enforcement of LGBT-“rights” and the deconstruction of male and female identity:

* The deregulation of sexual norms. Promotion of LGBT-privileges, including same sex marriage and transgender “rights”.

* Undermining of the family by ideological and economic means (tax- and social security systems penalize mothers and families)

* Collectivization of children below three years in state day care facilities

* Sexualization of children through obligatory sex-education in schools

* Eradication of “gender-stereotypes” by pedagogical methods in kindergarten and school

These attacks on the foundations of a healthy, viable society create masses of uprooted people who are easily manipulated. It is not only the strategy of the UN and EU, but of a network of UN-agencies like WHO and UNICEF, global NGOs like IPPF and ILGA, global corporations like Apple, Microsoft, Google, Facebook, billionaire foundations like Rockefeller and Gates, supported by the mainstream media.

Q. Abortion and contraception are often justified with the dangers of overpopulation of this earth. Do you think they are real dangers?

A. One obvious motive for these destructive policies is to reduce the population of this earth. This is foreign policy of the USA since the 1970s. But the real problem is the demographic decline which nearly all industrialized nations are facing and which is now beginning even in developing countries. It is a consequence of separating sex from its existential meaning and function, procreation, through contraception and abortion. Strong forces in the UN and EU battle for defining abortion as a “human right”. Where has humanity come to since the proclamation of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights in 1948?

Q. What are the consequences of the “gender” concept that LGBT lobbies seek to impose on societies?

A. The goal of implementing gender-ideology into society with sophisticated methods of social engineering is the deconstruction of the identity of man and woman, thus attacking family and morality on its deepest level. Since the decision of the Supreme Court of the USA in June 2015 we see a new wave of transgender activism coming from the USA. Obama, president of the leading nation of this world, is at the front of the “bathroom battle”, authorizing policy that allows a transgender person to use the toilet and locker-room of the sex of his choice. That 99 percent of the population of the United States has a problem when members of the opposite sex enter bathroom-facilities, especially when they are used by children, seems to be of no concern to the political rulers.

Q. What are the main ways to change society according to gender-ideology?

A. Apart from changing the legal system and sexualizing children by force of the state, this ideology is worked into the brain and psyche of people through the media, the entertainment-industry (film and music) and pornography. Pornography is a multi-billion business. Watching pornography is addictive like a physical drug; it destroys marriages and families and is a slippery slope into sexual crime. Why is there no campaign of the EU against pornography, as there is against smoking? The difference is that smoking does not destroy family, pornography does.

Q. You’ve gone from participation in the revolutionary movement of 1968 as a student at the Free University of Berlin to a courageous activist against the ravages of global sexual revolution. You attribute your “awakening” to your conversion to Catholicism. What is the contribution of Christian humanism in this cultural battle?

A. I converted to Catholicism twenty years ago and discovered a wealth of teaching on the issues of man and woman, family and sexuality. John Paul II devoted his life and papacy to these issues, providing a theological basis for the encyclical Humanae Vitae of Paul VI, which addressed contraception. Benedict XVI is an enlightened analyst and visionary of our historical epoch. That is the intellectual side. But there is also a spiritual side: Conversion leads to a change of life. Jesus says: “Who loves me will keep my commandments (John 14,15). Keeping the commandments allows the Holy Spirit to enlighten our understanding and change our life.

Q. What prevents us from realizing that the sexual revolution puts the future of our society at risk?

A. Not keeping the commandments, that is, separating from God through sin creates blindness. The mass-media do what they can to make any kind of sin seem acceptable, so people lose the spirit of discernment between good and evil. In the Bible we read: “I have set before you life and death, blessing and curse. Therefore choose life, that you and your offspring may live.” (Deut. 30,19). The statistics of family breakup, psychological disturbances of a high percentage of children and the demographic crisis shout at us, but we are deaf.

We do not know in which phase of the history of mankind we are. But as believers we know that the human story has a good ending. Each one of us can choose life and use his talents to work for life. To know you are on the side of life, and therefore on the “right side of history” allows you to lead a happy and peaceful life.

Q. You are personally attacked as a “homophobic” and “far right” in an attempt to ostracize you from the public discourse. There have been demonstrations against you, and in a theater play in Berlin you and four other politically active women were characterized as “zombies” who had risen from the graves in 1945 and who should be shot in the head to get rid of them. Does that discourage you?

A. I am not “homophobic”, because I have no fear (phobia = fear) of homosexuals, nor do I have anything to do with the “far right”. I am a defender of democratic rights against this newly arising totalitarianism. The Berlin play works with manipulated quotations, and we are taking them to court to protect the democratic right of free speech. The attacks do not discourage me. I do what I feel I am called to do.

Q. Can we win this cultural battle?

A. Let me answer with David: “The battle belongs to the Lord (1 Sam 17,47).

Gabriele Kuby is a German writer and sociologist, a frequent lecturer in Germany and around Europe, and has written for numerous print and on-line publications in Europe. This article is a slightly edited version of an interview with Hazte Oir. See also: Europe’s Cassandra.
The Global Sexual Revolution: Destruction of Freedom in the Name of Freedom | By Gabriele Kuby | Angelico Press (May 24, 2016) | Kindle Edition (print length 302 pages)
ISBN: B01I0QX7D2

Us to revert to former name USPG

Author:

George Conger

An Anglican mission agency has conceded that its attempts to rebrand itself to be relevant to a 21st century audience has failed. The Us announced this week that it would be change its name back to the USPG. In a statement posted on its website, the Us said that a marketing study found that “while our partners in Britain and Ireland and around the world greatly appreciated the energy, values and practical work embodied in the Us brand, many remained saddened that we were no longer referring to the gospel in our name.”

It would revert to its former initials, USPG, but the letters would now stand for United Society Partners in the Gospel. Founded in 1701 as the Society for the Propagation of the Gospel in Foreign Parts, in 1965 it merged with the Universities’ Mission to Central Africa (UMCA) merge to form the United Society for the Propagation of the Gospel (USPG). Amidst great fanfare it rebranded itself in 2012 as The United Society, known as Us.

At its relaunch on 20 Nov 2012 at St Margaret’s Church in Westminster, the Society’s Chief Executive Janette O’Neill explained: “USPG changing its name to ‘Us’ is a statement that everyone is included.” Referring to a  In fact, the biggest cheer of the evening was reserved for a video looking at our history. The Archbishop of Canterbury, the Most Rev. Rowan Williams lauded the new name’s ambiguity, saying it was a  “wonderfully ambiguous and non-specific title” suited to a world where boundaries constantly shift because it is “‘very difficult to tell where ‘us’ stops and ‘them’ starts.”

On 20 July 2016 the society’s website printed a statement written by Ms. O’Neill acknowledging the rebrand had not met expectations, and “in response, we have decided to move forward with our original name USPG, albeit it in a modernised form; the acronym USPG will now stand for United Society Partners in the Gospel. As well as reintroducing ‘gospel’ into our name, the new meaning of USPG emphasises our focus on working in partnership with the world church, while also encouraging the Anglican Churches of Britain and Ireland to participate more deeply in that partnership.”

The re-re-branding of the society will take place at next month’s Greenbelt festival, where the name and a new logo will be unveiled.

Categories: 

Provinces: 

The Church: 18f. The Pastoral Care of Sinners and False Teachers

Introduction 

The past few weeks have entrenched immoral practices and the teaching of error in whole provinces of the Anglican Communion.  The affirmation of same-sex unions for laity and clergy in the Scottish Episcopal Church (and the Church of Scotland, with whom the Church of England has a relationship) and the Anglican Church of Canada have so compromised the Gospel at many levels that the mission of these ‘Churches’ is no longer viable.  The Church of England may well be on the same trajectory.

The only way to regain the ministry of pastoral care for sinners is to pursue with all diligence a movement of God’s Kingdom and its righteousness outside the Church of Men and Women.  True pastoral care involves the shepherd’s crook and the shepherd’s rod, not the false unity of a sheep pen for sheep and wolves.  The ministration of divine mercy in pastoral care–particularly in the Church’s mission in the West–requires the merciful call to repentance rather than toleration of sin, the merciful practice of judgement for the sake of restoration, and the merciful practice of separation for the sake of unity.

Pastors as Messengers, Watchmen, and Stewards of the Lord

The Church is not a depository for theological and moral diversity but a discipleship community devoted to God: ‘as for me and my house, we will serve the LORD’ (Joshua 24:15).  The voice of love is not toleration of error but obedience to truth: You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might.  And these words that I command you today shall be on your heart’ (Deuteronomy 6:5-6).  Mercy is not indifference to error but forgiveness of error: ‘Remember your mercy, O LORD, and your steadfast love, for they have been from of old. Remember not the sins of my youth or my transgressions; according to your steadfast love remember me, for the sake of your goodness, O LORD! Good and upright is the LORD; therefore he instructs sinners in the way’ (Psalm 25:6-8).  Confusion over such basic truths inevitably means pastoral abuse, not care.

The Anglican service for the ordination of priests has the bishop charge the ordinands, who have earlier been reminded that Scripture is the ultimate authority for their ministry, as follows:

In the name of our Lord we bid you remember the greatness of the trust now to be committed to your charge, about which you have been taught in your preparation for this ministry.  You are to be messengers, watchmen, and stewards of the Lord; you are to teach and to admonish, to feed and to provide for the Lord’s family, to search for his children in the wilderness of this world’s temptations and to guide them through its confusions, so that they may be saved through Christ for ever.[1]

Indeed, pastoral care is an administration of the Word of God to wounded souls: pastors are messengers of His Word, watchmen of error contradicting His Word, and stewards of the grace taught in His Word.  The Anglican Communion, however, is being torn apart by unworthy shepherds, instructed by false teachers denying the clear teaching in God’s Word, tended to by quacks perpetrating errors contracted from the culture, and abused by leaders perverting the grace of our Lord by licensing immorality in the Church.

Just how might pastors be faithful to their calling in such a dire situation?  Some have suggested unity over against truth, as though unity is some mere social practice for people to pursue instead of a unity in truth.  Others have suggested a pastoral accommodation to minister to all with a form of love that disregards the truth.  Still others have called for an obedience to the truth as the practical expression of godly love, calling for pastors to be messengers of mercy and watchmen against wolves.  Indeed, as shepherds carrying both a staff to guide the sheep and a rod to fend off wolves, pastors are called to exercise both forms of care.

Two Stories of Pastoral Care

Two stories of the Apostle John’s pastoral care circulated in the second century.  Both are aspects of pastoral care.  The first story was told by Clement of Alexandria and demonstrates the pastor’s unwavering ministry of mercy to sinners.[2]  While visiting churches in Asia Minor, John entrusted a particular boy to a bishop’s care.  The bishop agreed and raised the child in the Christian faith.  However, once the boy had matured into a young man, he came under the corrupting influence of other young men who knew nothing of the faith.  He took up a life of self-indulgence and luxury, and, with his new friends, engaged in highway robbery.  The young man rose through the ranks of his gang, outdoing all in violence and cruelty.  The gang recognized him as their leader.

Some years later, John visited the bishop and asked him to return the ‘deposit’ that he had left with him on the previous visit years earlier.  The bishop eventually realised that John meant the deposit of that boy’s soul, left in the charge of the overseer of the church.  He said that the young man had ‘died,’ that is, that he had turned his back on the Christian faith and entered upon a life of sin.  The apostle John thereupon reprimanded the bishop, called for a horse, and made his way to the gang’s hideout in the hills.  The gang captured John and brought him to their captain.

When the captain saw John, he began to run away—to the astonishment of everyone else.  John, though a very old man, ran after him.  He called after him that he should not be afraid as there was yet hope for his soul, that he, John, had a duty to give an account to Christ for the young man’s life, and that Christ had sent him to extend mercy.  The young man stopped running, flung himself into the apostle’s arms, and wept bitterly in repentance for his sins.  John assured the young man that the Saviour forgave him, and the two returned to the church.  The young man was then encouraged to follow a discipline of repentance, a contrition for sins that included much prayer, frequent fasting, and the subduing his mind by hearing the Scriptures and words of the apostles.

Another story is told of John.  One of his disciples, Polycarp, recalled a story about John’s encounter with a heretical teacher, Cerinthus.  On this occasion, John was in a bathhouse in Ephesus when he learned that the false teacher, a theologian altering orthodox theology by reinterpreting it with the philosophy of his day, was also present.  Rushing out of the bathhouse before bathing, John exclaimed to his own followers, ‘Let us fly, lest even the bath-house fall down, because Cerinthus, the enemy of the truth, is within’ (Irenaeus, Against Heresies III.3.4).  John thereby taught his followers to have nothing to do with false teaching, to give it no voice, and to expect God’s judgement on all such purveyors of error.

Two Lessons for Pastors

These two stories teach us two important lessons about error in the Church.  The first reminds us to continue to hold out the grace of God to all sinners.  As Jude says, believers are to snatch persons in error as though from the fire (verse 23).  James, too, says,

My brothers, if anyone among you wanders from the truth and someone brings him back, let him know that whoever brings back a sinner from his wandering will save his soul from death and will cover a multitude of sins (5:19-20).

In so saying, Jude and James affirm Jesus’ teaching of pastoral care through his parable of the lost sheep (Matthew 18:12-14).  Jesus instructed his disciples to leave the ninety-nine safe sheep and pursue that one, lost sheep on the mountains because God rejoices over the sheep that is found and does not will that any one of His little ones should perish.

Regarding the person disobeying his teaching in the Church, Paul says:

2 Thessalonians 3:14-15   If anyone does not obey what we say in this letter, take note of that person, and have nothing to do with him, that he may be ashamed.  Do not regard him as an enemy, but warn him as a brother.

With this, we see both the continuing message of mercy and the need for discipline—both aspects of pastoral care.  Similarly, in the case of the man sleeping with his father’s wife in 1 Corinthians 5, Paul calls for a discipline that cares for the whole church while also extending mercy to an unrepentant sinner.  First, Paul reminds the church that they are to have nothing to do with sexually immoral persons in their community:

1 Corinthians 5:9  I wrote to you in my letter not to associate with sexually immoral people….

The church’s correct response is not mercy expressed in toleration of immoral relationships but mercy expressed through a pastoral and congregational process of exclusion from the community, recognition of error, repentance from sin, reformation of conduct, and restoration to community.  They are not taking the morally high ground in continuing to accommodate the openly sinful person in their midst who will not change his ways or to tolerate a diverse spectrum of views on sexual morality.  This is not Christian mercy but certain destruction.  The person desperately needs to be excluded from the church to learn a lesson and be warned of what will inevitably be a more serious exclusion when God’s judgement of sinners brings a final verdict, after which there is no further opportunity to repent.  Paul says,

1 Corinthians 5:4-5  When you are assembled in the name of the Lord Jesus and my spirit is present, with the power of our Lord Jesus,  5 you are to deliver this man to Satan for the destruction of the flesh, so that his spirit may be saved in the day of the Lord.

In this, Paul picks up language from the Holiness Code in Leviticus 20.11: a person who ‘lies with his father’s wife’ is to be ‘put to death.’  Yet Paul does not apply the punishment called for in Leviticus literally, for he transfers the meaning of a negative, literal death penalty to a positive, spiritual purification from sin.  The ‘flesh’ to be destroyed is not the person’s body but the ‘flesh’ in the moral sense of his sinful life.  Only by turning the person over to Satan—that is, putting the person out of the church and into the arena of Satan—will the person appreciate that he is, indeed, no longer part of the church.  Only then is it possible that he will repent and return to the church.  Not turning the person out of the church will only encourage him to continue to live a sinful life that will ultimately lead to God’s condemnation, an exclusion from the Kingdom of God (1 Corinthians 6:9-10).  It also destroys the church as ‘a little leaven leavens the whole lump’ (1 Corinthians 5:6).  The church is not to pass judgement on unbelievers outside the church but to purge the evil from its own midst (1 Corinthians 5:13).  Far from being a way to unify the church in holiness, toleration of sexual immorality only brings further division as others are encouraged to pursue the same path of destruction (cf. Jude 12).

The second story of the Apostle John’s pastoral care, however, addresses not those who have fallen into error but those who teach error—the false prophets and false teachers leading others into error.  In this case, the Church is hard-pressed to take swift action against falsehood.  As Paul says,

Titus 3:10-11  As for a person who stirs up division, after warning him once and then twice, have nothing more to do with him, knowing that such a person is warped and sinful; he is self-condemned.

The case of false teachers is more serious, potentially reaping great destruction in the Church.  James warns, Not many of you should become teachers, my brothers, for you know that we who teach will be judged with greater strictness’ (James 3:1).

Paul does not entertain the mistaken notion that such differences call for ‘shared conversations,’ as the Church of England has done over the heretical teachings on sexuality in the past few years.  Regarding the false teachers who misled the Galatian churches, Paul minces no words—this is no time for politically correct tones of civility:

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

Indeed, he later says, ‘I wish those who unsettle you would emasculate themselves!’ (Galatians 5:12).

John, moreover, writes to the church at Thyatira:

Revelation 2:20  I have this against you, that you tolerate that woman Jezebel, who calls herself a prophetess and is teaching and seducing my servants to practice sexual immorality and to eat food sacrificed to idols.

Merciful Care: Not Toleration of Sin but Judgement Leading to Repentance

Diversity is not something to celebrate if it is a diversity that deviates from the truth proclaimed by the apostles (i.e., what we would now refer to as the New Testament).  Mercy is not about toleration of error; on the contrary, mercy is expressed in judging and shaming the person in order to lead to hope for repentance and restoration.  Exclusion is an important process for a community to use in order to warn a person bent on error that his or her views or practices are wrong and dangerous: only then is there hope that the person will repent and return to the truth.  Ongoing toleration sends the wrong message that the error is not really that significant—a matter of indifference—and will not be judged by God.  Rather, the church’s judgement of a person persistent in sin is the first step in sincere pastoral care for recalcitrant sinners. As Paul says, ‘have nothing to do with him’ and ‘warn him as a brother’ (2 Thessalonians 3:15).

This is not only true for the sheep.  It is also true for false shepherds: even with false teachers, Paul holds out hope that discipline will lead to repentance.  He says that he hands over two such false teachers ‘to Satan that they may learn not to blaspheme’ (1 Timothy 1:20).

 

[1] ‘The Ordination of Priests,’ The Alternative Service Book (Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 1980), p. 356.

[2] Clement of Alexandria, ‘Who is the rich man that shall be saved?’ (XLII). Clement lived in Egypt towards the end of the 2nd century and was a teacher of the Christian faith.

Posted by Rollin Grams at 07:01 Links to this post

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Identity Madness, Education, and the PC Police

CultureWatch

Bill Muehlenberg’s commentary on issues of the day…

OK, let’s cut to the quick: the revolutionaries of the left have declared war on everything. They are so intent on destroying Western civilisation and its Judeo-Christian underpinnings that they are quite happy to wreak havoc everywhere and on everyone.

A major way in which the radicals are achieving this today is by means of the politics of identity in which reality is given the flick as people are told that they can identify as whatever they want. So whatever mood you happen to be in, you can run with that.

transgender 6Hey, I can play that game too:

-I identify as the President of the United States – let me in the White House now!
-I identify as Kim Kardashian – where are all the TV cameras?
-I identify as Hillary Clinton – what time do I speak at next week’s convention?
-I identify as Lebron James – who took my NBA Finals MVP Award?
-I identify as Bill Gates – I want to withdraw $10 billion from my bank account thanks.
-I identify as my dog Daisy – so when is someone going to take me for a walk?
-I identify as my library – so dust me off already.
-I identify as a Big Mac – I demand that you eat me.
-I identify as a loony lefty – that means I can say and do anything I want, and no one is allowed to criticise me.

The madness of self-identification gets worse every single day. It is a war on reality and a war on reason and a war on common sense. And it is primarily being fueled by the homosexual and transgender activists. Consider this moronic case of gender bender idiocy: students at a NSW girls’ school can no longer be called girls. Yes you read that right.

The story goes like this:

Teachers at an all-girls school in northwest Sydney have been asked to stop referring to their students as “girls”, “ladies” and “women” and to instead use “gender-neutral” language. The request to teachers at Cheltenham Girls High School came in a staff meeting last term to discuss implementation of the controversial Safe Schools anti-bullying program for lesbian, gay and transgender (LGBTI) students.
Also at the meeting, a copy of the NSW anti-discrimination act was displayed, according to an insider, and staff were informed by the teacher chairing the meeting that if they did not support decisions of LGBTI students they would be breaking the law, would be considered homophobic and were not welcome by the school. Education Minister Adrian Piccoli has asked his department to investigate the allegations.
Some concerned parents have started a petition and complained to teachers and to their local Liberal MP Damien Tudehope, saying their children feel marginalised and excluded if they don’t participate in LGBTI activities at the elite, ethnically diverse public high school.
Teachers have helped a group of students at the school form an LGBTI “Queer-straight alliance” club to promote LGBTI issues, such as Wear it Purple Day. Other events included the temporary removal of an Aboriginal flag from a flagpole inside school grounds last month, which was replaced with a rainbow flag at half-mast for a week to commemorate a US terrorist attack on a gay nightclub in Orlando.
“(Some of) the parents are saying that at (LGBTI) events like Rainbow Day and Purple Day that if their daughter doesn’t comply with what they perceive as the school directions their daughter is ostracised,” Mr Tudehope said. He said parents from another school in his electorate had also approached him with similar concerns. One mother who met principal Susan Bridge to express her concerns about the Safe Schools program was dissatisfied with the meeting, which resulted in the principal sending her a copy of the NSW Department of Education’s policy on homophobia….
Dr Kevin Donnelly, senior research fellow at the Australian Catholic University and co-author of the Review of the Australian Curriculum, said the use of gender-neutral language such as “students” in place of “girls” and “boys” was part of the Safe Schools agenda to erase gender differences.
“They say it’s hetero-normative to talk about men and women, boys and girls, because it’s reinforcing a binary stereotype,” he said. “I disagree with all of that, but I can understand why the school would be doing it. Gender ideology is undermining any traditional sense of what it is to be a man or a woman.”

Good grief. What sort of moonbeams are running this school? Is this a place where genuine education takes place, or is it just a PC indoctrination centre where every student will be forced to comply with the latest in pink fascism? The gender bending Big Brother is obviously alive and well at this school.

And you can see for yourself just what kind of radical propaganda the students are being forced-fed there. Consider this video posted by the school on June 5, 2014: www.youtube.com/watch?v=SVE8fbesrlg

It features this intro: “As a part of the first ever Cheltenham Girls High School Diversity week the 2014 prefects interviewed staff and students of the topic of sexual and gender diversity. We felt that it was an issue that too often gets swept under the rug, and it’s about time we started talking about it.”

“Diversity Week”? You mean “War on Reality Week”. This is utter madness and it is a direct PC assault on every student at this school. I am not sure why any parent would want to send their child to this radical training ground after watching that 13-minute video. It is creepy as all get out!

But don’t take my word for it. I have been in touch with a concerned parent who has students at this school. One brave mother has told me what is happening there and it is frightening in the extreme. Obviously she must remain nameless, but here is part of what she told me about this:

My daughters’ public school was on the Today show this morning. Teachers there have been told to stop referring to their students as “girls” etc., but use “gender-neutral” language instead. My girls have been through it all at this school.
One day the girls turned up on rainbow day in full school uniform and were bullied for it. My daughters did not agree with the homosexual rainbow day and they and a few other girls who wore school uniforms were laughed at when they entered the school gate and they were called intolerant, etc.
One of my daughters believes she was overlooked for Prefect as she did not toe the socialist pro LGBQT line despite being an extremely high achiever involved in everything. The staff of course made it about votes. There are stickers and posters through the school promoting gay and homosexual events and constant pressure is applied to be part of it all. One daughter had to leave a group of friends who’d joined the Straight Queer Alliance and were calling her names.
This is all in line with the Safe Schools stuff. No parents were asked or even informed that the school joined up to the Safe Schools Coalition, it was done in a sneaky way and the first I heard of it was about a year after they’d joined.
All things homosexual are not the only politically correct things going on there all the time. It is also constantly pushing refugee events. And it’s not voluntary: if you don’t join in you are disciplined. This refugee thing was called the Concord Project and on a Facebook page up at the time it clearly stated all students MUST participate. Here is a quote from it: “2. Conduct the Action Plan: Each student in your school must be given a cardboard cutout of a person. On this, they write ‘One Voice’, their first name, age, school and a personalised message about children in detention. The cardboard cutouts need to be displayed in your school for an hour or two.”
Here is the Cheltenham Girls High School 17-minute video about all this:
www.youtube.com/watch?v=zYm8Xd_53Bo
I tried to share my concerns about this – I said that it was a brainwashing exercise – but my comments were deleted repeatedly. Never mind that the school says this: “All opinions on this issue are welcomed in the comments section, we believe that everyone has the right to share their perspective on this.” The school has a culture of dismissing complaints related to values.
And the school has even made their school uniform Muslim friendly, as can be seen in the videos. At orientation days they parade kids wearing uniforms to show parents what is the standard and they always include a Muslim girl with her special uniform.

When I asked her why she did not pull her girls out of the PC hell hole she replied:

It’s our local school – the schools here are so crowded and sought after that it’s hard to get into an out of area school. It’s a Government school and you get allocated to that depending on where you live. And a local boys’ school I know of had two or three students arrested for terror attacks. Kids were preaching jihad in the playground. I have police choppers over my house almost twice a week. Refugee housing allowed those kids into the school. Here are some articles on this:

www.theaustralian.com.au/national-affairs/epping-boys-high-school-pupil-preached-extremism/news-story/f23b05bb656570065edcd2aefcbf7f35

www.smh.com.au/nsw/teen-charged-over-terrorism-plot-was-investigated-for-preaching-extremism-in-playground-20160517-gox2jf.html

Wow, talk about a toxic environment for children, if these guys are not cramming the homosexual and transgender agendas down the throats of these kids, they are pushing the failed multi culti agenda and all things Islamic. This is all moving in the direction of child abuse in my books. Poor kids.

And you gotta feel sorry for the parents who may feel that they have no other options in this regard. No wonder so many are resorting to home-schooling. When schools become little more than propaganda palaces for all things PC and homosexual, then education is indeed dead in Australia.

Of course the revolutionaries have always stated that getting access to education is the best way of targeting children and taking over a culture. As Vladimir Lenin once put it: “Give me four years to teach the children and the seed I have sown will never be uprooted.” And again, “Give us the child for 8 years and it will be a Bolshevik forever.”

Thomas Sowell was certainly correct to say this: “Education is not merely neglected in many of our schools today, but is replaced to a great extent by ideological indoctrination.” And he was even more correct to state: “Too much of what is called ‘education’ is little more than an expensive isolation from reality.”

Yep, reality is the last thing getting a good run in so many of our schools today. Just ask the Cheltenham Girls High School, I mean the Cheltenham Whatever High School.

Oh, BTW, I now plan to enrol at Cheltenham Girls High School. I am sure they won’t mind.

www.dailytelegraph.com.au/news/nsw/cheltenham-girls-high-teachers-at-exclusive-girls-school-told-to-preach-gender-neutral/news-story/c9777cad2f4e9bdccde15d3972820d21?login=1

[1818 words]

Rev Jules Gomes: After Nice multiculturalism is finished

Rev Jules Gomes

Multiculturalism as a fad is going the way of bellbottoms, broad belts with shiny buckles, and the dodo bird. Multiculturalism is going out of fashion. Last week, Poland’s Interior Minister Mariusz Blaszczak laid the blame for the Nice attack on the altar of multiculturalism. Declaring the basis of European values and culture as Christianity, Mr Blaszczak argued it cannot coexist with the culture and values of newcomers to the continent. Multiculturalism is ‘wrong’ as a concept, he said.

I should be the first to protest. My first name ‘Jules’ is French, my middle name ‘Paulinus’ is Latin, and my surname ‘Gomes’ is Portuguese. I hail from an Indian Brahmin background, but the Portuguese intruded into my genetic makeup when Vasco da Gama’s Sat Nav set him off for India. My flesh and blood spoke Portuguese in the living room to the guests and Konkani in the kitchen to the servants. At home, my wife and I eat everything from rump steak to flaming hot curry. With my credentials I could be a mascot for multiculturalism.

But multiculturalism must not be confused with culinary cosmopolitanism. For decades, integration was celebrated as America showed the world how to become a ‘melting pot’. This was the title of a play written by Israel Zangwill. Zangwill grew up in London’s East End, the son of Eastern European immigrants. “America is God’s Crucible, the great Melting Pot where all the races of Europe are melting and re-forming!” says the protagonist David Quixano in the play.

In October 1976, Jimmy Carter turned the pot into a salad bowl when he declared in his presidential address: “We become not a melting pot but a beautiful mosaic. Different people, different beliefs, different yearnings, different hopes, different dreams.”

The melting pot and salad bowl are limited analogies because the success of both depends on the culinary compatibility of the ingredients. You don’t add pork liver to a salad. Both analogies do not allow for an already existing indigenous cultural base—either in the pot or in the bowl, as well as a binding element—the curry or the salad dressing.

Of course, Britain has never been a ‘monocultural’ society. “A Scotsman, for instance, does not thank you if you call him an Englishman,” wrote George Orwell. But despite all its differences, he adds: “Still, it (Britain) is a family. It has its private language and its common memories, and at the approach of an enemy it closes its ranks.” The same could be said for the nations of Europe.

Until very recently what held Europe together was a metanarrative that had its taproot in the Judeo-Christian tradition, its secondary roots in the Greco-Roman civilisation and its prop roots in the Christian Reformation and the secular Enlightenment. Such is no longer the case. Because British culture is so inextricably woven with Christianity, atheistic secular humanists waging a war against Christianity can no longer tolerate traditional British culture as the dominant culture of this country. Multiculturalism is their answer to a Christian culture they seek to subvert.

The consequences are clear. When we no longer own our culture and are no longer proud of our country what are we going to invite outsiders to participate in? Lord Jonathan Sacks writes, “But what are immigrants supposed to integrate into? A culture of moral relativism and disrespect for traditions of all kinds? How are they to admire Britain’s institutions—politicians, Parliament, the Royal Family, the established Church—when they see them treated with disdain by the British media? How can you love a society that has fallen out of love with itself?”

Prescriptive multiculturalism is as old as the Bible. It was imposed by rulers to keep colonised subjects apart. In the biblical book of Kings, we read how the Assyrians conquered the northern kingdom of Israel in 721 BC and depopulated the capital Samaria by sending the Israelites into exile and then resettled other conquered peoples in Samaria (2 Kings 17). There was no way such a diverse multicultural group would unite and fight back. Instead, they would fight among themselves. Babylon would adopt the same foreign policy and the prophet Jeremiah warned the people of Judah about the dangers of a simmering cauldron.

Prescriptive multiculturalism is patronising at best; pernicious at worst. It assumes that immigrants are so different that we are unable to, or unwilling to integrate into our host country. It assumes that immigrants are so different that we must stay different. It assumes that my primary identity is my cultural identity and I would like to have it that way.

Prescriptive multiculturalists suffer from historical amnesia. They forget that significant numbers of foreigners are Anglophone and Anglophile rather than Anglophobe. They should visit Mumbai and wait at the British Council Library on a Saturday to see people queuing to get hold of a P. G. Wodehouse book.

Multiculturalism perpetuates the oppression of women when cultures that practice forced marriage, honour killing, dowry, etc. are allowed to live in Britain as they lived in their countries of origin. Multiculturalism does not ensure the protection of minorities. It is the vocal and visible majorities among the minorities who benefit from multiculturalism by shouting the loudest.

Multiculturalism is the great get-out clause for some immigrants who do not want to integrate and for some elements of the host culture who cannot be bothered to work hard at welcoming outsiders. Ironically, it is racist! This happened when the Church of England failed to welcome Anglican immigrants from the Caribbean who wanted to be part of their local Church of England. They were directed to the Pentecostal Church down the road. With all its blah on inclusion the hierarchy of the Church of England is still male, pale, stale and now female.

The best advice on citizenship and integration was given by the prophet Jeremiah exiled from his Israel his home country and sent to live in Babylon.

This is the message from Israel’s God, to all the exiles I’ve taken from Jerusalem to Babylon: “Build houses and make yourselves at home. Put in gardens and eat what grows in that country. Marry and have children. Encourage your children to marry and have children so that you’ll thrive in that country and not waste away. Make yourselves at home there and work for the country’s welfare. Pray for Babylon’s well being. If things go well for Babylon, things will go well for you.”

God bless the British Isles! God save the Queen!