I guess he should have known not to stray into theology when debating with The Revd. Dr. Ian Paisley MP. However, he clearly thought his doctrine was something any follower of Jesus could not possibly object to. Ian Paisley was in full combative abusive (not necessarily commendable) mode, when “Sunny Jim” Callaghan interrupted him and said, “Come, come Dr. Paisley, we are all children of God.” It was an early example of PC theology being laid out for the church by the PM or soon to be PM, I can’t remember which. Unsurprisingly Rev.I.P. MP did not bow to PC theology from the PM, but immediately roared at him, “We are not! We are children of wrath!” quoting chapter and verse from Ephesians. Actually the MP was right and the PM was biblically wrong, though to say so today is even more against PC thought than it was then and would probably get a few tut tuts in any religious gathering backed up by a claim as to what Jesus said, ignoring or butchering what He actually said. Unless there is a Holy Spirit revival there will come a day when “We are not all children of God” preaching will be outlawed (literally) and dubbed as racist, intolerant and loveless or at the very least an old embarrassing doctrine that decent progressive type Christians try and underplay or keep under wraps and not mention along with other unmentionables such as being washed in the blood of the lamb.
The thing is that Jesus is too convenient a coat-stand for many different coats in a PC world. Hippies saw him as a hippy; he wasn’t. Activists see Him as an activist; he isn’t. Yuppies from Yuppy friendly churches in Britain saw Him as a yuppie – indeed I am not sure He has ever escaped from these clothes that He seems to have been made to wear since the Thatcher years and Blair years; He is apparently into helping His people nowadays to be upwardly mobile “beautiful” people, the envy of the world, rather than helping them to bear being considered the scum of the earth who along with Him are hated because we testify of this world, P.C. and non P.C , that its deeds are evil.
It is so strange that in our own day, many on the religious right of America seem to see Jesus as someone who would support gun ownership and putting up walls to keep out Mexicans, who wants them to vote for a presidential candidate that owns casinos, who applauds all the actions of the Israeli government even when they are acting wrongly and in a morally indefensible way. Personally I think our attitude to Israel should be the same as God’s: love them, tell them when they are wrong and want them to turn to Christ, the only Saviour of Jew and Gentile. On the other hand , this side of the pond, members of the liberal elite in Britain and for that matter in Europe seem to think it is beyond question that Jesus (the myth or the decent tolerant man, not Jesus Christ, Son of God, Saviour, God made flesh crucified, risen and coming again to judge all the living and all the dead) shares their outlook on moral issues of the current century, somehow seeing Him as an avid supporter of same sex “marriage” and of children having two parents of the same “gender” (which is now becoming a word with an altered accepted meaning, just like “marriage”). There seems to be no end to the insanity of the PC world in Britain and in Europe. Of course insane folk can often think they are perfectly sane; it can be very hard for them to conceive let alone believe otherwise. Is it not an astonishing thing that Andy Murray is allowed to say that being a parent helps his tennis and for his remarks to be reported with warmth in the press, but Andrea Leadsom is more or less dismissed as an old fashioned ridiculous dragon for saying that being a parent would give her an advantage as a PM ? It may not be the best thing to say along with some other not very sensible things she said, but it does not deserve scorn or to be invested with the undertone of being immoral or unfair for a parent to say that she understands the needs, fears hopes of parents better than someone who has not been a parent. I can see a more obvious link between being a parent helping you to understand parents better than I can between being a parent and winning Wimbledon! It may not be nice of her to have said that of herself in relation to an adversary for the leadership of the Conservative Party and the keys to No. 10, for the pain of childlessness can be very real, but it was not completely illogical or old fashioned to say it.
Strange then that in America a gun toting Jesus seems to be seen as the authentic one by many though thankfully not all, while here in Britain He is one of the liberal elite ignoring, ridiculing, or even hateful of anything that is either traditional or just sheer common sense and logic or, perish the thought, shows the influence of a Christian heritage. As I say, “Jesus” is just too convenient a coat stand for just about every coat and cause to be hung upon.
Well, that is the political commentator bit over. It is a passing interest, so dont bother picking me up on it as I will not fight back! On to other things now. What is worrying me more than anything I have said so far in this blog about the whole issue of PC is the PC influence that modern worship songs and song writers have on the church. Preachers may not like to admit it but probably more people take their theology from the most popular current Christian songs or Christian artistes rather than from expository sermons, apart from certain smallish reformed circles. Worship leaders have a great responsibility therefore to see that they are presenting Christian truth and not being yet another group of people who hang their own ideas on a too convenient Jesus who is used to staying silent and opening not his mouth while being made to wear clothes that mock Him.
That is why I was delighted (huge understatement) to listen today to a CD, or is it an EP(?) by Olivia Comley called “Favourite.” I almost sighed with relief and let out a shout of joy as I listened to such beauty and truth! Here was someone who is clearly sure of the love of God but not at the expense of the doctrine of salvation and the power of the cross to make “a sinner” “a son.” Why do I sigh with relief? Well, slowly in the evangelical world and even more so in the charismatic world there is so much emphasis on how beautiful we are in the eyes of God that the truth that we are rebel sinners who needed to be saved and set free by the shed blood of Jesus Christ is receding into the background. We are now wounded people only; we like to keep a bit quieter about the “s” word; our problem is our poor self-image rather than our sin; we simply need to see our beauty rather than repent and be saved and see our sin and our beauty through the the eyes of a love that is perfect, and specifically perfect in sheer undeserved mercy . Well, as I listened to Olivia’s songs of worship I was listening to someone who has seen the beauty of the Lord’s love and yes, the beauty that divine love sees in us, however in her songs sin is seen as a non-fudged reality from which Jesus alone can save us and free us by the grace of the God who is perfect in mercy.
Oh I know what I am about to say is not PC even in the church and may cause a few of you, especially those of a generation who don’t even know who Sunny Jim was to roll your eyes: I long to hear more songs from up and coming song writers in Scotland, or anywhere for that matter, that honour the power of the cross of Jesus to save us and bring us into freedom. Song writers, give us in your wonderfully varied styles an opportunity to sing of where and how we found freedom and life! I have been refreshed today to hear a tremendously gifted song writer and beautiful singer and excellent musician honouring the blood of the cross who has also clearly seen and stood in the beauty of the Lord and who sings about that beauty in a beautiful way! Thank you Olivia…and the rest of you, get hold of her EP/CD “Favourite.” If you are still at CLAN in Largs, then get it there. It will be £5 well spent! Pray for song writers and worship leaders and those who minister by singing to people (that last category has been almost outlawed in PC churches, by the way): they carry an awesome responsibility to be witnesses to the truth of Jesus Christ, rather than ride the crest of a PC church wave or PC world wave. How wonderful it was for me today as I listened to Olivia to be enabled to see Jesus in His own “chosen and designed by the Father clothes” of humility and suffering, triumph and victory.
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Your blog today, Kenny, reminded me of Bonhoeffer when he talks of cheap grace. He asked, I suppose around the 1930s, “whatever happened to Luther’s warnings against a proclamation of the gospel which made people secure in their godless lives?” He said then that cheap grace was the deadly enemy of the church.
Thanks Kenny. Refreshing to hear again what the bible actually says. On the same lines .. I have not heard Hell mentioned from a pulpit or platform in the last ten years. Maybe I go to the wrong places.
Thank you Kenny, what an amazing post and so very well written, what a gift the Lord has given you! God bless, Rosemary
Refreshing , as always, Kenny.