Time for a bit of a look back at what I’ve been doing. And yes, I have rather been banging on about one topic haven’t I?!! Now honestly, I will be trying to get a bit more variety into things, and occasionally expound a text and not explicitly draw out its connections to my ‘anti-Christendom’ theme. However, I don’t feel apologetic about concentrating on that theme because – not so much it’s important, more that it has important and often negative and destructive consequences and not enough people are talking about it or even thinking about it.
I really do have a sense of proportion about this and I know that the vast expanse of ‘Mere Christianity’[i] which I share with Catholics, Anglicans, Lutherans, Methodists, Presbyterians, Orthodox, etc. ad infinitum, is far more important than this one issue. The trouble is that when any of the various versions of the ‘Christian country’ idea get added to that ‘Mere Christianity’, problems arise which seriously handicap the message. Christians are divided, and often to the point of persecuting each other or even actual warfare because ‘Christendom’ is not pacifist; and other religions also can face not only our legitimate preaching but also persecution, inquisition, oppression and warfare in the name of Jesus. Even in our mostly more tolerant times the attitudes that go with ‘Christendom’ can be off-putting, and even more so actual violence as in Ulster. Look at that Dawkins guy; a massive proportion of his atheist rants is taken up with criticising NOT anything I regard as important Christian beliefs, but the aberrations of established churches (and of other established religions like Islam). Lots of people out there are simply not giving the gospel a hearing because they are so put off by such issues; while many – extreme right-wingers, for example – can be attracted for the wrong reasons and if anything add to the problems.
Let me give an example. A few years ago one of my friends heard a radio talk on ‘The Good Samaritan’; he thought it was really good. He’d missed the beginning, so when at the end it was announced that the speaker had been Ian Paisley, he was gobsmacked – and then some! How could the Ulster ogre deliver teaching of such love and care? For various reasons I’ve long believed that Ian Paisley is basically a sincere and genuine Christian – but his witness is distorted and compromised by his belief that he must assert and defend Ulster as a ‘Protestant country’. People are put off by the resultant politics who need his sound message of basic Christianity. My friend would have positively avoided that talk if he’d known in advance who the speaker was. Preaching the gospel from a ‘Christendom’ standpoint can all too often be preaching with one hand tied behind your back – needlessly! And despite the good intentions, this dishonours Jesus.
Oh yes; people are often so put off that they also won’t listen to those of us who don’t share the Christendom ideas. We also face needless struggles to even get a hearing because of the distortions produced by ‘Christendom’. So yes, I’ll be trying to vary my output more in future; but I don’t apologise for putting the biblical case against those unbiblical ideas….
New posts with this are comment on something Marcus Brigstocke was seen saying on Ann Widdecombe’s recent ‘Christianity and Comedy’ programme – with a post about the programme itself to follow soon; and the latest instalment of the ‘But seriously’ strand. Easter has been a bit busy….
[i] Yes, I’m a CS Lewis fan!