Campbell looks at the Church and the world and wonders where it all went wrong
Now retired but once upon a time a parish minister in Glasgow, before that the South West and initially the Black Isle. Been a prison chaplain and lecturer. Still am constantly bemused by the weird world around me.
Conflict between biblical Christians and secularists is inevitable. In our secular society many find Christianity utterly offensive. Biblical Christianity is rejected and stigmatised because it holds fast to its beliefs whilst the surrounding culture rapidly changes. The clear message of the Bible concerning our purpose and meaning puts Christians totally at variance with the rest of society.
The laws passed by our legislators, our educational system from primary school to university, the media, even the general level of behaviour and profanity on our streets, all attest to the distance between a biblical worldview and a secular one.
Christianity and secularism are antithetical in their root beliefs and where they look for answers to the great existential questions as well as the everyday problems surrounding us.
The reaction of the mainstream church to Islam and Muhammad is strange. Ecclesiastical authorities bend over backwards to accommodate and even validate and embrace Islam as a partner in faith and worship. The ecclesiastical establishment seems incapable of uttering any condemnation of Islamic theology or defence of the uniqueness of Christ. It appears to go the other way.
It was recently revealed that last year Joshua Sutcliffe, a maths teacher at St Aloysius’ College, a Roman Catholic secondary school in north London, was sacked for describing Muhammad as a ‘false prophet’. Sutcliffe, an evangelical, made a YouTube video at home concerning false teachers. Sutcliffe’s approach in his videos and blog is not notable for theological nuance or temperate expression. The video, which could charitably be described as forthright, carries a trigger warning, ‘Only watch if you can handle the truth.’
The concept of the university as a place of genuine learning with the free flow of ideas and the cut and thrust of rigorous debate creating a place where the brightest of minds might grow and blossom intellectually is, to a significant extent, no more. And this should concern Christians.
When only a single viewpoint is accorded legitimacy we turn our back on education and enter the sphere of indoctrination, which is the norm in many Western universities today. Secular values and worldviews dominate teaching, resulting in an emphasis which is destructive of Christian values. Continue reading “UNIVERSITY – THE BATTLEGROUND FOR YOUNG MINDS”→
Few Audrey Hepburn fans would have thought one of her films could fall foul of the wokeocracy. Breakfast at Tiffany’s (1961), an adaptation of Truman Capote’s novel, is one of Hepburn’s best films. Sky consider it necessary to give a warning to those tender souls who might by accident switch it on: ‘This film has outdated attitudes which may cause offence today.’
This may cause a chuckle at their woke ineptitude. To warn that a film made nearly 60 years ago might reflect outdated attitudes is akin to the warning on bags of almonds that ‘This might contain nuts’. But Hepburn is not alone. Included on Sky’s danger list are such toxic films as Disney’s Aladdin, The Jungle Book and Dumbo.Flash Gordon is also considered worthy of a warning. Continue reading “THE DEATH OF ART”→
The question comes in different ways, but the encounter is always the same.
In today’s multicultural society we are likely to meet the follower of another religion who says, ‘I follow my religion faithfully, many of our standards of behaviour are the same as a Christian’s, do you mean I will still be rejected by God?’ In an increasingly aggressive secular society it is not uncommon to meet the combative challenge, ‘Do you really believe that everyone who doesn’t believe what you believe is going straight to hell?’No matter how the question is raised we have to realise that a straightforward ‘Yes’ is not going to help anyone. We want to lead the enquirer to the answer gradually and in a way which at least clears the Christian of intolerance, demonstrates the rationality of the Christian claim, and hopefully is a step in leading the enquirer to Christ. Continue reading “IS JESUS REALLY THE ONLY WAY?”→
We have all been there. We have had a discussion with an unbelieving friend or relative on some aspect of the faith and come away thinking that we really screwed it up and utterly failed to present a coherent Christian position.
When reflecting on the discussion later, we come up with all the sharp answers, all the convincing responses. Every discussion I have ever had about the Christian faith I have won brilliantly, but only in hindsight. Unfortunately the reality is different. But there is groundwork we can do to become more effective. Continue reading “DEFENDING THE FAITH”→
Many Christians, especially young Christians, have been persuaded by constant media pressure to embrace ‘social justice’ as part of the outworking of their faith. This has led some sincere Christians to uncritically support movements such as the anarchic revolutionary Black Lives Matter.
Christians should speak out on social issues, lobby public officials and use their vote. A minister should preach against injustice and oppression when it’s indicated by the text; you can’t preach through the prophets without majoring on justice. But if we intend being salt and light in the world we need a biblical worldview as our foundation, not an ideology undermining Christianity.
Biblical Christians need never be apprehensive about confronting progressive Christians. Progressives have the church’s big battalions and the media behind them, but that doesn’t mean they have the arguments. A calm look at one of Britain’s leading progressive Christians, Stephen Cottrell, to be installed today as 98th Archbishop of York, the CofE’s second highest position, shows they are vulnerable.
The cultural madness descends, at times so extreme it morphs into a Monty Python sketch. Australia’s national broadcaster ABC recently contacted a former professional chess player asking about racist undertones in chess, because white always moves first. Such is the tenor of our day that ABC thought it a serious question.
It is too easy to view the surrounding cultural turmoil, shake one’s head at the insanity and get on with real everyday life. Cultural revolutionaries rely on this so that they can advance their cause unopposed. Christians should wake up to what is happening around us, if for no other reason than that we are in their sights and that progressives in the church are playing along with them. Continue reading “CREATED BY CHRISTIANS – DESTROYED BY PROGRESSIVES”→
What’s going wrong? Scripture speaks clearly of the transformative power of the gospel; we have evidences throughout history of the gospel triumphing even when facing overwhelming odds. Yet look around at the West today, particularly in Europe, and you are confronted with a church in headlong retreat.
In Germany church membership is in free fall and those remaining seem apathetic. Only 3.2 per cent of the members of the Evangelische Kirche in Deutschland, the main Protestant church, actually bothered to attend services in 2018. In one area attendance reached a new low of 2.2 per cent of members. In the UK in the 50 years up to 2019, 1,138 CofE churches were converted for other uses and a further 500 were demolished.
This is not confined to Europe. The percentage of US adults belonging to a church or other religious institution has plunged by 20 percentage points over the past two decades, hitting a low of 50 per cent, according to a 2019 Gallup poll. Continue reading “CULTURAL RESISTANCE”→