For years it has been the 'norm' for Christians to
be persecuted in middle eastern countries, but in the west we have been
left in relative comfort.
As you may have
gathered from the editorials on this page, I have, for years, sought to warn the church
in the United Kingdom that difficult days lie ahead, and for years, by and large, the warnings have
gone unheeded. The cry of revival now! has all but closed ears to any
other prospect on the horizon.
Praise God my teaching is well received almost
everywhere I go. The only 'flack' I have had has been when, on a few
occasions I have taught on the martyrs as a lead in to what I believe in
one form or another is coming down the line towards us. On some
occasions to my surprise it has caused a measure of offence. "You're
frightening people" has been a response put to me privately after the
A few years ago my understanding of the times that
lie ahead was but a spiritual ear on the railroad track, hearing the
rumbling of the train far away and out of sight. But anyone with an
eye to see and an ear to hear does not need to put their ear to the
track anymore. Just observe where society is going and consider.
Let me give you several examples.
Birmingham University's Christian Union have been banned from
using Student Union Guild rooms and facilities, and had
their bank accounts frozen by Guild
authorities because they refused
to make politically-correct changes to their charitable constitution on
The Students Union wanted to
place one of their own (non
Christian) leaders onto the Christian UnionExecutive, and open
membership to people of all faiths and beliefs and instructed the
Christian fellowship to change its constitution from "men and women" to
"people" to make it more inclusive for transsexual/transgender persons
to become members.
A Christian Union spokesperson said,
"The Guild insists our constitution must be amended to include
'mandatory clauses', insisting more control and more intrusion by the
Guild and open membership to those who would not call themselves
and Edinburgh Universities also voted to suspend Christian groups from
membership or use of premises. At Exeter the 50 year old Christian union
was banned by the student's guild and barred from University rooms
because it refused to withdraw rules which insisted that members believe
in Jesus Christ.
Meanwhile at Millais school, an all girls comprehensive school in West
Sussex, Christian girls were told to remove 'chastity vow' rings (with
the Bible verse 1st Thessalonians 4: 3-4) which declared their intention
to wait until marriage to enter into a sexual union. This was being
enforced under the school's uniform policy. However Muslim girls are
allowed to wear head covering which is not part of the school
uniform and Sikh girls are allowed to wear the bangle which of course is
not part of the uniform either.
Years ago, in Great Britain, such things would have been unthinkable.
As a Daily Mail reporter wrote
recently, "we are now living in post-Christian Britain"
spring of this year, Channel 4 aired a well advertised documentary entitled 'The New
not a neutrally biased documentary but a relentless attack on
schools where evolution was taught but presented as a faith option were
particularly targeted, since the interviewer believed that science has
left mankind with no option other than evolution. (note: he needs to
hear the latest views of
contemporary scientistswho, - following
new scientific discoveries - have switched their platform from evolution
to 'intelligent design')
Christians who believe every word of the Bible, who would wish to have the blasphemous 'Jerry Springer - the opera' censored, who would
not approve of homosexual activity and who would urge young people to
abstain from pre-marital sex were all treated as
these are not new views, nor extreme views, but simply traditional
When Sikhs' aggressively protested
about the contents of a play in a Birmingham theatre in December 2004
the show was cancelled. The protesters claimed that the play, which
is set in a Sikh temple, mocked their
faith. The theatre said it refused to censor the work
but was abandoning the
production on health and safety grounds. I
am fairly confident in predicting that the show is unlikely to reappear
in any UK theatre or be aired on television.
Now see the difference when
Christians are grossly offended.
It was not just the
words (sadly we've all had to get used to that) but the
context in which many of them were used. For instance.. (and I quote
from the BBC itself)
"always with the
crucifixion"..why don't you get over it and give us all a f***ing
"Jesus grow up for
Christ's sake and put some f***ing clothes on."
again from the BBC, that they received complaints regarding..
the portrayal of "Jesus" as a man
in nappies who wanted to "poop in his pants"
the reference to "Jesus" being "a
little bit gay"
"Eve" attempting to fondle the
genitals of "Jesus"
the description of "Mary" as "raped
by an angel, raped by God"
the portrayal of "Mary" as accusing
"Jesus" of neglect
obscene language put into the
mouths of members of the Holy Family
the portrayal of "Jesus" as
irreverent visual and verbal
allusions to the crucifixion
the portrayal of "God" as needing
Jerry Springer's advice
that the show itself was
blasphemous and deeply
offensive to hundreds of thousands of Christians was the secondary issue.
Life goes on.
that the British Broadcasting
Corporation (BBC 2) chose to show it (not once, but twice) to the nation was the most
telling and shocking sign of where Great Britain as a historically Christian nation had come to, and where
as a post Christian nation it
was intending to go.
Producer Antony Pitts
resigned saying that .."a corner has been turned. I feel a corporate responsibility for
what has happened " aggravated by the fact that we the BBC did not give
sufficient attention to the overwhelming level of listener protest in
resignation he reminded the BBC that they
to be a beacon of inspiration to the country'
that the Director-General of
the BBC was aware
of the blasphemy laws, which can be summarised as follows..
"Every publication is
said to be blasphemous which contains any contemptuous, reviling,
scurrilous or ludicrous matter relating to God, Jesus Christ, or the
Bible, or the formularies of the Church of England as by law
established. It is not blasphemous to speak or publish opinions
hostile to the Christian religion, or to deny the existence of God,
if the publication is couched in decent and temperate language. The
test to be applied is as to the manner in which the doctrines are
advocated and not as to the substance of the doctrines themselves.
Everyone who publishes any blasphemous document is guilty of the
[offence] of publishing a blasphemous libel. Everyone who speaks
blasphemous words is guilty of the [offence] of blasphemy." (article
214 of Stephen"s Digest of the Criminal Law, 9th ed., 1950
confirmed by Lord Scarman, 1979, and the European Court of Human
BBC was founded on Christian principles. The inscription in
the entrance hall of BBC Broadcasting House, Portland Place, London states..
"To Almighty God, this
shrine of the arts, music and literature is dedicated by the first
Governors in the year of our Lord 1931, John Reith being Director
General. It is their prayer that good seed sown will produce a good
harvest, that everything offensive to decency and hostile to peace
will be expelled, and that the nation will incline its ear to those
things which are lovely, pure and of good report and thus pursue
that path of wisdom and virtue."
shock of the nation's own broadcasting corporation giving the show air time was
so unexpected, and so offensive, that for the
first time in years Christians were roused to publicly protest in
1500 protested 'on the streets', and according to the
BBC more than 65,000 people contacted themabout about the show
(a record number for one programme) and 96% were complaints.
Yet the BBC chose to ignore such a
BBC News quoted the controller of BBC Two, Roly Keating,
as saying that the programme will 'push back the boundaries
of taste and decency'.
Governors' Programme Complaints Committee acknowledged the massive
concluded that they were right to show the programme. It was 'art' and the
audience was well warned of its content.
confess that I smiled when I read the committee's belief that that 'the BBC would broadcast a programme raising similar issues
relating to another religion'
a similar televised 'artistic work of art' that treats Muslim, Sikh or
Hindu beliefs to the same blasphemous ridicule.
when the furore broke out over the Danish newspaper cartoons depicting
Muslim prophet Muhammad,
the BBC would not show the cartoons themselves in case they offended
their Muslim audience. Instead they gave a very brief, non close-up
picture of a newspaper displaying it.
are extracts from their justification for not showing the offensive
The BBC's guidelines on religion
also commit us to "reflect an awareness of the religious sensitivity
of references to, or uses of, names, images, the historic deities,
rituals, scriptures and language at the heart of the different
faiths and ensure that any use of, or verbal or visual reference to
them are treated with care and editorially justified. Examples
include the Crucifixion, Holy Communion, the Koran, and the Jewish
So a clear editorial justification
is required if the BBC is going to trespass on the religious
sensitivities of Muslims at home and abroad by showing the Danish
newspapers' cartoons of the Prophet Muhammad or the reprinting of
them elsewhere. ..
BBC News has a duty to report the
world to its audience and had to report the story of the sudden
eruption of protest across the Muslim world. We had to show our
audiences what Muslims are reacting to. As it happens we could do
that with the sensitive use of the cartoons as displayed in the
newspapers that have published them whilst minimising the
possibility of offence to our Muslim audience by showing them
carefully and sensitively. We avoided close ups and detail.
At the same time BBC News Online has
not reproduced the cartoons to prevent someone who might be offended
stumbling across them on our site.
'Jerry Springer, the opera' was given a
grant of £300,000 to assist it in touring the country. Otherwise, by
their own admission it was not financially viable)
In late December 2002 the BBC showed
- despite the most protests of that year - and just days before
Christmas, a documentary suggesting that the Virgin Mary's birth was nothing
more than rape by a locally based Roman soldier.
spokesman said: 'We knew tackling the Virgin Mary was always going
to be a sensitive subject, but we stand by the
The television lobby group
Mediawatch, said: 'This is unacceptable for a public service
broadcaster like the BBC. Many licence fee payers are
Christian and the BBC is trying to undermine the celebration
of Christmas so close to the feast itself."
As Bob Dylan
once sang so prophetically.. "the times they are a-changing"
Then there's the issue of
Christian viewpoint is that every soul has immeasurable
Christian viewpoint is that God loves the homosexual,
but detests the immoral behaviour involved in that
lifestyle. Just as He loves the adulterer, but
detests the immoral behaviour involved in that lifestyle.
Just as He loves the drunkard, but detests the
immoral behaviour involved in that lifestyle. And the thief,
and the extortioner etc. Simply put, we all have sinned and fallen short of
the glory of God, and we all need a personal Saviour.
apostle Paul summed it up this way..
you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the
kingdom of God" Do not be deceived. Neither fornicators,
nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor homosexuals, nor
sodomites, nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor
revilers, nor extortioners will inherit the kingdom of
God. And such were some of you. But you were
washed, but you were sanctified, but you were justified
in the name of the Lord Jesus and by the Spirit of our
God. (1 Corinthians 6:9-11)
Christians want to show God's love to any sinner they will
tell them that God loves them, but detests their sin. They
will tell them that it is God's heart to separate the sinner
and the sin forever and thus save the sinner. Hence
of the cross.
society no longer includes homosexuality on it's 'sin list'
it now finds Christian teaching on the subject offensive.
traditionally a Christian witness in this area is now being
reclassified as a potential 'hate crime'
In June 2004,
Ike Green, the
Pastor of an evangelical Pentecostal church in
convicted of 'agitation' because of his comments
against homosexual practice and given a
one-month prison sentence. He
had preached an orthodox sermon which included
teaching on grace forgiveness and redemption.
tried to make it six months.
Praise God he
successfully appealed the case and was
acquitted. The Court said Pastor Green's rights
to freedom of religion and freedom of speech
were infringed by his conviction
and this was then
confirmed by the Swedish Supreme Court.
for more details plus video]
March 5th 2006 the Daily Mail reported the story of an
elderly devout Christian couple
who were interviewed
by police after they complained about a local council's gay rights
campaign. They were quizzed for more than an hour at their
home in Fleetwood after asking if they could
distribute Christian pamphlets next to the gay rights
literature at the town hall. The two policemen who interviewed
the elderly couple said that their request had been close to
a 'hate crime' and told them that they wanted to 'educate them'
out of their belief that homosexuality was wrong. The
elderly gentleman being interviewed told the police that he
and his wife had no objection to gay people, but that
homosexual practice was wrong.
In December 2006 the couple were given an official apology
from the police and awarded £10,000 compensation for the
Police actions. They gave the money to a charity]
Green, a Cardiff evangelist, was arrested for handing out
leaflets at a gay rally stating that the Bible taught the
homosexuality was sinful. The case was dropped just before
it got to court.
At a Christian leadership school where I
was a speaker, a delegate told me that police had called him
to the police station to interview him over a teaching he
had given to a small weekly Bible class in the church,
because, using the Bible, he had explained that homosexual
behaviour was wrong.
The Gay Police
associations placed a
advertisement in 'The Guardian' newspaper on June 29th
2006 which dramatically featured the Bible and spilt blood.
The headline was 'In the name of the Father'. It claimed that the Gay Police association had recorded a 74%
increase in homophobic incidents where the sole or primary
motivating factor was the religious belief of the
Advertising Standards Authority received a record number of
protests for the year and after investigating the matter for
several months, banned the advertisement
from further publications stating that it breached codes
covering truthfulness, accuracy and offence. The Authorities
said that the Gay Police Association failed to back up its
figures and unfairly implied that Christians are driven by
religious motives to hate and abuse homosexuals.
positions had been reversed and Christians had placed an
aggressive anti-homosexual advertisement implying that
homosexuals were brutally attacking Christians, and using
figures which could not be backed up, it is safe to say that
the outcry would have been enormous with prosecutions
Phillips writing in her column in the Daily Mail June 19th
2006 began with the statement 'Would anyone ever have
imagined that one day it would become illegal to teach
children to follow precepts laid down in the Bible"'
She goes on to state that on the issue of homosexuality, new
draft regulations are currently being considered under the
Equality Act which would make traditional views and
teachings on the subject illegal. She went on to say, "In
other words it would become an act of illegality to put into
practice a cardinal tenet of religious faith, including the
Christianity that is the established faith of this country
and which underpins its values and lies at the very core of
its identity. We have therefore exchanged one deep
intolerance for another. Behaviour that was once considered
socially unacceptable and even illegal must now be promoted
as an acceptable lifestyle choice, and anyone who disagrees
is to fall foul of the law"
One month later Hackney
council rescinded a ban
placed on American evangelist and former gangster Nicky
Cruz, (who featured in David Wilkerson's
'Sword and the switchblade') only after he apologised
for comments he had made about homosexuality.
They were going to pull the plug onNicky Cruz's two concerts at the local Ocean music
venue, after Cruz said that homosexuality was a "sexual
perversion" and an "evil practise."
Years ago that would have been standard comment from a
pulpit if the subject was being preached on. When God
speaks of the practice as an 'abomination' (Lev.18:22) what
words must preachers now use"
The Sexual Orientation
Regulations - due to become law in Spring 2007 - means that
ministers could be sued for refusing to bless same sex
marriages. The Daily Mail carried an article on November
29th 2006 showing that Church of England and Catholic
charities may have to be closed because they could not
accept the 'moral standards being touted by the government'
witchcraft does not yet enjoy the same measure of
goodwill as homosexuality does, it also is no longer on
society's 'sin list' either. Christian teaching on this subject
will therefore seem increasingly offensive.
little doubt that after a period of police 'interviews' in
these and similar areas prosecutions will follow.
As other faiths
have increased numerically - mainly
through years of immigration into the United Kingdom -
pluralism at peace with secular humanism
has become society's hope for
a harmonious society.
Traditional Christianity will seem to be the fly in the
This means that
the traditional Christian
views on marriage, sex, abortion, child raising and of
course believing that Jesus Christ is only one way to God
will continue to produce increasing levels of
unwavering members of the Christian
It is only the thin end of the wedge
we are experiencing, and
yet, sadly, sections of the traditional church have already
begun to buckle under public pressure.
there's the hugely successful 'Da Vinci code' book (and
the 1982 book 'Holy Blood and Holy Grail' the mixture of
religious intrigue, secret societies which have been hiding
a powerful truth from the world (i.e. that Jesus only
swooned on the cross, married Mary Magdalene, headed off to
France and had children, and whose generational line is
still alive today) makes for a runaway best seller. However
the book is not an innocent fiction but yet another
relentless attack on the Christian Church. First Harry
Potter makes witchcraft attractive, then Da Vinci code makes
the church appear deceptive and evil, and goddess worship
the real truth.
(2006) there is
Richard Dawkin's hugely successful book 'The God
Delusion' (9,000,000 copies sold) which attacks all faiths but reserves the most
vitriolic attacks for Christians and especially Genesis
believing Christians. As a most driven and outspoken
man he is mustering quite a wave of anti Christian feeling
around him. . The intent of the wave is to ridicule and
remove faith in God and faith in the Bible. What the outcome
of this wave will be time will tell.
the most obvious first step in this new anti Christian
fervour is the
blasphemy challenge where people are invited to publicly
blaspheme or deny the Holy Spirit in order to mockingly
'damn themselves to hell' (Interestingly they
have all misunderstood what blaspheming the Holy Spirit
means. It was directed at the behaviour of the Pharisees who
knew all too well that the miracles were the work of God but
were deliberately saying that the work of the Holy Spirit
was the work of satan)
The iniquity of the Amorites is not
yet complete (quote from Genesis 15:16)
who would hold fast to their faith in the Word of God as a
lamp on to their feet and a light on to their path,
persecution is coming.
Jesus said ..
Blessed are those who are
persecuted for righteousness' sake, For theirs is the
kingdom of heaven. "Blessed are you when they revile and
persecute you, and say all kinds of evil against you
falsely for My sake. "Rejoice and be exceedingly glad,
for great is your reward in heaven, for so they
persecuted the prophets who were before you. "You are
the salt of the earth; but if the salt loses its
flavour, how shall it be seasoned" It is then good for
nothing but to be thrown out and trampled underfoot by
men. "You are the light of the world. A city that is set
on a hill cannot be hidden. "Nor do they light a lamp
and put it under a basket, but on a lamp stand, and it
gives light to all who are in the house. "Let your light
so shine before men, that they may see your good works
and glorify your Father in heaven. (Matthew 5:10-16)
news is that as the persecution ripens, the church will blossom.
Persecution has always done this to the real church.
[2016 update: Persecution has greatly increased as mentioned in later editorials]