David Robertson

Is Prince Harry Amongst the Prophets Also?

The irony is that Prince Harry was not speaking to the UN as someone who was elected by the people, nor as someone who had made his own way in life. Rather he was there because of the greatest white privilege of all – being brought up in the Royal Family! He can hardly speak as the democratic representative of the people.

When King Saul prophesied at Naioth at Ramah, the people were so surprised that it became a proverbial saying: “Is Saul also among the prophets?”
I thought of this when listening to Prince Harry’s speech to the UN last week. He spoke movingly in his sermon – for sermon it was – of his mother and of Nelson Mandela. But then he moved into specific political and moral issues where he delivered the ‘gospel’ according to progressive doctrine. His three points were climate change, disinformation and abortion.
A prophet declares the word of the Lord, so let’s see how prophetic Harry was. On climate change, as with the other list of disasters he mentioned, he spoke of how he understood and knew people’s pain. He was certainly right to point out that it is the poor who bear the brunt, not only of climate change, but also the measures taken by the wealthy to combat it.
Think for example of the people of Sri Lanka, whose super wealthy president decided to enamour himself to his WEF admirers by banning fertilisers. As a result, crops failed, people went hungry, riots ensued, and he was forced to flee the country.
Prince Harry never has to worry about heating or cooling his Californian mansion, or how much trips home to the the UK to see his family will cost. Or indeed, how many holidays he and Meghan can have. His ability to empathise with those who cannot afford heating bills or expensive food is somewhat limited.
Harry on Abortion
Given he was standing on the same ‘green’ ground as his father, Harry obviously felt safe to weigh in with his considered opinion and calculated empathy. But it was when he turned to the politics of his new home country that he displayed a lack of political awareness and of moral probity.Comparing the war in Ukraine with the ruling of the US Supreme Court on abortion, he pronounced that this was “a global assault on democracy and freedom”, and an erosion of constitutional rights.
This is the same Prince Harry who pronounced that the constitutional right to freedom of speech was “bonkers”. Perhaps he has discovered a newfound respect for the US constitution? If so, he should read it before making pronouncements on the world stage.
The US constitution does not mention abortion and there is no constitutional right within it.
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The Free Church General Assembly – Has the Free Church Plateaued?

The whole Western world is going through a civilisational moment – as for example the Roman Empire did at the time of Augustine, or Europe did at the time of the Reformation. Scotland is going through a civilisational moment. The question is whether the Free Church just goes with the tide; or seeks to turn it back and is overwhelmed; or learns to surf the cultural waves and seek a renewed Scotland, through a renewed church.

After my recent posts assessing the situation in the Church of Scotland, some have been keen to know how the Free Church is going.  Not having been part of it for the past three years – and bearing in mind Thomas Chalmers statement “who cares for the Free Church compared with the Christian good of Scotland” – I thought it would be interesting to take a fresh look at where the Free Church is going.  I hope no one would be naïve enough to think that the Free Church is the answer for the dire needs of the Church in Scotland – but perhaps it could be part of the answer?
With the caveat that I was not at the General Assembly of the Free Church, and was only able to watch some of it online, nonetheless on the basis of that, reports of friends and written reports, it appears to me that there was much to give thanks for at the FC assembly.    The motto of “a healthy gospel church for every community in Scotland’ is a fine aspiration.
One minister wrote:  “I have loved this week. It’s been in person. There has been great fellowship. Friendships have been renewed & made. It’s been forward looking. There is a sense that the church of Jesus, the part of that of which we are, is in the hands of good people, by the grace of God. It’s been harmonious…I cherish our present unity of heart & purpose, our mutual respect, our love for each other. As Paul says: ‘let us strive to keep the unity of the spirit in the bond of peace’.”
It was interesting to observe the new faces, increased diversity and general sense of unity.  I found the Missions report of particular encouragement.  What really struck me was a comment from Neil MacMillan suggesting that the Free Church had plateaued.   There are areas where the church is growing – and it is now significantly engaging in church planting – but there are also areas of decline. Only the Seventh day Adventists and the Free Church of the denominations that were founded pre 1900 are growing in the UK today.  See John Hayward’s fascinating research – https://churchmodel.org.uk/2022/05/15/growth-decline-and-extinction-of-uk-churches/
And yet this is not enough.  There are some major areas which the Free Church needs to address immediately, if it is to move on from just maintaining itself, to being a major force for the Kingdom of Christ in Scotland. The Free Church will not survive by planting 30 new churches by 2030.  Our vision should be much bigger than that.  We need to plant new churches, revitalise old ones and even close some.   We have to rethink our approach to education, the poor, the culture and other churches.  Unless we engage with these issues, I suspect that the plateau will soon turn to decline.
Evangelism
Some of our growth is coming from other churches – especially the Church of Scotland.  How many Free Church congregations are seeing growth through conversions – especially from ‘the world’?   There is no use training lots of chiefs if there are no Indians.
Neil MacMillian pointed out that in his 12 years in Edinburgh there had been such a fundamental shift in the culture that Edinburgh looks different and sounds different.    The question is what are we doing to reach the lost?
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Unless The Church of Scotland Returns To The Gospel, It Will Die

Unless the Church of Scotland returns to the Gospel, it will die. To some, this seems a strange statement. What does same-sex marriage have to do with the Gospel? It’s straightforward. We do not make up the Gospel. We receive it by revelation from Christ – through his word. Part of that is his teaching about marriage. When we start to dismantle that word and rearrange it according to the views of our culture, then it is not the Gospel we believe, but ourselves. When we move away from Scripture, we move away from Christ. Whenever a Church does that, it withers and dies.

Christian Today asked me to write this article about the C of S assembly decision.   It is different from my earlier article on the Wee Flea earlier this week.
What Happened?
After a long and protracted process which began with the Scott Rennie case in 2009, the Church of Scotland approved the solemnisation of same-sex marriages in the Church by a vote of 276 to 136 at this week’s General Assembly in Edinburgh. Ministers can now apply to be celebrants, and no one will be compelled to take part.
The Moderator, Rev Dr Ian Greenshields, explained why this had taken so long.
“The Church of Scotland is a broad church and there are diverse views on the subject of same-sex marriage among its members.”There has been a lengthy, prayerful and in-depth discussion and debate about this topic for many years at all levels of the Church to find a solution that respects diversity and values the beliefs of all.”
There was considerable concern at the beginning of this process that the evangelicals would leave. Given the decline in the Church, the Church leaders were well aware of the devastating impact this would have – so they played the long game using a mix of carrot and stick.On the one hand they appointed evangelical moderators (whose job was to ensure that the evangelicals stayed on board and ensured that there were theological commissions with evangelicals on board – although always a minority). On the other hand, they made it difficult for evangelicals to leave – for example playing hard ball over buildings and finances.
These tactics worked. Although a number of evangelicals did leave – including almost all the big evangelical congregations in the cities – there was not a mass exodus. Indeed, some evangelicals facilitated the change.
What does it mean?
The politicians approve. For example, the SNP tweeted their delight: “Congratulations to the Church of Scotland – to all those campaigners for today’s historic moment! An overwhelming majority in the General Assembly in favour of allowing ministers to conduct same-sex marriages.”
And of course, the media are on board. It is incomprehensible to most modern journalists how anyone could be opposed to same-sex marriage. To them it is like being opposed to love! The trouble is when you ask them to define ‘love’, they struggle.
The Church of Scotland is now fully on board with the progressive ‘values’ that run contemporary Scotland. This week they also passed a motion supporting the government’s ban on so called ‘conversion therapy’. It’s strange that they appear to be silent about the other great social issue currently dividing society – transgender ideology. It would be good if the Assembly told us what a woman is and acted in defence of women.
Where is the Church going?
The answer is: to extinction. The Church of Scotland has seen a fall of a third of its membership in the past decade. The Trustees report stated: “A 34 per cent reduction was seen between 2011 and 2021, with no indication of this trend reversing from 2021 congregational data.” Over the past 60 years, the Church has lost a million of the 1.3 million members it once enjoyed.
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Franklin Graham and the Mayor of Liverpool – Which One is the Real Hate Preacher?

The American evangelist is due to speak at a youth event in the Wirral and at the Liverpool exhibition centre on 14 May as part of his God Loves You UK tour. The invite says, “Join Franklin Graham as he shares a personal message of hope and enjoy an exciting evening of live music. This event is free of charge. Bring your friends and family!” The sight of these slogans on the side of buses in Liverpool seems to have triggered the Metro Mayor of Liverpool, Steve Rotherham, who wrote to the bus companies demanding that they remove the adverts.

The Metro Mayor of Liverpool wants Franklin Graham’s adverts displaying the message “God Loves You” to be pulled off local buses.
“God Loves You”. “Looking for Something More?”. They may not be the most outstanding advertising slogans you have ever heard, but apparently in modern Britain, these slogans now constitute “hate speech”. At least they do if they are said by Franklin Graham. It seems we have reached a place where hate speech is no longer about what is said, but rather who says it.
The American evangelist is due to speak at a youth event in the Wirral and at the Liverpool exhibition centre on 14 May as part of his God Loves You UK tour. The invite says, “Join Franklin Graham as he shares a personal message of hope and enjoy an exciting evening of live music. This event is free of charge. Bring your friends and family!”
The sight of these slogans on the side of buses in Liverpool seems to have triggered the Metro Mayor of Liverpool, Steve Rotherham, who wrote to the bus companies demanding that they remove the adverts.
He told Arriva, “To say that I’m angry that the views of a known hate preacher – who has an appalling track record of homophobic and Islamophobic views – are being displayed anywhere in our city region would be an understatement.”
Apparently, Mr Graham is a “known hate preacher” because he is opposed to radical Islam and same-sex marriage.
We have been here before. In 2020, Franklin Graham’s UK tour was cancelled because of similar concerns. He went to court and was successful. A few years ago, Blackpool City Council also lost a court case after they were sued for removing bus adverts for a Franklin Graham event. They had to apologise and make compensation to the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association. In both these cases the judge noted that the councils were not behaving in a fair and appropriate manner for a civic authority.
Rotherham has clearly not learned that lesson. As a civic authority he thinks that he has the right to demand that private companies remove legal slogans, for a legal campaign – just because he does not like the person who is making them.
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Letter from Scotland 1 – The Church of Scotland – the Final Nail?

I remember when John Chalmers, clerk of the General Assembly stated: “We had a debate which made very clear that we were not interfering with our theological definition of marriage and were not going to the place where ministers or deacons could themselves conducting same sex marriages.”. He lied.  Plain and simple.  He knew that this was a step on the road to conducting same sex marriages, and that the theological definition of marriage was being changed. And no one called him out on it.  Although yours truly tried – and was roundly castigated for being ‘unChristian.’

Dear Brothers and Sisters,
It’s a joy to be back in my native land – the most beautiful country in the world!  But there is also a sadness and sorrow.  Not just because I tested positive for Covid on landing – and now have the most miserable man flu!  The main sorrow I had was reading the following in The Courier on arrival – as the Church of Scotland prepares to hammer the final nail into its own coffin.
“Just this week, the Church of Scotland announced that 29 of its presbyteries were in favour of ministers and deacons conducting the ceremonies of same sex couples should they so wish. The Church is a democratic institution so the final word will go the General Assembly next month. But assuming it’s a Yes, the words “I do” could be said by same sex couples in churches by the summer….” These were part of an article written by Kezia Dugdale, former Labour leader in Scotland.  She went on to exult “That is absolutely phenomenal social progress by any measure.” 
That’s an interesting but not unsurprising perspective from an atheist, who has no love for the Gospel.  However, the truth is precisely the opposite.  This is not progress.  This is the Church of Scotland aiding and abetting Scottish society as it reverts, not just to pre-Reformation days, but to pre-Christian days.  My beloved nation is regressing back into the pagan world.  What used to be the National Church is meekly following whatever path the Regressives lead us – it would be inaccurate to say that they are leading – they have neither the initiative nor courage to lead.
I am not surprised at the Church of Scotland going this route – despite all the lies from leading clergy about how this would not be the case.  I remember when John Chalmers, clerk of the General Assembly stated: “We had a debate which made very clear that we were not interfering with our theological definition of marriage and were not going to the place where ministers or deacons could themselves conducting same sex marriages.”. He lied.  Plain and simple.  He knew that this was a step on the road to conducting same sex marriages, and that the theological definition of marriage was being changed. And no one called him out on it.  Although yours truly tried – and was roundly castigated for being ‘unChristian’ – https://theweeflea.com/2016/05/23/a-rubicon-has-been-crossed-the-church-of-scotland-assembly-decision-on-saturday/
I always thought that it was the deceit and misleading the Lord’s people that was unchristian – not pointing out that deceit.  Indeed, Christ himself was not averse to pointing out to some religious leaders that they belonged to their father the devil, when he lies, he speaks his native language, for he is a liar and the father of lies.” (John 8:44)
Kezia’s Perspective
Kezia Dugdale also confirmed what we all, (except some gullible evangelicals), knew – that the purpose of the C of S leadership all along was to recognise same sex marriage – but to fool as many evangelicals as possible into thinking that we were being listened to, so that they could keep us on board. (I use ‘us’ because I identify with evangelicals as my brothers and sisters – whatever the denomination).   Dugdale speaks about how she had conversations with Rev. Lorna Hood moderator of the General Assembly in 2013, who promised her that SSM would come.
 “I just couldn’t understand it, especially as all the Christians I knew supported it. They believed in marriage as a union of two people rooted in love, respect and commitment and wanted it for everyone.”  This shows both the limited understanding of Christianity and of marriage.    If marriage is for everyone why limit it to two people?  And does that include incestuous marriage – if for example two sisters love, respect and commit to one another, why shouldn’t they get married?  It is telling that Lorna Hood was unable to help Kezia with her understanding – except to point out that some people were more ‘traditional’.  No, Lorna – it has nothing to do with tradition – and everything to do with Scripture.   But therein lies the problem for the Church of Scotland – it has rejected the Bible as its authoritative standard.  I recall sitting in the Assembly as the Bible was openly and publicly mocked – to laughter from the commissioners and not a word of rebuke from the leadership.
A Lost Battle
I have been involved with this issue for many years.  And I have to say that I now feel completely vindicated. But it is a battle that has left many wounds.  I think of Dominic Smart – a Church of Scotland minister who paid a massive price for his faithfulness.  He was truly a prophet without honour in his own land.  I miss him. I recall an amazing anonymous letter from 15 Glasgow presbytery ‘evangelicals’, who attacked me – and Willie Phillip – another faithful minister who paid the price. I think of Jeremy Middleton who gave the best speech I have ever heard at any Assembly and gave me a faint hope that things might be turned around – only to have that hope dashed by a couple of evangelicals running round, persuading others to play the political game and go along with the establishment. I think of Albert Bogle’s ‘compromise’ motion, which was not a compromise at all – and which gave the progressives everything they wanted. I think of John McPake promising me that the evangelicals had a plan – and that if I just kept quiet, I would see them work it out.  Part of that plan was for Angus Morrison to become an evangelical moderator.  That worked – in that he became moderator. But he ended up being honoured by the University of Glasgow for ‘changing attitudes to same sex relationships in the Church of Scotland”.
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Christian Leaders Write Anti-Christian Trans Letter

The trouble with the words used by the clerics is that, at a superficial level, they sound nice. Of course we want safety and non-judgementalism but on examination, not only are the words in this letter meaningless and contrary to the teaching of Christ; they cause harm. While attempting to create a ‘safe space’ for some, they are making the world distinctly more harmful for others. In promoting transgender ideology, they are harming women, children and indeed, men.

There was a time when Church leaders wrote letters that proclaimed and affirmed the Christian faith, challenged false gospels and glorified Christ. Think of Paul’s letters in the Bible or the wonderful letters of John Newton or JRR Tolkien. They are edifying, exhorting and encouraging.
This week a letter was sent from some professed Christian leaders in the UK which is directly the opposite. The Rev Canon Steve Chalke, Rt Hon Dr Rowan Williams, former Archbishop of Canterbury; Very Rev Rogers Govender, Dean of Manchester Cathedral; Professor Susannah Cornwall, Professor of Constructive Theologies, University of Essex; Rev Paul Bailey, Pentecostal Minister; Very Revd. Dr David Ison, Dean of St Paul’s Cathedral; and several other suitably entitled church leaders.
In their letter to the Prime Minister, they lament that the government’s ban on conversion therapy excludes trans people, and it is worth examining both the background and detail of this letter.
The government itself has got into a bit of trouble over this issue. Firstly, it was announced that it was going to backtrack on the ban on so-called conversion therapy and instead use the existing laws to deal with any wrong practices.But within 24 hours of this U-turn, the government did another one and said it was going ahead with the ban – except for trans people. This U-turn was largely the result of pressure from Tory MPs who haven’t really thought the issue through and didn’t want to be seen as the ‘nasty’ Tories again. Of course, the political and media elites could hardly contain their outrage – cue Twitter ‘outrage’ and lots of stories and reports – and so the U-turn was itself U-turned.
But the latest U-turn was not enough for these Christian leaders; they want the government to go much further. And what their letter reveals is that they are a million miles away from the New Testament letters and the teaching of Jesus. In my view, there are three basic errors which remove them from Christ’s teaching.
1. They do not understand what “conversion” is. Or indeed what a Christian is. The letter argues that “conversion to Christianity is the event or process by which a person responds joyfully to the glorious embrace of the eternally loving and ever merciful God”.They go on to say, “To be trans is to enter a sacred journey of becoming whole, precious, honoured and loved, by yourself, by others and by God.”
This is a classic example of people using spiritual language which sounds good, in order to undermine and change what Jesus actually said. Jesus did not come to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance (Luke 5:32). He urges us to “produce fruit in keeping with repentance” (Matthew 3:8). He tells his church, “Those whom I love I rebuke and discipline” (Revelation 3:19).
There are hundreds of similar verses throughout the Bible which show clearly that the Good News is not ‘God accepts you are you are and wants to affirm you’, but rather that because God loves you, He wants to change what you are, heal you, forgive you, and give you a new heart.
This is radical conversion. The conversion described by the letter’s signatories is little more than a meaningless meme – with no substance, no love, no reality and no forgiveness. It is in a different spiritual universe from what Paul wrote to the Colossian church: “Put to death, therefore, whatever belongs to your earthly nature: sexual immorality, impurity, lust, evil desires and greed, which is idolatry” Colossians 3:5.
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Is it finished? Lessons from the Finnish Prosecution of a Christian MP – CT

Mrs Räsänen was not asking for her defence to be based on the Bible; she was asking for the freedom to quote the Bible and to defend biblical principles. It was the State who was seeking to prevent her from doing so. Bear in mind that Mrs Räsänen was a senior politician, having been Finland’s interior minister from 2011 to 2015. This case was not a random one, but one designed to intimidate and send out a signal that the new secular morality must not be challenged.

There is good news this week from Finland. The Finnish Christian MP, Päivi Räsänen, together with a Lutheran bishop, Juhana Pohjola, have been found not guilty of hate speech charges, while the prosecution has been ordered to pay 60,000 EUR in charges. That is the good news and to be warmly welcomed.
The bad news is that the case was brought in the first place. This was despite the police saying there was no criminal case to answer. This trial was a political trial brought for ideological reasons and there are important lessons for the Church throughout the West to learn from this case.
Mrs Räsänen was accused of making derogatory comments on three occasions including in a 2019 tweet, opposing the Lutheran Church’s participation in the Finnish Pride week, and using Bible verses to argue her position.
Sin Banned?
The state prosecutor had argued that using the word “sin” could be “derogatory” and “harmful”. This is an astonishing argument. Using the word ‘sin’ could be derogatory for any group. Is the prosecutor really saying that the State should ban sin – or rather speaking about sin?
Being accused of sin can be upsetting. I recall one man who was furious at me for suggesting that his racism against Pakistani people was a sin; and another at a public meeting who was so furious that I was speaking of sin in general that he got up and started shouting and threatening me!
Yet sin is essential to the teaching of the Scriptures. It is the message of Jesus that he came to save sinners from their sin and plenty of people found that message offensive enough – they crucified him for it!
Harmless?
The notion of ‘harm’ is an interesting one. It is a word that is often used, and rarely defined. Harm comes on a spectrum. All of us would agree that killing someone is a ‘harmful’ act – but is challenging someone’s beliefs, philosophies or lifestyles really harmful? Who gets to determine what is harm at that end of the spectrum? In reality, it means that those in power can use the idea of ‘harm’ to blame, shame and control those with whom they disagree.
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Understanding Ukraine

The history of Ukrainian Christianity is as complex as its political history. Sixty-seven per cent of the population declare themselves to be Orthodox believers, 2.2 per cent Protestant, 9.4 per cent Byzantine Rite Catholic, 2.5 per cent Islam and 0.4 per cent Jewish. Only three per cent of the population profess to be atheist. It is against this background that this week’s events are unfolding, and we are asked to pray.

Ukraine is an amazing country with – in contrast to the revisionist version recently espoused by Vladimir Putin – a long history. It is the second largest country in terms of area in Europe – Russia being the first. At over 600,000 sq km it is 30 times the size of Wales (apparently Wales is now the standard by which we measure any country!).
A nation of 43 million people, it has been declining for some time – losing over 300,000 people per year due to emigration and a low birth rate. In 1995 there were 52 million people. The poverty rate has been increasing rapidly and currently stands at around 45 per cent. The median salary is only $775 a montth,,
Ukraine is generally regarded as being the spiritual mother of Russia, with the Rus coming from Kyiv during the 10th and 11th centuries – hence Putin, the great Russian nationalist, being so interested in it. The mass baptism of Vladimir the Rus and his people at Kyiv in the Dnieper in 988 is regarded as the foundation of the Russian Orthodox Church, and indeed the foundation of Russia.
Kyiv is central to the Orthodox Russians – and therefore to Russian nationalism. Putin seems to be a genuine believer in that. If you don’t grasp the almost religious significance of Ukraine to many Russians (who also make up 18% of the population) then you will not understand why Putin is so desperate to keep Ukraine in the Russian sphere of influence, and away from the West.
Whether the Mongols, Poles, Lithuanians, Ottomans, Germans or Russians, Ukraine’s history is one of invasion and domination by its neighbours. Now this invasion has been added to the list.
Since independence from the Soviet Union in 1990, Ukraine has not found it easy. Widespread political and economic corruption has weakened the country – and arguably made it easier for Russia to invade.
The history of Ukrainian Christianity is as complex as its political history. Sixty-seven per cent of the population declare themselves to be Orthodox believers, 2.2 per cent Protestant, 9.4 per cent Byzantine Rite Catholic, 2.5 per cent Islam and 0.4 per cent Jewish. Only three per cent of the population profess to be atheist.
It is against this background that this week’s events are unfolding, and we are asked to pray.
As always in the age of the internet, it is far too easy for people to suddenly become experts on the subject of the day. Twitter soundbites, TikTok videos and Facebook memes turn many of us into ‘know it alls’. But, as is usually the case, things are much more complex.
I am not an expert in Ukrainian history, and I don’t pretend to understand everything that is going on; but as someone who has preached in the country, my heart sank when I saw the news.
In the midst of all the confusion there are some basic lessons for us:

War is normal for human societies

These past couple of years after almost a century without a major plague in the West, we have reverted to the norm of having plagues. In the same way, after 70 years without a major war in Europe, we have now returned to the ‘norm’ of the past centuries.

Russia’s invasion of Ukraine is showing up the weakness and instability of the West

When the Berlin Wall fell in 1989 some in the West assumed it was ‘the end of history’ and that mankind had evolved to the extent that ‘superior’ Western values now reigned supreme. Now we know that is not true. The Russians know that no Western power will send troops to fight for Ukraine. And they will have factored in the economic sanctions and they have built up a reserve of over $600 billion.
After Russia’s defeat in Afghanistan, the Soviet Union was fatally wounded. The embarrassing, hasty retreat of the US from Afghanistan told Putin that the West was weak. There are many things I would disagree with the former President Trump about, but in this area, he was correct – the over reliance of European nations on the US for defence has resulted in a weaker Europe and as a result when the US weakens, the chickens come home to roost.
Only France has any significant military resources. The Chief of Germany’ Army tweeted this week: “The Bundeswehr, and the Army that I have the privilege to lead, is more or less stripped bare. The options that we can offer politicians to support the alliance are extremely limited”
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Fault Lines: The Social Justice Movement and Evangelicalism’s Looming Catastrophe

It seems as though the American church, having taken a disastrous turn into (largely but not exclusively) right wing politics, is now in danger of overcompensating and repenting in a progressive, rather than a biblical, direction. Fault Lines exposes this and thus is largely a book about American cultural wars and American church politics. 

There are not many books that have such an impact that they have made me change my mind. It turns out that Faultlines is one of them. Initially, I approached the book with a degree of scepticism. After all I had heard on the evangelical grapevine that it was ‘extremist’, ‘unbalanced’, and that Baucham was guilty of ‘plagiarism’. And I am against racism and think it is a major problem in the US and the church. However, I am thankful that instead of just reading about the book, I read it myself. And I can only suggest you do the same.
Baucham’s thesis is that the current culture wars in the US over racism and Critical Race Theory (CRT) are in danger of splitting the evangelical church and causing considerable harm. He believes that the acceptance of some of the language and premises of CRT by evangelical leaders is the acceptance of a Trojan horse. He argues that ‘the United States is on the verge of a race war, if not a complete cultural meltdown’ (p. 7).
Fault Lines is not a fundamentalist diatribe or political rant. It is a well-researched, well-written and well-argued clarion call from someone who has not only studied the issues in some depth but, as a black descendant of slaves, has lived them. Fault Lines is not a detailed academic textbook, although it should be required reading for all evangelical students. It is, as Baucham stated in an interview, “the view from 35,000 feet.” If you are confused about what CRT is (and some evangelicals even deny that it exists), then this book is an excellent primer.
His personal story is powerful. He grew up poor without a father, was bussed to a white school and has battled against racism throughout his life. He has walked the walk. Maybe we should listen to his story rather than the white saviours like Robin DiAngelo who make their living out of telling white people they are racist by virtue of their skin colour? The notion that if you are white, then you are racist is itself racist. For Christians we need to ask what has the priority: our skin colour, our culture or our identity in Christ?
Baucham is controversial—at times breathtakingly so. For example, he points out that he had never heard of a black pastor arguing for racial reconciliation or lamenting that their church was 99% black. He states the incontrovertible truth that Africans sold Africans into slavery—to Arabs and to Europeans. And the not so incontrovertible view that ‘America is one of the least racist countries in the world’ (p. 201).
One highlight is the exposure of the false narratives that play such a part in the impressions that many of us base our opinions upon. Some quotes stunned me: ‘We’re literally hunted EVERYDAY/EVERYTIME we step outside the comfort of our homes’ (NBA star LeBron James, p. 45). Or the oft cited and completely false claim from the National Academy of Sciences that ‘one in every 1,000 black men and boys can expect to be killed by police in this country’ (pp. 47–48). That would mean that 18,000 black men and boys would be killed by police. The facts are that, in 2014, 250 black men were killed, of whom only 19 were unarmed. In 2019, the figure was nine (p. 113). How we interpret facts is also crucial. What do you do with the fact that 96% of those killed by police are male? Is this de facto proof that the police are discriminatory against men?
Baucham’s strongest and most important insight is that in dealing with anti-racism, we are dealing a with a new religion—complete with its own cosmology, law, priesthood and canon.
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Transgender Ideology and the Rise of the Thought Police

Scotland is both an example and a warning to other Western liberal democracies when the governing parties are taken over by the Woke progressives. Social “justice” issues – from their perspective – are their primary concern. Sometimes it seems as though when one “progressive” country goes so far, the next wants to go even further.

Transgender ideology is apparently an issue of some importance for the Scottish government. A government elected for the purpose of obtaining Scottish independence has double the number of civil servants working on its proposed Gender Recognition Act, than it does working on the proposed independence referendum, which it hopes to have done by the summer.
Part of this is because of the pushback against promises made by Nicola Sturgeon and the SNP about allowing people to self-identify. Feminist activists and others are rightly concerned about where this is all going to lead. There has been significant opposition within the governing party itself – with the finance minister, Kate Forbes, herself a committed Christian, warning that many people are being silenced and intimidated from speaking.
The Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) warned that the proposed GRA should be paused because not enough account has been taken of women’s rights.
Nicola Sturgeon denies, despite all the evidence, that there is any conflict between transgender rights and sex-based rights. Anyone who dares to question that is automatically labelled ‘transphobic’ – but when even the Guardian is warning the Scottish government that they are going too far, you would think that this might give pause for thought.
The Census where facts don’t matter.
Not that this has stopped the Scottish government from acting as though its policy were already law. In the upcoming census the government are allowing people to put down whatever sex they want (as far as I am aware this does not apply to whatever age you want, wherever you want to live or whatever ethnicity you want to be).
Given that government policy is based upon the census this is a serious issue. The Fair Play for Women organisation is taking the Scottish Government to court, arguing that sex is legally defined in law and cannot just be arbitrarily overridden by a government committed to this strange ideology. The government argues that we ‘need to evolve with the times’.
It is somewhat puzzling as to why this issue is seen as so important. But Scotland is both an example and a warning to other Western liberal democracies when the governing parties are taken over by the Woke progressives. Social ‘justice’ issues – from their perspective – are their primary concern.
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