Bark at the cat, not the blackbird.

Jun 30, 2015 by

Conservative Christians are an easy target for the “moderates” by Andrew Symes, Anglican Mainstream.

My dog is pastorally sensitive with the family at home, but cowardly outside it. Sometimes when I take Kayla for a walk and she sees a cat, she takes off after it, barking furiously. But if the cat, which is about her size, stands its ground, the dog loses her nerve, pretends she can’t see it, and turns away to sniff around in the opposite direction, perhaps barking at a harmless blackbird.

At this time of unprecedented moral confusion, some evangelical leaders are sadly fearful to direct their prayers and their comments at the real problem, instead preferring to pretend it’s not there, and attack safer, harmless targets. The last two weeks have seen some serious assaults on the Christian doctrine of marriage from outside and within the church. The Supreme Court in the USA has redefined marriage on a split vote of judges. The result has swelled a genuine “people movement” on social media that had already gained momentum with the Irish vote. Young people in particular across the world are now being bombarded with demands to put a celebratory rainbow on their Facebook status; those who refuse, including English Christians, are already being vilified. Like ISIS, the powers behind the sexual revolution are not satisfied with one victory and a piece of territory – they demand submission without exception to their ideology, and ever increasing expansion of their influence. But rather than address the serious concern that this raises for the culture and the church, and indeed the entire dangerous and fallacious philosophy behind it, urbane evangelical commentators prefer to attack conservative Christians.

So for example Christian Today writer Mark Woods argues that Christians should not worry about the Supreme Court ruling. He accuses conservatives of acting as if they are trying to cling on to power, and of confusing the church with the state. The battle against gay marriage has been “needless and counter-productive”, he says, and a much bigger problem is divorce and family breakdown. Woods is pretending that the “cat” of the sexual revolution philosophy (which has of course made the perennial problem of relationship breakdown much worse), the aggressive, often explicitly anti-Christian LGBT advocacy movement, is not there – instead he finds it easier to bark at the “blackbird” of conservative Christians and their supposed desire to return to a golden age of Christendom.

It seems a bit unfair to pick on Woods as there are many others who share the same view, desperate to earn the favour and goodwill of the powers that be, speaking from the safety of their circle of metropolitan elite trendy Christian friends. They attack faithful men and women, accusing them of bitterness about losing a privileged position in society, or being “mean-spirited and out of date” (a phrase used by the supposedly neutral BBC reporter on last week’s Radio 4 Sunday programme). But in fact their targets have God-honouring hearts which have been wrung with anguish, not because of prejudice, but because of a sense of offence being committed against a holy God, and because of deep concern for people’s mental and spiritual health, especially young people.

It can’t have been coincidence that the judgement about gay marriage in the US was released at the same time as gay pride marches around the world. The city of York was ahead of the curve: its Pride march took place a week earlier than London, and it succeeded in co-opting the historic York Minster as the starting point, complete with prayers of blessing for the participants. The Archbishop of York endorsed this. At the same time, another Bishop, Alan Wilson, appeared at an employment tribunal to defend a clergyman who had entered a same sex marriage, and during his testimony rubbished the doctrine of marriage of the Church of England. A few brave clergy have spoken out against these disgraceful actions, notably Melvin Tinker from Hull. But what a surprise – many evangelicals, instead of facing up to the liberal false teaching in the hierarchy of the church, find it much easier to attack poor Rev Tinker for his use of words, as if he is the problem. To any sensible observer this looks not just cowardly, but ridiculous, just as when I see my dog pretending the cat isn’t there and barking at the bird, I laugh.

But of the course the failure of many evangelical Christians to contend for truth and expose lies is no laughing matter. If clergy and lay leaders who claim to believe in the orthodox, historic doctrines of sex and marriage make no protest when the rainbow flag is draped over Cathedral steps and when a Bishop joins the secular judiciary and the media in trying to force the church to change its doctrine, they will never make a protest about anything. If they are not beginning to seriously consider an alternative context for ministry than the Church of England now, then they never will. They have already compromised, believing to have chosen a quiet life. David French explains:

For many believers, this new era will present a unique challenge. …Especially among Evangelicals, there is a naïve belief that if only we were winsome enough, kind enough, and compassionate enough, the culture would welcome us with open arms. But now our love — expressed in the fullness of a Gospel that identifies homosexual conduct as sin but then provides eternal hope through justification and sanctification — is hate.
Christians who’ve not suffered for their faith often romanticize persecution. ..Yet when the moment comes…they often find that they simply can’t abide being called “hateful.” ..Thus, at the end of the day, a church that descends from apostles who withstood beatings finds itself unable to withstand tweetings.

(Read his article in full here):

We hear from the middle East that the brutal persecution of Christians who will not compromise their faith is coinciding with an unprecedented turning to Christ among Moslems. We could ask of our own situation: is a church that fears the Twitter mob rather than God likely to see similar supernatural growth?


Related Posts


Share This