The article on The BBC, Usain Bolt and Anti-Christian Bias got the reactions I expected. The secularists mocked, the pietists moaned and the liberals wrote lengthy responses to an article I did not write.
Some people sent me comments from other Christians on the Olympics including something that upset me so much that it has taken me 24 hours to calm down so that I can obey my rule never to write in a moment of passion!
Turning gay doesn’t seem to have done Tom Daley any favours at
This came from a group calling itself Christian Voice. I say a group but as far as I know it has only one voice and that is Stephen Green, its leader. What’s wrong with this post? Why do I find it so upsetting? Don’t I agree with it?
1. It’s cruel, sneering mockery.
Tom Daley had just done his best in the diving and, for some reason, had an off day. This meant that he did not qualify for the final, for which he was one of the favourites. To mock his failure and equate it with his sexuality is just simply cruel.
2. It’s illogical nonsense.
What does a person’s sexuality have to do with their performance in the sporting arena? Is Mr Green suggesting that if Tom Daley had renounced his sexuality he might have won? Does Mr Green see this as some kind of divine punishment? What about Mo Farah, a Muslim? Or other athletes such as Kate Richardson Walsh, the British hockey captain, who along with her partner Helen won gold for Britain? Why did their religion or sexuality not prevent them from winning?
3. It’s biblically rubbish.
Stephen Green professes to be a biblical Christian. He should know that the Gospel is not that,” God rewards the good guys and the bad guys lose.” He should know that we are all sinners and that someone like the apostle Paul, towards the end of his life, having planted half the churches in the world and written a considerable part of the New Testament, could say I AM the chief of sinners. Not I was. Mr Green’s strange type of ‘prosperity’ gospel, where you get rewarded with Olympic medals if you follow the law of God, and lose if you don’t, is a denial of the gospel of Jesus Christ. And for that reason..
4. It’s profoundly un-Christian.
For all of the reasons above, this is not the voice of Christianity in Britain today. Christian Voice, for example, only has a few hundred followers on Twitter. I suspect that many of them are those who disagree or journalists who are looking for a story.
So why do I get upset about it? This is the story that The Daily Mail, the BBC, LBC and other media will carry. This is the story that the enemies of the Gospel will use to discredit the Gospel and cause Christ to be blasphemed. This will likely resurrect the sad career of a man I had hoped would have come to his senses, repented and actually decided to follow Christ, instead of making a mockery of him. Also, in the current confused state of the Church in Britain today, there may be some Christians who may be tempted to sympathise, or may even have had similar thoughts.
If you are a regular reader of this blog you will know that I uphold without reservation the teaching of Jesus Christ about marriage, sexuality and human identity. This comment does not come from some ‘liberal’ who wants to adapt the Bible to fit in with the current zeitgeist of those in power. I am a Bible believing Christian who hates what Stephen Green says precisely because he claims to be the same thing – and, thereby, tars us all with the same brush.
The Antithesis of Christ
‘Ah’, some will say,’I see what you are doing. In your heart you really agree with him, but you are more politically savvy than Mr Green and so you condemn him in public, whilst really agreeing with him and perhaps even having a wee chuckle in your heart at his audacity’. Of course its impossible to argue against people who think that they can see into your heart. All I can say is that, even if nobody else said it, even if the whole of society welcomed his remarks as witty banter expressing truth and courage, I would still abhor them. They are the antithesis of the Jesus I know, love and serve.
The Reason for Solas
What many people will not know is that Stephen Green is one of the reasons we began Solas CPC several years ago. We wanted to encourage Christians in the public arena and to train and help Christians to share their faith. We were not interested in being a political group or even a lobbying group. Our aim was simply to equip believers of all different denominations to share and live our faith. We did have one other aim; to provide a more positive picture of Christianity in the secular media. We saw that whilst the Catholic press office were pretty good (until they got caught up in some of the scandals within the Church) the rest of the mainstream denominations were not just a mess theologically, they were also a press mess. But what really depressed us was that the press seemed to turn to Stephen Green, and his so-called ‘Christian Voice,’ whenever they wanted comment from evangelical Christians.
Sadly it was not just the tabloids who liked the lurid sensationalism and the cheap publicity stunts, it was also the broadsheets. So we made it one of the aims of Solas CPC to try and get a real and sane Christian voice in the secular media. Whether we have succeeded or not is not for me to judge but, at the very least, I thought that the media would no longer turn to the mindless and blasphemous rantings of Mr Green. I thought we had succeeded in that and I hope that this temporary resurrection of Christian Voice will prove very short-lived.
Hard and Hypocritical?
At this point some Christians might say, ‘Are you not being a bit hard? After all Stephen Green uses many of the right words, and he is standing up for biblical truth in a corrupt secular society. Are you not on the same side?’.
No, and a thousand times no!
Stephen Green is a hypocrite whose wife says she left him because of domestic violence. His life, and lifestyle, contradicts his profession. Stephen Green – Wife Beater – The Daily Mail This doesn’t really surprise me but, even if this were not true, I would still strongly disagree with Mr Green’s pronouncements.
Just because someone uses words, it does not mean that they understand them, or mean them. It may be that Mr Green is a genuine believer who has backslidden or has just become somewhat disturbed, or it may be that he was never a believer at all. I don’t know and I am not in the position to judge. However I do know that his pronouncements, made in the name of Christ, are not Christian. Those I can judge by the Word of God – always my supreme standard.
A Plea to the Media
Could the BBC and others do us a favour? If you’re going to mention the ‘faith’ of Stephen Green, at least get it right. It is not the faith of 99.9% of professing Christians in this country. It is not the faith of the Bible. It is not the faith of Jesus Christ. It is anti-Christ. When Mr Green speaks, he speaks with his own voice. He is not the ‘Christian Voice’ of the UK. If you want to hear the real Christian voice then why not speak to the Evangelical Alliance, who represent over one million Christians? Why go for the extreme fringe, unless your agenda really is to try and discredit the Gospel and paint us all with the same brush?
The Beam in my own Eye?
One final thought. I already know the mocking and abusive posts that will follow from this and the accusation, ‘What about you? Are you not just the same? Why do you think that you can speak out on public issues as a Christian spokesperson? Anyway who gave you the right to judge?”
I take these questions/accusations seriously.
Indeed I take them so seriously and am so aware of my own weaknesses and shortcomings that I often agree with them. Why should I speak out and risk being bracketed with the Christian eccentric self publicists who seem to attract the media? To be honest, some times I don’t know. Is there a danger of seeking publicity; getting a thrill from being in a paper or on the news? I think that day has long gone! Sometimes I want to go away, live in an isolated community and just wait for the Lord! But that is not what he calls us to. We are to be a light on a hill. That means not only taking on those who openly despise and hate Christ and his Church, but also those who profess to love him yet cause his name to be mocked, and his glorious gospel to be denigrated, because of their crude, cruel and callous remarks.
Let me add another note here.
I am not a lone wolf, heading up my own interdenominational agency. I am part of a denominational church rooted in the history and teaching of the church. At times that can appear to be a great disadvantage but it does have advantages – not least is the fact that I am accountable to my brothers and sisters in the wider church and that, whilst I have considerable freedom within the bounds of Scripture, if I stray from those bounds I would expect to be lovingly rebuked and eventually disciplined if I did not listen. In that sense, as a minister and former moderator of the Free Church, I do speak to some extent on behalf of thousands of Christians.
I also know that the views expressed here are the views of the vast majority of evangelical bible believing Christians in the UK. It would be good if the press and others recognised that. In that sense what you read here is far more a Christian voice than so-called ‘Christian Voice’!
An Apology to Tom Daley
I hope and pray that Mr Green repents. I hope and pray that the media will not use him to abuse us. And I also hope and pray that if Tom Daley ever reads this he will accept my apology and shame that such a cruel thing was said in the name of Jesus Christ and that he himself will come to know how un-Christlike it is. I pray that Tom will know this because he comes to know Christ – whom to know is life indeed! And Tom, why not ask your fellow divers, David Boudia and Steele Johnson about what faith in Christ is really like?
22nd August 2016
PS – Just had a phone call from Stephen Green re the article below. When I asked him what gave him the right to speak on behalf of the Christian church and how many supporters he had, he refused to answer except by saying that he was speaking on behalf of Jesus Christ. When asked about his sneering tweet about Tom Daley he said that it was comparable to Jesus calling Herod a fox! He then played the Matthew 18 ‘you should have called me first’ card. I pointed out that my interest was primarily in the Gospel and the wider church, and that he had tweeted in public and therefore he deserved to be rebuked in public. (he has shown no repentance at all and indeed has continued his attack on Tom Daley on his website). I found his phone call quite intimidating and smary and it did make me angry. I told him that he was doing great damage to the cause of Christ and I asked him to stop spreading his poison in Jesus’s name. Then I hung up. I ain’t playing that game….
This is the follow up – What the Green Reaction tells us about the UK Church