I have been bombarded with responses to my article on Stephen Green’s cruel mocking tweet about Tom Daley, which has clearly been read by thousands! The Blasphemy of Christian Voice and an Apology to Tom Daley They are very revealing about the state of the church in the UK today. Let me just list some of them and answer some of the main objections, as well as look at some of the more positive things. I am, I hope, open to correction. We live and learn!
Unbiblical – Perhaps it would be better to say there is a lack of understanding of the bible and a misuse of the bible. I have received several comments from people asking if I have used Matthew 18 and on that basis condemning me for not speaking to Mr. Green first. The trouble is that Matthew 18 clearly does not apply in this case. Stephen Green made his tweet in public and it had to be responded to in public. Plus Matthew 18 applies to someone who sins against me, and who is in the church. If Mr. Green was a minister or member in my church and if I had something personally against him, then yes I would talk to him privately, then take a couple of witnesses, then involve the church. But Stephen Green is not part of my church or denomination, in fact I’m not sure he is accountable to any church. He runs his own organization like a cult. My responsibility and concern is primarily for the cause of the Gospel in this country. Those who like Stephen Green profess to speak on our behalf, and yet speak nonsense, should be called out.
Illogical – One of my pet bug bears are those people who write to complain that it is wrong to judge and I am just causing Christian division. They don’t see the illogicality of judging me for judging! But they are also being unrealistic. I am not causing division; I am both exposing and declaring it. Of course most Christians are divided from the kind of illogical hatred and poison that Stephen Green makes.
Ignorant Condemnation – The following are two examples of e-mails I have received. They are as I received them.
Dear Mr. Robertson
I have not heard of you, but I have known Stephen Green
for many years in Christain voice and he
is the only voice in the country defending the Christain
religion and he beleives in the whole bible
Dear Mr. Robertson, It seems that you are very critical of Steohen Green and Christian voice from comments you have published very recently. I wonder why you are so vitriolic. Apparently you are a ‘rev.’ That suggests that you are some kind of church leader. I wonder that the church within whose demonination you operate can sponsor such an unpleasant publication as your is and still retain your credibility as a church leader. I regard church leadership in the UK as utterly pathetic and has been for as long as I can remember,> There is absolutlely no moral conviction; there is no willingness to stand up to the political evil in society as it is today, often masquerading under the title ‘equality’ (in my view, there is only one phenomenon that is equal: garbage); invariably leadership denies the Bible as The Word of God, choosing to substitute the opinion of people like yourself under the heading ‘highter cricism’ (more garbage). Invariably you support gay marraige which the Bible describes as an abomination, and you have no vision of what the church is meant to be: the Body of Christ on this planet. Your criticism of Stephen Green is abhorrent, un called for, and represents you as utterly worthless as a so-called church leader. It appears that the reason as to why the church in the Uk is so utterly pathetic and singularly not fit for purpose is because it has leaders like yourself vomiting out the spurious garbage that tyou and your colleagues are so used to doing by now. I refer you to the passage i nEzekiel where the prophet castigates the shepherds for not tending the sheep but are interested only in theior own kind. If the cap fits wear it. I am thoroughly disgusted with you and all like minded individuals for the attitude and stance that you adopt. Regards Mike
I will respond to them both privately (and don’t worry I won’t be harsh!). Those who oppose us we must gently instruct! I feel sorrow rather than anger for them because they reflect an ignorance which is all too easily exploited by people like Stephen Green. They are based on anger, hate and prejudice. The sad thing is that they think they are being faithful to Christ. Contrary to what Mike says I believe in the whole bible, and I spend my life battling against the forces of darkness and the cultural elites who are rejecting Christianity. But we are not helped by self-publicists and dishonest hypocrites like Stephen Green. He exploits the faith of Christ, and the fears of some Christians and uses them to build his own personal support. He talks about decline in moral standards whilst at the same time being divorced because his wife left him for abuse! He plays games.
Stephen phoned me up so that he can say to his supporters that he has fulfilled ‘Matthew 18’ in love (I found it bullying and intimidatory, rather than loving), he tells me that he does not criticize other Christians in public, and then he writes his supporters a letter attacking me and claiming he is a victim (unfortunately for him one of them forgot to delete the original letter from Stephen when he sent me his own reply). In other words he gets his supporters to do the criticizing. I prefer to fight my own battles. Honesty and openness is essential. Not this twisting of scripture, manipulating peoples fears and playing political games in public.
We need to be aware of this. Stephen Green is representative of an abusive type of spiritual leader who misuse the Gospel of Christ, in order to control and abuse. There are many many Christians who have been damaged by these kind of self-appointed leaders. I have seen it many times, and when it does happen I have no qualms about pointing it out. I am an under shepherd of Christ, and I am not going to run away from the wolves – whether of the liberal or legalistic variety. And I will not be bullied by the manipulative use of poor theology, social media campaigns or the sickening use of right theological language minus the Spirit of Christ.
Mr. Green phoned me this morning and when challenged to give the numbers of Christians ‘Christian Voice’ speaks for, declined to do so. Instead he claimed he was speaking for Jesus Christ. No, Mr. Green, you are not. And you need to be very careful and aware of the judgment of God (which you so gleefully pronounce against others) before you tweet mocking, snide and cruel statements in his name against those who he came to save!
These negatives are not the whole story. The reaction to this story also indicates something about the majority of the church of Christ in this country. I think the following characteristics also apply. Please don’t be confused that both apply – the church is reflective of its constituent elements. We are confused and mixed up people!
Loving – The vast majority of Christians in the UK are appalled by Stephen Greens remarks, not because we support the ‘gay agenda’ or because we are weak on Scripture. We abhor his remarks because we don’t want to be associated with such ignorance, irrationality and cruelty. Our desire is to love the Lord our God with all our heart, all our soul and all our mind, and to love our neighbour as ourselves. We even seek to do what Christopher Hitchin’s called impossible nonsense, love our enemies. And we love Jesus. Yes, there are fights, trouble and divisions within the Church of Christ, but overall I have found a great deal of love, compassion and desire to honour Christ in our lives in this country.
United – Of course there are divisions, but I am thrilled by the unity that there is amongst bible believing Christians, of whatever denomination. Our divisions are often largely secondary and sinful. I have had messages from Baptists, Anglicans, Presbyterians, Charismatics, Brethren, Catholics and others who appreciate what has been said and who are also saying to Christian Voice – ‘not in our name’! I think what I especially love is that there are many people who would disagree with me on many issues (I hope secondary) and who may not even like me, but who agree on this. We are not clones. We don’t all think the same thing. But we do all follow the same Christ. There is great hope for the church in the UK if we can have real Christian unity in diversity.
Bible-centred – We are aware that there has been a turning away from the Bible in much of the church in the UK and that we all face a continual battle not only to uphold the inerrancy but also the sufficiency of the Scriptures. But there have been a growing number of bible-centred churches that are growing and developing. In this wee spate with Mr. Green I have received messages from Baptist, Free Church, Independent, Charismatic, Anglican and Church of Scotland churches. Although there are still personality and competition problems, I also sense that there is a growing desire for bible believing Christians to work together in proclaiming the beauties of Christ. I want to reclaim the phrase ‘bible-believing’ from the narrow, sectarian, self-righteous, self-appointed ‘guardians’ of the faith, and let it be applied to those congregations who are known for their faithfulness to Christ and his Word, because of their loving, challenging and joyful living out of it.
Mr. Green and his like are welcome to join us – as fellow sinners – but he will need to repent first! Meanwhile we will not let them speak on our or Christ’s behalf and thus besmirch the honour and beauty of our Lord.
Isaiah 56: 12 You will go out in joy and be led forth in peace;
the mountains and hills will burst into song before you,
and all the trees of the field will clap their hands.