What the Green Reaction tells us about the UK Church

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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!

But…

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.

 

 

 

 


13 thoughts on “What the Green Reaction tells us about the UK Church

  1. “There is great hope for the church in the UK if we can have real Christian unity in diversity.” I think Matthew Henry puts it like , There can be unity in the body , even where there is diversity in expression. I stand to be corrected if I misquote but when I read it some forty or so years ago it thrilled my soul as to its wisdom. On the over-riding topic David , you are spot on . I do not know Tom Daley , but his achievements in sport however are there to be recognised and ( if you are a sport’s fan) celebrated . I consider Christian Voice’s comment a cheap shot and unworthy , towards a human being who despite athletic prowess may in other ways be considered quite vulnerable

    1. “There can be unity in the body , even where there is diversity in expression.”

      Indeed, and Green’s comment, I think, was misguided. Though I suspect he was sincere in his attempt to permeate the Gospel (as he perceives the Gospel to be) in the sensitive issue of sexual orientation. So, to what extent do we address concern and to what extent do we show grace towards Green? I understand your passion David to address this, and the pressure as mentioned. You’ll know that great is your reward in heaven if this is done due to your allegiance with Christ and if you have acted righteously.

      Of course the gospel hasn’t changed but I do wonder, is it time to consider HOW the gospel is communicated relevant to the spirit of the age that we are in? The doctrine of original sin has of course has an important role where their is a Christian foundation already there. In an increasingly secular culture, is it time to consider a doctrine of original goodness to balance this? When God created humanity, he saw it was good, right?

      I see enough people in the world that already feel they are “bad” whether expressed explicitly or shown to convince myself that it’s of benefit for the church to consider revisiting the use of the term “sinner” lest she be guilty of doing what Jesus accused teachers of the Law doing – of creating burdens too heavy to carry.

      I don’t consider myself to be inherently a sinner or use that to describe my identity. My identity is in Christ and in that, in God’s eyes I am perceived as if I have never sinned, though in reality I am not without sin. Why would I want to exchange God’s perception of me for man’s? I, like everyone else, am part good, part evil, part sinner, part saint, part righteous, part unrighteous.

      I am not without sin God knew what he was doing when he knitted me in my mother’s womb to do good works which he prepared form me in advance to do. I am not without sin, and all my sin past present and future is covered by Christ – God’s love covers a multitude of sins. Everything I experience works for my good, and when I hope in the Lord I renew my strength, I rise as if on eagles wings.

      Now, some will say I am deluded – I can understand that. there would have been a time when I would have said similar things about anyone communicating similarly. My answer would be not dissimilar to the apostle Paul when he was accused of his learning turning him mad by a Roman emperor. that he said he was not mad and that he hoped the emperor would be as he is apart from the prisoner’s chains he was wearing.

      So when I consider Green I don’t see a “sinner”, I see someone so loved by God that if he were the only person on the planet that Jesus would have come for him. Yes I think he has made a misguided comment. How would I like to be treated if and when I make a misguided comment, how would you?

  2. David,

    Until these present articles I was unaware of Christian Voce – I thought your headline referred to the Green Party and wondered how they were involved. I looked at their website. I could find nothing in their “about us” section that I (and I am sure you) would take exception to. Their aims as stated appear entirely proper and compatible with your own aims in SOLAS. Where I began to diverge was in reading some (but obviously in the time available not all) of the articles and comments within the site. Mr. Green, and I agree he appears to be their only voice, appears largely to forget his manners.

    George Herbert wrote,

    Be calm in arguing,
    for fierceness makes
    error a fault
    and truth discourtesy.

    While the message we preach may, even ought to, give offence, if our manner of preaching it is of itself offensive we are doing our message a disservice. There is never any excuse for bad manners.

    Alan

    1. Alan,

      That is the trouble with Christian voice. Their aims appear to be almost identical with ours. the devil comes as an angel of light! Christian voice have done the Christian cause in the United Kingdom a great deal of harm.

  3. David

    You mention again about Mr Green having been a wife abuser. It’s my understanding that Mr Green although he has been in court regarding this issue he has always refuted those claims and also maintains his innocence. Perhaps as only him and his ex wife know the truth it would be better to refrain from referring to that issue in future. He is after all remarried and to all intents happily so. I would imagine if he is a wife beater his current wife would not be there long. Love in Him

    Sidney

    1. You will note the caveats I put in the letter. I do think it is apposite that his wife divorced him on the grounds of abuse. Did you read the article in the Mail which if it had been written about me, I would certainly have sued for defamation if it were not true. Neither you nor I know anything about the current state of his marriage.

      1. Hello again David.

        Perhaps Mr Green is a better man than you or me insomuch as although he was put through the courts because of his ex wifes allegations he felt that rather than seek vengeance himself he obeyed the Bible and will let God be the one who will avenges him. Or perhaps in Christian love he decided he would be above doing the same thing his wife did to him and not put her through the same thing he was put through? Who knows why he didn’t Sue for defamation? You or I certainly don’t. It’s true both of us don’t know the state of his current marriage so we cannot take that into consideration. But we also cannot dismiss altogether that the claims made against him by his ex wife could have been false. Whatever the truth is it’s really none of anyone else’s business. Not mine and not yours. The point of my having pointed out the possibility that the claims could be untrue was to suggest that because we don’t know the truth it might be a good idea not to introduce into the discussion something that isn’t relevant to what the discussion originally started out to cover and stick with the issues that were raised. IE was the tweet Mr Green made a sensible thing to have done. I personally don’t think it was but my thoughts are let’s stick with the one issue. Anyway once again love in Jesus

        Sidney.

      2. My interaction with Mr Green suggest that he is not a person who leaves God to deal with issues! I was not the one suggesting that I knew the state of his current marriage. As for it being none of our business, and afraid that it is. Someone who sets himself up as Christian voice, has to ensure that his private life is as holy as his public life!

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