Keep Silent….or Speak Out?k

Returning to the Vicky Beeching saga there are a couple of responses that need to be carefully considered…and which raise up much wider issues:

Hate/Love Mail

I don’t mean either the hate or love mail….As an example of the former this one is a cracker (written in the name of love!).

You are doing the work of the devil. You are keeping people from Christ! Your judgement day will come and you will face the wrath of God almighty! How will you answer for a life spent driving people away from knowing the love of God? You preach hate, nothing more. You are a dangerous, toxic demon masquerading as a “Christian”. The devil is at work in you! Repent!

 The love mail comes from those who say, ‘I basically agree with what the bible says but we have to love people by not upsetting them or giving them an excuse to think of us as nasty’. I don’t accept that this ‘don’t tell, be nice’ policy is loving like Christ at all.  Nor do I buy into the guilt manipulation that occurs when people say ‘you can’t say that because it will hurt me, or because I am wounded’. Stephen Kneale sums this up rather well on his blog – depression as manipulation. 

Time to be Silent

imagesHowever there are those who say that whilst they agree with everything (almost) that is said, maybe there is a time for silence. I think they have a really good point. After all doesn’t the Bible tells us that there is a time to speak and a time to be silent? Does it not say – “Do not answer a fool according to his folly, or you yourself will be just like him.”? (Proverbs 26:4)? Indeed it does – but the next verse goes on to say, “Answer a fool according to his folly, or he will be wise in his own eyes.”  (It was wonderful to have Sinclair Ferguson preaching on these verses last Sunday evening). So we need wisdom when to speak and when to keep silent.

I received this interesting comment that I promised I would answer once I had thought about it.

David, this whole situation has become a circus that I believe is no longer helpful, nor glorifying to God, and I wonder whether it is time to leave it lie? In your response to Sharon above you have suggested that your approach is that of Jesus and Paul, but I would respectfully suggest that your reading of the NT is different to mine in this respect. Once Jesus confronted an individual in this way – when he said to Peter “Get behind me Satan…” (Matt 16:23) – all of his other dealings with individuals (teachers, enquirers, sinners, the sick, Peter himself after the betrayal, Pilate, Paul on the Damascus road, etc…) were supremely gracious – his anger was reserved for groups – the cities that rejected him, the temple sellers and money changers, the crowds, and the religious leaders – with groups he didn’t mince his words.

If you publish a book you should expect to have the content critiqued – if a theology book then the quality and direction of your theological arguments, and if a memoir then you might also expect that elements of your personal story will be picked over. I haven’t read the book, but I understand that it documents experiences that have been traumatic and left a deep scar – a scar that is clearly still fresh and not ready to be examined with critical eyes. With foresight the responses to the book could have been anticipated, particularly given the author’s difficult previous experiences with social media (I seem to remember that she has taken ‘breaks’ from social media in the past due to difficulties she has experienced).

Allusions to an inbox filled with foul and offensive messages, and posting excepts from letters, blogs, and messages (some of which are unhelpful, and even bizarre) that support this narrative feeds the mob, and does nothing to develop a useful dialogue that helps clarity of thought and healing of damaged lives and relationships. Your continued attempts to explain your position will likewise not further improve dialogue.

I suppose that there is much more that I could say on the subject, but seeing the increasingly unhelpful direction that this situation has moved in over the last few days encourages me to hold my peace, and counsel you to do likewise.

 I think there is a great deal of truth in this and I consider it to be a reasoned and thoughtful comment.   Moreover the very last thing I would want is to continue to do something that is not glorifying to God. (In passing if you want to shut a Christian up just tell them that what they are doing is not ‘loving like Jesus’ or not ‘glorifying to God’).   So I have been thinking and praying about this.

Whilst I agree with the idea that there is a time to be silent (you of course would not know this because by definition when I have practiced this advice I have been silent! There have been many things about which I have kept quiet – so much so that, believe it or not, I carry a bit of a guilt complex for not having spoken out), I don’t think that this is one of them. Let me explain why.

Time to Speak

Firstly I don’t buy into the narrative at all that Jesus never critiqued individuals, only groups. (I should also point out that I was not primarily critiquing Vicky – but rather the theology and group she is a spokesperson for – the only reason she appears so much is because she has chosen to use her own story to promote that theology).   Jesus called Herod a fox, Peter the devil and he was hardly complementary about the ‘prophetess’ Jezebel in the church in Thyatira (Rev 2:20) whose teaching led Christ’s people into sexual immorality.

That latter example is very apposite. Vicky’s book is not just a personal memoir, nor is she someone who is trying to hide away and recover from all the wounds she has received. If it were we could deal with it in a different way – if at all. Furthermore I don’t think she is primarily interested in dialogue, clarity of thought and healing of wounds. She is a woman on a mission. She has got a new identity and has bought into the whole Queer theory, progressive agenda. She knows that it is right. She knows that one day the whole church will unanimously accept it. To her it is as clear as slavery.   That’s why she got so upset at the pushback from EA and myself. No fundamentalist likes being challenged at the point of their fundamentals! Perhaps it has begun to dawn that no matter the emotional blackmail or the secular pressure, we are not going to back down from what the bible says.

If you think this is a bit harsh consider this – in these past few days Vicky has been tweeting a lot in support of transgender theory.   The point is that Vicky is, in the name of Christ, pushing an ideology and agenda that attacks the teaching and church of Christ – not just bringing us a personal memoir about struggles with homosexuality.

Protecting the Flock

As an undershepherd of the Great Shepherd, it is my job to counter such error and to protect the flock of God.

My interest is not in attacking Vicky – nor even in seeking to convert her, or give her therapy. My interest is not in winning an argument. I believe that what she is teaching is the poison of classic Protestant liberalism, with a veneer of evangelical language.   It is more bound to the spirit of the age than it is to the Spirit of Christ. I feel sorry for Vicky and would love to help her – if I could. But given that she won’t dialogue and given her continual public appearances attacking the Gospel, the Church and the Lord I love, I cannot keep silent.

If people want to keep personalising this – so be it. There is nothing I can do about that. I will continue to speak out.

That doesn’t mean I will do it every day – but this is an issue which is being used to undermine the Bible, attack the Church and bring disgrace on the name of Christ. As Luther is alleged to have said: –

“If I profess with the loudest voice and clearest exposition every portion of the Word of God except precisely that little point which the world and the devil are at that moment attacking, I am not confessing Christ, however boldly I may be professing Him.”

Look Whats Coming

One other reason for speaking out. I can see as clear as day what is coming down the tracks. And I don’t want to have on my conscience the Lord’s people in a few years time saying “we didn’t see that one coming!”. Some of us did. And we have to speak out before it’s too late. Whether people will listen or not – that’s not our concern. We have to speak the Word of the Lord.

Love, Love, Love

Finally – I say it again…and I will keep repeating it. Disagreeing with an ideology or particular practices does not give a Christian the right to forget the biblical teaching that every human being is made in the image of God, every human being is to be shown love and respect (even, or especially, our enemies) and every human being is to be given the good news of Jesus (not just the bad news of their own sin).   We should disagree because we love the truth, not because we want personal victory or revenge –

“Meanwhile let us live at peace with all men, as much as in us lies, and let us endeavor to practice uprightness in our whole deportment, that we may be able to confidently appeal to God, that when we suffer at the hands of men, we suffer wrongly” (Calvin).

May God forgive me when I have failed to do that (as I have far too many times!)?

Let us treat all people not on the basis of their sexuality, race, gender, class, etc. But rather on the basis that they are made in the image of God – and need that restored. Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners – of which I am the chief!

Janet Parshall and Vicky Beeching

An Open Letter to the Evangelical Church about Vicky Beeching and ‘Gay Christianity’

Somehow I find this song apposite to the situation:  ‘silence like a cancer grows….the people bowed and prayed to the neon god they made….the words of the prophets are written on the subway walls and temement halls”!

39 thoughts on “Keep Silent….or Speak Out?k

  1. David

    Your reasoning is spot on. Thank goodness you are there.

    Please continue to speak out for the true gospel of Jesus Christ in love.

    Blessings on you

    William

    PS I also really enjoyed the song which was most apposite.

    Liked by 4 people

  2. Personally I’m getting rather tired of the constant repetition of this cycle: if you dare to disagree publicly with someone’s lifestyle choice in any way, next you get told that you hate people rather than love them, next you get told you’re not to judge anyone and finally you get told that God doesn’t judge anyone, God loves everyone and therefore you’re going against God.

    There’s also a growing lack of any respect for basic Christian symbolism eg crosses or clergymen. There was a popular documentary on this week that was so disrespectful I was almost physically sick (and I dared to mention it online and was viciously attacked).

    PS love ‘under-shepherd of the great shepherd’.

    Liked by 4 people

  3. Thanks David.

    I agree with you and I for one am glad you are speaking out. If no church leader speaks out then who other than the liberal voices do the people have teaching them?

    I can’t understand the silence of the majority of the evangelical church leadership especially on social media which has such huge influence over people’s thoughts and hearts. The loudest voice is the liberal voice, there’s no doubt about that.

    I believe the evangelical church leadership need to be on social media preaching Christ but there seems abject silence from the majority.

    Vicky Beeching’s book was in part a memoir but mostly was written with the deliberate intent to change the theology of the church. She needs the backbone to cope with the fallout of this and the victim mentality she uses on social media is dangerous and manipulative and is certainly not the way of Christ.

    Her use of social media does not seem wise to me. She is too open about her emotional state and this isn’t good for anyone. As you say this openness fuels the mob mentality against the evangelical church who don’t share her view that being LGBTQ is part of God’s original design for humanity.

    I believe in celibacy as honouring to God for LGBTQ people as well as those unmarried. I don’t believe having sex is central to life’s happiness. That’s ok I believe that and I find it very hard to understand how that view makes one an LGBTQ hater. Do I hate single people? Of course I don’t. I just believe they should be celibate. It’s hard to get my head around the utter hatred and criticism that this Biblical view is guaranteed to bring one.

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  4. You say ‘….in these past few days Vicky has been tweeting a lot in support of transgender theory.’

    I have just looked through her tweets of the last ten days and I cannot see a single one that qualifies.

    Given that you use this as evidence that Vicky is ‘not just bringing us a personal memoir …. (but) pushing an ideology and agenda that attacks the teaching and church of Christ’ perhaps you could explain what you are referring to?

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    1. Firstly, as I am sure you are aware, ‘liking’ a tweet is not the same thing as ‘tweeting.’

      Secondly, liking a tweet from someone who may be a transgender activist hardly amounts to ‘support(ing) transgender theory’, whatever that means. I notice you’ve liked a tweet from Jordan Peterson. Can I assume from that that you are a Jungian?

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      1. No – but if I like the content of a tweet you can assume that I agree with it. Likewise Vicky liking and retweeting tweets of trans activists speaks volumes.

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  5. David, I think these are good reflections. I have had to think hard about my engagement with Vicky and others. Sometimes I think when people’s hearts are hard, better to shake the dust under your feet.

    One thought which occurs to me, is whether it is worthwhile to keep on engaging with the likes of Vicky when everything has already been said. It’s not as if the arguments she makes haven’t been made before. There are many, many articles which people could find if they want to. I think many people buy into her story because they don’t *want* the truth (which is, after all, what Romans 1 would tell us). At that point, you wonder whether responding to her story is what’s needed.

    People need to know the Christian faith – the Christian understanding of marriage only makes sense when you consider the rest of it. People are only being led astray by the likes of Vicky because they don’t know the rest of the faith.

    What I’ve done is start up a YouTube channel
    ( https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC7FHWCupn6tq39btG6z4Oqg ) to try and teach the Christian faith and only engaging in these kind of issues as necessary. The church desperately needs more Biblical teaching, and I think engagement with the likes of Vicky only needs to happen within that context.

    I’m aware of the temptation within my own heart to be seen as right and to win an argument, and I wonder whether my time might be better spent. This is where we need the wisdom of Solomon, I think!

    Liked by 5 people

    1. Many years ago, there was an issue being published in a university student magazine that was very negative. William Still who as a minister in Aberdeen spoke out. When challenged, he said, ” the Alternative is to keep your mouth shut”. I think this is another such occasion. We either say something to proclaim truth to as many as we can, or we keep our mouths shut and David has spoken out. It seems to me that the Vicky beechings are false and a small group with a very loud voice. People will listen to it and be mis led, unless Gods people also speak out.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Thank you David.

    I spoke up against that ‘royal wedding sermon’ in my own congregation to receive a literal chorus of criticism myself. But my job is to protect them, so I couldn’t be silent. It turned out they all believed things had been said that had not (!) and things had not been said that were. It is people like yourself that give back up to local pastors like myself when we try to teach the truth, but even more so, when we seek to oppose error. (The Evangelical Times article on the sermon put the opposition to bed on that one, for instance).

    Liked by 4 people

  7. I have stopped over emphasizing the love of God to unbelievers. For so long we have labored on the message “God is love, God loves you. The church has ceased to tell people that we have an Awesome, Holy and Righteous God. In church we now worship a “God all matey”. We seemed to have made John 3:16 the convenient gospel message. Isn’t our calling to expose sin and to reveal Jesus Christ as Saviour? “ To show Gods love to a lost generation is to lead them to the TRUTH
    When we study God’s Word we find very few references to the love of God for sinners and when it is mentioned it’s either to His chosen people in the OT or to the disciples or believers of the NT churches. Only the redeemed can understand truly the love of God. The Bible teaches us that God loves those who are faithful and obedient to His ordinances and laws. Curry recently preached a false gospel which was very well received by the masses. He preached salvation through love and not a Salvation from sin. I stood up against this and was called a Pharisee etc. by other Christians.
    To quote Oswald Chambers
    “Beware of the pleasant view of the fatherhood of God; God is so kind and loving that of course he will forgive us. That thought based solely on emotion, cannot be found anywhere in the New Testament. The only basis on which God can forgive and accept us is the tremendous tragedy of the Cross of Christ. To base it on any other ground is unconscious blasphemy.”
    Jesus Christ came to “bring…….a sword” through every kind of peace that is not based on a personal relationship with Himself. What the word needs is not a ” little bit of love”, but major surgery!

    Liked by 3 people

      1. If you don’t tell people what the word ‘perish’ actually means in this context then the concept of ‘not perishing’ is pretty meaningless.

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  8. David,

    You have really “disturbed” me today. I played your link to Disturbed’s “Sound of Silence” which I have never heard before (not really being into hard rock), and I found myself very moved and challenged by it.

    As a child of the sixties I grew up with the original Simon & Garfunkel version, and many of their other songs, as the musical background to my life. I studied for my A-levels while listening to Scarborough Fair, and to Bridge Over Troubled Waters while preparing for my medical finals.

    Their early music was lyrical and gentle, and I think this prevented me from really listening to the words of Sound of Silence. Yet they are quite explosive and indeed, in the non-religious sense, prophetic. This comes out powerfully in the Disturbed version, and quite unsettled me.

    “People talking without speaking, people hearing without listening ……. No one dared disturb the sound of silence”.

    A pithy summary of our society today where the means of communication abound as never before, yet with so little being said – at least of any value; and people frightened and intimidated to say anything which might disturb the meaninglessness which passes for thought these days.

    I wonder where Paul Simon got those words? Many of their early songs are full of fairly typical young adult angst and yearnings, but S of S, in retrospect, is so dark in comparison.
    What did my generation of young Christians miss in the 60’s and 70’s while our society was laying the seeds for much of the post-modern madness we see today?

    P.S. I totally agree with your “time for silence & time to speak” comments. I know nothing of Vicky Beeching other than what I have read, but if she is now tweeting in support of trans ideology then she is completely off the page as far as I am concerned. Queer theory and trans ideology are highly destructive for a whole variety of reasons and anyone who uncritically supports them has completely failed to consider the medical and psychological implications, let alone the theological ones.

    Liked by 2 people

  9. Maybe the problem is that the church didn’t speak out soon enough rather than that it won’t be quiet. Besides, how can we stay quiet on issues like this, can they not see where it is going?

    Liked by 1 person

  10. I believe the major issue for us today which has helped bring this about is the fact we do not understand who God is. God is Holy, God is Sovereign, God is not some ‘oh that’s all right, as long as you’re happy’ daddy. No, He reigns Supreme unseen by human eyes but seen by spiritual eyes. His ways are not our ways nor His thoughts our thoughts and that is a problem. We are reluctant to trust and obey His Word as it is written. Always someone somewhere saying, ‘ah, that’s just your interpretation, another understands it differently, who’s to say who’s right’ and that includes ministers/pastors, ‘oh, everyone has some truth, just eat the flesh and spit out the bones’. I hate Christian cliches. Except, as my pastor asked on Sunday how much poison is in rat poison? I did not know the answer, apparently 20%.

    When I left my first church after more than 5 years and looking for Biblical literacy in teaching I came across a website apprising.org written by the late Ken Silva who the Lord took home some 4 years ago and who forsaw all that was out to destroy the church in our time. The site is still there archived for reference and he wrote on many subjects but the one that he was warning loudest about was the tsusami that was about to hit, the aggressive homosexual movement wanting to destroy the church from within and the acceptance by the young who claim to be christian by the easy acceptance of the homosexual lifestyle of those in the entertainment industry, like Katy Perry, Miley Cyrus and others. Devastating.

    We are called to be salt by living counter-culture lives, even my husband has said that my beliefs will always be opposed, even by him most days! This is not about today but eternity.

    Liked by 4 people

      1. Dominic, I know nothing about rat or poisons full stop. This I know you cannot drink aloe vera juice if taking warfarin or any blood thinner…….it’s about education and being informed, knowing your stuff! Why are many Christians so gullible when we are called to be canny……oh that the Lord would raise up a great younger generation with an insatiable appetite for His Word and not distorted at that.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Nor cranberries in any form, nor Kale.

        Yes, read the Word, study the Word, lap up the power of God unto salvation.

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  11. I agree with your reasoning as usual and appreciate your bravery at what must be often a personal cost to yourself and your family.

    The Proverbs 26:4 sermon you refer to – will that be on St Pete’s website soon please?

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  12. Nonsense for anyone to suggest the right thing for Christians in such cases could ever be NOT to speak. If peace did result, it would be the “peace” of a world the Godless agenda had conquered without a fight.

    Besides, “…if thou dost not speak to warn the wicked from his way, that wicked man shall die in his iniquity; but his blood will I require at thine hand.”

    Liked by 2 people

  13. Thought Paul bringing the Gospel to Sergius Paulus in Acts 13 hindered by the magician Elymas…
    “So, being sent out by the Holy Spirit, they went down to Seleucia, and from there they sailed to Cyprus. 5 When they arrived at Salamis, they proclaimed the word of God in the synagogues of the Jews. And they had John to assist them. 6 When they had gone through the whole island as far as Paphos, they came upon a certain magician, a Jewish false prophet named Bar-Jesus. 7 He was with the proconsul, Sergius Paulus, a man of intelligence, who summoned Barnabas and Saul and sought to hear the word of God. 8 But Elymas the magician (for that is the meaning of his name) opposed them, seeking to turn the proconsul away from the faith. 9 But Saul, who was also called Paul, filled with the Holy Spirit, looked intently at him 10 and said, “You son of the devil, you enemy of all righteousness, full of all deceit and villainy, will you not stop making crooked the straight paths of the Lord? 11 And now, behold, the hand of the Lord is upon you, and you will be blind and unable to see the sun for a time.” Immediately mist and darkness fell upon him, and he went about seeking people to lead him by the hand. 12 Then the proconsul believed, when he saw what had occurred, for he was astonished at the teaching of the Lord.”

    Liked by 1 person

  14. It was interesting to follow on twitter at first, but now it is just boring. It’s like your side and her side are screaming and bullying each other in a place that doesn’t exist and seems far removed from real life.

    The reality is you push back and all her followers harden their position and then she pushes back and all your followers harder their positions, and the the casualty is compassion and human decency, making both sides seem absolutely absurd to most people who live their real lives in the middle ground. The problem for your side though is it’s much easier for the usually disinterested masses to believe that the church has hurt someone rather than the church is being rational and compassionate to someone who is different.

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      1. David follows Christ, and God’s Word (which challenges our behaviour, which is what people who accuse the ‘church’ just won’t accept). Those who agree with David on this issue don’t follow David – I take a far harder line on the serious errors of the Church of Rome for instance – We follow Christ, and God’s Word.

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  15. Truth in love is always acceptable even when it is rejected, Ephesians 4:16

    To accept by silence sin is to abandon truth when it is the Truth that needs to spoken.

    Liked by 3 people

  16. Thank you David for your clear thinking on this ‘moral’ departure from truth, and what may well be the reason God’s Word tells us that in the last days many will depart from The Faith. Please, keep sounding the alarm, perhaps some will be awakened from the mesmerizing effect of the adversary’s slow drip of deceit. The dark agenda of the ‘Progressives’ certainly needs to be exposed and this can only be possible as the Light of Truth is focused upon it.

    Liked by 2 people

  17. It is such an indicator of this age that we are in, that discussion on this subject is discouraged, at the mildest point and vigorously monitored to see where it sits in relation to the modern taboos, at the more severe point. Surely anyone who launches themselves into the cut-throat world of media must expect to suffer scrapes, bruises or indeed to fall upon the sword at some point. It comes with the territory, I should think.

    However, surely if we are in Christ we ought to be seeing things differently from the world and not playing their game – we are a new creation, the old has gone, the new is come – even although we are still in the same old physical bodies with our natural memories and sensibilities intact. I have to say that if so called “torchbearers” are struggling to put this into practice, they would do well to keep their book ideas as MS until they have truly realised the state of their condition as a witness for Jesus – and fly low until they are honouring the very thing they would claim to represent.

    Far David Robertson being advised to silence on this issue, which is a subject in which more than the author of the book in question can surely be fished out, there will always be a place for serious and thoughtful consideration of any matter relating to Christian doctrine and it is, as I say, a signal mark of this superficial age that people would sooner ignore the matter and let it go rather than face up to trouble and deal with it by testing it against what the scriptures tell us; that it is the church itself which is permitting this gross heresy, which will ultimately receive it’s reward from God and although it will be most probable the author will continue in the role and influence many sections of those who welcome that message, God is not done with any of us yet and I cannot see how any attempt to conform scripture to the passing time of this world will ever succeed. It’s sheer idiocy. If there was even the slightest chance of that, we should not have the bible we do, in our hands this coming Sunday God willing and to me that is the greatest comfort and starkest warning to all of us. The Chief end of man is to GLORIFY GOD and ENJOY HIM FOREVER. We all need to repent of our sinful hearts “And GOD saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually” – Genesis 6:5. This is not written out of spite or to certain people only, if we believe in Christ we must believe in the whole word of God, otherwise we have nothing but a philosophy and I think we are muddying the waters too much these days, so there is a great need to continue opening this matter up to scrutiny regardless of the author’s delicate position – if you hunt with the crows, you get shot with the crows.

    Doth a fountain send forth at the same place sweet water and bitter? (James 3:11).

    Liked by 1 person

  18. Thank you David for being faithful and gracious in promoting the truth of Scriptures claim on humanity – either raised to new life in Christ or lost to eternity.
    I have noticed in recent days in Australia, as a young Canadian woman travels around promoting a particular political cause, that so many who oppose her are unwilling, or, as I suspect, unable to enter into carefully considered debate. The same appears to be the case with the situation you are dealing with.
    To disagree is to be automatically wrong!

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  19. Notice the Ad Hominem at play in this saga.

    You challenged a position/argument being made, you are accused by them of attacking the person. (Ad Hominem)

    But in response to your argument, they attack you (Ad Hominem) doing just as they falsely accuse you, instead of your argument.

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