Jo Swinney’s article ‘God’s own country?’ (June) rightly addresses one of the key questions of our time.
Nationalism is a horrible ideology. Every day my newspaper prints a report ‘On This Day’, from 100 years ago, when another 1,000 men would have been tossed into the jaws of war and pulverised in the mud of Europe. Nationalism grants a tiny sample of often unworthy leaders the right to play with the lives of millions.
Jo was right to “feel queasy” singing about “our nation” and revival “in our land”. Nationalism is a religion – just look at all the paraphernalia of flags, pledges, anthems, “for God and country” etc. I have been to Christian meetings where flags have been proudly displayed and have felt more than queasy. Which kingdom am I to seek first?
True love waits
I have struggled for years with pornography. I find it difficult to be in a normal friendship with anyone of the opposite gender without having a ginormous battle in my mind to keep my eyes up. I have never known what it’s like not to have sexual thoughts fuelled by lust. I spend the entire church service half-worshipping, half-trying to avoid lustful thoughts.
This is where June’s issue found me, and thank goodness it didn’t leave me there. I felt profoundly challenged by the Real Life article ‘True love waits’, which has really helped restore what rational, biblical thinking on relationships should be about. It can be a hard topic to approach and write about, not to mention how dangerous it can be to offer an opinion on without many thought-police-turned Bible-bashers all jumping up! But I believe the article was spot on.
I will still struggle but the article truly gave me hope, an end goal and most importantly, courage to pursue what I know God has in store for me. It’s the first time I’ve dared to offer my love-life to God. Thanks so much!
As I read ‘True love waits’ (June), I couldn’t help but feel the whole picture wasn’t being given. Meagan Good has responded to Christians criticising her...by criticising them on Oprah, in Essence magazine and elsewhere.
I was also irked by DeVon’s comment: “She's going to wear what she wants to wear in the name of Jesus”. Oh, so I’m going to do what I want – as long as I use the Lord’s name to validate it?
The dress she wore that prompted the audience member’s outburst was not compatible with a person professing to be a Christian. We’re called to not conform, dress modestly, remember that God’s Holy Spirit lives within us – not wear revealing clothes that leave nothing to the imagination. Would she have worn the dress to church? No? Then it shouldn’t have been worn at all.
I’m often impressed by the way Muslim women dress: they don’t care about having others lust after their figure; they care about representing their religion as they think they should, and being distinctive. It’s a shame the same is not generally true about Christians – women and men.
Meagan, you’re stunning. And it’s great you are comfortable with being sexy, but keep it for your husband. Let’s walk as children of light. And cover up the goods.
Professor Lane helpfully shows the difference between Purgatory as a place for the saved to undergo punishment in order to be purged of sins, and a place where purification completes the work of sanctification.
Professor Lane does acknowledge that our sins are forgiven and we stand righteous in God’s sight. However, it is this last point that demonstrates the weakness and error in his argument, for he invites us to consider that maybe the process of sanctification will still need to be completed. Thus righteousness becomes only a legal status that must be completed before heaven.
But a true understanding of our righteousness absolutely dismisses any belief in Purgatory. The biblical teaching of being righteous is not only a legal status but it is also a status whereby we have Christ’s righteousness imputed to us. When God looks at the Christian, he sees the holiness, perfection and righteousness of Christ. Therefore, we can say with confidence, “I am sinless, as Jesus is sinless.”
Fane Conant, associate evangelist, Luis Palau Association
Don’t forget the Methodists!
I've been a subscriber for quite some time and was beginning to worry you’d completely ignored the Methodist Church! As a bit of a Wesley-geek I’d like to comment on your ‘Ten-minute guide to...John & Charles Wesley’ (June). Some of the comments were inaccurate – to say the least. To say that John Wesley had “ambiguous relationships with young women” that continued “even after his, eventual, unhappy marriage” is outrageous and completely untrue. He was a romantic, but he laid his relationships aside for the primary goal of preaching the gospel to the lost. During the powerful move of the revival, there were many people who were brought into such close intimate relationships with Jesus Christ that they were freed from all earthly vices – hence the doctrine of sinless perfection, or as we’d now say, “set free from all strongholds”.
As a charismatic Methodist, I praise God that in many parts of the British Methodist Church there are significant pockets of faithful believers still seeking to outwork and preach the true and full gospel. We may be forgotten and overlooked by some, but not by God!
Rev Mark J Lawrence
@GuvnaB Big ups to @BCWLindsay on ‘The gospel according to Grime’. Very interesting read. Pick up a copy of @Christianitymag if you can.
@TomPettinger ‘Should Protestants reclaim purgatory?’ Yes! (Mark 9:49) Really enjoyed this article in @Christianitymag by Prof. Tony Lane.
@Mindandsouluk Some good stuff on #mentalhealth by Emma Scrivener in @Christianitymag this month.
@gstaceyhfx Article on Mid Faith Crisis was a wonderful piece – and something our churches need to be mindful of. @Christianitymag
@ManderP Mid Faith Crisis – Been through stage 4 & come out to stage 5. Wish more in the Church understood. Thank you for this @Christianitymag!
I appreciate that I am now advancing in years, but I didn’t expect my faculties to abandon me quite as disastrously as they did last Sunday evening. It happened during the first of several two-hour readings of Numbers. I’d told the Parish Council I was embarking on this and invited anyone who was keen to expand their scriptural understanding (I had purchased 30 Authorised Versions in case they needed distributing). I was both surprised and delighted when I rounded the corner to see a large queue of young people waiting to gain entry to the church building.
I pushed past them, keen to get a moment’s practice in before they entered (“Zelophehad” can trip up even the most experienced) when I heard an almighty racket that made me wonder if the rapture wasn’t active and localised in our sanctuary. It thankfully stopped, but only when I pulled the snake of wires out of the wall and shouted at the gathered scoundrels that sacred text readings were no place for that noise.
It was the quizzical look on the face of the greasy lout nearest me that made me suddenly realise my reading was next week, and this was the youth service.
“Now ye are clean through the word which I have spoken unto you”, says the Lord Jesus in John’s Gospel (Authorised Version). All I can say is that if cleanliness is next to godliness, these young people are in some trouble. As I looked at them all, I was astonished they hadn’t been cordoned off by environmental health. There’s no place for filth in the Church and so I was amazed to see an article entitled ‘The gospel according to grime’ in your last issue. Disgusting.
I was showing this article to a young person today and telling them how horrific it was and the poor fool tried to convince me it was a type of music. Imagine!
Rev Roger D Votional
Email Premier Christianity at email@example.com putting ‘feedback’ in the subject line. We reserve the right to edit letters for style and length. The views expressed do not necessarily represent those of the publisher.