Monday, September 24, 2007

The Gospel according to Gordon

As the nation waits, and the Conservative Party holds its breath for fear of an imminent apocalyptic call to a general election, Prime Minister Brown is articulating his gospel for our salvation: a vision for a second decade of New Labour.

It consists of the usual higher spending commitments on health on education, the tiresome mantra of removing barriers to work and university, and the oft-repeated assurance of the increase of opportunities for all, particularly the poor, with an emphasis on helping children and families and promises to lift them out of poverty.

All good Christian concerns, doubtless stemming from his background. He will also probably talk of Darfur and an ‘ethical foreign policy’ as well, if only to remove the righteous glow from David Cameron’s Conservatives.

But there will also be something new – talk of a ‘new politics’ for New Labour, a theme of national unity which embraces the best of the Liberal Democrats and (the best?) of the Conservative Party. His decision to reach out his hand to involve Paddy Ashdown, and the agreement of John Bercow and Patrick Mercer to ‘advise’ the Labour Government on issues of national importance, permits him to present himself as father of the nation, unconcerned with the old politics of unprincipled, tribal opportunism. In an age obsessed with image, the visit of Lady Thatcher last week was symbolically very important for Mr Brown. She may not have blessed his vision, but appearance is all. The important thing is that she has not been similarly photographed with David Cameron, who is perceived to be moving so far from Conservative ‘core’ beliefs that New Labour has become more ‘right’ than the Party of the Right. It is no wonder that prominent Conservative donors are defecting to where they believe the power will remain for another decade.

Mr Brown is confident and assured, and emits an aura of trustworthiness, experience, gravity and credibility. Mr Cameron is not, and does not. He is, apparently, the least popular of all the leaders of their parties, and that is an honour usually preserved for the mid-term blues of being in office. Mr Brown has the capacity not simply to defeat the Conservative Party, but to destroy them, or at least inflict such a disorientating wound that another decade of their wandering in the wilderness will be assured.

And he has a lead in the opinion polls against which the gates of hell cannot prevail, and this looks as though it will hand him the keys to No10 for a further term.

No, no, no. This must not be. The effective, fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much…



Blogger GS said...

"The effective, fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much…"

Always, Cranmer, always.

24 September 2007 at 09:22  
Anonymous Curly said...

Pray too for a swift "upping of the game" from young Mr. Cameron.

24 September 2007 at 11:14  
Blogger Didactophobe said...

'Pray too for a swift "upping of the game" from young Mr. Cameron.'

- Let us all do that.

24 September 2007 at 12:37  
Blogger GS said...

Remember too the derision heaped on Margaret Thatcher during much of her period as Leader of the Opposition. Cameron and his team need to learn and grow, and the party ought support them while they do just that.

24 September 2007 at 13:38  
Anonymous Terry said...

Pray there will be an opposition who will uphold traditional values and which has a chance of getting elected.

Only problem: who will it be? Not the Conservatives on current showing...

24 September 2007 at 13:42  
Blogger Wrinkled Weasel said...

I am afraid so, and those of us who would like the opportunity to vote on the EU treaty will have to whistle dixie.

As for the Sultan of Smarm, the Potentate of Pusilanimity, the cheerleader for the under 30's and embryos with an opinion, etc. etc., he has imploded. He has imploded because the basis of implosions is a vacuum and vacuity is brand Cameron.

At a time when we need a tenacious and principled opposition, we have been landed with Cameroonies - a bunch of woofty, "pragmatic" nice young men who would be better of selling Bentleys in Berkeley Square.

I don't know which is worse, someone who believes in nothing or the present incumbent whose beliefs are more rigid than a southern baptist serial killer.

24 September 2007 at 13:54  
Blogger A S Grey said...

Every new political leader looks and sounds wonderful and promises heaven on earth.

Let's hope people see through it and vote according to their preferred political philosophies instead.

24 September 2007 at 18:50  
Anonymous Alexandrian said...

"Every new political leader looks and sounds wonderful . . ."

I can think of some who don't.

"Pray there will be an opposition who will uphold traditional values . . . "

An opposition? Why not a government? Personally, I think the thing we need to pray for is that the British electorate would actually want traditional values to be upheld. At the moment, it seems that there are not many votes in traditional values.

24 September 2007 at 21:34  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Your Grace,
I need not remind you that there are great spiritual forces at work here in which Brown is merely a bit part player. If we focus on the politics, we may miss the larger setting in which our drama plays out. Britain is on a self destructive path of its own choosing and Brown is merely the instrument, chosen by God that keeps us on that path. Although he may not realise it, he is a mere pawn in the hands of the Lord. As a nation we have rejected God and can expect to reap the curses of disobedience, as set out in Deuteronomy 28. We can see a parallel in the events which overtook Israel, culminating in the expulsion of the Israelites from their land and their subsequent bondage under the Babylonians. Blair accelerated the downward trajectory and Brown, gripped by socialist fervour and an arrogant belief in his own rectitude will give a spur to our decline. I believe that God has a way back for us, but before examining that thesis we should look back along the path to see where it all started to go wrong.

At the end of the 19th Century Britain was the most powerful and wealthiest nation in the
World with an Empire on which the Sun never set. That power and wealth had its roots in the Reformation, in which you, Your Grace, played no small part. The nation embraced salvation by faith in the risen Lord and church attendance increased. To the far flung outposts of Empire, missionaries went to proclaim the good news of the gospel. As we blessed God with our obedience, He blessed us in return. I am not so naïve as to imagine that every citizen was saved, nor that all were obedient. However, those who knew Jesus as Saviour were salty enough to have a beneficial affect on the rest. Even unbelievers accepted the Judaeo-Christian principles of right and wrong based on scriptural truth. As the churches filled up, towards the end of the 19th century, the prisons emptied. Then came the change.

For reasons that I do not understand, the church leadership rejected the Bible as the word of God. They believed some parts of it and disbelieved others. Progressively the whole of the scripture was undermined. When you have a Bishop in the Church of England, David Jenkins of Durham, saying that the resurrection was a conjuring trick with bones, a statement which drew no rebuke from Canterbury, then you know you have a problem. Jenkins was not alone. The conflict between those of us who believe that the Bible is the word of God and the usurpers who seem to believe anything and nothing has been raging for a century. The issue of homosexuality is merely the last straw.

When the Bishops lost their vision of the risen Lord, the people began to perish. The pews emptied and the decline of the nation began. With each generation the decline has accelerated, receiving a massive boost in the Sixties under Harold Wilson. If Sodom and Gomorrah were towns in Britain, they would not now appear out of place. To address the state of the nation we have an Archbishop who thinks government should do more to rehabilitate prison inmates. This is a man who clearly does not believe that Jesus has the power to change lives. Rowan Williams has more confidence in Mammon than the Almighty God.

Brown has just stood on the platform of the Labour Party conference expressing his confidence in Mammon as the saviour of the nation. Schools, hospitals, the eradication of poverty, opportunity for all are the holy grails of socialism whose problems can be addressed by mankind. Brown has extolled the glory of man. The mantra plays well with a godless nation. I suspect it will also play well at Canterbury. I regret that replacing Brown with Cameron will not change the direction on which the nation has embarked, so praying for a change of government at this moment seems futile. Cameron would do nothing to prevent our becoming a vassal state in an EU dictatorship, nor does he have any meaningful answers to the moral turpitude which is at the heart of the nations sickness.

It appears to me that God has put a ring through the nose of the nation and we are being led into servitude, which is no less than we deserve. David Milliband, the Foreign Secretary, recently said that the British people were not interested in a lack of democracy within the EU. They were more concerned with outcomes. What a remarkable statement from the Foreign Secretary of a country like Britain, with its long tradition of freedom within a democracy. Without democracy, there can be no freedom. It need not be so, but experience tells us that freedom and democracy go hand in hand. What Milliband said could equally have been said by that other well known European socialist, namely Adolf Hitler. Milliband is the young fresh face of socialism in the Brown government. His creed derives from his reading of the gospel according to Karl Marx. It is little wonder that he has little regard for the principles of democracy, still less Christianity. When Satan employs people to do his bidding, he does not adorn them with horns. He gives them young fresh faces to which the general public will respond.

It was democracy that set us free to spread the Christian gospel throughout the land. The price of that democracy was paid in the blood of William Tyndale, Hugh Latimer, Nicholas Ridley, your good self and countless others who died that we might be free to worship as we chose. The gospel of Jesus set us free. Democracy grew out of the Reformation and was subsequently defended in the face of several European attempts, over the centuries, to put us once more into bondage. After nearly 450 years of trying, it appears that the Europeans are getting their wish.

But be of good cheer; if God is with us, who can be against us. By ‘us’ I mean we Christians who remain in this land so blessed by God over the centuries. God has not forgotten the prayers of the Saints who went before. Let me remind you, Your Grace, of the words of Hugh Latimer to his friend Nicholas Ridley as they stood together at the stake,

"Be of good comfort, Master Ridley, and play the man; we shall this day light such a candle. By God’s grace, in England, as I trust shall never be put out."

That prayer of Latimer is as efficacious today as on the day it was spoken. God will honour that prayer unto the end of time. The candle of the Lord will forever burn in England.

If we are to pray, and indeed we must, our prayers should be directed towards Canterbury. We should pray that godly men, full of faith, full of grace and full of courage be appointed to the church leadership. Men like Latimer, Ridley and Your Grace, who were so close to the Lord that the prospect of death was not sufficient to distract them from the prize. When Christ is pre-eminent in the hearts of the people, the Lord will direct the politicians in the way he wants them to go. Power will be taken from the state and given to the people.

I would refer you to the Book of Haggai to illustrate the problem we face and the solution.
This is what the LORD Almighty says: "These people say, 'The time has not yet come for the LORD's house to be built.' "
Then the word of the LORD came through the prophet Haggai: "Is it a time for you yourselves to be living in your paneled houses, while this house remains a ruin?"
Now this is what the LORD Almighty says: "Give careful thought to your ways. You have planted much, but have harvested little. You eat, but never have enough. You drink, but never have your fill. You put on clothes, but are not warm. You earn wages, only to put them in a purse with holes in it."
This is what the LORD Almighty says: "Give careful thought to your ways. Go up into the mountains and bring down timber and build the house, so that I may take pleasure in it and be honored," says the LORD. "You expected much, but see, it turned out to be little. What you brought home, I blew away. Why?" declares the LORD Almighty. "Because of my house, which remains a ruin, while each of you is busy with his own house. Therefore, because of you the heavens have withheld their dew and the earth its crops. I called for a drought on the fields and the mountains, on the grain, the new wine, the oil and whatever the ground produces, on men and cattle, and on the labor of your hands."
Then Zerubbabel son of Shealtiel, Joshua son of Jehozadak, the high priest, and the whole remnant of the people obeyed the voice of the LORD their God and the message of the prophet Haggai, because the LORD their God had sent him. And the people feared the LORD.
Then Haggai, the LORD's messenger, gave this message of the LORD to the people: "I am with you," declares the LORD. So the LORD stirred up the spirit of Zerubbabel son of Shealtiel, governor of Judah, and the spirit of Joshua son of Jehozadak, the high priest, and the spirit of the whole remnant of the people. They came and began to work on the house of the LORD Almighty, their God,

Note that the people were busy building for themselves first, having no regard for what God wanted of them. God reminds them, in verses 5 to 11, that everything they attempt comes to nought. He does not tell them to change their Prime Minister; rather he tells them to first build Gods house and everything else follows. Note also that God himself stirs up the people. We do not need to cajole. We need only pray. As Jesus said,”Seek ye first the Kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things shall be added unto you.” Mammon does not have the answer; God does.
Now let us Christians embrace the admonition in 2 Chron 7 v. 14,
“if my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then will I hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and will heal their land.”

25 September 2007 at 12:55  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The above anonymous was David Lonsdale

25 September 2007 at 12:57  
Blogger Savage44 said...

Whoever it was, they articulated what I've been feeling for some years about the general moral and spiritual decline in the UK (whether led by the socialist ideal or others), and I both salute and thank them.

29 September 2007 at 20:42  

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