Who are the sinners? — 10 Comments

  1. Hi Ian,

    What I have found as I get older is I am increasingly more able to have friends and acquaintances from many backgrounds, places and races and who completely disagree with what I believe. No I have phrased that wrong. I have found myself admiring and liking people whose views and opinions frustrate the hell out of me! I have found that whenever I make an assumption about what kind of person believes this or that I am constantly challenged. I think some of what you have said about evangelicals is something I can relate to on some level but I am uncomfortable with, what I perceive as, the one sided view of evangelicals in this piece. I am not sure that you can assume that if someone is not as excited about different types of sexuality as someone else that they are into prosperity teaching, condone the abuse of wealth or don’t care about the poor. I think the piece is well written and you are very gifted in prose. I am glad I read it. I just wonder have I picked up something you didn’t intend to convey?

  2. Thank you for your words.

    I became a Christian on 11th August 1980 – I was 19. Since that time I have tried to encourage people to have a living faith in Jesus; a faith in Jesus who stands in the synagogue and reads from Isaiah 61, who preaches the Sermon on the Mount, whose view of the Day of Judgement is grounded deeply in ethics. I lived in Northern Ireland from 1983 to 1998 and saw the word ‘evangelical’ being appropriated as a label for people whose views were sectarian and reactionary.

    I have searched in vain on the websites of the various groups for any sign that they believe the Gospel demands justice and peace.

  3. Thanks Ian! I love Isaiah 61, it has come up for me over and over again. I hope you didn’t think I was questioning your own faith with my comments? Holistic faith that has expression in social justice in particular is to my mind a very difficult thing to argue with and for me anyway is the fruit of a life impacted by God. I had already in my own mind disregarded the fundamentalists who breath hate with their sermons. I guess I was thinking of those closer to the middle ground. And you’re right about the websites….awful!

  4. Where is the healing and loving voice in this blog? I’m a Northern Evangelical with a passion for the poor and I frequently challenge the accumulation of wealth. The evangelicals i meet with condemn prosperity gospel philosophy. I don’t breathe hate with my sermons. This hurts. It hurts me personally because I didn’t believe that I was so despised and it hurts me because it ill describes our colleagues.

  5. Brian,

    I was careful to say, ‘The silence from most evangelical leaders is deafening’.

    We have been subjected to gross immorality in this country as hundreds of millions have been taken from the poor and the vulnerable to pay the debts incurred by the rich and the powerful – but CIEF and Reform did not manage a word of comment. They pass judgement on the private relationship of a Co Carlow clergyman but say nothing about the big issues.

  6. Fair point from Brian – those who disagree on one issue may well be as one on another. I’m thinking, for instance, of the papacy and contraception, but on the hand its views on developing country debt.
    But – mainly – I agree. Tolerance on love. Scrutiny on accumulation of vast wealth.

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