I knew I shouldn’t have read the news.
Amazing, simply amazing. If it really mattered (I’m taking CAP’s word for it that it doesn’t) this would be tragic, but I guess it’s just ludicrous. Full points for imagination, I guess, as those wishing to suppress any public manifestation of Christian faith continue their campaign with one of their most ridiculous ideas yet.
Christians Against Poverty, a Christian debt advice charity, has been shown the door by AdviceUK, a charity umbrella group, because they offer to pray with the people they advise. Steve Johnson, the head of AdviceUK, says the offer to pray is an “emotional fee” that clients are expected to “pay” to receive services. CAP says it “has never made prayer a condition of its free service,” but that doesn’t matter.
It’s shocking, I think, that a Christian organisation should, well, act like Christians. I’m certain that no one who goes for help to an organisation with “Christian” in the name would ever expect such a thing. Some of the people who work there probably go to church, too. They might own Bibles — they might even READ them once in a while! Who would have guessed? 🙂
Advice UK says, “Our diverse membership places us in a unique position to influence Government departments and other bodies.” (I guess “diversity” includes “people of faith” only if they aren’t “people of prayer”. ;)) Since CAP says its counselling service will be unaffected, it is probably better off out of such a group. Christian organisations are better off depending on God and serving Him than messing around trying to influence Government departments.
I’ve never yet found the verse in the Bible that tells me that charity consists of lobbying the government to try to get it to spend money that it has taxed from my neighbours. Charity is supposed to be something I do, not something I try to get the government to do with money it has taken from someone else. There is a lovely scam going on in some UK “charities”. Government money goes to charities, and charities use money to hire lobbyists to get the Government to spend money on their issue (which, naturally, includes giving more money to the charity). But I’m getting off topic — someone really needs to moderate around here before this blog spins out of control. 🙂 But first, full disclosure — our church receives no government funds through Gift Aid or anything else.
I read something a couple of years ago, I don’t remember where. From a country where Christians are persecuted, a believer asked, “What do Christians in Western Europe do with II Timothy 3:12?” Indeed, “All that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution” IS rather troubling to the conscience of a soft, materialistic “Christianity” that never disturbs anyone by proclaiming the Gospel of Jesus Christ or by living lives of holiness and charity that convict the hearts of those around us. Lots of Christians don’t see much persecution, and as a result have to ask the uncomfortable question, “Is that verse wrong, or are we not really living godly in Christ Jesus?”
But because the world hates Jesus Christ (John 15:18-19), even the watered down Western European version of Christianity is too much to tolerate for some. So persecution increases as even groups with “Christian” in their name are expected to leave Christianity out of what they are doing. No surprises here, then, they’ll continue to come up with amazingly creative excuses to try to silence Christianity. This “emotional fee” thing is something I certainly never would have thought of, but where there is a will to try to silence Christians, there is a way, I guess.
The “emotional fee” thing is a real problem for me. If you live in Glenrothes, I’m afraid I’ve made you pay an “emotional fee” without either of us knowing it. You see, in the last eleven years, I’ve put at least one leaflet in the letter box of every door in town (and in most cases, far more than one), and I’ve prayed for you when I did it. I didn’t even ask you if you wanted me to pray for you! I’d never heard of Steve Johnson. I didn’t know I was making you pay this “emotional fee”. You didn’t know, either, though a few of you might have guessed that our church might be praying for the people in this town. Churches do that kind of thing, or at least some churches do, and our church is that kind of church.
We pray for people. We pray for people like Steve Johnson of Advice UK, for the youths who vandalise our church building, for politicians of all parties (including those who try to pass laws restricting religious freedom), for the police, for rich people and poor people, for sick people and well people, for young and old, for Christians and non-Christians. We don’t see “emotional fees” in the Bible, but we do see prayer. I don’t see any of that changing anytime soon. We follow Jesus Christ.
Wherever you are, Glenrothes or somewhere else, keep praying, keep serving, keep following the Lord, keep being a witness for Him. Persecution
may will come. Don’t get upset, don’t get angry, don’t get discouraged. It’s far better than having the kind of “Christianity” that isn’t even worth persecuting.