Thursday, 23 August 2012

We have the right to be stupid

One of those small but significant changes that seems to have taken place in this country during my lifetime is the tendency of the state to disguise dictatorial powers as efforts to do me good.

Reading online this morning, I saw that the Home Office has seen fit to ban a Canadian preacher from entering the UK. Asked to comment, a spokesperson evidently said, ""The government makes no apologies for refusing people access to the UK if we believe they are not conducive to the public good."

All glory to the government, then, and its noble defence of the people of this country.

And what, exactly, have we been saved from? The answer is a tattooed former drug addict who claims God heals via him giving them a punch or a kick.

Now I am quite happy to say this is bonkers (although I do remember reading about a bloke who was healed after somebody rubbed spit on his eyes - but then the government didn't like that healer either, because he was a threat to the establishment too).

When it came to these shores, I similarly said the Toronto Blessing was bonkers, and I continue to maintain that to this day. (Indeed, I would go further and say it was spiritually damaging in a way far beyond anything likely to be achieved by Mr Bentley.)

But I also think the government is talking rubbish when it gives as a further justification for this ban, "Coming here is a privilege that we refuse to extend to those who might seek to undermine our society."

Excuse me, but did you just say "seek to undermine our society"? Is this seriously what the government is saying about Todd Bentley, and is this seriously what we are willing to accept as a justification for restricting someone's entry and right to speak here?

Yes, they did (apparently) say that, and yes they do (apparently) think we should accept it. And yes, we almost certainly will accept it, because we are becoming used to this sort of nonsense.

Actually, the truth is that such bans have very little to do with preserving the stability of the nation. The truth is they are about keeping out a certain kind of Muslim, but the government can't be seen to be 'prejudiced', so every now and then a whacky (in this case, it seems literally) Christian has to be kept out as well.

However, it would be impossible for that to be admitted so hey, Mr Bentley, sorry, society has to be protected, even if it has to be lied to in the process, and it was just your turn.

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  1. Hi John, ever heard the story of how Smith Wigglesworth, through the power of the Holy Spirit, cured someone of cancer by punching them in the chest?

    1. We have all heard the story.
      But more importantly, is it true?

  2. Thanks YP. All I would say, though, is that God's exceptions cannot become our rules.

  3. You may want to hold off on that world tour of yours until you can be assured that they will let you back in. ;-)

  4. Agreed, John. Indeed, this is what Mike Pilavachi teaches when talking about prayer ministry at Soul Survivor events. But just because something is not normal we should not dismiss it. After all, we believe in an awesome and predictably unpredictable God who can use absolutely anything for His Glory

  5. God you're a whinger Richardon.
    'society has to be protected, even if it has to be lied to in the process...'

    What part of Christianity can be claimed to be objective, provable truth?

    Christians, Muslims, Jews, JWs, Scientologists... you're all in the business of telling self-congratulatory lies and sneering at the world.

    What's is special about a Christian being refused entry... Why don't you pray about it - two or three of you, and it will be done - it says so in the Bible. But that never happens. So you stick to whining about the inconsequential. No wonder the churches aren't packing them in, coz most people have the sense to see you and your kind for what you are. Nasty hate spreading moaner. Cunt

  6. Youthpasta,
    Illustrate, for me, one place in the actual Bible where Jesus instructs his disciple to go out and boot people in the head!

    This is indicative of the level of ignorance among many who style themselves as Christians these days. Much of what has passed for Evangelicalism in North America has devolved into this kind of neo-revivalist chicanery. The same thing goes on in the RC and EO churches as well, with the addition of miracle-working icons, statues or is attributed to the spiritual powers of some Holy person with only a touch or a word. I find no scriptural foundation for this nonsense.

  7. P.s.,
    On second thought, Mr. Bentley's Das Boot ministry might just work on Prince Harry. Just a thought.

  8. John, I think "Coming here is a privilege that we refuse to extend to those who might seek to undermine our society" is a standard phrase that the government comes out with every time they exclude someone.

    I agree that this case does raise issues of religious freedom, etc. But as someone who agrees with you on the Toronto Blessing and Todd Bentley, I am just glad that he can't come here to spread his heresy.

    I once read a website which argued that Todd's story of kicking someone was fabricated. I suspect this is correct - Todd has made up numerous stories - but he can't admit it as it would make him out to be a liar.

  9. @RMBruton - Tell me where Jesus tells us to sprinkle water on the head of babies and then get them to tell us whether they accept it or not over 10 years after the fact?

    1. Youthpasta,
      Answer: No where. Next question?

  10. Anonymous,
    That didn't really sound all that generous either, did it? You've massively missed the point.

    "Christians, Muslims, Jews, JWs, Scientologists... you're all in the business of telling self-congratulatory lies and sneering at the world."

    You should add, "Atheists, Secular humanists, Agnostics". They are all ways of seeing the world & making sense of it, are just as blinkered & bias as any religious groups. In fact think of political systems, do atheistic systems (Stalin, Hitler, Polpot - think St Bartholomew day massacre) really have an enlightened approach?

    Put it the other way. What if the government banned an outspoken atheist?

    What part of Christianity is probable etc? - The resurrection - what part of yours is? Not packing them in? Actually, Evangelical Churches are growing quite nicely & even declining churches are declining slower than other voluntary groups

    Darren Moore

    1. I meant provable - not probable.

  11. John,

    Interested to hear your thoughts on Toronto, which are also mine, though at the time it was difficult to say such things. In the wake of that we had a bunch of people in our church one Sunday evening braying like donkeys and barking like dogs. This was also supposed to be part of the 'blessing'. Quite what blessing it was supposed to be was never explained, but revival it certainly wasn't.

  12. Todd 'Bam Bam' Bentley was the same sheekaboomba who claims to have solved the mystery of who wrote the letter to the Hebrews. According to Todd, it was on one of his regular visits to heaven that he stopped off at St Pauls hut where he also met Abraham. Paul and Abraham explained to Todd that the letter was a joint effort !!!
    Is Todd a danger? Well when he is not being a danger to himself he could deceive terminally ill people into believing that he has healed them. And of course a visit to one of Mr Bentleys crusaded will lift a load off your wallet. Maybe if you are fortunate enough to be one of the people who passes through the 'filtering process' to reach the front and be ministered to you might come home with two legs the same length ( having been told you had one leg shorter than the other).
    We have enough home-grown leg lengtheners and demon casters. Todd can peddle his wares elsewhere.

  13. I'm guessing that the thought of a preacher who drop kicks people in wheelchairs visiting the country whilst the Paralympics is going on wouldn't be great publicity.

    That said, they could also have decided not to let him in based on prior convictions (as a juvenile).

  14. “Evangelical Churches are growing quite nicely & even declining churches are declining slower than other voluntary groups...”

    I think this is a matter for debate! I think immigration skews the figures of church growth a good deal – and although the myth of reverse mission is batted around, most immigrant churches remain the preserve of immigrants, tho’ there are some notable exceptions. Also, there needs to be some longitudinal studies of whether growth (in mainly Evangelical churches) equals long term membership – or whether some churches are just good at getting folk through the door, but can’t keep them in the long term. Revd Dr David Goodhew (Cranmer Hall, Durham)has produced some good work on this topic.

    An interesting area - far more interesting than mention of Todd Bennett!