For a time as a young boy I flirted with Evangelical Christianity. I was born into a family that had close ties to the Salvation Army but although I liked listening to the band as it made its way around the village, stopping to play such tunes as “He is a Friend of Mine” on various street corners it wasn’t really for me. Sunday mornings at St Michael’s parish church didn’t really appeal either although I knew, even at an early age, that I wanted to be part of something spiritual.
The Pentecostal church in our village seemed to offer something that other branches of the church didn’t. Their Sunday school was taken after the morning worship. This allowed me to marvel at a large group of adults making their feelings know to God and to their fellow worshippers in the most extravagant of ways.
There was lots of arm waving as Pastor Simpson delivered his sermon. People would jump up from their seats shouting Halleluiah, Praise the Lord and other exhortations, for a 9 year old boy, accompanied in the pews by a couple of mates including the son of the Pastor this was all great fun, we knew though that it had a serious side.
Followers of the Pentecostal faith (if I can call it that) were very active in the community, latter day “do-gooders” if you will. They were eccentric in their worship, admittedly, but they organised outings for the children of the village and they visited the homes of others who didn’t share their specific view of Christianity. I suppose at the root of their community spirit there was always the desire to bring more people into the flock but I don’t remember them ever walking away from anyone simply because they didn’t share their views.
One incident has, for obvious reasons, always stuck in my mind. It was the summer of 1961, we were out on a bus trip with the church; I was with my cousin Steve and with it being a Friday we would always have tea at our grandparent’s house, this meant we could spend time with Granddad Joe who we both worshipped, he had been poorly (or so we thought) for a while and we’d been kept out of his way. As the bus pulled up outside the church building we were talking about going to see him when one of the other boys on the bus told us he was dead. We obviously didn’t believe this, and the argument became quite heated. Pastor Simpson quietly took us into the church and explained that our granddad had indeed died; our family hadn’t wanted to tell us so as not to spoil our day out. He was great with us and he took us home.
This had a profound effect on both Steve and me. It wasn’t anything Pastor Simpson said or did, he was very good to us, but we both fell out with religion from then on. I suppose we thought that Joe was immortal and losing him (I think he was 65) at that time in our lives sort of proved, to two confused young boys, that if God did exist he wasn’t really a God that cared what happened to us.
Secular (or atheistical) Evangelicalism
56 years later the Evangelical worship of the Christian God is going strong. The American Pentecostal Church is growing in Britain and there are purported to be around 280 million practising Pentecostals in the world. Pentecostals believe that worship needs to be “experiential”, hence their evangelical (demonstrative) approach to worship.
There are other Evangelical churches (or ministries) within Christianity. In America and increasingly in Britain Evangelical ministries have become almost businesses. Many people that aren’t religious by conviction believe that unscrupulous people use this type of worship to enrich themselves. They do this by convincing gullible people to give money in the mistaken belief that this will buy them favour with the Lord. This may well be the case, but that’s for others to judge.
There are other Evangelical religions besides Christianity one of which is Islam. Islam can be called Evangelical because it is both “experiential “and overtly demonstrative. True followers of Islam have an Evangelical mission to perform. They are charged with delivering a message to the world and, through that message, converting non-believers to the “one true path”. Islam promotes pilgrimage, practises ritual chanting and it is one of the few major world “religions” to carry out ritual animal sacrifice and self harm as a way of worshipping its god.
The dictionary definition of Evangelical mostly refers to it as being a solely “Christian” pursuit but, if we explore further we find definitions such as; “Marked by militant or crusading zeal” and “Zealous in advocating a particular cause” and even “Characterised by ardent or crusading enthusiasm; zealous: an evangelical liberal”
This last definition, “an evangelical liberal” brings me to my point. Evangelicalism, in anything, is characterised by total belief. Protestants, especially those that follow the “experiential” way of worshipping cannot and will not be shaken from their total belief in God as they perceive him to be. Neither will they be shaken from the conviction that it is their mission, whatever the obstacles put in front of them, to try to convert, peacefully and through prayer and doctrine, Christians and non Christians alike to their form of worship.
Islam takes the same “Evangelical” view though it goes about its business in may different ways and it has no compunction about how it achieves the goal of bringing “the one true faith” to the whole world. Islamic Evangelicalism is characterised by total belief in an ideology that includes some of the most outlandish ideas imaginable.
Evangelical liberals believe everything that their progressive peers and their fashionable leadership tells them to believe. Once they have been convinced of the veracity of a thing, no matter how strange or outlandish it might appear to what I like to call ordinary folk they feel they have a moral duty not only to inform the rest of us about it but to enshrine it in law if at all possible.
If we discount the extremely rare condition of hermaphroditism there are only two sexes. Men are men and women are women. Evangelical liberals would have you believe that your sex is a choice that you can make. It isn’t, science tells us this and the science is based on hard fact and evidence. This evidence is of no consequence to the Evangelical liberal and so we come to a situation where a man, self identifying as a woman, can have a woman removed from a job and then, with the blessings of other liberals, take the woman’s job. You couldn’t make it up, could you?
The European Union is a corrupt sclerotic organisation that is run by cabal of old white men. If it were a private business then Evangelical liberals would be protesting that it was in desperate need of reform. But the EU is one of the great shibboleths (if that is the right term) of the Evangelical liberal. On every level since the UK voted to leave it, through the refusal to condemn the violence of the Spanish police in Catalonia and onto the bullying of Poland and Hungary because they refuse to submit to mass immigration and the terror and problems it breeds the EU has proved itself to be anti democratic, authoritarian and extremely bad for the individual countries that make up its membership. We haven’t even counted the humiliation of the Greek nation in this but all of it means nothing to the Evangelical liberals, to them, whatever it does or has done in its name the EU is sacrosanct and inviolate.
Lawlessness and the violence that often accompanies it have reached epidemic proportions in London. Hardly a day goes by when our capital doesn’t see a murder or two, a couple of acid attacks and a moped gang rampaging through our streets hell bent on robbery with a bit of ultra-violence thrown in. It is a fact that the majority of the perpetrators of these acts are young black men. Many of them are born on sprawling estates to single mothers and have never been subject to either parental or educational discipline. If they had been they would have rejected it anyway, the mothers of these young men are often fearsome characters willing to “go to the wall” for their children. Teachers and others attempting to discipline their offspring do so at their peril.
Law abiding ordinary folk look on this criminality and wonder why there is no more Stop and Search. They wonder why sentencing is often very lenient and many of them wonder why we no longer have the death penalty. Not the Evangelical liberal though, according to them this criminality is a direct consequence of the action (or inaction) of other people. Personal, parental and filial responsibilities are all anathema to them. It is the fault of society, the benefit system, the Tories (or Labour depending on who’s in power) and white men.
The pervasiveness of this Evangelicalism is so widespread that it now infects the police service, the legal system, education, the civil service, local government, social work and much more. It threatens, IMHO, the very fabric of society. Its proponents are all confused and potentially dangerous hypocrites. I could go on, immigration, health and many other aspects of ordinary life are impacted by this strange phenomenon. In my more whimsical moments I like to think that someone will come up with an answer that will make these often high profile and well “platformed” Evangelists see a bit of sense. I have to confess though; I’m not holding my breath.
© Coloniescross 2017