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Other pages on my complaint against Alan Billings, the South Yorkshire Police and Crime Commissioner and against a Sergeant of South Yorkshire Police:

1a. Alan Billings, South Yorkshire Police and Crime Commissioner: Complaint
1b. Same content as (1) but in single column
1d. Police and Ethics Panels
1e. S. Yorks Police: IOPC
1f. S. Yorks Police, PCC, Panels 

See also:
6. Capability in education and policing

Pages on Christian religion and churches:

2. Christian religion: criticism
3. Arise! Church Guide
4. Abuse, safeguarding and the Churches
5. Street Pastors Guide

 

 

 

On this page, in the column to the right, Snips and Snippets, short pieces of background information illustrating the views of Dr Billings and some of his fellow Christians, to add to the background information on the other pages of the site concerned with Christian belief and Christian believers. In this column the Billingsgate Challenge, challenging questions to Dr Billings based on some of the background information. The questions are relevant to his record as Police and Crime Commissioner. The list of questions is very short but the list will be extended - and revised.

 

The Billingsgate Challenge: Questions for the Police and Crime Commissioner

 

The possibility that he will reply is remote, but his silence can speak volumes. 

 

1. The Christian Police Association and the Rock Christian Centre and many, many other organizations, together with countless Churches, make it clear that they believe in the infallibility of the Bible. Do you believe in the infallibility of the Bible? If not, could you give a list of some verses which seem to you not to be the 'word of God?' Below, there's a quotation from Exodus 11 about the babies and children - the first-born of Egyptians, including Egyptian slaves. Do you think that God actually spoke those words? If you aren't a fundamentalist, how do you decide if words allegedly spoken by God, Jesus, Old and New Testament writers, were actually spoken by them? Could you explain the system you use?

 

A comment, not a question: Alan Billings, you do realize, don't you, what Churches in Sheffield are capable of, what cruel rubbish they are capable of quoting, what cruel rubbish they can preach? First, some material from a Youtube video published by the Rock Christian Centre, followed by material on the same subject published for a Sunday School, aimed at children. All young children are vulnerable to a greater or lesser extent, and you claim that your policies will help the vulnerable. Shouldn't you be doing something about the indoctrination of young children - or is the fact that these are fellow-Christians a hindrance to you?

 

Both sets of material are about God's killing of the first born of the Egyptians, the so-called Plague No. 10. The first 9 plagues sent by God had failed to persuade the ruler, Pharaoh, to alllow the Israelites to leave Egypt. Now, God was trying the most drastic methods. Does this not raise questions about 'divine omnipotence?' God tried other ways of persuading Pharaoh but now he is trying another method - which involves families all over Egypt losing their babies and young children. The families have had nothing to do with Pharaoh's refusal but they are made to suffer, and suffer in an extreme way.

 

The Rock Christian Centre video.

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mqEgd5d3P74

 

Extract from the Bible quotation given, Exodus Chapter 11:

 

[1] Now the Lord had said to Moses, "I will bring one more plague on Pharaoh and on Egypt. After that, he will let you go from here, and when he does, he will drive you out completely ...  [4] So Moses said, "This is what the Lord says: 'About midnight I will go throughout Egypt. [5] Every firstborn son in Egypt will die, from the firstborn son of Pharaoh, who sits on the throne, to the firstborn son of the slave girl, who is at her hand mill, and all the firstborn of the cattle as well. [6] There will be loud wailing throughout Egypt---worse than there has ever been or ever will be again.

 

From the teaching materials on the site

 

https://ministry-to-children.com/the-final-plague-lesson/

 

Final Plague-Death of the Firstborn Sunday School Lesson (Exodus 11-13)

 

Tell the Story

Say: God had sent 9 plagues upon Egypt to demonstrate His mighty power so that His name would be made great. But Pharaoh refused to free the Israelites from slavery. His heart was hard towards God! Moses had warned Pharaoh that there was one final plague coming, and it would be worse than the first nine. Let’s read from God’s Word to find out what this plague would be.
Read Exodus 11:4-6: “So Moses said, ‘This is what the LORD says; ‘About midnight I will go throughout Egypt. Every firstborn son in Egypt will die, from the firstborn son of Pharaoh, who sits on the throne, to the firstborn son of the slave girl, who is at her hand mill, and all the firstborn of the cattle as well. There will be loud wailing throughout Egypt—worse than there has ever been or ever will be again.”’
Ask: Who can tell me what the final plague is? (Allow time for kids to respond.)
Say: That’s right. The firstborn son in every Egyptian family would die.
Ask: Why do you think God would do this to the Egyptians? (Allow time for kids to respond.)
Say: Our God is a just God. That means that He takes sin very seriously and punishes those who harden their hearts against Him. God had every right to punish the Egyptians for refusing to obey Him. By sending the first nine plagues God had put His power on display for Egypt to see, yet they still remained disobedient. Now God would show His justice.
Say: God had a special task for the Israelites in order to spare them from this final plague. Each Israelite family was to take a one-year old, unblemished lamb and slaughter it. They were to eat the meat along with a special meal of bitter herbs and bread without yeast. Then God gave them some other interesting instructions. Let’s read God’s Word and as we do, listen to see if you can hear what God’s instructions were to His people.
Read Exodus 12: 7, 12-13: Then they are to take some of the blood and put it on the sides and tops of the doorframes of the houses where they eat the lambs. On that same night I will pass through Egypt and strike down every firstborn—both men and animals—and I will bring judgment on all of gods of Egypt. I am the Lord. The blood will be a sign for you on the houses where you are; and when I see the blood, I will pass over you. No destructive plague will touch you when I strike Egypt.”
Ask: What did God tell them to do with the lamb’s blood? (Allow time for kids to answer.)
Say: That’s right. He instructed them to put the blood on their doorframes. When God moved through Egypt, He would see the blood and the firstborn sons within those homes would not be killed. God was showing His great mercy on His people!
Say: Did you know that even today God’s people are saved by the blood of a lamb? Jesus is just like the unblemished lambs that the Israelites were to use on Passover night. But we don’t put Jesus’ blood on our doorframes do we? Instead, when we trust in Jesus to save us from our sins, we are in a sense covered by His blood and are saved! Now, when God brings judgment, rather than face punishment, God passes over us and forgives our sins.
Say: That night God moved through Egypt and just as He had said, all the firstborn sons died, including Pharaoh’s own son.
Read Exodus 12:31: “During the night Pharaoh summoned Moses and Aaron and said, ‘Up! Leave my people you and the Israelites! God, worship the Lords as you have requested. Take your flocks and herds, as you have said and God. And also bless me.’”
Say: Finally Pharaoh relented and allowed the Israelites to leave Egypt. It might seem like this is the end of the story, but it’s really just the beginning of the story of God leading His people to their own land. We’ll hear more about it in the coming weeks

Review Questions

  • What did God require the Israelites to do to be saved? (Put lamb’s blood on their doorframes.)

  • What did the Israelites put on their doorframes? (Blood from a slaughtered lamb.)

  • What happened in the homes that didn’t have blood on the door? (The firstborn child died.)

  • How is the blood on the doorframes like Jesus’ blood shed on the cross?

 

2. By inserting material on your Christian beliefs into newspaper articles, PCC blog articles, often with Biblical quotations, by inserting a Biblical quotation into 'Keeping Safe:' The Police and Crime Plan for South Yorkshire 2017 - 2021,' I claim that you've failed to adhere to the principles of impartiality. I need to elaborate, I need to give further reasons why your behaviour was wrong. Image management is big business now. It's part of Public Relations Management. 'Media mentions' are a part of image management. Companies, but not just companies, organizations of many different kinds, want to see favourable mentions, not always direct mentions, in Web and print media. They increase the Visibility of the Brand.  Churches are a kind of Brand. The public give them large amounts of money. Granted, their costs are massive - all those massive Churches to maintain - but the fact that they have all those buildings is an indication of their financial power.


Favourable mentions are free advertizing, and what you have done amounts to free advertizing. It may not have influenced many people, but people who have rarely or never given any thought to the church will have seen the names and the references slipped into his accounts.

 

My case is that you have attempted to further the Church and Christianity in ways which are not legitimate, given the necessary restrictions on the activities of Police and Crime Commissioners. Do you have any comments?

 

3. I've written often about issues arising from the branches of theology called soteriology, the so-called study of salvation, and hamartiology, the so-called study of sin, but generally not in a formal, systematic way. My treatment of the issues has been very wide-ranging, with illustrative examples from many spheres, including the Holocaust, military action, and ordinary human life in times of peace. Here, I mention examples only from the lives of people in South Yorkshire, but serving police officers and others in South Yorkshire Police as well as the South Yorkshire people they serve.

 

Do you share the conservative evangelical view of sin and salvation explicitly endorsed by the Christian Police Association and the Rock Christian Centre, the place where the South Yorkshire Christian Police Association was relaunched - but explicitly endorsed by so many other branches of Christianity? The belief is that only members of South Yorkshire Police who have accepted Jesus Christ as Saviour are 'saved' and spend eternity in heaven. All the others are damned and spend eternity in Hell, sharing exactly the same fate as people who have been guilty of horrific crimes - the ones who have never accepted Jesus Christ as Saviour. Loving mothers and fathers, children who were violently abused by mothers or fathers who were far from loving, working people, South Yorkshire Councillors and MP's - everyone in South Yorkshire, apart from the small minority of the supposedly saved, is destined for damnation.

 

Is that your view? If not, could you explain the differences? Could you outline what your own theological beliefs are with regard to questions of sin and salvation?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

   Alan Billings, S. Yorks PCC: Ichtheology and the 'Billingsgate Challenge'
  

Snips and snippets



Above, The Worshipful Company of Fishmongers, Coat of Arms and Motto.


1.

 

2.

 

3.

 

Illustrations above

1. Painting: Fishing for souls: allegory of the jealousy between the various religious denominations during the Twelve Years Truce (1609-1621) between the Dutch Republic and Spain. A river landscape with large numbers of people standing on either side of the river. In the river are  rowing boats. In the sky a rainbow is visible. The group of people on the left side are protestants with their patrons, the princes of Orange, Maurice and Frederick Henry, Frederick V of the Palatinate, James I of England and a youthful Louis XIII of France with his mother, Marie de' Medici. The rowing boat on the foreground contains protestant 'fishermen' with fishing nets marked with the words Fides, Spes and Charitas (Faith, Hope and Love). The group of people on the right are catholics with their patrons, Albert and Isabella, general Ambrosio Spinola and the pope being carried by cardinals. In the catholic boat priest are 'fishing', while being overseen by a bishop.

2. Photograph. Representation of Noah's Ark at 'Ark Encounter,' a Christian pseudoscientific creationist theme park in Kentucky. It is 155 metres long, 26 metres wide and 16 metres high.

3. Painting, The Flood of Noah and Companions (c. 1911) by Leon Comerre, Musee d' Arts de Nantes.

 

 

Below, some  of the fish created in an amazingly short time by God and carried in Noah's Ark, according to fundamentalist Christians:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


 

Shown above: 1. Humpback anglerfish 2. Gigantactis 3. barreleye 4.telescopefish 5. stoplight loosejaw 6. daggertooth 7. flabby whalefish 8. Sloane's viperfish 9. black swallower 10, 11, 12. Great White Shark

 

In the words of the hymn,

 

All things bright and beautiful All creatures great and small All things wise and wonderful 'Twas God that made them all

He gave us eyes to see them And lips that we might tell How great is the Almighty Who has made all things well

God's attention to detail is certainly evident in the design of that killing machine, the Great White Shark, created by God, allegedly, during the busy period described in Genesis.

 

 

The Great White Shark is one of the shark species responsible for fatal, unprovoked attacks on humans. When the shark bites, it shakes its head side-to-side, helping the teeth saw off large chunks of flesh.

 

Still, the teeth of the Great White Shark seem like beginner's work compared with the oblique and serrated teeth of the Tiger Shark, a far more advanced set of equipment, it would seem, for sawing off lumps of flesh.

 

For 'earlier natural historians, there was little problem finding room for all known animal species in the Ark. Less than a century later, discoveries of new species made it increasingly difficult to justify a literal interpretation for the Ark story. By the middle of the 18th century only a few natural historians accepted a literal interpretation of the narrative.'

 

Genesis 6:

And God said to Noah, “The end of all flesh has come before Me, for the earth is filled with violence through them; and behold, I will destroy them with the earth. 14Make yourself an ark of gopherwood; make [g]rooms in the ark, and cover it inside and outside with pitch. 15And this is how you shall make it: The length of the ark shall be three hundred [h]cubits, its width fifty cubits, and its height thirty cubits. 16You shall make a window for the ark, and you shall finish it to a cubit from above; and set the door of the ark in its side. You shall make it with lower, second, and third decks. 17And behold, I Myself am bringing floodwaters on the earth, to destroy from under heaven all flesh in which is the breath of life; everything that is on the earth shall die. 18But I will establish My covenant with you; and you shall go into the ark—you, your sons, your wife, and your sons’ wives with you. 19And of every living thing of all flesh you shall bring two of every sort into the ark, to keep them alive with you; they shall be male and female. 20Of the birds after their kind, of animals after their kind, and of every creeping thing of the earth after its kind, two of every kind will come to you to keep them alive. 

 

 

The view, held by fundamentalists but not just fundamentalists, that the Bible offers clear guides to what a Christian should believe and how a Christian should behave, is naive and false. Christian doctrines are based on texts that are so often interpretative minefields. Single words, for example  ἀρσενοκοῖται (used in 1 Corinthians 6:9-10) have been interpreted in contradictory ways.

 

If a Christian has feelings of rapture, joy, awe, ardent appreciation, the feelings aren't an infallible validation of religious beliefs, they aren't an infallible validation of  the content of the Bible. A Roman Catholic has these feelings when praying to the Virgin Mary or a Saint. An atheist - and a protestant, or most protestants - will be sceptical.  These images are propagandist, not inspirational, and the first image here, of a man sailing on a Bible-boat, is ludicrous:




 

This image is intended to give the believer the  idea that chains can be easily broken - by faith. Metal chains need a bolt cutter or another tool to cut them and can't be snapped just like that. Metaphorical chains may be impossible to break or very difficult to break.

 


 

Did God cause the flood which wiped out humanity and all the animals of the world, apart from the lucky few saved in Noah's Ark? Is the Biblical account to be trusted? Are the Biblical events of so many events to be trusted? Does God still cause floods, such as the devastating floods which have occurred in so many parts of the world. If does, is it to punish sin? Or are floods to be explained in terms of atmospheric physics and other branches of science.

 

These images may appeal to people in the grip of illusion but they amount to gross falsification, surely:

 


 


 

 

ΙΧΘΥΣ, the Greek word for 'fish.' The letters of the word are the first letters of these words:

ησοῦς 
Χ
ρῑστός 
Θ
εοῦ 
Υ
ἱός 
Σ
ωτήρ


Greek for
'Jesus Christ, God's Son, Saviour'.

 

Billingsgate: the celebrated London Fish Market.

 

Dr Alan Billings: the South Yorkshire Police and Crime Commissioner. No connection between Alan Billings and fish, so far as I know, but Alan Billings would approve of the Worshipful Company of Fishmongers' Motto, 'All worship be to God only.'

 

Ichtheology: new branch of theology, devised by me. The study of the linkages between theology and ichthyology, the study of fish.

 

'fishy:' established meaning, doubtful, suspicious, questionable. Newer meaning, not just doubtful, suspicious, questionable but bizarre, deluded, shocking, as in 'The theology of Calvin (or Luther or 'St' paul or Cardinal Newman) is fishy, to say the least.'

 

Contrasting material, before returning to the Mosaic Mess.

 

Dr Billings on the scandalous and calamitous shortcomings of Custody Suites

 

https://www.yorkshirepost.co.uk/news/opinion/
columnists/putting-prisoners-in-custody-suites-is-a-recipe-for-disaster-alan-billings-3946221

Dr Billings writes,

'But it is certainly not a good idea to have offenders locked up in custody cells 24 hours a day where there is little or no capacity for association, education or recreation.

'They also have to be fed – and with something a little more substantial than the simple meals – pizzas, for example – kept in a custody suite.'

 

So, educational facilities for Custody Suite Guests. But the preferences and existing interests of guests will be very varied. How to provide tutors to cater for such a wide range of interests? Would  the educational opportunities to be offered involve any practical work? Providing the necessary facilities could pose problems. There would need to be a workshop, a well-equipped kitchen if cooking skills are to be offered. Would there be educational opportunities outsid? If so, a kitchen garden might well be needed. The provision of recreational facilities would pose further problems. At the least, there would have to be a gymnasium with a range of equipment to satisfy the Custody Suite Guests. As for a wider variety of foodstuffs, would it be possible to provide, to give just one example, asparagus in season? Probably not. It has to be said that in custody facilities in Italy, pizza, which appears not to appeal to Dr Billings, would be appreciated very much. There are many good cookery books on Italian cuisine. Perhaps Dr Billings could consult some of them, the sections on pizza.

 

Dr Billings seems to have overlooked one very important contribution to the welfare of inmates. Although I have a very low opinion of the Bible, his view will obviously be very different. Surely the Gideons provide Bibles for the custody suites, or the New Testament at least?


From my page Arrest:

 

One  thing about the comforts of the  hotel rooms, spiritual comforts in this case. The group known as the 'Gideons' provided Bibles in various places. In this hotel, every room had a Gideon New Testament and Psalms. The reckless generosity of the Gideons didn't extend to the full work. But in the cell, there was nothing from the Bible at all. I would have expected the Gideons to understand that the dark night of the soul, the desolation of the human spirit, was more likely in a cell, no matter how wonderful the cell, than in a four star hotel.

 

I'd make a plea for the full works, the complete Bible. It would be a great pity if prisoners were to be denied the resources of Leviticus, Numbers and Deuteronomy. There are many religious groups and organizations whose members believe that the Bible is the Word of God, all of it, but in practice, they badly neglect some of scripture. Robert Graves recounts a sermon in his First World War memoir 'Goodbye to all that.' The sermon was about an obscure topic, the commutation of tithes, 'Quite up in the air, and took the men's minds off the fighting.'

 

Reading about the commutation of tithes or the curtains of the tabernacle or the Urim and the Thummin  or 'A repetition of sundry laws' might provide more stimulation than staring at the door or the walls or the ceiling or the floor of a custody suite -- although I'd do anything to avoid reading the arid waste of those pages.

 

The Mosaic Mess

 
Dr Billings on a Miracle performed by God in the presence of Moses. In December, 2021 Alan Billings preached a sermon at St Mary's, Walkley, Sheffield. The miracle of the burning bush was prominent. This was one of God's (alleged) miracles, one of the ones put on for the benefit of Moses. This bush was burning wasn't consumed. In our experience, burning never leaves a bush unchanged. Alan Billings gave every appearance of believing in this miracle. Very curious - his lack of curiosity is very curious.

 

Miracles of Moses and Miracles performed by God in the presence of Moses.

 

In those times, many people believed any old rubbish. In our time, many people believe any old rubbish.

 

 1. Moses' rod turned into a serpent (Ex 4:2-3). 2. The serpent was transformed into a rod (Ex 4:4). 3. Moses' hand was turned leprous (Ex 4:6). 4. Moses' hand was healed of leprosy (Ex 4:7). 5. The rod was turned into a serpent (Ex 4:30). 6. The serpent was turned into a rod (Ex 4:30). 7. Moses' hand was made leprous (Ex 4:30). 8. Moses' hand was healed of leprosy (Ex 4:30). 9. Moses' rod was turned into a serpent (Ex 7:9-10) 10. Moses' rod swallowed the others (Ex 7:12). 11. The Nile River was changed into blood: first plague (Ex 7:14-25). 12. He created frogs: second plague (Ex 8:1-7)13. He caused the frogs to die (Ex 8:8-15). 14. He converted the dust to lice: third plague (Ex 8:16-19; the magicians could not do this, Ex 8:18- 15. He created flies: fourth plague (Ex 8:20-24). 16. He made Goshen exempt from flies (Ex 8:22). 17. He removed the flies from Egypt (Ex 8:29-32). 18. The murrain disease was imposed on Egyptian stock: fifth plague (Ex 9:1-7). 19. The stock of Israel was exempt (Ex 9:4-7). 20. He made boils from ashes: sixth plague (Ex 9:8-12). 21. Hail and fire came: seventh plague (Ex 9:13-35). 22. Goshen was exempt from the hail and fire (Ex 9:26). 23. Moses stopped the hail and fire (Ex 9:28-35). 24. Locusts descended: eighth plague (Ex 10:1-15) 25. The locusts were removed (Ex 10:16-20). 26. Darkness came: ninth plague (Ex 10:21-29). 27. Goshen was exempt from the total darkness (Ex 10:23). 28. Death came to Egypt's firstborn: tenth plague (Ex 11-12). 29. Israel's firstborn were exempt from death (Ex 11:7-10). 30. Moses made a path through the Red Sea, congealing the water (Ex 14:21-22). 31. He melted the ice of Red Sea (Ex 14:26-28). 32. The healing waters of Marah (Ex 15:23-26). 33. Bread from heaven (Ex 16:4-35; Num 11). 34. Quail to eat (Ex 16:8-13). 35. Water from the rock (Ex 17:1-7). 36. His victory over Midian (Ex 17:11-13). 37. He quenched the fire of death (Num 11:2). 38. The healing of Miriam (Num 12:13-16). 39. The earth swallowed the rebels (Num 16:28-33). 40. Moses stopped the plague (Num 16:44-50). 41. Water from the rock (Num 20:10-13). 42. The healing of Israel (Num 21:5-9; John 3:14).

 

Miracles that God performed when Moses was present (Ex 7:10) 1. God's glory filling tabernacle (Ex 40:34). 2. Fire consuming sacrifices (Lev 9:24). 3. Fire killing priests (Lev 10:2). 4. The Fire which consumed some people (Num 11:2). 5. The fire was quenched (Num 11:2). 6. A month's supply of quails for about 6,000,000 people (Num 11:19-35). 7. The leprosy that was fixed upon Miriam (Num 12:10). 8. The healing of Miriam (Num 12:13-16). 9. The plague upon ten spies (Num 14:37). 10. The earth swallowed the rebels (Num 16:32). 11. The fire which consumed some people (Num 16:35). 12. The plague which killed 14,700 people (Num 16:49). 13. Aaron's rod that bore almonds (Num 17:8). 14. Water from the rock (Num 20:11). 15. The healing of Israel (Num 21:5-9). 16. The plague which killed 24,000 people (Num 25:9).

 

Crusades

 

Crusade: '1. Any of the military expeditions undertaken in the 1th, 12th and 13th centuries by the Christian powers of Europe to recapture the Holy Land from the Muslims. 2. (formerly) any holy war undertaken on behalf of a religious cause. 3. A vigorous and dedicated action or movement in favour of a cause.

For me, 'crusade' is a word which is tainted by its origins, those military expeditions, and by a further use, not mentioned in the dictionary definition quoted. Campaigners for causes are unlikely to describe themselves as 'crusaders' now. Evangelicals have often used the word in connection with mission - attempts to convert non-believers. I view Alan Billings as a man with a mission too. Although his activities are much wider than those of typical evangelicals, his thinking apparently much less narrow, I think that appearances are deceptive to a significant extent. This is someone who wants to further Christian mission, who wants to see South Yorkshire, the nation, the world as a whole, converted to a belief in Jesus Christ as Lord and Saviour. If this is not the case, then he is free to put on record what his beliefs really amount to.

An extract from the site

https://baptistnews.com/article/todays-evangelicals-are-medieval-crusaders-at-heart/

which impresses me, to some extent, even though the author's views are naive to some extent. Its criticisms of evangelicals are ones that I share, but I don't share the author's views concerning other varieties of Christianity. Although Alan Billings may not be a Conservative evangelical, his beliefs intersect with theirs at many different points. He has presented Christianity to the public of South Yorkshire in an irresponsible way, downplaying or never mentioning some deeply disturbing evidence. The Rock Christian Centre in Sheffield is a conservative evangelical centre. As I've argued in other pages on these issues, it was very, very unwise of him to attend the event, the relaunch of the Christian Police Association - which is a Conservative Evangelical organization. Alan Billings has misused his position and now, I'd claim, it is hopelessly compromised.

At first sight, his view of political power is vastly more enlightened that the views of Conservative evangelicals. I claim that he has misused the power given to him in significant ways, on a significant number of occasions, as in his article published in the Yorkshire Post on being awake and being woke, complete with Biblical quotation concerned with the Second Coming of Jesus.

The extract from the article (which contains discussion of the Second Coming of Jesus):

At the dawn of 2022, forget the culture wars; this is a postmodern crusade, and the Christian soldiers are on the march. Evangelical Christians are medieval crusaders at heart.

In the 11th and 12th centuries, Christian Crusaders went to war to reclaim Jerusalem from the Muslim hordes. Pope Urban II told Christian soldiers if they died during the Crusades, they would have their sins forgiven.

Behold now the crusade of the 21st century. Almost a millennium has expired since the last Christian Crusade, but now it’s returned in all its gory violence. This is no longer about the forgiveness of sins or salvation; it’s about power, control, authority.

...

The first Crusaders were attempting to reclaim Jerusalem from the Muslims; these evangelical Christians are attempting to reclaim the United States for … well, for evangelicals.

...

An alternative universe

For the past six decades, evangelicals have been busy constructing an alternative universe of churches, schools, private colleges, Bible schools and seminaries. They have produced an amazing number of private colleges that home-schooled evangelical children can attend. An evangelical child can grow into adulthood with almost no contact with the outside world.

...

On the surface, the evangelicals seem harmless enough. Even though they are always pushing “creationism” as the only true reality of science, the majority of Americans are at best amused by Ken Ham’s museum. [My page Billingsgate includes information about the museum. It has a replica of 'Noah's Ark.]

Even when we are aware that evangelicals are convinced that the worldview of “creationism” is the final truth about reality, we are not that worried.

Even though Ken Ham is convinced that scientific naturalism is completely false and that the conflict between science and religion will be resolved if, and only if, the scientific community returns to a supernaturalistic framework, we are not really losing sleep.

When evangelicals push their “rapture” theory in sermons, books, movies and lectures, mainline Christians roll their eyes at what sounds like something out of science fiction.

...

A battle cry

My perspective suggests that the evangelical language of excess around creationism, rapture and American history relies on significant erasures of truth. I am convinced that evangelical political motives cannot be overlooked, underestimated or ignored. Hidden in what appears to be the biblical minutia of evangelical preaching is a battle cry, a gathering of the faithful for a crusade against all the evil in the nation.

There is an itch in the evangelical mind that suggests they are not content with the alternative universe they have built. Evangelicals still have the crusader mentality. Like the Christian troops attacking Muslims during the Crusades, evangelicals long to be in charge. They have been amassing troops at the border of the secular culture and preparing for war.

The irony is that the evangelicals, starting out as Christians, shifted to being good Americans, and founded schools to train students to have the highest security levels, work at the State Department, the Defense Department, and join the FBI and the CIA.

...

Since they already control the label of “Christian” in our culture, they believe it is God’s will for them also to control the nation. America has become the church for evangelicals. Watch the video of one Fourth of July service at First Baptist Church of Dallas and when you recover from the idolatrous display of patriotism that includes fireworks in the sanctuary, there can be little doubt of the allegiance of the evangelicals to the country they are determined to control and reshape in their own image.

The Bush-era White House had about as many interns from Patrick Henry College   as Georgetown, the journalist Hanna Rosin wrote in her 2007 book, God's Harvard. Students in the small evangelical school’s strategic intelligence program can graduate with security clearances from their summer internships, making Patrick Henry College a feeder school for the CIA, the FBI, the National Security Agency, various branches of the military, and intelligence contractors. Many students go there with dreams of becoming a senator or the Supreme Court justice who helps overturn Roe v. Wade.

Evangelical students come to a school like Patrick Henry to become good Americans. Yet their graduates would be hard-pressed to say whether their loyalty is to the American flag or the Cross. Allegiance to the flag is as natural as breathing to students trained in America as the Church. It comes with the territory.

The primary vision of these schools is that their graduates can be the invading troops that take America for the evangelical cause. Why would good evangelical students, most of whom knew better than to think about becoming preachers, need to know about politics? Because politics, not theology, would prepare them to rule the nation.

A desire to control church and state

Evangelicals believe that until they are in charge, the nation is on a straight path to hell. Therefore, abortion must be outlawed. No exceptions. Gay marriage must be declared unconstitutional. Religious liberty for evangelicals must be complete and total, including the right to condemn gays, minorities, immigrants and any group deemed unacceptable.

Dominionists, with their view that Christians are biblically mandated to occupy all positions of power and authority, and Reconstructionists, with their view of a theonomic government, may be written off as fringe groups, but they map the evangelical dream of what a Christian nation should be. Patrick Henry, Cedarville University, Liberty University, Moody Bible Institute, Regent University, and a plethora of evangelical schools have established Christian Officer Training Corps to prepare for the coming war on secular culture.

The evangelicals will not rest until they control church and state. They are a restless people, and they are not content with having a piece of the action. Like a rich man who always needs “more,” evangelicals lust for total control.

When evangelicals sing Onward Christian Soldiers, they are not being metaphorical. They mean those words. They are prepared to do whatever is necessary to be in charge. Having secured a base in their own churches and schools, they now intend to take over the country. They will keep pounding on the doors of public school boards insisting on the teaching of intelligent design and raising hell against Critical Race Theory. They will keep promoting the fiction that America was born as a Christian nation, and they will keep fighting to make America a “Christian” nation in the image of evangelical understandings of the word “Christian.”

Deceptive rhetoric

Evangelical rhetoric is deceptive about change. When they tout “religious liberty,” they don’t mean for that liberty to extend to everyone.

Evangelical deception lies in their insincere promise of a national salvation. They promise to redeem America from a host of mythological, made-to-order enemies, but it is a promise of redemption made on a hidden rhetoric of demolition.

The archetypal trope that unmasks the true crusader spirit of the evangelicals lies in the deceptive claim that evangelicals love Israel. Even a cursory reading of the evangelical commitment to the rapture theory shows that the constant avowals of love are muted by the evangelical belief that “soon and very soon” Jesus will rapture the true believers, and the unbelieving Jews will be exterminated.

Evangelical love comes wrapped in a bright red, white and blue package with an American flag, but when opened there’s condemnation, conflagration and destruction. The package is a seductive spectacle promising to restore lost glory by at last demolishing all the ancient and modern enemies of the evangelicals.
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Evangelicals present themselves as a theology or ideology that is rigorously objective. They claim to be wedded to the truth and to the rationality of the Bible. Yet real truth would unravel evangelical claims of science-denial and history denial and a glorification of a past that wasn’t so glorious.

How odd, that a religious movement dedicated to the pursuit of truth is now sidelined by a commitment to post-truth and truth is seen as a worthy sacrifice for the goal of ruling the nation.

Postmillennial evangelicals marching to war

In a mind-boggling double irony, evangelicals were postmillennial before they were premillennial. Postmillennialism is a belief that the world will keep getting better and better until progress ushers in the kingdom of God. Premillennialism teaches that the world will keep getting worse until a time of Great Tribulation after the true believers have been raptured from the earth.

From the early writings of Hal Lindsay to the current rapture musings of Robert Jeffress, evangelicals became committed premillennialists. They teach that the end is near. Jesus is coming “in their lifetime,” they herald.

Yet in the 2016 U.S. presidential election, evangelicals saw a sliver of light that changed their eschatology again. They saw an opportunity to stop having sand kicked in their collective faces, a chance to win and be in charge.

Balmer claims that evangelicals have put premillennial dreams and hopes on hold and instead of saying, “Come quickly, Lord Jesus,” they are now saying: “Wait, Lord. Please postpone your return. We have a real chance to grasp the power and run the country. We would prefer that you not come just yet.”

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Whatever is to be the fate of democracy, the worst outcome of all would be a new dark age where evangelicals control church, culture and government. This mythic illusory narrative of godly exceptionalism will only produce a fearsome domination that no freedom-lover can stomach.

The author is too despondent, too pessimistic here, and in some other places. There may be a new dark age, but evangelical control is real but limited in scope, even in the United States.

Jill Duff, the Bishop of Lancaster, can use resounding phrases about the destiny of this country but in practice, she and people who think like her (if what they speak and write on Christianity can be described as the product of thought) are achieving results not in the least in accordance with their grandiose designs. Jill Duff who took part in the film 'The Beautiful Story,' the Conservative Evangelical film on human sexuality, which contained these statements of Conservative Evangelical doctrine:

'Scripture prohibits in every way, in every form, same sex sexual relationships.'

' ... God's good design for sexual relationships is non-negotiable.'

'Gay sex is wrong.'

'If the Bible teaches that homosexual activity is sin, then a gospel ministry must include, must be willing to say, that is sin, and that must be repented of.'

'A sense of God's judgement, that he does ask us to be obedient, so that this is not a trivial matter. This is part of the Apostolic teaching.'

The vast majority of people will pay no attention to these views. Evangelicals in Blackburn managed to entice a very small number of people to some disused allotments in Blackburn, where Jill Duff baptized a few people. This isn't one more sign that this nation is yearning to know Jesus Christ as Lord and Saviour.

This is Jill Duff speaking, or so she believes, to her God:

'We claim this nation for Jesus. We pray your kingdom come, your will be done, in our churches, in our families, in our schools, in our businesses, in our government, in our legal system, in our entertainment and arts and sport and for your key workers, across every corner of this nation ... thank you that your horses and chariots of fire are on the hills all around and we ask that they may be potent in our time in claiming our nation for you ... Jesus I pray that you would call many lost sons and daughters home safe at last ... I pray for the descending of the heavenly United Kingdom to earth.'



 

 

 

 






 

 

 


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