The Wanderer

"As I walked through the wilderness of this world . . ."

Posts Tagged ‘Matthew Parris

Christianity in the news

with one comment

I read an article while I was on holiday that piqued my interest.  It is a bit late, I know, as it has since been splashed all over the Christian blogosphere, but you might wish to read Matthew Parris’ (ex-Conservative MP, print and broadcast journalist, and homosexual activist) piece on why he, as an atheist, believes Africa needs God.  He suggests that Africa needs not just the material help but the spiritual direction and transformation of perspective accomplished in conversion.  What would happen if his atheism were to supplant Christianity in the West is not addressed.  Parris writes:

Now a confirmed atheist, I’ve become convinced of the enormous contribution that Christian evangelism makes in Africa: sharply distinct from the work of secular NGOs, government projects and international aid efforts. These alone will not do. Education and training alone will not do. In Africa Christianity changes people’s hearts. It brings a spiritual transformation. The rebirth is real. The change is good.

I used to avoid this truth by applauding – as you can – the practical work of mission churches in Africa. It’s a pity, I would say, that salvation is part of the package, but Christians black and white, working in Africa, do heal the sick, do teach people to read and write; and only the severest kind of secularist could see a mission hospital or school and say the world would be better without it. I would allow that if faith was needed to motivate missionaries to help, then, fine: but what counted was the help, not the faith.

But this doesn’t fit the facts. Faith does more than support the missionary; it is also transferred to his flock. This is the effect that matters so immensely, and which I cannot help observing.

This morning, a friend drew another article to my attention suggesting that a Christian minister of Indian extraction was sacked for supporting the Bible’s teachings on his radio show in Glasgow.  The reporting is vague – it is difficult to discern what was done, and there are hints that the minister might not have aided his own case – but there may be something more substantial beneath the surface.

Written by Jeremy Walker

Monday 12 January 2009 at 09:30

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