Fundamentalists, Repentance and Forgiveness

An important part of the recent Iris Robinson affair has been the part played in it of her very open evangelical Christianity and the apparent breach of a number of God’s Laws. This has been followed by the explanation of God’s forgiveness by a number of leading churchmen including Senior Pastor of Whitewell James McConnell and David McIlveen (a very highly regarded Free Presbyterian Minister). The concept of forgiveness in fundamentalist Protestantism is possibly worth outlining in a little detail. I would stress I am no theologian but I have shown this blog to a number of people with a greater understanding than myself.The first and most fundamental concept to be understood is that of being “saved”, “born again,” “converted” or whatever other term one uses. This is the idea that at a point in their life a person realises their own sinfulness; accepts that there is nothing they themselves can do to please God or atone for their sins; and gives over their life to God; asking God’s forgiveness wrought for them through the blood of Christ shed on Calvary and then receives the gift of the Holy Spirit who dwells in their life from then on.

That may all sound utterly bizarre and ludicrous; to others abstract or bring back youthful memories of boring Sunday sermons long half forgotten and ignored. Essentially it means that at a certain defined point the person changes the direction of their life and becomes a Christian. The majority of evangelicals would argue that this occurs at one defined point though others would regard it as a somewhat more gradual process in some cases.

It is important to note that to fundamentalists the term Christian does not denote goodness of itself: it is a technical term like say ‘medical doctor’ used to define a specific fact: in a doctor’s case the fact that they have completed a medical degree; in a Christian’s case that they have done the above accepting of Christ. However a Christian as a follower of Christ should lead a life in keeping with their profession of religious faith. A person’s Christian faith should lead them to adopt a good life: a good life in itself does not make one a Christian. The crux of Christianity is faith in Christ.

Clearly fundies believe that at the point one is saved one’s sin has gone: Micah 7:19 “He will turn again, he will have compassion upon us; he will subdue our iniquities; and thou wilt cast all their sins into the depths of the sea.”

This leads on to the self evident fact that often Christians commit sin. Since God is completely opposed to sin this represents a problem. However, fundies believe that “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” (1 John 1:9) Hence if the sinning Christian confesses their sin then that sin is forgiven. However, this leads to the problem that surely Christians can sin just as much as they like in the knowledge that a quick “sorry” will fix it?

I have heard this seemingly very valid criticism of evangelical Protestants by amongst others Catholics. The explanation is in Romans 6. This is a complex passage which as with many parts of Paul’s writing is fairly heavy going. The first two verses are the most pertinent, the rest is a complex theological explanation. Verses 1,2: “What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin, that grace may abound? God forbid. How shall we, that are dead to sin, live any longer therein?” This idea of staying away from sin is further covered by the following verse: (1 John 1:7) “But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin.” Walking in the light means that once one is aware of the wrongness of a given action, behaviour or thought, one will keep away from it.

Hence, although it is accepted that all one’s sins are taken away when one is “saved,” Christians will continue to sin, but those sins are forgiven as soon as forgiveness is sought. This leads on to the concept of repentance. As mentioned above from Romans 6 sin by the Christian is very serious. Hence, one should repent of one’s sins. Repentance means turning decisively away from the sin. Clearly one may have to repent repeatedly if one keeps sinning and there are sins (like say loosing one’s temper) which one commits frequently and has to try to turn away from time and again. Incidentally lust is similar since Jesus states in Matthew 5:28 “But I say unto you, That whosoever looketh on a woman to lust after her hath committed adultery with her already in his heart.” The question in repentance is: Has the person decisively turned away from the sin and are they making a positive attempt to avoid it. It very frequently also means accepting the consequences of the sin and trying to make restitution. An example is Luke 19:8 “And Zacchaeus stood, and said unto the Lord: Behold, Lord, the half of my goods I give to the poor; and if I have taken any thing from any man by false accusation, I restore him fourfold.”

To accept that a Christian who has sinned has indeed repented, people will expect to see that they have changed their behaviour. This is especially true in the case of sins which are initially hidden and involve deceit. As an example: even evangelical Christians who do not regard alcohol as sinful per se; regard drunkenness as a sin. Hence if someone is drunk and the next day, filled with remorse repents, then that should be accepted immediately. However, if one finds that a person has been stealing your coal for a year and the sin and has only been found out by chance, then it would be fair to expect a longer duration of avoiding that sin before completely accepting the sinner’s repentance. It is much easier for God, who, knowing everything, knows a person’s heart and therefore can tell instantly whether or not the person who committed the sin has truly repented.

Repentance and forgiveness are of course related in that forgiveness is dependent on repentance. God can see the sinner’s repentant heart instantly and of course forgives the sinner instantly. This is never better illustrated than on the cross and Jesus’s conversation with the dying thief (Luke 23: 39-43) “And one of the malefactors which were hanged railed on him, saying, If thou be Christ, save thyself and us. But the other answering rebuked him, saying, Dost not thou fear God, seeing thou art in the same condemnation? And we indeed justly; for we receive the due reward of our deeds: but this man hath done nothing amiss. And he said unto Jesus, Lord, remember me when thou comest into thy kingdom. And Jesus said unto him, Verily I say unto thee, Today shalt thou be with me in paradise.” Clearly here the thief repented and received instant forgiveness: again Jesus (being God) could tell that the thief had truly repented and hence, had been given the assurance of forgiveness.

I am a little reluctant to bring this back to Mrs. Robinson but to fundamentalist Protestants she has clearly sinned. However, if she has repented and sought the Lord’s forgiveness she has already been forgiven and to God her sin has gone. That does not mean that fundamentalists would feel that she can avoid the practical ramifications of what has happened; nor can she avoid responsibility for her actions. Hence, there is no contradiction for fundamentalists to say that Iris has received God’s forgiveness but that she should stand down from her political positions and indeed face the legal consequences of what has happened.

  • Kevsterino

    I’m trying very hard not to sound flippant, here, Turgon, but does flying off to the French Alps demonstrate repentance, leaving Peter to sort out his future as best he can? Sipping cocoa by the fire wearing sack cloth and ashes?

  • Mr Crowley

    Nothing like a tedious interpretation of other interpretations of goat herders’ folk legends to rationalise corruption.

  • Paddy

    Having read this, Lord preserve me from fundamental whackos who are almost as awful as Guardian readers.

    That said, Angela Polosi did a good documentary on Ted Haggart and the fundies who did him in. There, the male hooker he hooked up with was the big winner/hero just like the little r–t boy Irish Iris hooked up with.

    I hope Peter Robinson apologises and seeks forgiveness for his connections with Loyalist paramilitaries. But then killing Catholics mas never a mortal sin, was it?

  • Greenflag

    ‘That may all sound utterly bizarre and ludicrous’

    And it is . But no more bizarre or ludicrous than the Catholic confessional .

    The main difference being that for RC’s they have an intermediary to help wash away the sin . For fundies they have to convince themselves that they are forgiven and then disappear to the Swiss Alps for further rehabilitation whereas RC’s get the 100 hail maries in the kneeling position . Of course now that the status of the God’s intermediary has been much discounted among RC’s I live to see the day when some of the errant clergy attend confession administered by lay people preferably female .

    They are all full of crap Turgon . They live in the world of make believe for one reason only . It suits their financial and political circumstances.

    Go back a couple of hundred years and you’ll find ‘rationalizations’ by the high and mighty for slavery , genocide, child labour , the lot.

    The difference today is only a matter of degree.

  • McGrath

    The handy thing about being “born again” is you can keep being “born again” as it suits.

    I’d like to take a close look at the personal finances of a lot of these self professed fundamentalist politicians.

  • TAFKABO

    The problem is that public figures want to have their cake and eat it. They want to use their faith in order to promote their own piety, or as an excuse for imposing on the lives of those of us without faith, and yet when it all goes tits up we’re essentially told that it’s a religious matter, we wouldn’t understand and best just leave them to sort it out themselves, according to their own particular brand of middle eastern fairy tale.

    Why is it of any interest to me whether or not the “sinner” has been forgiven by some imaginary friend in the sky?

    All this sad sorry affair really teaches us is that once again personal faith and public life are best kept separate.
    A truly secular state is the only really workable option, the French could teach us all a thing or two.

  • Scaramoosh

    Turgon

    What are the chances that we might hear that she has been turned into a pillar of salt?

  • villager

    David McIlveen is calling on him to go, looking increasingly like game over.

  • fpveritas

    David McIlveen is a mouthpiece for Paisley
    The FP church have just finished Peter

    The new king will be Dodds he is FP and not from the” Whitewash Tabernacle” Pastor Jimmy

    droped the ball by NOT condemming the scandal

  • Driftwood

    Is it possible for my cat, Bismarck, to be forgiven I wonder. Another dead starling on the doorstep an hour ago. Can he be ‘saved’?

  • Turgon raises a number of good points about the importance conservative evangelicals place on repentance. I’ve written a longer post here about how conservative evangelicals may find it easier to forgive than to trust, in the Robinson case, http://www.gladysganiel.com/

  • Thanks Turgon,

    I enjoy your posts on Evangelism because it’s something I know very little about, and it’s often difficult to understand the relationship between people’s faith and their behaviour and attitudes. I don’t think Evangelists are unique in using, for the most part, ‘reason’ to suit their pre-determined positions and the accusations of hypocrisy levelled at Iris Robinson and others are of no interest to me whatsoever, particularly in political terms.

    I’d be interested in how you, and those of your faith, reconcile avoiding judgement of others with voting, particularly that element based on personality as opposed to policy, and how that might play for the DUP in the aftermath of the last week.

    I was very impressed with your posts following our last communication btw, a very happy new year to you and yours.

  • I think people are missing the point that Turgon is making. While fogiveness is a consequence of repentence, the consequences of the sin must be paid for in the temporal world. Spiritually, fogiveness provides cleanliness before God. That does not mean absolution from criminal or ‘public’ sanction. In fact, part of the path of repentance is to declare the sin and ‘pay the price’. This is all a personal response to wrongdoing, and does not mean the individual would expect others to be so forgiving, nor trusting as Gladys points out.

    If I got anything wrong here, Turgon let me know.

  • Comrade Stalin

    fpveritas:

    David McIlveen is a mouthpiece for Paisley
    The FP church have just finished Peter

    The FP don’t have that much influence in the DUP. And remember that they removed Paisley from their leadership a long time ago.

    The new king will be Dodds he is FP

    That would be a bizarre reversal. It is no secret that Dodds did not enjoy his time as Finance Minister and it was announced a few months ago that he would be leaving the assembly to lead the parliamentary group in Westminster.

    I think we’ll know not to take any of your pronouncements very seriously in future.

  • Turgon

    Thank you for all the comments.

    Can I stress that I am not a theologian.

    Damian,
    The voting patterns of fundies are fascinating and well worth a blog which I will try to do. In addition thank you for your kind words.

    Dr. Ganiel,
    Thank you. I am delighted to be taken seriously by a real expert (though I must acknowledge help in this blog)

    Driftwood,
    No your cat cannot be saved (nor can mine). We believe cats like other animals do not have souls (though personally they are my favourite animals). On a more trivial note can I point out that a cat called Bismarck seems doomed to a sad end. If named for the politician he was ousted. If for the battleship, I hope there are no nearby dogs by the names of Rodney or King George V.

  • Turgon

    the dissenter,
    Sorry posts crossed. I cannot fault any of that. More importantly Elenwe (on my left shoulder) agrees.

    Regards

  • Cheers Turgon, I look forward to it.

  • Driftwood

    Turgon
    While I do not share your belief system but have a fellow interest in naval and military history, just 1 question which I suspect I know the answer to. from someone who considers themselves an animal like any other..
    Do you accept Evolution?
    And a ps to that, If not, What do you think watching those brilliant David Attenborough documentaries?

    Re: The cat was named after the greatest European politician of his era, not the pocket battleship. Previous felines were called Metternich and Alfredo (Stroessner). I have another called Henry (Kissinger).

  • Turgon

    Driftwood,
    I do not really accept evolution but equally do not discount it. I believe that if God had wanted to create the world by evolution he could have. I believe in creation but do not want it taught as science. It is a faith not science based position. Equally I believe that some Christians believe in evolution: that is fine. For reasons I cannot adequately explain I feel that God wants me to accept creation and that is fine by me.

    Sorry utterly contradictory but in essence: I do not care how the world is here. Does that make some sense?

    The documentaries are great: amongst my favourite TV: though I want more documentaries on Killer whales and also Blue whales; I like whales.

    Completely contradictory and nonsense I know but an honest attempt at an answer.

    Regards

  • Pigeon Toes

    Um again I ask is it possible that with reference to the Matthew 5:28 quote that Iris’ “affair” was entirely one sided.

    Can someone confirm that there is evidence or indeed that Mr Mc Cambley has confirmed that there was a sexual relationship.

    If we are to believe that Mrs Robinson is now incapable of giving coherent responses, how are we expected to believe that the written statement was indeed penned by Mrs Robinson?

    I mean it would be just plain irresponsible to allow such an ill woman to make any statement…

    Or has someone got Power of Attorney, to make those decisions on her behalf?

    It’s also interesting that Mr Robinson is inclined to believe the rest of the Spotlight programme. Except of course the pieces which painted him in a bad light…

  • Driftwood

    Turgon
    off topic, but the ‘Life’ episode featuring the Killer ‘Whale’ (actually a Dolphin, but…)that negotiated the tide to push seals into the lagoon was outstanding.
    Again off topic but I think the decision of the Royal Navy to leave many of the surviving Kriegsmarine sailors on the ‘Bismarck’ to the sea was shameful.

    Some forgiveness and repentance needed there maybe?

    ps Did you know Terence O Neill was almost killed by the shells from HMS Rodney as the Irish guards approached Caen?

  • Dewi

    Turgon – that’s all total superstitious medieval nonsense. Your last paragraph says it all – forget religion and contrition the witch should resign…..hmmm

  • fpveritas

    14

    I never took any of your comments seriousley at any time

    I know more about the FP &DUP; that you will ever
    know Look at the nunber of FP MLA/S

  • Alias

    “That does not mean that fundamentalists would feel that she can avoid the practical ramifications of what has happened; nor can she avoid responsibility for her actions.”

    Well, that’s good but I wonder to what degree this apparent rendering onto Caesar is actually compromised by a sentimental belief that runs along the lines that if the higher power is alleged to have forgiven the transgressor then the lower power would be well-advised to follow suit (forgive the inappropriate gambling metaphor)? This concept of forgiveness still seems to have the effect of weakening a demand for justice, notwithstanding your helpful essay.

    Judaism also has a concept of forgiveness, but it is not conditional on G-d doing the forgiving: it is conditional on the will of the person who has been ‘sinned’ against, with the sinner asking the wronged party for forgiveness and showing genuine remorse while doing so. G-d is not used as a proxy in Judaism.

    Incidentally, how do you reconcile modern psychiatry with sin, since it is now known, for example, that some ‘flock’ do not have a conscience (and cannot therefore repent) and that all of the flock have an unconscious (and cannot therefore know if they have sinned or not) and that other flock have a ‘mental illness’ that means they are of unsound mind and cannot be held accountable for their actions?

  • PaddyReilly

    The most relevant scriptural quotation is from the seventh chapter of Matthew, I would say:-

    Judge not, that ye be not judged. For with what judgment ye judge, ye shall be judged: and with what measure ye mete, it shall be measured to you again. And why beholdest thou the mote that is in thy brother’s eye, but considerest not the beam that is in thine own eye?

    So what matters for Iris is not her contrition for her own behaviour, but her repentence for her condemnation of others.

  • According to Suzanne Breen on TALKSPORT Irish had an affair with Kirk’s dad as well!

  • Driftwood

    Kirks dad, Billy was a bit of a boozer-big time-killed him.
    Iris wanted to guide him in to the heavenly gate, so to speak. Whether she did so in a spiritual or physical way is not a criminal offence.
    So she had the Father, the son and the holy ghost.
    Better than a rabbit I suppose…

    Not much to do in Ballyhackamore after you’ve read the News Letter, apart from servicing your constituents.

  • pauljames

    Will Crawley Radio Ulster Sunday Morning

    “As the political consequences of the scandal unfold, Sunday Sequence will be assessing the impact on Northern Ireland’s religious culture. Free Presbyterian minister David McIlveen will join James McConnell, pastor to the Robinsons, the theologian Dr Gladys Ganiel, and former editor of the News Letter Austin Hunter.”

  • alkmaar if that’s true it puts IR into the Alan Clark league.

    paddyreilly is correct. To listen to the Nolan show where IR unloaded on the gays is not to hear a voice of concern but one of condemnation. The excuse often proffered in these situations is that the media make impossible demands of politicians morality, but IR made the rod for her own back.

    Any of her Christian constituents are obliged to forgive her if she requests it in respect of the breach of public trust – Matthew 18:21-22 applies irrespective of sect. But they sure as hell aren’t obliged to vote for her over another.

  • On Politics.ie there is a picture of tomorrow’s Sunday Tribune front page. Here is a link:

    http://election.ie/wp-content/uploads/2010/01/trib_jan10.jpg

  • danielmoran

    scaramouch msg 7 yes but if that pillar of salt is iris, then gays as still just as queer. lol.

  • danielmoran

    Driftwood…..msg 2 Serving your constituents OR servicing your constituents? whether it is nobler to suffer the slings and…..zzzzzzz.

  • Driftwood

    Scaramoosh
    I meant’serving’..can’t think why the typo.

  • Driftwood

    pauljames
    So 3 Gypsy astrologers and an indulgent hack on to give support to ‘NI First Lady’ tomorrow morning.
    Will Crawley should have added Max Clifford to his sub Oprah pack.

  • georgieleigh

    “Matthew 5:28 “But I say unto you, That whosoever looketh on a woman to lust after her hath committed adultery with her already in his heart”

    Love that line. So you might as well shag her.

  • Alias

    I would guess that it is more of an admonition not to let your heart stray from your own wife, since lust may lead on to adultery if the desire is not checked. I don’t think it can mean that thinking about doing something is the same as actually doing it, as that would mean that Christians are guilty of a lot of crimes or ‘sins’ that they haven’t actually committed. It would conversely mean, of course, that they would be rewarded by the higher power for thinking about doing good deeds rather than actually doing them.

    Something I find interesting is that there isn’t any fundamental requirement among “fundies” in NI that forgiveness should be sought by the ‘sinner’ from the person who has suffered as a result of the sin, i.e. is it only the higher power who must forgive. Iris said that that higher power had forgiven her, and so her sin was gone. Presumably then this absolution was not dependent on Peter forgiving her. In other words, the actual wronged party is deemed to be irrelevant – she doesn’t even have to ask him for his forgiveness in order to be forgiven. Surely this is profoundly anti-social in that it encourages the sinner to think that a proxy can be used in making amends for wrongdoing, and that the wronged party doesn’t even have to be addressed?

    Being Jewish, I was brought up with the belief that you had to make amends with the person that you did wrong to, and that in seeking that person’s forgiveness with genuine contriteness that you went in G-d’s grace. Likewise, if the person you did wrong also goes in G-d’s grace then he or she would forgive you (assuming he or she was also Jewish). Unfortunately, there is no short cut in Judaism whereby we can ask G-d to forgive our transgressions against others rather than ask those others for their forgiveness. It would certainly be easier than humbling one’s self before another! Obviously, transgressions against G-d can only be forgiven by G-d.

    As we move to a post-religious society, we’ll begin to realise the important role that religion’s moral codes played in keeping us all civilised, and lament their passing. The human beings will return to being vicious apes sans their idols. 😉

  • Thanks for the enlightening post, Turgon, and apologies in advance for the following:

    With all due respect for people’s various beliefs, I find it nauseating that sinners with religion know that they hold a get- out-of-hell-card thanks to a revoltingly cynical reliance on biblical texts to excuse their damnable behaviour. Can you imagine a court system that forgave every transgression when the accused said he/she was sorry and would repent?

    I find it utterly contemptible that so called Christians (from Fundamentalists to Catholics) can knowingly sin and then suddenly (usually when caught) appeal to and, yes, receive qualified forgiveness/absolution from God when they err.

    These so called Christians can be born a thousand times but God won’t be fooled by the flippant opportunistic abuse of his teachings and hopefully will dole out appropriate punishment to the guilty by tossing them onto a spit in hell.

    I wish people would open their eyes more to the fraudsters who find Jesus/God when they’re in a tight spot. The vast majority are not genuinely sorry for what they did. They’re genuinely sorry that they got caught. And by cynically playing the God card, they exploit the goodwill of genuine Christians.

    People need to show a lot less forgiveness for these hucksters.

    Glad I got that off my chest.

  • Greenflag

    alias ,,

    ‘Being Jewish, I was brought up with the belief that you had to make amends with the person that you did wrong to, and that in seeking that person’s forgiveness with genuine contriteness that you went in G-d’s grace.,

    I take it then that you don’t have much hope for the Palestinians forgiving the Israelis their transgressions against Palestinians etc?.

    ‘As we move to a post-religious society, we’ll begin to realise the important role that religion’s moral codes played in keeping us all civilised, ‘

    While I would not deny the important role of religion historically in uplifting humanity’s civilisation it has not always been an uplifting ‘journey’. Being jewish and assuming you know your history that should be self evident .

    Of course the ‘worship’ of Mammon in recent decades as an ersatz and or replacement for religion has led to a decrease in human ‘happiness’ or so the pollsters tell us anyway .

    There’s nothing vicious about apes btw . In terms of ethical behaviour one to another ‘humanity’ has been a million times more vicious aided and abetted of course by advanced technology and machete and the dominant ideology and/or true religion.

    We are all slaves to an economic system that cares not a jot for people as human beings but only for their ‘serviceability’ as consumers . And our politicians are ‘slaves’ too to the great ‘money /mammon God . Iris’s little 5,000 kickback is but a tiny drop in the ocean of political graft and corruption that prevails in what we like to call ‘democracy’!

  • Greenflag

    ‘They’re genuinely sorry that they got caught.’

    Indeed . It’s called breaking the 11th commandment. Moses I believe had twenty before he descended from the mountain and decided that the Lord was being too longwinded in his directions . The commandments were on two tablets -ten on each .Moses had scratched through nine on the second tablet when he tripped and dropped the tablet and thus the 11the commandment did’nt survive the trip down the mountain .

    There used to be in former religious days much conjecture about the content of the remaining 9 commandments .

    However we now know that it was either Bank of America or Citi Bank or Goldman Sachs that paid off Moses to keep his trap shut or he’d never be allowed into the promised land;)

  • I find it very sad that so many of the above comments are using recent events to justify their belief that Christianity is a fantasy. Just because one Christian has sinned, doesn’t take away from the truth of God’s word. In fact, if any of you would take time to look into what the bible actually says about sin, it advises us not to look at other men or women because they will always fall short of our expectations. Only the Lord Jesus Christ is perfect and without sin.

    Yes I believe that God will forgive IR if she has repented, and yes it is proper that she should step down from public office because of her actions. AGAIN the BIBLE teaches that our sin has consequences, we all reap what we sow.
    I don’t understand why people are making a big issue out of her Christianity in all this? If people want to judge her, it should be based on her actions as an MP/MLA, not as a Christian! Especially people who are unsaved and are falling a lot further short of the glory of God themselves!

    “All have sinned and come short of the glory of God”

  • Mayoman

    On a biblical note, isn;t it true that Christians believe that when you are married, you become ‘one’

    “Have you not read that at the beginning the Creator “made them male and female,” and said, “For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh”? So they are no longer two, but one. Therefore, what God has joined together, let no one separate.

    – Matthew 19:4-6; also Mk 10:7-9q”

    Therefore, aren’t Iris’ sins those of PR as well? Now, I don’t believe this at all, but if PR is such a good Christian, and really believes this stuff, shouldn’t he go because having ‘become one flesh’ he has sinned just as much as Iris?

  • Driftwood

    doesn’t take away from the truth of God’s word

    Evidence lilagribben, evidence?

    I believe in Zeus, and all the other gods and godesses at Mount Olympus. I hope you dont think your god is better than any of mine?

    I tried that with a Nordic god (Wotan, Thor etc)fan in a pub one time and it ended in fisticuffs!

  • Mrazik

    I don’t understand why people are making a big issue out of her Christianity in all this? If people want to judge her, it should be based on her actions as an MP/MLA, not as a Christian!

    Posted by lilagribben.com on Jan 10, 2010 @ 04:13 PM

    Because she has used her position as an MP/MLA and councillor to condemn others. Undoubtedly she has also used these positions in the public policy context to ensure her concepts of morality are imposed through legislation etc. Indeed, her (ex) party have specialised in this.

  • Mrazik

    …has specialised in this.

  • TAFKABO

    The person who has made the biggest Issue of Iris’ Christianity is Iris herself, she’s the one that made it part and parcel of her being an MP/MLA.

    Oh, and do you also agree that Iris had no right to condemn gay people or their chosen lifestyle, given that you’ve just argued we have no right to condemn Iris or hers?

  • TAFKABO

    It’s always the supreme arrogance of believers, especially Christians that gets me. They think they have a right to make laws imposing their standards and strictures on those of us who are not believers, and at the same time they tell us we have no right to judge them when they fail to adhere to those same standards.

    Contempt doesn’t even come close to what I feel for them.

  • fpveritas

    It is obvious that the Free Presbyterian Church is heading for real trouble

    David Mc Ilveen says that Peter Robinson should step down for a period

    Ron Johnstone ( present moderator but for just how long ) says that David Mc Ilveen does not really speak for the FPC

    Recipe for more trouble in the FPC =
    Has Big Ian not caused enough trouble with the hard liners in the church which he founded ?

    Paisley has lived long enough to see Big split in FPC and major split in DUP

    What a record!

  • Mayoman, yes it true when a man and woman get married they become one, but this is in terms of their flesh, not their souls. Everyone has responsibility for their own soul and we are all individually accountable for our own sin.

    Driftwood, My evidence is in the truth of God’s word, and my personal experience of it. It is not my intention to outline the gospel in this discussion, I was commenting on the political situation. If you would like to read more on the evidence supporting the truth of God’s word, I would recommend first of all reading the bible, but also eternitywhere.com and answersingenesis.org

    Mrazik, no matter who the politician is, their personal views are always going to come out over one issue or another, it just so happens that when any religious opinion is expressed it is amplified as a big issue in this country. Yes I agree with you that she probably has used her concepts of morality when trying to push through legislation etc but in doing so she is representing a section of the electorate because many of them agree with her views. In the same way, those politicians who would have a different standpoint are representing their part of the electorate. Isn’t the reason we vote for the people we do because we agree with them on big issues?

    TAFKABO, I think that no matter what my response to your comment is, you will find it hard to accept it, given the contempt you feel towards Christians. Nobody has the right to CONDEMN anyone else, because in the eyes of God we are all sinners. However we can recognize when a person has done wrong, as is the case with IR, Christians will admit, she has sinned before God and before the powers that govern our country. But this shouldn’t be used as a case for thinking that Christianity is just a religion that imposes standards on others.

    Whatever your experience of Christians has been, I wouldn’t let that put you off finding the true meaning in Christianity. If you look for faults in Christians, you WILL find them. They are sinners like everyone else, but have found and accepted repentance and faith in The Lord Jesus Christ.

    fpveritas, I think a BIG SPLIT in the FPC is a bit over the top! despite popular belief, churches are slightly different to political parties.