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HelterSkelter750
The ups and downs of a cathedral Helter Skelter

The Helter Skelter may have gone from Norwich Anglican Cathedral but the debate rages on about fairground rides, crazy golf and controversial films in places of worship. John Betts gives his view.

 
This year has seen a rash of events in Anglican cathedrals such as the Helter Skelter in Norwich, crazy golf at Rochester. Screening of “The Wicker Man” and “Don’t Look Now” at Derby, two films which include a graphic sex scene, full female nudity and a Pagan sacrifice. And “Queering the Church, beyond tolerance to inclusion” at Newcastle.

How should we view such events taking place in a Christian context? Are they shocking or reasonable ways to reach out to the public in today’s world seeking to interact with those of faith and no faith? Should we rejoice at the numbers of those passing through the cathedral?

Stuart White, of BBC Look East, in his interview with Bishop Gavin Ashenden, asked: “If out of the many people who have visited the cathedral even two begin to regularly attend the cathedral wouldn’t that make everything worthwhile?”

Speaking for myself, I turn to the New Testament to seek what approach the apostles made in their day as they reached out to a pagan world.  Speaking at Mars Hill, Paul said: “In the past God overlooked such ignorance, but now he commands all people everywhere to repent.”

Surely it is not our role to bring the world into the church in the kind of way we are seeing today but to be counter-cultural.
 
Writing to the Christians living in Corinth, a city proverbial for its immorality and worldly in the extreme, Paul says: “I resolved to know nothing while I was with you except Jesus Christ and him crucified. Not for the apostle any adapting to the culture but a radical declaration of the Gospel “so that your faith might not rest on men's wisdom, but on God's power.”
 
Again writing to the churches of Galatia, a letter in which he seeks to correct some errors, the problem being “that some people are throwing you into confusion and are trying to pervert the gospel of Christ.” He concludes his letter by saying “May I never boast except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, through which the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world.”
 
For me it’s time to return to the Gospel and preach the sincere milk of the Word. It is one thing to seek new ways to reach people but quite another to end up watering down the truth and end up with another gospel.
 
I was struck just this last weekend when visiting St Stephen’s church in Norwich by the testimony I heard of the visit of The Bible Comes to Life exhibition. It’s a touring exhibition that uses unique exhibition materials to teach people about living the Biblical life and gives the opportunity to experience fascinating artefacts that illustrate the foundations of our Jewish and Christian faiths. I understand that many people were ministered to in the name of Jesus.
 
We are living in times of great opportunity and challenge to the church of Jesus Christ. Our nation needs to be re-evangelised. It is time to step up to the mark and declared again in public and in private the truth of the gospel in the power of the Holy Spirit.


John Betts is former pastor of New Hope Christian Centre in Norwich.

 

 

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Feedback:
Dave Brennan (Guest) 30/08/2019 13:31
Thank you John - excellent words. Amen!

dave@brephos.org
Jonathan Hammond - C3F (Guest) 30/08/2019 23:46
Helter-skelter in Norwich Anglican Cathedral.

John Betts gives his view.

The ups and downs of a
Cathedral Helter Skelter

The Helter Skelter may have gone from Norwich Anglican Cathedral but the debate rages on about fairground rides, crazy golf and controversial films in places of worship.

This year has seen a rash of events in Anglican cathedrals such as the Helter Skelter in Norwich, crazy golf at Rochester. Screening of “The Wicker Man” and “Don’t Look Now” at Derby, two films which include a graphic sex scene, full female nudity and a Pagan sacrifice. And “Queering the Church, beyond tolerance to inclusion” at Newcastle.

How should we view such events taking place in a Christian context? Are they shocking or reasonable ways to reach out to the public in today’s world seeking to interact with those of faith and no faith? Should we rejoice at the numbers of those passing through the cathedral?

Stuart White, of BBC Look East, in his interview with Bishop Gavin Ashenden, asked:
“If out of the many people who have visited the cathedral even two begin to regularly attend the cathedral wouldn’t that make everything worthwhile?”

Speaking for myself, I turn to the New Testament to seek what approach the apostles made in their day as they reached out to a pagan world.
Speaking at Mars Hill, Paul said:
“In the past God overlooked such ignorance, but now he commands all people everywhere to repent.”

Surely it is not our role to bring the world into the church in the kind of way we are seeing today but to be counter-cultural.

Writing to the Christians living in Corinth, a city proverbial for its immorality and worldly in the extreme, Paul says:
“I resolved to know nothing while I was with you except Jesus Christ and him crucified.
Not for the apostle any adapting to the culture but a radical declaration of the Gospel
“so that your faith might not rest on men's wisdom, but on God's power.”

Again writing to the churches of Galatia, a letter in which he seeks to correct some errors, the problem being “that some people are throwing you into confusion and are trying to pervert the gospel of Christ.”
He concludes his letter by saying
“May I never boast except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, through which the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world.”

For me it’s time to return to the Gospel and preach the sincere milk of the Word.

It is one thing to seek new ways to reach people but quite another to end up watering down the truth and end up with another gospel.

I was struck just this last weekend when visiting St Stephen’s church in Norwich by the testimony I heard of the visit of The Bible Comes to Life exhibition. It’s a touring exhibition that uses unique exhibition materials to teach people about living the Biblical life and gives the opportunity to experience fascinating artefacts that illustrate the foundations of our Jewish and Christian faiths.

I understand that many people were ministered to in the name of Jesus.

We are living in times of great opportunity and challenge to the church of Jesus Christ. Our nation needs to be re-evangelised*. It is time to step up to the mark and declared again in public and in private the truth of the gospel in the power of the Holy Spirit.

John Betts is former pastor of New Hope Christian Centre in Norwich.

____+++____

* re-evangelised.
I've NEVER liked that word, John.
It's a Word that's a 20th century lazy-shorthand-term for Matthew 28.

Apart from that, John Betts,
yes....
The Holy Spirit in-us, as Christ's1HolyLiving Virgin-BrideChurch of His1HolyLiving Obedient-Disciple-Ambassadors, HE is Teaching and Directing those who call themselves "christian"...

>2 Chronicles 7:13-14<
~ Bible-Prophecy

Remember my reading out
Deuteronomy 28 in Eaton Parish Church, and
Isaiah 58 in The Lighthouse, Grapes Hill, and
2 Chronicles 7:14 in The YMCA, and
Jeremiah 18 as The Editorial Lead in the
2nd Issue of Good News for Norwich newspaper...?
///
ALL these Holy Spirit-Breathed scriptures
are STILL Bible-Prophecy over Norwich-UK,
30 years on...

Ask The Lord, King Jesus...

Maranatha!!

Ephesians 4&5; 1 Corinthians 12:12ff;
Romans 11; Psalm 133; John 10-15-16-17..
norman wright,Dunoon (Guest) 01/09/2019 17:29
John Betts hits it on the head and brings biblical sense to the "entertainment" to attract people into the church.The church should be influencing the world rather than the world's philosophy invading the church!!!!
Paul Saint (Guest) 15/11/2019 13:26
I feel like the bible verses quoted are tangential to the topic; which is strange, given that there is a verse that almost directly deals with this topic:

1 Cor 9

19 Though I am free and belong to no one, I have made myself a slave to everyone, to win as many as possible. 20 To the Jews I became like a Jew, to win the Jews. To those under the law I became like one under the law (though I myself am not under the law), so as to win those under the law. 21 To those not having the law I became like one not having the law (though I am not free from God’s law but am under Christ’s law), so as to win those not having the law. 22 To the weak I became weak, to win the weak. I have become all things to all people so that by all possible means I might save some. 23 I do all this for the sake of the gospel, that I may share in its blessings.

I'm sure we could carry his list on - "to the helter-skelter-loving, thriller watching, mini-golf enthusiast, I became a boring irrelevance that did nothing but pooh-pooh others' attempts at engagement"

Our churches, our cathedrals, they are just buildings. (Thankfully. It's disgusting how many of the artefacts they contain glorify the rich more than they glorify God.)

That's not to say all things are permissible; Paul covers that in the next chapter:

23 “I have the right to do anything,” you say—but not everything is beneficial. “I have the right to do anything”—but not everything is constructive. 24 No one should seek their own good, but the good of others.

But there is nothing destructive in a Helter Skelter or crazy golf. I would rather see Christians critiquing those films and engaging with filmgoers than have the internet filled with outpourings of fear - censorship has always been more alluring than freedom.

And as for “Queering the Church, beyond tolerance to inclusion” at Newcastle, I'll take your lead, and not deal with that topic directly. What I will say is that when Jesus speaks inconvenient truth, he speaks to those who are respected, loved and secure. When he speaks love and compassion, he speaks to those who are disrespected, unloved and insecure. When he speaks anger, he speaks to those who would put others down, place burdens on their shoulders, swindle and dominate.

My worry is that when we say "return to the Gospel, watering down the truth", we're not actually talking about the good news of Jesus Christ, who came to seek and save, and who took my sins upon his shoulders. We're euphamismicly talking about watering down the law. We're avoiding the truth. We have changed the bible to read:

"We all, like sheep, have gone astray, each of us has turned to our own way; and the Lord has laid on him the iniquity of us all. Except those crazy golf lovers. They shall receive their iniquity upon their own heads."


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