Bill Muehlenberg's commentary on issues of the day...

On the British Riots

Aug 10, 2011

With five days of anarchy on the streets, buildings burning, streets unsafe, looters running amok, and already a billion pounds in damages, it is not too soon to start asking a few hard questions concerning the riots in Britain. Why are the streets of London aflame? How do we account for all this in a modern, prosperous Western nation?

There are a number of features which have contributed to this madness. They include: the abject failure of multiculturalism; the rise of the welfare state and the incessant demand for entitlements; the meltdown of family and community; the secularisation of society; the relativisation of morality; and the stranglehold of political correctness.

But it might be wisest to allow some English and international voices to share their concerns here. Already a number of incisive commentaries have been penned, and I offer here some of the best of their thinking on this worrying situation. One of the earliest and best pieces was by Jewish commentator Melanie Phillips. Her short but penetrating piece is worth citing in total:

“As London descends into anarchy this evening, with disturbances, arson, looting and other criminality breaking out in one borough after another for the third night running, it is clear that this is organised disorder, with thugs being dispatched to provoke and escalate hooliganism and rioting from area to area through use of social media and apparently now, the more secure BlackBerries.

“It also seems clear that this follows in a direct line from the disorders in recent years, such as we have seen at the G20 demonstrations or the storming of Conservative party headquarters over student fees, which again seemed to owe their violence to organised anarchist (if that’s not a contradiction in terms) and revolutionary leftist groups. This is almost certainly because of the near-delirious belief among such groups that, with the western economy in meltdown and the political class and the police discredited and disdained, Britain is on the cusp of a revolutionary moment. So they hijack specific protests or demonstrations in order to smash up property, police officers and anything or anyone deemed to represent the established order in order to bring about the End of Capitalism As We Know It.

“What we are seeing, in the sluggish and unprepared reaction of the police and political class to these events, compounded by their serial failure to grasp from previous such disturbances just what is going on here, is a catastrophic combination of professional inertia and incompetence, serial eyes off the ball, paralysing political correctness, an apparent reluctance to identify, name and deal with subversive activity, a capital’s police force in systemic disarray,  a criminal justice system that has become an insulting joke, a refusal from the top to draw clear lines in the sand and to exercise moral and political leadership, a pandering instead to mob rule, tyro politicians who have never had a grown-up job and couldn’t run the proverbial whelk-stall let alone get a grip on a culture teetering on the edge of the cliff, a third-rate civil service machine that no longer can be relied on to keep the show on the road, a culture of narcissistic selfishness on an epic scale and a general breakdown in education, morality and elementary codes of civilised behaviour, much of it deliberately willed on for the past three decades by a grossly irresponsible and politically motivated intelligentsia that set out to smash the west. And now London is being smashed as a result.”

Arnold Ahlert speaks to family breakdown and the debilitating effects of the welfare state: “Perhaps just as important is the destruction of the nuclear family. Fully 40 percent of all American children are now born out of wedlock, a figure which rises to approximately 70 percent among black Americans. In the UK, out-of-wedlock births now account for nearly 50% of all births, on track to becoming the majority of births (and in some areas, 75% by 2014). The societal wreckage this produces has been well-documented and will not be reiterated here, save for the fact that a wholesale breakdown in morality, like the technology that facilitates it, enables greater criminal activity….

“But there is a bigger consequence that arises from the expectations for, and the inevitable failure of, welfare-statism. Whether they realize it or not, many Americans, as well as their British counterparts, are undermining the social integrity of their own societies. Little incentive remains for providing for oneself — or for that matter, one’s offspring — when the grotesqueness of the ‘social safety net’ renders this virtue irrelevant. When society has removed all negative consequences to poor life choices, which keep people and their progeny nestled in the underclass (child abandonment, disdain for education, glorification of thug culture, etc.), it effectively rewards them. It is thus absurd to expect these behavioral trends to disappear rather than the reverse.

“The situation is all the more exacerbated by a culture that shields the very segments of society that perpetuate these trends from any scrutiny and responsibility — primarily due to cowardice over racial matters. Hence the sweeping media silence on the disturbing trend of minority-perpetrated mob violence, evident in most of the reportage on these incidents. Here again, on even this most rudimentary level, negative consequences for self-destructive behavior are lifted. We cannot even identify the source of such criminality, nor demand change on the part of the offenders.”

Leftist commentator Brendan O’Neill says it is “less political rebellion, more mollycoddled mob”. He explains: “The political context is not the [education] cuts or racist policing, it is the welfare state, which has nurtured a generation that has no sense of community spirit or social solidarity.

“What we have on the streets of London and elsewhere are welfare-state mobs. The youth who are shattering their own communities represent a generation that has been suckled by the state more than any generation before it. They live in urban territories where the sharp-elbowed intrusion of the welfare state during the past 30 years has pushed aside older ideals of self-reliance and community spirit. The march of the welfare state into every aspect of urban, less well-off people’s existences, from their financial wellbeing to their child-rearing habits and even into their emotional lives, with the rise of therapeutic welfarism designed to ensure that the poor remain ‘mentally fit’, has undermined individual resourcefulness and social bonding. The antisocial youthful rioters are the end-product of this antisocial system of state intervention.

“The most striking thing about the rioters is how little they care for their own communities. You don’t have to be a right-winger with helmet hair and a niggling discomfort with black or chavvy yoof (I am the opposite of that) to recognise that this violence is not political, just criminal. It is entertaining to watch the political contortions of commentators who claim the riots are an uprising against the evils of capitalism, as they struggle to explain why the targets have been Foot Locker sports shops and why the only ‘gains’ made by the rioters have been to get a new pair of trainers or an Apple laptop. In the Brixton race riots of 1981, looting and the destruction of local infrastructure were largely incidental to the broader expression of political anger, by-products of the main show, which was a clash between a community and the forces of the state. But in these riots, looting and smashing stuff up is all there is. It is childish nihilism.”

He also speaks to the seeming inability for the English authorities to even offer effective crowd control and workable policing: “There is one more important part to this rioting story: the reaction of the cops. Their inability to handle the riots effectively reveals the extent to which the British police are adapted to consensual rather than conflictual policing. It also demonstrates how far they have been paralysed by the politics of victimhood, where virtually every police activity gets followed up by a complaint or a legal case. Their kid-glove approach to the rioters only fuels the riots because, as one observer put it, when the rioters ‘see that the police cannot control the situation, [that] leads to sort of adrenalin-fuelled euphoria’. So this street violence was largely ignited by the excesses of the welfare state and intensified by the discombobulation of the police state. The riots tell a very interesting story about modern Britain.”

Michael Auslin also comments on this disturbing feature of the riots: “As England is wracked by spreading mobs of anarchist youth, Britain’s Home Secretary reveals the rot at the core of the modern entitlement state. Responding to calls for a firmer response to yobs attacking private property and innocent citizens, Theresa May intoned, ‘The way we police in Britain is not through use of water cannon,’ she told Sky News. ‘The way we police in Britain is through consent of communities.’

“She may not have noticed that major communities in Britain are under attack, and not just undergoing an Anglo version of Spring Break in Dayton Beach. May’s statement is nonsensical, for either she is talking about the very rioters themselves or assuming that private citizens too afraid to come out of their homes expect some type of dialogue with the Metropolitan Police. Worse, it sends the very strongest signal to Britons that their leaders no longer have the will to maintain public order, which is the very fundament of civil society.”

Short term issues can be addressed here, such as getting the police force to start acting like a police force. But the bigger, more entrenched problems which I spoke to earlier – the welfare state, the failure of multiculturalism, the de-Christianisation of England – will of course require much longer and deeper solutions.

[1616 words]

51 Responses to On the British Riots

  • The rising anarchy, nihilism and despair that we see displayed on the streets of Britain by the younger generation has not just come out of thin air but – in my view, and that of many others – is the result of long range Marxist planning, going all the way back to Gramsci and the Frankfurt School, nearly a century ago.

    One by one their objectives of dismantling the church, marriage, the family, morality, the language, education and what it means to be human have been ticked off. What we see in Britain and throughout every Western Nation is the result of Marxism and the simultaneous retreat of Christianity.

    If ever we wanted to see what a society looks like when it loses its fear of God and worships man and materialism, when it experiments with radically attempting to change the very nature of marriage by encouraging families to come in all shapes and sizes; when it allows petty bureaucrats, in the shape of Equality and Diversity Advisors and Minority Support Police to harass those who would maintain decency, and allows the state to become the supreme arbiter of morality and conscience, then we have to look no further than what is taking place on the streets of Britain.

    David Skinner, UK

  • In 1997 the Labour Party were swept into power with plans for building a New Labour, a New Britain – a New Jerusalem. At the time, there seemed to be practically nothing of a revolutionary nature that Mr Tony Blair might do by way of combating the values of the then exhausted and sleaze-ridden Conservative Party, and for which the British people wouldn’t have given him their full support.

    Yet the form this revolution took was not a demand for redressing the widening gap between the rich and poor, or with addressing the problems of a growing illiteracy amongst school children, or a breakdown in discipline in our schools, or a growing anarchy on our streets – or even transforming Britain into a thriving and productive economy. Instead it was the demand for drugs, alcohol, condoms, treatment for AIDS, HIV and a host of other STIs, as well as abortions for teenage girls – all free and confidential at the point of delivery – and all without the knowledge or authority of parents. All this was paid for by the productive and stable part of society, namely families with a husband and wife, mother and father at their centre, and the voluntary aid of numerous Christian based organisations.

    When we view Britain, fourteen years later, what do we see?
    We see: Britain not just exhausted and sleaze ridden, but demoralised and paralysed by political correctness, being impelled, by the present Conservative party, with no slackening of pace, down the same Gadarene slope.
    We see the corruption of government, the breakdown of trust and loyalty at both corporate and family level, the dramatic rise in divorce rates, the extermination of millions of our unborn babies, the widespread sexual abuse of children, especially when put into the care of social services, the spectre of enforced euthanasia hanging over the elderly and disabled.
    We see the rise in motiveless, violent crimes committed by children that would have been rare even among adults a generation ago.
    We see a society blighted by addictions to alcohol, drugs, gambling and pornography.
    We see the huge increase in mental and emotional disorders amongst our children and the sheer hopelessness and nihilism of feral children being raised on rundown, gang-ridden estates throughout Britain.
    We see our prisons, bursting with an increasingly younger population.
    We see rising unemployment, rising debt, homelessness, insecurity, and the imminent collapse of business, trade and industry.
    We see society debauched, infantilized, feminised, emasculated, stupefied, bedazzled and seduced by cutting edge technologies, the mass media.
    But above all we see the commodification of human life – aborted, categorised, marketed, sexualised and finally euthanized.

    Because our children and grandchildren have been drip fed the idea that they are victims of repressive authority, typified in the shape of parents, of fathers and mothers, of teachers – in fact of anyone over the age of 50, they have grown up forever feeling discontent – that life owes them something. And, because their expectations and appetites are not fulfilled; strongholds of rage, bitterness, indifference to the plight and suffering of others, contempt, arrogance, envy, greed, lust, hate and murder take control of their increasingly meaningless lives. They will take what they think is rightfully theirs in order to satisfy what only God can supply.

    Like a fire feeding off itself, Britain’s population from the comfort of their own homes watch for entertainment, their own children acting out in reality what, from the cradle, their imaginations been fed by way uncensored mindless violence, on TV and film. Thank you very much Mr Gramsci.

    David Skinner, UK

  • There’s some very telling comments in the quotes you shared, Bill. Thanks.
    Alison Keen

  • I tend to think Brendan O’Neil is more correct than Melanie Phillips. I don’t think this is an organised leftist riot (though it does bare similarities to such). I think it is a result of a dysfunctional, entitled but opportunistic underclass, that have not had the moral upbringing of a Christian, intact family environment.

    This is what happens when you tell people there is no right or wrong answer to questions of morality.

    Read Theodore Dalrymple. His works are prophetic on this.

    Damien Spillane

  • Melanie Phillips has just written this, but I think she is wrong.

    The vast sea of nameless fathers and traditional parents are not blame for what has happened in Britain. What political power or voice do they have? None! The real criminals can be identified far quicker and more easily. Tony Blair, Harriet Harman, the gay MPs who dominated the Labour cabinet, such as Peter Mandelson, Ben Bradshaw, Lord Chris Smith, Chris Bryant, Angela Eagle and her twin (straight) sister, Maria, plus all the “useful idiots” who have aided and abetted them.

    I would sincerely hope that all these would be brought to trial for waging war on the British people.

    David Skinner, UK

  • Listen to these idiot girls bragging about their rioting. This is very sad times for Britain and the western world;

    Damien Spillane

  • Bill,

    Did you see the media finally decided to name one of the ethnic groups involved in the riots. Amazing how the media still can’t keep it’s bias out

    Paul Wakeford

  • David, thank you for your posts. My question concerns British Muslims. Are they involved in these riots at all? Or are they waiting on the sidelines for British society and government, the rule of law, etc. to implode, at which time they move in and take over?
    Murray R. Adamthwaite

  • Murray the Muslims have been handed on a plate an invitation to come off the sidelines and get involved with the death of three of their young men. No politician wants to upset the Ummah and this incident may well give them just the excuse they have been waiting to demand that they take charge of the policing of their own part of Birmingham.

    Shariah!! Bring it on for this is a just a snap shot of 21st century, cutting edge, enlightened Britain:

    David Skinner, UK

  • When we view all this and we ponder on Ian Duncan Smith’s statement: “The collapse of marriage has brought soaring crime rates, doubled the chances of living in poverty and cost the country an astonishing £100 billion a year….”

    We would think that life cannot get any worse, that the pendulum will swing the other way. But not so. The meltdown in society is gainsaid by Teresa May, our illustrious Home Secretary, who, whilst giving her first major speech on LGBT rights at an event hosted by the gay lobby group Stonewall, interspersed her speech frequently with comments like:

    “I think that shows how far we, as a society, have come;”…. “As a country we have come a long way;” and “as a party, my own party, the Conservatives have come a long way. We now have more openly gay MPs and openly gay ministers than ever before.” And yet again: “We’ve come a long way. I said at the start of my speech that as a nation we have come a long way, and we have.”

    But ominously she repeats the mantra of the gay liberation lobby – and useful friends like her – by saying that there is so much more to do. Incredibly proud that she and the Home Office came top of this year’s Stonewall Workplace Equality Index. She has said: “despite the real progress we have seen in recent years, there is much still to do.”…. “And we will go further – we will implement section 202 of the Equality Act which will remove the ban on civil partnership registrations being held on religious premises.”

    Too right she will.

    But the Christian Church, for the last two thousand years, with all its faults, has defended the faith and acted as a bulwark against such so – called progress. It remains the last defence of marriage, the family, children and civilised behaviour and yet in the words of Teresa May and David Cameron:
    “We are committed to taking action to tear down these barriers and to help build a better Britain.”

    My own Conservative, gay MP has used precisely the same jargon when I raised my concerns about the queer, Stonewall actor, (Sir) Ian McKellen, being allowed to cruise around the nation’s schools, and spread subversion and mutiny against God under the pretence of tackling homophobia. He also said: “The government remains determined to take concerted action to tearing down barriers to equal opportunities and to build a fairer society, and I fully support them in this aim.”
    Fairer society? More tolerant? More inclusive to whom? Not all animals living on Diversity Farm are equal. After less than a year in power, Mr Cameron is introducing laws that will, in time, effectively make it a criminal offence to practise the Christian faith, defend marriage based upon Biblical principles, or even for me to write a letter like this.

    To plagiarise Sir Winston Churchill: “I foresee and foretell that there will be restrictions upon the freedom of speech and debate in Parliament, on public platforms, and discussions in the Press, for it will be said – indeed, I hear it said sometimes now – that we cannot allow homosexuality or feminism to be criticised. And do not suppose that this is the end. This is only the beginning of the reckoning. This is only the first sip, the first foretaste of a bitter cup which will be proffered to us year by year, unless by a supreme recovery of moral health and martial vigour we arise again and take our stand for freedom as in the olden time.”

    Tragically I do not believe the British people have either the moral courage or will to stop the inevitable. It is just a matter of time

    David Skinner, UK

  • Thanks guys

    English commentator Theodore Dalrymple also has some incisive remarks about all this:

    “The riots in London and elsewhere in Britain are a backhanded tribute to the long-term intellectual torpor, moral cowardice, incompetence and careerist opportunism of the British political and intellectual class. They have somehow managed not to notice what has long been apparent to anyone who has taken a short walk with his eyes open down any frequented British street: that a considerable proportion of the country’s young population (a proportion that is declining) is ugly, aggressive, vicious, badly educated, uncouth and criminally inclined.”

    Bill Muehlenberg, CultureWatch

  • See also Greg Sheridan’s remarks:

    “The secular mind may rejoice at the post-religious moment of Europe, and especially of Britain. But an unemployed youth, with no tradition and no real education, with enough money more or less but not many prospects, with no source of moral authority and no help in understanding any basis for right and wrong, nothing to control an impulse, and knowing nothing of British history except that it was shameful and sexist and racist — how exactly does this youth become integrated and whole, and indeed happy?”

    Bill Muehlenberg, CultureWatch

  • And Max Hastings in the Daily Mail also has some wisdom here:

    “This is not, however, because they are victims of mistreatment or neglect. It is because it is fantastically hard to help such people, young or old, without imposing a measure of compulsion which modern society finds unacceptable. These kids are what they are because nobody makes them be anything different or better.

    “A key factor in delinquency is lack of effective sanctions to deter it. From an early stage, feral children discover that they can bully fellow pupils at school, shout abuse at people in the streets, urinate outside pubs, hurl litter from car windows, play car radios at deafening volumes and, indeed, commit casual assaults with only a negligible prospect of facing rebuke, far less retribution.”

    Bill Muehlenberg, CultureWatch

  • And Gary North:

    “I have a different analysis regarding the causes. First, there is state-funded education, k-12 (or dropping out). Second, there are minimum wage laws, which hit black teenage males most of all. Third, there is a complete breakdown of families, subsidized by state welfare. Fourth, there is envy. Fifth, there is jealousy. Sixth, the cost of organizing violence is falling steadily. The fun and excitement of violence are tempting to young men with no roots and no fathers at home. When you have a falling price for a forbidden fruit, you get riots. Combine it with racial hatred and a life of envy, and you get riots.”

    Bill Muehlenberg, CultureWatch

  • Good article by Miranda Divine in the H/S today.
    And what a gem by the home secretary: Theresa May, the UK Home Secretary, espoused the British philosophy of failure: “The way we police in Britain is not through use of water cannon. The way we police in Britain is through consent of communities.
    What are they waiting for the criminals to consent before they are arrested? Just look at the video on Andrew Bolts blog today as the police are treated with utter contempt and they just stand there like the dummies their leaders have made them into. One could add if we could only smack our children when they consent they would never learn either. This madness of thinking dialectically can only end in hell on earth and it now riddles Australian institutions as much, and could happen here as this journalist writes:

    Rob Withall

  • And Ann Coulter once again gets it right:

    “Congratulations, Britain! You’ve barbarized your citizenry, without regard to race, gender or physical handicap With a welfare system far more advanced than the United States, the British have achieved the remarkable result of turning entire communities of ancestral British people into tattooed, drunken brutes. I guess we now have the proof of what conservatives have been saying since forever: Looting is a result of liberal welfare policies. And Britain is in the end stages of the welfare state….

    “But like Louis XVI, British authorities are paralyzed by their indifference to their own civilization. A half-century of berating themselves for the crime of being British has left them morally defenseless. They see nothing about England worth saving, certainly not worth fighting for — which is fortunate since most of their cops don’t have guns. This is how civilizations die. It can happen overnight, as it did in Revolutionary France. If Britain of 1939 were composed of the current British population, the entirety of Europe would today be doing the ‘Heil Hitler’ salute and singing the ‘Horst Wessel Song’.”

    Bill Muehlenberg, CultureWatch

  • Bill,

    I read those comments from Greg Sheridan this morning as well and the first thing I thought of was the battle in NSW about ethic classes. With those classes not teaching absolute right or wrong then we can expect our next generation to end like those in London at the moment.

    Paul Wakeford

  • To add support to David’s comment above about the Muslims having been handed an invitation on a plate, a comment I noticed on the Daily Mail site this morning read: “The dignity, eloquence and compassion of Muslim man Tariq Jahan has done more for England in the past couple of days than the EDL [the English defence league – an ultra right-wing group] ever will. With guys like him around in the world, there is still hope.” The propaganda has already started!

    Roger Birch

  • Ann Coulter’s comment that a civilisation can die overnight is referring more to an event than a process. The actual death might happen quite quickly – but the process leading up to it, like a slow-growing cancer, has been going on for a long time. She suggests that for the past half-century, people in the UK have been “berating themselves for the crime of being British”.

    Ignoring the fact that you can be civilised and not British (even though I spent the first twenty-four years of my life there!), my greatest concern over what is currently happening is the time it will take to fix the damage done over those 50 years. That is two generations of people who will be our next leaders – if they’re not already.

    In many ways, the minds of many of those two generations of people have been enslaved to a way of thinking that sees right as wrong and wrong as right.

    After over 200 years of supposed ‘evolutionary progress’ and ‘enlightenment’, what we need is another William Wilberforce to help free society from being enslaved to this way of thinking. The only snag is that it took Wilberforce a generation to have laws passed to abolish slavery. It may well take that time to fix the current ills in the West – but then that also assumes there is already another Wilberforce ready to start campaigning immediately. I’m not sure I see the political will to even start such a campaign at this point – which may mean it takes a lot more than a generation.

    Roger Birch

  • Thanks again guys. Here’s another very helpful analysis:

    “Yet the riots we are seeing now are fundamentally different from those that have gone before. They might, ostensibly, have been triggered by the police shooting of Mark Duggan, a notorious gangster, in north London; but they are fuelled by pure greed, by a belief that something can be had for nothing. The usual brakes on such behaviour – either an appreciation that it is wrong, or by the prospect that the culprit will be caught and punished – are largely absent. For this, we have to thank four decades of politically correct policing, and a gradual breakdown of the informal network of authority figures that once provided an additional element of control over the bad behaviour of young people. Adults are now reluctant, or too scared, to step in and stop things getting out of hand, or to impose a wider moral code – and in any case, they are no longer listened to. Deference to age and authority has been eroded by years of genuflection to the twin gods of multiculturalism and community cohesion.”

    Bill Muehlenberg, CultureWatch

  • “…my greatest concern over what is currently happening is the time it will take to fix the damage done over those 50 years.”
    I’m sorry to sound pessimistic, but in the light of Scripture and history this is a vain hope. The decay and death of a culture and civilization is a one-way street. There is no turning back. Read Jer.18:1-17; and the prophecies against the nations of antiquity in Jer.46 – 52 and Ezek.26 – 32. All those nations have long since disappeared. The only reason Judah was preserved and restored was because of God’s covenant with her, as in Jer.46:28.
    The empires and civilizations of the Gospel era have likewise gone: Greece, Rome, the Byzantines, the Ottomans, the Habsburgs, Tsarist Russia, etc.
    Roger, we must not make the same mistake of the Christians in the C5th and later, who steadfastly and nostalgically held on to Roman culture and tried even to resurrect the Roman empire (N.B. Charlemagne), when it was clear that it was gone for good. Augustine’s City of God showed, or should have showed, that such nostalgia was misplaced. Alas, people in those times misread the Civitate and Augustine’s message. So in our present situation we must be prepared to let go, and brace for the future, however much is left before our Lord returns.
    Murray R. Adamthwaite

  • Thanks Murray

    Yes you do sound pessimistic – and unnecessarily so I think. If we only had a human point of view to go on, you would be quite right. But with God what seems impossible can and does happen. Of course in a fallen world we will never have perfect nations or perfect anything. But history does show us that when God’s people pray and seek God’s face, things can turn around to a significant degree. One thinks of the Great Awakenings and revivals that have helped to turn around nations. Of course no revival or reformation will continue to last forever, and the good of one generation may well be undone in the next. But the Reformer’s motto applies here: “ecclesia reformata, semper reformanda” (a reformed church, always reforming).

    So history has its moral and spiritual ups and downs. I for one refuse to embrace a counsel of despair which would have us just say, it is all hopeless so why even bother? Wilberforce thankfully persevered, even though many told him he was wasting his time. So we should work like mad, believing God can do great things, while at the same time being realistic that this side of the Kingdom we will never bring heaven to earth. As always, we need biblical balance here.

    Bill Muehlenberg, CultureWatch

  • And more from Dalrymple:

    “Long experience of impunity has taught the rioters that they have nothing to fear from the law, which in England has become almost comically lax—except, that is, for the victims of crime. For the rioters, crime has become the default setting of their behavior; the surprising thing about the riots is not that they have occurred, but that they did not occur sooner and did not become chronic.”

    Bill Muehlenberg, CultureWatch

  • And another commentator:

    “We seem able to admit that massive federal and state entitlements have created a sense of dependency, a loss of self-respect and initiative, and a breakdown of the family, yet we still seem to fear that trimming the subsidies would lead to some sort of cold-turkey hyper-reaction. We assume that society is to blame for disaffected youth and therefore are hesitant to use commensurate force to quell the violence or even to make it clear that perpetrators are responsible for their own conduct. Yet at some point — when the violence reaches middle-class communities or, in serial fashion, downtown or suburban stores — we likewise assume that sufficient force will be used. Sociological exegesis will go out the window. Reality has a way of dispelling such cognitive luxuries.”

    Bill Muehlenberg, CultureWatch

  • I found reading Psalm 14 today quite enlightening.

    There are people, particularly in the churches, who are mobilizing at ground level this week in Britain. Welfare isn’t the solution, but a groundswell of people at the grassroots level committed to engaging the disengaged with truth and justice could go a long way.

    Richard Bath

  • Thanks Richard

    Yes ultimately the only real answer is God and God’s people. The church – or what is left of it in modern Britain – can and should take the lead here. But sadly, I suspect part of the problem has been a weak, ineffective, and compromised church. Instead of being part of the solution, it has been part of the problem.

    Bill Muehlenberg, CultureWatch

  • And Melanie Phillips again:

    “So now the chickens have well and truly come home terrifyingly to roost. The violent anarchy that has taken hold of British cities is the all-too-predictable outcome of a three-decade liberal experiment which tore up virtually every basic social value. The married two-parent family, educational meritocracy, punishment of criminals, national identity, enforcement of the drugs laws and many more fundamental conventions were all smashed by a liberal intelligentsia hell-bent on a revolutionary transformation of society. Those of us who warned over the years that they were playing with fire were sneered at and smeared as Right-wing nutters who wanted to turn the clock back to some mythical golden age. Now we can see what they have brought about in the unprecedented and horrific scenes of mob violence, with homes and businesses going up in flames, and epidemic looting.”

    Bill Muehlenberg, CultureWatch

  • Roger Birch, in answer to your comment:

    “Jihadists employ a variety of means of warfare to create a vacuum of stability and security for which they will claim Sharia is the only solution, because it is the only one they will allow. In this case, anarchy is already present, and they are encouraging its growth because they see in it an opportunity to peddle their wares. In online forums, Islamic militants urge rioters in Britain to topple government.”

    David Skinner, UK

  • Another one for you Roger:

    Alan Craig, a former Newham councillor who has lived in the area for 30 years, says: “I can no longer walk to my local shops and find anywhere to buy conventional, non-halal meat. Posters at bus stops of swimwear models are spray-painted over with a burka. The pavements are crowded with women wearing not just the face-veil, but black gloves to hide their hands.”
    He recalls that last September, staff at a local primary school assured Muslim parents that they would ensure their children observed Ramadan by refusing them food and drink, even though Britain was in the middle of a heatwave. “I was stunned. This is where we’ve got ourselves to. Secular authorities policing Ramadan for Muslim parents.”

    David Skinner, UK

  • Usually in August there occurs the Prom concerts with a traditional broadcast of ‘LAST NIGHT OF THE PROMS”. This rioting shows that it is ‘LAST NIGHT OF THE POMS”.
    Wayne Pelling

  • Wayne you mean fiddling whilst London burns.

    David Skinner, UK

  • I am sorry to be so simplistic, but I come with a simple explanation for all of that. It is all about the rubbish that the youth is consuming…When I first knew about the riots, I found it very similar to a music video that I watched in MTV, ‘Run this town’ by Jay Z and Rhianna, very popular American singers. It is astonishing the similarities between the riots and the video. I couldn’t understand the lyrics, their language is heavy, when I searched on the web I found that it is utterly disgusting, in the parts I could understand. Evil is everywhere in the world. But evil in its worst form is in lies. Everybody thinks that is perfectly okay to do what one wants. Very well, this criminals are doing exactly what they have been taught by this modern liberal worldview. I don’t blame them, they are ignorant and poor folks, they can barely speak properly. They believed the lie because it is easier to go by this wrong shortcut. I blame those who are shaping the minds of this sick society with popular culture. They know exactly what they are doing. They are corrupted themselves and they are corrupting others. They ‘killed’ God so they could do what they wanted, basically, immorality. I am not surprised with all those horrors, because I never believed in a liberal society.
    Keila Dias

  • And another good commentary:

    “By giving up their natural right to self-defense, for example, England’s law-abiding citizens have become defenseless both physically and psychologically. The loss of their right to self-preservation has created a culture of dependency on government (for protection and so much more) that has helped neuter the English male. This has also prompted some English citizens to blame the police for the crime rates that law enforcement is legally constrained from doing anything practical to fight.”

    Bill Muehlenberg, CultureWatch

  • Living here in the UK for most of my (over 60 yr) life (2+ in Aus) I would question what right to self defence we have ever had. We have never had quite the rights to tote guns willy nilly like the citizens of the US. Neither has the policing of this country ever been anything but consensual as they are, and always have been, for the most part, unarmed save for a truncheon. When I was a child however, the village Bobby would have been encouraged to do a bit more than reprimand the youngster found stealing or vandalising and the youngster would expect punishment if caught and accept it with a grudging good grace. David Skinner is right that we have been emasculated. Teachers cannot touch children for fear of being sued. This prohibition applies as much to hugging the tearful (sexual assault!) as to the mildest form of physical restraint [except in the case of preventing other injury]. Respect for authority has completely gone in many places including ‘good’ schools.
    On the other hand, some comments above are wrong or misinformed. The Muslim father whose son had just been tragically and heartlessly deliberately run over was very gracious and, at least publicly, was urging for no retaliation and wanting the violence to stop. Similarly, multiculturalism does not really deserve blame – the rioters were all races – and all ages – mothers were taking their young children looting so they could carry more out of the shops! One feature is the complete hopelessness many youngsters have for their future in this time of economic recession. Another undoubtedly is the absence of fathers. Many black women in this country have done well for themselves but many black boys/men have done less well. Children, especially boys, need fathers.
    Above all, we all need a knowledge of our heavenly Father. The worst thing this country has done is turn away from God. Let us hope that, as someone prayed at the (weekly) prayer meeting this morning that this tsunami of rioting will lead to many turning back to God just as the (real) tsunami in Japan has resulted in many more being open to Him.
    Katharine Hornsby

  • Thanks, Bill.
    It’s good to have some discussion going on this site!
    To the matter at hand, you appeal to the revivals of the past to justify some optimism for the present. This is a common view among some evangelicals, but I regret to say in our present circumstances, in the Western world at large and in Britain in particular, it is misplaced. To see this it is necessary to look at the history of revivals and awakenings more closely, to observe that only in a certain context do these phenomena take place.

    Jonathan Edwards, who saw the First Great Awakening, in his own parish of Northampton in 1735 and then more widely in 1740-41, defined revival as “an uncommon attention to the Word”. That is to say that the context and background of this “uncommon attention” was a more common attention. People knew their Bibles, and Scripture was expounded from the pulpits as a matter of course, something that there is very little of today in our churches. Spectacular conversions happened in the context of God’s Word being brought home to their consciences in an arresting way.

    The Evangelical Revival of the C18th likewise came about as a result of the labours and solid groundwork of the Puritan preachers and writers of the previous century. They prayed and laboured for a revival which they never saw, but which came in the 1730s, 1740s, and 1750s, and was consolidated in later decades. When it did come critics lamented that Puritanism, which they confidently thought was dead, was back on the scene. Let it be clear: without that solid work of Puritans over the course of the C16th and C17th century there would have been no revival in the C18th.

    Coming to more recent times, i.e. the missionary expansion of 100 years ago, J. Edwin Orr, “The Light to the Nations” records many revivals around the world, in particular in Eastern lands. He cites a Methodist missionary reporting to his conference in 1900, as follows:
    “Now, as far as my knowledge goes, ordinarily the Holy Spirit does not move on heathen populations…in this wondrous way…The remarkable thing is that such revivals do occur amidst the generations that have been leavened by the influence of Christian schools. When, a year or two ago, the Rev. Thomas Cook, one of most successful English evangelists, made a special campaign in Ceylon (now Sri Lanka), he found that many were brought to conversion, but with scarcely an exception every convert had been educated in mission High Schools.” [p.247]

    This solid background of Biblical and doctrinal knowledge and teaching does not exist in our country, or in Britain, or in the Western world. The churches have been thoroughly corrupted. It began in the mid Victorian period with Biblical Criticism and liberal theology; evolution and Social Darwinism. And it has gone on from there, until our seminaries are powerhouses of unbelief and worldly thinking, Sunday Schools have all but disappeared, so many churches are more centres of entertainment and pop-psychotherapy than places of Biblical exposition. In the world at large, apart from the rampant militant atheism and immorality there is widespread Biblical and doctrinal illiteracy, and confusion even on basic doctrines. Even the central Reformation doctrine of justification by faith alone is now under question as never before in “evangelical” circles. Meanwhile, “evangelicals” on the left dally with “social justice”, a concept which comes not from Scripture but from Karl Marx, and charismatics on the mega-churches seem more concerned with making people well-adjusted in their self-esteem than preaching sin, righteousness, and judgment. REVIVAL WILL NEVER COME WHILE THIS STATE OF AFFAIRS PREVAILS. Revival begins with the Church, but today’s churches give no evidence of any repentance from these ills. Still less can we expect any repentance from the world at large, as the world hurtles headlong to judgment and spiritual oblivion.

    Dr Martyn Lloyd-Jones made this observation 40 years ago:
    “The position at the beginning of the eighteenth century, more or less, was that people were just disobedient. They did not deny the reality of the supernatural realm, the masses did not deny the being of God; they were just lazy, forgetful, indeed asleep. What they needed was the rousing awakening of Whitefield, the Wesleys and others to awaken them, to shake them out of their lethargy, and to show them their danger. But that is no longer the position. A poison has been introduced into the intellectual, moral, and religious systems; a teaching has permeated the thinking of nations which is polluting and drugging it; so that today a mere attempt at awakening the people is totally insufficient. We have to get rid of poison before there can be any hope.” [The State of the Nation, 1971, pp.3-4]

    That was 40 years ago, and things have gone from bad to much, much worse. So I am afraid that we must read the signs of the times: God has withdrawn His grace from the Western world because of their vile affections and given them up to their depravity. For the reasons above hope for a revival rather than judgment is a pipe dream. Our task in this situation is to improve the churches, to strengthen those things which remain, but expect the world to become more hostile. Instead, look to where God is currently working, e.g. Africa, Asia – but even there it is in the teeth of bitter hostility.

    Murray R. Adamthwaite

  • Let us be crystal clear, the madness that we have seen on our city streets is not phenomenon that requires an army of sociologists and academics to spend millions of pounds of tax payer’s money scratching their heads over some abstruse chaos theory, whereby the shooting of one individual ends up with fires and looting raging across the country.
    What has happened is as a consequence of human will and human decision. The predictable scape goats, the soft targets, parents, are not the villains. Who is it then who has systematically, trashed the family over the last 14 years? Who is it who has taken away their power and authority? Who is it who has taught children to claim their human rights to get what they want when they want it? Who is it who has publically humiliated, fined, arrested, dismissed from the public work place and threatened with prison all those who have defended the sanctity of human life, marriage and traditional family centred around a mother and father, husband wife? Who is it who arrogantly claims that they are “determined to take concerted action to tearing down barriers to equal opportunities and to build a “fairer” society, i.e. hand children into the tender keeping of puffs and allow queers to redefine marriage so that it can be composed of any number of partners, for any length of time and between any kind of orientation? It is not the productive part of society, those bear and nurture the next generation. It is our gay and gay friendly politicians – those who presently hold the reins of the power. Those who occupy seats in the Houses of Parliament. These are the ones who are responsible the melt down of our nation. Are you listening Mr Cameron?

    David Skinner, UK

  • These riots erupted from the question mark over the death of an Afro Caribbean gangster in police custody and discrepancies in the explanation. My theory is that the ensuing riots manifest a crisis of fatherlessness with the broken family symbolising in microcosm the breakdown of society. In multicultural England the cultures most affected by this are the black Afro Caribbean and the white English. Other cultures have intact and extended families with whom they contrive to live in harmony, even in deprived areas, sustained by spiritual belief. Apologies for generalisations but we have to start somewhere. Broken families are managed courageously by women who do their best for their children often with great success but desertion by the father causes lasting hurt and bitterness to children and their mother. The rioters were predominantly hooded males and in line with statistics mainly fatherless or errant fathers themselves. Two young black men broadcast their response to the riots – one an ex gangster now youth worker and the other who turned his back on peer pressure to vent destructive anger on his neighbourhood and instead lives an exemplary lifestyle. Both had overcome the nihilism by finding Christian faith. They agreed that the loss of father/role model had caused lasting psychological damage and want to help others overcome.

    The previous Labour government chivvied along the demise of family life, in particular Harriet Harman (or Harm Men as she is dubbed) by saying single parenthood, and all other computations were just another lifestyle. The Conservative ex-Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher played her part with her monetarist policy of deliberately putting people out of work on benefits as a viable proposition to make a profit using the machine/computer.

    Some pastoral care to heal the fragmented society and to make everyone feel part of the equation of a homogeneous society would be welcome. We need to get back into the light and find God again in order to get people equipped to build a better future, in my humble opinion.

    Rachel Smith

  • Katharine’s take on ‘multiculturalism’ highlights a problem often encountered in discussing this issue. I think most commentators here who have raised multiculturalism as a possible contributing factor are not talking about England having people from many cultural backgrounds as being a cause of the riots or that a particular cultural group are solely involved in them. Rather they are addressing the purposeful, official government policies of recent decades of CULTURAL RELATIVISM. These policies have been part of the general movement to undermine the Judaeo-Christian foundations of Western nations, especially the moral certainties on which we previously based a civil society.
    Colin Maynard, Sydney NSW

    (Apologies to Daniel Hannam)
    The Prime Minister, of Britain, David Cameron has already mastered the essential craft of the European politician, namely the ability to say one thing to the public and do a very different thing in reality. When the Pope was visiting Britain last year he gravely and sanctimoniously nodded to all that he had to say regarding the threat of secularism and the marginalisation of Christians in Britain; and yet no sooner had the Pope gone home than he was pressing even harder on the accelerator pedal of oppressing Christians. He has spoken about the big society and giving power back to the people, and amen to that. But who would have guessed, listening to him at the time of the election that he was the author of the comment that he believed in marriage and the family and yet he is now prepared to spend possibly millions, if not billions of pounds, in public money to support organisations whose intent is to destroy traditional marriage and family. He is prepared to bow the knee and fund, out the pockets of an already hard pressed working people, outfits like Stonewall, The Equality and Human Rights Commission, Terrance Higgins Trust and all those who are determined shut down swathes of charity organisations, schools, adoption agencies, old peoples’ homes, hostels for the homeless, voluntary labour carried out by thousands if not hundreds of thousands of ordinary, decent conscientious Christians…..and the Bed and Breakfast business of Mr and Mrs Bull, all in the name of tearing down barriers to promiscuity, fornication, adultery and polysexual perversion.
    Perhaps he would have more moral authority in Britain if his actions matched his words? Perhaps he would have more legitimacy in the councils of the world if the United Kingdom were not just going into economic recession but one where security, social cohesion and justice, like the Pope, hadn’t packed their bags long ago.
    The truth is that Britain has not only run out money but moral and spiritual courage. Britain in his own words is broken. Every British child is born not only owing around £20,000, but will have to pay the financial cost of supporting dysfunctional, polymorphous families that come in all different shapes and sizes; not only single parent families, but children being raised by two or four lesbians, or several homosexuals and women of various sexualities, a mixture of straights, transexuals, trans genders and transvestites, or a combinations of any number of polyamorous partners – let alone those who practise incest and paedophilia.
    No doubt in time as society worsens, becomes more unstable, disintegrate and violent he repeatedly blame parents and Christians and those who toil to keep the fabric of society together. Well, it is true that other Western nations are also experiencing social upheaval, but not every country is so far ahead as Britain in destroying itself. Other countries from around the world look on disbelievingly as our once Christian country, a byword for justice, integrity and freedom of speech, thought and conscience descends into an orgy of self-destruction.
    Like Tony Blair and Gordon Brown he is carrying on, wilfully worsening our situation, and wantonly spending what little we have left on futile social engineering. This year hundreds of thousands of jobs have been lost and many more to come and yet he is prepared to spend billions in drawing up and enforcing legislation that will promote homosexuality and a legion of sexual perversions whilst getting rid of those who actually do the job of raising families for free.
    The prime minister cannot carry on for ever squeezing the productive bit of society, those who produce children and our future investment, in order to fund an unprecedented engorgement of the unproductive bit. He cannot spend his way, as the previous Labour government attempted to do, out of social, moral and spiritual recession. And when his Home Secretary, Teresa May, repeats, in that wooden and perfunctory way, “As a country we have come a long way,” and “As a party, my own party, the Conservatives have come a long way. We now have more openly gay MPs and openly gay ministers than ever before,” and “Despite the real progress we have seen in recent years, there is much still to do,” and “We will go further – we will implement section 202 of the Equality Act which will remove the ban on civil partnership registrations being held on religious premises,” we have to tell him that she too sounds like a Brezhnev-era apparatchik giving the party line. He knows, and we know, and he knows that we know that it’s nonsense! Everyone knows that Britain is worse off than any other country as we go into these hard times.
    In 2007, UNICEF looked at 40 indicators from the years 2002 – 2003, including poverty, family relationships and health and the UK came bottom of a league table for child well – being across 21 industrialised countries. But only last November Ian Duncan Smith said that “the collapse of marriage had brought soaring crime rates, doubled the chances of living in poverty and cost the country an astonishing £100billion a year.”
    David Cameron and Nick Clegg are the unelected, discredited and devalued duo of an unelected discredited, devalued and dysfunctional government.

    Where do the British look to for help? If not to Jesus Christ upon whose word Britain was founded.

    David Skinner, UK

  • I just read another excellent article by Melanie Phillips, whom you quoted. I can’t add to this discussion but to say how terrible it is. I was saying to myself half cynically we need to return to God. Listening in the past couple of says of a couple of young girls indifferent and not caring was saddening. Going for the rich because they owned businesses; I guess it holds no concept to these people that most work hard for the success they get.

    So I shall leave you and others with this link of Melanie’s if you haven’t seen it yet:

    Carl Strehlow

  • Interesting comments, but a question I ask myself is “why England?” There are plenty of countries with welfare systems, including Australia, but we don’t see rioting in the streets here.

    I wonder about the impact of Britain’s medieval class system and its impacts on the disadvantaged and the poor. The power and privilege of the Establishment, with its hereditary privilege, engenders resentment and rage amongst the underclasses and is unique to the UK. Add in an austerity program, perceptions that the greed of bankers and financiers is behind it all, and the group behaviour of mobs in the streets, and you have a recipe for what has transpired.

    Unfortunately the Church of England is fully-immersed in the Establishment, by law.

    I’m not sure that reducing welfare entitlements is the answer to encouraging the disadvantaged to improve themselves. It certainly hasn’t worked in the US, which has the worst poverty of any Western nation.

    Warren Christianson, Sydney

  • Katherine
    You suggest in your post that “some comments above are wrong or misinformed” and proceed to talk about the Muslim father to whom I referred (11.8.11 / 1pm above) and then further comment on multiculturalism.

    While speaking to my mother in the UK about the riots, I had the same question come to mind as Murray above (10.8.11) and so was pleased to see someone else thinking along the same lines and also appreciated David’s response (as is always the case with what he writes!).

    In any area involving strategy, e.g. sport or war, it always pays to look what’s happening “off the ball” – i.e. who is making what move when the main attention is elsewhere. In that sense, the question itself is valid even though it might seem to be beyond the scope of this particular thread.

    With Islam there are many factors to consider, not least of which is what many commentators refer to as “silent jihad”, i.e. the stage of the fight when there doesn’t appear to be a fight! I note that there are already some reports in the Daily Mail of some trying to make political mileage in the UK from the riots – so why not Islam?

    I was not intending to question the “dignity, eloquence and compassion” of Tariq Jahan, nor that his response was not “very gracious” to use your words. My observation was more in terms of how that response can be used by others and the conclusions drawn from it, namely: “With guys like him around the world, there is still hope.” I should add that the interview with Tariq Jahan has also appeared in the Australian press and media.

    Whereas I totally agree with you is that the UK has turned away from God, the danger in creating a vacuum, in this case spiritual, is that you cannot be sure who or what will replace that vacuum.

    I would also suggest it is important to delineate between multicultural and multiculturalism and, equally, not confuse ‘race’ (with its connotation of skin colour) with ‘culture’. Australia is a multicultural country and we derive enormous benefit from that. However, it’s the last three letters of “multiculturalism” where the problem lies. An “-ism” at the end of a word means “theory or belief” and the whereas the Bible might teach the principle that all men may be equal, nowhere does the Bible teach that all beliefs are equal – or even valid.

    Roger Birch

  • Thanks Murray

    I fully agree with you about the miserable conditions found in the West today.
    I fully disagree with you when you categorically claim, “REVIVAL WILL NEVER COME WHILE THIS STATE OF AFFAIRS PREVAILS”.
    That seems to me to be putting God in a box, to be telling God what he can and cannot do. It seems to be making man sovereign, and not God. Indeed, it was Finney who argued that we can guarantee a revival if we meet the right conditions.
    But historians of revival agree that at the end of the day a revival is the sovereign move of God wherein he chooses to graciously come to us, often unexpectedly and often when we think he is least likely to come. So I have not yet written off the chance of God doing the same today. I would be rather foolish and unbiblical to write God off in this sense, and tell him in advance what he is able to do and not able to do.

    Bill Muehlenberg, CultureWatch

  • Thanks Carl

    Yes it is a great piece and I linked to it above in my comments.

    Bill Muehlenberg, CultureWatch

  • Thanks Warren

    I take it you have not been reading the many articles I have linked to along the way. They all make it quite clear that the typical leftist/Marxist line on this (it is all due to poverty and the class struggle) is simply not the case. The evidence is quite the opposite. We did not see poor starving rioters and looters stealing milk and bread to survive. We saw well-heeled young people stealing IPods, designer sunglasses, plasma TVs, and expensive footwear. Many of those arrested were university students, or children of wealthy CEOs and businessmen. So spare us the unhelpful Marxist analysis here. For an excellent article on all this see this informative piece:

    He begins his article this way: “They were, some said, the alienated poor, those without hope, lashing out in rage and despair. But as the accused London rioters started appearing in court they included university students, a wealthy businessman’s daughter and a boy of 11…. Among the accused was Laura Johnson, 19, daughter of a successful company director. She lives in a detached converted farmhouse in Kent, with extensive grounds and a tennis court. She is an English and Italian undergraduate at Exeter. Before that, she attended St Olave’s Grammar, the fourth-best state school in the country, where she studied A-levels in French, English literature, geography and classical civilisation. On Wednesday, at Highbury, she was accused of looting the Currys superstore, in Charlton, of electrical goods worth £5000 ($7800).”

    And of course your leftist assessment of the US is equally wrong and misleading. It is exactly because America is getting to be such a strong welfare state in recent decades that such problems are occurring.

    Bill Muehlenberg, CultureWatch

  • Not impressed by the Melanie Phillips quote: it’s big on assertions and small on evidence / argument. The other quotes are more useful because they draw conclusions rather than merely trumpet them.

    The policing issue is interesting. To “maintain order” you need to both believe that you have the right to do something and the responsibility / obligation to do it. Leftist thought is big on being right, but obligation mainly consists of “tolerance” – to play the victim, you need someone who is willing to throw their weight around. That sort of indirection works when you can play the Law, but not in the case of civil breakdown or other broad-scope threat.

    Andrew White

  • Thanks Andrew

    While it is not my intention to become an apologist for Phillips, if you look at her more recent pieces on this (which I link to above) you will see more fully developed, nuanced and more carefully argued assessments.

    Bill Muehlenberg, CultureWatch

  • Thanks guys

    And this helpful article shows again that it is the failure of multiculturalism and the modern welfare state that is so much to blame here:

    “The real showdown in London was not between opportunistic rioters and the impotent police, but between African looters and Asian storekeepers fighting a purely materialistic battle. And if the UK’s immigration trends do not change, in a generation or two, the battle will have a much more open character. A struggle for ownership of the city. The problem with London is the problem with Chicago and Paris and Los Angeles and most of the rest of the free world. It’s not enough to stick a nametag on a city and assume that its population can be swapped out with no social chaos or consequences…. Multiculturalism leaves the nation part vague and strengthens the tribe. And the tribe naturally leads to the gang. The multicultural vision insists that populations can be defined by political identities regardless of their culture, race and ethnicity. And that is clearly not so. Nor can cultures be stripped of all their politically disapproved elements to create a harmonious multicultural paradise.”

    Bill Muehlenberg, CultureWatch

  • Bill,

    Did you see this article showing the immigrants populations standing up to the locals and showing them what community actually should be?

    Paul Wakeford

  • Thanks, Bill.
    I’ll make this final contribution on the subject of revival generally, and the situation in the West in particular.
    I deny that I am “putting God in a box”; I am observing from history the way that God works. Revival does not simply “pop out” or “pop down” in a vacuum. Yet so many in the Reformed camp today seem to think that it does.

    You mention Finney. I dislike Finney, who was a corrupting agency in American frontier Christianity, and yes, he taught that revival comes when men produce the right conditions. But what I am getting at is very different from what Finney advocated. That’s why in my examples I was careful to choose those within the Reformed tradition, and the genuine revivals they witnessed.

    As to what God can or cannot do, I see this in the same context as Jesus at Nazareth, where in Mark 6:5 it says He could do not mighty work there because of their unbelief. Why “could not”? Not because God is not sovereign, nor because their unbelief restricted Him, but because such intransigent unbelief could not be ignored, let alone rewarded. When today’s Christians ignore and disobey His Word, absorb wholesale the ideas of the world to the point of being halfway to paganism, we cannot expect or even hope for God’s blessing. I am currently going through Ezekiel, and so much of what I see there I see in today’s church – and Judah was ripe for judgment, which duly came!

    As to what we face today, Britain is a Gentile nation; so are we; so is America. They are not in covenant with God as was Ancient Israel, nor can it be said of them as with the Jews a la Paul in Romans 11:2, 28. And when Gentile nations have imparted to them the blessings of heaven, but they then turn their backs on those blessings and repudiate them, they forfeit those blessings. And they will never get them back again.God raises a nation up, and He brings it down, and that is what we are now witnessing.

    Murray R. Adamthwaite

  • Thanks Murray

    Yes God raises up and pulls down nations. But what you don’t mention is this: because of his grace, he can and does also often raise them up again. You have written the West off and are absolutely assured it can never recover. I prefer not to make such absolutist claims – lacking as I am in divine foreknowledge – and instead trust and pray that God is in the business of dealing with impossible situations. Yes the situation looks bleak indeed. But God is bigger still.

    I am in fact fully with you in almost overwhelming despair about current conditions. But perhaps exactly because of that despair I am driven to my knees and to faith that God is able to break through when mere men cannot. So I will always have hope. But thanks for sharing your helpful thoughts. As always they are informative and illuminating.

    Bill Muehlenberg, CultureWatch

Leave a Reply