Monday, July 20, 2009

Statement from the Norfolk Church Leaders re the Norwich North by-election on July 23rd

The following statement was released today by Church Leaders in Norwich

Prior to the European and County Council elections on June 4th we issued the attached statement. We reiterate those same concerns in the context of the Norwich North by-election on July 23rd.

It is important for us to do so since the British National Party candidate styles himself as ‘Revd’ and is often to be seen dressed as a clergyman. He belongs to no known denomination and voters should not be mislead by his adoption of clerical dress. The policies he promotes are not shared by any of the Churches we serve and are contrary to the teaching of the New Testament. There we read that in Christ ‘there is neither Jew nor Greek, neither slave nor free, neither male nor female’ (Galatians 3.28).

Christians in Norfolk and Norwich have had a long tradition of welcoming the stranger. We pray that this generous instinct may continue to be celebrated here.

The Rt. Revd. Graham James, Bishop of Norwich (Church of England)
The Rt. Revd. Michael Evans, Bishop of East Anglia (Roman Catholic)
The Revd. Graham Thompson, East Anglia District (Methodist Church)
The Revd. Richard Lewis, Regional Minister, Norfolk (Baptist Union)
The Revd. Paul Whittle, Moderator Eastern Province (United Reformed Church)
John Myhill (Society of Friends)


RevdRMBWest said...

It needs to be pointed out that to make the “stranger” feel welcome, whilst he is with us, is quite consistent with the rational and prudential principles of the British National Party, and with the Bible’s own teaching, elsewhere, that each nation is to have its own country and is not to be dispossessed, in its own country, by other nations. Certainly the BNP candidate for Norwich North is from neither the city or the shire but he is English, and a patriot, and has taught courses for the University here - in both politics and religion. No doubt if he were from the Congo, you would make him feel welcome; racism?

The recognition of a person’s status as an ordained minister has always been problematic amongst the leaders and Churches cited and does not for that reason make a person’s ordination invalid. The Church of England are unhappy with anyone who is not episcopally ordained yet is now ordaining homosexuals and women; the Roman Catholics regard all Anglican ministerial ordinations as “utterly null and void”; the baptists and United Reformed Church deem local ministers to be the only true bishops by scripture; the bapists do not recognise any church as valid but the local church; the Methodists hold their “Conference” to be supreme; and the Society of Friends do not recognise any ordinations at all! The controversy, about ministerial recognitions, runs throughout the whole of the professing church; and is by no means confined to any one minister or any one denomination. In any case (if I may continue to speak in the third person) the Revd Robert West will, once again, be conducting (God willing) a service and sermon at the yearly “Red, White, and Blue”; and the service will be recorded for distribution by DVD or on the Internet. He will also be undertaking a wedding blessing and a child dedication. As a result more people may be converted to true Christianity when (and only when) they experience it.

Jonathan Bartley of Ekklesia has criticised the Revd West’s Christian Council of Britain as having a membership of only one. On our Constitution we have three signatories as founding members, and new members have acceded to both the Council and its Executive Committee. Recently another Minister has joined us; and he has a church of over 200. We feel bound to ask how many members Ekklesia has? But numbers are not a criterion for truth. At times our Lord was followed by multitudes and at other times he was on his own. The same was true of Paul. Does what you believe become true when you have a large following and false when you lose it? Some of our opponents in debate have conducted themselves in a knowledgeable and discriminating way, and we thank them for that however much we may disagree with their views in certain particulars. May the Lord of His Church continue to guide and bless us as we seek to uphold Him in His truth.

Jon said...

Mr West. So you are still not answering the question about which church you are 'ordained' into? Surely voters have a right to know this information if you are presenting yourself as a 'Rev'

Will you also tell us which 'minister' has joind the Christian Council of Britain or will that claim also be unsubstantiated?

In the spirit of openeness, and even though we are not standing for election, I will happily disclose that we don't operate a membership system (we are a think tank) but 11,000 people have joined Ekklesia's mailing list and we raise about £250,000 a year for overseas development work through our website.

Will you now give us your response?

Matt Wardman said...

Mr West

I'm delighted that you place such an emphasis on truth.

May I ask two questions concerning the truth of your own By-Election leaflet in Norwich.

Why does it contain photographs of non-local people saying that they are "going to vote BNP"? For example, David Owens, who I am told is from Boston. Technically that may be accurate, but it is hardly a truthful impression that is given.

And why does the box "Housing Local People First" contain straightforward lies?

For example you claim that the council has housed refugees under the Gateway Protection Programme by pushing local people to the "back of the queue", when in fact the Programme housed refugees through private accommodation from the start. There was not even any Council Funding involved.

This is documented by Cath Elliott, who was involved in the programme, here:

Her piece includes scans of your leaflet.


Matt Wardman

RevdRMBWest said...

Dear Jon: the question of which church ordained me has been dealt with and has been in the public domain, since 14th May 2006, when I sought refuge, from Central Office persecution, for my conservative and liberal political convictions. I am not sure that it serves any purpose going over this ground again since I have nothing to add except, as the apostle Paul did, to give full proof of my current ministry. Obviously we have all been through a canonical cermonial, or institutional, "ordination" which affords opportunties to preach and to pastor, usually a local church; and that was certainly the case with me. However, ordination by God obviously and clearly means much more than this; after all, even Judas, and Ananias, and Caiphas had that institutional as oppossed to divine or charismatic ordination. And the Archbishop of Catnerbury is so ordained, in that sense. So, even, is the Pope. But does that make them Christians or even disciples, let alone genuine ministers. His Grace the Archbishop of Canterbury is a heathen priest: a Druid. The Church of England now ordain women and sodomites; what does that make of such merely institutional ordinations? No: we cannot simply go by merely institutional "ordinations". It would be perilous to do so and would lead to such crimes as the judicial murder of Christ, the "holy" Inquisition of Protestants, Jews, Muslims, Slavs and others and the present enormities within the Church of England, rending that body in sunder. Only the ordination of God gives men the abilities and the unction to make full proof of the ecclesial ordination that they do have. The test is in the tasting. Can I invite any doubters to this year's Red, White, and Blue where I will be ministering God's Word once again to members, and guests, of the British National Party. I used to do this kind of thing for the Conservatives and am happy to oblige any - even the Liberal Democrats. With regard to the additional Minister that we now have in the Christian Council of Britain it is not the policy of the CCoB to divulge confidential information to non-members but if you join the CCoB I dare say that you will come across him. There is nothing to hide, or to substantiate, as you will discover if you get involved in either the BNP or the CCoB. But members do have the right to protection from prying eyes and wagging tongues which are set on fire of hell (see James 3: 6); and my duty of disclosure has been discharged to the press and on TV. So you have all that you have asked for, anyway; and you have had it so for the last three years. If you choose not to believe what I tell you, that is your problem, not mine. Come along to the RWB.

RevdRMBWest said...

Dear Matt Wardman: Thank you for your query. The photographs of local people used in the BNP leaflet are in deed representative local people, not foreign invaders posing as refugees, nor bogus asylum seekers who have crossed half the planet to reach soft-touch Britain. Local people do not just live in Norwich North you know, and they do reflect the feelings and concerns of Norwich North; and that is the crucial thing. That deals, I hope, with your first question. As to your second question, it would seem clear that any migrant influx will take up housing stock and make it short for those who should have it. Certainly we ought to help foreigners, where we can, but this must not be done by encouraging them to dispossess us to the outer rim of our country and cities. I am very surprised that you give every impression of supporting this very unchristian form of ethnic replacement/cleansing. If you want to be a good internationalist you can start by loving your own nation [Greek: ethnos] first. I hope that deals with your second point. Kind Regards.

Simon Wilson said...

I know several ministers who have stood for election, locally and nationally but have never seen one wearing a dog collar at the declaration of results, not even Ian Paisley. Why did the BNP candidate do so today? What message is he trying to send?

RevdRMBWest said...

Goodmorning Simon, when I am wearing my clerical shirt I am not always thinking of sending a message, even at an election count. I am, today, in shorts and sandals but I am not consciously thinking that this is to convey something of significance to anyone. It is appreciated, however, for clergymen to dress as clergymen, wherever they are; especially in their local community or at clergy functions. Muslims wear their 'normal' dress and may not be thinking of conveying a message because it is just part of them. At a recent minister's conference I was thanked, by a layman, for wearing my clerical collar as I was the only minister there wearing one. Perhaps we dress down too much and too often - though it has to be a matter of personal choice. Kind regards.