This article by Cranmer's Curate first appeared on the US-based orthodox Anglican news service VirtueOnline:
Evangelical youth groups in both the United States and the United Kingdom need to be warned against the influence of a smooth-talking, highly plausible, international religious public relations executive called Tony Blair.
According to an interview in the gay magazine Attitude, as highlighted by Times religion correspondent Ruth Gledhill on her blog, Mr Blair is targeting younger evangelicals for the particular brand of cool-dude theological liberalism marketed by his Faith Foundation:
"In my Faith Foundation I have a lot of links with some of the evangelical groups in the US and elsewhere, and, actually, I think there is a generational shift that is happening there. If you talk to the older generation, yes, you will still get a lot of pushback, and parts of the Bible quoted, and so on. But actually, if you look at the younger generation of evangelicals, this is increasingly for them something that they wish to be out of - at least in terms of having their position confined to being anti-gay."
Chillingly, the thrice General Election-winning former UK Prime Minister, known as the Great Persuader, believes he can spin over orthodox evangelicals into liberalism with the right post-modern presentational techniques, at which he was so devastatingly adept in politics:
"When you've got people who are conducting the debate in a reasonable way, then you find that you do start to soften people's attitudes and then you open them up to the possibility of change and you open them up to the possibility of reconsideration. Whereas, if you just shout at them, then what you find is that people go back into their shell again. But that's always been my view about politics, which is that if you actually think you're right, you should have some confidence in your ability to persuade."
Evangelical pastors and youth leaders need our prayers in their calling to protect the next generation from this pernicious poison. We all need to be absolutely clear on the following points:
* The Bible needs to be responsibly interpreted, with the Old Testament understood as being fulfilled by the New, but as God's Word written Holy Scripture is not to be treated like a bucket of pick 'n mix sweets in a variety store
* Courteous listening and personal consideration are important in debate, but Christ's truth is more important than charm; being faithful to Him is more important than being nice
* A distinction must be made between primary and secondary issues in biblical interpretation, but false teaching is a reality and getting hooked on it has even more devastating consequences than heroine addiction. Heroine addicts can be rehabilitated in this world - falling for false teaching can wreck your soul for eternity (see Matthew 7v15-20)
May our gracious and almighty Lord Jesus Christ, the world's only true King and Saviour, protect the next generation of Bible-believing Christians from the wiles of the Arch Spin-doctor himself (who incidentally has won a lot more popularity contests than even Tony Blair).