Gender historian Dr Lisa Nolland shares her pressing concerns and a selection of books
For years now I have tracked the pan-sexual revolution and its promotion by an increasingly totalitarian state.
I am concerned about the apparent inability of the Church to engage with some of the most pressing issues of the day, especially the now ubiquitous LGBTQI rights agenda which takes no prisoners. Gay is the new black, and God help those who dissent. The political parties (with the possible exception of UKIP) have mostly signed on, and increasingly the institutions of the land are co-opted (or keep silent), even the Church.
For Christians who want to engage ‘the world’, street pastors and food banks are excellent but do not begin to address the problems. Indeed, leaders of Christian organisations who ought to be worried sick seem unaware of the magnitude of the revolution now enveloping the UK.
So, I am always looking for how contemporary authors engage with concerns such as these especially in contexts where the ills of society are addressed. To be honest, it’s a mixed response, but see for yourself. And happy reading!
Read this if you care about the sexualisation of our children
The Global Sexual Revolution: Destruction of Freedom in the Name of Freedom, by Gabriele Kuby (Lifesite, 2015, available on Amazon)
A classic. Called a contemporary Joan of Arc, sociologist Dr Gabriele Kuby unpacks how cultural Marxism has promised bliss but delivered its antithesis to the Western world. Jennifer Roback Morse, another seminal thinker of our day, sums Kuby’s book up well: ‘If you care about the early sexualisation of children, the increasing unwillingness to form and sustain families, the relentless drive of political correctness, and above all the ever-increasing intrusiveness of the government, you must read this book.’ Kuby not only diagnoses what has happened in cultural as well as metaphysical realms, but also how best to respond.
Voices down the ages give clear biblical witness
Unchanging Witness: The Consistent Christian Teaching on Homosexuality in Scripture and Tradition, by Professors Don Fortson and Rollin Grams (B&H Academic, 2016, available on Amazon).
Another classic. Though many excellent books have been written on the issues surrounding human sexuality and homosexuality in particular, this book adopts a different perspective, namely that one must not only read the Bible in its context but also hear the voices of Christians down the ages on what they felt the Bible was saying. Taken together, it is a powerful read. Given the clear biblical witness and 2000 years of Church history, it seems rather much to claim all who have gone before us got it wrong while we alone ‘see the light’!
Don’t be a delirious disciple
The Selfish Gospel: Be Transformed By Giving It All, by Dr Freddie Pimm (IVP, 2017)
Junior Doctor Freddie Pimm believes that many experience a ‘selfish Gospel’, one which focuses on love and forgiveness but which keeps the status quo intact and thus is unable to change society. The author looks at symptoms, including ‘delirious disciples’ – those who remain undiscipled; ‘locked-in syndrome’- those who disconnect from the outer world; and ‘the Elephant Man’, those dismissed by society as unattractive. Pimm encourages us instead to try the Jesus Gospel. For him, that means embracing the fundamental paradox of faith: death to self, new and transformed life in Christ and being part of the inbreaking of the Kingdom.
Everyday encounters of the divine kind
Divine Sparks, by Dr Donna Lazenby (SPCK, 2017)
Theologian Donna Lazenby demonstrates how everyday encounters in the world are touched by the divine. She calls us to be prophets: visionaries able to discern and proclaim God’s incoming kingdom as it arrives. Looking at various aspects and themes in our supposedly ‘secular’ culture, from the nation’s obsession with ‘Frozen’ to our need to brand ourselves with tattoos, Lazenby demonstrates that a hunger for God can be seen to permeate it all – an important component in pre-evangelism.
How the past explains where we are
The Nation’s Gospel, by Jeremy Thomas (Volume 1: Reformation to Revolution, 1516-1791; Wilberforce, 2017)
Lawyer Jeremy Thomas tells the story of how the Christian faith has been spread in Britain since the Reformation. It will interest anyone who wants to understand how the Christian faith, which has helped form and shape the nation and which still does so, has been spread and some of its consequences. Those in ministry as well as those concerned about the present challenges facing the nation will find it helpful in understanding why we are where we are today and the remedies that the past reveals. Further topical interest of course relates to the present focus on the celebration of 500 years of the Reformation.
God deals with addictions
A New Day, by Emma Scrivener (IVP, 2017)
Given the mental health problems of so many even in the Church, this is a welcome resource. Written to help those struggling with life-controlling addictions by one who has the T-shirt, Emma Scrivener has first-hand experience of the God who can and does change people. Scrivener realizes there is no ‘silver bullet’, but offers practical suggestions for how to apply Gospel truths to real circumstances and offers testimony to significant healing and recovery.
Lisa Severine Nolland MA MCS PhD (Bristol) convenes the Marriage, Sex and Culture [MSC] Group of Anglican Mainstream (anglicanmainstream.org), a think tank/consultancy and support group which invests in research, apologetics and advocacy as well as theological and pastoral engagement. She says: “The MSC Group encourages the isolated and solitary to realise they have lots of company!”
She works closely with Christian Concern, SPUC Evangelicals and Dr Mike Davidson’s CORE Issues Trust, as well as facilitating ‘Sex-proofing Teens’ courses for parents and other concerned adults. With what is left of her free time, she raises money for a unique, holistic centre for ‘at-risk kids’ supported by the Anglican Church of Kenya: https://www.fundingmorality.com/kenya-project
If you would like to invite Dr Nolland to speak at your church, email DrLisa1957@gmail.com