- UK – Sir Cliff cleared!
- WEST VIRGINIA – Coal Country revival.
- LAKE FOREST – Divorced Christians and sexual morals.
SOUTH YORKSHIRE, UK
Cliff Richard, has been cleared of sex assault claims
British Christian pop singer, Sir Cliff Richard, has been cleared of sex assault allegations after the Crown Prosecution Service announced it would bring no charges following a two-year police inquiry.
A controversial investigation
According to the Telegraph (http://www.telegraph.co.uk), the singer will face no further action following the controversial South Yorkshire Police investigation into allegations of historical sexual abuse.
Prosecutors announced on Thursday (June 16) morning that there was ‘insufficient evidence to prosecute’ the veteran entertainer after the police investigation that cost an estimated £800,000 [about $1.5 million USD).
Sir Cliff ( pictured performing on stage during his 75th birthday tour), who has raised millions of pounds for the British evangelical charity, Tearfund (the Evangelical Alliance Relief Fund), and has appeared in films for Billy Graham and sung and shared his testimony at rallies with the American evangelist, said that he is ‘obviously thrilled that the vile accusations have been brought to a close’ as he used his statement to say he had been ‘hung out like live bait’ and called for those who are facing allegations to ‘never be named publicly until charged.’
Wholehearted apology by police
South Yorkshire Police has now apologised ‘wholeheartedly for the additional anxiety caused’ to Sir Cliff by the force’s ‘initial handling of the media interest’ in its investigation into the singer, when the BBC was tipped off about a raid on his home and broadcast it live.
It was later revealed that the force had cut a deal with the BBC in order to allow the filming of the raid.’ An independent investigation subsequently criticised the arrangement for interfering with Sir Cliff’s privacy and causing unnecessary distress. The Home Affairs Select Committee in London later described the police raid as ‘utterly inept.’
Now, well-known Anglican evangelist, Canon J.John (http://www.canonjjohn.com), a Greek-Cypriot by birth who lives in England and is also Director of the UK-based Philo Trust, a registered charity, committed to communicating the relevance of the Christian faith, has entered the fray and spoken out on behalf of Sir Cliff.
In a statement sent to the ASSIST News Service, he said, ‘I was delighted to hear the news from the Crown Prosecution Service that Sir Cliff Richard ‘will face no further action over allegations of historical sex abuse.’ I am pleased that these enquiries have finally been closed because I have had a number of meetings with Sir Cliff over the years and have always found him to be a good, gracious and honorable man. Yet the announcement must not go without comment. As Sir Cliff’s statement points out, there are a number of disquieting aspects to the way in which the enquiry has been handled.’
‘The sheer duration of the enquiry – almost two years – has produced the maximum possible psychological pressure. In English law there is the long-established and honorable principle of someone being “innocent until proven guilty.” Here, however, we have a man who has, in effect, been sentenced to public sneers and insinuations, not simply before being found guilty but before he was even charged or tried. All that Sir Cliff has been offered is the flat statement that the police “have closed their enquiries.” This is a long way from a declaration of innocence: in many minds the shadow of suspicion will linger.’
Canon John (left) went on to say, ‘I find myself further asking whether, in an age in which it is fashionable to be openly opposed to religion and specifically to Christianity, Sir Cliff was targeted precisely because of his openly stated faith. One definition of the term witch-hunt is “a campaign directed against a person or group holding views considered unorthodox or a threat to society.” There is a very thin line between seeking to prosecute and seeking to persecute. Some of us will suspect that in this case that line may have been crossed.’
He concluded by saying, ‘I esteem Sir Cliff Richard for his character, integrity and grace which exudes from him and l pray he may continue to be an inspiration to many in the years ahead.’
About Cliff Richard:
Today, Sir Cliff Richard has a career as a pop singer, musician, performer, actor and philanthropist, that has spanned more than 50 years. He has sold worldwide more than 250 million records, and has total sales of over 21 million singles in the UK and is the third-top-selling artist in UK Singles Chart history, behind the Beatles and Elvis Presley.
After he publically declared his Christian faith in the mid-sixties at a Billy Graham rally at Earls Court, London, and later appeared in some of Graham films such Two A Penny, there was increased focus on his Christian faith and subsequent softening of his music that later led to a more middle of the road pop image. He sometimes ventured into contemporary Christian music and one of his big Christian hits was Why Should the Devil Have All the Good Music, written by the late Larry Norman, which whom he performed on television.
Personally I have known Sir Cliff now for more than 40 years and have interviewed him many times. We even went to the same church – Walton Baptist Church, Surrey – for a time. On one occasion, after he had visit Bangladesh with Tearfund, I talked with him for a front-page story in the Sunday People, and he was so moved with the poverty he had seen, he told me that he was planning to give up his music career to become a missionary. However, his friends eventually talked him out of it saying that he could do more good by raising funds to help missionaries and Tearfund, than quit, so he stayed in the music business.
Cliff was a co-founder of the Arts Centre Group (ACG) in London (with broadcaster, David Winter and actor, Nigel Goodwin), which was set up to encourage people working professionally in the arts, entertainment and media fields. I became a founder/member of the group, and ran the ACG Journalist’s Group for several years before I moved to the United States with my family in 1982. The last time I saw Cliff was in 1993 in Essen, Germany, before he was to sing and speak at a Billy Graham outreach there.
So, in conclusion, I would like to say that, like millions around the world, I am so pleased that his nightmare is finally over for Sir Cliff. And in future, maybe the South Yorkshire Police will be a little more careful before dragging any other personalities through the mud like they did in this shocking case.
ASSIST News Service founder Dan Wooding is an award-winning author, broadcaster and journalist. Link: www.assistnews.net. Recommended: Dan Wooding’s Mary: My Story.
This article excerpted – full report link: http://www.assistnews.net/index.php/component/k2/item/1901-british-christian-pop-singer-sir-cliff-richard-has-been-cleared-of-historic-sex-assault-claims-after-prosecutors-drop-case
‘Coal Country Revival’ sees 4000 give their lives to Christ
In the small towns that dot the mountainous coal region of West Virginia, a revival that began in early April brought 4,000 souls to Christ over eight weeks.
‘My life has gone back to normal,’ says Bo Copley, an unemployed coal miner who with his wife and their children, have attended almost every event connected with the revival over the last two months. The number of people saved exceeds the population of the two small towns at the epicenter of God’s move of the Spirit. ‘The population of Delbarton is about 500 and Williamson is about 3000, so in eight weeks’ time, the two main places saw more people get saved than the population of the two towns.’
Hunger for God
‘You still have people hungry for God,’ he says. ‘The people who experienced it know it’s about our hunger for Christ. As long as we keep fanning the flame the fire won’t die down. We don’t want it to have an end.’
Bo Copley has seen the fruit of the revival in his own life: ‘I’ve begun to praise the Lord more passionately. I’ve drawn closer, in my attendance, my worship, my praise. I don’t want to leave anything on the table anymore.’
After he was laid off at the mine, Copley’s family has relied on his wife’s photography business to support them. He is still seeking work. ‘I’ve had a few job offers, but they are not what the Lord has for me.’
Three day evangelistic schedule went for weeks!
Matt Hartley, the young Tennessee evangelist who was God’s instrument to spark revival, has taken a break for a few weeks.
‘He was exhausted,’ says Sonya Hackney, at Regional Church of God. ‘Nobody thought when we scheduled him for three days that he would be here for eight weeks!’
It doesn’t matter where the revival movements comes from…
Regular participants in the revival Ralph and Elizabeth Pyszkowski at Williamson Church of God noted the profound effects, particularly among young people, in a column they wrote for the Williamson Daily News.
‘In Logan County schools, a young cancer survivor felt stirred to preach to others in the hallway. Students filled the hallway to hear the message and some even made decisions to follow Christ,’ they recounted.
‘Also in Mingo County, prayer clubs are seeing higher crowds and people are giving their lives to God. Over 150 students were saved in just one high school. There seems to be a wide spread movement in southern West Virginia and even in some Kentucky schools. It can only mean that God still answers prayers and has a plan for our region,’ they noted.
Prior to the revival, the ‘war on coal’ produced a devastated and suffering economic climate. ‘There have been feelings of hopelessness with a declining economy and many families destroyed by drugs. Coal Country is ripe for revival and our only hope is in God. The greatest high a person can receive is surrendering his or her heart to Jesus Christ. It doesn’t matter if the movement comes through the Presbyterians, Baptists, or Pentecostals, all can agree that we need God in our area.’
Ralph and Elizabeth Pyszkowski
Key scripture noted
The Pyszkowskis identify God’s process for change contained in 2 Chronicles 7:14, ‘If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land.’
They add: ‘True revival takes place when addicts throw their needles and drug paraphernalia away. It is when churches stop competing and start working together to build the kingdom of Heaven. Most importantly, it is when a lost soul finds purpose in an all-powerful, all loving God.’
Their suggestion is: ‘Follow the steps in 2 Chronicles if you want to see God move in your life and neighbourhood. God is answering the prayers of many in the Appalachian Mountains!’
Mark Ellis is a seasoned senior correspondent for the ASSIST News Service (www.assistnews.net), and founder of the acclaimed www.GodReports.com a website that shares stories, testimonies and videos from the church around the world. Excerpted from / http://blog.godreports.com/2016/06/in-coal-country-revival-4000-gave-their-lives-to-christ/
LAKE FOREST, CA
Sex and the Divorced Christian
Janet Thompson has a passion and life focus for one generation teaching and training the things they have been taught to the next. Contributing to Crosswalk (http://www.crosswalk.com/), she responds to a question on morals…
I have to admit I was surprised to get a request from a women’s ministry director asking me what verses in the Bible she could give to a Christian woman she was mentoring who was divorced and now dating, but struggling with not having sex with her boyfriend.
It was a revelation and a reminder of how much our culture has invaded the church and how little so many Christians know about what the Bible says about sex and the immoral issues debated and questioned today by not only the culture, but by Christians.
Mistaken rules of morality
So now we come to the question about the divorced Christian and sex. I think the answer is clear: Why would the moral directives be any different for divorcees just because they’ve been married before and are not virgins? For some reason, there is the mistaken thought that the rules of immorality are different if you’ve already had a sexual relationship or experienced sex with a previous mate.
Does that sound as convoluted to you as it does to me? Sex outside of marriage is a sin no matter what season of life. The Bible has no qualifiers. There might be the thought: Well I’ve already sinned getting a divorce, so I’m doomed anyway so I might as well do what I want. That could not be further from the truth. Yes, the circumstances of your divorce might have involved sin, but if you’ve asked for forgiveness and received God’s mercy and grace, repentance means you stop sinning. Why would you want to test God again by sinning sexually?
Sex with anyone besides your husband or your wife is immoral, period, whether you’ve been married before or never married. But don’t rely on my word for it; look at what God’s word says.
Every scripture that addresses sexual immorality, lust, and adultery – sex outside of marriage or with someone who isn’t your spouse – is condemned by God, no exceptions whether you’re single, divorced, or widowed.
1 Corinthians 6:16-20 (Message)
V16 – ‘There’s more to sex than mere skin on skin. Sex is as much spiritual mystery as physical fact. As written in scripture, “The two become one.”’
V17 – ‘Since we want to become spiritually one with the Master, we must not pursue the kind of sex that avoids commitment and intimacy, leaving us more lonely than ever – the kind of sex that can never “become one.”’
V18 – ‘There is a sense in which sexual sins are different from all others. In sexual sin we violate the sacredness of our own bodies, these bodies that were made for God-given and God-modelled love, for ‘becoming one’ with another.
V19 – ‘Or didn’t you realise that your body is a sacred place, the place of the Holy Spirit? Don’t you see that you can’t live however you please, squandering what God paid such a high price for? The physical part of you is not some piece of property belonging to the spiritual part of you.’
V20 – ‘God owns the whole works. So let people see God in and through your body.’
Some translations might use the word ‘prostitute,’ which means sexually promiscuous. Think about that for a moment… When you have sex outside of marriage, God equates that to prostitution.
Here are a few more verses where God addresses the sin of sexual immorality:
- ‘Let there be no sexual immorality, impurity, or greed among you. Such sins have no place among God’s people’ (Ephesians 5:3 NLT).
- ‘But since sexual immorality is occurring, each man should have sexual relations with his own wife, and each woman with her own husband’ (1 Corinthians 7:2).
- ‘God’s will is for you to be holy, so stay away from all sexual sin. Then each of you will control his own body and live in holiness and honour – not in lustful passion like the pagans who do not know God and his ways’ (1 Thessalonians 4:3-5).
In the world but not of it!
Will this be a popular position in today’s culture where living together, unwed pregnancies, and casual hook-ups are the norm? No, but those are the world’s values and as Christians, we’re told to be in the world but not of the world. To the argument that everyone is doing it, I think we tabled that rationalisation when we left high school, or became Christians, whichever came first.
‘Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is – his good, pleasing and perfect will’ (Romans 12:2).
Whether never married, divorced, or widowed, if you want to have sex with someone, you must marry them. If they’re not the right one for you to marry, they’re for sure not the right one for sex!
‘Marriage should be honoured by all, and the marriage bed kept pure, for God will judge the adulterer and all the sexually immoral’ Hebrews 13:4.
Janet Thompson is an international speaker, freelance editor, and award-winning author of 18 books including Forsaken God? : Remembering the Goodness of God Our Culture Has Forgotten – http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/26571217-forsaken-god / Links:womantowomanmentoring.com / www.facebook.com/Janetthompson.authorspeaker
Disclaimer: Articles, as well as the sources linked to, do not necessarily reflect the opinion of ConnectingwithYou! Our thanks mainly to Dan Wooding, ASSIST (www.assistnews.net) and other news sources for timely gleanings