Tim Farron’s withdrawal from the Northern Men’s Convention raises many questions

We are disappointed to hear that Tim Farron has withdrawn from speaking at the Christian Northern Men’s Convention, due to be held this Saturday, 12 May.

His brief statement on Twitter says, “I agreed many months ago to attend a church-organised event but just today I’ve seen promotional material for it which contains things I’m deeply concerned and saddened by. As a result, I have withdrawn from the event.”

The wording that seems to have been of concern on the flyers and the website, is “…assaults on orthodox Christian teaching, and morality, especially in the area of sexuality, seem to have increased at an alarming rate. Those who have stood firm in the Anglican tradition at General Synod have been ridiculed and vilified. The leadership from those in authority in the denominations who should be the guardians of biblical truth has been muted to say the least and even in Bible teaching churches many appear to be wavering under the onslaught of the gay lobby. Add to this scenario the increasing problems associated with immigration, and Islam in particular and indeed many other things which push Christians further and further to the margins, there is for many a feeling of despair and even fear about standing up and speaking out.”

Tim Farron is a Christian who wants to stand up for biblical truth and so this last-minute withdrawal raises some serious questions for him to address. For example, what exactly prompted his exit? Was it pressure from political allies, enemies or campaigning groups? Also, what specifically is he objecting to in the wording of the publicity material? Has he raised these concerns with his Christian brothers and sisters who are organising the event? This is not to suggest Mr Farron is unclear about Biblical teaching on morality or unsympathetic to Christians who feel marginalised but simply that the timing and the manner of his withdrawal is disappointing.

We would also respectfully suggest that some of the wording on the flyers and website was open to misinterpretation in the current climate. In particular, the unqualified suggestion that there are problems associated with immigration and Islam are not helpful as it is not clear precisely what is meant.

However, many of our members have greatly benefitted from Christian Convention events in the past; we value and respect those involved in the planning and leadership and we want to encourage them as they seek to equip men and women to stand up for the good name of Jesus Christ. We trust they will know God’s help as they seek to respond wisely to this situation.

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Graham Nicholls, Affinity Director


Comments

Thanks Graham - a sensitive, thoughtful post which rightly challenges our brothers -both Tim and the organisers of the Men's Convention. I hope both will respond. We would want to encourage both the convention and Tim as they seek in different ways to be public servants of the Gospel.

I believe Farron has done precisely the right thing. The assault by the gay lobby line is hyperboliic but the comment about immigration is both, at face value, plainly racist and also in clear contravention of the biblical injunction to love the alien on ones midst. An injunction repeated more frequently and more unequivocally than the prohibition of homosexual behaviour. The obvious lack of coherence on the two issues, combined with the tardiness in resolving from what is at best very poor wording looks like a lack of integrity. This is very saddening.

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