Tuesday, March 06, 2007

Blog Exclusive!

Who are Proclaimers International? They are an evangelical, Pentecostalist group based in Norwich. They have put in a bid with the Church of England for an academy to replace Heartsease high school. Proclaimers International are backed by car dealer Graham Dacre the millionaire founder of the Lind Automotive Group. The proposed academy will have a “Christian ethos”.

Go on to the Proclaimers International web site and there’s lots of pictures of enthusiastic, smiley young people clapping and singing. They claim it’s a church “without the boring bits!” Their statement of faith tells us that, “Proclaimers is a Pentecostal Charismatic church. Pastors Tom & Denise have their ordination through the Australian Assemblies of God and are in good standing with the AOG of Australia. They are in good fellowship with the AOG of the UK.”

The Assemblies of God is one of the largest Pentecostalist churches in Australia and is linked to the Families First Party that elected a Senator to the Australian parliament. The AOG is affiliated to the World Assemblies of God Fellowship. The church claims 52.5 million members worldwide. Its roots lie in the Pentecostalist revival in America during the early twentieth century.

Unsurprisingly, given the circumstances, there is no link from the Proclaimers International web site to the “mother church” in America. Once you examine the AOG’s “Fundamental Truths” it becomes clearer.

Homosexuality – “Christians should do all they can to assist the person who has struggled with homosexual behaviors to find deliverance. Change is not always easy but it is possible. It may require the help of others in the body of Christ, such as counselors and pastors, as well as a supportive church fellowship. Christian organizations are also available to help those who seek to change their lifestyles.”

Abortion – “The Assemblies of God views the practice of abortion as an evil that has been inflicted upon millions of innocent babies and that will threaten millions more in the years to come.”

Evolution – “[The] Bible record of creation rules out the evolutionary philosophy which states that all forms of life have come into being by gradual, progressive evolution carried on by resident forces. It also rules out any evolutionary origin for the human race, since no theory of evolution, including theistic evolution, can explain the origin of the male before the female, nor can it explain how a man could evolve into a woman.”

The academy programme (46 already open – target 400) has had to contend with a critical report from the National Audit Office and claims that the Grace Academy in Solihull gave contracts to organisations linked to its sponsor, millionaire Christian evangelist Bob Edmiston.

So where exactly do Proclaimers International stand on homosexuality, abortion and evolution? Why is the Church of England proposing to jointly sponsor an academy? Why is the state giving this organisation £25 million to run a school? Would you be happy if your children were going to this academy with its “unusual” sponsors? I wouldn’t.

Jimmy Swaggart

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