Tuesday, September 06, 2011


A Christian group has been ditched by an umbrella group of advice lines for offering to pray for people with debt problems.

Christians Against Poverty (CAP) has been forced to leave AdviceUK, an umbrella group representing the interests of thousands of advice workers, after it was decided that praying was ‘incompatible’ with membership.
The decision has been described by campaigners as an ‘extraordinary curtailment of freedom of expression’. It follows a series of similar cases involving Christians whose freedoms have been curbed following the introduction of controversial equality laws.

Steve Johnson, chief executive of AdviceUK, described the offer of prayer by CAP as an ‘emotional fee’. Asked to explain what he meant, Mr Johnson replied that CAP was effectively expecting clients to ‘pay’ for their advice by agreeing to pray with the counsellors. ‘Advisers must not offer or impose their values,’ he added.
However, CAP has been a member of AdviceUK for six years and says it has never made prayer a condition of its free service.
In a statement, it said: ‘While CAP is committed to providing impartial help and advice to all members of society, as an expression of our care for clients we do offer to pray with people.
‘In discussions around ethos and purpose, AdviceUK made it clear that they saw any form of promotion of faith to be incompatible with membership criteria.
‘In order to protect the integrity of both organisations, it was amicably agreed that CAP would not continue to be an AdviceUK member.’
CAP said that its counselling service would be unaffected by AdviceUK’s decision. A spokeswoman added: ‘Given the right support, people can and will pay off what they owe.
‘We help people in debt regardless of age, gender, faith or background. In our most recent questionnaire of more than 1,000 clients, 88 per cent said that prayer was appreciated or OK.’
AdviceUK, which has 870 member organisations, boasts of being ‘in a unique position to influence Government departments and other bodies’. It says it ‘provides a voice to funders and supporters’.
Christians Against Poverty is hardly a group we should have expected to be thrust into the front line of defending the Christian faith in our land. Motivated by a Christian desire to help others, they have simply gone about doing good, taking no payment for their services, declining to become involved in politics. But prayer is a central part of their ministry, as you would expect of a Christian agency.
A common question asked of Christian Voice by secularists is ‘Why are you spending all your time protesting against what you see as evil? Why aren’t you out helping the poor and needy?
Christians Against Poverty is doing exactly that, but even that is not good enough any more, except if they deny their faith and the Lord Jesus Christ. No longer do our good works shine before these men, who will contrive to find something evil to say about Christians whatever we do. Truly, every Christian agency and every church involved in social work is now in the front line.
READ: 1Sam 2:30 Wherefore the LORD God of Israel saith … them that honour me I will honour, and they that despise me shall be lightly esteemed.Luke 12:8 Also I say unto you, Whosoever shall confess me before men, him shall the Son of man also confess before the angels of God:Matt 5:16 Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.Titus 2:7 In all things shewing thyself a pattern of good works: in doctrine shewing uncorruptness, gravity, sincerity, 8 Sound speech, that cannot be condemned; that he that is of the contrary part may be ashamed, having no evil thing to say of you.
PRAY: For Christians Against Poverty that they will stand strong. Pray that God will honour their stand and make them an even more powerful force to help people out of debt.
EMAIL: info@capuk.org to let CAP know you are praying for them. If you want to invite CAP to speak at your church, email mattsanderson@capuk.org
EMAIL: steve.johnson@adviceuk.org.uk to protest at his treatment of CAP. You could also let him know you are praying for him!

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