Roy Clements says: “If anyone should be supportive of the new ‘woke’-consciousness, surely it should be me? But, on the contrary, I am appalled by it. For any ‘truth’ that must be defended by censorship betrays itself as no truth at all. We cannot silence bigots by emulating their intolerance, but only by bravely absorbing their irrational gibes and resolving to base our own arguments on logic and facts supported by evidence.
In the providence of God, the evangelistic zeal of the early Christians was facilitated by a secular world that in some measure at least accepted this. A key characteristic of Athenian democracy was parresia – a noun that reflected a citizen’s right and duty to speak the truth plainly in a context of free and open public debate. In his account of the early preaching of the apostles, Luke exploits the positive connotations of this word among his Greek-speaking readers:
When they saw the courage (parresia) of Peter and John, and perceived that they were unschooled, ordinary men, they were astonished, and they took note that these men had been with Jesus. (Acts 4:13)
The idea, if not the word, is present too in John’s record of Jesus’ defence to the Roman governor, Pilate:
‘For this reason I was born, and for this I came into the world, to testify to the truth’. (John 18:37)”
Roy Clements says: “In 1998, many of us hoped that the Good Friday Agreement would bring an end to troubles in Northern Ireland. Recent difficulties with post-Brexit border arrangements and a proposed amnesty for both British soldiers and IRA bombers have proven that old grievances are not so easily resolved. There have been numerous attempts to defuse the tension between Jew and Palestinian in the Middle East. But there too we are seeing renewed violence. The same disappointing story could be illustrated by examples of perennial civil strife drawn from every corner of the globe. Perhaps this address, edited from a sermon first preached at a Communion Service on Easter Sunday 1998, has something to say about the moral and spiritual nature of the challenge involved in healing such deeply embedded conflicts.”
Martin Hallett says: “I am a Christian with same sex attractions, who loves and seeks to follow the Lord Jesus. For nearly forty years I believed I must be celibate as far as my sexuality is concerned. I started a ministry for other Christians and the Church seeking to bring more understanding of our sexuality. The majority of people I sought to support and help, also the churches and fellowships who invited me to speak, agreed with my point of view. I learnt a lot about my own sexuality and of course through the hundreds of other Christians I met with same sex attractions. My conclusions about the issue from those experiences haven’t changed, but those from the biblical teaching have.”
Martin Hallett, founder (in 1977) and director of the Christian ministry True Freedom Trust until his retirement in 2009, is a man that thousands of gay men & women will be eternally grateful for, myself included. For 32 years, and more, Martin provided an oasis, a safe place for LGBT people like myself who had nowhere else to go and nobody else to turn to. Martin understood what it is like to be gay & Christian at a time when society and the church were virulently hostile.
Like so many of us, Martin’s own faith was rooted in a traditional viewpoint that for the gay person a celibate life was the only appropriate way for a disciple of Christ. But it was not Martin’s conservative views that helped people so much; it was the fact that his huge heart of compassion, his gentle approach and his capacity to listen empathetically to others, created a safe place for people to find freedom from fear, recover a sense of dignity and self-respect, and continue on their own faith journey.
Since his retirement from TfT, Martin’s own spiritual journey has developed further, of course, because nobody walking with Christ stays in the same place, but goes on growing in understanding, discernment and wisdom.
Roy Clements was born in 1946 and grew up in the East End of London. After gaining a 1st in Chemistry at Nottingham University, he completed a PhD in Chemical Physics at Imperial College London. Sensing a call to Christian ministry, he then worked for the University and Colleges Christian Fellowship (1971-74) before serving as assistant pastor of Nairobi Baptist Church in Kenya (1974-79). On returning to the UK, he became pastor of Eden Baptist Church, Cambridge, where he developed a highly successful ministry to students. Over a period of some twenty years, he gained an international reputation as an expository preacher and served on the boards of several leading evangelical institutions and conferences. In 1999, his homosexual orientation was reported in the press, a revelation that led to the end of his Christian ministry and the breakdown of his marriage. From 2000 until his retirement in 2016, he worked as a tutor in the Centre for Academic English at Imperial College London. He now lives with Chris, his civil partner, in Harrow-on-the-Hill and Brighton.