The Secular Terrorist
The Secular Terrorist: The slow suicide of Christian Britain
By Peter Mullen
RP Publishing: £9.99
Reviewed by Martin Poole
The Revd Doctor Peter Mullen is a high Anglican priest whose parish was situated in the heart of the “city” of London and as such has ministered to the movers and shakers of finance and commerce. His book is like a smouldering volcano which is preparing to spectacularly erupt and does so in the final chapter where a “catastrophe so huge and unavoidable” is seen as the inevitable outcome of the current secular Western culture.
The smouldering gets under way as Peter starts his argument by giving a well-researched assessment of Secularism and its fruits – namely Homosexual law reform, Abortion Law, Divorce legislation, abolition of RE, loss of key Christian festivals and the dumbing down of the press. He continues with a fiery attack on the church and particularly his own Anglican Communion. Harsh words are said about modern worship styles and the loss of the Book of Common Prayer.
Criticisms of the current Archbishop of York would no doubt cause the latter to say “who will rid me of this troublesome priest?” However there would be many who would agree with his observations on dumbed down worship. His main point being that the modernised church seems to offer nothing by way of resistance to the all-powerful force of secularisation.
Part of Peter’s solution would be to return to what he considers as the vibrant church of the 50s with its strong liturgy as opposed to the “Noddy” versions of today. Interestingly he cites his experience after 9/11 when he held a Requiem Mass for city workers to which two hundred people came. He decided to say the first part in Latin and the rest from the Book of Common Prayer. He describes it as a very moving time but very quickly this new congregation returned in to the shadows. Would it have been different if something more contemporary had been presented?
A significant theme in Peter’s book is that God should be worshipped for who he is rather than what he does. Christians have adopted a far too utilitarian approach to faith in line with a culture that is obsessed with function and can only think from a man-centred perspective.
So to the eruption. The very clear statements of militant Islam should not be ignored intones Peter, but he fears they will and the ultimate scenario is an attack using rogue nuclear weaponry, which Peter believes should lead ultimately to people returning to God, in a similar way to the Israelites of the Old Testament when they faced the reverses of Captivity, oppression by surrounding nations, exile etc.
A book to make any Christian think... although that would not be enough for the author.
The Revd Martin Poole is a retired Baptist minister who pastored churches in Penarth South Wales, Godalming Surrey, and Eastleigh Hampshire.