Children, a blessing

Behold, children are a heritage from the LORD, the fruit of the womb a reward. Like arrows in the hand of a warrior are the children of one’s youth. Blessed is the man who fills his quiver with them! He shall not be put to shame when he speaks with his enemies in the gate. (Psalm 127:3–5).

Rebekah and I continue to give thanks for our new son. We are very grateful for the flood of cards and small gifts we’ve received from family, friends, Chapel and community (in fact we have never received so many cards!). We also gave thanks for him in the presence of the Lord recently with a special service of dedication on the Lord’s Day (NB-not infant baptism).

The most basic view of children in the Bible is that they are a gift, a blessing and a delight. Indeed, having children is one of the great callings of a husband and wife in the creation mandate (Gen 1:28, “be fruitful and multiply” [sexuality is not only about pleasure but procreation and the calling and joy God intends in this]). If someone jadedly or sarcastically thinks contrary they have a wrong way of thinking and need to renew their mind to conform with God’s will on the subject (Ro 12:1). Many people today think children a drudge, something that is the unwanted fruit of lust, something that gets in the way of having the newest car or biggest house (itself an indicator that marketers have done a fabulous job duping many parents so that they think they have to have everything for their children and so they become expensive and so is generated the myth that children need to be costly). Many people have children as the last item in their checklist because it is the done thing (and their life checklist is also often out of whack in terms of order and priorities). Ironically, there would be no immigration crisis in most Western nations today if people had retained a biblical view of children because the birth-death ration would be stable and allow the welfare states that have been created to sustain themselves, and thus we’d have no need of mass immigration. I digress. Now, getting back on track, to be sure there are many parents who do have children because of that innate desire to fulfil Gen 1:28, but I am especially drawing attention to extremes. For some parents children are a burden, and yet for others they become a burden because they pander to them excessively—creating little devils—all under the false cultural teaching that a parents job is to ‘make them happy’ (which is foolish because we all know that is a mirage we can never arrive at).

The Bible balances these two extremes. It counters the first example by teaching children are a blessing from the Lord, and the second by stipulating that parents spiritual commission is to raise their child to love and fear the Lord and walk in His ways (Deut 6:1–10).

Further reflection on text: Behold, listen, says the Bible. Children are a heritage, a gift, from God. It commends having 7 of them (the traditional number of arrows in a quiver and the number of perfection, but which ultimately means many, i.e. more than one or two [if possible]!). And here also is parental responsibility and investment (any fool can make a baby, it takes a man to raise a child), for these are needed to turn children into mature and useful godly adults (children of one’s youth). When you stand with your grown children at the gate, the place of justice and community decision making in the ancient world, you will have no shame in your children. You will love and respect them and they you, and as their father (or mother), you’ll stand at the front of a unified and respectful family, united against any enemies and held in honour and respect.

This is the Biblical vision for parenting and may it be wonderful in our eyes!

The Lord’s Sweetest Blessings,

Pastor Chris

What does it mean to preach the Gospel? (part 3 of 3)

Woe to me if I do not preach the Gospel (1 Cor 9:16b)

Woe (great troubles) to the preacher (or Christian) who does not preach or share the Gospel. Why? Because this is the essence or heart of Christianity. To not preach it is to miss the whole lot. To not preach it robs people of the opportunity to be saved. To not preach it means you are not a faithful preacher (and therefore under God’s judgement) and to not preach it makes one wonder whether the preacher himself has responded to its message. If we have, there is no better news (2 Cor 9:17), and as C.S. Lewis said good news is not good news until it is shared. The preacher ought to burn within until they release the good news that saved their soul, the good news that can save others, and all of its wondrous glories. It is too marvellous to contain.

But what does it mean to preach the Gospel? This can be challenging for the evaluation of sermons can be highly subjective. Even if two sermons by two different preachers were faithful and theologically correct, because of delivery (or preference of delivery), styles in personality (the preacher and hearer), circumstances, mood, etc, two people might have two different views of two Gospel sermons, each coming away and saying ‘what a good Gospel sermon’ or ‘I wish he’d preached more of the Gospel.’ Funny isn’t it? This alone reminds us we need to be “open to reason” (Jas 3:17), alert and attentive to what actually is being spoken, recognising that if God can speak through a donkey he could speak through a faithful yet different preacher. After all, we wouldn’t want to miss the Gospel! Do we have a will to hear the Gospel?

Not only are there different preachers there are also different styles or ways of delivering sermons (expository, thematic, creative, induction, deduction, narrative, analogy, etc, etc). The Gospel could be conveyed through any one of those. A sermon also need not be evangelistic (usually a style reserved for sermons where a large segment of the listeners will be non-Christian) to still faithfully present the Gospel. Instead of being very fun, lively, interactive, straightforward, it could nonetheless clearly state the Gospel, say in an exposition of a passage in Romans. Whilst more thorough and robust, both an exposition of Romans and an evangelistic sermon to a crowd of youth are both Gospel sermons, even if they’re different types of sermons (it is interesting to see how robust Paul’s [Gospel] sermons in Acts were, even to pagans who knew nothing of the Hebrew Scriptures).

But can a sermon not ‘be a Gospel sermon” (i.e. touch on other areas of the Bible) and still preach the Gospel? Absolutely!

In the Great Commission (Matthew 2818–20) Jesus said to “make disciples.” Initial disciples can only be made by preaching the Gospel. So we must preach the Gospel. Yet, He also commands “teaching them to obey all that I have commanded you” (growing disciples). So whilst the preacher must preach the Gospel, he also has the calling to preach the “whole counsel of God” (Acts 20:27), that is all that God has spoke or revealed on any subject in the entirety of His word (this also often involves explaining contexts so the meaning can become clear and grasped). So the preacher has a calling to preach the Gospel but also to teach other related truths. Can these two commands be reconciled? Absolutely!

The Gospel is like an accordion. Compressed it is in its simplest form, “repent and believe.” In 1 of 3 we saw that some Christians have used the 3 R’s to share the Gospel. So you could preach a Gospel sermon, or even an evangelistic sermon, on simply the 3 R’s. Yet then if you stretch out the accordion and only preached on one portion of it, say the Exodus, you could still faithfully preach the Gospel by bringing the truths of the Exodus story, and indeed the foreshadowing’s of Christ, back to the Gospel. It is about Gospel-centric preaching so that even as you preach the whole counsel of God it is rooted, centred and grounded in the Gospel. This is how you balance these two things. So for example, I could preach a sermon with a moral emphasis on homosexuality and what the Bible says about it. And whilst we might learn about the subject, a faithful Gospel preacher would still bring the sermon back to the Gospel in that it is sinful (1st R), and sinners are called to repent (2nd R) and, bearing 1 Cor 6:9­–11 in mind, all with the transformative hope of the work the Holy Spirit can do in a sinners life, liberating them, making them whole and giving them life generally. Therefore it is completely consistent to preach on any subject in Scripture and also to preach the Gospel (that is, for it still to be a Gospel sermon, as indeed every sermon should be). How? Because, the sacred writings,…are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus (2 Timothy 3:15) , both in becoming a disciple and in growing as a disciple. Amen!

The Lord’s Sweetest Blessings,

Pastor Chris

The Gospel: Simple but not simplistic! (part 2 of 3)

45 “Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a merchant in search of fine pearls, 46 who, on finding one pearl of great value, went and sold all that he had and bought it. (Matthew 13:45–6).

In this parable about the kingdom of heaven, or Gospel, we can learn many things. One truth, affirmed by many other passages of Scripture, is that the Gospel is simple but not simplistic. The Gospel, that Jesus came and died for sinners so our sins might be forgiven, and rose victorious from the grave so we might have life eternal—this message— is fit for the simplest peasant and the wisest king. Like Mary pondering Jesus’s birth, it is a sufficient but also an inexhaustible treasure. It is simple (that is straightforward) so that anyone can believe, yet it is also grand and mysterious enough that the humblest theological enquirer will never exhaust or mine completely all of its treasurers. There is enough to drink and be saved, but a deep well that will never run dry as our faith grows and we come to learn more of Jesus, His Gospel and His word.

It is basic yet robust, uncomplicated yet deeply meaningful, etc, etc. It is simple but not simplistic. This is a phrase I use to combat people who err on the extreme either to the left or to the right, and those who want to remain immature in the faith.

There are those who, in seeking a lowest common denominator Christianity, take away from the Gospel, reducing it and by so doing rob it of its inherent glory. These are those who say Jesus died for all (universalism) or that the Gospel is merely that God is love, or that Jesus came simply to teach humans to be good. These are not the Gospel.

Then there are those who correctly believe the Gospel (part 1 or 3) but then go on to add to it denying their correct view, not seeing it is sufficient or wonderful enough. They say ‘yes, but’ and add works to faith, thus nullifying faith. They add to the Gospel and so mar its image.

Whether you take away from it or add to it you distort it so its glory cannot shine and people cannot be saved.

Then even more subtly, but not as destructively, are those who childishly refuse Gospel maturity and cry, ‘just give me the plain and simple Gospel.’ This appears wise, the Gospel is central, it is paramount, it is the core of Biblical Christianity, what could be wrong with such a sentiment? It is this. Such people decry sound teaching and doctrine, they cling to the elementary teachings not wanting to go on to maturity, and are ignorant and void of a desire for the deep things of God (even if easily conveyed). It is a simplistic ignorance that confuses simple and simplistic.

Peter challenges such immature Christians by saying: Like newborn infants, long for the pure spiritual milk that by it you may grow up into salvation. (1 Peter 2:2)

Paul likewise told the church in Corinth (1 Corinthians 3:1–3a): But I, brothers, could not address you as spiritual people, but as people of the flesh, as infants in Christ. I fed you with milk, not solid food, for you were not ready for it, And even now you are not yet ready, for you are still of the flesh.

And the church in Ephesus (Ephesians 4:12–16): 12 to equip the saints for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ, 13 until we all attain to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to mature manhood,[a] to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ, 14 so that we may no longer be children, tossed to and fro by the waves and carried about by every wind of doctrine, by human cunning, by craftiness in deceitful schemes. 15 Rather, speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in every way into him who is the head, into Christ, 16 from whom the whole body, joined and held together by every joint with which it is equipped, when each part is working properly, makes the body grow so that it builds itself up in love.

The writer to the Hebrew’s similarly challenged his listeners (Hebrews 5:12–14): For though by this time you ought to be teachers, you need someone to teach you again the basic principles of the oracles of God. You need milk not solid food, for everyone who lives on milk is unskilled in the word of righteousness, since he is a child. But solid food is for the mature, for those who have their powers of discernment trained by constant practice to distinguish good from evil.

Our call as Gospel people is to mature in the Gospel, to put down deep roots in Christ (Eph 3:17), to be built up in the holy faith (Jude 20). This is not a call to go beyond the Gospel or forget our great need of it but to mature in it, to learn more of the truth of God in a Gospel-centric way so we stand in even greater wonder of the glorious Gospel! It is to hunger after a deeper knowledge of God’s character, for more of His word, more knowledge of sound doctrine, more of what it means to love and serve Him, all of which can be done in a Gospel-centric way that is simple but not simplistic.

The Lord’s Sweetest Blessings,

Pastor Chris

What is the Gospel? (part 1 of 3)

The beginning of the Gospel of Jesus Christ, the Son of God. (Mark 1:1)

The Gospel is more than a genre of literature found in the New Testament (Matthew, Mark, Luke and John) about the life of Jesus. These books are called Gospels because they have a special message to proclaim.

Gospel (Old English, Good Spell [or good message]; Greek, euaggelion) was the announcement of any type of good news in the ancient world, especially really good news like the victory of a king or general. The Gospel writers gave ‘gospel’ a religious connotation by linking it to Jesus Christ, the Messiah, the Saviour of the world and Son of God. There are many other similar ways it is used in the NT.[1] Who Jesus was, what He did, and what that can mean for the believer is why it is all really good news.

It is good news that Jesus the Messiah came, born of a virgin, to save His people from their sins. It is good news that He lived a perfect live and taught people the truth about God, it is good news that He died so sins might be forgiven, that He rose from the dead so we might have life and life eternal, it is good news that whoever believes receives the gift of the Spirit, and on and on the list of good news could go.

The Gospels are not mere biographies for they were written with a purpose, that you may believe the good news they share: these are written so that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in His name. (John 20:31).

The Gospel is a story, a message, a proclamation, an invitation, a command to believe. It calls on all to believe in who Jesus is, repent of their sins, trust in Jesus for the forgiveness of their sins, all with the full assurance of pardon, a restored relationship with God, the gift of the Holy Spirit and an eternal reward, all as a free gift of grace!

It is a message of salvation and a promise of life, to all who believe. And it is for all people (meaning open to all people). It is for oldest man and the youngest girl, for a European or someone from Oceania (Acts 2:39)…anyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved. (Acts 2:21).

Many Christians have helpfully developed ways to share the Gospel.

By letters:

The 5 G’s of the Gospel

GOD created the world.

GUILT, we all have sinned against God and gone astray from Him.

GRACE, we are saved according to God’s grace by faith in Jesus Christ alone. There is nothing we can do to save ourselves from sin but to trust in God’s appointed means.

GRATITUDE, when we are saved the Christian, through the presence of the Holy Spirit and a recognition of what God has done for the sinner, becomes a grateful person, a new creation. Their life is change and they now seek to do all they do for Him, to serve the Lord with gratitude and love.

GLORY, all the Christian does is for God’s glory as they are headed for glory (heaven), but still more, all that God has done is for His own glory!

The 3 R’s of the Gospel


RESCUED by faith in Christ

RENEWED by the Holy Spirit


May the Gospel never ceased to be wondrous in our eyes as believers and may the unbeliever come by God’s grace not to see it as offensive but as GOOD NEWS, for that is what the Gospel is.

The Lord’s Sweetest Blessings,

Pastor Chris

[1] See for examples:

Their hearts are far from me

Jesus, quoting Isaiah, said:

…their hearts are far from me… (Isaiah 29:13; Mt 15:8; Mk 7:6)

That adequately describes the vast majority of people in the UK (and the West!). More than this, it is a recognition of why people do the things they do since the Fall, their hearts are evil and far from God (Prov 4:23; Mk 7:20-2). Is it any wonder godlessness runs rampant?

Any God fearing and loving Christian has reason to lament: the erosion of Biblical values; the aggressive assault on marriage and gender; pornography; human trafficking; family breakdown; children disrespecting parents (and parents provoking children); social injustice and deprivation; the idolatry of materialism; the rise of cults and false religions; the embrace of the godless theory of evolution instead of faith in a Creator; people, generally, calling evil good and good evil (Isa 5:20).

Hanker for the ole’ days we might, this behaviour cannot be reversed unless there is first a heart change wrought by the Gospel. The evangelical Anglican and abolitionist, William Wilberforce, noted this in Real Christianity (1797). He said:

Fruitless will be all attempts to sustain, much more to revive, the fainting cause of morals unless you can in some degree restore the prevalence of Evangelical Christianity. It is in morals as in physics; unless a source of [good morals be caused], it will be vain to attempt to make them [improve] in their future course…By all, therefore, who [desire] their country’s welfare…every effort should be used to revive the Christianity of our better days.

The God who can do the impossible, did this in Wilberforce’s day by a moving of His Spirit and He could do it again today (Lk 18:17). May we therefore pray, and preach the Good News.

The Lord’s Sweetest Blessings,

Pastor Chris


head in sandSelf- Inflicted-Nonsense, that is how the world views sin. Sin is an oppressive concept that stifles human freedom and flourishing. I am my own master. I will do what I desire. No one or government or religion can tell me what I can or cannot do. Why would you constrain your own freedom by nonsensical rules and traditions? The idea of sin is repulsive to the world today because it limits what I can do. It is a remnant of past authoritarian structures and legalistic religiosity. Cast them off has been the mantra of recent decades! Be free!

  • That one day in seven is different and special—sacred to the Lord, na- I’ll do what I want with my time!
  • Respect due to parents, no way—we are equals!
  • Sex before marriage, get with the times!
  • Marriage, what is that anyway…simply what I want it to be…cohabitation, heterosexual, homosexual, bi-sexual, polyamorous, etc, etc.
  • Gender constructs, completely socially fabricated!!!
  • That the government has the right to “bear the sword” of justice, how absolutely medieval that I might be held accountable for my actions.

The list goes on…self-inflicted nonsense! All a complete and utter load of nonsense!!!!!

Well let’s pause and look at an alternative. Recognising that many of today’s trends are an overreaction caused by past abuses of authority and nominal religion, might the idea of sin not be self-inflicted-nonsense but truth and a reality meant to spare us countless and needless dangers and harm? We’ve taken a huge leap from the notion of having some personal freedoms designed to ensure there was some civic freedom within parameters, to a culture of near total permissiveness.

Listen to this counter challenge from 1 John 1:8:

If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us.

WOW! What a different way of looking at things. Sin is as real as this computer screen you are reading this blog on. If we deny its reality, then we are actually self-deceived, the ones believing the nonsensical idea that there are no moral absolutes. As this verse was initially addressed to Christians who denied they kept sinning, if that was the case the Truth (Holy Spirit) was not in them. Similarly, if you are a non-believer who denies the reality of sin, the truth is similarly not in you and you are a liar.

Sin leads to harm and destruction and death, but walking in God’s Law leads to life. In fact, the Bible says God’s ways were designed for our good (Deut 10:13). It is when we follow them we flourish! It is when we walk in them that we find perfect freedom (Ps 119:45).

But more than speak of sin, the Bible makes clear that bad fruit is not the ultimate issue but the root. It is not merely the symptom we need to address but the underlying disease. The Bible also uses sin to speak of a disease of the heart (Prov 4:23; Mt 15:18–20).

The Law of God is good and true, yes, but it cannot save us because we cannot obey it perfectly, because we are actually not free but our hearts are enslaved to sin (Ro 6:16). We may even come to believe in the truth of 1 John 1:8 but that is still not good enough because we’d still be enslaved to sin even if we acknowledge it is real. We need God to open our eyes to believe the Gospel, the good news of freedom from sin available through faith and forgiveness in Jesus Christ, and to receive the gift of the Holy Spirit who will help us live lives pleasing to God. Then the Law no longer is a threat of judgement but a promise, with God saying ‘I will get you there!’

As much as the world thinks it is free and sin does not exist, the reverse is true, sin does exist and the world is enslaved to it, which is why it loves it so much and will fight under any convenient banner or excuse to self-justify its own sinful actions (Ro 1:32). True freedom can only come in recognising sin is not self-inflicted-nonsense, but something that is real and that we need saving from. Only then will we be free and flourish as the Lord intended.

The Lord’s Sweetest Blessings,

Pastor Chris

A 2.5/3 for the Royal Wedding Sermon (and yet a…)

A 2.5/3 for the Royal Wedding Sermon (and yet a…)
A number of people I spoke with commented on how “good” the Royal Wedding Sermon was that was preached by Bishop Michael Curry of the Episcopal Church of the USA. If you haven’t seen it you can watch it here:

*This brief analysis is not being offered under the old proud preacher’s adage, “it was a good sermon but I could have preached it better.” It also recognises that where the Word of God is faithfully preached, even if it is not entertaining, we are called to listen remembering the story of Balaam, “if God can speak through an ass…,” he can speak through a faithful preacher, no matter how dull or unpolished, so we must listen.

First point. His rhetoric was great. That he managed to raise a few royal eyebrows and break the homiletic mould of traditional nominal Anglican formality and dryness in a way that captured people’s attention was due to his African-American preaching rhetoric (which I confess I have always appreciated). In terms of public speaking at least, it drew people’s attention and engaged.

Second point. He used lots of Biblical examples and metaphors. He referenced many passages of scripture and unashamedly mentioned God, Jesus, love, the Bible, etc.

My half-point. He used a tablet and appeared “cool.”

Yet despite scoring a 2.5/3, his sermon ultimately receives an F. For all that it has been applauded for we must be discerning and see how it failed, and as such gave a false representation of Jesus, the Gospel and Christianity to millions of viewers, most of whom don’t know Jesus (what a millstone!).

Here are just three examples that should disturb you:

  1. Curry presented the mainline liberal “Gospel” of social initiative or love (works!). You can listen to a likewise disturbing presentation of such things on his website. He is able to arrive at such conclusions by being vague and subjective in all his approaches to the Bible, Christian terms and truth.
  2. Curry does not know what the Gospel is. He says on his website, “If it’s not about love, it’s not about God.” Yet, he neither knows God nor love. He spoke of following Jesus example of love. He spoke of the power of redemptive sacrificial love and that if we loved we could redeem ourselves, others and the world. Yet God, the Gospel and true love are not rooted in such things, but rather “In this is love, not that we have loved God but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins.” (1 John 4:10). God’s love is displayed in rescuing sinners through the Cross; faith in the Gospel redeems us not human works or actions.
  3. He also quoted 1 John 4:7b (“whoever loves has been born of God and knows God”) to suggest that if you love in any way you are God’s child in a specific sense (universalism!). John’s context, however, is one of speaking to Christians and of love being a fruit of faith and repentance.

Jesus spoke of false teachers being wolves dressed up in sheep’s clothing. Bishop Curry is a wolf. His ecclesial position, Christian-like language, positivity, worldly popularity are all a guise to spread untruths and heresy. That he did not share any robust Gospel truth should come as no surprise to the discerning viewer because he is leader of one of the most liberal sects in the United States. Curry’s Episcopal Church is under sanction by the worldwide Anglican communion for unorthodox views on marriage and sexuality, something of which he proudly acknowledges he is an advocate for.

If you’d like to read a more in depth article on the sermon I would recommend you click here.

The Lord’s Sweetest Blessings,

Pastor Chris




This past Lord’s Day we welcomed two new members into our Chapel family. We showed the following presentation to remind members about membership and to encourage and challenge those Christians who are not yet members to consider membership.

You may also be interested in these two videos:

Dare to be a Daniel!

Daniel is perhaps one of the most cherished of stories in the Bible about non-conformity to the world and faithfulness to God.

Daniel simply means “My God is Judge” or “God is my Judge.”

But like the beginning of the 23rd Psalm can we say with David and Daniel that possessive pronoun “my.” Is the Lord ours, are we His? If we have trusted in Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of our sins and if we are following Him with all our heart, soul, mind and strength then the answer is “yes, God is our Judge!” He has looked upon us, and because of our faith in Christ, counted us righteous (“just”) in His eyes. He judges us and does not find us wanting.

That our God is Judge is also a reminder to walk uprightly before Him, just like Daniel (Dan 6:4). We ought not conform to the world, for worldliness brings forth judgement. We are called to be faithful witnesses. Furthermore, the knowledge that God is our Judge, bolsters our resolve to stand firm when the world pressures us to conform. The world is not our judge but God so our aim ought to be to please Him. When the world chews us up and spits us out as a result—so be it—for the day or reckoning is coming. But blessed be the one who trusts in the Lord as his Judge and so is saved from the Judgement to come.

The Lord’s Sweetest Blessings,

Pastor Chris

Time to seek the Lord!

Today is the day of salvation. 2 Cor 6:220180409_190800

Seek the LORD while He may be found; call upon Him while He is near. Isaiah 55:6

Last week I was visiting Ilfracombe in north Devon. Near the quayside is a church and as the spire draws your attention heavenward your eyes pause at the clock and a clear and gold statement that reads, “IT IS TIME TO SEEK THE LORD.”

I was encouraged that this church has this timeless message featured so prominently (and also surprised no one has complained to take it down[1]).

I wonder how many people notice it or take time to heed its message. We are living in a day and age in which too many people are busy, but busy about the wrong things. We focus on fleeting worldly things, rather than seeking the Lord Jesus and the things that are eternal.

The saying (almost certainly gathered from Bible verses as those quoted above) remind us of some simple truths:

  1. We need to seek the Lord (and the promise we will find Him when we do, Deut 4:29).
  2. Today is the day to seek Him and not tomorrow (for tomorrow may never come, or we may be called to meet Him today and not be ready).
  3. There will come a time when we can no longer seek the Lord (when He will no longer hold out the offer of peace with God through the Gospel but rather the sceptre of judgement).

And for the Christian comes the challenge, are we taking time to invest in the Lord, perhaps it is time to recommit to pursuing Him more diligently?

There is no time like the present to seek Jesus Christ.

The Lord’s Sweetest Blessings,

Pastor Chris

[1] Years ago a church in Bath painted John 3:16 on its roof tiles (in what is now a World Heritage City!). Recently the church needed to repaint it and wanted to update the Bible verse to modern English from the KJV and they faced a backlash, whilst had they put it up from scratch they probably would have faced a similar backlash; sometimes you cannot win).