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July 2014

July 23, 2014

Thoughts From The Cottage

Dear Friends

When I hear of Christians being ostracised, denied employment or education, imprisoned and even killed for their faith I am challenged to think about my faith and that of the church in Britain. How far would I go for my faith? What would I give up and what would I not give up? Is my faith that strong?

When I hear of rapidly growing churches in Asia, Africa and South America I am challenged to think about the church in Britain which seems to be in interminable decline? I ask what is the difference? Then my mind is drawn towards growing churches in Britain and I try to see what the difference is between growing and declining churches. I wrote about this in the May edition of The Beacon.

There is a relationship between these two issues and the answer lies primarily not in the church but in society and in whether society informs and moulds the church or whether the church (or any faith group) informs and moulds society. The church was at its strongest when society was much more conservative than it is today. It was a society where divorce was rare, the vast majority of children were born in wedlock, the God-given Biblical concept of marriage being between a man and a woman was universally accepted and state benefits were not there to be fraudulently misused. In this society the church flourished numerically and was at the forefront of social change such as the abolition of slavery, setting up children’s homes, almshouses, hospitals and so much more. It was also a much more caring, less individualistic society.

As society has become more liberal the church has declined, it’s influence muted and it’s teaching watered down. Church has mirrored society instead of informing it. The cult of the individual has been praised, we have been told do what you like – it’s your life whereas Christianity is based on society, sharing and caring. The lack of moral teaching has led to a massive rise in drink and drug related crime, pornography usage and sex crimes. Homes, shops and businesses are protected by alarms, CCTV and security guards. A void has been created where once the Church stood as the guardian of society and many people look for guidance only to be told it is your decision no-one else can make it for you. The creation of this void has led to the rise of false religions, often with cranky or weird practices as well creating the space for Islam to flourish in Britain.

We hear a lot about Islamic fundamentalism and terrorists and very little about the true core of Islam, which like Christianity prizes and encourages peace. It is little wonder that Islam is growing as Christianity declines because it offers the strong moral and ethical code that many people desire, all people need and large parts of western Christendom has abandoned. The time has come for Christians to stand up and reclaim the centrepiece of society and along with Richard Keen we can say
How firm a foundation, ye saints of the Lord,
Is laid for your faith in His excellent word:
What more can He say than to you He hath said,
You who unto Jesus for refuge have fled?

Ian

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