Discussion – Are we a Christian Country?

The recent remarks by David Cameron has sparked a series of comments and debates on whether England is a Christian country. Among others Nick Clegg has weighed in with his personal view and Justin Welby has responded to the criticisms aimed at the Prime Minister.

I’ve already responded to David Cameron here but it’s worth making some comments on Nick Clegg’s response and the Blog post on Thursday by the Archbishop of Canterbury (Justin Welby).

Nick Clegg

Good old Nick, trust him to enter the discussion. Like him, I too would like to see the separation of Church & State. His motivation however, I would question. It ought to make sense for the State to not interfere in the affairs of the Church. And likewise the Church should not interfere with the affairs of the State. What that shouldn’t mean though is that politicians as individuals should have no right to make comments and the Church should be free to pass comment on the activities of the State. As I see it, this is simply free speech in action. But in addition the Church in that capacity acts as conscience of the State as it addresses sin in all its manifestations and in all quarters of society. Where it sees injustice and immorality it should be free to comment but have no vote as a Church. This should also, I believe, predominately be the activity of individual Christians or Christian lobby groups such as Christian Concern or The Christian Institute. The Mission of the Church is to Preach the Gospel of the Grace of God not get involved in politics.

But I would see the motivation of Nick Clegg and other militant atheists or New Atheists as merely an opportunity to separate Church & State in order to attack and seek to destroy an unprotected Church. His motivation is to divide and conquer as he clearly abhors the Christian faith. What else should be expected from someone ‘dead in trespasses and sins’ that ‘suppresses the truth of God in unrighteousness’. We should pray for Nick Clegg that his eyes might be opened.

Justin Welby

The Archbishop couches his language as inoffensive as it’s possible to be all things to all men and save none. The Gospel to sinful man is offensive. It strikes at independence from God. I read his Blog post ‘A Christian Country?. I also followed the link and read one of his sermons picked entirely at random – though attracted by the word repent expecting to find some Gospel content. Truth of the matter is there is absolutely no Gospel content at all. I also read the section on ‘Evangelism‘ but the ‘Evangel’ was markedly absent. Should a reader happen on the Archbishop’s Blog they would stay in the same darkness about what the Gospel is afterwards as before. One would think Jesus never said “Thus it is written, that the Christ should suffer and on the third day rise from the dead, and that repentance and forgiveness of sins should be proclaimed in his name to all nations, beginning from Jerusalem.” (Luke 24: 46-47). Everything just like his predecessor is not written in plain speech but in words of human wisdom thus emptying the Gospel of its power.

A Christian Country?

The answer is we have never been a Christian country and are not one now. I’ll be doing another post to flesh this out.

The Good News

What is the Gospel? In a nutshell, it’s this. I, we, you, all of us have fallen short of the standard God requires – a perfect keeping of His law. We all have sinful natures. We have all sinned and are under His righteous wrath and judgement. We need a Saviour. God has graciously provided a Saviour – Jesus Christ who is truly God & Man in one person. He alone bore our sins in His body on the Cross, rising from the dead the third according to the Scriptures. The forgiveness of our sins can only be found in Jesus Christ & no-one else. To reject Jesus is to reject God and is to reject all hope with only the expectation of a fully conscious eternity in hell. Call upon God for forgiveness, repent and believe the Gospel of the Grace of God.

 

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BBC News – David Cameron speaks of Christian faith in Easter message

BBC News – David Cameron speaks of Christian faith in Easter message.

David’s Message embedded below for your education – not edification.

What a good fellow David is to share his message of Easter with the Nation. I say his message because it isn’t the message of the Bible. The message of Easter is about Jesus the Son of God coming into the world to bleed and die in the place of sinners. The message of the Gospel is to Repent & Believe the Gospel. It’s good that people are neighbourly and help one another, but being neighbourly doesn’t make anyone a Christian – this is implied is his Easter message. One way to distinguish between true & false is not what’s said, but what is not said. The Bible is very plain – and honest – in telling sinners (that’s all of us) that without The Saviour (there is only one) we are lost and undone and will end up in hell.

There’s a lot more to it, but for now please notice, there are two very exclusive aspects to the Christian message. 1. We are all sinners, no exceptions, all of us are guilty before a Holy & Righteous God and deserving of being cast into hell. 2. Jesus is the ONLY Saviour and the ONLY way to be right with God. This is contrary to Islam and EVERY other faith. To say otherwise, as David does, is to deceive and to be dishonest. I have to tell you the truth. The sad truth is David Cameron may well be deceived himself. Before you can have the peace of God, you, me, all of us need Peace with God. (Romans 5:1-2) That Peace is only obtained by the Grace of God through Jesus Christ and NO other way. Now if he were to share that…

If we could save ourselves or were good enough to enter heaven – why did Jesus have to die? Like the rest of us then, David needs to Repent & Believe the Gospel. (Mark 1:14-15). 

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Definition of ‘Anti-Christ’

 

Mao at Stalin's side on a ceremony arranged fo...
Mao at Stalin’s side on a ceremony arranged for Stalin’s 70th birthday in Moscow in December 1949.

In the last post I used the term ‘Anti-Christ’ and thought rather than just leave its interpretation a matter for speculation it seemed like a good idea to very briefly supply a definition.

This is probably one of those doctrines that continues to generate large amounts of heat. So if you are looking for someone to debate your take on the issue you will be disappointed. Leave a comment by all means but don’t expect a reply as I’m not getting into a never-ending debate about dates and signs of the end.

So for those that are sitting on the edge of your seats – here it is:

My simple understanding is that when the machinery of the State is used to persecute Christians – there you have the Anti-Christ. We don’t see it as the early Church did with the Emperor Nero, or Stalin, or Chairman Mao: but we do see the beginnings of it albeit in many cases more subtly expressed but in a sense no less powerful. Remember the purpose is to destroy the Church, and if the Church can be made to look ridiculous, or bigoted, unloving, or just fundamentalist nut-jobs it’s perhaps even more successful.

So it’s in the above sense that I use the term Anti-Christ and see no reason for the term not to be used of David Cameron, Nick Clegg, their cronies and of this Parliament.

To counter the spirit of Ant-Christ however, we have the word of the Lord Jesus where He said ‘I will build my Church and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it’ (Matthew 16:18). Perhaps our Government will have a short-lived success but in the end it will be the Lord Jesus that will prevail – Praise God!

 

David Cameron, Christopher Hitchens, Martin Luther and Christianity

English: David Cameron's picture on the 10 Dow...

I cannot claim to see inside the heart of any man – this is the prerogative of God Himself ‘I the Lord search the heart’ but upon reading the recent speech by the Prime Minister I am left wondering what the (short-lived) fuss was about. He epitomises the art of the politician – to say much without saying anything. I struggled to find anything in his speech that gave a shred of confidence that he has any true understanding whatsoever of the Gospel of God at all. To apply The Gospel morally is to destroy it and ‘deny it’s power’.

Yesterday I began reading ‘Concerning Christian Liberty by Martin Luther (1483-1546) and the opening paragraph made me think of the speech by David Cameron.

‘CHRISTIAN faith has appeared to many an easy thing; nay, not a few even reckon it among the social virtues, as it were; and this they do because they have not made proof of it experimentally, and have never tasted of what efficacy it is. For it is not possible for any man to write well about it, or to understand well what is rightly written, who has not at some time tasted of its spirit, under the pressure of tribulation; while he who has tasted of it, even to a very small extent, can never write, speak, think, or hear about it sufficiently. For it is a living fountain, springing up into eternal life, as Christ calls it in John iv.’

I applied this to the PM because he would ‘even reckon it (Christianity) among the social virtues’ but deny it’s very heart. Why? Luther again, ‘this they do because they have not made proof of it experimentally, and have never tasted of what efficacy it is’. He betrays himself here as having never tasted the efficacy of The Gospel. Now this is a very sad situation. I will also just make this very important point because the PM is extremely careful not to upset anyone, he has to deny the exclusive truth claims of the Christian faith. Of course people are free to believe whatever they wish. But, either Christianity is true and the others are false, or Christianity is false. If people were to spot it, the PM is really on the horns of a dilemma. This has not been picked up.

Martin Luther, commemorated on February 18 Eva...

I was really thrilled as I read of the Gospel in the writing of Luther. And yet at the same time saddened that so many have not the foggiest idea as to its truth. In writing of Christopher Hitchens some have quoted the phrase “We are created sick and commanded to be well” and again through the darkness of their understanding completely miss the thrust of the Gospel message. Here’s Luther again on this very point:

‘Now when a man has through the precepts been taught his own impotence, and become anxious by what means he may satisfy the law-for the law must be satisfied, so that no jot or tittle of it may pass away, otherwise he must be hopelessly condemned-then, being truly humbled and brought to nothing in his own eyes, he finds in himself no resource for justification and salvation.

Then comes in that other part of Scripture, the promises of God, which declare the glory of God, and say, “If you wish to fulfil the law, and, as the law requires, not to covet, lo! believe in Christ, in whom are promised to you grace, justification, peace and liberty.” All these things you shall have, if you believe, and shall be without them if you do not believe. For what is impossible for you by all the works of the law, which are many and yet useless, you shall fulfil in an easy and summary way through faith, because God the Father has made everything to depend on faith, so that whosoever has it has all things, and he who has it not has nothing. “For God hath concluded them all in unbelief, that He might have mercy upon all” (Rom. xi, 32). Thus the promises of God give that which the precepts exact, and fulfil what the law commands; so that all is of God alone, both the precepts and their fulfillment. He alone commands; He alone also fulfils. Hence the promises of God belong to the New Testament; nay, are the New Testament.’

So we have in the misunderstanding of the enemies of the Gospel the default position of fallen humanity – Works. This is what it comes down to ultimately every time. The Gospel of the Grace of God is completely counter to this. It’s no wonder that to bring a person to faith it takes the extraordinary work of God to do so. We cannot do it, and will not do it. Praise God for the Gospel. This is what the Incarnation is all about – God doing something amazing. Let’s thank God for sending Christ.

BTW Concerning Christian Liberty is available in Kindle format for free via Amazon.