David W. Norris
It is important as the close of the present age draws ever nearer, as the storm clouds gather, as wicked men set themselves with ever more vigour and intensity against Christ Jesus and those who follow Him, that we strive constantly to have a better understanding of Scripture. Especially, when so many who once walked with us have sought to downgrade the position of the precious Word of God. It is only by accepting, believing, and acting upon the clear words of God’s special revelation in the Bible that we can hope to gain an insight into what is going on around us and how to respond. Only here do we find a lamp unto our feet and a light unto our pathway (Psalm 112:105). Only God’s Word reveals to us the direction in which we are heading. The Bible is authoritative on everything of which it speaks and its speaks of everything directly or indirectly. It tells is first of all about Christ and His work, but also of God, who He is and the world He created; of things past, of things present, of things yet to come.
First of all, the Bible is an unchanging, objective Word. Whatever day of the week it is, however we may feel, whether joyful or sad, this Word is always the same and we can depend upon it. Like the Lord who gave it, His Word is the same yesterday, today and forever. It does not say one thing on one day then lead us in a different direction the next. “For ever, O LORD, thy word is settled in heaven” (Psalm 119:89). The Bible is not God’s Word only when it speaks to us.
Second, it becomes ours, it becomes subjective, by the enlightenment of the Holy Spirit and as this Word enters our hearts and directs our thoughts. It is from within our hearts that all the issues of life arise and it is here that God’s Word does its work. “Keep thy heart with all diligence; for out of it are the issues of life” (Proverbs 4:23). The heart is the root of our existence from whence arise all our thoughts and feelings that prompt our words and our deeds. As a man “thinketh in his heart, so is he” (Proverbs 23:7), be it good or evil. “A good man out of the good treasure of his heart bringeth forth that which is good; and an evil man out of the evil treasure of his heart bringeth forth that which is evil: for of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaketh” (Luke 6:45).
The heart is never neutral. We will either love God in our heart or hate Him. There is no position in between. Our stance towards God will determine how we respond to Scripture and to everything else in life. The heart that rejects God will also reject all that He says. The heart has either been transformed or it will remain apostate. The heart must first be changed in order to receive the truth revealed in Scripture. Otherwise, clever arguments, reasoned pleas will all be of no avail.
Third, the Bible is also clear in its meaning; it is not obscure or hidden. It should be taken as it stands. If there is allegory, this will be obvious; if there are other figures of speech, they will also be plain. We need no obscure hermeneutic, no strange methodology to unlock its meaning.
The greatest threat to our nation today is not something emanating from outside. Quite the contrary, the danger that will one day ruin us if left is one that has grown from within. No enemy from without need invade to destroy us, we are doing this very well for ourselves without the help of anyone. There is a festering rot within. At one time this was not easily discerned, but in the last forty years or so like some gangrene, putrefaction has pushed its way through to the surface as an undeniable and highly visible stench-ridden affliction.
All is well, we are told. Yet, a tree may well appear healthy externally, no canker apparent, whilst within all is not well. Then one windy day when a gale blows with some force, the tree, although its life may have spanned the centuries, will fall ignominiously and its true internal state be open for all to see. Such is our beloved country today: rotten inside and a fall is inevitable when once the cruel winds of adversity begin to blow. A fall one day will most certainly come, for we no longer have the moral fibre and backbone to resist in times of dire trouble. This weakness is already more than apparent.
Our institutions are able to function only within structures that operate within a context of inherent corruption. We have made no move forward, but have regressed to an epoch when power was inherited or purchased, retreated to an era many thought had largely disappeared, when appointments could be obtained in return for favours, when a chosen few owned the country. Government today in Britain is dominated by an openly godless and perverse self-perpetuating élite motivated solely by greed and self-interest. A cosy cabal, an insular ‛chumocracy’ is determined, at whatever cost to the nation, to defend and preserve the privileged position it has arranged for itself. Vested interests hold sway over politicians of all colours and determine the direction of travel for our country, operating the levers of power.
Once we were a nation with clearly defined beliefs and an acute moral consciousness. The seeds of our civilisation and culture were sown around two thousand years ago when the Christian Gospel reached these shores. It was this faith that over many years shaped our morals, our political system, and all aspects of our culture. Within a very short period of time, this and much of what has meant to be Christian and British, has been systematically dismantled and destroyed by a vicious adversary active among us. This home-grown enemy is attempting to reshape our nation surreptitiously, erase our historic identity and all without the consent of the population, frog-marching us along a pathway many, if not most of us find obnoxious. To surrender up our Christian faith to these ideological vandals will have irreversible and devastating results and ultimately bring about the disintegration of our nation. Yet in truth, sadly Great Britain shrank away and ceased to exist long ago.
“For my own part, I believe sects and denominations to be the result of the devil’s attempt to mar and hinder as far as possible the visible union of the church of God; and that they all have their root in our spiritual pride and selfishness, our self-sufficiency and our sin. …
May God forgive us for, and correct our divisions! Nothing gives greater occasion to the outside world, than the differences between professing Christians. The bickerings and contentions between men and women of different sects and denominations of the visible church of God has always been one of the world’s greatest hindrances. Instead of looking on, and being constrained to confess, ‘See how these Christians love one another,’ the world has too often reason to say, ‘See how they carp at one another, see how they judge one another, see how they malign one another.’”
Marcus Rainsford in The Lord’s Prayer for Believers
“I cannot but believe that the present practice of confining the public teaching of the church to an official class has done harm. Why should one man be forever speaking, and hundreds of people who are able to teach, sitting dumb to listen or pretend to listen to him? I hate forcible revolution, and do not believe that any institutions, either political or ecclesiastical, which need violence to sweep them away, are ready to be removed; but I believe that if the level of spiritual life were raised among us, new forms would naturally be evolved, in which there should be a more adequate recognition of the great principle on which the democracy of Christianity is founded; namely, ‘I will pour out My Spirit on all flesh ― and on My servants and on my handmaidens I will pour out in these days of My Spirit and they shall prophesy.’”
Alexander Maclaren in Expositor’s Bible: Colossians & Philemon
The question as to whether there can ever be such a thing as a Christian nation is one that requires an answer. Some believe that in the present age such a possibility can only be a delusion. Others assume that present godless nations can be brought to becoming Christian ones and that ultimately the whole world will be predominantly Christian. Looking at the teaching of Scripture, there are elements of truth in both positions. It is most certainly the case that in this world it is quite impossible that the Gospel should do anything other than triumph. The purposes of God even for this present time cannot be thwarted by the sin of man. What must be established is how and when such a victory will appear. Equally, there is no way – and here the Scriptures are clear – that the kingdoms of this world are destined for anything else than complete destruction. They cannot be reconstructed or reformed into something they are not, nor ever can be. At the same time, it cannot be pleasing to God that they remain as they are, but that all should repent and turn to God through Christ. It follows that if a nation does not order its affairs according the revealed will of God, does not encourage its citizens to live according to the Christian Gospel, then by what law should they live? All else would be not neutral, but anti-Christian. Every nation ought, in this sense at least, to be a Christian nation. Surely as there is individual repentance it is perfectly possible, according to Scriptures, for nations to turn to God. The Gospel must be preached in a way that has this as its goal. Because something may not happen does not mean it ought not to happen or will not happen at some point in the future.
The present difficulty is that we live in the midst of a godless and perverse generation with its heart set against God and Christ. No nation can be saved by self-reformation any more than an individual can. It requires regeneration and this presumes a mighty work of God bringing about repentance and faith on a large scale. This will happen only as the Gospel is preached and preached in some power. For an individual to live a Christian life, the old must die and the new replace it. All that which is sinful is destined for destruction, in an individual or a nation. Yet we are committed to the preaching of the Gospel to all nations in this age in the full knowledge of its ultimate triumph. It cannot fail and our work is not in vain in the Lord. “But thanks be to God, which giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. Therefore, my beloved brethren, be ye stedfast, unmoveable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, forasmuch as ye know that your labour is not in vain in the Lord.” (1 Corinthians 15:57-58)
There is a war underway of which most people seem to be entirely oblivious. Western governments, particularly in the USA and the UK, have embarked on a deliberate campaign to rid our nations of every vestige of Christian testimony. Here in Britain, Christians are persistently harassed at work and in their Churches. Street preachers are dragged before the courts. Bakeries, guest houses and other businesses run by Christian people have been targeted and fined. Christians it seems can be hassled on the flimsiest of charges using the abusive rhetoric of being racist, Islamic- or homophobic. No substantive argument, just slander. Those of minority faiths do not suffer in the same way; in fact, no one dare utter a word of disapproval. Christian schools have long come under fire and now even Sunday Schools run the risk of being labelled 'extremist' and shut down for not adhering to 'British values' as defined by government. Recent laws introduced onto the statute book are clearly anti-Christian and no, we do not and cannot accept such values for they run counter to the teachings of the Scriptures and would put us in conflict with the declared will of God for all men. Indeed, historically they are not British either. Islam is, in fact, used by the authorities as an instrument to undo the open practice of Christian belief.
Laws are based on a moral code and if that code is not Christian then it is something else, generally anti-Christian. The separation of Church and State is all well and good as long as this is not interpreted to mean, as it does now here in Britain, the shutting out all 'values' based on a Christian view of morality. We need to be careful in using the term 'Christian country'. The time when that could be properly used is yet to come. What ought to be acknowledged is that in the main, and particularly in the USA and the UK, the moral concepts that have guided lawmakers up until most recently have been drawn from Christian teaching. Our rulers these days are senseless, ruthless people closed to all reasoning.
It must be recognised that there is a difference between nominal Christianity, which nevertheless avows some loyalty to Christian teaching, and those who are devout and practising believers. There is also a difference between these two and the apostate Christianity that has very largely overrun all the mainstream Churches of the West. Not only has traditional morality been thrown to the winds, so too have the fundamental tenets of the Christian faith. Much of the so-called preaching and teaching among evangelicals, who could once be relied upon to promote a biblical Gospel, has now degenerated into emotional, sentimental twaddle. The time is long overdue for those who know the truth as it is in Christ Jesus and revealed in Scripture to resist. Enough is enough, where is the Gospel? As Christian believers we are called upon to be lights in this dark world and it is high time that we stopped hiding that light under a bushel. (see other articles on this site, see below, also Britian is rapidly becoming not a non-Christian, but an anti-Christian country. In past centuries, Christian believers have had to seek freedom to worship God by leaving England and moving to another country. There is no guarantee that this may not be repeated in the future.
Furthermore, as evidence of an anti-Christian bias were it needed, we see that Western politicians have generally refused to take up the cause of persecuted Christians in the Middle East. The answer to prevent this killing cannot be the reintroduction of a secular state. Certainly, under Sadam Hussein in Iraq and Bashar al-Assad in Syria, however much we may dislike them they generally left Christians to worship in peace. A reintroduction of those conditions is not the answer.Those who name the name of Christ and live in countries that are slaughtering them deserve our support.
There is no occasion, no situation arising, including when social and political issues are in focus, when we can set the Bible to one side. Many are reluctant to do this fearful of charges of obscurantism or even worse being condemned as ‛extremist’ by our godless rulers. Yet the claims of the Gospel of Christ cannot be compromised. As a result, many professing Christians when defending their views on any number of matters hide their true biblical convictions hoping to gain respectability in the eyes of unbelievers. As a result, the claims of Christ on the thought and life of unbelievers remain unstated and godless men go away unchallenged by Him. A people whose life is not guided and moulded by the teaching of Scripture can in no way be thought of as a Christian nation. Unless a challenge goes out from the Word of God, defeat is inevitable. Evangelicals stand facing both ways at one and the same time, saying one thing to outsiders and another to their own people.
We need to remember that no legal order, be it Christian or something else, can be successfully imposed on the nation on a permanent basis unless the people themselves are carried along with it. The political system of a country will always reflect the faith and condition of the people. A system that enslaves will live produce a slave state. Only were the population to consist to a large degree of mature Christian believers would we be able to speak of a biblical political system. This is not the case by any means in modern Britain, far from it.
A genuine biblical social order will be based on the teachings of the Scriptures. All law is based on a system of morality and is therefore necessarily religious. Non-biblical social or legal order is also religious with implications for the Christian faith. It will be Christian or it will be anti-Christian. Revolution provides no solution. The outcome is rarely, if ever, helpful to anyone and historically has ushered in a way of life far worse than the one overthrown. The only way of change is regeneration and conversion through the preaching of the Gospel. Certain is that godless men will never produce a good society. Social renewal must begin with individual regeneration. Only then will anyone willingly submit to Scripture. Would to God we still had politicians of the calibre of the Victorian statestman, William Gladstone, who referred to the Bible as "the impregnable rock of Holy Scripture". It was he who installed J. C. Ryle as the first bishop of Liverpool.
In living memory, viewing the spiritual malaise that now besets our beloved country and threatens to destroy us, there has rarely been greater need for a proclamation of the authentic Christian Gospel. It seems that days are upon us as prophesied by Amos. God has indeed sent a famine in the land, “...not a famine of bread, nor a thirst for water, but of hearing the words of the LORD” (Amos 8:11). Search where we may, the word of God eludes us. “And they shall wander from sea to sea, and from the north even to the east, they shall run to and fro to seek the word of the LORD, and shall not find it” (Amos 8:12). There are plenty of crooks and charlatans peddling a false gospel, preaching “another gospel: which is not another” (Galatians 1:6-7), offering stones instead of bread, a serpent in the place of a fish, and a scorpion for an egg (Luke 11:11-12). And those who ought to know better are strangely silent.
External opponents of the Christian faith are not really needed to destroy these Churches. Genuine and biblical Christian testimony in Britain is already well on the way to extinction. Left to themselves, Churches will easily accomplish all that is required to extinguish what is left of any spiritual life in them without outside help. Congregations are already dwindling fast. One in four parishes in the Church of England have fewer than ten regular worshippers. Centuries old church buildings are being compelled every year to close their doors; others will be able to open for services only during the major religious holidays. Within the Church of England there are now fewer than 800,000 worshippers in the pews on Sunday. This is around of half of what attendance was in the 1960s. Bishops and clergy are determined to reform and renew the Church by prescribing yet more potent versions of the same fatal concoctions that have contributed to this miserable state of affairs. The institutional Churches, State or non-conformist alike, are now soaked in the very things that are antipathetic to the Christian faith and that are opposed in nature and character to the teaching of Scripture.
Professing Churches of all denominations have now almost all jettisoned the older doctrines and truths they formerly held dear. Few Church of England ordinands could today hand on heart endorse the Thirty-Nine Articles, which they presumably still swear before God to uphold. The ancient Creeds of the Church have become less a statement of faith than a quaint formality. Most of the other denominations follow in their train, indeed some lead the way.
Blind mouths! that scarce themselves know how to hold
A sheep-hook, or have learned aught else at least
That to the faithful herdsman's art belongs!
What recks it them? What need they? They are sped;
And, when they list, their lean and flashy songs
Grate on their scrannel pipes of wretched straw;
The hungry sheep look up and are not fed,
But, swoln with wind and rank mist they draw,
Rot inwardly, and foul contagion spread:
Besides what the grim wolf with privy paw
Daily devours apace, and nothing said.
But that two-handed engine at the door
Stands ready to smite once, and smite no more.
John Milton (1608-1674)
The marriage of one man to one woman for life lies at the heart of the structure of a nation. Out of it grows the independent family unit and out of the family unit grows the nation. Anarchists like Masha Gessen must oppose marriage because it stands in the way of achieving their political agenda. To change the definition of marriage is to change society radically with wide-reaching implications for our families and the nation. These changes are deliberate and imply far more than the rights and wrongs of who ought to have sexual relations with whom. What we are looking at in our modern western democracies is the gradual dismantling of marriage and the family in the interests of a social change agenda. ...
This deconstruction of society is essential if a new society in which all are ‛equal’ is to be built globally with new building blocks, an ersatz ‛kingdom of heaven’ on earth, a ‛new Jerusalem’. ...They will replicate a living hell on earth.
These things are all related, from marriage, one man to one woman comes the family and groups of families or tribes as they were once known, families together make up a nation. Jacob and his family went down into Egypt a group of families centred around his sons, they emerged a powerful nation made up of twelve tribes. The diminution and final abolition of marriage, family, nation is essential for the reconstruction of society our world leaders have in mind.
According to the New Testament, divorce was given by God as a practical remedy because of hardness of heart.
“He saith unto them, Moses because of the hardness of your hearts suffered you to put away your wives: but from the beginning it was not so. And I say unto you, Whosoever shall put away his wife, except it be for fornication, and shall marry another, committeth adultery: and whoso marrieth her which is put away doth commit adultery.” (Matthew 19:8-9)
In Scripture divorce is allowed only in the instance of a sexual misdemeanour, when the marriage bond is broken by fornication or adultery. Where this occurs it is a sin against God, but it is also a sin against the innocent party, the family and the wider community and will have repercussions in all those areas. In the pages of the Bible, adultery is often spoken of in the same terms as murder. This demonstrates its very serious nature. The whole life of the nation is affected where adultery and sexual sin is widespread. ...
Given the ease with which a divorce can now be obtained, Britain today has the highest divorce rate in the European Union with all the negative social fall-out to be expected. ...
Today more than 50% of the adult population is married and nine out of ten youngsters under the age of 16 want to get married. In a survey of 2,000 students aged 13 to 15 only 4% thought that marriage was old fashioned and not relevant. Throughout Europe surveys have shown that 85% to 90% of adults disputed the notion that marriage is outmoded.
On the publication of the 2013 abortion figures, one MP observed, “The UK is a rogue state when it comes to abortion.” Our abortion time limits are double those of most other EU states. Elsewhere they are usually around 12 weeks, whilst we allow an abortion six months into a pregnancy. Many here would still like to open up the restrictions on abortion. The principle of a woman’s ‛right to choose’ is still rejected outright as a ground to abort, although attempts at change have been made in parliament. The ‛right to choose’ lobby regards the present law as vague and restrictive. ...
Originally the reason for abortion was with respect to the physical and mental wellbeing of the mother. There have of course been many unintended and unforeseen consequences. Examining the abortion figures for Britain reveals an alarming tendency to use abortion as a form of contraception. In order to give sanctity to abortion, as with so many things, language is stood on its head. The slogan is ‛the woman’s right to choose’. Abortionists demand that she has the right to do as she wishes with her own body. Forgotten is the fact that the unborn child is not strictly speaking her body over which she has the right to choose whether it lives or not. ...
The well-rehearsed continually reiterated excuse for the killing of embryos is that an embryo is not a person and it is gross ignorance to suggest otherwise. Left alone to develop every embryo developing normally becomes a person and so is most certainly a human being. It is what the word says, an embryo is a human being in embryo. It cannot be right to deliberately set out to create a potential person with the intention of killing it in the interest of some vague, unstipulated, hypothetical and uncertain future advantage. The answer is that such a course of action can never be right.
Any society prepared to countenance such things has turned its back on all respect for human life and this is something that will spread out to many other spheres because it betrays a general attitude. Certainly, it is just one more sign showing that England is no longer Christian in any sense of the word for our nation has turned its back on all that is good and specifically on the teaching of the Bible over a wide range of moral issues. A society that treats the unborn as disposable utilities is devoid of any transcendent or absolute values, in fact of anything that can remotely be called a value.
Up until the late 19th century most, if not all schools had some kind of religious affiliation. This was especially true of the Church of England. Consequently, religious instruction enjoyed a central place in the curriculum. After a number of education Acts, including the Forster Act of 1870, elementary schooling became compulsory for all. Although compulsory, Christian education was to be strictly non-denominational. The basics of Christianity were taught including the Bible stories of the Old and New Testaments and the missionary journeys of the Apostle Paul. In addition, pupils were instructed in the importance of the Ten Commandments and taught to say the Lord’s Prayer, often learning much by heart along with a number of Psalms. In Church of England Schools prayers were taken from the Book of Common Prayer and hymns sung from Hymns Ancient and Modern. The result of this was that many of the things learnt by heart remained in the memory even into old age. The teaching of religious instruction was continued under the Butler Education Act 1944. Changes were inevitable once the ‛multi-cultural society’ arrived. The Education Act of 1996 says:
“Religious education must reflect the fact that the religious traditions in Britain are in the main Christian, whilst taking account of the teachings and practices of the other principle religions.” ...
Most parents erroneously believe that children are sent to school to learn things, reading writing and arithmetic will do for a start. It should be clear from the government’s own statements above that RE, indeed the whole of school life, is about something more than learning or education in any sense that most parents would understand it. Children suffer daily incarceration to the end that they may be subjected to progressive indoctrination using a teaching methodology derived from the brainwashing techniques of Pavlov, behaviourist and constructivist psychology, as any teacher training syllabus will show. Our children are being systematically moulded into passive, unthinking clones, to be used for whatever purpose governments deem fit. ...
Although well suited to this purpose, undermining the Christian faith is not something that is confined to RE lessons, but pervades every other subject in both its content and the way it is taught. Education goes way and above the imparting of knowledge or development of skills whether this is learning to read, write, do maths or learn a foreign language. Going to school has the purpose of conditioning students for their role in life.
A distinctively ‛Christian’ Britain disappeared down the pan a long time ago along with it all the Christian festivals and Sunday. ... In July 2015, Conservative chancellor, George Osborne unveiled new plans that would allow shops in England and Wales to open for even longer hours. ...Once more as with same-sex marriage, our government has shown its duplicity and dishonesty. Writing to Michael Trend of Keep Sundays Special in April, David Cameron had assured him there were absolutely ‛no plans’ to relax current laws. ...
This commandment has two aspects: one towards God, the other towards ourselves. It provides us with a weekly opportunity to set aside time to gather with other Christian believers to worship God. Of course, for the opponent of the Christian Gospel it is important that this weekly festival celebrating the resurrection of Christ be erased from the public consciousness and the opportunity to worship God made more difficult. ...
The disruption of the daily routine and the world of work is deliberate. This is what Sunday, the Christian Sabbath, is all about. It compels us to look away from what we do every day and to our Creator and Redeemer. It reminds us that our own work is not enough, that God alone in His providence and mercy can sustain us and keep us moving forward day by day. This separation from our daily work signifies to us a moral separation from the world, world ultimately to be redeemed by God’s kingdom and purposes.
Britain has for years been working feverously towards its own extinction as has Germany, but also many other European countries. There are places, such as in Hungary and all strength to their arm, where this trend has been resisted. Most cities and large towns in the UK have a substantial population of immigrants, largely Islamic. Almost half of the Muslim population in the UK was born here. They have nothing in common with the host community and show no desire to integrate into British society whatever. Instead they have over recent years shown an increasing hostility to all that is British. They emphasise their differences, wearing different clothes, speaking a different language, eating different foods, watching different films and taking on none of the customs of the indigenous population. Showing no respect for the country in which they now live, they bite the hand that feeds them, denying the legitimacy of the State them provides them welfare. This contributory factor to bottomless pit of debt into which this country continues to sink should worry us all. ...
Whilst the majority of the British population say they are Christian, followers of Islam constitute the largest number of all the minority religions. With the Muslim population becoming an ever higher percentage of the population, if the UK government is seeking to diminish or even eradicate the influence of the Christian faith through its tacit support of Islam as it appears to be doing, it is certainly going the right way about it. ...
We see that the Bible assumes the existence of nations. The world is not made up of a vast number of identical individuals, so that it does not matter who we are or where we come from. We each belong to a family, to a nation, distinguished by ancestry, heritage and differences of language. God Himself has ordained that we should so live in this way. This explanation is found in Genesis 10, where the descendents of Noah from his sons Shem, Ham, and Japheth are listed. The ‛no boundaries’ doctrine of Marxism outlined in the Communist Manifesto and implemented relentlessly by modern politicians of all shades of opinion is wrong and a contradiction of Christian teaching. It is a perverse ideology in the extreme and the cause of much of the misery and suffering in the world today and doomed to failure on a grand scale.
Compassion for those whose lives have been torn apart is one thing, but allowing them then to enter our territory, into our nation, and set up their altars to false gods, gods that are no gods, in temples and mosques is beyond what Scripture allows. Such behaviour in Israel drew down the judgment of God upon them and it will do no less to us. Our leaders, our politicians have exposed us to appalling tragedy. We have turned from serving the true and living God to the worship of idols, no one waits for Christ to return, no one believes God raised Him from the dead, no one is expecting the wrath of God to come from which they will not be delivered (cf. 1 Thessalonians 1:9-10). ...What will come upon Britain in God’s judgement, or upon other western nations, to cleanse us from the tolerance, the participation even by association, in idolatrous worship? Our God tolerates no rivals. He calls upon us to act. Should we not do so, He most surely will. There will come upon us a fearful judgement as upon Israel.
The peculiarity of the Christian religion as has been shown so often, and acknowledged even by opponents, lies in the person of Christ. All other religions are independent, to a certain degree, of their founders, because those founders were nothing more than their first confessors. But Jesus was not the first Christian; he was and is the Christ. He is not the subject, but the object, of religion. Christianity is not the religion of Jesus, still less of Jesus-worship, but Christ religion. Christianity is now as dependent on him, from moment to moment, as when he trod this earth. For he is not a person who lived and worked only in the past, but he lives and works still, is still Prophet, Priest, and King, and himself upholds the Church, which he established, from age to age, and assures her victory.
We need to ask if we can rightfully resist and remove governments by some means, rulers who bring ruin to the nation. If so, by whom, and how far is it right? If we look into the Christian Scriptures by way of example, we find two covenants are involved: one covenant exists between God and the ruler; another one between God and the people. God holds each party to account both for what they do. It is in a real sense a three-way covenant, if one breaks the covenant, God can demand satisfaction from the other. Should any of the people default, then the ruler is called upon to execute punishment. Who may punish the godless ruler for not keeping his side of the bargain? The answer must be the people. This must be the case, particularly when they are obstructed from obeying God. ...
Does a government have the power of life and death over subjects? Some think so. However, the ruler is but a minister and executor of the law and may only pull the sword from its sheath and use it against those whom the law of God also condemns. To do anything other than this makes him a tyrant, someone who goes beyond what is permitted him. In which case he is no longer a ruler but a tyrant; no longer a judge but is a criminal himself; not a conserver of the law but a violator of it. Can the ruler then pardon those whom the law condemns? No, he cannot. Only cruel pity supports thieves, robbers, murderers, rapists, and others who plague us. Where this happens offences will only increase and provide the wrongdoer with yet more ammunition against the law. They become wolves among the sheep. ...
A tyrant is one who gains a kingdom directly by violence or some other indirect means. A tyrant may initially be lawfully invested by election or succession, but then govern contrary to the law and the equity to which he obliged himself at reception. The tyrant will oppress by calumnies and fraud, using corrupt officers of state. He will often give out false reports of conspiracies against himself as a pretext for his actions. He will gather around him corrupt officials, who act in self-interest but are absolutely the king’s creatures. They applaud and apply themselves to fulfilling his loose and unruly desires. He keeps these people in place working to their benefit as well as his own to keep them on board. The tyrant hates, suspects, and fears wise, honest and virtuous men like no others. He sees his own security as best served in the corruption of officers of state.
The people are obliged to governments under a condition, but governments are obliged to the people unconditionally, pure and simple. In as much as the government fails, breaking the covenant, then to that degree the people are exempt from obedience, the contract is void, the right of obligation has no force. People who publically renounce the unjust dominion of a tyrant or seek expulse him by force are not guilty of any crime. It is permitted for officers of the kingdom to suppress a tyrant, it becomes not only lawful but a duty. The government holds first place in the administration of the state, and the officers the second. The officers of state are also guilty if they connive in a government’s wickedness. All discharge their duties under a solemn oath.
We are often led to believe that Great Britain is in a post-Christian era and that the country is now largely secular. Some recent research shows that as much as seventy-one percent of the British still regard themselves as Christian, despite the fact that fewer than a million attend any place of worship, with these figures dropping fast. In view of this, the Churches ought to be asking themselves why this anomaly. Despite all their efforts at offering 'contemporary worship' and discarding much that is traditional in order to be more appealing, the ebbing away of congregations continues apace. There are, however, some even more pressing questions to be posed. What do those calling themselves Christian think that it means to be a Christian? Also, how does their understanding compare with what it really means to be a Christian and how can anyone know for sure what a Christian is?
People today are largely ignorant of the Christian Gospel and only have a very vague sense of any kind of spiritual need. In the Gospel there is an outward offer of salvation but there is also an accompanying inward work of the Holy Spirit bringing with it regenerating power. When men see the need to escape from eternal death through the preaching of the Gospel, they will also at the same time see that Christ has supplied their need. Christ finds them, but they first need to become new creatures before they will see this as a fact.
Many of those professing Christian belief think they have a sound understanding of what they need, but in fact not one of us by nature is fully aware of his or her need. On the contrary, unless God opens the inward eyes, all sit in complete ignorance of their own true state: dead in trespasses and sins and therefore subject to the wrath of God.
“And you hath he quickened, who were dead in trespasses and sins; Wherein in time past ye walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience: Among whom also we all had our conversation in times past in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind; and were by nature the children of wrath, even as others.” (Ephesians 2:1-3)
“And to wait for his Son from heaven, whom he raised from the dead, even Jesus, which delivered us from the wrath to come.” (1 Thessalonians 1:10)
Writing at the end of the nineteenth century, Friedrich Nietzsche put words into the mouth of a madman, who ran everywhere crying: “Where is God gone? I mean to tell you, we have killed him, you and I. We are all his murderers.” Going from church to church, he announces the death of God. Asked the reason for this outburst, the madman replies, “What are these churches now, if they are not the tombs of God?” The significance of this story was to some extent lost on Nietzsche’s own generation; it would take another hundred years for its meaning to fully unfold. Buildings that then resounded in the praise and worship of God are gone and many remaining now stand derelict, or have been turned into homes, theatres, antique shops, museums, Sikh temples. But the death of God has taken place only in the human mind as He has faded from the consciousness of our fellow men and nowhere else. Christ has been driven out of Christendom, yet He lives still; it is just that men live without Him as though He were dead. Nietzsche gives his prophetic words to a madman to announce, reflecting the words of Scripture: “The fool hath said in his heart, There is no God” (Psalm 14:1). Today, the rejection of God by so many has left a vacuum waiting to be filled by opportunistic forces of unbelief, godlessness: a vicious, destructive, bigoted, intolerant, and militant atheism with a not so smiling face.
Godlessness expresses itself in every area of British life. Understandable cynicism has developed towards corrupt and deceitful governments as they introduce legislation that often seems only to featherbed themselves, secure their own positions, and benefit their friends. Those who dare to challenge publicly the prevailing new morality being imposed on our people, introduced often against the better judgement of a majority, are more than likely to receive a knock on the door from the local police. They “call evil good, and good evil; … put darkness for light, and light for darkness” (Isaiah 5:20). Personal sin has been raised to the level of a new righteousness. Oblique persecution meets any Christian seeking to follow the dictates of conscience. Teachers who look to their own their own conscience on how and what they teach their charges, hotel and guesthouse owners refusing to accommodate homosexuals, doctors who reject abortion and refuse contraception to underage unmarried teenage girls, along with many other professionals in public service, particularly those professing Christian convictions are with increasing frequency being forced to quit. Truly: “The wicked walk on every side, when the vilest men are exalted” (Psalm 12:8).Freedom of conscience is only permitted where there is no contradiction of the perverse mores of godless parliamentarians. It was Martin Luther at the Diet of Worms (1521) who warned that it is dangerous to go against a conscience informed by the Word of God. The freedom of conscience to hold and express distinctively Christian beliefs won over centuries is being deliberately and systematically eroded.
When we speak of ‛Christian’ Britain, what must not be forgotten is that we are talking about Britain as a protestant country. The struggle with the Roman Catholic Pontiff began not with Henry VIII as is widely supposed, but was dragged out throughout many previous centuries. Even the term Anglican Church preceded Henry by several centuries. The eventual break with Rome, when it came, had really been inevitable almost from the moment Christianity itself first reached these shores. England’s relationship with the Papacy was always awkward and conflict frequent. Two things we need to note. First, the independent spirit of the English Church sat uneasily alongside the absolute authority of the Pope. From the New Testament we know that missionaries had already reached Spain. Similarly, missionaries at the time of the Roman occupation of Britain first brought the Gospel to our people. The later missionary expedition sent by Gregory, with its dependence on Rome, did not fit well with what remained of indigenous Christian testimony. Second, genuine Christian testimony did not exist only outside the institutional Church after the Christianisation of the Empire by Constantine. There is much historical evidence of Gospel testimony within the Roman Church right up until the Reformation. After the Council of Trent (1545 to 1563) teachings such as that of justification by faith were anathematised. The Church of Rome set its face irrevocably against the biblical Gospel, against the absolute authority of Holy Scripture replacing it with its own. It was, in fact, taking formally into Church law what had been the ruling for many centuries. Nevertheless, those wishing to maintain biblical truth and apostolic testimony to the Gospel had always found themselves in difficulties to the point of laying down their lives. Today the Roman Catholic Church has no place at all for such people within its fold. Only by serious compromise of the teaching of Scripture is association with Rome possible and it will always be on its terms.
Some parents, if somewhat belatedly, have become aware of what is being done to their children in State Schools and are pulling them out. Sadly, others have not done so and have lived to witness the tragic results. On occasions, children have been removed from State Schools because of sex education, general permissiveness, or issues surrounding Islam or religion in general. All these things are but side-issues, important as they may seem at the time. They are but the out-workings of a deliberately engineered anti-Christian ethos in schools.
Education for Christian parents must always be something more than simply teaching the three Rs or imparting ‛neutral’ knowledge. Just as is the case with humanist State schools, Christian education has its own agenda. At its heart is the desire to impart to children a biblical view of every aspect of life and the world. This can be the only option open to Christian parents if their children are to be brought up “in the nurture and admonition of the Lord” (Ephesians 6:4). It can never be viewed as one option among many. We cannot defend Christian education on neutral ground. It is no more neutral than is any State school.
Neither can Christian education be defended on the grounds of the right to religious liberty. Such an approach is unlikely to make much headway and could eventually come back and bite our backside. It may work on a practical level for a time as a temporary expedient where such liberty is recognised in law. In many countries it is not, Germany being one example. Yet often this is the main basis on which many Christians continue to argue the case for a Christian education for their children. There can only be one valid reason as to why believing parents should pull their children out of State schools and given them a distinctly Christian education and it is because they are responsible before God for their upbringing and education – they and not the State. Even in a situation where religious liberty is limited or even non-existent, this responsibility before God remains.
The State has really no business running schools. It is morally indefensible to take money in the form of taxes from anyone and then to educate their children in a philosophy of life completely contradictory to the beliefs of their parents. What when the boot is on the foot? How the humanists holler! There is only one God so as far as Christians are concerned, there can only be one valid system of education, a Christian one. The humanist’s god is the State and everyone must do homage and pay up.
Arguing for Christian education on the basis of the right to religious liberty will lead nowhere in the end. We must base all our arguments on the teaching of God’s Word. Putting the right to religious liberty at the heart of our argument will lead to religious anarchy where everyone, whatever their views, claims that same ‛right’. Anyone may feel it right to educate their children as they wish. The danger is then that a school may be opened by a false religion with an invitation to all and sundry to attend. Such religious proselytising, calling others to worship a god who is not God, is forbidden in Scripture. Competing religions each vying for supremacy under the cloak of religious liberty cannot be countenanced. There is One who is God and from this we cannot waver. The first commandment stands today for all men: “Thou shalt have no other gods before me” (Exodus 20:3). We sin, if we encourage others to worship any other god than God.
We have said, no system of education is ever neutral. All rest on religious presuppositions and represent a competing faith of some kind. Religious liberty is promoted in order to permit and establish a godless, anti-Christian social order. In these circumstances Christians will come under increasing pressure, even persecution. Whilst standing on the platform of religious liberty, pretending to maintain a society open to all religions, it will instead be increasingly narrowed down and become closed to God, closed to the claims of Christ, closed to the teachings of the Bible. Everyone spouts religious liberty, but no one believes in it. All use it as a way of obtaining power for themselves and put the opposition out of business. There is freedom for me, but none for anyone who opposes me. Those seeking to impose their own belief system and worldview on everyone else will do so using the cloak of religious liberty.
Using their own religious liberty, they will deprive everyone else of theirs. How frequently has antidiscrimination legislation been used to discriminate against Christian believers who it is claimed are discriminatory! I may discriminate against you, but you may not discriminate against me. In this way a society closed to the Christian faith is being engineered.
The world of politics always involves the establishment of a single view of a ‛holy commonwealth’ to the exclusion of all other views. The different political allegiances from among whom we are asked to make our choice are nothing more than variations of the same theme. Every one of them will use the right of free association to create a society in which the rights of all others are made illegal. This is evident in the workings of such groups as Common Purpose in Britain.
Pluralistic religious anarchy can exist only for a short while until the strongest group gains power. Pluralism cannot survive as a permanent order. The myth of neutrality and so-called religious liberty live together, die together. State schools are not neutral, but designed to impose on all of us a humanist credo in the place of a Christian one. We ignore this at our peril.
Many of us have grave misgivings concerning the nature of ‛contemporary Christian music’, believing it will have no place in any genuinely Christian congregation. Some years ago, the controversial musician and songwriter Jerry Lee Lewis (1935- ) made an interesting observation. He was an early pioneer of rock and roll and so his comments are worth hearing. Lewis made his first recordings in 1956 and is remembered by most people for his song Great Balls of Fire along with his outrageous behaviour on stage.
What is less well-known is his professedly Christian background. He is first cousin to the TV evangelist, Jimmy Swaggart. Lewis ’s parents mortgaged their farm to buy him a piano. He attended Southwest Bible Institute in Waxahachie, Texas where he was enrolled by his mother with the intention that her musically gifted son should play exclusively evangelical songs. He and his friend, Pearry Green, boogie woogied their way through My God is Real at a Church service. Whereupon they we both shown the door. Next day, Lewis was expelled from the school by the dean. Green was allowed to stay on because Lewis maintained, “he didn't know what I was going to do.” Years later, Green asked Lewis, “Are you still playing the devil's music?” To this Lewis made this reply, “Yes, I am. But you know it's strange, the same music that they kicked me out of school for is the same kind of music they play in their churches today. The difference is, I know I am playing for the devil and they don't.”
Those who know Gerry Lee Lewis, including Johnny Cash who professed to being devoutly Christian, said Lewis was troubled by the sinful nature of his own material, which he firmly believed was leading him and his audience to hell.
“I preached as never sure to preach again,
And as a dying man to dying men”
Poetic Fragments Richard Baxter
“Expect great things from God; attempt great things for God.”