In part one of this paper[i] we examined statistics and trends that demonstrate it is no longer applicable to claim that Britain is a Christian country; especially not when only 3.5 – 5% are actually practicing believers. In this second part we will consider further that not only are we are not a Christian nation, but that the nation is actually taking a stand against Christianity.
“All practicing Christians are now a “minority” in Britain like persecuted Roman Catholics during the Reformation, according to two of Britain’s most senior Anglican and Catholic clerics.”[ii]
Bishop of London Richard Chatres & Cardinal Vincent Nichols – 9.2.16.
We highlighted in part one that when a nation turns its back on God and becomes stiff-necked towards His ways, there are consequences: for our God is a God of justice.[iii] The reality we face today is that God’s laws conflict with man’s and with our state-defined ‘British values’. Man is on a collision course with God’s word – of which “every word is God breathed, profitable for teaching, rebuke, correction, for training in righteousness so that the man of God maybe adequate, equipped for every good work.”[iv]
So let’s consider a few examples of how man’s laws now conflict with God’s, and the potential consequences for believers. The government’s new Counter Extremism Strategy (CES) states:
“Extremism is the vocal or active opposition to our fundamental values, including democracy, the rule of law, individual liberty and the mutual respect and tolerance of different faiths and beliefs. We also regard calls for the death of members of our armed forces as extremist.[v]”
At face value these appear quite reasonable, so “what’s wrong?” you might ask. Firstly, one must include the context in which it was written: the CES was implemented to address ‘religious extremism,’ primarily but not exclusively, in Islamic communities. But note the wording, ‘extremism is the vocal or active opposition to fundamental British values, individual liberty, and mutual respect for faiths and beliefs.’ If you disagree with a state-defined value, because it conflicts with God’s word, you will be designated extremist. The Christian Legal Centre have produced a very good analysis on the CES, which we encourage you to download to better understand the legal implications. [vi]
Consider the phrase ‘mutual respect and tolerance of different faiths and beliefs’. All Christians can respect the faiths and beliefs of others ‘outside’ of the church. But what we can’t tolerate are such views and beliefs in the church. God’s ways are not man’s ways. For example, in the matter of sexual immorality, what happens outside the church in society is one thing, but what we can’t do is have sexual immorality in the church. For the church is the body of Christ, which He requires to be holy as He is holy. The church is to remain unspotted by the ways of the world. However, according to the CES, if we tell people wishing to come to church, whose lifestyles are not in accord with God’s word, that they must change their ways, we have failed to show tolerance and respect and have become extremists.
So what happens to the Sunday school teacher who refuses to teach that sexual relationships as defined by the world, in opposition to God’s laws, are okay? Imagine this: a child asks a probing question on sexual relationships at the church youth club. The youth worker disciples them in what the bible says, which opposes what is taught at school. The child repeats this at school to a teacher trained under the ‘Prevent Scheme’ to spot possible extremism; the teacher reports that the child is being taught values which conflict with British values, triggering an investigation by OFSTED. The youth worker stands firm on God’s word and is banned from any further involvement in youth work. This is reality now.
The same problem applies to respecting other religious beliefs. People are entitled to believe what they want; we live in a free world. But what we cannot do is tolerate beliefs in the church that contradict God’s word, we cannot mix oil and water, as for example found in emerging theologies such as Chrislam. In Islam, the Quran clearly recognises Jesus as a prophet, and a good man who did good things. But it draws a red line at acknowledging He was the Son of God, or is God, or even that there is such a thing as a trinity/Godhead.
“I and My Father are one” (John 10:30)
The Quran says:
“Jesus the son of Mary was no more than a messenger of Allah, and His Word, which He bestowed on Mary, and the spirit proceeding from Him: so believe in Allah and His Messengers.” (Sura 4:156-159)
Say not “Trinity.” Desist: it will be better for you! For Allah is One God: glory to Him. Far exalted is He above having a son. (Sura 4:171-172)
By way of comparison, in 1 John 4:1-4 the word states that every spirit that does not confess (acknowledge) that Jesus has come in the flesh, i.e. that he is the promised Messiah, the Son of God, is not of God and is of the anti-christ!
“Beloved do not believe every spirit but test the spirits, whether they are from God; because many false prophets have gone out into the world. By this you know the spirit of God: that every spirit that confesses that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is of God, and every spirit that does not confess that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is not of God, and this is the spirit of the anti-christ.” (1 John 4:1-4)
We must love and seek to bless Muslims as fellow humans beings, but we cannot and must not be forced to adopt their beliefs into ours. Sadly, there are growing numbers of evangelists building bridges of peace by appeasement, denying the Christ, and creating a crossing point called ‘Chrislam.’ This theology is gaining traction in the liberal fringes of the church; yet the Apostle Paul said, “what harmony does Christ have with Belial; what part do the faithful have with the unfaithful?” (2 Cor 6:15)
So what happens outside the church is up to the world and ‘thou shalt not judge;’ but what happens inside the body of Christ, is for us to deal with. If we seek to appease the world by kowtowing to its ways then we are guilty of adultery:
“Adulterers and adulteresses, do you not know that friendship with the world is enmity with God! Whoever wants to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God. Or do you think that the scripture says in vain, the Spirit who dwells in us yearns jealously?” (James 4:4-5)
What about the foster parents, B&B owners, the nurses, medics, judges, charity workers and plethora of other people in society being ostracized and taken to court over their Godly stance. Are such actions really those of a Christian nation; a nation that purports to protect free speech and democracy, including the right to practice religion under Article 9 of the UNHRA?
Finally, in a recent House of Lords debate a question was posed regarding freedom of speech. In it, Lord Pearson of Rannock asked, “to her Majesty’s Government, what assessment they have made of the risk that Christians could be recorded as having committed an anti-Moslem hate crime as of April 2016 by preaching the divinity of Christ or by reading aloud sections of the Bible in public, such as 1 John, chapter 4, verses 1-3.”[vii]
Lord Ahmed’s reply is significant for two reasons. One, his words could be a get-out-of-jail card for the future and two, because he clearly didn’t know what the verses said, or their implications for him as a Moslem. Lord Ahmed replied; “My Lords, reading texts from the Holy Bible in public or preaching the divinity of Christ is not a crime, and never will be in this country. The Government’s Counter Extremism Strategy makes it clear that we will protect free speech and the right to profess, practice and propagate any religion or indeed none.”
Despite Lord Ahmed’s words, in considering the question “is Britain a Christian nation?” I think we have to be honest and say no. British Christians are a minority who live in a secular nation with its multi-faith and multi-cultural society.
Ironically, just as this article was being finalised, a good Christian brother called to tell us his American fiancé was detained at Heathrow on Saturday 13th February and interrogated for ten hours, because Christian and Jewish literature was found in her suitcase. She was stopped and searched by a male Moslem immigration officer, who lied about her story to his senior. As she sat in the detention centre she watched with a heavy heart, the flow of Moslem families being permitted to enter without fuss whilst she, a daughter of the Most High, was deported back to the USA.
The Emmaus Group – Monday 15th February 2015
[iii] Isaiah 30:18
[iv] 2 Timothy 3:16-17
[v] https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/470088/51859_Cm9148_Accessible.pdf page 9
[vii] Hansard – 27.1.16 – Religious Hate Crime 3.06pm asked by Lord Pearson of Rannoch.