There was a time when the Bible enjoyed a privileged place at the heart of British life. This is far from being the case today.
The influence of the Christian Scriptures on our nation and people is undeniable and truly remarkable. The source rarely recognised today, the words of the Bible have become part of the woof and warp of our culture and language.
Many everyday saying and proverbs have drifted into our language from the Scriptures. Shakespeare borrowed extensively from the Bible. Here are just a few examples:
“Out of the mouth of babes and sucklings” (Psalm 8:2)
“At their wits end” (Psalm 107:27)
“Iron sharpeneth iron” (Proverbs 27:17)
“There is no new thing under the sun” (Ecclesiastes 1:9)
“They have sown the wind, and they shall reap the whirlwind” (Hosea 8:7)
“Blind leaders of the blind” (Matthew 15:14)
Such is our nation's ignorance of the Bible, a recent poll among young people showed that they thought that many of these sayings came from Shakespeare, Winston Churchill, or even the Beatles!
The Bible has shaped our laws and provided a moral guide to our people. Although the central message of the Bible may have remained hidden, there were still those who saw that the Ten Commandments and the Sermon on the Mount moulded the moral perceptions of our countrymen and gave them an understanding of what is right and wrong, even if only on a very basic level.
In the political world, the great Victorian Statesman, William Gladstone, referred to the Bible as “the impregnable rock of Holy Scripture”. What politician these would dare risk uttering such words for fear of the repercussions? They would be howled down, accused of undermining multiculturalism or of bringing religion into politics, both unspeakable and unforgiveable sins. How times have changed!
Each of our monarchs is given a copy of the Christian Scriptures at his or her Coronation. In June 1953, the Coronation of Queen Elizabeth II took place in Westminster Abbey. During the ceremony, with a ring on her finger, sceptre in her hand, crown on her head, the Queen was presented with a Bible by the Archbishop of Canterbury, accompanied by these words: “Our gracious Queen: we present you with this book, the most valuable thing that this world affords. Here is wisdom; this is the Royal Law; these are the lively oracles of God.”
It remains very much open to question as to whether future monarchs will continue this tradition. In view of the express wish of our future King to be crowned defender of faiths, it seems highly improbable. In line with this, our government is currently examining how changes to the coronation service can be made to accommodate this frightful apostasy. We must recognise that this is not generosity towards other ‛faiths ’, but an undeniable arrogance and antagonism towards all that is truly Christian.
That the Scriptures no longer enjoy the place in British life they once did is undeniable. It is not simply that no one cares much for the things of God. There are many who care much about God and are quite determined to pull down every vestige of His presence. Every evidence and influence of the Bible remaining in British life faces a fanatical, burning hatred from its opponents who seem at times to have been robbed of all natural sense in their consuming passion to rid us of God. They appear possessed of an inward uncontrollable rage that drives them down the steep slope to destruction like the Gadarene swine.
But to pick a fight with God is the height of folly. The Bible rightly calls such misguided people fools, for that is what they are. They are wise only in their own eyes, but before God they are as those who have lost all natural sense. God laughs at their utter stupidity, at their acts of defiance against Him.
“He that sitteth in the heavens shall laugh: the Lord shall have them in derision. Then shall he speak unto them in his wrath, and vex them in his sore displeasure.” (Psalm 2:4-5)
Only complete fools start a fight they cannot possibly win and the consequences of which will be terrible indeed. It is easy to mock God from a safe distance when nothing seems to happen, but according to the Bible they shall yet call upon the rocks and mountains to hide them from the face of the Almighty. Little wonder then that these people so hate the Bible. Actually they believe the Bible, they believe in God and like the demons of hell believe and tremble for it tells them of their final end. Not one of these people is a Don Quixote tilting at windmills; all believe in the reality of what they are fighting. Only an imbecile fights an enemy who doesn’t exist.
Increasingly, we find local politicians, businessmen and others in authority seeking to prohibit the distribution of Bibles in schools, hotels and hospitals where previously there had been no opposition and still remains none on the part of the recipients. It is suggested that Bibles in public places offend the sensitivities of the adherents of other faiths, despite the fact most of those being protected from the Bible deny being offended. The opposition stems rather from godless men seeking wield another blow against Christian beliefs and express the latent hatred of the Gospel in their own hearts.
If the Bible cannot be banned, then do something to undermine it. Some while back, a very foolish man published a secular alternative to the Bible. Even the format of the book is similar in design to the King James Bible. It contained books sounding very similar to those in the Bible: Genesis, Songs, Proverbs, Acts, and Epistles. There is even an alternative to the Ten Commandments. He mimics what he believes in his ignorance to be the archaic language of our Authorised Version. Never heard of this book? Not surprisingly, the project seems to have sunk without trace. This poor man ought first to have done his homework. The language of the Authorised Version is not Elizabethan English. It was never spoken by anyone at any time, but is unique. It follows very closely the grammar, syntax and vocabulary of the original Hebrew and Greek texts. This is what gives it a unique and readable style. This method was chosen deliberately both by Tyndale, whose prior translation provided 85% of the Authorised Version and by later translators all of whom believed the book to be given by inspiration of God.
It is thought that around 60% of the British people now see little point in reading the Bible. Be warned, dear friends, make no mistake ... “Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap.” (Galatians 6:7) Those who set aside the Scriptures, those who allot to them a subordinate role, reject and insult the Saviour of whom they speak.
To abandon God is the height of folly, but to be abandoned by God is profoundly tragic. According to the Bible (see Romans 1), this is a very real possibility should we continue to rebel against Him as a nation. We expect no divine dealings, no wind of judgement. We see no fire from heaven nor do we taste the winds of His wrath. Yet were God dealing with us in this way, at least we would be assured of His continued interest in us, persuading us to repent. Instead God seems silent. Yet, were He to speak from heaven would we then receive Him any more gladly than we do now His written Word? “If they hear not Moses and the prophets, neither will they be persuaded, though one rose from the dead.”(Luke 16:31) The greatest calamity for any people is that God sends a famine, not of food or water and that would be bad enough, but of His Word. The Bible, today so freely available, may be taken from us because we refused it. His truth has departed from among us. What was threatened to Israel can just as easily be our lot.
“Behold, the days come, saith the Lord GOD, that I will send a famine in the land, not a famine of bread, nor a thirst for water, but of hearing the words of the LORD: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 8:11-12)
One more step remains for God to take. He removes easy access to His Word, but then deliberately sends a delusion among us. You do not want the truth, says God, then believe a lie and perish. This is what you have chosen.
“And with all deceivableness of unrighteousness in them that perish; because they received not the love of the truth, that they might be saved. And for this cause God shall send them strong delusion, that they should believe a lie: That they all might be damned who believed not the truth, but had pleasure in unrighteousness. ”
(2 Thessalonians 2:10-12)