England has faced serious outbreaks of godlessness in previous centuries, but never of such intensity and rarely so vicious as today. Christianity gave place to scepticism and with it came the inevitable accompaniment of immorality and debauched living, men glorying in their shame. Of the conditions prevailing in the 18th century, Silvester Horne in his Popular History of the Free Churches writes:
“The pages of Mr Lecky abound in almost incredible stories of vice and crime, open and rampant in the streets of the big towns and cities. Robbers and murderers abounded. Gangs of drunken ruffians paraded the streets and subjected women to nameless outrages and defenceless men to abominable tortures. The constables shared the drunken habits of the time; and in this condition committed cruelties so monstrous that it is impossible to read them even today in cold blood. It seemed as if the whole population were given over to an orgy of drunkenness, which made the very name of Englishmen stink in the nostrils of other nations. The consumption of ardent spirits increased appallingly owing to the law which permitted anyone, on payment of a small duty, to start a distillery of his own. Keepers of gin-shops were known to hang out signs that a customer might get drunk for a penny, and dead-drunk for twopence, and have straw for nothing. It is little wonder that crimes of violence multiplied on every hand.”
There are some very recognisable elements here of present day Britain: appalling numbers of murders and robberies; innumerable gangs on the streets often subjecting young women to sexual trauma and rape - we now euphemise it as ‛abuse’; orgies of drunkenness - we now call it binge drinking - all assisted by the widespread availability of cheap alcohol, giving the English a reputation of being a debauched and vile people both at home and abroad. Crime figures show that under all political parties Britain has become the most violent country in the European Union and boasts a worse rate of violence than South Africa, widely considered the most dangerous country in the world.
One would have thought the current dire situation ought to have brought about a new vigour within the professing Churches for a renewed preaching of the Gospel, but instead its officers have been exposed almost without exception as part of the malaise themselves. We have to listen to a continual stream of nonsensical drivel from those who have colluded and made common cause with the enemies of Christ. According to feminist clerics, we must shake off the image of the ‛man in the sky’, God must be represented at all levels and expressed in diverse terms, so that it has now become perfectly acceptable to refer to God as ‛she’. An archbishop, clearly at odds with the teaching of his own Church, declared he has ‛no problem’ with gay people being bishops as long as they remain celibate. Who will ensure that? Following the feminist pathway, will we yet be required to represent God as gay? Despite the fact that almost half the nation regards themselves as belonging to the Church of England, it is facing unprecedented institutional decline with a falling away of regular worshippers within ten years from more than one million to 880,000. Should any Churches be faced with ultimate extinction, the fault will lie at their own door.
So many in professing Christian churches have set the clear teachings of the Scriptures aside and thus relinquished any residual power that may still have remained to them. Enlightenment darkness, death-loving, pluralistic humanism in clerical garb has replaced the light of the Gospel of Christ. This change of allegiance has destroyed their message and testimony to Christ and will in the end contribute to the downfall of our nation. The poet and hymn writer, William Cowper, made this pertinent observation:
When nations are to perish in their sins,
’Tis in the Church the leprosy begins
There will, of course, be those who dispute the foregoing analysis with vigour. For reasons known best to themselves, some politicians still insist that we are a ‛Christian country’. This despite at the same time continuing to legislate against and dismantle what remains of our Christian heritage. One can only assume either their gross ignorance of the Christian faith or that they are guilty of base cynicism, but probably both. The words and deeds of establishment figures belie their empty claims. There is far too much evidence to the contrary: we have not simply slipped into a degenerate secularism, but have become across a wide spectrum a nation that is rabidly anti-Christian.
The belief system and values of our adversaries, such as they are, are based on lies and delusions, central to which is the notion that an ethical system can be made up as the situation demands, that morals can be developed as we go merrily along and needs arise. These are destructive presuppositions with no basis in reality and are fatal to all that we have held precious in this our land for centuries. She is storing up for herself a day of horrendous calamity and judgment.
If we truly value our hard-won freedoms, our historic moral values; if we value the ability to be able to speak freely about our faith, to guide our children in God-fearing Christian pathways; if we want to escape the tyranny of the newspeak of the political classes, escape coercion to embrace godless ideals, then it is in our hands to act and do so effectively. It is important, however, first to understand what we are doing and why, the purpose and nature of our actions and be convinced that we are doing the right thing. We may inform ourselves about what is going on around us and it is important that we do this, but an understanding of the information we gather thus and what is our own place as Christians within it all comes only from reading and obeying the Scriptures.
It must be clear to Christian believers that only a recovery of the Christian faith in Britain, and that alone can turn back the crushing wheels of anti-Christian demagoguery and save our nation. It is not coincidental that our national decline has been accompanied by a rejection of the Christian Gospel: the one is an inevitable result of the other. It is not possible to enjoy all the benefits brought about by our Christian traditions and heritage, whilst at the same time throwing away that which brought them to us. Many things we now take for granted came to us from a decidedly Christian source. It was, for example, the puritan poet, one of England’s greatest, John Milton, who fought long and hard to bring about the beginnings of a freedom of the press. How widely this privilege has been abused and misused in recent years! We cannot enjoy that which the Christian Scriptures have given us as a people, and in the next breath tear the Bible apart or set it aside. We cannot deny its veracity whilst at the same time, as some have done, proclaim it as a basis for our national life. If it is not entirely true, then it is full of lies and provides no basis for anything.
We must not allow ourselves to be sidetracked as some well-meaning folk seem to have done. There are confessing Christians who mistakenly believe they can move the world of politics simply by their presence and by arguing their point of view on a neutral and well-reasoned basis. They do not draw particular attention to any Christian teaching, still less by mentioning the Gospel. In this way they hope to change things for the better. This is confused wishful thinking. There are many problems with this point of view. One, nothing is neutral. No moral arguments can be proffered without reference to some underlying source of those values. When not derived from the God of Scriptures, human judgment in some form will be determinative. Two, the underlying assumption must then be that the demands of almighty God, or Christian morality can only apply to those who accept the Christian faith. This is false. Christian ethics and morality apply to all without exception. There is a very good reason for this: only one is God. This being so, there is only One who can define what is moral and what is not.
We can defend a Christian view of marriage, abortion, divorce euthanasia, and every other issue that is running through parliaments in the western world these days only by using Christian presuppositions. The demands of the Christian Gospel apply to all without exception, believer or non-believer, godly or godless, religious or irreligious, inside or outside a ‛Christian’ country, because there is only One who is God and therefore there can be only one lawgiver. There is not one god for one religion and another for the next all of which are true for those believing in them. There is not an understanding of right and wrong that varies according to thet religion, or for that that matter none, that is at the same time true within the context of each different religion. The teaching of the Bible is very clear on this matter. “For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus.” (1 Timothy 2:5) “There is one lawgiver, who is able to save and to destroy.” (James 4:12) There being but One who is God, this makes all others false gods, no gods at all, and so the moral system that accompanies them is also false. We may not like the idea of one God determining for us all what is right and wrong, but it makes little difference and certainly none to God Himself. God remains who He is whatever our thought on the matter, whether we believe in another god or no god at all, He remains the righteous Judge of everyone. We may cover our heads with a bucket to keep out the sun, but it still keeps shining - too bad you do not like it.
Moral and social change in our land can only be brought about in conjunction with the preaching of the distinctively Christian Gospel. There can be no ethics, no guide as to how anyone should live, without the Christian Scriptures and it is this message we must promote. Our Christian morals, our Christian freedoms can be argued for only on the basis of the clear statements of Scripture. Leave out the Scriptures and you are a soldier without a sword. You have thrown away the only really effective weapon you have in your arsenal.
“For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any twoedged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.” (Hebrews 4:12)
There is a third reason why such efforts must fail. The political and ruling institutions are today so intrinsically corrupt and anti-Christian that working comfortably within them is only possible for those who are themselves equally corrupt and anti-God. Any truly conscientious Christian, as many have repeatedly experienced working particularly in the public sector, will find such an environment antipathetic and impossible to work within unless they make serious compromises with their faith. Doctors, teachers, ordinary business people, in fact all who confess the name of Christ and fail to comply will be harassed and obstructed, if not directly persecuted. We will be called upon daily to deny the faith. This pressure is increasing not diminishing.
“Yea, and all that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution. But evil men and seducers shall wax worse and worse, deceiving, and being deceived.” (2 Timothy 3:12-13)
There is a fact that few seem to recognise and fewer still dare to utter. A society such as ours is now already under the judgement of God, no more, no less. It can neither be repaired nor renewed. It must be completely replaced, which according to the Scriptures, is what will happen. The Kingdom of God is not to be brought about by changing the present political institutions into something else, but by replacing them entirely and it is God Himself who will bring this about when no one will be able to resist.
“And in the days of these kings shall the God of heaven set up a kingdom, which shall never be destroyed: and the kingdom shall not be left to other people, but it shall break in pieces and consume all these kingdoms, and it shall stand for ever.” (Daniel 2:44)
What then shall we do? The inevitability of these events does not mean that in the intervening time, we should bury our heads in the sand or sit idly by. Our task as Christian believers is to call our people to repentance towards God and faith in Christ on the basis of the Gospel and so work towards that day when the change will come - that we may also be found in that everlasting kingdom replacing all others. Jesus said, “And this gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in all the world for a witness unto all nations; and then shall the end come.” (Matthew 24:14) We must be bold in exposing sin, national and personal, to bring about repentance. We must exalt Christ and His sacrificial work on our behalf that individuals may come to Him in true faith. Without a widespread preaching of the Christian Gospel among our people, without a wholesale return to God, political infiltration and similar efforts, however well-intentioned, are likely to make only very limited inroads and will in the end fail particularly when there is no accompanying robust Gospel witness.
This kind of testimony will not be readily received, but vehemently resisted by our rulers and the liberal establishment. We can increasingly expect not only to be mocked and derided, but also to be hauled up before the courts and subjected to vile abuse. In their heart of hearts many of them know what we say is true and fear us.
“Then shall they deliver you up to be afflicted, and shall kill you: and ye shall be hated of all nations for my name's sake. ... And then shall many be offended, and shall betray one another, and shall hate one another. ... But he that shall endure unto the end, the same shall be saved.”
(Matthew 24:9, 10, 13)
Our rulers have chosen to sit in the place of God, determining what is right and wrong, but they will sooner or later be pulled down and called upon to answer for their sins.
Something also forgotten is that as Christians, in accepting the opposition and abuse thrown at us, all too often we allow ourselves to be bullied and intimidated by weak individuals trumpeting ignorant anti-Christian sentiment, who resort to abuse and hide behind the courts because their arguments are slender and they can see no other way of beating us into submission. In a sense, we accept as given the lies these people throw at us: that we are a weak and insignificant force in the world. Yet nothing could be further from the truth. Difficult at times it doubtless is, but we have on our side a power that is far greater than that of any within godless men. Here are Scriptures for our day:
“And every spirit that confesseth not that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is not of God: and this is that spirit of antichrist, whereof ye have heard that it should come; and even now already is it in the world. Ye are of God, little children, and have overcome them: because greater is he that is in you, than he that is in the world.” (1 John 4:3-4)
“THE LORD is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear? the LORD is the strength of my life; of whom shall I be afraid? When the wicked, even mine enemies and my foes, came upon me to eat up my flesh, they stumbled and fell. Though an host should encamp against me, my heart shall not fear: though war should rise against me, in this will I be confident. ” (Psalm 271-3)
There is no justifiable reason for us to fear these people. The Lord Jesus Himself said:
“And fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul: but rather fear him which is able to destroy both soul and body in hell.” (Matthew 10:28) We vastly underrate the strength of our own position and as a result, we are in danger of throwing to the winds all that has made us what we are because of Christ. We are too ready to implicitly deny those things that alone can save us. If we are losing the battle, it can only be because we have stepped into the arena of those who hate us taking on their values and ideals ourselves. We have assumed the positions and theories of those who want rid of God. Unless our stance hardens and our resistance stiffens; unless we stand on the doctrines of the Bible and rediscover the Gospel of Christ in all its facets and propagate it, we shall be undone. We lose when those whose ideals work against us are absorbed into our own thinking and we consciously or unconsciously begin to live by them, although they are alien to our Christian beliefs.
If we know the Scriptures well, we will know that they describe the days in which we are now living:
“...and upon the earth distress of nations, with perplexity; the sea and the waves roaring; Men's hearts failing them for fear, and for looking after those things which are coming on the earth: for the powers of heaven shall be shaken.” (Luke 21:26)
Now there are many confessing Christians who explain away such verses or take no account of them and this is a great pity for they are intended as a great encouragement to us. The world is not running out of control, nor is it within the grasp of godless men, the enemies of Christ, to bring it under their own control and ultimately impose their will upon it. God alone possesses this kind of sovereignty. The proud strivings and conspiracies against God will in the end come to nothing, read Psalm 2 in its entirety and we can look forward to the day when the present situation is reversed; the day is coming.
“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.” (vv.4-5)
We must not try to carry a burden we are not called upon to carry, one that is beyond our responsibility. Remember what the Lord Jesus said: “...my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.” (Matthew 11:30) We are called upon above all to be faithful and believing. It does not depend upon us to save the world. Shall we too die for the world, carry away the sins of the world? This has been done by Another. Despite this, we know that what we do according to God’s purposes is a significant and vital part of that which will result in victory. We cannot lose.
“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)
Are we anxious about what is going on around us? Then, let us remind ourselves: God “doeth according to his will in the army of heaven, and among the inhabitants of the earth: and none can stay his hand, or say unto him, What doest thou?” (Daniel 4:35) There is nothing, absolutely nothing that is now happening on the surface of this globe that comes about outside the circle of God’s sovereign power and will. He will infallibly fulfil all He has purposed to do to the last detail. This puts the genuine Christian believer on the winning side, whilst the hypocrite, false brethren and those who have drifted from the truth, also godless men and their evil schemes will all be exposed and cast out.
The present state of affairs will not continue indefinitely, nor shall those who have wrought such havoc upon our people and set themselves to defy God escape retribution. They may now strut and open their mouths wide, but enemies of Christ will be brought to justice and surely be destroyed. This is what John saw on Patmos:
“And the kings of the earth, and the great men, and the rich men, and the chief captains, and the mighty men, and every bondman, and every free man, hid themselves in the dens and in the rocks of the mountains; And said to the mountains and rocks, Fall on us, and hide us from the face of him that sitteth on the throne, and from the wrath of the Lamb: For the great day of his wrath is come; and who shall be able to stand?” (Revelation 6:15-17)
Those currently in positions of power will find themselves being pushed out and others taking their place; they will be replaced, says Daniel,
“But the saints of the most High shall take the kingdom, and possess the kingdom for ever, even for ever and ever.” (Daniel 7:18)
The kingdoms of this world are the inheritance of Christ. This is the perspective from which we must always view the world in which we live. His is an eternal kingdom not a temporal or temporary one. Human empires are without exception here today and gone tomorrow. He shall return to rule in equity. True justice only then shall rule. The future is not dark; it is bright, very bright. Christ’s kingdom will be established throughout the earth and we as His people are destined to reign with Him. What can possibly be a more glorious future? John the apostle records,
“The kingdoms of this world are become the kingdoms of our Lord, and of his Christ; and he shall reign for ever and ever.” (Revelation 11:15)
Let us not be downhearted but rejoicing. Let us weep now, if we must for there is much sadness about us on every hand, but our Saviour Himself shall wipe away all such tears, our present grief shall not be remembered. Ours in Christ is the victory. In Him we shall triumph gloriously and our enemies, Christ’s enemies, shall be defeated never more to rise.
Sincerely in Christ Jesus