Tuesday, 8 September 2020

Do Christian churches in the West have a "plan B" ?

I wonder how many evangelical churches in the West have given any more than vague thoughts to this question: if and when the state becomes explicitly and directly hostile to the Christian faith (in the sense of deciding to directly forbid its activities or teachings on the grounds that they are themselves wrong, not simply through indirect means), what is your plan for that?

The last few decades have consistently seen Christians accommodating themselves to whatever the secular state comes up with. The church has generally accepted the state's declarations that the public square is secular (not under the lordship of Christ), that children should be educated in a secularist context (not one saturated in the assumptions and directives of the word of God), that the source of law is secular humanism (not the revealed will of God), that the church's voice is irrelevant in public affairs, and so on and so forth. Now that the church has accepted its position as irrelevant to life outside of its own four walls, the reasonable question is: what next? This is a necessary question because secular humanism is not an ideology which has any grounds for saying "we will stop 12 inches outside of your front door, and the front door of your churches". Only a Christian worldview has a basis for distinguishing consistently been sin and crime, and resolving some matters by looking to the future (whether on earth as the influence of Christ's power spreads, or on the final day of judgment). Secular worldviews are necessarily and inevitably totalitarian, regardless of how long the interim period before the consistency works itself out may be. Christians have benefited greatly from the remaining vestiges of the influence of the Christian worldview in society and culture. But, I repeat, what next?

As we all know when it comes to other spheres of life, "hope is not a strategy". And action-less hope is still not a strategy even when coated with a few true-in-themselves Christian platitudes such as "we will pray" and "our trust is in God" and "we need revival". Pietistic slogans are not Biblical manliness.

So, I repeat, what is "plan B"? When the mood changes from tolerating Christians to actively repressing them, what does your local church plan to do about it? And what is it doing now in preparation for that? Yes, it's preaching the gospel. Excellent. But, what is the application of that gospel to your current cultural context? Is the gospel actually preached when it is not applied at levels beyond the personal and individual? What about the cultural and institutional level? And given that God is a God of means and works through second causes, how do you see the lines joining up between your means and the production of a strong, confident generation of Christians who will pass on the faith and the institutions that nurture godly fruit to the generation after them?

And for bonus points: what is the reason why these questions are so rarely even posed?

Saturday, 2 May 2020

Free Pilgrim's Progress movie

This is well-made -
https://www.revelationmedia.com/christianbook-watchpilgrims/ . Some
scenes may be too intense for littler ones (e.g. the fight with Apollyon).

Saturday, 18 April 2020

If tomorrow never comes

Culturally, in our context where death is the great taboo, this is fascinating - a popular song, whose subject is death, and living life now and how we treat those we love in the light of our own coming death: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=S4kzGhDEURA

Adding to the poignancy is the fact that, in this version, the singer (who took the song to number one in several countries) subsequently fell into adultery and is now divorced from his wife of the time he was singing it.

Friday, 3 April 2020

561 deaths every single day

According to the news, in the last two days, 563 and 569 people died in UK hospitals whilst being infected with SARS-CoV-2, a.k.a. "coronavirus". News sites and newspapers splashed this as headline news.

This is very close to the 561 unborn children who, on average, lost their lives every day in the UK of the year (for 2018, the figures I found most easily) in the womb, largely because their existence was judged to be unwanted or inconvenient by one or both parents.

This did not make the news headlines at all, as far as I recall.

I read that NT Wright has recently written an article for the Times (which I have not looked for) broadly decrying anyone who suggests that God judges in history as "silly". But let's pose a thought experiment. Just pose a question for the sake of thinking it through, without saying that we know what God's purposes are in this, or any other specific event. Supposing that God decide to judge our nation for its never stopping shedding of its babies' blood ... how many of us would need to die each day for justice to be served? How many each day, and how many days should it go on for? How merciful is God continuing to be in granting so many of us long lives filled with years of peace and prosperity, whilst this unrelenting mill of innocent deaths has continued to grind?

I'm all for applauding those risking their lives in front-line service in the NHS to save others. But let's also weep tears and cry out in repentance to God for what else we, as a nation, do.

Friday, 6 March 2020

The incomparable Calvin

"This passage, I know, is explained otherwise by many; but I regard what
the Apostle means, not what others think." - commentary on 1 John 4:18

Wednesday, 1 January 2020

The year of our Lord 2020

Let this be our resolution in 2020: to "... walk in a manner worthy of God, who calls you into his own kingdom and glory." - 1 Thessalonians 2:11.