NEWSFLASH: ‘The UK is losing its status as a Christian country.’ We no longer live in a ‘post-modern’ world. Today is a ‘post-truth’ world where the worldview is: “there is no absolute truth.” What is truth to you is relative only to you and society has got to applaud and affirm that. As a result, what grabs the headlines today are the issues around transgender, same-sex marriage and abortion on demand. You can choose to be male, despite having been born female and vice versa. There are no absolutes. Same for marriage and horrendously, sex selective abortions and terminations permitted right up to full term are discussed as “rights” by Cathy Warwick, the Chief Executive of the Royal College of Midwives. It seems once firmly held Biblical truths in our country are being thrown out of the window.
The Christian today is under increasing pressure on how to respond, especially as our liberal, tolerant society is anything but liberal or tolerant toward those who disagree with it. Why is the Christian’s response important? I believe there are many reasons, but let’s look at two.
Firstly as a Christian how should you respond should this happen in your family or to your friend? It’s easy to have a strong opinion but it’s a different matter when it comes closer to home.
A Christian must have compassion without compromising God’s Word or standard, by being faithful to Christ who loved you and went to Calvary’s cross for you, and by loving and caring for that friend or family member with the love of Christ. The world changes its opinion on what is right but Ps.119:89 states “forever God’s Word is settled in heaven”.
You may have to walk through the dark valley of struggle but remember 2 Cor.9:8 “And God is able to make all grace abound to you.” God is able to bring you and them through that valley and in the midst of the valley, He supplies not some grace but ALL the grace that you need. God told Samuel in 1 Sam.2:30 “them that honour Me I will honour”. As you honour Him and love with compassion yet without compromise, God can and will provide the breakthrough for that friend or loved one.
This is important secondly because we need to accept that the world has changed. I remember being sent to Ardeen Sunday School in Rathcoole as a child and singing “Why don’t you give your life to Jesus?” to the tune of ‘Match of the Day’ (I still hum the words to the theme tune when it comes on the television!). Children then were sent to Sunday School even if parents were not saved and likewise people went to church because it was also the “done thing” to do. In only a matter of decades this has changed, as it is harder to get people to come to church, sometimes even God’s people!
According to a recent faith survey: “UK Church membership has declined from 10.6 million in 1930 to 5.5 Million in 2010, or as a percentage of the population; from about 30% to 11.2%.By 2013, this had declined further to 5.4 million (10.3%). If current trends continue, membership will fall to 8.4% of the population by 2025.” They note that the Pentecostal movement is seeing an increasing membership but as an overall picture the church is losing significance in the UK. Also, the world today is increasingly hostile to the gospel and its standards.
On the surface this seems a bleak picture but stop! Reflect for a moment! Jesus came into a world that was totally against Him, which resulted in men crucifying Him. The church which followed faced equal opposition from all quarters yet remarkably Acts 17:6 records they turned the world
upside down. “The world was against them, but they turned the world upside down!” How? By preaching about Jesus and the clear, unadulterated gospel.
The gospel is still the power of God unto salvation. The same could be said of Daniel who lived through various pagan world empires and yet impacted his world by standing strong for God and His Word.
2017 saw the celebration of the 500th anniversary of the Reformation. Martin Luther was told, “the world is against you,” to which he replied, “Then I’m against the world!” The world was against Martin Luther, yet the world was turned upside down by the gospel he preached. Fast-forward 500 years to today.
The world we live in is increasingly against Christ, the Bible and all of its standards. Yet we can experience what the early church, Daniel and Martin Luther knew. The world is against us but we too can turn the world upside down. How? By preaching the same glorious message of the gospel, “by grace alone, through faith alone, in Christ alone,” speaking the truth in love and having compassion without compromise.
This same truth the hymn writer put so well “Tis old yet ever New!”