The conversion of Saul of Tarsus on the Damascus road is one of the most significant events of Christian history. Once an avid persecutor of the faith, he met the risen Christ and accepted an unrelenting call to preach the gospel to a lost society and to pave the way for future generations to do the same. His motivation undoubtedly sprang from his personal commitment and passion which was once used to destroy but now was unleashed to build the Christian faith.
Paul’s letter to the Romans shows that was never threatened by opposition to his message, it was par for the course. The gospel was and remains the antidote to the ills that surround us and we should expect it to be radically different from the very thing it claims to cure. The solution must by nature be totally different from the problem just as the medicine cannot carry the disease it is designed to cure.
Paul’s desire had always been to preach the gospel in Rome, the capital city of the Empire. He knew that Roman society was in desperate need of the renewing effects of his message. His description in Romans 1:18-32 shows the state of this ancient city and also reads like a review of our modern newspapers. Human nature has not changed.Wherever humanity rejects the clear self-revelation of God (his invisible attributes and his eternal power being so-clearly seen in the things he has made) it incurs God’s rejection and leads to a downward spiral of ignorance and despair. The corruption of society has as its roots the wilful human rejection of divine goodness and leads God to hand us over to the false gods of our choosing.
Everything from sexual corruption to violence in our streets is the fruit of a society given up on God and handed over by God to feast on its own choices. This is the wrath of God Paul speaks about in Romans 1:18, “For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all unrighteousness of men, who suppress the truth in unrighteousness.”
We see all too clearly the marks of this wrath, this handing over of God, in the Britain of today. Our wilful suppression of the truth goes beyond the refusal to recognise God’s hand in creation and the clear testimony of intelligent design in the physical world. The movers and shakers in Britain also turn their back on the values of our Judeo-Christian heritage. In one single dark week in May the lights went out in Britain dismissing centuries of God-given testimony to the sanctity of life and other gospel values held for generations in Britain.
Desecration of human life
The Human Embryology and Fertilisation Bill made it lawful to manufacture human/animal hybrid embryos – a blasphemous slight on the image of God in humanity, on the pretext of supposed medical cures perfectly attainable by other means. Parliament rejected a move to lower the upper limit of abortion from 24 to 22 weeks gestation despite medical advances in the treatment of premature babies, making nonsense of the supposed viability argument that brought in the Abortion Act of 1967. One further death blow was delivered to traditional family values in the devastating Bill of May: MPs voted to remove the statutory requirement to consider the need for a father (figure) in IVF treatment under the pretext of removing discrimination against lesbian women wanting children by this method.
Rise of false religion
It seems that God is also handing over our society to believe in every imaginable alternative to his life-giving message in the gospel. The vacuum created by society’s rejection of Christian values is being filled by every kind of false belief. GK Chesterton warned several generations ago that when a society stops believing in the God of the Bible it does not end up believing in nothing but will ultimately believe in anything. The muchreported decline in church-going is not breeding people of no religion but we see British people clutching at anything to believe in. There is a veritable smorgasbord of pseudo-spirituality on offer in Britain today – everything from paganism to Islam. Freedom of choice is a good thing but does our society know how to discern truth from error in religion? And choice may soon be a thing of the past in Britain.
Islam is already being imposed on our society as I have described in my booklet, The Islamisation of Britain. As it is, our financial system is inextricably linked to ‘Islamic’ investment making it impossible to resist the pressures of Islamic expansion within our nation. Recent moves to appoint a British Mufti (an Islamic figure head) is favoured not just by the majority of Muslims in Britain, but it seems also by powerful forces within the government. This appointment would not just be like having the equivalent of an Islamic Archbishop of Canterbury or a Chief Rabbi – it is far more than that. A Mufti is essential in every Islamic state and it would be a major step in making Britain Islamic also. Along with the Mufti would be the institution of Dar-al-Iftaa – the body authorised to issue officially binding fatwas, or religious rulings, which would be imposed on everyone in Britain – Muslim and non-Muslim alike.
In the inexorable march of Islam there are virtually no opposing voices. Everyone, including the liberal elite is bending over backwards to accommodate it. One well-known liberal atheistic journalist and author, famous for castigating Christianity, was recently found defending Islam’s system of sharia law. At least there would be no robberies, she was reported as saying. No, and there would be no adulterers if you beheaded them, no homosexuals if you dropped a wall on them, no kaffirs (unbelievers) or apostates if they were also put to death. Is this what our liberal democracy is really prepared to accept? Khurram Murad, who was the general director of the Islamic Foundation, writes in his Islamic Movement in the West, “What is an Islamic Movement? It is an organised struggle to change the existing society into an Islamic society based on the Quran and the Sunna and make Islam, which is a code for entire life, supreme and dominant, especially in the socio-political spheres.”
Many would dismiss this comment as coming from an extremist and not representative of true Islam. But there is nothing in the Quran or Islamic tradition to condemn it, indeed everything therein would commend it.
In March this year, marriage fell to its lowest level for 144 years, since records began in 1862. Marriages are now in the minority in Britain, and marriage as an institution is “more unpopular than any other living arrangement”. Two-thirds of British people say there is no difference between living together and being married. But do these ‘new living arrangements’ work? The facts speak for themselves. The single greatest incidence in family breakdown today is between co-habiting parents of small children. Married parents are up to five times less likely to experience family breakdown, according to the survey of 15,000 families carried out for the social justice policy review group headed by Iain Duncan Smith, the former Tory leader.
The social breakdown in Britain is observable everywhere but nowhere more tragically than in the spate of recent deaths of teenagers killed on our London streets through the endemic knife crime with us today. And it is not just London – there are 3.5 times more knife crimes committed in Scotland than in England and Wales.
Not ashamed of the gospel.
Does this mean that it’s all over for Britain? We have rejected God and he has handed our society over to eat the rotten fruit of that rejection. But if we pick up again with the apostle Paul, it seems that he would totally disagree with any notion that we sit back and abandon our nation to the wrath of God. Yes, God wrath is being outpoured upon London and upon Britain, but there is also another outpouring taking place! It’s the outpouring of God’s righteousness through the gospel of Jesus Christ. At the point where most people give up, the apostle Paul gets going. I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God for the salvation of everyone who believes: first for the Jew, then for the Gentile. For in the gospel a righteousness from God is revealed, a righteousness that is by faith from first to last, just as it is written: “The righteous will live by faith.”
Paul knew that the gospel is the only hope for a God-forsaking and a God-forsaken world.We must recover that same confidence and begin the re-evangelisation of Britain. As the 1,000 people recently saved in our nightly revival meetings show, the gospel is still the power of God. As we have seen the gospel is the one rock of certainty in our doubting world.We can proclaim it with confidence and see our nation turn back to God. The gospel is tailor made for modern Britain.
Dignity and purpose in an empty world
God created our world with meaning and purpose. It is not the product of blind impersonal forces as some would have us suppose. The choice is stark and clear. The gospel offers ultimate hope in place of the ultimate despair of every godless philosophy. Counter culture in a broken world
We must take a stand against the enslaving forces of political correctness which are being forced upon British people today.We can call sin what it is without fear or embarrassment because we have the answer – God’s grace and forgiveness in Christ. Despite the domination of an elite liberal intelligentsia more and more people are recognising that God’s ways are the best for us after all.
The corruption of society has as its roots the wilful human rejection of divine goodness and leads God to hand us over to the false gods of our choosing. Everything from sexual corruption to violence in our streets is the fruit of a society given up on God and handed over by God to feast on its own choices. There is a veritable smorgasbord of pseudo-spirituality on offer in Britain today – everything from paganism to Islam.
In one single dark week in May the lights went out in Britain dismissing centuries of God-given testimony to the sanctity of life and other gospel values held for generations in Britain. The kiss of life in a dying world
Rejection of God’s truth leads to corruption and death, but the gospel offers life and peace. God’s righteousness is first and foremost his gift of life that comes to us by the sacrifice of Jesus’ life on the cross. But it also is life lived under the influence of God’s kingdom in our hearts.We can live a new life – free from the bondage of sin and death. Britain, would she but hear this message, can live again.
Changing the nation
The capacity of the gospel preached and received in the power of the Holy Spirit to change society is evident from Luke 10:17-20. When Jesus’ disciples brought their reports back to him after having preached the gospel with signs and wonders Jesus testified, “I saw Satan fall from like lightning from heaven”. The very spiritual atmosphere was changed.We are seeing the same thing begin to happen in the UK. As God mobilises his gospel army, and brings in a new outpouring of signs and wonders, Satan’s powers are pushed back and the atmosphere is cleansed. Marvellous things can begin to happen. A nation can be changed by the gospel – people’s lives turned around, families restored and institutions renewed. As new believers grow in discipleship and commitment their influence brings the kingdom of God into our society.
The KT ‘revival’ with souls being saved, bodies being healed and people being set free by the power of God could be the beginning of something new for our church and it could spread to our city and then to our nation.