Monday, 8 March 2010

Switching the focus back to Jesus

In many ways last Monday's post was one that I didn't want to write. However, the issues I raised are issues that concern many Christians throughout the UK.

Unfortunately, I think the way that we have sometimes responded to the growth of secularism and of other religions hasn't been entirely helpful. We have adopted a "Christendom" stance. We have protested, quoted scripture to show everyone why and where they are wrong and presented Britain as a modern day Israel with a special relationship with God.

Now, it has to be said that Britain has known incredible blessing from God throughout its history. However, that in itself does not mean that God has any special obligation to Britain or that the British Church has any special claim on God's blessing.

So what about a way forward? I did promise to share a few thoughts.

For me finding a workable solution begins with asking some good questions.

One good question for me is "How does the church relate to a culture that has values that are unsympathetic and sometimes down right opposed to its values and mission?

There are some biblical examples that might help us. For example, the Jews in exile in Babylon. A study of the book of Daniel shows how a follower of the true God not only survived but thrived in an environment that was pregnant with hostility.

Turning over to the New Testament, the witness of the apostles, especially in the Graeco-Roman world is very helpful.

Acts 19 records how Paul saw an amazing move of God in Ephesus. Not surprisingly the locals got upset when the revival began to affect the local economy. The city clerk (35-41) addresses a rioting mob and in v.37 comments "You have brought these men here though they have neither robbed temples nor blasphemed our goddess."

I think we have in this verse an indication of one way forward: we promote Christ rather than attacking other religions or ideologies that compete with him for the hearts and minds of our communities. In other words, let's switch the focus back to Jesus.


Helen said...

Hi James

read your blog Uneasy Vision and watched the Dispatches programme on 4OD.

Definitely gave an uneasy feeling! Thought about it but couldn't come up with an answer of anything I could do personally outside of prayer that would address the growing problem of Islamisation!

Was relieved to read in your blog 'one way forward: we promote Christ rather than attacking other religions ...' Liked this because it's possible for me to do this! Thanks for tackling such a difficult issue. Helen

Stephen Frew said...

Does reading this mean I don't have to come to church on Sunday? :)

James said...

Hi Helen and Stephen. Thanks for your comments and encouragement. Glad you found it helpful Helen. It's a big big subject. It is also a very emotive one, for everyone concerned!I think it is good for Christians to try to think through the issues and come up with a workable, godly and even respectful response.

Stephen, very honoured to have you reading my blog.I'm sure reading my blog is nowhere near as enriching an experience as being at church. And our experience of church would be diminished if you weren't there.:-)