The Question Christians are not Asking

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Christians in the UK have become increasingly concerned in recent years by the way legislation has been changing. To many people, equality laws seem to be demanding that Christians either bend before them or accept being squeezed out of society. To underline all this, David Cameron is driving his Same Sex Marriage (SSM) Bill through parliament. At the end of the Second Reading debate in the House of Commons, almost two-thirds of MPs voted in favour of the bill, whilst just twenty-six percent voted against it. Many Christians cannot believe the changes which have taken place in this country in the last twenty years. In 1988 Margaret Thatcher’s government passed the now infamous “Section 28” of the Local Government Act stating that a local authority “shall not intentionally promote homosexuality or publish material with the intention of promoting homosexuality”. It also banned the teaching in any maintained school of “the acceptability of homosexuality as a pretended family relationship”. But even before the SSM bill is passed, local authorities have already begun sacking some staff who are unwilling to accept homosexual practice as the equal of heterosexual behaviour, and teachers could soon be disciplined if they do not teach the acceptability of homosexuality as a valid family relationship.

In this article I want to investigate whether there are Biblical reasons why Christians should have seen this coming, what these changes mean for the nation and the questions they raise for all sections of the Church. The answers to all these revolve around another question which in my experience Christians are not asking, in either the local or the national context.

A Clear Biblical Warning

Most Christians know of passages in the Bible which warn against immorality of all kinds, including homosexuality. Yet their knowledge of these scriptures is at best superficial. Take for example the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah in Genesis 18. If we read only small sections of the Bible it is possible to think that The LORD’s wrath fell on them because of the homosexuality of their residents. However, those who study the Bible widely will be aware that many years later, through the prophet Ezekiel, our God made clear why He had become angry with the inhabitants of these cities. “Look, this was the iniquity of your sister Sodom: She and her daughter had pride, fullness of food, and abundance of idleness; neither did she strengthen the hand of the poor and needy. And they were haughty and committed abomination before Me; therefore I took them away as I saw fit.” (Ezk. 16) The root of their destruction was pride, full larders and gross idleness, which resulted in them ignoring the needs of the poor. This collective hedonism then led them into widespread immorality, including aggressive homosexuality. The question raised by this explanation is whether this progression from arrogant idleness to immorality and violence was due solely to human depravity, or was a divine hand pushing them along the way?

You may wonder why this is important. Well, if we want to understand what is happening today, it will help us significantly if we can understand why we have ended up where we are. Christians in Britain need to face up to the failures of the last half-century or so. In these decades there have been many expressions of Christian concern for the nation, ranging from very public movements like the Nationwide Festival of Light in the 70’s (now CARE) and March for Jesus in the 80’s, through to more private prayer ministries including Intercessors for Britain and many other collective initiatives. Whatever we have been involved in over recent years in the hope of improving our society, to ‘turn it back to God’, we should now stop and ask a very difficult question. Why has The LORD not honoured our efforts? Even in the wake of the SSM Second Reading debate, I have not heard Christians asking this or anything similar.

This is strange because in the New Testament there is a very clear description of what happens to societies which choose to turn their backs on the God who created them. I am referring to the last part of Romans 1, written by Paul to Christians who were living in a culture steeped in paganism. As disciples of the risen Christ, his readers were hated by many of their pagan contemporaries. At the start of his letter to these believers and before he strengthens them with profound truths, Paul makes plain the inevitable end of the society in which they lived. To do this he needed no special revelation, he simply had to learn from past history and to have the confidence that nations do not rise and fall by their own hands. It was a similar conviction which enabled Paul to proclaim on Mars Hill as he drew the Athenians’ attention to the God they did not know, And He has made from one blood every nation of men to dwell on all the face of the earth, and has determined their preappointed times and the boundaries of their dwellings, so that they should seek the Lord.” Rom 1 and Acts 17 are both about the Creator who remains in charge of national and international affairs even when men refuse to worship Him as such.

From events in places like Sodom which had been destroyed by a God of righteousness, Paul could encourage his readers to know that their Saviour was not turning a blind eye to the corruption which surrounded them. The Holy Spirit has preserved Paul’s insight so that we too can understand what our Redeemer is doing in our society today. If we do so, it will enable us to learn how to work with Him that His will may be done on earth. Sadly, most Christians fail to engage fully with this passage. Resembling today’s newspapers as closely as it does, we tend to wave it in society’s face to highlight the sins which God hates and which we think He will judge them for if the nation does not repent. That is not what Paul wrote – he described a situation far worse than that! Whilst there will always be opportunities for individuals to repent, in Rom. 1 Paul described what happens when The LORD has already had enough of a society and in His wrath screws it up and throws it in the bin!

God gives them up!

Rom. 1:16-17 declares the wonder of the Gospel, because it reveals the righteousness of God from faith to faith. The rest of the chapter contrasts this good news with a description of how the “wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men”. This passage is therefore not simply a catalogue of immoral behaviour which comes with a threat that The LORD will judge if men do not repent; rather it is a warning of the type of judgement which He sends upon a society when it has become arrogant towards Him. Paul was not being prophetic in this passage; he was simply reminding his readers of what The LORD had done in the past and will repeat whenever a society takes His blessings and tramples upon them.

Paul explained, “What may be known of God is manifest in them, for God has shown it to them. For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even His eternal power and Godhead, so that they are without excuse.” The people on whom God pours out His anger are those who have all the evidence they need to know not only who their Creator is, but also how incredible His character is, yet they deliberately turn their backs on Him. “Although they knew God, they did not glorify Him as God, nor were thankful, but became futile in their thoughts, and their foolish hearts were darkened. Professing to be wise, they became fools...” In Paul’s day and prior to that, when men turned from The LORD they turned to pagan religions and this led them into immorality. These days in the West the alternative to the fear of The LORD no longer involves the worship of idols, but is instead a philosophy which can be traced back to a Greek world-view dating from before the birth of Christ. The so-called Enlightenment, which drew on these pagan Graeco-Roman philosophers, encouraged human arrogance to imagine once again that man could escape from the rule of God.

It was turning away from their Creator, Paul explained, which had caused The LORD to give men what they wanted, which in turn leads to rampant immorality spreading throughout any society that finds itself under the wrath of God. “Therefore God also gave them up to uncleanness, in the lusts of their hearts, to dishonour their bodies among themselves, who exchanged the truth of God for the lie, and worshipped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever. Amen.” In Britain we have spent over 200 years “exchanging the truth of God for the lie” (v25) and now we are reaping the fruits of The LORD turning His back on us, along with the rest of what was once called Christendom. “For this reason God gave them up to vile passions. For even their women exchanged the natural use for what is against nature. Likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust for one another.” (26-27).

This degeneration was not limited to outward actions. Paul was in no doubt that these stemmed from the faulty thinking to which God had handed them over, because they chose to think wrongly about Him. And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a debased mind, to do those things which are not fitting.” This verse (29) introduces a catalogue of sin which parallels what we find in our society today. That list ends with this statement, knowing the righteous judgement of God, that those who practice such things are deserving of death, not only do the same but also approve of those who practise them.” It seems to me that the only logical conclusion any thoughtful reader of this passage can reach is that our society has now reached this final phase of judgement – our leaders are falling over one another in the rush to approve those who practise unrighteousness.

A Popular Trend

It is important to recognise here that Britain is not alone in seeking to cast off The LORD’s restraints from its laws (Psalm 2). Since 2001 the following countries have legalised SSM: Netherlands, Belgium, Spain, Canada, South Africa, Norway, Sweden, Portugal, Iceland, Argentina and Denmark [source: BBC website]. Most of these are in once ‘Christian’ Europe. In France recently a higher percentage of Deputies voted in favour of President Hollande’s bill than MPs backed Cameron’s at Westminster [BBC]. In the USA, Barack Obama had been very cautious in his comments about SSM, but he cast off his restraint in his second Inaugural Address. Towards the end of his speech he began a section on freedom with this; “We, the people, declare today that the most evident of truths – that all of us are created equal – is the star that guides us still;” and continued by referring to Americans who in the past had “left footprints along this great Mall, to hear a preacher say that we cannot walk alone; to hear a King proclaim that our individual freedom is inextricably bound to the freedom of every soul on Earth.” Which may sound good to some until he went on to list those areas in which he believes the USA needs to complete this journey. The second item on his list was, “Our journey is not complete until our gay brothers and sisters are treated like anyone else under the law for if we are truly created equal, then surely the love we commit to one another must be equal as well.” [The White House]

What we are living through today is the wrath of God being seen in action throughout Western nations. This should be very apparent to Christians in Britain given the events of the last 60 years, but we seemingly choose to ignore the Biblical testimony of Romans 1. This may be shocking to some, but there is no Biblical evidence that Britain is any more special to The LORD than other Gentile nations. If God poured out His anger on Sodom for its pride, plenty and passivity (especially towards the poor) why should this nation or any other nation be exempt when we have followed a similar course for many decades? It is hard to identify exactly when The LORD began to pour out His wrath on Britain and other Western nations. The year I was born (1951) saw the repeal of the 1653 Witchcraft Law, by the Fraudulent Mediums Act. Since then, the nation’s leaders have passed further measures approving behaviour which God has decreed are “deserving of death”. There are about twenty offences listed in the Old Testament as punishable by death, the best known amongst these being murder (the most commonly condemned), blasphemy, and witchcraft. (Less well-known are Sabbath-breaking, kidnap for sale into slavery, pagan sacrifice and keeping dangerous oxen.) There are also a number of sexual sins which merit death including adultery, marriage to both a mother and her daughter, sexual intercourse with an in-law, bestiality and homosexuality. In Britain since 1951 there has been a succession of changes to legislation which have nibbled away at the standards set by God’s guidelines for the preservation of society by the tough love of capital punishment – I am sure I do not need to list them here. However, as I have highlighted already, we are not the only nation to have pursued this course.

Whilst this agenda was being pursued by our government, the majority of Christians have carried on wilfully ignorant of both why these changes in society were happening and where they were leading. When any society begins to deny what people inwardly know about right and wrong and its leaders begin to approve behaviour which The LORD states is “deserving of death”, then we should recognise that He has already begun to judge our collective unbelief! However most Christian heads have only begun to pop out of the sand in the last three years or so due to the growing fear that in our post-Christian society, Christianity is becoming extremely costly. We must not now allow ourselves to think that the 1950’s and 60’s are what brought this divine judgement down upon us. That is not what Paul wrote; from his perspective those two decades are best described as the first throes of wrath. During them society was reaping what had been sown in earlier decades as both world and church had embraced unbelief in many ways.

The cause of this judgement now ripening across the West is, as Paul made clear, that men and women have refused to glorify The LORD as God even though What may be known of God is manifest in them, for God has shown it to them.” In particular it is the refusal to acknowledge Him as their Creator which, according to Paul, causes The LORD to give them up. Whilst Charles Darwin is seen by most as the source of the present prevailing evolutionary world-view, this is actually a doctrine with its roots in Greek philosophy which was resurrected in the Enlightenment. One of the earliest to suggest it at this time was James Burnett, Lord Monboddo (1714 – 1799) and his ideas were taken up by Erasmus Darwin, Charles’ grandfather (1731 – 1802), amongst others. Whilst Erasmus died seven years before Charles was born, it is known that Charles read his grandfather’s published works, three of which – The Botanic Garden, Zoonomia and The Temple of Nature – put forward his thoughts on how life evolved. When Charles published his own most famous work at the age of fifty, he added little more than the idea of natural selection to his grandfather’s arguments. Just over a hundred and fifty years later, the thinking of these and other sons of the Enlightenment have become the guiding values of most of today’s politicians. The “free love” of the 1960’s was as much a consequence of this rise in godlessthinking as is the international race to be seen to approve homosexual and lesbian behaviour today.

Facing Up To Reality

Whilst Paul’s outline of Godly wrath on any society which chooses to ignore Him is straightforward, surprisingly it is ignored by most Christians. Why might this be so? Firstly, there is in most people a hope that something much better is just around the corner. Whilst Rom. 1 is not directly linked with events that will precede the return of Christ, its message is currently obscured by the three most popular eschatologies of the day. (These are various doctrinal positions adopted by Christians regarding the end of the world, each of which influences significantly how they think about world events today and the Church’s future.) The most favoured at present is post-millennialism, which believes that revival will happen as soon as the church sorts itself out – and worldwide renewal must take place before Christ returns. A-millennialism teaches that there there are no specific events which need to happen in order to fulfil Biblical prophecies before Christ returns. Consequently it suggests (perhaps unintentionally) that things will continue as they are until they end. Finally, most of those who hold to a pre-millennial return of Christ are also expecting to escape this world before the real trouble begins. Therefore no matter where on this spectrum of views a Christian stands, they tend to question whether something as total as the destruction of Sodom is in The LORD’s purposes today – and those who think it is do not expect to be around to witness it in person! Human nature tends to think along the lines of Isaiah 56:12 Tomorrow will be as today, And much more abundant”. Therefore we find it hard to read the Biblical signs which warn that tomorrow will be very much harder than today!

Since the 1970’s there has been an increasing number of ‘prophecies of revival’ circulating amongst Christians. None of these has been fulfilled. Instead, the moral condition of Britain and other Western nations has spiralled down and down. In the last twenty years or so, this failure of false promises to be fulfilled has seen them replaced by equally futile predictions that ‘revival will follow judgement’. I describe these as futile because they underestimate the completeness of divine wrath when it is poured out on any society. This unintentional making light of The LORD’s anger with Britain is not limited to the revivalist margins of the Church; even the most staid and reformed can think that we will be able to rebuild something worthwhile from the rubble of judgement. Thinking like this ignores the works of God throughout history. Sodom and Gomorrah have never been rebuilt, Amalek fared no better and whilst Nineveh listened to Jonah, later both Nahum and Zephaniah respectively decreed that it would be laid waste” and become a desolation”. Babylon received just a few hours warning of its end on the night of Belshazzar’s feast and has never risen again. The New Testament does not concern itself with The LORD’s dealings with individual nations in the same way as the Old, but Jesus, Peter and the writer of Hebrews all warn that individuals who turn from faith in Christ will be irrecoverably lost: John 15:6; 2 Pet. 2:20-22; Heb. 6:4-8.

What will happen then to nations which turn their backs on The LORD and His Anointed? Whilst as I have said we have no New Testament examples, history provides one very striking one – the North African nations. Christianity reached Egypt in the first century, and from there it spread along the north coast of the continent becoming accepted in modern Tunisia by 200AD. Over the following few hundred years however, the church was weakened by theological and doctrinal controversies. By the start of the seventh century the Coptic Church had established itself as the national church in Egypt, but it was not long before The LORD allowed Islam to sweep across the region. For the last 1400 years Christianity has been repressed in N. Africa and I suspect that those early Christians did not realise that the open door for the Gospel in their countries was about to slam shut for such a long time!

Today, even amongst those Christians who accept the fact that our God has been angry with Western nations for many decades, there is a reluctance to face up to the consequences of our nation being under the judgement of a righteous Creator. We keep praying and hoping that He will ‘turn the tide’ and that by some miracle the government will become godly again. But do we ever stop and ask Him what He wants us to pray for Britain, if at all? I know my suggestion that we should even consider stopping praying for the nation will be shocking for some, but we need to remember that The LORD warned Israel through Moses that a time could come when He would not hear their prayers because of their iniquities. Isaiah told them that such a time had come (59:2), and Jeremiah was told three times Do not pray for this people”!

What then is His word about His will for our society? In recent decades, passages like 2 Chronicles 7:14 and Daniel 9 have become popular model prayers in seeking the reformation of Western societies. Whilst we must not allow the church to steal Israel’s promises (Christians have no promised land on this planet, Heb:11:13-16), such Old Testament passages do inform us of important principles when we come before The LORD. I will mention just two, the first of which is that we must pray in accordance with what He has already revealed in the Scriptures. Daniel knew from Jeremiah’s prophecies that Israel would serve 70 years in exile and that that time was about to be completed. The two passages mentioned above also emphasise the importance of repentance on the part of those praying if The LORD is to respond to their requests. They need both to humble themselves and to turn from their wicked ways if He is to hear from heaven. Just before the Second Reading of the SSM bill, the Coalition for Marriage circulated a prayer to be used in churches. I was saddened because in parts it did not appear to be very realistic, but I also felt angry (righteously, I hope) that missing from this prayer was any confession of, or recognition of the need for repentance for the lack of faithfulness towards Him amongst Christians, including a failure to take Him at His word.

Judgement on the Church as well as the Nation

This failure to connect what is happening in the corridors of political power with what has been happening and still is happening in the Church at large is most significant. If the nation is now under God’s judgement because it has refused to glorify The LORD as God, and instead of acknowledging Him as Creator has worshipped the creature (in this case ourselves), why did it not heed the cry of the watchmen when this danger first appeared? The answer is simple; the majority of the Church were not on the walls listening to The LORD (Eze. 3:16-21) nor watching out for approaching dangers (Eze. 33:1-9). Instead, most were making friends with the world and enjoying its prosperity. Rather than being students of the Scriptures and attentive listeners to the Holy Spirit, church leaders of all types became preoccupied with the power and prestige which comes from friendship with the world. As unbelief spread from the early Enlightenment onwards, only a minority of Christians firmly resisted the pressure to adopt what are now described as progressive’ values.

As early as 1830 Charles Lyell (the father of modern geology and a close associate of Charles Darwin) wrote to Poulett Scrope, his reviewer, stating that in his view the “party” were effectively quite ready for loyalty to Genesis to be abandoned (synopsis mine, see appendix for exact detail). “The Party” to which Lyell referred was the political party closely associated with the Church of England, with many of its MPs being Anglican clergy. It was known then as the Tory party (Lyell, Darwin & Scrope were Whigs) and its modern counterpart is the Conservative party. Lyell’s evidence is that nearly two hundred years ago, clergy and politicians who were members of the established church were ready to abandon Genesis as reliable some thirty years before Darwin published his book. There can be no doubt from their writings that Lyell, Darwin and many of their associates were seeking ways to do away with Christian influence in Britain. Since then unbelief amongst Christian leaders of all persuasions has spread so that now the majority of those who identify themselves as evangelicals, normally defined as “Bible-believing”, no longer believe The LORD to be the Creator He describes Himself to be.

If we are to take Romans 1 seriously, then we need to acknowledge that the Church in the West has dishonoured our God by following the world and denying Him as the Creator of all things. Having walked in the steps of others’ unbelief, many Christians now find themselves caught between the plain reading of Scripture and trying to please the world whilst not denying Christ. Unregenerate hearts always want to say that The LORD’s standards are too high and argue that they need to be changed. The prophetic work of the Church is to stand against those arguments and remind all that they are called to live righteously. Instead of speaking up for God, Christians have capitulated as The LORD’s landmarks have been removed from society one after another. Nearly all of the moral standards we have seen shifted – divorce, abortion, murder for example – were set in place through the influence of Christianity over past centuries. When The LORD saw the leaders of Judah were like those who remove a landmark,” He declared I will pour out my wrath on them like water.” (Hosea 5:10) It is not just our political leaders who have set aside The LORD’s standards, but Christian leaders have also questioned who He is, what He has called right and what He has declared wrong. The roots of the argument about women bishops which is churning up the Church of England are also those of the SSM debate, which will split it irrecoverably in the not-too-distant future.

To those who take the Bible seriously, the events we are experiencing today have been totally predictable. Yet to those who worship God with their lips but whose hearts are far from Him, acceptance by unbelievers has proved overly attractive. When I first thought of writing this piece I considered including a warning that at some point in the future we would see evangelicals accepting SSM as an expression of the “love of god”. However, I did not expect this to happen so soon. In mid-January this year, Christianity Magazine published two articles on the theme of “The Bible and Homosexuality”. In the first Steve Chalke argued in support of monogamous same sex relationships, whilst in the second Greg Downes upheld “the traditional evangelical understanding of homosexuality”. The same day the Evangelical Alliance published three articles [1:2:3] putting some distance between themselves and Chalke, but I suspect it will not suffice to prevent others from following his lead.

This is not the moment to dissect Chalke’s argument, but he does make one very valid point; “The vast majority of Christians now recognise that women can, and should, teach and lead. So, how have we got there when, on the face of it, the New Testament prohibits it? ‘It’s cultural,’ we say. But if that’s the case, why is the issue of the role of women regarded as ‘cultural’ by so many while homosexuality isn’t?” In 1 Tim. 5 Paul explained his teaching on the role of women in Christian leadership with reference to events in Gen. 1, 2 and 3. (In the same way Jesus referred to the first two chapters of Genesis when answering a question about divorce.) The rejection of the New Testament’s teaching on women in leadership, which as Chalke says above is widespread amongst evangelicals, is the inevitable consequence of moving away from faith in the words and work of Christ described in those first three chapters of the Old Testament. Chalke, who is no stranger to controversy, demonstrates this with his own thinking. In 2004 he told the Guardian newspaper, “My personal belief is that... those who wish to read into Genesis chapter one that God made the world in six days... are not being honest and scholarly. It won’t be taught in the school because I think it’s rubbish. It’s a bizarre thing to claim the Bible suggests that.”

The last three chapters of Judges are not Sunday School material. They describe how ungodly Israel had become and how one tribe in particular had descended into collective immorality. If Sodom tells us of the horror of God’s wrath on an arrogant society, the fate of Benjamin in Judges warns those who are called by His name of the awfulness of His judgement upon them when they too exchange the truth of God for the lie”! We have recently witnessed several so-called churches convincing the government that they should not be prevented from performing SSM – liberal churches like these fail to recognise that they are embracing God’s wrath unto themselves. However, the warning is clear that the same dangers are ahead for those who describe themselves as “Bible-believing” and yet find reasons not to take it at its plain meaning. JB Philips translated Rom. 12:2 very meaningfully: Don’t let the world around you squeeze you into its own mould, but let God re-mould your minds from within.” Despite the Holy Spirit’s warning, Western Christians have failed to connect this with Paul’s earlier promise that God will not ignore human arrogance, but will pour out His wrath on those who choose not to honour Him as the Creator God. The years ahead in Britain will be difficult ones for Christians. Even if Cameron’s SSM Bill fails, a similar move will follow in the near future. Christians who are undecided as to whether or not The LORD’s description of righteousness is actually what He means, need to get off the fence as soon as possible and learn to trust Him fully. Those who wish to be friends with the world through compromise will find, as others have already done, that unbelief will make more and more demands of them to deny the clear teaching of Christ. In such times the question the Holy Spirit asks us is this: do we value friendship with Christ more than friendship with the world?

Will the Tide Turn?

In closing I want to make it very clear that I have not written this comment because I believe Christians can turn the tide in British society at this time. If I am right that the events of the last half decade or so are the outworking in this nation (and others) of divine judgement, then neither do I see any evidence in the world or the Church of any widespread will to repent. My message will not go down well with most people, I know. I have written in this way because I believe it is important for Christians to understand the signs of the times in which we live so we can be like the sons of Issachar who knew what God’s people should do (1 Chron. 12:32). If we do not learn wisdom from the Scriptures, then we will not have the understanding we need for the days in which we live. The start of Hosea 4 describes the sad condition of Israel at the time. The prophet was told, There is no truth or mercy or knowledge of God in the land,” a description which is increasingly appropriate to Britain today. It is worth reading to note the parallels with what is in our newspapers today. The LORD’s lament at the time was, My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge.” He then added,Because you have rejected knowledge, I also will reject you from being priest for Me; Because you have forgotten the law of your God, I also will forget your children.” Can Christians expect the same God to be any more lenient to a Church which has rejected His knowledge and forgotten His righteousness?

Despite the seriousness of the hour, many hold on to the hope of revival, but to do so they have to close their eyes and ears to the reality of the situation. This false hope influences the prayers and lifestyle of many Christians. There are very few voices warning that a night is approaching in the West when no one will be free to work for Christ in the way we have been able to for several generations. The pressure on Christians to call evil good, and good evil; to put darkness for light, and light for darkness; to put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter (Isa. 5:20) will continue to increase! Jesus expected His disciples to be persecuted for trusting Him and warned them (and us) about the dangers of denying Him before men (Mt. 10:33). The world’s and Satan’s ambition is to get Christ’s friends to do exactly that! Rather than crossing our fingers and hoping for revival, we should be seeking The LORD for the strength, wisdom and understanding that we might remain faithful to Him as this nation reaps what it has sown. Loving darkness rather than light, previous generations turned their backs on their Creator. Now that same Creator, who desires to have mercy on those who seek Him, will also give men and women all the darkness they desire as they continue in their arrogance towards Him. The whole of the Bible testifies to both the goodness and the severity of this God. In Rom. 11 Paul urged his readers to consider the goodness and severity of God: on those who fell, severity; but toward you, goodness, if you continue in His goodness. Otherwise you also will be cut off.”

The signs in the nation and in the Church are that The LORD’s judgement is heavy upon them both. As Christians in Britain we can choose how we respond to contemporary events. We too can ignore the wrath of our Creator and hope for better times to come, or we can humble ourselves before Him and ask Him to deliver us from the evil which lies ahead.

© Randall Hardy – March 2013

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Darwin & Lyell

Charles Darwin wrote of Charles Lyell: “I always feel as if my books came half out of Lyell’s brain, and that I never acknowledge this sufficiently;... for I have always thought that the great merit of the Principles, was that it altered the whole tone of one’s mind & therefore that when seeing a thing never seen by Lyell, one yet saw it partially through his eyes.” Letter to L. Horner, Aug. 29th 1844

Thirty years later in a reply to his adult son George, Charles advised him not to attack Christianity directly and approvingly said, “Lyell is most firmly convinced that he has shaken the faith in the Deluge &c far more efficiently by never having said a word against the Bible, than if he had acted otherwise.” To Darwin, G.H. Oct. 21st 1873

The Principles” referred to by Darwin was Lyell’s geological equivalent of “On the Origin of Species” called “Principles of Geology”, which led to him being called the father of modern geology. Lyell, a lawyer by training, was helped in writing this work by G.J. Poulett Scrope, a magistrate and politician who had agreed to act as his reviewer. In a letter to Scrope Lyell wrote “I am sure you may get into Q. R. [Quarterly Review] what will free the science from Moses, for if treated seriously, the party are quite prepared for it. A bishop, Buckland ascertained (we suppose Sumner), gave Ure a dressing in the ‘British Critic and Theological Review.’ They see at last the mischief and scandal brought on them by Mosaic systems.[emphasis mine] To Poulett Scrope, June 14, 1830

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