As if London hasn’t seen enough tragedy of late, her weary eight million residents woke up to a veritable picture of Dante’s inferno on Wednesday morning. The sight of a West London tower block burning away all night was truly terrible, with all the loss of life, home and family that resulted. Our hearts go out to all the victims.
In truth, we are all reeling in shock, perhaps wondering why things just seem to have gone from bad to worse in the wake of the recent terrorist attacks. And though the Grenfell Tower fire did not fall into the latter category, the cause is as yet unknown.
Nevertheless, we need to take stock, and continue to pray for God’s mercy on our battered nation, now further rocked by the resignation as leader of the Liberal-Democrat Party of Christian politician Tim Farron. More of that later…
In fact not everything is gloom and doom; there are real signs of hope despite a General Election that left confusion and chaos as politicians jostled for power, the Conservatives winning most seats but with no overall majority, and thus in a seemingly weak place for negotiating our exit from the European Union.
The Bible says: “When a country is rebellious, it has many rulers, but a ruler with discernment and knowledge maintains order.” (Proverbs 28.2)
Christians had been dismayed as they found themselves having to choose between main parties who had all agreed that sexual ethics – and in particular same-sex marriage – was not an issue. So it seemed that the way was left open to continue running the country on secular-humanist lines, with no thought for the biblical laws that have underpinned our civilization for centuries.
But who would have thought the Conservatives would be forced to “get into bed” with the strongly Christian Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) of Northern Ireland in order to secure a still wafer-thin overall majority for carrying out planned legislation? The DUP’s ten seats add up to a coalition fractionally more than all the other parties put together. So they will clearly be beholden to their friends from across the Irish Sea, a fact provoking hysteria from many quarters – not least the Scottish Tory leader Ruth Davidson, who is a lesbian.
It could certainly make for a rough passage for any new un-Christian laws. The DUP is thoroughly opposed to same-sex marriage and, in line with their Bible-believing basis, is also unreservedly pro-Israel.
So, for all the humanistic attempts to rid Parliament of its Christian witness, God has ensured that it remains – and that biblical thinking cannot be ignored. God will not be mocked.
The psalmist asks: “Why do the nations conspire and the peoples plot in vain? The kings of the earth rise up and the rulers band together against the Lord and against his anointed, saying, ‘Let us break their chains and throw off their shackles.’ The One enthroned in heaven laughs; the Lord scoffs at them…” (Psalm 2.1-4)
The fiercely Protestant DUP was founded in 1971 by the Rev Ian Paisley who, when he launched the Northern Ireland Friends of Israel group in March 2009, drew a parallel between his own country’s struggles against terrorism and that of Israel’s. And he also prayed for peace in Jerusalem!
Last Sunday evening, as my wife and I contemplated the ongoing political turbulence, we suddenly noticed a worrying crack in the ceiling, with water dripping through. Our hot water tank was leaking and on the blink, and we have since had it replaced (at no small cost). Fortunately, disaster was averted by an emergency plumber.
It was very much a picture of the state of the nation with the drip, drip feed of secularism (and in particular the LGBT+ agenda) on the point of bringing the house down. We are in serious hot water, and poison is leaking from the ship of state, which is on the verge of sinking.
I am sickened by the BBC’s continual obsession with depicting the ‘virtues’ of left-wing propaganda. As the country rocks with uncertainty, and in danger of collapse, a great show is made of a ‘gay pride’ march in York described as a symbol of unity and love. Of course I realise this is nothing compared to the 200,000 who marched through Tel Aviv, Israel’s major city, in celebration of the homosexual lifestyle. And that in what is universally known as the ‘Holy Land’! However, this only goes to prove that both Jews and Gentiles are prodigals whom the Father longs to welcome back.
And since we are talking numbers, it’s worth noting that a recent prayer meeting of Christians in South Africa drew a massive 1.7 million people (equal to Tel Aviv’s total population) to a farm outside the central city of Bloemfontein, where they pleaded God’s mercy for their beloved nation. We too, in Britain, need to pray – and how! Surely it’s time Christians got together, as they have done in South Africa, to plead God’s mercy for our land?
Tragically, much of the West has not only rejected God and his laws, but has gone further by turning millennia-old precepts completely upside down. The prophet Isaiah, writing 2,700 years ago, said: “Woe to those who call evil good and good evil, who put darkness for light and light for darkness, who put bitter for sweet and sweet for bitter. Woe to those who are wise in their own eyes and clever in their own sight. Woe to those who are heroes at drinking wine and champions at mixing drinks…” (Isaiah 5.20-22) Ring any bells?
To put it another way, it would be like Monty Don reporting from the Chelsea Flower Show that weeds are the new flowers and rubbishing anachronistic gardeners who insist on showing their beautiful roses and lilies amidst finely-cut lawns and water features.
Exaggerating? Hardly – for one of the most disturbing aspects of the election campaign was the blatant anti-Christian prejudice promoted in much of the media, claiming that Christian candidates were unfit to hold public office because of their biblical views. Even the Prime Minister was condemned by a major national newspaper for visiting one of the UK’s largest black churches – because the church opposes abortion and same-sex marriage.
And now Tim Farron is the latest victim. After an insufferable media campaign directed at his Christian faith, in the words of Evangelical Alliance spokesman David Landrum, “he has found himself torn between living as a faithful Christian and serving as a political leader – and so he has resigned. And who could blame him? Politics has always been a tough business and general elections have always been rough rides. Tim was surely prepared for that. What he wasn’t prepared for, and what nobody really expected, was a vicious and sustained assault on his faith. And he wasn’t alone in this.”
And finally, on a more positive note: Rosaria Butterfield, a former lesbian and LGBT advocate, converted to Christ after reading large sections of the Bible as part of research into why the so-called religious right ‘hated’ people like her. Her first book, The Secret Thoughts of an Unlikely Convert, details her conversion and the cataclysmic fallout which followed – in which she lost “everything but the dog,” yet gained eternal life in Christ.
We are the people of the Book, which holds the key to life and leads us to the ‘pearl of great price’ which can often cost us everything. (Matthew 13.46)
Pearls are shaped through rough times, and we need to speak up for Christ in the face of the storm.
Charles Gardner is author of Israel the Chosen, available from Amazon, and Peace in Jerusalem, available from olivepresspublisher.com