A Culture Lost and a Call to Action
Last week, on the plane back to the US from London, I wrote:
On June 3, 1953, sixty years ago, Queen Elizabeth gave her assent to the “Coronation Oath” administered by the Archbishop of Canterbury, which read:
Will you to the utmost of your power maintain the Laws of God and the true profession of the Gospel? Will you to the utmost of your power maintain in the United Kingdom the Protestant Reformed Religion established by law?
In July 2013, almost sixty years to the day from taking that vow, Queen Elizabeth II gave her royal stamp of approval to the government law legalizing homosexual marriage! So much for the “laws of God” and the “true profession of the Gospel.” Politics oblige.
Though the Queen’s imprimatur was a legal formality, it is powerfully symbolic. The final constitutional bulwark of the Christian faith meekly surrendered before an agenda to legalize homosexuality, a relationship that utterly rejects the image of God in man as revealed in Genesis 1:27: “God created man in his own image…male and female he created them.” Around the same time, as if on cue, the same decision was made in the USA, in France and in New Zealand. The Bible warns us of the cultural implosion this overturning of the defining essence of human life will entail.
A bright red double-decker London bus went by me yesterday with a large imposing sign on the side: Some people are gay: get over it. The same city council refused to allow a response to be put up on its buses: Some people are ex-gay: get over it. Not only is the Lie proposed for all to see but any expression of the Truth is now officially silenced.
The UK Christians for whom I lectured (who have been involved in legal and public interventions to maintain in the culture the notions of the biblical worldview) have been forced to admit that “Christian Britain” seems finally to have disappeared. (In the US there is more optimism because of a greater sense of citizen power—but I think we have lost the soul of America.) We must now ask, “When is a culture finally ‘given over’”? According to Paul, this occurs when the leading cultural institutions “exchange” their public confession of God as the Creator for interfaith divinized nature; when their worship of the immortal God is “exchanged” for the worship of mortal man and animals; and when their public legitimation of “natural” sexuality is “exchanged” for the promotion of “unnatural” sexual expressions (Rom 1:23, 25, 26). At that point, says Paul, “they are given over” (Rom. 1:24, 26, 28). In Britain, culturally speaking, the God of the Bible is dead. Already in 2010 a respected British journalist, Melanie Phillips of the Daily Mail, published a 486-page book with the ominous title, The World Turned Upside-Down. The passage of the “gay marriage” bill was an exclamation point on the repudiation of the biblical worldview occurring in Britain and in the West in general for some time.
At the UK conference where I lectured this past week, under the title “Understanding the Times,” there was general agreement among the Christian leaders in attendance that the various acts of opposition to Christianity by courts and the police were not accidental or anecdotal but rather indications of a more systematic silencing of the free expression of the Christian worldview in the once-“Christian” public square.
Must the goal of Christian action turn, perhaps, from a focus on “saving the culture” to a focus on saving the church? Infiltrated by cultural attitudes, the church often fails to understand and express the Christian cosmology presupposed in the Gospel. Specifically, those active in a biblically faithful Church need to call into being a remnant, equipped by the Spirit and the Word to embody and “make known to the rulers and authorities in the heavenly places, the manifold wisdom of God” (Eph 3:10).
Never in my lifetime has there been a more urgent need for like-minded Christians to formulate a theological and practical response adapted to the times in which we live, based particularly on the blueprint Paul gives of our situation in Romans 1. To those of you who are providentially reading this call: I invite you to a consultation/Think Tank next February 4-7, 2014 in Escondido, CA, sponsored by truthXchange, entitled “Shining As Lights: Telling the Truth in the Pagan Utopia.”
Great things are not always achieved by masses. Sometimes a small dedicated band suffices—a remnant with a passion for God’s glory to be seen in the earth in both word and deed.