Could this slow the rot? Does it mark the low-tide in our national fortunes and favour with The Almighty?
Clearing the Ground is a preliminary report into the freedom of Christians in the UK published by Christians in Parliament in conjunction with The Evangelical Alliance.
I understand it is of landmark importance to leaders and believers within every church denomination. Therefore, we should be aware of its findings and so I’ll give links to an excellent summation by my friend Gillan Scott. Before that, however, I’ll provide a short detour into very little-known history.
First, the Parliamentary report opens very briefly:
Christians in Parliament, an official All-Party Parliamentary Group (APPG), chaired by Gary Streeter are launching ‘Clearing the Ground’ a preliminary report of the committee’s findings.
The Clearing the Ground inquiry were tasked with considering the question: Are Christians marginalised in the UK?
This report reflects the findings and views of the committee and is issued by Christians in Parliament.
The Inquiry was instigated in the light of media reports and court cases and, if taken seriously by the government, has the potential to define how legislation should accom-modate religious belief. There’s a suggestion it may even rewrite iniquitous equality laws! Furthermore, as PM David Cameron proclaimed, “We are a Christian country”, then perhaps we can hope for improvements. I have good reason to believe he’s supportive of Christian social campaigns.
Early British Church History
The very necessity of this Inquiry is an indictment of our post-imperial history and an affront to our national dignity of over 1900 years as a Christian land. Do you know that Christianity was already well established before the Roman Church’s mission to send Augustine in AD597 to the court of Saxon King Aethelbert at Canterbury?
The early church historian Eusebius and British historian Gildas stated the Christian faith had arrived here in the time of the original Apostles – before 37AD! Furthermore, the precedence of the British national church ABOVE ALL OTHERS, including Rome, was recognised by no less than four official church councils in 15th Century. This was based on the donation of land in Glastonbury for a church by King Arviragus to Jesus’ uncle Joseph of Arimathea, and between AD179-190 King Lucius established more churches (details here).
Antiquarian John Chapel writes, “It is claimed that the ancient British royal family converted to Christianity within 20 years or so of Jesus’ death”. (Linus and Claudia mentioned in Paul’s 2nd letter to Timothy would have been children of King Caractacus, and the later Emperor Constantine’s Christian wife Helena was of that family.)
The Inquiry’s Findings
The Inquiry’s findings reveal the extent of ‘religious illiteracy’ at all levels of British society. That is, regrettably Britain has become what would have been called in my childhood, a heathen nation! But we’re simply reaping the degradation that my generation engineered. For my part, I sincerely repent for having taken part in the 1960’s rejection of a holy heritage and specifically encouraged a liberation in cultural ethics and ‘New Age spirituality’.
The descriptive term at the turn of the Century for Britain was ‘Post-Christian’. Have we now gone worse: ‘religiously illiterate’? The good news is, however, it’s yet another call for Christians to take a stand – where’ve we heard that before?
At Arise, Frontline Generals! conference we attended in Torquay last week the Lord presented personal surprises. One, was things we have in common with a couple who sat beside us, and one of these being a vision received a year or so before and related to mine of 2004 (read here) of Britain’s restoration – the sleeping giant awakes!
Gillan concludes his initial post on the Inquiry by quoting the report’s final point:
Christians need to take seriously their historical role in leading and serving in public life, and church discipleship needs to account for this role – because the gospel is good news for society.
He is to be highly commended in taking great pains to provide articulate analyses and summation of the report’s findings. Thus, they facilitate a good grasp of these issues:
Clearing the Ground: a Game-changing Report
Clearing the Ground: a Review –
Exciting times, are they not? Lead us onwards Lord…