Militant Islam and Militant Secularism are identified in the article below as the primary reasons for the precipitous decline of Christianity in England. I’ll add one more “militant” to that list: Militant Self-absorption.
We become uneasy, impatient, and sometimes angry when our self-absorption is interrupted. “Don’t mess with my ballgame!” “Don’t mess with my vacation!” “Don’t mess with my computer game!” “Don’t mess with me, I’m angry, tired, I don’t give a cr-p!”
What enables self-absorption? Our national and personal security is one. There is no need to defend and fight. We feel little need for unity. We are a safe and secure people. We are in control. There is no need for God to help us. We felt somewhat less secure the days following 9-11 when church attendance spiked. But the comfortable security resumed weeks later and church attendance declined to its previous levels.
Prosperity is security’s companion. Prosperity enables freedom from want. Freedom from want frees us from the need to ask or beg. This frees many of the need for prayer – or for a God to pray to. And if perchance our security or prosperity fail, we have another God substitute: Big Government. Big Government comes to the rescue relieving the need for God who is now considered an extraneous “middle man.” Again, there is little need for God.
All of these replacements for God give folks lots of room to be critical of God’s book, the Holy Bible. It is easier to be critical of something once you discover you have little use for it. Academics call it “Higher Criticism.” The faithful call it destroying the credibility of Scripture.
higher criticism, the name given in the 19th century to a branch of biblical scholarship concerned with establishing the dates, authorship, sources, and interrelations of the various books of the Bible, often with disturbing results for orthodox Christian dogma. It was ‘higher’ not in status but in the sense that it required a preliminary basis of ‘lower’ textual criticism, which reconstructed the original wording of biblical texts from faulty copies.
While England is a decade or two ahead of the US in terms of decline of church attendance, we are on the same road. Should you have any doubt about the decline of Christianity in America, the Schaeffer Institute provides some dismal facts to put your doubts to rest.
Here is the article about the state of Christianity in England…
Is this the end of Christianity in England?
By: Bill Muehlenberg
Christian Today Australia Columnist
One way or another, the lights seem to be going out for Christianity in England. If the secularists do not destroy the church there, the Islamists are happy to have a go at it. Just last week it was announced that the BBC has appointed a Muslim to be “the Head of Religion and Ethics”. This is simply the latest in a long list of Islamist initiatives which may well turn England into a Muslim nation.
As Melanie Philips documented in her important book, Londonistan, the Islamisation of England is steadily rolling on. See my review of this vital book here: http://www.billmuehlenberg.com/2006/08/31/a-review-of-londonistan-how-britain-is-creating-a-terror-state-within-by-melanie-philips/
And of course there are also the secularists, especially represented by the militant homosexual lobby. They too have had a tremendously powerful impact on the silencing of Christianity. This is another issue I have frequently documented in these pages.
Consider the latest indication of this, as detailed in the Telegraph: “Churches will be banned from turning down gay job applicants on the grounds of their sexuality under new anti-discrimination laws, a Government minister said. Religious groups are to be forced to accept homosexual youth workers, secretaries and other staff, even if their faith holds same-sex relationships to be sinful. Christian organisations fear that the tightened legislation, which is due to come into force next year, will undermine the integrity of churches and dilute their moral message.”
The article continues, “It comes amid growing concern that Christians are being unfairly targeted by discrimination laws, following a number of high-profile cases of courts finding against believers who stand up for their faith. Religious leaders had hoped to lobby for exemptions to the Equality Bill but Maria Eagle, the deputy equalities minister, has now indicated that it will cover almost all church employees.”
This is what Ms Eagle told delegates at the Faith, Homophobia, Transphobia, & Human Rights conference in London: “The circumstances in which religious institutions can practice anything less than full equality are few and far between. While the state would not intervene in narrowly ritual or doctrinal matters within faith groups, these communities cannot claim that everything they run is outside the scope of anti-discrimination law. Members of faith groups have a role in making the argument in their own communities for greater LGBT acceptance, but in the meantime the state has a duty to protect people from unfair treatment.”
A spokesman for a religious charity, the Christian Institute, said this: “It would be absurd to pass a law demanding that the Labour Party employ card-carrying Conservative members, but that is effectively what churches are being told to do. We just want the same exceptions as political parties. Christians are sick to the back teeth of equality and diversity laws that put them to the back of the queue. We are quite prepared to accept that people will take a different view to use on moral and ethical questions, but that should not mean we have to withdraw from public life.”
But that is the whole point of such laws: to forever rid Christianity from the public square. Consider what a Government Equalities Office spokesman said: “The Equality Bill will not force a church to accept someone as a priest regardless of their sexual orientation or gender. Churches, synagogues, mosques and others will continue to have the freedom to choose who they employ in jobs which promote their religion. But where they provide services to the public they will have to treat everyone fairly.”
This is just typical secular double talk. As if services provided by the church have anything other than a very public outworking. Christianity is a public faith, and everything about it will have an impact on the public arena. So the removal of religious exemptions will effectively silence the church for good.
And that is just what the homosexual activists and the militant secularists have long been working toward. They have been very clever about this. They say that religious people are welcome to practice their faith, just as long as it is not done in public.
It is all about the privatisation of a faith which by its very nature is a most public faith. Believers are commanded to go into the whole world and proclaim the good news of Jesus Christ. But the secularist mafia want believers to be shut at up home in their little prayer closets, or have church services which have absolutely no bearing on the world around them.
Sorry, but that is not biblical Christianity. Jesus told us to be the salt of the earth and the light of the world. The secularists are seeking to de-salt Christianity and remove its light, hiding it under a barrow. This of course is the very thing Jesus said we should not be doing as believers (Matt. 5: 13-16).
So these anti-Christian bigots are being quite sneaky about all this: “Sure, you can still practice your faith! Just make sure it impacts no one, affects nothing, and influences absolutely zippo. We are quite happy with a faith like that!”
This is a war of worldviews. Just as the early Christians clashed head-on with the ruling powers of the day, proclaiming Christ - not Caesar - as Lord, so too today we have a full-on battle taking place. The secularists want us to be a silent, obedient and docile bunch who do not ruffle any feathers or make any waves.
But that just cannot be. It is said of the early church that they turned the world upside down (Acts 17:6). That forever must be the true nature of the church of Jesus Christ. Christianity will always have a significant social impact, and Christians will never share their allegiance with any other contender to the throne.
We will certainly seek to be good citizens, but we will not bow the knee to Caesar. Nor will we bow the knee to a militant secularist state that is seeking to drain the lifeblood out of the church of Christ. Christians are always people with divided loyalties. We are citizens of two kingdoms, and when the kingdom of this world challenges the kingdom of God, the latter must take precedence.
At the moment many forces are warring against the Christian church. In England, and much of the Western world, the two main opponents are militant Islam and militant secularism. Both are seeking to crush the life out of Christianity.
The good news is, we know that in the end the church will prevail. But that does not mean that we should now sit idly by, and just pretend the assaults are not taking place. We must be involved in these battles, and do all we can to withstand the twin forces seeking to wipe out Christianity from England and elsewhere.