Devoted to developing Christlike character in an unchristlike world, Truth Reformation is a weekly event in which I examine our changing culture in light of God’s unchanging word with the goal that we learn together how to be discerning about the events that challenge our Christian worldview.
It has certainly been a week of irony as the secular world identifies conflicting moral values and yet fails to see the conflict. As abortion continues to be a trending topic, those in the United States decried the killing of a gorilla. Across the ocean a well-known newspaper published a story on Pope Francis’ urging of young people to create digital profiles, while on the same day publishing another story decrying the reliance upon creating our own virtual worlds. Yet, in spite of such applicable topics, there was an opinion piece written in The Guardian that caught my attention, even as it went unnoticed by most people.
The article, Has anyone kept their faith in Christianity? by Barbara Ellen cites recent numbers that suggest more people no longer identify with any religion, specifically Christianity. Apparently the author thinks this is a good thing. She goes on to throughout the article to explain why people like herself no longer identify with any religion.
Focused primarily on Britain, Ms. Ellen cites a report that states 43% of the population claims Christianity as a religion (this is all-inclusive) while 48% identify with nothing. What is staggering is that this represents an increase of almost double what it was in 2011. It should be noted that nowhere in the article is there a reference to what report gave these numbers, so there is no way to verify her information. Regardless of that, the way in which she attacks Christians is noteworthy here.
Mixed with misinformation, sarcasm, and a lack of legitimate knowledge on the subject, Ellen makes a lot of bold claims that are outright false. Throughout the article there are three primary concerns that come out of her opinion piece:
- False Conversions: She presents that argument that parents are suddenly ‘finding’ religion in order to get their children into Christian schools because of the better education. Whether or not this is happening in Britain, I do not know. However, I to find great concern with false conversions that take place for the sake of getting something out of it.
- False Information: The author seems to be misinformed about the true nature of Christianity and the reason for the church. According to her the standard argument for becoming Christian is because it encourages a sense of community. Not only does this miss the heart of the gospel message and a relationship with Christ, she then claims the gap of community has been bridged through internet, phone, and the television (which raises major concerns in itself).
- False Challenges: She closes out the article to say that Christianity has lost its relevance for British people in their daily lives. Of course, if she believes that Christianity exists for the purpose of community and that need has been met through other mediums, she has no choice but to reach that conclusion. However, it again misses the heart of the gospel and who Christ is. In fact, He and His Word are relevant for everyday life when appropriately studied and applied.
These are hardly the first attacks to be waged against God, Christ, and Christians, nor will they be the last. In fact, these may not even be the most severe, but instead demonstrates the missed opportunities out there.
It’s hard to base the status of society on the opinions of one person, but no doubt the author is not alone in those assertions. It tells us that somewhere along the way someone has done a poor job at representing the truth of Scripture to her and others. They have not done a service for Christ, but rather a service against Christ. It makes the future work harder, and thus requires us to be mindful of those challenges.
As it seems the path of Britain is usually a few years ahead of the United States, we can expect that we are headed that direction as well (if the ‘report’ not cited can be trusted). There is a great call for preparation then as Peter writes in 1 Peter 3:15. Know that a defense must be made. Furthermore, Paul tells Timothy to preach the Word (2 Timothy 4:2). Even more relevant in that passage is that Paul writes how people will turn from the truth and seek their own ways, and yet he still says that to counter the culture, Christ must be proclaimed. This is the task we have at hand. The challenge grows and therefore the commitment must not waver and in it all comes the need to trust in the sovereignty of God in it all.
To read the article referenced here, please click the following link: http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2016/may/29/christian-faith-decline-britain