“The Christian Spring” or “Brink of Extinction”

The spiritual climate is really bleak in the UK, and the US is only 5-10 years behind.

If Christians are to have any hope for the future, it has to be grounded exclusively in God. If there’s any verse that our generation needs to hear it’s “Cease ye from man, whose breath is in his nostrils: for wherein is he to be accounted of” (Isaiah 2:22 KJV). What does that look like though? It looks like giving up on our strategies, our ideas, our marketing, our meetings, our reports, our celebrities, our talents, and our brains.

 

The former Archbishop of Canterbury, George Carey, has warned that the Church of England is just “one generation away from extinction.” At a meeting of church leaders convened to discuss the growing crisis, various internal and external causes were identified:

Internally there has been “a failure to bring youngsters into church services” and clergy have spent too long “arguing over words and phrases, while the people of England are left floundering amid meaninglessness, anxiety and despair.” External factors include increasingly anti-Christian government and courts, and a growing wariness and antipathy towards faith in the wider population.

The Christian Spring
Down the road, in the Roman Catholic church, ex-Catholic Herald Editor, Christine Odone begs to disagree and argues that the church is on the brink of “The Christian Spring!”

Odone accepts that “plenty of things have been going wrong. First and foremost, our enemies are organized as never before. Secularists have made a concerted effort to erase Christianity from public life here and across the West. They have silenced prayers before meetings, the ringing of church bells, and even the girl scouts who once pledged to serve God.” She continues:

As I have written in my ebook, No God Zone, the secularists have successfully enshrined their bias against religion in laws across Europe. The Observatory on Intolerance against Christians in Europe has reported that EU member states have enacted 41 laws that discriminate against Christians. The effect of such legislation is huge: some professions, such as doctors, therapists and even pharmacists, are now closed to Christians, who would otherwise have to go against their conscience on issues such as abortion, euthanasia or the morning after pill.

Secularists, as I have written before, seem to want only one thing: for Christians to be driven back into the catacombs. Prayers, and services, will soon have to be practiced away from prejudiced eyes, in the privacy of a home or a private chapel.

Despite all this, however, she believes she can see three shoots of a Christian Spring: Pope Francis, Justin Welby (present Archbishop of Canterbury), and the backlash effect (the idea that people will get sick of their immorality and will want to be good again!).

Prepare for Winter
If that’s the best she’s got, I’m with Carey in preparing for Winter.

We might sum up her hope in one word: MAN (or HUMANITY to be gender inclusive), and pretty mixed-up humanity at that.

The spiritual climate is really bleak in the UK, and the US is only 5-10 years behind. If Christians are to have any hope for the future, it has to be grounded exclusively in God. If there’s any verse that our generation needs to hear it’s “Cease ye from man, whose breath is in his nostrils: for wherein is he to be accounted of” (Isaiah 2:22 KJV).

What does that look like though? It looks like giving up on our strategies, our ideas, our marketing, our meetings, our reports, our celebrities, our talents, and our brains.

It also looks like prayer, prayer, and more prayer – private and public, personal and corporate.

Man alone has caused the problem. God alone is the solution.

Until we believe and act on that, the night will continue to grow longer, darker, and colder.

But if we do get it, if we really do start calling upon the name of the Lord in prayer, and looking to Him alone for revival and blessing, I firmly believe the ice will melt, crocuses will bloom, cuckoos will sing, and the sun will shine again.

David Murray is Professor of Old Testament & Practical Theology at Puritan Reformed Theological Seminary. This article  first appeared on his blog, Head Heart hand, and is used with permission.