Warmest Christian greetings at this Advent season. I write to offer my most sincere thanks for your recent statements regarding the place of Christianity within the United Kingdom. Now seems a particularly appropriate time to express this, coming as it does at the end of a year in which the influence of God's Word in our nation has found helpful expression, in the final countdown to Christmas, and in the same week as one of the strongest opponents of Christianity in recent years passed from this life to the next.
As is the case with most citizens, the contents of your recent speech regarding the Christian faith has been initially mediated to me via the BBC. As I read the highlights of your speech at the Number 10 website, I found myself at once thrilled by some of your sentiments, and burdened for you personally, and for your position politically as our head of state.
I am glad to hear your assertion that historic Christianity has been a source of good, and that God must not be kept out of public discourse. I am relieved to hear that the faith to which I and many others adhere is not the public pariah that it is often portrayed to be, even in mainstream media outlets. I am glad to hear you give voice to sentiments which seldom reach the ears of the general public, where caricatured Christians are often the order of the day, and fair representation seems far from possible. I am also moved by your humility in confessing that you have an affection for the Christian faith which is hemmed with doubts. As someone to whom many look for solid answers, and in a role which must at times seem to demand omniscience, I am gratified that you recognise that there are areas in which you don't have all of the answers.
Parallel to these sentiments, however, is a concern to see you follow through fully on some of your assertions regarding Christianity. While I don't expect you to share my creed as a Baptist Pastor in Northern Ireland, I do feel that your recent comments place a burden of responsibility on your shoulders to assure the rights and freedoms of all Christian believers in the United Kingdom.
Recent sounds emerging from Westminster and other centres of political discussion in our nation are suggestive of legislative decisions regarding important moral questions which will impact the life and witness of local churches across the UK. Issues regarding human sexuality, bio-ethics, and the right-to-life are at the forefront of these concerns, and I would urge and implore you, Prime Minister, to listen to the voices of those whom you claim to appreciate within the Christian faith.
There is a danger in the current media climate to believe the lie that Christians are chiefly concerned to hammer home their thoughts on human sexuality and other issues to the exclusion of all others. I can assure you that, for the majority of people within evangelicalism, this is not the case.
The object of our faith, and our great preoccupation, is much grander than that.
We worship the risen Lord Jesus Christ, declaring His authority, majesty and glory, living in the expectation of His return. Our submission to His Lordship impacts every other area of our lives, including sexual ethics and moral choices, and it is from this position that we uphold what God's Word says on issues of our day, recognising our own helpless but for God's grace, and the efficacy of that very grace to transform lives. Such a necessity to express Christian values still stands, even if those moral claims clash with the current sexual or ethical zeitgeist within Western Europe. The freedom to proclaim Jesus Christ as Lord, and the demands that His authority places upon human beings, ought to be a basic right for subjects living in what you have described as a 'Christian country'. Such proclamation should, of course, be undertaken in the spirit of true tolerance. A tolerance which allows the believer to assert the tenets of their faith as exclusive and absolute truth, with due respect given to the freedom of those from other faiths to likewise express theirs. Anything short of this minimises the reach of the sentiments you have expressed in your speech.
I have deep respect for your position within society, and believe it to be a basic Christian duty to both pray for you and others in government (1Timothy 2:1-6) and to submit to the authority given to civil government by God, insofar as it does not impinge on what God requires of me as a Christian (Romans 13:1-7). As I pray for you, I will be asking that God will give you the resolve to now act on the sentiments expressed on 16th December particularly with regard to the Bible's role in shaping the moral future of Britain. I also pray that the doubts you feel in your heart regarding faith might, like the Apostle Thomas, melt into fervent and effective belief before the unavoidable reality of the risen King Jesus. I have no doubt that should He so reveal Himself to you, then the moral future of our great nation will have a firmer footing.
Once again, thank you for the implicit pledge in your speech to honour our Christian past by facilitating a Christian future for the United Kingdom. May God in His grace enable you so to do.
In the name of Christ Jesus,