This post is from one of the pastors at http://www.calvarychapel.com
As you’re reading this blog post today, I am in the UK attending meetings in London. Over the next few days I’ll be in York speaking to Bible College students, then in Scotland sharing at a pastors and leaders conference, and finally back to York for the dedication of Calvary Chapel York’s new church building. It’s been almost 17 years since the Lord led us into ministry in the UK and we’ve been blessed to see many good things happen over these years and are of the conviction that the best is yet to come. I have been asked on occasion what it is that we are seeking to accomplish in the UK and I always give the same answer: To Bring the Bible Back to Britain.
Am I saying there are no Bibles left in Britain? No, there are still many Bibles in Britain, especially in the used bookstores around the country. I am not talking about the production of Bibles, for as far as I know, both Oxford and Cambridge Press are still printing Bibles. What I am referring to is bringing back the knowledge of the Bible to the people of this once great nation. I say “bringing back” because at one time, not that long ago, Britain was a nation full of men and women who diligently studied and faithfully proclaimed the Bible as the Word of God.
Tragically, things are much different today. There is a famine in the land, not of food or drink, but of the hearing of the words of the Lord! This dearth of hearing began in the very last place you would expect … the church! How sad it is that in just 100 years, church attendance in Britain has dropped from about 70 percent of the population attending Sunday services to somewhere less than 5 percent today. Although many are grieved and troubled by this shift, we should not be perplexed as to why it has happened, for this always occurs when God’s inerrant Word is replaced with fallible human opinion and speculation. Sadly, this is exactly what has taken place in most of the churches today. When the church is expressing confusion, uncertainty, and downright unbelief in regard to what the Bible says about things like man’s origin, purpose, and destiny, it would only stand to reason that society at large would be drifting further and further into spiritual and moral darkness.
The only hope for British society is a genuine revival in the churches and a spiritual awakening in the nation. The only hope for a genuine revival in the churches is a return to faith in the Bible as the infallible Word of the living God, and faith in the Gospel as the power of God to salvation to everyone who believes. It starts with the church. We cannot bring back Tyndale, Latimer, or Ridley, who were martyred for their belief in the Bible as God’s inspired Word and for their refusal to succumb to the superstitions of the day. Nor can we expect to see Whitefield or the Wesleys reappear in all of their holy boldness to proclaim to this generation their need to repent and believe the Gospel. But we can, like them, believe the Bible is indeed the Word of God, let it transform our lives, and depend on the empowering of God’s Spirit to enable us to preach and to teach it.
I am thankful that over the past decade or so there has been a renewal taking place in many churches around the country. I’m also thankful that God has used us to play a small part in this renewal. But there’s still much more work to be done.
I wholeheartedly agree with Ian Murray’s statement from his introduction to Lloyd-Jones’ Old Testament Evangelistic Sermons, “The solution to the present predicament of the churches does not lie simply in a new understanding of preaching. There must be men and congregations raised up afresh by the Spirit of God.”
And might I add, that is not only true for Britain, it is true for every nation.
Holy Spirit, raise up men and congregations through which sinners will be saved, discipled, and sent forth into this desperate world with the good news of Jesus Christ. Amen!
Please pray for us, and I’ll update you next week on some of the highlights of the trip.