Pastor’s Blog November 2018

Sunday the eleventh of November is Remembrance Sunday and this year marks the 100th anniversary of the end of the First World War. It is right that we should remember and mark such an occasion.

However, I think it also marks another significant anniversary, the beginning of the long decline of the church in the U.K. and possibly in other parts of the world too. Attendance at churches in the U.K. prior to the war were at an all-time high.  But many men returned from the war disillusioned by what they had seen and experienced and many it seems stopped going to church and seemingly lost whatever faith they had. Church attendance has been in decline ever since.

My grandfather fought in the Second World War. He very rarely spoke about his experiences but I do remember him telling me that the sight of an army chaplain blessing a big cannon had really caused him to question the Christian Faith. My Grandfather a deeply principled man had a real problem with the idea that God is on our side and wants to bless a cannon whose purpose is the death of other human beings.

It is I believe a dangerous thing when the church becomes too closely allied to the state. Or begins to believe that God’s purposes will be worked out by gaining and using power. At least in part it is, I think, what we are presently seeing in America. God does use nations for his purposes but he raises them up and he also humbles them. It is through the church, however, the church made up of every tribe tongue and nation that God’s ultimate purposes for the world will be completed.

The church’s power resides not in politicians, not in weapons of mass destruction but in the power of the cross of Jesus. If we want to see our nation changed it will not be through gaining political power and changing laws but by the proclaiming of the gospel and the faithful witness of the church. A church that really believes that God’s power is displayed in weakness.

We rightly remember those who have lost their lives in war but in doing so we should also remember the folly and fallen-ness of human beings that is so clearly seen in war and be reminded that this world needs a Saviour.

Phil Dixon