Awake, Arise O Church
At a major conference in London last week Baroness Cox and legal experts surveyed the dramatic and continuing decline in the traditional and biblical values on which our nation has been based. The conference called Christians to to take action and to act in unity so that the government can hear the message loud and clear ringing out from the church.
report by CCFON
FOR many years the church watched silently and passively as rules, regulations and Acts of Parliament restricted the rights of Christians to live a life based on biblical values. Last Saturday, 20 March, Christian Concern for Our Nation (CCFON) with its sister organisation the Christian Legal Centre (CLC) joined with Connections to call the church to speak out.
CCFON and CLC have for some time been fighting for Christian Freedoms through MPs and Members of the House of Lords, and by taking on cases where people are prosecuted for showing their faith in the workplace or on the street. Rules which on the face of it looked bland and OK, had stings within them that affected ministers and believers alike. There were and are groups who are very good at lobbying for their point of view and, with relatively few people, can get clauses into bills with MPs voting for them; often not in the Christian’s favour.
The church, passive and speaking with several different voices, has become weak. The “Arise O Church, Awake” conference on the 20th March in London called on Christians to take action and to act in unity so that the government can hear the message loud and clear ringing out from the church.
Baroness Cox described some of the threats to this nation, to the rights and freedom of Christian believers, and how those involved in militant Islam are targeting the UK. In a real wake up call Baroness Cox showed how Christians have been undermined in various countries. Two incidents stood out: the slaughter of Christians in Jos, Nigeria and the continuing slavery of Christians in the Sudan. “Convert to radical Islam or you do not get a job or food”. Parents face incredibly difficult choices as they put down not only their own lives, but also those of the children. ‘Convert or die’ is real in the Sudan. And yet the Christians there are not prepared to compromise their faith, even at the prospect of death. And what they ask from us is not relief, but prayer.
CCFON Director, Andrea Minichiello Williams, described ways in which our heritage is being, and has been, eroded. Starting from the legalisation of abortion in the 60s, when the sanctity of human life was first removed from British law, she catalogued the steady progression to the present day, where we now have almost 200,000 abortions a year and increasing pressure to liberalise the taking of life in assisted suicide. Now we can create embryos as “saviour siblings”, and anyone whose baby has even a slight defect can be advised to abort. How many thousands have been killed this way?
Andrea introduced three people who have been defended by the CLC after being suspended or sacked just for mentioning Christ in the workplace. It is scarcely credible that Christians’ rights have been so eroded while we have sat and watched.
[Pastor] Ade Omooba has been involved in many cases of social action in this country over the years and gave some insights into what can be done. One church of just 30 people which wanted to do something in Ghana. After he challenged them about what they had done for their own area of London they did an audit check of the skills they had, and offered to provide some counselling for the local Council. From this the community began to get very interested in the church and the work grew. Now they have also realised their original dream by taking what they have learned to Ghana where they have started a school, orphanage, etc. Ade advised churches to see what skills they have, match them to local needs, and then offer their services to their local community. Again and again it works.
Dr Louise Brown explained how Parliament operates and the stages through which legislation has to pass. She outlined where changes can be made in the House of Lords and the House of Commons. We must be aware and take action by contacting our MPs or Members of the Lords, and we can make a real difference.
This was not just a “political” meeting – throughout the day there were times of prayer for the different issues raised by the speakers, led by the Connections team. Christian Concern for our Nation has been fighting these battles for the Christians in the nation but it is really a David versus Goliath situation (note who won). CCFON and CLC need the church’s support in prayer so that battles are won “in the heavenlies”. The spirit that rules in the nation needs to be defeated and only God can do that.
Christians were encouraged not sit on their hands but to take action not just in prayer but by e-mail and the signing of petitions. Question the MP in your area! Organise hustings for the candidates and discover their views! Hold them to account!
CCFON and CLC also need help financially. Top people are sacrificing financially for the sake of the Kingdom of God. More finance means more barristers and staff taking cases on. Stir the church into action! The church now must act together in unity, with one cohesive and coherent voice and ensure our politicians and local authorities take notice.
Footnote: DVDs of the conference will be available soon. E-mail for details.