I was astonished today, when I read the post by Jules Gomes about St Helen’s, Bishopsgate ( Abortion is a no-go ). The article clearly tells the truth, and clearly indicates that St Helen’s has, for all its doctrinal stringency, failed in this area. I don’t pretend to have visited the church recently and looked at the notice-boards there, but if you visited our congregation you would find the Christian Concern information ‘We care for Women’ prominently displayed. Would I find it at St Helen’s? The implication of all we read in Jules’ article is that we are unlikely so to do.
Given that abortion is a touchstone topic for Biblical Christians today, or should be, it is astonishing and dismaying that what is supposed by many to be ‘the’, or at least ‘one of the’, pre-eminent evangelical CofE congregations in the UK has so little accessible information about it. Unlike my far smaller congregation they have a packed website, full of information about all sorts of matters, theological, biblical, and about their congregation. It is filled with links to sermons, to talks, and even to other bodies. I cannot argue with what I find there. However, it is what is not found there which gives cause for concern. And we can now add to that their unwillingness to engage with those active in the field of opposing the killing of unborn children.
Two Novembers ago we had a visit from SPUC to my church. In the two weeks leading up to the meeting we had three posters advertising their visit torn down from our fence. Although I had about 20 posters printed, aware of this possibility, it was a clear demonstration of the aggressive attitude the world has towards those who oppose this killing spree. And should you doubt that it is a ‘killing spree’, what else can we call it when one unborn child in England and Wales is killed every three minutes, of every day, of every year for the last sad many years. As a church we also address this matter regularly in prayer, including during Sunday evening services. And as our local council is seeking to put an ban on meeting and praying near a local ‘killing clinic’ in place like the one already in place in Ealing, we have challenged them publicly, and we have fronted them up over the matter. Our view, born out of God’s Word, is not secret, hidden, or unspoken.
This aggression is indeed unpleasant – and I sure it is also one of the many things (along with our congregation’s support for a proper Brexit, and a resoundingly pro-Bible and anti-world stance generally) which means many people in Teddington wouldn’t even consider visiting, let alone being a member of the congregation. I am sure that the aggression demonstrated against us would be magnified many times by the pro-killing lobby if St Helen’s were indeed to take a more publicly robust line against this killing spree. But surely the congregation there, and those who run it, are well aware of the words of Jesus Christ:
“Then they will deliver you up to tribulation and put you to death, and you will be hated by all nations for my name’s sake.” [Matthew 24:9]
Note carefully His words – “they will”, and, “you will be hated”. No ‘might’, no ‘maybe’, no ‘possibly’, but definitely. Persecution and hatred are the lot for faithful Christians – therefore there is no way for faithful Christians to avoid it. Staying silent on a matter will not protect, nor will it further the Gospel of Christ, it is merely compromise. The world will pile in on us over some matter or another, eventually. We cannot prevent it doing so, nor can we effectively pretend that the Gospel doesn’t challenge the wilful and evil ways of the world.
Therefore, surely, it is necessary for us to be honest and to be Christian about ALL aspects of the teaching of God’s Word – not least the matter of life – a matter which so much of the world seems to hate, even though it has that gift. If St Helen’s are, as appears, scared of being outspoken about the simple matter of the gift of life from God, and about its sanctity, they are treading a dangerous path – as are all congregations which claim to stand for Christ, yet fail to stand up for those whom God has created, and fail to publicly stand up for all aspects of the teaching of God’s Word.
“Before I formed you in the womb I knew you…” [Jeremiah 1:5]
“God forgive our weaknesses and our oversights, but, please, I ask You, do not let us run scared of the world. For Your Glory, and in Jesu’s name I ask this.”