The last two and a half years have not been the UK established church’s finest hour. Yes, there have been pockets where believers were able to keep things going in a way that reflected Biblical truth, but for many (myself included) there are lessons to learn and mistakes not to repeat.
Back in 2021 Rev Jamie Franklin, Rev Dr William Philip and others did a significant thing when they instigated the Vaccine Passport Letter from Church Leaders. They clearly perceived the dangers the vaccine passport presented and how the church needed to be clear on where it stood. Furthermore, this letter was a good indicator that there were indeed church leaders able and willing to think critically and biblically and act upon that. It was both reassuring and encouraging.
Fast forward to now and we have The Frankfurt Declaration; a statement from church leaders who have once again discerned the age in which we live and the dangers facing the wider church and society. It’s worth a read.
It will often be a fringe (quite possibly, what might turn out to be the remnant) of the church that is willing to poke its head above the parapet and go hard after sound doctrine in a such a way that many Christians will be taken aback. I believe a reason why so many Christians are reluctant to align or associate with the ‘fringe element’ is that we have been conditioned over decades of slow drip, moralistic therapeutic deism tinged teaching, that leaves little room for the Biblical reality of God. I don’t think this means that God has not been working during this time, He has. But I do wonder if we, as His Church, have vastly restricted what He can do because of our close alignment to the world.
Covid 19 brought this alignment into the spotlight. Sadly, many churches became little more than a mouthpiece of Governmental health policy. We need to learn the lessons from the last two years, but it seems that this is unlikely in the mainstream. Take Premier Christianity for example, who work hard at upholding the mainstream narrative. Recently in Premier there was an article by Jared Stacy on the Frankfurt Declaration and it’s fair to say that he is not supportive. At one point Jared writes “I’m trying to imagine UK churches in the second world war writing to the government in protest at having to turn their lights off for the blackout during the Blitz.”
This kind of parallel is disingenuous and typically the kind of thing we see regularly in the mainstream Christian media.
Jared goes on to say “It (the Frankfurt Declaration) shows a callous and anti-Christian regard for life. It claims to speak for truth, but trades in Covid denial language: “We thus reject all forms of medical coercion and any restrictions on individual freedoms for people who are not infected with any contagious, life-threatening disease.” It goes on to name masks, vaccine passes, and social distancing as examples of this coercion.”
This is now stumbling into error that not only nudges towards offense, but disregards truth. The author inadvertently lifts the lid on what is really being sought, that of a more comfortable alignment with the world. Although the piece comes across as patronising, the greater concern is that it misses the bigger picture.
Of course, there will be many who agree with Jared, after all Premier is replete with articles of this nature, but there will be others who will read it and won’t buy into it, instead they will be spurred on to think for themselves as they question the worldly narrative and see through it and beyond. These are the people who examine their Bibles and pay attention to what’s happening in the world. They will correctly conclude that we live in testing times and have great need for men and women to stand up for sound Biblical truth. It’s always going to be a narrow path to walk, because that’s what Jesus tells us; furthermore, there is a cost to doing what is right. Those that do will be mocked and ridiculed; certainly much grace is needed.
Nevertheless, there is only that narrow path and as we seek to encourage one another to stay on it, I’m reminded of Paul’s words to Timothy: “Watch your life and doctrine closely. Persevere in them, because if you do, you will save both yourself and your hearers.”
The stakes are high. Align yourself with the truth.