Sunday, June 11, 2017

COMMENTARY: The Darkness Closes In - ISRAEL TODAY Charles Gardner

COMMENTARY: The Darkness Closes In

Sunday, June 11, 2017 |  Charles Gardner  ISRAEL TODAY
As the dust begins to settle on the British General Election with a hung Parliament result, I believe we are entering a dark period for our nation. That’s not all bad news, because it is at such times that the light shines brightest.
Prime Minister Theresa May has been forced to form a government with the help of Northern Ireland’s Democratic Unionist Party (DUP), who are not only pro-Israel, but also opposed to same-sex marriage!
One candidate seemed to sum up the situation, perhaps inadvertently, by quoting the first line of a well-known hymn, “The day thou gavest, Lord, is ended…” no doubt referring to the long night he had endured waiting for the results. But it was prophetic of where we are, especially in terms of the next line: “The darkness falls at thy behest…”
Mrs May called the election in order to win a mandate for conducting Brexit negotiations from a position of strength, but the gamble has not paid off. The chips are down. Her Conservative Party has the most seats, but does not have an overall majority following a campaign which came down to a two-horse race.
Labour did far better than expected despite being led by a man of the hard left who has courted the IRA, Hamas and Hezbollah, and who only two years ago paid a visit to the grave of a Palestinian terrorist.
But he successfully won over swathes of impressionable young people, who turned out to vote in apparently unprecedented numbers. Somehow they have rallied to his cause, which seems mainly about turning our backs on austerity (i.e. spending money we haven’t got) and promising to abolish university tuition fees – bait which has proved very tasty, not only for students, but also for their parents. But who will pay for it?
It is hardly surprising that the youth of today – a second generation brought up largely without the biblical ethics that underpinned our civilization for centuries – are for the most part interested in no-one but themselves. So a short-term magic wand proves very attractive while Mrs May’s social care policies cut little ice.
Though she has been a loyal supporter of Israel, which is obviously important, I’m not sure a large majority for Mrs May would have been a good thing. The truth is that none of the main parties mentioned Christianity in their manifestos. Policies in support of healthy family life were almost totally absent – in fact the opposite was the case. For they all appear determined to incorporate the LGBT+ agenda into every facet of national life, even to the point of compulsory education on sexual relationships (including the supposed normality of gay sex) for nursery school children.
Caroline Ansell, defending a slim Conservative majority in Eastbourne, was hounded by the Press over her evangelical faith and because she had dared to employ an intern from the Christian campaign group CARE.
For many in this country, the gay issue has become like the nursery classic about the Emperor’s NewClothes, in which the emperor is brainwashed into thinking he is wonderfully dressed until a small child shrieks in horror: “The Emperor has no clothes!”
But with the DUP (with ten MPs) opposing the gay agenda and potentially crucial to government policy being carried in the foreseeable future, the naked truth may well be revealed.
We’ve become a society that, with its ‘diversity and equality’ program, is tolerant of everyone and everything – except Christians.
We are facing a double whammy – the threat of Islamic terrorism on the one hand, and the danger of collapse from within that comes to all decadent societies. I have a picture of a gaping wound which only Jesus can heal. The prophet Isaiah foretold of how the Messiah would die on the cross for the sins of the world, and that “by his wounds we are healed”. (Isaiah 53.5)
In discarding God from our culture following a world war when we could so easily have been invaded but for the prayers of the nation, we have poisoned ourselves with atheism. And we will only be cured when we acknowledge our diseased condition, and return to Christ for cleansing.
The Church, meanwhile, has been intimidated into silence for fear of being dubbed homophobic. But Christians must stop denying their Lord. Part of the problem for Mrs May was that, while claiming to be guided by her (Christian) faith, she is said to have been the prime mover (as Home Secretary) behind the introduction onto the statute book of same-sex marriage – a total contradiction of biblical teaching and one of the worst laws ever passed in this land. And yet we have been largely silent in calling her to account.
Liberal-Democrat leader Tim Farron, a committed believer, initially inspired hope among Christian voters until he too denied that gay sex was wrong. And then Mrs May sacked Isle of Wight MP Andrew Turner for his biblical views on sexual ethics.
We have seen a downward spiral of morality on a par with that which ultimately led to the collapse from within of Roman civilization. St Paul’s famous letter to the first century Roman Christians makes this absolutely clear as he encourages them to avoid being influenced by the depraved culture of those around them, whose descent into lust and lawlessness started by denying God as creator. God’s eternal power was obvious from the beauty of creation, “but their thinking became futile and their foolish hearts were darkened.” (Romans 1.21) Isn’t this what we have been teaching our children for generations: that we evolved from apes and God had nothing to do with the beauty we see all around us?
So for the Roman pagans, one thing led to another until they ended up engaging in “shameful lusts” (Romans 1.26) involving “unnatural” sexual relationships (i.e. lesbian and homosexual activity).
It’s no use pussyfooting over this issue with supposed compassion. We have participated, as those unbelievers in Rome did, in the suppression of truth, and we wonder why our walls are falling down and our bridges are breached as we come under attack from enemies of God and democracy.
The Bible says: “Righteousness exalts a nation, but sin condemns any people.” (Proverbs 14.34)
We stand condemned as a nation, but there is a way out! Hear the wonderful words of Jesus: “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him.” (John 3.16f)
Our walls are broken down because of our sin, and they will only be restored when we address the decadence in our midst and return to the God of our fathers.
As it is, the LGBT+ agenda has penetrated every crack and crevice of our national institutions, and you are simply not allowed to object – Christians who have done so have been hauled before the courts. We tolerate everyone else – but not Christians. Where is the place of personal conscience in our supposed liberal society?
We have built on sand, and are now found wanting. A fierce storm has hit us, leaving us wobbling and about to collapse. We need to rebuild on the Rock, which is Christ, who said: “Everyone who hears these words of mine and does not put them into practice is like a foolish man who built his house on sand. The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell with a great crash.” (Matthew 7.26f)
Thank God for media outlets like Revelation TV, who hosted their own election night commenting on the great issues from a biblical perspective. One of their panel made the pertinent point that church leaders are failing to give guidance on voting to their congregations, as mosques clearly do. The Bible speaks into the issues at stake, so it is surely the duty of pastors and teachers to demonstrate, from the Scriptures, how certain policies are either right or wrong.
Finally, we need to recapture total confidence in the gospel as the sole means by which our beloved nation can be saved from its own folly. Let us say with St Paul: “For I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God that brings salvation to everyone who believes: first to the Jew, then to the Gentile.” (Romans 1.16)

Charles Gardner is author of Israel the Chosen, available from Amazon, and Peace in Jerusalem, available from olivepresspublisher.com
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