Ask me who I am and I might answer European, British, English or even Mancunian – a follower of football is likely then to ask the ancillary question, “Which team, Manchester United or Manchester City”?
In a few weeks time the General Election will be fully upon us and the question of ‘who we are’ will be expressed in a political context. There is no doubt that our nation is in a desperate state both economically and morally. It is also clear that there are limits to what any Government is able to do create fundamental change. Lawmakers cannot legislate against sin nor evoke righteousness via a statute book.
What is certain however is that there has never been a time when it is more important for the Believer to cast their vote in accordance with their primary identity – not on the basis of class, political hue or traditional voting practices but as a committed Christian. We are first and foremost ‘citizens of heaven’ and live under the Lordship of Christ and the governance of God.
It is from that perspective that Christians place their cross in the ballot box. Christians are drawn from the widest cross-section of society and will have formed their own view on individual emphases that an incoming Government should address. However there has to be fundamental concerns that exist as common denominators to all Christian’s decision-making.
The three questions that we must surely ask ourselves as we approach the ballot box are, 'Is the candidate or political party who are looking to us for support likely to...'
• Discontinue the process of marginalisation of the Church in the UK and the aggressive secularisation of our society?
• Bring in legislation that enhances the status of the family as the core building block of society?
• Operate openly and with integrity when pursuing objectives of justice and care for the disadvantaged and marginalised?
What we cannot countenance is another four years of subservience to a secular Taliban that demands that we adjust what we believe, and how we express what we believe, according to their biased benchmark of political correctness.
When Peter and the Apostles were told to ‘tone down’ their message and adjust it to what the authorities deemed to be appropriate, God was very clear on the matter, “Go, stand in the temple courts and tell the people the full message of this new life.” It was a call to an unequivocal declaration of an uncompromised Gospel.
The furious politicians of the day retorted by saying, 'We gave you strict orders not to teach in this Name'. And when they did, Peter and the other apostles replied: 'We must obey God rather than men'!
I have always argued in the past, and continue to do so, that our approach to Government should in a spirit of grace. That does not mean that we should roll over whenever atheistic zealots feel that the Church should be attacked and dedicated teachers, social workers and other professionals are sacked because of their Christian faith. In Acts 5 the apostles faced imprisonment, torture and death for their stand. That does not obtain in this country but most certainly does in many other countries around the world.
The spiritual issue is not about ‘left ‘and ‘right’ but about right and wrong.