That things are terribly wrong in British society is obvious at all levels — individual, family, communal and institutional.
Evangelical Times reports on this every month, perhaps less adequately than it should, not because the editors enjoy muck-raking, nor because they want to transform evangelical churches into communities of Pharisees, but in order to encourage the Lord’s people to serve the Lord more effectively and cry earnestly for revival. You can read and watch all about the nation’s moral mess in the media, as well as encounter it in many homes, streets and public places. From whatever source you get it, there is no doubt that the UK is engulfed on every side with endemic crime, family and societal breakdown, ethical aberration and perversion, and addiction and vice.
Paedophilia and human trafficking may be universally loathed, but they still erupt in the most unlikely places. There is corruption and dishonesty throughout society and the jails are overcrowded, even though our penal system often seems to let the worst offenders remain free.
Homosexual indoctrination is found in school curricula at both primary and secondary school levels. There are gay clerics and gay bishops, and gay marriage will soon be available in most churches.
The lives of lions and wolves, whales and dolphins are now more precious than those of human foetuses, and pressure groups clammer for assisted suicide to be made legal. There seems to be a death wish in Western culture.
The media and entertainment worlds are pervaded with sex and scandal. Commitment to heterosexual marriage for life, and to chastity outside marriage and faithfulness within marriage, have become museum pieces, and those holding to them social dinosaurs.
The effusions of arrogant atheists sit proudly as best-selling paperbacks on the bookstands of train stations and airport lounges, while Bibles and sound Christian books are well nigh invisible to the general public.
Bible reading, preaching, ex tempore prayer and hymn singing are viewed as creepy or dangerous, and the ‘man of God’ a harmless irrelevance (or much worse).
All this is not unique to the UK, or to this era, of course, but this spiritual malaise — or, more precisely, this global demonic onslaught — extends right across the post-Christian Western world. And, feeding into it all, and drawing deeply from it, is the theological confusion that reigns in the churches, including not a few professedly evangelical ones.
Yes, there can be little doubt that, as a nation, the UK is under God’s judgement! The sin pervading British society is evidence that God’s judgements weigh hard upon us. They are already at work and they are the first instalment of far more severe judgement yet to come (Romans 1:22-32).
But the question we must also ask ourselves is, ‘Were things so very different for the apostles and the early church?’ And, astonishingly, the answer seems to be, ‘No. They were not that different’.
The apostles too had to preach to Jewish and Gentile worlds given over to appalling sin. They too had to minister into broken communities shot through with perversion, injustice and social insanity
Yet God at that time had an extensive remnant according to the election of grace (Romans 11:1-6), whom he was pleased to save by the preaching of Jesus Christ as Saviour and Lord.
He brought large numbers of converts into the early church, from Jewish and Gentile communities sunk in sin, through the preaching of that gospel and the outpouring of his Spirit.
So, brother and sisters, let us not despair! Let us still trust in God and serve him in quiet anticipation that one day better days will yet come. The gospel is still the power of God unto salvation (Romans 1:16).