‘Timeless truth in contemporary culture’ was the title of a day conference, on 9 January, organised by Christian Concern. Its brief was to present an extended apologetic for Christian engagement in public life.
Key speakers for the day were Bishop Michael Nazir-Ali — also chairman; Andrea Williams, chief executive of Christian Concern and the Christian Legal Centre; Dr Joe Boot, founder of the Ezra Institute for Contemporary Christianity; Dr Peter Jones, who taught at Reformed Seminary, Aix-en-Provence, and Westminster Seminary, California; Dr Jeffery Ventrella of Alliance Defending Freedom; and Andrew Marsh, campaigns director of Christian Concern.
The conference drew around 100 church leaders and others from evangelical churches of all backgrounds. It was a well programmed, well organised initiative aimed at an increased networking between Christian Concern and local churches.
The need for this is ever more pressing, as Western society turns to other narratives than the Bible’s — even to paganism, as Dr Jones explained — in order to provide alternative frameworks within which to live.The message that emerged strongly was that Christians should be engaging as salt and light with society at all levels, and especially at the political, seeking and praying for the ‘peace of the city’ (Jeremiah 29:7).
The tragic effects of this cultural shift have been seen especially in the catalogue of broken marriages, broken families and broken lives which Andrea Williams eloquently described in her address.
The day’s highlight, for many, was Dr Boot’s talk, in which he presented with both cogency and unction the lordship of Christ over every area of life and society.