Evangelical churches in the UK currently face the challenge of maintaining gospel proclamation, as well as defending scriptural principles and teaching against attacks from all sides.
According to evangelical organisations and gospel partnerships, traditional, Bible-believing congregations across the UK are not just facing the ongoing challenge ‘to do the work of an evangelist’, but also to be wise apologists and defenders of the faith, and to take a principled stand against counter-biblical policy.
With increasing pressure, politically and socially, clamping down on Christianity, coupled with the rising influence of Islam and the lack of solid biblical teaching, sadly in many churches, Bible-believing churches must rise to meet the many and varied challenges, if the gospel message is to be heard clearly.
Pastor Ali McLachlan of the Grace Baptist Partnership commented there were three important things the church needed to maintain despite the problems. He told Evangelical Times: ‘Maintaining confident gospel proclamation through creative, biblically appropriate means will be vital in driving growth.
‘Maintaining biblical integrity and ecclesiology will be vital in defining growth. And maintaining grace in fellowship and flexibility will be vital in dignifying growth in a manner worthy of our calling’.
Adrian Reynolds, training director for the Fellowship of Independent Evangelical Churches (FIEC), said the main challenge was our evangelistic witness to the nation and world. This needs to be kept in front of us and we must pursue gospel work. We need to remain faithful while doing so, but must not confuse being stagnant with being faithful’.
With well over 60 million unbelievers living in Britain, Mr Reynolds added, ‘The need is urgent’.
According to Mr Reynolds, ‘ordinary Christians’ wanting to see change need to ‘think how they best serve Christ as part of the local church’. Mr McLachlan also said it was important for Christians to ‘abandon consumerism’ when it comes to how they engage with church, ‘not seeking worship which panders to physical desires and ignores God’s Word for the sake of personal freedoms’.
Ordinary Christians need to build up relationships and evangelise to those of other faiths and none. Moreover, leaders of evangelical churches need to help individuals serve and evangelise, if these challenges are to be overcome.
Mr Reynolds added: ‘We need to lead by example when it comes to evangelism, and teach and train the church how to witness in the Spirit’s power. Prayer is an integral part of this’.
Mr McLachlan stated: ‘Leaders need to preach the gospel, hold to biblical distinctives consistently, and demonstrate love, considering the interests of others as well as ourselves’. As Paul says in his letter to the Philippians, ‘Everyone should look out not only for his own interests, but also for the interests of others’ (4:2).