Christian Concern recently hosted its 10th Wilberforce Academy. Sixty students and young professionals attended the five-day training course in Oxford.
It aimed to equip them to become the next generation of leaders in public life – culture-makers who remain faithful to the gospel.
It is clear that Western culture repeatedly rejects biblical truth, said Andrea Williams, Director of Christian Concern.
We see this in the changing nature of marriage; in the declining protection for the lives of the preborn, elderly and sick; in the rise of Islam; and in the erosion of free speech.
Do we seriously pray, ‘Your will be done on earth’? This question was posed by Rev. Dr Joe Boot, the Academy’s director. ‘Culture is whatever people make of God’s creation’, he said.
If we are serious about God’s will being done on earth, then we only have two options in setting culture: we either obey God, or we don’t; we are faithful to the gospel, or we aren’t.
Some of the challenges made for uncomfortable listening – how much are we willing to risk when upholding truth? Does our faithfulness to the gospel permeate every area of our lives?
For example, Aisling Goodison and Ruth Rawlins (both of the Centre for Bio-Ethical Reform UK), challenged us to speak up for the lives of the unborn in the face of abortion.
The economist, Graeme Leach, spoke of having Christ as Lord of our finances. Sam Solomon, Christian Concern’s Islamic Affairs Advisor, spoke of what we might do about the rise of Islam.
Several Christians currently supported by the Christian Legal Centre were in attendance. Dr David Mackereth, who lost his job for refusing to use transgender pronouns, spoke of how we must be willing to lose everything for the sake of the gospel.
If we truly pray that the Father’s will be done on earth, then we must be willing to act and speak up. As Andrea stated, the delegates may well be at the forefront of setting culture in time to come, as future politicians, prison reformers, teachers, doctors, academics, pastors.
This is what the Wilberforce Academy is about: building a network of young Christian leaders who encourage one another, who pray, and who resolve to faithfully live out the gospel.