The Church Society has sponsored the publication of a new Christian ‘manifesto’ entitled A Vision for the Nation. Signed by Evangelical leaders and ministers from a variety of churches, the manifesto is set out in an introduction and 22 ‘principles’.
The introduction states that the signatories ‘hold the truth of the Ten Commandments and teach the Christian ethic of the Bible, [and] are resolved to proclaim in the power of the Holy Spirit that the Lord Jesus Christ is the way, the truth, and the life’.
‘The Bible’, they continue, ‘is able to bring people … into a right relationship with God through faith in the Lord Jesus Christ and … teaches the right way to live’. The 22 principles are then set out as things that are ‘of first importance to all people’. We append an abbreviated version.
Ordained by God
1. In his goodness, God has given the United Kingdom relative security, stability and prosperity.
2. Civil government is ordained by God for maintaining good order.
3. The prime duty of civil government is to uphold truth and virtue and to restrain evil.
4. Civil leaders are called by God the supreme Lord and King [and should] honour him in all that they do.
5. Christians should pray for those in authority, and demonstrate in their lives that God’s way is best.
6. The moral relativism and libertarian values which dominate public life [today] have had disastrous consequences for our nation. The institution of marriage has been seriously undermined and family life damaged.
7. Marriage between one man and one woman is the God-ordained basis for a well-ordered society and this alone should be recognised in civil law.
8. Heterosexual marriage should be recognised in both adoption law and the tax and benefit system.
9. Failure to teach chastity within marriage, and abstinence by the unmarried, is an affront to Almighty God.
10. Same-sex sexual activity is always sinful and contrary to God’s law. [We] call for the retention of the legislation that prohibits the promotion of homosexuality in schools.
11. Responsibility for bringing up children lies primarily with parents. Schools should respect this and help parents to fulfil their duty.
The signatories further affirm:
12. The need for an education system based on core Christian values. The Bible provides the best moral instruction for children.
13. The importance of daily corporate acts of Christian worship in state schools. Christian gospel and ethics should be taught in the basic curriculum. Government should facilitate the provision of Christian schools.
14. That human life from the moment of conception is a gift from God. Abortion and the use of human embryos for experimentation and cloning are unacceptable in a civilised society.
15. That proper care should be provided for the handicapped, elderly and terminally ill in a way that respects the dignity of the individual. Euthanasia should not be legalised in any form.
16. The Lord’s Day as a day of rest and worship is essential for society. Its character should be protected and employees safeguarded.
17. The display of violence, blasphemy and immorality in the media is destructive. Proper restraints and moral guidelines are required.
18. Christians should be able to hold broadcasting licences and provide wholesome alternatives to secular TV and radio.
19. The recreational use of drugsis destructive. Sanctions should be enforced to restrict their supply and use.
20. State promotion of gambling through the National Lottery is wrong in principle and detrimental to society.
21. Christian charities should receive further help through the tax and regulatory systems.
22. The needy and persecuted in [other] countries should be helped.
The purpose of the document is to encourage informed debate. The authors call on politicians to address these key issues in any future legislative programme. Voters should consider them when deciding how to vote.
The signatories include George Curry (Chairman, the Church Society), David Ford (General Secretary, BEC), David Holloway, John MacPherson (Chairman, BEC), Maurice Roberts (Editor, The Banner of Truth), Geoff Thomas, John Burn (Chairman, The Christian Institute), Graham Harrison, David Jackman, David Samuel, Melvin Tinker (Chairman, Essentially Evangelical) and Malcolm Watts.
Further information from The Church Society, 16 Rosslyn Road, Watford, WD18 ONY