I met someone else this week who came out with the oft quoted ‘ it might not be such a bad idea for the church if we were persecuted’ statement. I’m always loathe to agree, as I’m not very keen on being persecuted myself! However, I do understand the sentiment, which, as in this case, was a comment upon the generally perceived shallowness of our discipleship.
However, the government’s announcement this week concerning the desire to allow religious buildings to be used to host the registration of civil partnerships for same sex couples, is another step in the direction of the muddied state/church waters. Will it become another step towards an overt stance against the Christian Church? Teresa May has offered a ‘no-one will be forced’ statement, but I fear this will not be sufficient for an increasingly vocal lobby group. One of my concerns is this could easily push the Christian silent majority further back from a posture, which expresses the love of Christ towards the homosexual community. That is, homophobia increases, as a result of a misreading of the generally orthodox Christian view. It seems to me we are struggling to say clearly where our convictions towards homosexual practice lie, and hold that alongside our concern to love all people regardless. At the same time, we’re witnessing a renewed interest in seeing discipleship re-established as a core activity of our Christian communities and my observations of growing and declining churches is those who set the bar too low, simultaneously undermine their integrity in relation to the gospel. On the other hand, those who judge before meeting do the same.