Tiverton Baptist Church

Why we need the Christian Comment in The Tiverton Gazette

Have you ever asked a similar question to that in the title of this article: Why do we need the Christian Comment in the Tiverton Gazette?

This is an important question to ask in our changing society, especially as we await the results of the Census for 2021. According to the figures from the 2011 Census for England and Wales, Christianity was represented by 59.3 per cent of the population which was a drop from 71.7 per cent in the 2001 Census.

In terms of our own region of the South West of England, the 2011 Census recorded 60 per cent of the population identifying themselves as Christian.

So what will the figures reveal for 2021?

Will there be a further decrease in those who identify themselves as being Christian?

Or will there be a surprise increase?

We will have to wait and see, but in the meantime we come back to the question: Why do we need the Christian Comment in the Tiverton Gazette?

My last contribution for the Christian Comment back in June this year, focused on our Prime Minister’s challenge to ‘Build Back Better’ as we continue to weather the storm of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Well I would like to strongly encourage everyone who is reading this article to take serious note of the ancient prophet Jeremiah’s words that connect with why we need a Christian perspective today in regards building on solid foundations as follows:

‘This is what the Lord says:
“Stop at the crossroads and look around.
Ask for the old, godly way, and walk in it.
Travel its path, and you will find rest for your souls.
But you reply, ‘No, that’s not the road we want!’’
(In the Bible from Jeremiah 6 v 16 NLT)

Even though there are many in society today who argue very strongly about all beliefs and world views being of equal value, there is still a very significant

percentage of our population who see the unique value of our Christian heritage in this Country – especially in terms of the various freedoms that we still enjoy and can sadly take for granted.

A big concern I have is how much of this really important Christian heritage is being subtly removed and our history being rewritten! For example two relatively recent films focusing on World War 2 gave no mention of the National Days of Prayer to the God of the Bible that King George VI called for when we in Britain were at the brink of invasion! Plus many people saw the deliverance at Dunkirk as a miraculous answer to prayer from the God of the Bible.

In the United Kingdom our culture, laws, democratic institutions, architecture, literature, art and science have all been profoundly influenced by Christianity and cannot be understood without reference to it.
Christianity has played a major part in many of the great social reforms in our history: the creation of schools and hospitals, the abolition of slavery, the improvement of working conditions and the protection of children.

Much more could be said to explain the many blessings of our Christian heritage but I shall end with further words from the Bible as a timely encouragement and challenge for us to ask for the old godly way and walk in it:

‘Then if my people who are called by my name will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sins and restore their land.’ (2 Chronicles 7 v 14 NLT)

‘Then Jesus asked them, “Didn’t you ever read this in the Scriptures? ‘The stone that the builders rejected
has now become the cornerstone.
This is the Lord’s doing,
and it is wonderful to see.’ (Matthew 21 v 42 NLT)

Patrick Barker
Tiverton Baptist Church

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