Two stories that have a bearing on our UK/Europe ministry made headlines here recently.
One1 under the headline 'Ashamed to be Christian' referred to the fact that a cross on the wall of a crematorium in Torbay (Devon, England) has been removed for fear that it might offend people of other (that is, non-Christian) faiths. Apparently, if mourners want a cross at a funeral service, then an 'accessible free-standing' cross can be used upon request.
The other story2 concerned a proposal made by three hospitals in Leicester (where AiG-UK/Europe has its headquarters) to remove Bibles, presented by the Gideon organisation, from patients' bedsides. The reason given was that the Bibles might offend non-Christians and break so-called 'diversity and equity' rules. As a result of protests, this proposal has not been implemented, but it is a warning of what is happening to this once-Christian nation.
Update: December 2006
This is not the only story, however, concerning the placing of Bibles by the Gideons. The Students Union in the University of Stirling (in Scotland) has also objected to Bibles being placed in the students' residences provided by the university.3 When I heard about this, I was not surprised, as last November, I spoke at a meeting4 organised by the Christian Union at Stirling University-a meeting that was attended mainly by members of the Pagan Society of that university! At this meeting, a member of one of the homosexual societies at the university told me that he was proud of the fact that the university had one of the highest percentage of homosexuals and lesbians of any UK university.
Stories like these are the latest in a series of insults to the Christian faith in the UK. For hundreds of years, most British people believed the Bible and they worshipped the God of the Bible-the Creator who became the Saviour. Then in the mid 1800s, with the publication of Darwin's Origin of Species, the British people, led by the clergy, began to reject the biblical account in Genesis of the creation and early history of the world, and to accept the evolutionary account.5 Since that time, church attendance has steadily declined and many churches have closed, only to re-open as supermarkets, carpet salerooms, nightclubs and even mosques or temples!
There is, however, a deafening silence from many church leaders concerning the banning of crosses from crematoria and Bibles from hospitals and university halls of residences-not to mention the banning of nativity scenes from town and city centres. Why is this? One of the reasons is that they reject the God of the Bible. Political correctness is the order of the day, even in churches. Many 'professing' Christian leaders believe that all faiths lead to God, and so Christian symbols, such as crosses and the Bible, should not be on show as these might cause offence. But all faiths do not lead to God! There is one God, and his Son, the Lord Jesus Christ, has declared that no-one can go to God except through Him and Him alone.6
We should not be surprised to read what is happening in the UK. Our education system and theology is dominated by evolutionary teaching and philosophy. Evolution is taught as fact in both state schools and colleges/universities, and in many of our theological and Bible colleges.7 The teaching of creation is likened to 'child abuse,' to quote the atheist Professor Richard Dawkins,8 and 'rubbish' to quote the 'professing' evangelical Christian Steve Chalke.9 This is what happens when the nation rejects the teaching of the book of Genesis, and substitutes, instead, the idea that everything has come about from nothing as a result of chance natural processes and random mutations operating over millions of years.
We at AiG-UK/Europe continue with the battle of proclaiming the message that you can trust the Bible from the very first verse. To strengthen our team, I am pleased to announce that Paul Taylor is joining us as a writer and speaker. As a result of Paul's appointment, we will be able to produce more written materials and go to more venues with our vital message. Paul is an active creationist, having written the book Just Six Days. He holds a BSc in chemistry and has a Postgraduate Certificate of Education (PGCE). Paul has taught science at secondary level (that's equivalent to the US high school level) and has also been awarded a Master in Education (MEd) from the University of Wales (Cardiff), for which he wrote a thesis entitled 'Science and Spirituality in the National Curriculum'.
We are also busy planning our International Conference that will be held at the Hayes Conference Centre, Swanwick, Derbyshire on 20-23 April 2006. The theme for this conference is Creation without Compromise, and it is hoped it will equip those attending to help make a difference for the Lord in this generation.