How did we get to the place where esteemed religious leaders use their platform to undermine the faith and infectiously kill the faith of others.
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He had a long greyish beard, wore a long black robe and had a clerical collar. I forget his name now, but from time to time he conducted our school assemblies.
I don't remember much about what he talked about but I remember he lead us in the Lord's prayer in which all students recited (it was a bit of a mandatory assembly procedure). Though it was a so-called “Christian” school Christ wasn't particularly cool among my peers but I was so full of zeal for my Lord and Saviour.
Back to the beard. I wasn't all together put off by his Pharisaical attire and sought to reach out to him after assembly. Proverbs was my favourite book and I remembered something about wisdom and grey hair, and so I wanted some wisdom from the priest dude. I can't recall exactly how the conversation went but after a short exchange I came to ask him “so don't you believe in the devil?”. I forget the precise context of this dialogue but I remember vaguely his vague answer. He waffled some stuff but in summary, he didn't believe, said something about the devil being “God's shadow”. I was baffled.
But he's a priest I thought, but he doesn't seem to believe in the bible. I was very disappointed. Apart from deep disappointment I didn't think to much of it but I had just survived a faith assassination attempt.
Scripture speaks of two deaths. A physical death and a spiritual death. Just a few days ago the deaths in Manchester and London bridge at the hand terrorists has caused public mourning and anger. But does anyone mourn for the spiritual death that has taken place in this country? Perhaps it’s less shocking as it’s happened slowly over a longer period, or maybe you haven't noticed. Maybe because you are dead.
As the years have gone by I have noticed Britain is full of professional faith leaders. Trained in theological camps and unleashed on the British public. Contagious faith killing utterances by esteemed religious leaders is now commonplace.
This war on faith has produced victims nationwide and explains why Britain's no longer do religion.
A recent Ipsos survey stated just 30 percent of Britons feel that their religion or faith is important to them in 2017, only Swedes, Belgians and Japanese score lower in international polls. And I think it's fair to assume the religious percentage are not all Christians.
Rowan the former archbishop, surely he’s serious right. A sophisticated theologian they said, he also had a solid beard and wizard like eyebrows (just saying). Around Christmas, he was quoted as saying “you don't have to believe in the literal virgin birth to be a Christian' (something like that). Lock and reload, what just happened?! Did the chief bishop just confidently utter such nonsense?
Then came Justin (the next archbishop), the overwhelming choice of a panel set up by the previous Prime minister David Cameron. He didn't have a beard so I didn't take him so seriously anyway. But on the gay issue he clearly leans towards acceptance in the name of love. At least his vague silence is a faith killer.
Other leaders like Steve Chalk from more evangelical circles now celebrate transgenderism along with his congregation! Even Tim Farren the Lib Dem leader seemed like a genuine believer, then under pressure, he says “homesexuality is not a sin”. I'm like, cheese on toast, are there any leaders in the public space who take a stand. Okay, he's a beardless politician not a faith leader, so let me leave him alone.
The intention of my previous article “look away from the stage” was a reminder to look beyond the religious pedestals and avoid celebrity culture. Such hope placed on religious leaders is too often misplaced. And if you’re not careful your faith will be killed.
Is it possible that the many religious leaders who refuse to stand with God and seem to preach the vague gospel of society are collectively a weapon of mass destruction and despondency causing the disinterest nationwide?
You partake in this genocide of genuine faith when you claim the name but live profane. Rejecting the faith in doctrine and behaviour erodes belief in those who witness it.
Like Korah’s rebellion, it works its way through the entire community (Numbers 16). But like Moses, we can take a beautiful stand with the Lord who doesn't require numbers but faithful men and women who will stand in the gap by merely being consistent with their profession of faith, even when it’s hard.