Sun Setting on the British Empire

I have arrived back from a tour of England with a group of 8th graders from Northwest Christian Academy, Lake Zurich.  We visited Oxford, Bath, Plympton, Plymouth and Cornwall.  It’s sad to see my own country slipping away from God, but it’s so apparent as we attend the churches and see the culture.  There are those who are still salt and light, but the fight seems to be going badly.

We attended St. Mary’s in Oxford where C.S. Lewis delivered his Weight of Glory speech during World War II.  The words in the service were beautiful, but the passion the words were said with was lacking.  The church calls itself liberal, but it was unclear what that means theologically.  When I was attending the Church of England College of St. Mark and St. John the theology department there would have called itself liberal.  What they meant was that they had ceased to believe in a transcendant God, the inerrancy of scripture, and had embraced a revolutionary Marxism.  Now that Marxism is out of vogue it is difficult to know what a ‘liberal’ church might truly believe.  Is God still a projection of our own psyche to them, or is he something more? 

About Plymothian

I teach at Moody Bible Institute in Chicago. My interests include education, biblical studies, and spiritual formation. I have been married to Kelli since 1998 and we have two children, Daryl and Amelia. For recreation I like to run, play soccer, play board games, read and travel.
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6 Responses to Sun Setting on the British Empire

  1. rookie1987 says:

    I’m trying to figure out what you mean when you say that, “the passion they were said with was lacking.” I’ll be over in England this summer for a while and will probably get to see a little about what you are talking about here. The thing is that I can see America straying a bit from their roots as well. From what you have said about England they are a few years ahead but this is something that I could see happening to America as well. With each passing year people know less and less of the Bible. Get away from the Truth as the rule, the standard and pretty soon all sorts of ideas can come about. In America I would say Relativism would take over more and more along with self first even more so then now, which is a scary thought to me. So a label you knew before, liberal, you now don’t know what that means in England. I don’t like terms in the first place and then when there are different meanings to them it makes it worse. Sometimes even when you know the term another person talking about it has the wrong thoughts for it and I just find it easier to explain or have it explained to me each time. An example of this is the term “Christian”. Go out on the streets and ask them to describe that and you will find a lot of major differences from what you would call a Christian. I wonder if that is how stereotypes come about that are off.  
    Salt and Light

  2. rookie1987 says:

    Ran across this article while looking for article to write about for class. I thought it was related to your post so I am passing the link on.
    Salt and Light

  3. As this question keeps coming up in several class lately, I have been somewhat discouraged. The statements that man created God to comfort ourselves, or that the elite pushed for religion to keep the poor in submission have kept ringing in my head. However, experiencially and objectively, I am reminded that God is more that that. When I am feeling down and out, THAT is when God chooses to use me in unusual ways. When I see the heart of a friend become soft towards God, joy just floods my soul. Why is that? Even the fact that praying can be so difficult, shows me that there is something intrinsically different with Christianity. Normally, I do not have too much trouble paying attention, buy when I pray, it is extremely rare that I can stay focused for even half the time. When I see things work so precisly, I am reminded of the sovereignty of God to ordain the paths of men. Is God something more? I believe He is far more that we will ever be able to percieve. Someone once said that it will take all of eternity to get to know God. Asa

  4. Sun Setting on the British Empire Is God still a projection of our own psyche to them, or is he something more? The question you mentioned above is a lot of what I experienced in the mission trip that I went on also during Spring Break. Loudness, rushing from one thing to the next, bright lights, cars everywhere no matter what time of day it is, people talking non-stop I can hardly catch my breathe from everything hitting home.I feel dizzy in a world that is constantly going on in full speed around me. Wow! I am experiencing major culture shock and I am learning about what God is teaching me about the trip that we were just on and about my life. I escaped today from the city, the loudness everywhere, to a more quieter suburb where I can be still, silent, to think about what I just experienced a little over a few weeks ago, and focus on what God had taught me. Life is definitely full of lessons to be learned as God calls us to jump out of our comfort zones and take a chance, not knowing what the outcome will be. I definitely feel like I was challenged, pulled, and stretched to think beyond myself on the trip. I have realized more and more that there are other people in the world that are in desperate need of a saving hope that only comes from knowing Jesus Christ. I feel like God worked in my life to change my heart in many ways that I actually didn’t expect Him to going into the trip. To be able to climb higher in society in the Czech there is a strong emphasize on learning English over there. Thus, this is normally an open door to be able to work with the kids on their English and then it gives the missionaries the chance to invite them to youth group activities. One of the missionaries (Brad) in the town of Bohumin had not been able to get into the school’s to use English to start ministry even though he had been trying really hard to. However, since the school heard that a big group of American’s were coming they let us come in to help. The teachers were so happy with our visit that they have invited Brad to come back, and help out more. Brad was also able to share with the kids about English camp in the summer (they teach English, do sports ministry, and share Christ). We were able to invite the teens to play sports after school, then to youth group that night. It was amazing the turn out to play sports and then ten new teens came to the youth group, it was so exciting. The teens also came back when we visited again the following week. I was able to share over and over again (the teens kept asking me) how I wanted to work in youth ministry and why. Most kids were amazed with my answer because in the Czech republic 85% of the people are Atheist (they do not believe or have never heard of God). In the 900’s Christianity was introduced but later after a forty year communist reign from the 1940’s-1980’s people have stepped away from having a personal relationship with God through Jesus, they have even forgotten that there is a God. So missionaries over there have to start at the bottom telling the teens that there is a God. It takes about three years once a person first hears that there is a God until they accept Jesus into their lives (a lot of it is questions, doubts, fears, due to having been withheld something their entire lives, etc…). When we were with a youth group for four days teaching an English camp I enjoyed being able to hang out, get to know them, and let them know that they weren’t the only ones out there that loved Christ. They don’t have a lot of support over there. I was able to encourage two girls around my age named Dentcha and Hanka about God revealing His plan for your life in His own time through my testimony and encouraging them that He would reveal it to them too (they were Christians). It was amazing being able to get to know the kids through English, playing games, sports, being silly, listening to them when they needed an ear, and give advice. My favorite moment was when I was able to laugh and play Frisbee with four little girls (around age 10) who couldn’t speak English at all. I taught them different ways to catch the Frisbee and I just got to be a big sister to them for a short time and show Christ’s love to them.It was so sad to see that all of the people looking so lost over there and watching them for the first time when they heard the truth, they would run away, and hide because they didn’t know what to believe since it was with held from them their whole lives.So my question is how do we change things? Where do we start? I am going to pray, what about you?

  5. Heshewethree says:

    Welcome back…you were missed. I’m of the opinion that if that church must distinguish itself by claiming or calling themselves “liberal,” it means that in some way…they do not accept the full and complete gospel. It’s like a “We’re the church, but…” statement. Looking forward to your next post. Peace.

  6. alexgoreham says:

    Thats a hard question. I really do not fully understand what a church means when it call itself “liberal”. I think is might be an attempt at trying to bring more people in. They don’t want to exclude groups of people and if they choose not to focus on some Biblical ideas in order to bring more people in, it will be okay. There are a lot of churches in the States that are becoming more liberal then ever before. I wonder far a church can get away from Scripture before it can no longer call itself a church?

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