Standing our ground

A reflection following the passing of the same-sex marriage bill.


Vinay Samuel and Chris Sugden


In a democracy, what happens when a view, previously supported by the majority becomes a minority view? Do you change your position – to retain ‘credibility’, or ‘influence’, or just simply not to be classed as a ‘nutter’, or stand your ground?


There is a current assumption that every social development and cultural change is necessarily ‘progress’. Part of the argument for ‘same-sex marriage’ is to keep pace with history. But the Bible and experience teaches us that not necessarily every social development brings human flourishing. Science helped the development of medicine but also of ever more sophisticated and destructive ways to kill masses of people. (Just think napalm and nerve gas).


As major cultural shifts take place it is always necessary to be self-critical. Have I, have we, been wrong? The church itself has many embarrassing skeletons in the cupboard. One of the oldest Anglican mission societies once owned slaves in the West Indies; only three weeks ago the General Synod offered an apology for the Church of England’s failures over the issue of child abuse in decades past.


But it is also necessary to ask “Has God changed his mind?” And so we ponder – would there be any circumstances under which we would believe that God had changed his mind about the way of salvation, the nature of grace and forgiveness, the presence and gifts of the Spirit? These are inalienable truths passed on to us through revelation. The very concept of revelation of God’s truth means that it is as eternal and as unchanging as God himself. It cannot be interpreted away.


Therefore to stand our ground on matters of conjugal marriage as God’s best for man and woman and children and society is not posturing or an ostrich like response to refuse to wake up to reality.


It is to remain faithful as a remnant – to keep the embers of the truth alive in society so that they can be fanned into flame when people realize the folly of the garden paths up which they have been led, and turn back (repent) to seek healthful and wholesome truth. That is a process that can take two or three generations. But the embers need to be there.


The Remnant is not an idea. It is a community that embodies the truths it seeks to uphold. It is a continuing reminder to everyone else that there is another way of living in the same world.The Remnant is not passive. It seeks to establish its presence in the midst of opposition and disdain. It commits to engage the rest of society with the truth it is entrusted and confront lies the culture is being shaped by. It will continue to evangelise the rest of society with the Gospel of the kingdom.

As Remnant we do not turn our back on the rest of society that has turned away from what we believe is God’s purpose for human flourishing. We do not just wait for Christ’s return to restore God’s order. We will ‘Stand our Ground’. We will engage with society seeking God’s Shalom and Justice for his world and we will continue to invite people to turn to Christ.

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