The end of Christianity?

The persecution of Christians worldwide has never been more severe. A few examples will give you the flavour of what’s happening…

Islamic State turned churches throughout Iraq into torture chambers for Christians. All who refused to convert to Islam suffered prolonged agonies and thousands were killed. Abu Aasi, a witness, reported: “They were blindfolded and handcuffed and IS broke all the crosses and statues of Mary.”

They turned the ancient Chaldean church of the Immaculate Conception in Mosul into a prison for Christian women. Although it alleged that IS has been defeated, prospects for Christians in Iraq have hardly improved.

The atrocities are not confined to Iraq. In Somalia Muslim terrorists have boasted that they slaughtered a group of Christians “while they were celebrating Christmas.” Sheikh Abdiasis Abu Musab, spokesman for the gunmen from Al Shabaab, gloatingly announced that they had killed “14 Christian enemies.”

In Pakistan, Elizabeth Bibi, a pregnant 28-year-old Christian mother of four children, was beaten, scorned and humiliated and made to walk naked through the streets. In the ordeal, she lost her baby.

In Tehran on Christmas Day 2018, as they celebrated Mass in a private house, nine Christians were arrested by paramilitary agents, taken to a secluded location where seven were hanged on the orders of the Iranian regime.

In Northern Nigeria, more than a hundred Muslim Fulani herdsmen slaughtered 16 Christians, including a one-year-old infant and his mother.

Last December police arrested and beat up 36 Christians from the Bahri Evangelical Church in North Khartoum. In Mandera in Kenya, gunmen from Al Shabaab launched an early morning raid on quarry workers while they were asleep in their tents. They separated the Christians from the Muslims and either shot or beheaded 36 Christians.

In so-called Christian Europe there are attacks on churches and worshippers every day. These are only a few examples of what is going on relentlessly and everywhere. I have enough material to fill a book about such murderous atrocities.

Christians are being slaughtered on a grand scale and there are other indubitable signs of their decline. Today in Britain, only seven per cent of people identify themselves as Christians: marginally more than Muslims for whom the figure is six per cent.

In what used to be known as Catholic Ireland, the Christian presence is a shadow of what it was. For example, in the diocese of Killaca there is only one priest under the age of 40 and there have been no new ordinands since 2013. Further afield, in The Netherlands 25 per cent identify as atheist and only 17 per cent as theists. In a Europe-wide poll, 63 per cent say religion “does more harm than good.” The unprecedented scale of the decline has been noticed by former Archbishop Rowan Williams who has described Britain as “a post-Christian country.”

It gets worse…

State persecution of Christians is rife in Britain and particularly in our schools.

I have friends who teach in state schools and they have all told me that they are not allowed to teach even the elements of Christianity to their pupils. For instance, they must not teach that marriage is exclusively between a man and a woman.And of course they must not evangelise and teach that faith in the redeeming acts of Jesus Christ is necessary for our salvation.

This vicious state persecution means that a whole generation of children is growing up in ignorance of the gospel. The enormity of this deprivation comes home to us when we recall that England has been a Christian country for over a thousand years. Ours is a nation formed by Christianity: its universities and schools, hospitals, hospices and trades guilds; a parish church in every community and a cathedral in most of our great cities. Charity, civility and public manners were all the creations of the Christian faith.

But persecution is not limited to the schools: every day, Christians are being victimised throughout Britain.

The militantly secular political establishment – the same people who gave us homosexual marriage – aim to banish the Christian faith from public life. Secularism – under its mischievous and dishonest disguises of “inclusivity” and “diversity” – now rules in this country. Dishonest because the one group that is not permitted inclusion in this wonderful diversity are traditional Christians. You can go to jail for affirming aspects of Christian morality. People have done just that.

So far I have painted a bleak picture, but there is much more and worse – far worse. Traditional Christian doctrine and theology has been discarded. In the universities and theological journals there appears a radical and demythologised version of the Christian faith. And there has been a faster falling away from fundamental beliefs than in the days of Rudolf Bultmann’s “demythologising,” The Myth of God Incarnate and the atheistic assertions of Don Cupitt. So that, as the great Karl Barth said, the universities and the journals have abandoned Christianity and replaced it with, “A pseudo-religion for scholarly non-believers.”

We are now seeing the pastoral consequences of secularisation as most of our bishops and senior clergy – far from resisting the trend – embrace it with open arms. Most of these ecclesiastical functionaries merely patter the secular orthodoxies and they have reduced Christian theology to a version of glorified social work.

The fact is that these leading clergy wouldn’t have ascended to their current high positions if they did not support the new secularism wholeheartedly.

To give just one example: there is a vigorous high-level campaign for homosexual marriage. The Methodists have already voted overwhelmingly for this. You can be certain that the Church of England will in no way lag behind.

St John Henry Newman (1801-1890) saw all this coming:

“The tendency of the age is towards liberalism. But truly, religion must be based on authority of some kind — not upon sentimentality. It is the church that is the only legitimate guarantor of religious truth. The liberals know this and are in every possible manner trying to break it up.”

In fact Christianity in Britain is irreparably broken up already.

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