Two “Declarations” have been unleashed on the British Christian conglomerate this election, and they take rather specific approachs to prioritising what Jesus followers should be pushing at the politicians. Firstly we have the Westminster Declaration.
Protecting human life, protecting marriage, and protecting freedom of conscience are foundational for creating and maintaining strong families, caring communities and a just society. Our Christian faith compels us to speak and act in defence of all these.
The second offering is one that I heard last night from the lips of Steve Chalke. The Faithworks Declaration takes a slightly different approach to what are the essentials.
This is why we are calling on the incoming Prime Minister to:
- Recognise the important contribution that local churches and Christian charities have made historically, and can make in the coming years in providing services within local communities across the UK.
- Acknowledge the indispensible role that faith in Christ plays in the motivation and effectiveness of welfare programs developed by churches and Christian charities.
- Encourage and promote further initiatives and deeper partnership underpinned by legislation, which assess services based on best value and contribution to the whole community, without discriminating against the faith that is vital to the success of the work of churches and faith-based organisations.
Now don’t get me wrong. I’m all up for defending marriage etc, but reading these two summaries, one strikes me as being highly defensive (increasingly Christians always sound defensive and fundamentalist when trying to speak into society on the issue of marriage et al). The other strikes me as being far more proactive, promoting Christian love and mission and asking Government to recognise the good that the Church does and to endorse it and work with it.
I’ve criticised Steve Chalke in the past for getting the atonement very very wrong, but on this issue I think he’s absolutely nailed it. If we want to evangelise the nation we need to be known as the people who love, not the people who condemn.
Though let’s be fair – the Westminster Declaration has a much better website…