The UK Bible Students Website
Christian Biblical Studies
BRITAIN AND THE CHRISTIAN LEGACY
‘We live in a society riddled with unbelief and scepticism on all matters religious. This is not an entirely new thing. It is at least a more open, honest representation of what people really think. Contrary to the nostalgic notions of times in the past, the world has never really been friendly to Christianity. What has changed is the degree to which society at large is prepared to pay lip service to Christian ideals. Time was in Britain when most children attended morning assembly at schools to sing hymns and hear Scriptures read. These habits produced a population which could at least recite the Lord’s prayer by heart; a population familiar with biblical quotations and references to parables. The language of the King James Bible became the cultural speech of the nation.
‘It would be going too far to say that Christianity is dead in this country. It isn’t. There are many people whose faith still holds fast; there are others whose lapsed conviction has been re-energised in response to a shocking decline in social mores. Legislation intended to enforce secular “values” has undermined the traditional understanding of marriage and morality and, in the process, added sanctions against British traditions of free expression. Christianity prospers best when it can be expressed freely.
‘The liberties we have enjoyed in this beautiful country have been hard won. From Magna Carta through to the Reformation and the struggles between Monarch and Parliament in the 16th century, the object in view was the right to be free men and women, with the liberty to practise the faith unmolested. It has not been a perfect or consistent transition, and along the way many injustices have been committed on all sides. But the broad outlines which emerged in this island encouraged religious and intellectual freedom, liberties which Britain has bequeathed to other nations. Along with these liberties arose worthy philanthropic and Christian denominations and organisations which have spread outward, adopted worldwide, such as Methodism, Quakerism, Millenarianism, The Salvation Army, the YMCA and YWCA, the Boy Scouts, and others. These movements flowed from ideals of faith and good will, nurtured in a broadly Christian social structure.’ – A.P.