Archive for the ‘03 Witnessing’ Category

What is God’s Will for Britain ?

April 21, 2016

In calling a Referendum, the Government has given us, the people of Britain, an opportunity to vote on the future relationship of Britain with the European Union. At this significant time of decision in the history of Britain we have a responsibility, as the people of God, to use our vote wisely after proper, prayerful consideration.

What is our starting point as we endeavour to discern the will of God? If we are purely focused on the specific question of how to vote, we risk missing what God has to say to His Church and to the nations right now. Last year, there was an unprecedented level of united prayer prior to the General Election. The prayer was not focused on who to vote for but rather that the will of God be done. In faith, we trust that God is working His purposes out, and will continue to do so in the measure that His people, who are called by His Name will humble themselves and pray and seek His face and turn from their wicked ways.

Britain and Europe

Britain is part of the continent of Europe. However, Britain has a distinct history and, confirmed by history, a unique and distinct call and inheritance from God. Since the 9th century AD, British government and legal systems have been built upon the foundations of Judaeo-Christian belief, thought and practice. Over the centuries, God’s law took priority over man’s law. For this reason all the key British institutions and indeed the fabric of our society originated in a moral as well as legal framework. This is different to Europe, where legal codes are largely based on Roman law concepts. An example of this is that the continental approach to law starts from the proposition that only what the law expressly allows is permitted; this is in contrast to English common law which allows anything that the law does not prohibit.

Britain has been used by God to take the Gospel across the world and with it the outworking of Christian values for society. As countries once part of the British Empire sought independence, the Commonwealth emerged in which there was a particular relationship between Britain and its former colonies which shared values of democracy, human rights and rule of law. This special but informal relationship with Commonwealth nations was superseded by Britain’s entry into the European Economic Community (EEC), also known as the Common Market, in 1973. Although the initial body of nations was formed on the basis of trade agreement and, in post war Europe, an aspiration of peace, there was at the outset, a stated political aim for integration of the European nations. This has been progressed through a series of treaties through which the European Union emerged with new powers in the areas of foreign and domestic policy. The philosophy that underpins the European Union is secular and humanist in its origins and outlook. This article will not endeavour to cover the various arguments for and against Britain’s membership of the EU. There is further helpful factual information about the EU, its history and structure on the website www.civitas.org.uk/eu-facts.

It is important to be properly informed about the various factors involved in Britain’s relationship with the European Union. However, as the people of God, our searching should be primarily directed to discerning the will of God. The world can provide us with facts, but only the Spirit of God will lead us into Truth.

What is the real issue?

Britain is in crisis. In January 2015 the Maranatha Community presented a prophetic call at a consultation in Parliament. Entitled ‘A Matter of Life or Death – The Struggle for the Soul of Our Nation’, it gave factual information about the state of our nation, asserting that the crisis, which is evidenced socially, economically and morally, is fundamentally spiritual. The Judaeo-Christian foundations upon which Britain has been built have been systematically undermined and the fabric of our society, and the institutions which are part and parcel of it, are in danger of collapse.

Europe is in crisis. Those on both sides of the Referendum debate agree the simple fact that the enormous bureaucracy of the EU is not working. The all-powerful EU Commission is an undemocratic body which is largely unaccountable and operates at supranational level. The financial affairs of the EU are extremely complex and its accounts have not been approved by the auditors for 19 years. It is perhaps significant to note that, whilst the rest of the world is seeing a huge growth in Christian faith, this is not the case in Europe. Ravi Zacharias says, prophetically, “The culture in which we find ourselves is in turmoil…the West is engaged in a momentous battle, one in which it is risking its very soul”.

Whether Britain leaves or remains part of the EU will not alter the fact that all European nations will continue to be affected by the ongoing situation with migrants from the Middle East. Many see this as a threat, but it is also a time of great opportunity for the spread of the Gospel. At the same time Britain cannot be isolated from what is to become of Greece. The financial instability of Europe affects more than just EU nation states.

Whatever the outcome of the vote, there will be serious challenges to face both for us as a union of nations – England, Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland – and as a part of Europe, which includes the Republic of Ireland. Are we, the Church in Britain, ready to respond to the aftermath of the Referendum?

So, what is the real issue from a Kingdom perspective? The Proverb rightly says “Where there is no vision, the people perish” (Prov. 29.18 KJV). Those involved in the theatre of media debate are all presenting negative arguments. Sadly, so are some within the Church. What is God’s vision for Britain and for Europe? What is our vision? It is in the midst of crisis that we discover God’s time of opportunity. Will we, the Church of Christ, proclaim the hope of the Gospel and the vision of God’s Kingdom into the midst of the confusion, uncertainty and indifference?

Discerning the will of God

Amidst questions about economy, political union, sovereignty, defence, immigration, the environment and the spiritual influences involved, it is important for us to ask questions that will lead us nearer to the heart of God.

What impact will a decision to leave or remain have upon the younger and future generations of Britain? What effect will a vote either way have upon our relationships with the nations that make up Britain? What impact will a vote to leave or remain have upon the relationship of Britain to the Republic of Ireland? Are we open to hear discernment from Christians in Europe? The purpose of these questions is not so much to decide on an answer but, rather, to ensure that our hearts are open to all those who will be affected by the Referendum result and especially to those who hold a different view to our own. An open heart is a heart open to revelation from God.

Similarly, we should beware of the temptation to apply human interpretation to any understanding we may have, even through God’s revelation. Scripture provides plenty of examples of the way in which God leads His people to do that which is counter-intuitive. His ways and His thoughts are completely different and very much higher than ours! His desire is that His people listen and obey.

What does the Bible say about the will of God? Paul describes the mystery of God’s will as “to bring all things in heaven and on earth together under one head, even Christ” (Eph. 1.10). Jesus teaches us to pray to our Father “Your Kingdom come, Your will be done on earth as it is heaven” (Matt. 6.10). For this to happen Jesus prayed that His followers be one, with the model for that oneness being His relationship with God the Father. The oneness of the Body of Christ is essential for the putting into effect of God’s will on earth. Paul received the revelation that God’s will would be effected by a Church which is fully functioning as one body, through which “..the manifold wisdom of God should be made known to the rulers and authorities in the heavenly realms” (Eph. 3.10). The Church is God’s chosen instrument in the spiritual battle which is escalating across the nations and the unity of His Church, under the Lordship of Jesus, is the key.

God’s will regarding Britain’s relationship with the European Union will not be brought into effect through pursuit of the answer to the question of whether we leave or remain. It will be effected in the measure that we, His people, humble ourselves and pray and seek His face and turn from our wicked ways AS ONE.

Put another way, God’s will is that the Church wakes up to its responsibility for the future of Britain and enters into the real battle for the life and soul of our nation.

How should we pray?

  • In unity with the whole Body of Christ – as in the world, the EU debate is a divisive issue for the Church. Our unity does not come from or depend upon all Christians holding the same view. Let us pray for strengthening of the bonds of unity with brothers and sisters in Christ across national boundaries, between England, Scotland, Wales and all of Ireland as well as with Christians of all traditions throughout Europe.
  • Using the prayer that Jesus taught us – this prayer has been prayed by believers for the last 2000 years. Many have prayed it at midday over recent years as an offering of united prayer for our nation. Let us pray for the coming of God’s Kingdom and for His will to be done as children united in His one Family.
  • For true humbling of ourselves, God’s people, called by his Name – this requires us to lay down our understanding and convictions, simply asking for God’s mercy on our nation as we seek His face and pray for His will to be done.
  • In confession and repentance – for our apathy and indifference as God’s people in Britain, for our sin and the sin of the church in Britain.
  • For the Church to lead the way of righteousness – that we, as God’s people, would demonstrate the Love and Grace of God in all relationships, especially in our attitude towards other people groups. Let us pray for the elimination of xenophobia and anti-Semitism throughout Britain and Europe.
  • For the proclamation of the Gospel and a new move of God’s Spirit – that the vision of God’s Kingdom will be effectively communicated by the Church. Let us pray that it will captivate the hearts and minds of the people, especially the young.
  • For the Church to be seen to be offering a positive vision for the future – that the Church will be inspired by, and receive the grace to communicate a vision for society, communities, and a healthy nation.

Gathering to Pray

The Lord has sent many missionaries from all over the world to Britain. They have been faithful to their calling and have prayed fervently for this land. At the same time, God is raising up and anointing the younger generation (who will be most affected by the outcome of the Referendum) to renew and lead the Church.

In the Maranatha Community we are responding to a specific prompting on how to pray in preparation for the Referendum. At a special gathering, on Saturday 4th June, at Brunswick Parish Church, Brunswick Street, Manchester, M13 9TQ, there will be a morning of prayer led by Christians from overseas, including Europe. Following a shared lunch we will be joined by families, children and young people for a further time of united worship and prayer. All are welcome. It is hoped that there will be other similar gatherings in other parts of the country. Further information can be obtained from the Maranatha office 0161 748 4858.

Linda Stalley
20th April 2016

Maranatha Lecture 2015

December 10, 2015

On Tuesday 1st December we were blessed and privileged to hear a wonderful, deeply thought-provoking, moving and heartfelt lecture given by His Grace Bishop Angaelos OBE, Head of The Coptic Orthodox Church in the UK, at the newly refurbished Whitworth Gallery in Manchester.

His Grace touches on many of the defining issues of our times – politics and democracy, the Middle East, the refugee crisis, Islam and Daesh terrorism.

A full video recording is being produced, meanwhile you can listen to His Grace’s lecture here:

https://soundcloud.com/maranatha-audio/maranatha-lecture-2015-faith-in-politics

Magna Carta – A Voice for Justice

October 5, 2015

On the 800th anniversary of the signing of Magna Carta, Maranatha Members Kate and Roger joined Christians from different denominations of the church outside Parliament for a rally about the current state of freedom & democracy in our nation organised by Voice for Justice UK. This is their video report.

Speakers included:
Dr. Linda Stalley – co-leader of the Maranatha Community at 2′ 30″
Alan Craig – former a local councillor & leader of the Christian Peoples Alliance at 4′ 15″
Paul Tully – General Secretary of the Society for the Protection of the Unborn Child (SPUC) at 6′ 20″
Robert Harris – Voice for Justice UK at 8′ 00″
Rev. Wale Babatunde – Senior Minister, World Harvest Christian Centre at 9′ 40″
Rev.Dr. Clifford Hill – Prophecy Today UK & Issachar Ministries at 11′ 40″
Baroness Cox – Parliamentarian & CEO of Humanitarian Aid Relief Trust at 13′ 35″
Rev.Lynda Rose – Voice for Justice UK at 15’00”

GENERAL ELECTION – Trumpet Call Special

April 2, 2015

This is an important opportunity for public Christian witness – to drive key issues to the top of the political agenda and to stimulate national debate about the future of our land. Are we prepared to be salt and light during this election?

TOP PRIORITY – CHILDREN AND YOUNG PEOPLE

This is a crucial point in the life of our nation. In each of the issues to be raised with Parliamentary Candidates, the question should be asked ‘How will your policies benefit the children and young people of our nation now and in the future?’

IMMEDIATE OPPORTUNITY

DOWNLOAD THIS SPECIAL EDITION OF TRUMPET CALL
with 28 questions for you to put to parliamentary candidates on the following topics:

  • General Election 2015 thumbWorldwide Persecution of Christians
  • Education
  • Sex Education
  • The Marriage-based Family
  • Poverty in working families
  • Abortion
  • Promiscuity and Sexual Disease amongst Children
  • Assisted Suicide
  • Arms Trafficking
  • Discrimination against Christians
  • Islamic separatism in our towns and cities
  • Young people with no future
  • The European Union
  • Police
  • Global Poverty
  • Corruption in Parliament
  • Human Trafficking & Prostitution
  • Child Abuse
  • 24 hour Drinking
  • Drugs
  • Immigration
  • ‘Hate’ Crime
  • Gambling and Casinos
  • Television Standards
  • Use of Internet for child pornography
  • National Debt & Bank Misbehaviour
  • Waste of Public Money
  • Hospitals & Care Homes

VALUES – The characteristics of our British national identity.

January 27, 2015

What kind of society are we passing on to our children? What are the core values which determine the British way of life? A nationwide debate is emerging.

VALUESToday (27th January 2015) a statement was presented at a meeting in the House of Commons chaired by Professor Lord Alton of Liverpool and convened by Fiona Bruce MP. It will be given to hundreds of people in leadership positions throughout the country. Immediately following the meeting it was presented at 10 Downing Street for the Prime Minister, Rt. Hon. David Cameron and simultaneously at Buckingham Palace for Her Majesty the Queen.

The statement boldly affirms, as a matter of historical record, that our values originate from Judaeo-Christian belief, thought and practice. It claims that these values have been recognised worldwide as defining our national identity. There is a widespread concern that these values are endangered.

A copy of the statement is available here.

For further information, questions and interviews contact the Maranatha office – 0161 748 4858 (during office hours).


Background Notes
The Maranatha Community launched the report ‘A Matter of Life or Death – The Struggle for the Soul of Our Nation’ in the House of Commons of 13th January 2015. It sounded the alarm about the decline of our nation. It called for the reaffirmation of Christian values and a broader recognition of the paramount importance of the spiritual dimension of life.

Last year Maranatha published a hundred-page report – ‘Global Persecution – The Price of Faith for Christians Worldwide’ which was presented to the President of the United Nations Human Rights Council in Geneva and was supported by the Prime Minister, the Deputy Prime Minister and Mr. Miliband. This will be the subject of a special presentation in the European Parliament later this year.

Two years ago, Maranatha published the challenging report ‘The Big Question – What on Earth are We doing to Our Children?’ following a similar document 17 years previously, which aimed to drive children to the top of the political agenda. Maranatha is currently preparing a major policy document on ‘child abuse’.

GLOBAL PERSECUTION – The price of faith for Christians Worldwide

July 30, 2014

A major factual report giving hard evidence of the global persecution of Christians for their faith is released today. Researched by the Maranatha Community, a national movement of thousands of Christians of all denominations, it presents hundreds of cases, drawn from 170 sources, of persecution of Christians worldwide over the past 14 years. It has been placed before political and religious leaders worldwide, with a call to action.

Global Persecution - The price of faith for Chrisitians Worldwide

The document can be downloaded in full from
www.maranathacommunity.org.uk/download.aspx?file=Global-Persecution-Report-2014.pdf

WIPE OUT

  • Christians in many parts of the Middle East now face wipe-out and at this moment many are being given the option of converting to Islam, paying protection money or being killed.

SYSTEMATIC ASSAULT ON CHRISTIANS

  • There is now irrefutable evidence that Christians are the most persecuted group of people in the world.
  • Christians are being murdered, tortured, imprisoned and assaulted solely because of their faith.

A HUGE SCALE OF ABUSE

  • To an ever increasing extent Christians are being severely punished for their faith, facing intimidation, victimisation, harassment and worse.
  • Their churches and homes are being vandalised or destroyed.
  • False charges are being made against them and innocent believers are being imprisoned and punished for offences they have never committed.

PUNISHED FOR CHANGING THEIR RELIGION

  • Even though the Universal Declaration of Human Rights states “Everyone has the right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion; this right includes freedom to change his religion or belief, and freedom, either alone or in community with others and in public or private, to manifest his religion or belief in teaching, practice, worship and observance.” The fact is that those who choose to change their religion may be beaten, imprisoned or killed.

A CALL TO WORLD LEADERS

  • The Maranatha document is this week being placed before world leaders including the Prime Minister and the General Secretary of the United Nations and political and religious leaders worldwide.

A WORLDWIDE CALL

The Maranatha document declares:

  • “We all have a moral responsibility to speak out against an intolerable situation.”
  • “We must all stand against everything which violates the integrity of the individual”.
  • “There can never ever be any justification of people being killed for their faith”.
  • “The strongest international pressure must now be brought to bear on those who continue to violate the dignity of innocent people”.

THERE IS MOUNTING INTERNATIONAL PRESSURE FOR THIS ISSUE TO BE DRIVEN TO THE TOP OF THE WORLD’S POLITICAL AGENDA. IT MUST NOT BE IGNORED.

THE EVIDENCE IS BEYOND DISPUTE.
THIS IS A CALL TO ACTION.

FREE RESOURCES – starting to appear

July 3, 2014

In our March Newsletter we promised that we would make many of our written resources available for free here on this website. We’re in the process of working on this and the first few are now available including

  • A Matter of Life or Death
  • Mindfulness – Brieing document on this Buddhist meditation technique
  • Islam – An Appraisal
  • Global Persecution – The price of faith for Christians Worldwide.
  • Secular Humanism – report from the Spearhead Group [COMING SOON]

These are available on our website at:
www.maranathacommunity.org.uk/resources.aspx

 

FREE Resources – coming soon

March 12, 2014

In our March Newsletter we promised that we would make many of our written resources available for free here on this website. We’re in the process of working on this and hope to have the first batch available very soon.

We’re also finalising the Briefing Documents and Spearhead Group reports advertised in the Newsletter and these will shortly be available here for free download. These include

  • Mindfulness – Brieing document on this Buddhist meditation technique
  • Islam – An Appraisal
  • Secular Humanism – report from the Spearhead Group

Watch this space.

Maranatha Lecture 2013

November 23, 2013

Presented by Sir Peter Fahy, Chief Constable of Greather Manchester Police Force.

Full Video:

 

The lecture was followed by Questions and Answers:

NEWSLETTER JANUARY 2013

January 22, 2013

Maranatha Newsletter

The Big Question –

What on Earth are we Doing to our Children ?

Click here to download January NewsletterThe message of this new book, launched by the Maranatha Community in December, is a direct challenge to the conscience of our nation. Since the Community produced ‘What on earth are we doing to our children?’ in 1995, countless initiatives and billions of pounds have been targeted at children and young people. However, the evidence presented in this book clearly shows that their situation is now worse. The political and lifestyle choices made by us in the UK, over the last 50 years, have created a legacy of catastrophic debt for future generations. More seriously, vast numbers of children and young people are growing up without any sense of identity or purpose.

The January edition of the Maranatha Community Newsletter which is available for you to read on-screen (or print for your convenience) gives more information from this new book which is available from the online bookshop for only £5 and FREE P&P until the end of January, and reminds us of God’s word on children as well as giving lots of community news.

We would also like to draw your attention to the following: (click on each)

Please discuss the contents of this newsletter by leaving comments below, or the contents of The Big Question by leaving comments here.