Message from John Woodhouse 16 Feb.

 

Dear friends

Do you sometimes wonder whether Christians are on the right side of history? There are many, of course, who are convinced that we are not. Today there is widespread rejection of the Christian faith in western societies, which in recent times have become emphatically hostile and convinced that Christianity is a thing of the past.

Do you sometimes think they might be right? Will everyone soon realize that Christian faith is one of those naïve superstitions rightly discarded by enlightened people? Will there come a time when the whole world leaves behind the foolishness and ignorance that once enabled Christianity to be influential? Will we all come to see the goodness of being freed from the restrictions and prohibitions of the Christian religion? Will Richard Dawkins and Christopher Hitchens turn out to have been prophetic in their angry attacks on religion in general and Christianity in particular?

Christian faith includes the conviction that the answer to all these questions is “No.” There have been many times when it seemed foolish to bank on Jesus Christ. Indeed that is how it all began. When Jesus was crucified, who would think that he actually was “The King of the Jews” (John 19:19), let alone the saviour of the world (John 4:42; 1 John 4:14)? When the message about the crucified King was proclaimed, most people regarded it as offensive or foolish (1 Corinthians 1:23). And yet, from the beginning, Christians have believed that history will vindicate their faith in the King who died on a cross. His resurrection from the dead was just the beginning (Acts 17:31; Colossians 1:18).

As we face the particular challenges to this conviction in our own day, it is important to understand the strength and depth of the foundation on which it rests. It is not simply that those who expected the Christian faith not to last were proven wrong from the beginning. (The wisdom of Gamaliel in Acts 5:35-39 was superior to that of today’s skeptics.) The skeptics have been proven wrong for two thousand years. But it is even deeper and more solid than that. The faithfulness of God to his promises can be traced back to Abraham. That is the great message of the Old Testament. Add to that the news that Jesus was raised from the dead, and the right side of history is clear to see – for those prepared to look.

Your brother in the Lord Jesus Christ

John Woodhouse
(Acting Senior Minister)