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The Interceders Encourager No. 12

The Great Abdication

I have been reading a book, recently published, called "The Great Abdication", written by Alexander Deane. Deane is not a Christian, but in the book he paints a sombre picture of our nation dominated by selfish and bad behaviour, which people are afraid to condemn. He argues that the state of Britain, in which traditional values and ideals have been lost, is due to the middle class failing to uphold its own standards. It has abdicated from its responsibility to act as the guardian and upholder of decency, courtesy, morality, high standards and discipline, and the people of that class need to reinstate themselves as the arbiters of morality, and be unafraid to judge and condemn those who go against the traditional values on which our society was based.

As Christians, we would, of course, look behind the middle class, and see the collapse of moral standards in this country as due to the turning away from God, and the rejection of traditional Christianity by so many in our society, and the failure of the Church to uphold Biblical standards. It is because the Church has failed to act as the guardian and upholder of traditional, i.e. Christian, values, and has failed to declare Godís standards, allowing the forces of secularism, humanism and atheism to have free rein, and take over the media, and influence government legislation, so that it promotes multi-culturalism, denigrates Christianity, accepts and even promotes all kinds of behaviour contrary to the word of God, and condemns intolerance of any kind; that the middle classes have been shamed and silenced. Because the Church has not stood out strongly against all forms of sin, we now have a situation where almost everything that God thinks is wrong is tolerated, and the only thing not tolerated is the lack of toleration and the criticism of bad things.

Deane points out that there has never been such a need in our society for bad behaviour on the part of children, young people and adults to be condemned, and for those responsible to be punished and corrected, but instead it has become "politically correct" not to condemn the behaviour of others. Those who do so are branded as old fashioned, prudish and out of touch, and those who make any attempt to enforce standards that are in societyís interest, are rejected as cranks. The result is that children, young people and adults are allowed to behave in completely selfish and uncaring ways that would have been totally unacceptable to our forefathers.

Consequently, the virtues of:

1) Courtesy and respect for others, especially elders;

2) Obedience to those in authority;

3) Hard work as its own reward;

4) Cleanliness and tidiness inside and outside the home;

5) Cleanliness and respect in speech;

6) General concern for the welfare of the community;

7) Being economical, and not wasteful;

8) A delight in simple things;

9) The honouring of agreements- oneís word being oneís bond;

10) Chastity before marriage, and faithfulness within it;

11) The role of children and young people as obedience and learning how to behave as adults;

12) The role of parents as training children and young people in the ways of honesty, fidelity and hard work; have all been discarded, or are being discarded.

The result is a society in which:

1. The behaviour of our children and young people is the worst ever recorded in history.

2. Swearing and cursing are common, even on the streets, and even among young children.

3. Junior age children regularly smoke, and 14 and 15 year old children, (girls as well as boys), regularly drink alcoholic drinks.

4. One in five British women regularly drinks over the safe limits. British women have the reputation of being the biggest drinkers in Europe.

5. British women take more drugs than the women of any other country in the world.

6. In many areas of Britain, the number of women admitted to the A.&E. Depts. of hospitals following fights as a result of drinking, has tripled over the last five years. Deane states these statistics, saying that women should be exercising a restraining and civilising effect on men and on society in general, but they are obviously doing so no longer.

7. Our town and city centres have become so dangerous on Friday, Saturday and Sunday nights, due to binge drinking, that they are virtually no go areas.

8. Every minute of every working day, a shopworker is attacked by a customer, while, on average, all shopworkers can expect to be verbally abused every 3 days, threatened every 15 days, and physically attacked once a month.

9. Ambulances and fire engines are called out to cul de sacs, where gangs of boys then throw stones at them.

10. Firefighters are punched and kicked while they are trying to do their job.

11. Bus drivers are regularly abused, spat upon and attacked by the public.

12. Football thugs cause trouble and violence whenever and wherever they can, especially abroad.

13. Every year thousands of teachers leave the profession, unable to continue with being verbally and physically abused. There is an attack on a teacher every few minutes of every working day.

14. In our hospitals and clinics, doctors and nurses are being verbally and physically abused every day.

15. Every year, hundreds of police officers are attacked so badly they have to be hospitalised.

Behind all these statistics lies a basic lack of respect for authority, a lack of concern for others and the environment, and a spirit of aggression, fuelled by films and television programmes, by Playstation "games", which are nearly all violent, and by a selfish, misguided society abetted by an anti Christian government encouraging rebellious individuals to think more about their rights than their responsibilities.

Deane argues his case very well, pointing out, (according to him), that the root of the problem lies in our educational system, where children are no longer made to learn the rudiments of English grammar, basic mathematics and good behaviour, nor are challenged to learn the wisdom of the past. Our standards have declined to levels far lower than they were 50, 60, or even 100 years ago when everybody left school able to read, to write neatly and do traditional Maths, and had also learnt respect and obedience. Our present system, where nobody is properly disciplined or punished, and where nobody is allowed to fail, and where pupils stay at school for at least another four years, produces a large proportion of pupils who have never mastered the 3 R's, and who are lazy, disrespectful young people, who think that the world owes them a living.

We now have an examination system where the results are falsified, firstly, by giving a large percentage of the marks for course work, which can be, and usually is, done by others, and secondly by an exam marking system where examiners are told to lower the pass rate so that more pupils appear to pass. (In some cases "A" grades are given to pupils scoring only 45%, and "C" grades to pupils scoring only 16%).

One of the saddest aspects of our educational system which Deane points out is that the teaching of the greatness of Britainís past and the glories of the British Empire has now all but disappeared. Our pupils are taught endlessly about the Nazis and the Third Reich, and the rise of black power, but nothing about the empire upon which the sun never set; or if it is ever mentioned, it is done so in purely negative terms, as part of the rejection and denigration of the "God who made thee mighty." Our forefathers of only one or two generations ago, would stand appalled at our lack of respect and lack of honesty.

Another aspect of our educational system that Deane criticises is that of Sex Education, which he maintains should not be part of the syllabus. Fifty years ago, the argument for introducing sex education was ignorance among school children. Fifty years later, the argument for sex education is still ignorance among school children! Yet now our rate of teenage pregnancy is the highest in Europe, and the incidence of Sexually Transmitted Diseases is far greater than it was then! Between 1995 and 2003, the number of Chlamydia cases rose by 192%, Gonorrhoea by 139% and Syphilis by 1058%. One in eight girls aged 16-19 has Chlamydia. The figures show that it is precisely where the government has sought to give sex education plus free contraceptives that the figures are the highest. The S.T.D`s among teenagers increased fastest in the areas that implemented the governmentís policies most fully!

Deane points out that the moral declivity in Britain has been so great that we have become shameless. "The very concept of shame has little or no meaning to the majority of Britons. The moral import of something being shameful has been entirely lost."(p.52) This is an amazing statement to come from an unbeliever. It should not only remind us of the words of Jeremiah that the people of Jerusalem were not at all ashamed of their sin, and did not know how to blush,(Jer.6:15 & 8:12), but should also drive us to our knees, when we remember what happened to the people of Jerusalem.

Deane rightly points out the decline and breakdown of the family as the basic unit of society, and its consequences. Most children now live in "homes" without their own mother and father living with them as a married couple. It is not surprising, therefore, that 60% of 11-14 year olds have no strong sense of family. 79% of all children have their own television, and even the majority of children under 5 have a television in their bedrooms, watching hours of programmes every day, uncontrolled by adults. The gap between the generations is not just wide, it is getting wider. Deane emphasises the breakdown of discipline in the home, where parents are afraid to say no, and afraid to back up words with punishment. Yet the further tragedy of this is that so many Christian parents are no better than unbelieving parents, indeed they have the reputation of being far worse, and even more lenient to their selfish, irreverent and disrespectful children, who need discipline and correction, as the Bible states. A pussyfoot Church can never save the world.

The writer bemoans the rise of todayís free and easy society, where rights are emphasised over responsibilities, where people are afraid to criticise, to denounce, to say no. He deplores the demise of the values and activities traditionally associated with the middle classes; self discipline; a sense of responsibility for others; a concern for the community, and involvement in it; restraint and discipline exercised over children and young people in the home and in the community; saying no to what is wrong; guidance given to those needing it; courtesy and kindness shown to all. All these, of course, we would say are the result of the Christian faith properly outworked in the lives of individuals and in society at large.

Deane, even though a young man, is saddened by the way that the reputation of Britain has almost been destroyed. Britain, once the envy of the world, known for its hard work, its engineering, its achievements, its law abiding citizens, its honesty, integrity and sense of "fair play", its high standards in education, in medicine, in law, in democracy, is now the sick man of Europe, full of drug taking, alcoholism, binge drinking, prostitution, teenage pregnancies, unmarried mothers, foul language, litter, graffiti, violence, football hooliganism, muggings, murder and full prisons. We have lost any sense of pride in Britain, and donít even know what being British means. Other countries, including Westerners, look at us and wonder why we have let this country get in such a state. In one sense, it is amazing that any tourists still want to visit Britain at all. They do so only because of Britainís past, and what is left of our countryside, not because of the way we are. The visitors are embarrassed when they see the litter, the graffiti, the drunkenness, the fights, etc. And we should be a hundred times more embarrassed and ashamed at the state of Britain today, but are we?

Deane concludes by asserting that Britain is a depressing country to live in with its selfishness and incivility; its lack of respect and lawlessness, shown not just by children and young people, but by adults riding bicycles on the pavements and pedestrian crossings, throwing litter on the roads and pavements, even on the motorways, spitting gum down on the pavements, drivers breaking speed limits and overtaking on the inside, etc. Yet Deane rightly says that we have no right to lament the state of affairs in Britain as we are responsible for it, and we are doing nothing about it. We turn away when we should speak. When children and young people misbehave, we donít discipline them and correct them. "Children who go unpunished for disobedience, rudeness, bullying and damaging the property of others, grow up to be violent, abusive individuals".(p.90)

Our forefathers, says Deane, determined to defend this country against the enemies coming against them, but would we do the same? he asks. What would we be fighting for? What is there in Britain that needs to be preserved? These are very pertinent questions, and they have been answered in the negative by thousands and thousands of people who have given up on Britain, and have gone to live in another country where the standards are better. And they are going at an alarming rate. Other countries are recording a record number of immigrants from the U.K. Our country is being bled to death. For the ones who are the most concerned, and who are therefore the ones most needed, are the very ones who are leaving. Yet we carry on as normal, as if every thing was all right. I am reminded of Jerusalem in 70A.D. If we are convinced that it is right to stay, then we must be determined to change this nation before it is too late.

In the end, Deane can only propose that what is needed is a moral counter-revolution generated by us. But history shows that that is not possible. Only the power generated by a return to faith in the God who made Britain great can turn the tide. Deane deplores the fact that he is an exile in his own country, "whose centuries old traditions have been dismantled in moments."(p.106) In this, he is quite correct. But it should shame us that secular people like Deane show more concern for this once great country than Christians do. For the double tragedy that lies behind all this is not only that this situation has occurred because the Church in Britain has failed to be what God wanted it to be, has allowed iniquity to flourish, and has not stood out against it, and has not defended Britain against the onslaught of secularism, humanism, atheism and Islam, but that even at this late stage, it shows such little concern, far less than Deane does.

For the most part. the Church has retreated into religious and social activities, and works of charity, which are good and right and necessary, but which are merely rearguard actions in the face of such wickedness and rebellion and open disregard and hostility to the Christian faith. The great abdication is not that of the middle classes, but of the Church in Britain, which has abdicated its responsibility before God for this land. A hundred years ago, the Church in Britain inherited a mantle never bequeathed to any other people in the history of the world, and they have squandered it, and allowed it to be pillaged and almost destroyed. Today, the Church seems frightened to oppose anybody or anything, always seeking to be acceptable to the world, bending over backwards to avoid any kind of confrontation. "Oh no, weíre not Bible bashers," it says, "we are just nice people, wanting to help you." "We donít talk about fire and brimstone, and all that stuff. We just talk about the unconditional love of God for everybody." The Church goes out of its way to show how like the rest of society it is. "Notice how we dress like you, and donít mind what you look like. We accept todayís life styles. We wonít say anything against you. We accept the music of today, even rock music. We donít mind how you or your children behave. Everything is acceptable."

Now, of course, our meetings and services should be open to all people whatever they are like, but the Church, in its accommodation to the world has invented another gospel which says,"Come, just as you are to worship," going right against Godís word, which declares that the thoughts of the wicked, as against the righteous, are an abomination to the Lord. (Prov.15:26), that the Lord is far from the wicked, but He hears the prayer of the righteous, (Prov.15:29), that the sacrifice of the wicked,(including the sacrifice of worship), is an abomination to the Lord,(Prov.15:8), and that the way, i.e. the lifestyle, of the wicked is an abomination to the Lord(Prov.15:9).

We have no right to tell sinners to come just as they are to worship. If we were addressing people in the right way, the first word we would say is repent, as the prophets did, as John the Baptist did, as Jesus did, as Peter did. If the Spirit of God were working among us, the people would be convicted of their sin, would fall on their faces, and declare that God is truly among us, (1Cor.14:24-25), and that the Lord is the true God, as the people did on Mount Carmel when the fire fell. (1Ki.18:39) Then, when the sin had been properly dealt with, through the precious blood of Christ, and our relationship with God had been put right, only then could we start to worship God in spirit and in truth, and offer to Him acceptable worship with reverence and fear; for our God is a consuming fire. (Heb.12:28-29)

But the Church no longer proclaims a God of holiness and perfection, an awesome God of power and greatness, before whom we should all come, of whatever age, in humility. (Is.59:18-19, Is. 66:2 Js.4:8-10, etc.) It no longer warns of the certain judgment of God, and the certain punishment of those who rebel against Him, (Acts.17:31, 2Thess.1:8-9, Rev.20:11-15, etc.) It no longer declares the anger of God against sin and sinners, spelling out what those sins are, showing the necessity of repentance, and upholding the wonder of the grace of God in Christ, who took our sin upon himself on the Cross, so that we could be pardoned and made holy, (Rom.1:21-32, Gal.5:19-21, Acts 17:30, 2Cor.5:21) It no longer speaks with the authority of the living God, and no longer prays with passion for Him to work in power.

It is not surprising that the Church has been, and still is, so ineffective, and why Britain has sunk to the level where Deane can complain that it is a depressing country to live in, because it has forsaken its traditions and values. The unbeliever Deane has put his finger on one of the basic faults of today`s Church. It thinks it is so clever in being so up to date, and appealing to today`s generation, but it has forgotten its traditions and values, especially those of the times of revival. Consequently it is not changing the country. There are more members in new and up to date churches in Britain today, as a percentage of the population, than there were Methodists at the time of Wesley`s death in 1791. Yet the influence of Methodism on the country was far greater than the influence of todayís church members. This was because Methodists were not afraid to be different from their contemporaries. They stood for far higher principles and standards. They emphasised holiness of life. They lived in the light of eternity. They denounced sin, and told people they would go to hell if they didnít repent of their sins, turn to Jesus and be 100% for Him. Where are the leaders, the churches and the Christians that are like that, or are prepared to be like that? People who will not be afraid to denounce sin in all its forms for what it is, as terrible and damning in the sight of God; that will tell this nation and its leaders and the media that they will never find the answers to this countryís problems unless they repent and get back to God. Only He can make Britain great again. And by God, we do not mean a false god of any other religion, but the one and only true God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who made them and the whole universe, and before whom we must all give account on the day of judgment. (Heb.9:27)

That is why we need to pray and work for God to raise up leaders to declare His word with power; and for Him to revive the churches so they become what He wants them to be, like the Early Methodists, or even better; to raise this country up from the terrible state it is in. Nothing, absolutely nothing, is impossible with God. Believe it. Pray for it. Speak about it. Tell others what is needed. Get them concerned. Get them involved. Get on your knees before God, and plead with Him to have mercy on this land before it is too late.

" I looked for a man among them who would build up the wall and stand before me in the gap on behalf of the land, that I would not have to destroy it, but I found none."

(Ez. 22:30)

" The Lord saw that there was no man. He was appalled that there was no one to intercede." (Is. 59:16)

We are The Interceders.