Seeking the Truth and Hiding the Truth
18th May 2018
While walking around Glastonbury recently, I met many people who we might describe as "new age", although they were seeking ancient wisdom. They struck me as being rather similar to the hippies I knew when I was a teenager, though many of them were considerably older. They seemed to me to be very nice people, gentle and well-meaning. I felt a deep sadness for them, because they were looking for truth and peace but had no idea where to find it.
That's rather ironic, because the reason Glastonbury is a meeting place for seekers of spiritual reality is that it's a site of very early British Christianity. It's sad that Glastonbury High Street has several "esoteric" and pagan bookshops but not one Bible bookshop. It's sadder still to see all these lovely people looking for God in all sorts of places, but not finding Him, because they don't know the Gospel and they ignore the church.
This does raise the question: What has the church done (or failed to do) that has resulted in its being irrelevant even to those seeking spiritual truth?
There's a legend that Joseph of Arimathea planted the first English church in Glastonbury in 63 AD. I don't think we can prove that true or false, but Christianity has been in England for nearly 2,000 years. Why haven't we made more of a difference?
We have betrayed the very Truth that we pray others will find. We don't teach the whole Bible as we should, and we don't obey the parts we still teach. We focus on secondary issues, such as the role of women or sexual morality, instead of primary issues like love, forgiveness, gentleness, and kindness. We devote ourselves to talking and to making money, not to prayer and worship. Many Christians in every age have lived sinful lives of selfishness, greed and debauchery. We have persecuted our enemies, when our Lord told us to love our enemies. We have gathered wealth for ourselves and our churches, when Jesus taught us to give to the poor.
Whether you agree with all that or not, perhaps you can agree with this: The only hope for the spiritual and practical well-being of the British nation lies with the church. We are the ones who have received spiritual enlightenment. We are the ones who are indwelt by the Holy Spirit. We are the ones who can boldly approach the throne of God. We are God's children. We have all the power and all the authority.
It is as true today as it has ever been that God can send revival on a nation, through the church. It is as true today as it has ever been that England needs a revival. It is as true today as it has ever been that God is calling His people to repentance, humility, prayerfulness and obedience.
Across the country, and across the world, people are seeking spiritual truth. The church has unique access to that truth. Our sin, our fleshly lives and our disobedience hide the truth.
After 2,000 years, isn't it time we started taking God seriously?