This article was originally published in Edition (10) of Prayer Magazine,  Apr-Jun 2007.

Evangelical Alliance General director Joel Edwards responds.

Joel, how would you sum up the spritual state of the UK?

JE: It’s a case of a ‘tale of two cities’ at the moment! On the one hand, we are seeing death among the old, historical denominations, which is very disappointing. The nation seems to be swaying away from the historical, traditional approach to church.

On the other hand, however, there’s a new vibrancy and passion for missions that we haven’t seen in decades. There’s a commitment to social action, prayer and increased level of political awareness. We have Christian MPs and young Christian civil servants, so in some ways it’s not that bad.

Church leadership is going through a crisis at the moment, though; churches can’t seem to find adequate leaders. It’s a problem.

Are the recent Sexual Orientation Regulations (SORs) that  could force churches to employ homosexuals a concern to you?

JE: The Evangelical Alliance applauds the sentiments behind the laws, which are to find equality to all people of all race, colour and religion. No one should be discriminated against, so we are pleased the government is going down these lines. However, the law is over-enthusiatic , and there needs to be a balance and a respect for people of faith.

How much do we need prayer in our nation?

The same as anywhere else – a lot! There isn’t a British quantity and an African quantity. We all need to pray, and we all need to pray lots.

People say that we could become a Muslim nation within the next 20 to 30 years. Do you think that’s a possibility?

JE: Not really. We have a right to be concerned but we shouldn’t panic. If we really believe in the God of Scripture and the God of the Bible then we shouldn’t worry. The politicians of the UK will not tolerate it; we are seeing signs in Parliament that those in authority would be very unhappy if this happened.

After 9/11, 7/7 and the whole veil dispute, the Prime Minister is speaking much more against extremism than ever before. There is great resistance against Muslim extremists, so we shouldn’t worry.

How can we stop Muslim influence in our country?

JE: We need to be a praying people and a doing people. Prayer is usually the answer, although sometimes involvement is the answer. How we respond against the challenges of Islam is crucial. Imagine a church where every member was involved in doing something for the community, such as politics or community care. Imagine the impact if Christians were taking roles that Muslims currently occupy. I think that could change soon.

 

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