The real meaning of David Cameron’s recent speech on the 400th Anniversary of the KJV might be lost if we are not careful. If you haven’t read it take a few minutes.
Don’t misunderstand me…my life is dedicated to the impact of Scripture. These words go deeper.
My hat is off to the PM for his forthright and unequivocal, yet thoughtful and gentle, proclamations about the role to the Bible in shaping the society in the UK. I am deeply moved by his ability to state his position/perspective while at the same time creating ‘space’ and respecting those holding differing views: an imperative for a free and pluralistic society. His words remind me of what the Apostle Paul said, “I am not ashamed of the Gospel…”
Unpacking the content/meaning would be difficult but I was struck in particular by this quote:
“…[W]e need a lot less of the passive tolerance of recent years and a much more active, muscular liberalism. A passively tolerant society says to its citizens, as long as you obey the law we will just leave you alone. It stands neutral between different values. But I believe a genuinely liberal country does much more; it believes in certain values and actively promotes them. We need to stand up for these values.”
A new definition of what being a liberal means?
I hate labels…but, it is time for those of us who think biblically, as apparently David Cameron is trying to think, to start talking more about values as portrayed in the life of Jesus…Simply Jesus (by NT Wright, and a great book by the way). Jesus was God–an ordained living example of the mix of the things I think Cameron promotes in this speech.
How do we, those who think we think biblically, apply standards, the standards we saw in Jesus, in the areas of social programs that are designed to help the disadvantaged, widows, orphans and the poor while at the same time honoring our commitment to a biblical standard that honors people who work and do not hold fast to a sense of entitlement? This is hard work…and I think Cameron understands that is a struggle we Christians will always have with us. No easy answers.
Finally, I believe Cameron knows that our Christian values and standards can ‘compete’ in the public square with other ideas and philosophies…respect, yes, but no apologies are necessary.
In 2012, may there be more engagement around our values, values shaped by Scripture, in a winsome way. And may that engagement point people to Christ the ultimate and living example of God in charge…here on earth…may it be so just as it is in heaven.