Christendom as a whole is under attack
In a letter to the Sunday Telegraph published in that newspaper’s 28 March 2010 edition, five Evangelical bishops of the Church of England have politely drawn attention to the increasing volume of persecution of Christians in England and, in a governessy sort of way, insisted that the antichristian forces in British society cease and desist forthwith. The bishops’ reproach fell somewhat short of white-hot prophetic vigour: “We are deeply concerned at the apparent discrimination shown against Christians and we call on the Government to remedy this serious development.”
As the bishops’ letter begins with a protest over the case of a middle-aged English nurse dismissed for insisting on displaying, when on duty, a crucifix that she has worn since her confirmation decades ago, it demonstrates how British society in particular (along with European society in general) has lurched dramatically back to a stage prior to the work of the much maligned Constantine the Great.
While the bishops’ concern is genuine and the issue they address real, one wonders whether they are taking the right approach. Can we picture Peter and Paul, around the year 68, stamping their feet and stressing the paramount need for Nero to respect the human rights of the nascent Christian community in Rome? Can we get our hands on evidence that the bishops and other ecclesial spokesmen of the day adopted the tone of these Anglican Evangelical prelates toward Decius and Diocletian?
More to the point, can we imagine Diocletian, Decius, and Nero meekly agreeing to “remedy the serious developments” that had occurred on their respective imperial watches? Rather than issuing impotent appeals to the successive beasts that arise from the earth, bishops are to prepare and equip the Christian faithful to undergo the fires of tribulation that the Lord permits to come their way. For, make no doubt about it, the days of Diocletian and Decius and perhaps of Nero also are fast returning to the Western world.