I once, together with my wife, attended a cathedral service, the nave was cold and damp and around twenty people, if that, were scattered around, seemingly trying to sit as far apart from each other as possible. The singing was less than half hearted, and the sermon. Well! Twenty minutes of waffle. The speaker had the whole of Scripture to choose from but his theme, as far as me and my wife could discern was, ‘in spite of what people say there must surely be something.’ No wonder churches are empty!
Now the interesting thing is that the Elim Pentecostal Church was a stone’s throw from that Cathedral and it was necessary to hold two Sunday morning services, as well as the evening service in order to get everyone in who wanted to come. Maybe many in Britain are looking in the wrong place, and possibly for the wrong reasons, in order to find out about the growth or decline of Christianity in the U. K.
Forget for a minute the epithets ‘happy clappy’ or ‘sad, sorrowful and traditional’. What you want to look for is a local church that exalts Jesus Christ as Saviour and Lord, worships in spirit and in truth as Jesus himself tells us that God requires - John 4: 23 & 24 - A church that expounds the Holy Scriptures with power and enthusiasm. Look for a local church where there is deep joy and a fellowship that is close and loving and drawn from a wide cross section of British society. Above all a church where lives have been, and are being, changed for all eternity.
In the programme that my son recorded the best defence of Christianity came, not from the platform, but from two fine young men who spoke and argued very positively with the anointing of the Holy Spirit upon them.
There was an interesting intervention at one point by the compare. He asked the Christians on the platform, "Why is it that there are more atheists in the most developed countries with better educational possibilities than in the less developed ones?" That question is of course open to debate, but even if true, I feel that the New Testament of the Bible gives the best answer to it. I therefore make no apology for the following very long quote from the apostle Paul’s first letter to the church in Corinth
"Christ - (sent) me to preach the gospel - not with clever words, so that the cross of Christ will not be emptied (of its effect).
For those who are perishing the message of the cross is foolishness, but to us who are being saved it is God’s power. For it is written: "I will destroy the wisdom of the wise, and I will set aside the understanding of the experts." Where is the philosopher? Where is the scholar? Where is the debater of this age? Hasn’t God made the world’s wisdom foolish?
For since in God’s wisdom, the world did not know God through wisdom, God was pleased to save those who believe through the foolishness of the message preached.
For the Jews seek a sign and the Greeks (gentiles) seek wisdom, but we preach Christ crucified a stumbling block to the Jews and foolishness to the gentiles. Yet to those who are called, both Jews and Greeks (gentiles), Christ is God’s power and God’s wisdom, because God’s foolishness is wiser than human wisdom, and God’s weakness is stronger than human strength.
Brothers consider your calling: not many are wise from a human perspective, not many powerful, not many of noble birth. Instead, God has chosen the world’s foolish things to shame the wise, and God has chosen the world’s weak things to shame the strong. God has chosen the world’s insignificant and despised things - the things viewed as nothing - so that he might bring to nothing the things that are viewed as something, so that no one can boast in his presence. But from him you are in Christ Jesus, who for us became wisdom from God, as well as righteousness, sanctification and redemption. In order that, as it is written: The one who boasts must boast in the lord.
When I came to you brothers, announcing the testimony of God to you, I did not come with brilliance of speech or wisdom. For I was determined to know nothing among you except Jesus Christ and him crucified.
And I was with you in weakness and fear, and in much trembling. My speech and my proclamation were not with persuasive words of wisdom, but with the demonstration of the Spirit and power, so that your faith might not be based on men’s wisdom but on God’s power.
However, among the mature we do speak wisdom, but not a wisdom of this age, which is coming to nothing. On the contrary, we speak God’s hidden wisdom in a mystery which God predestined before the ages for our glory. None of the rulers of this age knew it, for if they had known it they would not have crucified the Lord of glory.
But as it is written; "What no eye has seen and no ear has heard, and what has never come into man’s heart, is what God has prepared for those who love him."
Now God has revealed them to us by the Spirit, for the Spirit searches everything, even the deep things of God. For who among men knows the concerns of a man except the spirit of the man that is in him? In the same way, no one knows the concerns of God except the Spirit of God. Now we have not received the spirit of the world, but the spirit who is from God. We speak these things not in words taught by human wisdom, but in those taught by the Spirit, explaining spiritual things to spiritual people.
But the natural man does not welcome what comes from God’s Spirit, because it is foolishness to him; he is not able to know it since it is evaluated spiritually. The spiritual person, however, can evaluate everything, yet he himself cannot be evaluated by anyone. For "who has known the Lord’s mind that he may instruct him?" But we have the mind of Christ - 1 Corinthians 2: 1 to 16
Holman’s Standard Bible Knowledge and a good education is not to be in any way despised, and a high IQ is a great blessing, but we can never know God and come to Jesus Christ and be saved through worldly knowledge and education, but by taking Jesus’ words seriously and having confidence in them; he said to his disciples -
"Your heart must not be troubled. Believe in God; believe also in me. In my Father’s house are many dwelling places; if not I would have told you. I am going away to prepare a place for you" - John 14: 1 & 2 Holman´s standard Bible
This is an invitation to trust and many simple and uneducated people world - wide have done so and found Jesus’ words to be true, and life changing. If you who are reading this are well educated be thankful to God for it and for the gift of intelligence to benefit from it.
But come to Jesus Christ in faith confessing your need. for both the educated and the uneducated must come the same way and be saved. Afterwards the Lord will use that intelligence and that good education you have been blessed with for the extension of his kingdom.
Come now! Come to the cross! Begin a new life through the Holy Spirit...
God bless you!!!
Pastor Gordon Guillermo Burgess
Alicante Church Of The Good Shepherd
Pastor Gordon Guillermo Burgess
Alicante Church Of The Good Shepherd