Why is there war in Europe?
by Rt Rev Edward J Malcolm
Why is there war in Europe? The reasons are complex. Among those reasons is one that has not received much attention, but which ought to be of particular interest to us. President Putin believes that the EU, backed by NATO, is a force for harm because it promotes Western liberal anti-Christian values. Gay rights, same-sex ‘marriage’ and the transgender agenda are evidence of this harm. He believes the attempt to get Ukraine into both NATO and the EU is a further step in the encircling of Russia, threatening her conservative morals and values.
Over the years a number of reports have revealed the surprising connection between Putin and the Russian Orthodox Church. For some time now, membership of the Orthodox Church has been seen as a sign of patriotism. Whereas once the Church in Russia existed only because it kept out of the way, under Putin it has thrived and been brought centre-stage. Putin does appear to see himself as the protector of Christian morality.
Ironically, it was Marxism that first used Christian teaching on homosexuality as a means to break up Western European society. Adding women’s rights, such as the right to divorce, to work, and not to have to bring up children, activists taught the working class that the Church worked hand in hand with the upper class to oppress the poor through false morality. By making homosexuality acceptable the working class would resist both the Church and the norms of society.
The lessons have been learned too well in the West, and we are now exporting this attitude around the world. When the Episcopal Church of the United States offered to help some African churches financially (ECUSA being very wealthy) they attached strings to the offer: remove opposition to homosexuality, and the money would be forthcoming.
At the time of the introduction of gay ‘marriage’ it was reported rather quietly that David Cameron’s announcement preempted a ruling from the EU that would have made the change in law inevitable. No wonder the Russian President, a socially very conservative man, looks on the EU with such suspicion.
His method of resorting to military action reveals the basis on which he is operating. In a word, this is not a Christian response. There are many in the West who are deeply unhappy with the social changes being forced on our way of life by people whose agenda we reject, but we would never stoop to violence to resist.
Christian attitudes must be taught biblically.
The Bible teaches us what is and is not acceptable to the Lord our God. The ministry of our Lord Jesus Christ shows the difference between the religion of the heart and the religion of the head. Mere prejudice, no matter how zealously held, is not the same as biblical truth. Such truth begins with the person of God, his nature, character and attributes. It teaches us to consider how the person of God is expressed in his revelation to his creation in Scripture. It knows to not depart from that revealed pattern. It teaches us that all biblical attitudes are centred in the person of our Lord Jesus Christ, so that it is as we are in him that we are able to understand these things. Without a personal knowledge of Christ—saving faith—it is not possible to hold any truly Christian attitudes.
Christian attitudes must be held biblically.
Zeal and grace are two very different matters. Zeal led Saul of Tarsus to go after any who believed in Jesus as the Messiah. He was content to see them carted off the prison and even to death. He consented to the murder of Stephen for preaching Jesus Christ. Grace led the same man, once converted, to face a stoning himself, as well as beatings, imprisonments, hunger, cold, shipwreck, and many other trials. Grace led him to exert himself in preaching the gospel far and wide, calling sinners to repentance. We must be gracious in the way we hold our attitudes, knowing that the truth is inseparable from grace. Unbelievers cannot help being wrong because they are devoid of the light, the truth as it is in Christ Jesus.
Christian attitudes must be expressed biblically.
Why does our heavenly Father make his holy character known in Scripture? So that we might turn to him in humility, repentance and faith. He shows himself to be kind, loving, merciful and gracious. If we have come to the knowledge of the truth, and if we hold truly Christian opinions biblically, we must express them biblically. We dare not use our knowledge to hurt others, or to condemn them, but we use it to warn, exhort and teach, urging them to repent and turn to Jesus Christ in faith. We do not coerce or threaten, and we certainly never use any form of violence. Rather, we seek to demonstrate the love of Christ, for what can be more loving than to warn the lost of their state, and point them to the only refuge?