The former Liberal Democrat leader, Tim Farron, who was very publicly hounded out of office for some of his Christian beliefs, gave a much-publicised lecture on Tuesday evening. In a speech to Theos, a think tank that promotes debate about the place of religion in society, he said that Christians with an active faith are deemed “dangerous and offensive”.
We may well agree with him. The evidence would suggest that traditional Christian views about sex, abortion and creation are not acceptable in modern Britain. They are considered unscientific, irrational and even immoral. Christian politicians are now often unable to express a Christian position on issues for fear of facing the same sort of witch-hunt that Tim Farron experienced.
But accepting that this might be true does not mean that we should stay quiet on controversial topics or withdraw from public life all together. Serving in public office is one very practical way in which we love our neighbours, and separating personal faith from such a position is impossible. Christians may legitimately reach differing conclusions as to what policies to adopt, but our thinking, our values and our definition of what is good must be defined by God in Scripture.
We want Christians in all walks of life to stand up and speak out about the goodness of God’s ways and tell the gospel as opportunities arise. We will increasingly find ourselves told to keep our faith out of the public square. But truth is something that captures our hearts and compels us to speak and to work out our faith in every part of life.
We should therefore encourage Christians to see serving in public life, including politics, as a good thing and give them our prayerful support.