General Election 2024 – Britain and the Bible

General Election 2024 video made in conjunction with the Bible Society. Our goal is that every church in the UK would show this video at a service in the next few weeks in the run-up to the election.

Animation: John Bowen Script: Andy Flannagan

If you ask 100 Christians “Should the Bible influence politics and legislation?”, you will mostly get the answer YES.

But the question Christians find it harder to agree on is: “HOW should the Bible influence legislation?”

For example if you ask the same 100 people if they think that adultery is WRONG, they’ll likely mostly raise their hands….

But ask them if they think adultery should be AGAINST THE LAW, and you start to get quizzical looks. A few may keep their hands raised, but then have second thoughts. I see it happen regularly.

How would you police that law? And is that a good use of police time when you consider all the other challenges facing society?

So biblical wisdom for a fallen world means not always just cutting and pasting words from scripture into legislation…

But Christians can sometimes swing to the opposite extreme saying, “in politics it’s not our job to impose the Bible’s morality on everyone else not so much cut and paste as cut and run – we feel we shouldn’t be forcing our opinions on anyone”.

But if you have the responsibility of legislating, then your job is exactly that – to impose your version of morality on others for the sake of the common good. It’s why politicians generally aren’t that popular. It’s a tough job to have that responsibility and restrict people’s freedoms to secure other freedoms.. To just SUGGEST that people drive at 30mph, or that they shouldn’t steal things from shops wouldn’t work. Law is necessarily coercive Experience sadly teaches us that human nature can’t be trusted that far. Sometimes we need a nudge and sometimes a shove in the right direction.

Of course, we won’t all agree what our laws should be, but that’s why we have council chambers and parliaments to canvass a wide range of opinion, then debate and determine the majority view.

And if the Bible contains the story of how to live life to the full…should the Bible’s wisdom not be in that conversation?

Laws also shape culture. Look at the change in attitudes to wearing seatbelts, or to smoking in public places. NOW, those things are a ‘given’. But previously they weren’t.

Culture subtly shifts our thinking and behaviour. It has the same root as the word CULT. It provides leadership almost without us evaluating or processing it. It is the invisible ether that convinces us and especially our young people what is right and wrong, permissible and possible, not because we have heard an argument about it, but because ‘that’s just how it is’. On some issues, what people believe to be right and wrong has changed from say 30 years ago and that was different to 30 years before that. This is cultural change.

Politics has been shown to be one of the prime drivers of culture, along with media, the arts, education, religion and family. Don’t we want the truth and goodness of the Bible influencing the cultural air we breathe?

So let’s engage again with this incredible book which has informed legislation and culture for hundreds of years and do the more challenging, complicated work of grappling with how the words of Great Designer should influence legislation in this era. We have some resources to help you do just that….

In his second letter to Timothy, Paul writes that the scriptures make us wise for eternal salvation in Christ Jesus AND equip us for every GOOD WORK in this present world. Therefore, let’s avoid the lazy answers of ‘cut and paste’ and ‘cut and run’ when it comes to the Bible and put it into action in the GOOD WORK of politics.

Post expires on July 28th, 2024

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