Q: What is the state of evangelism in the U.K. today?
A: Psalm 89:14 says: “Righteousness and justice are the foundation of your throne; steadfast love and faithfulness go before you” (ESV). What I see happening in the U.K. is that a lot of evangelism is taking place. There is a lot of talk about the love of God and about God as a loving Father. Praise God for that. But it’s only half of what we need to be preaching. There is also the part where people need to repent of their sin and believe that Jesus has to become their righteousness. They need to come to His throne, and there they need to confront His justice and righteousness. That’s where we are undone and where we realize that Christ is the only way to the Father.
Q: Do you see churches being bold about standing for Biblical truth?
A: I get a sense that in the U.K., churches want to stand for something. When they see Franklin Graham standing so strong on issues, they are rallying around that. Leaders from one evangelical denomination told me, “Finally somebody is saying what needs to be said.” There is a desire to go back to “the Word of God says this.” The Word of God says a union is between a man and a woman. The Word of God says we are created male and female. Churches across the country are saying, “Thank God for what you are standing for.”
Q: How have believers responded during the recent terror attacks and disasters?
A: In the six months I’ve been there, we’ve had five terrorist attacks and also a major disaster, the fire at Grenfell Tower. We’ve been able to deploy our chaplains into these situations, and a lot of people in these areas have been new arrivals to the U.K. Many have been Muslim families, and they have been able to see the care and compassion of Christians. Together, the living of the Gospel and the proclaiming of it in the midst of crisis is sending a strong signal to people.
I was speaking at a meeting a couple of weeks ago, and a woman said, “Our church was in the middle of the fire, caring for these people. We were worn out and exhausted. And the BGEA chaplains came. It was like a breath of fresh air; they ministered to us who were worn out and tired, and they helped our church care for the people.”
Q: How much openness is there to the Gospel?
A: I think there is a tremendous willingness and openness. And the evangelistic efforts of some of the groups, especially some of the African churches, are amazing to me. The fastest-growing denomination in the country is a denomination that owes its Christian heritage and history to Brits who went to Nigeria as missionaries. Now Nigerians are coming back to the U.K. and actively proclaiming the Gospel throughout the country in a beautiful way. Their goal is to plant a new church every week, and they are on track to do it.
Q: How can churches best focus their efforts?
A: 1 Peter 3:15 says, first of all, to set apart Christ as Lord in your hearts. Always be prepared to give the reason for the hope that you have, with all gentleness and respect. I don’t want people giving a reason for the hope that they have unless they have set apart Christ as Lord. Start there, and then you’re ready to give a reason for your hope. But then what does it say? Do it with all gentleness and respect. We don’t need to recreate the wheel; what we need to do is be strong on the Gospel.