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Saturday, 28 May 2016

I was Enlightened.

During this month's midweek Bible study, I was given a booklet by a very good friend of mine. Issued by the Bible Society, the title of the booklet was The Servant Queen and the King she serves, which was published to commemorate her 90th birthday. It tells in full detail how her lifetime on the Throne had always been devoted to God through faith in Jesus Christ. Although I was fully aware of Her Majesty's Christian upbringing, I was until now unaware of her personal devotion. Instead I have always likened her to that of a figurehead which had decorated the prows of sailing ships of times past, to give each vessel its specific identification. So that was how the Queen had always presented herself - the figurehead of the State Church of England, of which she is the Supreme Governor.

But the booklet has revealed the more hidden side of her reign which the Media does not make so obvious - her love and servitude to Jesus Christ, and even quoting Scripture, particularly Luke 10 and the Parable of the Good Samaritan, which she has quoted in full frequently. It remains unfortunate that the booklet gives very little detail of her pre-Coronation existence, whether there was a time when she first believed, whether she prayed "the sinner's prayer" in the privacy of her room, or whether she grew up in such a strong Christian environment, that she took it for granted that she was born Christian, and that salvation was her automatic right as future heir of the throne. Whichever case might have been, reading about her devotion to God through faith in Jesus has definitely enlightened me from her being a likeness of a figurehead to that of a committed believer.

It was this devotion which enabled her to keep her character impeccable throughout her reign, with her stoicism not going unnoticed. She was never late for an appointment, and she has always at work at the palace, dealing with paperwork and different correspondences. I have come to realise that she, through the power of God in her, has displayed a character which unfortunately, seemed to have failed to pass on to her offspring. For example, the scandal surrounding her eldest son Prince Charles' attitude towards his marriage to Diana, their divorce, and her death by a car accident in Paris in August 1997, has shaken the reputation of the Firm to its foundations.

But why did my friend give me this booklet in the first place? I then asked him whether I came across as being Republican, or simply anti-monarchic. As a reader and follower of this blogger page, he gave a hesitated hint that this was the case. Probably I have an idea where he was coming from. I have admitted that my late father was a Republican and a devout Labour voter, and henceforth I grew up in an environment where concerns for the hard working wage-earner was much greater than the welfare of the rich, the big corporations and their bosses, and that of the monarchy. This upbringing has most likely had percolated through these blog posts from time to time. So where do I actually stand?

It was because I became a believer of Jesus Christ as Saviour at still a tender age of twenty years that I have remained a supporter of the monarchical system. Although I can't be dogmatic on this, had I remained unconverted, it would have been possible to follow my Dad and end up as a Republican. Instead, my support for the Royal Family stems from the Bible's testimony that this Jesus who was crucified, will be one day King of kings and Lord of lords. I have learnt this quite early as a believer, with the emphasis that Jesus will be the King of Israel, sitting on the Throne of his father David. But as I understand it, although I admit of being a Monarchist, I would never bring myself to being a Royalist. I believe there is a difference between these two terms. "Monarchist" defines the role of the Queen in a political sphere, that is, she is able to keep the UK better united, along with a greater economic stability, than a President would. A Royalist is one who actually worships the Queen and her siblings, even filling his house with royal ornaments and trinkets, as well as standing bowed outside Buckingham Palace. That is my view based on what I have seen over the years. Your view may be different.

Princess Diana was loved by the nation.

Although the booklet has brought out a greater admiration for the Queen than I had for her before, due to her devotion to Jesus Christ, I could not help in taking note about her opinions of other faiths existing in the UK. To her, all faiths are welcome to reside here, and she promotes the unity between them as they exist side by side. This train of thinking has made her very popular among advocates of all faiths, notably among the Jews and Muslims. The result of this multi-faith co-existence had made her loved, even adored by all - not just here in the UK but worldwide.

Not quite the warning Jesus himself had made to his followers:

If the world hates you, keep in mind that it hated me first. If you belong to this world, the world would love you as its own. As it is, you do not belong to the world, but I have chosen you out of this world. That is why the world hates you. John 15:18-19.

Perhaps its worth noting the word if, he uses here to open his statement. Many a Christian meeting I attended, particularly in a house-group, there were discussions on why we were not treated with the hostility we were expecting. And why we don't suffer any persecution as was promised to those who wants to live godly in Christ Jesus (2 Timothy 3:12). Various suggestions were put forward, such as being harassed by the boss, yet failed to impress. We even asked ourselves: Are we really living such godly lives in Christ Jesus? I must admit, the lack of persecution in any form as caused me to question my spiritual health in the past. But looking at the wording in Scripture, Jesus said, "If - the world hates you..." I don't believe that being hated by unbelievers is a necessity for godly living, for Paul later writes: If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone. Romans 12:18.

If the unbelieving world is not persecuting us, then this should be an extra blessing, shouldn't it? In some ways, the Queen seems to be playing her cards right by accepting people of all faiths to live in harmony with each other. By contrast, Jesus had said some bigoted things that would stir up the mud, or kick the dust into the air: I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life. No man comes to the Father except through me. John 14:6.  

Supposing the Queen insisted that Jesus Christ is the only way to heaven, and that Mohammed was a phony, how would the Muslim community respond? Suddenly, the Queen would be no longer held with such respect, let alone loved. Or turning to the Jews living here and saying that the Law of Moses has been fulfilled in Christ, and they must believe in him or perish. Much love lost, I guess. Now it is a possibility, by reading the booklet, that the Queen may embrace Creationism over Darwinism. Suppose she came out with this, declaring that the 6 x 24-hour literal Creation is truly historic, displacing Evolution as a sham. No doubt the vast majority of the academic world would be mortified! But being the Queen, the worst she could experience would be Media coverage, swaths of newspaper articles and even live debating on the TV. But nothing worse than that, if it comes to that. Meanwhile among the Muslims, Jews and scientists, rumblings of discontent would quite possibly sound under the veneer of respectable silence.

As for us ordinary citizens, (yes, citizen, much preferred over being referred to as a Queen's subject) - to declare that Jesus Christ is the only way could well stir discontent to a greater or lesser degree. Here in the UK, causing little more than a raised eyebrow, maybe a passing dirty look, but nothing more. But go to a Muslim country such as Saudi Arabia or Iran, then to publicly exclaim that Jesus Christ is the only way to God would bring more than just a dirty look. Such was the case of Stephen within a Jewish community (Acts 7). What he said about Jesus being the Christ had cost him his life.

I guess that is what Jesus was referring to when he warns his followers that the world would hate them. For bigotry. For insisting that faith in Jesus Christ is the only way to God the Father. Nobody else. Not through Moses. Not through Mohammed. And certainly not by self effort, even if given a boost by God himself. Even throughout the centuries free grace versus self effort became the cause for the Reformation, along with other dissent within the churches. and so, what I call the threefold pillar of salvation, would be disputed by not a few within the Christian realm.

Soteriology, the study of salvation, is a wonderful topic, yet no subject brings dissent as much as this one. As with the Trinity, many who claim to be Christian deny the truthfulness of a Triune God. But with the truthfulness of salvation, there are still many who believe wholeheartedly in the Trinity, but deny the full threefold power of salvation given to the believer as a free gift from heaven. So what is this threefold gift?

The first is Justification by Faith, or forensic acquittal. This involves forgiveness of all our sins, past, present and future. Since we were all born many years after the Crucifixion of Jesus Christ, his Burial, and his Resurrection, then every sin we would ever commit would also be after his Ascension. Therefore his forgiveness must cover the whole of our lives, from birth to death. The second is Imputed Righteousness, that is, having the righteousness of Jesus Christ imputed into our account. This result in a new creation, regeneration, being born from above. The third is Eternal Security, or Once Saved Always Saved. This is simply because at the moment of conversion, the believer is forever adopted into God' family, itself the reward to the Son from the Father for giving himself up on the cross. Since God is omniscient, nothing can take him by surprise. So it is easy to conclude that when it came to foreknowledge and predestination, God knew exactly who will respond, and decided from eternity past who would make a good gift for his Son. As I once said some years ago, God the Father would never give a naff present to his Son as a reward!

I have experienced dislike, to put it mildly, by those who reject the concept of Eternal Security. Instead they argue that salvation can be lost if the believer sins excessively or turns from his faith. I refer this as not the free gift of salvation by grace alone, but a probational salvation proved by the believer's own worthiness. The snag with that idea is not only the believer has something to boast about for eternity, it also denies God's omniscience. If God already had known that the believer would have fallen away and be lost again, would he have taken the trouble to save him in the first place? Would God give his Son such a "gift" for his sufferings, only to turn out that this particular gift was naff? Furthermore, we are saved - not for our sakes but for his sake. We are a gift from the Father to the Son, approved and sanctioned by the Holy Spirit. We are saved for the very glory of God. Salvation cannot be lost!

I do not know how much the Queen knows about the study of Soteriology. I do not know whether she believes in Eternal Security or not. I do believe though, that the Church of England leans towards Arminianism, that is, holding the concept of Probational Salvation. If so, as Supreme Governor of the C. of E. it might be possible that's the bedrock which underlies her impeccable devotion to God. But she remains duty-bound never to admit or deny this matter. The same goes with her attitude towards different non-Christian faiths. Whatever her true feelings might be, she will always remain quiet.

But having read the booklet, may I say, "God bless her Majesty the Queen."  


  1. Dear Frank,
    It is indeed a fine line that the Christian must walk between being in the world and being of the world. With worldly power, as in the case of the Queen, this becomes even more difficult. She must be a Godly example and remain true to her beliefs, yet not alienate those she has the power to influence for good. It calls to mind the story of Queen Esther, who had to keep her Judaism a secret until God's perfect timing allowed her to reveal it. Had she done so too soon, she could have lost influence with the king, and with it the power to save her people.
    Thanks as always for the excellent, thought-provoking post.
    God bless,

  2. Good post Frank. It would be difficult to Be in a position such as the Queen has and maintain and effective testimony for the Lord.