The head of an “unashamedly Christian” charity has delivered a powerful gospel message at the opening of this week’s business in the Scottish Parliament.
Chamber Business usually begins each week with ‘Time for Reflection’. Speakers include representatives of Scotland’s different faiths, as well as those of no religious affiliation.
This week’s Time for Reflection was delivered by Andy Hawthorne OBE, founder and chief executive officer of The Message Trust.
He said: “Presiding Officer, thank you for the privilege of sharing a reflection here today with this great Parliament.
I work for The Message Trust, an unashamedly Christian charity that has developed a knack for reaching the hardest to reach.
“For the past two decades, we have been working in some of England’s toughest estates, and seen crime come down, churches grow and communities transformed in places that were previously spiritual wastelands.
“Right now, we are exploring partnerships with Scottish churches to begin similar new projects here in Scotland.
“Over the past 20 years of doing that, I have become convinced of one thing: God has not finished with us yet.
“I can say with conviction that Tuesday 11 June is an exciting day in the Christian church’s history—perhaps it is the most exciting day in its history.
“That is because, almost certainly, more people will come to know Jesus Christ as Lord and Saviour today than on any other day since he rose from the dead.
“It is hard to believe that when you live in Scotland, one of the very few places in the world where the Christian church has not been growing recently, but if we lift our eyes, it is obvious that God is well and truly on the move.
“As recently as a century ago, two thirds of the world’s Christian believers lived in Europe.
“Now, the vast majority live in Africa, South America, Asia, India or China. In my lifetime, the world has been turned upside down spiritually.
“When Jesus Christ said, ‘I will build my church and Hell itself will not be able to stop it,’ I am sure that the religious leaders watching him suffer and die thought, ‘Sure thing, you’re going to build a church. You’ve never set foot outside of a country smaller than Scotland; you’ve never written a book; you’ve got no money, and you’ve got hardly any followers any more. You’re dying a criminal’s death and yet you claim you’re going to build a church that will spread throughout the world and go on into eternity.’
“Well, I have good news. Jesus Christ keeps his promises—all of them. And today, Tuesday 11 June, more people than ever will discover what I discovered almost 40 years ago: a God who delivers on his promises for his planet, and his promises for individual faithful people.
“Promises of peace, joy and love for him and for others; a confidence of a glorious hope for the future. Now, that is what I call good news.”