Looking back at the last ten years
2010 to 2019 was a remarkable decade for brave Christians who stood up for Jesus Christ. Sadly it was also a decade where the Government redefined the law on marriage, abortion was extended, a blind eye was turned to drugs use and gambling and LGBT issues were relentlessly promoted in schools.
We thank God for the growth in support for our work, the legal successes, the campaign victories. And the way in which even losses have been and will be used by him to glorify the Lord Jesus Christ.
There are many, many things we could have highlighted from the work of The Christian Institute over the last ten years. Here are just ten.
The Equality Act becomes law. But not before Christian Peer Lady O’Cathain led a campaign to stop plans to narrow the employment rights of churches.
Originally, the Bill proposed a narrowing of the right of churches to employ staff whose conduct is consistent with church teaching on sexual ethics. We obtained expert legal advice, published our research, raised concerns with the Government and Parliamentarians, and supported measures to improve the legislation.
The Charity Commission gives the Christian adoption and fostering agency, Cornerstone, a clean bill of health.
With the Institute’s help it was able to show the Commission that its policy of only placing children with couples who adhere to its evangelical doctrinal basis and code of conduct was lawful.
Cornerstone is still placing vulnerable children with loving parents today.
We supported Adrian Smith after he was demoted and subjected to a 40 per cent pay cut for saying gay weddings in churches would be an “equality too far” on Facebook.
The High Court ruled in his favour.
The year began with a tremendous free speech victory for The Christian Institute and the Reform Section 5 campaign.
Section 5 of the Public Order Act 1986 criminalised “threatening, abusive or insulting” words or behaviour which are likely to cause “harassment, alarm or distress”.
Christians had been arrested, detained and – in some cases – prosecuted simply for expressing their religious beliefs.
Because of the Reform Section 5 campaign the law was changed to protect free speech.
Another free speech victory. This time for the Reform Clause 1 campaign with the Institute, the National Secular Society and the Peter Tatchell Foundation again spearheading calls for change.
The Government had proposed outlawing “nuisance or annoyance” in a public place, a measure likely to adversely affect street preachers.
In January the House of Lords voted 306 to 178 in favour of a better amendment and the Government subsequently backed down.
Friday 11 September 2015 will stay in the mind of supporters for a very long time.
That was the day of a remarkable victory in the House of Commons on assisted suicide following tireless work from the Institute and others.
Watch this highlights reel to see how MPs stood up for life:
In the middle of the year, the UK Supreme Court unanimously agreed that the Named Person scheme should be stripped of its unlawful information-sharing elements.
It was the end of a lengthy legal campaign that really began with a brave Christian family who said no to the Scottish Government peering into their private life.
However, it would still take until 2019 for the Government to finally repeal the entire legislation.
Sometimes good news is about what doesn’t happen.
We challenged three separate initiatives – the state registration and Ofsted inspection of youth work, an ‘equality oath’ for all public sector workers, and extremism disruption orders.
All came under the banner of opposing ‘non-violent extremism’ and all had worrying implications for religious liberty.
Eventually, and rather quietly, all were dropped.
On 10 October 2018 Ashers Baking Company won its case at the Supreme Court as judges unanimously vindicated the bakery.
The McArthur family, who own and run Ashers, had been dragged through the courts by the Equality Commission for Northern Ireland after they refused to decorate a cake with the message ‘Support Gay Marriage’.
Christians across the nation celebrated an amazing answer to prayer.
Most of The Christian Institute’s work is not about campaigns and court cases. It is about informing Christians around the country how they can be a Christian influence in a secular world.
Last year we launched Living Christianity. This teaching series aims to challenge Bible-believing Christians to live out the ‘whole counsel of God’ and be salt and light in the world around us.
Last year also saw us hold 395 church meetings – the highest number in the history of The Christian Institute.
“I am the Alpha and the Omega, the First and the Last, the Beginning and the End”, says Jesus in Revelation.
Whatever the next ten years brings, we know God will be with his people through the Holy Spirit.
The Christian Institute will continue to be salt and light in our world. Please continue to stand with us – and pray for us – as we enter this new decade.