A Christian MP has spoken in Parliament of his faith: Christ’s incarnation, sinless life, substitutionary death and resurrection.
In a debate in Westminster Hall on the importance of Christianity in society, the MP for Don Valley, Nick Fletcher, said the nation “should be proud of our Christian history and our Christian values”.
As well as explaining the message of the Gospel, he expounded the importance of Christian engagement in society, and how famous social reformers of the past were driven to act by their faith in Jesus.
During his 17 minute speech he said: “Throughout British history, the Christian Church has pioneered some of the most profound and positive social changes to ever bless these islands.
“Here, as in many parts of the world, Christians led the way with universal education and healthcare. As the historian Tom Holland and many others have recognised, so many of the laws and values we now take for granted have their roots firmly in the Christian faith.
“It was the biblical idea of God as the ultimate law-giver that underpinned the Magna Carta, providing the foundation stone of individual freedom and establishing the principle that no one, not even the King, is above the law.”
Government Minister Felicity Buchan responded to the debate, saying: “The latest census tells us that the number of Christians living in this country has decreased; however, Christianity remains the most prominent religion. Christianity has shaped this country’s history, and we should recognise and celebrate that. We can all be proud of our Christian heritage and values.”
She added: “In every city, town and village in the UK, we see the positive impact and vital contributions that Christianity, Christians and churches make to our society, as, indeed, other faiths do too.”
In conclusion, she said: “Easter is the very foundation of the Christian faith. For Christians worldwide, the importance of Easter is in praising and acknowledging Jesus Christ’s resurrection and what that means to them. Easter is a time when we can all learn from Christians coming together, and a time we can all share with loved ones in unison.”
Wilberforce, Shaftesbury, Fry
During his speech, Fletcher also highlighted the fact that many of the most prominent social reformers of the past were driven by their faith in Christ, saying: “It was the Christian faith that compelled William Wilberforce to fight the slave trade, set up care homes for the elderly and to establish the RSPCA.
“It was the Christian faith that moved Lord Shaftesbury to campaign for better working conditions and provision for the mentally ill. It was Christianity that inspired Hannah More to set up free schools for the poor. It was Christianity that prompted Josiah Wedgwood to revolutionise working conditions in his factories. It was the Christian faith that led Elizabeth Fry to campaign for prison reform.”
He added: “Many of our laws are based around the tablets given to Moses on Mount Sinai, and the ethical teaching of the Old and New Testaments. The great biblical institution of marriage is recognised by social science for the emotional and material blessing it brings to spouses and their children. The Christian faith is woven into the social and physical fabric of the United Kingdom.”
‘Part of our culture’
The Christian MP lamented the lack of religious literacy in the nation, saying “fewer and fewer people understand even the most basic claims of the Christian faith” resulting in the knowledge of the UK’s Christian heritage fading from the collective public consciousness.
I’ve been just about 13 years in this House and I have never been so moved listening to a speech. Fiona Bruce MP
He continued: “Some want to rewrite history, but everywhere we look, we see our Christian heritage, and nowhere more than in this place. It matters to our national life, it is the air we breathe. Although many deride and want to misrepresent it, the reality is that it has been a source of great benefit.
“Much of what makes Britain great stems from this heritage, and many others from around the world recognise that, so why don’t we? We should be proud of our Christian history and our Christian values. It would be a constitutional disaster to try and erase it, but even worse, it would be a spiritual disaster.”
The Good News
Fletcher also took time to share the message of the Gospel with the other MPs present at the debate, saying: “The foundational premise of the Gospel is that we are all sinners. We do wrong. Wrong against God, and wrong against one another, and we know it. I know it. I am not proud of it, but it is true.
“If we were all truthful with ourselves, we would all admit we are not the good people we like to think we are.
“We might not all be out stealing and assaulting people, however, I am sure we’ve all said things we wish we hadn’t said, done things we wish we hadn’t done, been unkind instead of kind, greedy instead of generous, we’ve broken promises instead of keeping them, told lies instead of telling the truth. We’ve done things as parents or partners that we know we shouldn’t have.
“In the Old Testament, they covered their sins with sacrifices, their prized lamb or goat sacrificed to God, but God knew we were never going to be able to meet his hopes for our lives, and this is why the events of Easter happened.”
‘The Bible is perfect’
He said: “The Christians who have had such an influence on the life of this nation knew these things to be true because they are written in the pages of the world’s bestselling book, the Holy Bible” which, he added, “with the help of God’s Holy Spirit, anyone can understand”.
by grace alone, through faith alone, in Christ alone
“At Christmas we celebrate Christ’s birth. He came into the world as a unique person. One who is fully human, like us, but also divine, and therefore perfect and sinless. On Good Friday we remember the cross where Jesus was sacrificed to cover our sins.
“And then on Easter Sunday we celebrate the fact that he rose from the dead to sit at the right hand side of God, defeating death for the sake of everyone who believes in him.”
He added that the Bible is “shockingly plain” that no-one can make themselves good enough for God, because salvation is given to us by God “by grace alone, through faith alone, in Christ alone”, adding that this good news of salvation is available to everyone, everywhere.
He concluded: “The main point of Easter is that Christ died for our sins, and he forgave us. That is something we should all remember, and we should follow Christ’s lead with that.
“No matter how badly we have been wronged, no matter how far in the past, the message of Christ’s story, more than anything else, is forgiveness.
“I understand how difficult it is to forgive, but if we can all learn to forgive each other, we will have a wonderful future.”
Bolder and braver
Fellow Christian MP Fiona Bruce was also present during the debate and said: “I’ve been just about 13 years in this House and I have never been more moved listening to a speech.
“He echoes so much of my own experience. I became a Christian when I was 27 and it changed my life. It gave my life meaning and purpose. As he says, it is wonderful to know that we are so loved by someone who was willing even to send his son to die on a cross, and would have done so had we been the only person in the world.”
She offered her thanks and appreciation to Fletcher for speaking “so boldly and so clearly about his faith”, adding: “It humbles me to consider that perhaps over 13 years, I should have been bolder and braver”.