There is much that is good about Christian Concern. They are fighting for matters about which most Christians would bury their heads in the sand.
However this post (Court says Christians don’t keep Sunday special for it to be protected | Christian Concern) raises concerns for me.
The case is about a woman who took a job believing she was given exemption from working on Sunday only to find later that her employer does not stand by that exemption. The case goes on with CC’s help.
The argument invokes a wider issue than just that of Sunday employment. The article above states:
“In passing the ruling, Mr Justice Langstaff held that Sunday was not a ‘core’ component of the Christian faith because some Christians would be prepared to work on a Sunday; and therefore Christians as a whole do not need Sunday protected.
The article goes on to express concern that we have the officers of the State ruling on what are core Christian beliefs. This is a right concern – the State must keep its fingers out of this sort of matter.
But the question is this: who does decide? Who gets to pronounce what is a core belief? This is where I have the concern, and it is a concern not so much about the State, which will always want to stick its fingers where they are not wanted, but about the church generally, and particularly in the UK.
There was a time when the church (that is, the visible church as a whole) expressed its core beliefs in creeds and confessions. It was a simple matter to point to what the core beliefs were: look up your confession of faith. Nowadays, with the wholesale fragmentation of the church under the pressure of enlightenment individualism (and, dare I say it, an erroneous belief in independency of the local church gone to seed) ask 100 people/churches what the core beliefs of Christianity are, and you get 100 different answers.
What we are left with, and I think it appears in this Christian Concern case, is not the defence of a Biblical and confessional position of the historic Christian church, but the defence of a particular personal belief as a core article of his/her Christian practice. What Christian Concern is defending is not the principle of Sabbath, which is Biblical and confessional, but what ultimately for them is more fundamental: the right to personal religious belief, which isn’t (see Acts 17:30 – “The times of ignorance God overlooked, but now he commands all people everywhere to repent” ESV, and then think about its implications). It is actually standing on a principle that derives from the Enlightenment.
This highlights for me how ill-equipped the modern Christian church is to fight the battles that are coming to keep the State’s sticky fingers out of the church’s affairs. The State wants to, but the church is confused about what it believes. So, it is unprepared and, for the most part, unconcerned about what should really be Christian concerns.