Exminster Methodist Church, Main Road, Exminster EX6 8BT
Email email@example.com, Minister: Rev Ben Haslam, Telephone (01392) 256716
Monthly Message from Rev Ben Haslam
I remember visiting the beautiful medieval town of Breda in the Netherlands. The Cathedral there is stunning, though visiting it was a sad experience. It was sad because it is no longer a working church but a museum. In the Soviet Union, many monasteries were turned into museums to make the point that Christianity belonged in the past, something with no place in contemporary life. Ironically, the Soviet Union has now passed into history whilst God’s church, in many parts of the world, is growing. In a similar vein, the French writer and philosopher Voltaire famously prophesied that one day Christianity would be expunged from the earth and the Bible completely forgotten. Less than sixty years after Voltaire’s death, his house in Switzerland was being used by the Evangelical Society of Geneva to store Bibles and tracts. That I am writing this, and you are reading it, further gives the lie to Voltaire’s arrogant prediction. Not that we can blame Voltaire entirely. He was articulating views which were gaining currency amongst the educated elite and seemed to many to be pointing towards a progressive, enlightened future. Theologians eventually tried to reconcile some of these anti-God ideas with Christian faith, with no success.
Those who made, and still make, the claim that Christianity is a hangover from the past would have a much better case were it not for the Holy Spirit. It was the Spirit which took a group of frightened believers, huddled together for safety, and breathed into them the gift of spiritual unity and divine power. From that event began a new chapter in the long story of God and His people. The church, consisting of human beings as it does, is not perfect, but the Spirit has kept the show on the road for 2,000 years, whilst all kinds of philosophical and cultural fads have come and gone. Some have mistaken some passing trend for the prompting of the Spirit, and parts of the church are waylaid as a result. The big picture though, is that millions have found, in different countries, different cultures, different ages, that Jesus is Lord and been nourished and upheld in that faith by God’s Holy Spirit. That’s why there is still a Church. That’s why there will continue to be a Church. What we need is not so much better strategies, bright ideas and more management, but greater confidence in being what we already are. God’s holy, chosen, Spirit-filled people.
God bless, Ben