Having reviewed Justin Welby's book Reimagining Britain (full review found here), Martin Davie outlines his version in Britain Reimagined
If we try to imagine what a Britain shaped once again by the Christian narrative would look like, then we can imagine that it would have the following features.
It would be:
A country which accepted the Christian faith as public truth. That is to say, it would be a country in which the government, the education system and the media all worked together with the Church to promote the understanding and acceptance of the Christian message and to encourage people to live out their faith in their individual and communal lives;
A country in which it would once again be regarded as normal for people to be brought to baptism as infants, to then be instructed in the faith by their parents and by the Church, to commit themselves to a life of Christian discipleship when old enough to do so and to make that discipleship the basis for how they lived their lives;
A country in which people were aware of the world to come and strove to live their lives in a way that prepared them for life in God’s eternal kingdom;
A country in which those who were honoured and admired would be those whose lives were most marked by love for God and their neighbours and in which caring for children and other family members was valued as much as paid employment outside the home;
A country which would fully accept people’s right to follow a non-Christian religion, or to be non-religious, and to share their convictions with others, but would also encourage and support Christians sharing the gospel with those who did not yet accept the Christian faith;
A country where, as Lawhead imagines, the churches were packed out week by week and where abundant resources were made available to build new churches and to train and deploy new clergy;
A country in which in place of the present confusion about sexual morality and family life (something which Welby notes, but declines to challenge) it was accepted that God created marriage to be a life-long relationship between a man and a woman and that marriage is the only legitimate place for sexual intercourse and the procreation of children. It would also be a country where intentional singleness was highly regarded as a God given vocation and where those who were single were not lonely because they were given love and support by the family of the Church;
A country in which action was taken to ensure that everyone had enough to live on and in which affordable housing and decent healthcare were available to all;
A country in which everyone would have the opportunity to serve God and the community by employing their God given skills for the benefit of others and to earn a sufficient income to provide for the needs of themselves and their families;
A country in which people used the resources of the earth with care, aware of the need to act as good stewards of God’s creation and to ensure the well-being of future generations;
A country that pursued foreign and aid policies designed to uphold justice, to support those in need and to support the Christian Church in spreading the gospel;
A country which was as generous as possible in welcoming refugees and migrants and which would intentionally seek to ensure that they had the opportunity to hear and accept the Christian message if they were not Christians already.
Such a country would not be perfect. The continuing presence of sin even in the lives of the most dedicated of Christian disciples would mean that it was always a country that failed to live up to the Christian ideal. However it would arguably be a country that came much closer to the Christian ideal than the Britain we live in at present.
Reimagining Britain in this way is important because it gives us something to hope for, to work for and to pray for. We can and should dare to dream that one day, by the grace of God, this is the sort of country Britain might be and then strive to make this dream a reality.
So, Archbishop Welby is right to say that we need to reimagine Britain, but our imagining needs to be more Christian and more radical than the vision he puts forward.
Full review found here.