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Corbyn Mania. Is he the modern Messiah?
Who are the ‘Millennials’? Never heard of them? Why, Millennials are ‘young people’ who have, uncharacteristically, turned out in their droves in the 2017 General Election, and the vast majority of them appear to have voted Labour solely because of Jeremy Corbyn. It’s not too difficult to see why.
He promised to abolish university tuition fees, reintroduce student grants and the Education Maintenance Allowance, cancel student debts, give free lunches to all schoolchildren, bestow a minimum wage of £10 an hour on all workers, and lower the voting age to 16. On top of all this, he’d pour £billions into state schools and £billions more into the NHS, create four new bank holidays, build a million new houses and guarantee a “decent job” for all for life.
What’s not to like? It may have been ‘La La Land’ economics, but who cares? He said things could be done differently, and the idealistic youth believed him. He said things would get better, and they trusted him. It’s the wealthy bankers and posh elites who should pay the country’s debts, not pensioners, the disabled, or impoverished teachers and nurses who haven’t had a real-terms pay increase in a decade.
When children are bombed at a Manchester concert or people stabbed on a London bridge, people take great comfort from the words of political leaders, but only if those words chime with a dimension of sincerity. You may quibble cerebrally over which Party Leader had the better response after the recent atrocities, but the important thing is that young people felt they could trust Mr Corbyn more than Mrs May.
The mobilisation of the student vote was a masterly stroke of play. It even changed the dynamics of the Canterbury Constituency from a Conservative MP for 100 years without a break to a Labour MP, all due to the thousands of students from the three universities who were galvanised into voting, each having the right to vote in the constituency, and at the end of term return home, leaving the local folk with an MP they would not have elected. No doubt such changes were replicated in many other university towns.
Also, from the Pyramid Stage at the Glastonbury Festival, the Labour leader, with his ‘look-alike’ Mosley salute, was given a rock star welcome and received a rapturous applaud whilst addressing the tens of thousands across the festival site. The chorus of “Oh, Jeremy Corbin” – sung to the tune of Seven Nation Army could be heard miles away.
This raises two concerns in my head:
1. Is this modern Messiah determined to bring in a regime/ideology of anti-democracy, where the state is absolute and totalitarian and all citizens must follow the state? More of that at another time.
2. My main anxiety is the condition of the Christian church in the West and particularly in the UK. All the political fervour, energy, enthusiasm, dedication, late nights, early mornings, door to door canvassing and huge expense for a particular cause over a period of seven weeks was immense, yet I continue to witness a laissez-faire, hands-in-pocket attitude of the church delivering its message of salvation and holy living.
Mr Corbyn’s message to the ‘Millennials’ gave hope for the here and now. The message of the Gospel of Jesus Christ is for a future life after death and the churches must step up to the plate for they are ludicrously ineffective at reaching the lost with the Gospel.
In far too many churches outreach has been generalized to the point where the verbal articulation of the Gospel has been exchanged for collecting food for the poor, ministering to the marginalized, reaching out to the hurting and building bridges to the community. Government agencies can take care of physical needs, but only the church can take care of spiritual needs. At the end of the day we are not fully doing anyone true justice if we withhold from them the message that can save their souls and transform their lives both now and forever. The average church has lost its ‘Gospel Urgency’. There isn’t a ‘Whatever it takes’ mentality when it comes to reaching the lost with the hope of Jesus Christ. There isn’t a sense of urgency that flows from the reality of hell for those who don’t hear and believe the message of the Gospel.
Years ago my professor said, “No tears in the eyes of the writer, no tears in the eyes of the reader.” What’s true of writing is true of evangelism in the local church. If the pastor, associate pastor, youth pastor and the rest of the church leadership don’t have broken hearts for the lost and aren’t engaging in Gospel conversations with family, friends, neighbours, restaurants, etc. then neither will their congregations.
This begs another question. What is the true value of intercessory prayer within our churches? It appears to be lost and even ignore God’s desire that ‘all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth.” 1 Timothy 2:1-4
Sadly, the average church spends more time in church announcements than intercessory prayer. In some churches the high task of intercessory prayer is relegated to a small group of prayer warriors. In this sense pastors delegate the duty of prayer so they can devote themselves to preaching. But when the church came together in Acts 2:42 “They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer.” And in Acts 6:4 the apostles delegated other duties so that they could devote themselves to “prayer and the ministry of the Word.”
The Christian church is weighed in the balances and found wanting! The Politicians during the General Election devoted themselves to their Party cause with the aim of securing Government with great effect. Believers need to crank up their efforts to bring lost souls into the Kingdom of God.