Over the last fifty years, the church's influence in UK society has certainly diminished. Its reputation has been badly tarnished and it has seen a huge decline in attendances, although a small recovery is now beginning in some areas, such as the church as a whole in London or the Fresh Expressions movement within the Church of England.
This mixed picture of the church is a far cry from the will of Jesus. He came heralding a revolution, the release of grace and mercy, and a profound shift in the values that people hold dear. Jesus came preaching transformation and he achieved it, with the early church continuing his work in an incredible way. And so our present situation makes me question: why is it that some parts of the church are thriving while others are in decline? Why do many areas of the church today seem to be lacking this transformative influence that Jesus had in abundance? And if the church is the people, what does this say about us as individuals?
Every church has people who can tell you stories of the most amazing miracles they've seen. You know the kind of stories I mean. There's a Christian, they're on a plane (for some reason these things always happen on planes) and they manage to lead their entire row of passengers to Christ in the space of a few short hours – both sides of the aisle!
Like any Christian, I hear these stories and I buzz with excitement. But then I look at myself in the mirror and I'm faced with an uncomfortable question: how much have I been transformed in the last year? How well am I transforming the world around me? Some Christians may lead whole rows of people to faith, but many of us haven't seen that amazing transformational power in the same way.
Are some Christians somehow more powerful than the rest of us? Is it because they have been blessed with a different Holy Spirit? Absolutely not! We are all members of the same church. We all believe in the same Jesus and he promised us all that same Holy Spirit. We may be 2,000 years down the line, but the passing millennia have not changed our unchanging God or the blessing of his Holy Spirit. Jesus' gospel is no less powerful today than it was all those years ago.
Freddie is a junior doctor living and working in London. He is a regular speaker at Soul Survivor Festival and The Selfish Gospel is his debut book. The above extract is has been adapted from Freddie Pimm's debut book, The Selfish Gospel – Be transformed by giving it all (IVP, 15 June 2017). Pre-order the book online or in store today. You can also win a copy of the Selfish gospel! Retweet this tweet and follow @freddie_pimm today. @ivpbookcentre #theselfishgospel