By Editorial Staff
Published September 1, 1988
LONDON (FR) – Great Britain’s Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher, who has already earned the reputation of a moral leader, made several outspoken professions of her Christian faith while addressing the leaders of the Church of Scotland on May 21, 1988. Her speech, which immediately drew strong criticism from her opponents in Parliament, argued for the adoption of Christian policy in regards to economics. “Christianity and Wealth,” the title of the address, is perhaps the most forthright statement of Christian economic policy ever made by a national leader in many decades.
In the debate that ensued Mrs. Thatcher’s address, her counselors were also attacked by leaders of the liberal Labor Party. The head of her Policy Unit, free market economist Brian Griffiths, is a devout evangelical Christian and the author of books such as Morality and the Market Place and The Creation of Wealth. He is also a professor of ethics at Gresham College. The following are some of the highlights of her memorable speech.
- Regarding the Christian faith: “What then are the distinctive marks of Christianity? They stem not from the social but from the spiritual side of our lives. I would identify three beliefs in particular: First, that from the beginning, man has been endowed by God with the fundamental right to choose between good and evil. Second, that we were made in God’s own image and therefore we are expected to use all our own power of thought and judgment in exercising that choice; and further, if we open our hearts to God, He has promised to work within us.
“And third, that Our Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of God, when faced with His terrible choice and lonely vigil, chose to lay down His life that our sins may be forgiven. I remember very well a sermon on Armistice Sunday when our preacher said: “No one took away the life of Jesus, He chose to lay it down.
“I think back to many discussions in my early life when we all agreed that if you try to take the fruits of Christianity without its roots, the fruits will wither. And they will not come again unless you nurture the roots. But we must not profess the Christian faith and go to church simply because we want social reforms and benefits or a better standard of behavior – but because we accept the sanctity of life, the responsibility that comes with freedom and the supreme sacrifice of Christ expressed so well in the hymn: ‘When I survey the wondrous Cross/ on which the Prince of Glory died/ My richest gain I count but loss/ and pour contempt on all my pride.’ “
- Regarding Christianity and public policy: “May I also say a few words about my personal belief in the relevance of Christianity to public policy – to the things that are Caesar’s? The Old Testament lays down in Exodus the Ten Commandments as given to Moses, the injunction in Leviticus to love our neighbor as ourselves, and generally the importance of observing a strict code of law. The New Testament is a record of the Incarnation, the teachings of Christ, and the establishment of the kingdom of God. Again we have the emphasis on loving our neighbor as ourselves and to ‘Do-as-you-would-be-done-by.’
“I believe that by taking together these key elements from the Old and New Testaments, we gain a view of the universe, a proper attitude to work and principles to shape economic and social life. We are told we must work and use our talents to create wealth. ‘If a man will not work he shall not eat,’ wrote St. Paul to the Thessalonians. Indeed, abundance rather than poverty has a legitimacy which derives from the very nature of Creation.”
- Regarding the creation of wealth: “Nevertheless, the Tenth Commandment – ‘Thou shalt not covet’ – recognizes that making money and owning things could become selfish activities. But it is not the creation of wealth that is wrong, but love of money for its own sake. The spiritual dimension comes in deciding what one does with the wealth. How could we respond to the many calls for help, or invest for the future, or support the wonderful artists or craftsmen whose work also glorifies God, unless we had first worked hard and used our talents to create the necessary wealth?”
- Regarding the welfare state: “Any set of social and economic arrangements which is not founded on the acceptance of individual responsibility will do nothing but harm. We are all responsible for our own actions. We cannot blame society if we disobey the law. We simply cannot delegate the exercise of mercy and generosity to others.”
- Regarding religion in the schools: “Recently there have been great debates about religious education. I believe politicians must see that religious education has a proper place in the school curriculum. The Christian religion – which, of course, embodies many of the great spiritual and moral truths of Judaism – is a fundamental part of our national heritage. For centuries it has been our very lifeblood. Indeed we are a nation whose ideals are founded on the Bible. Also, it is quite impossible to understand our history or literature without grasping this fact.
“That is the strong practical case for ensuring that children at school are given adequate instruction in the part which the Judaic-Christian tradition has played in molding our laws, manners, and institution. How can you make sense of Shakespeare and Sir Walter Scott, or of the constitutional conflicts of the seventeenth century in both Scotland and England, without some such knowledge? But I go further than this. The truths of the Judaic-Christian tradition are infinitely precious, not only, as I believe because they are true, but also because they provide the moral impulse which alone can lead to that peace, in the true meaning of the word, for which we all long.”
- Regarding democracy: “When Abraham Lincoln spoke in his famous Gettysburg speech of 1863 of ‘government of the people, by the people, and for the people,’ he gave the world a neat definition of democracy which has since been widely and enthusiastically adopted. But what he enunciated as a form of government was not in itself especially Christian, for nowhere in the Bible is the word democracy mentioned. Ideally, when Christians meet, as Christians, to take counsel together, their purpose is not (or should not be) to ascertain what is the mind of the majority but what is the mind of the Holy Spirit – something which may be quite different.
“Nevertheless I am an enthusiast for democracy. And I take that position, not because I believe majority opinion is inevitably right or true – indeed no majority can take away God-given human rights – but because I believe it most effectively safeguards the value of the individual, and, more than any other system, restrains the abuse of power by the few. And that is a Christian concept.”
Although Mrs. Thatcher’s position on economics was labeled “the creed of greed” by her opponents after the speech, her lifestyle does not match the term. She has forfeited a considerable portion of her salary since 1979, refusing to accept over 11,000 pounds per year, totaling almost 100,000 pounds (or about $150,000). Her economic policies, emphasizing privatization and limited federal control, have revolutionized the British economy since she became Prime Minister.
Taken from a transcript of Mrs. Thatcher’s speech reprinted in Biblical Economics Today by the Institute for Christian Economics, Tyler, TX.
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Foundations in Biblical Eschatology
By Jay Rogers, Larry Waugh, Rodney Stortz, Joseph Meiring. High quality paperback, 167 pages.
All Christians believe that their great God and Savior, Jesus Christ, will one day return. Although we cannot know the exact time of His return, what exactly did Jesus mean when he spoke of the signs of His coming (Mat. 24)? How are we to interpret the prophecies in Isaiah regarding the time when “the earth will be full of the knowledge of the LORD as the waters cover the sea” (Isa. 11:19)? Should we expect a time of great tribulation and apostasy or revival and reformation before the Lord returns? Is the devil bound now, and are the saints reigning with Christ? Did you know that there are four hermeneutical approaches to the book of Daniel and Revelation?
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Who is the dreaded beast of Revelation?
Now at last, a plausible candidate for this personification of evil incarnate has been identified (or re-identified). Ken Gentry’s insightful analysis of scripture and history is likely to revolutionize your understanding of the book of Revelation — and even more importantly — amplify and energize your entire Christian worldview!
Historical footage and other graphics are used to illustrate the lecture Dr. Gentry presented at the 1999 Ligonier Conference in Orlando, Florida. It is followed by a one-hour question and answer session addressing the key concerns and objections typically raised in response to his position. This presentation also features an introduction that touches on not only the confusion and controversy surrounding this issue — but just why it may well be one of the most significant issues facing the Church today.
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With “preaching to the lost” being such a basic foundation of Christianity, why do many in the church seem to be apathetic on this issue of preaching in highways and byways of towns and cities?
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Is there a connection between pagan religion and the abortion industry?
This powerful presentation traces the biblical roots of child sacrifice and then delves into the social, political and cultural fall-out that this sin against God and crime against humanity has produced in our beleaguered society.
Conceived as a sequel and update to the 1988 classic, The Massacre of Innocence, the new title, The Abortion Matrix, is entirely fitting. It not only references abortion’s specific target – the sacred matrix where human beings are formed in the womb in the very image of God, but it also implies the existence of a conspiracy, a matrix of seemingly disparate forces that are driving this holocaust.
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As the allusion to the film of over a decade ago suggests, the viewer may learn that things are not always as they appear to be. The Abortion Matrix reveals the reality of child-killing and strikes the proper moral chord to move hearts to fulfill the biblical responsibility to rescue those unjustly sentenced to death and to speak for those who cannot speak for themselves (Proverbs 24:11,12; 31:8,9).
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A Reasonable Response to Christian Postmodernism
Includes a response to the book Christian Jihad by Colonel V. Doner
The title of this book is a misnomer. In reality, I am not trying to get anyone to shut up, but rather to provoke a discussion. This book is a warning about the philosophy of “Christian postmodernism” and the threat that it poses not only to Christian orthodoxy, but to the peace and prosperity our culture as well. The purpose is to equip the reader with some basic principles that can be used to refute their arguments.
Part 1 is a response to some of the recent writings by Frank Schaeffer, the son of the late Francis Schaeffer. This was originally written as a defense against Frank’s attacks on pro-life street activism – a movement that his father helped bring into being through his books, A Christian Manifesto, How Should We Then Live? and Whatever Happened to the Human Race? These works have impacted literally hundreds of thousands of Christian activists.
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