MPs share gospel and impact of Christianity in Westminster Hall debate

20 December 2023

Communications Manager Paul Huxley looks at comments from Christian MPs in a parliamentary debate

Yesterday’s Westminster Hall debate on Christmas, Christianity and Communities featured several MPs speaking about the Christian message and its impact on society.

The message of Christmas

Nick Fletcher opened the debate by sharing the gospel.

He pointed out the reason we celebrate Christmas at this time of year:

“We celebrate Christmas because of the birth of our Lord Jesus Christ, who was born of a virgin named Mary, in a barn—the most unlikely place for the king of kings.”

From there, he recounted the life of Jesus and the reason that God came into the world:

“He told the world that the only way to be right with the Lord and have eternal life was to believe in Him. He knew His time was limited on this earth and that He would have to make the ultimate sacrifice for all of us. He knew he would be crucified, and He was—crucified so that all those who believe in Him will be forgiven. He made the final sacrifice so that we can be right with our maker, not through words or deeds but simply by grace alone, through faith alone, in Christ alone.”

He emphasised that anyone can receive this gift and that “there is never a better time than now” before telling his personal story:

“Do not think that you are not good enough to ask—that is what I thought. I lived for decades without the Lord because I thought I was not good enough to be a Christian. Trust me, you will never not be good enough and nor will I. Forget all your reservations and just ask, and when you do, you will start watching the negatives in your life fall away. Why? Because you will fill all those voids in your life—the ones you have filled with poor choices—with the truth that our Lord, Jesus Christ, loves you. From that moment forward, you will never be alone and will never be without help or hope, because our Lord is always with us.”

The need for churches

He went on to explain how having Christ in your life means you are never alone and the positive impact of local churches for their members and wider society:

“So when you have decided to let Christ into your life, if you were not already in church when that happened, go down to your local church and tell them of your decision—they will be delighted to see you. There is a church community out there that is just waiting to welcome you: a community that is full of forgiveness and care, love and hope—a community that needs you.

This Christmas, make that decision to follow Christ and then become part of that community, which can change our society as a whole. We were never meant to be alone. We were meant to be in families and in a community, with faith at the centre of our lives. I hope that all Members agree with that, and I hope that the Minister will do all that he can to promote our communities and our churches.

This wonderful gift of forgiveness and eternal life was given to us at Christmas, and it is a gift that we must share. But we must also engage in the forgiveness part. If there is one thing that we can and should do as Christians, more than anything else, it is to forgive those who have wronged us. “

He finished by emphasising the need to offer forgiveness to friends and family:

“What would Christmas be without forgiveness, friends, family and Christ in the centre of our communities? Happy Christmas, everyone.”

‘The greatest story ever told’

Jim Shannon replied, congratulating Nick Fletcher for “succinctly, but honestly and sincerely putting forward the greatest story ever told, as it truly is.”

He told his own story:

“At the age of eight—the hon. Member for Don Valley referred to this happening—I accepted the Lord Jesus into my heart, as a wee boy in Ballywalter. I grasped early that He loves us when we are right or wrong, when we are on the mountain top or in the valley, or when we are argumentative or are peacemakers.”

He explained that loving Christ enables him to love his community:

“…it is about loving people loving people who sometimes might do things that injure, annoy or distress us. When I understand that, how can I help but love those He loves so passionately?

That feeling is replicated throughout the faith sector, and that is the reason why so many Christians give up their time and money to help in their communities. I want to talk about what Christians do in their communities. That unfailing love that we cherish in Christ has to be replicated, because, as He said very simply, the first commandment was to love God and the second was to love our neighbours as we love ourselves.”

and emphasised the role local churches play in strengthening communities:

“It is clear that the Church is taking the responsibility to love seriously—how can we not do likewise? When we look at the love of God, which saw the redemption story beginning at Christmas and ending with the resurrection of Christ, the message was clear: God’s unfailing, unending love always wins. It won victory then and it helps us to win victory now, including victory over loneliness. All of us know of examples of loneliness in our constituencies and communities. A young woman in my local community uses the local church hall to heat Christmas dinners for 110 lonely people on Christmas day.”

Other Christian MPs continued the debate, including Tim Farron and Derek Thomas, who emphasised the ultimate sovereignty and responsibility of God:

“My faith reassures me that we human beings are not the top of the tree. In other words, if we think we have all the answers, it is for us to know how to fix the things that are not right. If we are ultimately responsible for all that occurs, whether just or unjust, that is a burden too great to bear, and certainly not one that I want to hold. Christians believe that humankind is not the top of the tree. Humankind does not have the authority, ability or understanding to claim such a role. Christians believe in a God who is far from our understanding, and who holds the world in His hands. The burden of responsibility sits with Him, and I am grateful for that.”

Do MPs want more of this positive impact?

One MP unfortunately used the opportunity to speak positively about the Church of England’s same-sex blessings, Prayers of Love and Faith. But common to all the contributions was a recognition of the positive impact Christians so often make up and down the United Kingdom. If these and other MPs want to see more Christians making this kind of positive impact, they would do well to address the anti-Christian treatment many receive when they bring their Christian beliefs into public.

This week’s draft guidance on gender questioning pupils in schools will help Christian teachers who cannot, in good consciences, go along with a child’s gender transition. But there is a long way to go before faithful Christians will consistently feel free to bring their whole selves, including all their Biblical beliefs, into their workplaces.

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