That was the title of one of many articles that have been written in the last few days following the 2021 Census released by the Office for National Statistics last week. The headline that seemed to shock many was that England and Wales are no longer majority Christian countries with a decline from 59% in 2011 to 46% in 2021. The data covers ethnicity, religion, national identity and language and over the next two years it will be interesting to see this information to help us understand the findings. Despite the UK Humanists and the National Secular Society being elated over the fall it does not show that people have stopped searching for peace, truth and something to live for. It may be that society has simply become more truthful about their ‘religion’ it being acceptable now to tick the box ‘no religion’, if that is true then it is a good thing. Is the Church dying? All I can say is that yesterday I was in a church which has grown dramatically over the last 3 years with many people expressing faith for the first time. In fact over the last week I have had the privilege of being with several Pastors who all give evidence of people coming to faith and being baptised. But more importantly is the fact that we have John’s vision!
“After this I saw another angel coming down from heaven. He had great authority, and the earth was illuminated by his splendour. With a mighty voice he shouted:
“‘Fallen! Fallen is Babylon the Great!’ She has become a dwelling for demons and a haunt for every impure spirit, a haunt for every unclean bird, a haunt for every unclean and detestable animal. For all the nations have drunk the maddening wine of her adulteries. The kings of the earth committed adultery with her, and the merchants of the earth grew rich from her excessive luxuries.” (Revelation 18 v 1-3)
This funeral dirge is not that of Chopin and it is definitely not for the Church.
Just as the origin of Babylon was the collapse of Babel with the confusion of languages so in the end Babylon does fall forever. This dirge is good news! Can you imagine attending a funeral service where everyone is happy that the person is dead? This is the tone of the declaration of Babylon’s fate. She has internally combusted with every demonic spirit and everything that is unclean.
The angel declares that the arrogance of this world will not prevail. Rome (John’s Babylon) did fall of course and so has many Empires since. But Babylon has continued throughout the history of the world and is with us today. But she will fall for God will have the last word.
Christianity is not dying and will not die, Babylon dies.
God always has the last word.
Light overcomes darkness.
So in closing what dies? It isn’t Christianity but it is the spirit behind the false religious system of this world which has caused the death of many Christians.
The point being is that when you are trying to follow the Lamb underneath the oppression of Babylon it is easy to lose hope. You read statistics, hear the stories and carry your own painful experience perhaps and soon the desire to compromise can be so tempting. This vision encourages the followers of Jesus in every generation to not be consumed by what you see, data analysis or story, not to give up your faith but to strengthen it for Babylon does fall!