Jas 2:19 You believe that God is one; you do well. Even the demons believe—and shudder!
I noticed this past week, since the death of Queen Elizabeth II, how quickly and easily certain Christian leaders are to pronounce someone a “fine Christian.” Franklin Graham did so in regard to the Queen. Franklin’s son was interviewed and quite a thing was made about how the new King, Charles III, mentioned “Almighty God” in one of his first addresses as King.
Now, obviously I don’t mix it up familiarly with royalty. I never had a chat with Queen Elizabeth about the gospel. But I do know that Billy Graham and his association very quickly and easily labeled people as “Christians” who in no way held to the gospel of Christ. Martyn Lloyd-Jones confronted Graham on this point when Graham asked MLJ to support a series of evangelistic meetings in England. MLJ responded by telling Graham that if he would stop having leaders in false churches (Rome and some portions of the Church of England) on the platform with him, MLJ could support the meetings. Graham would not comply.
The Queen/King of England holds the position of being the head of the Church of England (a duality of office which the Bible does not endorse) and, ever since the days of wicked King Henry VIII, the English monarch has held the title “Defender of the Faith.”
Now, why should we be thrilled that King Charles III bears this “Defender of the Faith” title? Because there have been few, if any, English monarchs who have defended the faith! Just what faith is it that is to be defended? Biblically, it would be the Gospel of Jesus Christ and the doctrines Christ declared, as recorded in Holy Scripture. But this certainly is not the “faith” England’s royalty are known to defend.
What would true “defending of the faith” look like? Well, something like this:
Gal 1:6-9 I am astonished that you are so quickly deserting him who called you in the grace of Christ and are turning to a different gospel— (7) not that there is another one, but there are some who trouble you and want to distort the gospel of Christ. (8) But even if we or an angel from heaven should preach to you a gospel contrary to the one we preached to you, let him be accursed. (9) As we have said before, so now I say again: If anyone is preaching to you a gospel contrary to the one you received, let him be accursed.
But is it not fair to question that the English “Defenders of the Faith” ever spoke as the Apostle Paul did here? The Church of England is only a half-step away from the apostate “church” of Rome – and in the case of some of its theologians and clergy, not even a half-step. Where is the monarch? Have you ever heard of the King or Queen of England insisting that false teachers and ministers be expelled from the church? I haven’t.
Here is the point I am getting at. This business of pronouncing people to be Christians so readily and easily introduces evil into Christ’s church. The same spirit is what pronounces the abusers of so many of you to be fine saints and leaves them in the church to keep right on wearing their disguise. English Royalty does not enjoy a stellar reputation for Christian holiness. Scandals are no stranger to Buckingham Palace. And yet I have very little doubt that just because they were baptized as infants and are members of the Church of England, many people would be quite irate at any implication that such people are not true Christians.
One final point suggested here for your consideration. Think biblically. Think about how Moses, the OT prophets, Jesus, and the Apostles related to Kings and Queens of their day. Were they popular and well-respected by royalty? In a few cases, I think so (Isaiah and King Uzziah for instance. David and Samuel). But for the largest part, these godly ones, including and especially the Son of God, were hated by the rulers of the age. Why, then, was Billy Graham so popular with so many world rulers? It is a fair question and is asked as a result of comparing what we see with what the Word of God says. After all, the Scripture does say this:
1Co 2:7-8 But we impart a secret and hidden wisdom of God, which God decreed before the ages for our glory. (8) None of the rulers of this age understood this, for if they had, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory.