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Bible bedrock of British Society - We undermine it at our peril

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Press release issued by the Christian Broadcasting Council:

The Bible has been celebrated as the very bedrock of British society, at a symposium in the House of Lords, hosted by the Christian Broadcasting Council.

In a packed committee room an eminent bishop, filmmaker, judge and professor of medicine saluted the Bible as the foundation of national values and culture – and warned that if we neglect those biblical foundations, we risk undermining the bedrock of our society.

The Bishop of London, the Rt Revd and Rt Hon Dr Richard Chartres KCVO, FSA, who recently conducted the royal wedding, endorsed the royal couple’s decision to chose the King James Version of the Bible, despite detractors who say it is archaic and out of date:

‘At the royal wedding the couple chose traditional words, and none of the commentators remarked on it. But the following week the church press was full of commentators deploring the use of fusty words. But we need to remember that the couple who chose those words were both born in 1982.’

The Bishop of London called for renewed recognition that British society is built upon Biblical principles. ‘Our culture and civilisation were founded on the Bible,’ he said, warning that if we undermine those foundations, we undermine our society.

‘The economy and politics must have ground beneath them. In Britainthat ground has been biblical since our earliest days - and you do not sacrifice that without sacrificing much of what has been built upon that ground.

‘Concepts of dignity and tolerance will be very difficult to sustain without a Christian ground. Although it has become difficult to use the language of the Bible in this country, it will become more and more obvious that these values and these principles will be unsustainable without the Christian ground.’

Considering Biblical values in the field of medicine, Professor John Wyatt, Professor or Ethics and Perinatalogy at University College London, said: ‘The scriptures had a profound effect on me as a paediatrician. Because Jesus was a baby, all babies are special. I have come to realise, as Mother Teresa put it, that when we care for the least of these we are tending the wounds of Christ.’

Taking a stand against the growing movement towards ending life, rather than protecting and caring for life, he said:  ‘If I was to intentionally kill one of these babies struggling for life, in English law I would be guilty of the same crime as though I had marched down here to try to kill one of the peers who rule the land.

‘English law is still deeply penetrated by this notion that all human life is special. As we debate the appropriate use of new and powerful technologies a special responsibility falls on us.’

The symposium was called by former broadcaster Olave Snelling, chair of the Christian Broadcasting Council, a group promoting Christian values in the media. She declared:

‘The very foundation of our society is rooted and grounded in the Christian faith and the Bible, whether in upholding justice or laws, our parliamentary system, our governance, ethics, culture and our love of truth-telling – all are rooted in the word of God and the Christian faith.

‘The Bible is the bedrock of our faith in Christ - it is foundational to what we are as a nation. The Bible is a phenomenal work of literature, but so much more. It is God-breathed.’ She added: ‘Today, we want to raise our voices in this celebration of Britainand the Bible.’

Joining the salute were film-maker Norman Stone and Baroness Butler-Sloss.

Lady Butler-Sloss, past President of the Family Division and First Lady Justice of Appeal, said: ‘The Bible had a great effect on me as a judge and in my private life - and still does. I was very much aware that I would one day be judged as I was doing.’

She added: ‘I would like to pay my homage to the King James Version. It is the most wonderful book that one could ever read. It is a masterpiece of literature that unites English-speaking people right across the world.

‘In these days of moral pluralism, the celebration of the King James Bible in this year may encourage more people to read it and to benefit from it.’

Film-director Norman Stone, fresh from producing the film, King James Bible: The Book that Changed the World, said: ‘Yes, it is great literature, yes it has steered nations, and yes, it has those wonderful phrases: “the skin of your teeth”, and “the salt of the earth”. But I'll tell you how the Bible really changed the world: individual by individual, heart by heart, it changes you, it changes me - it changes the world. It still speaks today.’

Through its annual awards, the Christian Broadcasting Council encourages excellence in Christian broadcasting. CBCalso represents Christians in the media and is an advocate for Christian values. For more details, please go to: www.cbc.org.uk

ENDS

Notes to Editor

Pictures of the symposium and each of the speakers are available. Please indicate which of the following pictures you would like by return email. For higher resolution versions than email may support, please supply your ftp details or a postal address to send a CD.

Pictures available:

1) Symposium general view           

2) Bishop of London

3) Lady Butler-Sloss

4) Norman Stone

5) Professor John Wyatt

For more information, please contact Andrew Boyd on 07919 311 993 or Olave Snelling on 07947 034331

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