Some thoughts and observations from my recent three-week visit to Great Britain during June and July:
I had the pleasure and privilege of attending the annual summer convention of the Covenant People’s Fellowship at High Leigh during the week of July 4 through 9, with some of the leading British-Israel speakers from throughout England, Wales, Ireland, and Scotland. The theme of many of the talks this year related to the 400th anniversary of the King James Authorized Bible, highlighted by two excellent illustrated presentations by Rev. Chris Richards. Many of the messages from that conference have been posted in audio format on the CBIA website at www.israelite.ca.
This year also marks the 200th anniversary of the Regency, a short ten year era of British history that left an enduring legacy through its distinctive clothing, furniture, and military styles. Buckingham Palace is currently featuring an excellent special exhibit on the Regency Era, a period made necessary by the mental troubles of King George III. Those familiar with history will remember the name of this English king whose health problems and bouts of insanity are credited by many historians for the loss of the American colonies. Two different theories exist as to the reason for his mental issues. A few years ago, a strand from a lock of his hair that had been set aside was analyzed and found to contain a high level of heavy metals including lead. The water pipes in his palace were made of lead, which was not then realized to be harmful to health. It is therefore perhaps no coincidence that when King George left town for his country estate that his mental issues decreased, at least until he returned home. However, another theory is that he suffered from a blood disorder that is treatable today.
George III is known primarily for two things, (1) losing the American colonies and (2) going mad. But, in reality he was placed on the Throne of David at an important time in God’s Plan. (Ed)
For several years Parliament debated whether to remove King George from the throne, which was finally accomplished in January 1811. In the years leading up to this, the Davidic pretender and incorrectly-supposed British-Israelite, Richard Brothers, wrote incendiary tracts demanding the King’s removal and replacement by Mr. Brothers, which caused his incarceration by the king’s Prime Minister, Lord North.
Another highlight of my trip was worship and preaching over two Sundays at historic Orange Street Congregational Church in London, which was founded by Huguenot refugees from France in the 1690’s. One of these worship services was attended by an officer of the Huguenot Society, who was not only unfamiliar with our beliefs, but seemed to have never heard of Jacques Abaddie, an important Huguenot theologian who escaped the French persecution and moved to London until his death in 1727. Abaddie is widely considered the greatest Protestant theologian of the early eighteenth century, and believed as we do that the Ten Tribes of Israel escaped from Assyrian exile and migrated into Europe. He is therefore much more of a British-Israel forerunner than Richard Brothers. Abaddie was a tremendous scholar and theologian, but is now a forgotten man. So much of our history is either lost or forgotten today!
Yet there are still some who value our heritage. One evening the large Hyde Park in London was filled with thousands of people for a heritage concert. A sea of British, Welsh and Scottish flags waved as the crowd joined in enthusiastically singing patriotic songs such as “Land of Hope and Glory.” Although London is a city of multiple cultures, there seemed to be no one of non-English ancestry in the large crowd, which underscores the sad fact that the huge influx of immigrants simply do not seem to want to share in the same heritage nor exhibit the same depth of love for British culture, law, religion, as well as rights and freedoms. Will this heritage be able to last?
Unfortunately, many of the younger generation of English youth seem cut off and aloof from their own heritage, religion and traditions. Out on a walk one evening in London, I came upon University College on Gower Street, which was turned over to hundreds of young radicals for the “2011 Communist festival.” Their posters, placards, and flyers took especial fervor against the Conservative government of Britain. Any conservation of heritage, rights and liberties is disparaged in the name of “justice” and “equality.” Their angry vehemence was not limited to mere talk, as they joined unionists in a one-day “industrial action” boycott which shut down a not inconsequential part of London in a show of their strength.
Morality is at a low ebb, with church attendance at an abysmal level, and with churches being demolished each year or turned into other uses. Meanwhile, a native Londoner at my hotel complained to me about television shows such as “Wild Women” which (I was told) promotes sexual licentiousness and encourages women to divorce their husbands. The decline in morality, of course, is not just an isolated problem, as America and Canada seem to eventually inherit all things British.
It is not only churches that are being demolished, but a surprising amount of historic England has gone under the wrecking ball for decades. While out on a walk in London’s Soho district, I came across the birthplace of William Blake, the early nineteenth century author of the beautiful hymn, “Jerusalem,” which was sung at the royal wedding of William and Kate this past April. Unfortunately, his home was long ago demolished and replaced with a rather unsightly large apartment building. Only a large wall notice remained to indicate what once was there.
Do you ever become discouraged when trying to convince people of Biblical truths? People are notoriously difficult to dislodge from their prior misconceptions. The British economist of Cambridge, John Maynard Keynes, famously said, “The difficulty lies not in the new ideas, but in escaping from the old ones.” A sad event in English history provides a good example of this. In the mid-nineteenth century, hundreds of people died in a cholera epidemic, which prevailing medical opinion attributed to the “bad air” of London. A young physician named Dr. John Snow suspected water poisoning, and constructed a scatter graph of the locations of the victims. He was able to pinpoint the center of the epidemic to a public water pump on Broderick Street, but the authorities flatly rejected his research and conclusion. Not to be deterred, Dr. Snow took matters into his own hands apparently, and broke off the handle of the pump, which resulted in ending the plague. This all took place right around the corner from William Blake’s house, incidentally, although he had been dead a number of years by then and was not involved in the tragedy.
Learning the story of Dr. Snow and his determination to make people see the light of truth encourages me to steadfastness in proclaiming truth to a sin-sick and tone-deaf world. Things often look dire to us, yet let us not give up hope, for truth will yet win the battle. Arthur Campbell Aigner is credited with the famous statement that “God is working His Purpose out as year succeeds to year.” Let us remember that there is indeed a God over-ruling earth’s affairs, and He will intervene to conquer all evil and establish a kingdom of righteousness on earth. Even so, come Lord Jesus! Amen! (Rev. 22:20)