Are Christians still free to share the Gospel in our society?
Well the short answer to that is yes, full stop.
But there's a little bit more of an answer to that one.
We have lots of freedoms in our society that we should be thankful to God for.
We can meet, we can gather in His name, we can worship Him.
We can talk to others about the Gospel in society.
The Evangelical Alliance ran a series of hearings in Parliament, with the All-Party Christian group a few years ago to establish, "what are our freedoms in the UK?'
And, you know, freedoms can go on a sort of scale of the society being ignorant about you to being absolutely hostile towards you and it kind of waves about across that spectrum.
But we do have massive freedoms in the UK.
And they're hard-won over centuries and they're easily lost if we don't stay alert to the challenges to those freedoms.
We have freedoms to share the Gospel in education, we have freedoms to share the Gospel on the bus, in work we can share the Gospel, but we also need to be aware that we live in a diverse society where people have different beliefs and no belief, and we need to be sensitive to the cultural differences that people have.
And we need to understand our professional obligations as well when we're in work and, most importantly, the power relationships.
If you've got authority over somebody in the workplace, you've got to be really careful how you communicate, because there is a power dynamic going on there whether you are aware of it or not.
So, we've produced a big resource at the Alliance, there, it's rolling out this year, called 'Speak Up'.
We've had a team of expert lawyers across all these different fields looking at, "what are our freedoms, how can we talk?"
"What are the limits, the parameters for that?"
And generally, the answer to your question is we've got amazing freedoms, but if we don't use them, we will lose them.
Religious liberty is something that must be exercised regularly, so we want to encourage the church, through this resource, to be more confident in sharing the Gospel in public life, talking to people about Jesus, wherever that may be, but also to understand that you need grace and you need wisdom in the way you communicate the message of salvation in Jesus Christ.
I guess we are very privileged here and can sometimes, I expect, take it for granted.
Do you think that's the case, Gavin, when you think about what Christians have to face in other countries?
Yeah, I completely do.
I'm considered, by many Christians, to be a brave Christian because I actually ask people if they want to follow Jesus, all right?
When I meet people from around the world, I am in awe of them.
Not in an unhealthy way, either.
I met a guy from Rwanda just this last week when I was at a Christian event.
He was amazing.
He was talking to me about all the family he'd lost and things, and yet still having hope in Jesus.
And I think here, sometimes we're too comfortable.
Now I'm not one who's saying, "I hope the church gets persecuted."
Nothing like that.
But the fact that the temperature's being turned up slightly in the UK isn't necessarily a bad thing.
Because when the temperature's turned up, you realise who's really on the bus.
It's got to cost you something.
Following Jesus has got to cost you something.
It's not a hobby.
Jesus didn't say, "Come and follow Me and give Me a little bit."
He says, "Whoever wants to follow Me, take up your cross, deny yourself, and follow Me."
And so I think as the temperature's raised a little in this country, that's not necessarily an altogether bad thing.
And as we look around the world, it's vital that in the UK we remain world-class Christians, remembering those around the world struggling and suffering.
Not looking at issues from a nationalistic point of view, but thinking you're going to spend eternity with these people, so let's pray for them now.
The other issue I think that's important in all of this as well is that we don't get our view of what we can or can't do from the odd, sensationalist, largely tabloid, newspaper story.
Because what happens is someone behaves in an odd way at work and suddenly no one's allowed to do this at work.
And that's just not true.
Or someone wears a cross the size of my chest to work and then no one's allowed to wear a cross to work.
It's not true.
What we want to do at the Evangelical Alliance is remind people of what they can do and what they can't do, but also get across a philosophy, an ideology of grace that says, "No one's your project, but we do want to share."
Don't abuse your opportunity.
Don't take advantage of people.
But what kind of friend are you if you're friends with people and you don't tell them about life in all its fullness? If you don't share with them hope? Because hope has a name.
And His name's Jesus.