Last weekend I had the privilege of speaking at the 106th anniversary of Hebron Christian Church in Bolton. This is a Brethren assembly and is based in an impressive building with variously sized rooms. A choir sang gospel favourites and, at risk of sounding like I'm exaggerating, offered me a foretaste of the angelic host.
1910 was a different world to today. Britain was great- morally, spiritually, militarily and financially. We controlled a quarter of the world. Outwardly, the churches were strong and sent missionaries across the globe. It was also a period of poverty for many, poor education, racism, and short life expectancy. Lovers of the past such as I, often look back upon it with rose-tinted spectacles. Although I envy the faith and times of those early Brethren church planters in Bolton, it's worth remembering that our faith is not backward-looking and retro. The God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob is the God of the living, not the dead.