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Speak Up for the gospel, Christians urged

The law gives Christians more freedom to share their faith than they might think, according to a new resource ...

The law gives Christians more freedom to share their faith than they might think.

A new resource from the Lawyers’ Christian Fellowship and the Evangelical Alliance encourages Christians to speak publicly about their faith and shows them how the law protects them as they do so.

Speak Up provides an overview of how different areas of the law apply to telling people about the Christian message, and provides a vital correction to fears that Christians may have to be quiet about what they believe when sharing the gospel.

Steve Clifford, general director of the Evangelical Alliance, encourages Christians in the preface of the resource: “The good news of Jesus is something we all need to play a part in sharing. We all have amazing opportunities in our everyday lives to introduce people to him: whether at work, at the school gate, in the playground, at the bus stop or over a cup of tea.”

The report looks at the freedom to share the gospel in public, in private, at the workplace and online, emphasising the need to combine care and sensitivity with passionate communication of the good news.

Mark Barrell, executive director at the Lawyers’ Christian Fellowship, commented: “Sometimes it seems as though we live in a society where it is increasingly difficult to share our faith, and hostility can seem not too far away when we do. There has also been the occasional situation when talking about Jesus has led a Christian into legal trouble.

“Yet we also live in a society where the law provides very substantial protection for our freedom to speak about our faith in Christ, and it’s a society that is multi-ethnic and plural. We are encouraged to embrace religious diversity and tolerance in our multi-ethnic and plural society.

“The challenge for Christians is to have courage and certainty in sharing the gospel rather than allowing the shutting down of our freedoms. We want to encourage people that we have more freedom than we often think but it is also our responsibility to use that freedom, to show its value and tell many about the good news of Jesus.”

Recent high-profile cases have sometimes given the impression that Christians are unable to talk about their faith at work. The Speak Up resource calls for Christians to always act with wisdom and sensitivity, but also reminds them that they do have wide-ranging freedoms to speak about the good news they believe, at work, in the home, with neighbours and on the street.
Dave Landrum, director of advocacy at the Evangelical Alliance, said about the need for the resource: “Across the UK Christians are passionate about sharing their faith, and this is very good news for society. In fact evangelism is a sign of a free and healthy society. So we should celebrate and exercise our freedoms. Some may be worried about whether they will get in trouble if they do so. With wisdom, we want to give Christians the confidence to talk about Jesus.
“Despite the fog and the fear in our society this resource shows that Christians have many precious freedoms, and why it’s vital that we use them.”
The resource has been endorsed by a wide range of figures from the legal and political worlds, as well as Christian leaders.

Pete Greig, founder of 24-7 Prayer International, said: “We do not need to be ashamed of the gospel in the UK today. I welcome this timely new resource because there is a great deal of scaremongering and misinformation about our right as Christians in the UK to share our faith in Jesus. This booklet helps bring clarity where there may be confusion. It’s time to stand up to the bullies, not to shut up but rather to ‘Speak Up’ for Jesus without fear of legal reprisal.”

Sir Jeremy Cooke, a retired High Court judge, commented: “We can’t help speaking about what we have seen and heard, but it makes sense to know where the law will uphold our freedom to do so and where there are dangers to be avoided. With guidance, both human and divine, we can seek to be as shrewd as snakes and as innocent as doves!”

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