17 September 2015
An interview with Don Horrocks
Dave Landrum interviews Don Horrocks, the recent Head of Public Affairs who retired in August after fifteen years of service in parliament, politics and theology.
DL: Why is it important that the Evangelical Alliance (EA) does public policy?
DH: The Alliance has been concerned with religious liberty matters since its inception. It is something that affects our constituency and the whole world. It is a key issue for us and so much revolves around that basic human right.
What has changed in public policy work for Christians in your time at the EA?
Everything is changing, and we are seeing a scale up in the rate of change in terms of the issues and their social impact. In the old days you saw change every 15/20 years. Now there is change every year - cultural change - political change - and we have to come to terms with how the unchangeable word of God relates to a rapidly changing culture. That’s the challenge.
What has changed on the political landscape?
One of the things we have seen is less of a willingness to be serious about democratic accountability and consultation. Governments years ago were keen to listen. Governments now feel they are losing control, so they are assuming a controlling approach and are far less accommodating to people’s views.
What are the challenges and priorities for Christians in public policy?
The challenges are to have a voice, to have a profile and to maintain a stance in an environment that is increasingly hostile.
It is now a different type of challenge.
The priorities are to preserve fundamental civil liberties such as freedom of speech, freedom of association. We are caught up in the fear of extremism which governments around the world are worried about and they’re closing down freedoms for others on the back of that.
What should Christians do?
Christians should read the signs of the times. The bible says in the end times says there will be difficulties, hostilities, threats to faith.
We face two threats. One external from hostility to faith from those who want to silence us. We also face challenges from within, from those who want to accommodate our faith to the world by watering it down. The challenge for us is to commit to the eternal word of God, the unchanging gospel of Jesus Christ - who is salvation for the world - and to be able to articulate that with boldness, confidence and be centrally involved in public life and not be silenced into the margins or remain behind our church doors
As you leave the Alliance, what do you see as the enduring value of the Alliance’s public policy work?
The Evangelical Alliance plays a unique role in bringing Christians together by focussing on what unites them. It’s crucial to stay united in these times. The Alliance is aware of the challenges and is the obvious rallying point for Christians, and they need all the support that bible-believing Christians can give.
Do you think Man United will ever win the league again before Jesus returns?
I’d give it 3 years.