What follows is the final part of the transcript of our interview with Dick Lucas.
TK: As you look around us today, there are many things that are quite discouraging. You turn on the television or the radio or get online you can hear many discouraging stories that are going on in the world politically, socially, etc. I just wondered, are you a pessimist, an optimist? How do you view the world in the light of the Word of God?
DL: I’m a pessimist and an optimist. C.S. Lewis is very good on this, isn’t he? He says about my parent’s generation they had a vague theism with a very strong ethic. I think that is a brilliant description of the middle classes in Britain in the first 50 years of the century. That’s my parents—a vague theism with a very strong ethic.
My father was of ultimate integrity and there were many like him. But it wasn’t based upon a personal Christian faith. Lewis says that goes right back to the Victorian era. It’s when the great attack came on the Christian, the last quarter of the 19th century. So, this attack on the churches have been going on a long time, you know 1 Peter tells you that persecution is the danger, 2 Peter tells you that false teaching within is the danger. It is the latter, which is far more deadly. That has been going on in this country now for over 100 years. So, I’m not optimistic about the state of the older churches. I think we are reaping what we sowed. It’s a precipice, not a gradual slip down since I was ordained. In the last 10 years, it’s become a precipice.
From that point of view, I think the young are going to face persecution in a way that my generation did not. We saw the emptying of the official churches through false teaching. I’m optimistic that God, as usual, is ahead of the game and long ago was raising people up to preach. It is the only answer. The young are totally ignorant. People are struggling to know, at the moment. So many of our university students voted for a Marxist and nearly made him Prime Minister. Some people think it’s “Harry Potter thinking”, some people think it’s just typical university rebellion. But the answer is that our universities are full of extremely ignorant people. They don’t know anything about God or Christ. That’s the result of 100 years and that’s not going to be rebuilt in a day.
But I am optimistic when I see that all these young men are coming along. I mean it’s thrilling to see them in very large numbers. They are going to have a tough time aren’t they, but God will have His leaders amongst them. I think probably are in for some fiery trials, but that never actually destroys the church. What destroys the church is the false teaching, the liberalism.
I can remember my theological college. Men coming in battered by this, unconverted men coming to theological college. We had a lot of conversions at theological college. And then they sailed through all this false teaching. One worked in Kuala Lumpur until he died last year. Another worked in Cheshire all his life. They were converted at theological college, brother! After that, the poison didn’t destroy them.
The only way back is to use the sword of the Spirit. As the church recovers itself, if God gives us time, I don’t know what we shall see. There’s going to be a big war, isn’t there? We’re in for very uncomfortable times in Europe, aren’t we? It’s difficult to see how they will avoid civil war in between the old guard and the Muslims. Who are we to say? Germany has got itself into a terrible twist with all these millions of immigrants, which it can’t handle.
But we at least know that God has His purposes and as long as we follow them. We can only have hope that the church will become pyre in the land again. Our country needs prayer tremendously. I doubt if a single person in the cabinet has any knowledge of the Bible at all. Tragically, in that absolute mess of the election that the Prime Minister made one of the finest Christian MPs lost his seat. That’s a very big loss. But there are good Christian men in parliament. I don’t think there is an educated Christian in the cabinet. There may be. I don’t know the junior members, but none of them seem to show any signs of understanding. And the powers against us, at the moment, appear very frightening, but we mustn’t be frightened by them.
TK: Dick as we come to a close, there may be preachers and teachers of the Word that are listening in, maybe others that are a part of a church and they love the Word of God. Is there anything you would say to them, in closing, about expository preaching?
DL: It is the sword of the Spirit. If you want to go into battle without a sword, dear brother, you are not very wise. But if you think the battle is going to be hot, you better get your sword out and get it clean. At least we’ve got a sword and there’s no doubt that it does its work. We don’t do the work. We have to work hard, but it’s the sword that does the work. Thank God for it. If we weren’t equipped with that, the church would be in a very desperate position, which is why it is in a desperate position in this country and has no respect, I think, from the man or woman in the street. That’s a terrible thing. It did when I was young. When I was ordained the church was still respected. Not now. It’s our own fault. It is not because the world has become more materialistic, it’s not because the world has become more scientific, it’s not because the kids are taken in by Harry Potter, it’s because we have not done our job. Israel lost its battles not because the enemy, the Philistines, were strong but because they were not trusting in God, isn’t that the story of the Old Testament? Even if they were few, if they trusted in God, then they kicked the Philistines out. So, in that sense, I’m optimistic, that God has His purposes and it’s wonderful to see all these young people on a Sunday night here listening to the Word of God. They are sending in new courage.
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