For two hundred years, one small island nation built the greatest empire since Imperial Rome. Its ships ruled the seas, its colonies covered the world and the sun never set upon the Union Jack. Its empire controlled the gold and diamonds of Africa and the treasures of India. London was the world’s financial center. This nation among nations had the world’s currency and world trade itself was made possible only through the protection of her navies (which ended the age of the pirates).
On April 11th, 1912, the largest man-made object in history, the Titanic, set sail from Southampton as a symbol of this opulent empire. But, on April 12th the Titanic hit an iceberg and sank, sending over 1,500 souls to the bottom of the Atlantic. Looking back, this event seemed a warning, an ominous sign for the empire. Within three decades, the glory that was the English Empire was no more, and London, the jewel of the empire, lay wasted by the bombs of Hitler’s Luftwaffe.
What went wrong? By the early 20th Century, England along with most of Europe had abandoned their evangelical faith and turned to the Darwinian theory of survival of the fittest. The missionary movement which had driven the age of exploration was overtaken by greed as the driving force of colonization. The economic plundering of underdeveloped lands displaced the building of independent Christian nations. Then England along with all of Europe was humbled by two horrific world wars, the loss of their colonies and a great depression.
Just when there was no hope and the barbarian Nazis were about to overrun Christendom, God raised up a leader and saved England from extinction. His name was Winston Churchill. In the darkest days of WWII his words stirred the English to remember their roots as a Christian nation and by divine grace their nation was saved.How did this extraordinary leader turn the tide? First, he was honest about the collapse of the Empire. He said “I have watched this famous island descending incontinently, fecklessly, the stairway which leads to a dark gulf. It is a fine broad stairway at the beginning, but farther on the carpet ends. A little farther on there is many flagstones, and little farther on still they break beneath your feet.” While in parliament, before he was Prime Minister, Churchill tried desperately to warn England about the growing Nazi evil facing them. While Hitler launched a plan of rearmament, breaking his post-WW I agreements, England’s leaders convinced themselves that Hitler’s grievances were justified and that his demands were reasonable. Clinging to their deception, they signed treaties with Hitler, promising “peace in our time” which Hitler ignored. So the English quietly appeased Hitler with a new treaty.