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Alistair Begg on Visiting Albania


Dear Friend,

The United Nations represents itself as “the world’s only truly global organization”—one committed to “peace, dignity and equality on a healthy planet.” There is good reason to challenge that claim and to question the organization’s ability to achieve its objective. The UN came into existence in October 1945 to maintain international peace. Seventy-nine years later, we are living in a broken world where strife and disorder among people and nations is arguably worse than at any other point in history.

Why, you may be asking, am I delving into this “political” arena? Let me answer.

With friends, including Andi and his wife (far right), at the Tirana Hotel.

A week ago, I returned from Albania, where I had been speaking to church leaders from various parts of the country. In my youth, this region was known to be the most proudly atheistic, Communist nation on earth. Early one evening, my host, Andi, toured me and my friend Tim Challies around the center of Tirana and pointed out the buildings which, up until 1991, housed Communist dictators. The dictators are now dead and gone, but the nation remains in darkness—a darkness that can only be overcome by the “true light” (John 1:9) who has come into the world.

On Sunday morning, we gathered in our hotel, once the province of the Communist regime, and heeded the call of the psalmist: “Sing to the Lord, bless his name; tell of his salvation from day to day. Declare his glory among the nations.” Having grown up in a home that believed the lie that God was nothing more than an invention to fill the gaps in the lives of needy people, Andi led the service, because the light of the Gospel had shone into his heart through the face of Jesus, and the darkness cannot overcome it.

The glorious dreams of the UN are bound to fail, because the heart of man is desperately wicked and cannot be tamed by political theory or self-effort. Why is it that “the nations rage and the peoples plot in vain?” The answer is that they have set themselves against the Lord. Jesus is the only one in whom “all things hold together.” The church of Jesus Christ is an eternal, international, multilingual, unstoppable force in the world. “Jesus shall reign” and “His kingdom stretch from shore to shore.” This He has promised, and He will keep His word.

I found the same to be true in Zagreb, Croatia, and also in the Netherlands, where I spoke prior to arriving in Albania. The once-proud Dutch East India Company is no more, and Yugoslavia is broken in pieces. What shall we say of our own fair land at this point in our history? One of my favorite hymns, sung at the funerals of Queen Victoria and Elizabeth II, has this as a closing verse:

So be it, Lord; Thy throne shall never,
Like earth’s proud empires, pass away.
Thy kingdom stands and grows forever,
Till all Thy creatures own Thy sway.

What the UN longs to achieve but cannot is being accomplished through the work of the Gospel in the whole world. Let us work while it is day, for the night is coming (John 9:4). Be assured of the day when loud voices shall declare, “The kingdom of the world has become the kingdom of our Lord and of his Christ, and he shall reign forever.”

With ever-increasing gratitude for our fellowship in the Gospel and with my love in the Lord Jesus,

Alistair Begg

PS: There are still openings available on our fall tour of Canada and New England, if you’d like to come along. You can learn more and book your ticket at

100 Proofs that Jesus Is God

Alistair Begg is Senior Pastor at Parkside Church in Cleveland, Ohio, and the Bible teacher on Truth For Life, which is heard on the radio and online around the world.
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