Monday, March 27   Sign in or Register
Evangelical Focus

  • Twitter
  • Facebook
  • Google +
  • Instagram
  • Soundcloud

Newsletter, sign up to receive all our News by email.

Faith at the workplace
Do you agree with the EU Court of Justice that religious and political symbols can be banned at the workplace?



Jeff Fountain

Where is your faith?

Does a secularised Europe have any real basis for faith in the core values stemming from the story which made Europe Europe in the first place? 

WINDOW ON EUROPE AUTHOR Jeff Fountain 18 NOVEMBER 2015 09:11 h GMT+1
dark, fear, city Photo: Naphtali Marshall (Unsplash, CC)

The week already began on a pessimistic note. On Monday, Frans Timmerman, vice president of the European Commission, confessed his personal fears of the European project being torpedoed by rising nationalism.

He talked of a perfect storm gathering, with the refugee crisis following hard on the heels of the economic crisis.

And then came Friday 13th. Paris. Bloodshed. On the street, in a theatre, in a restaurant, at the football stadium. Chaos. Confusion. Fear. Anger. Grief.

The attack came as my wife and I were attending a European conference of Together for Europe in the south of the Netherlands. Delegates from nearly forty movements and organisations, Catholics, Orthodox and Protestant, came from many European countries, including France, for this annual event. Shocked and sobered, we reconvened for Saturday morning’s session, where Thomas Römer, of the YMCA in Munich, was to speak on the topic: Faith in the midst of today’s challenges and fears.

Thomas quoted Timmerman saying that if the politics of hope did not replace the politics of fear, the European project could disintegrate. And now this massacre was creating more fear, confusion and insecurity. IS had struck again: after Charlie Hebdo ten months ago, and the downing of the Russian airliner in the Sinai, now this.

Thomas pointed to the story of Jesus and the disciples caught in a storm on the Sea of Galilee. The wind and waves threatened. The disciples felt danger, fear and panic. And yet Jesus was sleeping. ‘Master, master, we’re going to drown!’ they cried, waking Jesus.



Europe is in trouble. Waves of refugees are threatening to sink the ship, some say. And Jesus seems to be sleeping, Thomas said, before reminding us that Jesus was in the boat with the disciples, and is in the boat with us today. Luther, he said, spoke of God’s hidden grace, his hidden work and presence behind the scenes working out his purposes.

As he spoke, I recalled that my first weeklyword of this year (5 Jan) responded to the tragic reports in 2014 including Ukraine, Crimea, Syria, MH17, the bizarre fate of MH370 and more. What more tragedies awaited us in 2015? I had asked. Days later came the Charlie Hebdo massacre.

Like the disciples in the storm on Galilee, I wrote, we want to cry out to Jesus, ‘Don’t you care if we drown?’. Yet nobody could promise us that the new year would be better than 2014, I admitted. ‘Fact is, we still live in a fallen world. Accidents and tragedies will continue to happen this year.’ Then I had told how Rembrandt’s painting of Jesus calming the storm had been a key image for my wife and me in making sense of that turbulent year.


Rembrandt's painting.

In this scenario, Jesus spoke the words ‘Quiet! Be still!’ The wind obeyed and it was completely calm. Jesus never promised his disciples personal peace and prosperity. He did however promise to give them and us peace in the midst of storms, a peace the world doesn’t understand.

Thomas continued, contrasting the response of Jesus with our own inclination to fear and powerlessness, rage and aggression. Jesus creates peace through the word, not violence–which only spreads more fear. The word of Jesus can still the storm, the fear, the rage. He turned to the disciples and asked: Where is your faith?



We Europeans now face the test as to how we respond to this violence spilling over from the Middle East. And here is a key question: Where is your faith? Where do we draw resources from to respond in an opposite spirit? Does a secularised Europe have any real basis for faith in the core values stemming from the story which made Europe Europe in the first place? The headline in Saturday’s edition of the secular Dutch paper, NRC Handelsblad, written before the attack, read: We have lost our faith; and the emptiness is huge. What has come in the place of religion? the article asked. Populism fills the emptiness with fear for the norms and values of the foreigners. Fundamentalism claims to offer the alternative for the emptiness.

In another edition of the same paper, another writer suggests we should be more worried about the weakness of our faith in European core values than about the supposed strength of radical Islam. He echoed Angela Merkel’s concern voiced recently in Bern when she asked why more Europeans were not practising their faith rather than lamenting about Muslims practising their faith in Europe.

As we discussed and prayed in small groups in response to Thomas’ words, one person recalled the warning of a bishop from Iraq: ‘We Christians in the Middle East have been persecuted for centuries. This is normal for us. But I doubt if you Europeans are capable of responding in love and forgiveness to this sort of violence.’


Jeff Fountain is director of the Schuman Centre for European Studies, and speaks on issues facing Christians today in Europe. He writes at Weekly Word.




    If you want to comment, or


11:40 h
Good questions to think about. Where is my faith? Will I be capable of responding in love and forgiveness to the challenges, storms, violence... we are living on these days? We are not going to drown, Jesus is still on the boat. But we need to trust him more than ever.

YOUR ARE AT: - - - Where is your faith?
Israel, the UN resolution and the long conflict Israel, the UN resolution and the long conflict

Shira Sorko-Ram, pastor and journalist in Israel, shares her views and a historical and biblical context on the latest events.

Lindsay Brown: Islam and the Gospel in Europe Lindsay Brown: Islam and the Gospel in Europe

Is the arrival of thousands of Muslims to Europe a threat to Christianity? What is the growth of evangelical churches in Eastern and Southern Europe? An interview with theologian and Lausanne Movement representative Lindsay Brown.

Giovanni Traettino: “Pope Francis is my brother in Christ” Giovanni Traettino: “Pope Francis is my brother in Christ”

Evangelical Focus asked the well-known Pentecostal pastor about his “open” approach to Roman Catholicism. Traettino defended his position about ecumenism during the Italian Evangelical Alliance 2016 assembly (8-9 April, Rome).

Efraim Tendero: Relationship with Roman Catholicism and other current issues Efraim Tendero: Relationship with Roman Catholicism and other current issues

The World Evangelical Alliance Secretary General participated in the Italian Evangelical Alliance assembly (Rome, 8-9 April). In this interview with Evangelical Focus, Bp Tendero talks about the need to listen to local churches and to face challenges like the refugee crisis and climate change. 

Thomas Bucher: Vision of the EEA Thomas Bucher: Vision of the EEA

Influence in society, evangelical identity and projects in Europe. An interview with Thomas Bucher, secretary general of the European Evangelical Alliance.

Evi Rodemann: Youth and mission Evi Rodemann: Youth and mission

“We want to see the youth not just being equipped, but also being multipliers”, Evi Rodemann director of Mission-Net. The European Congress took place in Germany from December 28 to January 2.

Greg Pritchard: European Leadership Forum Greg Pritchard: European Leadership Forum

Pritchard explains the vision of ELF, comments on the 2015 event in Poland and reflects on what it means to have an "evangelical identity".

Pablo Martinez comments on Evangelical Focus’ launch Pablo Martinez comments on Evangelical Focus’ launch

Author and international speaker Dr Pablo Martínez discusses the main challenges in Europe nowadays and hopes Evangelical Focus will be a useful tool to help build bridges between churches and society.

‘Reconciliation’ in the Basque Country ‘Reconciliation’ in the Basque Country

Bilbao hosted the Spanish Evangelical Alliance's annual meeting (assembly). Politicians, professors and evangelical representatives shared views on social reconciliation. The theme was also analysed from a theological perspective and in workshops. 

WPF17: A look at the world’s current issues WPF17: A look at the world’s current issues

A selection of pictures of World Press Photo 2017.

‘Progress of Europe, deeply connected to Bible’ ‘Progress of Europe, deeply connected to Bible’

Indian author Vishal Mangalwadi spoke about how the biblical worldview shaped the West. 300 professionals attended annual GBG meeting on faith and work in Cullera (Spain). Photos: J.P. Serrano, S. Vera.

Impressions of Lausanne's #ylg2016 Impressions of Lausanne's #ylg2016

Around 1,000 young Christian leaders from 150 countries are participating in the 2016 Lausanne Younger Leaders Gathering, to reflect on global mission.

“Spain, we pray for you” “Spain, we pray for you”

Hundreds of evangelical Christians from many denominations marched in Madrid (Spain) to pray for their city, the authorities and asking God to bring hope to its society. Many gathered in other cities on June, 11.

How does erotic love feature in the Bible? How does erotic love feature in the Bible?

Richard Winter, Psychotherapist and Professor Emeritus of Covenant Theological Seminary, answers the question.

Proverbs 31 Proverbs 31

A powerful video recites Proverbs 31:10-31, from the Bible. Produced by World Relief. 

‘You are a… Christian?’ ‘You are a… Christian?’

A clip by Tracey Ullman's Show (BBC, in the UK) gives a humorous approach to how Christians are perceived in the labour market.

What historical obstacles do European missionaries need to overcome? What historical obstacles do European missionaries need to overcome?

Teaching Director of Youth for Christ in Sri Lanka Ajith Fernando answers the question.

You-To live-How? You-To live-How?

The Roldan Camacho are a Spanish couple with deafness. They tell us how the whole family experiences everyday life through sign language. A video report by Gabriela Pérez.

“Who can help me? I want to become a Christian” “Who can help me? I want to become a Christian”

Nikos Stefanidis of ‘Helping Hands’ in Athens (Greece) shares the story of an Afghan lady who decided to follow Jesus.

Philip Yancey interview Philip Yancey interview

An 8-minute interview with Philip Yancey on the role of Christians in a secularised society. Recorded in Madrid, September 2016.

An interview with Prof. John Lennox An interview with Prof. John Lennox

New atheism, the definition of "faith", Christianity in Europe, the role of the Bible in mission, and the need to listen more. An exclusive interview recorded at "Forum Apologética" (Tarragona, Spain) in May 2016.

Follow us on Soundcloud
Follow us on YouTube

EVANGELICAL FOCUS belongs to Areópago Protestante, linked to the Spanish Evangelical Alliance (AEE). AEE is member of the European
Evangelical Alliance and World Evangelical Alliance.

Opinions expressed are those of their respective contributors and do not necessarily represent the views of Evangelical Focus.