ADVERTISING
 
Wednesday, November 13   Sign in or Register
 
Evangelical Focus
 

 
ADVERTISING
 
 
FOLLOW US ON
  • Twitter
  • Facebook
  • Google +
  • Instagram
  • Soundcloud
 

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

POLL
Society
Should Christians join social protests?



SEE MORE POLLS
 

 
TOP 10 MOST VIEWED



Jim Memory
 

In or out: How should Christians approach the EU Referendum?

Viewing the issues of the referendum debate through the lens of what theologians call “salvation history”, the mission of God to redeem His creation, throws new light on them and provides vital perspective to help us make our decision on the 23 June.  

FEATURES AUTHOR Jim Memory 13 JUNE 2016 10:00 h GMT+1
in or out, referendum, christian perspective

This article is a summary of the conference “In or out: How should Christians approach the EU Referendum?” Jim Memory gave at Redcliffe College (Gloucester, UK), on 27 April.



 



We are constantly being told that the EU referendum is the biggest political decision of our generation and potentially a turning point in the history of our country.



Well that may or may not be true, but whatever our political perspective, as Christians we believe that Jesus Christ, not politics, is the hope of nations.



The earliest Christians confession "Jesus is Lord" wasn't so much a statement of faith as a defiant rejection of the supreme authority of Caesar. For Christians Jesus Christ, not secular political power, is our ultimate authority. He is Lord. His sovereignty should be our controlling paradigm for reflection on life, the universe and everything, even the referendum.



Viewing the issues of the referendum debate through the lens of what theologians call “salvation history”, the mission of God to redeem His creation, throws new light on them and provides vital perspective to help us make our decision on the 23 June.  



What follows mirrors the articles on identity, freedom, democracy and economics previously published on the UK Evangelical Alliance website so you may find it helpful to read those in parallel. There is an additional section on the issue of migration.



 



IDENTITY



Europe was not always identified with Christianity. That it became so was largely the result of Christian mission to Europe and in Europe. 



Today that Christian identity has been forgotten, suppressed or abandoned as Europeans have placed their hopes for the future in economic prosperity rather than the gospel of Jesus Christ. However you choose to vote in the referendum the loss of Europe's soul should spur UK Christians to prayer and action not disengagement; to commit ourselves once again to mission in Europe.



Faced with the godlessness of today's Europe we should respond as the Celtic missionaries once did, by recommitting ourselves to sharing the message of hope in Jesus Christ among all of Europe's peoples. Whether we are in the EU or not, that task is always upon us.



 



FREEDOM



The proclamation of freedom was an essential part of the message of Jesus. At the commencement of his ministry in Nazareth Jesus appropriated the words of Isaiah and declared:  "The Spirit of the Lord is on me, because he has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners and recovery of sight for the blind, to set the oppressed free, to proclaim the year of the Lord's favour." (Luke 4:18 - 19).



Those who bear Jesus' name today are to be a prophetic voice, holding not just our political leaders to account when they abuse freedoms, ignore injustices or ride roughshod over human rights, but also pointing all women and men and children to the one who bestowed these gifts upon us: to Christ - the one who truly sets us free.



We do enjoy extraordinary freedoms in Britain and across the EU - but we are also experiencing secular challenges to freedom of religion and belief. Freedom of movement has its difficulties but it is also a huge opportunity for Christian mission that could be restricted if the UK decides to leave the EU. Britain is still one of the principal missionary sending countries so leaving the EU may affect mission across Europe.



 



DEMOCRACY



The forerunner to the European Union, even before the European Economic Community, was the European Coal and Steel Community. It was established to help political and economic stability in Europe.



Today, nationalism is on the rise across Europe once again, much of it fuelled by democratic populism and a scapegoating of migrants.



Increasingly in recent years the EU has been criticised, and not just in the UK, for being anti-democratic. Decisions are seen to be taken by a self-serving political elite supported by unelected functionaries with little regard for the citizen.



We need to pray that the democratic deficit is addressed and we need to pray for enduring peace in Europe. But we need to do more than just pray; peacebuilding remains an essential part of mission in today’s Europe and the gospel is, at its heart, a message of reconciliation.



 



The sessions given by Jim Memory at Redcliffe College.



 



ECONOMY



A healthy economy is a blessing to any society and provides the prosperity to enable the wealthy to care for the more vulnerable.  But when the accumulation of wealth becomes our focus it soon becomes an idol.



Christians are called to demonstrate that they truly do serve God rather than money; that Jesus Christ really is Lord. What a powerful witness for the kingdom of God that could be, even in the debates that surround this referendum.



However you decide to vote on 23 June, please don't make your decision about the EU referendum on economic grounds alone: “will I be better off if we leave or remain?” To do so is to 'buy into' the spirit of our age which puts economic self-interest above all other considerations. That is a travesty of the gospel of grace and the primary ethics of the kingdom: love for God and love for our neighbour.



 



MIGRATION



Christian mission is normally understood as taking the good news of Jesus to the nations. Migration has changed all that, God has brought the nations to us. People who would never have come into contact with the gospel in their home country now have Christian neighbours.



And the so-called "migrant crisis" has thrown the spotlight on the desperation that drives migration. Churches across Europe are responding with extraordinary generosity to the refugees fleeing the conflicts in Syria and Iraq.



Along with the Muslims, Hindus, Buddhists and those of no faith who have come to Britain in recent years, so too have hundreds of thousands of Christians.



Church planting among diaspora communities in Britain is extraordinary. Perhaps God's purpose in this is the re-evangelisation of Britain?



There is a need for an honest debate around migration, how it should be managed, its impact on the poorest in society, on public services, housing and so on. But in regard to those that are here, and those who come seeking our help, the mission imperative is clear: we are to "love our neighbour", and in today's Britain, more than ever, our neighbour is a migrant.



 



CONCLUSION



Whether you vote to leave or remain in the EU on 23 June we will still be part of Europe. 



Jesus said: “You will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.” (Acts 1:8)



For us in Britain, continental Europe is our Samaria. In or out, let nothing deter us from sharing the hope of Jesus Christ with today's Europeans.



And above all, in all the debates around sovereignty, let us demonstrate in word and deed that Jesus Christ and his kingdom is the story that we live by.



 



Jim Memory is church planter and lecturer. Watch video of Jim Memory's session.



 


 

 


0
COMMENTS

    If you want to comment, or

 



 
 
YOUR ARE AT: - - - In or out: How should Christians approach the EU Referendum?
 
ADVERTISING
 
 
 
AUDIOS Audios
 
Julia Doxat-Purser: 25 years of EEA office in Brussels Julia Doxat-Purser: 25 years of EEA office in Brussels

An interview with the socio-political representative of the European Evangelical Alliance about how evangelical Christians work at the heart of the European Union.

 
Ruth Valerio: A lifestyle that cares about creation Ruth Valerio: A lifestyle that cares about creation

Are Christians called to make a difference in environmental care? What has creation care to do with "loving our neighbours"? An interview with the Global Advocacy and Influencing Director of Tearfund.

 
Lars Dahle: Nominal Christianity, a mission field for the church Lars Dahle: Nominal Christianity, a mission field for the church

An interview with Lars Dahle, of the Steering Committee of the Lausanne Movement Global Consultation on Nominal Christianity held in Rome.

 
PICTURES Pictures
 
IFES World Assembly: ‘Messengers of Hope’ IFES World Assembly: ‘Messengers of Hope’

Students, graduates and staff of the global evangelical student movement reflected together on how the books of Luke and Acts apply to today's universities.

 
Christians at work - the missing link in fulfilling the Great Commission Christians at work - the missing link in fulfilling the Great Commission

Photos of the Lausanne Movement Global Workplace Forum, celebrated in Manila.

 
European Freedom Network Bridge 2019 conference European Freedom Network Bridge 2019 conference

Images of the fifth EFN gathering. Experts, activists, counsellors and church leaders met in Pescara, Italy.

 
VIDEO Video
 
Algerian Christians worship God as police arrives to close church Algerian Christians worship God as police arrives to close church

Video of the moment police officers enter a Protestant evangelical church near Tizi-Ouzou to close it. Church members do not stop singing, and peacefully resist later.

 
Porn exploits victims of human trafficking Porn exploits victims of human trafficking

The European Freedom Network launches a new anti-trafficking campaign: “You have no way of knowing if the porn you are looking at is from someone who chose to be there or not”.

 

 

 
What makes humans different to artificial intelligence machines? What makes humans different to artificial intelligence machines?

David Glass, Senior Lecturer in Computer Science at Ulster University (Northern Ireland) analyses whether a computer can have emotions or a conscious experience.

 
A tent of hope for Venezuelan refugees A tent of hope for Venezuelan refugees

Thousands still cross the border to Colombia every week, and many continue on foot into the interior. Christian young people have set up an aid station along the road.

 
 
Follow us on Soundcloud
Follow us on YouTube
 
 
WE RECOMMEND
 
PARTNERS
 

 
AEE
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.