ADVERTISING
 
Saturday, February 24   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
Is the sexual exploitation of women an issue in your city?




SEE MORE POLLS
 

 
TOP 10 MOST VIEWED



Jeff Fountain
 

That ‘Roman Plot’

Granted, the European Union is a very imperfect human project, not to be confused with God’s kingdom. Yet we are told to pray for God’s kingdom to come, that is, for his will to be done in Europe as it is in heaven.

WINDOW ON EUROPE AUTHOR Jeff Fountain 27 MARCH 2017 10:04 h GMT+1
The Rome treaty was signed in 1957.

Sixty years ago, when the Treaty of Rome was signed to start the European Economic Community, many protestants saw clear proof of a ‘Roman plot’ to fulfil the end-time scenario in Revelation 17 of a revived Roman Empire.



Actually what the ‘men in black’ from Germany, Italy, France, Belgium, Luxembourg and the Netherlands signed on the day was a 180-page document made up of largely empty pages. The official document with the agreed text was still on a train from Brussels held up somewhere on the Swiss border. Authorities however decided to proceed with the ceremony in which the signatures were added to a pile of blank paper.



Nevertheless, the intentions were genuine and resulted in a region free of trade and price barriers, a step beyond the nascent European Coal and Steel Community towards today’s European Union. The Rome ceremony of March 25, 1957, is currently being referred to in the media as ‘the birth of the European project’; yet the official birth-date is May 9, 1950, when Robert Schuman presented his surprise proposal for the pooling of French and German coal and steel industries in a three-minute speech in Paris.



In what must surely count as ‘the defining moment of post-war Europe’, Schuman’s Declaration laid the foundation of the European house in which today 500 million Europeans from 28 (soon to be 27) nations live together in peace. This is why May 9, and not March 25, is called Europe Day. This fact remains a best-kept secret in some of the founding member nations like the Netherlands, but is widely known in newer member nations like Slovenia, which I visited last week.



My visit there was timed to present the Slovenian translation of my book about the Schuman story, Deeply Rooted, which Druzina Publishing House had planned to bring out in time for the Treaty of Rome 60th anniversary. Involved in the presentations were the former prime minister and present MEP, Lojze Peterle, former ambassador to Brussels, Igor Sencar, and professor Igor Bahov, each of whom contributed forewords to the new translation.



 



Iron grip



If Schuman could have observed the commemorations in Rome this past weekend, he would have been very surprised at the growth of the community he had fathered. For in 1950, Stalin was still tightening his iron grip on half of Europe. Only dreamers and visionaries dared to foresee the day when eastern and central European countries would be reunited with their western counterparts.



Yet Schuman would not have been surprised at Britain’s choice to leave the EU, a process to begin this very week. No doubt, like many today, he would have been disappointed. Yet from the very start he warned that Britain would always find her relationship with the rest of Europe awkward, given her loyalties to the Commonwealth and her special historic transatlantic relationship.



One Dutch newspaper likened today’s EU to an old aunt who thinks she is acting in everyone’s best interest, yet is increasingly resented by younger family members for her meddling in their affairs. But, the editorial suggested, these younger members had forgotten –or were too young to remember– the key role this ‘aunt’ had played in resolving family fights and bringing everyone around the table. Suppose she would disappear, as some seemed to wish; she would be sorely missed.



 



Crossroads



Today, once more, Europe is at a crossroads. That is nothing new. The history of the European project is a story of many crises, each one another uncertain step towards an unknown future. Schuman himself lived through many crises, buoyed by his Christian faith and his commitment to ‘a democratic model of governance which through reconciliation develops into a community of peoples in freedom, equality, solidarity and peace and which is deeply rooted in Christian basic values’.



Here is a project far too important to leave just to the politicians. As Christians, we cannot remain standing on the sidelines with critical attitudes, trying to fit developments into our end-time scenarios. Tomorrow’s Europe is our collective responsibility. Granted, the European Union is a very imperfect human project, not to be confused with God’s kingdom or the church. Yet we are told to pray for God’s kingdom to come, that is, for his will to be done in Europe as it is in heaven. Our starting point should not be that God has predestined Europe ‘to become the Beast’. Rather we should acknowledge that it is always God’s will for his will to be done–also in Europe.



What might that look like? With that question in mind, we hold the State of Europe Forum each year – to bring European believers from different backgrounds and callings to seek together a way forward towards ‘a community of peoples in freedom, equality, solidarity and peace’.



Can I invite you to join us in Valletta, Malta, on May 7 & 8, as we pray and work towards a Europe of ‘hope, healing and hospitality’?



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.


 

 


0
COMMENTS

    If you want to comment, or

 



 
 
YOUR ARE AT: - - - That ‘Roman Plot’
 
ADVERTISING
 
 
 
AUDIOS Audios
 
Michael Schluter: Relationships are the key to build Europe Michael Schluter: Relationships are the key to build Europe

The economist summarises the manifesto “Confederal Europe: Strong Nations, Strong Union” and explains why personal relationships should be at the centre of our economy, education and democracy. 

 
Gary Wilkerson: The Bible, the Holy Spirit and the Reformation Gary Wilkerson: The Bible, the Holy Spirit and the Reformation

Pastor Gary Wilkerson talks about what all evangelical Christians can learn from the Protestant Reformation and underlines the need for more churches with both a sound doctrine and obedience to the Holy Spirit.

 
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.

 
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. 

 
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".

 
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.

 
PICTURES Pictures
 
Coexistence in the church - a model for society Coexistence in the church - a model for society

“Gospel, identity and coexistence” were the themes of the General Assembly of the Spanish Evangelical Alliance. Two days in Palma de Mallorca to reflect about the role of evangelical churches in society.

 
'Ungi kulimi changana' 'Ungi kulimi changana'

Educator and journalist Jordi Torrents shares images of the Sekeleka social centre in Mozambique. About 50 children live there, many with some kind of disability. All photos were taken with permission.

 
The President in an evangelical church on Christmas Eve The President in an evangelical church on Christmas Eve

For the first time, the President of Portugal attended a worship service in an evangelical church. It was in Sintra, on Christmas Eve.

 
Lausanne younger leaders gathering in Budapest Lausanne younger leaders gathering in Budapest

About 70 people from European countries met at the Younger Leaders Gen gathering in Hungary (19-22 October) to discuss the challenges of the church in the continent and build partnerships. Photos: Evi Rodemann and Jari Sippola.

 
I am not on sale I am not on sale

Young Christians gathered at Madrid’s central square Sol to denounce human trafficking. A flashmob highlighted the work of three evangelical NGOs which support women who escape sexual slavery in Spain.

 
Stamps to commemorate the Reformation Stamps to commemorate the Reformation

Poland, Lithuania, Namibia and Brazil are some of the countries that have issued special stamps on the 500th anniversary of Martin Luther’s 95 theses.

 
VIDEO Video
 
A marriage story A marriage story

The  great love story for everyone.

 
Be safe on social media Be safe on social media

A video about the way traffickers target teenage girls online, produced by anti-slavery gorup Abolishion.

 
In Mission In Mission

A 360º lyric video about how all followers of Jesus Christ are called to serve God. Duo in Spanish (Alex Sampedro) and Portuguese (Marcos Martins).

 
Heart Heart

A short animation film by Swiss cartoonist Alain Auderset tells the message of the Bible in four minutes.

 
Creation Care and the Gospel, in France Creation Care and the Gospel, in France

The conference drew about 90 delegates from across Europe. Scientists, theologians, activists reflected together on the theme “God’s Word and God’s World”.

 
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
 
 
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.