I feel that the church has been lacking a sound biblical perspective on Brexit. While I doubt that I am the one to write a definitive study, here is what I have decerned from scripture.
Polling from Lord Ashcroft showed that nearly 60% of those that identified as Christian voted to leave. Why?
A host of blogs, websites and claims of ‘prophetic words’ have fuelled a fear of the European Union’s apparent spiritual side. A minefield of ‘prophetic’ websites, many of which border on the extreme end of conspiracy theories, warn of a supposed darkness in the EU project.
I want to take a clear-headed look at what the Bible really has to say.
The focus of concern for evangelical writers claiming “prophetic insight” is a belief that the EU has an evil spiritual power.
They point to the EU symbol of a women riding a bull and say that it is idolatry or point fearfully towards the imagery of Revelation. Others point to the EU’s building in Strasbourg and claim it is based upon Pieter Bruegel’s painting of Tower of Babel in Genesis 11. Therefore, we are told, the EU is in open rebellion against God.
The central point of this wariness is around the European symbol of a woman riding a bull. The icon was chosen by the EU based on the Greek mythical story of Europa and adorns many EU official residences, buildings and documents.
But for some charismatic Christians the symbol is reminiscent of a biblical apocalyptic warning that spoke of a “woman sitting on a scarlet beast” in Revelation 17. According to Revelation, the woman on the beast is the mother “of the earth’s abominations” and will be destroyed by God.
Examining the prophetic
Let us take a quick refresher on how to examine the prophetic with Godly discernment.
Why prophecy must be carefully decerned
1 Timothy 4:1-2 warns us of deceptive spirits and demonic teachings:
Now the Spirit explicitly says that in the later times some will desert the faith and occupy themselves with deceiving spirits and demonic teachings, influenced by the hypocrisy of liars whose consciences are seared.
With such a stark warning, we would be fools to accept these claims of God-breathed truth without examination.
Is it encouraging?
1 Corinthians 14:3 tells us, “But the one who prophesies speaks to people for their strengthening, encouragement, and consolation.”
This is the first test of any claimed prophecy. Does it build up?
Despite the desperate efforts of evangelical Christian Tim Farron, a vague notion that the EU was anti-Christian persisted among Christian communities […]
Rather than feeling encouraged Christians have reacted to the EU with uninformed fear. A thing shall be known by its fruits and so far I have to say it does not look promising for these “prophetic” claims.
I have to conclude that these claims fail this test. Most of these prophecies fuel fear and distrust. They seak to pull down the EU and do not seek to build anything in its place.
Is it consistent with scripture?
Let me tell you this up front it is unbiblical for one of faith to fear the icons and myths of the past. 1 John 4:4 reminds us that He that dwells within you is greater than any that dwell in the world.
Titus 1:14 tells us to pay no heed to myths. 2 Peter 1:16 is likewise scathing of fables:
For we did not follow cleverly concocted fables when we made known to you the power and return of our Lord Jesus Christ; no, we were eyewitnesses of his grandeur.
1 Timothy 1:3-4:
As I urged you when I was leaving for Macedonia, stay on in Ephesus to instruct certain people not to spread false teachings, nor to occupy themselves with myths and interminable genealogies. Such things promote useless speculations rather than God’s redemptive plan that operates by faith.
Yet myths and speculations rather than God’s redemptive plan have been emphasised by Christians frightened like little children by a dusty old icon.
1 Timothy 4 advises us to “reject those myths fit only for the godless and gullible, and train yourself for godliness.”
Pointing to icons with fear is not becoming of those adopted into the faith.
Does it promote the fruit of the spirit?
The fruits of the spirit, such as peace, patience, and love should be multiplied by God breathed prophecy. Do these calls to Christian action lead to good spiritual fruits?
So then, let us pursue what makes for peace and for building up one another. (Romans 14:19)
John 3:20 tells us, “everyone who does evil deeds hates the light and does not come to the light, so that their deeds will not be exposed.” What has come to light is just how completely the Leave campaign lied. Ephesians 5:11 says to not associate with such deeds but expose them.
Again, I’d have to say no. Instead of peace, Brexit has given rise to racism, poverty, and uncertainty about the future. Brexit brought division to the country. How can we of the Faith be yoked with such deception? 2 Corinthians 6:14 says to do no such thing.
Examining the scriptures
Now we have examined claims of prophecy let us look at what the Bible has to say about our relationship with our neighbours.
Building up our neighbours
Romans 15:2-3 starts by saying, “Let each of us please his neighbour for his good to build him up.”
Does Brexit in any way build up the UK’s Europian neighbours? It is hard to see how it can. In fact, there are those among the leave camp hoping to see the total destruction of the Eurozone. That is the very opposite of building up. Don’t forget what Leviticus 24:19 says about he who harms his neighbour.
1 Corinthians 10:24 says “Do not seek your own good, but the good of the other person.” I wonder if, through Brexit, we have failed to do this.
God’s commands regarding foreigners
Central to the Holy Law of God is justice for all – both native and foreign.
Deuteronomy 10:17-18 says:
For the LORD your God is God of gods and Lord of lords, the great, mighty, and awesome God who is unbiased and takes no bribe, who justly treats the orphan and widow, and who loves resident foreigners, giving them food and clothing.
Central to Brexit is a closing of borders to refugees. These two things are not compatible. You cannot serve two masters.
Lies or truth?
It is the thief that comes to kill, steal, and destroy. The aims of Brexit are separation, division, and a destruction of the EU.
Proverbs 12:22 says this:
The Lord abhors a person who lies, but those who deal truthfully are his delight.
The Father of Brexit was lies and deception. John 8:44 is clear on the nature of such a father.
You people are from your father the devil, and you want to do what your father desires. He was a murderer from the beginning, and does not uphold the truth, because there is no truth in him. Whenever he lies, he speaks according to his own nature, because he is a liar and the father of lies.
How can something driven by deception and lies be the will of God? If God desired the UK to depart the EU surely it would bring glory to the Father if this was done openly, honestly and in truth?
Love your neighbour and the Brexit divorce
James 2:8 says:
But if you fulfil the royal law as expressed in this scripture, “You shall love your neighbour as yourself,” you are doing well.
How can UK Christians claim to love their neighbour and be part of divorcing and rejecting them?
Was the EU unfaithful to us? No.
Why, then, are we seeking separation from our EU partner to whom we have committed? To trade with other nations. Would not Luke 16:18 show us to be adulterers if we do that?
Christ’s prayer for us
In John 17 you can read Christ’s prayer for His followers. Not that we are removed from the world but that we remain in it.
Even if you accept the highly doubtful claims of “spiritual evil” in the EU surely our Godly duty is to remain there and be salt and light? Salt that has lost its saltiness is not good for anything but to be trampled underfoot.
If the UK truly were a last bastion of Godliness (and I doubt that it is any better than anywhere else) then how can we be salt and light to an EU we have rejected?
Conclusions on Brexit and the Bible
We did not speak out for those that have no voice. A light was not shed for those in need.
If Christians are concerned about spiritual darkness, we should be galvanised into action by the injustices of people being driven to use food banks to feed themselves. Outraged at the racism and hate that followed the Brexit vote. We should be loudly vocal about the thousands that are driven to the brinks of suicide by a benefits system expensively persecuting the poor and disabled.
Our silence speaks volumes and it condemns us.
It seems to me that the move towards Brexit is an attempt to divide us from our neighbours and frustrate the will of God. If that is the case, Brexit will ultimately fail. How it fails will determine the price we must pay for our arrogance and fear.
We Christians that voted for Brexit sided with messengers of lies, oppression, and injustice. We were deceived by fearful words. Now we must repent and rebuilt our bridge to the world.