We’re committed to a nonpartisan, balanced, biblically-grounded approach to Britain’s departure from the European Union. Brexit is an issue that touches our nation’s political, economic and social life, and can be approached in good conscience from different perspectives which lead to different conclusions. The resources below offer a range of approaches from authors with different political positions, but all seek to reflect on our relationship with the EU from a faithful, biblical position. They were written from as early as 1998 (Should Christians support the euro?), throughout the 2015-6 EU referendum campaign, right up to the present day.
- EU Briefing Papers
- Confederal Europe – Strong Nations, Strong Union
- Cambridge Papers
- Further Articles on EU Membership
- Articles on the Brexit process
- Blogs on Christian engagement during political crisis
- Comment on the December 2019 election
EU Briefing Papers:
Written in the period 2014-6, these papers were produced to help Christians connect their faith with their vote in the EU referendum. They were commended at the time for their careful and well-thought-out engagement with both sides of the debate; they continue to have relevance today in their analysis of the original issues and their biblical framework.
Briefing Paper #1 – November 2015: (by Guy Brandon)
European Union membership is and has been for decades a vexed political question. In recent years the rise of UKIP has renewed debate about Britain’s place in the EU, with expensive bureaucracy and unchecked immigration taking centre stage. The Bible offers a number of insights into the questions raised by the referendum and Britain’s membership of the EU, including on migration and national autonomy. It also has much to say about the concentration of political and financial power, and the level at which decisions should be taken. These offer a helpful framework for engaging with the debate.
Briefing Paper #2 – Feb 2016 (originally written in Oct 2014 by Philip Powell, Jonathan Tame & Michael Schluter)
The financial crisis which began in 2008 is a symptom of a deeper cultural crisis, which if not addressed, will inevitably recur. The widespread addiction to debt at all levels, the predominance of short-term financial returns as the driving force in the markets, and a progressive individualism in the culture need to be addressed, for all of them are undermining the cherished values of European society. When demographic and social trends such as long term decline in birth rates and the ageing population are factored in, then the continent needs more than a bailout: it requires a deeper reform at the level of core values and vision.
Briefing Paper #3 – March 2016 (by Guy Brandon)
The issue of our EU membership has been contentious for decades, provoking strong responses on either side of the debate. The Prime Minister’s renegotiation of the terms of British membership has secured some guarantees, but the reality of the UK’s ‘special status’ in Europe is open to interpretation. Campaigning is well under way and both sides are strident in their arguments. There are Christians in both camps, and good reasons for both positions, but it is almost impossible to separate fact from propaganda. This article introduces a biblical framework within which we might ask questions around four key issues: sovereignty, migration, business and security.
Briefing Paper #4 – April 2016 (Guy Brandon)
We look at the issue of EU membership in predominantly economic terms. It’s a cost-benefit analysis of the financial implications with regard to jobs, taxes, the effects of bureaucracy, potential welfare expenses, and so on. Even when we’re talking about an issue as emotive as migration, we talk about identity and culture, but we still focus mainly on the economic dimension. This paper draws a few broad principles out of the Bible with the aim of informing the framework within which to explore our economic vision of the EU.
We may have voted to leave the EU, but that doesn’t solve the question of EU membership for other nations. This publication ‘Confederal Europe – Strong Nations, Strong Union’ is a report produced by our sister organisation, Relational Research and commissioned by Sallux, the research unit of ECPM (one of the 12 European Political Parties represented in the European Parliament). It sets out a vision for a confederal Europe that promotes neither a withdrawal from the European project, nor a headlong and premature rush toward full political integration, but rather the development of ever closer relationships between independent states.
Read the free PDF of the Executive Summary
Order the booklet from the Sallux website
December 1998 – Should Christians support the euro? by Paul Mills and Michael Schluter
On 1 January 1999, the ten currencies of the eleven countries entering Economic and Monetary Union (EMU) became denominations of the euro at irrevocably fixed exchange rates. While monetary unions have been attempted in the past, this is by far the most ambitious project of its kind in history. Its success or failure will determine the prosperity, and perhaps the peace, of Europe for decades to come. This paper examines what the Bible has to say about monetary systems and then derives biblical principles to evaluate political and economic developments of this kind. EMU is assessed against these principles. The conclusion is that because the euro is unlikely to succeed without political integration, Christians should be wary of giving their support.
March 2017 – Brexit in a fractured Europe by Paul Mills and Michael Schluter
The outcome of the UK’s referendum on EU membership has highlighted deep divisions within the populace, including among Christians, and increased the likelihood of further ruptures between the UK and EU27 as well as within and between the EU27 countries themselves. This paper first sets out the mandate for Christians to prioritise time and resources for peace-building within and between nations. It then presents an alternative ‘relational’ framework for peace-building within the UK and between the UK and the EU27. A Confederal model is then outlined as the basis for a new shared vision for reform within the EU. Within God’s Providence, we can pray that the Brexit vote will be seen in hindsight as a trigger for relationally-positive transformation, not just in Britain but across the Continent.
Further articles on EU Membership
- June 2016 – Five lenses on the EU Referendum by Jonathan Tame
- May 2016 – Brexit Unless… Three Fundamental Conditions for Staying in the EU by Michael Schluter
- April 2016 – UK-EU: Caught in a Bad Romance by Guy Brandon
Articles on the Brexit process
March 2018 – The R Factor in Brexit by Jonathan Tame ‘It’s not whether we have a hard or soft Brexit, or what customs and tariff rules will apply, but the state of our relationships within Britain and externally as Britain leaves the EU.’
October 2018 – Why Unity Matters by Jonathan Tame ‘One wonders which group Mrs May finds it easier to negotiate with: the leaders of the EU27 nations, or the factions within her own party.’
January 2019 – Brexit ‘traitors’: lessons from Paul’s letter to the Romans by Andrew Phillips ‘ Increasingly, as manifested in the Brexit debate, we are finding it difficult to respect the role of conscience in our politics. Instead, we assume bad faith and call those with differing views ‘traitors’ or ‘wicked’.’
January 2019 – Taking Sides on Brexit by Jonathan Tame ‘As I have considered the divisiveness of Brexit, I’ve been reflecting on the tribe vs nation tension through the Old Testament... Since 2016, the people of Britain have become divided into two new tribes: not the old tribes of class or wealth, nor the political left and right, but into Leavers and Remainers on the issue of EU membership.’
Blogs on Christian engagement during political crisis:
March 2019 – Engaging in politics in times of political crisis by Philip Powell ‘Dealing with a crisis (whether personal or political) by disengaging seldom bears good fruit. As citizens we have a duty to engage and make our voices heard.’
April 2019 – Wisdom cries out in the public square by Philip Powell ‘There is simply no expectation that Christians will provide thought leadership for determining the direction of where society is heading. The secular viewpoint now has the upper hand, because it can make arguments and assertions without any reference to transcendent or theological standpoints. And even though ‘secular reason’ is self-referential and circular, it dominates public discourse.’
September 2019 – Living wisely in uncertain times by Philip Powell ‘The temptation facing us is either to push the panic button, adding further confusion to the chaos, or to take flight and escape into denial about what’s going on in society. But for Christians both of these options are simply unacceptable. We have a responsibility to respond with wisdom and a steadfastness of mind and heart that comes from our hope in Christ.’
Comment on the December 2019 election:
November 2019 – The Brexit Election: What Really Matters? by Guy Brandon ‘ When the dust settles, Westminster might look very different but there will be far more that hasn’t changed for the country. As Christians, it’s vital we don’t lose sight of our true priorities – and that we work to prevent matters getting worse in the meantime.’