Revitalising Christian Democracy in the 21st Century

By Matt Williams 08 Dec 2021

As the threat of Covid gradually wanes, we are becoming aware again of the previous ‘biggest event for a generation’ – Brexit. Rows over supply chains, fishing and Northern Ireland show that there’s a political crisis to attend to, albeit one that feels permanent. However, the relational strife with (and within) the European Union should remind us that the whole point of Jesus’ call to be salt and light in the world is that decay and darkness are constant threats.

We face a distinct set of challenges due to the UK’s exit from the EU. How can we have a sense of ownership without xenophobia? How can we cultivate local community without becoming insular? Ultimately, how can we cultivate a flourishing home in our own nations whilst maintaining good relationships across borders? It is not only those in Britain but all those in Europe and beyond who are faced with these questions. That is why Jubilee Centre is partnering with Sallux to revitalise Christian democracy by producing a fresh articulation of biblical relational thinking.

There are, as the old saying goes, many ways to skin a cat. It would be wrong to say that the Bible prescribes one specific system of politics that’s waiting to be found if we could only strip away the layers of tradition, but there is real benefit in going back to the Bible, especially to the (often neglected parts of ) Torah. How can we discover what it means to love God and love neighbour without taking seriously all the writings that hang on these two commandments? The social programme in Leviticus combines rootedness in place with hospitality to outsiders and decentralisation with national solidarity. This ideal for Old Testament Israel can animate a vision for a flourishing home today, where all relationships follow the pattern of kinship and foreigners are neighbours, rather than enemies.

This is the vision that our new publication, set for release in early 2022, will set out. As part of this project, we are also running joint workshops with political practitioners from Finland, Netherlands and Northern Ireland. Wrestling through some of these questions together of course promotes unity, but it also helps us to extend the conversation into Europe and move towards policy solutions that serve the common good and commend the gospel to a world that desperately needs truly good news.

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