The Interceders Encourager No. 65
Further Thoughts on the EU Referendum
Pastor Peter Simpson of Penn Free Methodist Church has written a booklet entitled "THE BIBLICAL CASE FOR BREXIT: Why Britain should leave the European Union, and return to its historic Christian foundations."
He makes six points.
1."Britain should leave the European union because membership in it is a secular nation's substitute for trusting in God.
When Britain joined the Common Market in 1973, it was a nation afflicted by economic crises and industrial turmoil. The God-rejecting 'permissive society' was also transforming our culture. In 1969 the then Chancellor of the Exchequer had described permissiveness as the mark of a civilised society! This revealed the extent to which secular liberalism was, by then, destroying our nation's Christian identity.
So as Britain voted to remain in the European Economic Community in 1975, it was in the context of a society deliberately abandoning the decency and wholesomeness of a Bible-imbued culture. We were a nation despising itself and its history, and believing that the problems of the world were mainly a legacy of our nasty imperialistic past.
Labour disputes were also crippling British industry at this time. The Protestant work ethic had become no more than a piece of historical quaintness. In short, Britain was in such a dejected and degenerate condition that it was ripe for a craven retreat into the arms of a foreign alliance, in the vain hope that there would be safety in numbers. So membership of the European Economic Community became the focus of hope for a secularised people in their desire for national recovery. By now Britain was made up of a "generation which did not know the LORD, nor yet the works which he had done" (Judges 2: 10).
Because of this, we resorted to Europe for survival, precisely because the concept of trusting in the God who governs the nations had become beyond our secular comprehension. Britain now knew nothing of the Biblical teaching that national prosperity is intricately connected to obedience to the one true God, (e.g. Deuteronomy 28: 1-14). So the UK's involvement in the European project became a secularist insurance policy, indeed a crutch, for a God-rejecting people, in contrast to the scriptural principle: "Do not put your trust in princes, nor in the son of man, in whom there is no help" (Psalm 146:3).
2.Britain must leave the EU because membership in it makes proper border controls impossible, which are a Biblical responsibility.
The need to respect national boundaries is clearly taught in Scripture. It is implicit in the injunctions of the law of Moses to respect tribal and family boundaries, e.g: "You must not remove your neighbour's landmark" (Deuteronomy 19: 14). The integrity of national boundaries is plainly set forth
in Numbers 20 and 21, where we read of the Israelites travelling from the wilderness to the Promised Land. They needed to pass through the territory belonging to the Edomites and the Amorites. So they asked the kings of those two nations for permission. Moses told the kings that his people would not stray from the main highway, nor touch any crops. He even offered to pay for any water that Israel's cattle consumed in transit. He thus carefully observed the Edomites' and Amorites' boundaries as being ordained of God, and worthy of all respect.
Let us now consider the current situation regarding control of our borders. 617,000 people migrated into Britain in the year to September 2015; the net figure was 323,000, of which 257,000 were from EU. This follows a gross influx of 636,000 in the year to June 2015. The Migration Watch UK organisation reports, in an extrapolation from recent immigration statistics, that "the population is projected to rise by 500,000 a year and so reach 73 million" by 2030, a rise of nearly 8 million.
Where are all these incomers going to live? Such levels of immigration are quite unsustainable in terms of the functioning of public services, the maintenance of the infrastructure and the conservation of the countryside, including productive agricultural land. England is already one of the most crowded countries on the planet and is the most densely populated European country, except for Malta
British membership of the EU makes it far more difficult for the Government to control immigration properly, because people from 27 other countries are free to come to Britain to find employment. Is such a situation fair to those Britons who are looking for work and who do not wish to leave their own land in order to find it? Why should they have to compete in their own country with many others from abroad?
Migration Watch further reports that "the economic benefit of EU migration has been greatly exaggerated, especially in respect of East Europeans who are mostly in low paid employment" "The number of EU nationals working in the UK has increased by 215,000 in the year to the end of 2015" As many of these EU workers will be at the lower-paid end of the labour market, Britons looking for work at the same lower wage levels will face increasing competition for the available posts. They will also be suffering from downward pressure on their wages because of the wide availability of migrant labour.
In 2015, 630,000 EU citizens registered for a UK National insurance number. Again, we can ask, is this right before God? There is nothing wrong in a government putting the needs of its own citizens first, any more than it is wrong for a father in managing his income and household to put the needs of his own family first. In the decade from 2001 to 2011, our governments allowed the population to grow at a faster rate than at any time since the first census was conducted in 1801. No immigration in our long history has been anywhere near these levels." This has put enormous pressure on our public
services, on housing, on education, on the National Health Service, on the police, on the number of vehicles on our roads, on our social services, etc., not to mention the demographic and cultural changes to our country, especially in the larger cities, in our already overcrowded island.
3.Britain must leave the EU because membership in it means taking on the financial obligations of others, contrary to Biblical principles.
All the money that we pay into the EU is, (apart from the huge amount swallowed up by the inefficiency of the organization), subsidizing foreign governments.
This, asserts Pastor Simpson," is contrary to the Biblical principle that each person is responsible for the stewardship of his or her assets." He quotes Proverbs 11.15, "He who puts up security for a stranger will suffer for it, but the one who refuses to do so will be secure."
In the European Union, we are put into a position where "we have to guarantee loans and payments to other countries which are in grave financial difficulties. We are, therefore, making ourselves a guarantor for the economic wellbeing of other countries, over which we have no control. It is very unwise to act as a financial guarantor to other countries, when there is no ability to influence the policies which they carry out.
In October 2014, the UK government was told it had to contribute an extra £1.7 billion into the EU budget because of our economy's good performance." So being a guarantor in such circumstances meant that we were penalized for "good performance." while the ones with poor performance were rewarded! That is the height of injustice.
4.Britain should leave the EU because membership of it is incompatible with its Christian and Bible based constitution.
The constitution of the EU lacks any reference to the Christian faith which has undergirded the development of Europe and the whole of the Western World, (as we have already noted.) This is in stark contrast to the British Constitution, especially the 1688 Coronation Oath Act, where the head of state is required "to the utmost of her power to maintain the laws of God and the true profession of the gospel." This means that the word of God, His own revelation of Himself, has been placed at the centre of our national life, therefore we should have nothing to do with the secular, anti-Christian EU.
Our constitution also refers to national churches established by law. The original doctrinal statement of the Church of England states that, "The Queen's Majesty has the chief power in this realm… and is not, nor ought to be, subject to any foreign jurisdiction," (Article 37 of the 39 articles.) If this had been adhered to, we would never have agreed to becoming part of the EEC, and handing over any of our sovereignty to "the foreign jurisdiction" of the EEC, and even less to the far more dominating EU. We should get out without any delay.
5.Britain must leave the EU because membership provides no guarantee of peace between nations.
Some people maintain that it is necessary for Britain to remain within the EU because it has been responsible for maintaining peace in Europe. Such a statement must be disputed. Peace in Western Europe has been preserved for three reasons. Firstly, the fact that the nations of Western Europe were tired and drained of resources because of the war, and wanted to make a fresh start. Secondly, the solidarity created by all the military and financial help given by the USA. Thirdly, the existence of NATO in the face of a common enemy, the USSR.
Simpson also draws attention to the Biblical truth that a nation's well-being and prosperity are due to a nation's standing with God, pointing to King Asa, who led the nation back to the one true God. Consequently, the land had rest and he had no war in those years because the Lord had given him rest." (2Chron. 14:5-6)
So we must not think that freedom from war will be guaranteed by membership of the EU, especially as it takes such an anti-Christian stance.
6.Britain must leave the EU because membership of it is incompatible with the God ordained institution of nationhood.
In Deut. 32:8, God tells us that just as the Lord separated the nation of Israel, so He also ordained the independent existence of all the other nations. "When The Most High gave to the nations their inheritance, when He separated the sons of men, He fixed the boundaries of the peoples."
This same thought is reflected in the New Testament, where we read, "God has made from one man every nation of men, that they should live on all the face of the earth, having determined the times set for them and the boundaries of the areas where they live," (Acts 17:26)
So the Bible teaches that God has ordained nationhood, and accepts peoples and nations living in separate defined areas.
As we look back on this nation's history, we can praise God that He has blessed this nation in a unique way. John Wesley once wrote, "We feel in ourselves a strong natural affection for our country, which we believe Christianity was never designed either to root out or impair." What a
tragedy it would be if this feeling of attachment to and concern for this country were to be impaired or even taken away by the all subduing power of the EU. Let us do all we can to make sure it does not happen.
For, as Ray Borlase has said, "by far the most important issue in this referendum is that of sovereignty. The majority of our laws are now made in Brussels, and Westminster is increasingly becoming little better than a local council, as far as legislative powers are concerned."
Remember that we have a different spiritual background than the rest of Europe. We are the only country in Europe that has not only had a national Reformation, but has also experienced national revivals and awakenings.
God has used this nation like no other nation, through it sending out the Bible and the Christian gospel to millions of people round the globe.
But as we have turned away from God, so the blessing of the Lord has been removed, and through our foolishness in joining the EEC, our sovereignty has also been taken from us and pressure from the EU has caused us to renounce many Biblical standards which were upheld by the laws of this land. It has all been part of God's judgment upon the land, just as when God judged Nebuchadnezzar for his pride and arrogance, He said, "Your royal authority, (or your sovereignty) has been removed from you,"(Dan. 4:31)
In the same way, when Rehoboam, the king of Judah forsook the law of the Lord, God sent enemies against him. But when Shemaiah the prophet declared the word of rebuke to Rehoboam, he and his princes humbled themselves. Because of this, the Lord granted them some deliverance, "(2Chron.12:5-8)
That is why we need to cry out to God for mercy for this land, imploring that, even though we do not deserve it, our sovereignty will be restored through this referendum, and that this will be the beginning of the nation returning to the God who made it great, that His laws will again be kept, and His Son will be honoured.
So pray that God, in His mercy, will hear and answer our prayers, not just for this referendum, that people will vote to come out of this undemocratic, domineering and wasteful organization, but that, as we "humble ourselves and pray and seek His face, and turn from our wicked ways, that He will hear, will forgive our sin and will heal our land, " (2 Chron.7:14)