Brexit uncertainty: How should Christians respond?

The uncertainty surrounding Brexit is a cause of anxiety for many. Christian Institute trustee Rupert Bentley-Taylor seeks to address the question: ‘How should we, as Christians, respond?’

Listen to Revd Bentley-Taylor, or read the full transcript below:

This is a time of significant upheaval in our country’s sort of life and political life but also more generally in our society it is a time of just very unusual levels of private anxiety and mutual recriminations and confusions and all the rest of it. How should we respond as Christians in such times?

I think we actually should start with thanksgiving. There’s that command to pray in Philippians 4 where it talks about make your petitions with thanksgiving and you sort of think well I’m actually anxious, why should I be giving thanks? Well we should be giving thanks because God is sovereign.

We go back, we remember the name of the Lord. Psalm 46, ‘God is our refuge and strength, our ever-present help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear, though the earth give way and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea’.

So if we are Christians responding to a time of uncertainty and volatility in our country, I mean the first thing we do surely is to remember that our God is not tossed to and fro by Brexit, you know he is absolutely, totally sovereign over what happens and over all the individuals and even though the mountains fall into the heart of the sea God is still on the throne and we should rejoice in that.

God is our refuge and strength, our ever-present help in trouble.

And also I think we should rejoice that we actually live with many privileges which because we have them we take easily for granted. Privileges that we’re living in a society where the measure of religious and personal freedoms and the rule of law and order is actually remarkable compared with many places on earth. I mean it really is.

We’re in a country where generally the electricity doesn’t go out for much of the day, where the lights work, where the sewers are not running down the streets but, you know, underground and all sorts of practical and other ways where, you know, the police are not going to – there’s not going to be a roadblock up the road where the police are only going to let you through if you pay a bribe. That’s happening all over the world so we have reason to thank God that we live in a culture and country where we’ve had and do still enjoy many good things. So praise God for the good things we do enjoy rather than take them for granted.

… we have reason to thank God that we live in a culture and country where we’ve had and do still enjoy many good things.

Now I think once you start there, that’s the right place to start, praise, and then you go on to petition and we ought to pray and we are told to pray aren’t we, we’re told to pray for ‘I urge then requests and intercessions’ this is 1 Timothy 2 ‘thanksgiving’ and thanksgiving again ‘be made for everyone’ so we ought to be thanking God for Mrs May for example, even if we disagreed with her or not. ‘Thanksgiving made for everyone, for kings and all those in authority that we may live’ and this is interesting ‘peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness. This is good and pleases God our Saviour’ and it doesn’t say who wants all of us to be comfortable but he says it ‘pleases God our Saviour, who wants all men to be saved and come to a knowledge of the truth’.

So I think we should be praying in our current context, we should be praying that we will be in a context where sufficient peace and order prevails, that churches can thrive and the gospel can be preached and that actually we take the opportunities of our times, where people are insecure to point them to a security that is really outside ourselves and to pray that peace and justice would prevail and that wisdom would prevail and out of all this somehow God would save us from ourselves and give us good and wise decisions.

… pray that peace and justice would prevail

And then I think, thirdly, so I think that we give thanks, we make petition and then I think there are things that we should pray against. That is, I think we should pray for deliverance from violence and civil disorder and intimidation and the coarsening of public discourse and misinformation and abuse and exaggerations and lies and all that sort of thing. Knowing that God has every right to hand us over to corrupt behaviour given that we’ve set our backs to God and yet to pray for his mercy to our nation and I think that’s an appropriate way to pray.

So I think we should be rejoicing, making petition and pleading for God’s mercy in the midst of trouble that God would spare us from what is unjust and evil and give us opportunity to proclaim the gospel.