Another public event concurrent with ‘heaven’s breaking news’ that the worm (satan) has turned is Archbishop Justin Welby’s address a week ago today at the Catholic Institute of Paris, where he received an honorary doctorate.
His full address on the common good and a shared vision for the next century is well worth taking time to read. Allow me to comment briefly upon aspects our national press picked up and which may relate to the recent prophetic word brought by Heidi Baker on an awakening in Europe and in the Anglicans.
Maybe His Grace has found himself turning into the fresh winds of change that the Lord has brought?
Contrary to our understanding of God’s deep desire for the UK to be freed from its deep entanglement with the EU, the Telegraph’s religious affairs editor John Bingham notes,
‘Although he voted for the UK to remain in the European Union, his lecture contained a scathing critique of “centralisation, corruption and bureaucracy” in the EU. He said millions in Greece in particular were suffering because of the actions of European decision-makers who had urged it to join the euro on a “false prospectus” and ultimately turned the entire country (the origin of democracy. RB) into the “biggest debtor’s prison in European history”…’
Justin even joined the very wide circle of sensible people who are fully aware of the nature, teachings and history of Islam and who have been insisting that politicians have been causing immense mischief and harm by disingenuously reiterating that terrorism by Muslims has nothing to do with the tenets of Islam itself.
To grasp his perspective on this we need to note how he introduces that matter within the topic of ‘The State of Europe: religiously motivated violence’ – not forgetting his deep personal horror at last year’s barbarity at the Bataclan. I quote direct from his address, as published on his website (emphases added).:
“It is a legitimate to therefore ask: how can we expect to respond effectively to religiously-motivated violence across our continent if we don’t have the ability to understand it? You here have experienced it in all its fury and terrible cruelty. Even watching the anniversary celebrations in England we felt again the horror and wept. How we feel for you!
“As such, one of the major challenges is to work out how we talk about religion in Europe. On a continent that is seeing growing secularism and apathy (in some cases outright hostility) towards religion and religious people, a challenge for all of us here today is to find new ways to share our religious vocabulary with the rest of the continent.
“This also means feeling confident to talk about the Judeo-Christian tradition of our continent and why this tradition needs to be reflected in our understanding of Europe. This is not – for those concerned – a call for a return to Christendom, but being open about our tradition and heritage – both the good and the bad.
“In a speech I gave in September to head teachers of Church of England schools, I said – uncontroversially in my view – that in order to defeat terrorism, we need to understand the mind-set of those who perpetrate it. To my surprise, a small number of media commentators viewed my comments as appeasing terrorists and their acts. However depraved it may be, groups like ISIS have an ideology, indeed a theology – which is at the heart of their propaganda, and therefore the driving force – which holds an apocalyptic understanding of human history, not as a loose term but in its strictest technical terms: they believe that the world is about to end, that the Prophet will return with Jesus, and will defeat the western powers.
“It’s very difficult to understand the things that impel people to some of the dreadful actions that we have seen over the last few years unless you have some sense of religious literacy. You may reject and condemn it – that’s fine – but you still need to understand what they’re talking about.
“And in order to understand, religious people in Europe must regain the ability to share our religious vocabulary with the rest of the continent. If we treat religiously-motivated violence solely as a security issue, or a political issue, then it will be incredibly difficult – probably impossible – to overcome it. A theological voice needs to be part of the response, and we should not be bashful in offering that.
“This requires a move away from the argument that has become increasingly popular, which is to say that ISIS is ‘nothing to do with Islam’, or that Christian militia in the Central African Republic are nothing to do with Christianity, or Hindu nationalist persecution of Christians in South India is nothing to do with Hinduism. Until religious leaders stand up and take responsibility for the actions of those who do things in the name of their religion, we will see no resolution.”
In toto, Justin Welby is encouraging a fresh vision for Europeans to aspire to: “One that is unwaveringly committed to the common good and to the flourishing of all”.
Perhaps the Lord is moving His servant towards speaking with a prophetical voice, one akin to the Old Testament prophets for the good of our nation. May Our Father grant him a blessed vision for Britain as He sees us – and recognising the fact that Brexit IS an ‘act of God’ that challenges churches’.
Finally, let me point to the IMF’s warning from its first managing director and deputy chief, David Lipton, that Europe’s failure to break its anaemic economic is of greater concern for global stability than Brexit!