Our Christian Heritage in Church and State

Thank you to Edmund Phillimore for permission to use this paper received 28 March 2017:


Surely the key choice before us, in the Referendum, is what is the right form of government for Britain?

Before the Queen was crowned in 1953 she took the coronation oath, promising three things:

  1. To govern her people by their laws and customs.
  2. To see the justice was executed in her realms.
  3. To maintain the Christian Faith and true gospel…

To make clear where law, justice and true faith come from, she was presented with the Bible:  “Here is wisdom.  This is the Royal law.

                                     These are the lively oracles of God.”

Among the Royal regalia she was invested with was the orb,  which is placed in her hand with the words: “Receive this orb set under the cross, and remember that the whole world is subject to the power and Empire of Christ our Redeemer.”

These are not empty symbols in an ancient and archaic ritual.  They are a real reminder of our long Christian heritage and the deep influence of the Bible upon, not just the church, but our nation and its many institutions.  I was brought up aware of how, throughout our history, God’s hand has been upon our nation through his Word.  The history of its influence upon the British people witnesses to God’s calling upon us to guard and witness to the truth of his word by both evangelization and social reform..

The Coronation reflects the Biblical pattern of godly kingship based on Deuteronomy 17:18-20 and exemplified by King David, in which the King is under the law. .. Not man’s law, but God’s law, as the presentation of the Bible signifies.

Now this is in sharp contrast with the underlying principles that have prevailed in most of continental Europe and now form the basis of the EU,  Roman Law with its underlying justification, the King is the law. .. The lex imperator…  

There are some very practical differences:

When the King is under the law system prevails we are protected against tyranny.

  • The distinctive feature of our system was the Common Law, which in many ways reflected Biblical ideas.
  • A man was innocent until proved guilty, and free to do whatever the law did not prohibit.
  • Praying “Your service is perfect freedom”, we cherished Liberty under the law.

But when the King is the law, it is man’s law that prevails and there’s no safeguard against tyranny.

  • Under Roman Law a person is guilty until they prove themselves innocent, and free to do whatever the law permits, a concept that forms the basis of Human Rights law.

Look closely at the EU, its institutions and practices, and it will be seen that it based on this latter model. It ignores Europe’s Christian heritage, and is inspired by the basic principle of 18th Century Enlightenment, human reason is the sole judge of what is right and wrong”.

These significant differences are real and explain why we have so often been at odds with Europe both now and over the centuries.  The British idea of liberty and fair-play jars with many people in Europe.   It underlies our dislike of the European goal of ever close unity, harmonizing justice and health systems, etc that the EU is intent upon pursuing.

Brexit will not restore us to godly government, for many of our politicians are secular humanists.   But it will be a step in the right direction, taking us out of a system of government that does not acknowledge God and his sovereignty over his creation.  It will restore us to the principles of our ancient constitution and democratic monarchy that honours God in the Coronation oath which still stands.  We should trust God , and remember that he can restore life to dry and scattered bones.

Edmund Phillimore   16 June 2016



The God’s Kingdom and a Rebel World

Through out history man has sought to live his way and build his own Utopia. When the inhabitants of Mesopotamia clubbed together to build themselves a tower, they said,  “Come, let us build ourselves a city, with a tower that reaches to the heavens, so that we may make a name for ourselves and not be scattered over the face of the whole earth.”   (Genesis 11:4) …. still the secular humanist agenda.

God confounded their plan and set in motion his own kingdom plan by calling Abraham, to whom he swore that he would bless all peoples through his seed.  And we know that Peter and Paul both state that Jesus Christ has come to fulfil that promise.   He does so through personal salvation but, also, at his second, coming when he will establish God’s rule over the promised new creation.   Meanwhile God has placed us in independent nations under our own rulers, so that we can be free to witness and the enemy cannot take absolute power and stamp out the knowledge of God and his deep compassion and mercy.

God is our Refuge and Source of True Prosperity (Shalom)

The Bible consistently urges to place our trust in God, who is both our security and the source of blessing.   It warns us many times against seeking safety in alliances with those who do not recognise God.     In a recent blog, Peter Horrobin, the co-editor of Mission Praise, reminds his readers of those warnings, and commends the story of Jehosophat, the 9th Cwentury BC King of Judah, in 2 Chronicles 17 to 20.  He was a God fearing King whose kingdom prospered, but whose two ungodly alliances led to disasters and great loss.   Reflecting on these things has lead him to advocate leaving.

Beware Government That Does Not Honour God

The journalist Peter Hitchens, once an atheist and Trotskyite, was in Moscow at the time of the fall of the Iron Curtain.  He came to see that the cruelty and corruption of the Soviet State had become possible because in the 1920s they had outlawed Christianity.  Perceptively he writes in his book, Rage Against God (2009):

Only one reliable force stands in the way of the power of the strong over the weak.  Only one reliable force forms the foundation of the concept of the rule of law.  Only one reliable force restrains the hand of the man of power.  And, in an age of power worship,  the Christian religion has become the principal obstacle to the desire of earthly utopians for absolute power.

Some References:
  •  L L Blake: The Royal Law, Source of our Freedom Today, 2000
  • Stephen C Perks: A Defence of the Christian State  1998, Kuyper Foundation
  • Charles Neilson Gattey: Crowning Glory, The Merits of Monarchy, 2002
  • Nick Spencer: Freedom & Order, History, Politics & The English Bible, 2011
  • Clifford Hill: The Wilberforce Connection, 2004
  • Peter Hitchens:  Rage Against God,  2010
  • D J Kennedy & J Newcombe: What if the Bible had Never been Written? 1998