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Repentance, the need of the hour

August 2016

While the Church of England’s general synod met in emergency debate after the vote to leave the European Union (EU), Andrea Williams and Pastor Ade Omooba, co-founders of Christian Concern (CC), issued a call for repentance.

In a CC statement entitled ‘A manifesto of hope — Christ Jesus the cornerstone’,they said the church needs to call the nation to repentance — and itself needs to repent (1 Peter 4:17). The previous government, under former Prime Minister David Cameron, was the latest in ‘a succession of administrations that consistently departed from God’s truth in governing the nation’.

The vote to leave the European Union was a ‘protest vote’ and ‘a vote for change. At best, it was a vote to reassert our foundational principle of democratic accountability.

‘This is the time for the church, with new energy and vibrancy, new belief and desire, new hope and energy, to enter and fill the spiritual and political vacuum with a Jesus-centred vision for a loving, forgiving, moral proclamation of what is good, perfect and true’.

The manifesto perceptively cuts to the heart of our national sin. It says that, while the EU has been the ‘driving force’ for much of the equalities legislation used to ‘silence Christian voices’, it is ‘we in the UK who have been the keenest in pursuing it’. Now we are faced with ‘a deeply divided nation’ and ‘elements of racism, hatred and anger’.

It calls on churches to pray for the leaders of the nation, as well as stand up for ‘foundational Christian truths’ and reject ‘the prevailing humanistic and pagan ideologies’.

Timely call

The call is timely, with many people both outside and within churches, expressing deep concern about the future. Steve Clifford, general director of the Evangelical Alliance, commented: ‘While the UK has voted to leave the EU, the vote has exposed deep disagreement across our nations, cities and regions. The UK is not united.

‘We have entered a time of enormous uncertainty. This has to be a time to pray. As we look to the future the priority must be building unity and modelling reconciliation. Although we have chosen to leave the EU, we remain part of Europe and need to remember our responsibilities to support and care for our neighbours’.

For Prime Minister Theresa May and her government, there can now be nothing more important than heeding the words of Psalm 2:10-12: ‘Now therefore, be wise, O kings; be instructed, you judges of the earth. Serve the Lord with fear, and rejoice with trembling. Kiss the Son, lest he be angry, and you perish in the way…