God has used Britain to do great things but now man seeks to tear us apart

Trampled FlagToday’s guest post is by Ciaran Thompson. Ciaran has done both local and central London-based work in politics. It has involved media reporting for a Christian group which tries to bridge the gap between the Church and the Government. This piece is Ciaran’s personal view.

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Back in 1603, Queen Elizabeth I died with no heir to inherit the throne of England. It was decided that King James VI of Scotland would come down to London and become King James I of England and Scotland. He was the most likely heir. In fact he was the first monarch to reign over England, Ireland, Wales and Scotland. He was known as the ‘King of Great Britain and Ireland’. His accession to this new throne and His desire to have a new English translation of the Bible which would be accessible to everyone from the ploughboy to the Prince were unifying and revolutionary. After the turmoil and division created by the Reformation, here was a new King and a new Bible named after him, which would eventually bring unity.

What followed were wars between the nations of this new Kingdom, the English civil war and then the Glorious Revolution which all involved warring parties who each based their arguments on the Bible. The debate changed and finally everyone was able to talk to each about what God meant, because they could read His Word for themselves. They heard it in their language – the language of the people.

The Empire began to take shape, the Parliament of today was formed and Britain began to prosper like no other nation. Then in 1707, the Acts of Union established the United Kingdom and later in 1801, Ireland was also formally and officially recognised as part of this Kingdom. Though there were countless abuses caused by the Empire, the Gospel was spread, which influenced the peoples, parliaments and politics of many nations throughout this world. Its far-reaching ripple can be seen to this day at home and abroad.

It seems that God had a hand in bringing together four great nations under one King, who further unified the nation of nations with God’s Word – and then we prospered. From that it can be seen that together we are stronger. United – we stand, divided – we fall. Therefore, I do not believe that the desire the split apart is in line with God’s will for our nation. Think of the troubles in Ireland leading and resulting from the 1922 split. Yes the religious elements played their usual role, which is not so with the Scotland debate, but still, we could be feeling the effects of this new split for many decades to come – just as Ireland and Northern Ireland have for over 90 years.

It is interesting that the first king over all of Great Britain and Ireland was a Scot who unified Scotland with the rest of us – something hardly mentioned in the press. Now it is the First Minister of Scotland – Alex Salmond who wants to remove Scotland from that union. I am amazed at how quick the whole debate leading up to this week’s referendum has taken place which has included so many unanswered questions from both sides of the argument. Surely, such a humungous thing as deciding whether a group of five million people should leave a nation to form their own should be debated and decided on much more carefully.

I wholehearted believe that God brought us all together as four nations under one, and most importantly – under Him. I think this is seen most obviously in the aforesaid development which resulted from King James of Scotland’s accession to the new throne along with the publication and spreading of the King James Bible. We enjoyed the blessings which God promises to a nation whose God is the Lord (See: Deut. 28 and Psalm 33). As we have turned more and more away from God in the last few decades, I believe that is why there is a desire to split apart. That is not to say that the ‘yes’ campaigners are the bunch of ungodly rebels, but in fact represent a dissatisfaction with a Government which is not strong enough. They are weak because they have mainly moved away from God and His ways. However, I still ally myself with the ‘no’ campaigners because they at least know we are better together, even if they and the ‘yes’ campaigners do not understand the spiritual elements at work.

This possible Scottish separation feels like a divorce. As quoted in traditional British wedding ceremonies, I would say “What therefore God hath joined together, let not man put asunder.” (Mark 10.9. KJV). Those are the words of Jesus and in His Word it also says “…that, first of all, supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks, be made for all men; For kings, and for all that are in authority; that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and honesty. For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Saviour; Who will have all men to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth.” (1 Tim. 2:1-4).

In 1706, just prior to the Acts of Union, the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland called on the people of Scotland to not only pray and fast for the Scottish government of that time, but also for the government in London and for the March – Queen Anne. They made the following statement as their main prayer request: ‘That all may be done to the glory of God and the good of Christ’s Church.’

Now in 2014, The Church of Scotland in union with other denominations have encouraged people of Scotland to pray and fast as part of two national days of prayer. The first was on Sunday 14th and the second is today (Wednesday 17th). I would say let’s all pray and fast for Scotland wherever we are in the UK and pray for the nation, the leaders and the Queen that again that the glory will go to God and will be for the good of Christ’s church and the whole Union.

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Unfortunately God and Politics has been unable to find a guest blogger supporting the Yes campaign, despite that being preferable in the name of balance. If you want to read an article in favour of independence from a Christian perspective, I recommend Doug Gay’s on the Theos website. – Gillan

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Categories: Government, Parliament, Party politics

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31 replies

  1. Really?! You know God’s will? I have really appreciated this blog and the information it has given me about the Church of England and, in particular, Justin Welby. However, seeing the bias you have shown over the Referendum does make me wonder.
    Disappointed Christian

    • Whilst I am firmly on the side of the No camp, I can’t claim that I know God’s will. This article is Ciaran’s opinion, although I can’t deny that God has used this country for His purposes in the past. And I am sure He will continue to work in our countries, whether we stay together or not.

      I do believe that Ciaran’s opinion is worth hearing, which is why I decided to publish his article here.

  2. Thank you Ciaran and, yes, God’s heart IS for unity, as exemplified in Jesus’ own prayer for all believers – ie. between all churches! But then man, aided and abetted by the devil, worked hard to prevent it.jn

  3. The choice seems pretty clear. Continue in an over centralised UK run by the same elite that has run things virtually since the Middle Ages or try to establish an independent social democracy by voting yes. I do not profess to know God’s will, but my faith tells me God will be there in the middle of the action, whatever happens on Thursday. Take courage – this not too late to make a better world.

  4. God didnt put the union together, men did, and it will be men, not god, who decide if it stays.

    Harking back to an empire long gone is a total irrelevance. Thankfully the world has moved on (even if we are still living with some of the legacy).

    I am hoping for a ‘no’, but for purely selfish reasons, in that I worry about the effects on the English economy if the scots say ‘yes’.

  5. I suppose the same argument could be made of the European Union – that it is God’s will that Britain is never independent from that union and “What therefore God hath joined together, let not man put asunder.”

    I would like to know what the spiritual elements at work actually are in all this. The human desire for freedom is something which the Church could see as an opportunity. After all, we are supposed to have a God who liberates us and who cares about our freedoms and rights, a God who has seen the rise and fall of civilizations and nations – not a God who insists that we always keep our place, submit to every authority and hold a consensus of thought and expression.

    And even if you go along with the marriage analogy (are Wales and Northern Ireland England’s other lovers?), one side eventually saying ‘God is on my side, it isn’t his will. End of.’ is the kind of argument which disillusions the partner and causes further resentment.

  6. As I get older, I have greater and greater problems with bringing God, and His Will, into political arguements. Indeed into ALMOST ANY sphere except one’s personal spiritual development. It seems to me to be counter-productive to get ‘heated-up’ about politics so far as to bring Him into the debate! “Render unto Ceasar”! Christ’s teachings were entirely about US as individual spiritual beings and ONLY ONCE did He EVER get angry (or get near politics!) when clearing His Father’s house of the money-changers etc.. Never before, never again – even at His Crucifixion!

    • Hi Stephen,

      Whilst we should certainly be cautious in presuming God’s will on issues that He hasn’t specifically spoken about, I think that your individualistic approach does both God and scripture a major disservice. Christ’s teachings were about the Kingdom of God breaking into the world, and about a community of believers, rather than merely individual believers. Count the times the gospels and the rest of the New Testament use the phrase “one another”, and you’ll see that restricting the impact of the gospel to “one’s personal spiritual development” is selling it short.

  7. ‘United we stand – divided we fall’!

    Our UK issue reminds a South African pastor of SA’s difficulties changing government. Chinese and Russian triads took advantage of the situation and infiltrated her nation.

    Nick wants to know about spiritual elements at work in this. I agree. We need to be alert to the spiritual dimensions and opposition that’s demonstrated its evil prowess globally. And we need to understand the principles involved (eg territorial footholds), none of which is hardly ever taught in ‘Churchianity’.

    Whilst our focus has been on ISIS overseas we have a blind spot to home defences and an Islamic flag has been flown officially over Glasgow council offices. Surely that’s an open invitation and ‘welcome’ to undesirable elements? None of us are ignorant of the advances made in the UK since the demand for a muslim parliament in Britain was announced on 6th Jan 1992. [NB: am not anti-muslim, but am also not blind.] http://www.scotsman.com/news/politics/top-stories/glasgow-council-stands-by-palestine-flag-call-1-3502160 refers

    So, maybe Scotland should be separate after all?

    • Richard, you may not be anti muslim, but there is definately a bit of muslim paranoia creeping in on your post. Hinting that scotland should seperate because of a perceived muslim influence?? Really??
      listen,the percentage of muslims in the uk is roughly equivalent to the percentage of practicing christians, at around 4%. I think any real influence by christisns/muslims is greatly exaggerated and is really just a product of the media. It makes me laugh that you fear the goals of muslims, yet they are your goals, a country/population living under the rules/influence of your god.

      Thankfully the majority of votes tomorrow will be cast with god/religion left firmly on the back seat.

      • Sarky, I was being sarcastic about it being a reason for national separation. But thanks for proving my point about general ignorance of spiritual principles.

        Your ardent atheism doesn’t equip you with a grid for that dimension. Not surprising you’re uninformed too. So too are many clueless politicians who fool themselves that ISIS/L isn’t Islamic. It simply copies the founders’ life-style and strategies after he was thrown out of Mecca – so it IS the real deal.

        No, I don’t fear Muslims at all but love them. My quoted date hints at how long I’ve been watching and studying this phenomenon. First as a ‘new ager’ 40 years ago, then in ‘84 a perspicacious writer on the Middle-East pointed out, “We’re about to witness a mighty and almost unbelievable upsurge in Islam. Although we see the first signs of that revival (it) has a long way to go, but it’s going to go that ‘long way‘ way very quickly”! So the outrages of 9/11 and 7/7 were not really surprising.

        Also, you and I are far too young to recall Churchill’s prophetic warning of 1899 in his honestly critical The River War (vol 2 pp 248-50, per Wikipedia). Therefore, we do need to be well-informed on what’s going on!

        • ISIS is islamic in name only, like the uk is a christian country in name only.
          you cannot judge people on the actions of a few idoits!! Or are we to judge christians on those who gun down doctors at abortion clinics?? Or those far right christians who want to bring about the end of the world so jesus returns??
          You have to be so careful with labels, or you run the risk of alienating moderate voices within communities, and you dont have to have supernatural ‘superpowers’ to see that.

        • Well I’m glad we can agree about labels! And I accept your point Sarky, and assure you I know only too well about judging. But you’re wrong about the IS as they do have solid grounds for using the term ‘Islamic’. A ‘few idiots’? Maybe you’re unaware of what’s gone on outside Syria/Iraq/Nigeria etc etc – that is, in Australia?

          At long, long last many leading Muslims are voicing their objections about ultra-extremists. But the fact remains that Islam started off peaceful but became savage during the lifetime of its founder because of his example and purported private instructions from his ‘god’. So they savagely plundered their neighbours, killed those who refused to convert and after he died they divided, argued and started fighting one another! (Compare with early Christianity – not churchianity, please.)

          Also, I do know different kinds of Islam are practised, and some like the Ahmadiya and Grand Mufti of Syria preach and practise peace and who was targeted for assassination but his son got killed instead. Read this ex-Muslim on it and his remarks on ISIS at https://barnabasfund.org/Editorial-The-Two-Faces-of-Islam.html?p=all

          Also, this non-judgemental expert who warned about 9/11 answers ‘ISIS not Islamic?’ at http://www.danielpipes.org/blog/2014/09/isis-is-not-islamic

          I study eschatology but only crackpots would do what you suppose. (If meaning GW Bush, his ‘theology’ was unsound.) What you describe is actually part of ‘Twelver’ Shiite doctrine. They’re keen to usher in the end of the world by military means so that ‘Hidden 12th Imam’ can appear and bring Jesus with him! Those are more dangerous than the barbarians.

        • PS. Missed Dr Sookhdeo’s apocalyptic bit about Sunni ISIS’ ultimate goal. Perhaps this is where Sunni and Shiite may agree with one another, as they do over capturing Jerusalem.

        • PPS – good to know that Scotland’s vote gels with what was prophesied last year 🙂

  8. Reblogged this on Richard's Watch and commented:
    Gillan’s guest blog by Ciaran reinforces the earlier post on Justin Abraham’s visions of the UK and that, “We will need the strength of Scotland for what’s coming”.

  9. I say let Scotland decide what they want. Why have we had it stuffed down our throats in the last few weeks. What possible influence can we have over the result unless we live in Scotland?
    I don’t really care. This country, unified or not, is heading for disaster because we have gone against God’s statutes and are even proud of it.

  10. Quick comment on one piece of the article. “I am amazed at how quick the whole debate leading up to this week’s referendum has taken place which has included so many unanswered questions from both sides of the argument.”

    My understanding is that the debate has been dominating Scottish media for months. But it’s only in the last few weeks, as the vote is imminent and the polls are showing that it will be very close, that media south of the border have picked up on it. The Scots themselves have had plenty of time to absorb the arguments on both sides.

    And for Gillan, it would have been nice to see somebody making a case for Scottish independence on this blog. My personal view is that it’s a matter for the Scots, and so I would be content with either outcome. I’m certainly sceptical that a carefully considered Christian vote is a “No” vote, and would have liked to see both sides have the chance to put their theological case.

  11. What I would like to know is why commentators, broadcasters and politicians are unable to express themselves on polling day. The rules say that broadcasters etc shouldn’t comment on the voting day itself and I am not sure what the good reasons for this rule actually are…

    In the end it all comes down to one principle which holds sway over all of us, atheists, Christians and others alike – Tradition!

    • Nick,

      It’s really an extension of the principle that there shouldn’t be anything or anyone inside a polling station that would influence your vote. The idea is that, by polling day, voters should have had enough time to make up their minds. During the rest of the election period broadcast media are subject to strict regulations about being impartial – and have to give the different parties a fair share of media time. Ensuring balance on polling day itself (the day when that balance would be most important) would be a headache, so the news editors are probably quite glad that their coverage on polling day is limited to “the election/referendum is happening”.

      Of course, as a politician, my efforts on polling day are usually concentrated on getting out the vote for my party’s candidate. Though sometimes we’ll have enough people spare to stand around outside polling stations being nice to voters.

      • Hi Stephen,

        But surely this is where the Greens are going wrong? You are simply too accepting of tradition along with all the other parties.

        You just said that your party likes to be nice to voters before an election (yes, I’m being a little disingenuous) – but isn’t that what people are always complaining about? That parties are nice to people in the run up to an election and then after that they show their true colours?

        Isn’t this simple lack of kindness and this cold-heartedness towards people a huge problem which needs to be tackled and prioritised somehow?

        Otherwise people will continue to feel there is no political hope from any party.

        • Hi Nick,

          I wasn’t implying that we weren’t nice to voters at any other time (we try to be nice to everybody all year round, and our policies reflect that). I was just explaining what we do with our time on polling day. For a political party, your efforts on polling day are better spent getting out the vote than they are using the media to try and persuade people. By polling day, all but a few voters have already made up their mind, and most of the rest don’t decide until they’re actually in the polling booth. And it’s certainly unfair if one party can be present as somebody is in the act of casting their vote.

          Tradition is, and and of itself, neither good nor bad. Some particular traditions are outdated and would be better abolished (my party’s MP has tried to abolish some of those traditions in Parliament, but hasn’t yet got the backing of any of the big three parties for those changes). Others are still perfectly sensible, and I think the election day traditions you brought up are in that category.

          As for people being unkind and cold-hearted towards people, surely the best way of doing that is for us Christians to preach the gospel, and see people transformed by God. Politics can solve many problems, but it certainly can’t change peoples’ hearts.

        • Hmmm. I suppose I shouldn’t be surprised if politicians defend tradition and don’t even take responsibility for their own cold-heartedness towards the people.

          Although I notice that there have been political moves to try to increase compassion within the NHS and also measure and influence levels of happiness among the population.

          So perhaps the human heart is only beyond the realm of political change when it comes to those in power taking responsibility for their own hearts?

  12. I wonder if parts of England will feel the same way that parts of Scotland do today if there ever is a referendum vote which goes against independence from the EU.

  13. In reply to Richard: look, we are never going to agree on this, it’s just im not prepared to right off a large part of the world population due to the actions of a few nutters. Those responsible for atrocities must be dealt with harshly, but don’t tar everyone else with the same brush.

    A secular world sounds so appealing to me at the moment.

  14. Accepted!!!!!!!

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