YES, Brexit Day was indeed worth observing in some way or other. As a Christian minister I observed it by standing outside the Houses of Parliament to preach the gospel of Jesus Christ.
Brexit has never been just about politics: it is primarily a spiritual issue. In whom are we trusting as a nation for our security and prosperity? How we must be mindful of the Biblical warning, ‘Put not your trust in princes’ (Psalm 146:3). Yet that is exactly what the UK tried to do when it joined the European Union in 1973. The modern-day princes who constitute the power of Brussels were resorted to as a means of trust and hope for a God-rejecting nation which in the early ’70s was in grave economic turmoil.
There are many practical problems ahead. As Kathy Gyngell has reminded us, although we have now legally left the EU, ‘it would be beyond foolish to think we are in the clear’. The Northern Ireland politician, Jim Allister, said on Friday concerning his own part of the UK: ‘[Brexit Day] is undeniably blighted . . . though we joined [the EU] as one nation, we are not leaving as one nation. Instead this part of the kingdom is left behind under the control of the EU Customs Union and Single Market.’
Another issue of concern is defence. Will Britain have complete freedom of action over its future policies?
Then there is the matter of our territorial fishing waters. The Daily Telegraph reports that France is pushing for ‘EU countries [to have] access to UK fishing waters for 25 years after Brexit if it wants a free trade agreement with Brussels’.
However, I want to emphasise that there are even deeper problems for the nation post-Brexit than the deficiencies in the Withdrawal Agreement. These deeper issues are to do with the nation’s spiritual condition. Brexit alone cannot deal with them. The nation is in an abject spiritual mess, so serious as to be bordering on the disastrous.
This is why I and another pastor were in Westminster on Friday to proclaim the vital need to improve the gracious providence of independence from the EU by means of a national humbling and contrition before the Trinitarian God, who alone ordains the affairs of the nations.
Britain has been engaged in decades of profound rebellion against the teachings of the Christian Scriptures. Therefore, particular emphasis was laid in the preaching outside Parliament on Friday upon some of the prevailing sins of our day, including knife crime, abortion, marriage redefinition, ignoring the Lord’s Day and promoting the LGBT agenda in our schools.
The great blessing which Christianity has brought to these islands throughout our history was also made known. For example, why have we turned against the God who delivered us from the invader back in 1940, as the nation cried out to Him in two national days of prayer in May and September of that year?
I respect the fact that not all TCW readers will share my Christian convictions or theological emphases, but I courteously submit that the blessings which Biblical Christianity have brought to this nation are the cast-iron evidence of the need for a real Bible-based spiritual awakening today.
Who was it who challenged the absolute power of the monarchy in the 17th century, and gave great impetus to our parliamentary democracy thereby? It was Bible-believing Christians. Who helped to save Britain from a violent French-style revolution in the 18th century? The early Methodist preachers. Who instigated the great social reforms of the 19th century? Evangelicals such as Wilberforce and Shaftesbury.
So, yes, we rejoice in Brexit Day, but the great need of the hour is for spiritual reformation – for repentance from sin and faith in the Lord Jesus Christ on both a national and an individual level. As the Scriptures tells us, only righteousness before God can ever truly exalt a nation (Proverbs 14:34).