PREPARING TO VOTE – THE EU REFERENDUM
As the vote in the EU referendum comes closer many claims and counter claims are being made on each side and an increasing amount of information is available for those who want to search for it. However, as Christians there are issues which we should be focussing on, and being aware of these will help us sift through the information available.
So far much of the televised and printed debate has focussed on the same issues: sovereignty, the economy and immigration. These are important and should play a part in our decision as to how to vote, however, there are also other issues at stake, and I’ve given several to consider below. Above all of them is that we should all vote prayerfully and with a desire to honour God and bring him glory.
We are commanded in 1 Tim 2:1 to pray for those in authority so that we might live “peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness”. It makes sense therefore to vote for the outcome we believe is most likely to maintain and build a peaceful society, free from conflict and protected from danger.
2. The Gospel
The reason we are called to pray for those in authority and expect a peaceful society is for the proclamation of the gospel, not our own comfort. Paul writes of our prayer: “this is good, and pleases God our Saviour, who wants all people to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth.” (1 Tim 2:3-4). The UK has been a gospel sending nation for generations as people have gone with the good news of Jesus around the world. Now, global missions has changed, and God is raising up missionaries from everywhere to everywhere. This presents exciting opportunities for the extension of God’s kingdom. We should prayerfully vote for the option we believe allows for the greatest freedom for gospel proclamation and mission across the UK and the world.
One of the functions of a government is the administration and maintenance of justice, both through the legal system and also through upholding the rights of citizens, especially those who are most vulnerable and at risk. The bible has much to say about the treatment of those who are poor, marginalised, immigrants, widowed, children and in need. When coming to vote, it is good to prayerfully think about the possible impact on matters of justice and the care of the most marginalised in our society.
The Jewish exiles were told to pray for the “peace and prosperity” of the city they had been taken to (Jer 29:7). When thinking of national prosperity with regard to this vote we must think beyond ourselves and remember that it is often the poorest that are hardest hit in times of national economic struggle.
5. The Future
This referendum is especially interesting in that a group of voters is old enough to remember life before the EU, and a younger group have grown up knowing nothing else. Whatever age we are, it is widely recognised that the young will be the most affected by the outcome of the referendum. When we come to vote let’s think of a generation younger than us and about how the exercise of our liberty will affect them.
The multi-denominational Christian organisations ‘Care’, and ‘Evangelical Alliance’ have produced guides and information about the forthcoming referendum. They both have many resources online here: