The Issachar Project
Our continent, our nations face huge socio-political, economic and cultural challenges, and Christians are not immune to the confusion or tension. From Islamic terrorism to Brexit, unemployment to migration pressures, the resurrection of historic grievances to radical LGBTI policies, Europeans do not agree the way forward.
For some time now, EEA staff have been talking with members and partners, strongly believing that we cannot ignore the difficulties. They demand a response in united prayer, theological reflection, respectful mutual listening and a voice into society. If not, we risk a weak, divided Christian community, societal unrest and even conflict.
While many of the concerns are pan-European, if not global, the response needs to be local and national. And that is why we value partnership with our members and other organisations as they discern the priorities in their context and respond appropriately. The EEA family can resource each other.
Populist politicians make things simple. The world is divided between “us” and “them”, and the answers to “our” grievances are to thwart the wishes of “them”. They talk about problems that mainstream politicians often ignore.
How can Christians discern when populist politicians can be supported, when their policies and rhetoric are compatible with the character of Jesus and His Word… and when they are not?
We are still trying to commission resources that will examine Left wing populist movements. For now, we would like you to read, translate, promote and use resources that look at Right wing populism. These can all be found on the Issachar Project section of the EEA resources webpage . Please send us translations and also any resources or ideas that you have.
This paper examines identity politics and nationalism, raising questions about how the Church should relate to the State and how Christians balance their sense of belonging and joy in their national identity with their first loyalty to Christ. It includes specific questions to help people analyse if and when a Right wing populist party may have become toxic.
This resource is designed for individual Christians, home groups and local churches. It invites us to celebrate what is great about our nation from the Lord’s perspective. It creates the opportunity consider how to be proud of our dual citizenship – our national and our eternal one in Christ. It gives questions to ponder so that we make sure that our loyalty to Christ always comes first.
“The only battle that is worthwhile in a lost world is that of the proclamation of the Gospel, of that power of God by which it saves all those who believe.” So said Etienne Lhermenault, President of CNEF, the National Council of Evangelicals in France, shortly after France’s presidential election campaign.
In his speech at CNEF’s General Assembly, Etienne did not hold back in expressing his dismay that many Christians have succumbed to a politics of fear and rejection or have prioritised defending values over sharing the Gospel of salvation. He was not advocating withdrawal from interest in socio-political matters. Indeed, he calls for the Church to take up its prophetic role of discerning what is good and speaking truth peacefully and clearly. “This courage of speaking the truth also serves to proclaim the Gospel insofar as it helps to remind people of the gap between what God wants for Man and the choices that Man makes,” Etienne declared.
You can read the full speech in the Issachar Project section of the EEA website resources page.