Searching for the Soul of Europe

  • In NEWS
  • October 8, 2013
Searching for the Soul of Europe
What did Evangelicals do in response to the challenge put in 1992 by Jacques Delors to find the soul of Europe within 10 years? At the EEA annual conference, Jeff Fountain, director of the Schuman Centre for European Studies gave a self-critical summary of Evangelical involvement in the public sphere. Christians seem to have not been able to stem the tide of …. and give new meaning to the European project. Yet as the present crisis is revealing the darker side of modernity, the opportunity is here to share Christ in a new way. With the Continent becoming more secular, many tend to forget – or dare to deny – the Christian foundations of Europe. Jeff Fountain highlighted the „crucial role of committed Christians“ in creating UNO and EU after the continent had been ravaged by two World Wars. The UN universal declaration of Human Rights derives its ethos from the conception of man created in God’s image. While Catholics and mainline Protestants greatly contributed to the foundations of the present order, Evangelicals stood aloof. As Jeff Fountain said self-critically, „our focus is on the local church. We find it very hard to perceive the global?? reality. We train our leaders to think local.“ When laying the foundation for EU, European statesmen de Gasperi, Schuman and Adenauer worked toward a community of people deeply rooted in Christian values. They were motivated by Catholic social doctrine (based on the encyclical Rerum novarum, 1891) whereas Evangelicals did not live up to the standard set by their heroes Wesley, Wilberforce and Booth. „We Evangelicals have been nonplayers in many cases.“ After 1970, John Stott and Billy Graham led the way for Evangelicals to embrace the „two-handed gospel“ (evangelism and social action). For Jeff Fountain, the European crisis will test Evangelicals together with all Christians afresh „in our capacity in realizing the mandate of Jesus to proclaim, comfort and liberate (Luke 4,18-21).

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