Posted by: rogermitchell | June 2, 2016

the prophetic & the EU referendum

Many readers of this blog may rightly regard the term ‘prophetic’ as a way of describing counterpolitical voices for social justice. Thank God that there are many such prophetic voices nowadays. But there is sub-cultural category  of ‘prophetic’ within the Pentecostal-Charismatic movement that refers to particular seer and ecstatic gifts of certain individuals. Many of these, to my mind, bring considerable confusion when it comes to the matter of interpreting what they see or speak because their thinking is still impaired by the sovereignty delusion that I have traced in the books Church, Gospel and Empire (Wipf & Stock, 2011) and The Fall of the Church (Wipf & Stock, 2013).  As a result although they pick up on key issues their pronouncements miss out on the theological restoration currently taking place in the post-Christendom world that interprets the current scene from an incarnational, Jesus perspective, what I have referred to in earlier posts as a Jesus hermeneutic.  More recently I have referred to the insights of contemporary theologian Thomas Jay Oord, on the basis of which we could refer to this as the love hermeneutic. So the way to interpret the signs of the times through the sight and utterance of the Pentecostal-Charismatic prophetic voices would be with reference to the essential kenosis of God, that with God love comes first before anything else.

It follows that the crucial test of any prophetic utterance or its interpretation, based on the definition of love, is whether it acts intentionally, in empathetic, sympathetic response to God and others to promote overall wellbeing. This is a crucial question to ask of the plethora of such voices surrounding the question of how to vote in the coming EU referendum. Not surprisingly, for those prophetic voices addressing the issue who still have not ‘got’ the fall of the church or recognised the peace through sovereignty delusion, the question of preserving or regaining our individual and national sovereignty features strongly in their pronouncements. Instead of recognising the potential of the EU to share and weaken sovereign power and provide a greater context for overall wellbeing for the peoples of Europe, they emphasise its threat to the sovereignty of the UK and British people. Of course we need to work and pray to make the EU a place of greater wellbeing for all and be under no illusions that it remotely resembles the kingdom of God. We need to confront the current unholy alliance of the European Commission with the International Monetary Fund and the European Central Bank and the current neoliberal economics of austerity that are all part of the ongoing effects of the sovereignty delusion of Christendom. But it will be much easier to continue to do this in the context of the shared power of the European Union than it will ever be within the strengthened sovereignty of a lone nation state.

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Responses

  1. Thanks Roger. Really clear.

  2. Reblogged this on Mismeret's Blog.

  3. Absolutely spot on.

  4. Oh dear me if you could translate this into “American” you would surely be flogged as a heretic…”let the prophets speak, two or at the most three and let the others remain silent”…if only…

  5. Thanks Mark. Can I ask you to share the supportive comment you made on Facebook here too please at it will give it greater exposure and widen the discussion?

  6. Amen to that. I need to learn a thing or two about the kindness of your delivery; my own opinion piece about the supremacy issues with the Brexit side was a bit more, well, ‘French’ in its bluntness…

    • Might that be for a good reason…? 😂

  7. Thanks for your encouraging comment. If the definition of love is overall wellbeing in empathetic/sympathetic response to others as Oord puts it, and if this is extended to include love for enemies even if they kill you, as Jesus has it, then the challenge of all this to how to conduct robust disagreements is quite something!

  8. Thank you for your comments Roger. I had been distinctly uneasy with several ‘prophetic’ calls on behalf of leaving the EU. The harking back to some mythical glory days is particularly startling and lacks a sound appreciation for those who were not part of the “great days of yore” and it worries me for the future.

  9. Hi Roger ..it’s been a while. As I live in France and have done for 27 years with no desire to return to the UK the question of voting is null and void as I do not have the right to do so. However the outcome will effect me and my family as much, maybe more than a UK resident/citizen. Your point : It follows that the crucial test of any prophetic utterance or its interpretation, based on the definition of love, is whether it acts intentionally, in empathetic, sympathetic response to God and others to promote overall well being.

    Whereas I agree it SHOULD be like that, many Christians see the prophetic in terms of OT ‘prophets’ who often pronounced judgement on individuals, Kings and nations. The emphasis being on what was good for God’s people and that if non believers suffered as a cause of these judgements then it was OK. However, Jesus turned that thinking on it’s head (Woman at the well, Roman centurion etc:) making it clear that the gospel (good news) was good news for everyone. And more importantly that God valued the individual human being, not just nations, not just sovereigns. So order which we all need and which politics( and often religion) is all about ought to start with the individual person wherever he/she was born, whatever political or religions situation they are in or in some cases fleeing from.

    So Yes I agree we should vote for love’s sake but we should also ask ourselves if it is believable that the EU or any political group has the individuals needs and well being at heart. Once we are convinced of that then we should vote to be a part of it and be active in helping to make sure that those priorities do not get pushed aside and forgotten. The problem with the EU is that we have doubts and actual fears that the rights of the individual are less important than the rights of large corporations and foreign non EU powers like the USA.

    As someone said recently ‘it matters more why we vote than how’ …we should vote out of love for our neighbour rather than out of fear of what will/might/could happen to ourselves.

    If we vote either way with that as our goal then we will have voted fairly and freely and with faith. That is a good foundation for any union whatever the building afterwards becomes.

  10. Hello Roger and Sue Just to let you know my e-mail address has changed from sarah.holloway@virgin.net to sarahmholloway46@gmail.com . I love getting your blogs even though I’m not good at commenting. I first started when I was receiving your prayer stuff after Fire from the North in the Shetlands – rather a long time ago! Many thanks Sarah >


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