The Trans-European Division of Seventh-day Adventists Puts Brexit in Perspective

As the implications of Britain's vote to leave the European Union continue to be felt in the UK and around the world, Seventh-day Adventist Church leaders in the Trans-European Division of Seventh-day Adventists (TED) have responded to the vote in the following statement, issued on the TED website. -Ed.

On Thursday, 23 June the British people voted by a margin of 3.8% to leave the European Union. With a turnout of 72%, 51.9% of the electorate made the historic decision, changing 43 years of European history since the UK joined the European Community in 1973.

Many students of Bible prophecy see 'Brexit' as a fulfilment of the prophecy of Daniel 2:43 predicting that the various nations of Europe 'shall not cleave' one to the other. This is well expressed by an Adventist Review TV special.

However, while it is prophesied that Europe will have both strength and weaknesses, and while attempts to bring unity as under the Roman empire will never succeed, Pastor Ian Sweeney, President of the Seventh-day Adventist Church in the UK & Ireland notes that "this does not relieve us of our responsibility to promote unity, love and commonwealth among all people!" He notes that "The prophecy of Daniel 2 does not mean that we should not fight against divisions that are borne of racism, prejudice, self-interest and the like. Jesus once said that the poor will always be among us (John 12.8), however, this was not to say that we should just accept poverty without working to relieve it!"

Following the exit vote, Trans-European Division (TED) Stewardship director, David Neal noted, "The honest, Bible believing Adventist is conflicted. For sure, the prophetic word stands. But neither can he/she be ready and willing to stand with those who are fearful of 'the other', whose actions in word and deed border on zenophobia. As valid as Daniel 2 is, without question, Christ's parable of the Good Samaritan is of equal consideration. The Brexit campaign completely ignored this value."

In an impassioned plea Sweeney, whose parents were themselves migrants in the 1970's, stated, "Europe will always be divided in one way or another, however, we have a Christian responsibility to show our love for all people who in political debates are depersonalised and labelled as 'migrants', 'economic refugees' etc. We may not share the language, culture, or ethnicity. However, every man woman and child are our brothers and sisters who Christ loves and died to save."

"As officers, we are studying the implications that this vote will have on the operation of the TED Office in achieving our mission in Europe," states TED President, Raafat Kamal. "There will be clearly financial and operational implications for us to consider." He equally notes that the TED is not just multi-lingual but multi-currency.

"The composition of Europe has changed over the years both inside and outside the church. The two European Divisions have equally changed several times in terms of size and structure during their history. Change of itself is not a problem. We must simply find the best way to react to the change." He noted, "It may even be that in such times of uncertainty people may look more to faith based solutions – a security that as Adventists we can certainly provide."

"The uncertainty within the various financial markets may cause some issues for church mission, states Nenad Jepuranovic, TED Treasurer. He sees the biggest financial risk as the fluctuating exchange rate between the 12 different currencies used in the 22 countries that make up the TED.

"Over the past few years, our tithe income in local currencies has been steadily increasing," Jepuranovic noted. "However, the economic turbulence in the European markets in the last two years, has meant that we have borne the brunt of adverse exchange rates that have reduced our tithe income in UK£ by 9.6%." This has been balanced in part by US/UK exchange rates.

What of the future? "The latest predictions for the European markets are at best uncertain, but over the past few years the TED has built up sufficient reserves to cover economically volatile periods such as those that we may encounter in the next few months." Nevertheless, Jepuranovic is searching for ways to "improve our efficiency and effectiveness to best serve the needs of our territory."

Retiring shortly as treasurer for the Church in the UK & Ireland, Victor Pilmoor finds himself concerned with the issues of fraternity. Writing in his monthly blog he states, "Whether one looks at the goal of inclusiveness among the nations of Europe, the freedom of party goers in Orlando, and good will in the Yorkshire town of Batley [where an MP campaigning for 'remain' was cold-bloodedly murdered], our societies are clearly fragmented. The arguments that rage, dwell on fear and the forces of self-interest."

This, he notes has led to "a loss of fraternity, an unwillingness by many in society to take the abundant view that there is room for all of us, that life is not a game of winners and losers." He adds that, "uncompromising fear-ridden fundamentalism has filled the hearts of many to the point where self-preservation has become the object of national and religious influence."

His conclusion is a positive mantra for mission: "By contrast we could offer a world view that acknowledges the generosity of God offering grace and sustenance for all. A perspective that our lives are to honour what God gives us, to steward the abilities and powers with which we are endowed for purposes greater than ourselves."

Perhaps an Old Testament prophet is the one to finally guide us in our way forward. "He has shown you, O man, what is good; and what does the LORD require of you, but to do justly, to love mercy, and to walk humbly with your God?" (Micah 6:8 NKJV).

Victor Hulbert is Director of Media & Communications for the Trans-European Division of Seventh-day Adventists, and former Executive Secretary of the South England Conference Of Seventh-day Adventists.

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This is a companion discussion topic for the original entry at http://spectrummagazine.org/node/7535
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What is amazing to me is that it took 40 yrs. for Brexit to come about. This is primarily a vote for the National Sovereignty of Britain to make their own laws. What has come about is that reportedly 70% of Britain’s laws have been to come into compliance with 40,000+ UNELECTED bureaucrats and technocrats in Brussels representing ultimately the desires of multinational banks and corporations whose views of globalism are primarily for their personal enrichment at the expense of a democratically sovereign nation’s responsibility of the interest of all it’s citizens. It is a but continual battle of the philosophical differences of the rights of “the one and the many.”.
My suggestion to TED is to keep the church out a Democratic choice of the British people. Rest assured, had the results been opposite then the losers would have been reminded it was a “democratic” result that must be honored. Well done Britain. You have caught on to the validity of the "American Experiment."
Regards,
Pat

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Wasn’t that all the work of the " Washington, Vatican, Moscow Connection!" I had thought that Danial 2 was complete.

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i heard on the news earlier today that brexit may not be happening, after-all…there appears to be a reluctance to invoke article 50 of the lisbon treaty granting UK the right to leave, given the dual downgrading of UK’s credit rating from AAA to AA1 by moody’s, and to the even more dire downgrade of AA by standard and poor’s…there also appears to be growing skepticism that boris johnson, david cameron’s apparent successor, and enemy in the brexit vote, will be able to deliver on his promise to give britain access to the european common market while side-stepping europe’s free movement of labor demands - responsibility in the current immigration crisis - given that angela merkel has now flat out rejected this possibility…but even more importantly, it appears that under british law, parliament is sovereign, which really means that the brexit referendum may have been merely advisory…

but to top it all off, it appears that many Leave voters themselves are now having buyer’s remorse…the movement to launch a second referendum has garnered over a million signatures, well over the 100,000 threshold required for consideration by the house of commons…even boris johnson, who some say appears to have been put off-guard by cameron’s resignation announcement, is saying a second referendum is possible…

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Many of the signatures have proven phony and do not persuade since even 10 times that many signatures pales in comparison to the turnout in the election.
Other reports show the points the Brexit people have been making are not lost on other countries citizens. All have seen and experienced the effects of what was originally a trade and economic agreement turn into serfdom of unelected bureaucrats in Brussels. The only difference is they dont know what to do about it and some have different levels of comfort with the same given decrees by the EU. Obviously the weaker countries want to countries who subsidize everything to stay in but the countries that are subsidizing everything are becoming acutely aware of how unfair it is and how they are being taken advantage of. I think one thing that people forget is that decisions and consequences are training tools for life. Make a stupid decision, pay a consequence. My grandpa said he hit his finger with a hammer once but decided he didn’t like it so he quit doing it. We have entered the time in earths history where under the guise of human decency, philanthropy or Christian values, people should not have to experience any consequences to their actions. Every stupid or perverse action is a right these days but whats to worry? We all kind of know how this plays out in the end right? The scope of history is Eden to Armageddon and not the other way around…at least how God scores it.

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Jeremy, I’ve noticed a pattern about you: you’re always wanting to ignore votes that you don’t agree with. First it was the San Antonio vote on ordination, now it’s Brexit.

More generally, reading this article, I’m shocked at the extent to which many Adventists have conflated Christianity with a multi-cultural project designed by global economic elites for the benefit of global economic elites. Biblical Christianity believes (1) man is fallen, and hence human society is not perfectible, and (2) this world is coming to an end soon, and it is going to get worse before it gets better. The ideology that requires nations to indiscriminately accept immigrants from anywhere, and of any cultural, religious or ideological persuasion, is not Christianity but rather utopian multi-culturalism. Its essential utopian character is revealed by the fact that its premises are contrary to all human experience. What human experience actually shows us is that throwing people of different languages, cultures, religions, values and belief systems into one cauldron is bound to lead to chaos, violence, and the Hobbesian war or all against all. If anyone wants to see just what that looks like, look at Paris, Brussels, Orlando, San Bernardino, and Istanbul.

Christianity, like the constitution, is not a suicide pact; it does not require us to ignore, in sovereign choices about who we allow to immigrate to our countries, the fact that, for example, Islam is based upon scriptures that require, repeatedly and in the strongest possible terms, the Muslim believer to fight jihad–through terror if that is effective–until sharia law is imposed throughout the world.It is pitiful that so many Adventist leaders would make public comments indicating that they are committed to utopian multiculturalism and/or are unable to discern that it is not Christianity.

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As a frequent visitor to London (my daughter’s home there, gives me free lodging, and I delight in my British born grandchildren) I continue to be dismayed and demoralized by the lack of Adventism’s outreach to the English.

There are an increasing number of black churches in London, maybe one hundred churches or more. These are Nigerian, Ghanian, Carribean black churches. All these immigrant churches are precious in Jesus’ sight.

But the decline in “ENGLISH” membership, as compared to “immigrant” membership is best exemplified by the pastoral staff at the multi-racial BRITISH UNION CONFERENCE church at Stanborough Park, way north of London.

Their English born pastor retired three years ago. No British replacement was found, and the lead pastor is now a South African. When I last attended, the two associate pastors were a Slovakian woman pastor, and a Swedish women pastor.

This pastoral team was SUPERB, and not to be denigrated, but it spoke volumes, that NO British pastor was available to minister to this important congregation, and the English congregants are outnumbered by foreigners.

However Brexit affects Adventism in the UK, it is apparent that Adventism has already lost out in its outreach to the original occupants of those islands.

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Blessings Victor on your new role in the wider TED context!

Far be from me, half a world away in Australia to comment on the mood of the British political constituency…

May I just say that fear of the known failings of the Pan European experiment has won the day, and fear of the unknown complications and permutations of this great political divorce has proved harder to sell. Either way, Brexit or a more complete union of the UK with Europe, the real winners are not the politicans who have been shown to be out of touch with the mood of their political bases on either side of the isle… The real winners in this mess are those spiritual powers with moral authority who will steathily move into the moral vaccuum.left after politics as usual fails to create any real stability in society.

Europe is entering a dark night! It’s decline will only increase. The United Kingdom is bound for dissolution and discomforture.

It is in such times that the Adventist accent of hope may be increasingly appreciated by the masses. More than ever, Adventists in Britain must seize such opportunities to talk to the wider British society, rather than to immigrant ghettos.

Having trained for ministry at Newbold College, as well as Avondale, and having an illustrious ancestry in England, Scotland and Ireland my heart cries out for the Adventist work in Britain.

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I’m surprised the UK put up with being dictated to from across the Channel for so long, or that they agreed to it in the first place. The US objected to dictation from afar, and severed its ties for that very reason. We would not likely now vote to be controlled from Mexico City, or Caracas.

Elmer’s a wise guy. :laughing:

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Seattle to Washington DC = 2324 miles
Mexico City to Washington DC = 1886 miles
Caracas, Venezuela to Washington DC = 2063 miles

:blush:

http://www.distancefromto.net

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Many who woke up after they voted for Brexit are not seeing the law of unintended consequences. The EU can lock them out from their previous trading advantages; there will be fewer jobs, not more, and many more that they are now beginning to realize. There are always more consequences that first believed when judgement are based prematurely.

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I lived in England for six years so I am not surprised that so many want to leave. Immigrants were an issue for the UK back in 2000 and the fact that even though they were in the EU they did not change to euro’s. They are a ‘bit’ independent!

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@Victor … thanks.

I guess it is difficult to estimate or understand the shock waves in Europe when the quite unexpected results of the vote were announced. The economic consequences were felt within hours. The national implications (from “Great Britain” to “Little England” with the likely loss of Scottland and the possible loss of Northern Ireland) were not even pondered in this political game of the exit camp. It is no coincidence that Johnson, the loud proponent of Brexit, was surprised by the results and now - after “winning” - resigned from his ambitions to become party leader and prime minister (as did, of course, Cameron, who originally started the mess by introducing the referendum to safeguard his power).

The main message - and again that point is often missed (though Victor is hinting at it): this referendum has been won by populists “preachers” who promised what they never can nor intended to deliver. And that has a frighteningly similar ring to developments in other countries and even my own church.

Thus my next sermon is not on Daniel 2 (relevant as this may appear to some)- but on “itching ears” (2 Tim 4:3). We are prone to believe what we want to believe.

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Assimilation into the new culture and ways by immigrants is the NEW FEAR in both England, Europe, and the U.S.
At first it was the irritation in the U.S. with those from Mexico and having 2 sets of language in some areas – Spanish and English. And concern they wouldnt learn to speak English. OR, we would have to learn to speak Spanish.
BUT, with persons from the Middle East it is an entirely different problem. Not just refusal to LOOK American, BUT the under current of wanting to CHANGE America and bring in the Laws of the Koran and THOSE laws be in force. We see some of that already.
If a Middle Eastern person does not like what some American is doing, or some American is listening to [like in Orlando] they have a RIGHT to kill those persons. This is Terrorism. This is Anarchy. AND this is being fomented by their religious leaders as their Religious DUTY to do this. Their DUTY to CHANGE Western Civilization and especially English Laws that have been around for a 1000 years.

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I must say that I’m really pleased in reading some of the comments in this article- especially on the need to show love, tolerance and respect for others. I don’t necessarily see Brexit in terms of any prophetic interpretation because the European Union in my view was not intended for intermarriage or as interpreted people mingling with the seed of men but not cleaving one to another.’ I see the EU primarily as an organization which seeks to benefit its citizens as a whole- not to the disadvantage of any one member state.It is a political organization with a mandate to benefit the citizens of the respective countries which comprise the Union. Those countries in the UK which opted to remain should be commended . It is sad that England and Wales voted to leave- nevertheless that is their democratic right. I wish them the best in every sense. To Scotland and Northern Ireland which opted to stay, I commend them and extend to them best wishes as well.
I can say that I hail from a country within the Caribbean and my fiance and I have experienced first hand discrimination against her by virtue of her being African by authorities here. Within my own family I sense the same resentment against her because of who she was primarily and the biased , prejudicial way in which she was and to some extent is still viewed. For me, I am praying that God will touch their hearts and soften them with His love, yet for me my desire is to leave this country, which is so over-rated in many ways and build a life of trust and acceptance with her elsewhere. .

Call it what you may, but racism, xenophobia,prejudice etc all stem from the evil One and is unlke Jesus - Our Creator and Redeemer. I pray that God will touch all of our hearts by His love and cause us to love others and accept them as His children,as we would wish to be accepted. By this shall all men know that you are my disciples if ye have love one for another.

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Hi Andreas

I recently became a grandfather to a gorgeous little girl whose father is German. Whatever the geo-politics, whatever the prophecies, the concepts of unity, common humanity and fraternity have deep meaning for real families.

I actually published my blog several days before referendum day, when the result was anticipated to be remain. (Victor H was later given permission to extract as he saw fit.) Thus some of the commentary on timing is presumptuous.

The responses of my colleagues, for the benefit of people here in Britain and Europe was designed as pastoral support for people, some of whom are flag waving Patriots and others who suddenly have a heightened sense of otherness. For a country that insists that every child consider ‘tolerance’ a British value, we have a current short-fall.

Sadly, xenophobia was disgracefully prominent among many of the campaigners, Which does not imply that separatist voters were all so motivated.

Regardless of outcome, I lament the fragmentation of societies and our inability to work for the betterment of all. Yes, I did intend to lament a deficit of Fraternity within our community of faith, as the diversity of responses above illustrate.

Above all, the fulsome intent of my monthly blog to my colleagues was to encourage shared vision and purpose.

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That is a very interesting statement by the official SDA church, considering the hallmark of traditional Adventism - the three angels, shouting, “Come out of her my people!”; and the self-described identity as the remnant. In recent times the impetus to separate, while circling the wagons theologically, doesn’t seem like a “fight against divisions that are borne out of …prejudice, self-interest and the like”. “Following the money” is always telling.

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The church has always been willing to swap off treasures in Heaven for cash down. When it is a matter of money, the church has mastered the art of being poor though very rich.

I am surprised that SDAs would mention Brexit and Daniel 2 in the same sentence or see any connection between the two.
Surely the stone from heaven represents the Son of Man, either His first or second coming or combined into both. So His coming is not just to Europe, or even Europe plus the Middle East. His coming affected/will affect the whole world and the inability or unwillingness of the iron and clay to mingle surely applies to the whole world.
Today we face a broader socio/religious problem than the situation when the Roman Empire fragmented. Today we are faced with one worldwide group refusing to integrate with anyone else. The divide is clear and irreconcilable. Dialogue and concessions and political soothsaying will not achieve unity. In many parts of the world it is too late to close the borders or limit immigration. The Brexit vote will not change this. The beast has already bolted and roams the world blowing innocent people to bits.

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A large scale experiment on throwing people of different backgrounds into one cauldron would be the United States of America. Whether this example supports your conclusion might be up for debate.

Some say that people in Texas would add Washington DC to your list.

Generally, why does the idea that the feet of clay and iron in any way represents europe even remain?

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