|Europe by David Holloway|
Let me begin with two extended quotations that express opposite and extreme views on Europe:
The basic elements in European conflict are race and religion. The confederacy of powers, which are centred around the Babylonish Roman Catholic religious system, are also partly Esau-orientated in race descent - Prussia in particular. This explains the continuing strategy to replace the world leadership of the Birthright nations of Celto-Saxondom who, being of Jacob-Ephraim descent, have the birthright commission from the Almighty to lead the nations in peace.
Our national governments and most Protestants today, have little or no understanding of this underlying struggle for supremacy in Europe that has been going on during the 20th century. In prophetic terms it is the climax in the classic confrontation of the descendants of the twin people or nations, Jacob and Esau, prior to the fullness of the Kingdom Age that will appear.
The Reformation was completed by the return of "Elijah" in the Kingdom identity teaching from 1840, but the vision was lost in the 20th century as the great falling away grew.
The creation of the European Union is a final throw, inspired by the spirit of Esau, and the counterfeit kingdom in papal Rome, in order to forestall the restoration of law in righteousness under Christ as King. It has been supported at our rear for a century and longer, by a constant pincer attack through Ireland.
So writes "Watchman" in the Jan/Feb edition this year  of Wake Up! - a call to God's servant people. Contrast that with the more sober remarks of Winston Churchill - but in one sense also extreme (if quietly so) - in a celebrated speech on 19 September 1946 at the University of Zurich, soon after the end of the second World War. He said these words:
I wish to speak to you to-day about the tragedy of Europe. This noble continent comprising on the whole the fairest and the most cultivated regions of the earth, enjoying a temperate and equable climate, is the home of all the great parent races of the western world. It is the fountain of Christian faith and Christian ethics. It is the origin of most of the culture, arts, philosophy and science both of ancient and modern times. If Europe were once united in the sharing of its common inheritance, there would be no limit to the happiness, to the prosperity and glory which its three or four hundred million people would enjoy. Yet it is from Europe that have sprung that series of frightful nationalistic quarrels, originated by the Teutonic nations, which we have seen even in this twentieth century and in our own lifetime, wreck the peace and mar the prospects of all mankind.And what is the plight to which Europe has been reduced? Some of the smaller States have indeed made a good recovery, but over wide areas a vast quivering mass of tormented, hungry, care-worn and bewildered human beings gape at the ruins of their cities and homes, and scan the dark horizons for the approach of some new peril, tyranny or terror, Among the victors there is a babble of jarring voices; among the vanquished the sullen silence of despair. That is all that Europeans, grouped in so many ancient States and nations, that is all that the Germanic Powers have got by tearing each other to pieces and spreading havoc far and wide. Indeed, but for the fact that the great Republic across the Atlantic Ocean has at length realized that the ruin or enslavement of Europe would involve their own fate as well, and has stretched out hands of succour and guidance, the Dark Ages would have returned in all their cruelty and squalor. They may still return.
Yet all the while there is a remedy which, if it were generally and spontaneously adopted, would as if by a miracle transform the whole scene, and would in a few years make all Europe, or the greater part of it, as free and as happy as Switzerland is to-day. What is this sovereign remedy? It is to re-create the European family, or as much of it as we can, and provide it with a structure under which it can dwell in peace, in safety and in freedom. We must build a kind of United States of Europe.
Two very different voices!
So how do we begin to cut through the Gordian knot that is Europe? I have to confess I am not going to start by exegeting Revelation 17.12 where we read about
The ten horns [who ... ] are ten kings who have not yet received a kingdom, but who for one hour will receive authority as kings along with the beast.I will mention Revelation 17 later. I will begin at a much more mundane level, and with a question. What makes for a successful organization - any organisation - whether it is a church, a club, a business or a nation?
I always say four things are necessary. First, an agreed agenda; secondly, competent leadership; thirdly, enabling structures; and fourthly, meeting needs, whether of your members or your market.
So I want to be very simple and analyze Europe and the European project under those four headings - an agreed agenda; competent leadership; enabling structures; and meeting needs. If you haven't got all four things going for you - in whatever organization you are in - from the local fellowship of a Church, to the nation State - you will have major problems.
What is the agreed agenda?
First, what is the agreed agenda of Europe? This is the one thing above all others that is necessary. Without an agreed agenda, an agreed idea of what you are about, organizations soon fall apart. You can only live on PR and "hype" for so long.
Sir Fred Catherwood is quite clear about the objective of the new Europe. I quote:
The first objective of the Community is to create peace in place of Europe's terrible tribal wars, the last two of which cost 50 million dead.Undoubtedly this was the great vision of the early founders of post-war Europe and their institutions. Jean Monnet, the great architect of modern Europe had this as his goal. But he also had another goal. Quite publicly he expressed his motivation for establishing a new European order as the glories of the old Holy Roman Empire.
And that is the second objective many have for the European Union. As a student at Oxford in the early sixties, I can remember getting into discussion on Europe with my tutor, Peter Strawson, now Sir Peter Strawson. He was championing the proposals in 1962 for Britain's entry into the EEC. These proposals came to an abrupt end in January 1963 when de Gaulle of France vetoed Britain's application. Peter Strawson unashamedly said that his desire for European Union was quite romantic. He liked the thought of reconstructing the old Holy Roman Empire.
The dream of a united Europe, of course, has a long history and it certainly goes back to the Romans themselves. At the peak of its power, Rome ruled Europe from the Pyrenees to the Black Forest - but interestingly they never conquered the tribes of Germany. Charlemagne had the good sense to learn the lesson. When he was crowned Holy Roman Emperor in 800, he tried to win the support of the Germanic princes. But the Holy Roman Empire didn't last. Napoleon, Kaiser Wilhelm II and Hitler all had ideas of creating a united Europe, but by force. There was, interestingly, a Nazi memorandum in June 1943 for the German Ministry of Foreign Affairs. This was a planning document that foresaw a "European community", a "closer community" of countries which voluntarily embraced "European solidarity" and "European obligations". The dream for a united Europe has a long and wide history.
The third objective is economic benefit. Nor is this anything new. Before the second World War the Hungarian economist Elemer Hantos argued powerfully that the unfettering of European commerce would bring about a unified economic region. He believed that European unity required high levels of employment, low prices and an expanding market economy. Economic security would be the true foundation of political stability. So what is wrong with all of these? Are these not good aspirations? Yes, in a way.
But the real problem, in terms of Europe having an agreed agenda, is that Jean Monnet, the father of the European Community, and master politician that he was, never really declared his hand. He believed that the Continent and its long term unity did not need a single grand act of union. Rather it would come about by a slow and steady process - treaties, policies, commissions, and regulations that would spawn and have effect. So don't tell anyone you want to go big! He wrote in 1952 to M Shuman:
Europe will not be made all at once, or according to a single plan. It will be built through concrete achievements which first create a de facto solidarity.
And so you had, first of all, the European Coal and Steel Community. That in time lead on to the European Economic Community.
But without clear goals publicly expressed, conflicts of interests were inevitable. Monnet's hidden agenda for the development of a new and slowly developing European Empire does not go hand in hand with the much lower and limited aim of financial gain and security. That conflict was evident in those early days of the European Coal and Steel Community. Here is Harold Macmillan declaring:
Our people will not hand over to any supranational authority the right to close our pits or our steel works.What is new? And, of course, there are problems with both visions - of a new great empire and of economic gain.
A new Holy Roman Empire - and, sadly, now without the "holy" dimension - would be very difficult to sustain. Unifying beliefs in the modern world will take on more importance as we enter the 21st century - witness the appeal of Islam. So a secular Europe would have - and is having - a bad start. Also the complications of the modern world mean there is huge difficulty in having one political unit steered from what is hoped will be a unifying centre.
That was part of the issue at the Reformation. Of course, as we well know at the Christian Institute, the Reformation dealt with fundamental theological issues such as the fact of the grace of God, the primacy of faith in Christ alone, and the authority of the bible. But also there was the issue of the independence of the local Province. People in outlying parts were less and less willing to be told what to do by people hundreds of miles away in Rome who did not know local facts and so could not solve local problems. The opposition to the Papacy was in part due to the Papacy providing an inefficient system that simply benefited the fat cats in Rome rather than the people in the Provinces. Those realities are the same today.
What, then, about economic benefit? That too, I hardly need tell you, is under debate. On 1 Jan 1999 some nations will have given up their power to mint and manage their own money - a key element in modern government. All will be controlled by a European Central Bank as European Monetary Union takes shape. Now, if there was an "agreed agenda" that would be fine. But the problem is that the European Union is only half a free-trade area - for services and industrial goods. In agriculture it is a wasteful cartel, as it has been put, designed to protect farmers. One half of the EU budget ($45 billion) goes into farm support to sustain high prices. Another $33 billion bails out Spain, Portugal and Greece. Aggressive industry and establishing interests rates to help financial houses sit ill with propping up poor farmers. And the French farmers are quite expressive on the subject. They are quite capable of storming city halls.
There are indeed many problems over having an agreed agenda for Europe.
Secondly, what about competent leadership?
The EU has six main institutional bodies for leadership - one, the European Parliament (which has few teeth); two, the European Commission which is the EU's executive - made up of 20 Commissioners, appointed by member governments for 5 years. It proposes Community laws, puts them into effect and manages EU policies. Three, the Council of Ministers which decides all laws and so is effectively the legislature. It is made up of government ministers from the member states who lead on the subject under discussion (e.g. Agriculture, Transport etc.). Four, the European Council which is made up of the heads of State, and meets in summit twice a year to give overall political direction. Five, the European Court of Justice which interprets and applies Community law. And six, the Court of Auditors which oversees the Community budget.
You say that is reasonable. But the trouble is that that all means a huge bureaucracy. Europe is so big. And that means more work for everyone. If you are now a British minister you have more trips to Brussels than you had before. That is more work. There are only twenty four hours in the day, so you delegate work. You cannot read all the papers. And when there is little agreement over the agenda and people have different value systems, you cannot assume compliance. An element of force, in the form or policed rules, becomes necessary. This gives power to the enforcers and power to the bureaucracy. That is dangerous.
Ivan Illich has described the inherent problems of some of the new professional classes that find their way into modern bureaucratic institutions like the institutions of the EU. They generate, he argues, disabling institutions. He tells how they ...
need clients in order to survive ... and they create and define problems, diseases and deficiencies which they, and they only, have the skills to put right. They disable their clients in order to enable them, creating thereby a spurious dependency and problems which need never have been invented.But let us assume a benign bureaucracy and a well intentioned leadership. There is then the more fundamental question that must be faced in terms of politics and government. And that is "what is the State for?" What ought a government to be doing anyway? That is a very important question. It takes up back to the last Christian Institute lecture on Calvin and Church and State. We were then told that in the Institutes Book 4 section 20 you have Calvin's view that the State is 1) to promote civil justice and outward morality; 2) to restrain sin (negatively) - [hearts could not be changed and they may be totally depraved; but you don't have to live out this morality]; but also 3) to promote humanity - to let love guide and love rule - [Calvin didn't see that it was the State's duty to ensure the people had a good time]; and 4) to help the Church. Calvin wanted a co-operative relationship between Church and State. That is one view of the relationship between Church and State. But what we weren't told last time was that Luther had a more pragmatic view. He believed that the State was to be more minimal and primarily to curb the worst excesses of sinful men and women. That reflects an important Christian debate about the origin and scope of government. Andrew Goddard summarizes the debate neatly:
Some (classically Augustine) have argued that government is instituted by God but as a post-Fall institution. Its task is to respond to human sin by upholding the common good and executing limited judgement over the community on the basis of a higher law. Its task is, in the words of Romans 13, "to bear the sword" and "bring punishment on the wrongdoer." Others (classically Thomas Aquinas) believe that although government now has this juridical role, it was also originally part of God's good created order. In creation it was ordained to have a directive role within human society even without sin.
And Goddard argues that the decision you reach on the relative merits of those two positions ...
will prove of significance in relation to the EU's institutions. The EU is almost wholly a directive, administrative system of government.The fact is that modern European States are by no means minimal. They are more and more all embracing; and even sometimes quasi-totalitarian in the sense of invading the whole of life - not least the family. In a nutshell, Europe has a more Aquinan or Calvinistic approach to politics, while the USA has a more Augustinian or Lutheran approach to politics. When you have a Christian society and Christian values as was more the case in the past in Europe, a directive Government poses fewer problems. But when there is little agreement as to basic beliefs, when pluralism, materialism, secularism, and often anti-Christianity in the terms of sexual morality rules, there will be problems. And we have problems. So much for leadership.
Thirdly, we come now to structures. And the question here is, "Are the EU's structures enabling?" There are a number of important issues that call for comment.
One of the great platforms behind the institution of the new Europe was not only peace but, in Churchillian terms, the desire for democracy. Jacques Maritain was the Christian thinker and father-figure behind the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. On the world scene after the war and at the same time, he paralleled Jean Monnet. Maritain argues powerfully that the bible and the doctrine of freedom in the bible mean that democracy is congruous with the gospel and should be pursued. And I would agree. But you have to be careful.
In the name of democracy and everyone having their say, there can be huge inefficiencies. It is so easy in the name of democracy to confuse "consent" with "consensus". Here is Charles Handy:
Effective democracy relies on consent. He or she who governs does so with the trust and consent of those who are governed. who have the right and power to get rid of the governor when that trust and respect are exhausted. Those in charge take the decisions, which can be implemented only with the consent of those who carry them out ... It is difficult, but it works very well with the right person in charge.
Consensus on the other hand requires that everyone takes every decision. It is a travesty of democracy, time-consuming, irritating and fraught with politics and factions. It is usually so frustrating that it is quickly allowed to degenerate into an autocracy or the dictatorship of a clique if only to allow something, anything, to happen. Democracy is a dangerous slogan on its own.
Because the whole conception of the EU is not to have strong leadership, you therefore have to play the game of "consensus" with all those problems. I need say no more! Then there is the issue of "subsidiarity". Europe talks a lot about "subsidiarity". Subsidiarity is actually part of the teaching of the Roman Catholic Church. It says that there is a moral principle for a higher-order body not to do things that a lower-order body can do perfectly well. It is supposed to be the very opposite of centralism. It is to give people as much responsibility as they can cope with.
But if you have a huge complex organization, like an empire, the very need for the co-ordination of subsidiary activities means a huge concentration of power in the co-ordinators. And in any organization the people who control information flow have disproportionate power and influence. Subsidiarity only works when there is an understanding of genuine Federalism.
Decentralism is very different from federalism. In decentralised structures the centre is still in command but has delegated a range of tasks to the periphery. In federalist constitutions, the centre is the residuary body, doing the things which the parts cannot or do not want to do - delegation the other way round. Centralised structures mandate subsidiarity from the top. Genuine federalism mandates subsidiarity from the bottom. The danger in Europe is the prospect of decentralism and not genuine federalism. So what do we say about these structural issues? Has the bible anything to say?
Clearly the Christian is to seek to live at peace with all men and women. Peace and peace-generating structures must, therefore, be welcomed as Jean Monnet wanted and Fred Catherwood now wants. But there is a danger in the over exalting of structures and peace keeping. It leads to the belief that war can be prevented by politics and other measures are then neglected. This happened after the first World War. Only when Christ returns will swords be beaten into ploughshares. Before then, as Jesus says, there will be "wars and rumours of wars" and that is due, not to political arrangements or the lack of them, but to human sin. James 4:1-3
What causes fights and quarrels among you? Don't they come from your desires that battle within you? 2 You want something but don't get it. You kill and covet, but you cannot have what you want. You quarrel and fight. You do not have, because you do not ask God. 3 When you ask, you do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, that you may spend what you get on your pleasures.The great need, therefore, for Europe is not union but conversion - peace with God in the first place. But the really great danger in respect to the new Europe is the inherent danger in Empires. That is why there is some truth in the references by Christians to the book of Revelation in respect of the European issue. The Old Testament sees Babel as a symbol. And it cannot be ignored. You need to go back to Genesis to understand that symbol. Genesis sees the division of the world into nations as subsequent to the Fall. Unlike marriage or man's dominion over the earth, the nations are not part of the original creation. It is only in Genesis 10, after the Flood, that we meet the nations. We read in verse 32:
the nations spread out over the earth after the flood.Then in Genesis 11 we have the account of Babel. The nations tried to unite. But with sin in the world that unity was accompanied by pride; and God saw that such an imperium as was planned at Babel had to be restrained and judged. Building the Tower at Babel was the uniting in a common project without reference to God. Babel, of course, relates to Babylon that then becomes synonymous with the evil Empire and evil Empires in the Old Testament and also in the book of Revelation 17-19. It stands for all godless power. So if the cap fits, nations and empires have to wear it, whether the empires of pagan Rome, Hitler, Stalin or whoever. Therefore because some Christians exaggerate the material in Revelation, those warnings should not be neglected. It is not that Europe has to be an evil empire. The Bible shows that God works providentially in and through the nations. This is clear in Israel's history and in the New Testament, Acts 17.26:
From one man he made every nation of men, that they should inhabit the whole earth; and he determined the times set for them and the exact places where they should live.But nations and empires without God will be evil. And currently Europe appears to be ignoring God.
Finally, what about meeting needs? What is best for Europe? I believe we can live with any form of Government. Jesus lived under the first Roman Empire, the first extended Europe. The New Testament reveals an ambivalent attitude to the Roman Empire of the 1st century. Clearly Paul used the Roman Empire for evangelism - its roads and its cities. God, in the fullness of time, had become incarnate during the period of the Roman Empire. Its structures and peace helped the Gospel go forward.
But Rome was also demonic. There were terrible persecutions and violence. Paul summed it up in 1 Cor 16. 9:
a great door for effective work has opened to me, and there are many who oppose me.That I think is important for the question of how we should respond to Europe. Europe provides possibilities; it is also dangerous. Therefore, be as wise as serpents and harmless as doves. Analyse the situation carefully. Make wise political judgments - which will be the least worse options in many cases - and then evangelise. Europe's needs ultimately will only be met by the gospel. Pentecost reversed Babel not by setting up new political structures but by the Holy Spirit convicting men and women of the truth about Jesus and the resurrection and calling them through the preaching of the gospel to repentance. Paul wrote to Timothy - and I never tire of quoting it:
In the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, who will judge the living and the dead, and in view of his appearing and his kingdom, I give you this charge: 2 Preach the Word; be prepared in season and out of season; correct, rebuke and encourage--with great patience and careful instruction. 3} For the time will come when men will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear. 4 They will turn their ears away from the truth and turn aside to myths. 5 But you, keep your head in all situations, endure hardship, do the work of an evangelist, discharge all the duties of your ministry. (2 Tim 4:1-5)That, indeed, is relevant to our reponse to the question of Europe.
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