Articles on Nations:
Alcohol Prayer Initiative 2009, New York
CAN EUROPE BE SAVED?
CHURCH SUPPORTING POLITICS
CONGO-KINSHASA, A REMARKABLE CONFERENCE
CORPORATE IDENTITY OF AFRICA
CORPORATE IDENTITY OF AMSTERDAM
CORPORATE IDENTITY OF AUSTRALIA
CORPORATE IDENTITY OF BELGIUM
CORPORATE IDENTITY OF BRAZIL
CORPORATE IDENTITY OF FRANCE
CORPORATE IDENTITY OF HUNGARY
CORPORATE IDENTITY OF KOREA
CORPORATE IDENTITY OF SOUTH AFRICA
CORPORATE IDENTITY of SWEDEN
CORPORATE IDENTITY OF THE USA
COVERING AN AREA WITH PRAYER
Dialogue with Jacques Ellul
DURBAN II ≈ EVIAN III; NEW ANTISEMITISM
EUROPA – AFRIKA; Indrukwekkende Conferentie
EUROPA – AFRIKA; verzoeningsconferentie dvd
EUROPE - AFRICA; Berlin Congo I: Hist. Overview
EUROPE - AFRICA; Berlin Congo II: Report
EUROPE - AFRICA; Neo-Imperialism
Gebed voor de koning
GEBEDSBEDEKKING VAN EEN GEBIED
GOD'S COVENANT WITH ALL NATIONS
HOW TO DEFEND WHICH BORDERS OF ISRAEL?
ISRAEL’s RESPONSIBILITY 1
ISRAEL’s RESPONSIBILITY 2
ISRAEL’s RESPONSIBILITY 3
ISRAEL’s RESPONSIBILITY 4
Landbelofte of staatbelofte?
LOVING THE CITY GOD'S WAY
MIRACLES AT CITY SCALE
NATIVE AMERICANS, THREE DRAMA'S
NESTOR AFRICAN PRESIDENTS FORGIVES EUROPE
SLAVERY AND HEALING
SPIRITUAL ASPECTS OF THE EUROPEAN UNION
THE CITY AS BEAUTIFUL AS SHE COULD BE
THE CITY, AND WHY CITY PRAYER?
TRANSFORMATIONS IN THE PACIFIC
TWO CITIES DEDICATED TO KING JESUS
ÜBERSETZUNG THE NATIONS CALLED
VERZOENING MET NATIVE AMERICANS
WHY IS AFRICA SO POOR?
ZES LANDEN RIJNPROJECT
ZONDER VERZOENING GEEN TOEKOMST
Articles on Society:
A REVEALING UN-MEETING
A strategic assault on this generation of children
BOEK BOS ANTIDEMOCRATISCH?
CHILDREN OF THE WORLD TARGETED
COPENHAGEN – Five questions
COPENHAGEN - No bread from stones
Copenhagen, where do we go from here?
DE ANDERE AGENDA VAN DE DALAI LAMA
DE OLYMPISCHE SPELEN
EU: HUMANISME VERSUS “GOD”
EUROPA, WAAROM DIE NAAM?
EUROPE, WHAT'S IN THE NAME?
EVROPA - CO SKRÝVÁ TO JMÉNO?
EYPΩΠH, TI KPYBETAI ΣTO ONOMA
HER-MYTHOLOGISERING INTERNATIONALE POLITIEK?
Informed intercession for the UN
Jezus dienaar van Moeder Aarde?
KERK-STAAT VERHOUDING 1
KERK-STAAT VERHOUDING 2
KERK-STAAT VERHOUDING 3 (EU-Referendum)
KERK-STAAT VERHOUDING 4
Massa op Malieveld; nee toch?
MICRO FINANCING AND GRACE
MONDIALE SCHUDDINGEN I
MONDIALE SCHUDDINGEN II
Obama 1: Obama en het leven
Obama 2: Door Obama een les voor de kerk
PRAYING FOR THE G8
PULLING DOWN STRONGHOLDS
RE-MYTHOLOGISATION 0 OF INTERNATIONAL POLITICS?
RE-MYTHOLOGISATION 1: CHURCH-STATE/GOD-STATE
RE-MYTHOLOGISATION 2: GOD-STATE LINK IN OUR TIME
RE-MYTHOLOGISATION 3: EU AND UN “COVENANTS”
RE-MYTHOLOGISATION 4:GOD-STATE IN NEAR FUTURE
RE-MYTHOLOGISATION 5: WHAT ABOUT GOD’S MASTER PLAN
THINKING AND BELIEVING IN THE CHURCH
THINKING, BELIEVING AND SCIENCE
UN-DUURZAAMHEIDS TOP IN JOHANNESBURG
WHAT HAPPENS AT UN CONFERENCES?
WORLD SUMMIT ON SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT
A NATION AS A TREE?
Belijden van de zonden van je land?
BIDDEN VOOR HOOGGEPLAATSTEN
BLOED SCHREEUWT VAN DE AARDE
GODEN DER VOLKEN
'GODS OF THE NATIONS'
HERSTEL VAN HET ALTAAR
HET KRUIS VAN JEZUS
JEZUS KOMT - drie voordrachten
NBV, COMMENTAAR OP ÉÉN ASPECT
OOK TOPCONFERENTIES IN DE BIJBEL GAAN OVER VOLKEN
THE CROSS OF JESUS
THE GLORY OF HIERARCHY
TITHING AND ETERNITY
RE-MYTHOLOGISATION 3: EU AND UN “COVENANTS”
by: Pieter Bos
A NEW DIRECTION IN THE CHURCH-STATE DEBATE:
GOD-CHURCH-STATE RELATION AND THE EU-“CONSTITUTION” note 1
THESIS and summary of this series
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Content: The THESIS applied to the EU and the UN
3.1 Church-state relations in EU member states and in the “constitution” of the EU. note 2
The constitutions of Greece, Ireland and Germany explicitly mention the name of (the triune) God. (That of Switzerland also, but that nation is not an EU-member.) The constitutions of Great Britain, Denmark and The Netherlands establish the relation between the state or the head of state and a certain church; in The Netherlands all laws commence with “We, the king, by the grace of God”, and the Dutch two euro coin has the inscription “God be with us”. Some of the EU-member states, newly admitted in 2004, have similar traditions and facts in their constitutions.
(The official use of God’s name may be mere tradition, and therefore not of great consequence. Superficial joy should be balanced by sobering analysis.)
We may therefore conclude that it is not abnormal if the name of "God" is mentioned in a constitution. It occurs in states which for the rest practice a clear separation of church and state.
In the preamble of the draft EU-constitution the name of God and the Judeo-Christian influence in Europe are not mentioned. On the contrary, the draft states:
“– Conscious that Europe is a continent that brought forth civilisation; that its inhabitants… having gradually developed over the centuries the values that are the basis of humanism: equality of all human beings, liberty, priority of reason (1st draft), respect for reason (2nd draft)… – Drawing on the cultural, religious and humanistic traditions, whose inheritance is still present … the central role of man…
Even recognising the Judeo-Christian influence, if not basis, of western culture on historical grounds was “not allowed” in this political document. Humanism and the emphasis on man are emphatically recognised, even four times.
3.2 EU: extreme separation of church and state; the “French influence”
A preamble serves as a framework for interpreting the document as a whole. The EU-constitution was drafted by the EU-convention led by the former French president Giscard d’Estaing. In the EU France, on the point of church-state relationship, is an outsider. This nation has "laicism": the absolute separation of church and state, breathing the spirit of the French Revolution, and laid down by law in 1905. It declares in short that in the state, in legislation and in public life, there is no place for God or for any Faith. In this way France has banished faith to private life and to the inner room.
This point of view has been stated so emphatically as “French”, that even the (very small) Protestant church in France has recognised it and owns it. It is only recently beginning to dawn on the evangelical and charismatic churches that prayer for the nation and for politics and government and confessing national sins are in fact biblical commands. note 3
The above quotes from the EU-preamble reflect exclusively the French position. Humanism, reason and the centrality of man are recognised and underlined, as if they were the core focus of the developing “cultural, religious and humanistic traditions”! This is an extreme form of the separation of church and state. note 4
The former French president managed to impose this preamble as a framework on the EU, because so many other details in this extensive document demanded attention, such as the number of votes to be assigned to different nations, that is: balance of power! The Dutch prime minister Balkenende was “not happy” with the statements, but did not want to put much effort into them, because more weighty political items required attention.
Many, among whom non-Christian thinkers, are of the opinion that western civilisation grew from Judeo-Christian roots, now about 1700 years of age. Many, among whom non-Christian thinkers, are also of the opinion that the Enlightenment, now 250 years of age, is the effect of a waning or failing or clouding of these Judeo-Christian roots, but that the roots themselves have not entirely disappeared. Whether at present the Judeo-Christian roots or the younger Humanist roots still operate most strongly may be an open question, but to deny the Judeo-Christian roots is historically not responsible, and certainly not representative of all 25 EU-member states. "It is possible to deny this simple fact only by a huge ideological effort" states the German bishop Josef Homeyer. This draft constitution could not be more humanistic, ostensibly for the sake of separating church and state.
In one of his addresses related to this draft constitution, Giscard d’Estaing said: “Ladies and gentlemen, I close by referring to your enthusiasm, a word stemming from the Greek “enthousia,” which means ”inspired by a god”. In your case it should be: “Inspired by a goddess – the goddess Europe.” In other words, his thinking provides space for (pagan) gods, but emphatically not for (the) GOD for the Judeo-Christian tradition.
So, all legislation generated in Brussels (designed to legally replace national legislation, already 70%!) fits in a framework in which God does not fit. Because of this I had strong reservations to give my vote to the EU-constitution.
3.3 The foundations of the EU
By some the development of the EU, from Benelux to ECCS to EC to EU, is understood purely economically. Others interpret this development as an ideal framework for unity, reconciliation and enduring peace. However, neither economic survival nor enduring peace is in the hands of man to decide. God prospers and God is our peace. In fact, when God is denied or ignored, we also close off the source of prosperity and peace. This is another reason for reservations to vote for the constitution. But let us look more closely at this history of Europe.
Under the foundation of this young Union we discover remains of many other foundations, layer upon layer, of wars, guilt, hatred, bloodshed, intrigue, prejudice, pride and treachery, each only thinly covered by formal “peace treaties”, “cease fire treaties”, “non-aggression pacts” and shorter or longer periods of peaceful co-existence. We should seriously wonder: “How brittle is the foundation really?”
There is a spiritual law: “Without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness” (Hebrew 9:22). In other words: without national, official and public confession and forgiveness, based on the work of Jesus at the cross, there is no forgiveness; corporate pain and hatred remain festering and international peace cannot endure.
What should have been done in such a history? The Church should have “mediated”, by identificational confession of national guilt, “applying the blood of Jesus” and so preparing the way for a healthy co-operation among European nations. When, however, the churches sided nationalistically with their nations in numerous conflicts, they participated in the visible, as societal institutions; they did not function in their spiritual calling of the ministry of reconciliation, in the invisible.
The blood of all these European wars “is still crying from the earth" till the (final) judgement (Genesis 4:10; Matthew 23:35). That’s how, after centuries, ancient quarrels can suddenly flair up, as happened in Bosnia. Bosnia is located on the fault line of two spiritual spheres, Roman Catholic and Greek Catholic, and three times it exploded: in 1914, 1939 and 1991. The spiritual law of blood crying out of the earth is alive, as terrible as we saw, whether the law is recognised (by the French) or not.
In other words: most nations involved in the EU are not “free” at all to start another covenant. Wherever many of them are now, tomorrow another “Bosnia” can erupt, in Brussels or Strasbourg, in Berlin or Paris.
We are not trying to open old wounds, but to visualise the spiritual quality of the foundations of the EU. Because of the fragile weakness of her foundation, I had strong reservations to give my vote to the EU-constitution. note 5
3.4 The European Union and the UN are covenants
Treaty, union, contract, peace treaty, constitution, charter... these are modern words for an old concept: covenant. The concept of covenant originates from God. Really, there is nothing new under the sun.
A covenant is a bond or contract between two totally unequal parties, Creator-creature; because of the Fall the chasm has widened to holy Creator - sinful creature. A covenant is God’s way of bridging an unbridgeable chasm. Because of the un-equality, and because of the eternity and holiness of the stronger party, the stronger party commits himself unconditionally to do two things for the weaker, dependant party: to protect him and to prosper him, eternally. A covenant is awesome.
Covenant in its primary form is: Divine Unconditional Covenant (as with Abram in Genesis 15, with David, and with Israel in Jeremiah 31): “I, the Holy One, bridge the chasm Creator-creature by committing Myself to you, to protect you and prosper you, to guarantee you peace and prosperity, for all eternity, because I am eternal!”
A derived form is: Royal Conditional Covenant, as with Abraham in Genesis 17, with Israel in Exodus, with all nations in Zechariah 11. This is also possible between princes: (feudal) Lord – vassal, King of kings – king: “I, the Holy One / I, the Emperor, the Lord, bridge the chasm between us by committing Myself to you, by guaranteeing peace and prosperity to you / your nation, at the condition that you / your nation wholly supports me and follows Me, forever.” Such a conditional covenant is carefully written up, with its promises and conditions and exact penalty clauses in case of breach of covenant. note 6
This brings us to a key theme of this series of articles.
God desires a direct God-state relation, He offers nothing less than covenant commitment to the nations! The historic church-state relationship pushes God out of this awesome perspective. God himself wants, and only God himself is able, to provide peace and prosperity.
The point is that the proposed EU treaty contains all elements of the second type of covenant, but leaves no room for God: note 7
-- no (less and less) national foreign policy and national army; that is: just trust and follow the EU.
-- ever more topics can only be solved at international level; that is: just trust and follow the EU.
-- international legislation overrules national legislation; that is: just obey the EU.
-- the treaty is irreversible, with heavy penalty clauses; that is: just obey the EU or be punished.
-- “guarantee” of peace and prosperity, which only God, the King of kings can give: just trust the EU.
In principle the same applies for the UN-charter. The EU and the UN have a covenant structure. In UN terms the guarantee of peace and prosperity is worded as “a better world for all” that is “sustainable”. note 8
In the matter of the EU constitution the extreme point of view of one nation was allowed to prevail. In the same way, in the UN the extreme viewpoints of feminists, environmentalists, population activists and world federalists tend to prevail. In UN circles many want to replace the Ten Commandments (“covenant words”) with the 16 rules of the “Earth Charter”, in which the “survival of Mother Earth” is secured. This charter is proposed as the framework for all international legislation. This sounds extreme. It is extreme. note 9 But this is what is happening.
The EU-constitution is a real covenant, promising the right things. With the help of God this might be trustworthy, but when God who only can guarantee these things, is excluded, the covenant partners are in for trouble, disappointment at the least, tyranny at worst. In other words: the EU is a treacherous Lord and the EU constitution is a treacherous covenant. Because of this I had strong reservations to give my vote to the EU-constitution.
3.5 More practical arguments and conclusion
The EU is not all bad. It has taken good measures, among others in the fields of environmental care and of crime control. Many of its civil servants, including many Christians, are idealists; there are many prayer groups in many departments (in which I have taken part many times).
Whether the proposed EU constitution really would hand over certain competences to the parliament was not evident to all; whether the many proposed adaptations really would make the EU more democratic was not evident either. This alone was a reason for many to vote against the EU constitution.
The bureaucracy is still on the increase, and this undermines the democratic quality. There seems to be no real political determination to reverse bureaucracy. That is a serious weakness.
In this “constitution” a number of built-in tendencies can be discerned towards a centralised Europe, a federal Europe. This matter was never made a point of conscious discussion and democratic decision. Many prominent politicians deny those tendencies, but the simple fact that a “constitution” was proposed, and that only after much discussion certain phrases, aiming in that direction, were taken back, strongly suggests a drive towards federalism. note 10
Lastly, a number of nations (Ireland, Belgium and Poland) are more or less being forced to adapt their legislation concerning abortion to the liberal EU-legislation on this point. note 11
In the above we presented three principal arguments concerning the “EU constitution”: the exclusion of “God” (§ 3.2), the fragile foundation (§ 3.3) and the covenant-character (§ 3.4). Because of this I had strong reservations to give my vote to the EU-constitution. We also presented some practical arguments (§ 3.5).
We have voted against the EU-constitution in 2005.
3.6 Do we dare to vote against the EU, to get out of the EU?
Is this still relevant in 2008?
In the visible we cannot expect much. The Church acts primarily in the invisible, through continuous intercession, through incidental prophecy, and in the visible only, but continuously, through showing forth God’s power and love in society (Article 1).
Not Christian parties or lobbies, but the Church is God’s answer to societal and political questions, a Church that operates spiritually, according to her design and calling. If there is prayer (at last), and faith, and vision for the biblical God-state relation, THEN prophetic inspiration will come. THEN our vote will make a difference. THEN, only then, the Church, or Urban Evangelical Platform or whatever the name is, will be able to “rule with Christ” (Article 2).
The world can declare God to be dead, or banish God from public life and even legalise that, but God did plan a God-state relation, and therefore that God-state relation will come!
Europe expects everything from the EU. The EU suggests that her member states cannot do without her. What a lie: such a bureaucracy (§ 3.5), such a treacherous covenant (§ 3.4), such a fragile foundation (§ 3.3), such a God-excluding “constitution” (§ 3.2).
When we are afraid of being called “fundamentalist” (not strange, because often the church behaved as such!), it is because we do not know God’s power and God’s intended God-state relationship. The Church must prepare “her” state or city for the God designed God-state relationship: a covenant with God. To cast a vote is then part of a bigger vision: as Christians to stand in the world with God-given vision, without fear.
Jesus taught us a basic principle: “Give to Caesar what is due to Caesar, to God what is due to God”.
In other words: “Learn from me to live continuously in the unity of the spiritual and the secular reality, because both are continuously relevant. When Christians are “hurt” whenever others are not very respectful about Christian values, then they act out of a past that no longer exists, a past in which the church was not yet marginalised. But then they look to the visible, they reduce the Church to church, lose authority and are prone to compromises.
But when we are Church, spiritual body with spiritual means, then the Lord will inspire us to intercession and prophecy, and he will empower us to show forth divine power in mercy ministry in the visible. That’s how the Church will confront and lead.
In a number of African states voices are being raised to get out of the UN, at the risk of losing development aid! That is vision, for by bread and aid alone they cannot live anyway. Time is coming that the UN and/or the EU will fall apart, or become a one-world-government, causing “wars and rumours of wars”. We know that beforehand, don’t we?
Whatever we voted in 2005, wherever we are in 2008, the question is: Do we dare to be Church, a spiritual body with spiritual means only, in a political environment that demands covenant commitment outside God? note 12
note 1 This third article was originally written during the runup towards the May 2005 referendum on the EU-constitution. It may seem dated, but in fact as an application of the THESIS of article 1, and with its references to the UN, the content is still very relevant. Back
note 2 Commonly referred to as the European Constitution, the official name is Treaty establishing a Constitution for Europe (TCE). Many of the facts stated in § 3.1 are taken from Ortwin Schweitzer, “Europe – which way”, Adoramus Gemeinschaft e.V., Stuttgart, Germany, 2003. Back
note 3 That was the very motive for the French publisher to publish my book in French, with, to French ears, the challenging title: “The Calling Of The Nations; A Theology On The Identity, Destiny And Redemption Of Nations”. Back
note 4 However, before and even more explicitly during his presidency (starting 2007) the French president Nicolas Sarkozy has emphasized the societal role of churches and of religion, both on philosophical grounds and pragmatically, under the increasingly loud voice of Islam. This is causing quite a response in his nation. Back
note 5 See also ”Spiritual Aspects Of The European Union.”
noot 6 This second type of covenant is the model for the marriage covenant: The husband has overall responsibility for the marriage, primarily to care and protect! That does not mean that he must decide everything, but that he is responsible even for his wife’s decisions; he is simply responsible! Back
note 7 Older European covenants, like the ‘Republic of the Seven United Netherlands’ and the covenant between England and Scotland, always recognised God as the highest authority, even if only formally. Back
note 8 See Helene Bos: “WORLD SUMMIT ON SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT.” Back
note 9 In October 2005 the former Dutch prime minister, Ruud Lubbers, who is one of the better known representatives of the “Christian” party, declared to be inspired by the Earth Charter! Back
note 10 The tendency towards centralisation is contrary to what I understand to be a divine social order: new entities should “leave father and mother” and function directly under God and his care. Back
note 11 In the UN the EU position on abortion can even be qualified as extremely feministic, not at all representing the votes in the EU-parliament. Back
note 12 In the summer of 2005 the “EU constitution” was voted down, first in France and then in the Netherlands. “Brussels” tried to play down this news and present the treaty again with minimal changes, in 2008 in Ireland. It was voted down again. The “covenant” proved unattractive and weak. Back