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Reform Magazine | May 21, 2024

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The tribes of Brexit - Reform Magazine

The tribes of Brexit

Jonathan Tame offers a biblical approach to Britain’s Brexit divisions

What is a Christian response to the bewildering pantomime we’re watching as MPs try to deal with Brexit? Is it possible to think biblically about all this in any constructive way?

The first and greatest Christian imperative is to pray for our government and MPs, for this is one of the most challenging times in recent British political history. We should pray especially for the Prime Minister whose predicament – in leading Britain out of the EU with a minority government and a hopelessly divided party, and having enshrined the leaving date in law – makes David Blaine’s escapes look like child’s play.

The divisiveness of Brexit reminds me of the ‘tribe versus nation’ tension through the Old Testament. Israel grew as a nation from the family of Abraham, but was divided into 12 ancestral tribes. After their deliverance from Egypt, a rift emerged when some tribes wanted to settle on the ‘wrong’ side of the Jordan. A compromise was made, and Moses permitted the Reubenites, Gadites and half tribe of Manasseh to stay on the east side, provided their fighting men helped the other tribes subdue the whole land. This was later put to the test when the minority tribes built an imposing altar, but civil war was averted through careful listening and diplomacy. …

Jonathan Tame is Director of the Jubilee Centre, which offers a biblical perspective on contemporary issues. This article was first published at


This is an extract from an article that was published in the March 2019 edition of  Reform

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