David Cameron issued a warning about the dire consequences of a vote to leave the European Union on Monday as the referendum gathered pace after Thursday's local elections.
The Prime Minister warned peace in Europe could be at risk if voters opted for Brexit on June 23.
Boris Johnson responded with equivalent warnings about the dire consequences of a vote to remain in the European Union. The former Mayor of London said the EU's "anti-democratic tendencies" were "a force for instability and alienation".
Away from the spotlight of the main campaigns, Christians on both sides of the debate have also been issuing claim and counter-claim.
Two rival groups, Christians for Britain and Christians for Europe engaged in an online spat on Sunday over whether Jesus' words can be appropriated for either side ahead of the June 23 referendum.
It began with a tweet from Michael Sadgrove, the founder of the Christians for Europe blog. Christians for Britain, chaired by the unlikely duo of Giles Fraser and Adrian Hilton, were not too happy with this interpretation.
John 17:21 is now being appropriated by Remainers. This is theological illiteracy. Don't be fooled (Lk 12:51-53). pic.twitter.com/Rf7iVmH5X4— Christians4Britain (@Xtians4Britain) May 8, 2016
They accused Sadgrove of "theological illiteracy" and quoted Luke 12: 51-53 where Jesus said:
"Do you think that I have come to give peace on earth? No, I tell you, but rather division.For from now on in one house there will be five divided, three against two and two against three.They will be divided,father against son and son against father, mother against daughter and daughter against mother, mother-in-law against her daughter-in-law and daughter-in-law against mother-in-law."
Sadgrove took the bait:
And so it went on.
Please, don't be pious. If Jn 17:21 may be appropriated for UK membership of the EU, where does Lk 9:5 fit in? https://t.co/OjYBg03gaX— Christians4Britain (@Xtians4Britain) May 8, 2016
To save you the trouble, in Luke 9:5 Jesus says:
"And wherever they do not receive you, when you leave that townshake off the dust from your feet as a testimony against them."
Not pious to ask for a respectful exchange. Alleging "theological illiteracy" is ultra vires. https://t.co/cpIs19LfgV— Michael Sadgrove (@Sadgrovem) May 8, 2016
@Xtians4Britain Very careful to say that Jesus was *not* praying for the EU. Couldn't be clearer! Then drew an inference abt common life.— Michael Sadgrove (@Sadgrovem) May 8, 2016
@Sadgrovem You support the EU because i) it is like marriage; ii) it is loving one's neighbour; iii) it is like Church unity. Hermeneutics.— Christians4Britain (@Xtians4Britain) May 8, 2016
By this time it was approaching 10.30pm and the foes had obviously decided they had had enough. Brexiteers had the last word and everyone went off for an early night.
This is not the first time the Bible has been dragged into the debate over the European Union. Perhaps the most entertaining usage was this on a wall in Northern Ireland:
Revelation 18:4 says:
"Then I heard another voice from heaven saying, 'Come out of her, my people, lest you take part in her sins, lest you share in her plagues'."