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Who is Theresa May?

Ryan Denison is the Senior Fellow for Theology at Denison Forum, where he contributes writing and research to many of the ministry’s productions.

He is in the final stages of earning his PhD in church history at BH Carroll Theological Institute after having earned his MDiv at Truett Seminary. Ryan has also taught at BH Carroll and Dallas Baptist University.

He and his wife, Candice, live in East Texas and have two children.


Credit: Ben Cawthra via AP

Theresa May is soon to be one of the most powerful people in the world. The former Home Secretary will follow David Cameron as Britain’s Prime Minister in a succession that will take place far sooner than most expected. However, when Andrea Leadsom withdrew from the race on Monday, May was left without an opponent and quickly gained her party’s support. Cameron described her as both “strong” and “confident” in offering his endorsement, and Leadsom echoed those sentiments in offering her support as well.

While strong and confident seem to be a fitting description of May, others have used slightly less glowing terms to describe her tenacity. Former cabinet minister Kenneth Clarke described her as “a bloody difficult woman, but good.” May took the comment in stride, saying, “The next person to find that out will be Jean-Claude Juncker,” the president of the European Commission with whom May will negotiate the details of Britain’s exit from the EU.

Those negotiations were not a foregone conclusion in the minds of all British citizens when May first became a candidate for the post. In the Brexit decision, May sided with former PM David Cameron in voting to remain in the EU. However, she has since stated that “Brexit means Brexit. The campaign was fought. The vote was held. Turnout was high, and the public gave their verdict.” She went on to promise that her goal now was to make Britain’s exit as successful as possible.

Such a task will not be easy, but May can rely on the support and guidance of her party and, more important, her Lord in pursuing the best end possible for her people. The daughter of an Anglican vicar, May remains relatively private about her faith, saying that “It’s good we don’t flaunt such things in British politics.” However, as she told Kirsty Young, her Anglican faith “is part of me, part of who I am and how I approach things.” While other political leaders played cricket or went to concerts after the Brexit vote, May and her husband went to church.

While that faith alone does not qualify her to be the person charged with engineering the United Kingdom’s exit from the European Union and with overseeing the redefining of Britain’s identity in the wake of that decision, it is consequential. Though many likely doubt the legitimacy of her faith given that more than half of the British people claim either no religion or one other than Christianity, even they can find some measure of peace in knowing what will help to motivate her decisions. And for those of us who do appreciate her faith, knowing what she believes will help us better know how to pray for her as God commands (1 Timothy 2:1–4).

Whether you live in Great Britain or elsewhere, Theresa May’s decisions as the country’s Prime Minister will impact your life. Our world is too small now for that not to be the case. However, even if that impact seems minimal in your life, it’s not for millions of our brothers and sisters in Christ. Their ability to expand God’s kingdom in the United Kingdom will be either helped or hindered by the impact of May’s decisions. That alone should be enough reason for us to make time to pray for her to know and do God’s will in leading her country. Will you?