Church and politics (1)

 

 

[notice]Part 1 of a two article series that explores the postion that the Church should occupy in relation to politics[/notice]We are a few days away from the local government elections and we all have been thrust into the undesirable territory of being observers of South Africa’s political contestations.

I say undesirable because in our context and perhaps the rest of our continent, the political landscape is characterised by the exchange of insults, meaningless rhetoric, unedifying singing, and of cause gyration.

“We are not supposed to bring politics into the Church but rather the Church or the Kingdom of God into politics.”

Instead of articulating their positions clearly it seems that politicians would rather take the option of whipping the masses into a frenzy. Almost all the parties are making the mistake of wanting to capitalise on other parties’ mistakes and shortcomings. Instead of us hearing what a political party stands for we are mainly hearing what they do not stand for. We are hearing more about what parties are against than what they are for.

Coupled with this nauseating situation in South Africa, we are also faced with the politics of this beloved continent and the rest of the world. I mean we are not insulated from what is happening in Zimbabwe, Libya, and Ivory Coast or in the Middle East. If we don’t have biblical position on dictatorship, graft, terrorism and other ills then we are left with one dominant position, and that is the one of politics.

Now one of the ways to divide the Church of God is to bring politics into the Church. We are not supposed to bring politics into the Church but rather the Church or the Kingdom of God into politics. This is why I don’t understand the current culture of allowing politicians to campaign in the church.

If church leaders feel their people need to be exposed to the manifesto of a political party then they should allow all political parties the space the air the views and distribute their paraphernalia. I suspect this may detract from the core mission of the church but at least it would be fair.

What really is the position the Church is to occupy in relation to politics? In fact, what position should the Church take on business, sports, education, or anything for that matter? Jesus told His disciples to seek first the kingdom of God. He also told them that this or His kingdom is not of this world and they – the disciples – are not of this world. This therefore means that the Church cannot take a worldly position on anything. She cannot take her cue from the world. She should not be a trend follower but a trend setter.

Trends haves already been set but none of them have been set by God. Who set them and from what source were they derived? Jesus said whoever is not for Him is against Him. It is the Lord who gives people a mandate to govern and it is He who refreshes that mandate if those people continue to walk uprightly before Him. This is what happened to the kings of Israel.

John said we should not love the world and anything that is in the world and James on the other hand said if we love the world then we become enemies of God. These are strong words which we should not take lightly. What both John and James meant was the system of the world or the way the world does things. Politics itself is only a domain amongst many domains we have in God’s kingdom. It is the way in which politics is done that God says we should not love.

Politics are about the enactment of policies that would govern a nation. It is how we want our nation to be governed that determines which political parties we lend our support to. And how we want our nation to be governed should be how God wants it to be governed.

We are not an election fodder and neither are we to have blind loyalty towards a person or party. Our loyalty should be towards God and Him alone lest we fall into that sin which became Israel’s Achilles’ heel – idolatry.

7 Comments

  1. This is with out a doubt the most thought inspiring piece I have read relating to politics. Thank you.

  2. It blessed me so much to read this pastor’s article and look forward to reading Part 2.

  3. Afrika Mhlophe

    Thanks Salome and May for your encouragement.

  4. Neil Marnewick

    1 Samuel shows that the prophet “rewrote” the constitution to a monarchy. From the book it is also clear that he had a higher spiritual authority than the king (both Saul and David).

    When the politician steps out of line his own preacher is responsible to take him on. Likewise a Christian in government will always have to submit to his own preacher. This is the biblical model.

    • The problem with today’s Christians Neil is that they get assimilated and seduced into the ways of politics and forget the God who put them there. Thanks for your input

  5. Hi Afrika. I qoute you “We are not supposed to bring politics into the Church but rather the Church or the Kingdom of God into politics”. How do we take the church to politic, can you please explain that to me and please make examples. Thanks

  6. Hi Luvos,

    Well we bring the Kingdom into politics by discipling men and women who in turn enter politics with a clear kingdom agenda and biblical worldview. For an example, a real Christian who is in politics cannot vote for a law that is contrary to the laws of God. In the book of Daniel we see the story of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-nego who refused to bow to the golden image erected by king Nebuchadnezzar. God honoured them for their faithfulness and their stance and that of Daniel affected the laws of Babylon. If enough God-fearing people entered politics then we would have enough critical mass to repel some of the ungodly laws our nation has passed. It is church people who are properly disciples who can make a difference in our nation and not self-serving politicians. I hope I have been helpful.