[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.
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.