Christianity and Politics

... Where lies the boundary?

Are You Called to Political Leadership?

INDICATORS OF A CALL TO POLITICAL MINISTRY OR ASSIGNMENT

The spiritual as well as physical dangers inherent in politics necessitate a double checking and fail-safe confirmation before embracing the ministry. Like any other call to ministry, there are indicators of a likely call to ministry which of necessity must be confirmed before committing oneself to such ministry, and the political ministry or assignment is not an exemption. It must be clearly noted here that it is preferable for one to delay in responding to a call to ministry on the ground of insufficient evidence of such call than to rush into a call in haste, only to find out too late, often at the brink of disaster, that you ran a right race on a wrong track! A few indicators or actual confirmation of a call to political ministry may include one or a combination of some of the following:

Strong and clean desire:- A child of God may observe that he is having a very strong desire to participate in partisan politics. Such desire may be so strong that you cannot just wish it away and it must carry with it an aura of peace. However, it is of necessity that the strong desire or affinity for politics be clean and not borne out of pride, self aggrandizement, errors, lust for power and love of money or any of their allies. The onus of double-checking lies on the individual. This is so because God is beyond questioning, therefore, even with the very best of intention, if a Christian runs a race on a wrong lane, he is on his own, and will bear the consequences!

The implication of the above is that while strong and clean desire is desirable as a lead to political calling or assignment, it is not a sufficient means of arriving at a fail-safe conclusion.

Inner witness that you can make a difference:- Without being full of oneself, it is possible for a Christian to be convinced within himself or herself that he or she can make a difference or even change the undesirable order in the society if given the opportunity. It is pertinent that all heaven-bound Christians weigh all actions carefully, because, only a thin demarcation exist between righteousness and self righteousness, self importance and pride, etc. While everything possible must be done to fulfill a ministry, a Christian must understand that the first priority is to keep one’s salvation, since, as a matter of divine sequence, if salvation is lost, ministry is lost also.

Easily inspired by politicians with landmark achievement:- More often than not there exists an invisible chord linking people’s call to where their heart is. A great respect, special love and admiration for politicians with heroic achievements may just be an initial signal of the direction of a call to the political ministry. However, this should never be the only reason for engaging in politics.

Through career experience:- This is a popular route to politics by many Christians. Real leaders often appoint professionals that have distinguished themselves in their chosen career to head ministries and other government agencies, especially the sensitive ones. A distinguished Teacher may for instance be appointed as the Minister or Commissioner for Education; a renowned Medical practitioner may be appointed as the Minister for Health; a successful lawyer may become Minister of Justice and Attorney General; a retired astute and courageous soldier may be appointed as the Minister of Defense, etc. While this route is thought to be relatively safer and less prone to compromise, it has been observed that it largely depends on the motive and integrity of the substantive officer (i.e President, Governor, Chairman, etc.) making the appointment, and to whom the appointee is directly or indirectly answerable. A Christian thus appointed may soon build on this opportunity to become directly involved in partisan politics. However, it should be mentioned that a lot of discipline as well as strong determination is required to ensure that one does not compromise the standard of God, just as Daniel demonstrated in Babylon. 

A Christian must note that while a call for political service of this nature offers a good platform for demonstrating the standard of God and for the entrenchment of good and godly virtues in the society, there is a need to confirm from God if it is His will and not a subtle bait by the Devil to draw away such an individual. In addition, there should be a readiness to jettison such offer anytime it becomes impossible to maintain God’s standard in the course of duty. This should be done with proper counseling from qualified ministers of God (Note – Not all ministers of God are adequately equipped to guide political office holders).

Natural endowments:- Through natural endowments, certain persons have the tendency for people to gather around them, and more often than not more people may look up to them for leadership, political leadership inclusive. It is on record that pressures have been mounted on certain specially endowed citizens by their political Wards, Local Government Areas, States, etc to lead or represent them in elective offices and other political appointments. A good example of people in this category is Joseph who became the Prime Minister of Egypt, based on his natural endowment and other accompanying factors.

A well developed character:- It is a well established fact that majority of people loved to be led by compassionate, caring, fair, just and courageous leaders. It is more astonishing to find out that even perverse societies are not exempted in the desire to be led by men and women that are just and honest, whose words are their honour. Therefore, a Christian with a well developed character may be called upon to lead even without struggling for such position. There have been occasions in the past that such people are so loved and trusted that rejecting the offer is seen as rejecting the people. When this happens, a huge combination of wisdom, spiritual guidance, counseling and diplomacy is required. Such a Christian must make it clear that he or she may not be able to continue in that position anytime compromise becomes inevitable.

Dreams:- Political call, guidance and direction may be received through clear dreams. While the teaching that dreams must be verified is right and borne out of sound wisdom and rich experiences, it is also a scriptural fact that many monumental revelations that changed the course of history and peoples’ lives were received through dreams. Such includes, warning of Abimelech (Gen 20: 2-4); Pharaoh and the famine; Jacob and the ascending and descending Angels at Bethel (Gen 28:11-13); The warning of Nebuchadnezzar (Daniel 2:1-3); The dreams of Joseph and several other meaningful dreams too numerous to list. When informed or instructed through dreams that are not plain, interpretations must be sought prayerfully. This may necessitate consulting ministers of God who are gifted, knowledgeable and experienced in understanding and interpreting dreams and dream moods. Extreme caution is required here, to ensure that only genuine ministers of God are consulted and not ‘spiritual merchants’, who may mislead people for monetary gains and other unwholesome benefits.

Vision:- Visions are less common and more reliable, yet, they are not fail-safe. There are clear and substantiated evidences of visions from the gate of hell meant to deceive or mislead individual and groups of people. In addition, visions too can be misinterpreted. There is therefore the need to handle all revelations prayerfully. When in doubt, it is wise to seek counsel from experienced ministers of God.

Still small voice:- This is one of the ways God employs to speak to His children; Small voice delivering clear information to the mind of a Christian, usually when the mind is ‘quiet’. With training it becomes so clear and distinct that some have come to term it the audible inner voice. This is easier with prayerful Christians that are not only meek but have quiet spirits and are therefore not too busy to miss the gentle but clear voice of the Holy Spirit. 

Prophetic utterances:- Trusted ministers of God are often sent to deliver messages to people either personally or from the pulpit. It is very common for such messages to be a confirmation of what the recipient have received through any of the aforementioned media, including earlier Prophetic utterance or utterances. It is preferable that ‘messages from God’ are confirmed, and when in doubt reconfirmed again! The wisdom in this is that God is not accountable to anyone, and, in case of any error, especially fatal ones, the consequences are borne entirely by the one who heard God in error.

Audible Voice: - Occasionally, when messages are of extreme importance or when He decides in his sovereignty to so act, God may speak audibly to announce a ministerial call or pass instructions on a divine assignment, as in the case of Moses in Exodus 3. This is very rare and must be confirmed, because there are substantiated cases of the Devil impersonating God to subtly instruct God’s children audibly in other to mislead them.

The above mentioned methods are not exhaustive. God may still choose other means to speak to people at any given point in time. The underlining rule is whichever method God chooses, confirmation is required. However, willful disobedience or reluctance to act on God’s instruction on the pretext that we still need further confirmation can only attract God’s commensurate reprove.