Christianity and Politics

... Where lies the boundary?

CHRISTIAN ROLES IN DEMOCRACY

According to Merriam-Webster dictionary, Politics is simply defined as the art or science of government. In a broad spectrum, it is actually the art or science concerned with guiding or influencing governmental policy; the art or science concerned with winning and holding control over a government. This has to do with how societies are governed to ensure orderliness, fairness, justice and welfare of the different individuals and groups that constitute a society. In the light of the above and the earlier Pages, it is undeniable that God is totally involved in the governance of nations, and, though not a democrat, He has consented to the will of men to choose how to rule themselves under the narrow grace of his permissive will that makes it more difficult but certainly not impossible for Christians to fully participate, determine and pursue the course and the destiny of their nations.

For so long as we remain on earth as citizens of specific nations we have obligations to perform. Unfortunately, all of us without exception falter to various degrees in the performance of those obligations for various reasons, including ignorance. It will amaze anyone the number of Christians that hate to vote, let alone participating in electioneering campaign, not to talk of vying for a political office. Nonetheless, every child of God expects that their country would be governed in a godly way, after a large number of people that lacked the fear of God have been enthroned as a result of negligence on the part of believers! What a blatant display of ignorance!

Going by our main text (Deuteronomy 17:14-20) and critical study on Christian roles in civil governance, there are three major groups, roles or levels at which Christians should participate in politics or democracy in specific term. These roles are: General roles; Special roles and The Ultimate roles.

GENERAL ROLES

These are obligations expected of each of us as a Christian and patriotic citizen, which should be performed whether or not we ‘like or hate’ politics. Though pilgrims, yet, we would be hindering the move of God either directly or indirectly if we show a nonchalant attitude or totally abdicate these responsibilities. Our general roles include:

Fervent prayers for God to enthrone people after His heart:- Several situations determine who God chooses to lead a people. This in itself is the most important reason why fervent intercessory prayers are required to ensure that God tempers justice with mercy each time a national leader or any leader for that matter is to be selected or elected. Without fervent prayers every nation will always get the leader they deserve! Isn’t this logical? That may sound reasonable, but it is not good enough. It relegates the gains of the mercy and grace of God, and hardly will that situation offer any nation the best of leaders, because no nation on earth today can claim to be walking perfectly before God.

The kind of leaders most profitable for a nation to have are leaders after God’s heart, and one of the surest ways to ensure this is through regular fervent prayers. Contrary to popular opinions, the failure of nations has prayerlessness as its root cause. Unfortunately, majority of people points to the ‘leaves’, which manifests in the form of wicked or incompetent leadership. It will profit little to start praying only after a wicked leader has emerged, instead of long before the process that brought him or her to power actually commenced. When nations fail on their knees, it is a matter of time before their leaders begin to fail, and the failures may take different forms, shapes and sizes.

Voting for a candidate of your choice:- This responsibility is an obligation and not an option as many Christians presumed. In Nigeria for instance, two groups of people are most guilty of negligence in their performance of this civil responsibility, and these are the Christians and the elites. Not to perform this obligation is to indirectly ‘rebel’ against God’s instruction to choose only the leader He has chosen (Deut 17:15), except you have enough reasons other than negligence or allied reasons to be undecided about the candidate to vote for.

 Electioneering campaign:- A believer may go a step further to enlighten other people about a good or less than satisfactory candidate if truly convinced about such candidate. This may range from mild attestation about the strengths and weaknesses of a candidate before a few individuals to full fledge campaign before a large group or groups of people and the use of various media outlets. This should never be done with any malicious intention or out of an ungodly urge to criticize any candidate, but with the pure motive of ensuring that godly and credible individuals who will be true representatives of God in the affairs of men are elected to govern the people. Non violent protection of votes and election results:- Without doubt, one major reason why others take advantage of Christians is because they know that Christianity is synonymous with peace, true peace, and they know that Christians are most likely to remain calm even under very serious threat, provocation and violation of their rights. Of a truth, such disposition to peace and peaceful coexistence with others is profitable, in order to prevent hatred, root of bitterness and other related sins that will automatically prevent anyone guilty of them from making it to heaven no matter what the offenders have done against us. However, this cannot be an excuse for not protecting our votes through non violent means. One outstanding incidence to further drive home this point was the election into the Local Government Councils of Nigeria that was held on 5th of December 1998. I had resigned my appointment with the Teaching Service Commission to enable me partake in the election. The Council poll consists of the election of the Councillors and that of the Chairman of the Local Government Areas. Towards 5p.m., when the elections have been completed and it was clear that going by the number of votes counted I had lost the election, one close relative of mine as well as a party representative who witnessed the counting came to inform me that it was over. Majority of party members have left the collation center, though amazed at the result.

A Christian minister in one of the Pentecostal churches who had earlier told my wife he would not have allowed me to resign my appointment if he was around but who was told that there seemed to be a clear leading in this regard was already on the way to his house but on remembering that he was told that it was a clear leading turned back to the collation center again. He met a few people still hanging around. Then, one person said he noticed that the ballot paper meant for the Chairman was mistakenly counted for the other Councillorship candidate. They insisted on verification of their claim and a recount! While all these were going on without my knowledge, to prevent the Devil from gaining advantage over me through the weapon of discouragement as a result of the disappointment, I had left the couple of people with me to find a place to thank the Lord for the loss! Barely three minutes after my prayers, suddenly I saw a huge crowd rushing towards our house – The Election Returning Officer had emptied the box and conducted a recount in the presence of all as the people insisted – Lo and behold, I was declared the winner of the election!

SPECIAL ROLES

Undoubtedly, there are Christians called into the civil leadership ministry or political ministry. Several Bible characters, including Joseph, Daniel, Deborah, Esther, Ezra, David, etc are largely political leaders. They must of necessity be called by God (detail to be discussed later) and would most likely be given specific instructions on the direction to lead the nation and most certainly be trained and gifted to perform in this ministry. Those called into this ministry will actively participate in all aspects of the political life of their ‘community’, which may vary from a village to a nation or even the entire United Nations, if so desired by God. They are gifted and equipped to perform this role and have attributes that will help them resist greatly the extreme dangers associated with this ministry, most especially the danger of compromising with the world. It must be made abundantly clear that God will not lower His standard simply because the ministry is dangerous, rather, He will commit more time and divine resources to training the individuals to carryout assignments on slippery battlefields. It must however be said concerning ‘The Called’ that by far the greatest ‘strengths’ enjoyed by people in this group are the MERCY and GRACE of God, without which it will be practically impossible for any born again Bible believing Holy Spirit filled heaven-bound Christian called into the political ministry to keep his or her salvation. Political parties, meetings, conventions, campaigns are definitely not Church gatherings, Camps or Christian Retreat Centers, and so, the environment in terms of predominant or operational words and actions are such that it makes the dividing line between staying in faith or out of faith like the width of a hair! Any careless slip and you are at the other end of the cliff! Little wonder, God developed David so much that even with only a few tangible precedents, he still knew he must not touch the anointed of God, even when Saul had fallen and David had all ‘tenable reasons’ as well as a golden opportunity to terminate the life of ‘his adversary’ – A lesson that many pulpit ministers are yet to learn today, even with the whole Bible as our guide!

The responsibility of ‘The Called’ is enormous and shall be discussed in details under various heading and subheadings in subsequent chapters. It must however be mentioned here as a foundational truth that no heaven-bound Christian should take up active political role or ministry until they have confirmed, without any figment of doubt, that they have been called into the ministry.

THE ULTIMATE ROLE

The ultimate role in governance of nations is exclusively reserved for the top echelon of men and women who have their mouth, heart and ear close to God’s heart! More than anyone can ever imagine, and, far more than the most visionary of the sons of men, God has a distinctive vision about his creation. He has a vivid picture of events as they will unfold and an undiluted vision of how the end will be. By His design, mankind rather than angels is God’s most precious creature. It is therefore unthinkable to imagine that God will abandon such a ‘project’ without monitoring it, when ordinary men will not do such to their own projects. However, by His exclusive design also, God has decided to do little on earth except men requested Him to do them. This is where high caliber intercessors come into the scene. This is far beyond the issue of just being born again. These are men and women of God whose words are law on earth because they have their mouth, heart and ear at the periphery of God’s heart. Call them Priests, Pastors, Apostles, Evangelist, Brothers, Sisters, etc. No matter the nomenclature, they are the very few that knows the meaning and what it takes to INTERCEDE for a NATION. When things go wrong in a nation, before you think of where the political leaders go wrong, weep for the scarcity of intercessors and blame yourself for not paying the price to be one of them. Advert To conclude that committed intercessors in a nation have prayed and no change has taken place ‘because the political class has not allowed it’ is tantamount to committing a sacrilege by bearing witness that you are serving a powerless god – That certainly cannot be the Omnipotent God that the Christians are serving! What then is the problem? The problem is that there are many children and ministers of God in nations of the world, but, in all honesty, scarcely can we get intercessors like Moses, who will tell the Lord, take my country to her promise land or remove my name from your book (Exodus 32:30-32)!!! Little wonders, Jesus said up till now we have not asked (John 16:24). Worse still, what majority of believers do is finding fault, criticizing and even cursing the political class, contrary to the scriptural order to pray for our leaders. The roles of intercessors are better appreciated when one deeply understands the supremacy of God in the affairs of men and his sovereignty to do as he pleases. Behind every enduring legacy of justice, fairness and godly virtues ‘instituted’ by political leaders in national polity are first, fervent prayers by known or hidden intercessors like Daniel, Joseph, Samuel, John Knox, Martin Luther King Jnr, Adeboye, Kumuyi, Hagin, etc, to mention but a few, who touched the heart of God to move the hand of political leaders to effect changes that have become reference points in the world, either in the past or present time. When prayer stops, desecration begins, and this is the reason for the less than desirable trend in nations that were so vibrant, whose missionaries defied the jungle and thickets of Africa, dared the demons and punctured the reign of idols, but, today, their own nations have sank so terribly that Gay Priests are mounting the pulpit to preach the Word of the Devil (That certainly cannot be the Word of Jehovah)! Advert This is not to say intercessors will always have their way with God, averting retribution for a rebellious people. Like when God’s wrath was kindled against his people in the book of Jeremiah 15: 1-5, and God said even if Moses and Samuel (Two all time great intercessors amongst men) should come to intercede for them He will not change His decision. It is therefore certain that occasionally when people display open rebellion against God, they cannot but suffer the consequences. Even in such instances, with continuous entreating, our loving father will of certainty show mercy on the long run.

Key Points:

*There are three major levels / roles for Christians in politics: General role; Special role and Ultimate role

*Not participating in the general roles may be tantamount to technical rebellion against God.

*The dangers of the political ministry are real, so, special mercy and grace are available to ‘The Called’, but God will not compromise His standard.

*Never engage in active political ministry until you are sure that you are called into it.

*Intercessors are more important in influencing national polity than politicians.

*When things go wrong in a nation, first blame yourself for not being an intercessor before you blame the politicians for leading the people on a wrong course.

@ CHRIST COLLEGE

GOD IS THE MASTER-BUILDER - 08089125977

MAN'S WORST PROBLEM IS LACK OF COURAGE, NOT LACK OF OPPORTUNITIES

YOU CAN'T LIVE THE LIFE YOU DESIRE, UNTIL YOU ARE READY TO PAY THE PRICE

SCHOOLS SOLUTION.NG

FINDING GREAT SCHOOLS FOR SMART PARENTS - 08101200941