After a long quitness, I thought I should share with you this article on the position of the church of God in politics!
In the contemporary state, citizens participate in the government of the country by voting. Most of them belong to political parties, movements, unions, blocs and other suchlike organisations based on various political doctrines and views. These organisations, seeking to order social life according to the political convictions of their members, have as one of their goals to hold or reform power in the state. Exercising powers given to them by popular vote during elections, political organisations can participate in the work of the legislative and executive power structures.
The presence in society of different, sometimes opposing political convictions and discordant interests generates political struggle which is waged by both legitimate and morally justified methods and methods sometimes contradicting the norms of public law and Christian and natural morality.
Work of the church of God:
According to God’s commandment, the church has a task to show concern for the unity of her children and peace and harmony in society and the involvement of all her members in common creative efforts. The Church is called to preach and build peace with outer society:
“If it is possible, as much as lieth in you, live peaceably with all men” (Rom. 12:19);
“Follow peace with all men” (Heb. 12:14).
It is even more important for her, however, to be internally united in faith and love: “I beseech you, brethren, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ… that there be no divisions among you; but that ye be perfectly joined together in the same mind” (1 Cor. 1:10).
For the Church the highest value is her unity as the mysterious body of Christ (Eph. 1:23) on which the eternal salvation of humanity depends.
In face of political differences, contradictions and struggle, the Church preaches peace and co-operation among people holding various political views. She also acknowledges the presence of various political convictions among her episcopate, clergy and laity, except for such as to lead clearly to actions contradicting the faith and moral norms of the church Tradition.
It is not good for the Church’s Supreme Authorities and for the clergy, to participate in such activities of political organisations and election processes as public support for the running political organisations or particular candidates, election campaigns and so forth. As for me, the clergy should not be allowed to be nominated for elections to any body of representative power at any level. However, nothing should prevent bishops, clergy and laity from participation in the expression of the popular will by voting along with other citizens.
In church history there were not a few cases when the whole Church gave support to various political doctrines, views, organisations and leaders. In some cases, this support was linked with the need for the Church to defend her fundamental interests in the extreme conditions of anti-religious persecution and the destructive and restrictive actions of the non-Christian power. In other cases, this support resulted from the pressure from the state or political structures and usually led to divisions and controversies within the Church and to the falling away of some of her people infirm in their faith.
In participating in government and political processes, it is important that christians base their work on the norms of the gospel’s morality, the unity of justice and mercy (Ps. 85:10), the concern for the spiritual and material welfare of people, the love of the fatherland and the desire to transform the surrounding world according to the word of Christ.
At the same time, the Christian, a politician or a statesmen, should be well aware that in historical reality and, all the more so, in the context of today’s divided and controversial society, most decisions adopted and political actions taken tend to benefit only a part of society, while restricting or infringing upon the interests and wishes of others - majority. Many such decisions and actions are stained with sin or connivance with sin. Precisely for this reason I urge therefore the Christian politician or statesman to be extra sensitive spiritually and morally.
I would urge Christians who work in the sphere of public and political building to seek the gift of special self-sacrifice and special self-denial. They need to be utterly attentive to their own spiritual condition, so that their public or political work may not turn from service into an end in itself that nourishes pride, greed and other vices. It should be remembered that “principalities or powers, all things were created by him, and for him… and by him all things stand” (Col. 1:16-17).
Christians in power get to know that it is with Christ that you command, with Christ that you govern, from Him that you have received the sword. And a true king is he who conquers anger and jealousy and voluptuousness and subjects everything to the laws of God and does not allow the passion for pleasure to prevail in his soul. I would like to see such a man in command of the people, and the throne, and the cities and the provinces, and the troops, because he who subjected the physical passions to reason would easily govern people also according to the divine laws… But he who appears to command people but in fact accommodates himself to wrath and ambition and pleasure, … will not know how to dispose of the power”. Am sure if all our leaders who claim to be christians had exercised the above few principles, today we would not be hearing of "UFISADI or CORRUPTION" in Tanzania and the rest of the world.
Christian politicians, fear the Lord and love justice, you will be blessed!