A very Good morning and a Happy Sabbath to each one present here! On the eve of the recent political developments, My Feature Talk diverges from conventional Biblical Topics and dwells on a current burning issue: The Church and State- The Logic behind Christian Political Responsibility. My intention is neither to politicize the Church or Ostracize Politics!
A pre- dominant Christian view today is to refrain from commenting, discussing or voting for our Earthly Leaders. Many justify their stand saying that God is our only Ruler, Others blame Corruption and consider it a sin to elect such! The quintessential question is that, “Is it right to be apolitical, anti- political or even for that matter indifferent to the events around us? Have we as responsible Christians ever turned our Bibles prayerfully to look up this particular answer?”
My Talk today is divided in three important Parts:
1. The Biblical stand on Politics
2. Christians and Politics
3. Political Leaders as Stewards of God
So, what does the Bible say on Politics?
The inerrant Word of God has the answer to every question. The very first reference to an earthly rule is found interestingly in Genesis Ch 1:28 wherein God gave Adam an earthly rule over all that existed.
Over various periods Chronicled in the Bible we see that God sent enterprising and charismatic leaders like David, Solomon and others to rule over the world. In fact up until the Crown Proceedings Act was passed in 1947, the British Monarchy lay firm on The Divine Right Theory, ‘The King can do no Wrong because he was ordained by God.’
The Bible commands us as God’s children to follow these simple principles in our interaction with civil authorities in the following verses:
1. I Timothy Ch 2:1- 2 states: ‘I exhort that, first of all, supplications, prayers, intercessions and giving of thanks be made for all men; For kings and for all that are in authority; that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and honesty.’
2. The Word continues to state in Romans 13: 1 that ‘Let every soul be subject unto higher powers. For there is no power but of God; the powers that be ordained by God.’
3. Even Jesus in his Earthly Ministry spoke about appointed Government leaders in Matthew 22: 21 where he clearly indicates, “Render unto Caesar the things which are Caesar’s and unto God the things that are God’s.”
4. The Bible continues and to ask us to Honor those in authority in I Peter 2: 17 and Proverbs 24: 21.
As Christians we are expected to adhere to all the above principles at all times.
Now that it is clear that God has appointed these men and women in office does it mean that only when a Christian stands for elections we should vote or only if he is supposedly ‘Clean’ we should exercise our freedom of choice. God has clearly neither assigned nor designated us the power to Judge our Brethren.
The Great Commission has been summarized into the three Noble duties of Preaching, Teaching and Healing, The Bible commands us as Christians to support these government leaders to carry out their responsibilities ethically! Rejecting good governance is punished by God himself in Romans 13: 2 which reads, “Whosoever resisteth the power, resisteth the ordinance of God: and they that resist shall receive to themselves damnation”
Having dealt with these two important facets, I move to the last segment of my talk that deals with the Role of political leaders today. In 2003 during an interview former Prime Minister of the United Kingdom Tony Blair was asked whether he had ever talked about Religion with Ex- President George Bush, he answered, “I can’t say it’s something we’ve discussed, but its something we share!” All the elders and the well- informed section of the younger generation sitting here today could probably list out a plethora of events that have marred the face of politics. But how many of us are aware how many Christians stood for elections or the statistics of Christian voters in the recent Assembly Polls held in Kerala, West Bengal, Assam and Tamil Nadu?
Christians are not expected to be passive spectators in Society. In Matthew 5: 13, 14 God encourages his followers to be the ‘salt of the earth’ and the ‘light of the world’ . For those aspiring to work for the Government keep Daniel and Esther in mind, the two people who changed the course of History and Governance without making any compromises with their Principles.
So, should we support people who try to win their votes solely on the basis of religion? The answer is a firm NO! Paul clearly defines the Role of God’s Stewards in Politics in Romans 13 verses 4- 6 which read, “For he is a minister of God to thee for good…verse 5: wherefore ye must needs be subject not only for wrath but also for conscience sake. He continues in verse 6: “For this cause pay ye tribute also; for they are God’s ministers attending continually upon this very thing”
In conclusion all I can say is as Christians and as responsible children of God we should refrain from abdicating our responsibility to elect our fellow brethren who are worthy of ruling our State. The nexus between Faith and Politics has been beautifully inter- woven in the pages of the Word, the question is, “Will you accept it?”