Friday, February 18, 2011

Politics and Parishes..

As political seasons come and go and Christians become engaged in the political process, there is always a danger for Christians to forget who and what they are, who they follow and to what kingdom they belong. Political candidates often visit churches, some for worship, others for campaigning and, though the church may not endorse any particular candidate or party, all visitors, whatever their party affiliation, must be welcome into our prayer and fellowship!

Here are some wise words which help us reflect and navigate the intersection between parishes and politics taken from; “How to engage in Politics without losing your Soul”.

* Christians must never allow ourselves to equate the biblical Kingdom of God with any human political party or nation.(John 18:36; Isaiah 9:7; Matthew 6:33, Philippians 3:20, Revelation 11:15).

* Christians must never allow ourselves to elevate a specific politician to a messianic or savior status. As Christians, we have one Lord, and we must resist all attempts to exalt any human politician to unrealistic heights. (1 Peter 3:15).

* Christians must not just vote, but more importantly, we must pray for our government and the leaders of all political parties.In our polarized political society, many Christians are tempted to bless the politician or political party they support, and curse the other one they don’t. The Bible is clear, we are to pray for all political and government leaders, even our political enemies (Matthew 5:44, 1 Timothy 2:1-2).

* Christians must never allow ourselves to bring the divisiveness and polarization of political parties into the church, the family of God. We must accept the fact that there will be diversity of political opinions in the church. We must never allow diverse political perspectives to cause conflict and divisions in the church(Romans 16:17, 1 Corinthians 1:11-12).

* Christians must never allow ourselves to demonize or dehumanize another person,no matter what politician it is – because every single human has been created in the image of God. Christians must not engage in demeaning , judging or being unwelcoming to other people, no matter whether we agree with them politically or not. (Colossians 3:8, Matthew 7:1, James 4:12).
 * Christians must never engage in angry confrontational arguments, instead of being open to learn through civil debate and dialogue. Christians must always engage in politics through a path of reason and civility. (James 1:20, Philippians 2:14-16, 2 Timothy 2:14).

* Christians must never allow ourselves to become so intertwined so closely with one political party that we forfeit our independent identity as followers of Christ . When we do, we lose the prophetic voice to speak and clarify biblical truth to all politicians and political parties (1 Timothy 3:15, Ephesians 4:15, Romans 3:4).

* Christians must never allow ourselves to engage in partisan politics by supporting divisiveness between races, between male and female, between rich and poor, and between the young and old. (Matthew 5:9, 2 Corinthians 5:18-19).

* Christians must not allow ourselves to fall into the trap of simply cursing the darkness through negativity, instead of constructively engaging our world as preserving salt and illuminating light (Matthew 5:13-16).


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