Righteousness exalts a nation, but sin condemns any people (Prov. 14:34)
Overtime, Christians involvement in politics have been a subject of topical debates and controversies, and as such it is often avoided because we do not wish to be seen taking sides for one party or another because we say politics is dirty and not for Christians. This has caused the Church to stand aloof of the world system while complaining about corrupt government system from the distance.
PURPOSE OF THE CHURCH
The major trio purposes of the church are:
- To prepare people for heaven
- To enable individuals, fulfill their God-given destiny on earth
- To create a community (system) that is peaceful and conducive for mutual existence on earth till Jesus returns.
The third purpose underscores what Christianity is all about, “A peaceful way of life”.
I believe the church is not a short-cut route to heaven. The reason we have so much corruption in the system is because we have long abandoned politics to the ‘world’. The biblical injunction that says “we are in the world but not of the world” is not a support substance for this error.
JESUS AND POLITICS
Jesus stands as the ultimate example of a servant leader. He stepped out of the safety and glory of heaven into an oppressed, politically corrupt nation on the edges of the Roman Empire dominated by the world power of the day. While Jesus did not run for public office, He did take a prophetic stance against the social issues of the day to the point that He was regarded as a major threat to be done away with.
He did not just “stick to religion and values” but talked about fair wages, unjust trade, oppression of widows and economic injustices and corruption of his day even overturning the table of the moneylenders (Matthew 12:40). He did not participate in active politics, but He had an insight into a Kingdom where He will reign as King.
According to a recent Pew study conducted in 2011, Christians form most of the nation, comprising 50% of the population. Nigeria has the largest Christian population compared to any country with Christians in Africa with more than 70 million persons in Nigeria belonging to the church with various denominations.
I think Christians should be DEEPLY involved in politics. Can you imagine how awesome our country would be if our leaders were more in love with Jesus than their consciousness for the press and polls? I think we need committed Christians to run for office. We can’t just sit down and ‘pray’ while the heathen run the government, impose weird, negative and anti-gospel laws on us.
OUR CALL TO POLITICS
John Calvin, the great Christian reformer said, “Government is the highest calling of Christians”. Another way of looking at this is that God’s will is to be done on earth, as it is in heaven (Mat. 6:10). For this to happen, his standards must be enacted in laws and encoded deeply into the cultures of the earth. This means involvement by Christians in law, politics and culture.
I t is possible to be in politics and be upright. I agree that our political scene is tensed with faith-compromising challenges, but that is what is needed for our presence to be felt, as we make conscious effort like Daniel, not to compromise our faith in the face of tempting situations (Daniel 1:8).
There is no other time in the history of Nigeria that Christian participation is more needed than now. The scripture clearly challenges us to make use of our gifting for the benefit of all, while some are called to pulpit ministries, some others are needed to shine the light of Christ in government.
I strongly believe that the solution to the nation’s problem lies in the church not standing aloof. While I don’t subscribe to playing politics with our faith, I recommend using our faith to effect needed changes in our political landscape. When the government is not in peace, the existence of the church will be threatened, that is why we see inactivity of the gospel in warring nations.
Nehemiah, Daniel, Joseph, David, Hezekiah are shining biblical examples of men who played politics in a corrupt system and remain upright. Casting a sinful eye on Christians who venture in politics is not only wrong but unbiblical.
The old testament is filled of stories of comparism between when a Godly man is in power and when a non-believer is. We see how God chose leaders for his people, and how he commands his chosen leaders to elect other leaders. Such is seen in Moses choice of Joshua and the likes.
Light is best valued in darkness, In Matthew 5:13-16, when Christ challenged us to let our light shine before men, it doesn’t say just before fellow Christians but inferencing that we let our light shine in the darkened system we find ourselves.
The creation waits in eager expectation for the sons of God to be revealed. For the creation was subjected to frustration, not by its own choice, but by the will of the one who subjected it, in hope that the creation itself will be liberated from its bondage to decay and brought into the glorious freedom of the children of God. Rom. 8:19-21
Making this nation a better place cannot be achieved in isolation of Christian political involvement in one form or the other. Not every Christian will take the same approach or come to the same political conclusions. Some will write letters to politicians, some will take up political offices, some will teach business ethics in our universities, another set may sit on the board of a multi-national and try to “be a Daniel”; another category will stand in intercession prayer for the nation. However, all are called to seek justice, mercy and truth, making Christ visible in actions and conduct.
Politics is amoral, it is not ‘bad’, and not ‘good’; it takes the shape of the person in the political position. So, I challenge us to rise to this call. Whatever we see wrong in our government is a call on us to rise to correct it. God does not show us problems to complain but to pace-set the needed change, because where you see problems, there your calling lies.