It is a common assessment that the Christian Church should never be involved in politics, but unfortunately, history has proven in most cases, that this isn’t the case. Did I say unfortunately? It is not fair to make such a statement at the beginning of an article! Especially when you have not yet defined the words in question, and, as we all know, some issues are not fully understood until their focus is determined.
So, let me share with you a definition, even though it is somewhat elementary:
Politics is the process by which groups of people make decisions on who gets what. The term is generally applied to behaviour within civil government, but politics has been observed in all human group interactions, including corporate, academic, and religious institutions. Politics consists of "social relations involving authority or power" and refers to the regulation of a political unit, and to the methods and tactics used to formulate and apply policies ("Politics Portal". Retrieved 7 April 2012)
I'm sure that after reading this definition, those who felt positive about the non-involvement of the church in politics, might change their mind, or perhaps make a distinction between the various parts of it.
Certainly, if by the word politics we mean the determination to achieve power first and above all; then yes, every Christian will agree that the church will never have such a goal. That would be according to the New Testament message to the church and the world.
In fact, no matter what the case may be, whether through a democratic process or a revolutionary one, the aim of every political movement is to take power. (Politics consists of "social relations involving authority or power" and refers to the regulation of a political unit, and to the methods and tactics used to formulate and apply policies)
Once achieved the goal, a social and economic change will begin, venturing sometimes, even up to the anthropological and spiritual. But power is first and utmost.
What do we mean by that? Do Christians have to deal with "social relations involving authority or power"? Talking about specific individuals, I would say Yes or, at least, Why not…
Daniel in Babylon did most of the things mentioned in the definition above, such as
taking political office. I think no one would have any objection to that.
However, what may be allowed and desirable for an individual, it is not necessarily applicable to the church as an institution. The mission of the church is well expressed by the following texts:
“Therefore whoever confesses Me before men, him I will also confess before My Father who is in heaven. 33 "But whoever denies Me before men, him I will also deny before My Father who is in heaven. (Matthew 10:32-33)
And: “Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: 20 Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world.” (Matthew 28:19)
Let me put it straight: Do you really think that the command of the Lord, refers only to giving home Bible studies? Or could it also imply Church Board recommendations for a wider national and international strategy for cultural and spiritual education?
Let me take a step back: The society we live in today is sociologically weak, subject to a twisted culture, which makes economy the only factor in social unity and work becomes the only meaning in life. The deterioration of society leads not only to lack of trust in others, but also to a profound identity loss.
As long as the economy functions well, the problem is not apparent, but now we must take action to urgently find a new way.
It is true, that a man or woman without work loses his/her dignity, but the lack of dignity requires a second look at the very concept. If one reacts to injustice with suicide there must be a deeper problem (73 people have committed suicide, this year, in Italy because of the crisis.) Suicide is, in fact, a message, a stone thrown against the establishment, a distrust in our society, saying: I was stripped of my dignity, and I know you won’t help me nor my family, my friends, my church… Not even the God that is sermonized there! On the other hand, during the crisis in the US, millions have lost their jobs, reducing entire cities to ghost towns. This coincides with a strong revival of religious commitment. That’s interesting. What about our commitment to people eager to reestablish their lives?
Politics - The term is generally applied to behavior within civil governments, but politics has been practised in all human group interactions, including corporate, academic, and religious institutions. That’s ighly Interesting!
The Adventist church follows a democratic model, but at the same time it looks at the church as the Body of Christ, in the power of the Holy Spirit. In fact, the real authority doesn’t dwell in demos, but in Christ, since the Church Constitution is the Bible.
They consider property as private belongings, but believe that the Creator God is the legitimate Master of everything. While earnestly seeking God as the Ultimate Guide, they still remain far away from any form of theocracy. Although they do not have any charismatic leaders, they choose their basis on their faithfulness to the Scriptures as well as to their capabilities.
Adventists strive to be loyal citizens, but also have an international vision of equity and solidarity.
The Bible, as believed by the Adventist church, possesses deep and profound truths which are not totally comprehended by its members, this shows the need for new studies in social science and behaviour.
But that’s not all.
If it is true that: politics are practised in all human group I believe that the church must stand as a witness for what politics should be, as biblical principles are put into practice. 150 years of history demonstrates that we are not on the land of Utopia. A Church that speaks to individuals, can also speak to governments as the story of Daniel teaches.
But wait, has the title of this article got something to do with what has been said so far?
I would say no...
Politics consist of "social relations involving authority or power"
What does it really mean? As a Denomination should we be involved in authority or power"?
And He changes the times and the seasons; He removes kings and raises up kings; He gives wisdom to the wise and knowledge to those who have understanding. (Daniel 2:21).
It seems to me that nothing can be more eloquent.