“And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to death— even death on a cross! Therefore God exalted him to the highest place and gave him the name that is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth”. Philippians 2:8-10.
We are living in a polarized world, to every truth there is an alternative. Everything works on perspectives and perceptions. Everybody has their own interpretation to their truths, and they defend it vehemently. Many times, the balance is hard to find. In world democracies political polarization has reached it’s extremes in many places, where it thrives on blames and not on true claims. An environment filled with confusion and corruption but less of conviction and cooperation. Instead of truth holding the power, power is holding the truth to its advantage. It is in this intricate system of struggle, the Church exists . The politics of our times has influence on the Church, like all other times in the history. Eventhough the Church is called out of the world (Greek:Ecclesia), we are still in this world. The Church too influences politics in many countries, and for many centuries it was a norm. Since politics works on the consolidation of people’s beliefs and perceptions. The church too has people who have rights in a democracy and it contributes to the power.Their opinion becomes more important when Christians form a majority. Yet, it comes with a responsibility of holding the ideals of Christ in its public life without compromising the fundamentals of truth, justice and mercy. It also comes with its consequences of retaliation by the powers which contradicts those ideals.
As the Church has the calling to be the conscience of the world, it has the accountability to make this world a better place through the Goodnews of Jesus. This combination of politics and the Church should be always approached with caution and great care. In the atmosphere of hate politics spreading like wildfire, the Church has to draw a clear line on where it stands. Truth can divide or can create a difference of opinion, but it can never hate, abuse or victimize people. Truth is best expressed in acts of love, words of care. The Church should always be wise to know where truth lies even if it comes along with a lot of confusion. We as a Church are called to represent Jesus Christ, and we as a Church cannot give up that higher calling for short gains of earthly politics that would take us away from our mission. It is important that the Church walk towards the absolute Truth in Christ without bypassing every other truth that leads to him, and leads out from him. Everybody and anybody can use the Name of Jesus, but the Church has the calling to live the truth for which Jesus lived and died for.
A statement by one of my professor Dr. Jacob Cherian during a class on Pauline Epistles is fresh in my memory. ‘Politics is not a bad word’.
It’s true politics itself is not bad, but bad politics is evil. Politics is inevitable, but at the same time it can become irrelevant. Wherever you find people, there you will find politics. It is the most charismatic activity in the world as it involves power. It can be found in all walks of Life. From eschelons of human power in the form of civil government to corporate offices, homes, and even in Church communities politics is present and leaves its mark powerfully. On a general view eventhough it serves other purposes, I would call Politics as means to power and leadership. It is the power to serve self or others. It is like a knife, the purpose is determined based on whose hand it is. It involves decisions and policies which can be used to reform or restrain people, build or break people, unite or divide people, it can become a help or hell to people.
According to me politics should make people lives better, it has to unite people towards worthy endeavors, it should enable everyone to journey towards the truth and justice, it has to make people wise enough to care for fellowmen, its core beneficiaries should be the ones who are marginalized, oppressed, poor and weak, it should give everyone a chance and opportunity to become the best version of themselves, it has to make humanity more civilized.
As much as we condemn and criticize politics, it has truly revolutionized human civilization, it has distributed power and rights to many people, and has given voice to so many who were once restricted from making an opinion. But it also has caused more harm along with it. Our political systems has impacted our life systems a great deal. The quest for power had opened up different strategies from consolidation of identity based on differences, expression of the human will through creation and innovation, supremacy of their determination in overpowering through physical and mental strength, from creating robust systems of human productivity to influence through culture and religion we have come a long way. Even our politics got reformed over time, from wars of Tribes, Empires, Kings and Rulers to our modern expression of democratic ideals in the form of debates, speech, free press, institutions of democracy and elections. Political means to power has gone through lot of changes, and is still changing. Some changes are good, and some changes puts the world in danger. The Church has the obligation to stand in the side of the good through those changes.
A Bible outlook:
“Therefore, you kings, be wise; be warned, you rulers of the earth. Serve the Lord with fear and celebrate his rule with trembling. Kiss his son, or he will be angry and your way will lead to your destruction,for his wrath can flare up in a moment.Blessed are all who take refuge in him”. Psalm 2:10-12.
Is Nimrod the first political leader? May be! But his politics was clearly against the will of God and his dream got destroyed by the Almighty. People were scattered based on languages, and many Nimrod figures rose against God and his plans in history, and one is going to rise in the End of times!
Politics has evolved through ages. Biblically, political means to power begins when God’s authority is questioned, undermined or not understood. It is the rigorous human activity in finding their own solution to their problems, through finding their own leader to govern them. Scripture clearly establishes that Leadership and the system of Governance is the providence of God. God chose Adam, Noah, Abraham, Moses according to his own choice, he attested them with divine wisdom, character, and strength, revealing himself with signs and wonders that he is the one behind the leader. In the Bible we know that the ultimate leadership of the universe belongs to Jesus Christ, the son of God, and God’s non-negotiable design is that every human authority must submit to him, even though no one can get closer to the heart of God like Christ, but God in his grace has called human leadership to carry out his purposes, and his choice of that person is the one who is closer to his heart, who will be willing to do what his heart desires. Many times his choices were bizarre in human eyes, but it is through those unexpected choices God did his work through ages, it brought him glory.
God is the ultimate authority of the universe, and without his knowledge no authority is formed in the world . The way he dealt other nations and their people were different, but how he dealt with the people whom he chose for himself was different. Israel had God as their king through a covenant, and he raised anointed men in his perfect will as their leaders.
“Therefore, say to the Israelites: ‘I am the Lord, and I will bring you out from under the yoke of the Egyptians. I will free you from being slaves to them, and I will redeem you with an outstretched arm and with mighty acts of judgment. I will take you as my own people, and I will be your God. Then you will know that I am the Lord your God, who brought you out from under the yoke of the Egyptians”.
The leadership crisis found in the book of Judges which lead the Israelites seeking a king was not because of God’s failure to provide them leaders, God raised Judges and the greatest of them was Prophet Samuel, who ruled from Dan to Beershebha, God himself fought their battles, rescued the Ark of Covenant and miraculously protected them from Philistines. Not a single word of Prophet Samuel failed, that was the power of God’s authority. Yet, when his sons didn’t walk in the ways of the Lord, the people panicked and didn’t trust the Lord. They didn’t look back and see how God provided a Prophet like Samuel who through God’s leadership guided Israel when Eli’s sons failed. Instead they demanded a king like other nations.
The people were distracted and they didn’t trust Lord and serve him faithfully, there was a moral crisis found in the society, but they didnt try to address it with God instead they sought human ways as an alternative plan. If they had repented and sought his will, God’s way of governance would have effectively prevailed in Israel, even after Samuel’s warning from God, they still wanted a king, and God gave them a king. God’s willingness to work even through our shortcomings is his grace, and he was faithful to them even through a human King. Remember, in the times of Moses when God wanted to speak to them directly, instead they wanted a mediator? So God in his grace, without giving up his standards still choose to work with us, but we may miss his ultimate plan if we keep comprimising on God’s standards.
Does God’s authority reveals itself through a mordern democratic system of power distribution? Absolutely, his authority is over every human ordained systems with all it’s flaws. Even a theocratic government in the OT was established through a God chosen man, namely a priest or a prophet. Even God chose people like Joshua, and the majority of people unanimously acknowledged that choice. So even when God selects leaders, he still involves people in the process. Israel demanded king against the wish of God, yet God involved himself in that system to carry out his plans for his people. So a democratic model of election and governance is not outside the purview and authority of God. All the Government and political systems in the world, including the democratic model is a man desired plan through which God’s grace works towards his ultimate plan of his redemption.
The Prophetic Voice:
“Then Nathan said to David, “You are the man! This is what the Lord, the God of Israel, says: ‘I anointed you king over Israel, and I delivered you from the hand of Saul”.
2 Samuel 12:7
Eventhough God gave them Kings, he raised prophets to continue the ministry of Prophet Samuel, and he kept the Kings accountable not only for the religious order of worship, but especially for the justice of the ordinary people. The prophetic voices of Nathan, Isaiah, Jeremiah, John the Baptist and so on were voices of justice . They raised their voices for God whenever the kings turned away from God’s ways both in worship and Justice.
If we look at King David, he brought the Ark of the Lord to Jerusalem and he laid the vision to build the temple, in his time worship was central to people’s lives, yet when he behaved unjustly, God sent prophet Nathan to question him regarding Uriah and made him accountable in the matters of justice, David was a great king who was sensitive to justice, but still he was willing to be accountable to the voice of God. Jeremiah was a powerful voice of justice advocated for the poor, and pointed out the mistakes at the higher places, John the Baptist was a powerful voice in his generation as he questioned the immorality of Herod, and demanded justice in the realms of power.
“Hear the word of the Lord to you, king of Judah, you who sit on David’s throne—you, your officials and your people who come through these gates. This is what the Lord says: Do what is just and right. Rescue from the hand of the oppressor the one who has been robbed. Do no wrong or violence to the foreigner, the fatherless or the widow, and do not shed innocent blood in this place”.
Israel’s fundamental political framework was designed to fulfill God’s standard balance of worship and justice, and the prophetic voice of justice found in the scriptures always cried out for this balance, inspired by God!
This balance was spilled all over the Old Testament, the Law and the Prophets demanded this formidable balance of worship and Justice, where both cannot work and make sense without the other when we are under a Moral God. Worship without obedience to be just leads to a false religion. Jesus knew that Law alone won’t be enough, it requires grace to administer Justice. Grace brings humility to humanize the Law. The word which became flesh summed up the Law and the Prophets in this all encompassing profound words…
“He answered, “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind’; and, ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.'”
While Love the Lord refers to Worship to God, Love thy Neighbour refers to Justice in society. This balance was required to govern God’s people, and God expected it out of his covenant leadership. But many failed is well known. The prophetic voices underscored that injustices in a society is a sin in a community that worships a Moral God, it required both repentance and reformation. They emphasized worship to God is not complete without justice to people. In the political spectrum of Israel, worship and Justice was so naturally connected in their Law that politics required both to be involved. Many Kings of Judah and Israel who were true worshippers of the living God did justice to society also, like David and Josiah, but the ones disregarded God, failed to render Justice in the society too like Manasseh and Ahab. The problem begins when they didn’t treat leadership as means to honour God and administer justice to people, but treated it as a power to enjoy pleasures, with a self -centered desire for the throne which actually denied justice to the poor, migrants and strangers resulting in hate politics.
In Jesus time the two political sects of the elitist Saduccees and commoners Pharisees, under the leadership of a proxy ruler in Herod with power in the hands of a foreign caesar made the politics more volatile. It is in these hostile conditions Jesus spoke about salvation and Justice. It is important to understand that as much as Jesus was killed due to spiritual reasons, its also important that he was a political criminal, and he was killed by the bad politics of the above stakeholders of his time. Even we can deny Christ in our times with bad hate filled, and unjust politics. Especially since the Sacrifice and the temple played a major role in Judean politics, so its inevitable to see the sacrifice of Christ as the sacrificial lamb, and the that he referred his body as the temple has much bigger statement to make. It is not an image of powerlessness but of power.
In the Apostolic age too, the Church was a victim of bad and dangerous politics. The Church was constantly on the pressure because the powers of the world always feared the power from above. Even the Apostolic movement was a justice movement as much it was a spiritual movement. They preached the Gospel and cared for the poor. As true spirituality encompasses justice.
Throughout history, the Church was faced with hostile world leaders, but there were many who stood for religious freedom and expression of faith. Though it benefited the Church on many occasions still the Church faced many setbacks and controversies with the combination of power in its hands. There were world powers or kings in history who made considerable contributions to the rights, privileges, protection and development of the religious life, its important to know their contributions.
It was interesting to understand that the work of the Prophetic voice of justice were limited out of the community of covenant of Israel. Except for few instances in the case of Moses, Isaiah and Jonah. Moses went as a deliverer to Egypt to fulfill God’s promise, but the cry of injustice of oppression was heard by God. Its also important to observe that the sin which brought God’s judgement on nations included injustices in the society. The sin of Egypt was slavery. Yet, the Prophetic voice of Justice was very much expressed within God’s chosen very boldly. It is because God expects justice and truth to prevail in his house first. I have chosen three Kings who were influential in the history and supported the community of God’s chosen or Church a great deal and its consequences.
A) King Cyrus:
Cyrus the Great, also called Cyrus II, (born 590–580 BCE, Media, or Persis [now in Iran]—died c. 529, Asia), conqueror who founded the Achaemenidan empire, centred on Persia and comprising the Near East from the Aegean Sea eastward to the Indus River. In the Bible he is the liberator of the Jews who were captive in Babylonia. In the Biblical record in Ezra 1:1–4, Cyrus is famous for freeing the Jewish captives in Babylonia and allowing them to return to their homeland. Cyrus was also tolerant toward the Babylonians and others. The most important contribution of King Cyrus to God’s chosen was his help reconstruct the Temple in Jerusalem. According to 2 Chronicles 36:23,He was influential in building the second temple which was built under the leadership of Zerubabel. Later the temple refurbished by King Herod, in which Jesus entered as a Child.
King Cyrus is distinct among the three since he is the pre-Christ King and an old testament figure. He is also different in terms of his road to power, it was a military conquest without any religious overtone to his ascension. He is the only foreign King that the scripture calls the ‘Anointed’ or the one chosen to fulfill God’s plans. He is still highly regarded among the Jews. Though he was a pagan King, he was for religious freedom and public worship and acknowledged the religious rights of Jewish people. He valued the Jewish faith community for their contributions.
B) Emperor Constantine:
Constantine the Great (27 Feb c. 272/273 – 22 May 337). Constantine was Roman Emperor (A.D. 306-337). He was the first Roman Emperor to convert to Christianity and played a crucial role in the spread of the religion. With co-Emperor Licinius, he issued the Edict of Milan in 313, which proclaimed tolerance of all religions throughout the empire. He grew in the courts of Emperor Diocletian, his father too was a ruler of Roman province.
Constantine was a great military commander winning major victories over the Franks and Alamanni in 306-08, and later against the Visigoths in 332 and the Sarmatians in 334. This strengthened his political strength as he came to be viewed as someone who could unite the fracturing Roman Empire.On 28 October 312, the forces of Maxentius met Constantine’s forces on the river Tiber. Constantine’s army was outnumbered 2:1. But, legends state that in the night he had a significant dream, where he had a vision of Jesus and was told to use the Christian cross. Constantine made his soldiers go into battle with the sign of Chi-Rho, the first two letters of Christ’s name in Greek (Christian cross) and he made a promise that if successful in battle, he would adopt Christianity.
Emperor Constantine’s conversion was historic, I believe no other Emperor can claim such experience. His ascension to the throne of Rome is seen as a divine providence, since those who belonged to the Christian faith suffered and was persecuted under previous Emperors in Rome. He ensured the rights and privileges of Christians, especially the most mentionable contribution is the convening of Church councils, the first council was at Nicea in A.D 325, where the Scriptures were cannonized. In his reign, Christianity became a state religion, and had special privileges. Christianity from being a persecuted sect became an authorized state religion gaining more powers in the government. He also ensured religious freedom for all religious and ethnic minorities. Under his rule Rome expanded in peace and prosperity.
Charlemagne, also known as Charles the Great, was the founder of the Carolingian Empire, best known for uniting Western Europe for the first time since the fall of the Roman Empire. Once in power, Charlemagne sought to unite all the Germanic peoples into one kingdom, and convert his subjects to Christianity. In order to carry out this mission, he spent the majority of his reign engaged in military campaigns. He is different from Constantine, because of his approach to religion, he was fierce and converted many through force. In his role as a zealous defender of Christianity, Charlemagne gave money and land to the Christian church and protected the popes. As a way to acknowledge Charlemagne’s power and reinforce his relationship with the church, Pope Leo III crowned Charlemagne emperor of the Romans on December 25, 800, at St. Peter’s Basilica in Rome.
All three were Military campaigners considered to be favourable to the Biblical faith of Judaism and Christianity. They belonged to different eras, but the Church holds them dear. Except for Charlemagne, the others didn’t use the Church to consolidate his powers. they supported the faith community during a great crisis. Charlemagne used the Church and its influence to gain power over his empire. It is again a perceptional history.
Apart from these there are numerous other rulers and leaders both in Monarchy and Democratic form of governance, who have stood judeo-Christian world view and its values both out of free will and for their political necessities. It is hard to differentiate the intent, but the Church got in to controversies because of these powers which tries to use its role in public life. Hitler is a great example where the Church was blindsided and was pushed to contribute to this wrong power in the name of the Lord.
Bible endorses King Cyrus alone for his benevolence towards the Jews, the other two are well documented figures in the Church history, and well regarded by the organized Church. Yet, during the age of the Apostles or in other spiritual revivals in history there was no involvement of earthly political or regal powers, instead Spiritual Revivals and consecutive Reformation came out of oppression and persecution fromthe earthly powers. It was the move of the spirit of God through ordinary people brought in transformation, leaders from ordinary backgrounds raised by God to fulfill his purposes. It is seen that the political powers only tried to use these revivals for their gains. There were also few instances where the church claimed that their prayers were answered by God in giving a political leader of their choice to experience refreshing times.
If we have a leader who honours the faith is great, but we can also exist without it, if needed.
The case of ‘President Donald Trump’ :
In recent times, if someone has invoked God and Christianity very vociferously in his politics, it would be the current US president Donald Trump. Many see him as the champion of christian faith and religious freedom in that Nation. There are many who think supporting Donald trump alone can make someone a true Christian. I reject this fallacy of a statement, and I think we are drifting away from our foundations and principle by keeping him or anybody as a benchmark to attest one’s faith in Christ. Anybody who disagree with Donald Trump and his policies is deemed unchristian. I call it blasphemy. Nobody is a Christian based on what someone has done for Christianity, but based on what Jesus did on the cross. Never stretch your political strings to the point of heresy.
Before I present my views, it is important that I state the reasons to comment on the matter of an other nation and its choices, that too being a Christian minister in a third world country like India. The below reasons I found are enough for me to make a comment,
1. If somebody claims to represent for the rights of the Christian faith and helds out a Bible in public life, as part of his political identity, since many Christians see him as a powerful representative of Christian faith, it opens a door for me as a fellow Christian to comment, even if I don’t belong to that particular Nation.
2. Whether we like it or not, the United States is the most powerful Nation in the world with its military and economic bases all around the world (even in the space soon!)with a nuclear button at its disposal that can jeopardize the entire world, its decisions will impact every person on earth. As a Global citizen, I would take the right to comment.
3. As a fellow human being with a shared dream for a better world which God in his love has created.
4. I felt the need to talk about it, before its too late.
The first time I heard that Mr.Donald Trump is going to run for the presidency, I thought it was a joke, since his reputation along the years was not typical that of a leader of the free world. I was working in a social work organization that time, and had volunteers usually from Europe, and there was one who was from the US and I just shared casually about this information of how surprising a choice that would be, and expected a pretty funny nonchalant response, but what I received was a silence with a pretty serious face which was a surprise to me. I couldn’t understand that then, but after some time realized that for many he was a serious candidate with lots of their hopes pinned on him. The election of 2016 in lot of ways an unprecedented election where many in America were disenchanted with both candidates. Both Hillary and Trump had a fair share of controversies, which made them unfit in the eyes of many. Especially the campaign showed the bitterness found among both parties, and I found Trump’s campaign taken democratic civility to a new low, the anger, the abuse, hate and demeaning words used wasn’t acceptable to me no matter whatever the reason may be, it didnt feel right. I was personally all the more surprised when many Christians and Church leaders in America and around the world were very expressive about the support to him. I could understand the underlying reason for their support, some reasons were genuine, but couldn’t accept it at any level. This was my post back then in 2016 before the election, I was from the beginning not comfortable about his approach both in spirit and with regards to my consciousness of history.
To the surprise of many including me, he won the election. Many called it as the answer to their prayers, and hand of God is in the elections. I truly believe as per Romans 13:1 that ‘There is no authority except from God’. At the same time One should also should discern what damage deceptive authorities have done in the Name of God. Every authority has the responsibility of prudence and justice, especially the one’s who claim to be the friend of the Church (Infact, I believe its necessary a leader should be there for everyone). And I didn’t see that in him then and I don’t see it in him now. I prayed everything would be okay after elections, and I felt its important to talk about it now. I think we all need to draw a line somewhere.
The ‘Liberal’ Fear?
The conservatives who identify themselves with the Republican party , it comprises of many who identify with Christianity. Infact many were uncomfortable with the approach of Donald Trump, but willing to eat the tough pill looking at how God used unlikely people to show his people favour. There are many reasons why many Christians went with him, and many voted him with great anxiety. Apart from many being traditionally conservative, some of the policies with respect to abortion laws, same sex marriage laws, banning religion in schools, matters of immigration and many other liberal laws in lot of democrat ruled states and had become federal laws ,directly contradicted what the scriptures stand far. The conservatives felt America was becoming more and more secularized and morally degraded following the trend of liberal Europe, they saw it as a threat to religious freedom, and especially for family and moral values. All the more, they wanted conservative judges in the Supreme Court to make a conservative majority court. These concerns truly reflected in the election. Especially many were insecure because liberalisation could cause a basic change the social fabric of the nation.
Do all these concerns are real and true? Are these concerns genuine? Yes, I would say most of them, and not all of them, some are too imaginary for a democratic,multi-cultural,transactional and Globalized society. Yet, the approach doesn’t validate any of these, it makes things more complicated. Law of any Nation doesn’t make everything alright. It needs deep healing. It comes from empathetic leadership. My concern is whether many are expecting too much from a person who is not able to carry those lofty ideals. I feel most are in confusion or delusion regarding him, but there is nothing concealed. It is very clear about him, I observe.
A Nation or a community which becomes multicultural and diverse has to face the reality of liberalization. It has to accommodate all kinds of people with rights. Yes, it can create a social shift and even moral shift. Especially it has lead to legalization of unnatural sinful practices that no Christian can condone or support. On the other side, liberalization has given many access to their rights and justice. I believe no perfect system of law in the hands of humans can eradicate sin in our societies, it is Jesus through his righteousness and grace can transform. How can we experience religious freedom by tarnishing the soul of our faith? We actually get more trapped!
Donald Trump used this ‘liberal fear’ among the conservatives, and used the Name of God in order to gather his support. Especially during the campaign, all that he said could have easily disturbed a believer in Christ, but many found refuge in the idea that God had used many unlikely, undeserving people for his purposes, and why not Donald Trump? hoping that everything will be fine after. Even I thought that way sometimes, but it may be enough. There is no doubt God can use anybody, one’s even with questionable past,but that doesn’t mean we have to let go of God given reason and discernment, thinking that somehow everything will be okay. We can support anyone, but can’t blindly support bypassing important truths, trying to validate everything that is against God’s righteousness .It is good to remember that somebody else’s wrong cannot make our wrongs right.
I don’t support many liberal ideas and policies, but those voices are important for reform and truth to ultimately find its most balanced space. Morever it is through those voices we can understand the needs of the world and minister with the Gospel.
The Power Tactics:
One of the issues I’m concerned about is his desire for power. Donald trump I feel works on the only principle called ‘Power’, he has shown that for the sake of power he can use any means and methods. If anybody questioned him, he abuses them with mockery and foul words. He keeps himself above everything. He disrespects everyone who doesn’t validate him. Even if it is the honourable John McCain. He dodges and intimidate to get away. I have seen this consistently. Many find it hard to question him, because he targets them with personal abuses even in the matters of public litigation. Those who support him gets high praise and flattery from him.
One Incident that truly shook me, which actually made me to think of writing this in the first place is the way treated the editor Mr.Mark Galli of Christianity today (Magazine initiated by late Rev.Billy Graham) who questioned his intentions and approach in an article.
Mr. Trump could have disregarded and refuted his arguement, but he responded him with a personal slur and belittled him. It is one of the reason many honest and respected voices hesitate to point out his mistakes. Is he above the prophetical voice of justice?
He also constantly emphasises that he is the greatest and no one was great as him in the past, is not only over exaggeration but a lie filled with pride. Mr. Trump retweets a post which refers to him as God. How can we take it easily and brush it aside as joke? Many think many of his statements are joke, and without meaning. I think its a deception, how can matters that can cause serious devastation when it comes out of a leader’s mouth be a joke? Please explain those crude jokes… Many think he is the target of the media, and they portray him that way. Yes, the media can manipulate, but I think its a cover up to things which we can plainly see in him.
We cannot let a generation rise thinking that this is what Christian faith is all about, when we decorate someone who can be arrogant about his power. Just because he sounds favourable to your faith, supporting him in everything will affect the fruits of the faith. Jesus didn’t seek a religious propaganda but he sought a covenantial relationship that leads to personal transformation.
If he shows himself as guardian of christianity and its values, how much of responsibility he carries! When the Church leaders trust him and pray for him, how much carefulness he owes?
I have so much to say about policies, but I leave it there, since it can take away from the purpose of this write up.
But I have some questions to ask,
1. Does God can only use an unlikely leader in Donald Trump? Does it apply to others, even if that person comes from Democratic party?
2. Many say that they didnt elect a Pastor, and we can’t expect him to be nice. Don’t the leadership of a multi cultural and multi ethnical nation is a serious job? Doesn’t it deserve a good example? Will parents allow their children at home speak the way he speaks? Then how it becomes okay for a world leader?
3. Scriptures and Jesus does say not to judge. Does the scripture also encourages to have good judgement? Isn’t the judgement Jesus mentioned was about the powerful condemning the poor unjustly? And if good judgement is bad, then what about the prophets including John the Baptist in the Bible, did they judge and question the powerful?
4. If the Scriptures takes words and fruit seriously, how much we should expect that from someone who claims to be the champion of the Christian faith, and helds out a Bible to say he stands with scriptures? Won’t it misrepresent our faith?
Eventhough I respect some of President Trump choices with regards to his administration including the Vice President and many others, especially the way they honour God’s servants. Especially I thought burying Rev. Billy Graham with Honour was truly noteworthy. I still find the correlation missing in many areas, which makes me to see things with caution. No leader or administration is perfect, but imperfections has limits, especially when it comes to fundamentals it causes more damage. I truly believe God allowed his authority at this point of time, only God know what these things can lead to.
The recent incident of him holding out a Bible in front of St. JOHN’s Chapel suppressing a crowd violently, shows politization of faith to a different level, what does he convey through that? Does it alarm you or excite you when he used the Bible as a prop to consolidate his power? The answer to it can divide the Church, but if it doesn’t bother you, then it means the Church is willing to make the same mistakes which is recorded in the annals of its past.
Remember that sometimes God tests us with some leadership, to know whether we trust him more or believe the person he has allowed. What if it is a test from God? We cannot throw away Godly reasoning that comes out of truth for an emotional benefit. We are more responsible than that. ‘Vote’ doesnt just mean to participate in a democratic process to elect a leader of their choice, but we are giving someone authority to reign over us . We cannot take it easily, the one who ultimately reign is Christ, and our allegiance should only belong to him.
An Excerpt from my previous article fits as a conclusion :
“What’s more alarming to me is the trend in some nations of invoking Jesus Christ who is the symbol of Love and Justice for their hate agenda in politics, and many who profess Christ fall for it ,and many who belong to the Church very comfortably turn a blind eye towards hate mongering in the realms of power. I may not know the real problems every nation faces,but we all have to draw a line somewhere based on truth.One must not forget that the Church has the calling to be the conscience of the world, that we are ultimately under Christ’s righteous reign and are called to represent Christ Jesus. When we support hate, we become part of that hate and nullify God’s truth. It means we reject the call of Jesus Christ to be the salt and light of this earth, if salt loses its savour, how can it be useful? The world is watching,a hurting and broken world is in desperate need of the love of christ, if the Body of Christ fails to show up, it means we have lost our duty of leadership. How can we take the message of Love to the world ? What hope can we offer apart from unconditional love and compassion? If our politics is leading us to hate somebody, discriminate somebody, abuse somebody . Then its better to leave it, its not worth it. We cannot lose our higher calling for a cheap deal. We dont serve a political saviour, but the real saviour”.
Who Am I?
Who am I? Was the question that loomed large as I kept pondering about this article. Who am I to question the leader of the free world? Who am I to throw aspersions on someone many in that Nation love ? Who am I to point finger at someone many Church leaders acknowledge? Who am I to judge a man who carry such great responsibility on his shoulders? Eventhough feeling not so comfortable with all these questions, I still chose to express rasing myself the question. Whose am I?
Being the Prophetic Voice of Justice:
There can be endless debates and arguments on this, because these matters of beliefs and opinions. May be many there in the Nation would have much better reason, intention and knowledge to support. Somehow it looks unconvincing, confusing and deceptive to me. I wish I will be terribly wrong in my opinion about Mr. Trump, I desire to terribly fail about my judgement and understanding, fall short in my discernment. I only fear if I’m right on this.
I pray earnestly there would be a change even now.
Some will say Politics and religion or Church and the state should be separate, and others think it should not. Political opinion exists within the Church, and everybody will have a verse from the scriptures or two to validate that opinion. All I can say is, the Church exists to show the authority of Christ and his reign, we are P.R.O. for Jesus, to him belongs the power. We can have choices in a democratic world, but be careful to draw a line according to the scriptures. I think that line surely exists!
The Church is called to be influencers in the society and world at large even without political powers, and thats how the early church functioned. I think the only power they depended was the power from high. I think we need to go back to that calling, and not allow anyone misuse or misrepresent this sacred calling brought by the precious sacrifice of Christ.
I only pray and wish that the Church will be the prophetic voice of justice in our generation. Let it be the voice for the voiceless, weak and the suffering. The voice of Nathan even against the ‘Anointed King’ David brought sanity in the Kingdom. In the same way the Church has to be the prophetic voice of Justice against the powerful, for the sake of a better world. If we lose the responsibility of self assessment and accountability, the core of our soul and Identity gets crushed. Even if we gain the whole world will it matter? The Church has to speak God’s truth to those who are in power.
There may be many good reasons, but nothing is beyond Godly discernment. We have to test every spirit. Church, you represent Christ to this world, where he stands we must stand. It is up to you to decide where he would take a stand, where he would draw a line. All I wanted to ask through this is, Church, will you be the prophetic voice of justice in this generation, if God wants you to be? Don’t miss the opportunity!!
“Dear friends, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God”. 1 John 4:1
Must Read : Isaiah 58