‘Christians must get involved in politics’

TOMORROW, Zimbabweans decide in a historic election pitting 23 presidential candidates with 5, 5 million voters registered to cast the ballot.

The country has been trapped in election mode since the beginning of the year.

During campaigns, political parties met churches and other religious organisations to drum up support.

Several national prayer days were held in the run up to the plebiscite.

This shows that the church has a role in politics and governance, although some Christians may seem disinterested.

Even the Bible has several scriptures which dictate how the masses should deal with governing authorities.

Christian author Dr Brilliant Pongo said politicians proved that they fear God during the run up to the elections by the constant reference to God Almighty.

Even President Emmerson Mnangagwa is well known for saying “the voice of the people is the voice of God”, which shows the supremacy of the Lord.

The President is a God-fearing Christian who earlier this year had an interface with church leaders. After tomorrow’s elections, in which President Mnangagwa is likely to romp to victory according to several poll surveys, the populace should continue engaging with the ruling authorities.

Dr Pongo said Christians should know that any form of Government is inspired by God.

“In fact, that form of government underlies everything else we hold dear as Christians. That said, however, there are many Christians who sincerely believe that they should not get involved in politics; they think there must be a separation of church and state.

“In that regard, it is interesting to think about how often and how importantly God speaks of government. For example, this is the terminology that God uses most frequently to describe Himself; scripture is full of references to “the kingdom of God” and “the throne of God” and “the rule of God.” In three separate passages of scripture, He gives specific instructions about Christians and their relationship to government. In Matthew, chapter 22, verse 21, He says: ‘They say unto him, Caesar’s. Then saith he unto them, Render therefore unto Caesar the things which are Caesar’s; and unto God the things that are God’s.”

“In Romans 13 verses 1-5, He says: Let every soul be subject unto the higher powers. For there is no power but of God: the powers that be are ordained of God.”

Dr Pongo argues that scriptures indicate that those who undermine sitting authorities will be equally disobeying God.

He said the Bible commands believers to pray for those in positions of leadership.

“1 Timothy 2 verses 1-4 tells us to pray for those who are in authority over us. Significantly, all of those instructions were written in a time of a totally godless and repressive government.

“The Bible speaks clearly about the relationship between the believer and the government. We are to obey governmental authorities, and the government is to treat us justly and fairly. Even when the government does not live up to its role, we are still to live up to ours.

“Whether the Bible uses the terms “master,” “ruler,” “government,” or any other name for an established authority, the instruction is always the same – obey. We must remember that God created the authorities ruling over us just as He created us. As Paul wrote to the Romans, “Everyone must submit himself to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established. The authorities that exist have been established by God. Consequently, he who rebels against the authority is rebelling against what God has instituted, and those who do so will bring judgment on themselves” (Romans 13:1-2).”

Bible scholar Mr Entrodge Usayi concurred saying citizens should submit to the governing powers of the day.

He said, “A frequently raised objection against Christian engagement with politics is that anything besides explicit preaching and teaching of the Bible is a distraction from the mission of the church. However, this is a limited understanding of the kingdom of God and contrary to examples in scripture.”

“The Christian worldview provides a comprehensive understanding of reality. It speaks to all areas of life, including political engagement. A Christian worldview should include a political theology that recognises every area of life must be included in the “good works” of believers, especially politics, an area with significant real-life implications for people. Christians must be fully involved in politics but they are only mandated to support the government of the day and not revolt against it as instructed by Paul in Romans 13.”

Clergyman Pastor Mutandwa Ndoro said people should not confuse the church and its mandate of evangelism from the duty of an individual Christian in the community.

“The church is not called for politics but individual members are at liberty,” he said.

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