Christians and politics By Fabian Massa.

Translated from Spanish to English with Google Translate.





1. Can Christians participate in politics? Should they?

 Within the evangelical people, politics is almost synonymous with "bad word" and is frowned upon Christians to participate. If it comes to the shepherds, almost not even emit any comment, arguably taboo for ministers.
 Biblically political activity is linked to religious leadership. The books, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers and Deuteronomy-relate the political activity of Moses as a prophet: organizer of the flight from Egypt, a legislator of divine inspiration, head of the Israelite camp during the forty years of the "crossing of the desert", creator of ideal bases of the "City of God" in the Promised Land. The laws of Moses have been the essential reference three spiritual universes: Judaism, Christianity and Islam, and the ideal base from diverse political systems.
In the Jewish case, they range from the military government of Joshua, Judges regime, the kingdoms of Saul, David and Solomon, Daniel's government as head of the satraps and 3rd Lord of the Kingdom in the Neo Babylonian Empire, driving the return from captivity in Babylon, the kingdom of the Maccabees, etc.. The laws of Moses are also the major theme of the exegesis of the Sages, the Doctors of the Law, then Rabbis, in this vast literature encompassing the human (and consequently political) is the Talmud of Jerusalem and Babylon .

The early Christian Church was persecuted by the Jewish leaders and the Roman Empire, until Emperor Constantine [1] established that in order to "continue participating" in the functions of government in the Eastern Roman Empire, it was mandatory to be a Christian. From 313 policy became an important activity within the Church, that remains to this day in the Catholic Church.

At the time of the Protestant Reformation (sixteenth century) several thinkers and politicians tried to provoke a change from the papal claims of dominion over all Christendom. This change was due to the deep corruption that caused rejection of the habits and customs of the Catholic Church in Western Europe. This political elite used the internal reform intended to make Luther and Calvin in the Catholic Church to conduct "their own emancipation" of the power of Rome. It was mainly for this reason that Calvin and Luther had the political support of the statesmen of his time.

It is important to remember that until this time, Rome had a high political influence and "his government Celestial" on "earthly kingdoms" (It was the "extension" of the old Roman Empire). While Martin Luther and John Calvin pointed to the resurgence of the values ​​of the early Church in the Catholic Church (which is unfeasible that ended the fracture of the Church into two blocks), the whole movement had political overtones within the Catholic Church itself and the policy of all the states of Europe. Arguably, in some way the power of the Bishop of Rome controlled absolutely all the political chessboard.

It is notable that the first Protestant countries had a significant improvement in their socioeconomic status, because the Church preached prosperity as a result of the good performance of the Word of God, so in political science have to Protestantism as the germ of capitalism World. But the preaching of the Church of Rome as a virtue of poverty was still an economic slowdown seen in Europe:


a. Richer countries: Germany, UK, Netherlands. (Protestant)


b. Poorer countries: Spain, Italy, Portugal and Ireland (Traditionally Catholics


c. The same effect can be seen in America: U.S. and Canada are powers while speaking countries (mostly Catholics) are poor and highly corrupt.

2. What is politics?
 Politics, the gr. Πολιτικος (pronunciation figured: Politicos, 'citizen', 'civil', 'relating to the organization of the city "). Judging from its etymology the word politics comes from the Greek noun meaning city cops. The verb translated as politeuomaise manage or govern a city. So then, the term came to mean political art or science of government or run a city, town or state. The state policy is oriented according to the ideology of the group in power (left, right, center, etc..).
 The Greek philosopher Aristotle [2] defined the human being as a political being. It has also been defined as communication equipped with a power (induction), balance of power or as the art of the possible. By extension and according to the context, the term may also refer to political activity rule or conduct other social institutions and not necessarily under public, such as a company, confederation, school, union, a consortium, a college or church.

According to the broad concept of "rule policy =" biblically from the beginning God gave Adam this function. (Genesis 1.26-27-28; Gen 2.15). The theologian and historian Paul A. Deiros speaks of two concepts of the term: One broad or general and specific. In its general sense "The policy defines the word means and ethics of social relations. Politics, then, is all that has to do with the common good in terms of a nation in its internal and external relations "(Deiros p.10). In its specific sense, the policy is to implement the common good through public organizations seeking to use the power to implement their own ideologies. Deiros calls the policy generally capitalized and lower case specific policy. (Deiros p.11)




Should a Christian participate in politics?
Within Protestantism address this question there are two extreme positions very well defined and supported with biblical texts. Between these two positions there is a whole range of grays.


I. Definitely NOT to participate.
II. Definitely whether to participate.


 I. For non-participation:
 This position is adopted by Protestant Christians only [3] and has several degrees:
 a. Participation ZERO: According to the most orthodox, a true Christian should not even go to vote. The argument is: "Our kingdom is not of this world" (John: 13.1, 18.36) and according to our heavenly citizenship, we should not interfere in the affairs of this world dirty sinner. Another passage used to justify this position is Philippians 3:17-20 "Brothers, join in imitating me, and observe those who walk according to the pattern you have in us. For many walk, of whom I have told you often, and now tell you even weeping, that they are enemies of the cross of Christ: Whose end is destruction, whose God is their belly, and whose glory is in their shame , who mind earthly things "Whereupon taken in this way, a new brother could interpret that if somehow involved in politics could become" an enemy of the Cross ".

b. Following the line, is the true Christian pilgrim and is "dead" to the world [4]. Therefore, work should not cost "patiently submitting to every ordinance of man for the Lord", with obedience to the "authorities" established by God and praying "for all who are in authority" in order to be saved and be well in all things. (Romans 13:1-2, 1 Timothy 2.1 to 3). According to this position, the path by which Christians must walk is "obedience and suffering." We are called to pray "for all who are in authority" (1 Timothy 2:1-2), but not to be in the place of authority ourselves. Believers who think and explain that there is a single line in the Bible to indicate that it is the duty to vote in elections or political membership or magistrate. People with this position understand that though acting in politics (in any form), would be doing it without a word of direction from the Lord.

c. Can a member or the church itself be involved in politics? Obviously not, if you vote and is contrary to Scripture (and therefore sin) actively participate within an organization or public office could be seen as something much more serious.

Something I do not consider those who hold this view is that failure to participate, be involved is, forgive the pun.




II. PARTICIPATION BY

I. Motto: We particiar "Because we are the salt of the earth".
Those who believe in participation, believe that every individual and the church have indisputable sociopolitical responsibilities to improve living conditions. Some Christians go several steps further and claim that the greatest task of Christianity is to work for a Christian political order leading to the establishment of the kingdom of God on earth.


II. The example of Christ
 Although Jesus never wanted to hold political office or even talked about it, his ministry brought relief to an oppressed society (John 10:10). This school of thought believes that the teachings of Jesus are bound to have a significant socio-political as they are lived by the Christian community. Therefore, Christians, following the example of the believers through the centuries, must recognize that weighs on their shoulders social responsibility. The pioneers not only preached the gospel of personal salvation, but were also interested in alcoholics, slaves, oppressed women and educational needs of children and youth.


III. The Bible and the socio-political responsibility
 The socio-political responsibility of the Christian is based on two biblical:
a. First, the doctrine of creation: God created the universe and established us as stewards rulers of this world. Stewardship includes responsibility and accountability for the domain over which jurisdiction has been assigned.
b. Second, the doctrine of humanity: Humans are created in God's image. The parameters of the human responsibility for service lie within this biblical concept of human nature. The Christian view is that men and women are not flotsam on the sea of ​​life, but people with a responsible role to play and with a bright future. This human potential gives purpose, direction and optimism Christians to serve others in a communal setting. Therefore, Christianity is not a religion of individualism introversion insular or isolated, but a religion of community. The gifts and Christian virtues social implications. Dedication to Jesus Christ means dedication to all the children of God, which begets responsibility for the welfare of others.


IV. The dilemma of dual citizenship
 Sincere Christians who want to participate in politics face the dilemma of dual citizenship. On one hand, belong to the kingdom of God and on the other, to their country of citizenship. They are part of the "new humanity" and live among the "old humanity". Is there an inherent conflict here? Should you choose a Christian youth citizenship and renounce the other? No doubt that sometimes there may be a conflict when demands or duties of citizenship collide with each other. In such cases, the Scripture is clear: "We must obey God rather than men" (Acts 5:29).
 However, the kingdom of God is not isolated from this world, "is within you" (Luke 17:21). In other words, the kingdom of God is a sphere, a dedication, an attitude and a way of life and thinking that permeates the whole of our existence and gives special meaning to our national citizenship. God's sovereignty is invading human life.


V. The "do nothing" is a political action
 The political order of society is God's providential provision for fallen humanity. God does not ask the "good people" of society to remain outside the governmental process control and away socio-political and economic, leaving it in the hands of "criminals". Christians are to be salt and light in a social world and therefore can not simply opt out of the political process. Indeed, such an abdication is itself a political act that opens the way for political control by those who support something less than Christian values. The "do nothing" is a sure recipe for that sin becomes the master. Christians have both the right and the duty to use earthly citizenship in order to keep the church free to fulfill its mandate and as individuals to help meet urgent social needs.


VI. Duties of political citizenship
 We distinguish at least four political duties of citizenship:
 1. The duty of prayer for those in positions of government. We need to pray for divine help in solving some of the socio-political problems that adversely affect human life and the proclamation of the gospel. The prayers and the prayers of the faithful rise far beyond declarations and agreements that fill mountains of recyclable paper.

2. The duty to vote and petition government authorities. The law expressly mandates voting. Common sense tells us that we must vote, even if sometimes the choice may be between the lesser of two or more evils. In this connection, registering to vote is the first step to be taken.

3. The duty of education and be knowledgeable Christians need to be involved in continuing education regarding issues affecting the present life and the future. Political ignorance will not increase spiritual bliss.

4. The duty to run for and hold public: Christians have this constitutional right. Also appointments to government jobs do not require launching into a campaign. There is nothing wrong in aspiring to "sit in deliberative and legislative councils, and make laws for the nation." However, advised that pastors and teachers employed by the denomination to refrain from partisan political activities. The reason given is clear: party politics runs the risk of creating dissension. A pastor could easily split the congregation to different parties and greatly weaken its ability to serve as pastor of the whole flock.


VII. Vote responsibly, a healthy way of practicing politics.
 The advice to believers involved in one way or another in politics is: "Remember you have a moral duty to his public, especially lawmakers, to remain faithful to the doctrine of the gospel, retaining its clear commitment to the faith and not support laws contrary to moral and ethical principles such as those that violate the right to life or against the institutions of family and marriage. membership only deep ethical convictions and coherent action can ensure public action , honest and selfless, legislators and governors.

· Examine the truth: You should study the proposals before supporting them.

· Avoid demagoguery: Politicians know which keys to light touch emotions often irresponsibly. We must be careful not to fall into the manipulation of feelings towards the country, the race, the suffering of the poor, freedom, etc. The Christian should not be carried away by emotions or by fever inciting the masses. Do not be fooled by promises of "easy prosperity". The prosperity of the people requires a long process of building and strengthening a system of government, education, work, etc.. under a rule of law that protects all citizens fairly. This does not come with demagoguery. Be prepared to make choices that are not popular but which are fair. Remember how Jesus was condemned by the masses because killing "was appropriate." The end does not justify the means. It will never be acceptable to use a medium in itself evil to achieve good. So we must condemn, for example, terrorism, abortion, kidnapping, lies and slander.


Conclusion: If you have an inclination to participate to some extent in politics ahead! It's time to start taking positions in government and to apply biblical principles of justice.



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[1] Catholicism legalized by the Edict of Milan in 313.

[2] Aristotle (in gr. Former Ἀριστοτέλης, Aristotle) ​​(384-322 BC) http://es.wikipedia.org/wiki/Arist% C3% B3teles

[3] C. H. Mackintosh, http://www.verdadespreciosas.com.ar/documentos/breves_articulos_II/cristiano_y_la_politica.htm

[4] involving Ergo are false Christians, note the "manipulation"

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