Church Response To Politics
By Rev. L. Simon Raomai
Pastor, MBC Centre Church
The Hebrew word Qohal (meaning, assembly) is considered to be a proper meaning of the Church. The Greek word ecclesia (…meaning, called out…) was accepted by the New Testament writers in order to give the true meaning of the Church. Our main concern however is, not what the best meaning of the Church is, but the responsibility of the Church in relation to human life.God becoming man is the centre of theological reflection and action, especially the incarnate life and work of Christ based on love which is the chief criterion in establishing a good social relationship as it is God-man relationship.
As it had been in God’s plan, Jesus Christ was called out for an awesome responsibility, so too was the Church called out for a purpose. Therefore, forming an Apostolic body or establishing a Church body was to execute the plans and commands Jesus Christ left for us. For this purpose, Jesus came preaching good news to the poor; forgiving the sins of men; healing the sick; proclaiming liberty to the oppressed and release to the captives (Luke 1:18,19). This is what the Lord of the Church did. Many people consider the Kingdom of God as a small part of human concern, but in a sound theology, political Kingdom is a small part in God’s Kingdom. Thus, the Church and politics are like two rooms under a single roof, which is the Kingdom of God.
As we all know the term politics was first used by Aristotle. It is derived from the Greek word ‘Polis’ which means city. To the Greeks, the city was the State where all human problems were dealt with. So, politics is an art dealing with how people should live together in peace and harmony and in co-operate in matters of common interest.
An Athenian’s interest was all centred in the city. His art was civics; his religion, as far as it was concerned was not related to family matter; Politics was the religion of the city and his religions festivals were civics celebrations. Therefore, to the Greeks, the city was a life in common; its institution, as Aristotle said, was a mode of life. The fundamental thought in all Greek political philosophies was the harmony of the common life (ethics, social, economics etc.)
The root cause of many evils in our society is no doubt, politics. This result in making many people considers politics as an instrument of Satan. In fact, they fail to realise that politics is also a vital part of divine creation. God instituted this sacred institution through His servants Adam, Abraham, Moses et.al.In the Old Testament, we find God as a political God. He involved in politics when He liberated the People of Israel through His servant Moses from Egypt and led them to Canaan, the Promised Land. That was how they come to know “Yahweh” as their God. For Israel, this was an experience of liberation. Some historians suggest that the history of Israel was a political drama where God and Israel were co-actors.
In the New Testament, we find this liberation idea was reaffirmed by Jesus Christ, Our Lord (Luke 4:18)and by the statement of Paul, “All authority is from God.” (Romans 13:1).Jesus was one of the greatest politicians who ever lived on the face of the Earth, reforming and transforming the society with love and justice. Like Daniel and Joseph, the exemplary politicians and the icons of the youths in the Bible, Politicians should be God fearing, which is the pre-requisite criterion of a good politician. Political leaders without this indispensible quality are not worthy to be the leaders of the people, for they are the immediate stewards of God, the provider of all human needs. As we are at the threshold of the 10th Legislative Assembly Election of Manipur, the politicians are all geared up and busy campaigning for the election, while the general public is under the grip of the election mania. Election is the most talked-about topic of the hour and almost everywhere, everybody is affected with election fever.
Everybody may not be involved in politics but politics involves us. Many unwanted incidents are taken place. Politics therefore, in our context is said to be a dirty game and often the politicians are accused to be responsible for it. Mal-practices of the Government have become a burning issue which no doubt,is a reality. In a democratic country, like ours, the politicians are the representativesand servants of the people. We are to elect servants to serve the people not kings to be served. They are rather to be the servants of the people. However, it is contrary to our context. Politics seems to have become a game of money and power. It is also becoming party politics,even narrowing down to village, clan or family politics. Very interestingly the politicians worship the voters (people) before election in order to win their votes and vice-versa. Corruption is one of the aspects, many politicians buy votes while ignorant people sell their rights for money during election without realising that the future of our society is determined by how one votes. So, one has to buy back his/her rightin hundred-fold measure that has been sold for few Rupees.
In other words, politics has become means to make money almost everybody is obedient to money which drives and rules the society today. As such, the people with polluted ambitions have no right to expect an unpolluted government. Today, the majority of our people prefer a politician who does not have an aversion to unlawful practices for their benefits than a politician who abides by the rules and regulations of the government. Similarly, even many Christians give their first preference to a government which receives them with approbation and is ready to meet our selfish desire instead of a just and unpolluted government.
In fact, to be a politician is not at all a privilege to earn popularity, to be in power or to make money at the expense of the public rather he/she has a great responsibility to do for the society. In a free and fair election, “free give” and “free take” system should be the political ethics. We should vote by ballots not by bullets. Man must not yield to money power. No doubt the Democratic principles are good but the practises are not fair. Coercion and violence are against the principles of the Bible.
Taking all these facts into consideration, the church should no longer remain a silent spectator but raise a prophetic voice against the evil elements. I, therefore, appeal to all the Christians and right thinking citizens of our state to join hands in eradicating all vices from the soil of Manipur by electing a person of moral integrity, “A man after God’s own heart.”
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