17 Christians and politics. By Fabian Massa.

Translated from Spanish to English with Google translator

1. Can Christians participate in politics? Should they?

Within the evangelical people, politics is almost synonymous with "bad word" and is frowned upon Christians participate. If it comes to the shepherds, virtually even emit any comment, arguably it is a taboo subject for the ministers.

Biblically political activity is linked to religious leadership. The Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers and Deuteronomy-tell books the political activity of Moses as a prophet, organizer of the flight from Egypt, divinely inspired legislator, head of the Israelite camp during the forty years of the "crossing of the desert", creator the ideal basis for the "City of God" in the Promised Land. The laws of Moses have been the essential reference of 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, the government of Daniel as chief 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 a major theme of the exegesis of the Wise, the Doctors of the Law, then Rabbis, in that vast literature encompassing the human (and therefore also political) which is the Talmud, Jerusalem and Babylon .

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

At the time of the Protestant Reformation (XVI century) several thinkers and politicians tried to provoke a change from the papal claims of dominion over all Christendom. This change was due to deep rejection that caused the corruption of the customs of the Catholic Church in Western Europe. This political elite took the internal reform that sought to Luther and Calvin in the Catholic Church to carry out "their own emancipation" of Roman power. 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 now, Roma had a high political influence "his heavenly government" over the "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 ended with unworkable split the Church into two blocks), the whole movement had a political background in the Catholic Church itself and the policy of all states in Europe. One could say that in some way the power of the Bishop of Rome controlled absolutely all political chessboard.

It is noteworthy that the first Protestant countries had a significant improvement in their socioeconomic level, because the church preached prosperity as a direct result of fulfilling God's Word. So in political science you have to Protestantism as the seeds of capitalism in the world. Instead the preaching of the Church of Rome poverty as occurred under an economic slowdown that can still be seen in Europe:

to. Richer countries: Germany, UK, Netherlands. (Protestants)

b. (Traditionally Catholics) Spain, Italy, Portugal and Ireland: the poorest countries

c. The same effect can be seen in America: USA and Canada are powers while speaking countries (the vast majority Catholics) are extremely poor and corrupt.

2. What is the policy?

Politics, gr. Πολιτικος (figurative speech: politikos, "citizen", "civil", "on the order of the city"). Judging from its etymology the word politics comes from the Greek noun polis that means city. The politeuomaise verb translated as manage or govern a city. So then, the political term came to mean the art or science of governing or managing a city, town or state. The state policy is guided by 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 forces or as the art of the possible. By extension and according to the context, the term can also refer to political activity or conduct other minor govern social institutions and not necessarily public, such as a company, federation, institute, cooperative, a consortium, a college or church.
According to the broad concept of "political rule =" 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 one specific. In its general sense, "The word defines media policy and ethics of social relations. Politics, then, is everything 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 citizen organizations seeking to use the power to implement their own ideologies. Medeiros calls the general policy and specific capitalized politics with lowercase. (Deiros p.11)

Should Christians participate in politics?

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

I. Definitely NOT to participate.

II. Definitely whether to participate.


This position is adopted only by Protestant Christians [3] and has several degrees:

to. Participation ZERO: According to the 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 must not interfere in the dirty business of this sinful world. Another passage used to justify this position is Philippians 3: 17-20 "Brethren, be imitators of me, and observe those who walk according to the example you have in us. For many walk, of whom I told you often, and now tell you even weeping, as the enemies of the cross of Christ; so 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 be interpreted as if somehow involved in politics could become" an enemy of the Cross. "

b. Following the line, the true Christian is a pilgrim and is "dead" to this world [4]. Therefore, cost should not work "patiently submit to every human institution for the Lord", paying obedience to the "authorities" established by God and praying "for all who are in authority" in order to be saved and 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 this way say that there is a single line in the Bible that says it is the duty vote in elections, or as a political member 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 herself be involved in politics? According to this view, obviously NO: If you vote and is contrary to Scripture (and therefore sin) actively participate in an organization or public office could be considered as something much more serious.

Something I do not consider those who hold this position is that the fact of not participating, is already be participating, forgive the pun.


                         Motto: We must participate "Because we are the salt of the earth".

Those who believe in participation, feel that both individuals and the church have indisputable socio-political responsibilities to improve living conditions. Some Christians go several steps beyond Christian arguing that the biggest task is to work for a Christian political order that will lead to the establishment of God's kingdom on earth.

II. The example of Christ

Although Jesus never wanted to hold political office and even spoke of it, his ministry brought relief to an oppressed society (John 10:10). This school of thought believes that the teachings of Jesus can lead to significant socio-political fallout when lived by the Christian community. Therefore, Christians, following the example of the believers through the centuries, must acknowledge that weighs on their shoulders some social responsibility. The pioneers preached not only the gospel of personal salvation, but were also interested in alcoholics, the slaves, oppressed women and the educational needs of children and youth.

III. The Bible and the socio-political responsibility

Christian socio-political responsibility is based on two biblical foundations:

to. First, the doctrine of creation, God created a universe and established us as the ruling stewards of this world. Stewardship includes responsibility and accountability for the domain over which jurisdiction has been assigned.

b. Second, the doctrine of humanity created in God's image: Human beings are created in God's image. The parameters of 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 persons with a responsible role to play and with a bright future. This human potential gives purpose, direction, and optimism to Christians serving others in a communal setting. Therefore, Christianity is not a religion of isolated individualism or insulated introversion, but a religion of community. Christian gifts and virtues have social implications. Commitment to Jesus Christ means commitment to all God's children, 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 the one hand, they belong to the kingdom of God and on the other, to their country of citizenship. They are part of the "new humanity" and they live in the middle of the "old humanity". Is there an inherent conflict here? Should Christian youth choose one citizenship and renounce the other? No doubt that it can sometimes be a conflict when the 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, God's kingdom is not isolated from this world; "It is within you" (Luke 17:21). In other words, the kingdom of God is a sphere, a commitment, an attitude and a way of life and thinking that permeates our total existence and gives special meaning to our national citizenship. It is God's sovereignty 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 stay out of the governmental process and leave socio-political and economic control, leaving it in the hands of "evildoers". Christians are to be salt and light in a social world and therefore can not simply opt out of the political process. Actually, such an abdication is in itself a political action which opens the way for political control by those supporting less than Christian values. The "do nothing" is a sure prescription for sin becomes the master. Christians have both the right and the duty to use earthly citizenship to keep the church free to fulfill its mandate and help as individuals to meet urgent social needs.

SAW. Duties of political citizenship

We distinguish at least four duties of political citizenship:

1. The duty of prayer for those in government posts. We need to pray for divine help in solving some of the socio-political problems that negatively affect human life and the proclamation of the gospel. The prayers and supplications of the faithful rise much higher than statements and policy actions filling mountains of recyclable paper.

2. The duty to vote and petition to government authorities. The law expressly mandates voting. Common sense tells us that we should vote, even though sometimes we have to do so choosing 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 being informed Christians, we need to be involved in continuing education regarding issues affecting the present life and the future. Political ignorance does not increase spiritual bliss.

4. The duty to run for and hold a public position: Christians have the constitutional right. In addition, some appointments to government positions require not launch into a campaign. There is nothing wrong with aspiration to "sit in deliberative and legislative councils, and enact laws for the nation." However, it advises pastors and teachers employed by the denomination to refrain from partisan political activities. The reason given is clear: party politics risks to be divisive. A pastor could easily split the congregation along party lines and greatly weaken his ability to serve as pastor of the whole flock.

VII. Voting with responsibility, a healthy way of practicing politics.

to. The council of the Catholic Church to the faithful who participate in one way or another in politics is: "Remember the moral duty they have in their public performance, especially legislators, to remain faithful to the doctrine of the gospel, maintaining a clear commitment with faith and not to 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. Only adherence to profound ethical convictions and coherent action can ensure public, honest and selfless action, legislators and governors.

b. Browse the truth: We must study the proposals before supporting them.

c. Avoid demagoguery: Politicians know which keys to play to turn emotions, often irresponsibly. We must be careful not to fall into the manipulation of feelings towards the homeland, race, the suffering of the poor, freedom, etc. The Christian should not be carried away by emotions or fever that incites the masses. It should not be fooled by promises of "easy prosperity". The prosperity of peoples 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 is not achieved with demagoguery. We must be prepared to make choices that are not popular but which are fair. Remember how Jesus Christ was condemned by the masses because kill "was appropriate." The end does not justify the means. It will never be acceptable to use a means in itself evil to achieve good. So we must condemn, for example, terrorism, abortion, kidnapping, lies and defamation.

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



[1] Legalized in Catholicism by the Edict of Milan in 313.
[2] Aristotle (in gr Old Ἀριστοτέλης Aristotle.) (384-322 BC) http://es.wikipedia.org/wiki/Arist%C3%B3teles
[3] CH Mackintosh, http://www.verdadespreciosas.com.ar/documentos/breves_articulos_II/cristiano_y_la_politica.htm
[4] Ergo those involved are false Christians, note handling.

17  Christians and politics. By Fabian Massa, writer.


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