PLEASE NOTE:

MyNews24 is a user-generated section of News24.com. The stories here come from users.

 
Ryan Peter
 
Comments: 118
Article views: 983
 
 
Latest Badges:

 
View all Ryan Peter's badges.
 

Christians: Stop Pushing your Ideologies Through Politics

25 February 2014, 08:42
P { margin-bottom: 0.21cm; }A:link { }

Luke 20

19 The scribes and the chief priests sought to lay hands on him at that very hour, for they perceived that he had told this parable against them, but they feared the people. 20 So they watched him and sent spies, who pretended to be sincere, that they might catch him in something he said, so as to deliver him up to the authority and jurisdiction of the governor. 21 So they asked him, “Teacher, we know that you speak and teach rightly, and show no partiality, but truly teach the way of God. 22 Is it lawful for us to give tribute to Caesar, or not?” 23 But he perceived their craftiness, and said to them, 24 “Show me a denarius. Whose likeness and inscription does it have?” They said, “Caesar's.” 25 He said to them, “Then render to Caesar the things that are Caesar's, and to God the things that are God's.” 26 And they were not able in the presence of the people to catch him in what he said, but marvelling at his answer they became silent.

Politics cannot change anyone. Therefore, why are so many Christians trying to legislate Christian morality? Why do we have such a curious mix of Church and State in America? Why, in South Africa, do we regularly see politicians play the church card and see churches swallow the card whole?

I quote this scripture above as it's often misunderstood and it's key to my topic: that Christians should stop blending their faith with politics and creating a weird hybrid that has nothing to do with God and Jesus and more to do with power and control. Jesus preached that we should be servants of others, not have power over others.

Mark 10: 42 - 45

And Jesus called them to him and said to them, “You know that those who are considered rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their great ones exercise authority over them. But it shall not be so among you. But whoever would be great among you must be your servant, and whoever would be first among you must be slave of all. For even the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.”

This is a far cry from what we see happening in both the American Christian Right and Christian Left. In South Africa, it's a far cry from what we see happening in churches all over the country and in organisations that are lobbying for Christian morals to be legislated in this country.

The verse in Luke above is a famous verse that's used to support the idea of separating the church and the state. I still believe that's a good idea, even if it's not very popular these days (and, let's face it, it's never really been practiced well or been very popular). Jesus talks about Caesar's 'likeness' on the coin because what He is doing is referring back to Genesis 1, where it says the God created humankind in His likeness. In other words, give to Caesar what bears his likeness, and give to God what bears His likeness – ourselves.

The question was asked in a politically charged time. Israel was occupied by the Romans, what they would consider to be a Pagan force, occupying them against God's will. If Jesus had said that they should not pay their taxes to Caesar, they could have called the Roman authorities on Him; if He said that they should, they could have called him a Roman sympathiser – an ungodly traitor of God's people. Jesus, however, raises something new – an idea that had never before surfaced in the history of the world – a separation of faith and politics. In other words, it's your heart that matters, not your political affiliation.

He lived this out himself by repeatedly refusing to side with any political cause. In fact, His team of disciples even included Simon the Zealot – who previously belonged to a group of freedom fighters who wanted to see Rome tossed out violently; and Matthew the tax collector – who was collecting taxes from the Jewish people on behalf of Rome and, therefore, seen as a traitor. Jesus invites both of these radicals onto his team, because what He was about was none of this politics stuff.

Why I believe this is important

Right now, America finds itself increasingly polarised between the Right and Left – the Christian Right, mostly, and even a Christian Left. Both of these sides, as it were, miss the point. They both try and use the Bible as some form of textbook for politics and legislation, missing the heart completely. While the Old Testament was mostly about legislation and social order, the New Testament is mostly about the individual's heart. This is why Jesus can say that while the Old Testament spoke of an “eye for an eye” he says we should rather “not resist the one who is evil. But if anyone slaps you on the right cheek, turn to him the other also...” (Matthew 5:38 – 48).

The “eye for an eye” law was about ensuring the justice system didn't permit people to go further than what was necessary (“You took my eye, well I'm taking both your eyes, legs and arms also!”). We typically don't apply fair justice unless someone forces us to – generally, if someone wrongs us, we seek to wrong them double for what they did to get back. The Old Testament law here prohibited that. The point that Jesus is making is that a nation's justice system should have an “eye for an eye” but in our personal capacity we should turn the other cheek and always seek to go further than the justice system in our love toward others.

Repeatedly, Jesus shows that the Kingdom of God is not a political Kingdom and therefore not legislated or advanced through political means. Christian morals are not supposed to be legislated, they're supposed to be lived out by the choice of an individual.

Which brings me to South Africa

Right now, there are some “Christian organisations” (if there is such a thing) that want to have Christian morality legislated in South Africa. I'm thinking of the Family Policy Institute in this case, which “ acts as the Christian voice in government and the media, lobbying on current issues that concern each and every Christian.” Actually, I don't feel they do this at all.

Come election time, my inbox is going to be regularly inundated with stuff from Christians saying I must vote for this or that party which stands up for “Christian” ideals. No, if the party did stand for Christian ideals, it wouldn't be a political party! It would be too busy getting busy with the things that really matter in people's lives, not busy making empty speeches, garnering votes and playing the game, as it were!

I have no problems with Christians being in politics, but I do have problems with Christian organisations lobbying to have Christian morality legislated. How is that going to change anything? It won't. In fact, it might even make things worse – as it has in the past.

The problem is this: legislation does not change people's hearts. The church was never meant to bear the sword, that's the state's job – and it is supposed to use that sword to protect its people, not harm them. Typically, it'll do the opposite when it mixes with any kind of religion. Our history is full of times when the Church did bear the sword alongside the State and the result was often disastrous. Not always disastrous – there was a high middle ages and the 'dark ages'. But you give anyone absolute political power and they will wield that sword against the people to keep the power. People who think religion is evil don't realise that it's not religion that's evil, it's politics – and that's because, actually, people are evil and will use political and religious power very nicely together. And if it's not about pushing forward a religion-state, then it can be about pushing forward a non religion state (Soviet Union as an example). Either way, it's about controlling people's personal choices and lives.

It's interesting to note that the mix between religion and state is exactly what the Bible preaches against in the book of Revelation. Ever wondered what the Beast and the False Prophet are about? State and religion.

Legislating Christian ideals (which is impossible based on the very ideals of Christianity – that being, that Christianity is not about politics) puts people's backs up against the teachings of Jesus, assuming that Jesus was all about morals and shoving morals “down people's throats” as the popular saying goes. In other words, they assume Jesus was and is all about gaining power when Jesus was all about serving. If any Christian wants to see change in this world, which we all do, then we need to stop mixing our faith and politics together – let these two function separately. Become a politician if you feel compelled that way, but don't use your positions of power to make people serve your ideologies. In fact, use the opportunity to show that politics doesn't have to be about ruling and having power, but about serving!

Last thought

No one's going to change until their heart changes. No political system will bring the peace and prosperity we all want – because politics cannot change people, it can only force people. Therefore, my request to Christians is this: stop mixing your faith and politics together. Rather, start living out your faith as Jesus intended – not through lobbying and shouting, but through serving and loving.

I've written more about this at http://ryanpeterwrites.com/tag/politics-and-christianity/”>my blog if anyone is interested.

Disclaimer: All articles and letters published on MyNews24 have been independently written by members of News24's community. The views of users published on News24 are therefore their own and do not necessarily represent the views of News24. News24 editors also reserve the right to edit or delete any and all comments received.
 

Read News24’s Comments Policy

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
118 comments
Add your comment
Comment 0 characters remaining

Read more from our Users

Submitted by
Avril Parker
Oscar: Justice was served

Oscar should have told the truth from the start. He has given the courts the run around. Read more...

3 comments 372 views
Submitted by
Shadrick Crozett
OP jail sentence

The SA justice system is the most attractive system for criminals in the world, anyone can do crime in SA and the offenders does not feel any pain or the least to worry about. Read more...

0 comments 59 views
Submitted by
Karen Louw
Oscars sentence

I personally think that Oscar isn't getting the punishment he deserves. Read more...

0 comments 43 views
Submitted by
Ludwig Budapest
Response: Should SA consider nati...

I would like to raise another concern relating to nationalisation which is a economic one and wish explore the causality if any expropriation takes place. I am no economist and thus will stick to basics. Read more...

0 comments 57 views
Submitted by
Lutgen Landman
Micheal Cheika in the spotlight!

Cheika is the only coach to have won the major rugby club competition in each hemisphere, winning the Heineken Cup with Leinster in 2009 and the Super Rugby competition with the Waratahs in 2004. Read more...

0 comments 26 views
Submitted by
Jeremy Widgery
Oscar Pistorius: The circus

In my opinion if South Africa wanted to demonstrate it's capacity to deliver justice & it has failed miserably.  Read more...

6 comments 826 views

Jobs in Cape Town [change area]

Jobs in Western Cape region

Mechanical CAD Draughtsman

Cape Winelands
Communicate Cape Town Engineering
R240 000 - R300 000 Per Year

Warehouse & Customs Clerk

Cape Town Northern Suburbs
Persona Staff

PHP Developer

Cape Town
Communicate Cape Town IT
R25 000 - R35 000 Per Month

Property [change area]

Travel - Look, Book, Go!

Magical Massinga

Spend 5 nights at the gorgeous Massinga Beach Lodge in Mozambique and only pay for 4 from R13 220 per person sharing. Includes return flights, accommodation, transfers and romantic turndown. Book now!

Kalahari.com - shop online today

Save up to R1000 on Hisense smartphones!

View the large range of Hisense smartphones. Buy today and save up to R1000!

Deal of the week!

Save R1200 on the Samsung 48” smart full HD LED television now only R8799. Buy now!

Toys 4 for the price of 3

Buy 4 toys and get the cheapest FREE! Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

Mind blowing prices – As seen on TV

Get mind blowing prices on 1000’s of products! Shop now.

Save 20% on Nivea beauty products!

Buy any two Nivea beauty products and save 20%. Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

OLX Free Classifieds [change area]

Samsung Galaxy s4

Mobile, Cell Phones in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 24

Best bargain in big bay

Real Estate, Houses - Apartments for Sale in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

VW Golf 6, 1.6 Trendline (Excellent condition)

Vehicles, Cars in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

 

services

E-mail Alerts The latest headlines in your inbox

RSS feeds News delivered really simply.

Mobile News24 on your mobile or PDA

E-mail Newsletters You choose what you want

News24 on your iPhone Get News24 headlines on your iPhone.

SMS Alerts Get breaking news stories via SMS.

Blogs Your opinion on you, me and everyone.

Calais Website keywords automated by OpenCalais.

 
Interactive Advertising Bureau
 
© 2014 24.com. All rights reserved.
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Settings

Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.








Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.