Role of Christ’s soldiers in society
The current divide, in reference to the SUNDAY SUN Back Page of January 14, 2018, captioned “Split among clergymen on active elective party politics”, reinforces the point that the four walls of the church represent unseen barriers erected by church leaders. They keep “the flock” inside instead of the saints carrying out their greater function beyond the church building.
We don’t just go to church. We are the church 24/7. God’s people are called to be involved in every sphere of a society’s life. The current debate about whether a minister of religion should also be involved in politics is an interesting case study. I have long been convinced that two of the biggest strongholds established in the church over the years have been the sacred/secular division and the clergy/laity division.
The sacred/secular division is based on a non-biblical “Greek mindset” which divides the universe into the spiritual realm which is considered sacred, and the physical realm which is viewed as profane. Under this construct, things such as faith, theology, ethics, missions, the devotional life and evangelism are placed in the spiritual realm and considered of first importance. On the other hand, things such as reason, science, business, politics, art, music and meeting people’s physical needs occupy the lower physical realm.
Many Christians betray their dichotomised thinking when they declare that they want to go into “full-time” Christian service, implying that all other Christians engaged in “secular” pursuits are part-time Christians. This is a sure end product of the clergy/laity mindset and a hierarchical and non-biblical church system, since in God’s church, the only one higher is Christ who is the head. All the body is on the same level. The role of the ministers is to equip the body to function but they are not higher as Jesus said that we are all brethren (Matthew 23:8).
Both of these false mindsets have done untold damage to the mindset and ministry of the saints and have served quite well the devil’s purpose of immobilising the saints. The result has been catastrophic, as we have seen the church abandon culture, retreating into its four walls. God is calling His church back to the kind of engagement that validates, equips and commissions believers into their marketplace vocations in accordance with the cultural mandate of Genesis 1:28 “to be fruitful and multiply and replenish the earth and subdue it”.
Let’s take a look at government. The biblical purpose of government is five-fold:
1. To establish justice. This is the first pose of civil government. The Bible says in 1 Peter 2:14 that civil rulers exist “for the punishment of evil doers and the praise of those who do right”. Even back in Genesis 9:6 God told Noah that “whosoever sheds man’s blood, by man his blood shall be shed”. This is justice.
2. To ensure domestic tranquility. This is found in 1 Timothy 2:1- 2 where Paul urges Christians to pray for civil rulers “in order that we may lead a tranquil and quiet life in all godliness and dignity”.
3. To provide common defence. The protection of innocent human life is at the base of not only capital punishment, and domestic police force, but the protection from external threats. In Romans 13:4 it is affirmed that civil government “does not bear the sword for nothing”.
4. To promote general welfare. Romans 13:4 says that civil rulers are servants “to you for good”. The common good of all classes of citizens must be promoted by the government’s passage of laws guaranteeing equal opportunity.
5. To secure the blessings of liberty. In the Book of Leviticus there was an instruction given to “proclaim liberty throughout the land to all its inhabitants”.
Do you think that God would wish any of his servants, minister or saint, to be involved in such a lofty endeavour? Of course.
In His final address, Jesus commissioned His followers to “go therefore, and make disciples of all nations”. What did Christ mean to disciple nations? Jesus meant for His disciples to be the agents of radical change in all spheres of life. The Christian is to bring the life and wisdom of God to all of life, not just in some “private” religious sphere . . . .
Ministers in the Old Testament who became politically active included Samuel, Jeremiah, Ezekiel, Zechariah and Ezra. These were ministers who became statement and social reformers or in biblical terms, prophets. Many of God’s people in the Bible not only influenced politics, but actually sought public office, such as Joseph, Daniel, Esther, Mordecai, Moses, Samuel and Erastus who was a gospel minister (Acts 19:22) and switched to becoming a civil minister (Romans 16:23), the treasurer of the city.
So Apostle Dr David Durant, Bishop Joseph Atherley, Reverend John Carter, Apostle Lynroy Scantlebury and all others, continue to obey God rather than man . . . .
– RICARDO TAYLOR