Civil government was established by God; Matthew 22:21, Romans
13:1, 1 Timothy 2:1-4 and 1 Peter 2:13-17 all teach that. Because He established it, it is a legitimate area of activity for Christians. To speak out against political involvement, is to call God's wisdom into question and to allow the wicked to rule. It would also be strange to argue that God would have ordained and established self-government, family-government, church-government and civil-government, and we as Christians need to be involved with self, family and church, but yet leave civil government to the non-Christians to rule in place of the Christians - this just does not make sense.
Righteous transformation took place under Godly leaders: Deborah (Judges 4 & 5), Gideon (Judges 6-8), Hezekiah (II Kings 18-29) and Josiah (II Kings 18-20).
Many Christians believe that Satan is the ruler of this world. This issue is a fundamental presupposition or an assumption that will change the way we see many other issues as far as Scripture is concerned. One of the main ideas that we need to remember when looking at Scripture where Satan claims to be the god of the world, is that first of all we know that Satan is a liar (Genesis 3:4-5). Jesus also calls him a liar and the father of lies (John 8:44). We know that since the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, Satan's authority is severely limited. John 12:31 says, “Thy judgement is upon this world, now the ruler of this world shall be cast out.” So Satan's status in this world has changed significantly.
Jesus is the King of kings and Lord of lords (Revelation 19:16). Satan may have possessed the kingdoms of the earth prior to the crucifixion, (which is also debatable, seeing that he was a liar when claiming such,) he certainly does not have that authority now. In Matthew 28:18 - 20 we read too that Jesus is in possession of all authority in both Heaven and on earth.
Jesus tells us in Matthew 5:16: “Let your light shine before men in such a way that they may see your good works and glorify your Father which is in heaven”. The Bible tells us that we are not of the world (John 17:14) and that we are to come out from their midst and be separate (2 Corinthians 6:17). But nowhere are we told to retreat from the world for Jesus has sent us into the world (John 17:18).
Many Christians argue that we must remain neutral, but Jesus never tells his disciples or followers to remain neutral on any issue. Neutrality is impossible; if you are not for instance standing against abortion, then you are essentially abdicating. To not act, is to act in support of abortion.
Neutrality is not a position a Christian can take under any circumstance. Right from the beginning of Scripture in Deuteronomy 22:1 & 4 we are told how to deal with the animals lost by our countryman. Further, we are told how to return it to him; even if the person hates us we need to return his donkey to him. Surely, if this applies to animals how can we have a different set of criteria when dealing with human beings?
If Mordecai and Esther had tried to remain neutral when they had learned about a plot to destroy the Jewish people, what would have happened? Silence or neutrality was not an option and we, as Christians need to take sides on all issues. Esther could have remained silent and it would have been devastating for the Jews. The New Testament nowhere accepts neutrality as a Christian response to man and his world. A priest and Levite ignore a fellow Jew, beaten, robbed and left for dead. These religious men, to protect themselves from ceremonial uncleanness, passed by on the other side of the road. Similarly, in our society today, Christians who want to protect their spirituality claim neutrality in the social and political realms, but this is at the expense of our neighbours.
Some would argue that to get involved with politics would mean less time to spend on witnessing. We try and spiritualise our inaction by arguing that we do not want to be polluted by such evil work.
When Jesus asked the lawyer about the identity of his neighbour in Luke 10:36-37, the neighbour was the one who showed mercy towards the person who got beaten up by the robbers. Jesus told the lawyer to go and do like- wise.
Political decisions, unlike the single decision of the priest, the Levite and the Samaritan, affect millions of people. Pregnant women are our neighbours; the unborn child is our neighbour. 350000 babies have been murdered in South Africa since the legalising of abortion.
Remaining silent on issues like homosexuality, abortion and murder, is un-Biblical. Is it neutrality when you allow the legalisation of a form of perversion or murder in our society? All social and political issues deserve a Biblical response by Christians. This will mean we need to study the newspapers and magazines and deal with these in the light of the Bible. The Bible speaks to all areas of life.
It is neutrality that allows people like Stalin and Idi Amin to come to power. If Christians are being salt and light in their societies and have nothing to do with the fruitless deeds of darkness, but rather expose them, as taught in Ephesians 5:11, then we could stop such a holocaust from taking place. A stance of neutrality on people being murdered around you, is nothing more than cowardice in the face of the enemy.
Charl van Wyk is the Director of Africa Christian Action, the author of Shooting Back - the Right and Duty of Self-Defence, and the Chairman of Victims Against Crime.