A Lesson from American Christians

by Thomson K. Mathew D. Min., Ed. D., Oral Roberts University, USA

It appears that secular politicians have become ever present guests at significant Pentecostal gatherings of Keralites. In this context it may be hazardous to write about the negative consequences of the heavy mixing of secular politicians and Pentecostal leaders. But there is a lesson Keralites can learn from evangelical Christians in the United States of America.

An article recently published in Christian Science Monitor regarding American evangelicals prompted me to write this article. In it Michael Spencer claims that the evangelical movement in America will experience serious decline in the near future. He claims that the main reason is that President George Bush’s Republican Party was badly defeated by Barak Obama and the Democratic Party, but because the American evangelicals had blindly identified themselves exclusively with the Republican Party during the Bush years, they are now being blamed for the Iraq war and everything else that went wrong during the Republican era.

The Republican Party’s platform included ethical positions on several important issues that American evangelical Christians found acceptable. However, according to Spencer, giving the impression during the Republican reign that all evangelical Christians were Republicans and belonging to the Democratic Party was the worst political choice a Christian could make, the evangelicals set themselves up to being portrayed now as war mongers who stand against world peace and cultural progress. Unfortunately, the new generation believes this to be true and resists the evangelicals’ efforts to win them to Christ.

It may be a good idea for Pentecostals in India to consider this matter soberly. We must keep in mind that all political parties on the Left and Right are primarily concerned about their own objectives. They will say ego-boosting things just to attract a voting bloc. We cannot afford to overly identity ourselves with any one party on the Left or Right exclusively no matter how many ethical positions we may share with them because the kingdom of God is not meat or drink.

Once Pentecostals in India were on the wrong side of the track economically and socially. Now they are prosperous and a very strong voting bloc. It is only natural for politicians to be drawn to them. It is also tempting for Pentecostals to support certain parties for the sake of religious freedom and opportunities for evangelization. While it is appropriate to publicly support certain positions taken by a political party, believers should not give the public impression that they as a group belong to one particular party alone and that they support all the political decisions and choices that party makes, especially on matters of foreign policy and war.

I am not saying that a Pentecostal should not be involved in politics or in matters related to one’s nation’s well being. Citizenship in this world carries with it many rights and responsibilities. Patriotism has its rightful place and national leaders deserve proper respect. However, we must never forget that church history attests that the Church’s improper affiliations with kings and kingdoms have cost the gospel dearly. New money and any illusion of power should not make us forget this truth.

Regardless of our earthly residency or citizenship, our first citizenship is in heaven and our first allegiance is to the Kingdom of God. Jesus Christ is our Lord and King. The expansion of the true Church of Jesus Christ has not been due to the support of principalities, powers or empires. A modern proof of this is the explosive growth of the Church in China. Political support is not the key to church growth. The blood of martyrs is still the seed of the church. The one who destroys the gates of hell to grow His Church is its master and architect, Jesus Christ. We must give Him our full and exclusive allegiance.

Politics has its place. Politicians have their duties, responsibilities and rightful places of honor. We must give to Caesar what is his and give to God what is His. Mixing of Caesar’s work with God’s work is seldom a good idea. Unequal yoking of Caesar’s men with God’s children will produce great peril. If you do not believe this, ask the survivors of the Holocaust.

MGM Ministries-Article Source: /suvarthamagazine.org/sep09.html – (Accessed in July 2020 )