Part 1: The Political Nature of the Church
I’ll like to welcome you to Illuminare this year. It’s the political season and since Illuminare deals with contemporary issues in Christianity, it’s only fit and proper we address the “political question”.
Some Christians struggle with the notion of Christians participating in politics. But what should be the relationship of Christians with politics? Pertinent question. Some Christians believe Christians SHOULD participate in politics but then struggle with the quality of that participation as per values and morality. Politics is dirty they say. And some believe Christians ought to be heavenly minded and so should focus exclusively on the millennial kingdom. These issues and more will be addressed in this series.
The Church is a political organ. That fact is established in scripture and the references are replete. But the simple deductive logic about the political nature of the Church is the fact the central figure, Jesus is a political figure. Jesus is King of kings and Lord of lords. These are political appellations. You cannot separate the body of Christ from the Christ. If Jesus is a political figure, the Church is a political organ. As conceived, the Messiah is a political figure. This is Isaiah’s prophecy concerning the Messiah: “For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder, and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace. Of the increase of his government and peace there shall be no end, upon the throne of David, and upon his kingdom…” (Isaiah 9:6-7 KJV) Isaiah’s prophecy in Isaiah 9:6-7 clearly establishes Jesus as a political figure. He’s a prince with political authority who runs a government and has a kingdom. The programme of the Messiah is two-pronged. There’s the redemptive and restorative, and then the political. (Isaiah 49:6-7) Jesus has already fulfilled the redemptive.
But what about the Church? Why is the Church a political organ? Turns out that, that political figure called Jesus had a rather interesting take on the Church. Jesus saw the Church as an administrative organ. Look at what Paul wrote: “God raised him (Jesus) up from death and set him on a throne in deep heaven, in charge of running the universe, everything from galaxies to governments, no name and no power exempt from his rule. And not just for the time being but forever. He is in charge of it all, has the final word on everything. At the centre of all this Christ rules the Church. The Church, you see, is not peripheral to the world; the world is peripheral to the Church. The Church is Christ’s body, in which he speaks and acts, by which he fills everything with his presence.” (Ephesians 1:20-23 MSG) And so the Church is not only an administrative organ, it is a medium of expression of the political authority of the Christ. It is an agency for the due exercise of political power.
It is Christians who are conflicted about the political nature of the Church, neither Jesus nor Satan are. Jesus made a very important statement: “…I will build my church, and the gates of Hades will not overpower it.” (Matthew 16:19 NET) Matthew 16:19 clearly establishes a contest for political hegemony between the Church and the Gates of Hades. In order to fare well in this contest, we see Jesus delegate political authority to the Church: “I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven. Whatever you bind on earth will have been bound in heaven, and whatever you release on earth will have been released in heaven.” (Matthew 16:19) The Church is expected to exercise political authority on earth. And the whole authority structure is predicated on the revelation of Jesus as the anointed One, the political figure called the Christ. “Christ” simply means anointed one. He is the anointed King. Our sphere of exercise of political authority is the earth, and we find validation of this viewpoint in the words of that very popular prayer, perhaps the most popular prayer in the world – the Lord’s Prayer: “Our Father in heaven, may your name be honoured, may your kingdom come, may your will be done ON EARTH as it is in heaven…” (Matthew 6:9-10) Every petition in the Lord’s Prayer rests upon the political largesse of the political figure with the title of “Father”: “Give us this day our daily bread, forgive our trespasses, deliver us from evil…” These are political petitions. The Lord’s Prayer contestably ended, “Thine is the kingdom, the power and the glory…” Why? It’s a political petition.
From the Lord’s Prayer we see that the title, “Father” is first and foremost an authority appellation. “Father” has a procreative dimension no doubt but God is not called “Father” because he gave birth. Father is a political title for the fount of creation. “Father” is a political appellation for the source code and fount of creation. He has authority over creation. It’s why the Messiah is called “Everlasting Father” though not God the Father. It’s a political title. (cf. Isaiah 9:6)
So determinate is the Devil concerning the political nature of things that the titles on his organisational organogram are blatantly political: “Principalities”, “Powers”, “Rulers of Darkness of this World”, “Spiritual Wickedness…” (Ephesians 6:12) These are all political titles. Satan is under no illusion he is engaged in political contest. The NLT translation of Ephesians 6:12 is as follows: “For we are not fighting against flesh-and-blood enemies, but against evil rulers and authorities of the unseen world, against mighty powers in this dark world, and against evil spirits in the heavenly places.” (Ephesians 6:12 NLT)
We will break down Satan’s organogram as the series progresses but suffice to say Satan is maniacally focused on political control of the nations of the earth. According to Ephesians 6:12, the earth is a theatre of war. There are two powers battling for the soul of Planet Earth, and right in the centre of this battle is the Church. Satan contests every nation on earth using a variety of tools and strategic implements. A Christian has to be awake to this reality.
We will continue the series next week with a study of citizenship. We will take an unusual angle to the subject. If you’ll like to receive Jesus into your life please pray this prayer: “Father I acknowledge that I am a sinner, that Jesus died for me, that you raised him from the dead. Father please forgive me. I accept Jesus today as my Lord and my Saviour. Amen.”
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© Leke Alder | firstname.lastname@example.orgThe Church is not peripheral to the world; the world is peripheral to the Church. Click To Tweet