This is Part 2 of The Political Dimension Of The Church. Please read Part 1 at here.
Jesus wasn’t crucified as a rabbi. He was assassinated as a political figure. It’s why the charge on the vertical beam of his cross read, “This is Jesus the king of the Jews.” Matthew 27:37. It was Rome that wrote that not the Jews. The Jews wanted a different inscription. They were more interested in labelling him a fraud. Which was why they wanted the charge sheet to read, “This man claimed to be king of the Jews.” John 19:21. But Rome crucified him as an insurrectionist and revolutionary who challenged the authority of Caesar.
When you have an understanding of the political dimension of Christianity you will never see church the same again. When we gather in church it’s a political assembly. God is greatly to be praised in the assembly of the saints. Psalm 89:7. It’s because church is a political assembly that we can present our petitions and ask for justice against our enemies. Justice is the function of the state, God is not mafia. When you plead for judgment against your enemies during service you’re appealing to God’s constitutional authority as government. Only government can execute vengeance. It’s why you can’t take revenge. Only government can execute judgment. It’s why the state can execute criminals. The Bible says the king wields not the sword in vain. Romans 13:4. The scripture, “Vengeance is mine, and I will repay, says the Lord” is a reference to God in his governmental capacity. Romans 12:19.
It’s because church is a political assembly that we can appeal for mercy in church. Mercy is a prerogative of the state. There’s something called prerogative of mercy in law. It’s because the church is a political assembly that Satan can come to church, just as he goes for political conferences in Heaven. Job 1:6. Satan is an angel. He has inalienable rights as an angel. He can attend political gatherings God presides in. Sometimes he requests for side meetings, just like they do in the United Nations. It’s how the discussion about Job came up. Job 1:6-12. Angels and demons come to church. They come to learn about God’s strategic intent. Ephesians 3:10. You have to get rid of that antiseptic notion of church. If the church were antiseptic none of us will qualify for church service. There will be no demonic manifestations in church either.
Church is a political assemblage. Salvation is a citizenship program. It has a constitutional dimension and it has a legal dimension. God does a legal manoeuvre every time someone gets born again. This is what he does. He attaches the punishment due to you to the old person you were, the guy who is dead in sin. He’s dead so it really doesn’t matter. He creates a new you, generates a new identity for the new you in Christ. That way you have a new social security number and BVN. Your records are clean. There’s no outstanding criminal warrant against you. You’re free because no one can punish you for what the old guy did. That would be travesty of justice. The technical name for all this is what we call righteousness. Righteousness is a brilliant legal manoeuvre. The charge sheet attaches to the dead man. So you can start a new life. Old things are passed away. You’re a new creature. 2 Corinthians 5:17.
The reason you can decree a thing and it shall be established unto you is because you exercise political authority. Otherwise you cannot cause state actors like principalities and powers to obey your decrees. Everything changes once you understand the political dimension of the church.
To show that the church is a political entity God adopted secular political titles for the church. The word “bishop” does not refer to a guy who wears a tall mitre and colourful vestment. It’s not a “spiritual” word. It’s derived from the Greek word “episkopos.” It means supervisor. Bishops were Athenian officials sent into allied cities to set up democratic constitution. Same with the word “apostle.” It’s derived from the Greek word, “apostolos.” It refers to a person specially commissioned to a position or task, someone sent forth with a special commission to represent another. It can be a delegate, commissioner or ambassador. An apostle was a personal representative of the king. The title is political.
The church in Nigeria is politically weak. That much is evident. A number of reasons account for this, and some are attributable to pastors. And it starts with the order of the church. We have inverted God’s order for the church. What God had in mind was a centrifugal model whereas what we’re practising is a centripetal model. It’s why everything takes place in church, why everything is brought inside church. Deliverance takes place in church, salvation takes place in church, baptism of the Holy Spirit takes place in church, baptism in water takes place in church… Everything revolves around the pastor. But that’s not what God had in mind. It’s not efficient. In God’s conception the pastor is a human resource development executive. He’s supposed to train the people to do the work of the ministry. Those trained individuals are supposed to go into the nooks and crannies of society and function in multilateral capacities – business, politics, culture, science, technology, NGOs… Here’s the challenge: because the pastor is the ministry the people are mere enablers. This prevents the church from responding appropriately to her political context. It’s why the church’s response to national crisis is almost always invariably a prophetic declaration from the pulpit. And then what?
The church hardly leverages her “secular” assets. Those assets are most times forced into non-strategic roles. Some are actually un-purposed by turning them to pastors. Some of the people we made pastors should be in government. A calling is not always ecclesiastical. A calling can be in government. The church must set its people free. Let them fulfil their potential and destiny. We need more Christians minding the nation than minding car parks in church.
There are things which can only be solved at the policy level. Christian social responsibility has limitations. You cannot eradicate poverty for example by doing good. It is a policy challenge. Without the instrumentality of state you’re wasting your time. To eradicate poverty you must invest in social services – schools, hospitals, etc. The economy needs stimulation. Critical infrastructure must be in place – electricity, internet, roads, rail… These things are outside the purview of the church. Only government can deliver on them. Industrial scale social challenges require instrumentality of government. Feeding the poor is commendable but it can’t eradicate poverty. It can only ameliorate hunger. Teaching the people to “sow” financial seeds in order to overcome poverty is a micro solution, it’s not macro. The efficiency ratio is poor.
Stop saying “Power must change hands” if you have no intention of going into politics or participating in governance. And anyway the only person who can say power must change hands is the Devil. Jesus said, “All power in heaven and earth is given unto me.” Matthew 28:18.
This concludes The Political Dimension Of The Church series.
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.”
Theology Trivia: What is God’s intended order for the church? Should the church revolve around the pastor?
The e-version of my new book, The Genesis Project is now available for purchase and download at www.genesisprojectonline.com.
© Leke Alder | firstname.lastname@example.org.Jesus wasn’t crucified as a rabbi. He was assassinated as a political figure. Click To Tweet In God’s conception the pastor is a human resource development executive. He’s supposed to train the people to do the work of the ministry. Click To Tweet A calling is not always ecclesiastical. A calling can be in government. Click To Tweet