11 Dec A Christian Student & Politics
“Politics” denotes the life of the city (Polis) and the responsibilities of the citizens (Polites).
It is concerned with the whole of our life in human society. Politics is the art of living together in a community. Politics is the science of government. It is concerned with the development and adoption of specific policies with a view to their being enshrined in legislation. It is about gaining power for social change. “Politics” in itself isn’t a bad word as many understand it. In fact, in today’s world, believers and the church shy away from politics. The real meaning of the word, ‘politics’ is less understood or wholly misunderstood.
Jesus and Politics
We may ask whether Jesus was involved in politics. In the latter and narrower sense, He clearly was not. He never formed a political party, adopted a political program or organized a political protest. He took no steps to influence the policies of Caesar, Pilate or Herod. On the contrary, he renounced a political career. In the other and broader sense of the word, however, His whole ministry was political. For He had come into the world in order to share in the life of the human community, and He sent His followers into the world to do the same. Moreover, the kingdom of God He proclaimed and inaugurated was a radically new and different social organization, whose values and standards challenged those of the old and fallen community. In this way His teaching had “political” implications. It offered an alternative to the status quo. His kingship, moreover, perceived as a challenge to Caesar’s, and He was therefore accused of sedition. (John Stott, Issues Facing Christians Today)
A believer and politics
“For the gospel is the root, of which both evangelism and social responsibility are the fruits” John Stott
The relationship between the social service and social action (John Stott, Making Known Christ)
- Every believer of Christ should have thorough knowledge of the Scriptures. As an individual we all are responsible towards the reformation of the society, whether we involve directly or indirectly. We need to develop a Christian mind and that means analyzing the issues, reading the Scriptures, listening to others and taking action. Some individuals are called by God to give their lives to political service. Christians who share particular moral and social concerns should be encouraged to form or join groups which will study the issues at a deeper level and take appropriate action.
- Politics in the current generation is a dirty game but this shouldn’t be the excuse for a believing student for not participating in politics. As Jesus prayed for believers in John 17:14-17, he did not ask the Heavenly Father to remove believers from this corrupt world but to protect us from the evil one in this world. So, he meant that we should dissolve in this world without being contaminated. Jesus also prayed the Father to sanctify us by the truth and the word of God is truth. So, whatever we do in this world must be according to the truth and we should depend on the Lord for every decision we take.
- Politics is an area that has been corrupted by the fallen nature of man. So, as stated by Jesus in Matthew 10:16, every believer involving in politics must be on guard 24/7, whenever our personal interests dominate over that of God’s, one must be careful. There are many chances for the fallen nature of man to take lead in the politics (Since, it involves power and authority). In everything we do in this world, it must glorify God.
- There are many examples from Bible where God used his children in authority in secular pagan kingdoms in influencing the decisions taken by the kings. Joseph – God used to save an entire generation from severe famine; Queen Esther – God used to save an entire nation from genocide; Daniel, Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego – whose faith challenged the Kings of Babylon; Nehemiah – God used to reconstruct the walls of Jerusalem. So, God is willing to place his children in the posts of authority even if the government is of corrupted ones in order to fulfill his will for the people of this world.
- Politics and a believing student
When it comes to the college/university campuses, there are different student unions, committees, clubs present at various levels for example SAC (Student Affairs Council). Sometimes the college/university conducts elections to elect the members for the student unions who will be representing all students in the senate meetings. Sometimes these students unions will be controlled/influenced by the local/state/national political parties. The political parties will try to exploit the students through their ideologies. Many of the National leaders today were once actively involved in the politics of their schools/universities. So, their political career actually began in their student life itself which imply that the current students are going to be leaders tomorrow and their convictions in future depend on the influence of the political ideologies of the present day that are followed by different parties in the country. So, Christians should be careful not to baptize to any political ideology as if it contained a monopoly of truth and goodness.
Ways to involve and influence campus politics
- Believing students may contest in the elections of Student Body representing students in Senate.
- Believing students may participate in the public debate or open forums.
- Believing students may involve in different committees like Counselling Cell, Sports Committee, Mess Council, NSS Committee etc.,
- Every believer must pray for the leaders in the authority for good governance.
- Have talks on Engaging the University with fellow believing students
- Imaging God into the university by being part of the campus governance
- Dealing with corruption in the campus along with student wings
- Responding to situations of hostility, injustice within the campus
- Making friendship with student wing leaders and influencing their thinking through the truth of His word
- Having open forums on campus politics and seeking ways to place a Christian moral view to redeem political powers reaching arrogant heights.
The Four Gifts for usage in campus politics
We need to remember for our encouragement that God has given us four gifts.
Our minds: The first gift is our mind to think. He has made us rational, intelligent creatures. Psalm 32:9, 1 Corinthians 14:20
The Bible: God has given the Bible to direct and control our thinking. 2 Timothy 3:16-17.
The Holy Spirit: God’s third gift is the Holy Spirit, the Spirit of truth, who opens up the Scriptures to us and illuminates our minds so that we can understand and apply them. John 16:13
The Christian community: God has given us the Christian community as the context in which to do our thinking. Each local Church/Fellowship/Cell should reflect the diversity of different cultures, experiences etc. With rich insights contributed to the interpretation of Scriptures from different backgrounds, it will be hard to maintain our prejudices.
It is the divine calling of God for believing students to actively involve in the governance of the campus, make great contributions as a Christian student in campus administration and spread the fragrance of Christ.
“The Great Business of The Church is to Reform The World . . .
The Church of Christ was originally organized to be a Body of Reformers . . .
The very Profession of Christianity implies the Profession and virtually an oath to do all that can be done for the Universal Reformation of the world” Charles G. Finney
O. Joseph Jeshurun, B.Tech 2nd Year, IIT Roorkee
A.Venkateshwarlu, PhD 3rd Year, IIT Roorkee