Monday, 26 April 2010

some thoughts on the UK election: part 3

Let's have a look at some Biblical precedents.

There are at least three OT characters who seem to have played quite a part in the government of non-Israelite nations. I am thinking of Joseph, Daniel (and his three friends) and Mordecai. It is helpful to see the way that these men functioned; they were all men who were 'in the wrong place'. By that I simply mean they were not where they would have chosen to be or where they might have expected to be; they were all 'out of place'.

They were all senior advisors to pagan monarchs and their service of these monarchs is really instructive. None of them actually 'sought office'. None of them tried to convert their kings nor did they attempt to 'Christianize' (or Israelitize) the governments that they served. Their personal integrity and faith brought them at times into conflict with their kings and their faith had a considerable impact upon their masters, but they had no 'mission'; they simply served their masters. They lived in their worlds as witnesses not legislators.

What I am trying to say is that they did not impose their faith or its implications on the nations in which they served. They served God faithfully and they served their kings faithfully. They were exemplary examples of the phrase 'render unto Caesar the things that are Caesar's and to God the things that are God's'... and they never mixed these two things up. They did not hide their faith but only when their loyalty to God and their loyalty to men came into conflict do their different worlds collide.

The place of the Christian in society will always be a delicate balance. Should Christians avoid public office or responsibility? Not on the basis of these Biblical examples. Should Christians take on public office in order to shape the nation in which they serve? Not on the basis of these Biblical examples. So just what is our role in our complex modern world, are we to be the world's legislators or its conscience?

No comments: