Dr Masimba Mavaza
Zimbabwe has been awash with the spiritual events where President Mnangagwa attended church at Prophet Emmanuel Makandiwa’s Chitungwiza temple over Easter.
The messages written mainly by the opposition mouth piece, Hopewell Chin’ono and the other hangers-on made me get thinking.
All of a sudden, the opposition are now a Christian outfit who pride themselves in Bible truth.
They believe that they are the remnant.
Chin’ono is one of the people who believes that they are the only ones who must go to church and that they are right truth bearers, and everybody else is wrong.
They now chose who must go to church and who must not and have given themselves to judge church leaders who accommodate political leaders.
This self-righteousness and arrogance is manifestly present in most self-righteous opposition leaders and apologists.
The only thing which makes them arrogant is their genuine belief in ignorance.
In his tweets, Chin’ono lamented Makandiwa’s political involvement. He called him lost and a false prophet.
Chin’ono appointed himself the judge and labelled Christians in politics as lost and beyond redemption.
He was so adamantly stubborn and aggressively headstrong in his belief that politics takes Christians to hell. He was so brutal and unChristian in his Christian belief.
Worldwide, Presidents call upon God during their tenure of service. Americans everyday finish their day by saying, “God bless United States of America”.
In England, the queen is the head of the church and head of state.
Former President Mugabe attended Johanne Marange Church, so did President Mnangagwa and even the late opposition leader Mr Morgan Tsvangirai.
Politics is often seen as a dirty business.
It’s an interesting and important topic, as politics is a subject that affects all believers, but not one that all believers feel they should be involved in.
In the past, the Church and the State had been very much linked, with the Church in charge of issues such as education and healthcare.
In the current day, this is no longer the case. The rise of the welfare state in the last few centuries has meant that the state’s influence has grown and the Church’s impact on these issues has deteriorated.
Many secularists would argue that this is the way it should be and that the Church has no place in politics. But is this really the case?
Are Christian values a form of congenial public discourse and should avoid decorating our politics with congenial Bible verses?
Andy Flannagan, a director at Christians in Politics, stated that if “we look at the Bible we see that God has liked to have an input in the governance of a nation.”
The books of Deuteronomy and Leviticus are dedicated to a plethora of laws that God passed onto Moses for the people of Israel to abide by.
Going back further, in Genesis we are given the example of Joseph, who through his gifts became, in effect, the Prime Minister of Egypt.
“This is a good example for us, as Egypt was clearly not a nation that revered God, but God allowed Joseph to rise in prominence which made Pharaoh acknowledge ‘the spirit of God’.
The same can be applied today – Christians being involved in politics can still be used to bring godly influence.
Worldly leaders swear by the Bible or the Holy Koran during swearing in ceremonies.
This is done so that church and politics become one.
President Mnangagwa has visited several churches in the past and this is what a good leader does.
The national leaders must unite the nation and the unifying factor is the Bible.
The relationship between Christianity and politics is a historically complex subject and a frequent source of disagreement throughout the history of Christianity, as well as in modern politics between the Christian right and Christian left.
There have been a wide variety of ways in which thinkers have conceived of the relationship between Christianity and politics, with many arguing that Christianity directly supports a particular political ideology or philosophy.
Along these lines, various thinkers have argued for Christian communism, Christian socialism, Christian anarchism, Christian libertarianism, or Christian democracy.
Far from urging us to flee from this arena, scripture shows us that governance can be a force for good, and that it is important for Christians to make their voice heard and counted in the public square.
Right at the very start of the Bible, God gives the creation mandate to Adam and Eve: to go forth into the world, to be fruitful and increase in number, and to have dominion over creation.
In God’s good creation, it was intended that mankind, created in the image of God, should be the stewards of this creation and give glory to God through increasing the fruitfulness of the planet.
Maybe to put Chin’ono’s mind to rest, I am not saying that all Christians need to run to be local councillors or MPs.
There are some who are called to do this, but others who are called to other activities that you may not even regard as political.
Chin’ono and all those like him must know that praying for those in governance is Bibilical.
Paul urges that – ‘supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be made for all people, for kings and all who are in high positions, that we may lead a peaceful and quiet life, godly and dignified in every way.’ (1 Timothy 2:1-2).
I would say that this is the absolute minimum.
If any form of other political activity is not possible, praying that political leaders would make correct decisions is the one thing that we all have the obligation to do.
The government has been put in place by God for his purposes.
Paul affirms this by stating – “Let every person be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and those that exist have been instituted by God.”
If that is the case, it will be our prayers and involvement in politics that will influence the people that God has put in place, so it is important that we as Christians are active in politics in some form or another.
The key point is to realise that we are all involved in politics, anyway.
We must remember that all Christians are politically active whether they realise it or not. But especially when they don’t realise it.
Christians need to be involved because we believe in a God who cares passionately about his world and his creation, and consequently how it is run.
The Bible is hugely political – in that it is about how God wants people to behave and act towards him, and towards each other.
Christians are urged to be involved in their local community. We must know that our faith is political to the core.
When we say “Christianity is not political” we are only demonstrating that we are disciples of modern liberalism instead of disciples of Jesus.
The primary task of the Christian community is not to be a so-called religious gathering concerned with souls floating off into the afterlife, nor is it to be a sort of spiritualized yoga class helping individuals find existential peace with themselves.
The primary task of the church is to embody and bear witness to the end of history, an all-compassing reality that has already broken into the world.
The primary task of the church is to be an alternative politic. Jesus was clearly a political figure, calling his followers to a particular politic. His politic was a public claim and a public matter.
President Mnangagwa is a Christian and a leader. So he can worship his God wherever he wishes.
Churches must never close their doors to politicians. Churches are like hospitals, anyone who needs deliverance must come in.
It is unfair for Chin’ono to call on Prophet Makandiwa and any other church leader for that matter to discriminate against congregants because of politics.
We must all know that politics is not evil and Christians in politics must be encouraged to continue worshipping.
God is the omnipresent and as much as people try to kick him out of politics they fail. God is God and his way of being God is politics.