With two European governments falling in one week, in the light of the St. Paul’s Cathedral protests and the subsequent confusion among St. Paul’s hierarchy as to how to respond, with the G20 meetings which failed to resolve anything, the Theology of Mission class came together to discuss the role of the Church in politics. What role does political engagement have in mission? Do we keep away from politics as a contaminated and contaminating area of human life? Do we speak into political discourse with an even handed prophetic voice? Or do we throw ourselves into political life choosing to support one political viewpoint?
We wanted to maintain a Christian perspective on this so I insisted that any theological articulation of political involvement must have something to do with Jesus Christ and his incarnation, life, death, resurrection, ascension and imminent return not just be a reflection of Old Testament law and prophets–although these are absolutely essential as well.
We did not come to many concrete conclusions–not something I seek for at this level of study–but we did discover that “Jesus is Lord” means more than just being Lord of our souls and of the Church. Jesus’ lordship is one that covers geopolitical, social and environmental life as well. This means that the Church has a responsibility to point out when leaders–local, national or global–introduce policies which contravene that Lordship then the Church has a responsibility to speak out and cannot keep silent.
We also recognised that being a disciple of Jesus and therefore seeking to obey everything that he commanded us does include a radically different way of life and one that challenges political social norms to such and extent that it demands political change.
Does anybody else want to join in the debate?