2015: THE SEARCH FOR POLITICAL SAINT (2)
The search for God fearing, capable and responsive leaders that will serve in various capacities come 2015 is on. Hear what the Bible says: 'I look for someone who might rebuild the wall of righteousness that guards the land. I search for someone to stand in the gap in the wall so I wouldn't have to destroy the land but I found no one' (Ezekiel 22:30, NLT). 'Then I heard the Lord asking, 'Whom should I send as a messenger to my people? Who will go for us?' (Isa. 6:8, NLB). What are the kinds of leaders that God wants to serve the people in elective democracy? 'You should tell them God's decision, teach them God's laws and instructions, and show them how to conduct their lives. But find some capable, honest men who fear God and hate bribes. Appoint them as judges over groups of one thousand, one hundred, fifty and ten. These men can serve the people, resolving all the ordinary cases. Anything that is too important or too complicated can be brought to you. But they can take care of the smaller matters themselves. They will help you carry the load, making the task easier for you. If you follow this advice, and if God directs you to do so, then you will be able to endure the pressures, and these people will go home in peace' (Exodus 18:20-23, NLB).
The kind of leaders or politicians that God is looking for are those that have commitment or dedicated their lives to God, His word (Laws), capable, honest men who fear God and hate bribes. That is men or people who are regenerated by God's Spirit with competence to serve the electorate not to be served. Those who want to render service of addressing the need of the masses not using their offices to impoverish or loot the treasury. Political leaders that can solve the problems of the people not to be a burden to the people they are serving by way of what they can get from the treasury to better themselves and their cronies. Do we have such among the Christians in politics? We have seen how a recognized religious leader could become a credible candidate for the office of President or Governor. Our national love â€' hate relationship with authority means that many people want strong leadership without big government. Now that the office at whatever level is open to a recognized religious leader, what makes possible the possibility so attractive to Christians? The tendency of many Christians is to use the government to mediate between an aggressive minority seeking freedom from religion and Christian tradition seeking freedom from religion.
By political ascendancy, Christians can influence the mediation (it's a dirty job, but somebody has to do it!) and what better way to gain ascendancy than to pick a champion of the cause, an upright evangelical father figure for the top office of the land? He can influence legislation, appoint judges, and speak the cause can he? Or should he? How do we the Christian Community get some of our own to stand in political office and be enthroned to serve the people in 2015? Electing a Moses figure to Aso Rock Villa will not solve the problem inherent in our polity and nation. That is exercising responsibility to avoid responsibility. People have the inclination to avoid solving problems. And two, we find it difficult to accept responsibility for what we know to be our duty. More â€' or â€' also we transfer our children way of thinking and doing into adult life. That is like we choose to let a political parent figure think for us and take care of us rather than to grow wise and competent ourselves. These subtle tendencies named have appeared in the scriptural witness repeatedly right from Genesis chapter 3.
But you see, Christians are stakeholders in the nation Nigeria whether you are from North or South of this nation. The problems be devilling our nation goes beyond just the marginalization of the South-South geopolitical zone and the killing of Christians in the North of Nigeria. To elect one of our own is just one side to the issue. We the Christians must be committed, available to be light and salt in our world not in the confinement of our churches. We must be involved in every strata of our national life incarnating the life of Christ into the system and spread the life changing gospel of Jesus Christ to every person in our nation in practical ways. There was a time when strong political leadership was appropriate in the journey of God's people. However, we cannot justifiable transfer that method of operation to the present. The New Testament calls us to grow up in our political style. The difference between the Old Testament and the New Testament approaches to civil government is infinite. The New Testament approach will be addressed later. The point to be made here is that it is not any great leader's responsibility to solve the Christians' problems. Though leaders were appointed for order in the Church (1 Tim. 3), no passage in the New Testament encourages Christian to appoint for themselves a political leader.
The leader Christ gives to us to help us speak our cause to the World is the Holy Spirit (John 16:13), not a fallible, flesh-and-blood political leaders. The Bible makes it clear that we are not to put too much faith in political leaders ('Do not trust in princes, in mortal man, in whom there is no salvation, Ps. 146:6). We must avoid the temptation of political reliance on one person. It is possible for us to be involved in political action in more ways than electing another to do our job. The momentary (and easy) political act of voting for the 'right' candidate can help us avoid continual personal responsibility. We can sit back and let president Christian turn the world around. Never mind that we ourselves have a responsibility for making the world a better place by modeling Christ in our lives. We want a Christian leader who can help us avoid continual responsibility. He can influence legislation. He can be the spokesman for Christianity. He can defend us from creeping secular humanism. But he can't help us grow up politically. And where did we get the idea, that a president could turn the country around morally? We rightly want a good man, a man with sound morals, as president, but we can't expect something as massive as the federal government to undergo a total moral overhaul because the president happens to be a good man. Four years is short time to turn a country into a God-centered state. Infact, it can't be done in four hundred years as in the case of the Israelites in Egypt. It is a plus to elect a president, which happens to be an evangelical Christian. It is a minus to elect a recognized religion leader as our political savior and expect will bring about heaven on earth.
It is not who will go among us for political office. But how can we get organize to incarnate Christ life in every strata of society that we be light and salt indeed in our world. Leaving the task of living the Christian life to few in politics cannot solve the problem of Nigerians and Nigeria. I support Hon. Nimi Walson Jack's move to sanitize the Christians in their various churches. Because up till now, we do not seem to understand that the Christian life and call has political implication. If we can join hands with the like of Apostle Zilly Aggrey, Apostle Eugene Ogu, Hon. Nimi Walson Jack, Prince Tonye Princewill, Deacon Akuro Parker, Elder Gomba Osarollor, Christian Association of Nigeria, Pentecostal Fellowship of Nigeria, Concerned Gospel Ministers' Association, and other Christians in politics to get united embrace the philosophy that we are stakeholders in our nation and that the destiny of this nation is in our hands not the heathen. We can put a stop to the killing of Christians in the North and determine who rule at whatever level. I call for a holistic approach to political evangelism that involve all Christians taking the battle to the gates. Let's join force with the likes of Apostle Zilly Aggrey, Apostle Eugene Ogu, Hon. Nimi Walson Jack, Prince Tonye Princewill, Deacon Akuro Parker, Elder Gomba Osarollor, Rev. Ladi Thompson, and lots more in the crusade for enthronement of righteousness in our polity and government. The search continues at another level. Watch out for another feature on the Christians Choice for political offices in Rivers State come 2015. You are blessed for life. Have question, you may call: 08033399821 or write: [email protected] Stay blessed.
Written By Dr. Lewis Akpogena