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Should churches be very involved in politics?

RCCG church
A sign directing worshippers to stream the Easter service online is seen at the Redeemed Christian Church of God (RCCG), in Lagos, on April 12, 2020. |

There have been calls for Christians to be involved in politics. Many are of the opinion that a dirty political system should be sanitized by the involvement of Christians. There is another school of thought that says that Christians should not entangle themselves with the politics of this world.

This group advocates that Christians should influence culture by radiating light that will wipe away darkness through spiritual revival, and not through political influence.

Recently, The Redeemed Christian Church of God, which is one of the largest churches in Nigeria with about 32,000 branches worldwide, has released a memo to all the provinces of the church instructing the pastors to immediately establish a directorate of politics and governance.  According to the memo: “You are kindly requested to appoint with immediate effect a Provincial officer for your Province and also ensure that the same is done at all levels of the church – Zone, Area and Parish. The essence of this Directorate is to help coordinate the engagement of our people who are willing to be involved in politics as well as mobilise support for them when required.”

It is obvious that this move is in preparation for the 2023 general elections in Nigeria. The vice president of Nigeria, Professor Yemi Osinbajo, who is a senior pastor with the church, is interested in becoming the next president of Nigeria. Is the decision to establish a directorate of politics and governance by RCCG approved by God? Does such directorate exist in the biblical Church or is it part of ecclesiastical modernization agenda?

A member of The Redeemed Christian Church of God, Mr. Dele Momodu, who is also a presidential aspirant, admonished his church to stay away from partisan politics.  “Naturally, I feel that I owe it a duty to tell our church leaders, and our church in general, the Gospel truth. Nothing must be done to inadvertently cause a cataclysmic storm in the House of God and the easiest way to create trouble in Nigeria today is any attempt to mix religion with politics.”

Some are of the opinion that Dele Momodu by his statement is protesting against his church because he knows that he will not be the preferred candidate. But the question is whether it is right for the Church to include political departments as part of its office.

There is no doubt that God appointed and demoted kings before (Daniel 2:21).  But what I am not sure of is whether God is involved in the democratic process of world politics today. The most common definition of democracy is the government of the people, by the people, and for the people.

I do not think that the Church is doing the right thing by mingling its mission with the political sphere. I have observed that when Christians I know joined politics, the God in them walked away and the devil stepped in.

Nigerian politics is characterized by occultism and all manner of evil alliances that I do not consider ethical for a professed Christian to partake in. Whenever there is a democratic contest between good and evil, evil always carries the day. Even when there was open ballot voting to determine whom the Jews wanted, they voted unanimously to free Barabbas (a condemned criminal) and to crucify Jesus (Mathew 27:17).

I do understand the benefits of political power and I know that isolation from power is tantamount to isolation from the benefits of power. But how will it profit the Church? What most of us have failed to understand is that Christians should be like Christ in His earthly ministry. We should love what Christ loved, hate what Christ hated and reject what Christ rejected. Christ was emphatic when He told His disciples that His kingdom is “not of this world” (John 18:36).  

If the Church must have political ambitions, it must be the ambition to fast-track the second coming of Christ for the establishment of the government of Christ on this earth, and the only way to to do that is to ensure that every soul on this planet hears the Gospel: “And this Gospel of the kingdom will be preached in the whole world as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come” (Mathew 24:14).

Instead of establishing directorates of politics and governance, churches should multiply directorates of missions and evangelism to facilitate the project of reaching the unreached. That is the real change we as Christians should be interested in.

Oscar Amaechina is the president of Afri-Mission and Evangelism Network, Abuja, Nigeria. His calling is to take the gospel to where no one has neither preached nor heard about Jesus. He is the author of the book Mystery Of The Cross Revealed.  

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