8 2011

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The Church and the state

Inconnection with the Duma elections, Iwant tomake acomment alittle onthe relationship between church and government.

Iwant topoint out acouple ofissues, and first ofall that itisabsolute necessary toseparate the roles ofthe church asaninstitution and the role ofasingle believer. Iwrote last week that indifference isadangerous attitude democracy, and itisgood and desirable that Christians take part inthe political life. Asany other country, Russia needs honest and patriotic people inboth state and municipal political organs, and ifaChristian feels called todevote his capacity tothis, itisagood thing.
But the church asaninstitution can never beapart ofapolitical structure. The church must beaspiritual home for all believers, nomatter what political party they support. And only achurch which isindependent from political movements, can maintain it’s spiritual freedom.

This does not mean that the church should not speak out what itbelieves inspecific ethical questions. Issues like abortions, poverty and freedom ofreligion are examples ofmatters where the church needs toraise its voice when itisneeded. The church must also continuously preach Christian moral toall citizens. Gods word has much tosay about truth, righteousness and mercy. These and other biblical principles must always beproclaimed, nomatter how popular orunpopular they mightbe.

Ifwethen ask how the general attitude ofthe church should betowards the authorities asalways, wefind the answers inthe Bible:
Let every soul besubject tothe governing authorities. (Rom13:1)

Therefore Iexhort first ofall that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving ofthanks bemade for all men, for kings and all who are inauthority, that wemay lead aquiet and peaceable life inall godliness and reverence. (1Tim2:1-2)

Respect, submission and intercession are cornerstones inChristian ethics. That means weshould doour best toobey the laws, behave respectfully and always pray for all authority. Today, and every day, there isnothing more important believers can doregarding authority than topray. The church iscalled tointercede for all people, especially for all who rule. Tocomplain brings nothing, topray can change anything. The church can beashield against evil and achannel for Gods blessing ifitisfaithful and fervent inits prayers.

Inhistory these biblical verses have been misused bydictators todefend crimes against humanity, saying that God supports all rulers. This isofcourse not true, then itcan besaid that God supported Hitler also. Every man orwoman inauthority stand responsible before God for their actions. Oppression, corruption and all misuse ofpower will one day bejudged. Jesus said: to whom much isgiven, from him much will berequired (Luke12:48)

But ifthe church dowhat God has commanded ittodo; honor authority, live righteously, preach the truth and pray continuously, wehave all reasons tobelieve God will prosper the land.

Mats Ola Ishoel


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