Can the church be separated from politics? This is a question that has generated mixed answers depending on who answered. Many believe the church is celestial in calling and should therefore focus on that while politics is left for those who are more secular and worldly. On the other hand many are convinced that since God rules in the affairs of man Dan. 4v17, he is interested in how politics is played; therefore the church also should be actively interested in the politics of the nation. Politics to this school of thought is too important to be left in the hands of mean men.
Taking this argument back into the scriptures, from the reign of King Saul, the first king of the Israelites all through the time of Jesus Christ, God has guided and related with the rulers through his anointed prophets. In fact not only was God interested in the political leadership of the nation of Israel alone, he was also interested in the political affairs of kingdoms that at some point governed Israel, Dan. 5v1-31.
In Nigeria, Christians at a time held the belief that politics is “a dirty game” that is meant only for people who have sold their soul for worldliness and are carried away by the lust for power and materialism. They believe that a Christian that ventures into politics is either not a strong one or would be compromised by the political system.
Today, many have come to see that this is not true and it is in fact a ploy by the kingdom of darkness to keep Christians in perpetual servitude. In fact, this is evident in the polling results in the country, on election day, most people stay clear from the polling booth. They would rather stay at home than to go out and perform their obligatory duty as responsible citizens of the country.
The implication is that Christians are deprived of the privilege to partake in the formulation of policies that would be beneficial to the faith. In Esther 4v14, had the Jews not been represented in the corridors of power, a whole nation would have been exterminated. But the presence of Queen Esther saved the Jews from being wiped out of the face of the earth by a royal decree.
The President of the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN), Samson Ayokunle, speaking on the need for Christians to be active in politics said the practice of separation of State and Church must be redefined. While the State must not be allowed to control the Church, the Church must influence the State through Christians who are in position of power.
How then can Christians find themselves in position of power if they distance from politics? Ayokunle said, “to get to a position of power, there is need for election especially in a democratic setting like ours. We must be involved in all facets of politics. Politics is not a dirty game as many have come to believe, but those who play politics are the ones who are dirty.”
He said Christians must become card carrying members of political parties and aspire to take over political offices like other concerned Nigerian.
He advised Christians in Nigeria to do the following: join a political party, and be a card-carrying member; register to vote when called to do so by INEC; participate actively at the ward level of your party, attend meetings, and contribute meaningfully during discussions; vote and encourage others to vote during election period; monitor and protect your vote.
He said, “Sidon look approach will not help us as Christians. Mike Murdock said, ‘Never complain about what you permit’. If we do not participate actively in politics, then we do not have the right to complain about the type of leaders that are presented by political parties to be voted for and voted into various offices.
“If we must bring back the glory of Nigeria and rise to more glory as a nation, then effective participation is compulsory for all Christians,” he said.
Also the Vice President of the country, Professor Yemi Osinbajo, said with the challenges of public service, more godly people are needed in politics to change the nation for the better. He himself, a senior pastor of The Redeemed Christian Church of God, has been an advocate of Christians participating actively in politics.