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The church ceases to be prophetic when it becomes partisan – Chikosi

The price for political access is never cheap. The cost of political access for church leaders is usually uncritical support and total alignment with the political status quo. Politics is an “all or nothing” game. You are either with us, or against us. “Choose ye this day whom ye will support, us or them.”

Total alignment to a political order by church leaders usually comes with a compromised ability to speak truth to power. The preacher, pastor or prophet begins to speak FROM politics rather than TO politics.

The House of God becomes more like a political echo chamber or an adjunct to a political party, rather than the House of Prayer that Jesus said it is.

Instead of the Gospel being “the power of God unto salvation” (Rom 1:17) it becomes the power of the church to preserve the political status quo.  That’s when the church has ceased to be prophetic and has becomes pathetic.

United Family International Church (UFIC) leader Emmanuel Makandiwa sang President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s praises
United Family International Church (UFIC) leader Emmanuel Makandiwa sang President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s praises

But the church has no business know-towing to the demand for total political loyalty. First off, there are no politically homogenous church congregations. Local churches are usually a conglomeration and gathering of various and varying political viewpoints.

What church members of any given congregation have in common is only their love for God, not love for a political system or dispensation or who currently wields political power.

It is therefore presumptuous for us church leaders to assume that our political choices are synonymous with our congregation’s political choices. It is theological fascism.

Secondly, it is not traitorous for the Church to act in politically nuanced ways and support one political party’s platform on some issues and another party’s on others.

She should not be railroaded into endorsing every agenda coming down the political pike, especially when that agenda is inimical to scripture. In other words, we don’t need the Church or its leaders in bed with our politicians.

The offspring will bring tears to the nation. When the sons of God slept with the daughters of men in the Book of Genesis, a race of Godless giants was the result.

Preachers, prophets and pastors have an obligation, not to cozy up to politicians, but to speak truth to power. The prophet Elijah rebuked King Ahab and his wife Jezebel. The latter hunted down the prophet like a dog, only to end up herself dying a public and shameful death.  Her corpse was eaten up by the dogs along the walls of Jezreel.

John the Baptist spoke truth to Herod and paid for it with his life. Herod had basically dumped his first wife to marry his brother’s wife in clear violation of God’s law. The Baptist did not cozy up to the King but instead called him and his new wife out on it. He got his head cut off.

Truth is: when you speak truth to power, power often strikes back, and this is what scares the hell out of most pastors and prophets. They are afraid of the wrath of the government so they go soft on issues of social and political justice.

But fear is not the only motivator: men of God are also greedy and covetous of the economic favors that come with being granted political access.

The late Rev Billy Graham was sometimes called the “Protestant Pope.” During his lifetime he preached in person to more than 100 million people and was dubbed the most famous evangelist of the 20th century.

Yet with hindsight, Billy Graham said the one thing he regretted the most in his life was his cozy relationship with President Richard Nixon (of the Watergate scandal). His advice to preachers, pastors and prophets?

I … would have steered clear of politics. I’m grateful for the opportunities God gave me to minister to people in high places; people in power have spiritual and personal needs like everyone else, and often they have no one to talk to. But looking back I know I sometimes crossed the line, and I wouldn’t do that now.