Posts Tagged ‘democracy’

Lest we Forget!

November 13, 2011

The following is a short extract from the end of one of my stories in “A Biblical Journey through the Irish Year.” The story entitled: Wars, Rumours of War, Three Hostages… and the Prayers of the Saints (Matt. 21v22 & Matt. 24v6-8) tells of how a young woman, Annetta Flanagan from the small village of Richhill in Northern Ireland was taken hostage by the Taliban back in 2004. Many Christians in the Richhill area prayed fervently and I thank the Lord that Annetta and her two colleagues were released unharmed some weeks later…

“The dawn of Tuesday 23rd November 2004, brought that release of Annetta and her colleagues – almost a month after they were taken hostage on Thursday 28th October. The details of the release were vague – probably because no one wanted to jeopardise those who could be involved in possible future hostage situations. One of their captors is believed to have been shot dead, but the three victims were safe and well. Only those involved in this traumatic event knew how it was for them, and are able to tell their story. But from the moment that I heard that breaking news, I wanted to tell a story – a story of the great power of our wonderful Saviour, for whom all things are possible, and I wanted that story to have a happy ending. I thank God that it did!

With tears in my eyes, I looked at all types of newspapers on display that week, depicting the smiling face of Annetta as she headed home to be re-united with loved ones. A headline in one Dublin newspaper announced: “Town rejoices as power of prayer brings Annetta home.” (Irish Independent, Wednesday 24th November 2004).  Even the secular world was acknowledging the power of prayer!

It is interesting to note that during their time in captivity, three Afghan women offered to take the place of the three hostages! What a noble gesture – and yet on hearing of this I was immediately struck by the words of Romans 5v7… “For scarcely for a righteous man will one die: yet peradventure for a good man some would even dare to die.” No doubt the Afghan ladies saw the injustice in threatening to kill people who were merely helping with democratic elections. However, who would offer his or her life for someone whom, in his or her view, was evil and even deserved death? Nevertheless we read… “But God commendeth his love towards us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.”  (Romans 5v8) The righteous Son of God laid down His life for all (1Tim. 2v5&6) in the knowledge that nothing less than this enormous sacrifice could ever redeem the human race. 

Valiant soldiers through the ages gave their lives, so that democracy would overcome the tyrants of this world.  Annually we remember the dead of two World Wars, and the sacrifices that were made. How much more then, should we acknowledge and honour Jesus, Prince of Peace (Isaiah 9v6) who gave His life for the billions of souls throughout the ages, to redeem them to Himself? I have no doubt that he has spoken to souls through this and other traumatic events, and that He will continue to speak to them in the days that lie ahead – so that they may trust Him for eternity, escaping a worse situation than they have been involved in, upon this earth. “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the Lord, For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts.” (Isaiah 55v8&9). A short time after the event, I wrote to a local newspaper wishing the released hostages a full recovery after their horrific ordeal. My letter concluded with the words of Ephesians 3v20&21, which I feel is an apt conclusion to a story that must give God the glory. Perhaps, too, it may have even more joyful implications than we would ever have dreamed possible… “Now unto Him that is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that worketh in us, unto Him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus throughout all ages, world without end, Amen.”

Morning, noon and night our whispered anxious prayers,

Rose in silent anguish to the throne of He who cares.

Oh blessed Lord, we thank thee now, for thou hast said: “Believe…

For if ye are my servants… ye shall indeed receive!”

Should Christians be Involved in Politics – or Even Vote?

March 9, 2011

After the recent general election and establishment of a new government in Ireland, I was thinking of those who don’t (or cannot) vote for one reason or another. However, few people realise that there is a substantial percentage of the population whose religious convictions prevent them from voting because of these words of Jesus: “My kingdom is not of this world.” (John 18v36) Yet I am also reminded of His words in Luke 20v25: “Render therefore unto Caesar the things which be Caesar’s, and unto God the things which be God’s.”

As I go about my business every day, I am very much aware that (like it or not) I actually live and participate in this world; a world where I buy and sell (for the moment) and a world of political leaders who make decisions which affect the nature of our lives as human beings. Could I, for example, as a Christian, stand by and take no part in a referendum which would introduce ethnic cleansing? If I had lived during the era of Hitler’s regime, would I not, as a Christian, have had strong views on this man’s murderous attitude to the Jews, God’s ancient chosen people – and to other minority groups whom he abhorred?

Yes, as an individual I feel morally bound to use my vote but to be honest I find myself voting to keep certain candidates out, as opposed to putting people into government.

Unfortunately in Ireland there are political parties which have been (and very possibly still are) associated with terrorist organisations. Therefore, how can I, as a Christian, stand back and not use the tiny influence that I have in my vote to stop such political parties gaining power in my country? In Proverbs 28v5 I read: “Evil men understand not judgement: but they that seek the Lord understand all things.” Therefore I feel that as a Christian the Lord would have me to use my vote prayerfully at both election and referendum times. However… should a Christian be a politician?

One good example of a Christian politician in history is William Wilberforce. This young man came to faith in the Lord Jesus Christ in 1784, having been influenced by a book “The Rise and Progress of Religion in the Soul” by William Doddridge who was a leading non-conformist in the early 18th century. It was the influence of William Wilberforce in politics which lead to the abolition of the slave trade but he also advocated many other changes in society which were based on Christian principles.

Having quoted this example of a Christian politician in history, however, I also believe that there are relatively few Christians involved in politics in today’s world, something which is evidenced by the introduction of evil laws and legislation which are contrary to scripture.

In answer to the question: “can a Christian be a politician?” I believe that the answer is ‘yes’ but only, of course, if the Lord definitely guides the individual to do so. He or she would need to be strong in their relationship with the Saviour and to be in no doubt as to their calling into this field for it is a difficult sphere in which to take a stand. Many snares are out there and the Christian must “dare to be a Daniel – and dare to make it known!” It must be remembered that neither politics nor any other issue in this life must get in the way of our relationship with the Lord. He must come first in our lives above all else and we must never be tempted to compromise our position because of popular or majority support for something which is contrary to God’s laws. Jesus said: “He that is not with me is against me;” (Matthew 12v30)

There can be no ‘sitting on the fence’ and no ‘grey areas’ when voting on any issue.

With this in mind it is interesting to note that William Wilberforce was an independent Member of Parliament. For obvious reasons, it is perhaps not a good idea for Christians to be involved in ‘Party Politics’ – unless the Party concerned has a manifesto which is based solely on Biblical principles.

As someone who was born in the middle of the 20th century I have watched, with interest, the political events of this world unfold. Totalitarian regimes and the many faces of communism have come and gone. Proverbs 1v14 warns of those who beg… “cast in thy lot among us; let us all have one purse;” and Proverbs 28v15 warns of wicked rulers… “As a roaring lion, and a raging bear; so is a wicked ruler over the poor people.”

Proverbs 27v24 declares… “For riches are not for ever: and doth the crown endure to every generation?” And so, this world will some day come to an end – along with all earthly kingdoms and political ideologies. But there is a King who is coming to reign and “of the increase of his government and peace there shall be no end…” (Isaiah 9v6&7) He is “KING OF KINGS, AND LORD OF LORDS” (Rev. 19v16) and His glorious Kingdom “is not of this world.” Therefore let us who know the Lord Jesus Christ as Saviour serve Him with a pure heart in this life, whatever our standing in the communities in which we live. We must take a stand on the controversial issues of our day, for if we claim to own Jesus as “King of Kings and Lord of Lords,” then we are the “salt of the earth” – but “if the salt have lost his savour, wherewith shall it be salted?” (Matthew 5v13)

Link to the hymn: “Sing we the King who is coming to reign:” http://www.hymntime.com/tch/htm/s/i/singking.htm