I have noted how our government turn to the bible in times of distress. Why is this so? Most people in Zimbabwe believe in the bible, others are Christians others not, but whichever way most would listen and obey if a Bible verse is quoted correctly or incorrectly. We have heard officials quote different scriptures but today I will take a close look at Romans 13, which many government officials use to pacify Christians.
They came to Jesus with a tricky question should we pay tax, “give to Caesar what belongs to Caesar ” the system in place at the time the new Testament was written is different from Zimbabwe’s system, ours is a constitutional democracy however the principles are the same. There are laws in every land and the principle of Romans 13:1-8 is universal and timeless. A Christian must uphold the law of the land.
Should a Christian demonstrate?
The major question Christians have today is: Can I get involved in demonstrations? One of my main proposition is all Christians must submit to the constitution, the government is there for reasons stated in Romans 13, the government is also bound by the same constitution which allows all citizens to demonstrate, Section 59 of the Constitution states that, ‘every person has the right to demonstrate and present petitions, but these rights must be exercised peacefully’. This section is simple and its important to understand that this provision does not overrule other provisions, demonstrate peacefully and obey all other laws, having said that no one is forced to demonstrate.
Should a Christian serve in government.
Romans 13:1-2 is clear that God allows governments to be in place for his will, Why would a Christian not work in a system instituted by God, The Ethiopian eunuch was baptised, the jailer was baptised and we see Paul being tried by roman authorities he also took the opportunity to preach to them, Cornelius is baptised (all these cases are in the book of Acts). A Christian can hold office in government and take any position in government institutions be it police, army or the courts. However a Christian’s primary duty is to uphold the supreme law of Christ.
Should a Christian vote?
The Christian can vote if they want, it’s a right in our Constitution. The same government that tells you to support them without question will turn again and say: you can vote and choose a government of your choice. It’s also important to note when the new Testament was written the Roman empire was in charge, there were laws, functional courts just as we have however the office bearers were not voted into power as we do today, the people had no say in governance, fast forward to today we have laws that allow us to vote, have freedom of speech, demonstrate, sue, be sued, among many things. Upon swearing in our leaders give oaths to uphold the constitution. As long as it’s allowed by the law a Christian can do, however like any citizen one can waive their rights for example the law does allow you to vote but it’s no crime not to.
Can a Christian become a politician?
From what I have written above a Christian can get into politics because the law allows it. I will encourage a Christian to get into politics as an independent as one will not be obliged to defend a party position.
Submit to authorities
This is a buzz word from our government and many Christians are scared to sin if they fail to be in subjection to authorities. From what I have highlighted above including Paul’s example below , it is clear there were laws in place that were used to govern. The same applies today, the government and citizens all submit to the constitution. The president can not wake up and say to Tom: give me everything you have basing on Romans 13, Even though Tom may be a devout Christian he will and must refuse because the law protects him.
Those quoting Romans 13, will no be able to defend Why we fought the liberation struggle to remove the Ian Smith regime further they want to pretend we do not have a constitution in the land that not only allows political parties to be there but fund them, further the constitution gives citizens rights and obligations apart from the constitution we have various Acts enacted for the reasons stated in Romans 13.
Many Christians are aware of Paul’s trial in the book of acts on trumped up charges after being tried by many Roman officials he stands before Festus who if he tried him fairly would have acquitted him at that point Paul appeals to Caesar and his request is granted Acts 25:9-12. Paul is the one who writes Romans 13,he faced trial and used his rights as a Roman citizen in terms of the law. The law is good for us Christian lets obey it. No one is above the law. Let me at this point state that our law today has a lot it copied from the Roman Law. Paul took advantage of the law of the day by doing so he did not disobey authorities.
In conclusion I hope all Christians will read the bible well and seek to Interpret it well. Avoid being spoon fed by your preacher, pastor and the so called prophets and Apostles some of them are government agents, most are after money and they can do anything for the money. True Church leaders will not allow politicians to address the church. The church is a body of Christ composed of different people with different opinions so church leaders must not allow their opinion to rule or suppress others. Enjoy your freedom as a Zimbabwean, keep the law and if government breaks the law it must be held to account. Our law gives you freedom of expression and defends human rights. You have nothing to be afraid of as long as you live according to the law. Be careful the government and some church leaders may manipulate you. The key is respect public officials in line with the law of the land: give to Caesar what’s Caesar’s. Christians must not enforce their choice or opinions as if they are doctrine. There are numerous scriptures I did not quote in this article, there are plenty of constitutional provisions I also did not mention. I encourage you to read the constitution.