the wisdom of the Church. That
means to prize the Bible as God’s
Word written. Then also to take full
advantage of the other gifts God has
given us – in scholarship, experience, art, and in the traditions we
have in our ethnic and family units,
as well as in our particular churches
– and above all, the Holy Spirit.
Two people who self-identify as
Christians can think Christianly and
come up with very different ideas
about politics. What are we to make
Some people are just smarter than
other people in different zones.
While each of us alone is responsible for our political and religious
decisions, there is a genuine place
for expertise, and we often fail to
Christians can also disagree because politics is complicated, and
where it is, there is no more scandal
in two Christians disagreeing than
there would be with two generals
who are each loyal to the same side,
but who have different understandings of strategy or logistics. They
both want the same outcome, but
they legitimately differ on how that
outcome should be achieved.
Finally, in any given situation, it
may be that what the Lord wants to
accomplish is sufficiently complex
that no one posture or policy will
be sufficient to effect it.
What are some of the questions
we ought to ask ourselves when
considering how to cast a vote?
One of the key questions is, What
is necessary in the short term?
Often we’re encouraged to think
very long term in politics, but we
also need to look at the immediate
situation. Where is our country or
province or municipality now?
Given that we’ll have another election in the relatively near future, a
vote needs to be seen in terms of
which way we need to nudge our
Why should Christians explore
theology for help engaging in the
Theology helps us understand what
it means to live in relationship with
God and other people. Too many
Christians see their lives purely
from a church or ecclesial paradigm. Spiritual and church activities define their life with God and
their Christian identity. They regard their life in this world with
ambivalence at best and chagrin at
worst. But this way of thinking
alienates people from the life for
which God created them.
What should be the correct
approach for political engagement
by Christians today?
Christians can sometimes be more
concerned with advancing one of
our moral causes than we are with
political process over the next few
years. That’s the philosophy behind
my own voting pattern. I have
looked at where my particular riding (and region and country) needs
to be helped, and particularly
where the poor and the powerless
need help, and asked, “Who is
likely to bring a correction?”
ASSOCIATE PROFESSOR OF
SYSTEMATIC AND HISTORICAL
THEOLOGY AT MCMASTER
DIVINIT Y COLLEGE
Author of A Pentecostal Political
Theology for American Renewal:
Spirit of the Kingdoms, Citizens of
the Cities (Palgrave Macmillan, 2016)
so here in Canada and so Christians
should, whenever possible, exercise
However, the correction we need
is to broaden our understanding of
politics in ways closer to historic
The word “politics” is derived
from the Greek word polis meaning
“city-state.” It implies a theory of
structuring social relationships to
accomplish the greatest good for
the common population.
So, “political” should mean
working toward all the ways in
which the glory of God may best
be displayed in our society as we
seek good for all – Christians, non-Christians and even those who have
no religious commitments at all.
This means the Church in Canada
needs to better learn to do “life
together” (to steal the title of
Dietrich Bonhoeffer’s little classic)
in view of the world, as followers
and lovers of Jesus Christ.
For it will not be how well we are
able to convince others of biblical
views (though we should do this
also), but how well we exemplify
lives lived for the common good, and
not just for our own sakes.
So Jesus does not say, “They will
know you are my disciples by how
you vote,” but “They will know you
are my disciples by how you love
one another” (John 13: 35).
the ways in
glory of God
may best be
as we seek
all – for
David Guretzki is professor of theology,
Caronport, Sask. His latest book is An Explorer’s
Guide to Karl Barth (InterVarsity, 2016). In June
2017 he will be moving to Ottawa to become
executive vice-president of The Evangelical
Fellowship of Canada.