Christian activism in the Philippines is causing more division than unity, the Bible has clear instructions for church leaders to avoid it
The heavy dislike for the government is valid. Church leaders felt the need to respond politically. Priests, pastors dissuaded voters and issued political statements. Blinded by Satan, their response is tragic and threatens the Gospel.
Activism innate among Filipino
During the election campaign, a Bishop posed with political candidates known for their disdain for the President. He posted it on his social media. While CBCP denied endorsing politicians, its lay arm did.
Likewise, priests, evangelical pastors joined “anti-Supreme Court” protests to support the impeached Chief Justice. They questioned the decision of the highest court of the land.
→ Seductive idols of a Christian leader
How Jesus and the apostles responded to their abusive civil government authority
- Jesus never incited people against the Roman government. (Luke 23:5)
- Jesus refused to get entangled in political debate. (Matthew 22:15-22)
- Jesus was busy preaching or praying alone. (Matthew 5:1)
- Jesus surrendered his rights.
- The Apostles Paul and Peter gave instructions to submit to civil authorities.
- The Apostles focused on preaching and church planting. (Acts 8:4)
- The Apostles rebuked “religious church leaders.” (Acts 4-6)
- The only time the Apostles disobeyed authority was when they were being asked to stop preaching Jesus. We must obey God rather than men; that is a given.
In contrast, Jesus rebuked religious leaders, “He never spoke out—not even once—against the injustices of the corrupt Roman civil authority. There is NO example of political activism advocated by God’s people in the Scriptures. [Read commentary by Dave Hunt]
Apostle Paul and Peter’s instructions
- Apostle Paul willingly submitted to divine imprisonment without grumbling.
- He was respectful to the commander and Governor Felix who in turn, gave favor and protection. (Philippians 2:14-15; Read commentary; C. Swindol)
- Peter said, “Submit yourselves for the Lord’s sake to every human authority” (1 Peter 2:13). We do it for Jesus’ sake because He demonstrated it Himself.
- We submit to “avoid condemnation” and “win commendation” that shuts the mouth of those against the faith and looking for reasons to criticize believers. (1 Peter 2:15)
- The Roman Emperors during this time, like, Nero, were wicked leaders. Yet Peter writes, “Honor the king.” (1 Peter 2:17)
We submit to “avoid condemnation” and “win commendation”
→ Paul’s attitude to government authority.
Protesting, rallying, and telling the government what to do is not the same as exposing evil, nor was a Biblical tradition
Christian activists often use Nehemiah as an example of protest against an authority. Nehemiah was rebuking religious leaders for their abuse, not the civil government. It is not the same thing.
Pharisees were Bible scholars who sincerely thought they were doing the right thing (Ephesians 5:11, commentary) and so are religious leaders today, telling people to protest.
God raised prophets in the past to rebuke kings (Romans 13, Acts 22-24 commentary), but church leaders are tasked to make disciples.
Sincere church leaders want change, but that is not a Pastor’s ministry
Christian leaders are falling for Satan’s smokescreen. By mixing the Gospel with wanting political change, it is sending a wrong message to unbelievers.
In God’s time, rulers are replaced,ß unbelievers take them out if necessary, but Christians are called for a different purpose.
In God’s time, rulers are replaced, unbelievers take them out if necessary.
Clearly, God is judging the nation steep in idolatry and the pride of its leaders
The Philippines is the only Christian nation in Asia, yet we’re deep in poverty, dissension, and the threat of foreign invasion. Clearly, the LORD is judging the country.
Perhaps spiritual leaders meddling in politics should reflect on walking on Manila’s street with sackcloth and ashes on their forehead, as the Kings of Israel did when God judged their nation.
Your purpose is to share the Gospel
We need Bible-believing Christians in government; that’s why God is raising preachers, not activists. Social injustice won’t be served until Jesus returns.
Only the Gospel can transform the government and its people. As Carey Nieuwhof puts it, “Your job is to share the Gospel, not to change the government.”
Your job is to share the Gospel, not to change the government