This year we celebrate 20 years of South Africa’s (SA) democracy. Remember the miracle of the 1994 elections? We go to the polls again on 8 May 2014. How should the church relate to the government – the ruling ANC party – at this time? How should we vote?
Historically there have been three general approaches to the Church/State relationship:
- Kingdom of God approach: Separation of Church and State; a critical partnership meaning constructive support on matters for the good of society and critical resistance on matters harmful to society (when Kingdom values and ethics are violated).
- Constantinian approach: Union of Church and State, called Christendom, from when Emporer Constantine (311AD) became a Christian. It’s an activist involvement either for the State (a State Church), or against the State (a Subversive Church). Traditional Churches still operate in this paradigm. The Anabaptists (in 1500s) were the first to break away from State-Church control, called Free Churches.
- Pietistic approach: Church withdrawal from the State – being a-political, meaning “don’t meddle with politics… it’s not the concern of the Church”. This “remain silent” approach is found in Evangelical, Pentecostal and Charismatic churches (especially during the Apartheid years). In reality it means support for the status quo. Continue reading 2014 SA Elections: Biblical Guidance on Voting