Can Politics, church mix?

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This is a must read booklet for academicians, seminarians, journalists, theologians and politicians, who like many people, have been made to believe that politics and the church should never mix.

A local clergyman, Bishop Paul Bupe, has unmasked this myth with forceful arguments in a booklet that would help to clear the sandpapery relationship that exists between these two important, yet usually antagonistic institutions (church and politics), especially in Africa where the church is perceived as an opponent that should never meddle in running the affairs of the country.

The liaison between Christianity and politics is a traditionally complex subject and a frequent source of disagreement throughout the history of Christianity, as well as in modern politics leading to two schools of thought; those who support that the two should work together and those who oppose that they should remain separate.

There has been a wide variety of ways in which thinkers have conceived the relationship between Christianity and politics, with many arguing that Christianity directly supports a particular political ideology or philosophy.

Along these lines, various thinkers have argued for Christian communism, Christian socialism, Christian anarchism, Christian libertarianism, or Christian democracy.

Others believe that Christians should have little interest or participation in politics or government.

However, in his booklet, Bishop Bupe does not take any radical stance apart from logically arguing that politics and the church should be partners contrary to ancient but erroneous views that the two should not mix.

So forceful is his argument that one needs to refer to many Biblical verses where the two have operated side by side.
Examples in the Bible abound. The Hebrew Bible which contains a complex chronicle of the Kings of Israel and Judah, written over the course of many generations by authors whose relationships and intimacy with the rulers of the several kingdoms fluctuated widely in both intimacy and respect.

Some historical passages of the Hebrew Bible contain intimate portrayals of the inner workings of the royal households of Saul, David and Solomon; the accounts of subsequent monarchs are frequently more distanced and less detailed, and frequently begin with the judgment that the monarch “did evil in the sight of the Lord”.

The Christian New Testament, instead, begins with the story of Jesus crucified as a criminal who had offended both the Jewish priesthood and the Roman imperial authorities.

At least to outward appearances, Jesus was at the periphery of political life and power in the Roman Province of Judea. Nevertheless, a number of political currents appear in New Testament writings highlighting the relationship of the church and politics.

With a well thought-out introduction, Bishop Bupe argues his points well under headings like Church and State: A Historical Account, Dismantling Myths about Church and Politics, Christian Political Engagement, The Meaning of Zambia as Christian Nation, The Meaning of Church, Politics of Morality and The Jubilee President.

Under the chapter The Meaning of Zambia as Christian Nation, the clergyman cites the genesis of the declaration of Zambia as a Christian nation by late former President Frederick Chiluba.

He cites the solemn message by Dr Chiluba: “On behalf of the nation, I have now entered into a covenant with the living God and therefore, I want to make the following declaration:

I say here today that I submit myself as President to the Lordship of Jesus Christ. I likewise submit the government and the entire nation of Zambia to the Lordship of Jesus Christ.

I further declare that Zambia is a Christian nation that will seek to be governed by the righteous principles of the word of God. Righteousness and justice must prevail in all levels of authority and we shall see the righteousness of God exalting Zambia.”

Bishop Bupe chronicles the mixed reaction this declaration from the church with one camp accepting it and another rejecting it.

The author has been in church ministry for 31 years and is the presiding prelate of the Redeemed Methodist Church who presides over Zambia, Rwanda, Democratic Republic of Congo and Burundi.

He holds a PhD in church ministry from Ashland Theological Seminary in Ohio, United States of America (USA) and Masters of Divinity from Payne Theological Seminary in Ohio, USA.

He also holds a Bachelor of Arts in Religion from Allen University in South Carolina, USA, and a Diploma in Theology from the Theological College of Central Africa in Ndola, Zambia. Bishop Bupe has served as pastor both in the USA and Zambia.
He has combined being an international figure with his African heritage while striking a balance between the European and African understanding of issues.

This is his second book after penning ‘The Plight of a Widow in Zambia’. He has also directed two local movies ‘Mukamfwilwa Mwikamuchusha and ‘Ichikupempula Echikulya’.

Other works include a dramatised poem on DVD entitled ‘Africa Wansebanya’.

Inevitably, it is the detail about the topics he handles that makes reading the Church and Politics booklet essential, making it a gripping account of myths on the issue of politics not mixing with the church.

Title: Church and Politics
Author: Bishop Paul Bupe

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Start: 2019-07-01 End: 2019-07-31