February Pastoral Newsletter
Can and should the church get involved in politics? That’s a question I always have at the back of my mind whenever I watch or listen to the news. The Statement Concerning the Nature, Faith, and Order of the URC reminds us that we have a church government which is ‘distinct from the government of the state’, and that ‘In things that affect obedience to God the church government is not subordinate to the state’.
Therefore, in some ways the church is saying that we are separate from the state and I would guess that means we ought not to meddle in politics. And I would categorically state that we ought to consider carefully what we say when it comes to Party Politics.
However, we are also citizens of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland. And as citizens of that kingdom, we have been given a voice through which we should challenge political decisions which we believe to be wrong.
Why should I be writing this? I write because here we are in the midst of a Pandemic when HM Government regularly make decisions which affect all of our lives – what we can and cannot do, where we can and cannot go, how many people can attend the rites of passage, even whether or not we can sing in church when the building is open of corporate worship, and perhaps at a time when a pastoral visit would be most appreciated the Elders, Pastoral visitors and myself are unable to visit you at home.
So yes, I do believe it is right for the church to be involved in politics, especially if it means that the right decisions and actions are taken. From the rise of National Socialism in Germany in the 1930’s, the church there acquiesced to what was happening and, in some senses, has been blamed ever since for failing to speak out.
My prayer for us all this month, is that we will take whatever legal action we think necessary to ensure that we too will not be blamed when the history of our time is written for future generations.
Your friend and servant in Christ,