Project Documents

Date of Award

2014

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

D.Min.

School

Seventh-day Adventist Theological Seminary

Program

Doctor of Ministry DMin

First Advisor

Nancy Vyhmeister

Second Advisor

Wagner Kuhn

Third Advisor

Boubakar Sanou

Abstract

Problem

There is no harmony in the understanding of the momentous "middle-of-the-road" approach when it comes to political involvement. Some people are politically headstrong, while others are laid back. This standoff has left the church in a quandary about what to do concerning civic matters. The scarcity of a farsighted stratagem to help guide church members on citizenship issues might be the cause of the deadlock.

Method

To provide some framework, biblical principles and guidelines from the writings of Ellen G. White on political involvement were established. In addition to reviewing Adventist and other Christian authors on responsible citizenship, this examination also delineated some Jewish conceptions on the subject. Then, after a consideration of the political, cultural, and religious context of Harare, the specific context of Mount Pleasant Church was elucidated. Next, a strategy for political involvement was developed and implemented. Following this, a report on strategy implementation and recommendations were made, and a conclusion drafted.

Results

The Mount Pleasant Church understands and appreciates the historic apolitical Adventist stance. The members have been equipped with biblical guidelines on how they ought to relate to the state. A foundation was laid for the training of peacemakers to help bring about the much needed national healing and reconciliation.

Conclusions

Christians are not just citizens of the world to come, but of the all-encompassing kingdom of God. They have a divine mandate to stand with voice and vote against injustice. Their activism is supposed to be nonviolent and includes roles of advocacy, mediation, and reconciliation. While Christians are called upon to respect earthly government, there is room in their lives for civil disobedience when the requirements of the state conflict with those of God. There is room within the church for those feeling the call to occupy political office just as any other profession, provided they do not compromise biblical principles. Finally, there must be a clear demarcation between church and the state; the church has spiritual authority from God and must not depend on the government to fulfill its mission. On the other hand, the state should not use the church to advance its cause.

Subject Area

Christianity and politics--Zimbabwe--Sevcenth-day Adventists, Seventh-day Adventists--Zimbabwe

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