The Bible Society of Ghana has distanced itself from false publications attributed to the former Moderator of the Presbyterian Church of Ghana, Very Reverend Professor Emmanuel Martey.
The Society said the publications attributed a falsified comment which suggested that Rev Martey had urged the Church to stay away from politics.
In a disclaimer, the Bible Society published the key highlights from its Public Lecture themed "the Bible and Politics" which was addressed by Very Rev Professor Emmanuel Martey.
The Society maintains that Prof Martey stated that “Individual Christians can participate and belong to political parties, but not the Church.”
According to the Speaker, “Christians should be concerned about how their government is run and their society is ruled. To maintain a godly society, individual Christians should become involved to some degree in politics – whether it’s by praying for their Leaders, exercising their privilege to vote or actually to hold a political office”.
In his presentation, the Speaker stated that, the Bible gives the truth regarding the Christian attitude and stance towards politics and governments, some of which are: Respect for Authority, Always placing God first, Prayer for Political Leaders, Payment of Taxes and Seeking Justice, Defending the Oppressed and Helping the Poor.
Respect for Authority
According to him, Christians are called to Respect Authority. The Bible affirms that God has hands in politics and places those in authority for a reason - for our benefit. Therefore, we ought to respect the governing authorities. Our responsibility to the government is to obey the laws and be good citizens (Romans 13:1-3). The respect for authority runs through the whole Bible from the Old to the New Testament which gives an impulse and a desire for political order. He also stated that the Bible testifies that Israel’s Glory days were synonymous with Kingship and that the earliest Christians had a high level of respect towards political authority.
God must always be placed first
He opined that God must always be placed first. The ultimate Leader is God who permeates and supersedes every area of life. He explained that politics is merely a method God uses to accomplish His Will, although, some human beings may abuse their political power making it evil; God means it for good.
Prayer for Political Leaders
According to him, the Bible enjoins Christians to pray for Political Leaders. The Apostle Paul urges Christians that, first of all, “petitions, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for all people – for Kings and all those in authority, that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness. This is good, and pleases God our Saviour, who wants all people to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth.” (1 Timothy 2:1-4)
Payment of Taxes
He explained that the Bible urges Christians to pay taxes. Jesus Himself approved the payment of tax to the ruler. When the denarius coin used in paying tax was given to Him with Caesar’s image, Jesus replied, “Render therefore to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s and to God the things that are God’s.” (Matthew 22:21, NKJV). The Bible further commands us to pay our taxes so that Government Workers could be paid their wages or salaries.
Seek Justice, Defend the Oppressed and Help the Poor
According to him, in the Bible, we are called to seek justice, defend the oppressed and help the poor. We are urged in Isaiah 1:17 to “Learn to do right; seek justice, defend the oppressed take up the cause of the fatherless; plead the case of the widow.” Besides, we are to “speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves, for the rights of all who are destitute. Speak up and judge fairly; defend the rights of the poor and needy.” (Proverbs 31:8-9).
He further affirmed that in our quest for fair, credible and non-violent elections which will bring the peace we all long for – before, during and after the December 7, 2020 elections, all stakeholders have their respective roles to play. On the part of the Church, over the years it has played its role through prayer, education, consultations, seminars and workshops as well as conflict resolutions as its contribution for nurturing Ghana’s young democracy.
He advised that the Electoral Commission can be a strong deterrent to electoral violence if they are apolitical, neutral, efficient and effective; and above all, if they are well resourced. He also explained that an important pre-election preparation is the civic education of citizens; hence the National Commission for Civic Education should also be well resourced and adequately equipped to carry out their responsibilities.
In conclusion, he stated that “Individual Christians can participate and belong to political parties, but not the Church.” He argued that “Politics is at the centre of the story of Jesus in the Bible but Jesus of Nazareth refused to become involved in any political leadership issue and the reason Jesus acted this way had to do with the nature of His Kingdom which was not of this world system”.
He reiterated that “the Church which is called by Christ’s name cannot be partisan in its political involvement but Individual Christians can participate and belong to political parties”.
Read the entire disclaimer below;