Saturday, November 13, 2021

Faith in Political Power

Modern governments get involved in their people’s lives much more than in the past, but that has been a result of the people piling expectations on their politicians. These days everyone expects the government to do something when troubles occur. Even farmers and business people, who like to claim that they are staunchly independent, put up their hand for government handouts and subsidies when they face a crisis. Increased demands for government intervention in the economy and society inevitably lead to increased power for politicians.

Faith in the power of human government is the reason why there has been such an officious response to the covid crisis. This is what voters expect governments to do. People fear death, so they assume that their government is responsible for eliminating all unnecessary threats to life. When the flu arrived in New Zealand in 1919, the government was disorganised and did very little to prevent its spread. Although the disease spread quickly and thousands died, people just accepted this outcome without complaint, and there was no political fallout.

The situation today is different. The government is expected to deal with every crisis. To get elected, politicians have to be willing to take responsibility for a much wider range of problems, often beyond their capability, so they need much greater powers to deal with them. Our loss of political freedom is the natural outcome of faith in human government, a faith that does not seem to be going away.

Political change is not the solution. The solution is faith in Jesus and the power of the Spirit, not in isolation, but in a body which can do what the government cannot do (more at Being Church).

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