Ron Sider on Church, Politics, and “The Global Scenario: Lessons from the USA”

Several weeks ago, CSA Executive Director Nikki Toyama-Szeto and CSA Founder Ron Sider took part in a 3-day Church and Politics Summit in Kenya designed to create meaningful dialogue between the Christian community and the political marketspace. Several thousand people attended the summit as high-level church and civic leaders reflected on questions like: Should the church engage in politics? Should Christians actively advance a political agenda? and Can Christian clergy seek elective political office?

The summit was an initiative of the Kenyan Church, in conjunction with Hesabika Trust, Kenya Christians Professionals Forum, and The Catalead.

Conference attendees had quite a few questions about the church in America and its intersection with politics. Due to a lack of time, we were not able to get to all the questions. We just posted an article where we attempt to answer a few of those. 

During the conference, Ron Sider presented on “The Global Scenario: Lessons from the USA.” You can watch his presentation here:

Summary text:

Christians subscribe to the teachings of Jesus Christ and our political norms should be based on Christian values and doctrine. The Kenyan Church should not make the mistake of American Catholics and Evangelicals, where one-issue politics replaced the biblical, more holistic approach that is needed for effective political engagement.

  1. The Church needs to study the world – understand how the system works, understand what the issues are. Understand how the fallen world works (or what is not working), as this is the context in which Christians are called to engage. “Do not be conformed to this world…”
  2. Christians need to develop a biblical approach to politics through sound understanding of norms and the laws viz the economics, the politics, the societal norms.
  3. It is the responsibility of the Church to hold all politicians and political parties accountable for their actions and political philosophies. There should also be a place for Christians to call out bad behavior in the political sphere.
  4. Church leaders’ primary responsibility is to help people develop a biblical based approach and biblical framework for engaging in politics.
  5. It is crucial for Christians to develop their agenda based on biblical and Christian norms, otherwise their agenda will be informed by the values of the world.

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