We’re currently living through a moment of significant political polarization. How should the church respond?
Guilherme De Carvalho: With or without polarization, the church’s task is always the same: to give apostolic witness to the gospel and its implications for the world. Evangelical churches need to rediscover Christian social doctrine and the witness of the gospel. This is the only true cure for our fractured world.
Iza Vicente: In times of polarization and political violence, the church must be a pacifying entity, spreading peace and cultivating cordial relations, in a communion that goes beyond political differences. How can we be salt and light if we are only reproducing the political violence that society is already experiencing? What difference will we make in this polarized world?
Ziel Machado: We must first pray and discern. We’re not only dealing with political forces but spiritual forces as well. Thus, it is important to discern evil disguised as good. Just because something is quoting the Bible doesn’t make it biblical. The devil tempted Jesus using Scripture, and he continues to use Scripture to tempt us to this day, except the church has the Word and the Spirit of God that enable us to discern beyond appearances. In moments of intense polarization, this insight helps us understand a lot.
Christians also need to look at the cross of Christ. Our theology of the Cross helps us to flee the false gods of our time and embrace the power of the Cross—power that surrenders and serves. Thus, God’s people should never be divided over ideological issues or compromise their unity won on the cross by Christ. Even if we don’t always agree, this shouldn’t mean division in the church.
When politics foments division among Christians, it is none other than Satan using Scripture and religious sayings to divide the church. Therefore, the church needs to recover discernment. This starts with asking both that God forgives us and that, in his infinite mercy, he allows us to hear the voice of the Good Shepherd again.
Jacira Monteiro: Jesus said, “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God” (Matt. 5:9). The church should be talking about politics to point out solutions on how to be agents of peace in a polarized world.
As the world increasingly displays the works of the flesh through strife, enmity, dissension, and political idolatry (Gal. 5:19–21), the church must further demonstrate the fruits of the Spirit—namely, love, peace, gentleness, and self-control (vv. 22–23). The church must be an agent of love and reconciliation in the midst of such an aggressive, polarized, and extremist world.
Ricardo Barbosa: Let’s persevere in prayer and instruct God’s people to recognize that it is Jesus Christ, the Lord, who governs all things and is the only one to whom we owe, above everything and everyone, obedience. Whenever some other power—be it governments, powers, ideologies—tries to take over our lives, we deny the rule of the only Sovereign in history.
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How Should the Church Respond to Political Polarization?