When it comes to politics, what mistakes should evangelicals avoid making?
Guilherme De Carvalho: First, putting the interests of the denomination or the evangelical community above the common good. Christianity is precisely the faith that leads us to self-forgetfulness—that is, to an attitude of not thinking only about yourself and your personal interests.
Second, we need to avoid letting ourselves be fooled by the “apocalyptic packing” where, when faced with a threatened future, the believer “converts” to the agenda of a candidate of the Left or the Right. The candidate can then manipulate this believer through rhetoric such as “Otherwise the PT will come back!” or “Otherwise fascism wins!” When Christians give up building and developing a positive political agenda based on Christian principles of social doctrine and uncritically embrace the agenda of a savior warlord, they betray their faith.
Iza Vicente: One of the biggest mistakes is putting all your hope in authoritarian political agendas and endorsing figures who weaken the public witness of the church. Another is politicizing faith and sacralizing politics. This means instrumentalizing the faith for merely political ends, as well as thinking that the only way the church can contribute to the common good is through the dominion and control of the spaces of power and that there are envoys anointed for this messianic and heroic task. We should revisit these assumptions.
Ziel Machado: We cannot confuse numbers with representative capacity. Evangelicals have grown to a significant size, and the number of evangelical votes is quite significant. However, is the magnitude of evangelicals proportional to our ability to contribute as citizens? No, it is not.
The church trains people to evangelize and sing in the choir but not how to responsibly engage in politics. We need to train ourselves to have an adequate participation in civil society. Our calling is to be a blessing to all.
Jacira Monteiro: The mistake of exchanging our biblical values for political power. Evangelicals must especially avoid making indiscriminate use of the Word of God, through weak or distorted exegesis and hermeneutics, to support policies, especially those that go against the Word of God itself.
Ricardo Barbosa: Creating a religious state and making the church a political arm of any party or candidate are the biggest mistakes evangelicals can make. Although many try to justify the creation of a religious state, we do not find anything in the Bible that justifies this. As citizens and Christians, we can and should participate in public life and contribute to a more just society, but not create a religious government or allow the church to be used for political/ideological purposes. That doesn’t mean we can’t have religious politicians. Yes, we can, but let them be servants of the nation and promoters of the common good.
Read our guests’ bio in the lead article.
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When It Comes to Politics, What Mistakes Should Evangelicals Avoid Making?