Christian Politics in NZ
Monday, September 28, 2020
Written by Alan Vink
Categories: Gospel and Culture
Tags: Church and society
Good Morning and Welcome to this week’s Gospel and Culture update, by Alan Vink
Monday 28th September, 2020
Christian Politics in NZ
POV. Unless you have been living under a rock, you will be aware to some degree about the history of Christians in Politics in NZ since the early 90’s. If you want a useful and quick overview read this short historical overview. In sum there have been 14 Christian Political Party iterations (including the current four) in about 25 years. It will take you approximately 20minutes to read and having done so, if you are anything like me you will feel rather despondent, maybe ashamed and perhaps even depressed. It does not make for good reading……just being honest.
Personally, I had a few small involvements and I was in contact with some of the key players during the 90’s. I was motivated by a desire to see traditional family values or conservative values represented in NZ’s Parliament. I still am. Further our MMP system allows for minor parties to be involved as we have seen with New Zealand First, The Greens and Act for example in this last term of parliament.
That said, things on the political front have certainly changed this year. In particular in seven areas as I see it.
- The emergence of four Christian or Christian based political parties contesting this year’s general election.
- Labour according to the most recent polls may be able to Govern alone after this General Election. If that happens that would be the first time in MMP history in NZ that a party does not need a coalition partner to form a Government. That’s extraordinary.
- The Referendum questions are creating a lot of angst around the country and rightly so. We still have a lot of work to do on both issues but especially the Euthanasia question.
- Both the content and volume of ‘conspiracy theories’ especially amongst Christians is quite frankly astonishing especially with the advent of Covid19 in February this year. An alternative narrative seems to be well and truly entrenched amongst many Christians with some Pastors publicly advancing these views.
- A general awareness amongst many Christian leaders that NZ is on a moral slide that is both frightening and deeply troubling perhaps even unprecedented in our history.
- We are miles away from a united ‘political’ platform. That is evidenced by two things primarily. We currently have four Christian based parties when we should only have one and secondly most Christians won’t be voting for a Christian party if the past is anything to go on. The current polling verifies that.
- A rather naïve and completely unrealistic expectation (and resultant utterances) by some Christian people that all this can be changed by electing a Christian party or a Christian person into parliament.
Given our recent history as in the Wikipedia article AND given the above seven points I think we might be served really well to approach the world of politics with 1) a much greater degree of humility, 2) a much more thoughtful hermeneutic about Christian involvement in politics and 3) a realistic understanding of what you can reasonably achieve in what is now a very secular society and successive Governments that reflect that secularism.
So to you my fellow Christian leaders what do you think of all this? Do you think this is still a pursuit worth going for? What is the best way for Christians to be ‘salt and light’ in NZ in this day and age? Has Christian Politics any future in NZ? What would Jesus say to us and what would He do if He were living and ministering in our context today?
Perhaps a new conversation is needed?
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Alan Vink is currently the Executive Director for LeadershipWorx. Prior to this role he has been the Executive Director of Willow Creek Association NZ (WillowNZ), a Baptist pastor (23 years), Bible College teacher, and church consultant.