How Christianity Influenced Politics


I thought that one way to go was to demonstrate how the Christian religion prompted people to go into politics and serve their people.

  1. Mandela—on forgiveness (There is an article in the Christianity Today) Website I think on how Christianity influenced him. This is also mentioned in the bio in Great Souls.
  2. Bonhoeffer on protest against authorities because of commitment to God and sustained in prison by his faith.
  3. Wilberforce’s commitment to abolition may have been before he became a Christian but the Clapham sect supported him and played a great role through prayer, researching and encouragement in his long battle.
  4. Martin Luther King on non-violence
  5. Kagawa in Japan who came from a rich background and saw the suffering of the poor and decided to live in the slums of Kobe?? when he was recovering from TB. He was a mass evangelist but also a social reformer. He was appointed by the government to coordinate relief operations after an earthquake. He I believe started the first Trade Union in Japan.
  6. The early Methodists had the rich and the poor studying the word and fellowshipping together in their class meetings. They were appalled by what their brothers and sisters were going through. This resulted in a social conscience which had a huge impact on Britain. Some say that the Wesleyan revival may have helped avert a repetition of the French revolution because the rich spoke up on behalf of the poor and won the rights of the poor without having to resort to violence. Methodists were influential in the starting of the first trade unions in Britain. The last letter Wesley sent before his death was to Wilberforce.
  7. Gandhi was influenced by the Sermon on the Mount and the Baghavad Gita in developing his emphasis on non-violence.
  8. Mark Noll, from University of Notre Dame is possibly America’s top historian of Christianity in America. I have hears that he says that Abraham Lincoln was one of the two of the great Christian theologians that the USA produced (the other being Jonathan Edwards).
  9. Donald Dayton in Discovering an Evangelical Heritage describes Charles Finney as one who combined the NT Evangelist role with the OT Prophet role. The moral influence of Finney and other revivalists are said to have had a marked impact on society and in battle against slavery.
  10. Oscar Romero on love and justice?
  11. St Francis of Assisi who lived in solidarity with the poor and influenced generations of Christians to adopt a simple lifestyle and serve the poor—such as the new Pope who took his name.

Negatively Anti-Semitism and apartheid may have been encouraged through misinterpretation of biblical texts.