Articles on Nations:
Alcohol Prayer Initiative 2009, New York
CAN EUROPE BE SAVED?
CHURCH SUPPORTING POLITICS
CONGO-KINSHASA, A REMARKABLE CONFERENCE
CORPORATE IDENTITY OF AFRICA
CORPORATE IDENTITY OF AMSTERDAM
CORPORATE IDENTITY OF AUSTRALIA
CORPORATE IDENTITY OF BELGIUM
CORPORATE IDENTITY OF BRAZIL
CORPORATE IDENTITY OF FRANCE
CORPORATE IDENTITY OF HUNGARY
CORPORATE IDENTITY OF KOREA
CORPORATE IDENTITY OF SOUTH AFRICA
CORPORATE IDENTITY of SWEDEN
CORPORATE IDENTITY OF THE USA
COVERING AN AREA WITH PRAYER
Dialogue with Jacques Ellul
DURBAN II ≈ EVIAN III; NEW ANTISEMITISM
EUROPA – AFRIKA; Indrukwekkende Conferentie
EUROPA – AFRIKA; verzoeningsconferentie dvd
EUROPE - AFRICA; Berlin Congo I: Hist. Overview
EUROPE - AFRICA; Berlin Congo II: Report
EUROPE - AFRICA; Neo-Imperialism
Gebed voor de koning
GEBEDSBEDEKKING VAN EEN GEBIED
GOD'S COVENANT WITH ALL NATIONS
HOW TO DEFEND WHICH BORDERS OF ISRAEL?
ISRAEL’s RESPONSIBILITY 1
ISRAEL’s RESPONSIBILITY 2
ISRAEL’s RESPONSIBILITY 3
ISRAEL’s RESPONSIBILITY 4
Landbelofte of staatbelofte?
LOVING THE CITY GOD'S WAY
MIRACLES AT CITY SCALE
NATIVE AMERICANS, THREE DRAMA'S
NESTOR AFRICAN PRESIDENTS FORGIVES EUROPE
SLAVERY AND HEALING
SPIRITUAL ASPECTS OF THE EUROPEAN UNION
THE CITY AS BEAUTIFUL AS SHE COULD BE
THE CITY, AND WHY CITY PRAYER?
TRANSFORMATIONS IN THE PACIFIC
TWO CITIES DEDICATED TO KING JESUS
ÜBERSETZUNG THE NATIONS CALLED
VERZOENING MET NATIVE AMERICANS
WHY IS AFRICA SO POOR?
ZES LANDEN RIJNPROJECT
ZONDER VERZOENING GEEN TOEKOMST
Articles on Society:
A REVEALING UN-MEETING
A strategic assault on this generation of children
BOEK BOS ANTIDEMOCRATISCH?
CHILDREN OF THE WORLD TARGETED
COPENHAGEN – Five questions
COPENHAGEN - No bread from stones
Copenhagen, where do we go from here?
DE ANDERE AGENDA VAN DE DALAI LAMA
DE OLYMPISCHE SPELEN
EU: HUMANISME VERSUS “GOD”
EUROPA, WAAROM DIE NAAM?
EUROPE, WHAT'S IN THE NAME?
EVROPA - CO SKRÝVÁ TO JMÉNO?
EYPΩΠH, TI KPYBETAI ΣTO ONOMA
HER-MYTHOLOGISERING INTERNATIONALE POLITIEK?
Informed intercession for the UN
Jezus dienaar van Moeder Aarde?
KERK-STAAT VERHOUDING 1
KERK-STAAT VERHOUDING 2
KERK-STAAT VERHOUDING 3 (EU-Referendum)
KERK-STAAT VERHOUDING 4
Massa op Malieveld; nee toch?
MICRO FINANCING AND GRACE
MONDIALE SCHUDDINGEN I
MONDIALE SCHUDDINGEN II
Obama 1: Obama en het leven
Obama 2: Door Obama een les voor de kerk
PRAYING FOR THE G8
PULLING DOWN STRONGHOLDS
RE-MYTHOLOGISATION 0 OF INTERNATIONAL POLITICS?
RE-MYTHOLOGISATION 1: CHURCH-STATE/GOD-STATE
RE-MYTHOLOGISATION 2: GOD-STATE LINK IN OUR TIME
RE-MYTHOLOGISATION 3: EU AND UN “COVENANTS”
RE-MYTHOLOGISATION 4:GOD-STATE IN NEAR FUTURE
RE-MYTHOLOGISATION 5: WHAT ABOUT GOD’S MASTER PLAN
THINKING AND BELIEVING IN THE CHURCH
THINKING, BELIEVING AND SCIENCE
UN-DUURZAAMHEIDS TOP IN JOHANNESBURG
WHAT HAPPENS AT UN CONFERENCES?
WORLD SUMMIT ON SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT
A NATION AS A TREE?
Belijden van de zonden van je land?
BIDDEN VOOR HOOGGEPLAATSTEN
BLOED SCHREEUWT VAN DE AARDE
GODEN DER VOLKEN
'GODS OF THE NATIONS'
HERSTEL VAN HET ALTAAR
HET KRUIS VAN JEZUS
JEZUS KOMT - drie voordrachten
NBV, COMMENTAAR OP ÉÉN ASPECT
OOK TOPCONFERENTIES IN DE BIJBEL GAAN OVER VOLKEN
THE CROSS OF JESUS
THE GLORY OF HIERARCHY
TITHING AND ETERNITY
RE-MYTHOLOGISATION 2: GOD-STATE LINK IN OUR TIME
by: Pieter Bos
A NEW DIRECTION IN THE CHURCH-STATE DEBATE:
GOD-STATE RELATION IN THE 21ST CENTURY
THESIS and summary of this series
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Content: 21st century application of the THESIS
2.1 Historic examples of church-state relations
As stated in article 1, through the emergence of Christendom, right from the early 4th century, the ancient altar-crown debate simply evolved into the church-state debate. noot 1
Emperor Constantine’s heritage, completely in line with the old altar-crown viewpoint, was that the state should protect the church. This became the tradition of Rome. In the meantime the veneration of other gods continued.
Augustine distinguished theology and philosophy, which seems obvious to us, but in his time this was an important decision. This led to a philosophical distinction between church and state. Augustine thought it necessary to find a synthesis of the two, and developed the concept of “the two realms”. The result of this understanding was that suddenly the church was no longer an invisible, spiritual body, but a societal factor: the Church became church! His conclusion opened the door to the idea that the state should be the Kingdom of God. This indeed was the vision and striving of the Byzantine emperors and the early Russian Tsars.
In actual fact this led to an ever delicate balance of power between church and state, with lobbies, armed conflict, power play, intrigues. In the Middle Ages the pope crowned the emperor and the emperor appointed bishops (as his vassals). This led to much confusion and much bloodshed. The church also used secular power to suppress heresies: crusades and inquisition.
In the 16th and 17th century the slogan “As the Prince, so the religion” was coined, allowing the secular rulers to choose sides for or against the Reformation. As a result the most bloody religious wars were fought all across Europe.
In the 19th century the concept of the “nation-state” emerged, both in philosophy and in practice, recognising little or no position for the church. In the early 20th century the Dutch theologian/statesman Abraham Kuyper developed a biblical understanding of church and state, including the concept of “soevereiniteit in eigen kring” [“let each institution be sovereign within its own province”], which concept still finds much international support. In the later 20th century “kingdom theologies” emerged, varying from Kuyper’s thinking to the conviction that God’s kingdom should and will be realised through human effort.
This is really a very brief overview, not complete at all; the church-state debate has filled libraries. But the church-state issue is not the subject of these articles. The THESIS on the God-state relationship is the issue here, with its ramifications and its application.
2.2 21st century illustrations of the God-state relation
Through Amos, the prophet, ch. 1 and 2, God addresses seven nations concerning their socio-economic behaviour to one another. This is a clear illustration of the principle of a God-state relation, of God having a direct relation with the state, with a prophet as mediator. Now read the following examples… of our own time.
In 1895 the king of Tonga established a covenant between his state and God; in 1988 his successor renewed that covenant.
In 1991 president Chiluba of Zambia established a covenant between God and himself and his nation. In 1994, on the occasion of a national disaster, in a full stadium, he “renewed” this covenant.
In 1997 president Kerekou of Benin dedicated his nation to God; at his re-election he was opposed by voodoo priests; he won.
In 1998 president Museveni of Uganda dedicated his presidency and his nation to Jesus, by symbolically presenting the flag of the nation to the Christian spiritual leaders of his nation.
In 2002 the premier of Vanuatu officially promised “faithfulness, honour... and submission to God”.
In 2008 the government of the Dem. Rep. Congo, in response to European confessions concerning colonialism, dedicated the state to “God, the Lord of Hosts, the Creator of heaven and earth; may He be the only Lord and Leader in the re-building and development of the DRC”.
In these six cases there is clearly a direct relation between God and the state; the role of the Church is not even mentioned in the media! But that role is not unknown to the intercessors. That is typically the role and position of the mediator between God and state: spiritual, on their knees, prophetic!
I add a few significant details:
Benin, 1997: The ex-president and ex-communist Kerekou had become a Christian, and his vision was to become president again, a Christian president this time, and make up for the evil which he had done to his nation. With his clear testimony, supported by much prayer, he was re-elected. The president wanted, before the end of the Millennium, to confess the guilt of the historic huge slave-export as a national guilt. He did so, before an international audience including international dignitaries and 100plus African-Americans (I had the privilege of representing The Netherlands on that occasion).
Benin, 2003: the president promises to continue his policy of reforms, stating that not voodoo has the oldest rights in Benin, but God. He was re-elected!
Zambia, 2002: During his second term the church dropped its support of the president, and a new man, Levi Mwanawasa, was elected. He was not a Christian. However, this new president starts to attend church, finds Jesus, is baptised with a strong testimony (March 2005). For the new constitution he is pressured to drop “the Christian nation thing”, but in October he decides that “Zambia is and will remain a Christian nation”. noot 2
Vanuatu, 2004: the newly elected premier, Serge Vohor, whose bad reputation made the intercessors fear he would not follow up the covenant, shortly before his inauguration, through a beautiful flow of events, accepted Jesus as his personal Saviour AND on his own initiative renewed the God-state covenant.
In other words: the covenant is obviously so holy before God, that He, when the human covenant partner is succeeded, calls the newly appointed person to Himself for the sake of the nation!
These are six examples in our present era, of a state establishing a covenant with God, through mediation of the church.
Let me briefly state what a covenant is. The concept of covenant originates from God. It is a bond or contract between two totally unequal parties, the Creator offering a contract to the creature. Because of the un-equality, and because of the eternity and holiness of the stronger party, the stronger party commits himself to unconditionally do two things for the weaker, dependant party: to protect him and to prosper him, eternally. More about this in Article 3. God’s covenants with all nations, and later with Israel, are of this nature: awesome.
Many more examples are available of God-state action, covenantal type action, at state level. In 2004, the day after a week-long conference of the intercessors on internal reconciliation, the government of the Democratic Republic Congo started to work towards reconciliation inside the nation, and called on the church for help. That invitation came as a surprise, but why? Were not all the confessions very anointed and had they not prayed for the government to pick up this theme? A beautiful example of mediation on bent knees. noot 3
In the archipelago of Fiji the government is preparing (2006) for a covenant with God. The republic of Fiji was in every aspect on the verge of breakdown. Till at last, in 2002, the pastors of several denominations conquered their denominational pride and started to call on God together for “their” nation. From then onwards beautiful miracles started to happen, first of personal repentance, then unity in the church, then the confession of corporate local and national sins. More than 150 villages/islands/tribes, after a process of humbling and corporate confession, covenanted with God at community level (!), often immediately confirmed by miraculous ecological change: restoration of the fishing and rivers, the renewed growth of coral-reefs! noot 4, noot 5, noot 6 This really seems a restoration of the “covenant-of-God-with-all-the-nations “Grace/Beauty, of Zechariah 11!
In Nigeria, during the last few years, fourteen tribal kings have come to faith in Jesus. These kings, with significant authority in their tribes, started to bring their tribes before God. The witch doctors tried to block this with all their (occult) power. However, God confirmed this obedience, as the witchcraft of these doctors turned against themselves, which in turn brought many of them, and many tribesmen, to Jesus. Several times strategic intercession was part of this process. Sometimes a direct God-tribe encounter through the king occurred, with no Church or intercessors around.
When in 1998 the severity of the HIV/AIDS epidemic in Uganda was made public (and the Church made a very strong response of humbling herself and interceding for the sufferers), President Museveni issued a decree that “abstinence before and faithfulness in marriage” be the norm in Uganda. From then onwards not only the spreading of HIV/AIDS levelled off, but also hundreds of AIDS patients were completely healed: HIV-negative! In other words: when the Church humbled herself and prayed, the president’s faith and courage were raised and his decree, being in accordance with God’s decree, opened the way for God so that he could heal! Even today (2008) Uganda is internationally an example of the levelling off of the spread of HIV/AIDS (according to the media, who, however, ignore the intercession and the obedience of the president!).
In 1988 the government of Portugal acknowledged their historic responsibility for the massacre and the expulsion of the Jews in 1492 (after intercession by a small but beautifully inspired prayer group). That government was the first since WWII that managed to finish its six-year term. During that term there was, also for the first time since WWII, economic stability and effective church planting. In 1996 the Portuguese parliament unanimously abolished the law that has been the basis for that expulsion and massacre, and again, since that time, enormous economic growth has taken place in Portugal; this had been “prepared” by the humble attitude of intercessors and spiritual leaders.
Since 1999 more than a hundred mayors of large cities in Brazil dedicated their cities to Jesus. In two cases I have knowledge of the role of the intercessors and spiritual leaders. In one of these two cities, Diadema, the unemployment and the criminality decreased so drastically that the national government had an investigation made after the cause and the reproducibility. noot 7
Since 2001 the rumours about the holocaust in Rumania started to be investigated. The intercessors know how God began to give revelation on massacres and mass graves of Jews, and how at first there was no unity among the church leaders on this issue, but it grew, and how at first they did not want to go to Jewish leaders to confess, but they went, and how at first there was no unity in government circles, but it came, till the church leaders (October 2004) and then the government leaders took responsibility for this national guilt. The harvest that year was beyond description, so abundant!
In these examples no covenant has yet been established, but the functioning of the Church was exemplary: spiritual, with intercession and prophecy; that could not but lead to covenantal behaviour of the governments.
In each of these examples the “ingredients” of intercession and prophecy are evident. The ingredient
“showing forth power” was evident in some measure most of the time, in the cases of Nigeria and Uganda even in a spectacular way.
2.3 Isn’t this “mixing church and state”?
The question must be asked: what in these cases is the relation between being a Christian and being a president?
In all examples of § 2.2 there was always the constitutional and electoral space for the king/president/ /premier/major/chief for an application of the Christian faith, and cabinet and parliament agreed to the above mentioned confessions and covenanting!
As far as the constitutions are concerned, it should be possible in many “western” nations to do the same! But electorally it is less simple: there is generally no electoral “mandate” for steps such as those described.
But really, whether a government of a state or a city can covenant the state or city to God, basically does not depend on the constitutional and electoral space, because this space is deeply influenced by the spiritual conditions. It basically depends on the “third party”, on whether the church functions as Church, whether the Church is spiritually mediating between God and the state/city, whether she has this vision and commitment! As stated in article 1, “Church” refers to the Church as she is meant to be!
Think of the king of Nineveh: he was known as cruel, but “the Ninevites believed God and started a fast” (Jonah 3:5) and so mediated on their knees, and that changed the heart of the king towards the God he did not even know!
In each of the fifteen examples presented, “functioning spiritually” included (the beginnings of) – unity among the churches; -- united faith;-- inspired intercession;-- identification with state or city; --identificational repentance of historic corporate sins; -- perseverance. Sometimes the Church in this sense was numerically very small, but God could use her.
(Most churches were too busy with internal organisation.)
2.4 God had a covenant wit all nations and wants to establish one again!
These are modern examples of God-state relations from Benin, Zambia, Nigeria, Dem. Rep. of Congo, Uganda, Brazil, Vanuatu, Fiji, Rumania and Portugal. In each case the Church acted primarily spiritually, in the background, often not even known to the government, in intercession and in confession of corporate sins, sometimes in prophesy and in showing divine power.
During the last ten years numerous similar God-state(-Church) dynamics have taken place, often covered by the media. Some I know of specifically: Sweden concerning colonisation of Poland in the 17de century; Brazil concerning the bloody discrimination of Paraguay; England concerning the colonisation of Australia; Japan concerning the cruel suppression of Korea; Fiji concerning the murder of an English missionary; Rumania concerning the discrimination of Hungarians; Netherlands concerning the treatment of the Native Americans in the USA. noot 8
The Church, if functioning according to design, releases something in the heavenlies, even “rules with Christ” over nations! When the Church takes up her proper role of mediating through prayer, this gives God access to state (again) and often causes spectacular socio-economic and political effects. If the state or city acts according to covenantal rules, for example in confession of her sins, would God, who is a covenant-keeping God and the God of life, not provide abundance?
God had a covenant with all nations, but is was broken, through the cruelty of the nations (Zechariah 11:4-13). But He wants to establish one again, and celebrate that occasion abundantly with them:
"On this mountain the LORD Almighty will prepare a feast of rich food for all peoples, a banquet of aged wine – the best of meats and the finest of wines. On this mountain he will destroy the shroud that enfolds all peoples, the sheet that covers all nations" (Isaiah 25:6-7)
Jesus will return, as King of these kings, president of these presidents. The above nations that already established a covenant with God, are like experiments, tryouts of the Kingdom!
During the Prayer Networking Conference 2006, in Harare, Zimbabwe, my wife Helene and I presented a workshop entitled “Bible and politics”. I focussed on the task of the Church to “disciple her nation” and Helene taught on the role the UN tries to usurp to achieve the opposite (see article 3).
After the workshop, in the midst of the discussing the subject with the audience, I was called back: “Can you please explain to this tribal chief how he can covenant his tribe to God!”
Before me stood an elderly black man, a “chief”, asking whether he had understood properly that the “discipling of nations” also applies to tribes, and if so, how to apply it practically. I explained in the affirmative, stating that, just like a person can become a Christian by praying the sinner’s prayer, so also can a “Virgin Daughter Tribe” become a Christian tribe. This prayer contains five steps, or elements: --confessing the tribal sins, -- confessing that the tribal life is spiritually dead, -- appealing for both of these to the blood of Jesus, -- in faith receiving forgiveness and new tribal life, and lastly: -- dedicating this life to God and to God alone. I explained that, however great the authority of the tribal chief may be, it is important to include the under-chiefs in this process, as this concerns the life of the whole tribe, and that in a later stage also a meeting of the whole tribe is necessary, in order to make this decision a truly corporate decision, as a tribe. I also explained that “teaching them to obey every thing I have commanded’’ is very important in order to support the decision and to prevent tribal backsliding. The man was beaming and invited me to come and pray on tribal soil.
After a similar experience in Fiji, at national level, I now received this request at tribal level, without having pushed for it in any way. Isn’t that special? God will confound the wise (and white) in His hurry for the “harvest of nations”.
Some authors state that Constantine’s decision to make the Christian faith the state religion caused Christianity to become “Christendom”, using the word Christendom to refer to the institutionalised Christian religion.
President Mwanawasa died in August 2008; may the Lord of the nations remember the covenant and preserve Zambia from sliding back.
This was June 2004. In June 2008, immediately after the solemn assembly in which the government dedicated the nation to God, the European delegations were invited by one of the cabinet ministers to pray for him, for his ongoing responsibility for internal reconciliation in this violence-ridden nation. In November 2008, with new violence, now in East Congo, the church proves very active, both in reconciliation and in mercy ministry in that very area.
See “Transformation in the Pacific”
At numerous locations around Fiji the coral reef has started growing again. This has been discovered and is being researched by National Geographic, who remark that this is as impossible ”as the recovery of an aids-patient.”
In both examples of the Pacific, Vanuatu and Fiji, the willingness of the Church to humble itself and effectively seek unity played a major part. In both examples the same team of pastors was involved, inspired among other things by my book “The Nations Called”.
See “Two Cities in Brazil dedicated to King Jesus”
See “Native Americans, Three Drama's”