Abuse of Office

Evangelical Church leaders should encourage their members to actively pursue civil and political service.  The debate over removing the abuse of office offence contained in section 37 of the Anti Corruption Commission Act (ACC) demonstrates the need for noble men and women to seek public office.  Christians in public office have a unique opportunity to be salt (preserving) and light (exposing darkness) from within a centre of cultural influence.  We must reject the notion that political service is not fit for Christians because of the potential for corruption and temptations associated with government service. Let me recommend two immediate courses of action.

First, we must emulate John the Baptist who preached to the tax collectors as he baptized them “Don’t collect any more than you’re required to.” He would tell the soldiers, “Don’t extort money and don’t accuse people falsely-be content with your pay” (Luke 3:12-14).  John is proving that even a Christian soldier, police officer, or government minister can serve God in office. Can you imagine the impact that a few Godly servants in public office could have on our communities and nation?  As an integral part of the Zambian community, evangelicals must work within the framework of the Constitution to claim our given rights and exercise them courageously and creatively.  There are no tyrants where there are no slaves.  Let not fear or a desire for personal safety paralyze church leaders into inaction or suffering in silence.

Second, little is achieved when we do not make a commitment to prayer. The Bible says that “I urge, first of all that requests, prayers, intercession… be made for everyone-for kings and all those in authority, that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness. This is good and pleases God our Savior who wants all men to be saved…” (1Tim.2:1-4).   Whether those in authority are doing right or wrong, they must be made subjects for prayer.  In this way, Christians influence the course of national affairs.  Sadly, prayer is often forgotten except in times of special crisis. Do you see the connection between prayer and a nation enjoying peace, godliness and holiness?

How do we pray for our leaders? We pray that they come to saving knowledge of Jesus, because God desires that all men be saved. This spiritual re-birth will result in socio-political changes that will enable them to actualize fully God’s delegated purpose for them in government. In addition, we must pray for just administration. The Bible says that “rulers are God’s servants to do you good” (Rom.13:4). In Psalm 72:1-4, 15, Solomon prayed, “Endow the king with your justice… He will judge your people with righteousness, your afflicted ones with justice…He will defend the afflicted among the people, and save the children of the needy; he will crush the oppressor…Long may he live…May people ever pray for him and bless him all day long.”

Should we pray for leaders who make laws that bring gold to themselves and give only limited prosperity to the people? John Calvin states, “Yes, we should pray that, under the guidance of the Holy Spirit, they may start to give the blessings that they have so far failed to provide.” (Calvin, The Classic Crossway Commentary 1&2 Timothy& Titus p37).  Let us pray for the President and those in authority to listen to advice from all sectors of society on this matter of Abuse of Office. As evangelicals do we agree that the initiative to remove this section of ACC Act is detrimental to the nation? How can two walk together unless they agree?

Lawrence Temfwe