Dear Fellow Ministers,
In light of the upcoming May 2010 elections and as ministers of the Gospel in the PGCAG, we believe that our participation should be guided mainly by our corporate convictions and not by our personal preferences. We believe we are called to be instruments of God’s will by exercising our rights to elect those persons good and true, to whom power and authority shall be entrusted – for them to use to serve the people. Elections for us, therefore, go beyond the mere choosing of candidates. It is allowing ourselves to be God’s faithful and responsible stewards in the institution of a government for the good of His people.
It has been our practice in the Philippine Assemblies of God that our church leaders do not get into partisan politics. Their primary goal is to build up their congregations spiritually and secondarily, to prepare their members how to exercise their rights in the society where they belong using Kingdom values based on the written Word of God, the Holy Bible. While it is every church member’s right to seek government positions, Ministers who hold offices in the church should not. Their biblical mandate is clearly to “to prepare God’s people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ (Ephesians 4:12-13).”
As a church, let us keep a non-partisan posture for the 2010 national elections. As defined by many, partisan politics includes “campaigning for or against a candidate (verbal, written, public endorsement of the candidacy of an incumbent or any aspirant for public office).” The Grand Rapids Report on Evangelism and Social Responsibility states that, “. . . a local church should not normally engage in partisan politics, either advocating a particular party or attempting to frame political programmes.” In this regard, the church or the community as a whole, to be true to its call, should not be involved in this manner of political activity.
On the same report, it is also stressed that God’s community has a specific role in society, which is a “prophetic ministry to proclaim the law of God and to teach justice. [It also] seeks to be the conscience of the community, and has the duty to help the congregation develop a Christian mind . . . ” Therefore we should allow our individual church members choose their own candidates.
As in the past, church councils such as the National Council of Churches in the Philippines (NCCP) and the Philippine Council of Evangelical Churches (PCEC) issued guidelines for their constituents in participating electoral processes. The leadership of PGCAG also believes that the following principles should govern our involvement in the coming May 10 elections:
- Because we believe God allows leaders to rule freely chosen by the people, we are mandated not to sell our vote. The kind of electoral process by which we are to participate dictates that we consider the ballot as “sacred.” According to PCEC’s election guidelines in 1998, “Selling our votes is not only prostitution, it is sacrilege.”
- Know the candidates well. It is not enough that we rely on the “spins” of media. We have to do our own homework as voting also involves ascertaining political agendas and sustainable institutional reforms. We should go beyond mere political colors, symbols or individual personalities.
- Never allow church resources (funds, facilities, personnel) to be used for political purposes. The Bread of Life Ministries in 2004 was right when it pointed out the fact that “Christian Church leaders’ involvement in the current political scenario is a big tragedy to the Church. This involvement in political partisanship has misrepresented the Church and muddled her spiritual testimony.”
- Pray. God’s rule includes the Philippines. Let us commit to the Lord the entire electoral process: for the COMELEC officials, designated assistants, automated system, and for free, peaceful and honest elections.
Real transformation is in Christ alone,
Rev. Rey A. Calusay, General Superintendent/President
Download the original document: election2010guidelines