Friday, June 08, 2007

God's Pattern for Political Leadership: Servanthood

From "The Will to Power" by Mark Earley, posted 6/7/07 at

Power. Even the word is seductive. A love of power can separate the most resolute of Christians from the true nature of Christian leadership, which is to serve others. This truth is perhaps most graphically illustrated in the world of politics.

As Chuck Colson writes in his marvelous new book, God & Government, the everyday business of politics is power, and power can be perilous.

The history of the last fifty years has richly validated Friedrich Nietzsche’s argument that man’s desire to control his own destiny and to impose his will on others is the most basic human motivation. Nietzsche’s prophecy that the “will to power” would fill the twentieth-century’s vacuum of values has been fulfilled through Hitler, Mao, Stalin, to name only the worst tyrants.

All governments use power to hang on to power—election-year favors and pork-barrel politics are even common here in America. But in regimes where there are few moral restraints, tyrants wield power shamelessly—and often viciously.

But remember this: power corrupts, but power itself is not necessarily corrupt. God has given power to the state to be used to restrain evil and maintain order. It is the use of power, whether for personal gain or for the state’s ordained function, that is really at issue.

Jesus Christ turned conventional views of power upside-down. He not only offered mankind redemption, He also washed the dusty feet of His own followers. The apostle Paul said, “My power is made perfect in weakness.”

As Chuck writes in God & Government, nothing distinguishes the kingdoms of man from the kingdom of God more than their diametrically opposed views of the exercise of power. One seeks to control people; the other seeks to serve people. One promotes self; the other prostrates self. One seeks prestige and position; the other lifts up the lowly and despised.

Read the rest of this article.