Campaigning in the Name of God: Only Time Will Tell

By Rev. Wilfred M. Manyango

The Perspective
Atlanta, Georgia
August 11, 2005


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One thing that has become a staple in the Liberian election circus is the claim by many politicians of receiving some divine instructions to run for a position in the forthcoming election.

If my count is correct, I have read about four or five politicians either directly or indirectly claiming to have received some form of divine direction to run for office and especially the presidency.

Liberians are very religious people and I am sure they are very interested in the religious background of the contestants, though judging from the past religious minded political leaders have been a disappointment. Armed with this knowledge, these politicians seem to be trying to curry favor from the populace.

These claims raise a serious dilemma. Either all of them are lying or one is speaking the truth and the rest are lying.

It will be difficult to know for sure whether one of them is telling the truth or all of them are lying since we are all finite. But the Bible gives us a test to scrutinize people who profess to speak for God.

The Lord is aware of the fact that there will be people out there who would want to confuse others and maybe manipulate them by claiming to speak for Him. He gives us instructions as to how we can recognize false prophets from true ones. Remember a prophet is one who receives a message from God and speaks on His behalf. These individuals are claiming to have received instructions from God so they could fit the description of “prophets”.

In Deuteronomy 18:21-22, The Lord tells the Israelites that the litmus test, if you will, for determining whether a person is speaking for Him is whether the person’s prediction comes to pass. God does not lie so if the person claims to hear from God, it will come to pass. It takes time, but it will manifest itself. Let us all be patient and the truth will come out.

In the Liberian scenario, we have to wait and see. Though we can say that someone is lying, because the Lord cannot favor two candidates for one position, it would be difficult to know that now until after the election. Only time will reveal the false prophets from the person who is genuine or maybe all may end up being false.

These developments have concerned me because they seem to be politicizing the Lord and showing Him as playing favorites. The Lord is interested in politics because Scripture tells us in Romans 13:1-7, that God appoints every leader. The Lord had selected the leaders of Liberia before we even thought about this transition process. He knows who will lead Liberia and other countries from now until the world ends. He is never caught unaware. The problem here is that it makes some politicians appear more religious than others and appeals to the religious sensitivities of Liberians. Also it trivializes religion and draws away from the real issues.

I do not write here to criticize these individuals for making these pronouncements. They have the right, but I hope they heard it right. It is also possible that one of them could be right.

Caution is needed here. People need to be careful how they use the name of God. We need to make sure we really heard from the Lord before making public pronouncements. In all honesty, if an individual truly heard from God, he will not go around publicizing himself or herself. People who were called to leadership positions by the Lord dreaded the call. All of them claimed a lack of inadequacy and never went around publicly telling people that the Lord had called them to lead. There is a difference between saying, “I want to serve my country”, than saying, “the Lord has given me a divine mandate to run for president, senator, etc.” If the Lord has, then the logical conclusion is that you will win because the Lord will not call you to run for running sake. He always wins.

One thing I know for sure and that is anyone who wins the upcoming election was ordained of the Lord. They may not have heard God saying it or may not even believe in God, but divine providence made it possible. We do not have to go around telling people that the Lord has called us to run for president. We need to tell the people how their lives would be improved. Run with the purpose of serving your country and its people and if it is the Lord’s will, you will win.

As Liberians go to the polls, my advice would be to carefully consider what their conscience is telling them and vote. Do not allow an individual’s religious pronouncement to sway you.

I hope my article was not judgmental. I, too, am reserving judgment until the election is over. My only concern is that when you have so many people running for the same position and more than one claiming to have divine direction, it creates problems.
I am of the conviction that the Lord does speak today, but everything He says comes to pass and will not contradict what he revealed in Holy Scripture. This is a different topic that will require a different article.

I just want us to be careful. History is filled with people who reported to have heard from the Lord and led a lot of people astray. James Jones and the Guyana event comes to mind. If one of these “prophets” wins, is he or she going to tell us that the Lord wants the constitution changed, or the legislature disbanded? I am in no way saying that these aspirants are intent on leading us astray. But there is a need for caution.

To go around affirming your religious convictions and how it will impact you when you get elected is great, but to claim to have received a divine instruction to run for political office is a serious matter. You’ve better heard right. Your integrity is at stake. As for those of us who never heard with you, only time will tell us whether you are speaking the truth or not. And if you are not speaking the truth, please apologize to the Liberian people.