The Bible and the Ballot: Reflections on Christian Political Engagement in Malaysia Today
What a joy to know that before Christmas, a joint effort between a small band of us who are part of Friends in Conversation together with GraceWorks could produce this book. This is our small contribution to the wider discussion on religion and politics in our homeland. Many thanks to those who endorsed our project.
How do we relate Christianity to political engagement in Malaysia today? This is the question that we, as part of the community of believers, are trying to answer in this book. It is our conviction that “if Jesus Christ is not Lord of all, He is not Lord at all”. We proclaim the lordship of Jesus over every aspect of life. Therefore, it is important for us to reflect on the relationship between what we confess on Sunday and what is happening in the country every day.
This compilation of articles has been produced within the context of a circle of friends who share a common concern over national issues and the importance of Christian engagement on those issues. Although all of us are Malaysians, some of us are located in Malaysia, some in Singapore, and one in Norway. We come from different traditions and denominations of the Christian faith, but are connected through Friends In Conversation, a network where we discuss relevant issues that concern Christian discipleship in the contemporary world.
“The Bible speaks of Christians as salt and light, but not as voters. What is our theology of engagement with the political process? Does our heavenly citizenship mean the Christian Church should not be concerned about earthly elections? A group of Christian writers cajoles and challenges our thinking on this critical contemporary concern, with intriguing outcomes.”
Andrew Khoo, Member, Steering Committee, BERSIH 2.0
“Politics is often seen as ‘dirty.’ But Romans 13 talks about authority of Governments. Who holds them responsible and accountable? Citizens who vote make that decision. In the past, we had poor teaching about political involvement or engagement. This book teaches biblical views and opinions about the Christian and non-partisan politics. Recommended highly for all Christians!”
KJ John, PhD (Organization Theory), Executive Director, OHMSI.
“On the eve of the 13th Malaysian General Election, these essays are a timely reminder to all Malaysian Christians that we should never be apolitical, that we should feel comfortable in voicing our political affiliation, that we should be politically engaged through various channels, that we should not be blindly and unquestioningly partisan, that we should engage with the relevant stakeholders with wisdom and courage, with our hearts, minds and spirits firmly fixed and dependent on Christ.”
Dr. Ong Kian Ming, PhD, Duke University
“The Bible and the Ballot is a deeply reflective compilation of essays that represents the Zeitgeist of the Malaysian social conscience, real thoughts from real people who have struggled to clarify their positions on politics and society. Compelling reading as we — all of us, no exception — try to make sense of the country’s changing democratic landscape and the roles we play in it, consciously or not.
Tricia Yeoh, researcher and writer