The Way to Democ­racy

The Global Digest (English) - - FRONT PAGE -

His­tor­i­cally, prin­ci­ples of free­dom of con­science were nur­tured by Protes­tants in the face of Catholic dom­i­na­tion af­ter the mid­dle ages. Thus, there de­vel­oped an affin­ity be­tween Protes­tantism and democ­racy.200 Since most of the Ad­ven­tist pioneers had a Protes­tant her­itage, the Ad­ven­tist church, nat­u­rally held Protes­tant con­cept of free­dom and democ­racy.

Democ­racy is based on the idea peo­ple should de­cide their own des­ti­na­tion; the opin­ion of the largest num­ber of peo­ple should be im­ple­mented in the case of crit­i­cal de­ci­sion. It also im­plied a kind of bal­anc­ing, as of power and wealth.

Un­der­stood this way, the idea of democ­racy seems com­pat­i­ble with the be­liefs of Chris­tian­ity. Chris­tians hold the Bi­ble as their stan­dards of belief and prac­tice. The Bi­ble warns that at times the ma­jor­ity can lead the peo­ple to ap­pose God. There­fore Chris­tians need to be wise and alert with an out­look based on demo­cratic prin­ci­ples that re­flect bib­li­cal val­ues.

The Sev­enth-day Ad­ven­tist church made ad­vances in im­ple­ment­ing demo­cratic prin­ci­ples even within the church, af­ter the re­or­ga­ni­za­tion of church ad­min­is­tra­tion in 1901. A more demo­cratic or­ga­ni­za­tional struc­ture was then in­tro­duced as the Church en­tered in twen­ti­eth cen­tury.

The new struc­ture dis­cour­aged one-man rule within the de­nom­i­na­tion, warn­ing fu­ture lead­ers who might have au­to­cratic pro­cliv­i­ties. Or­ga­ni­za­tional con­trol was de­cen­tral­ized.201 In­deed, democ­racy is the only best op­tion for the present day, es­pe­cially in the gov­ern­ment sys­tem. Tyranny, on the other hand, con­sists of rulers who “give the reins to their lust, and think all things law­ful to them­selves” (Dan. 2:5). This is why Calvin sup­ported and en­cour­aged demo­cratic re­sis­tance; tyranny was a break­down of law.202

In the case of fun­da­men­tal­ism, also, “a demo­cratic so­ci­ety seems very dif­fi­cult to an­tic­i­pate, be­cause fun­da­men­tal­ism ex­cludes plu­ral­ism, which is in­dis­pens­able to democ­racy.”203 This kind of rule vi­o­lates the prin­ci­ple of Chris­tian free­dom.

Ac­cord­ing to Calvin, the pri­mary duty of “civil gov­ern­ment” is to “cher­ish and pro­tect the out­ward wor­ship of God,” and “to de­fend sound doc­trine of piety and

the po­si­tion of the church.”204

Ad­ven­tist pioneers were in­volved in so­cial and hu­man­i­tar­ian ac­tiv­ity. E. G.

White sim­i­larly “op­posed op­pres­sive com­bi­na­tions of any sort that would re­strict the free­dom of Chris­tians to serve God. “205

In later years, it seems that Ad­ven­tists played a lesser role in re­gard to so­cial and hu­man­i­tar­ian work. One area in which Ad­ven­tists might re­turn to their roots in re­gard to so­cial con­cern is the mat­ter of Ad­ven­tist who face be­ing re­quired to work on Satur­day in the amidst of in­creas­ing cap­i­tal­ism.

Another po­ten­tial area of so­cial en­deavor is in poverty re­duc­tion in de­vel­op­ing coun­tries. At the be­gin­ning of twenty-first cen­tury, Ad­ven­tists con­tinue face au­thor­i­tar­ian and dic­ta­to­rial regimes around the world, with cor­re­spon­dent re­stric­tion of free­dom of re­li­gion. Those who are un­der au­thor­i­tar­ian regimes, along-with other types of hu­man­i­tar­ian cri­sis, are es­pe­cially in need of the con­cern of their fel­lows.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Korea, Republic

© PressReader. All rights reserved.