Sunday, 22 June 2008

Mugabe the theologian

It turns out that Robert Mugabe is an amateur theologian - and at first glance not a bad one.
If we are to believe the press (which admittedly is often dangerous,) the latest exchange in the Mugabe election drama is Mugabe's claim at the end of the week that "Only God who appointed me will remove me..." I believe that he is right.
Scripture tells us “The bows of the warriors are broken, but those who stumbled are armed with strength... The LORD brings death and makes alive; he brings down to the grave and raises up. The LORD sends poverty and wealth; he humbles and he exalts. He raises the poor from the dust and lifts the needy from the ash heap; he seats them with princes and has them inherit a throne of honor. He will guard the feet of his saints, but the wicked will be silenced in darkness. " (1 Samuel 2)
Given Scripture's exalted vision of a God who appoints the leaders of the nations, and dismisses them, it is perfectly true to say that he "alone" appointed Mugabe to his place of honour, and will dismiss him.
In order to be a more satisfactory theologian however, Mugabe should also note, that rather than offering him a divinely protected status (Mugabe: “Only God, who appointed me, will remove me — not the MDC, not the British. Only God will remove me!”), the Scriptures offer many examples where God holds leaders to account - and uses a successor as his agent of judgment.
Mugabe should also note Hannah's humble advice (1 Samuel 2:9) "It is not by strength that one prevails."
A good theologian must balance texts alongside each other, much like a good leader with the interests of his people. I wonder if Mugabe has much talent at either.

1 comment:

John McClean said...

Right Peter - bad theology masquerading as good theology (as often happens).

Here is another thing I think he missed: God uses instruments, like Cyrus (Isa 44-45). So God may well remove Mugabe (that is what I'm praying for) and God is very likely to use a political force to do so.