About Daniel Shayesteh

Dr Daniel was born into a Muslim family in Northern Iran. He became a radical Muslim leader and teacher of Islam in the militant Free Islamic Revolutionary Movement, closely supporting Ayatollah Khomeini. However, after falling out of favor with Khomeini’s political group, he escaped to Turkey where there began an amazing journey to faith in Jesus Christ.

Daniel's mission is to help others understand and lovingly respond to those who do not know Christ. He is also deeply concerned for the future of Western societies, their loss of confidence in Judeo-Christian values, and their persistent naivete about the implications of the world-wide Islamic revival.

Is it Wise to Ignore Politics?

Many of us Christians seem to forget the teaching of the Bible concerning our responsibility in Christ for the well-being of our societies.  When it comes to politics in particular, we either ignore it, keep our distance from it or fully abandon it. We do this largely because the church as a whole has not done well in handling this aspect of life. Perhaps because of rebellion or perhaps because of timidity or fear of conflict within the church, leaders have resisted the need to speak into some of the most pressing issues of the day. Clashes between ‘Christianity’ and the dominant cultures and philosophies of the moment seem, to many, to be the most prominent ‘evils’ to avoid. 

In creating man and woman in His own image and likeness God embedded in the essence of humankind a relational nature and a desire for relationship and unity, including our political relationships with rulers and authorities. As believers in God, indeed, image bearers of God, our presence in our societies must mirror God’s purpose for our lives in our social and political engagements with people around us.
It is important to note as we read God’s Word that the saving plan of God included people getting involved in the cut and thrust of their society.  Whether in support or in opposition, the unfolding of God’s plan involved people of every rank, including politicians(kings, administrators, generals, prime ministers, etc) being obedient to the plan and purposes of a Holy God who wanted the best for his people. Right from the beginning of Jesus’ ministry until this present time, Jesus calls His followers to be God’s salt and light in order to fulfill the desire of God to win nations through their public witness, including their witness concerning their responsibilities among other people in society. They are called to be the salt and light of the world in every part of life be that socially, politically, economically or ethically. 
Unlike the desire of many rulers and politicians, Jesus never wanted His followers to limit their activities just for inside the church buildings and thereby separate themselves from the rest of the world. How can the mighty God with His plan of reconciliation, love, justice and peace be confined to a church building or a church liturgy? Who is more universal than God? No one, obviously. That’s why Jesus commanded His disciples to go to the end of the world and teach all nations:
Therefore, go and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all things, whatever I commanded you. And, behold, I am with you all the days until the end of the world. (Matthew 28:19-20, MKJV)
Jesus is asking His followers not to restrict their activities and influence for God only to a church or even to their own country but to walk alongside Him to the ends of the world, into the political and social territories of all nations making disciples of them, teaching them to observe all things. He taught them His just, modest and peace-loving political philosophy. That philosophy is based on a radical paradigm of servant-hood. He teaches us to exercise ruling and leadership with humility but not in the ways of those who impose themselves on their people and become a tyranny to them. His instruction to us is to allow the greatest among us to be the servant of all (read Matthew 20:25-27). 
The promise of salvation in Christ does not exclude politicians, but rather sees them as parts of the wider community and invites them to reconcile with God and thereby with their people and act in a servant-like manner. Why would the contemporary leaders of Christ bring lawsuits against Him to execute Him if His message did not touch politics and involve politicians? It did. In a similar way, the teaching of His disciples also engaged their contemporary rulers, otherwise, they would not have been prosecuted and killed viciously by those rulers. Throughout the history of Christianity, millions of Christ’s followers have also been deprived of their rights or slaughtered by their contemporary rulers who saw the plan of Jesus Christ as a threat to their despotic rule. All this demonstrates that Christ has  a purpose for this world that includes a challenge to tyrannical leaders.  But this is not a challenge made of aggression, hatred and hostility.  Rather, our role is to challenge them with His love so that they, in time, might serve their nation instead of dominating them. It is His courage that motivates us to approach our social environment, express our faith in Him with His language and become His vessels of change in every part of life in our society.  
We are the political salt and light of the world as much as we are the salt and light of the world socially, economically and ethically. Our participation in politics is part of our mission for Christ in the world. We cannot deny the reality of our political philosophy.  Whether we are able to identify it or not, the patterns of our thinking, our voting and our advocacy to politicians reveal our overriding principles, our beliefs and values, our moral compass for society.  Most of us would put our hands up as citizens desiring a better world.  We are not aloof from our fellow citizens.  We are participants in human society. Christ’s view of humanity should inform all aspects of our lives, our full individual and social existence. Man cannot live in society without being affected by or, indeed, affecting the ideologies of others. Each ideology or belief system has its own political, social, economic and ethical applications which affect, draw and accrue supporters, including those who are interested in politics (and perhaps some who are not). As Christians seek to bring God’s Kingdom values to bear on life on Earth, involvement in the political arena of nations and communities is clearly inevitable and desirable.
Therefore, calling for Christians to stay away from politics is nothing but asking them to ignore their faith, have a passive stand in their relationship with others and withdraw from their concern for the lives of their fellow men and women. A healthy society does not come into existence without decisive, meaningful and active participation and care of its individual bodies, including Christians. Individuals are not created or do not exist to only be obedient in the path of their life-journey but also to actively participate, advise, guide and provoke consciences about everything, including via politics. In a similar way, Christians have also chosen (or are chosen) to walk in the path of God, be His ambassadors and thereby prove their godly responsibilities in the society both individually and collectively. They are ambassadors to challenge and encourage people to use their full competence for comparing values, including political values, and choose the best. A person will not be able to choose the best unless he is allowed to get involved with the fullness of his life in order to be able to use his full capacity. Asking Christians to leave their beliefs, consciences and experiences outside the political arena means “follow me blindly”. The western democratic lifestyle did not start with such a dictatorial behavior. It also cannot continue with a dominating manner that divides the society and creates favoritism or classism. The true followers of the God of the Bible should be averse to any troublesome philosophy that undermines justice, mercy, compassion, truth, or righteousness. The Bible says:
And if a stranger lives with you in your land, you shall not oppress him. The stranger that dwells with you shall be to you as one born among you, and you shall love him as yourself. For you were strangers in the land of Egypt. I am Jehovah your God. (Leviticus 19:33-34, MKJV)
The leadership that God manifests here through His followers is not a one-way authoritarian leadership that is based on conditional politics and favoritism which are threats to freedom and unity. It is rather a ruling method of cohesion that protects the rights of even strangers so that they can learn to appreciate openness, feel at home, relate to others peacefully, show love to their new society and work in harmony with people for the wellbeing of the society. But turning your back on God and His leadership leads to unhealthy relationships, including political relationships that threaten national unity.  Sadly, this is increasingly common now in the West. 

The whole purpose of life, including the political purpose, is only found in the God of the Bible. The followers of Christ are therefore not to ignore politics, especially in this dark political era. They need to get themselves involved, in one way or the other, and courageously put their faith in Christ into practice in order to transform any unjust or unethical political processes into a godly model based in humility which can create harmony among people and bring comfort to them.