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Pentecost as voting guide

We live in a fallen world. All of us – our politicians, our leaders, ourselves – are tainted by sinful tendencies. Which is why we need institutions to keep power in check.

WINDOW ON EUROPE AUTOR 63/Jeff_Fountain 20 DE MAYO DE 2024 10:30 h
Voting material in Germany. / Photo: [link]Bianca Ackermann[/link].

Pentecost was a radical divine incursion into human history and pointed towards God’s intentions for human society. 

The outpouring of the Spirit on the disciples in Jerusalem breathed life and power into the fledgling church. It lit the fire of the missions movement that has spread the faith round the globe.

The modern Pentecostal stream burst out of the poor, black community in Los Angeles in 1906 and continues to grow especially in the southern hemipsohere. It is the fastest growing part of Christianity in Latin America and Africa today.

As we approach the European Parliament elections, Pentecost offers us insights as to how to vote for our representatives in the face of many vexing issues.

In Jerusalem, nearly 2000 years ago, Peter declared to the multinational gathering of Jews from all over the known world that they were witnessing the start of the fulfilment of Joel’s prophecy. God’s Spirit, the prophet had foretold, would be poured out on all peoples, Jew and gentile, young and old, male and female, slave and free. The Spirit’s outpouring would be inclusive and non-discriminatory. It would promote solidarity and brotherhood among all peoples. 

This outpouring, Jesus had told the disciples prior to his ascension to the Father ten days earlier, would send ripples out from Jerusalem firstly to neighbouring regions and ultimately to the ends of the earth. It would break through Israel’s ethno-centricity, her tendency to neglect her national calling to bless the nations. Even the disciples had bought into the dream of ‘making Israel great again’ (see Acts 1:6).

Pentecost changed all that. An immediate result was a communal lifestyle among believers seeking the common good for all. They were united in heart and mind, sharing resources to eliminate want, ministering wholeness and healing. Over time this lifestyle spilled over borders to transform their ‘nationalism’ into a concern for all nations.



We can therefore deduce God’s purposes for humanity from the events and fruits of Pentecost to include:

  • the message of the crucified and risen Jesus being taken to all peoples in all places;

  • the blessing of young and old, male and female, servant and master, Jew and gentile;

  • the seeking of solidarity and brotherhood, sharing and equality, wellbeing and human flourishing for all.

These insights can guide us as we choose our representatives in Brussels – or in any other election for that matter. 

All politics is shaped by our understanding of God, of humanity and the meaning and purpose  of life. That in turn shapes our understanding of what has gone wrong in our world and what should be done about it.

Christians understand the core problem of humanity to be sin: seeking freedom without God, the freedom to do what we want, instead of seeking freedom under God, the freedom to do what we ought. 

Invariably this has led to a whole range of political options that in nature are idols; that is, where something of God’s good created order is absolutised. This can include nationalism (the nation), liberalism (freedom), capitalism (money), socialism (the state) or conservatism (tradition). 

We live in a fallen world. All of us – our politicians, our leaders, ourselves – are tainted by sinful tendencies. Which is why we need institutions to keep power in check. Christian thinkers have greatly influenced the development of our contemporary political structures, with constitutions, courts of law, and free press.



Vote therefore for those who themselves honour God, or who at least respect those who do worship and honour God, and promote freedom of conscience and of worship – for all, not just our own sort. Beware however of those who use religion, especially Christianity or ‘the Judeo-Christian tradition’, as a political tool to push their nationalistic agendas and oppress those who believe differently. 

Vote for those who respect and uphold the rule of law and its institutions. Beware of those  who promote authoritarian and autocratic rule, undermining the prophetic role of the press to uncover the truth, and the courts to hold power accountable.

Vote for those who uphold love, truth and justice. Love will be expressed in servant leadership,  in promoting reconciliation instead of polarisation, championing strong and healthy families above self-seeking individualism, welcoming the homeless and displaced. Truth will speak out against the lies of disinformation. Justice is fundamental to the purpose of government, providing a level playing field for all. Beware of those campaigning for the rights of one tribe, even Christians, without a concern for justice for all. 

We may think that European elections are not as important as national elections, closer to home. Yet we face major threats on levels beyond the competencies of national government, and which need urgent, Europe-wide concerted effort. Migration, Russian aggression, climate change, agricultural changes, global economic shifts, the impact of AI, and much more…

Voting for our European representatives is both a privilege and a duty not to be taken lightly.

Jeff Fountain, Director of the Schuman Centre for European Studies. This article was first published on the author's blog, Weekly Word.


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