Concluding Biblical and Philosophic Prophecies:
Scripture is clear that there is a God-appointed responsibility to take whatever steps we can to help the poor. Yet, at the same time, religions must insist that the transformation of any society depends on the prior transformation of the individuals that make up that society. That is the Christian counterpart to “dependency theory.” The revolution so earnestly sought in society will best be accomplished as more significant numbers of people in that society experience the revolution of new birth and the renewal of life in Christ.
The definition of Liberation opens the door for justified violence so that the process of Liberation is achieved. The Church should be involved by placing herself in this process. Gutierrez maintains: “The Church’s mission is defined prophetically, pastorally and theologically about this revolutionary process.” In the process of conscientization, actions will be taken against oppressive structures. Those actions may take the form of violence; they are justified as self-defense and are only a response to the first violence committed against human beings; hence the phrase second violence is used.
The different approaches to Liberation include but are not limited to:
• Social Revolutionary Approach
• Non-Violence Revolutionary Approach
• Lesser Violence Revolutionary Approach
• Praxis Approach
• Hermeneutic Approach (A hermeneutic of love and justice)
• Pedagogical Approach
• Theological Approach
• Mediation Approach, and
• Introspection and Inter-religious Dialogue Approaches.
The prophecy could use all the above approaches for ultimate social-political Liberation.The political structure which fails to give people a sense of belonging leads to discontentment, and it is one-way traffic to violent conflicts and security challenges. Prophecy from the philosophic dimension can be true or false.
The word ‘prophet’ denotes the one who speaks in the name of God, declaring the divine will and counsel in the oracle. Biblical prophets spoke in the name of the LORD, the true God, and therefore were preserved from all errors. They were the true conscience of the people and were not given to corruption. These prophets fulfilled widely differing roles in the plan of God; they spoke the very word of God. Some evangelical and charismatic Christians believe that God had withdrawn the gift of prophecy and that the completion of the gospel of Christ in the New Testament had brought God’s process of revelation to his people. Martin Luther affirmed, “No new and special revelation is necessary” because the written Word of God (The Bible) is living, powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword (Heb. 4:12). Prophecy is rooted in the Judeo-Christian heritage and brings the favor of God.
In contrast, all the false gods of indigenous religions bring the curse of ‘Babylon.’ The false gods spread spiritual darkness over the Nations, causing severe conflicts. Devil wants the people to focus on hunger, poverty, unemployment, corruption, etc., neglecting the actual causes of these varied and myriad problems. These problems are symptoms of ‘spiritual bondage’ – the belief system that affects all things suitable as created by God. It is mandatory for the Church to have social significance and relevance and be in the frontal push for Liberation. The Church urgently needs to enhance its effectiveness in fulfilling this aspect of its mission, which is spiritually oriented and socio-politically relevant.
The World needs Churches “that call the world evil and steps into the world to looks at its evil forms full in the face and do something to change it” (Verkuyl and Schulte 1974: 69 cited in Uchegbue Christian, paperity.org). Edmund Ilogu rightly comments, “There is no hope for calling any organization a Church that has not manifested the marks of Christ’s fight against evil in the world” (Ilogu 1964: 275). Such a church that must be able to fulfill this task must be a dynamic and progressive church rather than a static and conservative church that arbitrarily supports the status quo.
Religious leaders have social, economic, political, and spiritual responsibilities to the people.
Martin Luther King’s conviction was:
That any religion that professes concern for the souls of men and is not equally concerned about the slums that damn them, the economic conditions that strangle them, and the social conditions that cripple them is a spiritually moribund religion only waiting for the day to be buried”. (Martin Luther King, Jr. brainyquote.com)
Therefore religious leaders must be concerned about the killings, violence, unemployment of vibrant and proactive youths, unrest, and insecurity. Mahatma Gandhi’s concept was SATYAGRAHA (Satya is the truth which equals love, and agraha is force; Satyagraha means truth-force or love force). Gandhi’s concept conforms to Jesus’ teachings, and it has a great potential in the area of social reform. Gandhi was the first person in history to lift the love ethic of Jesus above mere interaction between individuals to a powerful and effective social force (Martin Luther King, Jr. christianhistoryinstitute.org / Soboyejo, 2016. religion-ethnicity-and-change). Love for Gandhi was a potent instrument for social and collective transformation.
Love overrides everything. In unity, man can achieve anything, even the most challenging task. As Iwe equally points out, “Only a creative church with a high sense of ministry and commitment can effect significant contributions in the life of its people” and adequately, legitimately and competently work for the welfare of society” (Iwe, 1979: 161).