Discussione:Teopedia/Fede e società

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Faith and society
Orientation card

1. We affirm with joy and gratitude that God reigns over all reality since he is the only authentic Lord of heaven and earth. Since God's law has a universal character, everything belongs to him, including society in all its manifestations. He can therefore dispose of the kingdoms of this world according to his will [Psalm 24; Deuteronomy 5,21; Acts 17,25-26].

2. We affirm that the original mandate of God and the subsequent one of the Risen One constitute a single mandate and require an all-round commitment. The involvement of Christians in the social and political sphere, aimed at making disciples of the nations, fully falls within this mandate, even if unfortunately the Christians themselves have not always grasped all the implications [Genesis 1,28; Matthew 28,18-20].

3. We affirm the legitimacy of authority in areas established by God to limit the effects of sin and promote the common good and justice. This implies the commitment to work to ensure that laws are promulgated in accordance with God's teaching. All of Scripture offers useful avenues of reflection in this sense also for contemporary society [Deuteronomy; Romans 13].

4. We affirm the authentic dignity of social and political activity as of all other human activities. The choice between work in the ecclesial sphere and work in the socio-political sphere depends on the vocation of the individual. An intrinsic superiority of one over the other cannot be assumed. As in any other field, every commitment draws its validity not from the postulates of autonomous reason, but from the values of God's law [Romans 2:14-15].

5. We affirm that prayer for the authorities cannot be separated from the conviction of their submission to the Lordship of God. It also presupposes the presence of a certain relationship between believers and the authorities and the need for a commitment aimed at safeguarding the rights of men by the latter [Jer 29,7; 1 Timothy 2,1-2].

6. We affirm that the Christian faith is an all-encompassing reality which concerns not only man's belief, but also his knowledge and deeds. It follows that evangelical identity has both private and public relevance. The very unity of man also implies an indissoluble connection between faith and society [Romans 12,1-2; 1 Timothy 2,1-2].

7. We affirm that on the basis of scriptural revelation the Christian faith considers itself the heir and interpreter of values which have a social and structural impact also on personal and family ethics. This implies a precise responsibility in the Christian proclamation of God's law and the inadequacy of any natural theology according to which the authorities would be able to know the good regardless of what Scripture claims [Acts 4,18-19; 25.10-11].

8. We affirm that God's order for reality commits believers to clarifying the specificity of the evangelical commitment in the various fields. Even if today's society is characterized as never before by multiple interdependence, there is a specific Christian conception of ethics. It concerns the juridical, media, educational, economic and financial, occupational and technological reality, of social cooperation and respect for creation [John 19,11].

9. We affirm that the evangelical faith, as an interpreter of the Judaeo-Christian heritage, must be vigilant to avoid various distortions. This vigilance implies denouncing the intrusiveness of the state in spheres foreign to it and paying attention to attempts at relativisation, Islamization, etc. that sometimes make their way into society. The intrusiveness of the state not only subverts the order established by God, but also contributes to the deresponsibility of individuals and the devaluation of intermediate structures [1 Corinthians 4,4; Acts 4,18-21; Eph 5:11-12; Rev 13].

10. We affirm that any social and political choice falls within the realm of the possible and the transitory. The value of political choices must be evaluated in the space that goes from the universe of beliefs to that of responsibility. Since the Lord has entrusted believers with the ministry of reconciliation, they are engaged in a work of mediation and do not take refuge in a universe of impracticable absolutes here and now [2 Corinthians 5:18].

11. We affirm the need to resist the attempts of the authorities to provide possible benefits and privileges to particular sectors, because the justice of the State must not know personal distinctions.

12. We affirm the interest of the evangelical faith so that all things are renewed and restored to the just right of God and we reject any form of political messianism as the State and politics must play a limited role and not invade other areas such as those entrusted to the family and the church [Romans 8:19-25].

The "Orientation Charter" on FAITH AND SOCIETY was developed on the occasion of the seminars organized by IFED in 1997 by participants from different areas (Bologna, Chieti, Mantua, Modena, Milan, Naples, Padua, Pescara, Rome, Teramo, Vicenza).