ADVERTISING
 
Monday, February 20   Sign in or Register
 
Evangelical Focus
 

 
ADVERTISING
 
 
FOLLOW US ON
  • Twitter
  • Facebook
  • Google +
  • Instagram
  • Soundcloud
 

Newsletter
Newsletter, sign up to receive all our News by email.
 

POLL
Bioethics debate in Europe
Is it OK to terminate a baby because they will have Down's Syndrome?




SEE MORE POLLS
 

 
TOP 10 MOST VIEWED



Jonathan Tame
 

The cumulative crisis of trust

Our churches should be examples of institutions that serve the common good, that speak out against injustice, and that are led with integrity.

JUBILEE CENTRE AUTHOR Jonathan Tame 19 JANUARY 2017 09:44 h GMT+1
Joseph Blatter, former President of FIFA. / Al-wasat

To what extent do the political upheavals of 2016 reflect a crisis of trust in public leadership? Although politicians have long been regarded with a healthy degree of scepticism, a more insidious loss of credibility in public leaders has been growing over the course of this century. 



First the sex abuse scandal in the Catholic Church, then the banking crisis and scandal around executive pay and bonuses, the outrage around MPs expenses in the UK, followed by newspaper phone-hacking, then doping in sports at the highest level. Between them came relentless sex abuse scandals involving politicians, media celebrities and most recently football coaches.



The popular conclusion is that people in positions of power can no longer be trusted. When a growing disillusionment with established leaders is combined with the powerlessness felt by those who are on the losing side of globalisation, then people may rally around populist demands for change in sufficient numbers to tip the balance of power – hence Brexit and Trump’s victory.



Yet behind these political and economic challenges lies a moral one. The Bible gives clear warnings about the personal temptations surrounding power and the dangers of overcentralized authority. It envisages two factors to keep this in check: inner restraint and outer controls. The first and more important is built on moral character that includes integrity, impartiality, and trustworthiness; Jesus sums these up in the idea of servant leadership (Luke 22:25-26).  External controls – taking legal or institutional forms – are designed to reinforce inner restraint, but not replace it.



 



Photo: BBC World Service (CC)



Consider the motto of the London Stock Exchangedictum meum pactum – ‘My word is my bond’This is a far cry from the modern culture of business, where according to Jon Huntsmancorporate lawyers ‘…have created, perhaps unwittingly, a tidal wave of distrust, ended long-term friendships, and bartered the inherent goodwill between people for loopholes, escape clauses and weasel wording.’[1] The gold standard of personal integrity has given way to weaker (and more costly) legal restraints to ensure honesty and fairness in contracts.



When it comes to politics, I can remember the first time that a British cabinet minister, having been exposed for an affair, didn’t resign, nor was he sacked (in the late ‘90s). Prior to that, the consensus was if a government minister was found to have broken his promise to his wife, how could he be trusted to keep promises to the electorate? Not so today; MPs have to be caught doing something much more sordid to resign now. All this diminishes their reputation as being worthy of public trust.



The shocks of Brexit, the Trump victory, and the Italian referendum are evidence that public trust has run out towards the people who hold the political and economic reins. And it’s probably not over yet, as the march of populism is swelling in several European nations.



Five hundred years ago, Martin Luther also faced a crisis of trust in public leadership – in the medieval Catholic Church, which exercised considerable political and economic power as well as spiritual authority. His 95 theses were objections to corruption, and over time the Reformation led to a transformation of the culture of leadership. 



One of the key ideas of the Reformation was that every person must give account to God for their lives directly, and that faith in Christ not the intermediation of the Church would determine the outcome. This helped forge the moral outlook which led to the inner restraint mentioned above.



Another outworking of the Reformation was the belief in the unique worth of every human being – on account of being loved by God and saved by Christ. This underpinned the emergence of the rule of law – which limited the autocratic power of kings and rulers, and upheld the rights and dignity of every human being. From this developed the institutional separation of powers, those external restraints designed to limit the power of any one person or office.



Is there anything we can learn from the Reformation as we face a widespread loss of trust in public leadership in 2017? How can the Church today help restore the vital civic virtues of inner restraint and the integrity of institutions? 



Jesus gave us the mandate to be salt and light in our culture, so it surely begins with each one of us being trustworthy within our own sphere of influence at home and work. If we are faithful and trustworthy in small matters, said Jesus, we will be the same in large ones (Luke 16:10). 



Likewise our churches should be examples of institutions that serve the common good, that speak out against injustice, and that are led with integrity.



Jonathan Tame, Director of the Jubilee Centre (Cambridge, UK).



This article first appeared on the Jubilee Centre website and was republished with permission.



 



[1] Jon M. Huntsman (2005), Winners never cheat pp. 71-72; Wharton School Publishing, New Jersey.



 


 

 


0
COMMENTS

    If you want to comment, or

 



 
 
YOUR ARE AT: - - - The cumulative crisis of trust
 
ADVERTISING
 
 
 
AUDIOS Audios
 
Israel, the UN resolution and the long conflict Israel, the UN resolution and the long conflict

Shira Sorko-Ram, pastor and journalist in Israel, shares her views and a historical and biblical context on the latest events.

 
Lindsay Brown: Islam and the Gospel in Europe Lindsay Brown: Islam and the Gospel in Europe

Is the arrival of thousands of Muslims to Europe a threat to Christianity? What is the growth of evangelical churches in Eastern and Southern Europe? An interview with theologian and Lausanne Movement representative Lindsay Brown.

 
Giovanni Traettino: “Pope Francis is my brother in Christ” Giovanni Traettino: “Pope Francis is my brother in Christ”

Evangelical Focus asked the well-known Pentecostal pastor about his “open” approach to Roman Catholicism. Traettino defended his position about ecumenism during the Italian Evangelical Alliance 2016 assembly (8-9 April, Rome).

 
Efraim Tendero: Relationship with Roman Catholicism and other current issues Efraim Tendero: Relationship with Roman Catholicism and other current issues

The World Evangelical Alliance Secretary General participated in the Italian Evangelical Alliance assembly (Rome, 8-9 April). In this interview with Evangelical Focus, Bp Tendero talks about the need to listen to local churches and to face challenges like the refugee crisis and climate change. 

 
Thomas Bucher: Vision of the EEA Thomas Bucher: Vision of the EEA

Influence in society, evangelical identity and projects in Europe. An interview with Thomas Bucher, secretary general of the European Evangelical Alliance.

 
Evi Rodemann: Youth and mission Evi Rodemann: Youth and mission

“We want to see the youth not just being equipped, but also being multipliers”, Evi Rodemann director of Mission-Net. The European Congress took place in Germany from December 28 to January 2.

 
Greg Pritchard: European Leadership Forum Greg Pritchard: European Leadership Forum

Pritchard explains the vision of ELF, comments on the 2015 event in Poland and reflects on what it means to have an "evangelical identity".

 
Pablo Martinez comments on Evangelical Focus’ launch Pablo Martinez comments on Evangelical Focus’ launch

Author and international speaker Dr Pablo Martínez discusses the main challenges in Europe nowadays and hopes Evangelical Focus will be a useful tool to help build bridges between churches and society.

 
PICTURES Pictures
 
WPF17: A look at the world’s current issues WPF17: A look at the world’s current issues

A selection of pictures of World Press Photo 2017.

 
‘Progress of Europe, deeply connected to Bible’ ‘Progress of Europe, deeply connected to Bible’

Indian author Vishal Mangalwadi spoke about how the biblical worldview shaped the West. 300 professionals attended annual GBG meeting on faith and work in Cullera (Spain). Photos: J.P. Serrano, S. Vera.

 
Education, reconciliation, media, creation care, poverty, disability… Education, reconciliation, media, creation care, poverty, disability…

About 70 people from diverse evangelical backgrounds met for the Spanish annual Lausanne Movement gathering. They discussed how the church can respond to 10 social challenges in the country.

 
Impressions of Lausanne's #ylg2016 Impressions of Lausanne's #ylg2016

Around 1,000 young Christian leaders from 150 countries are participating in the 2016 Lausanne Younger Leaders Gathering, to reflect on global mission.

 
“Spain, we pray for you” “Spain, we pray for you”

Hundreds of evangelical Christians from many denominations marched in Madrid (Spain) to pray for their city, the authorities and asking God to bring hope to its society. Many gathered in other cities on June, 11.

 
VIDEO Video
 
What mistakes do Christians make in trying to help someone scarred by abuse? What mistakes do Christians make in trying to help someone scarred by abuse?

Counselor Diane Langberg on how to listen to victims well.

 
What historical obstacles do European missionaries need to overcome? What historical obstacles do European missionaries need to overcome?

Teaching Director of Youth for Christ in Sri Lanka Ajith Fernando answers the question.

 
You-To live-How? You-To live-How?

The Roldan Camacho are a Spanish couple with deafness. They tell us how the whole family experiences everyday life through sign language. A video report by Gabriela Pérez.

 
Jerusalem and the Messiah Jerusalem and the Messiah

‘This is the place where the Messiah chose to come, die and... return’. A video produced by Alto Concept.

 
The impact of investigative journalism on the Church The impact of investigative journalism on the Church

Journalistic research is key to help Christians think about the implications of their faith, says Finnish journalist Leif Nummela. 

 
“Who can help me? I want to become a Christian” “Who can help me? I want to become a Christian”

Nikos Stefanidis of ‘Helping Hands’ in Athens (Greece) shares the story of an Afghan lady who decided to follow Jesus.

 
Philip Yancey interview Philip Yancey interview

An 8-minute interview with Philip Yancey on the role of Christians in a secularised society. Recorded in Madrid, September 2016.

 
An interview with Prof. John Lennox An interview with Prof. John Lennox

New atheism, the definition of "faith", Christianity in Europe, the role of the Bible in mission, and the need to listen more. An exclusive interview recorded at "Forum Apologética" (Tarragona, Spain) in May 2016.

 
 
Follow us on Soundcloud
Follow us on YouTube
 
 
WE RECOMMEND
 
PARTNERS
 

 
AEE
EVANGELICAL FOCUS belongs to Areópago Protestante, linked to the Spanish Evangelical Alliance (AEE). AEE is member of the European
Evangelical Alliance and World Evangelical Alliance.
 

Opinions expressed are those of their respective contributors and do not necessarily represent the views of Evangelical Focus.