Society & Politics

Article Series: Leadership Lessons from the Life of David

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Preston Manning, Senior Fellow

The mission of the Marketplace Institute at Regent College is to help Christians to connect the gospel of Christ with every aspect of life – culture, science, media, business, and, yes, politics.

As citizens of the Kingdom of God but also citizens of our country and the world, we are affected by domestic and international politics in a myriad of ways. Politics affects our freedoms and responsibilities, who governs us and how, the type of education our children receive, our incomes and employment opportunities, our taxes and what they are used for, the quality of our environment, our health and old age security, our collective response to the needs of the poor and oppressed, the safety of our streets, and whether we live in a time of war or a time of peace.

At the Marketplace Institute, we believe that Jesus’ call is for his followers to be salt and light, to be ambassadors for Him, to carry out the ministry of reconciliation, and to communicate the truth of the gospel to every nation. This is a call to relate the truth and person of Christ to every sphere of life, including the political.

One way of doing so is to study the lives and experience of God’s servants in the past who have been called to involvement in the politics of their day. Such studies are particularly relevant when they are conducted through the eyes and interpreted through the experiences of contemporary Christians who have been involved in the politics of our day.

Hence, this series of articles, which is entitled “Faith and Politics: Leadership Lessons from the Life of David,” is authored by Preston Manning, a practising Christian, Senior Fellow of the Marketplace Institute, founder of two Canadian federal political parties, and former Leader of the Official Opposition in the Canadian House of Commons.

From a secular standpoint, David was Israel’s most famous king and one of history’s most fascinating political figures. He was the shepherd boy who rose to prominence by slaying a giant; the warrior who fought his nation’s battles; the loyal subject who suffered persecution and exile under an unjust king whom he ultimately replaced; the wise ruler who unified the fractious tribes of Israel into one kingdom; the champion of law and virtue who undermined his own moral authority by an inexplicable descent into adultery and murder; the aging ruler who faced rebellion from within his own household and wrestled with the age-old challenge of succession. And in addition to all this, he was a musician and poet who revealed his innermost thoughts and feelings through songs and poems at every stage of his long political career.

At the same time, David was a man of God – a  “man after God’s own heart.” Jehovah himself directed the saintly Samuel to anoint David king of Israel long before the nation recognized him as such. He attributed his victory over Goliath to divine aid. His own unwillingness to rebel against King Saul was because he acknowledged Saul as “the Lord’s anointed.” He meditated in the law of God day and night and extolled its virtues to his people. He dealt with his sin of adultery and murder by repenting in sackcloth and ashes. He suffered the consequences of his sin but emerged stronger in his faith than before. He led his nation in worship and aspired to build Jehovah a temple. And all his songs and poems were prayers to the God whom he feared, adored, worshipped, and served.

There is, therefore, much for contemporary Christians with political interests and ambitions to learn from the life of David, especially as interpreted by a contemporary Christian with significant political experience.

Please join us as we study “Faith and Politics: Leadership Lessons from the Life of David ” through a series of monthly articles:

Part 1: Who Will Be Leader?

Part 2: A Leader After God's Own Heart

Part 3: The Subordinate Leader

Part 4: The Inner Life of a Political Leader

Part 5: The Leader Stumbles

Part 6: The Leader Challenged Domestically

Part 7: The Leader Challenged Politically

Part 8: Last Works of a Leader

Part 9: Last Words of a Leader


Preston Manning works with the MI on the development and communication of faith-informed approaches to political leadership and public policy, including new approaches to the intersection of faith with democratic governance, the market economy, pluralism and multiculturalism, science and technology, and environmental stewardship.

Preston served as a member of the Canadian House of Commons from 1993 to 2001, part of which he served as his party’s critic for Science, Technology and Innovation. He founded two new political parties—the Reform Party of Canada and the Canadian Reform Conservative Alliance—and was the Leader of the Official Opposition from 1997 to 2000. Preston also has 20 years of experience as an owner and manager of a consulting firm specializing mainly in strategic planning and communications advice to the energy sector. In 2005, he founded the Manning Centre for Building Democracy, which supports research, educational, and communications initiatives designed to achieve a more democratic society in Canada guided by conservative principles.

Source: Marketplace Institute



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