The First Chapters Project – The Social Transformation Perspective

The third perspective of the First Chapters Project is Social Transformation. Social Transformation is yet another dimension of Christian Politics, or perhaps the main objective of Christian Politics. Ephesians 4:22-24 says: “You were taught, with regard to your former way of life, to put off your old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires; to be made new in the attitude of your minds; and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness.

Scripture teaches us that the true determinants of development – social transformation – are not the ones usually taught in universities. It is commonly accepted that (economic) development depends on variables such as the level of education, the degree of market freedom, the protection of property rights and rule of law, technological innovation, or the availability of natural resources are the main determinants of social change.

While these elements are important, they ignore the underlying determinants of change and (economic) development that are concealed in God’s Word. These are related to God’s relational structuring of society around social covenants such as the family. In fact, the family, the church attendance and education are far more determining for social transformation. Public policy should focus on these variables instead, in order to achieve sustainable social transformation.

In God’s creational design, the family is the cornerstone of society and therefore one of the main institutions to rescue. Families have a decisive influence on the education of children, even when this is not a mainstream perspective in society. Strong, stable and healthy families are determinant for social transformation, as they are fundamental structures for the formation of the good character of people.

The church is equally fundamental for social transformation. For the quality of democracy it is healthy that there is a free expression of all voices in society, including churches. The Church, understood as the body of Christ and not as an institution, is called to engage in the healing of society – Religious Freedom. It is legitimate to base our political positions on our Christian faith as we know that Christ is the source of life and that its sovereignty is resplendent in all of the institutions of society, from the Church to the government. Christian involvement in society and political advocacy are opportunities for Christians to use their talents to build the kingdom of God and transform the spiritual, political, cultural and social sphere.

Finally, education is one of the fundamental institutions of society and a powerful vector of social transformation. Promoting healthy values and teaching the Christian worldview is a priority. Education is not only a process in which people receive influences for the development of learning, behaviour or attitudes, but also an avenue for the promotion of a culture of peace that enriches life values.

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Dennis P. Petri
Dennis P. Petri is Director of Plataforma C, Platform for Christian Politics. A political scientist by training, he specializes in comparative politics with a specific interest in Latin America. He is currently working on a dissertation about religious freedom at VU University Amsterdam.


  1. […] Jewish scholars say there are 70 levels of interpretation of the Bible, 70 dimensions and 70 truths to discover in each book, chapter and verse. Throughout this project, I will analyze the first chapter of each book of the Bible from what may seem unusual perspectives, related to my own personal, academic and professional background: a)     the Political perspective (Christian politics), b)    the Religious Freedom perspective (persecution of Christians) and c)     the Social Transformation perspective. […]

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