Posted by: Bro. Lawrence D. | October 8, 2008

Pulpit Politics?

I recently read an article in my local newspaper entitled, “Pulpit Bullies” by columnist Cal Thomas. Here’s a link:   Cal Thomas

Two paragraphs stood out to me:

“Obstacle number two has to do with the reason people attend worship services. It is not, or should not be, in order to pledge allegiance to a party, candidate or earthly agenda. One can spend inordinate amounts of time on that subject simply by watching cable TV, or listening to talk radio, or reading the newspapers. No matter how hard they try to protect the gospel from corruption, ministers who focus on politics and politicians as a means of redemption must minimize their ultimate calling and message. The road to redemption does not run through Washington, D.C. Politicians can’t redeem themselves from the temptations of Washington. What makes anyone think they can redeem the rest of us?”

and…

“Whether the law is repealed, or not, churches and ministers would do better to keep their attention focused on the things above, rather than the things below, because politics can be the ultimate temptation and pollute a far superior and life-changing message.”

Now I’m not clear on what Cal Thomas’ religious affiliations are and I don’t know what his Soteriology, Harmatology, or Eschatology may be. What I do know is that he has voiced my sentiments on this issue well.

I have really struggled with rather or not to even address the issue of politics. But I’m really frustrated with preachers who, rather than using the opportunity they have on sunday morning or even on their weekly radio programs to preach the gospel, instead use them as a venue to promote politics.  To utilize the influence that they have in order to bind other believers’ consciences to their political opinions is sinful. God’s gospel is being minimized and undermined because these preachers are really concerned about protecting their comfortable positions. They don’t want to have their incomes taxed. They are not willing to go to jail for taking a stand for Christ by refusing to marry a gay couple. They don’t want financial transparency leading to a questioning of how the donations of congregants are being spent. So what do they do? They hide behind two very emotional issues, abortion and same-sex marriage.

But it doesn’t stop with the preachers.

Because so many so-called Christians in America have invested the bulk of their emotional energy into  “fighting the good fight of vote”, I find that it is very difficult to really get at the heart of the issues. Some even believe it to be a part of the Christians’ duty to be “salt and light” in the world. An assumption that they probably got from their favorite preacher, apologist, or so-called Christian radio host. An assumption I vehemently disagree with.

To be frank, I don’t care how individual Christians decide to carry out their opportunity to participate in the political arena. I do care when they believe that they can use scripture to demand that other believers walk in lock step with them! In my opinion, there is no “Christian Vote”. I don’t see voting for a candidate because he/she agrees with me about abortion or same-sex marriage as any more Christian than voting for a candidate because he/she agrees with me about fighting hunger and homelessness.

You see, I believe that if we as Christians would concentrate on living and proclaiming the gospel, then we wouldn’t have to even care who was in office or what policies were on the books. If we were living and proclaiming the gospel, consistently, it could actually lead to less abortions. For instance, if our homes were open to young pregnant ladies who didn’t have the support of their families or the babies father, then we could make abortion the unthinkable option in their minds that it already is in ours. If we could just provide them with the loving care that is provided for us by God in Jesus Christ through the gospel, then we could make a more meaningful and impactful statement against the evil of abortion.

But do you know why we would rather vote? Because it doesn’t cost us anything. It clears our conscience because it is a once-in-a-while decisive act that we can make and then move on with our lives. But to actually administer love and grace to a wayward soul is too much of a time consumer for our microwave mentalities. Yes, I am making the accusation. We vote as a means of avoiding the real work of redemption, which is loving people. Voting at the state and local level takes place basically every two years. Voting on the federal level takes place every four years. But the fact of the matter is that loving people is a daily task. Unless we as believers are willing to inconvience ourselves by making our lives a living sacrifice in the loving service of others, we will continue to deservedly wear the tag as a group of unloving, judgmental, self-righteous hypocrites.

So rather or not you plan to be involved politically or not, remember that the living out and proclamation of the gospel is your most clearly stated command from scripture. And political involvement is optional at best.

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Responses

  1. hi lawrence,
    i’m not sure what you mean by writing “Some even believe it to be a part of the Christians’ duty to be “salt and light” in the world.”
    are you saying that we shouldn’t be salt and light?

  2. You are touching on something here brother I am very passionate about. I long to see us proclaim the Gospel of Jesus Christ, way more then to see us place our trust in men.

    It is better to trust in the LORD than to put confidence in man. It is better to trust in the LORD than to put confidence in princes. (Psalms 118:8-9 KJV)

    I have had African-Americans tell me that the way to save black people is through education and voting. No! The way the black people will be saved is through the Lord Jesus Christ only. Social/politcal agendas seem to always enter the pulpit around election time my friend. Does Christ get the backburner when this nation needs a President? On 9/11 we were runing to altars seeking to know God, 7 years later we are now running to the polls to vote in our god. Hmmm, what has happened.

    A former pastor of mine believes that God has given him the duty to get African-Americans to register to vote. Forget whether they need the Lord Jesus Christ, just make sure they’re registered. That’s backwards!

    And I, brethren, when I came to you, came not with excellency of speech or of wisdom, declaring unto you the testimony of God. For I determined not to know any thing among you, save Jesus Christ, and him crucified. And I was with you in weakness, and in fear, and in much trembling. And my speech and my preaching was not with enticing words of man’s wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power: That your faith should not stand in the wisdom of men, but in the power of God. (1 Corinthians 2:1-5 KJV)

    Why can we not know the Lord Jesus and Him crucified? Isn’t that enough? Are wordly, politically matters more important now then the shed blood of our Lord? This is an excellent post my friend. May Christ gracious grace be with you.

    Karsten Miller

  3. Mrs. Mav,

    Let me say loud and clear “No Ma’am, no ma’am, no ma’am!”. I am not saying that we should not be salt and light in the world. I am saying that I believe politics to be an illegitimate application of that verse. Let me explain:

    Political involvement has an unqualifiable effect on the national landscape. We never know exactly how a new measure, mayor, senator, house representative, govenor or president will impact society. We just don’t know. Perhaps things will be made better or perhaps things will be made worse. However,

    When it comes to the proclamation and living out of the gospel, we are certain what effects it will have. There are only two outcomes. It will either condemn those who reject it or it will bring eternal life (and a new heart I might add) to those who embrace it. Political involvement can do neither. And in the text itself (Matthew 5:13-16), I believe that the proclamation and living out of the gospel is what Christ had in mind when he told us to be “salt and light” in the world. Not political involvement! There’s just no comparing the two. If it were possible to do so, then we should be able to substitute the words of the scripture like this. “By this shall all men know that you are my disciples, when you vote.” That sounds completely crazy!

    Understand, I am not saying that they can’t both be accomplished. I am saying that they can’t be mixed or combined.

    We are salt and light when we share the gospel, love and serve one another, and pray. Not inside a voting booth.

    Let me know what you think.

  4. Bro. Karsten,

    Amen! Amen! Amen! Preach it brother! LOL!!!


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