Friday, March 3, 2017

Politics in the church

In yesterday's post I commented on the divisions that exist in our nation and in our churches. One person commented privately to me that many of the political differences that we have as a nation are also found in the church. That is why I try very hard to not make overtly political comments in this blog or at the church.

I have very strong political opinions which I share privately with friends and family. I have never failed to vote in any primary or general election since I became eligible to vote, but I vote for the individual, not the party. I don't believe either political party is right on every issue. Despite having strong opinions, I have never addressed my political views from the pulpit. I do speak to moral issues which are sometimes related to political views, but I do it from a biblical perspective, not a political one. There is a difference.

My father was a strong Democrat who worked for the local Democrat party. Although he would occasionally vote for a Republican when he felt that person was better than the one the Democrats were running, he voted Democrat most of the time. My mother leaned towards the Republican side. They would often go vote and come back joking that they had canceled each other's vote, but they always voted.

My father called me one day, his voice still shaking, saying he had walked out of church that morning and would not be returning. The church had an interim pastor who was very political. Dad said he was tired of hearing every Sunday what a great man President Bush was and how sorry the Democrats were. He said this was a weekly message regardless of what the sermon topic was supposed to be. He was embarrassed by what he had done, but he refused to sit there any longer and hear how bad Democrats are.

Our churches are made up of Democrats, Republicans, Independents, and others who could care less about politics. They are bombarded nightly with political messages from the media and political campaigns. They don't need to hear such messages from the pulpit. The minute a pastor begins to speak to political issues he or she will begin to create divisions within the church. Yes, we are called to address moral issues, and yes, sometimes those will cross over into political differences, but we must speak to those issues from the Bible, not from what some political hack says about them.

This last campaign was one of the most bitter campaigns I've witnessed. Unfortunately, I saw a lot of that bitterness come from ministry leaders, especially on social media. As I read their posts I wondered what kind of issues they were creating within their churches. Surely, there were persons in their congregations who were offended by what they were writing. How would these ministry leaders lead those persons once the election was over?

As I wrote earlier, I have never failed to vote in any election since I became eligible. I will continue to vote for those persons I believe best represent my Christian values regardless of their political party. But, I also know that our salvation will not come from the White House, the State House, or the Courthouse. Our salvation comes from the Lord Jesus Christ, and it is He who we must be preaching. Neither the Democrats nor the Republicans have the answer for healing our land. Such healing can only come from God, and that is what we are called to proclaim. Let's not dilute our message and alienate one another by focusing on lesser political agendas.

No comments: