Sep

11

Christians & Politics, Pt. 2

By pastorbillwalden

O.K., I’ll try it some more…(green queasy feeling)

Some reasons why I haven’t (in the past) or Christians (presently) don’t get involved in politics.

1. Most, if not all politicians are corrupt.  Also, no candidate completely embraces my worldview.  There is no one I can fully support, so I’m not voting or campaigning for anyone.

2. Jesus said that His Kingdom was not of this world, (John 18:36) therefore, Christians ought only be about the work of the kingdom of God.

3. Winning souls and Christian service is more important than trying to change a culture through political efforts.

4. It is too difficult to understand the issues and the candidates.

5. It takes too much time to learn about all the issues and the candidates.

6. Democracy is an imperfect governmental style.  Rule by the people’s choice will never work.  We’ll just wait for the Millennial Reign of Christ.

7. It’s useless to try to change things.  The Bible says that things are only going to get worse.  Why try to fight it?

8. I don’t care what happens.

Before I offer up some answers to these generalized statements, let me say this: I have felt all these things and more.

As I pastor, I get concerned about stepping over a real or imaginary line and getting in trouble with the government, the media, or John Q. Public.

I know that the Gospel correctly preached will offend some.  That’s to be expected.  I know that the Gospel will offend, but at least I know the solid truth of the Gospel.  I can’t always know that there is a solid truth behind much of politics.

Add to that fact that as a pastor, I know my primary calling is “church stuff”, not Town Hall meetings, political discussions, or trying to learn how to navigate waters that seem filled with sharks, guppies, and everything in between.

Add to that the fact that talking politics is like trying to hit a moving target.

Add to that the fact that if I get involved in politics, some people will automatically write me off as a card carrying NRA member who is happy to club baby seals, eat spotted owls and drive a gas guzzling over sized SUV.

Add to that the fact that I can’t keep up with church stuff, missions stuff, me and Debbie (wife) stuff, my friends, my kids, oil changes, lawn mowing, working out, learning Spanish, and more…

If I feel these things, lots of other Christians must feel the same way.  We are all cast in the same mold.  It is easy to find a multitude of reasons to “let them do their thing, and I’ll do mine”.

Though there seem to be many legitimate reasons to do nothing more than vote, I find that I am doing more.  Not much more, but definitely more.  I’ll respond to these “reasons” on the next post.

For now, perhaps you, the readers, can share more reasons, legitimate or not, about why some Christians might want to avoid politcs.

9 Responses so far

Bill
I have chosen not to involve my church in political matters primarily because politics is not the mission of teh church. But I do encourage people to understand the issues and vote.

Concerning your comment “All politicians are corrupt”. That’s a pretty broad statement. I have a Senator who I’ve known for years attend my church and he is a strong believer. He feels God called him into the political arena. He will probably be our state’s next governor.

If a person feels called as a Christian intoi politics I encourage it because as Jeremiah said, “Your going to be in bondage to Babylon for a while so seek the good of the city”. I take that to mean politics.

While I don’t feel called to enter politics or to use the pulpit as a platform, I feel it is good for us to be involved in the democratic system and to pray for our governmental authorities because the only other alternative is as John Locke said “Chaos”

How about: I’ll just listen to the netnwork news like all my friends. They all know more about it than I do, so whatever they say must be right, and besides, I don’t want to go against my friends and co-workers.

Steve,

Thank God for Christian politicians. I am thankful that some are called to that arena. I couldn’t imagine trying to navigate those waters, but that’s becasue I am not called to.

This year is a different one for me. We are lending our sanctuary for some Town Hall meetings, etc. We have always had voter registration at our church. We provide voter guides.

The voter guides we used we decidedly “conservative” and “Republican”. I thought it would be wise to provide some “liberal” and Democratic” voter guides, but we couldn’t find any.

I agree with you that politics is not the missions of the church…unless God calls us to it….then it is. I am learning to find that fine line. Thanks for your thoughts.

Susan,

That is another line of thinking that some of the brethren share.

“I don’t want to go against my friends and co-workers.”

That last phrase is sadly all too true.

Perhaps as more pastors are more openly involved, their congregations will also see the importance … and follow their lead…. but only as the Lord leads.

Here’s what one pastor did:
http://www.hblondon.org/2008/06/pastor-preaches.html

Pastor Preaches Politics; Dares IRS to Investigate
Fellow Clergy

… Please see excerpts below, taken from an article
(see http://www.worldnetdaily.com/index.php?fa=PAGE.view&pageId=67620 for article in it’s entirety) and tell me …

…Would you willfully violate the IRS code?

…What would happen if one-half of your congregation left because of your revolt against the IRS?

…Should the church become so involved in politics that they do not give adaquate time to the gospel?

…The article states that Gus Booth, a pastor in Warroad, Minn, preached from the pulpit about being a Christian and withholding support from a specific presidential candidate
… knowing that he was violating federal tax code and jeopardizing his church’s tax-exempt status by speaking against a specific candidate.

“I may be taking on the IRS,” Booth said, “but the IRS has taken on the Constitution unchallenged since 1954. I feel like the only law that should dictate what I am allowed to say is the First Amendment.”

In 1954, the IRS tax code was changed to forbid churches “from directly or indirectly participating or intervening in any political campaign on behalf of, or in opposition to, any candidate for public office.”

If pastors target specific candidates, like Booth did in his sermon, their churches risk losing tax-exempt status.

In his sermon, Booth explained his spiritual opposition to the tax code by quoting an 1863 sermon from Henry Ward Beecher: “It is sometimes said that ministers must not preach politics. … They would have to toe hop, and skip and jump through two thirds of the Bible if they did not, for the there is not another book on the face of God’s earth that is so full of commerce and business and government, and the relations between the governing and the governed, as this same Bible.”

Booth knows he has invited trouble, and he didn’t do so lightly. “A month before I made the sermon, I talked to the church leadership,” he told ABC News. “I told them, ‘If we do this, we could lose our tax-exempt status. Are you prepared for that?’ We spent a week in prayer, and I felt God was telling me to make that speech.”

Trouble may have indeed found him. The Americans United for the Separation of Church and State sent a letter last week to the IRS urging the government to take Booth up on his challenge.

“Tax exemption is not a right; it’s a privilege with certain restrictions,” Barry Lynn told ABC News.

Tax exemption is not a privilege the IRS has been ready to revoke easily, however. In 2006, the IRS received 237 complaints of groups abusing their tax-exempt status, investigated 100 and has yet to recommend revocation for any of them.

The last time the IRS revoked a church’s tax-exempt status was in 1992, when a New York church took out an ad asking, “How, then, can we vote for Bill Clinton?”

“It is my desire, and I dare say God’s desire,” Booth said in his sermon, “to use this pulpit to influence you and your family and friends to vote for the most biblical candidates this November. When you participate in the election process, you allow God to participate as well (through you).”

Booth may soon have a large number of allies in his challenge to the IRS rules. As WND reported earlier, the Alliance Defense Fund, a religious liberty advocacy group, is asking for preachers to join in their Pulpit Initiative, an attempt to “reclaim pastors’ constitutional right to speak truth from the pulpit” by inviting pastors on one Sunday to intentionally challenge the IRS ruling with the content of their sermons.

The event, planned for Sept. 28, will be a day for pastors to “evaluate candidates in light of Scripture,” Eric Stanley, senior legal counsel for ADF, told ABC News. “Our hope is that the IRS will initiate investigations and we can bring this into the federal courts.”

“This isn’t about political speech; it is about religious speech,” Stanley said. “Scripture applies to every aspect of life, including who we elect.”

The ADF said its program will “equip, protect, and defend pastors who wish to exercise their First Amendment right to openly discuss the positions of political candidates and other moral and social issues from the pulpit.”

Francis Schaeffer’s book “How shall we then Live”, is about standing up to the lies of the modern day world – such as abortion which is just one example. I think it is fair to say Schaeffer believed our Christianity should be displayed in every part of our life. As citizens of a democracy, politics is part of our heritage.

We need to stand up, but we do not need to do it the way the world does it; in other words we need to love our enemies, and bless those who curse us. And they do because we say homosexual activity is sin, abortion is murder, marriage is between a one man and one woman, burning down buildings to support the environment is wrong (ELF), suicide bombers go to hell not to heaven with to be greeted by 70 virgins (at least in my opinion).

Sometimes as the lies of the media, and political persons are hurled at us – it is difficult to turn the other cheek and love the offender.

The early Christians did not have the political freedom we have in America – I wonder what they would have done with it?

Most of that list (from 4 on) just plain sounded lazy to me, I should know because at heart (apart from the work of the H.S.) I am a lazy man.

Somewhere in the late Larry Norman’s song right here in America he wrote “we who are Christians should get off our sofas and stand up for what we believe” I think maybe he nailed it – those sofas are just way too comfortable.

BMR

Please listen to the short video clip on the above website – it talks about pastors challenges in preaching from the pulpits regarding politics – their constitutional right – and how they are being silenced and intimidated into keeping quiet -

It’s a powerful clip – with support and encouragement – with interviews from several pastors and why they are taking a stand to speak up and the support they’re receiving from ADF (Aliance Defense Fund)

A couple of things to ponder:

I wonder if politics is being discussed in mosques, in synagogues, in temples across America – y’know anti-Christ gatherings. Or is the 1954 IRS code specifically used against Christian worship.

America’s founding fathers faught hard and long against something called a “democracy”. THAT “democracy” is used in place of America’s Republic form of government is the LIE. IT IS THE LIE that is continually prepetuated by almost everyone (professional or other non-wise) the age of 35 and below. Why? Because they were INDOCTRINATED into the socialist agenda throughout their entire lives. They do not KNOW that America was formed as a CONSTITUTIONAL REPUBLIC and NOT a socialist form of “democracy.” Please, PLEASE stop refering to America’s form of government as the LIE: democracy.

Leave a comment