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10 Reasons Why Pastors Must Be Involved in Politics: A Response

May 18th, 2012 4 comments

I will be writing a series of blog entries in response to a column written by Greg Stier, the President and Founder of Dare 2 Share Ministries entitled, “Ten Reasons Why Pastors Should Focus More on the Gospel Than on Politics.” Let me mention I have never had the opportunity to meet Greg, but I certainly admire the work he does with young people. While I agree with much of what he has written, the problem lies in the fact that he does not give the full picture. I offer these blogs in a joyful, constructive manner with the hope that my readers would gain what I believe is a much broader, historical and orthodox view of the “gospel” than many in the Church preach today.

Let’s begin with his first point …

1. Politics change. The gospel doesn’t. (Matthew 24:35)

While the culture in which we live is in a state of continual change, the biblical principles which inform our lawmaking do not change. For instance, President Obama’s evolving view of “gay marriage” is in a state of flux, but God’s perspective on the issue is forever settled. So while I fully agree with his statement, it actually serves as a strong reminder of why Christians must be actively involved in shaping public policy issues. If we focus exclisively on preaching salvation, who will be the voice of righteousness in the public arena? Who will bring the timeless truths of God’s Word to bear on contemporary issues? We need to stop making this an either/or issue. It must be a both/and proposition. Share the good news of salvation through Jesus Christ and make sure we help people connect the dots between the transcendent truth of Scripture and the common good.

Bonhoffer, Buchman & the Threat to Religious Liberty

May 16th, 2012 1 comment

Eric Metaxas, the author of Bonhoffer: Pastor, Martyr, Prophet, Spy (Thomas Nelson 2010) offers some great perspective on the current debate in America on the role of the pastor in the public policy arena. On the one side of the issue you have pastors like Dietrich Bonhoffer who recognize the Lordship of Jesus over all of creation. The Nazis were trying to squeeze the church into the very narrow box called “religious stuff.” Hitler told the Church to deal with spiritual issues and he’d take care of everything else. Bonhoffer recognized this as a serious threat to both the freedom and mission of the Church and began to rally fellow believers to stand with him in resisting the Nazi government.

On the other side of the issue was a prominent American evangelical named Frank Buchman, who headed an organization called The Oxford Movement. He embraced the popular mantra promoted by many evangelical pastors today who avoid the cultural skirmishes because they “just want to preach the gospel.” Buchman worked hard to schedule lunches with Nazi leaders with the hope that he might share the Gospel with them. Buchman believed if he could lead Hitler to Christ it would solve everything.

Buchman’s approach is alive and well in America today. Many pastors believe that if we will pray for ungodly leaders the Lord will sovereignly change their hearts. Others think the way to transformation is by being “nice” and serving the community. Still others believe there is no hope at all for America, so they hide in the four walls of the church and wait for the second coming. While there is an element of truth in the first two options, these strategies are woefully inadequate for the perilous times in which we are living.

According to Bonhoffer, when one’s ability to speak the truth is itself under attack, your ability to be a Christian is itself under attack. We end up trying to preach the good news while are liberties are being ripped out from under us. Neighborhood clean-ups are of little value when your ability to say that a certain sexual behavior is sinful or that taking unborn life is wrong. According to Metaxes, “Bonhoffer struggled to get his fellow Christians to see that if one didn’t stand up for religious freedom, every possibility to preach the true Gospel would soon be gone.”

We are currently experiencing an unprecedented attack on our religious liberties. We are calling all Christians to draw the line in the sand and to make a bold stand against government tyranny before our ability to share the Gospel is severely limited.

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God’s Law & Our American Life

May 15th, 2012 5 comments

Our president recently made a proclamation that “same-sex marriage” is really a good thing, something that should be enthusiastically embraced by all Americans. Unfortunately, his unprecedented edict flies in the face of the views of One who, to use the president’s own example, does have a “higher pay grade.” With His public endorsement of behavior which God has called abominable (Leviticus 18:22), our president has basically called God a “liar” and invoked his own personal views and political agenda as the foundation of American civil life. Is this a cause for alarm or shall we just give a collective yawn and get back to whatever it was we were doing?

The Scriptures boldly declare, “Let God be true but every man a liar” (Romans 3:4). When God speaks, He speaks the truth. And because truth, by definition, does not “evolve,” God’s views on reality never change. And since He is the Author of Reality, we must never think our own ideas, whether personal opinions or public policy proposals, are more noble or humane than His.

This is where our secular friends begin to sweat. Words like “theocracy” begin to pop into their brains. They accuse Christians of imposing their views upon everyone else. Of course, this is not true. Our system of government is built upon two biblical principles, the rule of law and a representative form of government, which work to ensure an orderly process filled with healthy public debate. So while coercion is not part of the process, let’s not forget that someone’s morality is behind every law that is passed. What we really need to be asking is whose morality leads to the best life.

Once again, God is not silent. Look at what He tells us Deuteronomy 5:33:

You shall walk in all the ways which the LORD your God has commanded you, that you may live and that it may be well with you, and that you may prolong your days in the land which you shall possess.

As a nation, if we will obey God’s law, He promises two outcomes. He says we will…

1] Live Well

2] Live Long

God’s law is a precious gift to any nation that will embrace and follow His principles. His view of reality, because it is true and timeless, will always lead to both ppersonal blessing and national prosperity.