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10 Reasons Why the Church Must Be Involved in Politics (7)

In this blog series, I am responding point by point 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.” Here’s Greg’s seventh point and my response.

#7. Politics can divide the body of Christ while the gospel will unite us. (Philippians 1:27)

You’ve probably heard the oft repeated admonition to refrain from talking about religion and politics if your goal is warm, polite, friendly conversation. There’s a reason these two topics often cause conversational sparks to fly. It’s because these two areas are of ultimate importance in life. They touch every aspect of our life together. The topics of God and government both point to authority. They each deal with how we “ought” to live and behave. Every law that is passed in the political arena reflects someone’s morality and prescribes the way we should conduct ourselves as citizens. Likewise God, as Creator and Redeemer, demands our complete devotion and single-hearted worship. He commands us to love Him with all of our heart, soul, mind and strength. Truth claims, by definition, are controversial. And the truth about things that matter most, are by definition, the most controversial.

That’s why I believe Stier’s point here is naïve and misguided. When we preach the gospel it begins with the call to repent. Jesus demands that we stop thinking and behaving in sinful ways and that we do a one-eighty and head in the opposite direction. I can’t think of anything more controversial! I often have people ask me if I am worried that when preaching about controversial issues someone might be offended and leave the church. The answer is, “No!” I am more afraid of offending the Lord by watering down the potency of His message or by focusing on shallow, irrelevant topics which produce a false sense of unity built around broad, bland, and banal slogans. I don’t want Jesus to be offended and leave the church!

You see, I have come to love the “sparks.” They remind me that I am being relevant to God and to what really matters. In a war, you can always tell when you are getting close to the front lines. You can hear the sound of bombs exploding in the distance. Bullets are flying overhead. You are approaching the zone where the battle is most intense. It tells you that the ground you are fighting for matters. Religion and politics are two areas of critical importance. Truth in these two arenas really matters. Sparks will inevitably fly. And while none of us, as pastors, are looking for controversy, we are naïve or simply inexperienced to believe it is avoidable. So pastor, don’t buy a ticket on the “love boat” when God has called you to be a leader in some of the most important cultural battles of our time! Embrace the controversy. Stand for truth. Speak boldly. Let’s run to the battle!

  1. Margo Warnke
    June 14th, 2012 at 13:47 | #1

    Amen!!

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