Its Biblical, NOT Political
By: Dr. James Taylor
Should Pastors Be Political? Words I have heard many times. Oddly enough, are; "I don't think a pastor should be involved in politics." But I have only heard that statement from Christians. When a person says those words, they are revealing three things about themselves that I don't believe they know they are revealing.
First of all, they are revealing that they do not know much about American history. The American colonies were divided among religious denominations. It was due to the Great Awakening that preachers began to cause the colonies to tolerate one another and eventually unite. That would lead to the unity that solidified the colonies to rebel against England. The Great Awakening was characterized by incredible growth of personal faith as well as a period of denominations crossing denominational lines to work together as one. The pastors of the Great Awakening began to concentrate on the areas of the Scriptures on which almost all Christians agreed rather than on the areas where there was disagreement.
The second thing it tells me about them is that they are not familiar with the Bible. That is not unusual because for many Christians, they only open their Bibles on Sunday while they are in worship services. The Bible commands us to take the message of Christ to the world. The Matthew statement is in the imperative mode, stating it is a command and not optional. I am required, as a child of God's, to proclaim the message of Jesus Christ in every avenue that I can. Being an example for Christ is not optional.
The church today has often been sitting on the bench as an observer to the moral decay of America. Thirty years ago, if a pastor said from the pulpit, "Marriage is between one man and one woman," or "abortion is murder," the congregation would say, "Preach it, brother!" Today, they ask; "Pastor, why are you being political?"
We, the church, have allowed topics the Bible clearly speaks on to become political issues. Issues such as same-sex marriage, global warming, illegal aliens, excessive debt, individual responsibility, respect for life, capital punishment, parental responsibility for raising children, national sovereignty, and many other issues are addressed in It's Biblical, Not Political! because God addressed them first. God addressed these issues before there was a United States of America.
Today, many Christians think it is political and not biblical, just the opposite, and that is the problem. We sometimes do not know our Bible well enough to know what the Scriptures reveal about these biblical issues that we have allowed to become political issues.
Finally, the third thing it tells me about them is that they are unfamiliar with a dictionary. One of the definitions for politics is "to influence society" or "one's influence on society." So let me place this definition in the opening statement. The opening statement was "I don't think a pastor should be involved in politics." The amended statement now reads, "I don't believe a pastor should be involved with "influencing society.'" What a statement for a Christian to make. If the pastor has no influence in society, how does the Great Commission get accomplished?
I want you to hear the words of an evangelist in the late 1800s. The Rev. J. A. Garfield (1831--1881) said this:
"The people are responsible for the character of the Congress. If that body be ignorant, reckless, and corrupt, it is because the people tolerated ignorance, recklessness, and corruption. If it be intelligent, brave, and pure, it is because the people demand these high qualities to represent them in the national legislature.
If the next centennial does not find us a great nationâ€¦ It will be because those who represent the enterprise, the culture, and the morality of the nation do not aid in controlling the political forces."
What a powerful statement! Our corruption in politics is because we, the church, tolerate and continue to vote for the same corruption to return to office. Did I mention that the Rev. James A. Garfield was also the twentieth president of the United States of America? President Garfield also preached revivals while he was in the White House as president. That should help answer the question, "Should a pastor be involved in politics?"
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