Rev. Mark H. Creech
February 23, 2013
Politics and preaching don't mix?
By Rev. Mark H. Creech

Recently in a blog of comments underneath one of my op-ed pieces a well-meaning person wrote: "Mark, I love you like a brother, but these social issues are just distractions to keep us busy and away from sharing the Gospel." The person who wrote that was genuinely concerned I was neglecting my duty as a minister, while leading other Christians astray from their obligation as well. In other words, politics and preaching don't mix.

That's not the first time I've heard such sentiments. In fact, one of my favorite Christian writers once wrote, "It is not uncommon for leaders who in the beginning of their careers were certainly called of God to serve His church have later been seduced to serve the state in a political dimension. They do not seem to see this as a step backward, but it is." [1]

Chuck Baldwin, a minister and former 2008 Presidential Candidate for the Constitution Party, responded to similar concerns in a recent article, titled, "Christian: It's Time to Vote With Your Feet." Although I am not a member of the Constitution Party, what Baldwin wrote was excellent. He said:
    "[I]f the only thing God expected us to do was to preach the Gospel, why did he give us a voluminous Bible, which is filed with examples, principles, and truths relating to virtually every important area of life? If one takes only those Scriptures that deal specifically with the Gospel, he or she is going to have a very small Bible...The stories of the Old Testament, for example, were written for 'our learning.' (Romans 15:4). Hebrews 11 challenges us with the examples of Old Testament men and women who were 'not afraid of the king's commandment,' who did not fear 'the wrath of the king,' who 'subdued kingdoms,' 'waxed valiant in fight,' and who 'turned flight the armies of the aliens.'

    "Furthermore, the Apostle Paul spent about as much time in jail as he did out of jail. And, of course, he was thrown in jail for breaking the unjust, evil laws of men. Every apostle except John was killed by tyrannical governments because they refused to submit to unjust laws." [2]
I would suggest that to argue pastors should avoid any politicking and just stick to preaching is not only unbiblical, but also un-American.

American history is replete with examples of clergymen who carried the torch of liberty and helped secure it for our country. Churches became the primary source that stirred the fires of revolution, advocating the King and Parliament were trampling upon the inalienable rights of the people. They knew well those passages from Scripture like Romans 13 that require submission to civil authority. But they were just as familiar with passages requiring them to resist ungodly authority. In fact, it was out of the churches that watchwords like "No King but King Jesus" and "Resistance to Tyrants is Obedience to God" were born.

If space permitted, I could write at length about Parliament's derogatory references to Colonial preachers called the "Black Regiment" – these ministers who donned black clerical robes each Sunday and urged their congregants to freedom. I could talk about Rev. John Peter Gabriel Muhlenberg who after completing a sermon from Ecclesiastes 3:1, "To everything there is a season, and a time to every purpose under heaven," stepped down from the pulpit, removed his robe and revealed the uniform of a Colonial Army officer to lead 300 men from his congregation to join General George Washington as the Eighth Virginia Calvary. I could also share concerning Rev. Jonas Clark who, on the night of Paul Revere's famous ride, was asked by John Hancock and Samuel Adams if the men of Lexington would fight. Clark replied, "I have trained them for this very hour; they would fight, and, if need be, die, too, under the shadow of the house of God." These are but a few examples.

Ah, but I can hear the so-called more spiritual among us, still insisting that pastors and churches ought to stay out of politics. Stay away from those social issues and just preach the Gospel, they say.

Once again, I must refer to Chuck Baldwin in his recent article:
    "America has had more Gospel preaching during the last 50 years than any nation in history. There are more churches, more Christian schools, more Gospel radio and television programs, more missionary endeavors, more inner-city missions and shelters, more Bible publications, and more Gospel influence in America during the last 50 years than in any country in the history of the world.

    "And what has happened to America over the last 50 years? Our historic Christian culture has been turned into rank hedonism and licentiousness; legal abortion has taken the lives of over 60 million innocent unborn babies; a blatant police-state is proliferating; more babies are being born out of wedlock than at any time in history; and now we are facing the tyrannical attempt to ban and confiscate America's premier self-defense tool: the semi-automatic rifle. And all of this happened, and is happening, while hundreds of thousands of pastors and churches across the land 'preach the Gospel.'

    "Again I say, preaching the Gospel, by itself, will not save America. Christians have to be taught how to understand; how to discern the difference between good and evil; the principles of law and justice; jurisdictional authority; and the principles of Christian resistance. As long as pastors refrain from teaching these essential and necessary truths, our nation will continue its slide into tyranny and oppression – all the Gospel preaching going forth notwithstanding." [3]
Granted, the primary purpose of the church is to proclaim Christ. That mission undergirds all of the work of God's people. Nevertheless, true discipleship neglects no need, it recoils at no duty. Martin Luther is reported to have summed it up, I think, in this fashion:
    "If I profess, with the loudest voice and the clearest exposition, every portion of the truth of God except precisely that little point which the world and the devil are at that moment attacking, I am not confessing Christ, however boldly I may be professing Christianity. Where the battle rages the loyalty of the soldier is proved; and to be steady on all the battle-field besides is mere flight and disgrace to him if he flinches at that one point."
If America is to be saved, we must both proclaim the Gospel and seek to bring its influence to bear on the body politic. Yes, politics and preaching do mix.

References:

[1] Keller, W. Phillip, Predators in Our Pulpit. Eugene, Oregon: Harvest House Publishers, 1988, pg. 69

[2] Baldwin, Chuck. "Christian: It's Time to Vote with Your Feet." Chuck Baldwin Live, 17, February, 2013
http://chuckbaldwinlive.com/home/archives/5460

[3] Ibid

© Rev. Mark H. Creech

 

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Rev. Mark H. Creech

Rev. Mark H. Creech is Executive Director of the Christian Action League of North Carolina, Inc.... (more)

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