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April 18, 2005

Why WE Should Separate the Local Church and Politics

In their haste to smear Family Research Council’s Justice Sunday and Senator Frist’s involvement, the New York Times (about which I’ll say more later) and others in the MSM have not even recognized the most troubling part of the Justice Sunday telecast. The telecast will originate at Highview Baptist Church in Louisville, Kentucky, and will be simulcast in churches and other venues that sign-up for the satellite feed.

I am a politically active Christian and I encourage followers of Christ to engage the ideas of our time and the opportunities to make a difference in public and political arenas. However, my visits to my local church are for worship and deeply spiritual concerns. I would have no problem with the facility being used by a group to show a telecast such as the Justice Sunday program. The church building is used for a lot of activities outside of the core purposes of the church (such as voting). But I would not want it to be promoted by my local church or discussed from the pulpit.

This is not because it would be dangerous to the state (and Frist’s participation is not even close to being unconstitutional establishment of religion). But if places of worship become centers of political discourse they will lose their focus on the eternal and fall prey to political seduction. It is dangerous for the church.

On the other hand, we benefit from para-church organizations that are established with various purposes by Christians who take up political and any other causes of concern to people of Christian faith.

It is the church not the government that should fear when boundaries are crossed and politics invades the sanctuary of the sacred and seeks to purchase its soul.

Posted by Jim at April 18, 2005 09:07 AM

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Tracked on November 28, 2005 10:56 AM


Amen! Amen! Amen!

But I would go even further than you in my criticism of these political activities in churches.

I too am interested in political affairs and deem it the responsibility of every Christian to care about political issues. I have even run for political office myself.

But I would never push a partisan political position from the pulpit.

I would never allow a candidate or any slate of candidates to speak or distribute materials promoting their candidacies or views.

I would never allow "parachurch" organizations to come pushing political agendas, even in the name of "being prophetic."

I refuse to allow the Lord of the universe or the Gospel to be held hostage to any puny human political philosophy, no matter how "right" its adherents may deem it. And the Lord and the Gospel are held hostage and rendered subordinate whenever the Church decides to push a particular politics. Believers become enamored of power and financial clout and so, lose the power that the Carpenter from Galilee gives to all who live in simple submission to Him!

God is not a Republican. God is not a conservative.

God is not a Democrat. God is not a liberal.

Jim Wallis, James Dobson, and others all may have things to say. But God forbid them from ever daring to say, "My politics is God's politics!" That is nothing less than blasphemy!

It's time to call these politicizers of the Gospel by their proper names:

Some are idolaters, worshiping their philosophical gods or philosophically-tinged caricatures of the real God, attempting to make God over in their own personal, pliant images.

Some are political opportunists, playing on the inclinations, sensibilities, and predispositions of Christians in order to gain power and in some cases, cold hard cash.

Some are Pharisees, nothing more than proof-texting ayatollahs and mullahs, bent on imposing their own particular views of Christian morality and ethics on the whole society.

Some are conservative and some are liberal and I wish that they all would just shut up because I am sure that they do not represent God.

And I wish that Jesus would, as He did to the money-changers at the temple who used faith for their own purposes, chase these cancerous leaches out of our churches!

Posted by: Mark at April 18, 2005 12:48 PM

Pastor Mark, you should blog that comment! Thanks for stopping by!

Posted by: Rick at April 18, 2005 03:43 PM

"It is the church not the government that should fear when boundaries are crossed and politics invades the sanctuary of the sacred and seeks to purchase its soul."

An excellent post.

My only quibble or question -- regarding Pastor Mark's comment in particular -- would be how to determine what is a partisan political position that should not be pushed from the pulpit. For instance, many people might consider the pro-life position a "partisan political position" (and, in a sense, it is), yet I think it's completely legitimate to discuss that issue from the pulpit and to define the church's teaching on it. What is your position regarding the discussion of certain "social" and "cultural" issues -- that have become enmeshed in politics, but which can be understood as theological and spiritual issues --from the pulpit?

Posted by: Kate Marie at April 18, 2005 04:56 PM

"I refuse to allow the Lord of the universe or the Gospel to be held hostage..."???

To quote Snoop - Negro...puh-leeze.

Sheesh, what a blowhard.

You just don't get it my friend.

The Gospel is not being 'held hostage' as you pontificate.

The Gospel (and it's transforming/regenerative power) is the CAUSE of what's going on politically in this country amongst folks like the FRC.

It also was the cause (in case you forgot) of something that began 230 years ago last night.

You might have heard of it - The midnight ride of Paul Revere and the beginning of the Revolutionary war.

I'll bet this pew-spitter wishes he was alive back then to DENOUNCE Sam Adams, Revere and, most of all George Washington, for promoting this "puny human political philosophy" that ultimately gave birth to this country.

What a crock~!

The Doc

Posted by: The Doc at April 19, 2005 08:40 AM

Americans you amaze me, iam from a small african country called Kenya, its impossible to separate politics from faith, becasue your faith is your lifestyle,We live by faith not by sight, so idon't see how one can champion, gay and abortion issues and still say that he is effectively living the Christian life. That's just the way it is, rememeber u braught the gospel to us.

Posted by: fred at January 11, 2006 09:00 AM