I think it’s safe to say that our opinions are going to differ on a great many things. For instance, if you’re a Christian in America, you might be perturbed by what I’m going to say, and that’s OK. We can disagree on things without everybody calling each other evil and whatnot. This will probably irritate about half of my friend list on Facebook. You know who you are.
But some things need to be said.
I don’t think I’ve spent much time at all responding to articles on other blogs. Generally it isn’t worth the time, and I would rather spend mine attempting to generate my own content. But being the political season, and me being standoffish regarding politics, I couldn’t help but say something about this article from CNN’s Religion Blogs page regarding “Pulpit Freedom Sunday,” a day where at least 1400 pastors are planning on preaching politics from the pulpit.
When Ron Johnson takes take his pulpit on Sunday, he will willfully break the law. After presenting his views on President Barack Obama’s handling of religious issues –- like abortion, gay marriage, and religious freedom – Johnson will ask his congregation a question.
“In light of what I have presented,” Johnson says he will say, “How can you go into that election booth and vote for Barack Obama as president of the United States?”
– Dan Merica, CNN
People are passionate about politics, I understand that. But since Mr. Johnson is asking questions, I think an even greater one needs to be asked, and that is what is the point of the pulpit? Do we attend church on Sunday to hear an opinion-filled speech about politics? Should time be spent arguing political points in order to sway the votes of hundreds of church members?
“As a pastor, I am going to tell it like I see it and I am going to communicate from the word of God,” Johnson said. “I hope that on Election Day, I hope that I have influenced people to protect their conscience.”
– Pastor Ron Johnson
You are correct, Pastor Johnson. As a pastor your job on Sunday is to communicate from the Word of God. Your role is to preach the Gospel, to preach Christ crucified. Well maybe . . . maybe there is that one point in the gospels where Jesus advocated rebellion against the oppressive Roman presence in Jerusalem. Turn with me in your bibles to Mark 3:44:
” . . . . . . . . . . ”
– Jesus, Mark 3:44
Well this is embarrassing. It turns out that not only is there not a Mark 3:44, but Jesus advocated no such rebellion. However, he did command his disciples to go and make disciples of all nations, to baptize them, and to teach them to obey everything He commanded them. He also proclaimed freedom for believers, and came to call sinners. Honestly, there are umpteen verses that we could look at that show why Jesus was here, and what it is we are to do about it, but not one of them should inspire us to influence secular elections.
I attended a preaching class where a wise professor once said that nobody will know who he votes for, and I think that’s a good thing. Rather than standing behind a pulpit and arguing why one un-Christ-like millionaire should be voted in over the other un-Christ-like millionaire, maybe we should offer solid, biblically-based teaching that challenges and encourages people, preaching whose purpose is to draw everyone rather than alienating half of them. We don’t even need a catchy name; we’ll just call it “Sunday.”