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Wednesday, February 13, 2013

© 2007-2010 Brian L Hunter

More On Preaching Politics

 “For while I was with you I resolved to know nothing except Jesus the Messiah, and him crucified.” (1 Corinthians 2:2 ISV)

Preaching politics from the pulpit reveals faithlessness and fear which, sowing unto the flesh (Galatians 6:8), shall continue to reap division and not the unity for which Jesus prayed in John 17. How is God glorified when the ignorance, prejudice, and fear concerning any social ill or political displeasure is preached instead of His love, omnipotence, and sovereignty? Satan comes as an angel of light to preach such things (2 Corinthians 11:14). God’s grace has not ceased to be sufficient (2 Corinthians 12:9). When in chains and awaiting execution, Paul did not preach the need for political activism, civil disobedience, or different government to Timothy. Spiritual bigotry is no closer to exhibiting God’s righteousness now than it was during that recent era when, in America, we raped, whipped, and sold slaves on Sunday morning before heading to the local church for service. It would be easier to mix oil and water successfully than to mix faith and fear. The combining of lies with truth, however, has been Satan's modus operandi since the fall of mankind. Leaders of the first century visible church, following the lead of the apostles and also suffering vicious persecution under Nero throughout the Roman Empire, did not preach anti-establishment, political messages. No. They preached Christ crucified and the gospel spread exponentially, miraculously, and without the type of division that political preaching absolutely guarantees. Preaching politics from the pulpit is not completely unlike abusive fathers molesting their daughters since home and church should be the safest gathering places on earth. Let us, therefore, preach Jesus (and Him crucified, 1 Corinthians 2:2) rather than the wisdom of men, the gospel of peace rather than self-righteous condemnation of others, and the love of God rather than hypocrisy, bigotry, and hate.

“For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any twoedged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.” (Hebrews 4:12)

There is a difference of opinion inherent in politics. All Tweets aside, America’s founding fathers had the foresight to mandate that voters be able to cast their vote in private to protect the secrecy of the ballot. Preaching politics from the pulpit is not unlike eating meat which has been sacrificed unto idols (1 Corinthians 10:29). William Shakespeare wrote in Julius Caesar 3/2, “Friends, Romans, countrymen, lend me your ears.” Please allow me now to write this; friends whose hearts and attitudes threaten to separate us from the way, the truth, and the life need to be expeditiously separated from our lives by the two-edged sword of God’s holy Word, who was and is and is to come. What does it profit a man to gain a flesh-driven political utopia and yet forfeit his soul in the process (Matthew 16:26)?

© 2013 Brian L Hunter

Saturday, February 9, 2013

Should Politics Be Preached?

“Then he answered and spoke unto me, saying, This is the word of the LORD unto Zerubbabel, saying, Not by might, nor by power, but by my spirit, says the LORD of hosts.” (Zechariah 4:6)

When we use the pulpit to share our political views we engage in activity demonstrated nowhere in the Pastoral Epistles. Does the love of God constrain us (2 Corinthians 5:14)? Or, is division and schism in the body of Christ our aim? Diluting the message of the gospel with partisan political views is something the spirit of Antichrist anoints otherwise good servants of a sovereign and omnipotent God to feel justified in doing. Yet, political vitriol is not born of love and can never be delivered without sarcasm. Partial obedience still adds up to disobedience. Hatred, no matter how subtle and cleverly disguised, is neither motivated nor condoned by God (1 John 4:8).

Any reader of the Book of Genesis knows that sin did not originate with a political party. Nor did sin originate in this country only after slavery and Jim Crow laws were rescinded by the effectual working of God’s grace through the instrumentality of the Constitution of these United States of America. Keeping in mind that all have sinned (Romans 3:23), should those redeemed by grace through faith (Ephesians 2:8-9), acting fearful rather than faithful, illustrate any perceived threat of evil as being somehow too great, too dangerous, and too insurmountable for the omniscient wisdom of a sovereign and omnipotent God, the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, to guide us safely and victoriously through?  Do we mistakenly think ourselves Christ-like when we rally a mob and use speech to incite violent attitudes toward any particular group or party because their worldview may oppose our own? Our own ignorance, prejudice, and fear aside, is such divisive discourse really our testimony of who Jesus Christ is?

Jim Jones preached a political, anti-establishment gospel quite effectively for the enemy’s cause. The apostle Paul warned against preaching what he called another gospel in Galatians 1:7-9 and 2 Corinthians 11:4. I would urge us to avoid that flavor of Kool-Aid in favor of the whole counsel of God’s Word, including the thirteenth chapter of the Book of Romans. Politics preached from behind any sacred desk is divisive. Rightly dividing the word of truth (2 Timothy 2:15) does not lead prayerful disciples who are filled with the Holy Spirit to engage in behavior completely contrary to the prayer Jesus prayed in John 17:11-23. God’s protection of His beloved is likewise inextricably bound together with this prayer. I would rather be divided by truth than united in doctrinal error. As an individual, I can be accused of many things by many people. However, the arguments I propose for the purposes of ecclesiastical review, spiritual contemplation, and debate are, indisputably, scripturally well anchored. Therefore, fearing God and His righteous judgment of hypocrisy and idle words (Matthew 12:36-37) infinitely more than any political candidate, special interest group, or government, I admonish all of us who profess Christ as Lord to become more diligent to make sure neither our confession nor our particular brand or form of religiosity (2 Timothy 3:5) has been trusted in vain (Matthew 7:22). “Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.” (Acts 4:12) There is one name, Jesus Christ, not one political party, not one world view, not one government, not one school of thought, but one name whereby we, preachers, smokers, drinkers, pro-abortionists, anti-abortionists, homosexuals, Republicans, and Democrats alike, must be saved. 

My personal feelings are irrelevant when I step behind any pulpit and become responsible for preaching God’s Word. I will not lean to my own imperfect understanding when it comes to God’s sovereignty, His mercy, and His grace. The question most prevalent in my mind is why He loves me, a poor sinner, as much as He obviously does. If I happen to become angry with you, your political party, or your attitude, I pray that I can be angry and yet not sin in, by, and through my anger (Ephesians 4:26). My own heart and the beam in my own eye (Luke 6:42) should concern me much more than the actions of any president, god, or government. Is God in control or is He not? In whom do I really place my trust (Psalm 27:1, Psalm 56:11, Psalm 118:6, and Hebrews 13:6)? God has not called anyone to preach fear. How does preaching divisiveness edify us (Ephesians 4:29)?

Genuine disciples of Jesus Christ do not particularly care what the media reports today. Unlike Oprah Winfrey, our faith is not in mankind. Our hope is built on something infinitely more reliable than politics. “For we walk by faith, not by sight.” (2 Corinthians 5:7)

© 2013 Brian L Hunter