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Presidential Politics and the Pulpit

Scott’s Blog 10/02/08

Presidential Politics and the Pulpit

Imagine taking your usual seat at your usual worship service at the usual time next Sunday.

But then, the unusual happens.

The pastor asks the ushers to come forward and pass out voter guides.

He then makes an impassioned plea for support of a presidential candidate, going so far as to say that “No Christian in their right mind could possibly support … John McCain.”

Or, “Anyone who knows their Bible couldn’t vote for Barak Obama.”

Would you support that use of a Sunday sermon? Or would you find yourself looking for a new church?

Many believers may find themselves in just that kind of situation if a move from a conservative leaning legal advocacy group gets their way.

The Alliance Defense Fund has launched an effort to remove the threat of churches losing tax exempt status if they endorse political candidates. churches wade in on behalf of specific candidates and issues?

Christian political columnist Cal Thomas offers a couple of on target points of caution.

The first obstacle is what Scripture teaches about a Christian’s relationship to the state. In one of the best-known passages, Paul the Apostle writes, “Everyone must submit himself to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established.” (Romans 13:1) Is defying the law, no matter what political motivations were behind it, submitting to such authority, or opposing it?
Obstacle number two has to do with the reason people attend worship services. It is not, or should not be, in order to pledge allegiance to a party, candidate or earthly agenda. One can spend inordinate amounts of time on that subject simply by watching cable TV, or listening to talk radio, or reading the newspapers. No matter how hard they try to protect the gospel from corruption, ministers who focus on politics and politicians as a means of redemption must minimize their ultimate calling and message. The road to redemption does not run through Washington, D.C. Politicians can’t redeem themselves from the temptations of Washington. What makes anyone think they can redeem the rest of us?



One undeniable truth we enjoy daily on Scott Richards Live is how relevant and relatable the message of the Bible is to even the most modern and contemporary issues. Certainly where the Bible speaks we should speak on the issues of the day.

But the moment we cross the line and endorse individual candidates we invite both division and distraction from our primary purpose as a church – to win as many people as possible to Christ.

This certainly was front and center in Paul’s set of priorities.

For though I am free from all men, I have made myself a servant to all, that I might win the more; and to the Jews I became as a Jew, that I might win Jews; to those who are under the law, as under the law, that I might win those who are under the law; to those who are without law, as without law (not being without law toward God, but under law toward Christ), that I might win those who are without law; to the weak I became as weak, that I might win the weak. I have become all things to all men, that I might by all means save some. Now this I do for the gospel’s sake, that I may be partaker of it with you.(I Corinthians 9:19-23)


It is significant to note that although Jesus lived in Roman occupied Israel, He never wasted teaching time railing against Caesar.

Paul was certainly the target of politically motivated persecution, but he never advocated insurrection against the powers that were.

Both were more interested in the peoples’ spiritual condition than in public policy.

The moment a church takes a stand for a particular candidate it immediately loses half their audience.

What do we gain if we elect an earthly candidate, but lose the ability to speak to peoples’ souls?

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