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I’ve written on this issue before, but it’s probably worth revisiting in an election season. And new research has been released by Lifeway that affirms what I’ve always believed: generally Bible-believing pastors shy away from overt political endorsements and preaching politics in the pulpit.

I wrote a piece for Relevant not long ago on this subject in which I said this:

[To preach] is a humble and holy task because the people who attend churches arrive with the assumption that what is said comes from the Bible. To cut and paste partisan talking points or to substitute consistent exegesis with sample “election season” sermons is spiritual malpractice.

I want to expand on this with three important points on why pastors don’t and probably shouldn’t preach politics in the pulpit:

1) Our text must be the Word of God.

This sounds like a cliche, but it bears saying: faithful Bible preachers use the text of the Word of God as their source of preaching. Anything less is simply a speech, which may be inspirational, moral, or even Christian-themed. But if our basis is not the text, we’re not preaching.

Sometimes a given text will make political or moral statements. For instance, if you’re preaching through Psalm 139, you cannot escape the references to the sanctity of life. Or if you are preaching through Proverbs you will encounter many economic truths that shape capitalism. Or if you are preaching through parts of James or Timothy, you will find it inescapable to avoid the harsh condemnations of greed.

But as a rule pastors, especially those who preach in an expository (taking a book at a time, chapter at a time, verse at a time) approach, will be guided by the text. To parachute political talking points into the text is spiritual malpractice.

One caveat is this: perhaps a pastor will do a topical series on key issues of the day and how Christians should think through them biblically. I’ve done this as a Sunday Night series. This can be helpful; however, a pastor must be faithful to let the text speak to the issue and not wedge his or her particular political opinion into the text.

2) The Bible cuts both ways.

I find it fascinating that certain groups on the Right want pastors to “speak up.” What they mean by this, of course, is to more overtly endorse their preferred candidates and/or moral issues. But what they don’t understand is that pastors are speaking up. It’s just that what pastors are speaking up about may not be the talking points of the current season. And the Bible cuts against both parties, against all political persuasions. Yes, there is much in the Scripture affirming the prolife (Psalm 139; Genesis 2-3) and traditional marriage (Mark 19:5) positions. You can also make a good argument that the Bible affirms the idea of limited government (1 Timothy 2:2; Mark 12:17) and some of the root ideas of capitalism. So some would say the Bible is very conservative.

And yet that would be incomplete, because you will also find in Scripture many texts on justice, the plight of the poor, treatment of the immigrant. And who were Jesus’ chief antagonists in the gospels? The Pharisees, the Religious Right of their day.

Should pastors speak in the pulpit about contemporary issues? Yes, but only when the texts of Scripture clearly articulate it. They shouldn’t bow to any party’s talking points. They shouldn’t slant their sermons to fit a political profile. They shouldn’t become wannabe pundits in the pulpit. They should preach the Word and let it do its work in the hearts of the people, who will then influence their communities.

3) We must never dilute the message of the gospel. 

The Church should be countercultural and should engage the issues of the day. But this engagement should be an outgrowth of the gospel’s sanctifying work in each believer. In other words, the political issues shouldn’t be the main thing that characterizes a church. The gospel should be the main thing. The Scriptures should be the main thing. Christ should be the main thing. This is why pastors often shy away from endorsements or public pulpit activism. It sends the wrong message that the main purpose for gathering on Sunday is to stir up the troops and get “our guy” elected. But what of the brother or sister of the other party or the soul seeking God who only hears partisan talking points? If this happens, we’ve failed in our mission.

To be clear, pastors are citizens, too. And so in other venues, such as op-eds, blogs, books and other places of influence the pastor may speak his mind. Even so, he must jealously guard that influence and always speak winsomely. Again, as a minister of the gospel, he must not make politics more important than his pastoral duties.

Pastors should also coach their members to winsomely engage the culture. We need gospel preachers at all levels of society and in all spheres, politics included. Pastors should equip, encourage, and support those who enter public service.

Summary: In conversations I’ve had and in my own experience, it is mission that keeps pastors from overtly preaching politics in the pulpit and not the IRS.



Daniel Darling is the Senior Pastor of Gages Lake Bible Church in the northwest suburbs of Chicago and is the author of Teen People of the Bible, Crash CourseiFaith, and RealHis work has been featured in evangelical publications such as Relevant Magazine, Focus on the Family, Marriage Partnership, In Touch with Dr. Charles Stanley.

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Talk about it...

Brian William

commented on Oct 26, 2012

Agreed with everything you've written here, and I'd add two more. 1) As a practical, evangelistic point, what is my goal in preaching? To invite people to fall deeply and madly in love with Jesus Christ who loved us fully and sacrificially and calls us to love Him and serve Him in all we do. But if I toss a political bombshell into my sermon, I've just undermined my goal to help people love Jesus and serve Jesus. Some portion of the worshipers that day just decided that I'm on the "other side" from them politically and stopped listening to what I'm saying about the love of Christ. Even if I figure my church is one where "everybody" votes the same way, there's still some minority who doesn't, and I'm simply not willing to write off 10 or 15 or 20 of my congregation and prevent them from being open to the Good News. 2) The struggle God's people had in 1 Samuel 8 -- "We want a king to be our leader" -- is still a struggle for us now. And God's response is still the same. Getting too caught up in who gets to be "king" for a four-year term can cause us to lose sight of who truly rules the Kingdom. And who will continue to rule from His throne *long* after the Democratic Party and the Republican Party cease to exist. As we're reminded in Philippians 3:20, our earthly loyalties shift and are temporary, but our true citizenship is heavenly in service to the true King.

Mike Mcclurg

commented on Oct 26, 2012

I don't agree with this article in full. Yes, we need to preach the Word of God and stay in context. Yes, we are called by God to dispense the Truth. But what about when culture intersects with the Scripture? I feel like every pastor?s responsibility is that when things in culture or when things in a country or when things in a community or a city, when issues or things evolve that intersect, with Scripture, we have to talk about it. That doesn?t mean we are going to become the ?current events church.? I?m not smart enough to do that. But every once in a while there?s something big, and we just have to hit the pause button and go you know what, our responsibility, as those who open God?s Word for other people, is to say, ?You have an opinion and you have an opinion, and Jesus has an opinion too. And I?ve just got to tell you, here are his opinions on these things.? And what?s so fascinating, is in the current discussion that is going on in our country now in terms of finances, political debate, and all this stuff, Jesus has spoken into this. Let?s not miss this opportunity?because this is an opportunity. Let?s not make the mistake of previous generations during a crisis and accidentally view our faith through the filter of our politics. Let?s be the unique generation of church people and of Christians who are willing, and I say willing because it?s tough to view our politics through the filter of our faith. Because if the church of the Lord Jesus Christ in this country could begin to view their politics through the filter of faith rather than the other way around, there would be a unity and there would be solutions. If the Christians in this country could pause and say, You know what, I?m a Republican, I?m a Democrat, I?m a Tea Party, I?m an Independent, I?m a Libertarian, you know I?m in the middle, I?m an everything, I?m nothing, I?m an I don?t care. And you know what, as a Christian I?m going to set that to the side as much as I can and I?m going to ask the question, What would my heavenly Father have me do? WWJD? What a concept. What should the church do in a nation like the USA if we had the opportunity? We need to see our current national situation through the lens of faith. We can't sit around and complain about how God is being taken out of our country when we aren't trying to give our people Biblical Truth in dealing with the issues of today. I can go on but that would not help me or anyone else reading this. It is also ironic to have an article like this on a website that gives people topical sermons on Halloween and not promote being engaged in restoring America back to her roots - founded on Scripture... Thanks for allowing me to share...

Joseph Cappar

commented on Oct 26, 2012

Thank God we were given a "caveat," even if it is relegated to Sunday night when I'm guessing it is somehow safer to challenge God's people to put their Christian convictions to work in the marketplace. Otherwise we would have no option except to join the silent hundreds of thousands who naively keep their mouths shut and allow Satan's disciples to get elected to positions from which they can legislate us down primrose pathways to the slaughterhouses.

Sandra Ekpenyong

commented on Oct 26, 2012

I completely DISAGREE with you and I am a pastor and here are my reasons why? Throughout the bible, the issues that have plagued people have been spiritual, physical, medical to name a few. Politics did not have parties with vested interested but individuals with agendas which is pretty the same thing today. Preacher were more concerned about the truth, their members welfare (depending which type of preacher/priest you were talking to). Here is the issue that I have with political preaching, God never sent us to address the political parties or systems but He was more concerned about the individual. You see it is the individual that matter the most because they make up the so call party that we talking to, when you preach party you have just made the word of God ineffective, since tradition makes the Gospel ineffective, what do you think politics will do to it? From Genesis to Revelation, social issues and salvation have been the cornerstone of the message. STICK to the message, stick to compassion, stick to loving your neighbor, stick to being your brother's keeper etc... and you WILL NEVER need to address a political party, because you have done exactly what Jesus preached. He did not focus on the party of Herod, he dealt with him individually, but most of all Jesus knew that his ministry would be ineffective if he did not address the mess within his own system called the Pharisees and Sadducee. He had to teach the people that there is a difference between good and bad ministries before he could rebuke or call political leaders to order, something that the churches today fail to do. Let us get our houses in order then we can tell others the power and the saving grace of Jesus and perhaps only then WILL they listen and the Gospel will become effective

Ralph M

commented on Oct 26, 2012

Part of the 'Great Awakening' that took place, before our founders were even around, the 'awakening' within the corruption of government, had to be addressed. Sure there were many clergy that said 'be quiet, we have nothing to do with government", while the creator of separation of 'church and state', was God, and under that intention it was to keep God in charge of everything, and government limited in power, and the standing of Gods commands and laws. To say that clergy do not have the responsibility in calling evil out, is what Dietrich Bonhoeffer dealt with in Germany, while Hitler called himself a 'Christian'...and we all know where that got this world!

Mahndisa Rigmaiden

commented on Oct 26, 2012

This was an interesting article but I agree with Mike McClurg; what when the law of the Holy Spirit intersects with the law of man? Romans 8 makes it exceedingly clear that we must always go along with the law of the Holy Spirit; there is NO compromise. Coming from a Black ethnic group in the USA this essay is highly problemmatic for me. For so long the Black preacher not only was a spiritual advisor but the church as an institution was one where politics, spirituality and ecnomics intersected and to this day within that environment the three things are inextricably linked. To NOT discuss political issues is spiritual malpractice because so much of these things are discussed in the Bible and Jesus Christ himself made clear to address them. Now I'm not saying that Pastors need to speak of whom to vote for, but a Pastor ought to elucidate points of walking in holiness in our sin sick world. When the outside world is filled with that which contradicts the laws of the Holy Spirit, a Pastor owes it to his or her congregation to discuss these matters. A good example that is often NOT discussed in more liberal Black churches is abortion. So you have all these Black women who claim to be Christians getting abortions and having children out of wedlock but why aren't these issues discussed in the church? Fear for retaliation by the state and those who fund the church. The church ought to be a body of believers who do what Christ wanted us to do; not an organization that is dependent upon the states' tax exemption and other stuff for then the two entities are linked and they should not be at all. I could go on about this but you get the point...

Mahndisa Rigmaiden

commented on Oct 26, 2012

Lastly as commentor 5. pointed out, if Pastors dont call out evil who will? Bonhoeffer often spoke of cheap grace which allows us to feel forgiven for our sins one day, then to go on committing the same sins the next day OR to turn our backs and ignore blatant sin in our society. How did the German Lutheran church become infected with Nazism and thus weakened in its mission to spread the true gospel of love, peace etc? Pastors turning their backs on sin and NOT calling it out.

Betty Draughn

commented on Oct 26, 2012

Amen, brother. We had an occasion where a man was supposed to sing after our homecoming. He asked if there were anyone present of a certain political party. We had one man raise his hand and the singer (pastor) told him he should be ashamed of himself. I didn't agree with the man that raised his hand, but I do believe everyone has the right to vote the way they want to.

Jo Cox

commented on Oct 26, 2012

A little honesty here would be appreciated, Mr. Darling. IMO, it is fear that keeps politics/government out of our preaching pulpits: 1) fear of being fired; 2) fear of offending parishioners who would leave, which leads back to #1. Fear. I agree with you that our text must be the Word. However, I fail to see how speaking out dilutes the Gospel. Does speaking out against evil and predators not empower the Gospel? Commenter #5 reminds us of the Great Awakening and Hitler. Absolutely right to remember those with brave hearts! What happens if God's leaders did not speak up and speak out to those sheep for whom they are responsible? That we ARE sheep means we need more from you, as our shepherds, than green grass and streams of clean water and a pen; we need to be told clearly and certainly who the enemy is (the wolf), where he is (under sheep's wool), and how to not only avoid him (stay close to the Shepherd), but how to get rid of him (feed him to The Lion, not let him in). To not protect us in this way is negligent and irresponsible, is it not. It may be a warm-and-fuzzy chat we want from you, but what we need are some cold hard facts of truth. It is not mission that keeps pastors from overtly preaching politics in the pulpit, and not the IRS. It is fear. We need a Black Robe Regiment. Will you be one?

Andrew Shields

commented on Oct 26, 2012

Jason (10) How does the congregation being a priesthood of all believers connect to your statement that the sheep are easily fooled. Teach how to discern then let the church free to show their freedom in Christ.

Betty Draughn

commented on Oct 26, 2012

Amen, brother. We had an occasion where a man was supposed to sing after our homecoming. He asked if there were anyone present of a certain political party. We had one man raise his hand and the singer (pastor) told him he should be ashamed of himself. I didn't agree with the man that raised his hand, but I do believe everyone has the right to vote the way they want to. Upon reading the other posts, I agree with some. Especially Mike McClurg. We need to tell them what God says about the issues. I just don't think you should single out one person and tell them they should be ashamed of themselves. Preach the Word and let the chips fall where they may. I know I 'm not a preacher, but I work in the church, my son is my pastor; and I feel I know how the general congregation takes things. Our congregation has told my son to preach the Word, no matter how it might make them feel and no matter how long it takes the get the message across. I don't like to go to a church and hear a 20 minute sermon and then go home. You can't get the point of what the Word is saying in 20 minutes. The Word is exciting and I do not get tired if the sermon lasts an hour. I don't think we should have 30 minutes of singing and 20 minutes of preaching. I love good Christian music but I can hear that at home. BTW, I'm a soloist at my church but we limit our specials to one and leave the rest of the time to the preacher. And while I'm on my soap box, most churches could use more prayer. Most churches will say something like "God bless all these requests." In our church our pastor gets down on his knees and prays for every single one. When he gets through, the congregation is ready to worship God; and isn't that what church is all about?

Andrew Shields

commented on Oct 26, 2012

Jo (9) Being in a black robe regiment is not what i am called to. I am not afraid, i am wise not to preach politics. I preach pro-life but not anywhere near election time. I trust my flock to apply what they have been taught by me and the Word.

Ralph M

commented on Oct 26, 2012

One of the warnings that my pastor has talked about, is the revelation's that the 7 churches went through, looking like many were of the value Jesus spoke of and His actions matched up. Many churches do not, and are apostate in their stand. The Pharisee's had the valuee of man over God, and believed those that were poor, were injured and sick, was because God was punishing them...but Jesus showed that was the value of man, not God. Jesus healed the sick, raisedthedead andstood where most of religious leaders were called hypocrites. I wrote the 5th article, and for some reason my name won't show up. It is Ralph. When my pastor got to the last church, it was the most modern,but the actual cities named defined means 'luke warm' (hint,hunt?) Jesustold that church they werelike vomit...but He still cared for it, even though its words and actions in values did not match up. The 'Great awakening" had to be cleansed from clergy that would not stand, and allowed the compromise. Did Jesus do that? My eyes wereopened to the apostate church I once went to, but it took my knocking and seeking and using my ears to hear God, instead of man. That doesn'tmake me 'holier than thou', but it does make me wake up to what I have to change in my life, and what I do have to call out, in immorality and lies and liars. It's called 'righteous judgement' and God demands that from us. If someone tells me abortion is not murder, even in babies born after the attempt to be aborted...If some tells me homosexuality was given by God...Ifsomeone tells me that someone who tells our children they know more than their parents and that sex should be experimented...all of that is apostate, and not of God. Politically, if you stand with that, you are a part of it, if you don't call it out. God Bless.

Andrew Shields

commented on Oct 26, 2012

Well said Ralph. (5) (14)

Jason George

commented on Oct 26, 2012

Of course pastors need to use discretion but I disagree with the man who wrote this article. His reasons to support godly candidates were good, but his reasons for supporting the other side were not- As if godly men were against justice, or the immigrant or the poor. Liberalism is anti-God and has decimated the American family and the Church- and has sent this country on the brink of destruction. Of course we should speak out. Jesus condemned the Pharisees not for following God, but for rejecting Him and making up their own rules. Jesus called Herod a "fox." Since Herod was the political ruler at the time, that was political commentary. Pastors need to shepherd the sheep and sheep are easily fooled. Therefore pastors need to help them understand how to apply biblical standards to real life. The Apostles spoke against abortion- they didn't shy away from it. John the Baptist spoke against Herod- he didn't shy away from it. Woe to the shepherds who want men's approval more than God's.

Larry Neal

commented on Oct 26, 2012

Daniel Darling can avoid political preaching at his own peril. Since when does the church have the ability to preach the word of God without confronting the evil that politics has inflicted upon us?

Bill Williams

commented on Oct 26, 2012

I think some of those commenting here are greatly misunderstanding what the author is saying. He is quite clear that pastors are to preach God's word; and where that word speaks to current issues of the day, the pastor must address those issues. What the author is clearly arguing against is the practice of reading into the text one's own personal political opinions and preaching political talking points instead of the Bible. How could anyone really believe that that is a GOOD thing? The Bible does not promote conservative political ideology, nor does it promote liberal political ideology. Rather, the Bible TRANSCENDS all political ideologies. There are areas in both conservatism and liberalism that are in harmony with Biblical principles. But there is also MUCH in BOTH conservatism and liberalism that stands under judgement by the Bible. If the Bible cuts both ways--which I believe it does--then a pastor's preaching should ALSO cut both ways! Neither party nor ideology should get a free pass just because your pet issue (abortion, gay-marriage, immigration, poverty, social justice, etc.) just happens to be supported by one party or the other.

Jason George

commented on Oct 26, 2012

and btw, neither the IRS nor the Federal Government has any business trying to intimidate pastors or churches from endorsing candidates. "We, the People" are the ruling authority from our Constitution and the reason we passed the First Amendment to make sure that the Federal government did not interfere with religion- not only does it forbid establishing a religion but also prohibiting the free exercise of religion which includes speaking out about it. (The Amendment also guarantees our freedom of speech). Therefore, the Federal Govt/IRS is way off base by trying to intimidate pastors or churches from endorsing candidates of making sermons or speeches that involve politics. If you are God-fearing, it affects every aspect of your life-including your politics. As a matter of fact, if I hear someone that says he is not religious, I often tell him to work out his religion first before he engages in politics because unless you get your relationship with God right, you shouldn't expect anything else to be right.

Bill Williams

commented on Oct 26, 2012

@Jason, I think most of us--including the author of the article--would agree that addressing political issues of the day, when those issues are addressed in Scripture itself, is a legitimate part of preaching. But, don't you think that endorsing a specific political candidate goes BEYOND the task given to pastors simply to preach the WORD? Especially when you recognize that EVERY candidate will hold positions that to varying degrees are contrary to God's word.

Dennis Cocks

commented on Oct 26, 2012

Read Romans 1:24-32. Verse 32 says, "Who knowing the judgment of God, that they which commit such things are worthy of death, not only do the same, but have pleasure in them that do them." This verse means that if you give your approval to such immoral acts as homosexuality, murder (abortion), fornication, haters of God, etc., even though you yourself do not practice them, you are under the same judgment of God. When a person votes for a candidate (whether Democrat, Republican, Independant, ect.) who will promote and support these sins while they are in office, they are guilty of the judgment given in verse 32. I make sure my congregation understands this before they vote. That is my duty as a preacher!

Jo Cox

commented on Oct 26, 2012

To comment #17, Mr. Williams. Isn't a sermon personal opinion of one's. "What the author is clearly arguing against is the practice of reading into the text one's own personal political opinions and preaching political talking points instead of the Bible". How is this different from the rest of a sermon? Is the sermon not the pastor's personal opinion of the Bible? Of course, it is. The two--God and government--are tightly intertwined. And who better to point this out than a shepherding pastor? This is not the same as promoting a party or candidate or "talking points". It's application of the Word to the object of civic governance.

Bill Williams

commented on Oct 26, 2012

@Jo, I believe we have differing views of what a sermon is. I don't agree that a sermon is a pastor's personal opinion about what the Bible says. I do believe it is a pastor's INTERPRETATION of what the Bible says, but not an OPINION. There is a difference. An opinion would be: "I think Charles Dicken's A Tale of Two Cities is his best novel." An interpretation would be: "The character of Sydney Carton in A Tale of Two Cities was intended by Dickens to represent Christ." An interpretation is based on evidence from a text with the purpose of discerning an author's intended meaning in that text. Therefore, while everyone is entitled to their own opinion (I may be of the opinion that Great Expectations is the better novel), not every interpretation is valid. Likewise, I may have my own personal opinions about political issues. But it is NOT a LEGITIMATE use of the pulpit to read those opinions into the text and preach them AS IF my own opinions were what the author INTENDED to communicate. Now, I do agree with you that God and government are tightly intertwined. The Bible does address political issues, and this must be preached. But obviously, you are able to distinguish between this on the one hand; and promoting a specific candidate or party or talking points on the one hand. And my point is, the author clearly endorses the former. What he argues against is clearly the latter.

Ralph M

commented on Oct 26, 2012

I understand (Ralph again here) that this is a difficult subject, but it is good it is being addressed. First of all, I am Libertarian in my belief, but to get to that point, Conservatism has to become enforced, and to that extent, both Parties are full of corruption...but God can work through both Parties, if we stay true to words and actions lining up in our own lives, and we force representation to do the same. This may seem off subject, and I am not a preacher, but God called on my heart, when I was in elementary school to turn to Him. Through many years and tragedies in my life, my course went from loving God, to hating Him...to loving Him again. Through tragedies and life, we all grow, much as the preparation that Moses had to go through, before he could save his people. On his own term s he failed, and suffered the cost of having to face an environment, for 40 years, for preparing for how God was going to save His children through Moses. Hypocrisy is a failing that many Christian fall to, and it is much easier to sit on a fence, create no waves and just smile...as you know your friend sitting next to you in a pew calls out homosexuality, as he commits adultery in his flesh and in his heart. WHOLE TRUTH of God leaves no wiggle room, it calls on our hearts even more than our flesh, and the problem is, the heart is the key. But unlike a doorknob others can easy hold onto and turn for us, the knob we face is in the inside of our hearts, and we have to turn it to open it up. It can lead to pains we have to face we never want to, but sooner or later, by God, the WHOLE TRUTH in who we are will come out. If I take the sin of sexual immorality, I have to look at premarital sex, adultery, rape, molestation, homosexuality, bestiality and masturbation of our flesh alone. Then I have to put, on top of the flesh, my thoughts and fantasies through my heart, a source God watched even more closely than our flesh. Standing up for what we know is right will cost us, and as a pastor, I imagine it will cost many members of churches, but many members are no more than the words of the deceived, and the Bible says many will be, to the point of standing before our Creator, and met with the words, depart from Me, I never knew you. These were those that preached, those that preformed miracles those that thought, without a shadow of a doubt, they would be with God in heaven...but won't. This is not anything new I am saying, but for many this will be revealed to...in the end. God created separation of church (authority of God) and state (authority God places in charge of man). God put it upon the high priest to appoint the king...and not the other way around, so God does call for His standard, to be reflected in the highest form and places of government.

Ralph M

commented on Oct 26, 2012

(cont. Ralph) We look at the story of David alone, a dirt covered Shepard, youngest in his family...and as each of his brothers were told "NO" by the high priest...to the point of God telling the priest His choice wasn't even in the house with them, THAT is how much God wants men of His standing in government! We all know that David had many sins, murder and adultery, just to name two, but when he was confronted, he not only took the blame, but he wrote it for all to see. And then, before all his people confessed his sins...the one president who stood and said, "I did not have sexual relations with that women", and we now know he had many adulterous affairs, even accused of rape...but many took his looks and charms as truth, even when he perjured himself under oath, doing everything he could to slick his way out. Who would you choose as president if you had a choice? Would you call out his sins...or leave it to others to decide? To answer that, most Liberals, to this day claim Clinton as the most moral and best Liberal President we have had...that is a sad statement of fact. A liar, adulterer, rapist and thief of other peoples money. there are things, in my life, I have done, and have never shared with anyone. In my eyes I feel like a failure for doing them, but if it was about comparison, most would probably laugh at my guilt...but God won't. "To though that have ears, let them hear", are the continual statement that Jesus gave, after addressing each church in Revelations. We sure could use some ears today. God Bless.

Ralph M

commented on Oct 26, 2012

As I wrote, what I wrote, I asked God to be with me, exposing His WHOLE TRUTH. After I wrote my words, I had an email waiting for me to open. When I did, this sermon was there. A sign from God? Maybe...or a sign from a man of God. Please watch. God Bless. http://vimeo.com/52163082 (Pastor David Jeremiah)

Jo Cox

commented on Oct 26, 2012

@Mr. Williams, Interpretations aren't foolproof, either. if I can support my opinions with my/your interpretations, then why I am I to be silenced? Nevertheless, it is my opinion that preachers are silent from the pulpit on this because of fear. And not just on this issue. Few are free to truly preach what they see Scripture say.

Jason George

commented on Oct 26, 2012

to answer Bill's question from comment #19 Sometimes it is enough to simply bring out biblical truth and trust that people can understand how to apply it. but frankly we have to realize that there is a reason that Jesus referred to us as sheep. Sheep are stupid and will follow each other over a cliff. Sometimes you have to spell it out plainly for people. You can preach against abortion and homosexuality and evil, but sometimes you have to connect the dots for people because they just don't do it themselves. If the disciples who wrote the Didache and preached against abortion had the opportunity to vote, and there were 2 candidates, one who was pro abortion and one who was pro-life. I don't think they would have hesitated endorsing the pro-life candidate and told people why. That doesn't mean that they believed he was perfect or sinless or would always be right, but that there are certain issues that are important enough to prompt us to endorse someone. Let's put it another way, if Hitler is running for president and you don't connect the dots for people, aren't you partially responsible for him getting into office and killing millions of people? Or do you think God will commend you for properly parsing the Hebrew verb in Leviticus 19 that week when your people were being attacked? No, your people were in grave danger and didn't know it and you did not protect them from evil. As a matter of fact, Hitler who told German pastors to stick to religion and leave politics to him, and a lot of preachers took his advice. How did that work out? and Was God pleased? Heaven forbid! They didn't protect their people.

Jason George

commented on Oct 26, 2012

Permit one more analogy. If you are in the Alamo, and the enemy is pounding the front gate, threatening to come in and destroy you and everyone in the fort, you shouldn't be in the barracks telling people about how important is to make their beds or even telling them Bible stories. You need to be out there desperately trying to keep the enemy out of the front gate. Why? because that is where you are being attacked and if the front gate is breached, the Bible story and the made-up beds won't matter a great deal because you failed to hold the fort.

Bill Williams

commented on Oct 26, 2012

@Jo, I agree with you that interpretations aren't foolproof either. And in fact, sometimes a text can allow for several possible, valid interpretations, as has been demonstrated on occasions on this site. Still, there is a certain amount of evidence necessary for a given interpretation to be considered a valid option. That "burden-of-proof" is not necessary for an opinion. As you stated, it is your OPINION that preachers are silent from the pulpit, when it comes to politics, because of fear. As I mentioned in a previous post, everyone is entitled to their opinion, including you; but surely you must recognize that your opinion has absolutely no basis on any sort of objective evidence. It's simply your gut feeling, and it is possible that you might be right; although it is just as equally possible that you might be wrong. You can't prove that you're right, and I can't prove that you're wrong. So really, that opinion, frankly, is pointless. I say this not denigrate your opinions, but rather to demonstrate the problem with preaching opinions. I do agree that we can base our political opinions on how we interpret various scriptural texts, and in fact that is what we SHOULD do. The point that I'm making is that human nature is such that we are tempted to twist the Scriptures and interpret them so that they support our own political biases, and that temptation must be resisted. Preaching legitimate interpretations of Scripture that touch on contemporary political issues is valid. Going beyond that and into political opinion, and especially into the endorsement of specific candidates, appears to me to go beyond the command for pastors to "preach the word," and begins to move more into the area of "teaching as doctrines the precepts of men," something of which the Bible does not speak very highly.

Bill Williams

commented on Oct 26, 2012

@Jo, another point: you asked the question, "Why am I to be silenced?" But no one here or in the article is trying to silence you! In fact, the author states that there are venues in which sharing political opinions, based on legitimate interpretation of Scripture, is appropriate. The author simply argues that the pulpit is not one of those venues, and I agree. The pulpit must be reserved for the Bible, which as I mentioned, transcends politics.

Bill Williams

commented on Oct 26, 2012

@Jason, a few thoughts: first, do not forget that you, too, are a sheep. I trust that you did not intend for your comments to come across the way they did, but your comments about having to "spell it out" for people and having to "connect the dots" for people just sounded quite condescending. I have great respect for pastors, but the fact that you are a pastor does not make you more of an expert in political matters than the rest of the sheep. You pointed out that sheep will follow each other over a cliff. Could not the same be said of evangelical Christians and pastors who will blindly follow a "conservative" candidate who knows that if he just says the right things on issues such as abortion, for example, they will give him or her a pass on other issues that are also addressed in Scripture, but on which the candidate is on the wrong side? Let me give you a couple of examples. First, the protection of religious liberty. History clearly demonstrates that religious liberty can only exist where there is a separation of church and state. And yet, it is the conservatives who mock the idea of church and state being separate. As long as we're speculating about how the disciples who wrote the Didache would vote, I would be comfortable guessing that they might be in favor of church and state being separate. They knew from the experience of persecution of the church what happens when church and state are united, and you have the bad luck of belonging to the "wrong" church! Another example is the death penalty, sometime that is usually viewed as an issue supported by conservatives. I have the feeling, however, that Jesus might have a different view from pro-death penalty conservatives, considering the fact that he was the prime example of someone who was wrongly convicted of the death penalty! So, what do we do with candidates who AGREE with certain Biblical principles on some issues, and DISAGREE with certain Biblical principles on other issues? Because that is the difficulty with EVERY candidate, of EVERY political party. How do you prioritize which Biblical issues are more important than the other ones? On what basis do you determine that a candidate's stance on abortion is more important that their stance on the death penalty? On what basis do you determine that a candidate's stance on gay marriage is more important than their stance on protecting religious liberty through the separation of church and state? I will continue in another post...

Bill Williams

commented on Oct 26, 2012

@Jason, so you see, endorsing a political candidate is easy if you only have one or two "pet issues" like abortion and gay marriage that concern you. But by limiting yourself to only one or two issues, you are in effect giving a free pass to a candidate's other positions that are in CONFLICT with Biblical principles. You brought up the excellent example of Hitler in Germany. There is a difference between ENDORSING a politician, and SPEAKING OUT AGAINST the views and actions of a politician. We SHOULD speak out against politicians when their views and actions are in conflict with Biblical principles. The German church SHOULD have spoken out against Hitler. But the church must ALSO be willing to speak out against politicians when their views and actions are in conflict with Biblical principles, EVEN IF they agree with us on other issues, like abortion. And my concern is that by endorsing a politician, we lose the credibility to be able to speak out against that politician when it is necessary to do so. When we CHOOSE one side over the other, we LOSE the ability to speak from GOD'S side.

Bill Williams

commented on Oct 26, 2012

There is a story in the book of Joshua, where Joshua encounters--unknowingly--an angel of God. Joshua asks him, "Are you for us or for our enemies?" The angel answer, "No. I come as a captain of the Lord's army." The angel's answer was that God has his own side. And that is the side from which the Church must witness. God is neither a Republican nor a Democrat. God is on his own side. There is plenty in BOTH parties that he would have the church speak out against. That is why I believe it is dangerous for the pastor, during the preaching of the word of God, to pick sides from the pulpit. To address political issues where warranted by Scripture is valid. To pick sides is dangerous.

Jason George

commented on Oct 27, 2012

Bill, part of the job of a pastor is to help people understand what issues are important. The natural man doesn't naturally know what issues are important to God, nor necessarily what should be important to him- and there are certain issues that are more important than others, so I have no problem endorsing pro-life, pro-family candidates who may not be perfect on every other issue- but I also find that candidates who are right on the important issues tend to be right more often on the lesser issues because they have their priorities right. The speculation that you gave that Jesus might be against the death penalty was misguided. Jesus would not be against the death penalty since God instituted it and warned people not to show mercy to the murderer. Of course, it should only be administered only to the those proven to be guilty and it should be done in a timely manner. This is justice. And yes, a pastor, who studies the Word of God, should be politically astute enough to give people guidance. Remember, you may have some mature believers in the flock, but you will also have people who are baby believers, people who are questioning how to apply Biblical truths to life, some who are struggling in their walk, and even some onlookers who don't understand the gospel or biblical thought or why it's important. Let's go back to the Hitler example. You're in 1940 Germany and you know what he's up to. How would you feel if you preached generally against sin but half of your congregation voted for Hitler because he was such a great orator?! You would have failed at the point of the attack. You should have called him out as a fox, a dangerous man that needed to be stopped.

Jason George

commented on Oct 27, 2012

and yes, when there is no difference between candidates, I defer, but in big elections like this, I believe pastors should tell people why the church cannot support a man like Barack Obama and why no Christian should vote for him or someone like him. As long as you explain why, you do not lose credibility- you gain it in God's eyes and you also gain relevance. Some people may not like it but that is not a pastor's responsibility. Some people don't like it when you preach against sin or adultery, but they are not your measuring stick. You must do what God calls you to do and preaching the whole counsel of God is not complete unless you make practical applications of it. And yes, I was a sheep, but now I am a shepherd and with that comes the responsibility to care for the sheep and protect them.

Jo Cox

commented on Oct 27, 2012

@Mr. Williams--It is not my "opinion" that many do not preach the Word freely from the pulpit out of fear. Those are the words of a sizable number of preaching friends, family, brotherhood. Those thoughts can not be expressed openly or publicly for what should be obvious reasons. There are a number of demons that have full control over what does/does not come from their pulpits. Info/knowledge does not have to be "provable" to be valid. A preacher can always preface comments with "this is my opinion", or refer to it as an editorial comment. That churches don't teach the connection between God and our government is negligent. We know the public schools and universities are not going to. One can use a class to do that, but there is little space between the class lecture and the preaching pulpit.

Dennis Cocks

commented on Oct 27, 2012

@ Jason George. Very well put! Romans 1:24-32 tells us that we must warn the congregation against voting for someone who is guilty of agreeing with these sins, and will work to promote them and OBAMA is someone NO Christian should EVER vote for. That is what verse 32 is saying.

Jo Cox

commented on Oct 27, 2012

@Mr. Williams--LoL! That should read "denoms", not demons! Tiny keys too close!

Ralph M

commented on Oct 27, 2012

I posted this once, but I could tell it probably was not watched by many. This is a pastor who makes the statement he doesn't want to say what he is about to say, but he believes that God was telling him he had to. That standing is uncomfortable, but necessary many times. Here is the link: http://vimeo.com/52163082 (Pastor David Jeremiah) God Bless (Ralph)

Bill Williams

commented on Oct 27, 2012

@Jason, well, considering Jesus had a legitimate, Biblical reason for executing the death penalty and chose NOT to (John 8), and considering that Jesus knew by personal experience how EASILY the death penalty could be misapplied to an innocent person, I'm not that sure Jesus would be very sympathetic to the death penalty. But again, THIS IS MY POINT. When trying to apply Biblical principles to CONTEMPORARY political issues, we need to have the humility to recognize that somewhere between interpretation and application, our own political biases can unconsciously take us down the wrong road. Hence, the problem with PREACHING politics specifically, as opposed to limiting our preaching to preaching legitimate Biblical principles. Second, we are dealing with two DIFFERENT issues. One is speaking out against a candidate where that candidate is in conflict with Scripture. If you want to speak out against certain of Obama's positions because you feel they are unbiblical, that is legitimate. BUT, don't then turn around and endorse Romney, giving him a free pass on HIS position that are unbiblical. And he HAS such positions. EVERY candidate has such positions. What I'm saying is, endorse NEITHER, so that you have the credibility to SPEAK OUT against BOTH when necessary.

Bill Williams

commented on Oct 27, 2012

@Jo, you're the one who used the word "opinion," not me. And you were right to do so. However "sizable" the number of preaching friends, family, etc., that you base your opinion on is, it is nowhere large enough to be able to provide a legitimate basis for making a general conclusion. Your opinion is based on anecdotal evidence, at best; but that's fine for an opinion. Many opinions are based on far less! And, OF COURSE knowledge must be "provable" in order to be valid! That's what knowledge IS! Finally, as to prefacing certain comments with the phrase, "this is my opinion", I guess that's better than giving off the impression that the Bible wants people to vote for Republicans. However, as a person who sits on the pews each week, I would tell all of you preachers: I've got plenty of my own opinions, thank you very much. What I NEED from you is not YOUR opinions, but GOD'S WORD!! Save your opinions for outside the pulpit.

Jo Cox

commented on Oct 27, 2012

@Mr.Williams: Geez. Chill. I hear your yelling, I mean "preaching", all the way to my little iPod speakers! And may I recommend the David Jeremiah video posted twice on this thread? THIS is how it's done. With fear and humility and God-confidence and knowledge of Scripture. What a difference knowledgable and informed Christians could make to this country of freedom, and this country to the world, by choices they will make in this next election. THAT is OUR mission! To proclaim freedom to the oppressed.

Ralph M

commented on Oct 27, 2012

(Ralph again) As I stated before, this is a hard subject to talk about, and I use to think neutral was a stand. But it is not. In fact it is against God. He even states that He has more respect for man that shows what they stand for. That He spits the 'lukewarm' out of His mouth. Jesus even warned the most modern church, the last, that while they said the right thing, prayed and paid tithe's, they were apostate. Fake, frauds, liars and aiding immorality in not taking a stand with what Jesus warned. I, for one, will not sit on a fence and say my voice is heard that way. That is not standing, that is stepping side to side on issues we will not take a stand on. Nothing in this world is so dear to the heart of God as His church. It is not His will that worldly policy shall corrupt her record. He does not leave His people to be overcome by Satan's temptations. He will punish those who misrepresent Him, but He will be gracious to all who sincerely repent. To those who call upon Him for strength for the development of Christian character, He will give all needed help. Now, I say that because my best shows just how weak I am. Falling and failing, time and time again. But the warnings are there. And even more major warnings to the shephards He calls to instruct, dress down and comend for staying true to Gods heart, which is matching words and deeds together. If you take the time to watch the video I posted twice, that pastor addresses it far better than I ever could, and points out, in my opinion, just how dangerous NOT taking a stand is. It limits your voice, in fact if you don't stand against immorality, you are aiding it, and once again God shares how much that angers Him in that mindset. Three issues that shows profound differences in standing in Gods Word...or going against Him in supporting someone who aids them...or others who think sitting down and saying they have nothing to do with this, so I'm going home and minding my own business. Tyrants of nations have gained power on the weakness of not taking a stand, and God will notice. It also gives no voice to any of this issues, after the fact, to anyone not taking a stand. Your voice becomes of no value. Is taht the value of Gods chosen to lead His church? And if that's the case, what if ever man and woman on this world treated abortion alone with the ignorance of that mindset. On this isue I have strong feelings, because one of my sisters is adopted from birth. Her mom could have murdered her baby in the affair she had with a married man, but chose to give life and allow another family to raise her. I also have another sister, who had an abortion before any of us knew what she had done. I had no say, but I had hoped she would have looked at her sister and recall she could have just as easily been murdered. I have friends I grew up with who are homosexuals, and I left an apostate church that did not stand and became more and more about the look of church, and not what a church is. Vomit is what Jesus called the last church. There was a reason for that...but He still longed for that church to come back. Revelations warns many will not see heaven, thinking they are of God. These are pointed out as leaders of many churches. That puts chills up my spine, and I caution that in standing, sitting or excusing immorality and evil. God Bless.

Ralph M

commented on Oct 27, 2012

The story of Joshua and the angel is very misleading. First of all God didn't create separation, man did. And through that separation, all immorality has come to pass. The 'political' venue of Democrat and Republican are not Gods, that is understandable...but to take an angle, who has no free will, and the free will God gives us, as mankind is confusing. I understand why the question of side is made, but that is of the value of man, not God. But that doesn't mean we can't see clearly WHOLE TRUTH of what is clear sinful nature against God. God created life, and satan created death. When Adam and Eve fell in the Garden of Eden, the whole world fell. Gods hand of complete protection, was taken away by our actions. George Washington warned the downfall of America would come from a two party system that would split morality of the value of man, and not of God. That can clearly be seen in many churches today, that will stoop to the level of trying to take the Bible out of content and context to support immorality. Another sign that Jesus told us would happen. Jesus warned that any of His children that take a stand in His value, will be hated by the value of the world, and the Pharisee's clearly showed that ignorance and arrogance in the standing of mans values...and call it Gods. God doesn't have a side, He is a side! He is THE side! And ALL of us fail in our human nature. Our Lord tells us that those that are not His, He will take care of in the end...and that parable after parable He told, were warnings WITHIN the church. Vines and weeds that have no value, growing and sitting next to those that have the value in the 'fruits' they produce, under the guidance of God, in prayer, in instruction, in those we surround ourselves with and the instruction we follow, not blindly, but using the brain God gave us to discern His words,and the words of satan that will come to us as an angel of light. Satans biggest deception, was to fool us he is a red devil with horns and a tail, when he was Gods most beautiful angel, destroyed by pride. Many masks in many churches, follow Satan in his 'light' and many instructed in that, from generation, to generation to generation...till evil can walk boldly into a church, to sit in pews or preach from pulpits. Caution again, read Revelations on the Seven Churches, and that is clearly warned to His children, ending with Jesus making the statement, "He who has ears, let them hear." Many will not hear, and Jesus warns also of getting in arguments with those that try to trick or mislead, even presenting that it would be like giving 'Pearls to swine" and His written Word will only be understood by His chosen. God Bless.

Ralph M

commented on Oct 27, 2012

Here is another pastor, who clearly is uncomfortable preaching on politicians, but clearly, again, feeling he has to STAND for morality, and NOT immorality that clearly be seen. Bishop Harry Jackson- http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded

Ralph M

commented on Oct 27, 2012

I'm not sure if this site cut the youtube full link to see video, so the clergy is Bishop Harry Jackson, and the title is '4 Reasons I Cannot Support Barack Obama For President'. God Bless.

Anthony Leon Perkins

commented on Oct 28, 2012

To Bill, "And, OF COURSE knowledge must be "provable" in order to be valid! That's what knowledge IS!" Here is something you might consider after making your previous statement. Prove to me that there is a God. Don't get me wrong. I believe in Jehovah God and his atoning work thru Jesus at Calvary, however, I can not scientifically prove that He exists. We embrace that belief by faith (ideology) not provable facts. What knowledge we have of God comes from reading His Word and our spiritual relationship with Him which many would be quick to argue is nothing more than fantasy. Therefore, I humbly submit that "all knowledge" is not provable from an ideological standpoint. From this same standpoint many would also argue that our opinions or interpretations are simply that - our opinions or interpretations, regardless of their origins. In your example you said that you would say to preachers, "I have plenty of my own opinions, thank you." That is the thought process of many today and it makes the pastor's task of conveying Bible principles a more difficult task.

Ralph M

commented on Oct 28, 2012

(Ralph) There is a new film, 300 Million Slaves, and the warning of the sleeping churches is the focus, much like it was when Hitler claimed to be a 'Christian', when parents allowed him to take their children for 'instruction'. They blindly followed the words of evil, and allowed the evil to move to the next generation. Pray that others at least watch the trailer. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PKwI6kDlgUE November won't be electoral, but spiritual. And the outcome of this battle -- win or lose -- will depend on what this one institution does ...THE CHURCH! We have nobody to blame but ourselves. We're in the midst of a war. We will lose if we don't wake up. The United States is plagued with economic, political, geopolitical and social problems. As a nation, we are morally bankrupt and at risk of losing the battle for our culture. We need to wake up before it is too late! Future generations require that we fight for our freedoms NOW! Before they are lost forever. The web site is 300millionslaves.com for those that want to know more. Sadly, all that can be done is give the warnings, and as God gave us all, the individual responsibility to listen and learn...or ignore and think we know better. Just look at our schools, and what taking the Bible out has led education and commonsense to, and those who do the educating. Under Obama, the evil tactics effecting our children are rising within our schools, under the literary writings of Alfred Kinsey. Kinsey, though married to a woman who took part in his many filmed ?scientific? orgies, was a promiscuous homosexual and sadomasochist. He managed to completely upend and twist the world?s perception of human sexuality in the 1950s and ?60s with his world famous ?Kinsey Reports.? What I have to say next is only for ears willing to hear truth, evil defined and instructed, and what our children are facing. Dr. Judith Reisman is the brave soul that has tried to confront this evil. She was part of a lecture titled 'Sexual Behavior and the Law'. She states that during his tenure at Indiana University, Kinsey facilitated, with stopwatches and ledgers, the systematic sexual abuse of hundreds, if not thousands, of children and infants...all in the name of science. Among other things, Kinsey asserted that children are "sexual from birth" and concluded, based upon experiments he directed and documented in his infamous 'Table 34', that adult-child sex is harmless, even beneficial, and described child "orgasm" as "culminating in extreme trembling, collapse, loss of color, and sometimes fainting. ?" Many children suffered "excruciating pain," he observed, "and [would] scream if movement [was] continued." Some "?[would] fight away from the [adult] partner and may make violent attempts to avoid climax, although they derive[d] definite pleasure from the situation." Dr. Reisman identifies Kinsey as a "sexual psychopath." These children were as young as 2 months old. THAT is the value this world turns to, when voices are silent, God is taken out and the church becomes apostate. All this is sick, but ignoring it only allows evil to expand, where it really wants to. Into the HEART of GOD, the CHURCH! To some here, my words may have seen to cross a line, but is there a line that stops Satan? Does he respect humanity? Or will he used any way to corrupt, produce evil and destroy hope? "He who has ears, let them hear." God Bless.

Bill Williams

commented on Oct 28, 2012

@Jo, I apologize if my comments have come off harsh. Please rest assured that they have not been intended in that way. I'm aware that in cyberspace, words in caps are understood to be shouted; but absent the ability to use italics or bold print, it is the only way I know to be able to emphasize certain key points. So, I apologize on my part for the misunderstanding. Nevertheless, my point stands. The pulpit is no place for personal political opinions. Legitimate interpretation from Scripture? Yes. Personal political opinions? No. Please tell me that you recognize there is a difference between the two. As for the video that keeps getting mentioned, if this preacher does, in fact, present his views with fear and humility and God-confidence and knowledge of Scripture, then I have no problem with it. If it's simply his personal political opinions, the pulpit is not the appropriate place for that. By the way, I have to say that I am somewhat surprised that in a metaphorical "room full of preachers", I, a non-preacher, seem to be the only one taking a stand for reserving the pulpit for the Word of God alone, and not for the opinions of man! I have been involved in other discussions on this website where "personal opinions" were MUCH LESS tolerated!

Bill Williams

commented on Oct 28, 2012

@Ralph, I understood you to be saying that my use of the story of Joshua and the angel was misleading. Unfortunately, I am afraid that is the only thing about that that I understood. I'm not quite sure what your disagreement specifically is. Perhaps you can clarify your point for me a bit more. I will say this, though, on another point you made. Preaching a sermon entitled "Four Reasons Why I Cannot Support Obama for President" can be legitimate (although I would probably choose a different title), if the purpose is to speak out against certain unbiblical positions held by the President. The question is, would that same preacher be willing ALSO to preach a sermon entitled "Four Reason Why I Cannot Support Romney for President"? If not, I would suspect that the preacher's sermons are being influenced less by Scripture and more by political bias. That is flat out wrong. Look carefully at Romney, and you will find plenty about him that is worthy of being spoken out against. Preachers CANNOT be SELECTIVE about which evils we speak out against and which evils we wink at simply because the candidate agrees with us on one or two issues. Let me try to make this as clear as I possibly can, because for some reason some of you aren't getting this: WE MUST SPEAK OUT AGAINST THE EVIL DONE BY OUR POLITICIANS! I am not saying we shouldn't. We should! We should speak out against evil if it is done by Hitler or by Obama. AND we should also speak out against evil if it is done by Romney or by whoever your favorite "conservative" candidate is. But endorsing a candidate FROM THE PULPIT hurts our ability to speak out against them; because when we endorse a candidate, we are saying in essence, "Yes, this guy has some positions that are against what the Bible says, but they're not one of our top two, so we'll just give him a free pass on his unbiblical views." That is a dangerous position to hold in the pulpit. We cannot allow ANY politician to be exempt from being spoken out against by the Church. We cannot give ANY politician a free pass.

Bill Williams

commented on Oct 28, 2012

@Anthony, some of the points you raise start to deal with technical issues of epistemology, and I'm not sure how familiar you or others on here are in this field; so I'll try not to be too technical. Let me just address a few points. Your comment assumes, as many people assume, that "scientific evidence" is the only legitimate type of evidence for proving knowledge. That simply is not true. There are many things that can be known without scientific evidence. I cannot scientifically prove that God exists, because God is spiritual, not physical; and science can only prove the physical. BUT, God is also personal, so that we can KNOW that he exists based on RELATIONAL evidence, the same way that a man can KNOW that he loves his wife. Furthermore, there is plenty of historical evidence so that we can KNOW that the crucifixion and resurrection of Jesus Christ were in fact a historical events. So, I repeat my point: all knowledge must be based on evidence. Scientific evidence is one type, but there are others. But knowledge must be based on evidence. Otherwise, it is merely belief. And Christian faith is NOT mere belief. It is belief based on knowledge. Consider Paul's teaching in 1 Corinthians 15. The belief in the resurrection of Christ was based on the knowledge that he was actually raised from the dead. And how did the church KNOW that Christ was raised from the dead? Through the EVIDENCE of those who were eye-witnesses of the risen Christ. Paul goes on to say that if the resurrection of Christ was not a historical fact, our faith as Christians is in vain. Christian faith is based on knowledge, and knowledge is based on evidence.

Bill Williams

commented on Oct 28, 2012

@Anthony, you took my statement, "I have plenty of my own opinions, thank you very much," out of context; and thus you misunderstood my intent. What I'm trying to say is that I don't NEED for the preacher to give me more of his opinions. What I NEED is for the preacher to do EXACTLY what you said, to present Biblical principles. Principles and opinions are not the same thing! Why do people keep using those two concepts interchangeably? My point was to call preachers to do what you yourself claim it is the preachers' task to do! HOWEVER, if the preacher in reality simply wants to convey his own personal political opinions as authoritative, because the preacher feels his opinions are superior and the sheep aren't smart enough to figure things out for themselves and he doesn't trust the Holy Spirit to apply the Word to the lives of the hearers; then, yes, I can see how it WOULD be frustrating for the preacher trying to convey his opinions as authoritative to discover that most listeners already have their OWN opinions. Listen, Pastors and Preachers, I've been around for a long time. Opinions are a dime a dozen. Everyone's got at least one, and most have much more than they need, or even use. What we, your listeners, NEED when you speak to us from the pulpit is NOT your opinions, as much as we may respect you. What we NEED is God's Word. God's Word is MUCH MORE THAN SUFFICIENT!! You don't have to add anything to it.

Ralph M

commented on Oct 28, 2012

(Ralph)...Bill, will you please do me a favor, before I go any further, and watch this short sermon: http://vimeo.com/52163082 (Pastor David Jeremiah) God Bless.

Bill Williams

commented on Oct 28, 2012

@Ralph, please don't take this the wrong way, but I'm a busy man. Why should I take 45 minutes out of my schedule to listen to a sermon that you recommend? What do you expect my listening of this sermon to accomplish? I will either hear one of two things. Either he will preach Biblical principles that deal with contemporary political issues, in which case I will applaud him for doing so. Or he will present his personal political opinions and talking points as authoritative, in which case I will repeat that he is wrong to do so, and I still can't fathom how a preacher of God's word can so easily defend such a practice. What is it about this sermon that makes you think it would make me change my position about the primacy of God's word when preaching from the pulpit?

Anthony Leon Perkins

commented on Oct 28, 2012

Hi Bill, Just so you will know where I?m coming from, we are in agreement on several topics and the last thing I would want you to think is that I?m picking a verbal fight. First off, I do not assume that scientific evidence is the only legitimate type of evidence but as you so aptly stated, many do. It was merely an illustration, maybe a feeble one ? but just an illustration. I am also aware that epistemology is a branch of psychology that deals with how we understand knowledge. In essence, you restated my basic thoughts of how we can know God except that when you restated your point about knowledge you changed it from knowledge is provable to knowledge is based on evidence. I agree with the revision more than the original statement. However, and I hope you also agree, that evidence can be applied inappropriately and lead to error or wrong evidence can lead to error. In other words, evidence is not always proof or necessarily proof per se, but legitimate evidence certainly points to the proof or the truth. I also agree that opinions and principles are not the same thing. Concerning the OPINIONS statement, I think I understood your intent but I purposely took it out of context to illustrate the mindset of many today. I should have more fully stated my intent and for that I apologize. You are spot on, preachers should avoid preaching opinions mainly because their opinions are NOT AUTHORATATIVE and for the reasons that have already been mentioned here along with many, many more. I also agree that a preacher should avoid endorsing a particular individual for an elected public office so as not to lose credibility where their favorite stands on the wrong side of scriptural issues. But, when I preach, if a social or moral issue goes against a Biblical principle, I will speak out on those issues, not necessarily during the election season. If we don?t address these issues from the pulpit are we still proclaiming the good news of the Gospel that has the power to set us free from sin or are we just tickling the ears of our listeners with what they want to hear and by our silence validating their 1opinions, 2beliefs, 3lifestyles or 4convictions. By the way, to an individual that is spiritually blind and groping in the darkness it doesn?t matter which one of those words you choose. I hope that you would be in agreement with the preacher?s responsibility to speak out against sin regardless of who embraces the sin. God Bless!

Bill Williams

commented on Oct 28, 2012

@Ralph, I went ahead and watched the sermon in its entirety. Here are some thoughts: 1) I do appreciate his humility and his sincerity and his conviction. 2) Although his comments were clearly biased against Obama and for Romney, he did acknowledge problems with Romney. 3) The majority of the sermons was political opinion, not the exposition of Biblical principles. I think what he spoke would have been appropriate in other contexts, just not in the pulpit. 4) He appears to have a rather narrow understanding of Christianity. I'd have to listen to it again to confirm, but he seemed to exclude Episcopalians, Quakers, and Catholics from being considered part of "legitimate" Christianity. 5) He was clearly selective in what issues he considered important for a President. Yes, abortion and traditional marriage are important issues. But what about religious freedom? Why was that never mentioned except in passing at the end, and then seeming to favor religious freedom only for those who practice his narrow understanding of Christianity? What about the importance of the separation of Church and State, so that religious freedom can thrive? What about the idea that government has no authority to enforce the religious beliefs of one group over everyone? Why are conservatives so passionate about limiting government, except in the area of religious freedom? The federal government has no right to define marriage, either in favor of traditional marriage or against it, through a constitutional amendment. I sympathize with the reason for the support. But God, through his word alone, has the sole authority to define marriage. For any state or federal government to attempt to usurp that authority is NOT limited government in any meaningful sense! More to follow...

Bill Williams

commented on Oct 28, 2012

@Ralph, 6) His remarks in support of the modern state of Israel are a prime example of political opinion masquerading as Biblical principle. Dispensational theology may be popular among evangelical Christians, but there are many other Christians who conclude from the Bible that the modern state of Israel has no relationship with the Israel described in the Bible. It is not wise to base foreign policy on the theological understanding of one segment of Christianity. 7) Not endorsing one side over the other DOES NOT EQUAL being neutral about the issues he discussed. 8) He did stop short of endorsing Romney specifically, which I appreciate. But he came dangerously close. 9) In summary, I respect--and even agree with some of--his political opinions and have no problems with him expressing those opinions in an appropriate venue. The pulpit is not such a venue. I think he would've been wiser to have started with Mark that week instead.

Bill Williams

commented on Oct 28, 2012

@Anthony, yes, I suspected we probably agreed more than it seemed at first! It was one of those cases where I guess we were saying the same thing using different words! Thank you for you clarification; and I do see how my comments could be taken out of context to say something I don't intend to say, so thank you for giving me the opportunity to clarify myself. "I hope that you would be in agreement with the preacher's responsibility to speak out against sin regardless of who embraces the sin." I am indeed! That has been my point. May God bless your ministry.

Ralph M

commented on Oct 28, 2012

(Ralph)...Bill, I had prayed about this the other night, and what came to me was don't waste your time. It is obvious where you are coming from, as where I am, and I wish you well. God Bless.

Bill Williams

commented on Oct 28, 2012

@Anthony, just another clarification so that you know where I'm coming from. For me, "proof" is based on "evidence", so saying that knowledge is provable and that knowledge is based on evidence is the same thing to me. Although I do agree that evidence can sometimes lead us to wrong conclusions. Evidence must be interpreted, and here is where we depend on the Holy Spirit to guide us to right conclusions, and ultimately, to true knowledge. Thanks!

Bill Williams

commented on Oct 28, 2012

@Ralph, with all due respect, I don't think it is clear where you stand. You keep telling me, "Watch this video. Watch this video." But you don't say what watching this video is meant to prove! So, I finally took the time to watch the video in its entirety (45 minutes!). I watched it because you insisted again today that I watch it. And you insisted even though "the other night" you had come to the conclusion after prayer for me not to waste my time. But after you reached that conclusion, you continued to insist. And I wrote a fairly comprehensive response to that sermon. So, the LEAST you could do is answer me clearly this question. The preacher's comments on supporting the modern state of Israel: Considering the absence of a clear and universally held understanding of the relationship between modern Israel and Biblical Israel among the Christian Church, would you agree that his comments regarding support for the modern state of Israel have more basis on political opinion, rather than on clear, legitimate interpretation of Scripture. And if so, would you agree with me that such comments, while helpful and valuable in some contexts, are inappropriate coming from the pulpit, where the word of God alone must be the basis of what we preach? Please, I ask you, you owe me at least a clear answer to these questions.

Jason George

commented on Oct 28, 2012

Bill, You are wrong. Your premise to assume that Jesus would change his mind about capital punishment or any of the other moral issues of our day is misguided and frankly offensive- but it helps bring out where you go wrong. You have taken your reasonings and put them above scripture in a way that many people can see. You say you don't think Jesus would support capital punishment when Christians know that he would and does. The fact that he had mercy on the woman caught in adultery does not change that. She was set up to trap Jesus and he know that and had mercy on her, but he never spoke out against capital punishment. He said He did not come to abolish the law but to fulfill it- so we have Jesus' direct words versus your opinion 2000 years later. hmm- that's not a hard call. It sounds like you are trying to justify not standing up for the whole gospel and its application. I think the Alamo analogy is sound. What good does it do to placate your flock with nice words when they are being attacked at the front gate. You sometimes need to tell them they are in danger, and where the danger is coming from. Pastors can't be too timid to protect their flock. That is their calling. and btw, I spoke out against Bush, Carter, Clinton, Bush again as well as Obama when I see them do things that against biblical principles, as I will point them out about Romney, but we are being attacked hard by ungodly men-and I think every pastor in American should warn their flocks about how dangerous Obama (or anyone who sets himself so far against biblical principles) is.

Bill Williams

commented on Oct 28, 2012

@Jason: "You have taken your reasonings and put them above scripture in a way that many people can see." Forgive the cliche, but that's like the pot calling the kettle black. Here's the difference between you and me, though. I ACKNOWLEDGE that my opinions are no better than your opinions, and that NEITHER of our opinions belong in the pulpit. That sacred time and space belongs to God's word alone. "I spoke out against Bush, Carter, Clinton, Bush again as well as Obama when I see them do things that against biblical principles, as I will point them out about Romney." Excellent! That has been my ENTIRE POINT! It is clear that we are fundamentally in agreement. So, why do you keep arguing with me?

Ralph M

commented on Oct 28, 2012

(Ralph) Bill, I apologize. I did ask you to watch the video, which first you said you wouldn't waste your time...but later said you did watch, so I will respect you and your request. I was reading an old article by a pastor proclaiming, "You will never hear the Rev. Billy Graham telling his followers for which political candidate to vote", but that just happened this month (http://www.billygraham.org/ ), but the question you asked was in supporting Israel, and I do want to thank you for watching the video...but getting back to your question, "Considering the absence of a clear and universally held understanding of the relationship between modern Israel and Biblical Israel among the Christian Church, would you agree that his comments regarding support for the modern state of Israel have more basis on political opinion, rather than on clear, legitimate interpretation of Scripture?" In a word, NO, I DO NOT, but I believe you are asking for more than that, so I will continue, respectfully. The Old Testament promises (Biblically), to God?s chosen people, are not diminished by New Testament teachings. On the contrary they are validated and attested. Romans 11 is a good example of this. It also teaches that Christians should be grateful and obligated to God?s chosen people for the benefits we have been given from our Lord Jesus working through them. Was not our Savior and Lord a Jew? In the past two thousand years, God?s grace, through Jesus, has flowed primarily to Gentiles due to God?s dealing with Israel both in the past (rejected Jesus as Lord) and present. God will restore, with or without us, Israel to her original purpose of showing His Glory, despite those Jews in Israel, and the world, that don't accept Jesus. (to be cont.)

Ralph M

commented on Oct 28, 2012

(Ralph..cont.) There are many prophecies in the Bible that foretell of this coming to pass. The light was originally to be from Israel, to point the Gentiles to God. Jesus said to let your light shine and taught how they (Israel) were to do so. This meant for them to live in such a way that people would see God and Messiah in their everyday lives, and the Bible teaches clearly that Israel will do as God first commanded them to do, eventually...but until that time Christians are to be the light to the World. As far as politically, I don't know where Israel stands on everything, but I do know those that surround them are, for the most part, not of God, by their words, deeds and god. The survival of the Jewish people is a miracle of God. The return of the Jewish people to the land promised to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob is a miracle of God. The remarkable victories of Jewish armies against overwhelming odds in successive battles in 1948, and 1967, and 1973 are clearly miracles of God. The technological marvels of Israeli industry, the military prowess, the bounty of Israeli agriculture, the fruits and flowers and abundance of the land are a testimony to God's watchful care over this new nation and the genius of this people. his was clearly foretold by the ancient prophet Ezekiel, declared by God (Ezek.37) I support Israel because I believe the words of Moses, and the ancient prophets of Israel, were inspired by God. I believe the emergence of a Jewish state in the land promised by God to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob was ordained by God. (to be cont.)

Ralph M

commented on Oct 28, 2012

(Ralph cont.) God has a plan for this nation to be a blessing to all the nations of the earth that support His Children. Not by their actions, but by His word and covenant. Israel is an island of democracy, an island of individual freedom, an island of the rule of law, and an island of modernity in the midst of a sea of dictatorial regimes, which God will one day crush around Israel (Ezek.36:7). Mere political rhetoric does not account for the profound devotion to Israel that exists in the hearts of tens of millions of evangelical Christians, and God has shown, in my opinion, that not standing with His children will destroy nations that do so. In fact, He declares this will happen, many times in the Bible ( Numbers 24:9; Psalm 122:6; Zecheriah 2:8; Psalm 83:1-18; Joel 3:1-3...Malachi, Genesis, Deut., Lev., 1 Tim., Neh., 2 chron., Isiah....I could go on, but they all give warnings or covenant protection that God clearly states, including those that do not support His children. Now, this doesn't mean they deserve Gods blessings, for they did nothing to earn it, and He clearly shares it is because of His word, in spite of their corruption (Ezek. 36:22). I do not see who we agree on this, but I do respect your right of opinion, and as I stated before, I wish you well. God Bless.

Bill Williams

commented on Oct 28, 2012

@Jason, a couple of more responses: "It sounds like you are trying to justify not standing up for the whole gospel and its application." Uhhh...what? Do you not read English well? Because I thought I made it EXTREMELY CLEAR that I believe the reason we SHOULDN'T endorse candidates is so that we have the credibility to speak out against them on the basis of the WHOLE gospel, and not being selective about which issues we speak out against, and on which ones we give candidates a free pass because they agree with us concerning one or two "big ones". So, let me be clear. Again. Don't endorse candidates, so that you can STAND UP FOR THE WHOLE GOSPEL!! If that's not clear enough for you, there's nothing else I can do. "What good does it do to placate your flock with nice words when they are being attacked at the front gate?" What did I write that could in any remote way possibly be interpreted as me saying that preachers should placate their flock with nice words? Seriously. Quote me something I wrote that suggests preachers should placate their flocks with nice words. I'm glad you're quite impressed with yourself for you "Alamo analogy", but frankly, it is completely irrelevant to anything anyone has been talking about. It's like asking, "What good is a screen door on a submarine?" Well, none. So what? Who's saying anything about screen doors and submarines?

Ralph M

commented on Oct 28, 2012

(Ralph) I would like to point out, to all here, I appreciate the ability to speak freely, and I want to thank all here. I usually do not get into these, because the sanctification process is an individual process that we all go through, at different levels, and as our level grows, the larger God gets in our lives, words and deeds matching up. I would love to say mine do 100 of the time, but that would be a lie, and we all have personal struggles. For me, and nobody knowing me has to take my word, I spoke out against Carter, Reagan, Clinton, both Bush's and Obama. I am a Libertarian in my belief, leaving it the responsibility of individuals for their actions, including restitution. There is the restitution of breaking mans laws, through the foundation of Gods laws, and the restitution of repentance, that has no value in any thing of man. My heart has done a whole lot more damage than my flesh ever will, as most, if not all mankind will, if we're being honest. I have to cut this short, my pastor is going over Revelation Chapter 5, and I don't want to be late. God Bless.

Bill Williams

commented on Oct 28, 2012

@Ralph, I appreciate your detailed response. Let me make the following observations: 1) It is clear that through the study of Scripture, you have reached certain conclusions regarding the role of the modern state of Israel in God's plan of salvation. Preaching those conclusions, and showing the Biblical evidence you have in favor of those conclusions, is a legitimate use of the pulpit. 2) Surely you recognize that many Christians would disagree with your interpretation regarding the modern state of Israel. Your interpretation is not universally held by the Christian Church. And even if it was, secular government should NOT base foreign policy on the theological understanding of one religion, and much less on a relatively small segment of one religion. To do so would be to break down the wall between church and state that is NECESSARY in order to ensure religious freedom. 3) Therefore, to suggest from the pulpit that a secular government should base foreign policy on your own theological understanding is a wrong use of the pulpit, I believe. 4) Politically--not theologically--I do believe it does make sense to support the modern state of Israel, as it is the only democratic ally we have in the region. BUT, since that is a political opinion, not a Biblical principle, the pulpit is not the appropriate place to express that opinion. There are other venues that are more appropriate. 5) The modern state of Israel, like any other nation, is not without its fault. They have not always treated displaced Palestinian refugees with respect. As Christians, we must be willing to speak out against them for that.

Bill Williams

commented on Oct 28, 2012

@Ralph, just by way of some final thoughts, I appreciate that you HAVE spoken freely. I enjoy discussing issues with people who view things from a different perspective than I do. It helps me discover blind spots in my own thinking, as well as clarify my positions. Discussing this with you has been an edifying experience. May God bless you this week!

Dennis Cocks

commented on Oct 29, 2012

@Bill a few thoughts on your opinions. First, "4) He appears to have a rather narrow understanding of Christianity. I'd have to listen to it again to confirm, but he seemed to exclude Episcopalians, Quakers, and Catholics from being considered part of "legitimate" Christianity." That's because they are not "legitimate" Christians. Look at their doctrine, they teach works salvation. Second, God established government before He established the church. He did this after the flood. Read Romans 13, where He gives authority to the government to make sure they follow His commands, and read the warings He gives if they don't. The only time we are to go against the government is when they go against God. Therefore if we do not stand with Israel we are going against God. God still has a plan for the nation Israel and it will be fulfilled during the Tribulation. Ralph did a great job of explaining Israel and its relation to our day. Also God did not institute separation of church and state and neither does the Constitution. Post to me where that is. Our founders time and again made reference to God and said we need to put GODLY leaders into office. God said "Blessed is the NATION whose God is the Lord." Sorry, but many of your views go against the Bible you claim to say we should preach.

Bill Williams

commented on Oct 29, 2012

@Dennis, I've avoided engaging in conversation with you because you tend to equate anyone who holds a different interpretation from you on a given Bible topic as "going against the Bible." Conversations with people who holds such attitudes are rarely edifying. Nevertheless, since you addressed me personally, I will do you the favor of responding. Be advised, if you continue to display an arrogant attitude, I'll stop our conversation. If you are willing to display the humility and restraint that you showed on the thread under the article of hurting pastors, however, I think we can have a positive conversation. So, having said this, allow me to respond: 1) Regarding what is to be considered "legitimate Christianity", you can look at any denomination or tradition and find something in their doctrine where you would disagree with their interpretation. Nevertheless, most Christians hold certain core doctrines in which there is general agreement. I use the phrase "general agreement" because even in those core doctrines, you will find some levels of disagreement concerning emphasis, wording, etc. Still, the core doctrines are shared. C. S. Lewis (who was an Anglican, by the way) wrote a book I'm sure you've heard of called Mere Christianity, which basically looks at those core doctrines that all Christians hold. Now, there is a place for debating doctrine, and it is very important to do our best to get our doctrine as right as possible. And yet, as you mentioned, ultimately we are saved by faith, not by works, and certainly not by correct doctrine. In the end, God alone is the only one qualified to judge who is or is not a "legitimate" Christian, for alone knows the heart of man. More to follow...

Bill Williams

commented on Oct 29, 2012

@Dennis, 2) I agree that God established government. God raises up kings and God brings them down. I'm reasonably sure God established government BEFORE the flood, as there were people living for centuries before the flood; and wherever there are people, there is some sort of "government." But I'm assuming that you are referring to God establishing the distinct nations of the earth at the time of the tower of Babel. I also agree that God grants authority to governments to execute justice, that he judges governments for not doing so, and that we are to respect the authority that has been given to them, WHEN THAT GOVERNMENT DOES NOT CONFLICT WITH GOD'S WORD (caps are for emphasis, I'm not shouting!). And right there, in a point that you yourself made as well, we find the basis for the separation of Church and State. God gives authority to governments. But God's government and worldly governments are NOT THE SAME. Therefore, they are separate. If they were not separate, if they were the same, then there would never be a moment where a worldly government is in conflict with God's word. I'm sure you would agree that history and experience tell us otherwise. History and experience also tell us that religious freedom CANNOT exist where Church and State are united. The pilgrims came to this country because of the persecution they faced as a RESULT of the union of Church and State in England. It's one thing for you and I to hold different interpretations of the Biblical role for the modern state of Israel, for example, and to debate those interpretations on a website such as this. But do you REALLY want to live in a country where your theological interpretations are enforced by the government, and where a person such as I could face penalties for not agreeing with your theological interpretations? Or, how about looking at it from a different perspective: the largest religious denomination by far in the United States is the Roman Catholic Church. Do you want to live in a country where the Roman Catholic Church has the power to use the government to enforce its doctrines? Does Europe during the Middle Ages not come to mind? Therefore, simply because God uses governments does not mean that he wishes to use government to enforce religious belief. All of this does NOT mean that we as Christians do not have the right to participate in the public square or to inform our public opinion on how we read Scripture. We do have that right, and in a representative democracy, it is a responsibility as well. When I speak of the separation of Church and State, I do not mean that all religious voices are silenced in the public square. What I mean, rather, is that we as Christians must not look to the government to accomplish what God's word and the Holy Spirit alone can do. It also means that we as Christians must not allow the government to exploit us for the purpose of enacting their own agendas.

Bill Williams

commented on Oct 29, 2012

@Dennis, 3) Finally, as to the modern state of Israel, if your study of the Bible has led you to believe that Dispensational theology is correct, than that's up to you. My purpose here is not to convince you otherwise. I simply happen to disagree. I have found reading the Bible AS A WHOLE, that in Jesus Christ God has enlarged his people to include more than just simply ethnic Israel, but eventually all of the nations of the world. In fact, I have found that the spreading of the Gospel to all nations is meant to be a reversal of Genesis 11, where all the nations of the world were separated. Especially in Acts and in Ephesians, we see all the nations of the world being joined together again in Christ. In fact, that is what God meant when he told Abraham in Genesis 12, immediately after the separation of the nations, that in him all the nations of the world would be blessed. In Christ, all nations are invited to be a part of the true Israel, the Israel which is not according to flesh, but according to faith. Of course, this does not mean that ethnic Israel has been abandoned by God, as Romans 9-11 teach us. Those Jews who accept Christ by faith can just as easily be grafted back into the root as us Gentiles. And in fact, there does seem to be evidence in this passage that there will be a great number of Jews who will be grafted back in at the end times, just as the Church was mostly Jewish at its beginning. Still, we're talking about individual Jews being grafted back in. The root was never ethnic Israel. The root was always God! The modern state of Israel, according to my reading of Scripture, is completely irrelevant to anything in Scripture. Now, obviously you and I disagree on this issue of interpretation. You are quite certain that you are right; I am quite certain that I am right. But our disagreement simply demonstrates the folly of basing foreign policy on theological interpretations. Because then the question is, on whose theological interpretation do we base our foreign policy?Yours? Mine? Who decides? And to bring this back to our original discussion of preaching politics, preaching dispensational theology is legitimate, as long as you provide Scriptural evidence to support your conclusions; but preaching political opinion is not appropriate from the pulpit. Like I said earlier, supporting the modern state of Israel may make sense from a political point of view, but I think there are more appropriate venues to express such an opinion.

Jason George

commented on Oct 29, 2012

Bill, once again, you are wrong. You are trying to make the case that since you think that Jesus would change his mind about capital punishment today, that therefore, we shouldn't endorse candidates, no matter how good or bad they are. Again, it is you who are using your reasoning to try to suppose that Jesus would change his mind, and to justify your inactivity, not protecting your flock. If your sheep are being led to slaughter by men that you could have voted out of office, you will be held accountable, not only by God but by the people who you let down. And no we don't agree because you think it is enough to speak against evil. Any pastor knows that that is easy- it's putting the meat on the bones that makes it real. It's easy to say God doesn't like adultery or divorce but it's critical to apply it to real life situations. Just preach against sin and many of your people won't connect the dots and will vote for the wolf in sheep's clothing and you will bear responsibility. Any pastor worth his salt will point out the wolf and also point out how to recognize a wolf so sheep don't get caught voting for him. Pastors should tell their people why they can't support Obama (or anyone who stands against godly principles) and why.

Bill Williams

commented on Oct 29, 2012

@Jason, once again you are misunderstanding me. My comments about the death penalty are a minor part of my overall point. The fact that you continue to harp on that one detail leads me to believe that either A) you haven't understood what my overall point is, despite my numerous attempts to make it CLEAR, or B) you do understand my overall point, but you don't know how to refute it, so instead you'll pick an "easy target" and keep telling me I'm wrong about it. I'm still not quite sure which one it is. Incidentally, just because you keep saying I'm wrong doesn't make it so. Especially when the rest of your comment makes it clear you're missing my point. So, let me make it easy for you: Forget about the death penalty. Pretend I never brought it up. In fact, if it'll make it even EASIER for you, let's just say for the sake of argument that I agree with you on that one point. My larger point still stands. I have argued that preachers must stand up against the evil supported by any politician. You wrote: "I spoke out against Bush, Carter, Clinton, Bush again as well as Obama when I see them do things that against biblical principles." Those are your words, unedited, cut and pasted from your comment onto this one. You say the same exact thing as what I have been saying. On this, my fundamental, overall point, WE AGREE!!! Whether you like it or not, we agree. Deal with it. You say pastors should be able to say why they don't support Obama; assuming, of course, that their reasons for not supporting him are based on valid Biblical reasons, not simply based on political bias and/or talking points; and I say you're right. Where we DO disagree, apparently, is on the corollary issue of ENDORSING a specific candidate. Interestingly, you never actually make a case FOR endorsing a candidate. Every argument you make has to do with speaking out against candidates for their unbiblical positions, which I agree with you. You haven't made a case for why it's so important to ENDORSE a specific candidate, whereas I think I've been pretty clear as to why we SHOULDN'T. Let me break it down for you further, though. Let me begin by asking you a direct question, and I hope you can give me a simple, clear answer: do you believe that every position that Romney holds is based on Biblical principles?

Dennis Cocks

commented on Oct 29, 2012

@ Bill, "@Jo, I apologize if my comments have come off harsh. Please rest assured that they have not been intended in that way. I'm aware that in cyberspace, words in caps are understood to be shouted; but absent the ability to use italics or bold print, it is the only way I know to be able to emphasize certain key points. So, I apologize on my part for the misunderstanding." Also "@Dennis, I've avoided engaging in conversation with you because you tend to equate anyone who holds a different interpretation from you on a given Bible topic as "going against the Bible." Conversations with people who holds such attitudes are rarely edifying. Nevertheless, since you addressed me personally, I will do you the favor of responding. Be advised, if you continue to display an arrogant attitude, I'll stop our conversation." So how does it feel to be on the receiving end of being considered "harsh"? Also I believe many people on here feel the same way about you when you argue your possition as you do about me. You protect your views just the same as everyone else on here does. In fact, you seem to rile more people up on this site than I do. For the record, it doesn't bother me. I am like you as I also like to hear opposing views to strengthen my arguments or even change my mind (which does happen, although rarely : ) I don't have time to answer you back on some of the things you posted right now, but I will get back to this later on tonight.

Bill Williams

commented on Oct 29, 2012

@Dennis, "So how does it feel to be on the receiving end of being considered 'harsh'?" It doesn't feel like anything at all. I don't know why you think it would affect me. Jo felt my comments came off as harsh, which was not my intention. So I apologized, clarified my point, and moved on. And have not thought about it since then until you brought it up just now. What I ALSO haven't done is gotten defensive about it. I haven't tried to excuse myself by saying that Jesus used harsh language, too (which I've seen you do). And I didn't complain that Jo was thin-skinned and wouldn't survive as a pastor (which I've seen you do--that was cold, by the way). So, if it gets under your skin when people accuse you of being harsh, well, my apologies. I won't bring it up again. But as far is it being directed at me, it doesn't bother me at all. I try to be respectful to everyone I speak with. Obviously, being human, it doesn't always work out that way. So when it doesn't, I apologize and move on. You might want to take a lesson.

Jason George

commented on Oct 29, 2012

Bill, I don't misunderstand your point- I get it and I'm sure most of us do. We just strongly disagree with it. And we do agree on some things but we are arguing about what we disagree on- whether pastors should endorse candidates when godly values are at stake- and no, it is not a minor issue. Your use of capital punishment did not seem peripheral to your argument but one of the only reasons you gave to try to support your position that pastors should not endorse candidates (in #31 and others)- and I brought it up to show how erroneous it was for you to base an argument based upon your opinion that Jesus might change his mind regarding a moral issue. That apparently sounds as silly to you now as it does to the rest of us, so I am glad that you are abandoning it. The other justification you gave was superfluous. You tried to say that conservatives were against separation of church and state so therefore, they might be wrong on some issues and we can't know what is more important to God. First, we can know some things are important to God because He tells us. Life is one of those things. Marriage is one of those things. Secondly I can't name any conservatives in the US who is trying to get rid of the separation of church and state- can you? So that justification is gone also. Now, when I brought up the Hitler example, you agreed that pastors should have spoken out against him, so you are almost there. Sometimes, elections are so critical that we need to make things as clear as we can- and sometimes that means saying not only that Mr. Evil is bad, but that he is so bad that we need to support the guy running against him and why we are doing it. If you see a wolf coming and don't protect your sheep, you might be "politically correct" but you are not a good shepherd. Now just say you'll warn people against Obama and why.

Dennis Cocks

commented on Oct 29, 2012

@ Bill, "What I ALSO haven't done is gotten defensive about it. I haven't tried to excuse myself by saying that Jesus used harsh language, too (which I've seen you do)." I only said that because it's true. Also "And I didn't complain that Jo was thin-skinned and wouldn't survive as a pastor (which I've seen you do--that was cold, by the way)." There is something we as pastors tell those who feel they might want to answer the call to ministry, 'If you can be happy doing anything else, go do it.' The pastorate can be very damaging to a marriage, to the kids, to one's health, and many other things. Don't get me wrong, it is also rewarding. I don't expect you to understand these things because you are not a pastor. But I stand by what I said, if you are thinned skinned, the pastorate is NO PLACE to be. Sorry if that sounds cold. "So, if it gets under your skin when people accuse you of being harsh, well, my apologies. I won't bring it up again." I did say that "For the record, it doesn't bother me." Then you said, "So when it doesn't, I apologize and move on. You might want to take a lesson." I've apologized before and stated often I'm not perfect, so I don't need to learn that lesson thank you. I suspect though that you might be a little blind to how you come off to others. It is much easier to see the faults of other than it is to see our own (again, I am just as guilty). I also suspect there are those who will no longer engage in a conversation with you for a similar reason you were no longer going to engage in one with me. Since you gave an example, I'll do the same, John Miller's view of the way you conduct yourself in these conversations was that you like to play "The Devil's Advocate." I was going to say that about you before he did, but I didn't want to seem, "harsh." Since two of us were thinking the same thing about you, you might want to consider that others just might feel the same. I think I will take part of your advice though, I am going to "move on."

Jason George

commented on Oct 30, 2012

Bill, I don't misunderstand your point- I get it and I'm sure most of us do. We just strongly disagree with it. And we do agree on some things but we are arguing about what we disagree on- whether pastors should endorse candidates when godly values are at stake- and no, it is not a minor issue. Your use of capital punishment did not seem peripheral to your argument but one of the only reasons you gave to try to support your position that pastors should not endorse candidates (in #31 and others)- and I brought it up to show how erroneous it was for you to base an argument based upon your opinion that Jesus might change his mind regarding a moral issue. That apparently sounds as silly to you now as it does to the rest of us, so I am glad that you are abandoning it. The other justification you gave was superfluous. You tried to say that conservatives were against separation of church and state so therefore, they might be wrong on some issues and we can't know what is more important to God. First, we can know some things are important to God because He tells us. Life is one of those things. Marriage is one of those things. Secondly I can't name any conservative in the US who is campaigning to get rid of the separation of church and state- can you? So that justification is gone also. Now, when I brought up the Hitler example, you agreed that pastors should have spoken out against him, so you are almost there. Sometimes, elections are so critical that we need to make things as clear as we can- and sometimes that means saying not only that Mr. Evil is bad, but that he is so bad that we need to support the guy running against him and why we are doing it. If you see a wolf coming and don't protect your sheep, you might be "politically correct" but you are not a good shepherd. Now just say you'll warn people against Obama and why.

Dennis Cocks

commented on Oct 30, 2012

@Bill, just one more thing, only because of the new article "Pastor to Pastor: Three Vital Questions Before You Quit The Ministry." Read the first post. You will see my "thin-skinned" comment has merit, cold as it may have sounded. And while I'm here let me say one more thing, in one of the more recent discussions we had you said "Just so you know, I've never considered you mean-spirited, and I think most of your comments are generally respectful. It's just those few harsh ones, directed at people who disagree with you, that might have the potential to undermine your credibility; and so I simply encourage you to watch out for that. Then I read, "I've avoided engaging in conversation with you because you tend to equate anyone who holds a different interpretation from you on a given Bible topic as "going against the Bible." Conversations with people who holds such attitudes are rarely edifying. Nevertheless, since you addressed me personally, I will do you the favor of responding. Be advised, if you continue to display an arrogant attitude, I'll stop our conversation." I don't believe we have had any discussions since these two comments so I was a little confused by your latter comment. But hey, if you feel that way, then please, don't do me any more FAVORS by gracing me with a response to anything else I say in the future.

Bill Williams

commented on Oct 30, 2012

@Jason, 1) With all due respect, as it is my point, I'm pretty sure I know when someone is misunderstanding it or not. And from everything you've written, you're misunderstanding it. Just because you THINK you're not misunderstanding it, doesn't mean you aren't. 2) I'm not abandoning my position on capital punishment. My position on it is still the same, and it does not sound silly to me at all. Nor does it sound silly to millions of other Christians, for that matter. It is not some obscure position that is held only by a few out on the fringes of Christianity. The reason why I took it off the table was because this is not a discussion on capital punishment, I only brought it up as an example (and NOT the only example, as you claim), and apparently, it was distracting you from my main point. So if I conceded that point to you, it was to make things easier for you. Apparently, it didn't work, as you are still focusing on it (which, by the way, is one of the biggest pieces of evidence for me that you're not getting my point). So, fine. Some people just aren't capable of understanding a position that doesn't agree with what they already believe. I can't make it any clearer than I already have. 3) "I can't name any conservatives in the US who is trying to get rid of the separation of church and state- can you?" Yes, Mitt Romney, to a degree. Mitt Romney supports the Federal Marriage Amendment to the Constitution. As a Christian, I believe that God alone has the right to define marriage, and that he HAS defined marriage clearly in the BIBLE as the union between one man and one woman. There is no reason for any government on any level to ENFORCE what Scripture already teaches, and what preachers are free to proclaim from the pulpit. Such an attempt merely usurps the authority that God reserves for himself alone. This, also, is not some fringe position. There are MANY Christians who believe this as well. Romney's support for the Federal Marriage Amendment presents serious concerns about his commitment to keep Church and State separate, and thus preserve religious freedom for EVERYONE, including you and I.

Bill Williams

commented on Oct 30, 2012

@Jason, 4) By the way, I'm planning on voting for Mitt Romney. I've got serious concerns about both; but since those are the only two viable choices, I make the best decision that I can, and trust that ultimately, it is God who is in control. I get one vote, and I plan on using that vote the best I can, but God has far more influence in this election than you or I will ever have. 5) Regardless of my personal decision on who to vote for, if I were a pastor, and if I were standing at the pulpit in front of my congregation, and my congregation is longing to hear, not the opinions of man, but the Word of God, a "Thus saith the Lord," I could not in good conscience tell my congregation, "Vote for this guy. Yes, he's got some positions that are against the Bible, but hey, he's better than the other guy!" Because that is NOT what the Lord says. That is NOT in the Word of God. The Word of God makes NO allowance for any compromise with evil, whichever candidate supports it. You say there are some things in the Bible that are more important to God than others, but ALL of the Bible is inspired by God. You yourself said we must be willing to stand up for the WHOLE gospel. Well, part of the WHOLE gospel is that Jesus is Lord, and Caesar is not, and Caesar has no right to tell us what to believe. So, if I were a pastor, in some other forum, I may express that I will vote for Romney, and give my reasons for why him, and why not Obama. But in the PULPIT, in that SACRED time and space where the Word of God ALONE reigns supreme, ABOVE the opinions of man, I would endorse NO ONE, so that I could have the freedom and the credibility to speak out against Obama concerning abortion and gay marriage, AND to speak out against Romney concerning religious freedom. God's Word DOES NOT CHOOSE BETWEEN TWO EVILS. Neither would I. Not from the pulpit. 6) Finally, it is clear you disagree with me on point 5. That's fine. I still count you as a brother in Christ. And I will pray for your ministry. You have a great responsibility as a pastor, and I do appreciate that, and I trust that God will guide you in the way you should lead. If I AM wrong, God will show that to you. I trust he will do likewise in case I am RIGHT, also! Regardless, I don't see much fruit in continuing our discussion. So, may I suggest we simply agree to disagree, and leave it at that.

Ralph M

commented on Oct 30, 2012

I have found all these replies interesting. The main fact is, we separated from God, who will re-connect 'church' and government, which again we separated by sin. God separated 'church' and 'state', from what He knew would corrupt even His children. He placed even a tribe in place to directly contact Him, which also included the appointing of who would be the leader of His people. No clearer example can be seen in God replacing King Saul, with a child, David. The reason why was King Saul wanted to be also the spiritual leader. God separated the two, to keep corruption out of His decisions. Also the fact that 'religion' is not of God. God allows His Truth to be corrupted, for those that put 'denomination' aside, and look for God, and His instructions, over mans. Now, as far as political, BOTH of those running for President, in this case, do not reflect God's Kingdom. Romney being a Mormon, and Obama being a Liberation Theology. NEITHER come under the banner of Christian in truth. So then all you have is a persons words and actions matching up. Romney has not been President, so there are questions, and should be questions what he will do...but in that same respect we have the evidence that Obamas words and deeds do not match up, especially in term of Gods heart. Abortion is murder, and even in the most extreme type of abortion, babies who survive the abortion process, Obama supports them thrown out alive. Homosexuality, Obama supports and claims this is of God. While this is just one lie of why God created sex, and is reflected in many 'churches' and is apostate, that being not of God but taught as if of God. The biggest, I believe, is the fact Obama has broken the covenant with God on protecting His people, not because they are pure and in many cases don't even believe Jesus as the Son of God, but because He does not lie and will stay true to who He is, despite the liars we are, in our flesh and in our hearts. I believe, then, if you knowing support any of these, you are knowing going against God. And while Romney may be even a worse president, we won't know until we see if his words and deeds match up. But even in all this, Gods will, will be done, with or without us, and I love the fact He has proven many times His strength, over our weakeness. One being the fact America ever came to be, despite the fact we were losing. The Bible gives countless battles that Moses won, as he raise the staff God gave him...but when his hand with the staff went down, the children of Israel would begin to lose. A friend sent this to me. It's pretty simple, but I believe makes my point. ( http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Jrh7N0q-UAk

Bill Williams

commented on Oct 30, 2012

@Dennis, if you really wanted to move on, you wouldn't have posted comments #80 and 82. Instead, you would've actually, you know, MOVED ON and answered me what you said you were going to answer me last night. Since I DO want to move on, I'm not going to spend a lot of time responding to those two comments except to point this out: YOU are the one who addressed me, not the other way around. If you don't want me to respond to you, don't address me. It's that simple. Now, MOVING ON...let's start over. If you're interested in a respectful conversation concerning the issues brought up by this article, by all means, let's do it. If you're not interested, that's perfectly fine with me. If others don't want to engage with me, that's fine. If others think I was harsh in something I said, just point it out to me. I'm not going to get defensive. I'm not going to fly off the handle. I'll apologize, as I have before, and we'll get this misunderstanding cleared up. Seriously, talk to me or don't talk to me, it doesn't affect me either way.

Ralph M

commented on Oct 30, 2012

Interesting...all I have to do is look at the Democrats platform taking God out and Jerusalem out as the capital of Israel, and talk about separating God...that speaks volumes. Even after forced, into the humility of voting these back in, you could hear a clear majority there rejecting God.http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=N9ha9o24Pfw THIS could easily be preached at pulpits...but for some reason, this is ignored...even from pulpits?

Jason George

commented on Oct 30, 2012

Bill, we understand your point but was trying to show you that you have not backed it up with anything that supports it. That is why I brought up your own arguments- because even though they were weak, they were the best you had. I didn't see much else worth even mentioning- so just saying that you don't think I understand your argument doesn't make your argument any stronger- you haven't backed it up with anything of substance. Next, arguing that Romney is against separation of Church and State because he supports the Marriage Amendment shows how far off the reservation you are. You don't even have to believe in God to believe that we should not redefine marriage to include sodomy. The Marriage Amendment which defines marriage as between 1 man and 1 woman has nothing to do with separation of Church and State. Obviously Christians should stand against redefining marriage to include homosexuals because we are called to stand against evil and we are held responsible if we approve of it (Romans 1). So, yes, your position is a fringe position that is soundly rejected by Christians, just like your position on Capital punishment is a fringe position. That doesn't mean the younger Christian don't hold it, it's just that they are ultimately untenable for Christians because they are contrary to sound doctrine. Nevertheless, I have many reservations about Romney also, and have voted for 3rd party candidates before to make a point, but I believe this is so important that Christians and pastors must identify with the one most likely to uphold biblical principles as well as the Constitution- even if he is not perfect of even Christian. God bless.

Ralph M

commented on Oct 30, 2012

A friend of mine posted this on his page. I felt somewhere would like to see and listen to it. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-J37GaHKBh0 I also was informed that Billy Graham, a man of God who said he would never get involved in politics, feels God is telling him to do just that http://www.billygraham.org/vote-biblical-values/index.asp What he has called for is voting Biblical values from what we can see in the candidates actual actions, and not cheap words that can easily betray FEELINGS over FACTS. I also was informed of a widow, being told by government she can't even pray in her 'senior living complex' http://www.charismanews.com/us/34360-widows-prayer-rights-trampled-in-senior-living-facility My mom lost her husband when I was a teenager, and part of Gods commands is to 'honor your mother and father'. The deeper meaning of this goes to Jewish Law, in that a childs responsibility is to take care of their parents. The meaning of this one command goes far deeper than most Christians realize. Chrsistain persecution is on the rise in America, and this administration is a major reason why http://christiannews.net/2012/10/17/jailing-of-evangelists-to-plot-to-bomb-churches-christian-persecution-on-the-rise-in-america/ We have to search our hearts, pray to God for His guidance, and take Party out, and God fearing, in words and deeds, back into our government. At one point, God appointed government rulers through the priests He put above even them. The first national motto proposed for America in August 1776 was "Rebellion to tyrants is obedience to God" http://www.ncpublicschools.org/docs/curriculum/socialstudies/rigorous-ap/us-history/mayhew-sermon.pdf a summation of the famous 1750 sermon preached by the Rev. Dr. Jonathan Mayhew, a principle figure in the Great Awakening.

Bill Williams

commented on Oct 30, 2012

@Jason, I'm not quite sure which "argument" you believe I have not substantiated. My main argument has been that preachers should not endorse candidates from the pulpit, and I think I made a pretty good argument for it in point number 5. In case it wasn't clear enough, here's the summary: God's Word does not choose between two evils, and neither should the preacher when proclaiming God's Word. If you'd like me to expand on that, please let me know, and I will be happy to oblige. Also, if you believe that my positions on capital punishment and religious freedom are on the "fringe", then I have to say, you live in a VERY SMALL BUBBLE of what you consider Christianity. Interestingly, the earliest Christian writers were generally against capital punishment. That makes perfect sense, considering they were often--unfairly--on the receiving end of it! It was not until later centuries, as Christianity became a more "socially acceptable" religion, and eventually the religion of the Roman Empire under Constantine, that Christians began to view capital punishment more favorably. And of course, the union of the Catholic Church with the State during the Middle Ages was only too happy to accept capital punishment as a tool to enforce "true" doctrine. (By the way, after all those centuries of evidence, how can ANYONE still not recognize that the union of Church and State is always a BAD IDEA!) Even, now, capital punishment is generally opposed by MOST of global Christianity. I imagine this must be especially true where Christians are still persecuted. It seems that most of the support for capital punishment comes from American, conservative, evangelical Christianity. Now, if you want to limit American, conservative, evangelical Christianity as the only "legitimate" type of Christianity, and to hell (literally!) with everyone else in every other Christian tradition in the world, well, then yeah, I can see why it would look to you that my position on capital punishment is a "fringe" position. But your opinion says a lot less about how I view capital punishment, and a lot MORE about how YOU view Christianity. Finally, as far as the Federal Marriage Amendment, of course it has to do with the separation of Church and State. You have the State ENFORCING a teaching of the Church. That is union of Church and State, by definition. No, you don't have to believe in God to believe that marriage should be between one man and one woman. But many people who don't believe in God don't believe that marriage should be legally defined that way. And many Christians--not just young ones, as I'm not young in any sense, but thanks for the compliment, though!--also don't believe that the State has any right to "define" and enforce what the Bible already makes clear and is taught by the Church.

Bill Williams

commented on Oct 30, 2012

@Jason, let me say this as well. I recognize that there is not a universally held interpretation on the matter of capital punishment among the Christian Church. I recognize that there are many other Christians who believe as you do in supporting it. And I don't have any problems if that is your conviction. This is one of those issues where I believe one can find Biblical evidence to support both sides, and it simply comes down to how one weighs the evidence. For me, the evidence seems to weigh heavier in opposition. For you, the evidence seems to weigh heavier in support. That's fine. As long as you and I both are open to whatever God says, and study the scriptures diligently, and practice responsible hermeneutics, I would say we are on safe ground. So, I just want to clarify that what I have argued concerning capital punishment should not be taken to mean that I believe capital punishment is necessarily wrong, or that those who support capital punishment are going against God. I've simply been making a case that my position on capital punishment is not on the fringe.

Ralph M

commented on Oct 30, 2012

(Ralph) C.S. Lewis wrote a book called The Screwtape Letters, from what I have read, the evil that en-wrapped him in writing this almost caused him to lose faith. But in doing so, he came to the WHOLE TRUTH of God, and pointing out what Satan is clearly doing, just within the 'church', transforming evil inside many, and places us, Gods children, to bicker over so many small things that God does not concern Himself in any part. Jesus even warns us that Gods very thoughts, are on no way reflective of ours. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_74cgnu5LcY Satan is very cleaver, and while we bicker here, God is in control, fully and completely. It is obvious the split, in Liberal thinking here and Conservative, and it actually is a good thing, to see both sides. It is how we grow on our individual paths to God. The reason I decided in addressing this post, one last time, was God put it on my heart that as individuals none of us are completely right. I know I get something I call a 'thump moment' when I say something and realize I am a part, or I read the Bible and see that I was wrong. part of the sanctification process we all will go through as individuals, and complete only by the hand of our Creator. I truthfully believe we were are brought on this one article, to look above ourselves, and pray to God to put those He wants His will to be done by, either by doing it...or waking us up to what is so far off His path. I wish well all here, but tearing each other down profits nothing but the laughter of Satan...and indeed he is laughing about many things this nation alone has turned in to...but God will right the wrong. God Bless. And remember vote! Thanks for the pdf file on Mayhew, founding clergy in Great Awakening. That really spoke to me. God Bless.

Bill Williams

commented on Oct 30, 2012

@Ralph, I'd just like to give a hearty AMEN to your latest post! I, too, have read Lewis' Screwtape Letters, and it is excellent in discerning the way Satan tries to destroy God's church. The good news is that, having his playbook, we are well equipped to defeat his purposes, by God's grace! You are absolutely correct, none of us is completely right. If at any time I have given the impression to anyone on here that I believe MY OWN VIEWS on any of the issues discussed are the only correct ones, please allow me the opportunity to apologize. That has never been my intention. None of us can see the whole picture. The best we can do is share our own perspectives, listen to and understand the perspectives of others, and hope that in this process, we can come to a clearer picture of God's will. This has been a blessing to me, everyone!

Andrew Shields

commented on Oct 30, 2012

The half dozen engrosed in this conversation really have spent a lot of time. Too much? I think so. I haven't been persuaded by any in fact your positions are even more confusing. Settle this or write your own books on the subject. I wrote a newspaper article on this in minutes because it is basic. 1) Don't endorse or badmouth anyone by name from the pulpit, it is not why you should be there. 2) Trust people to apply what you teach at the voting booth. 3) If you need to address something that may be seen as political then so it another time of year. Realize that politics get in the way of what people need to hear the gospel. If someone leaves because of the preachers politic than they may have lost a valuable chance to hear, really hear the gospel for the first time. Keep unity inthe body of the local church by keeping first things first.

Jason George

commented on Oct 31, 2012

Bill, I showed how some of your arguments to try to back up your premise were wrong and that if you can't back up your premise with anything substantial, perhaps you should rethink your position. My contention is that when you see that one candidate is clearly a wolf, it is your duty to point that out and to sometimes be cyrystal clear, even endorsing his opponent and telling people why. I said your position on capital punishment was on the fringe and it is. Capital punishment is NOT opposed by the majority of Christianity - it is clearly supported by the majority of Christianity and that is because it is clearly taught in God's Word. And I did not say that you or anyone who disagrees was not a Christian- only that your position was inconsistent with accepted Christian doctrine. And of course, the Federal Marriage Amendment has nothing to do with separation of Church and State because it does nothing to establish a religion. End of story. Think for a moment. Your position boils down to a ridiculous premise - that the State should not have any laws that agree with Christian thought. Therefore, we shoud throw out all laws regarding murder, theft, fraud etc because all these laws are consistent with Biblical teaching (and we can't let the state define theft, murder, fraud etc). Do you see how flawed, even silly your contention is? And yes, we as believers have an obligation in a constitutional republic to vote for what is good. Remember that God holds men accountable who do evil, but also those who approve of evil. Romans 1:31 they have no understanding, no fidelity, no love, no mercy. 32 Although they know God?s righteous decree that those who do such things deserve death, they not only continue to do these very things but also approve of those who practice them.

Jo Cox

commented on Oct 31, 2012

You got to know when to hold 'em, know when to fold 'em, know when to walk away... Know when to let go of the need to have the last word...

Ralph M

commented on Oct 31, 2012

In spite of the fact that Jesus prayed fervently for unity among his followers, the visible church is often a conglomeration of competing factions, each equally convinced of its solitary possession of divine favor. Those who seek signs and wonders through the Holy Spirit are usually suspicious of those who emphasize exegetical approaches to the Scriptures. Christian scholars are sometimes content just to talk to each other, and the uncanny tendency of apologists to sniff out what they deem rotten doctrine is not always appreciated. As a result, not only do we squander valuable benefits of dedicated teamwork within the household of faith, we also lose our edge in a broken world. Despite the monumental gains made in biblical research and translation, biblical illiteracy is still a high-ranking concern, and the frequent outbursts of oft-unfounded accusations from our detractors succeed in rattling the cage for not a few followers of Christ. While outcasts and sinners braved insults to seek refuge in Jesus, they bolt from the divided efforts of Christians and reject God because they mistake us for God. When being right becomes an end in itself, we lose sight of our own need for God?s grace, a need that would be there even if we were faultless. Instead of recognizing that orthodoxy, though indispensable, is only the map of a journey which we must travel towards God, confidence in our knowledge of the truth becomes the missing link in our quest for self-sufficiency. We partition God?s comprehensive program for his people into various segments and guard our turfs with Herculean zeal. With a little practice, we become so adept at applying our preferred standards that we can accomplish the feat with our eyes closed. Having zeroed in on what we are certain to be God?s most vexing pet peeves, we stand poised not only to pronounce the verdict on those who offend but also to pound the gavel on God?s behalf. Before long, we, like Elijah, become convinced that we are the only ones who are faithful to God while all of his other children have lost their way. Probably the best antidote to such spiritual calluses among loyal laborers in God?s vineyard is a healthy appreciation of the all-sufficiency of our Father and our exalted status as his humble children,a theological gem that is beautifully captured by C.S. Lewis in his book, Prince Caspian. When the children are reunited with Aslan after many years, Lucy expresses surprise that Aslan looks bigger. Aslan responds, "I am not. But every year you grow, you will find me bigger."What a relief to remember that no amount of expertise on our part can ever diminish the glory of God or cause us to outlive God?s fatherly indulgence! Pure, unadulterated motives may lie beyond the reach of even the most devout among us, but the intentional recognition of our humble place in deference to the majesty of our Maker is an indispensable ingredient in our service to God and others. It was neither out of false piety nor enslavement to sin that both Daniel and Nehemiah included themselves in their profound prayers of forgiveness on behalf of their sinful people (Daniel 9 and Nehemiah 1:6). While I do not subscribe to the relativistic "never judge anyone" maxim that greases the engine of the spirit of the age, I am also convinced that The one aim of the call of God is the satisfaction of God, not a call to do something for Him."

Brian William

commented on Oct 31, 2012

#87 says: "Interesting...all I have to do is look at the Democrats platform taking God out and Jerusalem out as the capital of Israel, and talk about separating God...that speaks volumes." That, to me, is exactly the reason for Christians to be wary of political parties. The Democratic Party wasn't stating a conviction that aligned with Christian values or *didn't* align with Christian values. They were making a political calculation, plain and simple: Would taking this position gain or lose power for them? And the Republican Party does *exactly* the same thing -- they make decisions based on what will gain power for themselves. *Both* parties will do exactly what every government that has ever existed has *always* done with the Christian faith -- they will seek to co-opt us into their structure. But never for a moment should we be naive enough to think that they are doing it for the benefit of the Kingdom. They are doing it to increase their own power, and using us to advance their interests.

Bill Williams

commented on Oct 31, 2012

@Andrew Shields and Brian Williams, thank you for your ability to express what I have been trying to say in a much more eloquent way than I have been able to do! Anyone who still doesn't get my position, I refer you to their excellent comments. "But never for a moment should we be naive enough to think that they [both Republicans and Democrats] are doing it for the benefit of the Kingdom. They are doing it to increase their own power, and using us to advance their interests." Well said, Brian. That is why Jesus said to Pilate "My kingdom is not of this world." The kingdoms of the world, including the United States government, are all too eager to exploit the naivety of sincere Christians in order to further their own agenda, which is decidedly NOT God's agenda. It is disheartening to see so many pastors here unwilling to resist that exploitation, and not even AWARE that they are being exploited!

Bill Williams

commented on Oct 31, 2012

@Jason, forget about capital punishment. Forget about religious freedom. The Christian bubble you inhabit is obviously too limited, and you are obviously too convinced in your own mind that you are right, for me to argue with you any further that the Christian world is much larger than American, conservative, evangelicals. Let me just ask you this one simple question, in the hopes of receiving a clear, simple answer: What if there are members in your church (and I'd be willing to bet that there must be at least one or two, even if they'd be afraid to admit it) that are convinced from Scripture and from the conviction of the Holy Spirit that BOTH candidates are clearly wolves? Do you really believe that it is appropriate for a PASTOR, from the PULPIT, to usurp authority from the Word of God in order to endorse one candidate over another? Do you really believe it is appropriate to influence a member of your congregation to GO AGAINST THEIR CONSCIENCE and to vote for someone they believe clearly to be a wolf, simply because you as a spiritual leader assure them that they are "less of a wolf" than the other guy?

Bill Williams

commented on Oct 31, 2012

As I'm sure all of you know, today is Reformation Day. I think this quote from Martin Luther is particularly relevant to this discussion: "It is neither safe nor right to go against conscience."

Jason George

commented on Oct 31, 2012

Bill, I've answered your questions even if you haven't answered mine. You continue to put up straw men and then try to answer them as if they are pertinent. They are not. I never said nor implied that Christianity was limited to American conservatism but I have shown where your thinking was off-base and why. Pastors should not fear having someone who disagrees with them. Jesus had plenty of critics, as did the disciples. I'm sure that when the Apostles wrote the Didache, some well-meaning liberals thought they were wrong when they spoke against abortion, but that didn't stop them. Pastors should freely give guidance and freely let people disagree with them. Criticism should not mean they or the church shouldn't give guidance. I am not thrilled with Romney and fully realize that he is not perfect and may well disappoint, as any candidate could- but that does not mitagate against providing the best guidance that you can with the facts available at the time. There were Christians who thought Hitler would be good and voted for him. That is shameful. Would you have been silent? I would hope not. A pastor should protect his people and do what he can to prevent someone like Hitler from being voted into office. If they had done so in Germany, it could have saved millions of lives. Instead, too many of them took Hitler's advice and stayed out of politics. History looks at those pastors who stood against him as heroes and they were. I believe this election is just as critical.

Bill Williams

commented on Oct 31, 2012

@Jason, ok, apparently that question was too complicated for you, so let's try an easier one: Why is it so important to you to endorse a candidate FROM THE PULPIT? Because at the end of the day, that's the only point of disagreement between us (taking out the other side issues off the table). You keep talking about being silenced, but NO ONE is saying anything about you being silenced. You keep talking about how pastors should be able freely to give guidance, but NO ONE is saying anything about you NOT being able to give guidance. Certainly I haven't been saying that. You keep accusing me of setting up straw men, but again, "Pot, meet Kettle!" My question is, why is it not possible to endorse a candidate through a letter to the editor of your local paper? Or on a blog or your Facebook page or your Twitter account? Or in personal conversations with members of your congregation? Or by purchasing airtime at your local radio station? Or...do you see my point? There are SO MANY different venues in which you can express your political convictions, in which you can offer guidance not just to your congregation, but to the community at large. NO ONE is saying anything about being silent or about not offering guidance. But, why is it so important to you to make such an endorsement from the pulpit? Why not reserve the pulpit for the preaching of God's Word ALONE?

Bill Williams

commented on Oct 31, 2012

@Jason, by the way, you've answered question, but not the ones I've been asking. You've been answering the questions you THINK I've been asking.

Jason George

commented on Oct 31, 2012

Bill, you grow tiresome. Your questions haven't been complicated- it's just that they've been answered- and there is a long "paper trail" to show that I have answered your questions while you have ignored mine. btw You said you didn't have time to watch someone's video, It appears you have all the time in the world. And again, even though you didn't answer my questions, I'll again answer yours- even though I have before. The reason that it is so important that pastors and churches reserve the right to endorse candidates is that it is sometimes critical to the life and well being of the flock, as well as the country. Again, let me ask you again, if you were in Germany and you just preached without applying it to the real-life situation you were in, and Hitler gets elected, and many of your congregation voted him in, wouldn't you be partially responsible? How would you feel if some of your people said, "well I knew the Bible was against murder but I didn't know how to apply it to my vote and I didn't want to mix politics and religion- and besides, Hitler was such a good speaker." How would you feel?

Jonathan Langley

commented on Oct 31, 2012

I agree with Andrew's quote:"Realize that politics get in the way of what people need to hear the gospel. Obviously Jeremiah Wright's preaching stood in the way of Mr. Obama's receiving the Word of God for over 20 years!

Bill Williams

commented on Oct 31, 2012

@Jason, see, right there, you're latest comment is a prime example of how you're not answering my question, and you're not getting the point. So, again, let me make it clear. Notice my emphasis: FROM THE PULPIT! FROM THE PULPIT! FROM THE PULPIT! FROM THE PULPIT! FROM THE PULPIT! Is that clear enough for you? My objection has NEVER been against endorsing a candidate, or against voting for someone. My question is, why is it important to do it FROM THE PULPIT! FROM THE PULPIT! FROM THE PULPIT! There are so many other PUBLIC VENUES of influence in which you can express your political convictions and offer guidance. Endorse Romney all you want in those venues. And quit bringing up Hitler, because you and I both agree that we must speak up against evil. That has nothing to do with our disagreement. Our disagreement is in endorsing a candidate FROM THE PULPIT!!! Why can't you reserve THE PULPIT for the exposition of Biblical principles concerning the political issues that we face, but save the specific endorsement for a more appropriate venue? Why is it so important for you to endorse a candidate FROM THE PULPIT! PLEASE! Just answer me that one question and I'll quit bugging you.

Jason George

commented on Oct 31, 2012

If your religion doesn't affect your politics, you haven't got either. And Bill, really- I will try to type slower in the hope that you will comprehend the answer this time. "The reason that it is so important that pastors and churches reserve the right to endorse candidates is that it is sometimes critical to the life and well being of the flock, as well as the country." Yes, in critical times from the pulpit because there are practical applications from teaching the Word of God. One of those is the protection of life because from life is precious to God. Technically, the Scriptures don't mention abortion, but the Apostles preached against it, YES FROM THE PULPIT. There are people who don't get it until you spell it out plainly. Now that I've answered your question again, answer mine. How would you feel if you did not warn your people about Hitler. Wouldn't that be important enough to mention that from the pulpit. And if you didn't , wouldn't you bear some responsibility?

Bill Williams

commented on Oct 31, 2012

@Jonathan, an excellent point! Too many preachers from both the right and the left have succumbed to the temptation of confusing personal political opinions with a clear, "Thus saith the Lord." The sad result is a diluted Gospel that mixes the doctrines of man with the commandments of God. This Gospel may look "orthodox" on the outside to those who share the political bias of the preacher, but in the end it has lost its power to transform lives. Ironically, its loss of power is precisely what makes the idea of legal enforcement more appealing. The case of Jeremiah Wright on the left demonstrates that this kind of mixing of politics and preaching from the pulpit is NOT a good idea, whether it is done by the left or by the right.

Bill Williams

commented on Oct 31, 2012

@Jason, I guess that's as clear of an answer as I'm going to get from you. You say because it's a practical application from the teaching of God's word. And maybe the pulpit is the ONLY interaction you have with your congregation. I hope not, though, because that would be sad. I argue, on the other hand, that in order to endorse a candidate, you have to be willing to set aside that candidate's views on other issues that are against Biblical principles. In other words, you have to IGNORE the practical applications from the teaching of God's word in other areas, because you deem certain teachings as more important than others. Or, to put it another way, you deem certain teachings from the Bible as sufficiently unimportant enough that they can be safely ignored, because they are not as important as the top two or three. Unfortunately, such a position begs the question: who gets to determine which two or three Biblical teaching are non-negotiable, and which Biblical teachings can be ignored "for the greater good"? That's a question you'll just have to wrestle with, I guess. Also, such a position contradicts what you wrote earlier about the importance of standing up for the WHOLE Gospel. Unless, of course, your understanding of "the whole Gospel" is limited to abortion and traditional marriage. By the way, I don't know how you got from saying that Scriptures don't mention abortion, to saying that the Apostles preached against abortion from the pulpit. The two statements contradict each other. If "a" is true, then "b" cannot be true, and vice verse. If Scripture states that the Apostle preached against abortion from the pulpit, then Scripture DOES mention abortion. If Scripture doesn't mention mention abortion, then there CAN'T be any record of the Apostles preaching against it, much less from the pulpit. Simple Logic 101. Unless you're referring to extra-Biblical records of the Apostles preaching against abortion, in which case it'd be good if you could cite your source. Or, unless you're comfortable with contradictions. More to follow...

Bill Williams

commented on Oct 31, 2012

@Jason, so, since you were kind enough to answer my question, I will respond in kind with your questions. Although, like I said, I agree with you on that issue, so our answers will be the same. I don't know what that would prove to you, but if it makes you feel better about yourself, fine. Here goes: "How would you feel if you did not warn your people about Hitler." I would feel bad, as would you, too, if you didn't warn your people about Hitler. "Wouldn't that be important enough to mention that from the pulpit." Yes, it would. Nothing I have written could be interpreted to possibly mean otherwise. "And if you didn't , wouldn't you bear some responsibility?" Yes I would. As would you, if you didn't, too. See, like I've been telling you, we agree on that issue. I don't know why you keep asking me questions about something you and I both agree with, but there it is. I've appreciated the conversation. I hold no ill-feelings towards you. I appreciate the responsibility that pastors bear (which is why I'm so passionate about these kinds of issues, I guess!), and I trust that by God's grace and through his guidance, you are doing the best you can. I teach at a large public high school in the "bad" neighborhood in town, and I'm intentional about working with the students that none of the other teachers want in their class. So believe me, I've had MUCH MORE heated discussions with my students than this one, and when they're over, I simply move on. And forgive me if at times I've come across more aggressive than I should have. It's a bit hard to switch hats when I step out of the classroom, sometimes! Enjoy the rest of your week. And remember, no matter what happens next Tuesday, trust that God is still on his throne, and he remains in full control of the universe. May God bless you and your ministry!

Ralph M

commented on Oct 31, 2012

Interesting perspectives from both sides, but I think 'Ralph' has the prospective. I also think he would enjoy the article on the 'Great Awakening'. The aspect of the switch from the peoples Bible, that used the word 'Tyrant', that King James saw a major division of the 'church', so much so the King James Bible was ordered to replace it, because the Geneva Bible called out both 'church' and 'state', and the corruption they used to guide citizens: http://religion-today.blogspot.com/2007/10/bible-battles-king-james-vs-puritans.html I find it interesting that aspect seems to be at play, in many avenues that tried to use God, but 'the Great Awakening' awakened the individual first...and then through that 'churches' and 'clergy' got called out, same as politicians and even kings. Some food for thought.

Ralph M

commented on Oct 31, 2012

(Ralph) Thanks for the kind words, but I do not deserve them...I do thank you for the article. It is amazing how much of our history has been covered over and long forgotten or removed. I really enjoy finding sources to lod sermons that many of the clergy, that were a part of the Great Awakening went in to. Most 'clergy' did not have access to churches, and clergy that was corrupt did not allow themselves to be called out by their own hands, so the 'Awakening' really started outside the church, in 'revival' type situations. Most clergy, that was corrupt, got called out by their own words and deesd, but the major awakening didn't happen until churches were burnt down to the ground, ordered by the king of England, because he knew that was were the strength in the WHOLE TRUTH, that couldn't be corrupted, were there was none. This small group of clergy were later called 'the Black Robe Regiment', and they were targeted by the British. In actuality, these clergy were treated more harshly than any other, because their power from the pulpit, also transferred to their power over the corruption of government http://brr.wallbuilders.com/the-original-brr/what-is-the-black-robed-regiment.aspx One of these days, the Bible won't matter, billions of laws, regulations and taxes won't matter, because the reconnection, whole and complete of government and God will be reconnected. The separation He put in place, will be re-connected, and no paper will matter, no politician will be able to face the righteous government standards of God...nor clergy. When Romney is elected, we cannot let the corruption that bind this nation, corrupt us. We have to hold all accountable in positions we put them in, be it government of church, to be men and women of their words, and if not to make sure the shame of their lies follow him or her. What I am greatful for , is the awakening that has happened within myself, to see what I have to change, what I don't need and bigger pictures than myself. I've had some laugh at me for feeling bad about some things others think as "no big deal"...but as I get closer to my Lord, my mistakes get bigger in my eyes, not smaller, because my eyes get clearer to new sins and corruptions I didn't see. The sanctification process we all go through...and one day, completed in one mighty swoop of Gods hand. Oh how I long for the day of no pain, no war, no corruption, no fleshly value, etc. God Bless

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