Summary: Should there be anything said about politics from the pulpit? I submit that there is a point where church and state come together...
I am not a politician and have not been called to be a politician. I’m glad that some people do feel a calling to take on those responsibilities, but I’m also glad that it’s not me. I am, however, a preacher of the gospel of Jesus Christ and have a strong calling on my life to preach that gospel. I am also called to be a pastor of a congregation of believers, and at the present time, the pastor of this particular congregation. It is my strong desire, that when I stand before the Lord, at the judgement, that I will hear Him say, concerning these responsibilities, “Well done, thou good and faithful servant.”
There are those who would say that a preacher should never even speak about matters of politics, that is an abuse of his influence. Usually, those who say that, hold up the phrase, “separation of church and state.”
The phrase, “separation of church and state,” is often cited as being set forth in the first amendment of the constitution, however, that’s not all what the first amendment says. It says, “Congress shall make no laws prohibiting religion, or the free exercise thereof.” This phrase, “separation of church and state,” was written in a letter, by Thomas Jefferson, in 1802, to the Danbury Baptist Association, in the state of Connecticut.
With that said, I will quickly add that it is my own convictions that the pulpit should not be used to promote any political candidate, a thing that is commonly done in a number of pulpits across the country without any governmental repercussions.
The question that begs for answer is whether or not the church has anything to say about the state of the government and its future. The answer is a resounding, “yes,” because the Bible has something to say, and at any point the Bible has something to say, the Bible preacher has something to say, and the church has something to say.
In Matthew 5:13, Jesus said that we, His followers, “are the salt of the earth...” Salt is a powerful thing. Just a little of it goes a long way and is able to give things a much more pleasing taste. I personally could live without sugar much more easily than I could live without salt. Salt has healing properties within it. As a boy, I kept myself injured in one way or another most of the time. I remember going to the ocean for the first time, as a young boy, and I had a skinned knee from a recent fall. After just one day of playing in the salt water, my knee made a remarkable recovery. Salt is also a powerful preservative. In my grandparent’s day, country people did not go to the grocery store and buy meat, or a whole of other things, for that matter. They raised their own animals and killed and processed them for their meat. My grand dad had a smoke house, where he would hang meat, then he would build a fire in that building with hickory wood, and he would smoke that meat for flavor. He would put meat in salt to preserve it. If it was in the salt, it didn’t have to be refrigerated, and it was a good thing, because he didn’t have a refrigerator.
When Jesus said that we, His followers, are the salt of the earth, we can make application to all those good qualities of salt. We are to make the earth a more pleasant place, be instrumental in healing its hurts, and keep down the corruptions that threaten to destroy it. That’s where church and state come together.
Good citizenship calls for us to do a number of things in our society, but I want to talk to you about where the power of a Christian to make a difference really lies. It is in the spreading of the gospel of Christ. Right now, many people are thinking, “If we could just get this person, or that person, elected to office, things would be so much better.” If you will look at the political situation of the past 50-75 years, you will see that we’ve had people in leadership who have been liberal, and we’ve had people who have been conservative, yet the moral fabric of our nation has been in continuous decline. Christians need to realize that the ultimate answer to the needs of our nation and world is not in politics, but it is in God’s people coming into obedience to Him.
The voting booth is very important. I make it a priority to vote, and encourage others to vote. I’ve always bought into the idea that a person who doesn’t vote should never complain. But, don’t you agree that if we Christians would take sharing our faith as seriously as we do voting, the country could be greatly improved in a short time?