A Weblog Dedicated to the Discussion of the Christian Faith and 21st Century Life

A Weblog Dedicated to the Discussion of the Christian Faith and 21st Century Life
I do not seek to understand that I may believe, but I believe in order to understand. For this also I believe, –that unless I believed, I should not understand.-- St. Anselm of Canterbury (1033-1109)

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Question of the Day???

Is it acceptable for preachers to bring politics into the pulpit? Why or why not?


Michael said...

If by "politics" you mean "electoral politics", I say never. If by "politics" you mean "public policy", I say very carefully.

As it pertains to electoral politics, we are not electing gods or a new messiah; we are electing representatives, persons who will presumably speak in our behalf on secular matters. We can vote with our own faith convictions in hopes of electing someone with like values, but we must remember that we are still talking about worldly affairs and not the Kingdom of Heaven. I'm not convinced that "Caesar" can ever be a means by which the Kingdom of Heaven is lifted up.

As it pertains to public policy, I think we must exercise caution lest we confuse secular, feel-good ideals with kingdom ideals. We are, after all, forced to deal with secularists who have no thought or concern about the Kingdom of Heaven; indeed, they've not been asked to. And the very thought of legislating, regulating, or mandating doctrinal matters reflected in social policy causes me to shudder. Do we really want Barack Obama, Harry Reid, Nancy Pelosi, Newt Gingrich, or Scott Brown telling us when, where, or how we may worship - whether we will worship and be forced to give our taxes at the secular altar of humanism or be allowed to freely offer our gifts and hearts at the altar of the Holy Father? Besides, we are talking about the difference between faith and fear.

We can and should vote our consciences, but we must not mistakenly believe that any secular government has the Kingdom of Heaven in mind and that no theocracy in the history of humanity survived for the good of the Kingdom of Heaven. Likely, more persons died (and still do) needlessly at the hands of overzealous religionists. The state and the Kingdom are distinctly and inherently opposed. And when the Church attempts to make friends with secularism, the Church compromises and even surrenders its own moral authority. In fact, I think we've long ago reached that point.

My 2 cents, anyway.

Rev. Daniel McLain Hixon said...

I would begin by asking "what do you mean by "politics"?"

All human relationships are political by definition if you mean politics in the broad sense, how we organize our lives together in community and society.

And certainly the Good News of the Kingdom that has burst into the world in Jesus' Resurrection has a great deal to say to (and offer to) how we organize our lives together in community and society. We would be remiss if we didn't talk about this.

If you mean supporting political parties, then obviously that would only be appropriate if there were a Christian political party in the US. ;)

andy said...

I think the past 20 or so years have shown us the dangers of the Church (or a church, or a movement of Christians, etc.) throwing its lot in with and weight behind any specific political party. Unfortunately, it seems the progressive evangelicals haven't learned from the mistakes of the conservative evangelicals.

Country Parson said...

What an interesting and difficult question. Agreeing with others, issues of public policy are essential to the 8th century prophets and to Jesus, with an emphasis on Matthew 5-7, and I have preached with some vigor on those principles. Moreover, I have encouraged members of the congregations I served to vote, and have sometimes had adult education time devoted to examining the annual voter's guide published by the state. But I would be loathe to do or say anything to show favoritism toward a particular candidate, nor would I declare my own position on issues during the time prior to my retirement.

Bruce said...

The Gospel of Jesus Christ speaks to all the universe and all of human life. Politics should not be the subject of any sermon, but all sermons speak to the political process of our day. Preachers will find politics already in the pulpit because the scripture and the Churches proclamation of Jesus Chirst put politics in the pulpit. That does not mean something as petty as endorsing a political party. The scripture contains extensive discourse concerning the poor, the widow, the orphan, the outcast. Surely this informs our politics.

revjimparsons said...

I agree the definition of politics is important but we can deny the social change that emerged from ministers preaching on social issues that eventually lead to political changes. Slavery and civil rights had roots in the church. We forget too often that Martin Luther King, Jr. was a minister first.

As United Methodists we have a Social Creed and you cannot escape getting social issues and politics intertwined. Many might see preaching on a social issue as preaching on politics. If we were to preach the UMC's Social Creed we would hit numerous political hot topics.

I think we can preach boldly but never claim equality of the message and love of Jesus Christ with a political party.

Anonymous said...

I believe that on specific issues the church MUST have a voice. Because of the unique status of the church in American society, however, issues of specific candidates is out of bounds.