Note: This is the first post in the Forward Faith series. To read what this series is about, click here.
My body cringes every time I hear politics mentioned in the pulpit. This is not because I am disgusted with political discourse. It’s because our political rambles often drift into talk that distracts from the Gospel. And then at the end of the day, talk is all our political discourse in the church amounts to. No action. Just the same old meandering on political hot topics. I will be honest: the church looks ugly when it’s merely defined by what it opposes politically.
I once visited a church where this was the case. As I walked through their halls plastered with posters for their ministries against homosexuals and gun control, I felt compelled to turn around and bolt out the door. But I stayed for the service. And it confirmed my feelings of disgust. The preaching on political change was unappealing.
It didn’t come as a surprise to me when I heard that this church died soon afterwards. I can’t help but think it was because they were too sustained by their need for political change rather than Jesus.
As I look forward to the church of tomorrow, I can only hope that it won’t practice the same political activism that this church displayed. But to embrace this future, we have to first discover the truths that today has to offer about faith and politics.
It’s time for politics to stray away from the pulpit. It’s time for us, as Christians, to understand politics’ role in faith.
So what is the role of politics in regards to faith?
Despite what you might think, politics do play a part in how we enact a positive change in this world. There are many justice issues that require us to vote in a certain direction, and we must acknowledge that.
Politics play a part in how the church fights for justice.
But here is the tricky part. While politics help us fight for justice, they are not our savior. Our savior is Jesus Christ, and ultimately (based on the Great Commission) we should be leading others to life in Him. Politics is just a minor subcategory we can glorify our true savior, Jesus Christ, in.
The church I mentioned before seemed to confuse this. They treated politics as if preaching a political fix would glorify God more than making disciples for His name. Not only is that not Scriptural, but it’s not effective either.
The church’s mission is restoration through Jesus, not politics. [Tweet that]
The main problem I have with those who politicize the Gospel is that they do so under the false belief that they are making disciples by voting for Jesus. They use politics as a means to communicate values that unbelievers don’t understand. In doing so, more people are turned off by the faith rather than compelled by it.
Churches need to stop believing that preaching a political fix is more effective than making disciples. It’s not. By doing this, we end up tarnishing the Gospel instead of upholding it, like most believe they are doing.
It’s time we live the church that doesn’t muddy the waters of faith with political talk that doesn’t lead us anywhere. We live the beauty of the church of tomorrow when we realize that politics are nothing compared to the peace and reconciliation that Jesus Christ offers us.
In the pulpit, talk less about politics, and more about Jesus, our true Savior.