Political Remarks in Sermons|
Q. I enjoy our church. But, an associate pastor has been making critical and jeering remarks about one of the political candidates. Not only do I think he is inaccurate, but I don't want my children to think God doesn't love Democratic Christians, too. After the last sermon I was so embarrassed that I made my husband back up the car so no one would see our bumper sticker. I'm questioning whether we should continue attending this church. Any thoughts or advice?
Thanks for your question - it is very timely and many Christians have the same feelings as you. Although you are referring to the Obama/McCain campaign this subject applies to all political campaigns and the involvement of the church in such matters.
American Church Divisions
We think that when church leaders use the pulpit to make adverse political comments by becoming involved and influencing voting they have erred greatly. In fact, many sincere, bible-believing churches seem to think that if you are truly a Christian you must be either a Republican or Democrat.
How silly! Get-out-the-vote campaigns and political rallies are not part of the Church's Biblical mandate. Certainly, no one should feel so humiliated by a pastor that they must sneak out of the church parking lot!
Fundamentalist vs. Mainstream Churches
Because of political persuasions, it is our observation that fundamentalist churches tend to be comprised mainly of Republicans, while many mainstream churches like Presbyterian, Methodist, Lutheran, Episcopalian and Catholics, who tend to promote the "social gospel," can be primarily Democrats.
Christ's Lordship&Redemptive Work
We have a problem with this. The central issue should not be a congregation's political leanings. The issue should be Christ's lordship and redemptive work.
Live in Harmony
Paul encountered similar problems with the church at Corinth. In his letter to them he wrote,
"I appeal to you, dear brothers and sisters, by the authority of our Lord Jesus Christ, to live in harmony with each other. Let there be no divisions in the church. Rather, be of one mind, united in thought and purpose" (1 Cor. 1:10, NLT).
Paul went on to describe some of the issues that were dividing the church. He says,
"For some members of Chloe's household have told me about your quarrels, my dear brothers and sisters. Some of you are saying, 'I am a follower of Paul.' Others are saying, 'I follow Apollos,' or 'I follow Peter,' or 'I follow only Christ'" (1 Cor. 1:11-12, NLT).
Here Paul was clarifying that allegiances to this or that person were unnecessary. In a similar way political allegiances to this or that candidate must not divide the Church. We are all on the same team! We worship Jesus Christ. We are "Christ-ians." We are not "McCain-ians" or "Obam-ians" or any other "ians" in other timeframes.
Paul went on to explain that he had one message: …"Jesus Christ, and Him crucified" (1 Cor. 2:2, NASB).
Do Pastors want both Parties to attend Church?
If churches wish to include and welcome Democrats as well as Republican voters in their congregations, we believe they must refuse to engage in useless, divisive positions that divide the Church. Democrats and Republicans are political parties. We don't worship either party. We worship the Lord alone.
Confronting in Love
Therefore, we suggest that you meet with your pastor in person, or write a letter to him expressing your concerns. Make sure that what you heard is what he said. Do not read into his remarks without clarification.
We would hope that once he realizes Democrats as well as Republicans sit in his congregation, he would temper his remarks with consideration and love for members of both parties - and preach Christ crucified - not so-in-so versus so-in-so.
Besides, we are especially fortunate and blessed that both political candidates are professing Christians in this particular election. Both state that Jesus died for their sins. Both candidates are brothers in Christ. They need the prayers of all true believers for their success and safety.
Should you Leave the Church?
The criteria for a church is not a political one. A church and a pastor will be held accountable for how he taught the Word of God and how he shepherded the flock. If your pastor is teaching God's Word then you should not leave your church. Focus on becoming a disciple of Christ and help your pastor do it.
Pray for the Candidates
Finally, Paul urges "that entreaties and prayers, petitions and thanksgivings, be made on behalf of all men, for kings and all who are in authority, so that we may lead a tranquil and quiet life in all godliness and dignity. This is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Savior…" (1 Timothy 2:1-3, NASB).
Paul didn't ask us to pray for McCain but not Obama, did he? Paul asks us to pray for ALL in authority over us. (This will be important in the next election, too).
Vote your conscience based upon a Biblical Worldview.
Vote for and support Your Candidate? YES! But, worship Christ and love your brother.
MacArthur, John. 2000. Why government can't save you: An alternative to political activism. Nashville, TN: Word.
—-The deadly danger of moralism. 2002. Can God bless America? Nashville, TN: W Publishing. (pgs. 84-97).