Shane Idleman on The Great Divide in the Pulpit: Why Do Some Pastors Get Political and Others Don’t?

The views expressed in this commentary do not necessarily reflect those of BCNN1. Opinions expressed are solely those of the author(s).

In Andy Stanley’s recent sermon on politics, one statement really stood out. He said, “I have found it very difficult to stay away from the topic of religion in church, but I have found it very easy to stay away from the topic of politics in church.” 

How can pastor Stanley find it “easy to stay away from the topic of politics in church,” but I find it extremely difficult? In my opinion, failure to recognize diverse gifts may explain why many people are divided on the issue of religion and politics. For instance, Jack Graham, John MacArthur, James Dobson, James Robison, Franklin Graham, Jack Hibbs, etc. have different ministries, but all fall under the umbrella of Christian service. God creates, within each of us, varying desires, talents, and levels of interests. If God has called a man to preach and teach His Word, that will be his passion. If God has called a Christian to pursue politics, that will be his or her passion, and so on.

Problems arise when we become judgmental and fail to respect our differences. Activists should not expect everyone to share their passion for politics, and those who believe Christians should stay out of politics must understand that God clearly calls some Christians to the political arena. God established the concept of government, why would He not desire godly leadership? Granted, there will always be a moral divide in America, but this should not deter us from making a difference. It took years for America to reach this state of moral decay; it may take years to recover. But on the flip-side, I have noticed that many mega-church pastors seem to be more concerned about not upsetting the status quo. The question all pastors need to ask is, “Are we pleasing God or men . . . are we watchmen or cowards? As we prepare sermons, are we tip-toeing around difficult topics or hitting them head on?” Our job is to love as well as convict. I believe that America is in the state we are in today because of the silent pulpit. Gone are the days when Alex de Tocqueville visited America and saw “pulpits aflame with righteousness.” Here is a sermon clip that Fox News picked up about this very thing.

As I often say: There is a very troubling trend in the evangelical church as a whole. Today, the truth is often neglected, watered-down, or avoided altogether in the hope of not offending members and building a large audience. Judgment is never mentioned; repentance is never sought; and sin is often excused. We want to build a church rather than break a heart; be politically correct rather than biblically correct; coddle and comfort rather than stir and convict. When we fail to proclaim God’s Word faithfully, we run the risk of “encouraging sin” and “perverting the words of the living God” (cf. Jeremiah 23). Students of Scripture understand that God uses governmental leaders to accomplish His purposes and plans. We cannot remain silent. The silent pulpit is not God’s pulpit. Here is a recent message I gave on abortion, When the Weak are Destroyed by the Powerful.

We are not voting for parties or people but for principles. What direction will those running for office take us? is the question we all should be asking. Our leader is to protect, administer justice, defend the nation, and allow religious freedom. The church is to care for the people, guard the Word of God, and serve as the conscience of the nation. You may want to commit this paragraph to memory before 2020.

Granted, activists should not expect everyone to share their passion for politics, and those who believe Christians should stay out of politics must understand that God clearly calls some Christians to make a difference in Washington. God established the concept of government, why would He not desire godly leadership?

Although my primary calling is preaching, I thank God for Christians who are involved and who influence America’s political climate. I wish that there were more. As the moral and cultural war rages between our shores, the need to be awakened from our spiritual slumber has never been greater. “Where the battle rages, there the loyalty of the soldier is tested” (attributed to Martin Luther). This battle is for the very soul of our nation. It’s our choice — stand or fall.

Click here to read more.

SOURCE: Christian Post, Shane Idleman