Faithful Preaching in Critical Times
By Bert Harper
There is always much discussion about a pastor’s responsibility and freedom to be involved in the political arena. Having served as pastor for 43 years, I am well aware of the implications that go along with the territory. What do you say, where can you say it and how do you say it? These are three of the questions that go through your mind as you go through the process of deciding what to do.
With the moral climate of our nation in a declining spiral, many pastors are asking, “Has the time come for more involvement or do I continue sitting on the sidelines watching?” I want to encourage you to get involved like never before. I have met pastors who have sent their sermons to the IRS, and in the sermon, they endorsed a candidate. I have met other pastors who from their pulpits preached on the issues and told their congregations what they were going to do. I also know pastors who ignore what is going on in the culture and government and preach biblical messages trusting God to direct the affairs of men. Each one of these positions is a legitimate position. I am not here to argue or debate your choice, but I am concerned about our nation, churches, pastors, and Christians doing business as usual.
It is high time we awaken and look to see where our apathy has taken us. As Christians, our influence in our communities and nation is diminished. There is confusion about where churches stand on the moral issues of our day. Pulpits are often uncertain and unclear about the issues. It is time to stand up and speak up about what the Bible says about life, marriage, homosexuality, pornography, etc. I know that you could add a lot more items to the list, but I think that you would agree that we are living in difficult days.
The comment that I hear the most about pastors and their participation (or lack thereof) in preaching about these important issues is, “I don’t think the pastor or the church should involve themselves in political business.” I am sure that you have heard from others who have shared their reasoning, but I want to share with you two simple reasons I choose to speak about these matters.
First, the government has invaded the territory of the church. Life, marriage, and sexual integrity are areas where the Bible speaks clearly and loudly. We must not shy away from standing in love and speaking biblical truth to our generation. If the preachers won’t, who will?
Second, the pastor of the church serves two roles that are found in the Old Testament. He is like the priest, taking the people to God through prayer. This is what Peter said concerning the 7 men who were chosen to take care of the feeding of the widows in Acts 6, so the apostles could give themselves to prayer and the ministry of the Word. The pastor is also like the prophet, taking God’s Word to the people. Speaking clearly from the Bible “thus says the Lord.” The prophets in the Old Testament spoke boldly about moral matters even if it included the ruling government. I would say that was getting involved in the political process.
I do believe it is time that together we speak with a loud voice!
PRAY! LIVE GODLY! VOTE MORALLY!
If we will do this while encouraging our people to do the same, we can make a difference.