It made me sick.
Yes. Maybe I have a lot to learn when it comes to pastors and politics. I admit, there’s probably a lot of room to grow for me. I’m open to the fact that I may need to learn better and repent.
However with that said, I can’t stand when pastors put their name behind a candidate of any party because in the end, it’s not just their name they’ve put out there but (in my humble opinion) the name of Christ as well. Granted, they aren’t Jesus but they are supposed to shepherd his flock in his name “for they are keeping watch over your souls, as those who will have to give an account.” (Heb. 13:17b) To a great extent pastors represent more than themselves.
So when I see a pastor promoting a candidate for either party via pulpit, rally or video I just wish I possessed a magic remote that could “mute” them at the touch of a button because I think in the end they are hurting, not helping, themselves, those outside the church and those inside. Instead of helping people see through our pastoral leadership that Jesus is neither Republican or Democrat, we encourage people to make rather simplistic choices on complex situations by letting them know who they need to vote for. Pastors who unfortunately take those steps preempt the discerning decision-making process that Followers of Jesus need to walk through.
What’s incredibly ironic, and would be funny if it wasn’t so hurtful, is that so many left-leaning Christians who rightfully blasted church leaders for publicly endorsing the conservative Republican candidates of the 1980’s and 1990’s now find themselves drinking the same Kool Aid in pushing their Democratic candidate. But just because it’s colored blue (and is super hip these days) instead of red doesn’t mean it is any less poisonous. Or hypocritical.
Again, let me be clear. This is not about being politically active as a believer. This is not about liking one candidate over another. This is about pastors pushing politicians. I think it is the duty of pastors to attempt to discern what the Bible says about the pressing issues of our day – abortion, homelessness, war, poverty, the family. That’s not only fair ground, that’s simply trying to help your congregation follow Jesus in obeying what his Word teaches (cf., Matthew 28:20). Let’s just make sure that it’s Jesus we’re encouraged to follow, not any one politician. My hope is that pastors who deeply care about the Gospel and its centrality in both our people and our pulpits will be careful seeking to remind everyone that there is only one Savior and his name is not Obama or McCain.
To do any less is to settle for something less.
but we trust in the name of the LORD our God.”
– Psalm 20:7 (ESV)