I started to work on this article a week before the recent mid-term elections. I could have published it a few days before the elections. But I deliberately withheld it until after the elections.
I did that deliberately, because I didnít want the article to influence anyone to vote a certain way, because thatís not my intention for writing the article. My intention was to call the Churchís attention to the real issue -Ė the Gospel of Jesus Christ. That is, to wake the Church up from its apathy to the Gospel and the things of God.
So, if the content of the article seem prophetic of the outcome of the mid-term elections, it is purely coincidental.
GOD IS NOT A REPUBLICAN
By: Bodť Adeboyejo
Iím amazed at how every election year, especially a few weeks prior to the elections, many pastors and Christian leaders, especially Evangelical pastors and leaders, get on the bandwagon to openly and unashamedly drum up support for the Republican Party and Republican politicians.
In fact, some of these leaders are so dogmatic about the Republican Party and Republican candidates that it does not matter what those candidates stand for, the fact that they are Republicans is good enough. As far as some of these leaders are concerned, the word ďRepublicanĒ is synonymous with ďgood,Ē while the word ďDemocratĒ is synonymous with ďevil.Ē
This concerns me. Iím concerned about how these pastors and leaders push and promote the Republican Party as the party of choice for Christians or people of faith period; i.e., as Godís Party, if you will. Iím concerned about how some of these pastors and Christian leaders use their pulpits and platforms to promote political parties and politics in general at the expense of the gospel. How the Church of America is almost over run by the Republican Party political machine all in the name of family values!
Iím concerned about how some of these Christian leaders are packaging the Republican Party agenda as Godís agenda to their unsuspecting congregations and audiences. How they are using catch phrases like ďmoral valuesĒ or ďfamily valuesĒ to hoodwink their audiences into voting a certain way Ė for the Republican Party. Even so, Iím concerned that these traditions of men (moral values) are being taught as Godís doctrine.
As a result of the Churchís involvement in politics, the Church is neglecting its true calling, which is to seek and save the lost. The Church is replacing the Bible with the Constitution. We are neglecting something of eternal value for something of no eternal value whatsoever.
We are making enemies of the very people that we are called to reach for Christ. We are ostracizing the homosexuals, the fornicators, the adulterers, the whoremongers, the prostitutes, the abortionists, etc. We are picketing against them in order to uphold American traditions or so-called moral values.
The Church is called to reach out to sinners, not ostracize them or make enemies of them. The Gospel of Jesus Christ is not a gospel of exclusion. But a gospel for all Ė whosoever! It is a Gospel for any repenting sinner.
We are called to preach the Gospel not moral values. Moral or family values, as good or godly as they may sound are not Godís values! They are definitely not the gospel. Woe unto us as Christians to preach manís tradition as Godís Word or at the expense of Godís Word. Woe unto us to preach moral values and not Godís righteousness or holiness.
Moral values are not Godís values because morals change with time but Godís truth endures to all generations (Psalm 100:5). As Christians, we are not called to be moral but to be holy as He is holy (1 Peter 1:16). Morality changes but righteousness and holiness remain. Besides, it is righteousness NOT morality that exalts a nation (Proverbs 14:34). Moral values are manís morals, not Godís righteousness or holiness.
Besides, when the Church talks about moral values, it talks about moral values to oppose homosexuals, banning same-sex marriage, abortion, etc. But what the Church has failed to do is look inwards at itself to make sure that it is not guilty of the same sins that it accuses the world of.
After all, those same issues are in the Church! From ordaining homosexuals as priests or performing same-sex marriages, to priests molesting congregants or hypocritical preachers, preaching one thing and practicing another. A case in point is the recent story of Pastor Ted Haggard of the New Life Church in Colorado Springs, Colorado, and President of the National Association of Evangelicals (NAE). He was recently accused by a male prostitute of having a sexual relationship with him for three years!
I mean, how can the Church be concerned about electing political leaders when some of its own leaders are mentally and spiritually sick?
This is one of the reasons why I donít think that the Church has any business or time to be frolicking with politicians or politics. All our time and efforts should be concentrated toward cleaning ourselves through the washing of the Water of Godís Word. Therefore, rather than pointing fingers, the Church ought to first purge itself before reaching out to purge others. You canít clean someone if you are filthy yourself!
We purge ourselves by reproofing, rebuking, correcting and instructing one another so as to perfect us for the work of the ministry Ė to seek and save the Lost. Thatís what we are called to do: seek and save the Lost, edify the Body of Christ. But we cannot do any of that if we have our noses buried deep in politics and other peopleís business.
Thatís one thing the Early Church didnít do. The Early Church didnít have time to be involved in the politics of its day; even though it had its own political issues to deal with (like we do). It had its own internal problems to deal with (like we do). For instance, all the sins mentioned in the letters to the churches by some of the apostles like Paul, Peter, James, etc. were sins practiced in the Church, not by unbelievers!
For instance, Apostle Paul wrote to the Church at Corinth, saying:
It is actually reported that there is sexual immorality among you, and such sexual immorality as is not even named among the Gentilesóthat a man has his fatherís wife! 1 Corinthians 5:1
The Early Church did not involve itself in politics but in purging itself by preaching the Word, to perfect the saints, for the work of the ministry.
Jesus did the same with His disciples. He took His disciples aside to teach and perfect them. He did not get involved with the political or religious leaders of His days. And donít be fooled to think that Jesus or the Early Church didnít have political issues in their days. Of course they did. The Jews were under Roman rule in the first century.
For instance, in the days of Jesus, there were several, of what one could call, political or religious parties jockeying for political or religious positions at the time; like the Pharisees, the Sadducees, the Zealots, the Herodians, the Essenes, etc.
So, Jesus and the Early Church had every opportunity to be involved in politics. But they didnít. You know why? That would have taken their focus off their primary assignment, which was to preach the Gospel and seek and save the Lost. They knew that they were not called to deliver Israel from Roman rule. They were called to deliver people from the shackles and devastation of sin, not from Julius Caesar (the Roman ruler at the time).
The difference between the Early Church and us is that they knew their assignment, and they kept their focus to pursue it vigorously. We donít know our assignment, and if we do we have lost our focus. Politics, prosperity and power have taken our focus off the assignment and the goal.
Needless to say, we are now majoring in minor. That is, like the Pharisees of Jesusí days, we are concerned about irrelevant matters while ignoring relevant matters. Like the Pharisees, we are more concerned about cleaning the outside of the cup, than we are about cleaning the inside of the cup! We are sacrificing the essential at the altar of non-essential. Like the proverbial man, we are trying to remove the speck from our brotherís eye when we have a 2 X 2 plank in our own eye!
But rather than be like the Pharisees of Jesusí days, we ought to draw our example from Jesus and the Early Church. We ought to get out of bed with the politicians Ė not endorse any party or candidate. We ought to purge ourselves of the sins that so easily beset us. We ought to preach the Gospel uncompromisingly, ďsimple, full and free.Ē We ought to care for the under-privileged: the poor, the orphans and the widows.
Perhaps you are wondering if Iím saying that we should not be involved in politics. No. What Iím saying is that, as a Church Body, our political involvement should be very minimal, such that it doesnít take our time or focus off our primary assignment and goal. Our political involvement is simple -- perform our civic duties -- vote! We should let our votes speak for us. If thereís any person or policies we need to change, we should first pray to seek Godís will and vote accordingly.
The mistake we often make, as Christians, is that we think that we know Godís will when we donít. Often times what we think is Godís will is not. For instance, many of us have been conditioned to think that espousing moral values is Godís will. How wrong we are! Godís will is simple. His will is to seek and save the Lost not moral values. His will is to lift up Jesus, not to promote family values. His will is to promote righteousness and holiness, not a political party or candidate. One can have moral or family values and still be lost. It is not moral or family values that save. Only Jesus saves!
What is Godís will? Reaching out to save sinners is Godís will; not attacking or protesting against them. Reaching out to gay couples to let them know that God can deliver them from their ungodly lifestyle through Jesus Christ is Godís will, not banning same-sex marriage. Banning same-sex marriage doesnít deliver those practicing it from their sins.
If we are ever in doubt as to what is Godís will, regarding any issue we face, we should look unto Jesus, the Author and Finisher of our faith. My charge and challenge to you about knowing Godís will concerning sinners or issues of our day is to ignore everything you may have been told, but to pick up your Bible and read the New Testament, especially the Gospels, to learn how Jesus dealt with sinners and issues, and do the same.
As Christians, we are not called to run political errands for politicians or even worse to align with one political party. We are called to be the light of the world, to be the salt of the earth (Matthew 5:13-14). We are called to do what our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ called us to do:
Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age. Amen. -- Matthew 28:19-20
As Benjamin B. Beall wrote in the Hymn, Lift Him Up, we should preach the Gospel, simple, full and free. Simple means nothing profound, nothing deep, just the simple Gospel; simple enough for the uneducated to understand. Full means the totality of Godís Word; not picking and choosing what suits us and throwing out what does not agree with our flesh and pleasure. Free means free! Not coming up with gimmicks to con the people out of their hard-earned money. Not charging people gate fees or special seating fees to hear the gospel. Freely weíve been given, freely we should give.
So, rather than be concerned about who is elected into office, we should be concerned to make sure that we are indeed one of Godís elect! But should we still see the need to promote a candidate or a party, we should be lifting up Candidate Jesus of Godís Kingdom Party!
If thereís any consolation, the thing to remember, as Christians, is that God is not a Republican! Neither is He a Democrat! Heís God!
The Lord'sQuill © 2006