Preach Civility At the Very Least!

To be honest, I’ve had people tell me that I preach too much politics from the pulpit. Some of them have been members of churches where I pastored, and some of them have left to find other places to worship (presumably). But if you think I’m going to apologize at this point, you’re mistaken.

I have nothing to apologize for (not even for ending this sentence with a preposition – which I despise, by the way). Despite what the complainers may say, I don’t stand behind a pulpit and tell people whom to vote for or what party to which they should belong. When the subject needs to be addressed, or especially when it falls in line with a topic within an expositional study of Scripture, what I do is address the issue from a biblical position so that believers know what the Bible has to say. After all, if the Word of God is to be our rule and guide for life, shouldn’t it guide the way we act as citizens?

During the last presidential election cycle I never once told anyone to vote against Hillary Clinton and for another candidate. However, I did not hide what I believed would happen, specifically to the churches of America, should Hillary Clinton be elected president, and I based that entirely on her statements and precedent set by the past administration. But at the same time (and I have the recording to prove it), when preaching through the book of Acts, I came to the passage where Paul dealt with an oracle that had a “pythian spirit” and warned against the dangers of electing a man who considered Paula White a spiritual counselor.

The fact of the matter is that, as a shepherd, a pastor has the responsibility to not only preach biblical truth but to apply that truth in the context of the lives of the congregation. After all, why teach of the “sufficiency of Scripture” if I don’t practice what I preach by offering Scripture as a guide for every-day decisions? Especially when those decisions can have a real and tangible bearing on the future of the whole congregation!

Yet, there will be those who disagree with me. They will condemn any preacher like me who dares address any subject that might overlap with an official party platform. Even the appearance of disagreeing with a politician’s actions or beliefs will be used as an opportunity to say that I’m too political.

Is it too political to preach against slavery?

Is it too political to preach the dignity of humanity as the result of being made in the image of God?

Is it too political to preach that women and men are of equal value, not only before God but in the Church?

Is it too political to preach that Jesus loves children and doesn’t want them – or widows – to starve?

Is it considered too political to preach against killing infants in the womb? Evidently.

Is it too political to preach against infidelity, lying, immorality, etc.? Depends. If it’s about Donald Trump, then it’s all good.

Is it too political to call for prayers of peace? To pray for our leaders? During the Trump administration, evidently yes. Now, if I were to be like another pastor who said, “God d**n America!”, that would be just fine.

But I digress.

What about civility? What about praying for our leaders? What about loving our enemies? What about giving our enemies food when they are hungry and something to drink when they thirst? Again, that’s all too political if you don’t support same-sex marriage, abortion, transgender scout leaders, sex education in kindergarten, and anything else that winds up falling under the liberal left’s rainbow umbrella.

But now we have elected officials and public media calling for harassment, abuse, and even harm against anyone remotely connected with the current administration. Does the Bible have anything to say about that? And, if the Bible does address these issues in clear and blunt language, isn’t it worth preaching?

Bless them that curse you, and pray for them which despitefully use you.  – Luke 6:28

I exhort therefore, that, first of all, supplications, prayers, intercessions, [and] giving of thanks, be made for all men;  For kings, and [for] all that are in authority; that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and honesty.  For this [is] good and acceptable in the sight of God our Saviour;  Who will have all men to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth. – 1 Timothy 2:1-4

Recompense to no man evil for evil. Provide things honest in the sight of all men. If it be possible, as much as lieth in you, live peaceably with all men. Dearly beloved, avenge not yourselves, but [rather] give place unto wrath: for it is written, Vengeance [is] mine; I will repay, saith the Lord. Therefore if thine enemy hunger, feed him; if he thirst, give him drink: for in so doing thou shalt heap coals of fire on his head. Be not overcome of evil, but overcome evil with good. – Romans 12:17-21

I guess if Jesus and Paul said it, it must be too political.

But I don’t preach politics; I preach the Word.

I charge [thee] therefore before God, and the Lord Jesus Christ, who shall judge the quick and the dead at his appearing and his kingdom; Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all longsuffering and doctrine. For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears; And they shall turn away [their] ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables. – 2 Timothy 4:1-4

That’s the real reason people get upset. I really hate it for them. I really do.

But I have a charge, and I must give an account to God, not man. So, I will preach.

Would to God we had more pastors who’d do the same.

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7 Comments

Filed under America, politics, Preaching, Uncategorized

7 responses to “Preach Civility At the Very Least!

  1. Amen, Anthony! We’re living in challenging times right now, where the personal is seen as political. Trying to remain neutral in faith just doesn’t work, because our faith is not neutral.

    I really appreciate our pastor’s willingness to take a stand, even when things get heated. It can actually feel disconcerting, a bit scary, when we’re praying for our leaders, but then we get new leaders and those verses just no longer apply. Do that with too many things in scripture and you soon just have no scripture to work with anymore.

  2. I’m glad you boldly teach the Word of God, Anthony!! So thankful! And yes, we need more pastors who teach the Word diligently!

    By the way, I know nothing of Paula White… and missed the Presidential Inauguration so had never hear of her (I know… I’m probably the only one in America who doesn’t know who she is…) So here’s my question… why the connection to the pythian spirit? Thanks.

  3. Spot on ~ well said. Preach it, Brother Anthony, preach it!!!

  4. Very well said. Thanks for speaking the truth.

    Be blessed. God is in a good mood.

  5. Amen and Amen. Continue to press on. Keep preaching the truth no matter what another thinks. We are called to pray for our leaders and respect them when they have taken office and to continue to pray. We are living in some pretty interesting times to say the least but this I know. God will protect His children. So, you keep preaching the word of God. Keep speaking truth and continue to be the candle light and leading others

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