“When The Church Has Nothing More To Say…”

With a circulation of just over 30,000, I’m sure The Christian Century should be read by many more people.  Yeah, it’s print – and print is dying – but still…

In their October 31st, 2012 edition, an editorial column addresses the recent efforts of just less than 1,500 pastors to buck IRS regulations and engage in electoral politics (read more here and here).

For proponents of perceived “biblical truth,” it is believed that Christians have few greater responsibilities than to vote evil out of office.  For skeptics of the “program,” it is yet another example of how the church has become too political.  According to the book UnChristian, those who have left the church and want nothing to do with it, claim the church’s overt political involvement to be a major turnoff.

The editors of The Christian Century – who jointly wrote this article – claim that there is harm in this kind of preaching form the pulpit:

When the church has nothing more to say than what could be said in a political stump speech, the church has surely lost it’s distinctive voice.  It also has forgotten that people come to church wanting and needing something quite different from the campaign speeches and ads that they’ve been hearing all week.

There is no denying that a person’s involvement in their particular civic establishment is important.  Jesus even said, “Give to Caesar.”  However, a Christian’s first responsibility is to the gospel.  On this “Pulpit Freedom Sunday,” who knows how many hurting and lost people wandered into a church – needing to hear the gospel – heard nothing about why this candidate is bad and how screwed we are if they are elected.

On November 4th, I am beginning a sermon series entitled “What’s So Great About Wesley?”  I’ll be covering topics like communion, salvation and what Wesley might tell us about how best to handle the toxic political environment in which we find ourselves – only because Christians should see a contrast between how the world views these things and how they should.  That sermon will mainly be a riff on this photo I picked up from Facebook:

Wesley and The Christian Century are right.  We need to live together in community after this thing is done, and there are far greater needs within the human heart.  It’s our responsibility to address them.

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