by Rod D. Martin
January 26, 2016
Last week, Frank Page, President of the Executive Committee of the Southern Baptist Convention, wrote a great article called “Freedom is Not Free“. Aimed at Christians and especially pastors, it properly points out (among other things) our Biblical duties in a free society.
Unfortunately, a lot of our younger pastors, in the name of “not politicizing the pulpit” (and also of the normal youthful repudiation of whatever their parents’ generation is perceived to have done) are abandoning any belief in this. I assure you, this is a trend that will prove catastrophic if not reversed. If you’re a regular reader of RodMartin.org, I hardly have to tell you that if Evangelicals simply voted their strength — or even just at the same level of participation of most other demographic groups — Democrats could not win another election in our lifetimes, nor could the RINOs win another Republican primary.
You might think there’s not a lot more to it than that. But there is.
Many of our pastors have (albeit unintentionally and without thinking their position through) taken the blessing of self-government God has given us — unique among most of the peoples of the Earth in all of history — and thrown it back in God’s face. They have said, in effect, that holiness dictates we be ruled by people who hate God.
That cannot end well, least of all for those pastors.
They will likely respond that preaching the Gospel is more important, and of course they’re right so far as that goes. But there is life after redemption: discipleship matters too.
There’s not even any overwhelming need for them to say much that’s obviously political. Pastors need to affirm the blessing I just noted and teach that it is one. They need to encourage active self-government (which ought to come naturally, since it’s our Baptist polity). But mostly, they need to preach the full counsel of God. If pastors were sufficiently clear all through the year on issues like life and marriage and covetousness (which is the core of all socialism), there would be no issue as to how our people vote. And not only would they vote, but they’d vote for an ever-improving crop of candidates, as their collective voting power requires better of the candidates who are actually able to win.
Of course, I get that pastors aren’t the best informed on civic (much less economic) matters. They go to Bible colleges and then seminaries and barely take a government class between 9th grade and retirement. I understand the limitations of their choices in education and vocation: I don’t parse a lot of Greek verbs in what I do either.
But as much as we need to focus our shepherds on church planting and evangelism — without which this nation will surely be lost, and with it all of Western Civilization (Christendom, at least as we have known it) — government matters, and if it didn’t, God would not have given us the example of the contrast between Hezekiah and Manasseh. I suspect Pastor Abedini would agree.
Frank Page should keep ringing this bell, as should all of our pastors everywhere. Our beliefs require that we persuade others of their helpfulness and truth. Standing idly by, allowing those opposed to God the uncontested ability to hold the offices with the most persuasive power — and actual power — is not only hypocrisy, not merely a shirking of duty, but active support of Manasseh, and Ahab, and Jeroboam.
And on the positive side, an America led by God-honoring men and women would be a blessing to absolutely everyone; for when the righteous rule, the people rejoice.