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    Denomination & Faith Movement Discussions - Thread: mentioning politics from the pulpit

    1. #1
      jsimms435's Avatar
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      mentioning politics from the pulpit

      I remember one time when I was a member of a Baptist church in Virginia that the pastor enjoyed making comments about President Clinton and his behavior. It seemed to almost always get a reaction from the congregation. I've seen other pastors such as Charles Stanley who I have never heard make a political comment from the pulpit. So, do you think it is ever appropriate, given that some laws and decisions also have moral or ethical implications that the pastor mention politics from the pulpit?

    2. #2
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      Quote Originally Posted by jsimms435 View Post
      I remember one time when I was a member of a Baptist church in Virginia that the pastor enjoyed making comments about President Clinton and his behavior. It seemed to almost always get a reaction from the congregation. I've seen other pastors such as Charles Stanley who I have never heard make a political comment from the pulpit. So, do you think it is ever appropriate, given that some laws and decisions also have moral or ethical implications that the pastor mention politics from the pulpit?
      Unless there is a very obvious theological issue relating to it, definitely not.

      As you say there is the potential for decisions made by politicians to have all sorts of implications but to a large extent we can carry on regardless. Jesus told us to love our neighbor, and that isn't a function of what government is doing. If the government passes laws that require people to violate their consciences then each individual has to decide whether to comply with the law or follow their conscience and face the consequences. Today it seems very much the thing to expect to follow our consciences without facing any consequences.

      The only time I have ever walked out of church during a sermon was when it was clear that the speaker had no reservations at all about openly criticising the President of the time. As it happened I agreed with her political stance but didn't want to hear a political rant from the pulpit and literally walked out in disgust. It wasn't as if she was making a theological point that highlighted what she saw as a weakness of the president, she was just taking endless cheap shots at him because she voted for the other guy.

      Had she been at least attempting to make a theological point I'd have been inclined to stay and listen to what she had to say but I'm not interested in being a captive audience for a political rant.
      "Do what thou will shall be the whole of the law" - Aleister Crowley

      "If you love me, obey my commandments" - Jesus Christ

      The Bible comes as a complete package. If we want to pluck verses out of context so make them mean what we want them to mean, if we want to ignore the passages that are inconvenient to our outlook, we should be intellectually honest enough to throw our Bibles in the trash and admit we are following Crowley and not Christ.

    3. #3
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      Quote Originally Posted by jsimms435 View Post
      I remember one time when I was a member of a Baptist church in Virginia that the pastor enjoyed making comments about President Clinton and his behavior. It seemed to almost always get a reaction from the congregation. I've seen other pastors such as Charles Stanley who I have never heard make a political comment from the pulpit. So, do you think it is ever appropriate, given that some laws and decisions also have moral or ethical implications that the pastor mention politics from the pulpit?
      I would say that commenting on moral issues can be justified but not turning that into partisan political campaigning.

    4. #4
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      Prayers for the President is one thing but I don't want political opinion from the pulpit when I'm there to hear about the Savior and His forgiveness of sins. Isn't that the ultimate goal...to receive what God wants to give us in His service?
      "Christianity does not require more work but more trust." Pr. Jonathan Fisk
      "Bearing fruit does not make you a branch. A branch is a branch because it grows from the vine." Pr. Jonathan Fisk
      "A Christian's life is not defined by what the Christian does. It is defined by Christ and what He has done for us." Pr. Rolf David Preus

    5. #5
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      IMO, it's okay for an application in the sermon to mention current issues and ethics.... And that may well mean a certain law/policy or the behavior of a known person (political or otherwise). I think this is certainly appropriate. Indeed, I LIKE it when pastors have the guts to talk about abortion, same-gender marriage, etc.

      On the other hand, I don't think it's appropriate to endorse a particular candidate... But of course, one could preach that it's good to vote ISSUES and to vote as a Christian, upholding Christian values.
      We are justified by works - just not our own.

    6. #6
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      Quote Originally Posted by Josiah View Post
      IMO, it's okay for an application in the sermon to mention current issues and ethics.... And that may well mean a certain law/policy or the behavior of a known person (political or otherwise). I think this is certainly appropriate. Indeed, I LIKE it when pastors have the guts to talk about abortion, same-gender marriage, etc.

      On the other hand, I don't think it's appropriate to endorse a particular candidate... But of course, one could preach that it's good to vote ISSUES and to vote as a Christian, upholding Christian values.
      As far as discussion of topical issues goes I'd be inclined to agree with you. As far as the behavior of a known person is concerned I'd have to wonder whether it adds anything to the point being made or whether it strays sufficiently close to a political dig without being so overt about it. It seems almost like the church gossip who isn't sharing the latest "hot gossip", they are sharing "prayer concerns" because, you know, since Mildred is cheating on George they're going to need a lot of prayer.

      If we're talking about marital fidelity does it really do anything to enhance the point to bring Bill Clinton's dalliance with Monica Lewinsky into it, or the current discussion of Donald Trump and Stormy Daniels? Since the former risks the appearance of a Republican rant and the latter risks the appearance of a Democrat rant, why not leave it out completely? We can use generic comments about high profile figures without specifically mentioning political figures in a way that risks the sermon looking like a party political broadcast.

      Where topics like gay marriage, abortion etc are concerned I don't see a reason why these things shouldn't be discussed in church but it can be done in a way that appeals to Scripture and doesn't necessarily need to even mention the major parties' stances on the topic.
      "Do what thou will shall be the whole of the law" - Aleister Crowley

      "If you love me, obey my commandments" - Jesus Christ

      The Bible comes as a complete package. If we want to pluck verses out of context so make them mean what we want them to mean, if we want to ignore the passages that are inconvenient to our outlook, we should be intellectually honest enough to throw our Bibles in the trash and admit we are following Crowley and not Christ.

    7. #7
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      Quote Originally Posted by Josiah View Post
      IMO, it's okay for an application in the sermon to mention current issues and ethics.... And that may well mean a certain law/policy or the behavior of a known person (political or otherwise). I think this is certainly appropriate. Indeed, I LIKE it when pastors have the guts to talk about abortion, same-gender marriage, etc.

      On the other hand, I don't think it's appropriate to endorse a particular candidate... But of course, one could preach that it's good to vote ISSUES and to vote as a Christian, upholding Christian values.
      The pulpit and sermon time isn't for endorsing candidates but is meant spending time focused on God and who he is. It is suppose to be christ centered not man centered. I've seen this abused many times with pastors who don't prepare well and think it is easy to take a shot at an unpopular President.

    8. #8
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      Quote Originally Posted by jsimms435 View Post
      The pulpit and sermon time isn't for endorsing candidates but is meant spending time focused on God and who he is. It is suppose to be christ centered not man centered. I've seen this abused many times with pastors who don't prepare well and think it is easy to take a shot at an unpopular President.
      Lucky for me my church didn't do that kind of thing and I wouldn't stick around at a church that tolerated pushing a political candidate when he should be pushing Jesus from the pulpit.
      If you want to rile people up then go to a Christian site and give God ALL the glory for your salvation.

    9. #9
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      ================================================== ============================================

      I would like to present a related thought from a different angle.

      The thought is:

      Should politicians who are known to unfairly demean (lie about) others, who misrepresent the policies of their opponents, and maybe even dishonestly state (on the eve of an election) that their opponents are planning to introduce a bill that will disadvantage voters in a particular area – should politicians like that be welcome in the churches that they normally attend (those that do)?

      What should the priority of the priests/pastors/ministers/etc. be?

      Should the priests/pastors/ministers/etc. tell the offenders to shape up or ship out (as it were)?

      Or should the churches’ elevated status by association with the important person, override Christian principles?

      I have limited knowledge of Australian politicians’ private lives. However, in one high-profile situation I am aware of, reflected glory was the overriding consideration by far. (And I suspect it normally is.)

      ================================================== ============================================

      Had I been a member of that particular congregation, what should I have done?
      - Stayed and said nothing?
      - Left?
      - Spoken to the priest/pastor/minister/etc.?
      - Gossiped?
      - Tried to get through the politician’s retinue and speak to him? Would that have done any good?



      Unfortunately, in the stadium where Christian ethics are played out, the goal posts seem to be highly movable.

      ================================================== ============================================
      Seeking to understand with precision, God's holy and coherent revelation to us.

    10. #10
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      Quote Originally Posted by Pedrito View Post
      ================================================== ============================================

      I would like to present a related thought from a different angle.

      The thought is:

      Should politicians who are known to unfairly demean (lie about) others, who misrepresent the policies of their opponents, and maybe even dishonestly state (on the eve of an election) that their opponents are planning to introduce a bill that will disadvantage voters in a particular area – should politicians like that be welcome in the churches that they normally attend (those that do)?

      What should the priority of the priests/pastors/ministers/etc. be?

      Should the priests/pastors/ministers/etc. tell the offenders to shape up or ship out (as it were)?

      Or should the churches’ elevated status by association with the important person, override Christian principles?

      I have limited knowledge of Australian politicians’ private lives. However, in one high-profile situation I am aware of, reflected glory was the overriding consideration by far. (And I suspect it normally is.)

      ================================================== ============================================

      Had I been a member of that particular congregation, what should I have done?
      - Stayed and said nothing?
      - Left?
      - Spoken to the priest/pastor/minister/etc.?
      - Gossiped?
      - Tried to get through the politician’s retinue and speak to him? Would that have done any good?



      Unfortunately, in the stadium where Christian ethics are played out, the goal posts seem to be highly movable.

      ================================================== ============================================
      I believe the biblical direction for correcting a person should be followed, which means first going to that person privately and then taking others if the person doesn't repent and then finally taking it to the church. Only after those three steps are followed then kicking the person out of the church should even be considered. The emphasis is on giving the person opportunities to repent and acknowledge their wrongdoing

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