Should Preachers Talk Politics? (What is the Church’s Mission?)

No.  Next question?

What’s that? You’re thinking perhaps I could expand my answer?

Okay, but first I have a question for you: What’s the church’s mission?

As we speak, people in churches all over the country want preachers to use the “power of the pulpit” to shape the way others vote. It’s all well-intentioned, prompted by a passion to conform public policy with Christian values.

Timberline Church exists to lead people into a transforming relationship with Jesus.

That’s our church’s formal mission statement. I’ll bet most churches profess something similar. It’s all about The Great Commission.

Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” Matthew 28:18-20

Using terminology from Expanding The Circle, the church’s primary mission is to draw people into the circle, encourage and equip them, and release them as magnets.

The word “nations” is ethnos and refers to a group of people. It’s not about governments or political entities. In The Message Jesus says, “Go out and train everyone you meet, far and near, in this way of life…”

I believe Jesus wants us to change the world. I DON’T believe He ever told us to make those changes using the rhetoric and tactics of legal and political force or coercion. In fact, He was pretty clear about His recommendation:

One of them, an expert in the law, tested him with this question: “Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?”

Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’This is the first and greatest commandment.And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.” Matthew 22:35-40

Disciples aren’t countries, governments, laws or policies. Disciples are individual people. We change the world by loving people. Jesus told you and me to love and serve others into submission. And then He modeled it.

Love, as a change tactic, is slow and impractical. Sometimes it’s downright unpleasant, because you have to value relationship more than winning or being right. You even have to love the folks with whom you vehemently disagree.

If you ask me, Jesus could have mandated a more effective strategy. Fortunately, He didn’t ask me.

Jesus didn’t instruct us to change countries or governments. He told us to love and serve people.

Our primary ambition must be to love people in the name of Jesus,
not so they will see we are right, but so they will see He is loving.
Don Miller

Preachers, in my opinion, shouldn’t talk politics. They should make disciples.

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Copyright 2008-2012 by Rich Dixon, All Rights Reserved. Used by permission.

Rich is an author and speaker. He is the author of:

Relentless Grace: God’s Invitation To Give Hope Another Chance. Visit his web site

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