A liberal in my family told me he did not attend church because it so infuriated him when the pastors incorporated conservative (excuse me, “reich-wing”) politics into the sermon. I was perplexed. But then, we’ve gotten very spoiled by our church leadership, who evidently understand that the kingdom of God is neither Republican nor Democratic, but instead is a monarchy.
Piper offers some very sound advice:
Don’t press the organization of the church or her pastors into political activism. Pray that the church and her ministers would feed the flock of God with the word of God centered on the gospel of Christ crucified and risen. Expect from your shepherds not that they would rally you behind political candidates or legislative initiatives, but they would point you over and over again to God and to his word, and to the cross.
… If the whole counsel of God is preached with power week in and week out, Christians who are citizens of heaven and citizens of this democratic order will be energized as they ought to speak and act for the common good. It’s your job, not mine. Don’t look to me to wave the flag for your vote. Or wave the flag for your candidate.
… My job is to feed the saints with such meals that they go out strengthened and robust and able to do the study and do the courage and do the action needed as salt and light in this world. And that will go away if you insist on the church and the ministry being the political leaders. It will and we can point to many where it has.
Yes. And beyond that, it is baffling to me why people would look to their pastor for political leadership. I go to my pastors for spiritual instruction; that is their expertise and they have gained my trust with many years of instruction, leadership and not least, their personal examples of humility and sanctification. If they suddenly started preaching politics – in other words, building a kingdom here – I would find another church where the pastors are keeping their eyes on the prize.
Pastors generally have about an hour – or in some churches, less – to reach their congregation. In our church we have 20-30 minutes of worship, announcements, and greetings. Then we get down to business with a sermon averaging 70 minutes, sometimes followed by an altar call. And that’s it. Some churches get in a Wednesday service, which is typically much less well attended than the Sunday morning service. Anyone who thinks that a pastor should, in the brief window of time available to him to instruct his flock, waste even a minute of it on politics, is in my opinion an idiot.