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Last night, Oct 13, was a lively discussion about Preachers & Politics – I’ve included my closing comments below.

To get you prepared for next week – we will be discussing a recent article in the Georgia Baptist paper, The Christian Index – entitled “Poll finds Unbelievers know the most about Belief.”   The poll concluded that Agnostics, Atheists, Jews, and Mormons know more about beliefs than “Mainline” Christians.  Surely, that can’t be true at Northlake!  So next week bring your #2 pencils and we will take the Beliefs quiz to see how we score.

Should Pastors Preach on Politics?

 -Dr.John MacArthur says “NO – America’s moral decline is a spiritual problem, not a political one, and its solution is the gospel, not partisan politics.”  But before we say “AMEN” and only preach John 3:16 while our Nation goes to destruction, please consider the following:

 -“Power tends to corrupt, and absolute power corrupts absolutely.”     Lord Acton

 -Prophets of the Old Testament were sent by God to be the conscience of the Nation and to check the power of the King.

-Examples – Samuel to Saul, Nathan to David, Elijah to Ahab & Jezebel,     Isaiah to Hezekiah, Jeremiah to Zedekiah, Daniel to Nebuchadnezzar, etc. For some Kings, the Prophet was their Best Friend –  for others he was their worst nightmare!

 -Even in NT– John, the Baptist, Preached to Herod

            Paul preached to King Agrippa & Caesar

      Jesus preached against the Most Powerful Political Party in Israel at the  time – the Pharisees.  Mat 23 “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites!

 -Early American History – King of England began oppressing the colonists with Rules, Regulations, Tariffs, Taxation enforced by British soldiers.     British General Thomas Gage – referred to preachers as the “Black Regiment” because these pastors who wore black suits encouraged their  congregations to Pray for revolutionary leaders, to Persuade men to volunteer for the Continental Army, and kept the people Stirred Up to support the Revolution and Resist the British.

 -Baptist Preacher John Leland– “lobbied” the Founding Fathers like Washington, Madison, & Jefferson – to include Religious Liberty in the Bill of Rights – 1st Amendment   “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of  religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.”

 -This Freedom was freely exercised by pastors to preach on ANY topic that the Lord laid on their heart until:

 -1954 –Senator (Later President)Lyndon Johnson sought revenge against a non- profit group who opposed his re-election. So once elected, he introduced an IRS  tax code revision banning all non-profit organizations from being    involved in “political activity”. A violation can result in the revocation of the  organization’s tax-exempt status. Since Churches are non-profit organizations – we were caught in the same net.

Since then, in every Election Cycle, Pastors get mail from all kinds of organizations – from the SBC, to Americans United for Separation of     Church & State, reminding us that we are allowed to preach about issues     and to      encourage people to vote. We just can NOT say who to vote FOR! This is about as logical as telling an Army officer to teach his soldiers how   to shoot – but he cannot tell them where to point their weapons!    Therefore, many Churches and Pastors have been:

 -Silent for the last 50 years – while Liberals have taken the Political “High Ground” and Christians have lost the culture war.  

 –2008– America elected its first “openly” Socialist Government with 69.5 million Votes.

 -WARNING! – Historically, Socialism has NOT been “Kind” to Christians!

 -If we do not preach Politics from our Pulpits NOW – we may soon be preaching it from our Basements and Barns as “Underground” Churches.

 -Final Thought – One day, after this life is over, we Preachers will have to stand before God and give account of our Ministry (2Co 5:10). And perhaps the Lord will say:

            “Back in the 2008 & 2010 elections, when people were voting for Socialist Politicians with Anti-Christian Agendas – you were being what Isaiah (56:10) called a “dumb dog that did not bark.” 

                                Why didn’t you Warn MY People?”

       What will we say? 

             “Well, LORD, I was afraid that my church would lose it’s TAX EXEMPT STATUS!”

       And the LORD will say – “I want to introduce you to some folks

                                -This Disciple was Imprisoned for Preaching the Gospel

                                -This Woman was Tortured simply because she was a Christian

                                -This Man was Burned at the Stake for Translating the Bible

                                -This Pastor was Hanged in a Nazi Concentration Camp because he dared oppose Hitler

                                -And I was Crucified for Preaching against the Sins of My Generation

                                                NOW ONE MORE TIME –

                                                                                What is this TAX EXEMPTION THING that you were SO worried about?

Matthew 5:13 ” You are the salt of the earth; but if the salt loses its flavor, how shall it be seasoned? It is then good for nothing but to be thrown out and trampled underfoot by men.