Friday, May 05, 2017

1 Pastor's Response to Yesterday's Executive Order

Yesterday, over on Facebook, I posted this reaction to an executive order signed yesterday that promotes and legitimizes the exercise of political influence by churches and other religious entities.
As a Christian and a pastor, not to mention as an American, I am deeply disturbed by the executive order signed today. 
The Church is not a political institution, nor can one draw a straight line from Jesus and a set of political convictions. 
To push a political agenda in the name of the God revealed in Jesus Christ is to take God's name in vain. 
The mission of the Church is to make disciples, bringing transformation and new life to all who believe. 
Churches that seek votes rather than pursuing Christ's great commission are faithless.
Church political engagement is also ineffectual because transformed lives can't be legislated or coerced. 
People and societies can only be transformed as a result of the work of God in the lives of people who voluntarily believe in and follow Christ. 
This is not a political statement. It's a plea for the Church to refrain from dishonoring Christ through political activity. 
This executive order is bad for the Church and bad for America.
I later added these comments to the post, as it appeared on a page frequented by colleagues:
We [as Christians] know that the world finds the gospel of Christ offensive.

But political activism by the Church makes Christianity odious to non-believers for the wrong reasons.

This order will encourage those who undertake political activity in Jesus' name to extend their activities, harming the spread of the gospel.

Any time the Church receives special treatment from the State, the Church's proclamation of Christ is hurt.
[Blogger Mark Daniels is pastor of Living Water Lutheran Church in Centerville, Ohio.]

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