Wednesday, July 11, 2007

A Pledge I'd Like Every Christian Leader to Make

I promise not to endorse any political candidate, platform, or party in the 2008 election cycle. I promise instead to use my influence and my recognized position of leader to pursue the mission of the Church, making disciples for Jesus Christ.

This is a pledge which I make as a Christian leader. It's one which I wish every Christian leader in the United States would make.

In 1979, Jerry Fallwell founded the Moral Majority. Since that time a faction of Christians has gained a certain amount of political influence for their own particular agenda and, owing to their legalistic desire to force it down others' throats, the cause of Christ has been harmed immeasurably.

Another faction, most notably led by Jim Wallis of Sojourners magazine, has insisted that their brand of politics is Christian.

While the Christian Church must be committed to advocating justice for the poor, the victims of discrimination, the unborn, and others, our primary mission is to make disciples for Jesus Christ.

When we hold Jesus captive to particular philosophies, parties, or candidates, we're really guilty of a kind of idolatry in which we make Jesus over into our image.

In doing so, we also display a profound distrust toward Jesus, failing to believe that through things like service, witnessing, and worship in Jesus' Name, the Holy Spirit can transform people internally so that in their decision-making, including their political decision-making, they will be persuaded, rather than coerced, to do God's will.

In doing so, we further display an egotism in which we value our own political judgments over those of God.

By all means, Christians should be involved in the political process. We should also pray that God will show us how we should behave and believe politically.

But only in the most exceptional of circumstances does a Christian leader have the right to advocate a particular course of political action.

God isn't a Republican.

God isn't a Democrat.

As a Christian leader, I will not whittle the almighty God of the universe down to the level of political gadfly or a ward heeler. I will honor God as God. I will share the message of Jesus. I will pray that God will guide political leaders and make them open to that guidance. I will be an informed citizen, I will pray, and I will vote. But I will not publicly express a political opinion in 2008.

I have more important work to do.

What other Christian leaders would like to take this pledge with me?

[THANKS TO: Joe Gandelman of The Moderate Voice for linking to this post. Further thanks to Pastor Jeff of Conblogeration for linking to it. Jeff makes the pledge!]

[THANKS TO: EU-DIGEST for linking to this post.]


P_J said...


Well said, and right on target.

The only time I ever get close to politics in the pulpit is talking about social issues which God has addressed in the Bible. Even then, I don't tell people what the government ought to be doing, which party or candidate to support, or how to best achieve what God has said He cares about. I encourage people to vote as informed citizens and as Christians, but far be it from me to tell people what that looks like for them.

I gladly make the pledge with you.

Mark Daniels said...

As usual, well put, Jeff.


P_J said...


I've linked to this piece here. You might want to read Ruth Anne's interesting response. I think my comments on this weren't as clear as your original post.

Mark D. Roberts said...

I take the pledge. Right on, Mark

Matt Brown said...

Great post, Pastor Mark.