I have wrestled, and am still wrestling, with how we as Christians should address political issues in church. Though I have written here before about The Seduction of Political Idolatry, and have been open about my general wariness of the dangers of mixing politics and church, honesty forces me to acknowledge that there are many clearly biblical and gospel-related matters that have political repercussions. If we were to make anything remotely related to politics taboo in church, we would necessarily be taking a reductionistic and skewed approach to the biblical message.
I believe that John Piper, in the video clip below, does as good a job as any I have heard to date at putting his finger on the problem with converting church into a political rally, and suggesting a biblically-balanced alternative.
I wonder, if the majority of conservative Christian leaders had heard and taken to heart what Piper shares here back in the 70s, when the Moral Majority came full swing, where we would be today in America. Would church members who can tell you the moral report card rating of every politician, but don’t know how to explain the gospel, be more gospel-focused? Would our churches be healthier? Would people in general be more open to hear the gospel and to look to the church for answers to the problems in their life? Would the overall spiritual and moral condition of the nation be better than it is today? I don’t know for sure–God, in His sovereignty, has his timing and plans for everything–but I’d like to think that we would be better off.
The video-clip is taken from a Q & A session with Christian law students at a meeting sponsored by the Alliance Defense Fund. If it works right, the video should be cued at the point in the Q & A session where the question I am discussing here comes up (36 min., 20 sec.). The question and Piper’s answer last about 5 minutes altogether.
The money quote: “My bent is to say that, to the degree that a pastor, for the gospel’s sake, becomes political, he probably in the long run, blunts his gospel power to transform culture.”