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Shepherd the Vote

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If I profess with loudest voice and clearest exposition every portion of the truth of God except that little point which the world and the Devil are at that moment attacking, I am not confessing Christ, however boldly I may be professing Christ. Where the battle rages, there the loyalty of the soldier is proved, and to be steady on all the battlefield besides, is mere flight and disgrace if he flinches at that point.

—Martin Luther

Pulpits are under Divine imperative to preach the whole counsel of God which encompasses any teaching that agrees with Scripture and inures to the benefit of God’s people. Shrinking back from this exacting standard brings blood-guilt on the messenger.

Near the end of his third missionary journey, during a stopover in the ancient Greek city of Miletus, Paul, who was hastening to reach Jerusalem by Pentecost, sent for the elders of Ephesus roughly miles 60 away, to join him in Miletus where he would pour out his heart in a farewell message, warning them to carefully watch over the flock and remain vigilant against false teaching:

For I know this, that after my departing shall grievous wolves enter in among you, not sparing the flock. Also of your own selves shall men arise, speaking perverse things, to draw away disciples after them. (Acts 20:29-30)

Paul also stressed the importance of preaching the entirety of God’s counsel, insinuating that blood-guilt would accrue to teaching that “shuns” anything therein:

I kept back nothing that was profitable unto you, but have shewed you, and have taught you publicly, and from house to house, testifying both to the Jews, and also to the Greeks, repentance toward God, and faith toward our Lord Jesus Christ…. Wherefore I take you to record this day, that I am pure from the blood of all men. For I have not shunned to declare unto you all the counsel of God. (Acts 20:20-27)

Blood-guilt is a serious business, suggesting that the whole counsel of God is not to be trifled with by those called to preach it. It is also a costly enterprise as evidenced by Jesus’ propensity to shed enthusiastic crowds until by the end of His earthly ministry He had been reduced to cross-examining the tiny entourage of twelve that He’d started out with—“Will you also go away?”

The Greek verb translated “shunned” in Acts 20:27, is translated “draw back” in Hebrews 10:38:

Now the just shall live by faith: but if any man draw back, my soul shall have no pleasure in him.

Too many pulpits try to gauge the receptivity of God’s people to certain topics without due consideration of the Holy Spirit’s power to “guide them into all truth.” (John 16:13) This kind of presumption can lead to “shunning” elements of God’s counsel that He wants His people to hear. Willfully preaching around any part of the Canon of Scripture is a sin of omission. Paul preached knowing that his wasn’t the prerogative to choose what his hearers were or were not ready to hear. He preached the whole counsel of God as though his eternal welfare depended on it, and it did. The apostle’s claim that diligence to preach the whole counsel of God had cleared him of blood-guilt, (v. 26) was an allusion to the warning that God gave to Ezekiel upon commissioning the prophet to carry His message to an obstinate House of Israel:

Son of man, I have made thee a watchman unto the house of Israel: therefore hear the word at my mouth, and give them warning from me. When I say unto the wicked, Thou shalt surely die; and thou givest him not warning, nor speakest to warn the wicked from his wicked way, to save his life; the same wicked man shall die in his iniquity; but his blood will I require at thine hand. Yet if thou warn the wicked, and he turn not from his wickedness, nor from his wicked way, he shall die in his iniquity; but thou hast delivered thy soul. Again, When a righteous man doth turn from his righteousness, and commit iniquity, and I lay a stumbling-block before him, he shall die: because thou hast not given him warning, he shall die in his sin, and his righteousness which he hath done shall not be remembered; but his blood will I require at thine hand. Nevertheless if thou warn the righteous man, that the righteous sin not, and he doth not sin, he shall surely live, because he is warned; also thou hast delivered thy soul. (Ezekiel 2:18-21)

In 1973, I bowed the knee to Jesus Christ, inviting Him to be my Lord and savior. Shortly thereafter I attended a Pentecostal church with the woman who had introduced me to Jesus. During the service something weird and unfamiliar occurred that might have shipwrecked this Catholic-reared young man’s new-found faith. A man in the congregation began speaking in a foreign language. The room fell silent and then someone else spoke out in English what seemed to be a response to the first interrupter. My first thought was that I’d stumbled into a cult meeting and should discreetly exit. In the middle of that thought, the Holy Spirit impressed upon me that what I had just witnessed was of God and that I should go with it. I would later understand from studying the Bible that I had witnessed ere the spiritual gifts of speaking in tongues and the interpretation of tongues that day. Evidently, that church hadn’t put a muzzle on the sons of Issachar to “protect” the uninitiated like me, yet I somehow got through it by the grace of God.

The whole counsel of God is not inaccessible or obscure. It includes every word in the Bible. In the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus affirmed the “Law and the Prophets” as the council of God, and indicated that a failure to accurately relate any part it to the lives of God’s people was a serious offense:

Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfill. For verily I say unto you, till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled. Whosoever therefore shall break one of these least commandments, and shall teach men so, he shall be called the least in the kingdom of heaven: but whosoever shall do and teach them, the same shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven. (Matthew 5:17-19)

An unwillingness to preach the whole counsel of God can go unnoticed for a period of time until exposed by a persistent failure or overt unwillingness to address certain topics deemed “controversial” or off-putting to sensibilities in the pew. It is sometimes couched in a concern for the souls of unbelievers who might be chased off by strong theological medicine on topics like abortion and homosexuality, and is often accompanied by an underlying overbearing concern for the bottom line. Churches that are highly-leveraged because of a building program or dependent on a hefty payroll to keep the operation up and running are particularly vulnerable to the temptation to avoid certain topics in the preacher’s rostrum.

Notwithstanding the obvious “risks” that accompany bold, unfettered preaching, the apostle’s warning stands—depriving God’s people of any element of the truth leaves them vulnerable to the type of deception that he graphically portrayed in his farewell message to the elders at Ephesus:

For I know this, that after my departing shall grievous wolves enter in among you, not sparing the flock. Also of your own selves shall men arise, speaking perverse things, to draw away disciples after them. (Acts 20:29-30)

A good example of preaching that would benefit God’s people, were it not so often avoided like the plague by American pulpits, is biblical instruction on the meaning and purpose of government, and Christian citizens’ obligation to vote and engage elected representatives in ways that give legs to the type of corporate prayer for leaders that Paul instructed Timothy to institute in the local church. Both activities reap “quiet and peaceable living in all godliness and honesty” or, in in the language of the Constitution, “the Blessings of Liberty.”

I exhort therefore, that, first of all, supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks, be made for all men; For kings, and for all that are in authority; that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and honesty. For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Saviour. (1 Timothy 2:1-3)

Since the benefit of corporate prayer for government is “good and acceptable in the sight of God our Savior,” would not teaching God’s people how to improve their spiritual and temporal estate support the same objective and therefore be included in the whole counsel of God? Would it not be incumbent upon clergy to exhort their flocks to carry out their civic duty in a manner that graces citizens of the kingdom of God and is most likely to facilitate their own happiness and spiritual advancement? Is it acceptable that large numbers of evangelicals in America pray “Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven” on Sundays, and then go into voting booths across the Fruited Plain on a Tuesday and contravene their own prayer by voting themselves tyrants, or its passive equivalent, not voting at all?

The idea that clergy, who weigh in on the most important and intimate areas of parishioners’ lives, should somehow be prohibited from weighing in on electoral politics, is almost as absurd as the jurisprudential invention of an “inviolable wall of separation” between Church and state, one of the most brilliant and effective political heists ever perpetrated on the American people. If the Founders did believe in a wall of separation, it would have only prevented government from intruding on the Church.

Research has consistently shown that less than half of the 60 to 80 million evangelicals in America are registered to vote, and of those who are, about half will show up at the polls on November 4, 2014 to vote in the Mid-Term Election. Much is riding on this election, not the least of which is Republican control of the Senate to impede the ongoing “fundamental mutilation” of the United States of America, a transformation that is increasingly exposing the American people to existential threats, two of the most fatal being Political Islam and its biological equivalent, the Ebola virus.

If not invoked by the pulpit, how will God’s people acquire the moral conviction that compels them to steward the hard-won freedoms passed down from previous generations? The Church in America has in its hands the power to promote its own and the general welfare of the society of its sojourn here on earth, by fulfilling the simplest and least burdensome of all civic duties—voting. By not voting, or voting in ignorance, believers accelerate their own inevitable reduction under despotism.

The outcome of the November 4, 2014 Mid-Term Election could well determine the fate of religious freedom in America for the foreseeable future. If Republicans fail to gain control of the U.S. Senate, Barack Obama’s fundamental mutilation of the United States of America will not only continue, but accelerate, effectively driving the final nail in Liberty’s coffin. Without a Republican majority in the Senate to impede this Imperial President’s disdain for the Constitution, he will spend his last two years in office putting the finishing touches on his vision of government of, by and for Progressive elites, leaving “We the People” on the outside looking in.

Pastors, please shepherd the vote in your church. If I can be of assistance in any way, please let me know by email at rev@brr-va.com. Please include your contact information and I will be more than happy contact you.



 

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