Pastors Don’t Need To Enter Politics-They’re Already In It

My friend, theologian and scholar Peter Leithart, responded to my previous post, “Does a Pastor Running for Office Strike You as Bizzare?” with his own column in First Things, titled, Pastors Don’t Need To Enter Politics-They’re Already In It. 

I commend Leithart’s entire piece to you for your profit in reflecting on these important issues. That said, I’d like to continue this public conversation through a response.

Leithart wrote: “However effective his campaign is, it’s a strategic error and perhaps reflects a theological mistake. The premise seems to be that pastors must become politicians to influence the nation’s direction, and that in turn suggests that the power of civil institutions is the greater than all others.”

I don’t see my position necessarily as “pastors must become politicians”, per se, but that spiritual men and women must become the transmission agents to bring wisdom and righteousness-His Word-to the public square. Virtue is a key component of freedom.

Consider the words of Reverend John Wise (17th century), a man who never served in elective office, but was nevertheless a prominent political leader in Massachusetts. Living up to his last name, Wise stated that taxation without representation is tyranny” and that the “consent of the governed” was the foundation of government. Rising from the depths of his biblical and theological mind and heart, Wise preached (in both pulpit and public square) the all men are created equal.
On the other hand, many pastors did serve in political office. The Muhlenberg brothers, Abiel Foster, Benjamin Contee, Abraham Baldwin, and Paine Wingate-all in the first Congress. Others pastor-statesmen throughout those formative years included Revs. Joseph Montgomery, Hugh Williamson, James Manning, and John Zubly.America’s Christian heritage has been stolen. Even among pastors and political leaders, we have lost the moral objective of the Founder’s mission. Will the parishioner in the pew learn and act upon knowledge that the pastor is unaware of-or uninterested in?

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The Founders of the nation were clear in their Christ-driven motivation and mission. 

  • “We do hereby Dedicate this Land, and ourselves, to reach the People within these shores with the Gospel of Jesus Christ, and to raise up Godly generations after us, and with these generations take the Kingdom of God to all the earth. May this Covenant of Dedication remain to all generations, as long as this earth remains.” -Robert Hunt, Founder of the Jamestown colony
  • In the name of God for the advancement of the Christian faith.” -Mayflower Compact

I believe we must reestablish a clear objective to win the world for Christ. America’s greatest export must be returned to Jesus Christ, the Son of God and the Lord of Life. Truly, every Christian would rightly pray for “the advancement of the Christian faith.”

Americans at some point will awaken to the injustice done to America by the U.S. Supreme Court’s secularist “Opinions” in the last generation:

  • the removal of prayer and Bible from public schools
  • the legalization of killing babies in their mother’s womb
  • the legalization of homosexual marriage

Before long “The piercing arrow from God’s quiver” will open all eyes to the advantages of a Christian culture-a way of life stolen in 1963 by the false god of Secularism.

What would the eruption of a once-Christian people look like? Humble repentance.

King David said it best, “I have sinned against the Lord.” The words will be few, but the language of repentance will be clear.

As for an individual’s calling, may I humbly suggest that we are long overdue for bridging the false-divide between “lay” and “pastor”? I don’t mean to suggest that we eliminate the distinction, but can we not see them being a bit closer together than has been allowed in the previous several generations?

It has served me well to hear Oklahoma’s Senator-Elect James Lankford on this subject. Lankford, a student pastor for twenty-two years before the Lord called him to run for office in 2010, made this statement:

“I experienced a calling when I was a senior in high school, the calling was unique, but like yours in many ways, not unique at all. I didn’t understand what He was calling me to, I just understood that He was calling me to Himself, the exact same way the disciples were called. They weren’t called to be disciples, they were called to follow Him, that was their calling. And I am absolutely convinced that God does not call us to an occupation, He calls us to Himself, and then He assigns us the occupation when we follow Him. We get all worked up where He is calling us to be, to serve. Get worked up on who you have been called to be with. Who are you going to follow, on the way, while you are there.”

Christian friend, can we agree to pray to King Jesus to advance His Kingdom here in America? We long and need His grace to do what only God can do, but we also must listen to His call and obey His voice. May God be pleased, in our generation, to unite us around a common desire and determination to lead our nation once again to be known as a place for the Glory of God and the advancement of the Christian faith.”

Will a Rahab the Harlot or Gideon please make a stand?

The opinions expressed by columnists are their own and do not necessarily represent the views of Barb Wire.

David Lane
David lane is an evangelical activist, a conservative advocator and Founder of the American Renewal Project. He is working to restore America to her Judeo-Christian heritage and reestablish a Christian culture.

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