Time will tell whether the unconstitutional action of issuing subpoenas of sermons by Houston, Texas Mayor Annise Parker will become a watershed moment in the history of our nation. For sure it further demonstrated how America is flirting with tyranny and moral bankruptcy. A change in direction is needed and perhaps it will serve as a wake-up call to the Church to get involved in politics with renewed vigor.
Before I go any further, let me offer this warning: God’s kingdom is not of this world, and it will never be ushered in through political power. As Glenn Sunshine notes in his book Why You Think the Way You Do, “politics is downstream from culture, and while Christians can and should be involved in the political process, we must never forget that in this world the kingdom can only be built from the transformation of lives through a personal relationship with Jesus Christ.
That said, sin exists and not everyone is going to believe in Christ. Therefore, we must not let their hostility toward the gospel deter us from being involved, pushing back on darkness and working to redeem all that God has created. For too many decades the Church has accepted the outlandish idea that it is not to be involved in politics. There are a number of reasons for this, but without getting into philosophical and theological complicatedness, let’s just say that too many in our culture adhere to the lie that truth is dead. Thus, man makes it up as he goes. Such a notion has infected our judicial philosophy, enabling activist judges to create laws as they see fit – certainly not based on an originalist interpretation of the U.S. or state constitutions. The same-sex marriage debate is the latest example. There is nothing in the 14th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution that establishes homosexual “marriage,” yet judges claim to have recently discovered one after 235 years of jurisprudence! Being subjected to such behavior is our own fault. We elected the politicians, who in turn, put the judges on their benches and allow them to run the country too often like tyrants without invoking the “separation of powers” that our democratic republic demands if it is to function in promoting freedom.
So what are “We the people” to do? Christian political activist David Lane, who for several years has been leading the nationwide “Pastors and Pews” events in order to educate pastors while urging them to get their churches involved in public policy matters, has an idea worth considering. He is praying for God to call 63,000 evangelical pastors (I do not know why that number) to begin praying to discern if God is calling them to run for public office in 2016.
He is planning an event to draw attention to the idea. In fact, he is asking for pastors called to run for public office to come to Louisiana Jan. 23-24 for a special meeting featuring, among others, Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal, a devout Christian, and U.S. Sen. James Lankford, R-Okla. Lankford, a Southern Baptist, once ran the mammoth Falls Creek Camp for the Oklahoma Baptist Convention.
“Imagine 1,000 evangelical pastors in 2016 pursuing the call to run for city council, school board, country commissioner, mayor or Congress in 18 states,” Lane theorizes. “Now, imagine that each of those candidates has 500 faithful volunteers. That’s a grassroots movement at the precinct level of 500,000 people laboring for the re-establishment of a Christian culture in America.”
This would not be first time Christian pastors have gotten involved in politics and it certainly would not be a first for Southern Baptists. Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee, former Arkansas U.S. Sen. Tim Hutchinson, retiring U.S. Congressman Ron Lewis, R-Ky., and Missouri State Rep. John McCaherty, pastor, First Baptist Church, Murphy, are just few of the Southern Baptist pastors who have served — or are serving — in public office. Christian leaders have been involved in politics all along — from Joseph in the book of Genesis, who was the highest official after Pharaoh, King of Egypt, and Daniel who served in the administration of the Babylonian King Nebuchadnezzar and Abraham Kuyper, a Dutch Reformed pastor who served as prime minister of The Netherlands in the early 20th century to Missouri’s Republican U.S. Sen. John Danforth, an Episcopal priest, and Democrat Emmanuel Cleaver of Kansas City, a United Methodist pastor who now serves in Congress. The list could go on and on.
I agree with Lane. We need our pastors and other convictional Christians to run for office. It will not usher in the kingdom of God, but it could go a long way toward passing laws that honor the Creator and promote His goodness. That would be the best government for everybody.