Continuing thoughts from my previous post, it is now my turn to weigh in regarding the involvement of the American church in the political process.
As God's chosen instrument, the Church does have a divine role to play in shaping the moral conscience of the state. It is right for the Church to stand up and speak words of truth, justice and wisdom to the moral questions of our time. We are obligated to raise our voices in defense of the values that the Bible upholds. For example, the Church ought to be the leading advocate for the sanctity of life in every discussion, not only in the abortion controversy, but also when looking at the AIDS pandemic, violence in Kenya, and the extreme lack of clean drinking in many parts of the world. God is the giver of all life; as His people, we should lead the way in protecting the value of it.
In recent years, however, it would seem that many within the Church have gotten so involved in the political process that one would wonder if their title should be changed from pastor to lobbyist. When listening to Christian radio, one who is unfamiliar with the Bible might assume that our Great Commission commanded us to "get the right people elected" rather than "make disciples of all nations." I find this trend troubling.
I also wonder how this looks to nonChristians. Of course, we are not to determine our beliefs based on a poll of what is acceptable to those outside our church, or those inside it for that matter. Our faith will often lead us to take unpopular stands in society. My concern for unbelievers is not whether or not they like the moral position the church takes; my concern is whether or not they believe we take our God-given call to make disciples seriously. If we spend more time talking about who we have to get elected than about our need to share the hope of Christ with the world, our true motivation is exposed. Can you really imagine Peter and Paul sitting around a fire saying, "If we can just hang in until Constantine is in office, everything will be ok"?
Political-action watch groups do serve a purpose. As participating citizens of the United States, many of us are helped by their work. I have no complaint against them. Yet, the Church has a higher calling than that. We have a God-given mission to carry out. We don't have the time or the resources to waste in secondary issues; we must remain mission-focused. We can offer the world much more than a candidate. We can offer the world Jesus.