In the Sept-Oct 2004 issue of Modern Reformation magazine, there is an interesting
interview with Michael Cromartie, Vice-President, [The] Ethics and Public Policy Center.
He talks about Christians engaging the public square and how we should be in it
without being a wing of one political party or the other. He says,
"One way to do it is to be sure that when we work in the public arena we make appeals to the common good as opposed to just making appeals to fellow believers."
He continues by saying that it is the pastors duty to encourage the parishioners to become engaged as citizens BUT it is NOT the role of pastor to tell people how to vote. In other words, the role of the pastor is to encourage the laity to do the work of the kingdom. He says that one part of that work is political, but not all of it.
He makes the point that many of the things that we are working for is not only good for believers but for the whole community.
"When Christians start saying there is a Christian view for everything, they are speaking to things that Scripture does not address. We must learn to go from Scriptural principals to certain policies and we reach conclusions on which honorable people of strong Christian faith may actually disagree."
He points out that When a church tries to speak for a political party it compromises the church's unique identity.
"We should stop talking about the church this and the church that. We should be talking about individual Christian citizens exercising their rights in the public arena. All of our churches, no matter how conservative or liberal the are, are full of people with diverse opinions about politics. A pastor should never assume that everybody in the sanctuary is of the same persuasion."
Then he says what so many of us bloggers have been saying for the past weeks:
"Turning the kingdom of God into a partisan political activity either on the right or the left weakens the witness of the church to the gospel.
Yes....AMEN to that!
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