Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Preaching is not the place for politics

None of us, if we are Christians, whatever our politics, should want to hear them preached from the pulpit. Preachers have much more important things to tell us about, and there is great danger of mistaking the political passions of the moment for matters of ultimate importance. Russell D. Moore on "Jeremiah Wright & the Conservatives Who Preach Just Like Him":
But one does not have to be a political radical to bypass Jesus at church. White, upwardly mobile, pro-America preachers preach liberation theology all the time, with all the fervor of Jeremiah Wright, if not the anger.

Just take a look at the best-selling authors in Christian bookstores. Listen for a minute or two to the parade of preachers on Christian television and radio. What are they promising? Your best life now. What are they preaching about? How to be authentic. How to make good career choices. How Hillary Clinton fits into Bible prophecy.

How many times have we heard conservative preachers use the Bible in exactly the same way that Jeremiah Wright uses it? Wright uses the Scripture as a background to get to what he thinks is the real issue, psychological or economic or political liberation from American oppression. Others use the Scripture as a background to get to what they think is the real issue, psychological or economic or political liberation through the American Dream.

Either way, Jesus is a way to get to what the preacher deems really important, be it national health care or “your best life now.” Either way, the end result is hell for the hearer who accepts this gospel, regardless of whether God damns or blesses America. ....

In both cases, the preachers fit Jesus into a preexisting storyline. They did not call upon their hearers to find themselves in the storyline of the crucified, buried, and resurrected Jesus. For them, Jesus is a mascot, just for different agendas, none of which will last a minute past the Judgment Seat. ....

Where anything other than Christ is preached, there is no truth offered, and thus, there is no freedom proclaimed. There may be shouts of affirmation or silently nodding heads, there may be left-wing politics or right-wing politics, there may be culturally liberal psychotherapy or culturally conservative psychotherapy, there may be almost anything people think they want, but there’s nothing but judgment in the air. [more]

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