Today I received a letter from Americans United for Separation of Church and State. It advised me that while our ministry “may address ballot referenda and engage in other forms of issue advocacy”, we “may not use congregational resources to advise people to vote for or against specific candidates for public office.”
I was then informed that the IRS has recently formed a specific wing (PARC) “to investigate allegations against houses of worship for potentially unlawful forms of campaign intervention.”
These unlawful practices include the distribution of voter guides.
“Did not we straitly command you that you should not teach in this name?” – Acts 5:28.
Oh Will, some might say, no one’s telling you you’re not allowed to talk about Jesus. Don’t make this into something it’s not.
But I’m not.
The Good News of Jesus Christ means there’s a problem. That problem is sin. Your sin. My sin. That which lacerated the Son of God’s body, ripping and tearing away flesh. That which nailed my Jesus to a cruel cross to bear the wrath of a perfect God who won’t ignore the vile selfishness that inflicts so much pain in and upon those He created.
Your selfishness. My selfishness.
The Gospel only makes sense when there is an understanding of my wickedness which separates me from God.
And that means churches talk about sin. It means we address wicked policies and wicked people. It means we address the adultery, lying, theft, hatred, gossip, pride, hypocrisy and folly of republicans, democrats, independents, congressman, presidents, businessmen, fathers and wives.
“We ought to obey God rather than men.” – Acts 5:29.
This isn’t about politics. Politics doesn’t change lives.
This is about the Great Commission. We’re called to seek and save Americans, not America. To go out into all the world and make disciples, by preaching the awesome news that Jesus died for our wickedness, and to teach those who receive Him how to have a deepening relationship with Him.
When I read about the life of Stephen, and his martyrdom at the hands of the political leaders of his day, I admire his willingness to die in order to spread the love of the One who died for him. I often look at my Christian life and feel very small in comparison to him.
And as such I’m so thankful today “to be counted worthy to suffer shame for His name.” That the church I serve at has stood for truth faithfully enough to receive a threat. I’m grateful my God is enthroned on high, far above the politics of man. I’m thankful that He’s more than able to give the necessary courage to speak the truth in love come what may.
“And the Lord shall deliver me from every evil work, and will preserve me unto his heavenly kingdom: to whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen.” – 2 Timothy 4:2.
Have you considered lately that trials and troubles are evidence that the enemy sees you’re doing something right? Take a moment today to thank God that your life has been counted worthy to register on the enemy’s radar :)