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Politics, the Church, and Abortion

As a Pastor I’m relatively reserved when it comes to making political statements, especially from the pulpit.

I have my reasons. To state it most concisely, I believe that the mission of the church is to make disciples through the proclamation of the gospel, the preaching and teaching of scripture, and the administration of the sacraments (Matthew 28:18-20). The church, as an institution, is to devote itself to the furtherance of the Kingdom of God. Pastors, accordingly, have this charge: “Preach the word; be ready in season and out of season; reprove, rebuke, and exhort, with complete patience and teaching.” (2 Timothy 4:2, ESV) It is shame when Pastors loose sight of this task and exchange it for another (perhaps political activism). I’m a Pastor. I’m a minister (servant) of the gospel. Therefore I am concerned to give attention to, and place emphasis upon those things which coincide with my calling and the mission of the church.

It would be a mistake, however, to assume that I, as an individual, am unconcerned with politics. It would also be a mistake to assume that I, as a Pastor, am unconcerned with how you, as Members of Emmaus Christian Fellowship, live within the political realm.

As individual Christians you and I live in two Kingdoms simultaneously. We are at once citizens of the Kingdom of God and citizens of a kingdom of this earth. God is Lord of both. He has ordained both. He has given specific responsibility and authority to each to fulfill particular purposes. The Kingdom of God is eternal; the kingdoms of this earth will pass away at the consummation. As Christians we are to live in both of these spheres, giving proper respect to each (Romans 13), all to the glory of God, who is Lord over all.

The gospel informs, not only our life in relation to the Kingdom of God, but also our life in the common kingdom. My job as a Pastor is to preach and teach the scriptures. My hope and expectation is that you would then take the principles clearly taught in scripture and apply them to the great variety of political issues that arise in our day. In that sense I suppose everything I say from the pulpit is in fact political!

When I say that I am relatively reserved when it comes to making political statements, I have specific and authoritative statements in mind: “Vote for this candidate!”, “Vote against that proposition!”, “See things this way or that!”

Why am I am typically silent when it comes to speaking boldly in this way? In short, it is about protecting Christian liberty – it’s about honoring your freedom in Christ.

I would argue that most of the political issues we face are far from black and white – far from cut and dry. It is possible for Christians to agree on the gospel, and yet disagree on how to best apply the principles of the gospel to the political circumstances that are always before us.

The scriptures simply do not say, “thou shalt vote for proposition forty-whatever”, or “vote for Mr. So-and-so”. But they do provide us with principles – moral guidelines – a worldview. Christians are to prayerfully, carefully, and winsomely, apply the principles contained within scripture to the issues of our day. The way you vote, and the way that you engage politically, is a matter of Christian liberty.

That said, some of the issues of our day are more clear than others.

January 22nd marks the 42nd anniversary of the Supreme Court’s decision to legalize abortion in this country.

The scriptures speak most clearly to this issue:

Genesis 1:27: “So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them.”

Job 10:8–12: “Your hands fashioned and made me… You clothed me with skin and flesh, and knit me together with bones and sinews. You have granted me life and steadfast love, and your care has preserved my spirit.”

Psalm 139:13–16: “For you formed my inward parts; you knitted me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Wonderful are your works; my soul knows it very well. My frame was not hidden from you, when I was being made in secret, intricately woven in the depths of the earth. Your eyes saw my unformed substance; in your book were written, every one of them, the days that were formed for me, when as yet there was none of them.”

Deuteronomy 5:17: “You shall not murder.”

Matthew 22:39: “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.”

Matthew 23:23: “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you tithe mint and dill and cumin, and have neglected the weightier matters of the law: justice and mercy and faithfulness. These you ought to have done, without neglecting the others.”

On January 24th, 2015 Christians from this community will come to stand against this great injustice. If you are so inclined, please come to Gibbel Park (Florida and Kirby) at 10am for a brief meting before participants carry a total of 3,000 crosses to Prince of Peace Lutheran Church (on Sanderson and Menlo) in remembrance of the 3,000 innocents who die by abortion each day in the United States. The crosses will then be displayed on the church property. RSVP here.

That Christians should view abortion as a great evil is clear from scripture. How Christians respond to this great injustice is a matter of Christian liberty. May I encourage you to pray, act, and vote with wisdom and discernment, and always in love.

In His Grace,

Pastor Joe

Posted in News, Theology, Politics, Joe Anady, Posted by Joe. Comments Off on Politics, the Church, and Abortion

Supreme Court’s Ruling on DOMA

Below are a few links for those of you interested in learning more about the Supreme Court’s decision to overturn DOMA and how it might impact the church in the future.

I won’t be devoting any pulpit time to this issue (at least not at this time). We will continue with our sermon series on prayer this week. I can’t think of anything better to do than to pray:

“Our Father in heaven,

Hollowed be your name.
Your kingdom come,
your will be done,
on earth as it is in heaven.

Give us this day our daily bread,
and forgive us our debts
as we also have forgiven our debters.
And lead us not into temptation,
but deliver us from evil.”

After that, I will take you though a short sermon series on evangelism because, once we pray, I can’t think of anything better to do than learn to relate to others (most likely those who see things different than we see them), and to lovingly and winsomely share the gospel of Jesus Christ with them in all of its power and fullness.

My hope is that we will do this while trusting in his sovereign power.

For His Kingdom,


Why Gay Marriage is Good and Bad for the Church by Trevin Wax

9 Things You Should Know About the Supreme Court’s Same-Sex Marriage Cases by Joe Carter

Russell Moore on the Supreme Court’s DOMA Decision – Audio

Voting as Though Not Voting

One of the elders of Emmaus Christian Fellowship, Kris Vanderschuit, recently posted an encouragement to the people of Emmaus to maintain a proper Christian perspective during this election season. I appreciated his words and the resource he provided, and so I am sharing his thoughts here:

As most are certainly very aware, the elections are “just around the corner” (Nov 6th to be exact). I ask us to consider, think on, meditate and pray, concerning this timely and important event and the issues that are surly tied to those things and people we cast our vote to.

In the coming days we will be providing some “food for thought” on the subject of voting as a Christian and endeavoring to offer some good, sound information for you to consider and take action upon. Just as we are learning in the book Spiritual Disciplines….simply to read the Word alone and walk away is insufficient for growth and maturity to Godliness, we must act on the Word itself, if we are to grow spiritually. So to let us consider the issues carefully and then ACT.

The first item I would like us to consider is this blog post by pastor John Piper from 2008. Please read it over and think on the scripture and ideas he is suggesting for the Christian concerning our attitude twords politics and voting in general.

Let Christians Vote As Though They Were Not Voting
October 22, 2008 | by John Piper | Scripture: 1 Corinthians 7:29–31 | Topic: Government

Voting is like marrying and crying and laughing and buying. We should do it, but only as if we were not doing it. That’s because “the present form of this world is passing away” and, in God’s eyes, “the time has grown very short.” Here’s the way Paul puts it:

The appointed time has grown very short. From now on, let those who have wives live as though they had none, and those who mourn as though they were not mourning, and those who rejoice as though they were not rejoicing, and those who buy as though they had no goods, and those who deal with the world as though they had no dealings with it. For the present form of this world is passing away. (1 Corinthians 7:29–31)

Let’s take these one at a time and compare them to voting.

1. “Let those who have wives live as though they had none.”

This doesn’t mean move out of the house, don’t have sex, and don’t call her Honey. Earlier in this chapter Paul says, “The husband should give to his wife her conjugal rights” (1 Corinthians 7:3). He also says to love her the way Christ loved the church, leading and providing and protecting (Ephesians 5:25–30). It means this: Marriage is momentary. It’s over at death, and there is no marriage in the resurrection. Wives and husbands are second priorities, not first. Christ is first. Marriage is for making much of him.

It means: If she is exquisitely desirable, beware of desiring her more than Christ. And if she is deeply disappointing, beware of being hurt too much. This is temporary—only a brief lifetime. Then comes the never-disappointing life which is life indeed.

So it is with voting. We should do it. But only as if we were not doing it. Its outcomes do not give us the greatest joy when they go our way, and they do not demoralize us when they don’t. Political life is for making much of Christ whether the world falls apart or holds together.

2. “Let those who mourn [do so] as though they were not mourning.”

Christians mourn with real, deep, painful mourning, especially over losses—loss of those we love, loss of health, loss of a dream. These losses hurt. We cry when we are hurt. But we cry as though not crying. We mourn knowing we have not lost something so valuable we cannot rejoice in our mourning. Our losses do not incapacitate us. They do not blind us to the possibility of a fruitful future serving Christ. The Lord gives and takes away. But he remains blessed. And we remain hopeful in our mourning.

So it is with voting. There are losses. We mourn. But not as those who have no hope. We vote and we lose, or we vote and we win. In either case, we win or lose as if we were not winning or losing. Our expectations and frustrations are modest. The best this world can offer is short and small. The worst it can offer has been predicted in the book of Revelation. And no vote will hold it back. In the short run, Christians lose (Revelation 13:7). In the long run, we win (Revelation 21:4).

3. “Let those who rejoice [do so] as though they were not rejoicing.”

Christians rejoice in health (James 5:13) and in sickness (James 1:2). There are a thousand good and perfect things that come down from God that call forth the feeling of happiness. Beautiful weather. Good friends who want to spend time with us. Delicious food and someone to share it with. A successful plan. A person helped by our efforts.

But none of these good and beautiful things can satisfy our soul. Even the best cannot replace what we were made for, namely, the full experience of the risen Christ (John 17:24). Even fellowship with him here is not the final and best gift. There is more of him to have after we die (Philippians 1:21–23)—and even more after the resurrection. The best experiences here are foretastes. The best sights of glory are through a mirror dimly. The joy that rises from these previews does not and should not rise to the level of the hope of glory. These pleasures will one day be as though they were not. So we rejoice remembering this joy is a foretaste, and will be replaced by a vastly better joy.

So it is with voting. There are joys. The very act of voting is a joyful statement that we are not under a tyrant. And there may be happy victories. But the best government we get is a foreshadowing. Peace and justice are approximated now. They will be perfect when Christ comes. So our joy is modest. Our triumphs are short-lived—and shot through with imperfection. So we vote as though not voting.

4. “Let those who buy [do so] as though they had no goods.”

Let Christians keep on buying while this age lasts. Christianity is not withdrawal from business. We are involved, but as though not involved. Business simply does not have the weight in our hearts that it has for many. All our getting and all our having in this world is getting and having things that are not ultimately important. Our car, our house, our books, our computers, our heirlooms—we possess them with a loose grip. If they are taken away, we say that in a sense we did not have them. We are not here to possess. We are here to lay up treasures in heaven.

This world matters. But it is not ultimate. It is the stage for living in such a way to show that this world is not our God, but that Christ is our God. It is the stage for using the world to show that Christ is more precious than the world.

So it is with voting. We do not withdraw. We are involved—but as if not involved. Politics does not have ultimate weight for us. It is one more stage for acting out the truth that Christ, and not politics, is supreme.

5. “Let those who deal with the world [do so] as though they had no dealings with it.”

Christians should deal with the world. This world is here to be used. Dealt with. There is no avoiding it. Not to deal with it is to deal with it that way. Not to weed your garden is to cultivate a weedy garden. Not to wear a coat in Minnesota is to freeze—to deal with the cold that way. Not to stop when the light is red is to spend your money on fines or hospital bills and deal with the world that way. We must deal with the world.

But as we deal with it, we don’t give it our fullest attention. We don’t ascribe to the world the greatest status. There are unseen things that are vastly more precious than the world. We use the world without offering it our whole soul. We may work with all our might when dealing with the world, but the full passions of our heart will be attached to something higher—Godward purposes. We use the world, but not as an end in itself. It is a means. We deal with the world in order to make much of Christ.

So it is with voting. We deal with the system. We deal with the news. We deal with the candidates. We deal with the issues. But we deal with it all as if not dealing with it. It does not have our fullest attention. It is not the great thing in our lives. Christ is. And Christ will be ruling over his people with perfect supremacy no matter who is elected and no matter what government stands or falls. So we vote as though not voting.

By all means vote. But remember: “The world is passing away along with its desires, but whoever does the will of God abides forever” (1 John 2:17).

Voting with you, as though not voting,

Pastor John

Love to hear your thoughts on Pastor John’s words… and this topic in general.

~ Kris

"Him we proclaim,
warning everyone and teaching everyone with all wisdom,
that we may present everyone mature in Christ."
(Colossians 1:28, ESV)

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