Is the Pulpit Political?

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Election years turn ordinary Americans into partisan hacks. Rational, calm discussion retreats. Politicians themselves make outlandish promises. They don’t just ask us to support their candidacy. They baptize their cause in sacred language. As Vice President Joe Biden, an outspoken advocate of same-sex marriage, told a group of gay activists last weekend, “You are freeing the soul of the American people.”

Such short-sighted passions also pervade our churches in election season and pressure pastors to turn their sermons into campaign speeches. So what is the proper relationship between the pulpit and politics? We turned in this video to three experienced pastors for a rousing discussion on a contested subject. Bill Kynes, senior pastor of Cornerstone Evangelical Free Church in Annandale, Virginia, has lived near Washington, D.C., for nearly 30 years. He laments how everything has become politicized and tells pastors they must speak prophetically but not necessarily politically about the issues facing our communities, states, nations, and world.

But Voddie Baucham, pastor of preaching at Grace Family Baptist Church in Spring, Texas, has no such fear of being seen as political, even as he seeks to avoid being taken captive by either political party. He stresses the pastor’s obligation to speak truth to power, regardless of the costs. Watch to learn how Mark Dever, senior pastor of Capitol Hill Baptist Church in Washington, D.C., blows up utopianism on the Right and Left among eager young politicos who visit his church. Apply his test if you’re among the many Christians who see political victory as their consuming goal.