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Devotionals

NAR Pushing Pastors to Preach Politics and Why They're Wrong - Part One

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"5. It's not against the law to preach about political issues. It is a widespread myth that churches will lose their tax-exempt status if the pastor begins to speak about political issues. That is not true. In 1954, the IRS code was amended to prohibit pastors or churches from explicitly saying they support or oppose any individual political candidate by name. (This amendment was introduced by then-Sen. Lyndon B. Johnson, so this is often called the Johnson Amendment.) However, in the 66 years since this amendment was adopted, no church has ever lost its tax-exempt status on the basis of anything a pastor said in the pulpit. Clarification: In 1992, the IRS did revoke the tax-exempt determination letter they had sent to the Church at Pierce Creek in New York state, not because of anything the pastor had said in the pulpit, but because the church had taken out full-page ads opposing Bill Clinton in USA Today and The Washington Times. The IRS action was more symbolic than harmful to the church because church's tax-exempt status was not affected, and no donations lost their tax-exempt status. This is because, unlike other nonprofit organizations, churches are automatically tax-exempt organizations whether or not they have an IRS determination letter affirming that status. And the law in any case has never prohibited pastors or churches from taking positions on any moral or political issues that are part of an election campaign. In addition, many legal experts believe the IRS would lose if this issue ever came into a court of law, because restricting what any pastor can say is a violation of freedom of speech and freedom of religion, both of which are part of the First Amendment to the Constitution. These experts believe the IRS regulation is unconstitutional, and I think they are correct. Because of the particular status of tax law in the United States, such a law cannot be challenged in court until the IRS brings an action accusing someone of violating it. During the 2010s, a Christian legal advocacy group, the Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF), coordinated the efforts of hundreds of pastors who intentionally wrote sermons violating the Johnson Amendment by endorsing a candidate by name (such as Mitt Romney for president). The ADF then collected these sermons and sent them to the IRS, hoping that the IRS would charge some of these pastors with violating the Johnson Amendment so that they could finally have the amendment declared unconstitutional in a court of law. But the IRS did nothing about these sermons. Why? My personal opinion (and it is only that) is that the legal experts in the IRS decided there was too great a possibility that the courts would find that the Johnson Amendment, in telling pastors what they could and could not say, was unconstitutional because it was violating both freedom of religion and freedom of speech, which are First Amendment rights and have higher authority than any law passed by Congress. The Johnson amendment has never been repealed by Congress, but on May 4, 2017, President Trump signed an executive order directing the Department of the Treasury (which includes the IRS) not to target the tax-exempt status of the churches who favor or oppose specific political candidates." - Wayne Grudem

All of this is true and irrelevant. There are only two things of note. The first is that the current political messiah for Grudem did not repeal the Johnson Amendment. He merely punted the ball until he is out of office and while it has not been vigorously prosecuted through history that does not mean it never will. More to the point however is that a true pastor welcomes the Johnson Amendment. Any day that we preach the politics of man is a day we did not preach the gospel, which is the only thing we are supposed to preach. The second point here is that Grudem gives up the game when he admits that in 2012 the choice the church made was to vote for Mitt Romney. Now, Romney is a likable enough fellow, but he is also a member of a satanic cult. Mormonism was created by a pedophile heretic in the 1800s. It believes that Jesus and Satan are brothers and that God comes from another planet. 2012 is a microcosm of why the church should have nothing to do with politics. Barack Obama was a Christian, albeit a liberal one. Mitt Romney was not. He was not even close. The Billy Graham Association had Mormonism listed as one of their cults but removed it when they realized they had to endorse Romney. That is how the politics of man corrupts you.

'Two kingdoms? One objection is that there are two kingdoms in operation--the kingdom of God and the kingdom of man--and that the church should teach about and build the kingdom of God and not get involved in the kingdom of man. Didn't Jesus say, "My kingdom is not of this world" (John 18:36)? But surely these two kingdoms influence each other, for good or ill. And surely Christians are still called to do good for those who are not yet members of Jesus' kingdom:

"So then, as we have opportunity, let us do good to everyone, and especially to those who are of the household of faith" (Gal. 6:10). If we are to obey Jesus' command, "You shall love your neighbor as yourself" (Matt. 22:39b), that certainly includes seeking good government, not destructive and harmful government, for our neighbors as well as ourselves." - Wayne Grudem

He is so blind. The obvious problem is that he is determining what is good and not God. The NAR has determined that anything Republican is righteous and anything Democratic is evil. It does not work that way. Both parties are evil because we are all evil. When Jesus says His kingdom is not of this world He means exactly what He says. The good we are meant to bring to this world is not found in any political party. It is only found in the Gospel of Jesus Christ. For every person you think your political choice has done good for I can find five who will swear they have been dealt evil because of them. Do not get entangled in the affairs of this world. Keep your eyes fixated on Jesus while you mark and avoid people like Wayne Grudem.

Reverend Anthony Wade - October 7, 2020

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