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October 7, 2020

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

By Anthony Wade

Debunking latest NAR attempt to persuade pastors to preach politics.


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You, however, have followed my teaching, my conduct, my aim in life, my faith, my patience, my love, my steadfastness, my persecutions and sufferings that happened to me at Antioch, at Iconium, and at Lystra--which persecutions I endured; yet from them all the Lord rescued me. Indeed, all who desire to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted, while evil people and impostors will go on from bad to worse, deceiving and being deceived. But as for you, continue in what you have learned and have firmly believed, knowing from whom you learned it and how from childhood you have been acquainted with the sacred writings, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus. All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work. - 2Timothy 3:10-17 (ESV)

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We are less than a month away from the presidential election and the NAR continues to step up their efforts to co-opt churchgoers into voting the way they and their masters demand. Some of these efforts are geared directly at those in the pews and others directly towards those in the pulpit. It would be far easier for the political powers that be to convince pastors who in turn can convince their sheep. While the majority of churches in America have already been corrupted by NAR dominionism, many pastors still shy away from demanding their sheep vote one way or the other. Some fear reproach either from the government or the sheep themselves. Others though realize that it is poor evangelism that starts by alienating half the congregation and if they read the bible correctly they know it is unbiblical to support the NAR in any fashion, let alone carnal politics. The link above is to a recent two-part article (this is part one) from Wayne Grudem trying to convince pastors to not stay silent on politics. Grudem is a purely carnal political operative, cut from the same cloth as James Dobson and Franklin Graham. These are wolves beloved who spend their lives fighting for the things of this world. Let us not be deceived and once more reason together.

"If you're a pastor during this election season, the easy path is to say nothing about politics.

You won't step on anybody's toes. Nobody will walk out in the middle of your sermon. You won't lose disgruntled members (and donors!). A few people might ask you to say more about politics, and they will grumble, but they won't leave the church. You're safe. But does God want you to stay silent at this time? I can't answer that for you. It's between you and God whether you preach about any political issues at all, and, if you do, which issues you decide to preach about. But I can make some observations that I think will give you a sense of permission (not from me, but from the Bible) to preach about at least some key political issues. Whether you are a Trump supporter or a Biden supporter or somewhere in between, I intend my first seven points to apply to you, because I believe a democracy is healthy when differing views are expressed thoughtfully and carefully. My last three points will be based on my own preferences in this election." - Wayne Grudem

Easy is not wrong by definition. God does not make things excessively difficult or nebulous. The bible spells out pretty clearly the roles and responsibilities of a pastor and nowhere does it say he is to adjudicate politics from the holy desk. It is interesting that Grudem admits that preaching politics in God's church will be divisive, leading to people walking out. He states this as if people walking out of the church because you tried to tell them who to vote for is a good thing. It is most certainly not. As a pastor your responsibility is for those sheep, not the carnality of this world. The rest of this opening is Wayne Grudem's attempt to sound reasonable at the start to lure people in. It is almost comical that he claims that if you preach politics it is between you and God and then spends the rest of the article trying to convince you to do so anyway. That sure doesn't sound like it is between you and God. At least he is honest in his motive. He will soft-sell you for seven points on why you should preach politics and then lay the hammer down for who you should be siding with. Wayne Grudem may claim to believe differing views make for a good democracy but he does not want a democracy. He wants a theocratic government. Remember the goal of the NAR is to conquer the mountain of government, not play nice with the heathens.

"1. Your listeners need to see that the Bible speaks to all of life, including politics. "Whether you eat or drink," says Paul, "or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God" (1 Cor. 10:31, ESV). But can we do politics to the glory of God? Of course, because politics must be included in the phrase "whatever you do." Paul also says that "All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for ... training in righteousness," so that we may be "complete, equipped for every good work" (2 Tim. 3:16-17). Surely voting in an election is part of "every good work" that God wants us to do, and that gives a reason why we should expect Scripture to be "profitable for ... training" in what kinds of candidates and policies we should support. But if a pastor goes through an entire election season and gives no teaching about the Bible's application to political questions, he will be acting as if the Bible is irrelevant to political questions. Then how will his listeners ever think that the Bible is relevant for all of life? In addition, many modern political issues were moral issues that the Bible talked about long before they became political issues in modern society--such as freedom of religion, abortion, sexuality, care for the poor and racial discrimination. Should pastors not preach about such moral issues when they have implications for politics?" - Wayne Grudem

Sigh. First of all, the world decides how politics is currently done and it is certainly not done to the glory of God. Anyone who watched the sandbox fight from the first debate this year can attest to that. Grudem's flawed assumption is that the Christian must play by the rules the world has set up. The world says there are two sides and we must pick one and demonize the other. When Jesus walked the earth there were two different sides. The oppressor known as the Roman Empire and the oppressed, His people. Did Jesus even once try to get involved in those politics? Absolutely not. His message was one of deliverance from this world, not to get overly involved and infatuated with it. Grudem's misapplication of 2Timothy 3 however needs further exploring; so I made it the key verse today and provided the needed context. After speaking about godlessness in the last days, Paul starts this section by giving the contrast - Timothy. He has followed Paul's teaching, conduct, aim in life, faith, patience, love, and steadfastness, including many persecutions. Remember these are Pastoral Epistles. Timothy will soon be pastor at Ephesus and Paul is training him. So he teaches Timothy that persecutions will come to all who follow Christ and that when it comes to those who teach falsely some are intentional deceivers while others are themselves deceived. Paul teaches Timothy to pay these things no mind! To continue in what he has learned and how from his very childhood he has studied scripture. Why? Why is Paul giving scripture as the answer to everything from faith to love and steadfastness to persecution? Why is Paul providing the answer of scripture for all evil men and imposters whether they be deceivers or deceived? Because all scripture is breathed out by God. As such it always returns a profit for teaching, correcting and training in righteousness. It is through this word that young Timothy and ourselves centuries later, can be equipped for every good work. To Wayne Grudem those good works include deciding between two evil men who best to run pagan nations and I say nonsense. That is clearly not what God is saying here. These works are ministry works. They are works for the kingdom of God. They are not for carnal candidates and policies. The bible's relevancy is to the individual believer and how they are to navigate in a world they no longer belong to.

"2. God cares about secular governments and their leaders. I decided to search out whether the Bible ever recorded some examples in which God's people (those who were genuine believers) had a good influence, not just on the nation of Israel, but on secular governments outside of Israel. Does God care about secular governments and their leaders? I found much more than I expected. For example, Joseph was the highest official after Pharaoh, king of Egypt, and had great influence in the decisions of Pharaoh (see Gen. 41:37-45, 42:6, 45:8-9, 26). Daniel was a high official in King Nebuchadnezzar's court. He was "ruler over the whole province of Babylon" and "chief prefect over all the wise men of Babylon" (Dan. 2:48). He was regularly "at the king's court" (v. 49). And he gave moral instruction to the king: "Therefore, O king, let my counsel be acceptable to you: break off your sins by practicing righteousness, and your iniquities by showing mercy to the oppressed, that there may perhaps be a lengthening of your prosperity" (Dan. 4:27). I found more examples than these. Nehemiah was "cupbearer to the king" (Neh. 1:11), a position of high responsibility before King Artaxerxes of Persia. Mordecai "was second in rank to King Ahasuerus" of Persia (Esth. 10:3; see also 9:4). Queen Esther also had significant influence on the decisions of Ahasuerus, risking her very life in order to save the Jewish people from destruction (see Esth. 5:1-8; 7:1-6; 8:3-13; 9:12-15, 29-32). The Bible doesn't merely say that these things happened, but the narrative texts view these events in a positive light, for they regularly record this influence on secular governments as a result of God's favor toward his people and as a measure of blessing to those governments. This reminds us of God's promise to Abraham that "in your offspring shall all the nations of the earth be blessed" (Gen. 22:18)." - Wayne Grudem

Grudem is very clever but do not be fooled by his alleged biblical examples. Remember, he is defending believers influencing pagan nations through a political process as a whole. None of his examples are that. Joseph was originally a slave in Egypt and not a willing participant. It is true that he had the favor of God upon his life so he went from the prison to the palace but that journey was apolitical and took 14 years. Now in the grand plans of God was this journey into Egypt God's way of bringing Joseph to bear influence upon Egypt? Of course not. The story of Joseph's brothers selling him into slavery was not so Joseph could one day influence Pharaoh for the benefit of Egypt. It was for the benefit of Israel. Without Joseph in power, Israel does not survive the seven-year famine. Perhaps Grudem is unaware how quickly Egypt forgot the great contributions of Joseph and enslaved the Jewish people for 400 years. This of course leading to the Exodus and a type of Christ found in the deliverance from the death angel. Fantastic story of God using whatever evil man sometimes intends, even His own people, for His grander plan. Absolutely nothing however to do with carnal politics. Daniel was another slave who found favor within the lands of pagan kings. Was this arrangement for the benefit of Daniel and the remnant of Israel or for Babylon? Did God place Nehemiah in Persia for the benefit of the king or for the benefit of His people? These answers should be obvious. What Grudem is doing is taking singular events in Jewish history where God used His people and the pagan nations of the world to accomplish His ends. That is simply not the case today. The bible has already given the church their marching orders and they are to present the Gospel to the lost and grow into Christlikeness. Nothing about assuring the Republican Party retains power or passing desired legislation. You must realize that what Grudem is doing is what all NAR adherents are forced to do because the bible does not agree with their false theology. He is taking his pre-decided conclusion that God wants Christians neck deep in politics and trying to force stories in the bible to match up. It fails every time. Blessings to the secular governments? The Egyptian Empire went through the ten plagues including the death of every first born and eventually would be nothing more than sand in the desert of time. Babylon? Persia? Seriously? God uses the governments of man to achieve His ends but Grudem wants to use God to help our secular nation achieve its ends. That is the stark difference.

"I realize that these examples are not exactly the same as a pastor preaching about politics today, but there are similarities. In the ancient world, giving advice and guidance to the king was the way to bring about beneficial political policies. In modern democracies, voting, and giving guidance to others who vote, is the way to bring about beneficial political policies. The New Testament provides two additional examples: John the Baptist rebuked the Roman ruler Herod "for all the evil things that Herod had done" (Luke 3:19), which certainly must have included not only privately known sins but also publicly known governing decisions. Another possible example is the apostle Paul. While Paul was in prison in Caesarea, he stood trial before the Roman governor Felix: "[Felix] sent for Paul and heard him speak about faith in Christ Jesus. And as he reasoned about righteousness and self-control and the coming judgment, Felix was alarmed and said, 'Go away for the present. When I get an opportunity I will summon you'" (Acts 24:24-25). The fact that Felix was "alarmed" and that Paul reasoned with him about "righteousness" and "the coming judgment" indicates that Paul was telling Felix that he would be accountable for his actions at "the coming judgment." When the book of Acts tells us that Paul "reasoned" with Felix, the word (present participle of Greek dialegomai) indicates a back-and-forth conversation or discussion. We cannot be sure what they discussed, but it is very possible that Felix asked Paul, "What about this decision that I made? What about this policy? What about this ruling?" I cannot be sure about this, but at least we can say that Paul was discussing substantive issues with Felix, which may have included governmental decisions, and in that way Paul would have been "preaching about politics" to a Roman governor." - Wayne Grudem

Yeah, no. Beloved we simply do not do this to the bible. It is textually criminal. You do not add on conversations that conveniently fit your narrative but appear nowhere in the text. The bible absolutely does not say that John rebuked Herod for his governing decisions. To put forth that narrative is to traffic in the absurd. Likewise, the imaginary conversation between Paul and Felix about policies and rulings only exists within the wickedly deceitful heart of Wayne Grudem.

"3. Preaching "the whole counsel of God" will include preaching about civil government. Paul's ministry also provides a good pattern for pastors to follow today: not merely preaching on our favorite passages of Scripture, but faithfully preaching about everything that the Bible teaches. Paul told the church leaders at Ephesus that he had been faithful in teaching them "the whole counsel of God": "Therefore, I testify to you this day that I am innocent of the blood of all, for I did not shrink from declaring to you the whole counsel of God" (Acts 20:26-27). I hope I will be able to say that to the thousands of students I have taught in 43 years as a professor of theology: "I did not shrink from declaring to you the whole counsel of God" (Acts 20:27). But surely that must include some teaching about politics. The New Testament has two passages that specifically address the responsibilities of civil governments (Rom. 13:1-7 and 1 Pet. 2:13-14) and several other verses with implications for government (such as Matt. 22:21 and 1 Tim. 2:1-3). The Old Testament contains many details about the actions of good and evil kings. The words "king" and "kings" occur 112 times in Psalms, Proverbs, and Ecclesiastes alone, and "ruler/rulers" is found another 20 times. Therefore, if a pastor feels a responsibility for declaring "the whole counsel of God" to his people, he will have to do some teaching on biblical principles regarding civil government. And what better time to do that than in the middle of an election season when questions about good and bad governmental policies are on everybody's mind?" - Wayne Grudem

No Wayne, it surely does not. Now I get it. The NAR has infiltrated churchianity for decades now and has turned this country into an idol for the church but that does not change the word of God. When Paul tells the Ephesian elders he is free of their blood it is because he did not compromise the Gospel. For example, if you subtract from the gospel the part about wrath and judgment because your seeker friendly mentor taught you the purpose driven church model, then you are not presenting the entire counsel of God. In the converse, if you add to scripture to teach nationalism in place of worship of God then you too have not presented the entire will of God. The Romans verses and Peter verses are about the believers' response to secular government - not instructing us to be involved in them. The word king appears so much because Israel was a theocracy Wayne. We can play these games all day long. God does not change and neither does His word.

"4. Pastors throughout history have preached about politics. Historian Alvin Schmidt, in his book, How Christianity Changed the World, points out that the spread of Christian influence on government was primarily responsible for outlawing infanticide, child abandonment and abortion in the Roman Empire (in AD 374); granting of property rights and other protections to women throughout history; prohibiting the burning alive of widows along with their dead husbands in India (in 1829); and outlawing the painful and crippling practice of binding young women's feet in China (in 1912). These reforms all required changes in a country's laws, which is a political process that could not have happened unless numerous pastors had been teaching government officials and those who influenced them about the evils of these practices (that is, preaching about politics). In the years leading up to the American War of Independence, many pastors were preaching that resistance to tyranny (that is, resistance to the reign of King George III of England) was a morally good action, while a minority of pastors disagreed, urging continued submission to the British. But the point is that both sides were preaching about the possibility of independence from Britain, which was both a moral issue and the most crucial political issue of the day. In 1750, Boston pastor Jonathan Mayhew delivered one of the most influential sermons in American history, "A Discourse Concerning Unlimited Submission," in which he defended the moral goodness of seeking freedom from British tyranny. His sermon was reprinted and widely distributed throughout the American colonies. Later, pastors played a major role in the struggle against slavery. In fact, two-thirds of the leading American abolitionists in the mid-1830s were Christian clergymen who were preaching "politics" from the pulpit, saying that slavery should be abolished. And in the 1960s, the American civil rights movement that resulted in the outlawing of racial segregation and discrimination was led by Martin Luther King Jr., a Baptist pastor who dared to preach about such "political" issues (which were, in actuality, also deeply moral issues)." - Wayne Grudem

Theologians would argue that the revolution was a direct rebellion to the very same Romans verses cited earlier. The resistance to tyranny was largely economic. Do you remember the whole "no taxation without representation?" Then the bible was used for a century to defend slavery. It has been used to defend against mix-race marriages. Recently it was cited in defense of separating women from their infant children if they crossed our border seeking asylum. By the way, I am not suggesting that Christians cannot line up on the side of morality when it comes to political matters. I am saying it does not belong in the church, or behind the pulpit. Furthermore, there is a vast difference between advocating for the elimination of slavery and insisting that one political party has the corner on all things righteous.

"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

Authors Bio:
Credentialed Minister of the Gospel for the Assemblies of God. Owner and founder of 828 ministries. Vice President for Goodwill Industries. Always remember that in all things God works for the good of those who love Him and are called according to His purpose.