I suspect we need to give some more thought to this often-stated contemporary wisdom: ”We should just focus on the Gospel and not get political.”
We live in a society that seems to be increasingly divided and polarized by political discussions and media misrepresentation of opposing views on a variety of topics.
It is understandable that many will automatically agree that in the church, and in preaching, we should simply focus on the Gospel and not get dragged into the political tensions of our time.
It is easy for some people, preachers included, to get swept up into current affairs and to put their hope in politicians or political parties, yet politics is no substitute for the Saviour. I have heard some say, that anyone who puts their hope in a political solution to our greatest needs will be deeply disappointed hence, our churches need to preach Christ and Him crucified, not a party manifesto.
However, in politics silence can be highly political, if the church becomes blind to the current affairs of our time and majorly to those that are influenced by politics such as tribe, corruption, morality, gender, etc., then saying nothing can serve to reinforce the culture narrative.
I recently read Martin Luther King Jr’s Letter from Birmingham Jail. It is well worth reading! He wrote, “So often the contemporary church is a weak, ineffectual voice with an uncertain sound. So often it is an arch defender of the status quo. Far from being disturbed by the presence of the church, the power structure of the average community is consoled by the church’s silent—and often even vocal—sanction of things as they are.”
A silent pulpit will mean the church should have no voice on human rights, poverty, crime, corruption, tribalism, etc.? Is that state of affairs that we desire?
Just like the prophets of old, they were not typically the ”popular preachers” in their era but they spoke out for God about the real issues in their society, whatever the cost.
So let us not retreat, let’s not claim to proclaim the whole counsel of God while refusing to address the injustice or any other issue that might be labeled ”political.”
We cannot afford to retreat into a silent fear where our salt loses any saltiness, and our light is extinguished by darkness.
This can feel crippling to the Christian in the workplace, to the Christian on the campus, and to the preacher in the pulpit.
It is easy to say we should never discuss politics. Actually, I hope we see that we may sometimes need to do precisely that.
May God give us humility and wisdom, as well as clarity and boldness, when we do!