The Church in the Public Square

A recent Executive Order signed by President Trump attempted to roll back the way churches, and church ministers, involve them in the public square.  The Johnson Amendment states that if I, as a minister, endorse a particular candidate or a particular political party, I am in violation of the tax-exempt status afforded to my church by the government of the United States.

In my almost 15 years of ministry, I have never endorsed a candidate by name or a political party, nor do I believe that is the place of the church to do so. However, I do believe that the church has a role, and responsibility, to shape policy and the discussion in the public square and that my friends, does not violate anything.

There is a difference between politics and partisanship, the Gospel was, and is, very political.  The church has a voice that needs to be heard in the public square, but that voice does not include the endorsing of candidates.

Over on the Ethics Daily Blog, Pastor Matt Sapp of the Heritage Fellowship in Canton, Georgia asks this very same question about the role of the church in the public square.  Here is a little excerpt from the article.

But a larger question remains: What is the appropriate way for churches and religious leaders to engage the political process? What’s the mission of the church when it comes to engaging and influencing government and public policy?

My answer: We are to be prophetic witnesses to what a world governed by kingdom principles looks like.

The prophetic mission of the church is to call the world to a new and higher standard of justice – a standard not of fairness, but of generosity.

The prophetic mission of God’s people extends back thousands of years. Isaiah’s challenge to lawmakers is 2,700 years old: “Woe to those who make unjust laws, to those who issue oppressive decrees, to deprive the poor of their rights and withhold justice from the oppressed of my people, making widows their prey and robbing the fatherless” (Isaiah 10:1-2).

It has been the mission of God’s people to sound the call to justice at least since then.

Read the Rest Here

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