Posted Jul 20, 2021 by Michael L. Brown

Three years ago, I conducted a poll on Facebook asking, “Should pastors and Christian leaders just preach the gospel, or should they also comment on relevant social and political issues?” Three years later to the day, I posted the same poll on Twitter. How did the results compare?

Obviously, there is nothing scientific about these polls. They simply indicate how my Facebook and Twitter communities feel about the question.

As for these two social media communities, although they have much in common, in many ways they disparate in their viewpoints and beliefs.

How did the results compare?

In 2018 on Facebook, out of roughly 1,900, 84 percent said “Gospel & culture” with only 16 percent saying “Gospel only.”

In 2021 on Twitter, out of 889 responses, 79.2 percent said “Gospel and culture too” with only 20.8 percent saying, “Gospel only.”

The overall differences were fairly minor, especially given the fact that many Christians are still suffering burnout from the 2020 elections while many others have felt the need to draw back from both politics and the culture wars, taking time to refocus spiritually and get their heads clear.

And, in my opinion (along with the opinion of others), many Christian leaders became way too politicized during the years of the Trump presidency, virtually wrapping the gospel in the American flag and conflating patriotism with the kingdom of God.

Still, almost 8 out of 10 respondents said that pastors and Christian leaders should not just “preach the gospel.” They should also comment on relevant social and political issues.

That’s because the gospel intersects with every area of life, from our sexuality to our marriages, from our homes to our workplaces, from our educational institutions to our entertainment, and from the streets of our cities to the halls of our government.

It was in that spirit that Jesus rebuked the hypocritical religious leaders of His day, men who were scrupulous in keeping the tiniest religious obligations but had lost sight of the more important issues in God’s sight. He said, “Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You give a tenth of your spices—mint, dill and cumin. But you have neglected the more important matters of the law—justice, mercy and faithfulness. You should have practiced the latter, without neglecting the former” (Matthew 23:23).

This doesn’t mean that pastors should spend most of their time discussing CRT (pro or con) or preach about the border wall more than they preach on the cross.

But it does mean that the gospel intersects with culture. In fact, if it doesn’t intersect with culture, it’s not the gospel, since the gospel is all about the Lord laying claim to the totality of our lives. And that means that, wherever we go as children of God, we are called to conduct ourselves in accordance with God’s principles. (This doesn’t mean forcing others to conform to those principles. It means they are principles we live by.)

Put another way, how can the command to love the Lord with all our hearts, souls, and strength and to love our neighbor as ourselves not intersect with culture? That would be like saying that rain can fall from the sky without intersecting with the air.

In keeping with these thoughts, some of the comments posted in response to my poll included: “We preach the whole Word. Where that includes controversial current issues, we don't avoid them.”

And, “Politics is downstream from culture, which is downstream from worldview (an ethic-philosophy-theology). So this means that the gospel has implications across the board. The preacher’s target is the human heart or soul, and by extension, whatever else that heart seeks after…”

And, “They have the absolute right and responsibility to do both.”

And, “Gospel and culture. The prophetic passages won’t make sense without them.”

And, “The gospel is more than our individual salvations. Therefore, relevant issues must be preached or you get exactly what we are seeing all around us. Pandemonium.”

And, “It would be impossible to preach the gospel and not comment on social issues. Matthew 5 is all about social issues.”

And, “If you have a culture engaging in Immoral activities (abortion, LGBT etc, etc) Christians need to call them out (with love of course).

So, yes, it is important for pastors and Christian leaders to preach a gospel that intersects with culture, a gospel that gives the congregants guidelines for navigating their way through today’s many moral minefields.

It’s important that we preach a gospel that addresses both immorality and injustice, both righteousness and reconciliation. These are all great gospel themes.

The key is that we keep our priorities straight, putting the cross before the flag, exalting Jesus and not presidential candidates, putting evangelism first and activism second, emphasizing prayer more than politics, and putting more effort into discipleship than voter drives.

Unfortunately, we tend to swing from one extreme to another, either embracing an escapist, pie-in-the-sky mentality, or turning political involvement and community activism into forms of sacred worship.

Can we get things right in 2021 and moving forward? For the sake of our nation, I certainly hope so.

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Comments

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BW posted a comment · Jul 25, 2021
Psalm 2:1-4 , 12, 1Why do the heathen rage, and the people imagine a vain thing? 2 The kings of the earth set themselves, and the rulers take counsel together, against the Lord, and against his anointed, saying, 3 Let us break their bands asunder, and cast away their cords from us. 4 He that sitteth in the heavens shall laugh: the Lord shall have them in derision. Psalm 2 is a warning skip down to verse 12. Kiss the Son, lest he be angry, and ye perish from the way, when his wrath is kindled but a little. Blessed are all they that put their trust in him. This is why America should and does support Israel ...
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BW posted a comment · Jul 22, 2021
When God say's it's over.... God will put it all under his feet! all of it! won't matter all the clever words in all the world wont matter God will judge every man and women in the blink of an eye! poof culture will mean nothing! psalm 62:5 Let all that I am wait quietly before God, for my hope is in him.
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Swkh310 posted a comment · Jul 21, 2021
It didn't start with the Mango Mussolini. The weaponization of extreme-right "Christianity" to promote ultra-conservative politicians began the first time Jerry Falwell uttered the dreadful words "Moral Majority." The Orange Orangutan was merely the culmination.