If you’re still laboring under the assumption that you can’t make a difference in the world, I would encourage you to turn to page 24 and read about a pastor who did. Instead of complaining about the moral direction America is taking, Rod Parsley embarked on a tour of churches in states pivotal in the election, encouraging believers to go to the polls and vote for values.
Parsley is one of a new breed of pastors who aren’t afraid of the so-called “separation of church and state” that has muzzled church leaders for decades. Although right-wing in his sentiments, Parsley bucks the stereotype of a Republican lapdog by taking a stand on issues like fair wages, social justice and racial equality.
The results? In Ohio, many voters cast ballots differently than they had four years earlier. The margin was slim but decisive, and political pundits pointed out that it may have been the fiery preacher from Columbus who made the difference.
Church leaders wield enormous influence over the moral consciousness of the electorate. The question now is, How will we use this influence toward spiritual transformation? Parsley himself argues that a nation’s behavior in the ballot box may not reflect a trend toward revival. In fact, many sectors of the church experiencing vibrancy and renewal today thrive in the most inhospitable of political circumstances.
I am encouraged by church leaders whose relationship toward society is changing in important ways:
From antagonism to transformation. Instead of “standing against” the ills of society, Christians are offering solutions to our nation’s deepest problems. For an example of this, read about an innovative pastor’s leadership classes for drug dealers on page 10.
From arrogance to servanthood. It’s difficult to take a stand for righteousness in today’s society without being portrayed as a conceited know-it-all. Yet, I’m hearing reports of ministers who are making it their mission to pray for their elected officials and offer their services for the public good.
From separatism to engagement. It’s tempting to “hold the fort,” fending off the hoards of secular barbarians until Jesus returns. But, what if we were to stage a gracious invasion of the Beltway, supporting the efforts of men and women of integrity who feel God’s call to run for public office?
If we will demonstrate that biblical values do work in the real world, that a Christian’s role in society is one of contribution, not condemnation—the winsomeness of our message will be simply irresistible.
Matthew Green is the managing editor of Ministries Today. He invites your comments at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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