There is a disparate evangelical movement in this country that has an agenda that is driven in part, by the notion that they can somehow bend society to their will by aligning with an autocratic leader who mixes religion with paganism – an agenda advanced by casting pearls before swine.
This is the latest in a long line of deceptions subverting Christianity, dating back to the “Edict of Thessalonica“ issued in 380 AD, which marked the beginning of Christians mixing the purity of their faith in Christ with the paganism that was inherent with the political forces they became aligned with.
In a twist of irony, the early Christian church would become the state religion of the Roman Empire – an empire that had previously persecuted them for their faith in Christ, and an empire that executed Jesus on a cross because he was a political threat.
A Case in Point
Evangelicals who have assimilated into the president’s base, have long advocated for the repeal of the Johnson Amendment, which prohibits tax exempt groups – most notably churches – from endorsing political candidates. Their alignment with the president offered them the first step in that direction, when he signed an executive order relaxing the enforcement of an IRS rule prohibiting churches from endorsing political candidates as a condition of their tax-exempt status.
Just days after signing the order, a self-aggrandizing Trump exclaimed to 1000 evangelical leaders, “I think maybe that will be my greatest contribution to Christianity…“, which prompted a headline in Christianity Today that read, Trump’s “Greatest Contribution to Christianity”: Pastors Preaching Politics.
Protecting religious liberty is the deceptive guise here – a liberty that can only truly come from following Christ and living as he would have us to. Mixing Christianity with political ideologies and authorities, to accomplish for the most part, a temporal agenda, has clouded the message of the cross with paganism.
Feed My Sheep
Historically, there have been too many causes for division within the church, and this would likely add one more to the list. Imagine your church looking more like congress than a house of worship, with pastors becoming political activists from their pulpits instead of shepherds feeding their sheep.
Essayist, George Santayana wrote, “Those who do not learn history are doomed to repeat it.”. The truth of that quote has been self-evident in our present age of Christianity.
Jesus established Peter, as the rock or foundation upon which he would build his church, and gave him a three-fold command to “feed my sheep“. The command was in response to Peter’s three declarations of love for Jesus.
Feeding God’s people with the Word of God is the commission appointed by Christ to everyone who would shepherd his flock, including pastors and religious leaders alike. Those who promote other agendas, and those who follow them, do so not in the name of the Christ they profess to follow, but rather their own desires. Only when these shepherds return to that which Jesus commanded Peter, can they truly declare their love for him.
A Tale of Two Brothers
Jonathan Farwell, the brother of Jerry Farwell Jr., who is the president of Liberty University, and most notably a long-time apologist and supporter of president Trump, puts it this way.
“As a pastor of a local church attended by people of different political parties and persuasions, I have made it my practice not to endorse political candidates. I do not believe it is my responsibility to point people to a candidate but rather to point people to Jesus Christ as the ultimate and only hope for mankind and the problems we face as a nation.“
At least one brother gets it.