When considering these questions, I wanted to first break down the word “church”. When speaking of the church, theologians often use terms such as the visible and local church as opposed to the invisible and universal church. [1] The visible and local church is, of course, the physical churches that we see around us and around the world, as well as the members of those churches. Id. The invisible and universal church, however, refers to all believers everywhere and is one church, united in Christ, not many physical churches. Id. With that in mind, I also considered that our faith should manifest good works in and around us. As discussed by Gary Demar in Are Pastors Finally Getting the Message About Politics?, he states “if people are being hurt by bad governmental policies, we are obligated to work to change them. [2] If people are being enslaved by programs promoting dependency and pre-born babies are being killed by the legalization of abortion, how can any Christian say we shouldn’t be involved in politics? Why can’t we do evangelism and be politically active?”

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Student Reply #1

When considering these questions, I wanted to first break down the word “church”. When speaking of the church, theologians often use terms such as the visible and local church as opposed to the invisible and universal church. [1] The visible and local church is, of course, the physical churches that we see around us and around the world, as well as the members of those churches. Id. The invisible and universal church, however, refers to all believers everywhere and is one church, united in Christ, not many physical churches. Id. With that in mind, I also considered that our faith should manifest good works in and around us. As discussed by Gary Demar in Are Pastors Finally Getting the Message About Politics?, he states “if people are being hurt by bad governmental policies, we are obligated to work to change them. [2] If people are being enslaved by programs promoting dependency and pre-born babies are being killed by the legalization of abortion, how can any Christian say we shouldn’t be involved in politics? Why can’t we do evangelism and be politically active?”

I don’t think obeying the law or running into any barriers ever compromises the Lord’s mission—it’s merely redirecting us to take a different path to the same end goal. Pastors are still able to preach on biblical, moral and social issues. [3] Pastors can urge the congregation to become involved in the political process, urge them to register and vote. Id. We don’t have to stand by and do nothing. We can be active, proactive, and political individuals.

[1] Velarde, Robert, What is the Church? (January 1, 2009) https://www.focusonthefamily.com/faith/what-is-the-church/.

[2] Demar, Gary, Are Pastors Finally Getting the Message About Politics? (October 2, 2012) https://americanvision.org/6436/are-pastors-finally-getting-the-message-about-politics/.

[3] Staver, Mathew, What May Pastors and Churches Do? p.3 (2008) https://www.lc.org/Uploads/files/pdf/pastors_churches_politics_trifold_2008.pdf

undefinedStudent reply #2

undefinedEven though churches are a separate body from the state, the first amendment gives the church the freedom to get involved in political actions such as campaigns. But on the other hand, the church cannot oppose or endorse political candidates. Churches in the unites states are not allowed to participate in all political elections, just some (Turner, 2018). Since churches are not to pay tax, they are to abide by the internal revenue code and not be involved in political actions. In this case, churches can be involved in political activities that do not include supporting or opposing a specific political candidate. Engaging in such political activities would lead to the church violating its tax exemption law. Churches should neutral on their political campaign and show no favors.

On the other hand, the church has the responsibility to take care of its own. Therefore, the church is allowed to participate in political actions that are important to it and the congregation. In case of any issues that the church knows about a political candidate, it should make a speech to the public as an individual but on behalf of the church as a whole (Turner, 2018). Since the church has the duty to support and protect people with shared values, endorsing or opposing a political candidate does not compromise its mission. But due to the tax exemption law, the church should only participate in political actions that address the general issue about the election and not favoring a specific political candidate.

References

undefinedTurner, V. (2018). Religious paradigms and political action: Thomas Becket at the Council of

undefinedNorthampton. In Dramas, Fields, and Metaphors (pp. 60-97). Cornell University Press.

 

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