On the error of getting entangled in politics – by Professor Michael Haykin

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During the 2008 Presidential election, I saw an increase of well-known Pastors crossing the line from pulpit duty into the arena of politics, including giving endorsements. But to make matters worse, some made either derogatory or untrue remarks about Christians that might vote differently than them.

In 2008 Pastor Jack Hibbs endorsed the far ‘left of the center’ Mitt Romney (a Mormon) while referring to any Christian that did not vote for Romney as being stupid by “taking stupid pills.” Then more recently in 2020 Pastor John MacArthur told President Donald Trump, “[A]ny real true believer is going to be on your side in this election,..

MacArthur’s political remarks have brought an offense to many Christians. To insinuate that ‘how we vote’ is peripherally somehow associated with salvation, or an evidence of salvation (as he promotes Trump) is very unwise. The fact is, Trump boasts in being “the most pro-gay president,” and he is only quasi pro-life. Though Pence seems to be more consistent with Christianity, Pence committed blasphemy in the White House while swearing-in a homosexual who vows to decriminalize homosexuality in the Middle East.

Pastors ought to continue being more concerned with God’s elect, than the Presidential election. I get it. I don’t understand how professing Christians could vote for one of todays Democrats, I never have, and I never will. But some of us still vote on principle, not the party.

“To live for a political party is unworthy of a man who professes to be a Christian.” – Charles H. Spurgeon

Therefore despite the opinions of men like Hibbs and MacArthur, I will be writing-in my choice of candidate. That is my Biblical conviction and Christian conscience. But I guess I must not be a “true believer.” As I stated in a previous post –

I no longer vote based on platforms (i.e. abortion or Israel). Today my number one platform is the candidates’ view of God, Christ, and His Scriptures, lest I commit idolatry by putting platforms before God. If they have a Biblical view of the above, they will have a Biblical view horizontally. Which oftentimes means writing-in, my candidate. Moreover, God is sovereign, and I will trust Him for the final results.

Regardless of how you vote, I won’t love you any less.

Church history is important. Today I saw the below refreshing post on a Facebook friends wall (a Pastor). It is a short gem written by Dr. Michael Haykin. Haykin is Chair & Professor of Church History at The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary.

ON THE ERROR OF GETTING ENTANGLED IN POLITICS – by Professor Michael Haykin

“During the 1780s, the Particular Baptist [PB] pastor Robert Robinson, who had had a glorious conversion under the preaching of George Whitefield, became increasingly tied up with politics as he joined with a number of rational Dissenters to secure the repeal of the Corporation and Test Acts. The final result was a sad departure from the Gospel. Yes, in those days many Baptist found themselves on the left-wing of the political spectrum (though the terms of left and right emerged from the French Revolution of the same era).

In the 1790s and 1800s as the political climate heated up, riot and war convulsed Europe and the government of William Pitt suspended habeas corpus due to the fear of revolution in England (the London PB pastor John Martin [see pic] foolishly predicted that if the French revolutionaries ever invaded England as they threatened to do circa 1803, the PBs were not to be trusted, they would all go wholesale over to the enemy due to their hatred of the monarchy–recall PB support for the American Revolution), men like Andrew Fuller became increasingly concerned about the example of Robinson influencing younger Baptist pastors and getting them deeply enmeshed in politics. Fuller saw it as a stratagem of Satan to defuse the preaching of the Gospel.

Similarly the great PB preacher William Steadman, himself a Fullerite and one who was such a force for renewal in Yorkshire, stated in his ordination sermon “The Christian Minister’s Duty and Reward” (1807) when he advised the man being ordained, Richard Pengilly, “I do not wish you to be wholly ignorant of the political state of your country… but do not, I beseech you, let politics engross so much of your thoughts, or your conversation, as to cause the duties of the citizens to interfere with those of the preacher.” Of course, there were some areas, such as the slave trade, where Fuller recognized Christians had to speak out against the status quo.

But Steadman’s words are wise advice for pastors in our trying times when it seems to me that Satan is having a heyday diverting the interests of pastors into that muddy stream of politics, which will only do our Evangelical cause great harm. As Fuller told John Fountain (1767-1800), a missionary to India, “All political concerns are only affairs of this life with which he that will please him, who hath chosen him to be a soldier, must not entangle himself.”

Brothers and sisters: are you so entangled?”

You can also view the Professors post via his Facebook page here (it’s ‘public’).


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