I have listened over the years to many different preachers. I spent years looking for one that would preach the real Word of God. It took years to find one and then I found another and then another. The reason I was looking for one was because I have always taken notes and then studied what the preacher preached and hardly ever found that the preacher was actually preaching from the Word. I have learned many ways to study but my favorite is to study the Word in its original language, Hebrew and Greek. I am not a Hebrew or Greek scholar but I do have good resources to work with. Another thing I like to do is study how and what preachers taught two to four hundred years ago. I believe that some revelation was kept from them because it was meant for the end times, but they did preach the important stuff. Righteousness, sanctification and most of all the principles that our Founders used to establish America as the strongest and most prosperous nation the world has ever seen.
Those of you who follow my columns know that I just finished a 52 installment on Pastors from the Founding era and the political sermons they preached. They were not afraid to get in a politicians face and remind him that they were instruments of God. Those pastors would always let a politician know if he was out of line. In 1954 there was an amendment to an IRS bill that took the church out of the political arena, sort of. I say sort of because up until that time a pastor could endorse a candidate or party or oppose a candidate or party. In other words, a pastor could name names and shame the devil. But that bill, called the Johnson Gag Order, took many of the churches out of the political arena. In reality, they could still do what they had been doing they just had to do it in a different way. They could name a candidate and compare his views to biblical views but that was as far as he could go. That bill is a violation of a preachers 1st Amendment rights and a restriction on what he is mandated by God to do, inform the public. A preacher had never in the history of America been bridled in such a manner in such an important area of public life. Our Founders depended on the preachers to keep the masses educated on political matters. They were preached from the pulpit every Sunday. Today’s preachers do very little if any of that. They have been so accustomed to being bridled that they don’t even complain. Our pulpits have failed us.
Over the last 60 years since the passing of that bill, the influence of the church has been slowly removed from politics. The churches don’t raise up strong men and women to run for political office anymore. Even when I was a kid I can remember overhearing men in the church I attended saying that no good Christian would get into politics because it was such a ‘dirty’ profession. Yes, politics is dirty which is just why a Christian should be involved, to keep it clean.
There has always been an element in politics that has made it undesirable to a highly moral man, but it takes a highly moral man to be a politician. Even our Founders believed this. Charles Carroll, a signer of the Declaration of Independence, confirmed that all morality is based in the Christian religion: “Without morals a republic cannot subsist any length of time; they therefore who are decrying the Christian religion, whose morality is so sublime and pure. . . are undermining the solid foundation of morals, the best security for the duration of free governments.” 1
The Founders were very stringent in their demand for moral character not just in the political arena but in private lives as well. In the 1815 case of The Commonwealth v. Sharpless, a case which involved the private viewing of painting of a nude male and a nude female in an ‘indecent posture’, the case was decided on what was referred to as ‘the moral law.’ 2 Believing that even immorality behind closed doors is still a crime. Part of the court’s decision stated:
Whatever tends to the destruction of morality, in general, is punished criminally. Crimes are public offences not because they are perpetrated publicly, but because their effect is to injure the public. Burglary, though done in secret, is a public offence; and secretly destroying fences is indictable. . . hence, it follows that an offence may be punishable if in its nature and by its example it tends to the corruption of morals; although it be not committed in public.” 3
It is obvious that we no longer hold those in authority to these kinds of standards. Franklin Roosevelt was well known for his affair, John Kennedy had many affairs as did his brother Ted Kennedy, Bill Clinton had numerous affairs but we didn’t seem to look at it in the same way the Founders did and the only ones to blame are the pulpits of America. They seem to have a need to NOT offend anyone. The problem is when the truth is preached someone is going to get offended. The preachers of the founding ear did not have that fear of offending people. They knew that if the truth wasn’t preached chaos would prevail which is what we have today.
I remember hearing a well-known TV preacher say that the worst thing a preacher could do was remind his congregation of their sin. He even fired his son because he preached from the Bible. The failure of today’s pulpits to take a stand concerning God’s principles has given us a nation that no longer cares about the things of God. It has become all about what we want. What makes me feel good. What is best for society is ignored. Now don’t go off the deep end and think that I’m calling for some kind of socialism because I’m not, but when we as a society begin to ignore the foundation that was laid by the Founders and created what America has become, we endanger all of society. We even threaten the nation itself.
When sin is no longer called sin everything begins to turn gray. There are just as many people in the pews that are living together without the benefit of marriage as there are in the world. The divorce rate is just as high in the church as it is in the world. Why did we let so much of the world get into the church when we are supposed to bring the church to the world?
Pastors don’t encourage their congregation to vote. We may not have the perfect candidate Running but we have to remember that Jesus is not running for political office. The lame excuse that there isn’t a perfect candidate doesn’t fly. We’ve never had a perfect candidate and never will! God expects us to put the godliest men and women in authority. We didn’t get Bill Clintons and Barack Obamas overnight and we won’t get George Washingtons overnight either.
You can’t turn a ship around on a dime. It turned slowly and it will have to turn back slowly but the turn has to be made. Thirty percent of evangelicals didn’t vote in 2012 and all those non-votes went to the most ungodly man that has ever sat in the Oval Office. The pastors are to blame. It may take the people pushing the pastors out and replacing them with ones that will follow the mandate God gave them instead of following the doctrines of man.
He answered and said unto them, Well hath Esaias prophesied of you hypocrites, as it is written, This people honoureth me with their lips, but their heart is far from me. Howbeit in vain do they worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men. For laying aside the commandment of God, ye hold the tradition of men, as the washing of pots and cups: and many other such like things ye do. -Mark 7:6-8
It is time to call the pastors to do what God has called them to do not what the Government tells them to do. They need to be more afraid of God than the IRS.
- City of Charleston S.A. Benjamin, 2 Strob. 508, 518-520 (S.C. 1846)
- Alan Snyder, Defining Noah Webster: Mind and Morals in the Early Republic (New York: University Press of America, 1990), p. 253, to James Madison on October 16, 1829.
- See, for example, Witherspoon, The Works of John Witherspoon (Edinburgh: J. Ogle, 1815), Vol. IV, p. 95, from “Seasonable Advice to Young Persons,” Sermon XIX, February 21, 1762; Thomas Jefferson, Writings, Vol. III, p. 228, April 28, 1793; John Jay The Correspondence and Papers of John Jay, Henry P. Johnston, editor (New York: G.P. Putnam’s Sons, 1893), Vol. IV, pp. 391-393, October 12, 1816; William Findley, Observations on “The Two Sons of Oil” (Pittsburg: Patterson & Hopkins, 1812), pp. 22-23: et al.