Tony Miltenberger is a husband, father, and follower of Christ. He is currently serving as the lead pastor at Restoration Church Centerville, ohio.

The Time I Got Political In the Pulpit

Most Monday mornings I sit down in the staff meeting and I ask the team to review the Sunday-morning experience. Let’s be honest, we are a church, and what we do on Sunday is important. We need to know how things went. In our most recent review, I asked the team how they thought the message went, and one of our team members looked at me and said, “Tony, it was the most political message I’ve ever heard you preach.”

Her comments struck a chord within me; actually, I was a little hurt. I was hurt because while I knew the message was going to have some buzzwords, I worked really hard not to let people know the side of the argument I was on. Rather, I tried to present the most Biblical representation of the material I could, with the hope that through this message people would wrestle with their own faith through the lens of what is a pretty divisive topic.

I preached on love. I preached on how we must love one another. Sounds Biblical right? I used words like refugee, Muslim, wall, and politician. At one point in the sermon I even said, “Don’t let your politics determine your faith, let your faith determine your politics.”

What my team member reminded me is that I WAS political. I hit the most political topic I could. I went straight after the number one divisive topic in the country. I got political in the pulpit, and I did it on purpose!

That’s when it hit me: The Gospel is political. Political, by definition, means the public affairs of our country. And while the attempt to keep politics out of the pulpit is noble, I’m beginning to understand it isn’t the mission Jesus put us on.

When Jesus said to “Go out and make disciples of all nations (Matthew 28),” he created an all-encompassing commission. I’m learning that when we separate the core of what we believe from the way we vote/act/respond to the government, we create an area where Jesus is no longer Lord.

I am a follower of Jesus Christ. I work hard every day to make Jesus Lord of my ENTIRE life. So, from now on I’m going to get political. I am going to purposefully include what I believe in my faith with how I view the politics of our country. I am not going to preach a message every week that has political buzzwords in it, but I’m not going to shy away from it either. I am just going to reflect on the Scripture, and then follow wherever the Spirit takes me.

Before I am a democrat or republican, I am going to choose to be a Christian. I respect the separation of church and state, I understand why the founding fathers would want that to be a value, but the reality for most of us is that we aren’t the state. We are individuals who are trying to figure out how to make sense of a pretty confusing system. These are the moments where we should be leaning on our faith.

I think it’s time for all of us who proclaim to follow Christ to ask ourselves the question: Is Jesus relevant in how I decide my politics?  

Wanna watch the sermon? Click here.

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