With our national election just over a week away, most of us have already decided who we are going to vote for in the 2012 Presidential Election. The lines have been drawn in the proverbial sand as the two national political party platforms have been debated, revised, and promoted. This upcoming election will determine which of the two platforms will be advanced as law over the course of the next four years. A short glance at the two party's platforms would indicated even to the most casual observer that each party has a "vision" for the future of America, radically different from the other party's platform. For example, one party recognizes an unborn baby's life in the womb as sacred and in need of protection while the other party recognizes a woman's right to terminate a baby's life in the womb as a "personal choice" that only the mother should make. One party holds to the sanctity of marriage between a man and a woman while the other party redefines marriage and what or who constitutes "marriage." As one examines the platforms of these two parties, it becomes clearly evident that they are diametrically opposed to each other on almost EVERY point!
For those people who have not made up their minds about whom they are going to vote for at this late junction of the game, I have to wonder what criteria they use to make their decision. Do these people have moral compasses that regulate their sense of right and wrong or do they substitute subjective feelings for objective truth or some community standard in making these very important decisions? Do they consult the Bible for direction for their votes or do they use their "feelings" to cast their votes? It is this group of undecided voters that both parties try to pander to and influence by appealing to a wide host of interests that might tip their votes in the party's favor.
Recently, I noticed political signs in homeowner's yards or in front of area churches, promoting Jesus for President. To be honest with you, I didn't even know he was interested in running for President or much less that he was on the ballot. I thought he was already King of kings and Lord of lords and rules over all the earth from his throne on high. Silly me! You could imagine my embarrassment that as a pastor I did not even know that he wanted to be President of the United States! I figured that I must get to the bottom of this very important issue because I didn't know where my head was at concerning Jesus running for President.
My first place of inquiry concerning "Jesus for President" was on the Internet and was an organization that was recruiting "Christian voters" to vote neither for President Obama nor for Governor Romney. Their suggestion was that neither candidate was worthy of a vote and that Christians should just write in the name "Jesus" as a sign of protest against both political parties and their candidates.The site claimed that it had almost 1.5 million Christian people who were pledging to follow their instructions. It is amazing that so many "Christians" apparently would accept and be willing to follow such nonsense. It was a telltale sign to me that the American church is in dire spiritual shape. These people must know that no man is perfect and that a wasted vote is a vote for the implantation of an anti-Christian worldview and law system with horrendous national consequences. Granted both candidates are not Christian, but policies and laws that they will try to enact are either Biblical or humanistic. One party's platform is much more Biblical than the other party's platform.
The second site I examined concerning Jesus for President was a group advocating that Christians start living like Jesus and give away the majority of their money and property, renounce all violence and corporate profits, and pledge to live like hermits or monks so that the rest of the world will see our true Christ-like spiritual nature. This in turn will "really" inspire the rest of the world to seek and accept Jesus so that they could continue to be in the same miserable living conditions that all of us believers would be in. I couldn't help think that the rest of the world is already poor and miserable, but that hasn't brought them to Christ. Just maybe they are looking for the real Savior who can raise them and their culture out of material and spiritual poverty that they find themselves already submerged in!
Upon reading the rest of the reasons this website advanced for their cause, it was abundantly clear to me that this group was some front group for those "social justice" and "liberal gospel" types! -- Can't we just all get along together and work for universal harmony?
With two strikes already against me, I was feeling like Miguel Cabrera in the batter's box with two strikes and no balls - what would the next pitch be?
Finally, the third site I visited was using Jesus 4 President as a slick and clever church recruiting and marketing ploy. The site featured a video with three pastors questioning what would Jesus do if he were President of the United States. None of the pastors on the video indicated who people should vote for or the candidate positions on the different platforms. Instead they took a neutral position and left it to the individual to make up their own minds as to whom they should vote for. The pastors wanted to examine what Jesus would be like if he were the President and how he would run the country. I don't know if they would actually teach participants at the service about the incredibly important issues facing the country today, how those issues impact our nation and culture, and how each candidate intends to address those issues if elected, but I guess speculating about what Jesus might do is more important than getting direction from Him as to what we should do. It always strikes me as troublesome that men who claim to be pastors and radically in love with Jesus cannot bring themselves to take a public and Biblical stand against political parties who continually undermine or reinterpret every Christian doctrine and practice to advance their particular political agenda.
Please note the following excerpt taken from one of the websites. The main page Jesus4president.com states, "Politics have their place. The Bible actually says that when good men and women lead a nation, that nation will prosper. So we’re not saying, ‘Don’t Vote.’ Vote! We want you to vote and we’re not trying to tell you which way you should vote. We’re just saying that we need something better than a President."
I think we can all agree that we need something better than the current administration, but the truth of the matter is that it is what it is. We have the opportunity to vote in a man who will lead this country in the near future and this choice does matter - it matters greatly! And if the choice matters greatly, then the "church" should be telling its members which man should receive their vote! There is a tremendous difference between the two men currently running for office and their views on life and how this country should be run. Their views will either impede this nation's decline or accelerate its speedy course to destruction.
If pastors and their churches would rather employ a middle of the road view and don't-make-any-waves philosophy on such crucial matters as taxpayer funding of abortion, the governmental funding of Planned Parenthood, the taxpayer funding of human embryonic stem cell research, enacting a ban on human cloning, giving parents a choice in their children's education, defending the state constitutional amendment preserving natural marriage, the appointment of conservative judges to the bench, the ending of military social engineering, the end of governmental control of healthcare or the protection of religious liberties, then a vote for Mitt Romney is NOT your choice! But let's quit playing silly games when it comes to making such important and life-altering decisions! The church is called to be prophetic in its mission and to declare to the church at large - as well as the world - God's will in all matters.
Man is definitely not saved by or through a particular political party holding office, but our freedoms, liberty, rights, and justice are ALL defined, established, and maintained by these parties and the laws they would impose on the rest of us. Whoever defines, controls, and establishes the law of the land determines the context and limits to these important and very relevant Biblical concepts.
And, Jesus, I suppose some of your church will continue to use your name for foolish and laughable ends. Some will twist the true message of the Gospel for the advancement of harmful spiritual-social-political ends. Others will use your name as a clever marketing tool to build their local church and reputations, but may your true church honor and revere your holy name that is exalted high above all names - including that of President!
Stay Holy, My Friends!
Hi Don, this is Jeremy, the pastor at Metro South Church. I am surprised at your sumation of our effort to reach people for Jesus. We are as conservative, biblical and evangelical as it comes. We have had countless politians in our building (all conservative) urging people to be fully engaged in the election process. Maybe if you actually watched the sermons from our church before you write something for the public you might be able to 'make a right judgment' as the Scripture teaches. I believe the Scripture calls us to be diligent in our study before we speak. I can assure you that the we do not stand with Claiborne or any of the groups you sited above. Maybe your search over the concerns should have started with the .com on the sign and actually watched the messages on there. You can find all of Metro's message at www.metrosouthchurch.com and then click on the media tab and then look for videos and then WEEKEND EXPERIENCES. I think you would be eager to watch the actual messages before bearing false witness about your brothers in the gospel. The whole point of our series is that JESUS is KING and His Kingdom is bigger than any president. It is over all. And it is NOT of this world. If you would ever like to sit down for lunch and get to know me and our church instead of gossipping and trying to make us look bad before the very community we (both you and us) are trying to reach I would be happy to buy. Consider this an invitation. I would love to meet and encourag your ministry.ReplyDelete
May God bless you and your ministry. May it reach tens of thousands for the Glory of God.
Until ALL Hear,
Pastor Jeremy Schossau
This is Pastor Don Wolan from Downriver Christian Community Church. Thank you for your response to my blog "Jesus 4 President?" I have seen the "Jesus for President" political signs throughout the Downriver area and was intrigued by the thought behind them and the reasons they were being displayed prominently on your church building and in front of area houses. When I checked out the internet for possible background information concerning the signs, I discovered three sites using the same title that you have on your signs. My blog listed two sites, which were not related to your site, and the reasons behind them. My blog did not connect all three sites together as being from the same source. I did, however, distinguish between each site and the message each site was trying to relate to its possible audience. When I examined your site, I watched a video that had yourself and two other pastors commenting on a teaching series that all three of the churches were involved in. While watching the video, I was very disappointed that all three pastors were stressing in the short video that the series was not about who Christians should vote for, but rather that Jesus is the starting point for true change in a society.
There is no question that Jesus is the foundational stone for societal change and that change begins in a person's heart. An old Jamaican song says "If you want to change the world, you've got to have a brand new people. If you want a brand new people, you've got to have a brand new heart. If you want a brand new heart, you've got to have a brand new spirit. If you want a brand new spirit, you've got to come to Jesus Christ." My problem with the video and message was that it left the viewer (me) with the sense that "politics have their place," but that it is just not that important for us to tell you who to vote for because both parties have their good points and faults. Is this truly spiritual advice that the people of God should heed? As one of the pastors says in his message to his church, (I'm paraphrasing...) "I'm not going to tell you how to vote, seek the Holy Spirit and let him direct you. As long as you are comfortable in your heart that you heard from God, God will be pleased!" I cannot even begin to tell you how absurd and sophomoric that sounds. I guarantee that if you took a show of hands after the election and asked your congregation how many voted for Romney and how many voted for President Obama that there would be people on both sides of the choice. And, further, all of them would tell you that they sought God's will and direction for their decision. It would surely appear to everyone that God is double minded and tells one person one thing and another person another thing. How about searching out the scriptures for Biblical principles each party promotes or attacks and giving that information to young Christians eager to change the world?
(continued from above...)ReplyDelete
By the way, I did watch your and the other churches' videos on the topic in question. Maybe you should make a "right judgment" before assuming that I did not watch or listen to the series and that I did not do my homework in regard to my blog's information. I can promise you that I cover all the bases before I write about something I feel is misleading or nebulous in meaning. As far as me bearing false witness against a brother, maybe your signs are bearing false witness by advertising a topic publicly and then deviating from that message to preach a different message. Not that the message of salvation is not important, but the means used might be readjusted a bit, in my opinion. While you did preach about Jesus and the importance of living for him, expounding on what Jesus would be like as a President or what he would require of all of us as President or how Jesus would face and deal with the cultural issues dominating our nation today were not the subjects of the advertised signs or even the messages preached. It was because of those reasons that I criticized the "Jesus for President" promotion as a "clever marketing tool" designed to draw people into the church to preach to them about salvation in Jesus. I am positive that your church does not need to employ these Madison Avenue advertising gimmicks to bring the lost into your building so that you can preach the Gospel to them.
Also, as far as Jesus' Kingdom "not being of this world," I would take exception. You and your church ARE part of the Kingdom and ARE part of this world. We are called not only to see people reached with the Good News of salvation about Jesus, but we are also called to teach believers how to influence and change the world with that liberating message. Seeing slavery abolished, abortion outlawed, marriages strengthened, or a host of other cultural evils abolished IS the work of the ministry and the church. To make the message and work of the Kingdom irrelevant for earth is to forfeit any cultural influence and make reformation impossible. The church is God's only vehicle for the healing and blessing of the nations and His Biblical principles are to be brought into all spheres of life to reach those goals.
Thank you for your concerns and response to my blog "Jesus 4 President?" Your invitation to lunch and your willingness to pick up the tab are very generous on your part, and I will take you up on the invitation. Please feel free to contact me at 313.381.4021. I look forward to meeting you and encouraging you in your ministry.
Stay Holy, My Friend!
Pastor Don is always free for a free lunch lolReplyDelete
Pastor Don this is Beau Wynn. I have always admired your zeal for knowledge and your integrity to discern the facts…only the facts – like a true Berean. I can’t believe that you were not able to separate the fact that this Jesus4President campaign has NOTHING to do with how Metro South Church is informing its members to vote in the coming election. Jesus4President has just been an opportunity to tell people how our country might look if Jesus was President. How the ‘top-down’ leadership/servant pyramid would be inverted and turned on its head.ReplyDelete
I can see for myself that you indeed separated Metro into one of three categories in your blog , but you have actually used the enemy’s tactic and took a maneuver out of the ‘leftist’ playbook – a little sleight of hand per se’…. Just as the lefties will use extreme crazy Christians at a pro-life rally to portray how crazy even the mainline Christians are. You have done the same thing! You wrapped Metro South Church in with nutjobs that are making all of us Christians look bad! Sorry to say but I don’t think you did your homework on this – had you really done your homework you would see how much Pastor Jeremy paints the picture of which parties values are best portrayed and align with biblical values over the course of MANY sermons. I really hope you have lunch together because I think you are going to be surprised on how much you and Pastor Jeremy have in common and how much your views on politics align. For instance, here is an email with a link that we all received from Pastor Jeremy http://www.wallbuilders.com/LIBissuesArticles.asp?id=106938 ...now you tell me where this church stands. Again – one only needs to get on line and view some of the last couple months of services and you will see for yourself.
In your second commentary you took out of context the verse that was being used. Jesus’ words say “My kingdom is not of this world.” You said you ‘take exception’ that the video portrays that we are escapist from this world. Of course we are in this world and we are called to be his arms and legs in this world. Metro South is engaging this community commensurate with places all over the globe. Check out what happened at Metro just a couple weeks ago –the church was supplied with means to impact the community. We reached out to EVERY Police, Fire Dept. and hospital in Downriver by taking them food and praying for them. We reached out to EVERY CPC locally by taking them supplies. We cleaned EVERY park and school yard in the City of Taylor and then cleaned all of I-75 &Eureka in front of the Church! All in a couple hours! You should hear the praise reports! Metro employs a dozen world outreaches in Haiti-Africa and abroad. We are engaging our community and the globe! I could go on and on how MSC is reaching out and reaching in. I have learned so much there and you know I have been a man of the Word for a long time.
You assert in your response that Metro “doesn’t need to employ Madison Avenue advertising gimmicks to bring the lost “into our building just to preach the Gospel to them. How many ‘lost’ people do you really think would see a Jesus4President sign and say – “oh yeah – I HAVE to go to that church” – Really? It may recruit some – and if some people got on the website and were able to see the Christian paradigm explained. It may entice them to come and see more. But I think the thrust of this whole campaign was to educate the body . BTW – why would Jesus ‘heal’ people that would only eventually die? Maybe it would attract the lost? I guess maybe he would do well on Madison Avenue…ReplyDelete
My final point - I am surprised that you actually say “the "church" should be telling its members which man should receive their vote!” I attended Downriver for 17 years. Downriver NEVER told us WHO to vote for. You did however educate us on the values platforms for each candidate. We all know that you are not allowed by law to tell your congregation ‘who’ to vote for. We can only tell them ‘what’ the candidates are saying and what the Word of God says about such things. We can only guide them legally – we are not able to endorse a specific candidate.
I will be doing some homework of my own in the next couple days. I will listen to the last 8 weeks of sermons to see if DCCC is practicing what you are preaching to MSC – informing your congregation how to vote. I hope I am pleasantly surprised!
Pastor Don – I sure hope that you have not written this blog because you are upset that many of us have left DCCC and are now at Metro South. I know you are NOT a fan of this church but I hope in time you will see that we are your brothers in the Lord. I understand that it has been difficult for all of us but I have NEVER bashed DCCC upon my departure. You would be happy to know that at our membership class that Pastor Jeremy said he will NOT tolerate any gossip or maligning our brothers and sisters at other churches.
Hey – I’ll even pay for the two of you to have lunch together….send me the bill!
Beau Wynn ><}}}’>
Beau, thank you for your comments concerning my knowledge and integrity about examining facts like the Bereans. Sgt. Joe Friday was always one of my heroes and I took his advice seriously when he said, “just the facts ma'am!” So please be patient with me as I address your misunderstanding of the “facts.”ReplyDelete
First of all, I did know that the “Jesus 4 President” series at Metro South was not about informing members how to vote. Please reread my blog “Jesus 4 President?” The video I displayed in the blog with Pastor Jeremy in it clearly states that the series was not about whom people should vote for, but what Jesus would do if he were President. I definitely commented on the fact that the pastors in the video did not take a public stand one way or another about for whom Christians should vote.
On the other hand, when I watched the video series on the subject, I did not see or hear much about what Jesus would do if He were President. Instead, I heard a lot about the world’s horrible conditions, how political parties cannot solve the core issues of a meaningless life, and that Jesus is greater than all political power. While I have no problem with that, the series was advertised as a presentation as to what Jesus would do if he were President. Because the series of teachings did not go into the advertised promotion, I labeled the promotion a clever marketing and promotional tool. If the signs around town and on the Metro South church building and the accompanying video were not a promotional and marketing tool, please explain to me what they were displayed for!
As for me trying to lump your church together with all the Christian nut jobs regularly displayed on television, I can assure you that you guys are doing a pretty good job of that yourselves without any help from me. Posting signs in yards and on the side of your building facing a much traveled expressway declaring “Jesus 4 President” speaks only one thing to unsaved people passing by - nut jobs! What do you really think unsaved people passing by are going to think? I’m really not trying to be overly critical, but only brutally honest about these absurd signs. That is why I researched the signs and wrote the blog. If these signs were just intended to get people to think, then you accomplished your goal. I just wonder what people are truly thinking.
Beau, you also take issue with my reference to Pastor Jeremy saying that Jesus’ kingdom is not of this world and then insinuate that I believe Metro South is escapist in its theology. First of all, I was quoting and responding to his comment to me and not the video that he was in. Secondly, I was stating the fact that the church is part of the Kingdom in the here and now on earth! Jesus prayed to his Father, “Thy kingdom come, thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven”! The preaching of the Gospel is the advancing of the Kingdom of God in the world today. Nowhere in my blog or in my response to Pastor Jeremy do I accuse it of being escapist and unconcerned about the world around us. I applaud Metro South’s commitment to the preaching of the Gospel and community/world involvement. I pray also that it doesn’t separate the church from the kingdom in its teaching and preaching. But to read an escapist label anywhere in my blog or response comments to Pastor Jeremy is to once again leave me scratching my head in amazement as to what are you reading or thinking.ReplyDelete
You also mentioned in your comments that in your 17 years at Downriver, you NEVER once heard the pastors tell you who to vote for? I find that “fact” truly incredible! I do recall one time, if my memory is correct, that you were running for school board and city council and that we told people that they should vote for and support you. I could go on and on about other people from Downriver who ran for mayoral positions, city councils, state representatives, pension boards, school boards, and many other governmental and public positions, but if you don't remember, you don't remember.
Finally, you made mention that I am not a fan of Metro South Church. That fact is true, and I have my reasons for my position as you well know. That does not mean that I dislike the pastor or people of Metro South Church. It means I question some things they do or don’t do. However, I did not write my blog because of that. I went to the church’s site to see what the “Jesus 4 President” promotion was about. When I discovered the two other sites bearing a similar name, I checked out what all three sites were trying to promote. As I stated in my reply to Pastor Jeremy, my criticism of the series of messages stemmed from the fact that they did not line up with the advertised promotional video. Also, we were told in the short video that the pastors were not trying to tell people how to vote, only that they should vote. This seemed very evasive to me and a dereliction of our responsibilities as men of God to declare the truth of God’s Word for every sphere of life.
If the pastors in the video privately told their congregations whom they should vote for and why from a Biblical position, I rejoice in that step and gladly stand rebuked and corrected. But if the pastors refused to endorse either publicly or privately a viable candidate for president who upholds important Biblical values, then the pastors have made trivial the calling of God that is upon their lives and ministries.
Thank you for your correspondence in this matter. Your willingness to pick up the tab when Pastor Jeremy and I go out for lunch will be greatly appreciated. I can guarantee that I will have no trouble spending your hard-earned money at one of my favorite expensive local restaurants!
Stay Holy, My Friends!