Wednesday, October 1, 2008

How Should Pastors Deal with "Political" Issues?

William Wilberforce (left), the British politician who almost single handedly ended the slave trade in Great Britain, is often held up as the model for political activism. I believe we find in his life and work an example of the importance of preaching, sharing the gospel, and teaching the Word of God in impacting the lives of people and ultimately making a difference in the world around us.

Wilberforce’s coming to Christ was largely influenced by a friend who shared the gospel and through the ministry of John Newton (right). Though Newton, a former slave trader, hated the slave industry, as a pastor he took an approach to the issue that might differ greatly from many pastors and leaders today.

Michael Horton in part two of his roundtable discussion on "Christians and Politics" at The White Horse Inn, had this to say about Newton’s ministry and his approach to the issue of slavery:

“Newton never preached a single sermon on how slavery should be stopped, although he did, when he came to the relevant passages speak against slavery. But he preached the gospel, and people like Wilberforce and countless other leaders in that movement were nourished and fortified to go out into their callings and exercise their vocations.”
You might disagree with some of the conclusions of the panel when it comes to churches, believers, and politics. However, the program will help you consider the biblical role of the church in dealing with the important theological and political issues of our day.

The White Horse Inn: Christians and Politics, Part 2 (Free with registration at OnePlace)

John Piper’s Biography of William Wilberforce

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