Pastor Mike as President?

unclesamgod_sm.jpgNow that former Baptist minister Mike Huckabee is doing well in the presidential primary campaign, it is well for Christians to think about the relationship between church and state. Kim Riddlebarger’s “Mike Huckabee and the Two Kingdoms” is a useful read on this matter. I also have two other posts related to this subject. The first one is from August 2007 when Wiley Drake, pastor of a Southern Baptist Church in California, urged his flock to pray for the death of those who opposed his endorsement of Huckabee:

What is the role of the church and the Christian in this world? Scriptures say that the church is to be concerned with spiritual things, namely: preaching the gospel to all the nations, administering the sacraments, and teaching believers all that Christ has commanded (Matthew 28:19-20). Christ’s undershepherds have no business getting themselves and their churches mired in the mud of politics. How many pastors have gotten themselves in trouble when they wandered from the pulpit into politics? Leave politics to politicians. As well, the church must always be vigilant in keeping civil authorities from meddling in the affairs of the church. (See also “The Spirituality of the Church” by Hart and Muether.)

The Christian, on the other hand, is to be “salt and light” to the world, by personally showing God’s love and mercy to others, and by raising his voice for God’s truth, justice, and righteousness wherever God has appointed him to be.

It is when the corporate body of Christ, led by its pastors such as Wiley Drake, and the individual Christian forget that their highest end is “to glorify God and enjoy Him forever” (Westminster Shorter Catechism Q&A 1; Romans 15:5-6), and not “to take America back for God,” that “the name of God is blasphemed among the Gentiles because of you” (Romans 2:24).

The second one is from “One Nation Under God?” in May 2007:

Martin Luther calls this doctrine the “Two Kingdoms”: the kingdom of God and the kingdom of man. Both kingdoms are ruled by Christ. He rules over the church through His gospel; He rules over the world through His law. The Christian is a citizen of both kingdoms, and as such, is to be subject to both. Only in case of conflict with obedience to God may the Christian disobey the earthly kingdom. The Christian must be diligent in his vocation because that is his portion in serving both God and man. In his work, he is “rendering service with a good will as to the Lord and not to man” (Ephesians 6:5-8). To be sure, every aspect of a believer’s life, including the “secular,” is under the kingship of Christ.

The church’s function is the spiritual and diaconal care of its citizens, not meddling in the affairs of the state. The state’s function is the civil governance of its citizens, not meddling in the affairs of the church. As American theologian Charles Hodge explained back in the 19th century, “the state has no authority in matters purely spiritual and that the church [has] no authority in matters purely secular or civil.” More recently, Lutheran sociologist Peter Berger wrote that neither the Republican or Democratic political agenda “belongs in the pulpit, in the liturgy, or in any statements that claim to have the authority of the Gospel.” This is the view… sometimes referred to as “the spirituality of the Church.”

In the Philippines as well, it’s not unusual for pastors and leaders of the church to use the pulpit for political purposes. Evangelicals, Catholics, and cults (such as Iglesia ni Cristo and Quiboloy’s cult) all pander to politicians for love of money.


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1 thought on “Pastor Mike as President?”

  1. I remember when we were in Alaska, there were only a few big TV evangelists. Now, especially in the south, there are at least 8 Christian TV channels. The most important thing is that religion has become an important political issue. And the country has never been so polarized since the Civil War.

    This will be a very interesting year.

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