At ECF, we just finished preaching through the book of 1 Corinthians. DIvision plagued the Corinthian Church. And right now in the USA, not only is our society deeply polarized, so is the Church. And if there one dividing point which stands above the rest – not only for its own sake but because of what else gets tolled into it – it is politics.
Enter Jonathan Leeman and Andy Naselli’s poignant, powerful and extraordinarily timely little book: “How Can I LOve Church Members with Different Politics?”
It is less than 65 pages and is, in my opinion, an absolute must-read. Especially as we are fast approaching this next Presidential election.
No, it will not tell you how to vote. It will not tell you how to win political arguments. It will not prepare you for debates, except in the sense of its title.
The writing is crisp, minus a ton of jargon, theological or political. Both authors are skilled communicators, and due to their mutual capacity for brevity and clarity – you can digest it in less than an hour. But its after-effects will linger on.
Page after page is filled with sound wisdom, Biblical principles, and ways to live with one another in the Church – with whom we disagree – with the Scriptural requirements of love, compassion, understanding, courtesy, patience and “leeway.” A woefully lost word in our day when anyone who disagrees with us must be instantly demonized, or at least their soul’s state brought into question.
Social justice. Immigration. Tax reform. Socialized medicine. These are all hot topics right now, and ones that I personally have seen divide the Church even locally. Tragically. Shamefully.
Do yourself a favor and pick this gem up. The Kindle version is only 2 bucks and in paperback – $4.99. It is Scripture applied in the most practical and necessary way – right when needed. A timely word for Christ’s Church.
The book is written for you and me just sitting in the pew. It is neither academic nor technical. But let me share with you the closing section which is titled:
How Can Pastors Work for Unity in Politically Divisive Times?
1) Preach expositionally.
2) Continually clarify the distinction between biblical issues and applied-wisdom issues.
3) Continually affirm Christian liberty.
4) Teach forbearance toward the weaker conscience.
5) Point to your church’s statement of faith.
6) Speak more to what Scripture says and less on how to accomplish it.
7) Remember that your authority lies with expounding Scripture, not your politics.
8) Practice church discipline.
9) Teach what Scripture says about justice.
10) Teach the congregation to listen and empathize with those from different backgrounds.
11) Publicly pray for the issues causing grief and fear among different parts of the congregation.
12) Don’t overestimate the breadth of the problem when only a few people are making noise.
13) Model graciousness toward those who disagree with you.
14) Keep a cool head and don’t feel the need to address every issue of the day.
15) Preach the final judgment and sing about heaven often. 16) Preach the gospel every week.
Leeman, Jonathan. How Can I Love Church Members with Different Politics? (Church Questions) . Crossway. Kindle Edition.
Really great stuff. Now buy the book (really a booklet) and read the rest. You won’t be sorry, and you will be better.