Should Pastors Run for Political Office?

(Public Domain Image)
(Public Domain Image)

In his 1958 book, Stride Toward Freedom, Martin Luther King, Jr. argued that pastors must play a critical role in politics. While pastoring the Montgomery, Alabama, Dexter Avenue Baptist Church, he wrote, “The important thing is for every minister to dedicate himself to the Christian ideal of brotherhood, and be sure he is doing something positive to implement it.

“He must never allow the theory that it is better to remain quiet and help the cause to become a rationalization for doing nothing. Many ministers can do much more than they are doing and still hold their congregations.”

Similarly, in January 2015, David Lane, the founding director of the American Renewal Project organized a movement to encourage 100,000 pastors, their friends, family members and congregants to consider becoming more involved in their communities, and in particular, to consider running for political office.

One of his primary goals was to equip 1,000 pastors to run for office in 2016—either for city council, school board, county commissioner, mayor or state legislator. But pastors, after learning about the process from attending the American Renewal Project’s Issachar Training events, began encouraging their congregants, friends and family members to run for office.

Lane estimates that “by simple arithmetic, if the Lord called 1,000 pastors to run in 2016 and if they averaged 300 volunteers per campaign, then that would mean 300,000 ground-level evangelicals working within their local precincts. When my own pastor, Rob McCoy, ran for office, he saw 625 volunteers join in his campaign. A similar grass-roots, evangelical movement—from coast to coast—would change America for good.”

“No one I know is under the illusion that politicians are going to save America,” he repeatedly says. But because “virtue is a key component of freedom,” it is necessary for “spiritual men and women … to bring wisdom and righteousness to every area of society.”

Naysayers may criticize Lane and others for attempting to “create a theocracy.” But it’s important to recognize that a theocracy, and whatever that supposedly means, isn’t even realistic. And genuine Christians recognize that a “theocracy” is not even remotely close to the purpose of Christianity.

More importantly, it is because of Christians that America is not a “theocracy.”

(The Puritans tried but failed quite miserably, evidencing that most Christians cannot agree on what theological interpretation should govern, if it should govern at all.)

What most may not realize and take for granted is that pastors—more than anyone else—are best equipped to meet and suggest solutions for societal problems.

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SOURCE: Charisma News
Bethany Blankley