Mt Soledad
Welcome to the
Christian Citizenship Council
of San Diego
San Diego
“When the righteous thrive, the people rejoice; when the wicked rule, the people groan.” (Prov 29:2)

“A Letter to Pastors”

I know what you’re thinking.  You’re already overwhelmed with ministry demands and don’t need another complication added to your pastoral plate, particularly something as divisive as politics.  I understand your hesitation, and my intention is not to “pile on the pastor”.   What I would like to do, however, is reason with you about the proper, balanced role needed to equip your church members to be godly citizens in this nation.

Most would agree the church exists to bring glory to God, to worship Him in spirit and truth, to pray and minister together and exercise our spiritual giftedness through works of service.  When we’re out in the world we’re to proclaim the gospel, live exemplary lives, and apply Biblical principles and worldview to all spheres of our life.  Where we can easily fall short is how to effectively apply Biblical teachings directly to our culture and society.  When we fail in this, we stop being “salt” and inadvertently encourage moral decay and ungodly leadership to go unchecked.  This in turn contributes to the common view that Biblical truths are irrelevant to modern day problems and that Christians are ignorant (clueless) on matters important to those around us.

I believe lasting change comes about through the gospel and redeemed lives, I also believe the Bible has the basic truths this nation and society desperately need for everyone’s good.  God’s word governs all matters of faith and practice, and brings blessings when thoughtfully applied, and dire consequences when ignored.  For example, the liberties we enjoy are a direct result of the application of Biblical principles when this nation was formed.  Why would we ever think they’re no longer germane for application today?  Remove God’s convicting standard from the public arena and Christianity becomes irrelevant to the problems facing society.

Over the last generation or two, many Christians have withdrawn from their high calling to be leaders in our culture and have abdicated the role of  salt and light to our society.  Though exceptions exist, a comfortable “holy huddle” remains in many churches, insulated from cultural and life issues our neighbors and elected officials wrestle with.  Even for church leadership, preaching and teaching on “sensitive” topics has often been replaced with a seeker friendly atmosphere that doesn’t rock the boat.  Also, where the authority of scripture is weak, the ability to understand our nations ills will be deficient since the cause will be misdiagnosed and the cure unavailable.  These and other unhealthy trends have contributed to the virtual disappearance of the concept of a Christian Citizen adequately equipped to engage our environment, not just with the gospel, but with facts and reasoning under girded with solid Biblical truths.  This withdrawal is so common that a candidate for public office can now be openly condemned as unqualified solely if they espouse any sincere Christian convictions at all. 

Given the current sad, and inconsistent state of Christian influence, what are pastors to do?  I’m not suggesting your church become a Political Action Committee or you jeopardize your 501(c)3 status.  At a minimum, however, I believe you should publicly and routinely encourage your members to be knowledgeable of current events, to research all candidates for elective office, and to vote in every election.  This is the entry level for each of us to exercise citizenship responsibilities.  It’s also critical for you to speak openly and directly to the appalling conditions around us – whether it’s radical agendas contrary to Biblical teachings, sexual perversion and the culture of death in all their manifestations, current legislation that panders to destructive special interests, or elected officials that are not fulfilling their responsibilities.  Likewise, you should acknowledge when good legislation is passed and leaders do what they are called to do.  You’re trained in God’s word, so equip your members to be involved citizens just as you equip them to be godly spouses, parents, employees, ministry workers, witnesses for Christ, etc.  Also, besides the use of preaching opportunities, ensure solid Biblical teaching is provided through other venues to equip your members to retake their position as counselors to the nation.  Ultimately, this will influence society for everyone’s good, and restore our relevancy to a world desperate for answers, answers found only in God’s word and in the person of Jesus Christ.

I know from experience you are overburdened with existing ministry concerns.  But I can almost guarantee every church has members that are mature, gifted, and willing to organize a Christian citizenship ministry that would help educate and motivate the flock to engage the great cultural, political and legislative issues of our day.  Look for them, you’ll find them.  Your responsibility, as a shepherd, is to encourage these ministries and provide oversight so all activities will be done in a godly, Christ-centered, non-divisive manner.  You don’t have to do everything yourself, nor should you, but your maturity, leadership and knowledge will be the key component to whatever is ultimately pursued.

Do you agree with me or not?   I’d love to hear from you one way or another.  Be apprised, however, that next month I’ll turn my attention to the responsibilities of church members.

Frank Kacer
Executive Director, Christian Citizenship Council of San Diego

First published in the July 2005 issue of Good News Etc.