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Pastors in politics

Pastors in politics
  • Bishop Arnold Josey.

Guardian Lifestyles Editor

Published: Aug 10, 2017

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People go to church after a challenging week to hear a word of hope that reaches them at their individual positions with the assumption that what is said comes from the Bible. It was with this in mind that Commonwealth Mission Baptist Church senior pastor Bishop Arnold Josey admitted that the recent election season left him concerned, with the number of senior pastors that had emerged into frontline politics.

It’s a topic that Josey has been addressing in a series of lectures during the month at his church in Elizabeth Estates that he said he felt needed to be addressed. His lectures have been informative, provocative, opinionated, but biblical.

“Just like the other man, I believe in the individual’s right of choice, but I must admit right up front, that I had concerns as a senior pastor, knowing the struggles we face on a daily basis, then to combine that with partisan politics, was to me a major topic of apprehension that needed to be addressed. To cut and paste partisan talking points, or to substitute consistent exegesis with sample election season sermons, is spiritual malpractice,” said Josey.

A former police officer himself, the pastor said while the church should be counter-cultural and should engage the issues of the day, he said the engagement should be an outgrowth of the gospel’s sanctifying work in each believer. He said the political issues should not be the main thing that characterizes a church.

“The gospel should be the main thing. The scriptures should be the main thing. Christ should be the main thing,” said Josey. “We’ve failed in our mission if the only thing a wounded and weary soul hears is partisan political talking points with a ‘tip’ of scripture.”

He admitted that pastors are citizens too, and that in other venues — chats, blogs, books, and other places of influence — that they can speak their mind, but he said even then they must “jealously” guard that influence as a minister of the gospel, and not make politics more important than their pastoral duties.

Josey said pastors should also coach their members to engage the culture.

“We need gospel preachers at all levels of society and spheres — politics included. Pastors should equip, encourage, and support those who desire to enter public service at whatever level.”

He reminded them that God is not random, or even pragmatic in His ways for that matter. And that the all-knowing and all-powerful God chooses exactly which events He will cause, ordain, or permit. Josey said that there is none like God.

“Everything He permits matches up with His wisdom, and ultimately displays His holiness, justice, love and grace.”

They were also reminded that God is forward-thinking, establishes the time frames for the future, and then strategizes to bring His purposes to fruition.

Josey said the enemy could not out-strategize God.

“Scripture says ‘A kingdom divided against itself cannot stand.’” (Mark 3:24-25)

“The political spirit, like politics itself, is divisive. Often attacking in concert with a religious spirit, it contrives, it exploits opinions and personal preferences, creating gaps through offense and misunderstanding.”

He told members that to preach is a humble and holy task.

“Daniel Darling [pastor, author, and speaker] gives what I think is some good advice to pastors with a lean towards politics. He encourages them not to preach politics from the pulpit. Of course the retort is ‘I never take my politics to the pulpit, I preach the Word’. Yeah right! If you wear party colors and speak on their platforms, you are what you say you are if you never said another word,” said Josey.

“The Apostle Paul outlined the dangerous nature of divisions and factions in 1 Corinthians 1:11: ‘My brothers and sisters, some from Chloe’s household have informed me that there are quarrels among you.’ He went on to underscore how divisive this political spirit is, and that it is the very antithesis of Christ at work in our lives. When we consider the omnipotence and omniscience of God, it becomes less inconceivable that every life is prophesied in the mind of God by God’s mere thought of it. It then comes into the world girded with divine purposes. Because of who God is, however, these same traits will not allow this predestination to involve fatalism; it is consistent with the human freedom of action and personal responsibility as a free, moral agent.

He said God endows a man with major possibilities, which will no doubt contain certain parameters with which God hedges him.

“He says in Jeremiah 29:11: ‘I know the thoughts I think toward you, thoughts of peace and not evil, to bring you to an expected end.’ So we must recognize that it depends on the man’s own will and effort whether he uses those possibilities and attains to the end enclosed within those limits.”

Josey told the members that everyone is born with certain peculiarities, faculties, powers and tendencies. And that they must accept that God foresees the future and is omnipresent.

“Until we review life as a whole we shall not be able to interpret the meaning of its several parts. It is not arbitrary. The very idea of destiny as determined by a being of infinite thought implies purpose based on reason. God would not determine events simply to manifest His unfettered rights of sovereignty. It is turned to a good purpose. This must be so, for if God is good His designs must be good for the good of the agent, who is blessed by being selected for divine service; and for the good of the world. The elect are chosen instruments for benefiting the whole world,” he said.




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