December 05, 2003

Political preaching

When is it right (read "righteous") for a preacher to deliver a sermon dealing with a political issue?
1. During times of national crisis (i.e. 9/11)
2. To address some "sin of government" (i.e. legalized abortion on demand)
3. At a moment of national decision (i.e. a major election)
4. To comment on some national policy (i.e. a decision to return to the Moon)
This is an issue that I've never really grappled with before as a preacher. I preached for two weeks following 9/11 to address the crisis (my topics were "Searching for Security" and "Responding Righteously"), but I've never felt the need to do the things described in 2-4 above, until now. And the topic I feel compelled to preach about isn't a "sin of government" or the upcoming elections. It's President Bush's impending announcement on U.S. space exploration policy, which is widely rumoured to include a return to the Moon. (For added depth, read Dennis E. Powell's article at National Review, "Milky Way Days: Returning to the New Frontier.)

The bottom line is this: I believe it would honor God and fulfill mankind's Providentially-engineered destiny to explore and settle our solar system and the rest of the universe. But can I take that belief to the pulpit? To borrow the metaphor of one of my most trusted mentors, "Will that dog hunt?" Is it righteous for me to preach Star Trek?

One of my greatest preaching heroes, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., had no qualms about addressing the socio-political issues of his age from his pulpit. (Sidenote: for my readers who preach, or who hope to, you must read A Knock at Midnight: Inspiration from the Great Sermons of Reverend Martin Luther King, Jr..) But the issues of Dr. King's age were somewhat different from what I'm considering...

...or were they?


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