Missouri-Synod Lutherans aren’t used to their pastors being as political as they are right now in these heady days. The LC-MS has a history of being notoriously quiet in political matters and, for all intents and purposes, I agree that we should be.
But right now, the Affordable Care Act is proposing to take our tax dollars and use them to negate the nerve center of the very Gospel we preach. Despite our sincere desire to stay out of political matters, the words of Peter and John in Acts 4:19-20 apply here: “Whether it is right in the sight of God to listen to you rather than to God, you must judge, for we cannot but speak of whatwe have seen and heard.”
Indeed, we dare not be silent. As the Scriptures remind us of our God, For I take no pleasure in the death of anyone, declares the Sovereign LORD. Repent and live! (Ezekiel 18:32). Repentance toward the forgiveness of sins is all about life itself. Our God’s default position is a position that He wants life, not death. Humans chose death in the Garden when they sinned. When you see your government offering death services to women and potentially to seniors as well, it is a pure reflection of the fallen-ness of our worldly kingdoms and rulers. The Old Testament prophets put their necks on the line against such ideas…and so do we.
If you are a Christian who generally supports the Affordable Care Act because you support the idea of reforming health insurance and the way health care is done in the United States, then please hear me lovingly when I say my quarrel is not really with you. I can agree to that, and I do. I ask you, though, a very tough question. Which came first? Your God or your politics? If pastors raising such questions are burdening your political consciences, then I humbly ask you to remember that there are higher principles to which all Christians who stand on God’s Word adhere. The very Gospel of Jesus Christ is threatened by the legislation as it is currently written. Even if we are a supporter of the current President, this is a higher principle than any of our more worldly and insufficient political values. Perhaps such questions of conscience being raised lovingly by your pastors reveals that they truly do love you enough to get you thinking about the importance of keeping the First Commandment and putting the higher principle of life itself over against any political opinion.
The same is true for a Christian who is a Republican who probably opposes the Affordable Care Act. You probably oppose it as much out of a concern against large government and excessive taxation and a concern about a “nanny state.” While you are entitled to your opinions in this regard, the Church does not endorse either political side. Those opinions, too, come from humans and reflect our fallenness as well.
In other words, we in the Church do not endorse conservative or liberal. We profess Christ and His gifts of forgiveness and life.
In other words, we in the Church do not endorse Democrat or Republican. We belong to a kingdom which, unlike worldly kingdoms, will never end. Our party is the kingdom of Christ. Christ’s party.
In other words, we do not put our trust in princes and endorse candidates. No human being will ever be the Messiah for our country and world other than Jesus Christ, Son of God and son of man.
In the Church, we must profess a God who does not endorse death. In the Church, we must speak to help our elected officials understand that it is abhorrent to us that our tax dollars should support killing in any form. In the Church, we must teach the world that politics is often a game played to the sin of many. To espouse worldly political positions or political candidates as messianic and the only solution is to violate the First Commandment, “You shall have no other gods.”
With loving encouragement, I pray all Christians will let their God inform their politics and not the other way around. We offer something higher in the Church and something better. A kingdom which never ends, a mercy which really cares, a love of God which promotes life, not death. Life for you. Life for all.
This nation can do better. Perhaps someday its citizens and leaders will return to Christ and learn what that better really is.
In all Christian love,
1 Tim. 1:15-17