An Open Letter to Pastors about President Trump
We live in an age of golden opportunity to advance the Kingdom of God and you are blowing it.
People, both Republican and Democrat, are looking to you for an example of how to lead in love. They long for you to foster unity. They miss the days when you, if no one else, would be the voice of Jesus calling on your congregation to “love your enemies.” They need a pastor not a political commentator.
Don’’t you realize that when you call Nancy Pelosi a “hag” and share Photoshopped pictures of her as the Death Angel on Facebook that you are causing division in your own church? Some of you suggest Democrats are going to hell because they support a party that believes in abortion. If that’s true, why wouldn’t you reach out to them instead of antagonize them? Why would you use anger instead of love to evangelize them?
In these last several days I’ve seen too many of you, my pastoral colleagues, stoop to name calling. It appears your priority is the Kingdom of America over the Kingdom of God. Have you forgotten that you are called to eternal things and not temporal things?
As we move forward into this election cycle I offer three pieces of advice.
1. If you must talk about politics, please focus on policies and not people. When you mention names you instantly polarize people. Your ministerial call is not to promote or demote a political figure. If you insist on naming names then let it be the name of Jesus Christ.
2. Please view Facebook as a mission field instead of your personal political bully pulpit. As a minister of the Gospel you cheapen your calling by being mean-spirited and disrespectful to those who disagree with you. Facebook interaction is a place to spread the love of Jesus Christ. This is hard to do when you are bashing people and political parties.
3. Never lose sight of the priority of the Kingdom of God. All governments will fade away. Someday the United States will no longer exist. The White House will fall to the ground. The ONLY Kingdom that will stretch out into eternity is the Kingdom of God. Doesn’t it make sense to prioritize your passion and energy on building that Kingdom?
Here’s a bonus thought. What would happen, as ministers of the Gospel, if we spent more time searching the Bible instead of Google for how to respond to people of the other party? Start with a close reading of the Sermon on the Mount.
Do you want to know a secret? I wrote this letter more to myself than you.
May God help us to be what He has called us to be.
In Love and Concern,
Pastor Randy Hartman
I believe many of us are trying to do exactly what you suggest. However there a few on both sides of the political spectrum that don’t seem to be able to help themselves. I am reminded by Ephesians 2:14 “For he himself is our peace, who has made the two groups one and has destroyed the barrier, the dividing wall of hostility,”
We should all learn from Paul that our commonality is Christ.
Thank you for this reminder.
I whole heartedly concur! I have felt the same thing for a long time. The “kingdom of America” over the Kingdom of God is a real issue in the Church. The religious people in the time of Jesus were looking for a political Messiah. Today the religious people are still looking for a political Messiah!
Thank you Randy
I am and always have been a political animal. When I was called to pastoral ministry I was moved by the Spirit to never endorse or denigrate any candidate candidate. Nor would I use the pulpit or the position as pastor to endorse any platform.
Your letter leaves me wondering who would need such admonitions? Why risk antagonizing 1/2 the congregation?
But really the main issue for me was that all Christians are to be involved in government according to the way they believe God wishes them. Even our beloved church changes its stance or at least modifies it on issues.
Let all of those ordained by God seek to bring unity not enmity; peace not conflict; truth not falsehoods.
Randy, I totally agree with your letter. I attempt to follow the principles that you have given. However, it troubles me that some Christians are not willing to engage in civil discourse. Being blocked or unfriended on FB by someone who has been an acquaintance/friend for years is hurtful.
Have a great day!
Our, Rev. Brady Wisehart stays focused on the gospel. However, we do need to refrain from encouraging from the values we cherish. For instance my husband and myself are retired from ministry so not in the pulpit. We do stand up for the things our faith leads us to, such as prolife issues. I believe the Lord expects us to defend the helpless.
Consider changing the title, “An Open Letter To Pastors About President Trump”. Your “letter” doesn’t mention him.
Amen! Great words.
I agree with the tenor of your letter, Randy, but it is almost impossible to have a position of neutrality in our present political climate. Even this letter has a slant toward the Democrats by not including the harsh rhetoric toward the President. These days are filled with opportunities that challenge us to be His ambassadors in a fallen world. Blessings to you my friend.
Thanks for your comments. Yes, it is impossible to be neutral in these days. You did notice, didn’t you, that I closed the article by confessing I was primarily writing to myself?!
These are deep thoughts. And heart felt reminding us Gid is our future and we are blessed greatly in having you and men of God encouraging us to take a better path that of love care of all other humans.
Thank you. Thru the grace and mercy of God. A sister because of God.
Not to criticize, but just curious why you used “President Trump” in your title and then encourage pastors not to use names other than Jesus.
I agree with the premise of your blog. However in this highly polarized environment where the positions of most of the candidates are well known, it is nearly impossible to take a position on an issue without implying a candidate in the process.
When confronted with the choice between promoting policies that align with Kingdom priorities and simultaneously offending those who take an opposing view, I believe it is preferable to hold to God’s standards even if they prove to be unpopular.
We are never “entitled” to hate under any circumstances. But Jesus warned us that we would be hated because of our identification with Him.
We need to be mindful of the temptation to seek human acceptance and love more than we desire to see His Kingdom come and His will be done on Earth as it is in heaven. His will includes us loving others regardless of political viewpoints. But we cannot allow ourselves to equate being loved and uncontroversial with being holy.
We cannot forget that we are in a spiritual war. And in any war there are enemies. While we seek to be agents of reconciliation between God and Man through Jesus, there are those who will despise us for doing so.
Hi Tim. Thanks for your comments. I used “President Trump” in the title to get attention. It’s important to snag enough attention to get a click. Your point is well taken! But the article, without mentioning his name, is certainly about the President and our response to the current political ruckus.
Thank you sir for wisdom from the heart of God.
Randy, while your sentiment may have value, your approach is lacking. You state that you are a pastor, but refer to all pastors (except yourself) as “you”, meaning someone other than yourself. Your letter is written as if it accuses each individual pastor (except yourself) that reads it of being part of the problem of creating an “us verses them”, yet that is exactly what your letter has done between you and every pastor that reads it. If you consider yourself part of the pastoral team, please give more consideration to the pronouns “us” and “we” in your next letter.
I am making no judgments regarding your intent/motive, or your true concern for each pastor’s use of pastoral influence. However, you did not follow your own first piece of advice, “When you mention names you instantly polarize people” because you used “Trump” in your title to get attention.
Hi Ben. Thanks for your comments. I am aware of my own failures and inadequacies in writing this article. But that’s why I wrote this line towards the end, “Do you want to know a secret? I wrote this letter more to myself than you.” And that’s a fact.
I truly believe enough God Fearing Americans believe in President Trump.
If it’s the Will of the people, it’s the Will of God.
I am thankful President Trump just signed into law that prayer is allowed in the public school. He is protecting our religious freedoms, and I believe he is the only one in the Presidential race that does. Thank you Jesus and thank you President Trump
I encourage you to double check your statement. Prayer has never, to my knowledge, been outlawed in schools. Prayer is allowed as long as it doesn’t interfere with school activities or impede the freedom of other students.
You are correct, Randy. Prayer was never banned in school, only teacher led prayer. As the old saying goes, “As long as there are tests, there will be prayers in school”. In our local school district there is one practicing Mormon and two Jehovah Witnesses. Mormons believe that they will one day become gods themselves and Jehovah Witnesses reject the deity of our Lord and Savior. All are fine teachers but frankly, I would not want them leading our children in prayer or any type of religious instruction. Let’s leave that to the parents and Churches.
The article Pastor Harmon alludes to the idea that the the truth of the Gospel takes precedence over personalities in politics. This may be true if the Gospel of the Bible did not deal with personalities but that is not true.
In the Revelation chapter 13: 11-15 it speaks of a person who imposed a draconian policy on a nation identified as a ‘two-horned beast,’ the symbol of what many in the past have posited represents the United States in prophecy. If that is true then the draconian decree that not one could buy or sell unless they receive a mark in their hand or forehead.’ The eventual number of the leader imposing this economic policy has the number of a man, that number is the infamous number 666. This leader is also identified as association with the religious personage, a person that is called the ‘false prophet.’ Although all this may appeal to Christians the final end of the person carrying the number 666, called the ‘beast’ in the prophecy ends by being cast together with false prophet in the ‘lake of fire.’ Revelation 19:20
Because of the national debt now at some 21 Trillion dollars a day of reckoning is looming even as a ‘melt up’ stock market reaches 40,000 before the inevitable correction. At that time total economic control may appear to be the only stabilizing alternative. Does this presage the work of the leader identified as the 666? If it does the church should be warned of this circumstance before it occurs for the Revelation also warns of judgment against receiving the ‘mark of the beast’ Revelation 14:9-10.
My take is that it may not be Biblical to withdraw from end time issues under the guise of non-judgmental love and say nothing about the real issues of the Bible.
There are few phrases more vague and fraught with preconceived ideas and prejudices than “the gospel of the Bible.” Most of the Bible is not “The Gospel.”
Many years ago I chose to never use Facebook as a place to voice my political views. Instead, I chose to post pictures and positive thoughts. When aggravated I quickly remind myself not to post because I have both conservative and liberal artists that view my Facebook. Love doesn’t mean you agree or disagree it means you learn to listen to a fellow human being that has been created by the same God. Also, I have found not seeing the facial expression or hearing someone’s voice in response to a written comment can cause me to misinterpret by my own prejudice and biased opinion. A paragraph on Facebook may not change someone’s heart necessarily, but I also don’t want to destroy the opportunity to have a positive influence. Great advice Randy. I believe your paragraph(s) are very true.