Most people don't go to church to learn the minister's opinions on whatever happens to be in the headlines. They can get similar opinions sitting on their sofas watching television, quite possibly presented by someone much better-looking.I agree with Shiflett, I think, (except, perhaps about the better-looking part). That is why I've steered clear of politics in preaching. I do wrestle, however, with the tension of preaching what is relevant to the times in which we find ourselves. The headlines often have moral and spiritual significance. A recent issue of City Pulse, Lansing's self proclaimed newspaper, "for the rest of us," recently carried a cover story promising to tell us "What the Bible Really Says About Homosexuality."
Most people go to church to get something they cannot get elsewhere. The consuming public - people who already believe, or who are attempting to believe, or who want their children to believe - go to church to learn about the mysterious Truth on which the Christian religion is built. They want the Good News, not the minister's political views or intellectual coaching. The latter creates sprawling vacancies in the pews. Indeed, those empty pews can be considered the earthly reward for abandoning heaven, traditionally understood.
Where the headlines are so clearly in opposition to the Scriptures as I, our church, and indeed two thousand years of orthodox Christianity understand them, I cannot and should not remain silent.
So where is the line between personal political opinion and scriptural absolutes?
Oh, it turns out Shiflett is a pretty good songwriter, too.