President or Preacher?

Kansas is a Republican state. This is the home of Dwight Eisenhauer and Bob Dole. Farmers tend to be a conservative lot, and Trump easily carried this state in the last election. People frequently ask me why I don’t preach on political issues — why I don’t denounce the Democrats, Socialists, Communists, and the 4-H. (Just kidding about the 4-H.) D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones, the famous British preacher put it much better than I in his commentary on the Sermon on the Mount (1959):

The primary task of the Church is to evangelize and to preach the gospel. Look at it like this. If the Christian Church today spends most of her time in denouncing communism, it seems to me that the main result will be that communists will not be likely to listen to the preaching of the gospel. If the Church is always denouncing one particular section of society, she is shutting the evangelistic door upon that section. If we take the New Testament view of these matters, we must believe that the communist has a soul to be saved in exactly the same way as everybody else. It is my business as a preacher of the gospel, and a representative of the Church to evangelize all kinds and conditions and classes of men and women. The moment the Church begins to intervene in these political, social, and economic matters, therefore, she is hampering and hindering herself in her God-appointed task of evangelism. She can no longer say that she ‘knows no man after the flesh’, and thereby she is sinning. Let the individual play his part as a citizen and belong to any political party that he may choose. That is something for the individual to decide. The Church is not concerned as a Church about these things. Our business is to preach the gospel and to bring this message of salvation to all. And, thank God, communists can be converted and can be saved. The Church is to be concerned about sin in all its manifestations, and sin can be as terrible in a capitalist as in a communist; it can be as terrible in a rich man as in a poor man; it can manifest itself in all classes and in all types and in all groups.

I am named after my grandfather. Papa was very involved in Oklahoma politics and once served as the sergeant at arms for the state senate. The whole time I was growing up, Papa encouraged me to become the President of the United States. Just before he died, he told me I had chosen to pursue something greater than that. “I’m so proud you’re a preacher Johnny.”

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