John Broadus on why pastors shoud be careful when preaching on political matters

That truly pious men shall carry their religion into politics, shall keep religious principle uppermost in all political questions which have a moral character, is an unquestionable and solemn duty. Of course it is right that the preacher should urge them to do so; and should urge it with special earnestness in times of great political excitement, when good men are often carried away. Now we have observed above that in other matters it is well not merely to insist upon morality in general, but likewise hints for practical guidance. Why then, it may be asked, shall we not do likewise in reference to political matters, where it is often as difficult as it is important for a good man to decide upon his duty? Why shall not the preacher go somewhat into details here? The great difficulty is, that it is almost impossible for a preacher to do this without taking sides. In  a country where party feeling runs so high, the great mass of the people too, being still ungodly, to take sides at all, in public discourse, will cause the preacher to be at once swept away by the rushing tide. He ceases to sustain an impartial relation to all people over whom he is shepherd, and becomes, in a  matter which with many is more important than religion, the friend of some, the foe of others. The irreligious, and many of the brethren,  forget all about the religious aims of his preaching, in the one absorbing inquiry how much he will help or harm their party. Thus has may a good man, who was honestly striving to bring politics under the control of religious principle, been brought, before he knew it, into the position of a recognized political partisan. Upon perceiving such a result, some preachers at once draw back, wiser from their experience; but others, proud of consistency, resolved to conquer opposition, or unable to see just what their mistake is, and how to correct it, persevere, with deplorable results. The association which once connected them in the popular mind with unworldly feelings and eternal interests, is broken. Their power of turning men’s eyes away from the things which are seen to the things which are not seen, is seriously diminished. They become comparatively unable to accomplish the great object which a good man in the ministry must cherish, the object of saving souls. Besides, the temporal benefits of Christianity are greatest just in proportion as there is most of true spirituality. Preachers do men most good as to this world in proportion as they bring them to care most for the world to come. In losing this power, then, one has likewise actually lost the most effectual means of advancing those lower ends at which he was aiming. While striving to bring some of the motive power to bear upon one subordinate work, he has left the boiler to burst, and now can do neither the greater nor the less.

John Broadus, A Treatise on the Preparation and Delivery of Sermons, p. 78-79


About cteldridge

A beggar trying to tell other beggars were the Bread is.
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