As a pastor of a church in Gainesville for more than 20 years, I have seen elections come and go.
As we enter one of the most controversial in my memory, my thoughts go to 1938 Supreme Court Justice George Sutherland when he penned these immortal words.
“For the saddest epitaph which can be carved in memory of a vanished liberty is that it was lost because its possessors failed to stretch forth a saving hand while yet there was time.”
These words are just as true in this century as they were in the last. Injustice is not a new concept, and oppression is not an invention of our modern-day society. Neither is sin. Neither is evil.
You would just about have to live under a rock to not know we are in a hotly contested political season, and this has not escaped the eye of the church.
During the past 10 years, it has become fashionable for people in the church to feel like we are “above it all.” We leave all that “government stuff” to the “government people.”
Christian commentator James Robison puts it like this: “We must reject the thought that the spiritual is to be separated from the governmental. Transformed people transform the culture while standing up for what is right.”
In the last few months on our four campuses, just like other churches throughout the country, we have stressed being a Christian also means to be a responsible citizen by respecting the laws, honoring and praying for those in places of authority, and being active participants in the voting process. This year, we have added to these basic responsibilities by calling on our churches to pray and fast.
While our churches are filled with amazing people who identify with all types of party affiliations, as a church we will never endorse a candidate or a political party. But we will always encourage participation in the political process even if that involvement is simply voting.
There are no perfect candidates in any election. However, as a Christian, we have to ask ourselves, which candidate aligns closest to what the Bible teaches. Our children and our children’s children will be affected by decisions our government makes, and as a father and a grandfather, that compels me to be an active participant.
I say this with no hesitation: it’s time for the church to speak up and take a stand. As America goes, the world goes. That is why I am asking churches to stand up and be counted — to let your prayers be heard in heaven and your vote recorded on earth.
I am asking for three very specific calls to action and we encourage other believers and churches to join with us in the following ways:
* Pray as if the survival of our culture and this great nation depended on it.
* Fast with us, and others all over the world, Nov. 6-8.
* Vote to make your voice known.
We are not above it all and our voice matters. Every vote matters.
Jentezen Franklin is the senior pastor of Free Chapel in Gainesville. He can be contacted at 678-677-8300 or visit www.freechapel.org.