Give no offense to Jews or to Greeks or to the church of God, just as I try to please everyone in everything I do, not seeking my own advantage, but that of many, that they may be saved. 1 Corinthians 10:32-33
Well, our national election is only a few weeks away.
You have seen the campaign commercials, listened to the news reports, read how papers, TV stations, business men, and stars of music, hall, stage and screen have come forward to endorse the candidate of their choice. It has been quite the free-for-all.
But you haven't heard from me, have you? You haven't heard about my pick and why I think that candidate and party are the ones worthy to receive your vote. So, would you like to know? Are you ready to hear?
I hope not, because I'm not going to tell you.
The Lutheran Laymen's League has been around for 100 years and to the best of my knowledge that while we do speak out on matters contrary to God's will we have never endorsed a candidate. The Lutheran Hour has been on the air for 85 years and even though I've read many of the sermons from the past, I can't ever remember seeing anything that would pass as an endorsement for a candidate or party.
Now there are a number of reasons for that:
* It's partly because of the 1954 Johnson Amendment which says preachers shouldn't endorse candidates.
* It's partly because, according to a report from LifeWay Research, 75 percent of the people polled said churches should refrain from all endorsements.
* It's partly because the IRS has threatened to punish tax-free institutions if they did endorse.
But the real reason for me not coming out in favor of a person or party has nothing to do with laws and legalities. It does have to do with the purpose of Lutheran Hour Ministries. Our job is to bring Christ to the Nations.
If we Christians are going to offend others, it shouldn't be because of matters trivial. No, if we are going to offend someone, it should be about the cross of Christ. As the great preacher Charles Spurgeon once said, "I beseech you, in the Name of the Lord Jesus Christ, Himself, think about why you are offended with the Gospel! I know it goes against your prejudices. When you first hear it, you do not love it but, remember, it is your only hope of salvation."
No, we do not talk about political candidates, which are here and then forgotten. Like Paul, "We preach Christ crucified, a stumbling block to Jews and folly to Gentiles but to those who are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God" (1 Corinthians 1:23-24).
THE PRAYER: Dear Lord, while there can be no doubt elections and leaders are important, grant that we may speak first, foremost and always about the Savior. May we proclaim to a lost world the One who sacrificed Himself to win forgiveness and salvation for the lost. In Jesus' Name I pray it. Amen.
In Christ I remain His servant and yours,
Pastor Ken Klaus
Speaker emeritus of The Lutheran Hour®
Lutheran Hour Ministries
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