What the Johnson Amendment Means for Modern Church.
This week, the Trump administration overturned the Johnson Amendment, the provision in the tax code that bans churches and other houses of worship from campaigning for political candidates if they want to keep their tax-exempt status. This week’s executive order was meant to alter that tax law so that clergy can endorse candidates from the pulpit without fear of repercussions.
This has both sides up in arms. Some are happy and some are concerned that such liberty will be abused by clergy and politicians alike. Who’s right?
Well to get an understanding we must first consider that the concept of separation of church and state is not biblical. It is a manmade concept. God created a theocracy, first with Adam and Eve and then through Israel. He was their God and King which is why when they asked for a human king He told Samuel that they did not reject him but God (1 Samuel 8:7).
God allowed them to have human kings but expected those kings to still seek Him in all matters. We see through many chapters that some kings did and other did not. So God used the prophets to speak to the people of their current state. Even the kings that did not follow God accordingly still knew who the prophets were and sometimes heeded their voice. So the Bible clearly shows us that the expectation is that government and church be one, with leaders seeking divine guidance in their leadership.
“Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths.” (Proverbs 3:5-6).
Can such unity exist today? Anything is possible with God! But the current truth is that in a country like America, there are too many different religions and factions within each religion to support any real unity. And sadly most people are more concerned about their civil liberties than their souls.
For the man or woman of God who seeks God’s face and hears His voice, to be able to tell the people who God wants in an appointed position is such a blessing! It’s a blessing when greed for money, power and attention do not overshadow what God’s want. It is a blessing when political lines are not drawn based on race, gender and economic status separating Christian from Christian. All of which we saw in the last presidential election. It deeply troubles me that the leading preachers in this country were divided on who God’s choice was and they still are divided.
As with everything, God gives us a choice to choose the blessing or the curse. The overturning of the Johnson Amendment is no different. We must make a conscious choice to seek God and make sure everything that comes forth from the pulpit is His will, including political statements. God cares about politics so preachers need to be addressing what is on God’s heart. We must pray diligently for our churches and our clergy that they not be corrupted by the systems of this world but that in all things they seek and speak the will of God!
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