In our modern secular society, Christian leaders are often asked to shut up and sit down. We are encouraged to share our thoughts, positions, and opinions – but only in established Christian environments. But when our voice spills out from the pulpit and into the public square we are publically ridiculed and chastised. “For the sake of diversity you mustn’t give your opinion. For the sake of freedom you must give up your rights. For the sake of equality you must be silenced.”
Furthermore, if a Christian does happen to get into a position of public leadership we are asked to not allow our faith to influence our decisions. As if divorcing someone’s beliefs from his or her actions were possible for anyone.
Speak Up with Boldness
Martin Luther King Jr. was not intimidated by the fact that he was simply a Baptist preacher from the Deep South. He knew that Christ would have him speak out against forced-segregation and racial inequality and so MLK embarked on a quest to bring light to a nation that was unwilling to see. His Christian leadership changed the world, inspired a generation, and ultimately cost him his life.
Speak Up with Compassion
Benjamin Rush, even among the very religious of Founding Fathers, was considered an exceptional man of faith. He was a medical doctor, graduate of Princeton, and signed the Declaration of Independence. But above all he was a Christian. It is from his deeply-held Presbyterian beliefs that he felt obligated to speak out against slavery. This man was truly ahead of his time. Forty years before Abraham Lincoln was born, Dr. Rush was fighting against popular opinion and condemning slavery as, “so foreign to the human mind, that the moral faculties, as well as those of the understanding are debased, and rendered torpid by it.”
Speak Up with Humility
A few months ago I experienced a Christian leader being sworn in as the Vice President of the United States. Mike Pence placed his hand on Bible that was specifically turned to 2 Chronicles 7:14.
“If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land.”
Here is a man who would be at odds with much of the modern American philosophy. He often breaks rank with other politicians as well as other Christian leaders when attempting to seek God and follow His direction. He has been called an extremist, a bigot, a fanatic, and a sellout. But one thing he is not often accused of is being rude. He is confident when he speaks but caring in his delivery. He is steadfast in his position but gracious enough to listen. I do not know the man personally and would not insist upon his righteousness in every instance – but I would declare that he falls into a long line of Christians who were willing to speak up as Christian leaders even in the public arena.
What do you think about Christians in the public arena? Should be seek to be politically involved? How should be present ourselves? In what ways have you seen this successfully done? In what ways have you seen this poorly done? Comment Below: