T. PIERCE BROWN
The following is a slight expansion of a letter to the editor immediately after the Sunday when many denominations across the country used the sermon to exalt and glorify a man who was shot as he was speaking on behalf of some social or political cause. The practice of using the pulpit in some churches of Christ to further some cause other than that which pertains to salvation and the glorification of the Lord is gaining acceptance, so I use my letter as a basis of an article that seems to be needed in the brotherhood as well as for the general public.
Recently we saw another indication of one of the reasons our beloved country is in the pitiful condition it is. The political leaders have long since abdicated their responsibility to work for the good of the nation and almost no religious leaders seem to have a proper concept of the nature of the Christian religion.
The specific thing I have in mind is that on any given Lord’s Day (which is what Sunday was called by the early Christians) instead of sermons that glorify God and exalt Christ, they are devoted to glorifying some man who led some social, or political cause. There are great needs and causes, both social and political that need great men to speak for them. However, the pulpit of any church that pretends to follow Christ is not the place for a Sunday morning sermon centered on such a man, no matter who he may be.
In the days of the Apostles, there were social injustices as great as any we have today. There were prejudices between ethnic groups, occupation by a foreign power, immorality of every kind, including homosexuality and murdering unwanted babies. But God’s cure for them was not found in oratorical political speeches, or those exalting any man or cause, but in preaching and teaching the principles of righteousness which God had ordained, and which found their perfect embodiment in the life and teaching of Christ.
When both the political and religious systems are so perverted that the center of attention is always on “What can we get out of it?” rather than on “What is the right thing to do in terms of God’s eternal principles?” we are in deep trouble. One of the reasons that great political leaders of the past, such as Thomas Jefferson, Thomas Paine, Abraham Lincoln and others had such trouble accepting the organized religions of the day was not that they were atheists or even agnostics. They saw that religious leaders even then were not as concerned about following the teachings of Christ as they were establishing their own agenda. That is one reason the leaders wrote into the Constitution that Congress could not establish a state religion. They had no objection to the nation being run according to the principles that God had ordained. They did have objections to any denomination assuming the right to direct the affairs of the nation.
There is no social ill that could not be cured if the eternal principles and standards of Christ were taught and followed. It will never happen as long as religious leaders use their pulpits to exalt and glorify some man, no matter how great or important the cause may be. A house built on the wrong foundation will fall, no matter how beautiful the superstructure is. Christianity and our nation were both built on good foundations, but both are becoming eroded by political and religious perversions. If, instead of being so concerned with “our rights” we would be concerned primarily with “what is right” we would see great changes for good in every facet of life.