Church Politics

Edwin Eby


Merriam-Webster Colligate Dictionary defines politics as the following:1 a: the art or science of government. b: the art or science concerned with guiding or influencing government policy. c: the art or science concerned with winning or holding control over government. 2 a:political action, practices, or policies.3 a: political affairs or business especially: competition between competing interest groups or individuals for power and leadership. b: political life especially as principal activity or profession. c: political activities characterized by artful and often dishonest practices.
Sadly, politics have not remained in the world of which they belong. Politics in the church began as early as AD 60 (see the story in Galatians2). Politics in the church attempt hiding behind a façade of spirituality or the rescue of a "vital practice". Politics in the church act in direct opposition to the words of Jesus. Ye know that they which are accounted to rule over the Gentiles exercise lordship over them; and their great ones exercise authority upon them (Mark 10:42). Politics in American church life nearly always encompass at least two common vices.

Politics cleverly wield control through the means of money. The meaning of "power of money" is perhaps more clearly clarified in the doctrine of materialism. Materialism is nothing less than a preoccupation with material rather than spiritual. More simply defined; belief that the highest values or objectives lie in material well-being and in the furtherance of material progress.

Materialistic spirits thrive in the womb of the second vice—that politics are in the "other church". Not our church; but the one over there. Acknowledging accomplice with materialistic methodology is seldom accepted by "us". Politics in church therefore are "somewhere or somebody else".

The aforementioned vices seriously divide church and scatter the sheep. It divides because of the spirit of which it is. And no matter how spiritual the face of politics may appear— that which a spirit is of, it truly is. A sheep clothed wolf cannot hide (Luke 12:3, Heb 4:12,13).

Leadership of the Church of Jesus Christ is not an art or science. It is the love and compassion of a heart after God and for the people of God. Politics in the church seriously violate the call to divinely sanctioned leadership (Titus 1:5-9).

Leadership is not an art or science needed to guide or influence church government let alone being concerned about winning or holding control over government of the Church of Christ. Neither is it political action, practice, or party. Neither is it a profession of a leader of the Church. Deep devotion to Christ's cause as exemplified by Christ on earth and adherence to practical application of this example in our personal lives are the only real imperative to influence in the affairs of guiding a church (2 Thess 3:1-5).

Leadership is not political affairs, or business, and God forbid and have great mercy upon us if it ever be competition between interest groups or individuals for power and leadership.
And God have yet more mercy upon us if it involves artful or dishonest practices to accomplish "religious end" (Romans 1:18).

Standing resolutely upon principles of the Word of God is critical and essential (Pro 28:1…the righteous are bold as a lion). But exercising covetous subtle endeavors, conniving means, wresting by influence, intimidation, twisting contextual sense of Scripture or emphasizing fractional truth while de-emphasizing complete truth as means for winning values wanted to "conserve the church" is nothing short of politics in the church. Let it never be named among the Churches of Jesus Christ.

Would to God it were always so!

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