X

Recovering Christianity from American Politics

More About

Author, Not in It to Win It (Zondervan, 2022)

 Founding Pastor, North Point Community Church

Founder of North Point Ministries, Inc. (NPM) since 1995; consists of eight churches in the Atlanta area and a network of 180 churches around the globe which serve over 200,000 people weekly

Host of Your Move with Andy Stanley which delivers over 10.5 million messages each month through television and podcasts

Bachelor's degree in journalism from Georgia State University; Master’s degree from Dallas Theological Seminary

Married to Sandra, three grown children

OBSESSION WITH WINNING 

The reactions of prominent pastors, podcasters, television personalities and nonprofit leaders to the events of 2020 revealed some disturbing truths about evangelicals in America. It wasn’t winning or losing souls, but rather winning an argument or an election. “If evangelism and discipleship were truly more important, we would not have so easily surrendered influence with those outside the church,” shares Pastor Andy. “We would not have allowed ourselves to be reduced to a voting bloc.”

During this time, Christians had an opportunity to let their light shine, but instead, many chose to grumble and argue with one another about political parties, masks, and mandates. As a result, the church lost influence and credibility. Even high-profile evangelical church leaders behaved as rudely and as unChristlike as their counterparts.      

POLITICIZING THE CHURCH

The social climate of our nation should cause us to resist cancel culture when we see it and refuse to participate in it. Jesus chose not to cancel people, and neither should we. Christians should not divide one another with negative rhetoric. For example, a sign that reads, "We are unapologetically pro-Republican,"should not be present in the church.

Pastor and author Andy Stanley says, “You should eliminate all things partisan from your preaching, teaching, and marketing. Politicizing your church and publicly demonizing the other part are more offensive and more harmful than a sign that tips people off as to what they may experience.” Jesus did not come to support an existing political system or world order. He came to cancel sin and to restore people of all nations and all political persuasions to himself. 

FUNDAMENTAL ATTRIBUTION ERROR

Christians can disagree politically without it disrupting our unity, but it will not be easy because of Fundamental Attribution Error (FAE). Our tendency to attribute peoples’ behavior to their character, while attributing our behaviors to our circumstances defines FAE. In other words, when we assume someone’s actions reflect the kind of person they are rather than considering circumstances they’re navigating.

For example, your co-worker is late to work. You assume he is disorganized and lacks a strong work ethic, but when you are late to work you blame it on circumstances (traffic or a crisis at home). FAE can also affect us politically. For example, some may think, “corrupt Democrats” or “mindless Republicans.” These views reflect a character problem.

It is not based on circumstances and experiences.  The FAE divides us with a lie and reduces our faith to a list of ideas which we feel provides us the justification to not love, forgive, or pray for people we disagree with. It allows us to slander people who do not align with our political beliefs. 

In order to keep unity when Christians disagree politically it requires us to evaluate our politics through the filter of faith. Some ways you can do this include: (1) Speaking up for Jesus even when it puts you at odds with the views and decisions of your party; (2) Choosing unity over party; (3) Loving one another regardless of political brands and talking points; (4) Refusing to let anyone or anything divide us. Jesus prayed for oneness. 

PRIORITIES OF JESUS 

As the Body of Christ, we are to be one. Therefore, we should have equal concern for each other…whether we like one another or not. Pastor Andy says, “The church is not here to win. Just the opposite. By every human measure, our Savior lost. On purpose. With a purpose.” To apply our faith as directed by our Savior looks and sounds a lot like losing. 

Everything Jesus instructed his followers to do was application of his single command, “Love each other as I have loved you.”
•    Christ forgave us. We are to do the same for others. 
•    Do not be captive to your passions – reflect the passions of our Savior. 
•    Guard your heart and mouth – allow Christ to govern your responses, actions, and reactions and priorities.
•    Follow His example. Jesus wasn’t in it to win it. Let your behavior and words speaker louder than any song or sermon about your faith.

 

Loading Webform
Get Email Updates
Give Now