As a pastor, I often struggle with knowing when and how to speak about politics. On one hand, the Christian worldview has ramifications for how we see everything in our lives, which certainly includes which approaches to governing people are the most just and helpful. Furthermore, Christian obedience requires that we stand up for truth, justice, and compassion, so when we see groups in our society suffering unjustly, we have to speak out.

On the other hand, we know that the church has been given a specific mission, and getting mired in the secondary questions of politics can divert our mission and mute our witness.

I am asked often to make public statements or sign specific petitions regarding political policies. The requests sometimes come from the left, sometimes from the right. And the issues constantly change. We never back away from teaching truth, of course, but when should the church make overtly political statements in response to current events?

Let me suggest two biblical truths we must hold in tension, and then suggest two questions that can serve as a guide for when to speak.

1. There is a time when we must speak.

The Scriptures are full of admonitions for God’s people to rebuke evil, sometimes with stinging specificity. Read through the prophets, and you hear God calling out injustices of all kinds—toward children, toward women, toward the outcast, the poor, the voiceless. The prophets trumpet a call for God’s justice, and justice always carries a political element. Men like William Wilberforce and Martin Luther King, Jr. frequently quoted from prophetic books like Amos to inspire our society to turn to justice…


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J.D. Greear is the Pastor of The Summit Church in Raleigh-Durham, North Carolina, a position he has held since January 2002. Before coming to work at the Summit he had worked with the International Mission Board