As I preached the sermon yesterday on God’s plan to reveal to the universe His glory by showing them the church, I couldn’t help but think about all the current unrest in our nation. People are divide over political disagreements like most of us have never seen in our lifetimes. Now more than ever our culture needs to see the beauty of the gospel on display in the church that unifies a fractured humanity. The church, living out Jesus’ hope, is the only way peace can be brought to our communities.
Church members, especially pastors and leaders, have a huge opportunity to take actions in pursuit of peace. Here are some really great suggestions from Pastor Jonathan Leeman, one of the pastors at Capitol Hill Baptist Church in Washington DC. You can imagine how his church is at the epicenter of all the debate. His article is called 16 Ways to Promote Unity Amid Political Disagreement. You can read all of it at the Gospel Coalition site here.
Here’s his list:
- Preach expositionally.
- Continually clarify the distinction between law issues and wisdom issues.
- Work to preserve Christian liberty.
- Remind people to make room for the differently calibrated consciences of others.
- Remind them they don’t need to ‘go public’ with all their political opinions, especially if church unity is at stake.
- Point to your church’s statement of faith.
- Speak more to what Scripture says and less to how to accomplish it.
- Remember where your authority and competence as a pastor lies, and stay with Scripture.
- Practice church discipline.
- Teach the congregation to empathize with those from different backgrounds—that is, teach body-of-Christ empathy.
- Don’t overestimate the breadth of the problem.
- Model graciousness toward those who disagree.
- Recognize your present trouble as a health checkup on your church.
- Keep a cool head and sometimes say nothing.
- Preach the final judgment and sing about heaven often.
- Preach the gospel every week.
I would add this one. Look for occasions where you are inclined to issue a rebuttal to someone’s view, online and in person and refrain from giving it. Instead, find a genuine affirmation to give that person focusing on something in their character, passion, desire to do good to people, patriotism, etc. Dying to self in small ways like this will go far to cultivate humility in ourselves and to show another human being that you value them. It just might show you new and deeper ways to appreciate that person and others who share their perspective.
“Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God.” Matthew 5:9
Dear reader, do you have any that you would add to this list?