Sunday, March 14, 2010

the purpose of the pulpit

This morning, due in large part to that evil "spring forward," I skipped church. It's rare that I don't go to church, but when I skip church, I usually take a gander at the television. Sunday morning TV is chock full of TV preachers who yell and scream and boo and hiss...and then ask for money. I find it equal parts appalling and hilarious.

Today, I had the, um, "pleasure" of watching Dr. Ed Young of Winning Walk. To be fair, I only saw about five minutes of his "sermon." But I think that was enough. 

Excuse me for a moment while I get out my soapbox.

Okay. Too many preachers today are using their megachurch/TV venues for political ends. I saw the most bizarre sermon illustration today. On Dr. Young's pulpit were three large clear glass pitchers. Each was labeled. The first was labeled "We the People." The second was labeled "State of Texas." (I guess he's from Texas. True to Texan form, the label disregarded the other 49 states in the Union. Hmmph!) The third was labeled "Federal Government." 

Using a separate pitcher full of water dyed bright blue, he explained the meaning of the Constitution. He first explained that the purpose of the Constitution was to vest all of the power in the people -- he poured all of the blue water into the "We the People" pitcher. Next, he explained that the people gave some of their power to the states -- he poured a small amount from the "We the People" jar to the "State of Texas" jar. Finally, he explained that the states gave up a tiny amount of their power to the Federal Government -- he poured a little droplet from the "State of Texas" jar to the "Federal Government" jar. Of course, the problem, he says, is that the Federal Government has stolen all of the power from the people; to illustrate this point, he poured all of the water from the "We the People" jar to the "Federal Government" jar.

This bothers me on two levels. (1) What is this guy, a legal scholar? His research was that he "read the Constitution again just last week; it's plain English." Apparently, this makes it easy to understand. Perhaps he should teach his method to law students everywhere. I'm sure they'd be thankful. (2) Here's the soapbox part: THE CHURCH SHOULD NOT BE A POLITICAL PLATFORM OF ANY KIND! The pulpit is not the appropriate platform from which to "explain" the Constitution or discuss healthcare reform. 

The purpose of the pulpit is to teach the Bible. Not to teach the Constitution. Not to teach civics class. Not to support or oppose legislation. Just teach the Bible, please. And some church history would be nice, too. (I'm talking to you, Baptists.)

If you're interested in watching this monstrosity, it's available here. The sermon is called "A Broken Washington." It's part of a series called "Healing Broken America." Upcoming gems in the series include "A Broken School" and "A Broken Court." I can't wait.


  1. Amen, Sista! :)

    Have you read "The Myth of A Christian Nation" by Greg Boyd? If not, you should! It's awesome.

  2. I wonder if he read the part in the constitution about sepertation of church and state?

  3. Leah,

    Thanks for providing the link to Dr. Ed Young's sermon, it was Awesome! He seems to have a good perspective on what's happening in Washington today, and I love the parallels that he drew from King Solomon's day. I suggest that you go to the link that YOU provided on this page and watch the sermon in its entirety like I just did. The key to fixing what's wrong in America really is for God's people, (you and me) to humble ourselves and pray and seek His face.

    This blog reminds me of the Seinfeld episode where Jerry was accused of being an Anti-Dentite. "And this offends you as a Jew. No! It offends me as a comedian". It sounds like you are not offended as a Christian, but rather as a Lawyer. :o)


    Ed King (Dad to you)

  4. Dad, you might be right. I was definitely offended as a (future) lawyer. But I still think the pulpit is a poor venue for political mish-mash. Maybe it's generational. A lot of people my age really loathe hearing politics from the pulpit, even if we agree with the message or the political stance.

    Let's revisit this topic in twenty years and see if I still feel the same way. :-)

  5. If anonymous is going to talk about separation of church and state he/she should learn how to spell it.

  6. I had this conversation the other day with a friend. I think preachers can be relevant if they stick to pointing out where our country started politically, where it is now politically, and seeing the difference between the initial settlers (Quakers, right?) and the current state. The first settlers (that didn't get themselves killed off) were Christians who wanted to break from the Church of England and worship in their own way. Then came more people...and more people...and then government. Then we went to war. And subsequently began our departure from the whole reason North America was colonized to begin with. Preachers who make this observation have my support. Those that fancy themselves political scientists and dissect the government's policies with poop-colored, democrat-hating glasses do not.

    Call me fatalistic, but I think nothing's going to change on either side. We've slid too far down the hill as a country and as a church. We can only hope that mass revelation occurs, the political scientist/preachers of the world realize their laughable ways, and we all change. I think that will happen...when Jesus comes and the world as we know it has changed forever.

  7. where's the like button? (: