Growing up in the Church I had many occasions to watch politics in action, both on the organizational level and the local Church level.
Secretly, I hated it. It just did not seem right to me. Early on as a child I heard scriptures quoted such as “God is no respect of persons” and “do not esteem one brother higher than another.”
There were others about showing “partiality.” Somehow it seemed the scriptures that were quoted and what was really going on among us did not match.
It appeared that elected offices such as pastor and organizational positions were sometimes excluded from these admonishments. I sadly watched as a system of “Who’s Who” developed in our churches and fellowships. And I watched many good people get hurt.
Many people with seemingly less qualifications were being appointed to higher positions and some of the godly men of great character and reputation were being beaten out or pushed aside by these men.
A very sad and mournful thing began to happen. It appeared that those of good strength began to start compromising their honest beliefs and feelings in order to be re-elected.
The most subtle thing was that they slowly stopped speaking out on certain issues that faced our churches and issued less and less words of reproof and correction.
It was on all levels including the laity. No one seemed to realize that this might actually hinder the flow of the Spirit and cause us not to reach the power and potential God had intended for us to have.
Playing politics in the Church was something I determined I was not going to do, or to be a part of. Honoring our elders and those in authority was indeed in the scripture and we were admonished to do that but this wrestling for position and showing favoritism was something else entirely.
Unfortunately, I learned real quick that if you wanted to get ahead or progress in your group, you were going to have to play the game, or at least some of it.
I fought it. And I lost.
It is utterly amazing how speaking a few words of truth can get you black-listed from a fellowship and your chances of ever becoming successful among those people are over.
The toughest thing of all was when you saw decisions made by those in authority that showed partiality to some favored party, especially to those who were high money contributors.
Little people sometimes were cast aside and treated as seconds and they were hurt. It was utter devastation to see new converts get discouraged and leave, never to return, over such practices.
Speaking out against such things was a no-no. Perhaps you did not get rebuked openly, because it was obvious to everyone you were telling the truth, but rather a suave cold shoulder was your greeting and you simply did not get on the list of those who were recommended for appointments or those who were being used in the church.
Speaking the truth on such matters was not popular and your career if you please went nowhere. You might as well have not existed.
Pretending we are not political people even in Church is daydreaming. It is likely a part of our human character.
However, we were all given spiritual tools when we received The Holy Ghost that were meant to be developed and used properly to help us determine the way we should think and act.
The Spirit elevates those He chooses in His own wisdom and timing, if He is allowed to do so. Because of this very fact, it would almost be easy to determine those who are approved for position and esteem.
When someone is approved of God and the people are spiritual as they were intended to be, it is obvious who is the right person for leadership.
Politics in the outside world is often a dirty, underhanded game of who can out-beat the other person. This was never intended for the Church.
Having someone in authority in the Church who is not spiritual, who cannot teach and demonstrate the gifts of the Spirit and most importantly manifest the fruit of the Spirit is not only detrimental but costly.
We become just another religion and our people are full of resentment and accomplish only a form of what they could be.
Too many times, good men and women were forced to make the decision that leaving their fellowship was the only way they could follow their true convictions and live with themselves.
Some were never successful because having support and fellowship can be critical to developing new works and going it alone has it downside.
Thankfully, there are many who went on to build outstanding churches with great outreach to their communities that would never have occurred if they had waited for their turn at the political wheel to come about.
Often, the backlash and unkind things said about those who felt it necessary to step away in order to fulfill their calling and destiny in God was horrendous.
This harsh backlash in itself has been everything other than The Spirit of Christ. They were often accused of “lowering their standards” in order to draw a crowd.
It didn’t seem to matter that some of those same standards they were flouting were actually created by the same people playing politics and perhaps had nothing to do with scripture or the word of God.
There are renegades, there is no doubt about that and there are those who leave with the wrong spirit and are operating in their own fleshly ambitions and hurting and crushing more good people and hindering the name of the Church.
They accept no admonishment or correction from anyone and are haughty and overbearing. One thing is certain. Those who played crafty politics and those who left in the wrong spirit are both wrong.
The Church suffers and the body as a whole is weakened. The Apostles played politics at times, they were just as human as we are.
However, they were upbraided and called to task when they did. They admitted their mistakes and repented when they were wrong.
We must be in one mind and one accord as they were in the early Church if we are to see the great outpouring of the Spirit we are looking for.
It cannot come if we remain in division and play politics among our people.
“United we stand” seems to be a common expression in our country. I fear we have all forgotten the other part of that phrase, “Divided we fall.”
The same applies to the Church. We will work together to further the Kingdom in this hour or God will find someone else.
We don’t need more Politics in our Churches. We need more Power of the Holy Ghost and real demonstration, not a form or watered-down version of the real thing.
Let the Spirit manifest who is anointed to do the work in the Church, not our ballot box of favoritism and who’s who.
The right men and women for God’s work are out there, maybe right in front of us. Let us allow the Spirit to motivate us in choosing if it’s necessary to choose.
Lifting up Christ Jesus must be our highest priority and giving him All of the glory and honor.
According to the scripture, He will exalt us in due time.
First published: April 21, 2010.
~ Robert Blackburn