The Problem of Church and Politics
Thoughts to help one realize the presence of Christ in their lives
4 Now restore us again, O God of our salvation. Put aside your anger against us once more. 5 Will you be angry with us always? Will you prolong your wrath to all generations? 6 Won’t you revive us again, so your people can rejoice in you? 7 Show us your unfailing love, O LORD, and grant us your salvation. Psalm 85:4-7 (NLT2)
Many and various things have been written in former times concerning the power of bishops. Some have improperly mixed the power of bishops with the secular sword,  and such careless mixture has caused many extensive wars, uprisings, and rebellions. For the bishops, under the guise of power given to them by Christ, have not only introduced new forms of worship and burdened consciences with reserved cases and with forcible use of the ban, but they also took it upon themselves to set up and depose emperors and kings according to their pleasure.
The early church reformers saw a problem, not in politics, but in the way the church brought political structures into the church, and then used them to impose on society the rules of the church.
We are in the same boat today. Far too many churches see themselves as the judges of society, the ones who call for justice to be done to those outside the church. And then, as the church accepts that role in the world, it applies it to those inside the church. The church has made itself into some kind of authority on morals, even though many within it have struggle with their own immorality.
The role of the church is reflected in the Psalmist’s plea for God. Yes the Pslamist wants God to act, but to set aside the anger and cause a revival to begin, to cause the people of our communities to rejoice in the presence of God. He wants them to see His unfailing love, and His salvation.
THat is where the church’s responsibility lies, only preaching against sin as it hinders people from seeing God. The preaching the law part of preaching law and gospel is not about condemining people, but helping them realize there is an option to condemnation – letting God care for them. The purpose of preaching the law – the responsibility we have to do it, is to provide the opportunity to preach the gospel, and to adminsiter the sacraments to those shattered by sin….bring them healing, encouraging them to trust in God to have mercy, to forgive and cleanse, to love and welcome them into His presence.
We preach Christ crucified, the hope for sinners… yes, we recognize the sin, and the more we learn about its effects, the more it should sicken us… but our calling as the church is to bring them hope and healing..
We aren’t the moral authority…we have the hope for those who struggle with their own immorality.
We have to get back to this!
Robert Kolb, Timothy J. Wengert, and Charles P. Arand, The Book of Concord: The Confessions of the Evangelical Lutheran Church (Minneapolis, MN: Fortress Press, 2000), 90.