Rev. Greg Boyd, the Evangelical pastor of the Woodland Hills Church in Maplewood, a city near St. Paul, Minnesota, has caused much controversy because he preached a series of sermons distancing the church from politics.
According to an article written by Laurie Goodstein and published by The New York Times, Boyd preached that “When the church wins the culture wars, it inevitably loses. When it conquers the world, it becomes the world. When you put your trust in the sword, you lose the cross.”
In his six sermons, Mr. Boyd laid out a broad argument that the role of Christians was not to seek “power over” others — by controlling governments, passing legislation or fighting wars. Christians should instead seek to have “power under” others — “winning people’s hearts” by sacrificing for those in need, as Jesus did, Mr. Boyd said.
“America wasn’t founded as a theocracy,” he said. “America was founded by people trying to escape theocracies. Never in history have we had a Christian theocracy where it wasn’t bloody and barbaric. That’s why our Constitution wisely put in a separation of church and state.
“I am sorry to tell you,” he continued, “that America is not the light of the world and the hope of the world. The light of the world and the hope of the world is Jesus Christ.”
Evangelicals don’t want to hear this kind of message. Boyd’s church has lost more than 1,000 members because they believe the sermons are an attack on the Republican Party and President Bush.
Christians have an important role to play in the political arena but the church should be very careful as it involves itself in politics.
Many people who will read this article will disagree with what Boyd has to say. However, people must read what Boyd has to say and decide whether his words have a message for the church today.
Read the article by clicking here.
Professor of Old Testament
Northern Baptist Seminary