Yesterday I was invited to participate in a panel discussion that aired on Anderson Cooper 360. The discussion was among a diverse group of Christians in Charlotte and centered on how our beliefs affect our view of the current political climate.
After praying about this opportunity, seeking counsel from our elders, and speaking with trusted friends who are experienced in the political realm, I felt affirmed in participating in this discussion. I want to share with you two reasons why I accepted the invite:
The Gospel Comes First. There was a wide array of opinions in the group, and Mercy Church has a wide array of members that span the spectrum in their political views. Even our staff team ranges in political views from democrat to republican to third party. While I do have convictions in the public policy sphere, I recognize that I may be wrong about those opinions. Despite that, the one thing I am sure of is the saving grace of Jesus Christ for all sinners. This is why I have never advocated for a political candidate, nor will I. The church must do one thing, make disciples. Getting tangled up in politics can weaken that mission. We are beholden to Christ and Christ alone, not to any political ideology. I have prayed and will continue to pray that myself and every Mercy Member will be known for Christ above all other things.
We are to be witnesses of what Christ has done. The bulk of witnessing for each of us will come among family, friends, and acquaintances in one-on-one settings. However, sometimes, we find ourselves speaking in the public square. In that space, the call of the Christian to be a witness to the gospel (Acts 1.8) remains our calling. We should weigh those opportunities (re: elders & counsel above), not jump in blindly. I was nervous about this discussion because you never know what the final edits will show, but I want to be courageous with the Gospel. So when this opportunity to speak of the love of Christ in the public square came along, I went for it.
In this particular interview, I was asked about President Trump quite a bit. I was not given the questions ahead of time, but I did my best to honor Christ and Mercy Church with my responses. My hope is that you will see those efforts reflected in the interview. Thank you for letting me share these reasons with you, and thank you for allowing me to be your pastor. It is with great joy that I get to hold such a position here in Charlotte.