As we noted a few weeks ago, Jim Garlow has become the face and leading activist on behalf of the Alliance Defense Fund’s “Pulpit Initiative,” which encourages pastors to speak out on political issues and even endorse or oppose candidates during their sermons in a direct challenge to the IRS.
Yesterday, Garlow was a guest on James Dobson’s radio program where he outlined just what sort of sermon he plans to preach on “Pulpit Freedom Sunday” to urge his congregation not to vote for candidates that do not share his values and then compared the effort to Dietrich Bonhoeffer, the German theologian who resisted the Nazis and was ultimately put to death:
Garlow: But here’s the kind of phrasing that I would likely use on that Sunday. I would say the following candidates have the following positions as ti relates to abortion, as it relates to the definition of marriage, as it relates to their view of that national debt – because the national debt is a moral issue, thou shall not steal from future generations. And, that being the case, here’s the following candidates that hold these various views of these three and perhaps many other topics.
Having said that, here’s what the Scripture teaches specifically about that. And, after I go through that, as fully-devoted followers of Jesus Christ, we would not want to elect individuals – given the fact that the Bible has a great deal to say about economic, or life principles, or the definition of marriage in a scriptural context – we would not want persons who are in defiance of God’s will in positions of authority over us. What fully devoted follower of Christ would want to defy God’s will for how national and community life is to be ordered according to the Scripture?
Dobson: It essentially comes down to “use it or lose it,” right? we’ve had rights in the past and we were willing to allow the IRS and the government to silence us and we didn’t complain. Or not enough complained. Or not enough defied the order, which is just unconscionable when you consider we’re drawing our information for our understanding and interpretation of the Scripture and the somebody in Washington can tell me that I can’t say that? That’s what happened in Sweden, it’s what’s happening in Canada and in other parts of the country. This is a movement that threatens the very life of the church. And, man, I’m preaching it now Jim and I’m not even a pastor.
Garlow: April the ninth, 1945, a man was stripped of all his clothes, taken outside and hung by a piano wire. His name was Dietrich Bonhoeffer. We celebrate how great that man was and what an incredible human being he was and the martyr he became. Why do we celebrate his life? It is because he was a man of God who refused to succumb to the powers of the government that tried to control what he would do and say in the pulpit and in his ministerial and pastoral life. And so we’re attempting to see, before it’s too late, before it’s too late in America, to raise up a generation of Dietrich Bonhoeffers.