One of the country's most influential evangelical pastors is saying those in the Church should not take political sides – but that message certainly doesn't sit well with at least one leader in the evangelical community.
The three-sermon series "Talking Points" at Andy Stanley's North Point Community Church just outside of Atlanta was subtitled "The Perfect Blend of Politics & Religion." The main thesis of the January series went something like this:
Stanley: "If you're a Jesus follower, you have to put your faith filter ahead of your political filter – to be a Christ follower first and a Republican, Democrat, Libertarian or Independent second."
Stanley goes on to say that there is good and bad in each political party – and while it's fine to have a preference, neither can claim God.
Stanley: "If I were given the assignment [to] come up with a sermon that would demonstrate, in fact, that the Republican Party and the Republican platform is in synch with the teaching of Jesus, I could do that.
"And if somebody else were to come along and [ask me to] create a sermon that shows that the Democrat platform and their values is in synch with the teachings of Jesus, I could do that, too."
That's where Andy Stanley loses evangelical apologist Dr. Alex McFarland.
"If you're even trying to vote biblically these days, there's pretty much one party that's in line with Scripture and one party that's not," he argues.
And McFarland is beyond disappointed that somebody as influential as Stanley could be so absent of conviction.
"Come on, man – have some courage," he urges Stanley. "Get some theological and scriptural backbone and have the courage to tell your parishioners what the issues are."
The Christian Post quotes earlier, related comments from J.D. Greear, president of the Southern Baptist Convention.
"If at the end of the day you look at it and feel like whoever the Democratic candidate is, you feel like that of all the different things, this is the better of the options, well that's great," Greear stated in May. "Make sure you're clear about the wickedness of abortion. Make sure you're clear about the preciousness of religious liberty."
Greear's comments, according to The Christian Post, "echo" Andy Stanley's remarks.