This past Sunday was declared "Pulpit Freedom Sunday" and was created to be a Sunday where pastors defied the rules against specific political endorsements from the pulpit. Many pastors chose to claim this moment to endorse their favorite candidate and provide a religious context for their endorsement. I think they were mistaken. I have strong personal political views and am now resolved on which candidates I plan to vote for. But, you will not hear my choices proclaimed from the pulpit. I choose to proclaim something much more important from the pulpit at First Baptist Church of Oklahoma City. I choose "to preach good news to the poor; to proclaim freedom for the prisoners and recovery of sight for the blind, to release the oppressed, to proclaim the year of the Lord's favor." These words are the ones Jesus claims as his heart in Luke 4. In John 20:20 we hear "so as I was sent, so I send you." It is my desire that people find redemption, hope, and grace at the feet of Jesus. It is my desire to speak to the moral and ethical issues that echo through the Throughout history there have been moments when the church lost its voice to the political fervor of the moment. The message we bring in more important than a political party or our place at the civic table. It is a gospel that transcends a culture or a country or a moment in time. It is a gospel that speaks to an eternal God and a way to spend eternity in the presence of God. It is a gospel that offers a way to forgiveness that can heal and transform. The invitation to step into a pulpit to preach is a sacred trust. It is intended for much more than a civic endorsement. It is intended to be a place where freedom is proclaimed. Not a freedom found in momenatry political fireworks but in the work of God.
Grace and Peace, Tom