I've been surprised at how many evangelicals tell me they would not vote for a Mormon presidential candidate. We are doing some polling on the issue and will release that soon. However, I thought this was a helpful exchange on the issue of voting for Mormons.
To view the world through a Christian lens is to see a truth about life that is otherwise often papered over with happy faces and motivational slogans: The world is fallen, cracked, and flawed. Sin has deformed everything. It has made everybody a bit crazy.
It means that we never make choices between the perfect and its opposite. Every choice--whether for a spouse or a car or a pastor--is a choice for some brand of imperfection. Nowhere is this certainty more starkly revealed than in politics. The Prussian statesman Otto von Bismarck made this point with his famous saying, "Laws are like sausages: It is better not to see them being made." Politics and the processes of government are usually ugly affairs that only occasionally produce satisfying results. The start of those processes rarely closely resembles the result. Usually a voter has to choose between "hold your nose" and "hold your nose tighter." Then he or she sits back and hopes for the best.
For American Christians, it is helpful to remember this as the November presidential election approaches. They face a choice between a politically and theologically liberal Christian and a politically conservative Mormon. Those who prefer Barack Obama, the left-leaning Christian, likely solved their dilemma in the last presidential election. Millions of voters are now confronting a new moral question: "Is there anything wrong with voting for a Mormon President?"
The answer is "No." In the 2012 election, voting for Mitt Romney--yes, a Mormon former bishop--is certainly a moral option for followers of Jesus Christ. For those who want a pro-life, pro-free market, pro-business, pro-defense, and "America first" champion, Mitt Romney is their man. It is no sin or dishonor of God to vote for him, even though his Latter-day Saint religion is far from orthodox Christianity.
To believe otherwise is to commit to a perfectionism that would make it nearly impossible to live in this world. If a candidate must be precisely aligned with our religion before we can vote for him, biblically faithful Christians will not be able to vote for either man in the upcoming election. Nor could they have voted for Washington, Jefferson, Lincoln, or Reagan. Washington and Reagan seldom attended church. Jefferson and Lincoln had disqualifying doubts about who Jesus Christ was.
CBN covered our research on Bible reading.
A recent study shows most churchgoing Christians don't read the Bible every day. LifeWay Research found that 90 percent of churchgoers agree with the statement, "I desire to please and honor Jesus in all I do."
But only 19 percent read the Bible every day. About 25 percent read the Bible a few times a week.
"Bible engagement has an impact in just about every area of spiritual growth," Ed Stetzer, president of LifeWay Research, said.
Fourteen percent say they read the Bible "once a week," 22 percent say "once a month" or "a few times a month," and 18 percent rarely or never read their Bible.
"You can follow Christ and see Christianity as your source of truth," Stetzer said. "But if that truth does not permeate your thoughts, aspirations and actions, you are not fully engaging the truth."
Let's face it-- seminary does not prepare you for many of the tasks of ministry (actually, it's not designed to, but that is another story). Ben Reed provides a helpful list of the things he wish he'd been told in seminary.
Seminary isn't for everyone, but it's incredibly helpful for some. Including me.
But seminary doesn't teach you everything. It doesn't fully prepare you for ministry, or tell you what hats you'll have to wear. If you go in to seminary expecting it'll give you every tool it takes to lead the Church well, think again. It ain't happenin'. In fact, I learned a ton working in a coffee shop while in seminary.
1. Your involvement in the community is vital.
2. Rarely will the rest of the world care about obscure theology as much as you do.
3. Leadership is crazy important.
4. People will care more about the application you draw from the text than they will you pontificating on the nuances of the author's original intent.
5. Weddings and funerals aren't just about preaching the Gospel to people who show up...they're about building relationships.
6. Remembering names will get you a long way relationally with people.
7. You've got to be internally motivated to succeed as a pastor.
8. People will constantly look at you for spiritual answers.
9. Seminary is a bubble.
10. Who you recruit to be on your leadership team (both staff and laity) will shape your ministry.
An update from The Exchange.
From a recent episode of The Exchange, Philip Nation, Trevin Wax, and Michael Kelley discuss the goal and purpose of small groups. You can see the full episode here.
Be sure to watch The Exchange every Tuesday at 2:00 p.m. CDT, right here at EdStetzer.com. On this week's episode, Andrew Peterson joins us to discuss worship and art and their place in the church.