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Preacher goes off deep end

November 1, 2012

Dear “Pastor” Dan Cummins,

I just want to follow up on our email exchange from earlier this week, because upon reflection, I realize that I should have expanded on my brief remarks.

Just to recap: You sent me an email, “Why Every Texas Pastor needs to endorse Ted Cruz for U.S. Senator,”  which included a YouTube link  of your promise to use your “influence” with other pastors on his behalf if he would work to repeal the Johnson Amendment, which prohibits tax-exempt organizations from participating in political activities.

You also sent me another link, “Why Every American Christian Needs to Vote for Mitt Romney for President.”

You may recall that I responded: “Go jump in the lake.”

Please allow me to say a little more: Look, I really don’t care whom you vote for, but once you tell me  I need to vote for somebody you support in order to get right with God, I take exception, and beyond that, I have to question your standing as a minister.

I clicked on a couple of your web sites, Dan, and I see you talk a lot about “God and country.”  Frankly, using God to promote your partisan political agenda is not very godly or good for the country we both love.

And I guess we are getting to the heart of the matter, right? You want your church to remain tax free while you use it to run a political organization. You say the government has taken away your freedom of speech as a pastor.

Dan, I hope my earlier suggestion that you go jump in the lake might prompt you to remember something: your baptism. Maybe you should just splash around in the water for awhile. It’s cleansing and renewing. We all should do it from time to time.

You may recall from seminary that baptism is the visible sign of God’s call to faithfulness as well as God’s claim on human lives.  So, at my church, we say this a lot: Remember your baptism! I have the font out there near the chancel, open on Sunday morning, so that the water is always visible during the worship service. (Still, we often forget.)

I presume you also made some vows at ordination, as well? Dan, when you start becoming a shill for politicians, might I suggest you have forgotten who’s in control – as well as whose you are? In fact, in certain respects, you gave up “freedom of speech” when you gave your life to ministry — especially if  you mean using Christ’s church to get your favorite candidates elected. Of course, I am sure you know you are free to personally support anyone you like, and I defend that right. And if you want to tell me who you believe should best lead the country I am fine with that, too, but I am just not going to buy that it has anything to do with the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

You cannot serve two masters — not if you are to be faithful to your baptism and to your ordination vows.

Oh, and Dan, I cannot help but notice you seem to fancy yourself as something of a modern-day prophet. I say that because I have watched a couple of videos where you talk stirringly about abortion, “biblical marriage” (I sincerely hope you were not talking about Solomon —  699 more wives is far too many for me!), and socialism. I may have missed it but I did not hear you say anything about poverty or oppression.

(By the way, correct me if I’m wrong, but did you really say the pilgrims came over from Europe to escape socialism?)

I wish you had been in our Bible study on Amos, which concluded last night. Interesting guy — and a biblical prophet. He didn’t talk about any of the things you are talking about. He warned of God’s judgment if the people continued to trample on the rights of the poor. He talked a lot about economic issues.

In our class, we discussed how one might identify a modern-day prophet.  We agreed that, for one thing, his or her motives would not stem from self-interest. Instead, a modern-day prophet would speak on behalf of the greater good, and for the poor and vulnerable, those without a voice in society. The prophetic voice would be lifted for God, and for God’s people — all of them — and not for personal gain. Amos’ concerns about injustice in society were Jesus’ concerns, as well. I find no evidence in my New Testament that Jesus was troubled over who would be the next political leader of Rome.

Dan, one last thing: Over the centuries, a lot of believers have given their lives to maintain the simple confession that “Jesus is Lord” over their personal lives as well as the church. They placed themselves in physical danger by resisting pressure to make governments and politicians their lord. The faithful refused to hand the church over for the use by the ruling authorities. They knew that they had to stand apart from earthly powers in order to speak a greater truth. 

I hope this further illuminates my thoughts on your proposal. In closing, And I hope you will also prayerfully consider my suggestion to remember your baptism — even if you need to go jump in the lake to do it.

All the Best,

Matt

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3 Comments leave one →
  1. Priscilla Clore permalink
    November 1, 2012 2:02 pm

    Amen!

  2. Paul Richard Strange, Senior permalink
    November 1, 2012 3:05 pm

    This is a passionate response to Dan, for sure. Well-written and articulate. I have witnessed what I strongly believe to be equally “political” uses of the church by the Left, especially, in making it seem like anyone who opposes gay marriage has to be motivated by hate, or that the only way to address the needs of the poor is through Big Government politicians. Not that long ago, a group of professors from Notre Dame and a few other colleges tried to prevent House Speaker John Boehner from a speaking engagement, because they said he was a bad Christian and bad Catholic for disagreeing with them and for being a Republican. I do most certainly agree, however, with the fact that the churches should lift us up above the raw fleshly side of political debate, and that we as believers in the Living God should model freedom to communicate without fear. When we don’t, we harm the nation we love!

  3. Ronnie Painter permalink
    November 6, 2012 3:44 pm

    Brother Matt shines the light of truth on the misguided political agenda of a Pastor confused.
    Pastor Dan seems to forget where he came from and who he is serving. Figure out the one you serve and follow that path only. Peace and harmony to you both.

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