Robert Jeffress on How to Lead Through Controversial Times

Dr. Robert Jeffress is a pastor at First Baptist Dallas, author of many books including Not All Roads Lead to Heaven, and radio and television host of Pathway to Victory. Dr. Jeffress has spoken into issues of politics, controversies and current events. We asked Dr. Jeffress to weigh in on the role of faith leaders and politics in the midst of current national debates.

“Well, I know as this program airs, we’re in an election year. And I would never try to tell my people for whom to vote, but I do talk about what are the good Christian criteria that we ought to use to evaluate a candidate. I think it’s very shortsighted to say that we shouldn’t get involved in the political process. The word politics comes from a Latin word that means ‘to influence.’ When people say ‘Christians shouldn’t get involved in politics’ they’re saying Christians shouldn’t try to influence their culture. I don’t know who believes that and could say that with a straight face.

In the Old Testament times, it was the king who determined the spiritual direction of the nation. If it was a godly kind, God blessed the nation. If it was an ungodly kind, God cursed the nation. But you didn’t get to vote for the king. But John Jay, the first Chief Justice of our Supreme Court said, ‘God has given us in this Christian nation the privilege of choosing and selecting our leaders, and it is our duty as well as our responsibility to prefer and select Christians as our leaders.’ And every time we go into the voting booth, we’re either casting a vote for righteousness or for unrighteousness. We are the ones who are determining the spiritual and moral direction of our country, and that’s why I think Christians ought to get involved.”

Dr. Jeffress took a moment to speak into the crisis caused by radical Islam. What should our government be doing about ISIS, and how do you speak to your congregation on that topic?

“Right after the Paris attacks, I felt like, it happened on a Friday night, it was Sunday and I needed to address that and so I gave about a six minute talk about what a Christian response should be to that. It’s been downloaded by 600,000 people, I was told, the last count we had. Look, when we talk about issues like that, we have to separate our individual Christian responsibility and government’s responsibility. As Christians, we have a responsibility to pray for all people including radical Islamic terrorists. We ought to pray for Muslims. We ought to evangelize them. Share the gospel with them. We ought to show compassion toward refugees and support Samaritans first. There’s a whole slew of things individually we ought to do as Christians. Government has a different responsibility. Government is never commanded in the Bible to forgive or to turn the other cheek. Instead, Romans 13 says, ‘Government is a ministry of God to bring wrath upon those who practice evil.’ So a military government response to secure our nation, that’s government’s responsibility. We as individual Christians have a different responsibility.”

Here more from Dr. Jeffress about protecting your sheep and topics pastors need to bring back to the pulpit.

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Andrew Hess
Andrew Hess is the director of content at the White Horse Inn and editor of corechristianity.com. He formerly served as the editor of churchleaders.com. His writing has been featured on The Gospel Coalition and Focus on the Family. He lives in San Diego with his wife Jen and they recently welcomed their first child. Connect with Andrew on Twitter @AndrewWHess.