Good article on a megachurch pastor breaking with conservative politics (HT: Will Samson; the article link is a NYT article, use Bugmenot for a login). This is the stuff I love to see, and still a bit too rare I think. I still have a jaded view of megachurches generally, but stuff like this give me hope. I say that losing 1,000 people (20% of his congregation) is a good thing in this case. I’d venture to say that this 20% weren’t his followers anyway. Good on him.
Disowning Conservative Politics, Evangelical Pastor Rattles Flock
by Brother Maynard | Jul 30, 2006 | Church, Leadership, Politics | 7 comments
- Emerging Church Blogs - NY Times Article on Politics & The Church (ht: Brother Maynard) Invisibility Cloak A Possibility
i’ve been a big fan of greg boyd for years and i agree for the most part with his views on “the two kingdoms”. i applaud him for his excellent recent book and for not being shy in sharing his views.
yet i think his wrongdoing is in the way he has pastored his church regarding the political issue. it seems that he may hold an assumption that his views on this matter are the ones that should define woodland hills church. i don’t hear anyone else teaching from the pulpit on sunday mornings who disagree with him, and i wonder if they would be welcomed to (or feel welcomed to). its ironic that the authoritarianism he derides seems to come into play with his voice being (primarily) the only one heard. maybe so many people wouldn’t have left if they had an equal opportunity to share their opinions on sunday mornings. they have a plurality of teaching pastors, but they don’t (or rather didn’t) seem to reflect the views of the entire church community. i could be wrong, but it seems Boyd may be subtedly attempting to homogenize his church into a community that shares his views on this matter, instead of allowing the freedom of the entire congregation to shape the community’s views.
Good on Greg Boyd indeed. For many years I have read his books, heard him speak, and followed his story with interest here in the Twin Cities. He may be a megachurch pastor (and like you, Maynard, I tend to be none too fond of megachurches), but Greg Boyd has consistently through the years proved himself to be first and foremost all about passionate, radical Christianity, and a man of integrity, who will choose the high road over the expedient. I have seen it again and again. I have no doubt but that he would have done what he did had he known it would lose him 80% of his congregation rather than the 20% that did leave.
Megachurch pastor or not, evangelicalism, the Church universal, needs more men like Greg Boyd.
i am grateful that boyd boldly preaches the messages he does, even at the risk of mass disagreement. i am just wondering why, if rougly 20% of his congregation had a strongly felt alternative view on this issue, there was not a teaching pastor representing their views as well. if in fact the local church is a christ-like community, then shouldn’t the entire community (which includes those who disagree with boyd) be encouraged to take part in the teaching ministry (including sunday morning sermons)? i don’t understand why, if this encouragement was made clear at woodland hills (i don’t know that it was), so many would leave over the issue. but i don’t know the situation from the inside. does anyone from woodland hills know more about it?
What was interesting to me about the article was the paragraph about how the demographics of the congregation changed after the sermon series. The author of the article didn’t make a big deal out of it, but I thought that was particularly interesting … that most of those who left were white, upper-middleclass and that now the congregation was more ethnically diverse. It starts to make one think about who has control of the microphone in our culture and who doesn’t.
Sonja, you make an excellent and worthy point.
Nick, as I understand it, the sermon series wasn’t about that all political views should get equal time, but that the Church has no business being married to ANY political view.
yes i understand that the sermon series was not about all political views, but rather Boyd’s view on the Church-politics dynamic (the Cross and the Sword).
i was just wondering if those in his church who disagreed with left because they felt like his voice was the only one being heard. maybe they felt they church was not being very democratic (pun unintended). in other words, possibly because their view were not accepted by the leadership, they were subtedly silenced. this just seems like a likely scenario.
Who knows? It is a general feature of most megachurches that the pulpit doesn’t have a lot of different voices, let alone dissenting ones. Diversity of viewpoint is more of an emerging value and one I wouldn’t necessarily go looking for in a megachurch setting.
One of the things I’m learning (slowly) is not to curse an apple for failing to be an orange. It makes a perfectly fine apple, if you want an orange, find another tree.
Sonja, good catch. I wonder if the leavers where the mainly committed Bush supporters making room for the more diverse non-Bush-ians. I’ve no issues with that, the leavers will find plenty of other Bush-supportin’ Bible-believin’
gun-totin’hellfire-preachin’ churches to call home.