The church’s role is not to acquire power, but speak truth to it.
Truth is under attack!
The Old Testament prophets refused power, and instead encouraged it when it was right, instructed it when it was confused, and challenged it when it was wrong.
As a result they were marginalized, exiled, or killed.
The king wanted a prophecy. All his professional court prophets gave the same favorable words. Every time. They were in his pocket.
So he sought out Jeremiah because even though he always had the minority report, he was always right.
But it was never favorable. Not only did Jeremiah speak truth to power, but he also spoke truth to the official prophets and incurred their murderous wrath. Exiled forever.
This same prophetic ethos leaks into the New Testament beginning with John the Baptist who got his head served up on a platter for speaking truth to political power. Jesus was crucified for speaking truth to political and religious power. Then Stephen who was executed for speaking truth to religious power. We finish with John exiled to the Isle of Patmos because he, as a pastor, was a living threat to the powers that be.
Consistently, the lesson is to not acquire power, but speak truth to it.
Prophets: you can’t serve power because it will always, always find a way to finally neutralize and silence your voice!
The church today, largely, has reversed the order. In fact, instead of speaking truth to power, it sacrifices truth to power.
At the root of this must be a deep distrust in truth and a profound and perhaps fear-based confidence in power.
The church now believes it will achieve its holy ends through power rather than through truth.