Woodland Hills Church in Maplewood, Minn. and its pastor, Greg Boyd, are getting loads of attention from the New York Times article, “Disowning Conservative Politics, Evangelical Pastor Rattles Flock” (registration required). The article covers Boyd’s controversial sermon series, “The Cross and the Sword,” which argued that Christians should have little to do with politics and typical Republican alliances on issues like abortion, homosexuality and war.
“I am sorry to tell you that America is not the light of the world and the hope of the world,” said Boyd. “The light of the world and the hope of the world is Jesus Christ.”
You can’t touch issues like that without fallout, and for the 5,000-member church the fallout included losing 1,000 people. The fallout also included a change in the demographics of the congregation, losing white suburbanites and gaining racially diverse members from the surrounding community.
It’s an interesting story and part of why Paul Eddy, fellow pastor and college professor (I had him for a few classes at Bethel) says, “Greg is an anomaly in the megachurch world. He didn’t give a whit about church leadership, never read a book about church growth. His biggest fear is that people will think that all church is is a weekend carnival, with people liking the worship, the music, his speaking, and that’s it.”
It’s also old news, considering the controversial sermon series happened before the 2004 presidential election, and you may remember it’s something we covered before. But given the release of Boyd’s new book, The Myth of a Christian Nation (you have to admit the Statue of Liberty on the cover looks familiar), and the nearing election season, it’s time for a good church and politics story.