I recently asked Dr. Mac Brunson, senior pastor of First Baptist Church in Jacksonville, what counsel he could provide when it comes to discussing politics and the recent election with millennials.
Here was my specific question: A lot of believers, especially millennials, of which I have three, are uncomfortable with public professions of support for specific political candidates, issues or parties. What counsel would you give to them?
“Well, I think that is unique to them, in a sense,” Dr. Brunson said, while forming his reply. “And I think the distance has been they’ve never really known a generation that has been in war, even though our generation has been in war. We’re so isolated and separated from it.
“Now I’m very much marked by my dad’s generation. My dad went in on the invasion of Europe; he went in at Utah. That marked my generation. I’m proud that they saved the world from Nazism and fascism. And I just think that we have gotten to where we have such a generation that has been so inoculated that they don’t know how to be thankful for their country, for freedom. To them it is almost idolatrous.”
Then, after pausing for a moment, Dr. Brunson continued: “Now, I’m going to take a moment and say something here: I have never prayed to Uncle Sam. I’m very clear who Uncle Sam is and who Jesus Christ is. I’ve never bowed down to America or to its culture. And I feel like at times it deserves the judgment of God.
“But I do understand what it means to be thankful to have a nation where we do have freedom and a semblance of justice, and I would say to them you need to go read some history and talk to a generation who understands what it means to lack the freedoms you enjoy.”
This is the second excerpt from my lengthy interview with Dr. Brunson, which took place in his office earlier this month. He was gracious enough to speak with me on a wide range of topics.
An edited version of the conversation will appear in our January 2017 print edition as the debut of a feature we are calling Behind the Pulpit, which will talk with some of the most influential pastors and Florida Baptist leaders on the hot-button topics of the day.
Kevin Bumgarner is executive editor of the Florida Baptist Witness, the official news source of the Florida Baptist State Convention.