Michele Bachmann’s presidential campaign announced today that she will be speaking at First Assembly of God Church in Des Moines this Sunday.
Of course it’s not unprecedented for presidential candidates to speak at churches, and First Assembly’s pastor, Dave Beroth, is quick to claim he is not endorsing Bachmann. But, it appears he is endorsing her leadership abilities as a follower of Christ.
I asked Beroth, about why he invited Bachmann to speak, and whether he’d be inviting other candidates. His assistant directed me to his blog post on the Bachmann appearance. In it, Beroth compares Bachmann to the people listed in Nehemiah 7, which chronicles the return of exiles to Jerusalem and Judah from captivity in Babylon. Bachmann’s “story of coming to faith,” wrote Beroth, “is a great real-life example of what we are studying in Nehemiah.”
Beroth notes that he and his wife:
had the privilege of hearing Congresswoman Michele Bachmann tell how she became a Christ follower. As she shared about the day she committed to following Jesus, I felt led to invite her to give her faith story in our Nehemiah series.
Yes, she is running for President. No, she will not be actively campaigning while she is with us. Yes, we each have a responsibility to vote for godly public officials. No, her time with us does not mean our church is publically endorsing her campaign. We are not advocating for her and not opposing her. (You may have some other questions. I trust the answers are provided below.)
We will hear from a true follower of Christ – one who has said “yes” to God in all aspects of her life.
(emphasis in original). This dance happens every election cycle: the candidate won’t be campaiging at this church, she just happens to be running for president.
As to whether his church will invite other candidates, Beroth writes, “We trust the Holy Spirit to lead us when planning elements in our services. That is our barometer of who we ask to be a part of our services, events and outreaches.”