Rev. Mark H. Creech
A minister’s musings on failed political leadership
By Rev. Mark H. Creech
May 21, 2021

If ever there was an example of breach of the public trust, if ever there was a demonstration of political leadership’s shortcomings, it was President Richard M. Nixon and the Watergate scandal. Yet Bob Woodward, the journalist who broke the story on Watergate, has acknowledged that Nixon “had some large achievements in foreign affairs.” Even American sociologist and pastor Tony Campolo has claimed that on the domestic front, “Richard Nixon was good for the poor people of America.”

Speaking of political leadership’s shortcomings, North Carolinians just learned a former member of the North Carolina House, who was chairman of the powerful House Rules Committee, will not likely do any jail time for his crime of misusing campaign donations to help prop up his struggling farm. I know this man, and I can tell you that I believe he is a good man and has done much for the Tar Heel state despite his crime.

In fact, during my twenty-one-year tenure as a lobbyist for the Christian Action League, I’ve witnessed other lawmakers who sadly hit the wall. A former Speaker of the House plead guilty to a federal charge of public corruption and served jail time. Another lawmaker connected with the same scheme was also sent to jail. Still, another North Carolina State Senator was later convicted of misusing campaign funds and incarcerated. Others I’ve known were arrested and convicted of drunk driving offenses.

None of these individuals, in my estimation, were moral derelicts. Of course, they were grievously wrong in what they did, but like Nixon and some other fallen political leaders, they weren’t devoid of virtue or redeeming qualities.

In my musings lately about failed political leadership, let me share a few lessons I think might be garnered from these ethical breakdowns.

First, I sincerely believe the vast majority of people who enter politics are well-meaning and want to make a positive contribution to society. Nonetheless, their idealism and realism often fall into conflict. Although its true much of politics is the art of compromise, too often they succumb to compromising in ways they shouldn’t.

One of the most powerful statements ever made about Watergate was by Nixon’s “hatchet man,” Charles Colson. Colson, who went to prison for his part in the Watergate scandal, said, “I learned one thing in Watergate: I was well-intentioned but rationalized illegal behavior. You cannot live your life other than walking in the truth. Your means are as important as your ends.”

Second, we should recognize our political leaders are just human. Even the best of them are still sinners. The Bible tells of great leaders like King David, who was described as “a man after God’s own heart.” Yet it was David who wickedly abused his political authority, having Uriah the Hittite sent to the frontlines so he could claim his inevitably widowed wife, with whom David had already had an adulterous affair.

Third, the Bible teaches us to possess a healthy suspicion of government. We should be exceedingly careful about putting our complete trust in its leaders and programs.

In an article titled, Seeing Political Corruption with Biblical Eyes, Rev. Robert Barron notes something that the Devil told Jesus during his temptation experience in the desert. After enticing Jesus with the allurement of power, the Evil One points to all the great kingdoms of the world and says, “I shall give to you all this power…for it has been handed over to me, and I will give it to whomever I wish.”

“I don’t know a passage in any of the literature of the world that is as critical of political power as that one! All the kingdoms of this world belong to a fallen spiritual force,” argues Barron. “Whereas many (if not most) cultures, both ancient and modern, tend to apotheosize their political leaders, the Bible sees right through politics and politicians. One of the most important contributions of the Scriptures to contemporary politics, at least in the West, is this deep suspicion that power tends to corrupt. The institutionalization of this suspicion in complex systems of checks and balances is a healthy outgrowth of the Biblical view.”

Nevertheless, Barron adds, “Scripturally minded people should not allow their suspicion to give way to complete cynicism regarding politics.”

Barron is entirely correct. The Bible clearly teaches we should honor those who govern us. Whether we like them or not, we should recognize that they were raised to their place of leadership by God’s providence. This doesn’t imply their policies or their behavior is correct, but it does mean we should cooperate unless the state’s commands conflict with God’s commands. We should know that behind every power is God’s overruling power, and God will always, and in his own time, bring corrupt political leadership to justice.

Moreover, Barron concludes that in a democratic system such as ours, “when a politician abuses his office and uses his power for his own aggrandizement, Biblical people should rise up and protest with all the insistence, courage and eloquence of Nathan in the court of David.”

There’s so much more that could be added here, such as the need to pray regularly for our leaders. There’s also the desperate need for Christians to run for office and bring a robust Christian worldview, matched with strong Christian character, to the political process.

There will always be another news story about a fallen political leader. However, perspective is everything. Most people in politics are not bad people. Even good people who go into politics can become bad along the way. God is in control. And, Christians are always responsible for holding leaders accountable to Biblical standards, while also showing the utmost respect for their position.

© Rev. Mark H. Creech


The views expressed by RenewAmerica columnists are their own and do not necessarily reflect the position of RenewAmerica or its affiliates.
(See RenewAmerica's publishing standards.)

Click to enlarge

Rev. Mark H. Creech

Rev. Mark H. Creech is Executive Director of the Christian Action League of North Carolina, Inc. He was a pastor for twenty years before taking this position, having served five different Southern Baptist churches in North Carolina and one Independent Baptist in upstate New York.

Rev. Creech is a prolific speaker and writer, and has served as a radio commentator for Christians In Action, a daily program featuring Rev. Creech's commentary on social issues from a Christian worldview.

In addition to, his weekly editorials are featured on the Christian Action League website and Agape Press, a national Christian newswire.


Receive future articles by Rev. Mark H. Creech: Click here

More by this author

December 2, 2023
Revelation Chapter 19: Guarding against idolization, John’s angelic encounter

November 25, 2023
Revelation Chapter 19: The Marriage of the Lamb and the Joyous Celebration of the Bride

November 18, 2023
Revelation Chapter 19: Homesick for heaven, lessons about the power of praise and worship

November 11, 2023
Revelation Chapter 18: Babylon, lessons in materialism and Divine justice

October 28, 2023
Revelation Chapter 18: A call to God’s people, separation from Babylon

October 22, 2023
Revelation Chapter 18: Babylon and the consequences of moral decay

October 15, 2023
Revelation Chapter 17: Imitation, deception, and the ultimate triumph

October 7, 2023
Revelation Chapter 17: The seductive harlot, false religion, and the worldly stage

September 30, 2023
Revelation Chapter 17: Babylon revealed – A warning for today

September 23, 2023
Revelation Chapter 16: A world shaken and pummeled to the ground

More articles


Stephen Stone
The most egregious lies Evan McMullin and the media have told about Sen. Mike Lee

Siena Hoefling
Protect the Children: Update with VIDEO

Stephen Stone
Flashback: Dems' fake claim that Trump and Utah congressional hopeful Burgess Owens want 'renewed nuclear testing' blows up when examined

Mark Shepard
Black Men for Trump – Makes a lot of sense

Cliff Kincaid
Will someone investigate the NSA?

Rev. Mark H. Creech
Revelation Chapter 19: Guarding against idolization, John’s angelic encounter

Steve A. Stone
No retreat – No surrender – No quarter

Matt C. Abbott
A pro-life charity watchlist

Jerry Newcombe
Western civilization’s most important and neglected strand

Curtis Dahlgren
God's 'practical joke' on Jew haters

Cherie Zaslawsky
Israel in the crosshairs: Part One

Cliff Kincaid
The next phase of Communist revolution in America

Cliff Kincaid
The Palestinian Removal Act

Victor Sharpe
What occupation?

Tom DeWeese
Setting the agenda for freedom’s comeback
  More columns


Click for full cartoon
More cartoons


Matt C. Abbott
Chris Adamo
Russ J. Alan
Bonnie Alba
Chuck Baldwin
Kevin J. Banet
J. Matt Barber
Fr. Tom Bartolomeo
. . .
[See more]

Sister sites