Politics From The Pulpit

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2/3 of U.S. Christians “want more information from their church about what the Bible teaches in relation to current social and political issues” but less than 1/4 of U.S. Christians say their pastors provide such teaching.


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The main takeaway from our 2020 National Pulpit Survey is this:
Christians want their pastors to address moral and cultural concerns.  On important social and moral issues including: abortion, religious liberty, poverty, sexual identity, Israel, Christian heritage, role of government, church in politics/government, and radical Islam, upward of 8 in 10 of those answering think clergy should speak out.



More pastors bowing to LGBT heresies



Most “Evangelical” Pastors: “My calling is to preach and teach the gospel, not to be a cultural commentator.
But the Bible, in fact and often, comments on culture and intersects with society, and
all the biblical prophets openly and repeatedly confronted the cultural evils of their days.
Most “Evangelical” Pastors:My calling is not to be political, it is to make disciples.
But the Bible, in fact and often, instructs disciples on
how to live as a disciple. Looking back on history, we see many examples of “evangelical” pastors who ignored numerous anti-Christian cultural issues of their days, such as slavery, the holocaust, and segregation.  They, too, were disobedient to the gospel by refusing to “be political.”  As Dietrich Bonhoeffer said, “Silence in the face of evil is itself evil. God will not hold us guiltless. Not to speak is to speak. Not to act is to act.
Most “Evangelical” Pastors:The Bible speaks clearly about the key moral and cultural issues of our day.
But fewer than 10% of those
same pastors ever actually speak and act from their pulpits according to those Biblical teachings.  This in spite of published research revealing that among professing Christians who actually attend church regularly, the majority believe that their churches should be more involved in the political process, not less.  In particular, they want their pastors to preach and teach what the Bible says about today’s social and political issues.
To fail to preach and teach from the pulpit is to fail to equip ( Eph 4:11-12 ), protect ( 1Jn 5:18 ), and love ( 1Cor 13:6 ) the very people pastors are called, trained and ordained to equip, protect, and love.



“[Our current] culture [is] where the politics have turned some pastors into silent, timid shepherds who are afraid to touch any question that culture has deemed ‘political,’ which includes almost all moral questions…  21st century Christian ministers do not want to create ‘barriers‘ for people coming to church — as Andy Stanley has put it…

…BUT [that pastoral timidity and self-centered retreat, both from societal reality and what their own congregations desire from them] is undermining the Gospel because the ‘barriers‘ being discussed is the Scripture itself…  And some pastors are softening the text or doing away with teaching it at all.  [T]he root of [this problem] is cultural relativism leading to the denial of absolute truth and the work of the Enemy who wants to undermine the Scripture in the Body of Christ.


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The issues pastors feel most pressured to preach about are the same issues they feel most uncomfortable addressing for fear of offending congregants.
Pastors — like most people — often succumb to the sinful desire for acceptance by people more than acceptance by almighty God.


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[V]ery few Christian institutions [including churches] consciously aim to equip Christians to live in a society that is hostile to their beliefs.  Instead, institutional leaders largely prefer to pretend that America is still a ‘Christian nation‘ instead of facing the reality that Christianity is now an open target for many U.S. government officials and agencies…  If pastors don’t teach their people what scripture says about major cultural issues… this abandonment of their duties can badly damage a congregation.


[How did Jesus handle preaching under this identical cultural paradigm?]

Popular Jesus mythology assures us that He never confronted anyone, made anyone feel uncomfortable, or judged anyone’s lifestyle.  Jesus loved everyone, which for many means that He accepted people just as they are.  Jesus was a champion of diversity, they imagine. Jesus came to establish an inclusive community in which all peoples of all types would be embraced and no one, whatever their proclivities, would be excluded…  [But] The [biblical] evidence [reveals] that Jesus didn’t spend a lot of time worrying about creating a comfortable environment for sensitive souls. [Instead,] He confronted sin [directly and repeatedly, examples provided in the essay]…  Though Jesus was full of compassion, truth was [His] priority… Jesus’ mission was ‘to bear witness to the truth ( John 18:37 )…  However uncomfortable the truth may make others feel, however offensive the truth may sound to unbelieving ears, however untimely the truth may appear, Jesus always spoke the truth, and so also must [pastors].



The real Jesus was no domesticated clergyman with a starched collar and genteel manners; he was a bold, uncompromising Prophet who regularly challenged the canons of political correctness…  Consider the account of Jesus’ public ministry given in the New Testament.  The first word of his first sermon was ‘Repent!‘… [and later was even more harsh when He said] ‘unless you repent you will all likewise perish‘ ( Luke 13:2 ) — a theme that was no more welcome and no less strident-sounding than it is today…  Jesus was pointedly, deliberately, and dogmatically counter-cultural in almost every way…  Those with no sense of personal guilt — including the vast majority of the nation’s spiritual leaders — were of course immediately offended [and t]hey turned away in angry unbelief…  The first act of his public ministry touched off a small riot.  He made a whip of cords and chased money-changers and animal merchants off the Temple grounds.  That initiated a three-year-long conflict with society’s most distinguished religious leaders.  They ultimately handed him over to Roman authorities for crucifixion while crowds of lay people cheered them on.  Jesus was pointedly, deliberately, and dogmatically counter-cultural in almost every way…  Check the biblical record.  Jesus’ words were full of hard demands and stern warnings.  He said… ‘If anyone comes to Me and does not hate his father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters, yes, and his own life also, he cannot be My disciple.‘ ( Luke 14:26 )…  Ignoring the normal rules of taste, tact, [tolerance] and diplomacy, Jesus in effect declared that all his listeners were sinners in need of redemption.  He pointed out sin and condemned it.  He knew very well that this would not win him any [friends or] accolades.  He had no such aspiration.  He said, ‘The world… hates Me because I testify of it, that its deeds are evil‘ ( John 7:7 ).  Then, as now, that message was virtually guaranteed to offend many — perhaps most — of Jesus’ audience…  The only ones not offended [by Jesus’ constantly repeated harsh words] were those who already sensed their guilt and were crushed under the weight of its burden…  So what would Jesus say to a pluralistic, tolerant, self-indulgent [liberal] society like ours?…  [H]is approach today would be the very same strategy we see in the New Testament.  To smug, self-satisfied, arrogant sinners (including multitudes on church rolls) his words would sound harsh, shocking, provocative.  But to ‘the poor in spirit‘ ( Matthew 5:3 ) — those who are exhausted and spent by the ravages of sin; desperate for forgiveness and without any hope of atoning for their own sin — Jesus’ call to repentant faith remains the [only available] gateway to eternal life.


[So then, what should modern pastors be doing from their pulpits?]

Rather than be caught defenseless, pastors must equip their people to engage a culture that is becoming increasingly hostile toward Christianity.  And so, the pulpit must be political…  It is better to lose the world than your soul.  But if you think that society can go to hell as long as people don’t, you’ve fallen for an old trick and you’ve misunderstood the nature of the gospel…  A politically silent pulpit is one that is catering to the secularist’s agenda: ‘Keep your religious beliefs private.  They are not wanted in society.  They are no good to us‘…  Christianity is an all-encompassing worldview.  Meaning, it is a set of true beliefs that affect all of life.  The gospel itself has implications that go beyond ones eternal destination…  Pastors [who believe otherwise] have failed [their own] people.  If it is not [their] job to instruct the people of God on [how to express Christian morality in the public arena], whose job is it?…  When politics are ignored in the pulpit the message to the world and the church is clear: Christianity is irrelevant [to reality, which is governed (controlled) by politics].  It tells the world that what we care about is our little club, and it tells those in the club not to worry about what goes on outside.  Subsequently, many in the church find it impossible to find fulfillment in life because life itself is apparently not worth redeeming.  This leads to [worldly, anti-Christ-ian] self-indulgence… [Christian’s need to] understand that Christ did not redeem us for irrelevance, but to be agents of renewal.  Therefore, let [Christians] turn our attention again to society and utilize all the tools at our disposal.  As we eagerly await the Kingdom to come, let us not neglect the land we have been given.  Let us be political.



Preachers avoiding politics from behind the pulpit and keyboard is like a police officer refusing to confront crime. It makes no sense.  The police are authorized to make arrests and Christians are authorized to tear down strongholds.  We as Christians have been granted a level of spiritual authority that few will ever grasp.  When culture is steeped in wickedness, we have no option but to expose the darkness.

Take no part in the unfruitful works of darkness, but instead expose them.‘ ( Ephesians 5:11 )

Unrighteous laws, widespread corruption, the darkness of immorality and national evils must be dealt with, and Christians are those who are most authorized to do so. Silence by passive preachers is a violation just as a fleshly, carnal response is. There’s a way to move in love and honor while bringing dangerous political and cultural agendas to light [but t]o stay silent on the issue of abortion, for example, would be inexcusable.



[F]rom the pulpit… churches need to make sure that biblical teaching on sex and sexuality is taught clearly.  This teaching should not be of the type too often seen in the sexual purity movement, with almost lurid promises of great sexual experiences for those who marry!  It needs to be sober, honest, and realistic.  It should include not only Scripture but also hard facts (taught by those who are well informed) about such problems as sexually transmitted diseases, abortion, out-of-wedlock pregnancy, the negative marital impact of premarital promiscuity and cohabitation, and the like.  As it is in the Bible, this needs to be grounded in a proper fear of God and regard for his glory.  For we modern Christians, typically God is too little and man is too large. ‘Everyone is doing it‘ is a frequent defense of sexual activity given by single believers.  But as Peter declared, ‘We must obey God rather than men‘ ( Acts 5:29 ).  Moreover, all teaching about sex must be placed within the context of marriage, its place within God’s covenant order, and all it means to God and to the human race: Jesus’ first miracle was at a wedding ( John 2:1–12 ); the church is the betrothed bride of Christ awaiting the marriage supper of the Lamb ( Rev. 19:6–9 ); and marriage represents the union of Christ and the church ( Eph. 5:21–33 ).  Throughout the Old Testament, God likens Israel’s faithlessness to adultery and prostitution.  All of this loads sex — which God united to marriage — with powerful theological significance.  It is only with reference to marriage that we can properly declare to our children the essential goodness of our sexual natures.  All sex outside of marriage dishonors marriage, and to degrade marriage is to treat with contempt the One who created it.  Sins such as fornication and adultery tell God and others that his provision for us in marriage is not adequate and not good enough for us, and that doing all we can to honor marriage and protect our own present and future marriages is not a priority for us.  Outside of a proper, doctrinally rich, covenantal understanding of what marriage is and its purpose and place within God’s plan for the human race, teaching about sex degenerates into sterile rules and hand-slapping.  ‘God says no, and if you do this, he will punish you‘…  [T]he Barna Group  learned from pastors  where some key pressure points were in their teaching ministries — areas they knew their congregations wanted them to address issues in which, in a classic Catch-22, they faced the possibility of serious blowback if they did so honestly and biblically.  In the top ten list were issues such as homosexuality, marriage, sexual morality including cohabitation and sex before marriage, abortion, and the like.  While pastors need to show compassion, understanding, and grace, they also must not avoid these topics or shave off the hard edges of Scripture.



When followers of Jesus [especially preachers in His pulpits] decide to avoid controversial issues… they are making a deal with the devil.  They are compromising with darkness.  Let the truth be told…  We may couch our compromise in terms of ‘wisdom‘ and ‘maturity.’  We may cloak our non-commitment [to political specifics] in the guise of ‘love.’  But when we refuse to speak up and stand up [to political lies from the pulpit] because it is too costly to do so, we are not wise or mature or loving. We are not thinking about others.  We are thinking about self, being motivated by convenience [and/or popularity] rather than [biblical] conviction…  To be sure, there are times when wisdom calls for silence and when maturity calls for inaction.  We are not called to fight every fight and engage in every battle [from the pulpit].  We don’t need to weigh in on every controversy that comes our way.  But there are times to speak.  And there are times to act…  How many of us have been paralyzed by the fear of negative consequences, thereby becoming captive to the enemy of our souls?  [H]ere in America… many [Christians, including Christians preaching from Christ’s pulpits] have gone into hiding… [because they] don’t want to lose the richest member[s] of [their] congregation[s]…  And so, [they] make a deal with a devil and enter into a pact with hell…  And rather than confront the Jezebelic spirit of the hour [they] come into agreement with this foul demon. ‘I won’t make any trouble for you if you won’t make trouble for me.’



The Politically Silent Pulpit is Not Christ’s Pulpit



The reason [liberals] get so much mileage out of [their] biblically revised one-liners [a.k.a. lies on social and cultural political issues] is because so many Christians do not get a steady diet of the Bible applied to [social and] cultural [political] issues, particularly from the pulpit.”



Pastors, You Must Preach on Current Controversies



Pastors… [y]our listeners need to see that the Bible speaks to all of life, including politics…, [that] God cares about secular governments and their leaders…, [that] [p]astors throughout history have preached about politics…, [and that they] have an unusual opportunity [today] to influence the direction of history [for decades to come]… [So w]hat political issues could a pastor preach about today? Religious freedom [see the Religious Liberty section below and/or on  this page ]…  Obeying the law…  Abortion [this topic — as per  this essay  — should have been first on Dr. Grudem’s list]…  Sexual orientation and gender identity  [as per the  same essay , this topic should have been second on Grudem’s list]…  Marijuana…  Immigration and border security…  Global warming/climate change…  Military   power…  [R]acism…  Taxes…  Economics…  [Public S]chools…  Israel…  [F]irearms & self-defense… [and]  [F]oreign  policy .



Why Pastors Must Stand Up to Government Tyranny



The Slow-Moving Crisis of Comfortable Christianity
The Damage It Does, and How Christians Can Overcome It



“… if your house is dirty, you don’t sit back and stay away from cleaning up your house, because that’s not going to get it any cleaner.  In fact, it’s going to get dirtier if you don’t do something about it.  The way we make things better is we engage.  We get involved.  We clean it up.



How should Christians approach elections?
1. Be informed, not ignorant.
2. Be discerning about politics, not dogmatic.
3. Seek to persuade, not pulverize.


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Cultural winsomeness will not be enough for Christians




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