After Roe v. Wade: Pastors and Leaders — Your Silence Speaks Volumes
I don’t know what’s more disheartening — the anger of many because Roe v. Wade was overturned or the silence of pastors and worship leaders. (For some “naming names,” click here.) To tackle this topic, I’m revisiting points from past articles that I’ve written.
Watchmen or Cowards?
Over the last few decades, Americans have seen the destruction of the institution of marriage, the removal of God’s Word in several areas, and the embracing of Marxist Critical Race Theory (CRT).
Many pulpits are also silent about governmental abuse, the LGBTQ agenda, and the blatant murder of millions of babies. This is an indictment against America and Christian leaders are partially responsible — our silence speaks volumes. Are we watchmen or cowards?
Difficult truths often offend, and rightly so — sin put Christ on the cross. The goal of preaching is faithfulness to God, not crowd appeal.
Leaders, whether through worship or preaching, can regulate the spiritual condition of God’s people, which in turn affects the nation. Leaders, why are you so silent? Why aren’t you rejoicing that our national curse may have been lifted? Is it because you may lose half of your audience? If so, you’re pleasing men rather than God.
Cheerleaders and Game Changers
Sadly, many popular worship bands and leaders are exchanging truth for passivity, boldness for cowardliness and conviction for comfort. They aim to be motivational speakers rather than champions of righteousness.
Pastors (and Christian leaders alike) must take responsibility for the spiritual health of today’s church, and the nation. We don’t need more political correctness; we need men and women filled with the Spirit of God.
Leaders, we are not just cheerleaders, we are game changers. We are called to stir and to convict so that change takes place. Granted, there are many wonderful pastors and churches — I appreciate their ministry. But, as a whole, the church has drifted off course. We have lost the compass of truth and the boldness of the Spirit.
Four Ways to Get Back on Track
Return to the prayer closet. Without prayer, “the church becomes a graveyard, not an embattled army. Praise and prayer are stifled; worship is dead. The preacher and the preaching encourage sin, not holiness … preaching which kills is prayerless preaching. Without prayer, the preacher creates death, and not life.” (E.M. Bounds)
The dry, dead, lethargic condition of the church simply reflects an impotent prayer life. While 5-minute devotionals and prayers are good, they aren’t going to cut it in these dire times. We need powerful times of prayer, devotion and worship. “Without the heartbeat of prayer, the body of Christ will resemble a corpse. The church is dying on her feet because she is not living on her knees.” (Al Whittinghill)
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Sermons should not come from pop-psychology and the latest fad; they must come from the prayer closet where God prepares the messenger before we prepare the message. It takes broken men to break men. Unplug the TV, turn off Facebook and get back into the Word of God, prayer, and worship!
Return to a separated life. If a pastor or a worship band fills their minds with the world all week and expects the Spirit of God to speak boldly through them, they will be gravely mistaken. “The sermon cannot rise in its life-giving forces above the man. Dead men give out dead sermons, and dead sermons kill. Everything depends on the spiritual character of the preacher.” (E.M. Bounds) Who he is all week is who he will be when he steps to the pulpit.
Worship must be a priority. A pastor who does not worship is not prepared to preach. Many sing “about” God but they have never truly experienced Him — which is head knowledge without heart knowledge. Styles of worship range from the old, beloved hymns to contemporary. All worship should be God-centered, Christ-exalted and doctrinally sound.
Worship allows us to shift our focus and praise toward God. Whether you prefer hymnals and organs or contemporary bands is really not the issue. The issue is: are you truly worshiping God in “spirit and in truth”? He is the Creator of heaven and earth. He is not a cosmic force, universal love, or a doting grandfather; He is the King of Kings and the Lord of Lords. We must worship Him. He created, redeemed and saved us. As one of the countless hymns declares so well, “O’ The Blood: washes me; shed for me … what a sacrifice that saved my life, yes the blood, it is my victory.”
Preach the difficult truths that set people free. The church cannot neglect, water-down, or avoid preaching sin, repentance, or the fear of the Lord in the hope of not offending or securing an audience. Difficult truths often offend, and rightly so — sin put Christ on the cross. The goal of preaching is faithfulness to God, not crowd appeal.
The church, as a whole, may have forgotten the fear of the Lord, but it doesn’t follow that we should.
Shane Idleman is the founder and lead pastor of Westside Christian Fellowship in Southern California and the creator of the WCF Radio Network. His program, Regaining Lost Ground, points us back to God and reminds us that although times change, truth does not. His books, blogs, and sermons can all be found at ShaneIdleman.com.