Do Christians Really Want Pablum?
It’s true that the road to destruction is as broad as ever (Matthew 7:13-14). It’s true that many churchgoers are attracted to preachers who tickle their itching ears (2 Timothy 4:3-4). And it’s true that many pastors seem to have an unwritten 11th commandment, “Thou shalt not offend.” But is this true for all? Hardly. Plenty of Christians want anything but compromise.
I’m aware, of course, that there are mega-churches famous for failing to preach against sin. And I’m aware that far too many leaders avoid addressing cultural issues like the plague. And to the extent that these ministries see “success,” this would indicate that there is always a large audience for a non-confrontational, baby food gospel.
It breaks my heart to hear leaders dance around controversial issues. It saddens me deeply when I see people drawn to a message that bypasses the cross and calls for neither sacrifice nor service.
There are plenty of Christians who have no interest in pablum. They want to be challenged. They want to hear the truth.
But, to repeat, there are plenty of Christians who have no interest in pablum. They want to be challenged. They want to hear the truth. They want sin to be confronted (starting in their own lives). They want their leaders to address the culture. They want to be salt and light.
I hear this all the time as I travel and speak around the country and as I interact on social media. The very fact that thousands of people thank me (and others) for speaking the truth and for taking a stand tells us two things. First, not enough leaders are doing this; second, their congregants really want them to.
Is it possible that some pastors are underestimating their flocks? Is it possible that some leaders are misjudging their followers?
Tired of the Status Quo
On my Twitter account, I post links to our latest articles and videos, links to our daily radio show, and words of encouragement or exhortation or wisdom. And my goal is to build up, not tear down; to lift up, not drag down. So, when it comes to posting comments and quotes, there are plenty of positive ones from which to choose.
Which of my tweets, then, get retweeted and liked the most?
Inevitably, it is tweets like this: “You do not win the world to the Lord by becoming like the world. You win the world by becoming like Jesus. Cultural sensitivity is one thing. Compromise is another.”
You do not win the world to the Lord by becoming like the world. You win the world by becoming like Jesus. Cultural sensitivity is one thing. Compromise is another.
— Dr. Michael L. Brown (@DrMichaelLBrown) August 5, 2018
Or, like this: “Far too many preachers today are playing a lullaby when they need to be sounding an alarm.”
Far too many preachers today are playing a lullaby when they need to be sounding an alarm.
— Dr. Michael L. Brown (@DrMichaelLBrown) July 29, 2018
Obviously, not everyone wants to be rocked to sleep. Not everyone wants a lullaby. Not everyone wants to be conformed to this world.
Plenty of God’s people are sick and tired of the status quo. Sick and tired of a compromised Christianity. Sick and tired of looking and smelling like the world. Sick and tired of lounging on the Titanic when a giant iceberg is clearly in sight.
Really now, how can we be watchman on the wall when we don’t warn? How can we be shepherds of the flock when we don’t equip? How can be faithful leaders when we cower rather than confront? The people of God are waiting for us to stand.
Feeding the Flock Pablum or Solid Food?
In Saving a Sick America, I noted that, “In 2014, George Barna reported the results of his latest poll. During an interview on American Family Radio, Barna explained that, ‘What we’re finding is that when we ask [pastors] about all the key issues of the day, [90 percent of them are] telling us, “Yes, the Bible speaks to every one of these issues.” Then we ask them: “Well, are you teaching your people what the Bible says about those issues?” and the numbers drop…to less than 10 percent of pastors who say they will speak to it.’”
Yet that same poll indicated that the vast majority of congregants surveyed (around 90 percent) wanted their pastors to address the major issues of the day.
The bottom line is that many of God’s people are hungry. They’re hungry for the truth of the Word. They’re hungry for holiness. And they’re hungry for relevance that makes a difference. In other words, they’re eager to apply the gospel to every area of life.
To my fellow-leaders, I ask: Will we cater to the shallow-seekers who want to hear a lullaby, or will we preach the truth in love? Will we feed our flocks pablum or solid food?
Why not ask the Lord what He would have us do? After all, on that Great Day of accounting, we will answer only to Him.