What I Learned at Turning Point USA Could Change the Nation
One thing is crystal clear in America: If we truly want change, we must re-spark biblical boldness and fan the flames of biblical action. If we won’t fight, then we will fade.
I recently attended a large gathering of pastors in San Diego organized by Turning Point USA Faith. During one of the opening sessions, a speaker said that the pastors in attendance could change the nation.
To some, that may seem impossible, but it’s definitely within reach if pastors return to their true calling: To preach the unadulterated Word of God and awaken a spiritually unconscious culture, not lull it into a coma.
As many in our culture are brazenly “coming out,” shouldn’t pastors come out and address the issues that are destroying America from the inside out?
I Only Preach the Gospel
Sadly, many leaders are uncertain about speaking on topics they deem political. “I only preach the gospel,” they say. They fail to realize that the gospel affects all areas of life — from the unborn to our borders, and from LGBTQ+ issues, socialism, sex trafficking, wokeness, even war and peace. The gospel changes the heart, which in return, changes the nation.
Additionally, when pastors lack boldness about hot-button topics, it affects all areas of preaching. As a result, the “gospel” they preach is often a watered-down, non-offending, powerless message. If we lack the boldness to preach on the outworking of the gospel in our society, we soon will also quail at telling people the difficult truths of salvation, from repentance to judgment.
Silence Hurts the Innocent
If we don’t stand for those who have no voice, then who will? If we don’t encourage God’s Word in all areas of life, who will? Silence is not a virtue when the innocent are hurting and suffering. Being quiet in the midst of chaos is not a badge of honor; it’s acknowledgment of defeat.
“I only preach the gospel,” is often an excuse to remain disengaged. Granted, not everyone will have the same passion for hot-button topics, and many pastors are great encouragers, but we all must sound the alarm in these dire times. Sadly, many sermons sound more like elevator music instead of a battle cry.
If we are to spark another spiritual awakening (which is our only hope), pastors must once again feel the fire of the Spirit burning within. The pulpits can thunder again if we call the nation to repentance. (For added encouragement, listen to the sermon, “The Battle Cry for America.”)
Get Unction or Get Out
When speaking to a group of pastors, Leonard Ravenhill once said: “Get unction or get out of the pulpit.” If you think that statement is too harsh, I would encourage you to read your Bible all the way through. Preaching God’s Word is one of the highest callings ever given to mankind. And God’s anointing is the key ingredient.
God loved His people so much that He would send prophetic voices to warn them. Blatant sin demands a strong rebuke. In Isaiah 56, the prophet rebukes blind watchmen who do not warn the people. They needed the Spirit’s unction then, and we need it today.
Don’t Confuse Patience with Approval
We need boldness and brokenness; we need the hammer of God and the humility of the Spirit. Many bold preachers are angry but still arrogant, wound-up but not worshippers.
Yes, we need more thunder in the pulpits, but we also need more brokenness in our hearts. We must weep before we whip (Ravenhill). We must begin here. More “likes,” “followers,” and “shares,” don’t mean that God approves, if you have a hard and arrogant heart. Popularity doesn’t always equate to spiritual power.
On the flip side, it doesn’t mean that God approves of “woke” liberal views either. Popularity simply means that you struck a chord with listeners, but only God can see the deep recesses of your heart. Regardless of which side of the political aisle you’re on, don’t confuse God’s patience with His approval.
Ask the Hard Questions
Are you spending significant time humble and broken in the prayer closet? Are you repenting as much as you’re calling others to repentance?
Are you overflowing with the fruit of the Spirit or with arrogance and anger? Are you willing to say what God tells you to say even if it offends others? In your zeal to not offend, have you stopped to consider that you may have offended God?
Don’t Be Shamed Into Silence
Truly changing this nation must first begin in our hearts. Spiritual awakenings often start with thunder in the pulpit. We must follow Isaiah’s lead and raise our voice like a trumpet (58:1) — calling people to awake and arise (60:1)!
We must confront issues that are destroying families, harming children, and setting us up for tremendous failure. Don’t be shamed into silence! Remember that the “light of the world” must shine in all areas of life, not just flicker within the four walls of the church.
We can change our nation, but it first must begin with the fire, anointing, and unction of the Spirit in our pulpits. We need the thunder of the Spirit before the rain of revival can fall again.
After sharing time with the pastors of Turning Point Faith, and teaming with similar-minded pastors around the country, I think that such a revival seems increasingly inevitable. I’m hopeful. Are you?
Listen to the audio version here.
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.