The disciples in the early church declared, “We must obey God rather than man,” and also, “We cannot help but speak about what we have seen and heard.” (Acts 5:29, Acts 4:19-20) The Apostle Paul charged Timothy to, “preach the word; be ready in season and out of season (2 Tim. 4:2).” Are we supposed to follow their example or were these Scripture written as history and not to be applied by followers of Jesus Christ?
In America, under the First Amendment, who has the right to decide what is preached from the pulpit; the pastor or the IRS? Church or government? You may have heard of Pulpit Freedom Sunday which is this weekend, October 2.
For almost the first 200 years in America, pastors spoke freely and boldly from their pulpit about the issues of the day, including candidates running for office. But in 1954, the passage of one piece of legislation effectively overturned this freedom: The Johnson Amendment.
The Left uses this to bully Christian pastors and groups with threats of losing their nonprofit status should they dare talk about the Bible as it relates to cultural, political, fiscal, and social issues, which all fall under the category of moral issues.
Erik Stanley, author and Senior Legal Counsel of the Alliance Defense Fund, explained the Johnson Amendment was a bill that got inserted into the tax code through back-room deals made by a powerful Senator seeking reelection at any cost. As a result of the bill, freedom of speech and the free exercise of religion have been trampled. Stanley stated:
We have grown up with a generation of churchgoers that believe it is illegal for their pastor to address candidates and elections in light of Scripture or church doctrine when there is no valid justification for believing that.
Lyndon Johnson knew how to use the political process to silence his enemies. The new amendment not only protected him from the conservative nonprofit groups opposing him, but many pastors stopped speaking about any issue from the pulpit that might be deemed political either out of ignorance of the new law or out of fear. By this self-censoring, the church has chosen to ignore open immorality in culture and in government while at the same time neglecting to call attention to those political leaders who do strive to live according to Christian morals and values.
For the American Thinker, Bill Warner wrote:
… you might have to speak about it from the pulpit, and that could be seen as political speech. In spite of the fact that there has never been a 501(c)(3) revoked because of political speech by a minister, the imagined loss silences ministers. Hmmm… if a minister is worried about the IRS revoking his 501(c)(3), then whom is the minster serving? Caesar or Christ?
Are these harsh words any less true of at least a small number of religious leaders in America? If your pastor resembles more of a business person or CEO than a shepherd or a military leader preparing his troops for battle, it may be time to approach him in love and encourage him to address sin, persecution, the culture war, and politics from time to time.
Every believer should see the need to speak up with a sense of urgency whether you are a parent, a pastor, or a person in the public square. The Reverend Don Wildmon, founder of the American Family Association, was instrumental in fighting for the family and Christian values in our country. He wrote the following over ten years ago:
Today, 4,000 innocent precious lives of unborn babies were snuffed out . . . And 300,000 pulpits are silent . . . The networks make a mockery of Christians, the Christian faith and Christian values with nearly every show they air. Greed, materialism, violence, sexual immorality are standard fare. Program after program, movie after movie contains anti-Christian episodes and plots. News articles condescendingly refer to the “fundamentalists, right-wing Christians.” Those who speak out for the sacredness of life are branded as extremists. And 300,000 pulpits are silent.
Teenage suicide is the highest it has ever been . . . Christian morality cannot be taught in schools, but atheistic immorality can . . . And 300,000 pulpits are silent. Rape has increased 700 percent in the last fifty years, and that takes into consideration the population growth . . . And 300,000 pulpits are silent.
Rock music fills the airwaves and our children’s minds with music which legitimizes rape, murder, forced sex, sadomasochism, adultery, satanic worship, etc. And 300,000 pulpits are silent. A majority of states now have lotteries [gambling has been legalized, no longer a crime]. And 300,000 pulpits are silent.
Real faith cannot be silenced.
We have been losing ground because Christians have not first been firmly established in their faith, and second; we have not been openly preaching and living the Word of God without compromise. I admit my past failures in this area and have confessed them to the Lord; how about you?
The most important thing is not winning battles for culture or country, but winning eternal battles for the kingdom of God. To win the souls of men, the whole truth of the whole gospel must be proclaimed. True Christianity cannot be confined behind the walls of any church…
To reinforce our foundation of Bible truth and combat the cultural lies promoting moral relativism, here are a few Scriptures:
In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2 He was in the beginning with God. 3 All things came into being through Him, and apart from Him nothing came into being that has come into being. 4 In Him was life, and the life was the Light of men. 5 The Light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not comprehend it. 6 There came a man sent from God, whose name was John. 7 He came as a witness, to testify about the Light, so that all might believe through him. 8 He was not the Light, but he came to testify about the Light. 9 There was the true Light which, coming into the world, enlightens every man. 10 He was in the world, and the world was made through Him, and the world did not know Him... And the Word became flesh, and dwelt among us, and we saw His glory, glory as of the only begotten from the Father, full of grace and truth. John 1:1-10, 14
For He rescued us from the domain of darkness, and transferred us to the kingdom of His beloved Son, 14 in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins. 15 He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation. 16 For by Him all things were created, both in the heavens and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities—all things have been created through Him and for Him. 17 He is before all things, and in Him all things hold together.Colossians 1:15-17
ARTICLES covered in today’s broadcast:
Exclusive: World’s first baby born with ‘3 parent’ technique – NewScientist.com