May 15, 2023
I remember being invited to a “Pastor’s Luncheon” to speak about an organization that I was involved with locally. But that wasn’t all the Holy Spirit had in mind for me to say that day, as I stood before a captive audience of spiritual leaders. Maybe it was my youthful zeal or just plain naivete, but I clearly remember when I veered off my carefully crafted presentation and posed the question: Why is the church so silent when it comes to ideologies that are destroying our families? At the time (1999), I was referring to the sanctity of human life from abortion to euthanasia and the infiltration of immoral sex education that was beginning to enter our school curriculums. I challenged the Pastors to speak up and guide the sheep to be “salt” and “light” in a culture that was getting darker and darker. Afterall, these were clearly biblical issues.
I referred them to when John the Baptist was in prison. I asked, why do you think he continually rebuked King Herod for divorcing his wife and marrying his niece Herodias, who had been his brother Philip’s wife? Herod’s behavior didn’t affect John directly. It had nothing to do with preaching the gospel. Right? Those admonitions put John at terrible risk. Ultimately, Herodias’ hate-filled grudge against John the Baptist was the reason he was beheaded. Speaking hard truth had a cost then; and has a cost now.
The Pastor’s response: crickets.
It’s the same today. I wonder how many of today’s Pastors would be willing to challenge the church like Paul did in a letter to Timothy. His words were harsh and to the point, “The Cretans are always liars, evil beasts, slow bellies. This witness is true.” Paul was not afraid to go on record saying that false teachers were in ministry for money, and that the Cretans were prone to lies and laziness. He concluded with, “Wherefore rebuke them sharply, that they may be sound in the faith.” Speaking truth on the hard issues assists the flock to be sound in the faith. Paul’s unrelenting push for truth ultimately got him killed as well.
Even back then, cancel culture was at work. Those in power attempted to silence, intimidate, and slander Peter and John. When that didn’t work, they arrested them. Their response in Acts 5 should inspire us all, “We must obey God rather than any human authority.”
Flash forward through the years…
William Wilberforce, a Christian leader, would not keep quiet and allow the pro-slavery voices of his day deter him from his anti-slavery stance. Wilberforce was told to keep his faith private, and that his religious view had no business being pushed in the public square. Sound familiar?
It was the same for Pastor Dietrich Bonhoeffer, who did not let the pro-Nazi voices of his day deter him from speaking out against Jewish extermination. He stood unwavering on truth amidst opposition from the Christian community. It ultimately led to his execution.
Our spiritual leaders must begin to lead the sheep and that begins with them speaking up. There are so many evil spirits blatantly at play today and specifically aimed at our children and waging war against our families. There is the spirit of sexual immorality and confusion—marriage is meaningless and so is gender. Everyone is their own god. The spirit of fear— groupthink rules. “For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and a sound mind” (2 Timothy 1:7). The spirit of toxic masculinity– which promotes fatherlessness, and a disdain for real, godly, manly men. The spirit of delusion—never have we seen such a time where perverted ideologies, mysterious deaths and a plethora of injected related injuries are being ignored, and the mutilation of children being normalized, while science and biology are now politicized. The break in the dam is real and the evil waters are gushing everywhere. Most of our institutions are polluted to the core and few are immune to the infiltration.
No good can come from silence when humans that God love and created suffer because His people fail to speak. Our spiritual leaders must courageously stand up against sin. That too is the gospel. “We must quit bending the Word to suit our situation. It is we who must be bent to that Word, our necks that must bow under the yoke.” Elisabeth Elliot
And as George Orwell so aptly stated, “If liberty means anything at all, it means the right to tell people what they do not want to hear. In times of universal deceit, telling the truth will be a revolutionary act.”
Pastors it’s time to be courageous and lead with the truth. And as my Pastor repeatedly says, “As the salt of the earth, we must delay the decay of the day by being in the way.”
“And I sought for a man (or woman) among them who should build a wall and stand in the breach before me for the land, that I should not destroy it…” (Ezekiel 22:30). We are living in an evil and perverse time and the deafening silence leads directly back to our spiritual leaders.