MANHATTAN — I am becoming more and more alarmed at the silence of churches concerning prevailing sin issues in America. Yes, there are a few who speak out, but they are very few.
If you go into any evangelical church today and listen to a message, the odds are you will hear a variation on the salvation message. There is nothing wrong with the salvation message at all. In fact, many denominations are watering that message down. However, the Christian life is much more than our initial salvation in Jesus Christ. A tertiary reading of 1 Corinthians clearly demonstrates that.
One such issue is the gay rights movement which has been pushing “gay marriage.” Linda Harvey from Mission America has tackled the gay agenda for 20 years in Ohio and has paid a price. She recently stated on a radio talk show that she has participated in several hearings over the past years in Ohio where public comment had been requested by the state legislature. During those hearings a number of pastors from denominations who support “gay marriage” have spoken their support of gays. However, she has not seen even one pastor testify in favor of marriage involving one man and one woman!
Homosexuals in America make up just 3 percent of the population, but most of them are not active radicals. Yet they are successfully advancing their agenda. Why? Because, the church has withdrawn from the political arena. There are two major reasons for this.
The first reason is fear of reprisal from the media. This can even cause a loss of reputation in society. Linda Harvey has had to struggle with this issue. She has even had her home vandalized by activists. Yet she fights on.
A second reason pastors do not speak out is fear of reprisal from the Internal Revenue Service. There is a fear that a church could lose its tax exempt status if it speaks out on some of these moral issues. However, this may be a false fear. The Alliance Defending Freedom has supported Pulpit Freedom Sunday for the last five years. Last year over 1,000 churches sent their “illegal” sermons to the IRS hoping for an IRS action. So far, nothing has happened. The fear is that the IRS will enact the Johnson Amendment, which had nothing to do with religion, against churches speaking on political issues.
A third reason is biblical illiteracy and lack of a strong ongoing relationship with the real Jesus of Nazareth. If we don’t know the Word of God and don’t commune with Jesus on a daily basis, how can we know how to follow Him?
I would like to humbly suggest that the church has allowed the culture change the church instead of the other way around. Like the Laodicean church, we have become comfortable in our wealth. Like the German church of pre-World War II days, we are letting the government dictate our message instead of God’s word.
Peter and John were faced with a similar issue in Acts, when they were told by the rulers and the teachers of the law not to teach in the name of Jesus. They replied, “Which is right in God’s eyes: to listen to you, or to him? You be the judges! As for us, we cannot help speaking about what we have seen and heard.” (Acts 4:19 NIV) Their lives were at stake there, not just an income tax deduction! I would suggest that it is time to return to the Bible’s standard of action in our culture.
Email Frank Clark at email@example.com.